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Wicked rather than virtuous

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Stop this day and night with me

and you shall possess the origin of all poems,

Keith Kogane of the Shirogane Foundation teases new relationship amidst growing speculation, awkwardly backtracks when Business Insider reporter asks for a name — what former CEO, current Co-Chair Takashi Shirogane calls ‘Shakespearean levels of emotional incompetence, all around’

Dave Ciolli   14m

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ACT I: Sex Actually

Thursday, 11 AM

 

The concrete in front of Lance’s little studio apartment had to have iced over while he was asleep, because he couldn’t remember struggling across it like this after getting in last night.

He’d caught the red-eye back to Seattle, though, and had still been operating according to Cuba Standard Time when his flight finally landed. Fifteen awful hours in economy, with two stops at LAX and ATL. Lance couldn’t be blamed for murky memory. It was all an exhausted blur.

What he remembered of yesterday: sitting sandwiched between a snotty toddler and her snoring father on the plane, then stumbling into his apartment at 11:30 PM like a beach-browned zombie. No ice out front. Just a light, crisp breeze. It was like he’d welcomed the cold back to Seattle. Lured in a smug snow.

No more heat waves for a while, he thought forlornly when he got in and saw his thermostat temperature sitting at a brisk 48. He flicked his space heater on, face-planted onto his futon without checking his phone, then promptly knocked out cold, sneakers still laced up.

Even after waking from an eleven hour coma – that’s what Lance was ruling it – in a cold sweat because he thought he was missing his shift at the library, he wanted to keel over and sleep for the rest of forever. He couldn’t do that, though.

He had plans to carry out and boys to kiss.

Deeply wealthy boys for whom he credited his undying libido. Boys who were probably off gallivanting around the business district and taking meetings with well-dressed millionaires at this very moment. Boys who he’d forgotten to call last night per the evening ritual they’d established at the start of Lance’s trip to Cuba.

Boys named Keith.

He hadn’t pegged Keith for the long-distance phone call type, but his first night in Varadero his screen had lit up with Keith’s contact photo – a candid Lance had snapped while they were out for drinks, Keith’s squinting face turned due west, towards a milky beam of sunlight, only his profile visible (one dark, long-lashed eye and the edge of a perfect jaw, brows furrowed like he was befuddled by Earth’s beauty).

“Hi,” Lance had said upon answering the call.

“Hi,” Keith said, a little awkwardly.

They didn’t really do phone calls, outside of the occasional ‘where are we meeting?’ and ‘did you get home okay?’ check-ins. Sometimes, ‘hey, do you want to try out this vegan pad thai recipe the next time we meet up, yes, okay, bye, see you then.’

“Can you talk?” Keith added, after a beat.

“Yes,” Lance said. He was in bed, mosquito net in place, with a brightening blend sitting on his face, set to be washed off in thirty minutes. “Can you?”

A huff. “Yeah,” Keith said, with such abrupt and obvious frustration that Lance nearly bailed him out so they could shove past the awkward introductions and kickstart a nice little evening chat. Nearly. “That’s why I called. To talk to you.”

“I see,” Lance said, barely able to contain his delight, though he was sure Keith could sense it anyway. “What about?” he asked, just to prolong Keith’s misery.

Keith made a noise – intensely disgruntled, perhaps defeated – into the phone. It was a rush of static in Lance’s ear. “Okay, well, bye,” he said, quite suddenly.

“No, no, wait – !” Lance said, stifling giddy laughter into his palm. “You’re ruining my facemask, get back here. What, so you want to talk to me or something?”

That made it sound like he was a lovesick middle schooler twirling the phone cord around his finger while using the landline without his parents’ permission. Lance blushed into his pillow, grinning.

“I am calling because I want to talk to you, yes!” Keith half-shouted into the phone, every word enunciated hilariously.

A bang came from his end of the line, like he’d just slammed something down. Probably a frying pan judging by the metallic recoil. Lance heard the familiar flicker of Keith’s burner being turned on.

“You’re scaring your dinner, Keith.”

Keith made an indecipherable noise into the phone and banged around a little louder.

Lance fought a laugh. “What are you wearing right now?”

“That is not the kind of phone call we’re currently having. It’s – like you said. I’m making dinner!”

“I did say that, didn’t I?” Lance said, nibbling at his nail. “I like it when you talk to me in italics. You sound so sexy.”

“Stop trying to turn me on. I’m making ramen spring rolls.”

“Mmm,” Lance said. “What would you be doing if I was there right now?”

“Making ramen spring rolls,” Keith said, like Lance was stupid.

Lance bit down hard on his thumb to stop a wave of laughter. “What if I had your cock in my mouth? Would you still be making ramen spring rolls then?”

A muffled crash sounded, followed by muttered expletives. “Do you want me to eat or not?” Keith demanded.

“Yes, okay, sorry, sorry,” Lance said, giggling.

Keith sighed. “Cooking isn’t as fun when you aren’t here.”

That made Lance’s heart do a stupid little flutter. “You still have an audience. I’m just a little further away now.”

“What are you doing?” Keith asked. “Are you getting ready for bed? It’s eleven there, right?”

“Well, I was.”

“But?”

“But then I heard your sexy italics voice and now I’m wide awake.”

An incredulous silence followed.

“Are you ... hard right now?”

“I might have gotten a little carried away while thinking about sucking your dick,” Lance said unashamedly.

“Lance. Jesus.”

“Mmm, I wanna touch myself,” Lance whispered into his phone and slid a hand over his belly where it was simmering with arousal. “Wow, why have we not had phone sex before? I am so goddamn turned on right now, how about you?”

“You … shit.”

“Yeah,” Lance agreed with a happy sigh. “You make ramen spring rolls, I’ll finger myself. ‘M so wet I might not even need lube.”

“Fuck – look. That is not how this works.”

Lance moaned, a quiet, thin sound.

“I’m just making it worse, aren’t I?”

“Uh-huh. Your voice is making me wetter,” Lance said and came whining into his fist as Keith narrated in excruciating detail what he would be doing if he were with Lance right now, his spring rolls frying to golden perfection in the background.

Keith texted him a picture, though Lance didn’t see it till morning. He drifted off to the sound of Keith crunching on his dinner and telling him about his day at work in between bites, lulled to sleep by the rough, whiskey-sweet timbre of his voice.

They fell asleep on the phone together every night after that.

The whole point of leaving Varadero and its sunny, picture perfect beaches early was Keith, of course. Lance had plans. Incredibly sexy plans that were currently being thwarted by outside forces, who did not want to see Lance get laid, even though he really, really deserved it.

No one ever told you how hard it was to be sexy during a Washington winter, especially not Fifty Shades of Grey, which Lance often felt like the star of. And although not technically winter, it was so cold in Seattle that he’d taken to referring to it as such, to Keith’s endless amusement. And, all right, in all fairness, Keith wasn’t Christian Grey levels of wealthy, and he didn’t have any secret sex rooms, and Lance was not with him because he’d signed his ass over to a repressed BDSM god.

Don’t get Lance wrong. Keith was definitely a repressed rich boy. It was just that he was Mr. Grey’s inverse: the type of repressed rich boy you had to beg to spank you and even then there was no telling if he’d have to leave the room afterwards because he felt so torn up with guilt at having to hurt you. Which he didn’t. Or, well, he did, but Lance liked it. Enough to ask for it, anyway.

And was that honestly so crazy?

He wasn’t so depraved that he wanted to be slapped around or anything approaching actual, real life violence, so he didn’t see the issue. He had his hard limits. And he liked doing all the vanilla stuff with Keith. A lot. Particularly the tender ‘look deep into my eyes while you drill me with your dick’ kind of sex.

But he was also gagging for the other, rougher stuff, the breed of sex Lance knew Keith was into because he’d briefly let it show when they first met. Lance knew. He’d seen the way Keith fell into his aggression. It was a controlled violence, something gently ungentle. A careful cruelty. Unthreatening when aimed at Lance. Well-trained would be the word. Keith’s sexual aggression was well-trained. And Lance liked it, enough to ask for it, in ways he hadn’t thought he could like something. It made him feel small and helpless, deliciously needy, obedient beneath Keith’s big bulk.

It was the glowing warmth of surrendering yourself to someone else’s strength. Of trusting and succumbing to that strength.

So sometimes Lance wanted Keith to hold him down with his callused hands and slap his ass raw and bite his neck. Not enough to draw blood, mind you, but enough to leave an indent, or a bruise, maybe. It wasn’t a Thing.

Keith was always pulling Things, capital T, out of thin air, though. He was the most tortured lover Lance had ever taken, with enough emotional baggage to fill a tiny private jet. It was the whole ‘orphan with abandonment issues and exorbitant amounts of cash he has no clue what to do with’ Thing that they kept coming back to. The Batman Thing, as Lance had taken to calling it, because Keith was one Neiman Marcus suit away from becoming a bona fide Bruce Wayne. He just needed a city-wide bat signal and a spandex suit.

Which was actually an idea worth revisiting and also a fun roleplay scenario Lance was still trying to get Keith to agree to.

(Their sex life was a work in progress.)

Though Keith had always been a bit skittish in bed – like Lance might melt away mid-thrust – even once they’d graduated from Starbucks bathrooms and the backseats of expensive company cars, he was not lacking in polish. Keith was the only guy whose sex skills you could ever get away with describing as ‘polished.’ But that’s what they were. He had a way of wringing orgasms out of Lance, with unparalleled consistency, and enthusiasm. Never before had Lance had to fret over coming within five minutes of a guy getting a hand on his dick.

Not until Keith, with his giant, magical, wonderfully callused hands.

In so many ways, he was the ideal partner for this kind of relationship – cleanly, doting without being overbearing, singularly Lance’s, and sometimes so suddenly jealous he felt like a legitimate boyfriend. All things Lance loved. And in other, smaller ways, Keith refused to give Lance what he wanted.

It went without saying. They didn’t discuss what it was they were. They just were. Although the argument could be made – and had, loudly and in strong language – that their current relationship was a ‘two-way street’ (Hunk) and the result of a ‘mutual inability to communicate in concise, bullet point format’ (Pidge).

Because Lance’s life was not a direct-to-Netflix movie with three acts and golden lens flares to soften moments of inaction and/or awkwardness, communication was much harder than it sounded. If his life was a three act Netflix movie, it would be divided as follows:

ACT I: Sex Actually [addendum: a direct-to-Netflix, Thanksgiving-themed romantic comedy written and directed by Lance and Keith]

ACT II: Sleepless In Seattle [addendum: because they can’t stop fucking all the time]

ACT III: Me, gesturing towards my life: Thoughts? Shakespeare: And prayers. [addendum: fuck you, Shakespeare]

And because Keith had free-will and was not a copyrighted E. L. James protagonist, he still wasn’t allowing Lance access to his well of untapped sexual aggression. Not even a sip from it. Not even a moonlit glimpse. It was like he’d shut and locked that door for good as soon as he and Lance decided they’d become exclusive … whatever it was they were.

Sex collaborators. Cuddle buddies.

What Keith couldn’t seem to get through his thick skull was that Lance knew what he’d signed up for. Metaphorically speaking. Because, again, this was not a terrible adult novel and Lance was not contractually obligated to take Keith’s dick up his ass. He just really, really wanted to.

Lance was in no way a model citizen – he had his fair share of overdue library books and once or twice in the past he’d stolen an article of clothing from Keith’s closet, never to be seen again – but he was smart enough to know not to sign his body away to a horny billionaire, even one as chiseled as Keith. And anyway, Keith was an upstanding Seattle resident running a wildly successful nonprofit. He was too morally upright to participate in contractual sex. And he wasn’t a billionaire, either.

At least … Lance was pretty sure he wasn’t. The company for which he’d become Chief Executive Officer at age twenty two had a $750 million dollar endowment, Lance knew that much, but again … nonprofit. That money was probably going to starving kittens in Czechoslovakia. In early 2016, Keith had taken a question during a climate conference that resulted in the infamous Atlantic headline, ‘Do billionaires deserve rights? Keith Kogane says, ‘No.’’

Lance wasn’t sure about specifics. And he was not Googling it. He was too nervous to put a concrete number to the dick he was regularly sucking. Keith maintained minor celebrity for his proximity to his foster brother Shiro and for the stake he had in global philanthropy, but the extent of his family’s assets remained something of a mystery.

It was stressful enough trying to dodge articles speculating about his dating life. Hunk kept sending Lance links, to no avail. Lance had made his mind up about the Internet after the first three or so headlines he’d read that said something like, ‘THE LATEST IN IMPULSE PHILANTHROPY: KEITH KOGANE DONATES $5 MILLION TO LGBT LAW CENTER AFTER PROTESTERS TELL HIM HE CAN’T. ‘I DEFINITELY CAN,’ KOGANE SAYS.’

STOP SENDING ME LINKS LIKE THESE YOU’RE JUST MAKING ME WANT TO SUCK HIS DICK MORE!!!!! Lance texted Hunk last month.

In response, Hunk sent a Buzzfeed link with a pop-up thumbnail that read ‘10 Times Keith Kogane Publicly Challenged The Notion That Global Warming Isn’t Real.’ Behind the Helvetica font, a cartoon polar bear was holding a glowing sun between two paws.

We need to delete the internet.

100 Times We Had To Shield Our Children’s Eyes While Keith Kogane And Lance McClain Were In The Same Room Together, Hunk replied.

I hate your stupid guts.

Keith’s inexplicable generosity remained a source of great journalistic frustration. His cool, ultra private exterior grated, at odds with his random acts of charity. Nothing about him fit the bill. He deflected praise at every opportunity and refused the awards offered to him as thanks for his hefty donations.

Something about his defiance chafed. The media wanted what he wouldn’t give and what he wouldn’t give the media Lance hoarded, stingy and self-important about it.

The information the scrounging journalists wanted was only one very small part of Keith. The rest, all the little details he kept hidden away, were far more important. Things like the size of his thumbnail when trapped between Lance’s lips, warm and wet with saliva. The faded birthmark situated on the underside of his chin that Lance so often warmed with his mouth. The long, lush sweep of his eyelashes in midmorning sunshine. Keith was beautiful and secretive and self-effacing and Lance’s for the foreseeable future, even if they didn’t know what to call this thing they were doing.

It was really as simple as that.

 

So far, Lance’s sexy plans of surprising Keith at work weren’t off to the greatest start.

He was jet lagged from his journey and he’d forgotten to pick up more cinnamon & spice-flavoured instant oatmeal before he’d left for Varadero ten days ago, so his cupboard was pathetically devoid of breakfast options and his coffee machine refused to work no matter how many times he pounded a palm against it and he hadn’t gotten to sleep tucked up against Keith’s side on his unholy, king-sized bed in nearly two weeks. There were two gloomy texts from Keith waiting on his phone, sent twenty minutes after Lance had knocked out last night.

Keith ❤️

Wednesday 11:50 PM

Just got home. You didn’t call tonight.

Having to watch that stupid Greek musical you love to get by.

The ‘I hope you’re happy’ seemed implied, like Lance was subjecting Keith to the horrors of cinematic ABBA covers by virtue of being in a different country.

Lance opened the texts coming down his apartment’s little driveway and went skidding across icy concrete in his shock. He landed on his ass in front of a passing family all bundled up in warm winter gear. They sent him a funny look and continued on their merry way.

“Global warming,” Lance said to the sky, sadly.

He wasn’t built for cold climates damnit, but the one time he’d said so, Keith just nuzzled his nape from behind and murmured, “The climate right here is perfectly warm,” which had been hot, if unhelpful.

He lay there on the cold sidewalk a moment, then gusted out a breath. It floated up from his mouth in a frosty white puff.

Thursday 11:09 AM

Mamma Mia! is not stupid, you’re just painfully uncultured.

I cannot believe you watched it without me.

After REFUSING to even entertain the idea of a musical movie night for as long as I’ve known you, I should add.

Lance’s ‘genius idea’ had arrived in the middle of a gloriously drawn out blowjob and he’d voiced it by pulling off of Keith’s spit-shiny cock with a pop to say, “We should watch Mamma Mia! after you come.”

Keith craned his sweaty head to gaze down at Lance nestled comfortably between his thighs. His eyes were glazed over and he was flushed gorgeously from ears to throat. Lance had the smug thought that he’d done that – unraveled Keith so sweetly with his tongue. And in fact, Keith was so far gone he’d have promised Lance just about anything right then.

“Whatever you want,” he murmured, sex-drunk and affectionate as a puppy. He thumbed Lance’s red mouth with a soft look and Lance happily resumed sucking his dick.

Except when Lance brought it up again afterwards, Keith rolled over to squish him into the mattress and knock the remote from his hand.

“Absolutely not,” he said into Lance’s spine, then pressed a sleepy kiss there, and no amount of sexy threatening or ‘but it’s literally my personality in movie-form!’ had ever changed his mind.

Until now, apparently.

Keith’s reply to Lance’s text was instant. He must have been on his lunch break already.

Got desperate, he sent, as if in defence of himself. Apparently even I have a breaking point.

A tingly thrill went through Lance.

Well, you should wait for me to find and exploit it.

It’s more fun that way.

Come home and you’re welcome to.

Three more days 😙🥰🤩🤯

“Ha,” Lance whispered. He nibbled at his thumbnail, smiling.

You must miss me a lot.

Yes.

Heat rushed to Lance’s chilly cheeks. He sat up, collected himself and his sore bottom, then rose to his feet and wobbled his clumsy way over to his car, taking care to avoid the particularly wet-looking patches of ice. He’d sequestered himself away in the cabin with the key in the ignition and the noisy heater blasting when his phone pinged with a new text from Keith.

You’re up late today.

That momentarily perplexed Lance, as it was barely eleven in the morning and so miserable outside it looked like dawn had only just broken. Light filtered down on Seattle in indistinct streaks. The bleary sun was wrapped in clouds and making a slow, shallow arc over the horizon. Fat flakes were beginning to drift down from the gray sky. They landed on the windshield with silent plops. Lance flicked his wipers on and watched white smear across the glass.

Then he remembered. Keith still thought he was living it up in Varadero for Thanksgiving break, where it was currently two in the afternoon and a tepid 75 degrees.

I was running around all night, Lance lied. More flying, less running, but Keith didn’t need to know that just yet. Left my phone in my room and fell asleep as soon as I was back or I would have called. I promise you will be handsomely rewarded for your little Mamma Mia! jaunt.

Doing what?

Hm?

You said you were running around all night?

Oh. Nunya.

Lance.

What? :)

You know what

Interested in my whereabouts, Mr. Kogane?

Just a bit

Lance huffed. He could sense Keith’s sarcasm a mile away.

Because you’re a big possessive idiot who can’t keep watch over me from across the Gulf of Mexico or because you genuinely want to know what I get up to in Cuba?

Both. But mostly the latter.

The little typing bubble appeared, then disappeared again. Lance waited, watching.

I like hearing about your day.

“Oh ...” Lance said, softening immediately. Keith wasn’t playing fair.

Wouldn’t listen to you babble in circles for forty minutes every night otherwise, Keith tacked on.

Lance scoffed, a smile threatening to disrupt his indignation.

OK, big guy, just for that, you can wait till I’m back to hear about what I was so busy doing.

...., was the reply that earned him.

A hot shiver crept down Lance’s spine.

I’ll just let the mystery keep you up, Lance sent, knowing it was an empty threat and wanting to draw out this dangerously delicious tension anyway. Any chance to incur Keith’s sexual ire was one Lance wanted to take.

I want you to imagine me having all kinds of fun without you.

You sure about that?

And maybe I’m on the beach.

Surrounded by shirtless Cuban boys who are very interested to know if I’m with anyone.

I’m something of a hot commodity over here, you know.

You’re a hot commodity everywhere, Keith returned and Lance flushed.

You’ll want to rethink whatever it is you’re trying to do right now though.

Lance crossed his legs against the first stirrings of arousal.

Why? Am I being bad?

Think you’re trying to rile me.

Well, if you’re ever feeling appropriately riled, you could always spank it out of me.

Hm.

Is that a ‘you’re out of your mind, Lance’ hm, or an ‘I’m considering it, I’m picturing you laid out over my lap, I am incredibly tempted, Lance’ hm?

It’s a ‘you can tell all your shirtless Cuban boys you’ve got someone waiting for you in Seattle and he doesn’t share’ hm.

I told them and they wanted me to let you to know it would be a waste not to use this opportunity to punish me.

You’re out of your mind, Lance.

You’re being very Edward Cullen in Breaking Dawn about this, Mr. Kogane.

I don’t know what any of that means.

You can read it for yourself when I’m away again and my absence has left you all afflicted.

Afflicted, huh?

Like I’ve taken a tiny piece of you with me.

Planning on going away again anytime soon?

And if I was?

I’d need two weeks’ notice, at least, so I could arrange to have all your favorite movies and books sent to my place.

Still got a bit of Lance-inspired affliction left in me.

My secretary is emailing you a list as we speak.

Much appreciated, Mr. McClain.

And please refrain from stopping by any boy-infested beaches in the future.

Lance smothered a snicker in his scarf.

No promises.

Any chance I might change your mind?

Hmmmm....

Well, if you taught me a lesson this time around, I might not be so keen on stealing away to beaches going forward.

For a few minutes, no reply came. Lance squirmed in his seat, fiddling with the heater vents and then the dials of his radio. Just when he thought he might go out of his mind with nervous impatience, his phone pinged. He fumbled it, sliding open the text notification with one thumb swipe.

I’ll think about it.

Lance nearly threw his phone. He sat up in a hurry, stomach fluttering wildly. Made too honest by Keith’s concession, he typed and sent, I miss you so much.

Headed to a lunch meeting right now. Call you afterwards? Sent on its heels, as though a reluctant admission: I want to hear your voice.

“Oh, you’re going to,” Lance murmured to himself, with bubbling excitement. “Very, very soon.”

Yes please.

Only b hour or 2. Will try 2 get awy early, Keith sent, which meant he was nearing or had arrived at his meeting place and was typing under a table or holding a conversation while thumbing Lance a secret reply. The thought brought a tiny smile to Lance’s face.

OK.

To this, Lance attached a week-old photo he’d snapped in preparation for today. He wasn’t the most subtle when it came to surprises, so he was having to rely on dirty tactics to throw Keith off his trail this morning.

In the photo, Lance was lying belly-down on his bed back in Cuba, gauzy white mosquito net framing his sultry pose. His ass was in the air and he was wearing a new, never-before-seen pair of panties. They were made of nylon, came in a creamy lavender with cutouts at the small of his back, lace trim, and two fluffy little pom-poms that hung right above his cheeks. They sat at his ass like the fuzz of a bunny’s tail.

Only Lance’s bottom half was in frame and his back was arched indecently, ass presented for the camera. With his free hand, he was tugging the panties taut, turning the cut thong-like and baring the buttery-smooth shock of his brown cheeks. An inch to the left and his entrance would be on display.

This was the nature of racy photos with Keith. They’d agreed early on not to include their faces in any suggestive pictures they sent back and forth as a general precaution. Not quite nudes, though most pushed the envelope. Lance had a whole passcode-protected folder filled with close-ups from Keith – a big hand gripping a girthy cock through boxers, a pink cockhead leaking precome peeking out of a tight waistband, a come-splattered stomach clenched post-orgasm.

Lance’s were on the more elaborate end of the spectrum, his angles complicated, shots obscenely specific, lighting and camera quality always considered. Artful affairs, they were.

Keith was so impatient and impulsive when he was horny that his tended to be blurry, fuzzy photos taken in the half-dark right before or immediately following ejaculation. Something about that Lance found fiercely endearing. Having someone waiting on the other end of a phone, stroking himself to Lance’s pictures, so eager and clumsy with desire he couldn’t help the terrible photos he sent in reply.

Lance had saved every single one.

Keith was a similar brand of sentimental when it came to Lance’s nudes, he knew, so he was sure this one would be appreciated.

Touching myself thinking about you, he captioned the photo, then hit send.

Lance........., came Keith’s immediate reply, the virtual equivalent of a groan.

Lance giggled under his breath and added a second shot from the same batch, this time with his fingers pushing purple nylon aside to hold his tight wet rim open.

Maybe this will help you make a decision?

Fuck.

It was exactly the kind of terse, bitten-off response that Lance was looking for.

R those new?

Have fun at your meeting.

Lance clicked send, cheeks beginning to ache with the weight of his silly grin.

1 more? Keith cajoled.

Fingers inside urself?

Naughtyyy.

You’re working.

Someone could look over your shoulder and see me spread open for you.

.

Talk to you soon :)

Wait 4 me.

Want 2 listen 2 u come.

The absurdity of Keith sexting in abbreviated text talk was starting to get to Lance. He stifled a hysterical, hot-faced laugh against his hand and typed, Hurry, like he was lying at home waiting for Keith.

OK OK GTG stop being sexy vry inconvenient 4 me in workplace settings

will have 2 figure out how 2 contain an erection 4 the next 2 hours, Keith added.

Lance was proper laughing now, with his whole body. Needing no further encouragement, he tossed his phone into a cupholder and pulled out of his parking spot, making an unerring U-turn towards Keith’s place of employment. The snow, now coming down in swirling flurries, promised to follow.

ACT II: Sleepless in Seattle

 

Lance stopped for coffee along the way.

His Starbucks of choice sat equidistant from his apartment and Keith’s work, so it was convenient on top of being the place where they had met – and fucked – for the first time. Which was not how Lance had intended it to happen, by the way. He wasn’t goody goody about the goings-on of young lovers, but he liked the classy little formula society had devised, with the wooing and the dinner and then maybe a stroll home and a chaste kiss, later followed by some good, hard fucking.

What Lance had intended at the time was to haul the stupidly handsome stranger who’d just cut him in line into the mug display Lance was busy inspecting. And okay, maybe Lance was partly to blame for letting himself get distracted by bedazzled Starbucks cups. But that didn’t just give any old stranger permission to take his place in line, goddamnit, and he intended to give Mr. Tall Dark and Sexy a piece of his mind, preferably where the whole of Starbucks could see.

Lance stood there with his hands on his hips, glaring a hole into the back of the stranger’s attractive head. It wasn’t that the backs of heads were particularly attractive, but Lance could sense that this one was, even though the haircut was horrid and the suit reprehensible. Lance recognised a douchebag when he saw one. The guy’s slim fit suit had notched lapels. Notched!

He seemed overly absorbed in his phone, which was another point in favour of douchebaggery. Phones in Starbucks lines, it was like, what, you couldn’t handle a few minutes of waiting without latching onto your electronics? Pathetic. Lance, at least, had brought a book along with the morning rush in mind and he’d been reading it when the glittery display caught his eye and now he’d lost his place in his book and in line to a rich kid with a terrible mullet and none of it was fair.

Lance leant forward to thwack the guy across the shoulder with his Walt Whitman book – Leaves of Grass, a favourite of the Seattle University English department – and was rewarded for his efforts with a slap of sullen, dark-eyed beauty to the face. Lance fell back slightly, clutching his book to his chest, looking every part the sleepy English major in reading glasses and baggy school hoodie.

The stranger gave Lance a cursory up-and-down, looking pleasantly preoccupied by what he saw.

“Um,” Lance said, rather eloquently. “Your hair is stupid.”

The stranger’s eyebrows leapt up, throwing a thousand questions out at Lance. Lance had never known a pair of eyebrows to be so expressive, or annoying.

“Yeah,” Lance said, gaining momentum. “And you just cut me in line.” And he indicated the spot where the guy was standing, in tailored virgin wool. He had a breast pocket and everything. “Or maybe you hadn’t noticed, what with your face being glued to your stupid iPhone. Is your brain fried from information overload? Do I have to be the bearer of bad news, Giorgio Armani, or are you aware that you’re not the only one with a life and places to be? ‘Cause I’ve got a nine am class before my shift at the library and no energy to deal with assholes like you right now, all right? I know you’re probably used to taking shortcuts to get what you want, but that shit won’t fly with me and if I don’t get my dirty chai latte in the next five goddamn minutes, I will dump yours down your shirt!”

A weighty silence ensued.

“I don’t get dirty chai lattes,” the guy said then, sounding bewildered, and about five minutes later, after bickering the whole way up to the counter and then hashing it out over who had a right to order first, all while an exasperated barista worked silently on their drinks, Lance picked up his finished order and dumped it out over the guy’s shirt, hissing, “Since you don’t get dirty chai lattes, how ‘bout I let you try mine?”

Not exactly one of his finest moments.

“Looks like you’re gonna be late for your nine am class,” the guy observed.

They were standing at the lone sink in the little 1-toilet men’s bathroom. One of the baristas had threatened Lance with a lifetime Starbucks ban, so he was showing penitence by helping the jerk wearing his coffee clean himself up.

He supposed he should count it a blessing that he wasn’t about to be sued for ruining an expensive Italian dress shirt. People in suits always had the resources to sue, but this one seemed perfectly content to stand watching Lance as he blotted at his shirt with damp paper towels.

He wore Lance’s coffee well. Like one of those pretty ladies in billowing skirts who end up drenched and squealing by a car that had driven through a puddle. Only hotter, because this guy seemed perfectly unfazed by the coffee, didn’t appear to have any places to be or people to see, or if he did, didn’t seem to mind that Lance was keeping him from them.

Except that – no. Lance was not into the dick he’d dumped his coffee on.

“Shut up,” he said, scowling at the guy’s button-down. No amount of dabbing was reducing the mess. “I hope your suit is ruined forever.”

“I can just buy another,” the guy informed Lance, seemingly unperturbed.

“‘I can just buy another,’” Lance mocked. “Why don’t you buy a new personality while you’re at it?”

“Only if you’ll let me pay for yours,” he bit back.

“If that’s your way of apologising,” Lance said primly, “then I accept.”

The stranger sucked his cheeks in like he wanted to stop an incoming smile in place. “Apologise? For what? Moving with the line after you’d stepped out to look at tacky thermoses?”

“They were not tacky!” Lance snapped. “They were customisable and really cute and you – you clearly know nothing about style! And I didn’t step out of line, the line just happened to move without me while I wasn’t looking! A good Samaritan would have let me know.”

Oh, he was definitely smiling now, the stupid prick. “Yeah? Lean over, tap you on your shoulder and risk getting smacked across the face with your terrible poetry? I don’t think so.”

Lance yanked a new wad of paper towels from the dispenser and ran them under warm water. He wrung them out over the basin of the sink and said, “It’s really upsetting that so many people write Walt Whitman off as terrible or boring or whatever when he was a true pioneer of the early American literary landscape and one of the greatest transcendentalists to ever live. Have you even read his work before? He had great, timely things to say about spirituality and – and pleasure and the natural world and how they could bring humans together. Ah, right, but you’re probably too busy burying your nose in your electronics to know anything about that.”

“Burying my nose in my electronics so I can facilitate a climate conference happening this year,” the guy said dryly. “To create conversations about imposing statewide taxes on carbon emissions. You know, so we can save our natural world.”

Lance opened his mouth. He closed it. He replayed the guy’s words in his head and felt his fury die a sad little death in his throat.

“... Oh …” he said, deflating. He scuffed his sneaker against the cruddy tile grout. He felt very small suddenly, standing next to this clean-cut climate activist in a Starbucks bathroom. “Well ... maybe you could learn a thing or two from Whitman, then. Take it back to your bosses or whatever.”

The stranger stuck his hands in the pockets of his slacks and leant his hips against the sink, watching Lance closely. A small smile was playing at his lips. “Maybe.”

Lance darted a look up at him, then got overwhelmed by his amused gaze and went back to squinting at the disaster that was his coffee-splattered shirtfront. He felt a blush coming on as he went back to dabbing at the affected area. The more he thought about it, the harder he blushed, until he was so pink-faced he could scarcely look the stranger in the eye for fear of drawing attention to himself.

“I recommend the annotated version of Leaves of Grass to start,” Lance muttered in one breath, dabbing harder at the shirt. “A lot of his poems can feel dense at first, so it’s nice to have footnotes that explain references and dates and all that jazz. At least for me. Sometimes I can be a little slow at poetry, so I have to take my time and read things over a few times. I’m not saying I’m stupid. I get good grades and I’m an Honours student. Just … my brain seems to work a bit faster than most people’s and I miss a lot that way. Like today, with the thermoses. And when we did Emily Dickinson, for example … I didn’t realise right away that her poem about mermaids was actually a poem about sex. So if you’re anything like me, I would really recommend … um …”

And Lance was shutting up, because the stranger was nudging his chin up with a finger and Lance’s cheeks were getting very hot again and he forgot what he’d been about to say. He felt his mouth fall closed.

“I don’t think your coffee is coming out anytime soon,” the stranger said of his shirt.

“You shouldn’t rush someone’s coming out,” Lance said, the pun spilling from his mouth on automatic. “It’s rude and inconsiderate. It’ll come out when it feels ready.”

The stranger was laughing now. His laugh was all air, a near silent exhalation through the mouth and nose, almost incredulous-sounding. It sent goosebumps racing up Lance’s arms. “You … you’re kind of cute, y’know.”

“Kind of – !” Lance said, insulted, as he stood there in his big, drooping SEATTLE UNIVERSITY sweatshirt, reading glasses, and coffee-speckled sneakers, Walt Whitman book wedged under one arm, damp paper towels dripping from the other.

So he wasn’t in his Sunday best. That didn’t mean he wasn’t worth an ‘incredibly cute,’ at the very least.

“Yeah,” the stranger said quietly, just looking at Lance with those dark, steady eyes. He had a voice like wine or something. Rich and dizzying and bittersweet against the mouth. They were standing so close Lance could feel the stranger’s breath against his parted lips. When had they gotten so close? “What’s your name?”

“Lance,” Lance said automatically, even though he didn’t really think he should be giving his name out of beautiful strangers who had secret proclivities for climate change activism and cutting in line.

His brain-to-mouth filter appeared to have evaporated.

“Keith,” Keith offered. His finger was still pressed beneath Lance’s chin, keeping his head tipped up. He had a very inviting mouth, full and perfectly bowed.

“A stupid name for a stupid jerk,” Lance mumbled, tilting helplessly forward as he felt the stranger – Keith – laugh and lean in.

Their mouths met with little ceremony – just that soft, intimate smacking sound that sent a jolt of heated realisation through Lance. His belly bottomed out. He was kissing a hot stranger he’d only just met. And that hot, coffee-wearing stranger was kissing him back. Slow and chaste Keith kissed, like he was gathering sensation, gauging Lance, carefully learning his style. His lips were gentle and soon, too soon, he was pulling back. Lance wanted to follow his mouth for more.

He felt unfortunately wrecked. Seismically shifted. Lance was off-kilter and on the fritz. He frowned and fluttered his eyes open, cheeks warm, to find Keith watching his face. Again.

“More than kind of,” Keith amended, editing his earlier half-compliment into something more whole and sending a new bout of blood zipping up Lance’s face. “Would you, ah, maybe want to –”

Oh, lord, Lance thought, as he felt his self-control snap.

He threw caution to the wind and flung his arms around Keith’s broad shoulders, pushing up onto tiptoe to fit their mouths together anew. His book went flying. Water from the paper towel wad he was clutching dripped down the back of Keith’s ruined suit, so he dropped those too. Then he let out a soft gasp, bringing their tongues into shy contact, as Keith’s hands settled around his hips beneath his sweatshirt. He was gripping Lance like he’d only meant to steady him and had found himself hopelessly sidetracked by Lance’s hips.

Mouths open, they fit like clay. Keith’s was smooth as silk and endlessly seeking. It seemed impossible or at least inexcusable that another human – ostensibly Lance’s bitter, newly discovered Starbucks enemy – should be allowed to walk this mortal earth with a pair of lips so clearly designed to be kissing his. That Keith could stroll along, unbothered, unstirred, unpunished, when he possessed this kind of latent power. When he fit against Lance so flawlessly. When his lips moved like – like this.

Selfish and sexy and softly probing.

A trickle of liquid arousal dripped through Lance. He let out a little whine – a tiny imploring mmm sound – as Keith’s big hands slid inward, palming Lance’s belly and then the small of his back beneath his sweatshirt. They stopped to rest at the beginning of his ass like Keith didn’t want to push his luck or nudge Lance towards something he might be uncomfortable with.

This coy little gentleman’s routine was driving Lance insane.

“Please,” he whispered into Keith’s mouth.

He urged Keith’s hands lower, right over the swell of his ass through thrift store denim, and that appeared to be all the invitation Keith needed.

Thirty seconds later Lance was being crowded against the door and manhandled around. Keith reached over to twist the bathroom lock shut with a promising click, pressing Lance into the door cheek-first. Lance went with a huff, hands splayed out against the wood. He tilted his head back in lazy surrender as Keith mouthed at the ticklish spot behind his ear. His kisses were nipping, red-hot numbers now.

Overwhelmed with arousal, Lance began to arch his body, pushing his ass out, brazenly displaying himself. He didn’t care that he was being lascivious. He just wanted more, more, more, and quickly, before they were caught or cut short by an impatient Starbucks customer.

“Fuck,” he heard Keith mutter.

Lance’s wrists were suddenly pinned to the wood above his head by one of Keith’s big hands. Lower, a hot, insistent pressure was beginning to descend and then Keith was grinding his erect cock – big! Lance’s mind yelped – into Lance’s ass with heavy, hungry breaths.

“Oh my god,” Lance whispered, aroused incredulity coursing through his veins.

He could do little but stand there and take it, restrained and thoroughly turned on. He kept up a quiet chorus of moans all the while, blood roaring disbelievingly in his ears, as he canted his hips back for more, giving his ass up to Keith’s sizable hard-on. His cock teased harder over Lance’s hole, that tremulous place where Lance was beginning to feel very empty.

“Ah,” he cried softly, eyes fluttering shut.

His body, before so shameless and impatient, began to melt into something softer, growing pliant with need. Lance made himself go obedient beneath Keith like hot, blown glass giving way. His limbs felt like jelly and his head lolled dumbly against Keith’s shoulder. He blinked up at him through long-lashed, pleasure-drunk eyes.

Keith made a short, stifled sound straight from the throat. “You’re coming,” he said into Lance’s ear, like he’d just decided it, like it was an order, like it was an inevitability.

Lance muffled a shocked cry into his own shoulder as Keith yanked his jeans open blind, a feat so sexy Lance’s head fell forward to watch Keith’s big hand squeeze its way into his underwear. His fingers wrapped around Lance’s cock and then he was stroking him off, hard and dry. Lance gasped, trying to shove forward into Keith’s fist and failing miserably where he was caught between the door and Keith’s muscular body.

Keith let go of Lance’s pinned wrists to wrench his head back by a fistful of hair, murmured, “Keep your hands up there,” into Lance’s jaw like to disobey him would result in dangerous repercussions.

His hand left Lance’s cock. Lance heard him spit, felt his own cock leap in excitement, and gritted his teeth as Keith’s palm returned, now wet with saliva. He narrowed his grip around Lance’s cock to the point of near pain, so good it burned, tightening Lance’s belly impossibly.

When, distracted and dizzy with lust, his sweaty wrists began to slide down the wood, Keith pinned them to their original spot and whispered, “What did I say?”

His hand stilled cruelly around Lance’s cock.

“S-sorry,” Lance stammered, holding his wrists high above his head, practically on tiptoe to satisfy Keith.

Keith let go of Lance’s arms once more, forcing him to hold himself pinned. He resumed his careful ministrations, slowly stroking Lance’s cock slick. Lance could feel his wrists being watched; his skin tingled pleasantly under the attention. Keith was waiting for him to make a mistake, to mess up again. Lance did as he was told, determined to please, so turned on he was shaking. His nails dug painfully into his palms.

“I think I like you like this.”

Lance had his hot face tucked into his aching arms. When he thought to turn his head and blink his eyes open, he caught sight of himself reflected back at him through the bathroom mirror: body stretched and pinioned, pert little ass nestled snugly against the cradle of Keith’s hips, mouth hanging half-open as Keith worked him over inside his jeans.

It was – utterly obscene.

“Quiet. Desperate for it,” Keith whispered, sucking Lance’s earlobe into his mouth and twisting his hand on the upstroke, and then Lance’s body went brilliantly white-hot as he choked on a cry. He squeezed his eyes shut and came into Keith’s hand with a ragged gasp, his body quivering. “That’s it,” Keith murmured, sounding short of breath and strangely pleased, as Lance rode out the ripples of his orgasm, rocking uncontrollably into Keith’s fist.

In some strange semblance of polite consideration, he waited until Lance finished before taking care of himself, kissing Lance’s neck and squeezing a few final spasms from him until Lance dropped his arms and batted Keith’s hand away, oversensitive.

Then Keith inhaled something starved and flattened Lance against the door, hard and unforgiving, angling Lance’s hips high to best cushion his cock. He began to rut fiercely into Lance’s ass, breathing quiet and jagged. Lance shoved back with a quiet uhn, back bowed, until Keith’s body locked up and Lance felt his huge cock jerk through his slacks.

Keith came long, hard, and heavy, silent aside from his worn-out breathing, his grip bruising around Lance’s waist. His hips bucked once, twice more, then stuttered to a standstill. Lance could feel wetness seeping, pressed up against his ass. Coffee or come he could not tell.

A shame, he thought distantly, as he imagined the warm drip of Keith’s spunk against his skin.

The whole thing probably lasted about ten minutes total, though Lance’s body felt somehow like it had been far less. It was already reorienting itself, trying to come up with ways to do that again and for longer this time around.

“Shit,” he panted into the wood, still tingly all over.

“Yeah,” Keith agreed, leaning heavily on Lance.

“No, I mean, you’re gonna need to burn that suit,” Lance said. “Immediately.”

Keith began to laugh into Lance’s neck and a few seconds later, Lance was joining him.

Suffice to say, he did not make it to his nine am class that morning.

He swore to himself it would never happen again and they parted with awkward, avoidant eye contact, no numbers exchanged. Outside, Lance ducked into his car and buried his mortified face in his hands. He couldn’t believe he’d just done that. Messy sex with a hot stranger in a semi-public bathroom.

Then again, he was a hot stranger Lance was probably never going to see again. Lance’s dick did not like that thought, though, so he shoved his key into the ignition and started home for a long, hot shower and a private communion with the universe that actually turned out to be a private communion with his own palm.

‘Never again’ didn’t mean Lance couldn’t jerk off to thoughts of his hot stranger, he justified, as his hand strayed to his cock some thirty minutes later. He tilted his head up into the warm spray and groaned. He was fine. He would not let his life be upended by an orgasm, no matter how earth-shattering that orgasm was.

But then he’d seen Keith there two weeks later.

Lance’s brain apparently came equipped with phenomenal recall where messy mullets were concerned. It perked excitedly when he spotted the back of Keith’s head a couple paces ahead in line, the stiff cut of a fancy collar, broad shoulders perfectly filling his dark overcoat.

My hot stranger, Lance thought faintly, abdomen tightening in anticipation.

A few minutes later he was drifting over to the second counter to wait for his drink. He kept his eyes politely averted, switching the weight of his books from one arm to the other. He’d had plans to pass the time until his class studying in a booth, but this changed things.

It occurred to him that he should probably stuff his books in his bag, free up his hands to make room for his drink, but he refused to risk drawing Keith’s eye by making any unnecessary movement. His heart was doing excited cartwheels behind his ribcage, but Lance would not look. He wouldn’t.

At the very edge of his field of vision, Keith stood leaning coolly against the far wall, a few feet ahead of Lance. He was staring off into space, no phone in sight. That was all the limited angle allowed: Keith’s substantial shoulders beneath cashmere, his crossed arms, a sharp profile.

“Keith,” a barista called.

Keith pushed off the wall and moved to grab his drink, rifling through the napkins and sugar packets offered at the counter as he murmured his thanks. His back was to Lance.

Something in Lance sighed in relief at about the same time that it hunched inwardly. If he twisted his head just right, he’d melt into the morning rush and Keith wouldn’t have to see him as he turned for the glass doors. No awkward eye contact or small talk necessary.

“Lance,” the barista hollered, against all odds and the order of the line, as she thrust a cup across the counter.

Lance’s shoulders tensed. Keith’s straightened, but he did not turn. Face heating, Lance slid up to the counter where Keith was evidently still picking his way through the sugars, straws, and stirrers, pretending not to have recognised Lance’s name. Or maybe he didn’t. Maybe he’d forgotten all about his little Starbucks lay.

Lance tucked a curl behind his ear – a nervous tic – and wrapped his fingers around his drink, ready to cut and run. Except …

Fuck. He couldn’t leave without a straw.

He shot the cupholder a pained look and found Keith’s long-fingered hand paused over it. Only then did Lance think to check for a wedding band on the off chance that Keith was secretly spoken for and could therefore stop plaguing Lance’s every waking thought. Imagine that. Lance deciding to check for a wedding ring not when Keith had his hand wrapped around Lance’s dick, no. While Keith was contemplating straws at the Starbucks counter.

His ring finger was terrifically bare.

Lance cleared his throat, annoyed with himself. “Excuse me,” he said, reaching for a straw with his book-laden arm right as Keith snapped into action, yanking one free and holding it out without turning.

Their hands bumped clumsily. Lance felt it like an electric current racing up his arm. He snatched his hand back, barely swallowing his gasp, and felt his books begin to slip. He readjusted his grip a second too late and they slid past his arm, spilling to the ground in a noisy nosedive. Thud-thud.

Wonderful.

Somewhere, fate was laughing in his face, he knew.

With a sigh, Lance set his drink down and bent to retrieve his books. Keith was already there, stooped low to the ground and stacking them into a neat pile for Lance. It was only polite, but that did nothing to dull the deep-seated annoyance it caused Lance. Leaves of Grass peered up at them from the top of the stack, a cruel reminder of their little bathroom fumble.

Lance sat crouched on the ground like an idiot, his cheeks burning, hands curled uselessly in his lap.

He had no reason to feel caught. Just – he hoped Keith wouldn’t start getting any ideas. Mainly, about Lance being a romantic and carrying around old poetry books because they reminded him of Keith (they didn’t, wouldn’t, could not), or because he figured them to be sex talismans, which was complete nonsense. Books weren’t infused with memory – not when that memory was so miniscule and inconsequential, anyway – much less sex-granting when carried around.

And ... and if they were sex-granting … well, then, Lance was burning this copy of Leaves of Grass and banishing thoughts of Keith to the darkest recesses of his mind. Full stop, end of story, Never To Be Revisited Again.

He was a literature student for Chrissake! He didn’t need to explain himself or his reading collection to some high-profile activist who’d given him a handjob once upon a time. This was – absolutely ridiculous. He and Keith were virtual strangers. Their relationship began and ended here. Sex in a Starbucks bathroom one time two weeks ago ... that wasn’t a free pass to offer someone straws, or to fix their poetry collection with heavy looks, or – or to pick their books up when they themselves had two working arms.

Never mind the fact that Lance had been fingering himself to memories of their fumble every day since it had happened.

Anxiously, he peeked up through his lashes. Keith lifted the stack of books, staring at the top of the pile with an inscrutable expression. Then his eyes flicked up and landed on Lance and through that intangible touch – sensation – alone Lance felt the lingering impression of their sex flare through him like a belated orgasmic aftershock.

What the fuck, he thought venomously, body coiled and ready to spring. All the blood in his body was running confused laps through his veins.

Keith’s eyes, damn him, were dark, bottomless, vaguely inquisitive and carefully probing, like he was measuring Lance for something that Lance had not thought to bring and did not have on his person. A silent, tension-taut moment stretched between them. Lance wanted simultaneously to ask what Keith was thinking and to bolt for the door.

“Still stuck on Walt Whitman, I see,” were the first words out of his mouth, like he had expected as much and also like it was laughable that Lance should still be carrying around a two week-old book.

Lance’s warm arousal shriveled up and died.

He glowered, going indignant in an instant, and yanked his books back. “Still a jackass, I see,” he retorted, pushing to his feet and picking his drink up before Keith, who was sitting stunned on the floor, could so much as blink. “I told you I’m a slow reader. And this happens to be my favourite collection of poetry from the Americas, in case it slipped your notice during that speech I gave you right before you stuck your hand down my pants.”

That earned Lance a scandalised gasp from a nearby yoga mom.

He did not stop to consider her, or Keith, who was still picking his jaw up off the ground. He simply pushed through the glass doors and turned for his car. A second later they were whooshing open again and the soft tread of footsteps began to gain on Lance.

“You forgot your straw,” Keith called as Lance strode for his car in a fury.

Fuck the straws. He would chug his coffee sans lid if it meant never having to see Keith’s stupid face again.

“You forgot your five hundred Splenda packets for your steaming cup of battery acid,” Lance said without turning. As far as comebacks went, it wasn’t his best, but he was working with what he had.

A huff sounded from behind him. “I happen to like battery acid,” Keith said, sounding not a little amused. “Not everyone enjoys their coffee dirty, y’know.”

“Just their sex, right?” Lance said.

He would not turn. He wouldn’t. Where had he parked, damnit. He made a beeline for the first black car he saw, so outraged he wanted to throw his things into the bushes or – or dump his coffee down Keith’s shirt a second time. That would almost certainly result in a lifetime Starbucks ban, though, or criminal charges pressed against him as Keith’s tolerance finally waned.

He counted to ten in his head and sped his stride. He was stalking down the aisle, muttering to himself about pretentious assholes, when one hand tugged him still and another shot forward, effectively blocking his path. Lance stuttered to a stop, gaping down at Keith’s arm, now barring him from walking any further.

How in the hell –

“You keep talking like you weren’t practically begging me to stick my hand down your pants,” came Keith’s reply, closer than Lance expected. He sounded … what was that? Displeased or disgruntled, of all things, by Lance’s assessment of their sex?

Well, that was funny. Lance had hit a nerve.

He twisted around. Keith had him cornered, wedged into the tiny space between two cars, with an arm blocking one exit and his body blocking the other.

“I’m –” he said, irritated by how close Keith was standing. “I’m trying to get to my car, you dick.”

Keith quirked an eyebrow. “This is my car. Unless you drive the U-haul parked next to mine.”

A mortified flush swallowed Lance’s face whole. He shot the black car he was backed up against an incredulous look, infuriated by today’s turn of events and the recurring pattern they were establishing of Keith proving Lance wrong in increasingly embarrassing, stupidly public ways.

“Of course,” he seethed, “you’d drive a Tesla, you are the embodiment of everything I hate, you stupid fucking –”

Keith was laughing now, like Lance was impossible and also enthralling. Lance’s brain was ready to weep from whiplash. “It’s a company car,” he said, chuckling. “And eco-friendly, even if its creator is something of a dumbass.”

That made Lance snort. He bit his lip and turned his head away to pretend he hadn’t. “Okay, well. You’ve made your point. You’re worth more than most people will make in their lifetime and the sex we had is as close as I’ll ever get to someone of your social standing. Thank you for taking me down a peg, I promise you will go down in history as the most annoying notch in my belt, now can I go or did you wanna rub it in some more – ?”

Keith’s face twisted into something gloriously aggrieved. “That’s not the point I was trying to make.”

Lance spread his hands as best he could while weighed down by coffee and dated poetry, eyebrows lifting into something sarcastic. “Then feel free to illuminate me, buddy.”

“I – look, I just wanted to catch you before you could run off to say I’m sorry if it seemed like I suggested you were stupid back there,” Keith said, eyebrows knitting in frustration. “I think you’re probably the least stupid person I’ve met in a very long time. That comment wasn’t a jab at your intelligence or your reading speed, I just – I guess I thought I’d crack a joke about us – our … what’d we done, I mean … as a way to ease the tension a bit. And also ... you’d forgotten your straw.” He held it up illustratively.

Lance took it, speechless and blinking owlishly.

“And I wanted to ask,” Keith went on.

Lance stiffened, readying for the worst.

“If Leaves of Grass is your favourite collection from the Americas, were there others?”

“Others … ?” Lance repeated dumbly.

“A collection or poet you like from another area,” Keith clarified. “Like Britain, or –”

“I like John Donne,” Lance said, cutting Keith off without thinking. This conversation was – absurd, was what it was. What were they doing, standing around in a Starbucks parking lot in the morning mist while discussing old English poetry? “He’s my favourite from Britain, I mean. We studied him for Verse In The Middle Ages and I always liked how he, um, mixed sex and religion. It was rare for his time. He didn’t shy away from – pleasure. I would recommend ‘The Flea.’ His stuff is hard to take apart … the – the language, for me, is tangled sometimes. It always is with poetry that old, to be fair … but then cracking the code feels that much more satisfying. He was all about. Well. Our most compelling urges ... they all begin in the body. Which is – that’s a message that never grows old, right?”

“Right,” Keith murmured, gaze piercing.

“Okay. Well.” Lance cleared his throat awkwardly, staring at the damp cement beneath his sneakers. “Did you get what you came for?”

“Yes.”

Lance shot Keith a narrow look. “Which was … ?”

Keith’s face was unreadable, giving not a clue away. Cautiously, he said, “Hearing you ramble about something that fires you up.”

Lance reminded himself to shut his stunned mouth before speaking or it’d catch flies. “Excuse me?”

“I like the way it lights up your face,” Keith said, shrugging offhandedly and dropping his arm. Putting a clinical distance between them in an attempt to lessen the impact of his words. Well, newsflash, asshole, Lance wanted to shout, it’s not working! “When you’re telling me off ... that’s good, too, obviously. It’s not the same, though. Your face when you came into my hand – it’s equal to that. You’re not trying to look any one way, you’re just … free.”

Lance was – without words. His tongue was out of order. His mouth had failed him. His understanding of the English language? Gone. It had abandoned him in his greatest time of need. And who did this man … this stupid, obnoxious, presumptuous stranger … who did he think he was, speculating and presupposing and pretending like he … he didn’t … he couldn’t just – !

“I,” Lance said, face flaming. “You couldn’t even see my face when we were – !”

“I watched you through the mirror,” Keith told him matter-of-factly, like he was relaying a statistic or delivering bad news. He bypassed Lance to open his stupid, tech-crazy Tesla door. “Your eyes were shut.”

“My – my – my …” Lance stuttered.

“Yes. Your,” Keith said calmly, bending to set his drink in his cupholder.

“Why are you memorising my face during orgasm!” Lance shouted, scaring a flock of pigeons off and turning heads from a group of joggers running past the lot. Lance ignored them all, intent on Keith.

Keith looked at Lance without turning his head, amusement clear in his eyes, and unfolded himself from his car. “Let’s say … your body’s urges compel me.”

“That is not what I said,” Lance said, aghast. “‘Our most compelling urges begin in the body.’ That is what I said. I wrote a paper on it. Ten pages, double spaced, MLA format.”

“I’m paraphrasing,” Keith informed him and it looked like he was about to climb into his car and leave Lance to deal with the repercussions of today’s events alone, which was. Absolutely unacceptable. “I’m … editing and interpreting, obviously. Isn’t that what poetry is about – ?”

Lance surged up onto his toes and drew Keith down with a mighty, one-handed yank, gasping his way into a new kiss that included clacking teeth and Keith’s smooshed nose digging painfully into his. It was dreadful. It was extraordinary. Lance almost lost all his books a second time, but Keith caught them before they could fall, big, warm hands covering Lance’s. It made a kaleidoscope of butterflies erupt in his belly.

His dirty latte suffered a more unfortunate fate. It wound up lost in the chaos, a casualty that would not go forgotten, rest in peace, ‘your sacrifice will be remembered’ and such.

“Your coffee –” Keith breathed into his mouth, smoothly tugging the books from Lance’s hand and cramming them under one of his own arms to relieve Lance of their bulky weight.

Lance surrendered them as easy as anything, happy to have both his hands free. “Shut up,” he said, pulling Keith back down, very nearly bent over backwards and scrambling to prop himself up against Keith’s expensive, matte black Model X. “Kiss me, kiss me, what are you doing?” he demanded in a breathless beg.

“Hang on, just ...” Keith said, disentangling himself from Lance to duck inside his car and set Lance’s things down on his passenger seat like a stupid, sexy gentleman with proper forethought.

Lance was doomed.

“Keith,” he complained, and Keith emerged from his car like a confused sex kitten, doe eyes wide and desperate, his face coloured a flustered pink.

Lance bit his lip against a laugh.

“Jesus, get over here,” Keith muttered, sounding abruptly angry, and then they were kissing again, Keith biting his way into Lance’s whining mouth, dragging him in by the hips, thumbs rubbing softly at Lance’s belly, and Lance had to have him, right here, right now.

“Right here, right now,” he said.

“Not right here,” Keith panted, in disbelief. “Right now … that can maybe be arranged.”

That was how Lance ended up in his lap in the driver’s seat of his $140,000 Tesla SUV, jeans and underwear caught around his knees as Keith stretched him open slowly and determinedly with his (travel size) lubed fingers.

Lance kept saying, “Can they see … ?” because he was horny and delirious and not currently capable of forming full sentences and Keith kept kissing softly behind his ears and saying, “Tinted windows,” which meant nothing to Lance while he was being fingered by a hot guy who liked to listen to him babble about poetry, so he played a silent game with himself to see how long he could go without making a peep until the pressure grew so ludicrously good that he could hold off no longer and came with a startled, bitten-off bleat as his cock jerked in Keith’s hand and he spilled over between their bellies.

Afterwards, he laid his drowsy head to Keith’s chest and roughly jerked him off, spitting on his cock without leaning down the distance.

Too lazy, he thought blearily.

He missed the first three times, got saliva all over Keith’s slacks and couldn’t help giggling about it, which annoyed Keith to no end except it wasn’t genuine annoyance because his expression was so blissed out and his hips were jolting up into Lance’s hand, big, pale cock sliding through Lance’s brown fingers, and Lance maybe understood what Keith meant about the significance of someone’s O-face as he came into Lance’s fist, sweaty face tilted back against his leather headrest and mouth hanging open on a silent, airless grunt.

When Keith murmured, “What are we burning today?” through closed eyes after coming down from his orgasm, Lance didn’t even pretend he wasn’t laughing when he said, “Everything except your coat. Keep that.”

 

The week after that, Lance found himself lying flat on his back in Keith’s backseat as Keith braced himself above Lance and fed his thick, cut, condom-covered cock into Lance’s moaning mouth, their cold coffees forgotten on the roof of Keith’s Tesla.

And the week after that it was proper fucking, just like Lance had been dreaming of since their fateful “meet-cute” a month ago. They were parked in the furthest corner of the lot, half-hidden by a magnificent, Seattle-damp douglas fir. Keith was rolling a condom on, assuring Lance for about the third time in as many weeks that his windows were thoroughly tinted as the sky went dark beyond the glass.

“I’m just saying, if a sexually repressed Starbucks grandma sees me butt-naked through your windows and decides to sue for public indecency, I am directing all legal fees to your accountant. My assumption that you have one is based on the thread count of your current tie, by the way,” Lance was saying, twiddling his thumbs as he waited for Keith to lube up.

Keith looked up from his lube to raise an eyebrow, mouth twitching. Keith’s mouth twitches were the most gratifying part of these little sexscapades so far; better even than the laughs Lance got from a well-timed joke told in class.

“You’ve seen my windows from the outside, Lance,” he said. “This is ceramic tint film. Best finish on the market right now.”

“Which Lance are you addressing?” Lance said to the ceiling of Keith’s car. “Because this Lance legally requires glasses to drive and couldn’t tell the guy he’s currently fucking from a stop sign if someone put a gun to his head. So my understanding of your quote unquote ‘tinted windows’ is poor at best and –”

Keith dragged Lance’s lower half into his lap without warning, drawing a startled gasp from Lance, and leant down to whisper, “Are you confessing to attempting to fuck a stop sign?”

Lance blinked up at Keith, wide-eyed and overwhelmed by the immediacy of his sharp, occult beauty. Keith looked like he could have been carved from stone in a past life, or plucked from some darkly ancient brigade operating out of deep space.

“Not knowingly,” Lance blurted.

His unrehearsed jokes always came out the worst.

Keith’s eyebrows drew together in a confused furrow. Then a loud bark of laughter was spilling from his mouth. The sound of it sent shocked tingles skittering up Lance’s bare arms. He squirmed, secretly pleased.

“You forget,” Keith whispered, leaning back down to flirt at Lance’s ear. His breath ghosted across Lance’s neck, soft and ticklish. “You referenced my tie’s thread count about a minute ago. Now suddenly you can’t tell me from a stop sign?”

Shit.

Lance wriggled beneath Keith, heartbeat quickening. “That was just an educated guess –”

“And ties don’t have thread counts. To my knowledge, that terminology is unique to bedsheets.”

“You ruin all my jokes,” Lance groaned. “And that is something only a truly rich asshole would say. ‘Ties don’t have thread counts.’ My mistake, I’ll be sure to consult the Rich Person Rulebook before my next wisecrack, sir.”

Keith was laughing quietly now, right up against Lance’s throat. It was making Lance want to moan. He bit down on his bottom lip and shut his eyes, trying to clear his spinning head.

“I laughed at your last couple,” Keith said.

“A true gentleman would laugh at all my jokes.”

“I’m not a gentleman,” Keith murmured, mouth grazing Lance’s throat where his pulse was fluttering wildly. Lance wanted to say, I don’t believe that one bit, but then Keith’s lips were parting over the skin, sucking a circle of flesh into his hot mouth to mark with a hickey, and Lance momentarily lost the ability to speak. A moment later and Keith was done, leaning back to admire his work. “Your worst critics will make you a better comedian.”

“You are here to shove your dick up my ass,” Lance snapped, “not critique my jokes –”

Keith chuckled, leaning back down to press a silencing kiss to Lance’s mouth. “I can’t do both?” he murmured. Then he pulled back to consider Lance, expression thoughtful. Lance was half-hopeful a romantic revelation was imminent, but what Keith ended up saying was, “And why forgo your glasses when we’re about to have sex if you can’t see five feet in front of you?”

Lance slapped a palm to his face. “Oh my god,” he said into it. “You don’t let anything go, do you?”

“Nothing as frustrating as you,” Keith said under his breath, which was at least two insults all wrapped up, and removed Lance’s hand from his face.

Keith liked eye contact during sex, Lance was learning, contrary to how evasive he was about it during normal human conversations.

“Maybe I don’t wanna have to look at your ugly face while you’re fucking me, did you ever think about th – ohh,” Lance moaned, back lurching off leather as Keith slid his fingers past Lance’s panties and began to fool around with his tight little rim.

“You wear your best underwear to see some guy with an ugly face?” Keith inquired coolly. He lowered his mouth to begin kissing up Lance’s neck anew.

“Who says these are my best?” Lance gasped, trying for nonchalant. As a matter of fact, these were his most expensive pair – sheer and stretchy, with floral inlay – but that wasn’t something Keith needed to know. “If I wanted to bring my best, I’d have come in a nylon thong.”

“You’re insufferable, you know that?” Keith growled, plunging two fingers inside of Lance all at once.

Lance moaned through his laughter, looping his arms around Keith’s neck. “I was just joking, they’re actually reading glasses, I can see just fine, please, I wanna look at your gorgeous cock, ah –”

“Oh, so now I’m gorgeous?” Keith said, dipping his head down to tease Lance’s nipples into tight, hard peaks where he’d shoved Lance’s thermal up under his armpits.

“I said your cock is gorgeous, not y – okay, uhh, okay, Jesus, I’m just kidding, please,” Lance whined, pushing his chest up into Keith’s warm, wet mouth.

“You’re already loose,” Keith observed, withdrawing his fingers only to slip them back inside of Lance with a new digit added. “And wet.”

“Well, duh. I prepped myself before I got here for – uh – maximum expediency,” Lance huffed.

“You should let me do that,” Keith muttered brusquely.

Lance frowned. “This way’s faster.”

“My way is preferred.”

“And why is that?” Lance nettled.

“Because I get to play with your ass,” Keith murmured in his deep, rough rasp, then flipped Lance – shocked face burning terribly – over onto his belly. “Knees up for me.”

Lance pushed up onto his knees, settled himself comfortably on all fours, too astonished to disobey, and threw an incredulous look over his shoulder right in time to see Keith’s pupils expand outward like oil slicks. His eyes were pure obsidian in the low light, dark and gleaming.

A heady and frankly unfamiliar rush of power brought Lance to heel. He pressed his cheek to leather and chewed his lower lip to watch a violent strain of hunger pass over Keith’s features. It made Lance stretch himself into a lewd little arch, ass pushing out and thighs widening. His cock was dripping profusely between his legs.

He’d sort of assumed they were going to do things missionary. That was typical of a first time and this was definitely a first for them. Penetrative sex. Going the doggy style route … that was ambitious. And fast. And currently occurring in a car. It was new and dirty, arrogant in a way Lance found stupidly hot, like Keith had decided on a whim he wanted to have Lance ass-up and so he was going to.

His car, his rules.

Lance rallied. He was unused to feeling quite so obscene this quickly, particularly with a casual sex partner. Usually you worked up to something this dirty, established a routine, perhaps a bit of trust, eased into the intimacy, but … Lance couldn’t say he didn’t like it. The sensation of being stared at right where he was about take a cock up his ass, of having hooked Keith with little to no effort, was strangely electric.

Whatever smartass retort he had prepared for the occasion vanished. He tucked his face into his arms, let out a little sigh as Keith pinned him flat with his big bulk, hands prising his wet ass open. Lance’s rim was stretched uncomfortably, skin pulled taut in a way that made him excruciatingly aware of how tight he was inside even with the added prep. It made him breathless with need. Keith was going to have to find a way to fit himself inside of that tiny opening. Was going to force his way through Lance.

“C’mon,” Lance muttered into his sweaty arms, so ready he could have cried.

“You’ve got the tightest little ass I’ve ever seen,” Keith murmured, echoing Lance’s line of thought, though his observation came out low and heady where Lance’s was slightly alarmed.

Lance could feel lube sliding down his crease; he wriggled to dispel the uncomfortable itch and Keith popped him across his left cheek, short and sharp and stinging. Lance’s ass burned. He whimpered into the leather and ground his ass into Keith’s open palm, asking for more the only way he knew how. In answer, Keith smacked his right cheek, then took a fistful of his ass in hand and squeezed. He tugged with his thumb, exposing Lance’s whorled hole and watching it twitch desperately with a cluck of his tongue.

“An ass like this,” Keith whispered, “deserves to be filled.”

Lance’s face flooded with heat. Sweat was beading at his hairline, rolling down his temples. “Please,” he whispered into the thin skin of his wrist.

Keith caved immediately, abandoning foreplay for the real thing. He draped himself over Lance fully, giving Lance all of his weight without mercy. Sex with Keith thus far was wild and free of warning. Lance had imagined it this way. One minute empty, the next stuffed full. It was just like that. Keith held him down and fucked inside of him in one long, smooth shove, cock sliding into Lance’s ass like a hole in one. Lance held his breath through the monstrous intrusion, the muscles of his body tightening up all over in a cry for quarter.

For thirty unbearable seconds, the stretch strangled Lance, a pain so acute his vision momentarily went white. Then, abruptly, it dissolved into belly-boiling pleasure. Lance reeled with a quiet inhale, rim relaxing around Keith’s huge cock. The ring of muscle expanded, asking for more, and Keith pressed in the final inch with a grunt, holding himself still to absorb the tight clamp Lance had on his long shaft.

Lance could feel his cock teasing his prostate, a hair’s breadth from perfection, and that was kind of humbling. Keith wasn’t even moving and he was almost hitting it. Oh my god, Lance thought, astounded.

His breath came in desperate puffs now. He needed more. He needed it quick and hard.

A noise escaped him involuntarily as Keith drew back, then returned to fuck his cock inside of Lance again with a noisy, wet snap. Lance jolted, swaying in time with Keith’s thrust. Keith pulled back again. Fucked back inside. Cock sinking into Lance like a reprimand, then retreating.

Dirty was the weight of Keith’s balls slapping loudly against Lance’s ass. The arch of Lance’s back deepening desperately. Keith’s roughened hand thumbing Lance’s spit-slick nipples as he rammed into his ass.

“Okay?” he panted into Lance’s shoulders, sounding punched-out.

Okay was an understatement. Keith’s cock was life-changing. Lance was drooling by now, couldn’t stop the flow of saliva even if he wanted to.

“Uh … huhh,” he whined into the leather, then clamped his mouth shut, resuming his silent ‘DO NOT MOAN, IDIOT!’ game with himself.

Words fled him as Keith’s rhythm quickened. Everything was quiet filth – heavy breathing, the wet sound of flesh meeting flesh as Keith worked his cock in and out of Lance’s ass, a distant creak-and-rock coming from the SUV they were in.

Breath hot, Keith nipped across Lance’s shoulders, thrusting hard and punishing for long minutes, until Lance’s arms gave out and he collapsed into the bomber jacket Keith had improvised into existence, coming with a single sharp cry. Keith followed him over the edge, emptying himself into his condom for a long, rutting minute.

The week after that, Keith ate Lance’s ass so thoroughly, so enthusiastically, that Lance left with a twinge in his back and streaks of tears still drying down his face.

“Towels,” Lance said that week. “Towels! He keeps towels in his trunk now, in preparation for our … thing that we do together. Can you believe that? It’s like he’s started coming to Starbucks just to see me.”

“Has it ever occurred to you,” Hunk said, twirling idly in Lance’s swivel chair, “that you could just? Stop going to that Starbucks? And you’d never have to see the guy again?”

Lance felt his face turn a furious pink. “Why should I have to rearrange my life for some rich jerk who can afford the gas! He should be the one to relocate to a new coffee shop! I’m not being sexiled from my favourite Starbucks!”

“I’m just saying,” Hunk said. “You’re making it sound like the sex is an inconvenience when it seems to me you want it just as badly as he does. You carry condoms everywhere you go now. You’re always glancing inside Starbucks whenever we drive past it – and I don’t even think you know you’re doing it! It’s like your secret rendezvous point with a dark, mysterious lover! Modern Shakespeare, Lance! Modern! Do you know what that means – ? This either ends in death, or marriage. One of the two. Which one, I am not completely sure, but for your sake I hope it’s marriage!”

Lance didn’t know what to say to that, so he rolled over in bed and amused himself with a new Young Adult novel he’d just picked up.

Secretly, though, he knew Hunk probably had a point, that he and Keith were perhaps purposely seeking one another out for the easy, reliable orgasm they could give each other. But normal people didn’t need to go looking for Starbucks acquaintances when they were feeling horny and Lance had never counted himself among the abnormal.

Decided, he resolved to end their little arrangement once and for all.

… After a few more easy, reliable orgasms, anyway.

Look, he didn’t need to defend himself! Keith had hot hands and he kissed Lance like he’d never have enough and Lance liked being bent over expensive leather and lapped at around his rim until he was sobbing hysterically into his arms. It didn’t hurt that Keith had a nice smile and a rich laugh, rare though they were. He wasn’t the worst guy to end up rutting against in a cramped car to Top 40s radio hits, all things considered.

Lance just wished maybe they could do a little less of the fucking and a little more of the laughing. Those were his favourite moments. The quiet slices in between the fucking when one of them flubbed the landing – Keith missing Lance’s asshole, slippery cock sliding off-centre. Or when Lance choked on Keith’s cock, a sudden lurch in Keith’s hips driving him too deep and making Lance cough, eyes watering. And then one of them muttered, “Sorry, sorry, shit,” and the other burst into laughter, and things were a little looser, a little more natural after that, laughs coming easier, hands clutching sweaty skin without intent to let go, tiny noises of pleasure escaping because they’d dropped the hypervigilant act to enjoy themselves for the moment.

Once, that Ed Sheeran song Keith hated so much came on the radio and he had immediately heaved himself up in the middle of peeling Lance out of his jeans to switch it off. His body stretched out attractively over the console, face set in an obstinate scowl as he reached for the radio dials up front.

An inch more and he’d nearly toppled off the seat.

The look of pure panic on his lust-flushed face was so hilarious that Lance had laughed until he cried, giggling into his hands as tears streamed down his face, and afterwards Keith fucked him extra slow as payback, rocking into Lance’s body with sweet pants and slow, deeply hitting thrusts while he held himself up on his forearms and watched Lance’s face.

That was the hardest Lance had ever come, period. He kept shaking for long minutes afterwards so Keith laid there with him, something he’d never done before, and he brushed the hair back from Lance’s clammy forehead and kissed his jaw until Lance was fighting the urge to fall asleep, he was so warm and cosy.

Lance kept wishing every time could be like that, with the silly laughing and the tender touching after.

It wasn’t like they were friends or anything, though. Hot sex aside, Lance was sure they could be, but there was no point in trying after they’d both gotten what they came for, so they kept conversation to a minimum during their desperate fumbles in Keith’s car.

Lance had Keith’s number now and his contact name in Lance’s phone included a little red heart emoji, which was by far the most embarrassing secret of Lance’s sorry life. Keith had taken to texting him before they met up – Coffee tomorrow? like ‘coffee’ was code for ‘sex.’ It was, Lance quickly learned. And he didn’t mind it, not exactly, not at first, but then a girl he sat next to in Victorian Poetry saw a text notification pop up from Keith one day and nudged Lance with her elbow.

“Got a hot date coming up?” she asked, waggling her eyebrows at his screen, and Lance smiled tightly and stuffed his phone in his pocket and pretended he wasn’t bothered by how much he wished she were right.

It wasn’t a date. It would never be a date. It was the furthest thing from a date. It was two people fucking in a car, cleaning themselves up afterwards, then going their separate ways and never saying another word about it. There were no hard and fast rules, but just the same they seemed to be sticking to NO SEX BEYOND THIS POINT!

(‘THIS POINT’ being their Starbucks of choice and its shadowy parking lot.)

Nothing was stopping them from having sex at Keith’s place or even Lance’s – not truly – but neither seemed ready to risk fracturing this flimsy thing they had going by bringing it up. By raising questions about what it was they were.

Lance was too nervous he’d scare Keith away by broaching the subject, so he didn’t say a word and neither did Keith. And now they were stuck at an impasse and neither seemed particularly ecstatic to be doing this anymore, but still they continued to do it.

It felt good, but it was still, at its heart, car sex. It was no longer fun. Not like it’d been in the beginning when the illicitness of fucking in semi-public places overruled the discomfort, felt adrenaline-inducing, hot. Their fuck-and-go routine had quickly lost its appeal and Lance was beginning to realise it had never been sustainable.

They’d just been pretending it was.

Mostly, it was inconvenient and uncomfortable – leather sticking to sweaty skin, cramps, cricks, and sore muscles spurred on by the narrow dimensions of the car, the tiny, poorly-ventilated space creating humidity and hot air, a glaring lack of privacy ensuring that neither ever truly let loose. Having no room to move around discouraged aftercare or post-coital cuddling. It made leaving the most awkward part of their encounters.

It was like they’d been set up to fail.

These days, Lance just wanted to eat pasta on someone’s couch and cuddle afterwards, preferably Keith’s, but he suspected he was chasing a pipe dream by even daring to think about Keith that way. Keith didn’t seem the pasta and cuddling type and Lance couldn’t make him one through wishful thinking alone.

So when Lance sat flexing his throat in Keith’s passenger seat after a blowjob where he was sure he’d given too much away – eyes fluttering open and closed like he was cock-drunk, mouth sliding slowly, longingly, up and down Keith’s shaft, a far cry from the rough mouth-fucking they always went for, until he’d felt daring enough to roll Keith’s condom off, ignoring the brief look of alarm on Keith’s face to kiss his cockhead softly, tongue teasing the wet slit, humming and murmuring, “Want you to come on my face,” and then Keith’s cock jerked hard and he came, explosively, unexpectedly, untouched, all over Lance’s face, who held his mouth open for it and angled Keith’s cock where he wanted it, shutting his eyes as ropes of Keith’s wet spend striped him – after all that, Lance knew he had to make up his mind.

Because he’d sat up with Keith’s warm semen pearled all over his face, drops of it dissolving on his tongue, and Keith hadn’t been able to look him in the eye, had tucked himself away, shoved the console lid open to reveal a stack of napkins, and propelled himself from the car with a muttered excuse about buying a snack.

Apparently coming all over Lance’s face was hungry business.

Lance wiped his face clean with the coarse fast food napkins, feeling humiliated. If he didn’t break things off with Keith, no one would and they’d be stuck having awful, one-sided sex ad infinitum. Lance would just have to put on his big boy pants and tell Keith flat out that he didn’t want to do this anymore. It was clear he was only interested in Lance insofar as Lance could make him come, that Lance’s freaky feelings were showing and Keith was starting to notice.

Lance sighed and stole a peek at Keith through the rearview mirror. His heart twinged. He was standing in line inside their well-lit Starbucks, fists buried in the pockets of his slacks. As Lance watched, he leaned over to scan the sparkly Fourth of July cup display. One of his hands emerged to poke at a glittering American flag thermos. Then the line moved up and Keith shoved his hand back inside his pocket as though embarrassed to have caught himself looking.

Well, Lance was embarrassed to have caught himself mooning over Keith while he had Keith’s cock in his mouth, so really, he was the worse off of the two. He’d been an idiot to think Keith wouldn’t mind and now he was an idiot sitting alone in Keith’s car with the salty taste of his come still lingering in his mouth. Annoyed, Lance slammed the glove compartment open, hoping to happen upon a stick of gum or a tin of mints.

Instead, a pair of books tumbled into his lap.

He froze, recognising the covers immediately. The Complete Poems of John Donne, new-smelling and beautifully blank, followed by a copy of Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman – less new, more lived in. It was the annotated version and when he thumbed it open, he found it a mess of a highlighter scrawls. There were whorls of pencilled writing in the margins, insightful, wry commentary and little notes that said things like, Lance probably got a kick out of this, when Lance had, in fact, gotten a kick out of this. Page 148 was dog-eared and all the following pages were blank, like Keith was slowly working his way through the book.

It was wonderfully worn and well-loved. Lance treated his books the same, had never been much of a snob when it came to preserving their condition. He liked scribbling in them, found it easier to analyse texts when he could work through them like math problems, leaving himself his own footnotes, folding pages down to keep his place, buying and donating and trading them in as the impulse struck. His favourite copies were practically falling apart at the spines.

Some small part of him was thrilled to learn Keith was the same.

Lance shut Leaves of Grass and sat back, holding the pair of books to his thighs in a tiny stack. His eyes felt too wide in his face. He could hear his heartbeat and his brain kept spitting images at him, of Keith waiting for him in his car, bent over these books and scribbling, trying to puzzle out Lance’s favourite passages, circling words to define or look up later, writing things like, metaphor for sex?? poetry is hard. Secretly stashing the books in his glove compartment before Lance could catch him in the act, like …

What?

Like he didn’t want Lance to know he had caved and bought them, per Lance’s recommendation? That he still remembered their first little exchange, about environmentalism and the power of poetry? And their second, about John Donne’s private takes on the body’s urges? Why would he keep something like that secret when it could be used as such a dazzling conversation point? When he was enjoying the poetry the way Lance knew he would? Was it his ego? Not wanting to admit defeat to the weirdo English Major he was fucking in his car?

Lance hurled the books back into the glove compartment and shoved it closed with a click, bursting from the car right as Keith emerged from their Starbucks. He looked like he was steeling himself for some big battle, backlit by the setting sun. There were two cups in his hands – one steaming, one iced. When he glanced up and caught sight of Lance booking it in the opposite direction, his eyebrows did that endearing leap-then-furrow Lance liked so much and he moved to cut Lance off.

“Hey,” he said, confused. “Where are you going? I thought maybe we could –”

“Sorry,” Lance interjected, not wanting to hear about any new sex proposals with coffee as his consolation prize. His mind was a riot, his heart pounding. He might dump both drinks on Keith if he tried to lure Lance back to his car. “I have to go. I’ll see you around.”

He didn’t wait for Keith’s response.

He threw himself into his car and pulled out of the parking lot without looking back. Then he thought long and hard about never seeing Keith around again, giving himself time to adjust to the idea. It was a kick to a wounded animal’s gut, hurt like a physical pang, centred right in the middle of Lance’s panicked chest. He inhaled against the urge to cry. There was no helping his heart. It was pressed face-first into the rear windshield and watching Keith’s retreating silhouette.

Lance’s brain was firmer in its resolve. It understood when something wasn’t right and this – this was all wrong. Keith was messing with his head, sending him mixed signals by reading Lance’s favourite books in secret, then leaving cars because he couldn’t handle Lance’s shameless, affection-rife blowjobs.

Lance didn’t return to their Starbucks.

Keith left him a string of texts over a period of two weeks. He spaced them out evenly – variations of Are you okay? and What’s up? until they petered out, then stopped altogether. Lance knew Keith, enough to tell that he wasn’t the type to overexert himself for someone who wasn’t giving the same energy back. That’s what Lance had been banking on, anyway.

Keith would forget about him soon enough.

Lance’s self-imposed Starbucks ban lasted about three and a half weeks. On July 21st, he caved and stopped in for a quick dirty latte. He had a summer job now, working as a Seattle University English tutor. It was a whole lot of thesis rewrites and essay revisions, so much Times New Roman 12 point text, swimming behind his aching eyes even when they were closed. But it was good, solid, distracting work.

Still.

He’d be lying if he said he didn’t think about Keith from time to time (read: always and often at night), that he’d dressed himself today with Keith in mind, just in case he ran into him one last time. Lance had daydreamed exactly twelve possible scenarios, each one ending with Keith standing in the rain and watching Lance walk away from him one last time, his expression deeply regretful.

Better to be caught beautiful than disheveled. That was Lance’s rule of thumb.

You are here for coffee, not Keith, he reminded himself and stared resolutely at his leather boots as he waited for the line to move up.

There was no Keith in sight.

Seven minutes later found Lance armed with his drink and struggling against a confused mix of relief and disappointment. He dropped his eyes to the floor and shouldered his way through the glass doors right as someone was coming in. They collided so hard Lance’s coffee nearly flew from his hands, saved from its demise through sheer force of will. He stumbled, steadied around the arms by the culprit.

Their muttered apology cut off halfway through and when Lance looked up it was into Keith’s dark, dazzling eyes.

“Hey ...” he murmured, sounding surprised, in the softly rasping voice that continued to haunt Lance’s dreams.

“I – have to go,” Lance blurted out of panic, trying to sidestep Keith.

Keith tugged him back with the hand he still had on Lance’s arm. “Whoa, hold on. What’s the rush? I haven’t heard from you in almost a month.”

Right, and this was exactly like reuniting with an old ex. Lance had practiced for this moment and he still felt woefully underprepared for the confused snarl of emotions Keith was dragging out of him.

“I’m not having sex with you,” he said in one breath, trying to sound sure of himself and his decision. He clutched his coffee to his chest and drew himself up to his full height. He was no match for Keith’s 6’2”, but he was by no means small. He had long legs. Long legs and heeled Doc Martens.

“Okay,” Keith said readily, like he had prepared for and accepted this eventuality ages ago.

Something hot and bitter coursed through Lance. This part had been in none of his twelve daydreams.

He hadn’t wanted Keith to put up a fight, but. But – just. Some remorse might have been nice. To see him agree without hesitation, without even a twinge of outward disappointment … that hurt. Lance felt embarrassed tears stinging his eyes and whirled for his car, only to be jerked back by the hem of his turtleneck.

He stumbled into Keith’s chest with a gasp and wheeled around to glare at him.

Keith dropped his hand. “Sorry,” he said, looking not very sorry at all.

He rocked back on his heels stiffly, ill at ease. He looked nothing like the coolly self-assured activist Lance had met all those weeks ago. He was in dark jeans and a high-collared biker jacket in brown leather this morning. Casual, put together, and still painfully good-looking. And he was accidentally matching Lance’s high-rise corduroy pants and deep brown turtleneck ensemble.

Lance felt immaturely resentful. He wanted to shove Keith. Wanted to kiss his irritating, full mouth. He stood there and continued to glare.

Keith ducked his head, stuffing his hands in his jacket pockets. Lance noticed for the first time that he was carrying a motorcycle helmet under his left arm, but he was too busy being angry with Keith to examine that for further details.

“Have drinks with me then,” he said, staring at the ground and kicking a pebble around with the toe of his boot. He made a face at himself and glanced back up at Lance through his hair, mouth twisting shyly.

Lance blinked, face colouring in full view of the sunshine. Surely he’d misheard that. “What?”

“This Friday, around nine,” Keith went on. “There’s a bar downtown that’s supposed to make really good burgers and cajun fries. We could try it together.”

Lance loved cajun fries, damnit. And Keith’s hopeful lip-worrying, which he had not known existed until this moment exactly. Fuck. There was no way to be sure this wasn’t some elaborate sex ploy, but ...

“Fine,” he said, like he was doing Keith a favour by agreeing, and turned for his car with as much dignity as he could muster.

Not quick enough, evidently, because he ended up catching a glimpse of Keith’s answering smile.

“I’ll text you the name of the place.”

“You do that.”

“You look good,” Keith called, as Lance unlocked his car door.

“I know,” Lance called back and shut himself away in his car to the sound of Keith’s quiet laughter. He stuck his keys in the ignition, ears burning with embarrassment, and watched Keith head inside their Starbucks through his rearview mirror, posture relaxed for the first time since he’d laid eyes on him this morning. “Fuck,” he muttered to himself. “Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck.”

He was so, so screwed.

Lance knew he had a textbook crush on the guy, all right, but that didn’t mean he wanted to pursue it.

This ‘date’ would have to be the decider. And if he was being honest, he was not expecting to like Keith, in the way you did when you wanted to date a boy – exclusively. First, because Keith was a man, not a boy. The kind who developed five o’clock shadows if they missed their morning shave even once, who had hairy thighs and big hands, who smelled strong, masculine, seasoned.

Lance had been a wide-eyed, still-hugs-his-books-to-his-chest-and-leans-against-lockers junior in college when he’d met Keith back in March and even though Keith was only three years older, at the time it had felt like they were living leagues apart. It still did, just a bit.

There was also the fact that Keith didn’t look the dating type, on the surface. He seemed like a strait-laced control freak with daddy issues stuffed inside designer suits. That was how he fucked. Men with daddy issues always wanted to have you in backseats and public restrooms.

And that was what Lance had let himself believe, right up until he realised their hasty fuck-and-go routine was not typical of Keith. Wasn’t even what he really wanted from Lance. Imagine that. Keith the CEO wanting something more from Lance. How much more ... that was the million dollar question.

This thing they’d been doing together, Keith said as they tucked themselves into a booth in their downtown cajun fry bar, was a lapse in his control. That’s what he called it. Verbatim. Those words exactly. ‘A lapse in my control,’ like he was a robot run amok, now being carefully reprogrammed.

Lance attempted to parse that. Upon first analysis, he decided it sounded shameful: Lance as Keith’s dirty little secret, something to be swept under a rug.

But then Keith lowered his dark eyes to the tabletop and tilted his head bashfully, like he was admitting to some great weakness.

Lance started when he realised what Keith was implying. That he – loudmouthed, insolent, poetry-loving, coffee-throwing English major – was the lapse. That he was … was ...

He was Keith’s weakness.

The connotations were all different then. No longer a dirty little secret, Lance became powerful, seductive. Had tempted Keith off the beaten path without even realising it.

‘A lapse in my control.’ Is that what that meant? That Keith … couldn’t help himself around Lance? That he wanted Lance that badly? Enough to sacrifice traditional courting for wild, helpless fucking in Starbucks parking lots? And did that mean Keith wanted to court Lance?

“Oh,” Lance breathed into his margarita, which he had ordered after proudly brandishing his ID for their waiter.

As obvious an indication as any of a now-legal twenty one year old. That had made Keith’s lips twitch, so Lance had kicked him under the table and then his smile had grown double in size.

It wasn’t fair.

That Keith was actually far more charming than his aloof, antisocial sex would have you believe. He couldn’t seem to hold Lance’s eye for very long, kept looking to the left, out their rain-smudged window, as he spoke. He rubbed his nape red when Lance pointed something out that embarrassed him. He had a lopsided smile and pointy canines and his legs kept brushing Lance’s beneath their table. He was shy, to tell the truth, but also an intensely engaged listener who bore his gaze into your face while you answered his questions.

Lance was beginning to feel all warm and gooey inside, which meant things were worse than he’d feared.

Maybe he did want to date Keith, weird car sex baggage and all.

“What I mean to say is …” Keith said then, stirring a pinky in his Jack & Coke. Even his drink orders were manly and adult. Lance twirled his mini umbrella gloomily. “I usually prefer to have sex in beds. Or at least in the privacy of someone’s home. You just – you kind of threw everything out of order.”

“Sex in bathrooms is fun,” Lance said, not because he really thought so, but because he wanted to be contrary.

What gave Keith the right to go around disparaging their old sex habits when he’d done nothing to improve them? If Lance had known he preferred to have sex in beds, he would have damn well invited Keith into his!

“With you, sure,” Keith said. His lips looked like they wanted to rise into another one of his lopsided smiles and were barely containing themselves. Lance dropped his eyes and bit scornfully into his lime. “I don’t doubt that you have a way of making most socially unacceptable behaviours feel fun.”

Lance looked up from his lime to scowl at Keith. “Well, if I’m such a socially unacceptable lapse in your frankly pathetic control, why don’t you just find a new Starbucks and leave me alone?”

Keith’s face went tight – eyes narrowed, mouth pursed – like Lance was speaking in tongues. “Because I want to keep seeing you?” he said, in a tone that indicated Lance was being very stupid. “Under … more traditional circumstances, granted. But I … I want to get to know you. Outside of my car.”

Lance almost choked on his first swig of mango margarita. “I beg your pardon?”

Now Keith definitely looked annoyed. “Why do you think I asked you to have drinks with me tonight?”

Was this a revelation most adults needed to have? Because Lance didn’t feel like one anymore. He felt all of sixteen years old. “Because you wanted to try fucking me to bar mood lighting?”

“What?” Keith said flatly, yanking his pinky from his drink and shaking it out. He hadn’t otherwise touched it. “This is supposed to be a date. That’s what I thought you agreed to.”

“A date,” Lance repeated. He couldn’t believe it. “I’m – I’m wearing yoga pants and leg warmers!” Spoken as though this fact prevented this from being a date. Tarnished the sanctity of it, even.

Keith and Lance’s terrible little ambiguous downtown bar date.

“I thought you looked nice,” Keith muttered defensively. Apparently it had not occurred to him to hate Lance’s outfit. He had simply given Lance and his leg warmers his silent endorsement.

Lance’s stomach swooped. He was five seconds from trying to fuck Keith to bar mood lighting. He slammed his drink down and said, “I think we should finish discussing this somewhere more private. Your place … ?”

Keith perked, not understanding Lance’s implication. Thank fuck. That might make things difficult.

“Okay …” he ventured, sounding hopeful. “I can cook you something. You’re still hungry, right?”

Oh, mother of god, Lance thought to himself, hugging his thighs together. He wasn’t even sad to be missing out on the cajun fries. “Yes.” He stood. “Let’s go.”

Keith left his fizzing Jack & Coke untouched and followed Lance from the bar after leaving a hefty tip behind, tucking his hands into the pockets of his jeans. “Did you drive here?” he asked, looking well and truly at ease for the first time tonight. Point in favour of the control freak category, Lance thought. “My car’s this way.”

“I walked,” Lance said, practically skipping for the parking lot. He was so excited to have this back – newer, better now – that he didn’t even care how he looked. “It wasn’t drizzling earlier and I live nearby.”

“Leg warmers,” Keith said, inexplicably. When Lance looked at him strangely, he added, “I just mean they’re a functional choice in attire. Considering. Your legs might have gotten cold on the walk home.”

“Oh my god,” Lance breathed, appalled. “Please shut up, I’m begging you.”

He didn’t really want Keith to stop talking – just the opposite, actually – but if he didn’t, Lance would have to suck his dick right now, safety hazard slash misdemeanour crime be damned.

Keith looked a little stunned by that, but closed his mouth anyway. He was shifty all the way back to his place, which was annoying for the way it made Lance want to kiss the frown from his face. Lance only just managed to hold himself back, tearing from the car as soon as they were safely parked underground. He began towing Keith to the elevators by the hand.

“Come on, come on,” Lance urged.

“Uh. You must be really hungry,” Keith said.

“Starving, you have no idea,” Lance said, hauling Keith into the first open elevator he spotted.

Keith stretched an arm out and hit the button for the topmost floor. Shit. Expensive place? Expensive place. Lance had no idea what the outside of this complex even looked like, he’d been so busy trying to will his erection down on the drive over.

Keith leant back against the metal wall and turned to peer down at Lance. Casually, he said, “I have pasta.”

“Mmm,” Lance said noncommittally. He was making a very valiant effort at not tapping his foot out of impatience. Such would be rude.

Just a few minutes more and he’d have Keith all alone.

“Do you prefer red or white sauce?” he went on, unimpeded. “I can make garlic bread, too, though that’ll probably take a while to bake. Well, salad for starters, since you say you’re really hungry. I think I have wine. I’d order in, but home-cooking is a little more special for a first date, right? I’m” – a cleared throat – “uh … pretty new to all this, but maybe we could –”

“Okay, well, I tried to wait,” Lance muttered, mostly to any higher power(s) listening in, and proceeded to yank Keith into a scorching, open-mouthed kiss against the elevator’s sleekly shining walls.

Keith, though shocked, melted into the kiss almost immediately. His palms fell automatically to Lance’s hips, like they’d grown used to resting there. Lance would never say so, but in recent months, he’d taken to thinking of that spot as Keith’s. It bloomed warm under the feel of his fingertips. Lance pushed up against the warmth, rising onto the tips of his toes. He criss-crossed his wrists behind Keith’s neck and tilted into the contact, overjoyed at getting to do this again.

Kissing had always been one of the best parts of sex with Keith. Such was currently being proven by the soft slant of his body, curved around and against Lance in something of a protective shield. Angled in and at Lance. Keith was being held and holding Lance up, his heat solid and sturdy as marble warmed beneath sunlight. Donatello’s “David.” Shades of pale, of twilight’s rose gold. His strength seemed both unending and carefully leashed, like he was sparing Lance the brunt of a storm.

It was the hands, too. The hands contained great potential for strength. Keith had hands that seized and didn’t let go. That promised to fly apart if Lance pulled back or disobeyed them.

He was not heavy-handed, as it were. Never slobbery. He was purposeful in spite of the languid, drunken pleasure coming off of him in waves. He kissed like he was creating art, carving out new colours for himself with the slow drag of his tongue. Lance felt it push inside his mouth and opened himself up for it, moaned to show Keith how much he liked it. How much he loved it.

His fingers tightened around Lance’s hips hard enough to hurt. Lance’s hips were hungry. They wanted to rock up against Keith, seek pressure and friction and the rough chafe of denim against cotton. He suspected Keith knew this, because his grip grew firmer. He was holding Lance back and together now, like he thought Lance might slump forward in a desperate fit without the support.

Lance was perfectly steady.

He scraped his teeth over the soft swell of Keith’s bottom lip to prove it, pulled it into his mouth and gave a hard little suck. He felt more than heard Keith’s heavy pant, almost but not quite noiseless. It had the effect of a moan.

Keith’s uneven breathing was currency to Lance. He cherished each hitch and stutter, all the little subtleties in his breathing’s rhythms. Lance wanted more, tried to draw Keith lower, eke out new sounds, and that was when Keith began to extricate himself from their impromptu elevator makeout.

“Pasta – ?” he said, with his kiss-bitten mouth, like it was the only word his brain could currently call up. His eyes were extremely muddled.

“Later. I need your cock in me,” Lance begged.

His voice was beginning to go breathy, the way it did when he was especially aroused, and that appeared to trigger a similar response in Keith because his eyes were suddenly much less muddled, way more intense, and something thick gave a jumping twitch against Lance’s hip.

“Right now,” Lance said. “Please, please, Keith, it’s been so long since you’ve touched me like this, I miss –”

This time it was Keith who silenced Lance with a kiss, of a more urgent quality now. When the elevator chimed and slid open seconds later, he hoisted Lance into his arms, hiking his thighs up and around his waist. A small uhn came from Lance. His erection was getting all sorts of attention against Keith’s well-sculpted abs now.

Lance wriggled into Keith’s heat, buried his face in Keith’s neck and combed fingers through the long dark hair growing at Keith’s nape. “Hurry, please,” he mumbled into Keith’s skin.

“You’re always doing this to me,” Keith groaned in frustration, and Lance felt a pressure at his own nape, tugging his head back, and then Keith’s mouth found him and they were kissing again, greedy and deep, warm and wet all over. Keith scattered his kisses up and down Lance’s face.

“You never shut up when I want you to,” Lance gasped, halfway to laughter.

“When I said I wanted to get traditional, I didn’t mean let’s start having all our sex at my place,” Keith said.

Lance’s head fell back against the line of damp kisses Keith was now trailing down his neck. He yanked his wool cardigan open and arched into the kiss. “Keith,” he whined. “Need you. Missed you.”

Keith’s eyes flared, liquid black, and he made an angry sound, something scraped from within – the kind of rare sound he usually reserved for Lance’s mouth on his cock. Given that Keith tended to be sparing with his noise-making during sex, and also that Lance wasn’t even currently touching his cock, this fact was extremely gratifying. The pleasure of it sat on Lance’s skin like a flattered flush.

“Christ,” he muttered, kissing across Lance’s clavicle. “What the hell are you doing to me?”

“Don’t think I’m very traditional,” Lance breathed and clung harder to Keith’s big shoulders.

“Never would have guessed,” Keith said dryly. He moved down to suck one of Lance’s nipples into his mouth through his thin white t-shirt, already sensitive and poking insistently through the fabric.

Lance felt tingles flower at his chest and cried out. He rocked against Keith’s belly with a pant, pulling insistently at Keith’s hair. “Inside, inside, Keith, come on.”

Keith unlocked his door one-handed and shoved into his apartment bearing Lance’s weight with one arm. He fumbled a hand out to flick a few overhead lights on, milky gold spilling out in every direction. Lance didn’t have the presence of mind to take in his surroundings, so he set about opening the fly of Keith’s trousers, groping around behind himself and yanking at denim with one hand.

“Inside me,” he clarified in annoyance, as Keith’s fly finally gave way and fell open.

His cock was already tenting his boxers. Lance glimpsed a dark bulge through the gap between his thighs, curved into a heavy lump beneath the black fabric. His mouth, excited beyond words, flooded with saliva. He shut it to stop his drool in place.

Keith laughed his way up to Lance’s mouth, kissing it open again. “Working on it.”

Lance softened, humming into the kiss. He felt around for Keith’s cock. His hand slid easily inside Keith’s sagging jeans and snagged on it through his boxers. Lance made a tiny pleased noise. He molded the length of it with his cupped palm to the sound of Keith’s hissing breath. A damp spot was staining the front of his boxers where his cockhead was trying to shove through the fabric’s opening to get to Lance. He drew it out, fit its long shape against the curve of his palm.

Oh, but he had missed this. The hot, thick feel of Keith filling Lance’s hand. He ran a thumb up the wet slit.

“Love,” Lance moaned.

“Huh?” Keith said, dazed, after having fought his door’s lock into place.

He stumbled his way across what looked to be a half-lit living room. It didn’t seem like they were going to be making it as far as a bedroom, which suited Lance just fine. He’d been picturing himself laid out over Keith’s bed all night, but he could quickly edit that to include a leather couch and Keith’s fine, damp view of Seattle through his penthouse windows. Beds could be tested at a later date.

“Love your cock,” Lance whispered into Keith’s mouth, because he did, and he was getting light-headed thinking about sitting on it.

He expected Keith to get real riled in response, maybe throw Lance down or bite him bruised, but it was like he could read Lance’s mind and sensed that that was just the opposite of what Lance needed tonight.

Or maybe Keith just needed the same thing, because he collapsed heavily onto a nearby sectional couch without a word.

Keith caught Lance in his lap and gently slid his palms down the back of Lance’s yoga pants. Then he hooked his chin over Lance’s shoulder and watched himself begin to roll them down Lance’s ass, slow and reverential about it like he’d discovered a new and ancient religion. Lance didn’t know what to make of that. He wasn’t used to feeling this exposed during sex with Keith, when the rush of adrenaline was so loudly roaring, drowning out anything anxious or uncertain.

Lance’s head was quiet tonight and every inch of him felt unbosomed. He was vulnerable here, in this new, alien environment. Out of his element. It was couch leather instead of car leather tonight and there was no impatient intensity radiating from Keith. Just … hushed awe. Quiet calm.

This … this was slow and thoughtful, wistful like a winter daydream. It didn’t match up with the calendar year or any version of Keith that Lance thought he knew.

Lit up with the newness of it, Lance rose up onto his knees with his yoga pants and lace panties bunched around his bare thighs. His fuzzy, cloud gray cardigan was half-yanked from his torso and his t-shirt had been wrenched too far down his chest during their hallway fumble. The scoop neck was showing the beginnings of one or two love bites, mottled bruises edging past the thin cotton.

Keith’s gaze did not waver from Lance; it burned him through to the bone.

What a power trip. Lance felt utterly debauched. Stupidly seductive, with Keith’s eyes trained to him, in a way he couldn’t explain and had not experienced until tonight. He fluttered his lashes beneath the heat of Keith’s gaze and held his eye as he slid three fingers into his mouth, lips stretched open around them. He began to suck them in and out, in a rhythm he knew Keith could immediately place. Long and electric Lance sucked, without shying away from the eye contact.

Keith made a strangled sound, jaw pulsing.

Lance slowly drew the wet fingers from his mouth and murmured, “Watch me.”

Keith watched, his dark stare riveted. He didn’t seem to want to blink, lest he miss even a moment of Lance’s little show. Lance could laugh. Trust Keith to go above and beyond a simple order.

Stretching catlike, Lance reached backwards and began to play at his rim. He eased one damp finger inside of himself, loving the initial loosening, the startled tug that sent heat flaring up his spine. Then two. A sigh of pleasure escaped through his lips. His back arched, one hand dragging the hem of his t-shirt up his chest, baring his dark nipples to Keith. They were wet and tender to the touch. Lance flicked one and whimpered.

“God, you’re gorgeous,” Keith whispered, ducking his head deliberately to trace the tip of his tongue around Lance’s left nipple, and Lance had to shut his eyes because the eye contact was getting to be too intense, too soul-suckingly divine.

Saliva was good to start, but he’d need more than that pretty soon, and told Keith so in a whisper. It was easier, demanding to have things his way with his eyes closed. Keith’s mouth left Lance’s nipple. Lance heard the snap of a bottle and opened his eyes to find that Keith had procured lube from between his couch cushions. Lance huffed an incredulous laugh and Keith grinned, goofy and gorgeous, his eyes never leaving Lance.

Lance’s heart leapt in bewildered enchantment. Were he not already so taken with Keith, this, right now, would have done him in.

“May I?” Keith asked politely as he warmed the lube between his fingers. He indicated Lance’s ass with a glance and a wry twitch of his eyebrows.

“You may,” Lance whispered, biting his smiling lower lip.

Keith brushed Lance’s t-shirt back up and slowly lowered his mouth over Lance’s neglected nipple, sucking it into his hot mouth. Then he reached around Lance and began rubbing at his furled hole with warm, wet fingers, charmingly clumsy. He kept his eyes on Lance’s face like that time in the car, with the Ed Sheeran song.

“Oh,” Lance breathed, body responding electrifyingly to Keith’s fingers and mouth and burning stare. “Keith …”

Keith tilted his head up, Lance’s nipple escaping his mouth with a wet pop, whispered, “I like my name in your mouth. Like this especially.”

And he began to prod at Lance’s opening with his wandering fingers, pushing gingerly inside and watching for Lance’s breathless reactions. His ass took Keith’s fingers inside without a hitch, hot and needy for the stretch. Lance clenched down around them and Keith pushed deeper, sinking his fingers inside of Lance until he could go no further.

“Oh, fff – …” Lance broke off with a gasp, hands flying up to Keith’s disheveled hair.

He held Keith’s head to his chest as Keith tongued lazily at his nipples, fingers moving more confidently inside of Lance. He was slowly gaining speed now, falling into a tight, swaying rhythm. Lance felt like a powerline pulled taut, one twinge from short-circuiting. He held his breath, teeth grinding, as Keith scissored his fingers apart. The air cooled along Lance’s exposed hole, the sloppy mess of lube and spit smeared up the crease of his ass.

“Fff … ?” Keith prompted silkily, teasingly, his breath fluttering up Lance’s chest. He closed his two fingers, ramming them up inside of Lance again, returning the dark heat.

“Fuck, fuck – oh!” Lance cried out, addle-brained, his body pitching forward in a desperate wriggle. He flattened Keith against the couch as tingles erupted up his spine. Not quite an orgasm, though it was a near thing. “Keith! Ah!”

Keith’s eyes darkened. It was a rare day when Lance cursed during sex. In accordance with his private, unspoken game, he held his tongue during their most intimate moments. To curse was to concede a point to Keith and Lance never liked to let Keith win one over on him.

None of that mattered here. Lance would do anything, give anything. He felt lush as a rose. He just wanted more, more of Keith’s slow, thoughtful fingering and concentrated stare. He liked this too much, he thought, hips rocking needily against the two-fingered grip Keith had in him.

“You like this?” Keith’s voice had gone husky.

“Oh, yes,” Lance whispered.

“Yes … ?” Keith urged.

“Keith,” Lance sighed, breathy. “Yes, Keith, ohhh.”

Keith’s pupils had swallowed his irises. He tugged at Lance’s nipple with his teeth, hard now, slid his fingers deeper, hitting that bundle of nerves in Lance that made him cry out. On and on this went, Keith pausing in his leisure ministrations when he suspected Lance was about to come, stranding Lance on the edge of a pleasure so bright it blinded. On and on and on, until Lance was warmly slick all over, his hole quivering desperately around three fingers, all of them Keith’s. His own had fallen away at some point. Lance couldn’t remember when. His brain was scrambled.

“Keep your mouth open for me,” Keith murmured when Lance shut his lips over a loud moan in an attempt to smother the sound.

Lance flexed his jaw open to allow a new noise of arousal its exit.

“Good,” Keith praised, cupping Lance’s asscheeks with his free hand. He squeezed the flesh in approval, making the crawlspace inside Lance an even tighter fit. His rim gripped Keith’s fingers like a glove, clinging to the intrusion, and he groaned. “How would you like to take another for me?”

“Oh. Yes, please,” Lance begged, pushing his ass back.

“So obedient,” Keith whispered and he sounded strangely pleased.

Something in Lance’s brain lit up, but he was too overwhelmed to pay it any mind. He sucked in a sharp breath when Keith added a fourth finger and that quickly took on the lilt of a moan – a haaaa sort of moan, all air. Keith’s mouth was suddenly on him, like he couldn’t bear another moment of Lance’s wild lips left unattended. Like the kiss was Lance’s reward.

Lance opened for it eagerly, savouring this new, exploratory kissing they were doing. The kind that did not seem to exist as a means to an end. The kind they initiated not because they needed any foreplay to get going. Just because they wanted to, and because it felt so good, slow and syrupy-sweet, and because they could take their time with it.

Here in Keith’s apartment they were all alone, their every sound heightened against the empty, echoey acoustics of the space. Moans took on a new meaning. No longer having to be conservative with his pleasure, Lance could make all the noise he wanted, didn’t have to swallow everything that tried to bubble up, wasn’t worrying about grinding his teeth to hell or limiting his volume.

The novelty of that might never wear off.

He thought Keith was probably right about sex in the privacy of someone’s home over sex in grubby, semi-public spaces. He was willing to concede that point and was even considering voicing this aloud, but he’d located Keith’s big, precome-wet cock and was now guiding it towards his fluttering hole.

Later, then.

“In me,” Lance whined desperately, like saying the words aloud would make it so. He said them so quietly he expected to be ignored, but Keith caught his mouth in a slow kiss and murmured, “Yeah,” and Lance’s body tightened wickedly as Keith began meeting him across the threshold, pushing up with his hips where Lance was bearing down from above.

They came together at the same time, joined as they were. Keith slid home seamlessly, buried up inside of Lance balls-deep, skin to sweaty skin. Lance had never been this turned on. Not during their first time in the Starbucks bathroom, not when Keith had fucked him extra slow as payback for his laughter, not ever – and this seemed to be proof, the way he so easily welcomed Keith inside.

Taking Keith’s cock – the length and the girth – was no walk in the park. Well worth the effort, but still. This was the smoothest it had ever been, helped by the fact that they were taking their time together.

It felt so good to just sit there with Keith filling Lance up, like liquid gold, it had never felt so good, why did it feel so good here? It wasn’t fast and dirty like Lance expected and Lance loved fast and dirty. And Keith wasn’t making all the big decisions the way Lance liked. He was letting Lance run things, this micromanaging CEO. This was unlike anything he had ever done with Keith, anything he could have ever imagined doing with Keith.

He had not let himself imagine this with Keith.

Flayed open, Lance began to move.

It was languid like two winter-warm sweethearts making love. Lance could imagine it that way, now that he was allowed to. Keith coming home, shaking the snow from his boots, carrying Lance to a thick fur rug and spreading him out over it, undressing him slowly, a fireplace crackling at their backs.

It was like that, except it wasn’t winter – just overcast with a chance of rain – so it shouldn’t have been and why was it? And Keith kept feathering his fingers up and down Lance’s thighs and it tickled in the carnal way. And Lance couldn’t stop doing the embarrassing ooohhh uuhhh aaahhh moaning, which Keith seemed to like because anytime Lance made any sort of noise, he sucked harder at Lance’s nipples and grunted in answer.

Lance’s hunger was fierce, reckless. “Off,” he demanded, tugging petulantly at Keith’s button-down.

Keith left off of Lance’s nipples for a moment to rip his shirt open for Lance, shucking it free and tossing it over the couch. He lay back against the couch shirtless, watching Lance take his thick cock through lazy, low-lidded eyes. He looked smugly satisfied and so, so sexy, like he knew Lance was loving every inch of him.

Lance bit his lip, eyes skating down Keith’s bare, sweat-gleaming chest. He’d never seen Keith completely shirtless. Car sex wasn’t conducive to nudity and tiny overhead lighting hadn’t done Keith justice. His rippling muscles, his finely-haired pecs, the happy trail leading into his boxers and his fat, glistening cock. These were all things better suited to in-home lighting. He looked golden underneath the light of his living room.

Tonight, Lance would let himself look. This was a new curiosity and not one he was willing to take for granted.

Carefully, he brushed his fingers down Keith’s tensed abs. He traced Keith’s deep, carved out V-line, half-hidden by his boxers. He wanted those off too, wanted to run his fingers through the thatch of dark, coarse hair nestled at the base of Keith’s cock, but it was too late, so he settled for mouthing at Keith’s chest as he fucked himself on Keith’s cock. His mouth drifted lower, laving at Keith’s nipples.

Keith groaned, head falling back.

Lance wrapped an arm around his broad shoulders and dug the fingers of his other hand into the back of Keith’s leather couch as he started riding Keith in earnest. He rose up until Keith’s cock nearly left his ass. Then he sank back down to swallow Keith inside again, smooth as whiskey, and swiveled his hips in tight figure eight formations with quiet moans Keith kept wanting to eat up, covering Lance’s mouth with his own to stifle his filthy sounds.

Keith kept murmuring gonna make me come and every time he did, Lance tightened up around his girth. It drew a sharp inhale from Keith every time.

A few minutes dripped by in this fashion, honey-warm. Keith was panting beautifully into Lance’s neck, huff huff huffing away like an overheated steam engine and Lance was starting to get woozy-tired with it. He was overheating all over, all fired up inside from how good it felt and sweating from the outside with the way his thighs were working to take Keith’s big cock into his tight ass, then lift off of it, up and down, up and down, up and down, riding him lazily.

“Hot,” Lance moaned in complaint.

“Yeah,” Keith murmured thickly, in emphatic agreement.

“No … ’m so hot. Help, please,” Lance whined, because he couldn’t get both of his spaghetti arms to cooperate and he needed to shimmy his cardigan off where it was hanging from his left. He shook his arm in demonstration, the cardigan fluttering where it refused to budge.

Keith looked up, eyes brighter and more alert than Lance had ever seen them, his temples dampened with sweat. His mouth lifted into one of those lopsided smiles Lance adored and he murmured, “Oh,” with amusement. He tugged the cardigan free and then decided he would use it to mop up all the sweat pouring from Lance’s forehead, which just made Lance all the more desperate to come.

Keith had never been this attentive, this tenderly involved during the act of sex. He was always intense when they did anything in this realm, but he’d also felt distant somehow, like he was holding back or hiding part of himself away. Lance kept thinking he was the problem. That Keith was embarrassed to be fucking him, didn’t want anything more than awful, get-it-and-go car sex with Lance.

But that couldn’t be it, because Keith had never looked more turned on than he did now, and he was so warm and yielding against Lance, and he couldn’t stop touching Lance, looking at Lance, crooning soft nonsense into the shell of Lance’s ear.

Lance could do the math. That meant he wasn’t the real problem.

It was Keith. Keith and his weird issues with unsettled business and relationships he didn’t know how to qualify.

Lance guessed that meant Keith wanted to qualify him. Into a box more neat and boldly labeled than the one they’d inhabited up to this point. It would mean more terrible little bar dates and lazy couch sex afterwards, pasta perhaps and movie watching maybe, more lopsided smiles and earnestness in the face of Lance’s poor, if functional choices in attire. Lance was getting trembly just thinking about it. Getting to fuck Keith exclusively, in private places, and then eating with him after. Except that was backwards. And Lance was forward, bouncing desperately on Keith’s cock and letting out mumbling moans as Keith tossed his cardigan somewhere out of view.

With his hands free, Keith grasped Lance around his hips and yanked his yoga pants lower, down to his knees, like he wanted to see more of Lance’s skin. Then he squeezed the cheeks of Lance’s jiggling ass and Lance’s body briefly went wild, hips undulating harder. He came down on Keith’s cock with everything he had, out of his mind with pleasure and mewling loudly.

Keith made a hissing sssssss sound, as though pained, but his eyes were fixed on Lance. They darted all over, crazed, tracking Lance’s pleasure, drinking up his flickering lashes and his reddened mouth, his bucking hips and his thighs slapping against Keith’s.

Lance felt thoroughly devoured. Desired. He had never been desired. Not like this, where the bright light made Keith’s possessive greed stark.

He sped his hips, digging his nails into the leather of Keith’s couch until it crackled.

“Fuck,” Keith grit out. His bare chest was rising and falling to the staccato rhythm of his breaths. “Look at you.”

“Uuhhn,” Lance moaned, rim squeezing down around Keith’s cock involuntarily. He hid his face in Keith’s neck, suddenly embarrassed by how lewd he sounded. Except, moments later the words, “Soooo good,” came spilling from his mouth, without his permission.

“Yeah?” Keith panted, appearing to like that very much.

“Yeah, Keith, fuck me, oh god – yes, yes, yes, yes – !” Lance gasped, as Keith started thrusting his cock up into him, hard and fast and merciless.

He had never been this noisy, hadn’t been allowed to in quiet, claustrophobic cars. Decorum did not allow it.

Keith seemed to be taking a cue from Lance because he was growling and kissing messily at Lance’s shoulders, teeth dragging over Lance’s sensitive skin. He darkened a love bite nearby and dug his teeth in hard, until Lance felt faint at the wild brew of sensations coming from all over his body.

One of his big hands slid beneath Lance’s asscheeks to help urge him up and the other around Lance’s slender hips to yank him back down onto Keith’s cock, impaling him on the thick shaft over and over again.

“Oh, god, yes,” Lance moaned, his ass burning deliciously.

“So beautiful, fuck, just like that, Lance, you’re doing so good, so fucking tight around my cock,” Keith was murmuring into Lance’s neck, pumping his cock into Lance’s ass, vocal like Lance had never heard him.

Lance’s ass was starting to close in on Keith’s cock, muscle constricting around his girth. He could sense the end nearing, a halcyon plunge. It was steep and sweeping. Keith’s cockhead was hitting his prostate right on the mark now, rubbing up and over it again and again with merciless accuracy, every instroke a bright lick of pleasure up the arch of Lance’s back.

God, but he was going to lose his voice by night’s end with the way he was screaming.

“Fuck,” Keith hissed. “Just like that. Bounce your hips just like that, gorgeous.”

“Feels so good, Keith, want it so much.”

Lance hadn’t a clue what he was saying anymore.

Sweat was dripping into his eyes and he’d closed them at some point to save himself the trouble of wiping them clean and he could smell Keith around him, closing in on all sides, his heady musk, the salt of his sweat and arousal. The leather was creaking and Keith was grunting and his hands were so huge and hot on Lance’s hips and ass, his thick cock moving loudly inside of Lance, wet and squelching and so impossibly big, the biggest Lance had ever had.

Keith had an agonised look on his face when Lance tugged his head down to get his mouth on him. His teeth were digging into his blanching bottom lip. Lance kissed there until Keith let go and parted his mouth for him. His rhythm was growing stilted now, wilder as he neared the edge of climax.

“Mmmmm, yesss,” Lance moaned contentedly, right up against Keith’s panting mouth. He kissed and sucked at Keith’s tongue, pulled back to say, “Love being with you.”

Keith made a sound like he was dying.

“Fuck me always. Uh, uh, uhhh – please! Just you, just you, just you, oh, fuck, Keith, Keith, baby,” Lance chanted.

That was what did it, finally.

Like a dam bursting, Keith rolled Lance onto his back on the couch, bearing down on him from above like an avalanche of muscle and sweat. Lance didn’t even have time to gasp before Keith was pressing him into the leather with his heavy weight.

He went right back to fucking into Lance, now snarling loudly. His heavy balls slapped ruthlessly against Lance’s ass. The leather heaved under their combined weight and the new position they were in. Lance arched up into the brilliant pressure, ankles crossed behind Keith’s back, and keened as Keith battered at his ass with his thick cock.

A slew of colourful epithets slid through Lance’s teeth. His ass clenched tight around Keith’s cock one last time and then Keith was pulsing powerfully inside of him. With a wild grunt, he began to spill hot, thick spurts of come into Lance’s ass and Lance came untouched, throat closing over a scream as wave after wave of white-hot pleasure swallowed him whole.

He was still twitching in the aftermath of his orgasm when Keith’s spent cock finally went still and he collapsed heavily on top of Lance.

“Holy fucking ...” Keith muttered into Lance’s skin. “... Fuck.”

Lance was only distantly aware of Keith’s cock softening inside of him. Far more pressing was Keith’s warm come settling and trickling from his ass. The feeling was new and strangely gratifying. Lance stretched out beneath him with a drowsy hum, relishing the feel of Keith bare and burning inside of him.

It occurred to him that they’d used condoms every other time. Every time but this one.

Lance was awake enough to murmur, “Clean.”

“Dirty,” Keith countered, nuzzling gingerly at Lance’s throat. “Very, very dirty.”

“No, I mean ’m clean. You can fuck me without a condom anytime you want,” Lance mumbled. He was so warm and sated. Felt good to be underneath Keith like this, covered from top to bottom. He wanted to kiss him some more, but was too exhausted to stretch up to reach Keith’s mouth. “Can go to the clinic together. For screenings.”

“I believe you,” Keith whispered. “And I’m clean, too. Like we’ve been over.”

“Yeah, but you still wouldn’t fuck me without a condom then,” Lance whispered. “Will you fuck me without a condom next time?”

“If that’s what you want,” Keith whispered back.

He whispered it like he had gone to great lengths to give this to Lance. Who knew? Maybe he had. Maybe it was a whole internal ordeal – a raging fight against his urge to take Lance without a condom.

Sex sans condom. Now that was a real commitment. A declaration of intent. It sounded exactly like one of Keith’s private moral dilemmas. A strange stipulation he refused to compromise on. Lance imagined him stern-browed, finger wagging: “I cannot fuck you skin to skin until I know what we are. Only then will we reach true nirvana.” It was sort of hilarious.

And if this was Keith’s way of saying ‘you’re mine now’ … well, Lance was all in.

You’re mine now, too, he thought, privately and smugly.

“I want, Keith,” Lance mumbled, which sounded like ‘I want Keith,’ and that was funny and also true. “Make me pasta tomorrow and fuck me afterwards. Just your cock.”

Keith huffed and pressed his lips to Lance’s softly. “You can come over whenever you want and I’ll make you pasta.”

“Chicken alfredo,” Lance specified. “And you have to fuck me.”

“And fuck you,” Keith amended, with exasperation.

“And kiss me.”

“Lance.”

“And rub my thighs and cuddle me.”

“Fine,” Keith agreed, sounding put-upon, even though Lance could sense that he was smiling.

Sensing smiles. Now there was an ordeal. Lance was totally hopeless. Who was he kidding here? He’d been all in from day one. He turned to jelly for Keith.

“Now I’m never gonna wanna leave,” Lance said.

He’d meant it as a joke, but when he opened his eyes to get Keith’s reaction, he found Keith was smiling down at him, crooked and devastating. He closed his eyes again and shoved his way back to the edge of unconsciousness.

Too much. Overwhelming. How had he ended up winning sex with a hot rich CEO who enjoyed giving English majors tender but mind-blowing orgasms? And pasta, too. Such was inconceivable. Unprecedented. Unwarranted. Now Lance might really never want to leave. Pasta and Keith’s dick – that was all he needed to get by.

Keith was going to get sick of him for sure.

He thought maybe he was undressed at some point. Later – though how much later he could not tell – he felt wet warmth prodding at his hole and twitched unhappily. The unpleasant sensation brought him back to the brink of alertness. His lashes flickered, eyes bleary.

“Shh,” Keith whispered. “I’m cleaning you up.”

“Ugh,” Lance whined, disliking the cool dampness the rag left behind.

“I’m not letting you fall asleep with my come drying inside of you, Lance, no matter how hot you find it.”

“You probably find it hot, too,” Lance muttered, then snickered when Keith didn’t offer any immediate objections.

“Hush, you,” Keith murmured. He turned Lance over onto his belly, brushed a kiss across the small of his back, and swept the rag down the crease of his ass.

Lance laid his sleepy head to his folded arms. “Mmm,” he hummed, raising his bare ass in the air and pushing back against the wet pressure like a wanton cat.

“No,” Keith scolded, pressing Lance’s lustful little hips flat. He sounded thunderstruck.

Lance fluttered his eyes shut, smiling to himself. “Killjoy.”

“You’re insatiable.”

“You make me feel too good,” Lance retorted, shifting the blame, then he felt the unexpected heat of Keith’s mouth against his. Lance made a quiet happy noise and opened his mouth for more, but Keith kept the kiss chaste and close-lipped. Lance huffed when he began to pull away. “Keith. Come sleep.” The words came out whiny, like Lance was waiting for his suitor at a moonlit window.

Lance would reiterate: totally hopeless.

“Hang on,” Keith murmured, running a dry towel down Lance’s body, then removing it. “We need blankets.”

Lance buried his face in his arms, displeased by the delay. He kept up a long string of murmured complaints until he inevitably drifted off again. The subconscious worry that Keith would not return continued to niggle at his dreaming brain, though, and he woke himself not long after with his anxious, racing thoughts.

He pushed up onto an elbow, ears ringing. There was dried spit crusted at the corner of his mouth. He thumbed it away and looked around. The living room was pitch black and quiet as a cave. Outside, a light rain beat softly against the windows in a tick tick tick rhythm. Seattle lay dark and sleepy through the glass, twinkling lights sparsely dotted. Keith was a wall of splendid heat behind Lance, his warm breath ghosting over Lance’s nape every other beat.

“Oh,” Lance mumbled, feeling silly.

He let the calm wash over him like a drizzle.

Somehow this felt the same as his first childhood sleepover with Hunk had. An identical, ultra secret satisfaction. Quiet sanctuary. The notion that they could wake whenever they pleased, watch the two am moon wane or whisper secrets into the dark together and no one would be able to stop them. Not their parents. Not god.

But ...

Something grated at Lance’s brain. Softly, like a misremembered memory or an itchy dream lying at the edge of the unconscious mind. Lance grappled, attempting to unspool himself. Warmth was pooling in his belly. It wasn’t anything like he’d experienced during his childhood sleepovers with Hunk.

Then he realised – badly and blurrily, the way one fumbles for a lightswitch in the dark. The exhilarating newness of waking up away from home was still there, of course. Now, though, there seemed to be a heightened sense of awareness to contend with. Lance was lying beside a body that could not be filed away in either the ‘FRIEND’ or ‘FAMILY’ category.

Keith was his outlier. The inexplicable unexplained, beyond the bounds of categorisation.

This wasn’t a sleepover with a friend. This was freedom. More was the one word Lance’s brain seemed to cling to. This was more, and most, and deeply other. Alien. A different kind of safety, perhaps. Security, yes. Relieved affection for the body wrapped around his. Smooth, rolling contentment, luxurious as silk sheets. It made Lance feel grown up. He liked it. Too much. So much, in fact, that he suspected he didn’t want to leave this spot.

He wanted to grow used to the feeling of Keith’s arms around him, until the sensation became soft and worn.

If it wasn’t the dead of night, he’d be groaning aloud. Slapping his forehead. Something.

Please oh please let me not be in love with him, Lance thought mournfully, then pulled himself together and decided he wasn’t.

It was too fast to have fallen in love with someone who wore thrift store biker jackets and drove electric, stop-and-charge sports cars gifted to him by his humanitarian nonprofit. This was middle school-calibre infatuation. Nothing more.

Suddenly, like some subconscious reflex had prompted him to prove Lance wrong, Keith sighed in his sleep and nosed at the knobs of Lance’s spine, hauling his body closer. Lance sagged helplessly against his chest, trapped and endlessly pleased by it.

Something told him Keith wasn’t going to make this easy for him.

Lance wiggled against him, taking stock of his working body parts, all of them warmly naked, and Keith’s body tensed against him. It was like setting off a hair-trigger alarm and waking a sleeping guard. His arm tightened around Lance’s hips as though to prevent an escape. Then, like this was still not enough to satisfy, he locked a leg around Lance’s lower half and dragged Lance flush against his body. Slowly, Keith relaxed back into sleep.

Lance could feel Keith’s soft cock nestled between the cheeks of his ass. His muscles sang, sex-sleepy and pleasantly exerted.

“Good god,” he whispered, laughing into the leather.

Keith was a clinger. Baby koala brand. Who would have thought? Delighted, Lance laid his hand over Keith’s, stroking the jutting bone of his wrist. His hand loosened slightly like it had been mollified by Lance’s soft touch.

They were wrapped in a thick throw blanket, the both of them. Another had been laid out beneath Lance to soften the sleeping arrangement some. Keith must have had to pick him up for that last part. Lance smiled at the thought, settling back against Keith. He was nothing but hot, hard muscle. One of his giant hands – connected to the arm shoved under Lance’s neck – was hanging palm-up in front of Lance’s face.

Emboldened by secrecy, Lance pushed his cheek into it, then turned his head to press a silent kiss to the callused centre.

He was too far gone to register the minute twitch that would have told him Keith had felt it.

 

Lance’s internal clock woke him bright and early Saturday morning, even though he had nowhere to be but Keith’s arms.

He turned his face towards the blurry sunlight streaming in through the big glass windows. His body ached, in the good, workout-weary way. He stretched out along the creaky leather and rode out the protesting sex twinges he felt with a happy sigh. His body – namely, his ass – was sore and pretty pleased about it.

Then Lance realised Keith’s cosy arms were nowhere to be found and sat up, feeling bereft. The throw blanket sagged around his naked waist and goosebumps rose up everywhere the cool apartment air touched. The contours Keith’s body had left in the leather cushions were still fresh, but he was gone from the couch. This eliminated any possibility of sleepy morning sex.

Ugh. Lance loved sleepy morning sex, though he’d never had any with Keith.

Speaking of sex. He frowned and checked for damage. There was the distant sound of running water (Keith? naked? taking a shower? potential for sleepy morning sex? in the shower?) and a gurgling refrigerator, its ice machine’s contents freezing or resettling. Homey sounds. The living room was something of a warzone: wooden coffee table kicked askew, articles of clothing shed all over the floor, sex towels and rags thrown haphazardly in one corner. Their bottle of lube sat within arm’s reach, only a small sad puddle left towards the bottom.

Lance huffed to himself and stood, stretching in full view of the foggy Seattle skyline. It occurred to him that his naked body was probably perfectly visible through Keith’s giant penthouse windows. Oh, well. Morning commuters, he thought, I hope you enjoy an eyeful of this perfect ass. He twisted his torso until his back cracked audibly.

Aloud, he muttered, “Sheesh,” and bent to straighten the coffee table.

He began to dutifully organise everything into neat piles. Keith seemed to like those. His were PILE #1 (WORK), PILE #2 (PLEASURE; COMMITMENT; LABELS; I.E. WHERE I SEEM TO WANT LANCE), PILE #3 (UNCERTAINTY AND CAR SEX. THIS IS MY PILE OF DOOM! GET OUT OF HERE, LANCE!).

After a moment’s thought, Lance added the lube to the first pile he’d created. He called them BURN PILE #1 and BURN PILE #2 in his head, for simplicity’s sake. Then he rose to admire his handiwork, hands on his hips.

He found that he was cold. Keith’s apartment ran cool, perhaps lacking in heating options, though Keith ignoring his own state-of-the-art thermostat was far more likely give his indifference to the cold. He was a Pacific Northwest native and seemed to run like a goddamn travel heater. Lance liked when Keith stuck his toasty hands up his shirt and felt over his belly. He wished he were here to do just that.

Secondary to alarming body temperatures, Lance found that he liked what Keith had done with the place. The apartment was smaller than he’d pictured, intimate and covered at random intervals with hanging plants. Devil’s ivy and English ivy, spider and lipstick plants, dangling, fern-like creatures with waxy fronds. Lance supposed this was the ideal environment for them, given the abundance of natural light.

There was an article somewhere out there that would explain to Lance exactly what this meant, with helpful little visuals. ‘WHAT YOUR BOYFRIEND’S DISTRESSING OBSESSION WITH HANGING HOUSE PLANTS SAYS ABOUT HIM,’ or something.

He would look into it later.

“Not my boyfriend,” he reminded himself under his breath as he scooped Keith’s button-down up and slipped it on over his bare shoulders. Which. Okay, not exactly helping his point.

In his defence, it was the least offensive of BURN PILE #2 – no come stains in sight and only a little fragrant, spared from the full force of their sex by Keith’s early removal of the article – and Lance was not yet brave enough to go digging through Keith’s things for a better option. This would have to do.

He left the first two buttons open and sniffed curiously at the fabric. Infused in the crisp cotton blend was some kind of bergamot musk. Lance couldn’t help but find that flattering. It meant Keith had worn cologne to come see him last night and it had slipped Lance’s notice. Cute.

Lance liked it – what it represented and how it felt – even though the shoulders were too wide-set and the whole thing fit him more like a baggy t-shirt dress. The sleeves swallowed his hands.

He reached for his leg warmers, still chilled, and continued his curious inspection of the space while he tugged them on.

Keith had a light wood furniture theme going on. Lamps with velvety tassels that looked like they’d been swept from the bargain bin at the local thrift store stood in two corners. One side table was hexagonal and made entirely of glass so that when Lance peered at it, five versions of his face stared back. A humble pile of Science Illustrated magazines rested on its surface beside a lanyard clipped to an ID that read THE SHIROGANE FOUNDATION and included a tiny, pixelated photo of Keith’s solemn face, bangs slicked back. His thick eyebrows were the focal point of his face without the intrusion of his fringe.

“Cute,” Lance whispered, wide-eyed.

He toed Keith’s richly patterned rug. It was a deep crimson, floral in places and geometric in others. Keith possessed a collection of shelved books large enough to send Lance’s heart soaring. He resisted the temptation to flip through them by lifting the lid on a record player housing Radiohead on vinyl. That explained the worn album covers displayed along the back wall (BB King, The Who, and New Order among them).

The whole thing was far more inviting than Lance would have guessed of a twenty four year old CEO.

So Keith contained multitudes. He had the tastes of an Urban Outfitters catalogue, to be sure. And took long, indulgent showers on the days when he had horny college students roaming his living area unsupervised. And stocked his fridge well, Lance noted, as he pulled it open and stuck his head inside. His stomach was beginning to complain and though he was polite enough to resist snooping inside Keith’s bedroom, he was not well-mannered enough to wait for Keith to eat.

“So much meal prep,” Lance muttered, reaching for a Tupperware tub filled with strawberries. Just to tide himself over.

He could imagine Keith standing at his counter in flannel bottoms and slicing these into tiny, precise pieces, a crease of concentration forming between his eyebrows. It was such a normal, domestic mental image. Lance popped the lid off the tub and felt his stomach flutter like a dazzled little schoolboy’s. He was charmed, he found, by the idea of Keith going about his daily tasks in this living space.

“God, maybe I am in love with him,” he whispered, nudging the fridge closed with his knee as he began nibbling at Keith’s cache.

His eyes caught on a photograph pinned to the front of the fridge with patterned scotch tape: a much younger, more messy haired Keith dimpling for the camera beside an older man with close-cropped, jet black hair and a broad smile. Lance wondered at the pair, beaming beneath the sunshine, while he snacked.

That was how Keith found him.

Standing half-naked in the middle of his gourmet kitchen, hair sex-mussed, in leg warmers and his stolen, oversized button-down. The loose fabric fell just below his hips, brown thighs framed by designer cotton and knit leg warmers. He was in the middle of biting into a strawberry, itching at his calf with the toes of his other foot.

Lance heard the pad of damp feet on tile, then felt Keith come to an abrupt, stilted stop a few feet away. What a sight he must have made, befouling Keith’s penthouse apartment with his sex-bruised body.

“Hey,” Lance said, still eyeing the fridge photograph. “Did you know your place looks like it was decorated by a bohemian hipster who regularly attends Burning Man? I was kind of expecting something colder. Stainless steel coasters, maybe, to prevent coffee table water damage. Yours is full of water stains. And you’ve got no tacky hospital lobby wall art. No picture frames with the stock photos left in. Not even an unused fireplace.”

“This is an apartment,” Keith offered, unhelpfully, countering the fireplace comment.

“They make fake fireplaces. You should really know this, Keith, being that you’re a secret hipster interior designer,” Lance informed him. He turned to look at him finally. “Who’s that in the photo with you?”

Keith ignored the question, his gaze glued to Lance’s bare thighs. The hem of his button-down was being stirred by a draft.

“Allura decorated the place for me. A caveat for coming on as Chairperson of the Board at mine and my brother’s company. That’s him in the photo with me,” Keith said, still sounding disgruntled. His face was beginning to get very pink-looking. “I’m not an interior designer.”

“Could’ve fooled me,” Lance said. “You, with your many hidden depths.” Lance popped a strawberry into his smart mouth. He itched at his thigh with one hand, the fabric of Keith’s shirt following his fingers up his hip. Keith’s eyes, like they were hardwired to do so, followed the path Lance’s fingers drew up his brown skin.

It would be a lie to say he didn’t know the effect he was having on Keith. A better truth: he didn’t know what Keith was willing to do about it. Lance wanted to find out. He tugged the fabric back down his thigh and looked at Keith through his eyelashes.

Keith stared at him, hard, like he thought his death-glare would chagrin Lance into abandoning his game of seduction.

It did not.

Embarrassed, Keith crossed his arms and made a conscious effort to avert his eyes. “Are you wearing my … ?”

“Oh,” Lance said, peering down at himself. “Yeah. I can take it off if it bothers you, I just –”

“No,” Keith interjected, sounding choked. His head whipped back around at the mention of clothing removal and now he was frowning sternly at Lance. “Leave it on.”

Lance’s hands froze at the hem. “Sorry. I was cold.”

Keith nodded, quickly.

“And mine are dirty. If you know what I mean.”

More nodding.

“Yours is a little big on me,” Lance murmured, shoving the sleeves back demonstratively. “It smells like you.” He turned his nose into the collar and inhaled happily.

Keith cleared his throat twice over. “Yes,” he said.

“I didn’t wanna invade your privacy.”

“Right,” Keith said. “So you stole my shirt.”

“So I wouldn’t have to steal your underwear,” Lance said. “The clean kind, I mean, from your bedroom. It was either your shirt or your underwear, Keith. Pick your poison, y’know?”

Keith froze. Then, with deadly deliberation, his eyes narrowed. “You’re not wearing any underwear?”

“Problem?” Lance asked, feigning innocence as he smoothed the shirtfront down his thighs. “I told you, my clothes are dirty. And your neighbours didn’t seem to mind.”

“My,” Keith said, slowly, “neighbours?”

“The ones who saw me naked through the glass.” Oh, Lance was being a right little shit now, he knew. He couldn’t help it. Not when Keith’s angry, appalled face was so hilarious. “I think it’s safe to say they know we’re fucking.”

“You –” Keith made a jerky half-gesture towards Lance, hands curling closed, as though he wanted to seize him by the waist, throw him down onto the nearest flat surface, and have his scolding way with him. Then, he very abruptly turned on his foot and flounced away. “Wait here.”

Lance leant back against the counter’s edge and stuffed a new strawberry into his mouth. By his third, Keith had returned with a ball of fabric wadded in his fist. He was scowling, eyebrows dark and disapproving. His mouth looked especially tempting when twisted like that.

“I like your eyebrows,” Lance said, as Keith stalked up to him. “They make all your expressions so animated.”

Keith’s jaw was firm, his eyebrows uncompromising. “Turn around.”

Lance set his tub of fruit aside and turned obediently, propping his elbows up against the counter’s edge. He bent at the waist without another word, cocked his hips back, Keith’s shirt riding up his back. The movement bared the curve of Lance’s shapely little ass. Keith’s shocked inhale was gift enough for his daring; he hid a smirk in his arms.

“Not. Like that,” Keith growled, yanking Lance out of his pose.

Lance was laughing breathlessly. “You said …”

“I know what I said,” Keith muttered darkly.

He crouched down to hold the fabric open for Lance. Obligingly, Lance slid his legs through the holes, grinning foolishly as Keith tugged the tiny shorts up his thighs. They were women’s intimates by the looks of the snug fit and style, polka dotted and baby blue. Skimpy, too.

“Remind me again why I’m wearing these?”

“You’re indecent,” Keith said, radiating accusation. “And it’s eight in the morning.”

“There are no time constraints when it comes to indecency. Being sexy isn’t like drinking alcohol,” Lance said as Keith let the waistband snap against his hips.

“There are in my house,” Keith said, warningly.

“And you’re one to talk!” Lance continued. “Flashing your washboard abs at me before the birds are even up! That’s criminal! Point me to the nearest tub of whipped cream and I’ll remedy the situation immediately.”

“In my house,” Keith said, voice pitched low and threatening, “you don’t go around poking sleeping bears.”

Lance could feel his warm, minty breath against his throat now. His pulse spiked. Keith leant in to scrape his teeth against Lance’s pulse point and he dropped his head to the counter with a quiet whine, giving himself up to Keith. Pleased, Keith closed in and crushed Lance against the counter, pressing the line of his large, erect cock into Lance’s naughty little ass.

Lance gasped, thighs widening to accommodate Keith’s wicked arousal. “He feels wide awake to me,” he said into the granite.

“Shameless,” Keith murmured to himself, the amused admonishment in his tone obvious.

He slid his hands past Lance’s sloping hips to fondle his ass where his cheeks were bursting from the lewdly cut boy shorts. And, oh, that felt good. Lance trembled in anticipation, arching for Keith, who hummed his quiet approval. He squeezed Lance’s cheeks together, creating a little nook for his cock to fuck up into.

Keith rolled his hips. His cock rubbed viciously at the cleft of Lance’s ass through two layers of cotton. The crown was wet with precome; Lance could feel the dampness transferring to his own underwear. It made his rim shiver open.

“Oh … Keith, fuck …” Lance moaned into the countertops, pushing back against the rutting friction. “Do you buy and hoard women’s underwear for this kind of thing, or … ?”

“What?” Keith said, like he’d been forcibly dragged from a trance. “No. These are Allura’s.”

Lance’s body went stockstill. “What!” he yelped. “Do – do you not realise how weird that is?”

“At the moment, no,” Keith said, unrepentant. When Lance’s silence took on an uneasy quality, he added, “I washed them.”

How he managed to sound so nonchalant about that was beyond Lance.

“You are not helping your case,” Lance moaned into his arms.

“She left them here a while ago,” Keith said and went back to slowly grinding his cock into Lance’s ass. “I’ve got a whole lost and found drawer full of stuff people leave here. This was all I had that looked like it’d fit you.”

“Oh,” Lance said awkwardly. He let that hang between them a moment. Then: “So … Chairperson of the Board, huh? That sounds important. Fancy.”

Lance was hoping that would prompt a little more backstory, but Keith ignored him. He snaked an arm around Lance to begin unbuttoning his shirt, his rhythm growing heavier. The head of his cock was massaging Lance’s rim now. It was making it very difficult to think.

“Uhhh,” Lance mewled, hips jolting against Keith’s grinding cock. “Um. You guys see each other a lot?”

“Yes,” Keith said. “I answer to her.”

“Oh. Well. That seems like an obvious imbalance in power,” Lance observed, casual as ever.

“That’s kind of how bureaucratic hierarchies work, Lance.”

“I just mean … it sounds like you’ll never … um, ah … be her equal. In any way, shape, or form.”

“No,” Keith agreed. “She evaluates my performance every year. Vetoes my ideas frequently. Breathes down my neck over money management and company finances. Our professional dynamic relies on inequality.”

“Is that a euphemism?”

“What?” Keith slowed his hips. He sounded annoyed now. “Why are we talking about this while dry humping in my kitchen?”

“Mostly because I’m in her underwear?”

“They’re shorts,” Keith said. “You’re just wearing them like underwear. And she hasn’t seen them in over a year.”

“Do you have sex with your Chairperson of the Board!” Lance blurted.

Incredulous silence rang out behind Lance.

Oh, fuck. He buried his flaming face in his hands. He was going to cry or go into hiding, probably.

Keith’s hands, gone suddenly gentle, settled on Lance’s waist. With the lightest of touches, he twisted Lance around to face him. Lance couldn’t bear to look him in the eye. This was it. This was where he found out his hot CEO was secretly pining after his bureaucratic superior and had been imagining he was fucking her ass for the last five minutes. Lance knew there had to be a catch.

“Lance.” Keith’s voice was the softest he’d ever heard it.

Lance braced for the worst.

“Look at me.”

Lance shook his head and ducked, ears tingling with heat.

Keith took him by the chin and forced his head up until their gazes collided. It burned to look. Not because Lance sensed disaster on the horizon. Because Keith’s eyes were always so honest, even when they were opaque as oil. Lance could – would – drown in that dark, roiling sea.

He swallowed at the lump in his throat, peering up at Keith shyly. He looked … amused, or endeared, like he was holding back laughter and light. It dizzied Lance, watching laughter linger at Keith’s lips, made crooked and wry by an inside joke Lance couldn’t seem to grasp.

“Are you …” Keith paused to ruminate. His mouth gave a disbelieving twitch. “Jealous … ?”

“No!” Lance denied, face flushing hotter.

“Because if you were,” Keith said through a smile, “I’d have to inform you …”

“... What?” Lance asked, caving to his curiosity.

“I find it very cute,” Keith murmured and bent down to pepper a line of kisses up Lance’s jaw.

Lance steadied himself against Keith’s shoulders, head tipped back to endure the onslaught. “Quit it,” he mumbled. “I’m mad at you.”

“For things you imagine I’ve done, I gather?”

“Yes, and imaginary you is looking incredibly guilty.”

Keith laughed at that, loud and hearty. “Lance,” he said, slowly. “I’m gay. In case it slipped your notice during our rabid fucking last night. Or for the last three and a half months.”

“Oh,” Lance breathed, startled that Keith had been keeping track of all the time they spent together. “Wait – it was not rabid! It was very romantic! And as a participant in our sex life, I can say without absolute certainty that I’m not gay, so your point is moot! My concerns were valid!”

Keith quirked an eyebrow.

“I happen to like the occasional girl, so,” Lance informed him.

Keith’s eyebrow rose higher.

“But I like you way more than anyone else,” Lance said, stretching up on tiptoe to press the words to Keith’s lips.

“I don’t like women,” Keith said, his gorgeous smile returning. He lowered his head to resume kissing down Lance’s throat. “I only like men. Okay? Are we done here?”

“I thought we were dry humping in your kitchen, actually,” Lance sighed, eyes fluttering shut. He curled his fingers through Keith’s hair and pressed up against his hard, hot thigh with a whine.

“Nope,” Keith said, peeling Lance’s clinging body from his and directing him towards his barstools. “You snapped me out of it. Breakfast time.”

“Keith,” Lance complained, pouting his way over to his seat.

Keith ignored him, expression amused. “How do you like your eggs?”

“Benedict, with a side of lightly seasoned crab cakes,” Lance said.

Keith froze at the fridge, blanching. “You’re lying.”

Lance burst into laughter. “Yes, I am. I’m a college student subsisting on ramen and Kraft Mac & Cheese. Now will you let me help you with breakfast?”

“No,” Keith said, his alarm fading as he set a carton of eggs and a tub of butter on the counter. “Let me cook for you, since you so rudely interrupted my attempts to feed you last night.”

“I don’t know,” Lance said. “If I remember correctly, I was stuffed for most of the night.”

Keith let that sit between them untouched.

“I know you want to laugh.”

“I don’t,” Keith said, though his mouth was doing a funny pucker that said otherwise. He turned away from Lance to root around in his cupboards.

“You do!” Lance said, his glee growing.

Keith coughed, muttered, “Nope,” and Lance dissolved into a ball of laughter.

 

They had a very productive day, breaking Keith’s bed in and making chicken alfredo together afterwards.

 

Lance worked out a number of realisations about Keith in the months following what he deemed ‘the Sex Renaissance.’

New money, poor breeding, no biological family to speak of. He carried the patina of discipline, played up the part of the buttoned-down CEO. Lance knew him better than that now. There was disobedience in all the bends of his body – runoff from childhood, not quite beaten away. It was kept well-hidden, tucked to the wrists like bullet back cufflinks. You could only tell if, like Lance, you’d seen him in sleep. In sleep, Keith was furrowed brows and fraying edges.

On the nights when he tossed and turned, Lance softened the clench of Keith’s jaw with his palms. He made his hands go gentle and smoothed away all of Keith’s hard edges. Keith’s hands were still getting used to being gentle. Before Lance, they’d been much less kind.

He was the most unextravagant rich person you were likely to encounter on this side of the Pacific Northwest, but you’d never know it if you weren’t in his orbit. He picked through thrift store sales racks when Shiro wasn’t dragging him to department stores, a die-hard poor kid habit he had yet to break even after coming into more wealth than he knew what to do with. He wore his money like an ill-fitting suit, remained firmly resistant to the eight figure paycheck, and was an avid proponent of taxing the wealthy.

God, there was no man in existence more pleased to have to do his taxes every year.

All this, and he hated the mores of high society, every upper class amusement and soirée expected of him. He’d tried that on for size with Lance for a bit – Mt. Rainier day trips and winery tours featuring century-old samples with fancy French names – then swiftly gave it up as a bad job. The lavish outings made them both uncomfortable and Keith seemed pleased to learn Lance did not require large heaps of money to be happy (perhaps an unspoken fear felt by the everyday anti-rich rich man attempting to seduce a low-income college student).

Lance was perfectly content to discard the expensive outings in favour of trips to small hole-in-the-wall restaurants. Fish tacos at El Camión and roast pork sandwiches at Un Bien, salsa-soaked injera from Jebena Cafe and phở gà from Green Leaf. He liked being the one to introduce Keith to these tiny miracles and Keith always looked relieved to get to experience a normal night out with Lance all to himself. So pleased was he by Lance’s intricate, behind-the-scenes knowledge of Seattle that they often ended their evenings with rainy walks taken hand in hand.

Under the cover of night, Lance felt comfortable enough to lean into Keith, twisting their fingers together as they wandered through the drizzle. Relationship labels – or a lack thereof – did not matter where the light could not touch. Here, they were nothing but bodies brought together. Keith had no desire to be anywhere else, Lance told himself, or he wouldn’t be here. So he laid his cheek to Keith’s bicep and hid a private smile there.

When Keith peered at him sideways to ask what he was thinking, he shook his head no and kept shaking it until Keith grew so frustrated that he sat Lance at the lip of a fountain, caged him in with his knees, and hauled Lance close by the knotted belt of his overcoat, as effortless as if he weighed nothing, to ask, “You won’t tell me what you’re thinking?”

Lance loved Keith like this. Playful and menacing.

“No,” he said sweetly, then gasped as Keith slotted their mouths together.

It was exhilarating to imagine through a stranger’s eyes: Keith’s dark, jagged silhouette swallowing Lance’s smaller frame, Lance arching shamelessly into the contact, rubbing up against Keith’s denim-covered erection in desperate request, their mouths one continuous ebb and flow. Kissing Keith meant gaining ground only to lose it again. Advancing and retreating, clashing and surrendering. He opened his mouth up for Keith’s tongue and whined, felt Keith’s hands tighten reflexively and tug him closer.

Keith pulled back with a soft, wet noise of separation and gripped Lance by the chin. “Will you tell me now?” he demanded, his eyes darkly expectant.

Keith was yet again misjudging the lengths Lance was willing to go to get a reaction out of him.

When he shook his head, dizzily now, Keith dove for his mouth as though this was Lance’s punishment for refusing him. Kisses never-ending.

Pulling Lance up and pressing him bodily into a streetlamp. With dirty intent, Keith’s hands began to unknot Lance’s belt. They slipped inside his coat and then inside the cowlneck sweater beneath it, skating up bare skin, thumbs straying to either nipple. Keith pressed down, rubbing small circles there, until Lance’s nipples were burning fingerprints of pressure. He heard himself gasping, his breath a white wisp.

Keith lowered his mouth to Lance’s throat to leave a hot kiss behind and whisper, “And now?”

“No,” Lance breathed, wrapping his arms around Keith’s shoulders and fluttering his eyes shut.

Nudging Lance into his car. Belting him in with hands that lingered too long at his waist in something of a warning. Lance liked those – warnings delivered through touch. In retaliation, he tilted himself into the leather, every angle of his body a sensuous curve. He moved to bare his throat, thighs parted and chest jutting. When Keith’s eyes jerked up as he clicked Lance’s seatbelt in place, Lance let out a soft little moan.

Keith’s entire body went still. His pupils were wide with want. Lance felt that dark gaze on his skin like the crackle of a campfire’s heat. Keith’s eyes were keen, wolfish, dancing on the edge of dangerous. Abruptly, he stood. The door shut with a soft click and then a moment later he was climbing in from the other side. He didn’t bother to belt himself in, just leant in to drag his mouth down the curve of Lance’s jaw.

Quiet, so quiet, so his driver would not overhear through the divider, Keith whispered, “And now?”

Lance’s hips jerked as Keith clasped a tight hand over his thigh, thumb stroking up the inseam of his pants. “N-no,” he whispered and Keith’s mouth grew firmer.

And finally, carried to Keith’s bed and spread out over his sheets. Keith undressed him slowly and meticulously, one article at a time. He paused in intermittent spells to survey each new inch of skin stripped bare, slid a claiming hand down Lance’s throat, past his naked navel, to hook his fingers in Lance’s belt loops. He yanked and Lance’s pants slid down to his knees with a quiet rasp.

Lance could feel his pulse hammering at his chest. He tried in vain to calm it, felt sweat beginning to gather in all the hollows of his body.

Keith took his ankles in hand, first the left, then the right, to drag his pants past them and off. He kissed the bone of the right, just once, his eyes on Lance’s face.

Lance’s soft whine of, “Keith …” went ignored.

Keith dropped to his elbows and tugged Lance’s lace panties off with his teeth. Then he sat back to study him, lying pliant and naked and endlessly brown against a backdrop of white blankets, until the staring started to smoulder in Lance’s belly and he wriggled shyly against it. Only then did Keith duck his head to begin brushing kisses up and down Lance’s body. His trembling belly was first, followed by the swell of either hipbone, and ending at the delicate skin of his inner thighs.

“Yes, there,” Lance moaned, panting pathetically and hanging on by fistfuls of Keith’s sheets.

“And what about now, Lance?” Keith whispered, taking Lance’s neglected cock in hand and stroking it. He bestowed a soft kiss to the tip, his hot tongue tracing down the length to tease at Lance’s needy, tightly furled opening.

“Ohh,” Lance whined, lifting his hips for Keith. “More … please, I. Keith. I want it. Want you.”

That was when Keith tended to desert his line of questioning to apply himself to the task of bringing Lance off, sweaty and shouting in his big bed.

Their little ‘date night’ success rate soared after that. Then, like Keith’s greatest concerns had been assuaged and he now felt entitled to throw his money at Lance, the gifts stared to appear. Irregular at first, then quickly gaining speed.

Thick-paged notebooks with covers made of Italian leather began to arrive, for all of Lance’s wildest journaling needs. Montblanc ballpoints with gold-coated detailing. Vintage poetry books with embossed covers and gilt borders.

“Your teeth are chattering,” Keith said one week while they were out for donuts, casting a disapproving look over Lance’s threadbare denim jacket, and it didn’t escape Lance’s notice that a package containing a puffy, faux fur-trimmed parka appeared on his welcome mat exactly three days later, price scratched out in bleeding Sharpie.

Keith, the clever bastard, had everything sent to Lance’s doorstep sans return address so he could not refuse the finely wrapped parcels.

This was their worst and most recent standstill: Keith would not give Lance the rough fucking of his dreams and Lance would not accept Keith’s ludicrous gift-giving tendencies.

Keith gave in a manner calculated to draw as little attention as possible. He gave furtively, with hands hidden, like to do so cost him nothing. Getting him to admit to the mysterious packages was for those first few weeks as bad as pulling teeth. Then he catapulted right through chagrin and into shamelessness. Lance had to put his foot down eventually, his collection of presents got to be so large.

He was good at making Keith kind. Maybe too good. Now, Keith didn’t ever want to be mean, not even when Lance was asking for it. Now, he gave the occasional smile when photographed at public events, the corner of his mouth turned up into something almost charming. Editorials began to describe his demeanour as ‘dreamy’ and ‘vaguely romantic.’ Gone were descriptions of an ‘abrasive personality’ and ‘formidable mask.’ He answered questions about dating with, “No comment,” instead of the cursory, “There’s nothing to tell,” that he’d always given before.

That one had made a big splash in the groupchat at the time.

Bottom Text.

Mon, Nov 4 2:19 PM

Hunk 🔆

Interviewer: “So is it fair to say your foundation’s efforts lay primarily with climate justice at the moment?”

Kogane: “The Shirogane Foundation has fingers in more than one pie. That’s always been the case — and will continue to be the case, for as long as me and my Co-Chairs are alive. We prefer to split our attention. With a political landscape as flawed as America’s, there’s really no shortage of worthy causes. In other words, we’re good at multitasking.”

Interviewer: “And in terms of multitasking, would you say anything or anyone else is currently competing for your attention?”

Kogane: “Uh — how do you mean?”

Interviewer: “Well, we know there’s a lot on the horizon in the way of climate rollbacks — literally — but what about your personal horizons? What do you do with the energy you aren’t devoting to your activism? Are you currently dating? Is that something a CEO of your stature has time for or is it off the table completely?”

Kogane: [laughter] “Ah. Okay. In that case, no comment.”

Interviewer: “Oh? That sounds like quite the guilty admission to me.”

Kogane: “Not at all. No guilt here.”

Interviewer: “But an admission nonetheless —”

Kogane: “Anyway, to answer your question, climate justice is a definite contender for mine and my brother’s attention, particularly under our country’s current administration. I’m more than happy to discuss scientific setbacks posed by our President in more detail with you, if you like.”

DOTH MINE EYES DECEIVE ME?

DID KEITH JUST ADMIT TO DATING YOU BY REFUSING TO LIE ABOUT NOT DATING YOU?

YOU COULD HAVE JUST SENT THE STUPID LINK

Pidge 🚼

we all know you would not have clicked the link

....I’m sensitive to potential rickrolling....

Pidge 🚼

liar.

Hunk 🔆

HE’S IN LOVE WITH YOU! 😭❤️

THIS IS NOT A NICHOLAS SPARKS NOVEL STOP IT

Hunk 🔆

IT COULD BE

OPEN YOUR HEART TO MR. SPARKS, LANCE!

Pidge 🚼

yeah, open your heart to nicholas, lance.

YOU’RE BOTH READING INTO THINGS.

READ INTO NOVELS, NOT REAL LIFE.

Hunk 🔆

He said he has no guilt about dating you. What’s the opposite of guilt? Pride. Keith Kogane is proud to be dating Lance McClain. 2 + 2 = 4

FOR THE LAST TIME

WE AREN’T DATING AND THAT IS NOT HOW THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE WORKS

Hunk 🔆

You were the one who taught me it’s all in the subtext

Pidge 🚼

he’s right you did teach him that

I’ve created a pair of monsters...

And look

I am NOT dating Keith, okay?

Hunk 🔆

Sounds like something someone who’s dating Keith would say.

.....

Pidge 🚼

we? literally have you on tape? sucking keith’s dick in the back of a hometown buffet??

STOP

THE FBI AGENT READING THIS IS GONNA THINK YOU’RE SERIOUS

I-I didn’t do that Mr. FBI Agent Sir 🥺👉🏽👈🏽

Or Ma’am

Or Tha’am

Pidge 🚼

why are you such a bottom

Leave me alone 😡

Hunk 🔆

You do realize you’ve been on, like, a billion dates with Keith, right?

Going on a date or two doesn’t mean we’re Dating capital D

We’re ........ seeing each other occasionally, sexing it up frequently

It’s a very casual thing, lowercase s

If Keith wanted something serious, he would make it known and he hasn’t, so

Make of that what you will

Pidge 🚼

you haven’t gone more than a few days without seeing him since august

i know this because we’ve endured approx. 6 study date cancellations with keith cited as the reason why

Hunk 🔆

And 4 normal date cancellations~

I’VE BEEN DICKMATIZED YOU GUYS KNOW THIS

YOU SHOULD BE TRYING TO SNAP ME OUT OF IT

HE’S CHANGING ME!!!!! OH NO!!!!!! I NO LONGER HAVE TIME FOR YOU GUYS!!!!

QUICK MAKE ME CUT TIES WITH HIM

Pidge 🚼

absolutely not i’ve never had more free time in my life

my productivity levels are through the roof and it’s all thanks to keith

you’re way less clingy when you’re getting wined and dined on the regular

.......................

Pidge 🚼

and you’re still the same irritating lance

you just sigh longingly during romcoms with miscommunication subplots more often now

Hunk 🔆

Yeah and you’ve stopped hissing and throwing almonds at me whenever I gush about Shay

Pidge 🚼

you changed your twitter location from Singleville to Getting It Avenue and you’re no longer using lyrics from halsey’s “bad at love” for your instagram captions

you’re always all bright and sunny after seeing him

you buy me frozen yogurt whenever i ask and i don’t even have to threaten to change your netflix password

i......think keith has actually made you more bearable to be around

Hunk 🔆

And hasn’t your test anxiety improved since meeting him? You’re always saying he brings you food and rubs your shoulders before a big midterm.

You guys are literally the WORST best friends in the world.

Hunk 🔆

DATING LANCE MAKES KEITH PROUD AND DATING KEITH MAKES LANCE HAPPY!!!

🥰🥰🥰🥰

I LOVE LOVE!

NO.

Pidge 🚼

sending keith a thank you fruit basket if he namedrops you during his next interview

STOP WE AREN’T DATING

HE COULD HAVE BEEN TALKING ABOUT ANYONE IN THAT ARTICLE

Hunk 🔆

Mystery Sweetheart Forcibly Drags Broody Bachelor Keith Kogane From His Shell Right Before Our Very Eyes

HUNK

Hunk 🔆

Shirogane Foundation CEO reveals how he bagged a college cutie –– says Lance McClain told him ‘his dick just hits different’

(Sources later confirmed his dick was hitting McClain’s heart.)

IM GONNA GFIGNFCKICK YOUNFM

Pidge 🚼

What Super Secret Hottie Has Thawed Seattle’s Coldest, Most Impenetrable Former Single From His Icy Tundra Of Solitude? Find Out This Week On TMZ.

THERE’S NO TMZ IN SEATTLE

Pidge 🚼

FIND OUT THIS WEEK IN THE SEATTLE TIMES

NO ONE READS THAT ANYMORE

Pidge 🚼

FIND OUT THIS WEEK ON MINE AND HUNK’S TWITTER ACCOUNTS

I’ll kill you

Hunk 🔆

Aaaanyways are we still doing lunch today?

Not to completely prove your point but

I’m gonna have to take a raincheck on lunch

Pidge 🚼

thank you for completely proving our point

I DIDN’T SAY IT WAS BC OF KEITH

Hunk 🔆

It’s bc of Keith isn’t it

Yeah 😇

I have a dick appointment to get to with the love doctor

He’s going to *** ** *** **** ** ****** after we finish Love Island

And I have a margherita pizza recipe I want to try out with him

Pidge 🚼😇

i beg of you please stop referring to keith as the love doctor

Sigh

It’s just

I have a vitamin C deficiency 😞

Hunk 🔆

Oh no :(

Are you okay?

Vitamin COCK

Pidge 🚼

i am going to strangle you with my bare hands

Hunk 🔆

😳

Pidge 🚼

you’re months out from receiving your english degree and this is how you choose to use it…

Me putting my English degree to good use: Spareth some cock, Keith?

Pidge 🚼

and shakespeare did weep.

Hunk 🔆

Actually, this is what Shakespeare would want, Pidge.

Pidge 🚼

😑

Me in fair Verona after spotting Keith at my family feast: I gage I am going to sucketh thy soul out through thy dick, good sir.

Pidge 🚼

for the love of god

Me after realizing the handsome masked man whose soul I was going to suck out through his dick actually belongs to the Montague household and is thus my mortal enemy: Sir, I wilt esc’rt thee and thy large cock from mine own party.

Hunk 🔆

Forbidden love 🥺💔

Pidge 🚼

this is the worst day of my life in recent memory

Things weren’t nearly as black and white as Hunk and Pidge made them out to be.

Though the nature of their relationship seemed obvious to some (read: Hunk and Pidge), Keith and Lance were still being pretty ambiguous about what it was they were. In the meantime, the media had begun to fill in the blanks themselves, producing potential suitors for Keith from a small but stylised group who hovered in and around Shirogane Foundation galas and events. Lance had yet to attend.

He did not volunteer Keith’s name during dating discussions at work and neither did Keith volunteer Lance’s during interrogations on his love life. Together, they were one big question mark.

Lance didn’t mind. Or, he pretended not to mind, anyway.

It wouldn’t be fair of him. He wasn’t rearranging Keith’s worldviews and leaving lasting marks on his psyche the way Keith was with Lance. All he’d done was round out a few of Keith’s more pointy corners. Just a bit. Just enough. When Lance found him, he’d had to pry Keith’s palms open and kiss them soft and new again. And now they were gentle things, dreamy and vaguely romantic and hot to the touch.

That was how he explained the greedy way Keith handled their relationship. Keith had never had something of this calibre. He would not loosen his grip on it, risk its destruction, or let the source of his pleasure go unthanked. So now he felt the need to repay Lance – for something Lance was doing voluntarily, he might add – in stupidly overpriced fine goods.

Again: tortured lover.

It was easy to insist he didn’t love this about Keith. But never before had Lance been handled like porcelain – tender, touch gentled for his benefit as well as his handler’s. And no one had ever lavished him so completely, like it brought them intense pleasure to please him. So while he put up the perfunctory fight, Keith’s gifts satisfied a secret, self-centred part of Lance. He recognised that he was deserving of lavishness even as it brought a blush to his face, even as he tried stubbornly to resist it.

It was the principle of the thing, lowercase t.

The standstill was less a fight and more a contest of wills. These things always were, between the two of them. He suspected Keith knew he was fighting a losing battle by refusing to give Lance the sex he wanted, just as Lance knew objecting to Keith’s generosity was futile. Tangling with a bull would require less effort when Keith was the same kind of stubborn as Lance.

Lance loved that too, secretly and selfishly as he pretended not to love Keith’s gifts.

He loved having someone to fight for and with him. He loved Keith’s scowls and smiles by turns. He loved the distrustful jut of his chin that melted away when Lance got him someplace alone, just the two of them. He loved listening in when Keith’s brother phoned him to let him know for the umpteenth time that personal drivers and company cars were a matter of professionalism and convenience and no, he was not allowed to commute to fundraising benefits on public transport. Lance especially loved getting to ogle his sort-of-boyfriend-slash-sex-partner-let’s-not-label-it in crisp, three-piece suits.

That was just it.

Lance was in love with Keith.

He was in love with Keith and only delaying his own devastation by pretending he wasn’t.

ACT III: Me, gesturing towards my life: Thoughts? Shakespeare: And prayers.

Thursday, 11:58 AM

 

Shirogane Foundation HQ was a soaring high-rise cut from metal and glass.

The place was huge and homely in spite of its modern stylings. Warm toned marble lobby, amenities within arm’s reach, espresso machines and plush couches piled high with pillows and executive desks manned by a couple of sharp-looking employees. Of the available slate, Romelle, Keith’s clerical right hand, seemed the most trustworthy. Lance couldn’t decide if it was the accent or the twinkling eyes.

He caught her stringing garlands of red flowers from the crown molding when he ducked through the automatic doors with snow melting in his hair, Starbucks coffee and thermos of green tea in hand. He was waylaid by a single bored-looking security guard, who nodded him through the metal detectors when Romelle caught sight of Lance and motioned him in.

“Lance!” she hollered, waving enthusiastically from her precarious perch on a five foot ladder. “Here to surprise Keith, right? So romantic! He’s out at Canlis for an early lunch with a few potential benefactors at the moment! Big money on the line today for vaccine development in the Global South!”

Lance braced for a harrying next few minutes. “Hi, Romelle. Does Keith have you on DIY duty, or … ?”

“Shiro, actually!” she chirped, carefully descending the steel steps of her ladder. “He says we need to make an effort to brighten the place up while Keith is on doom and gloom mode or our donors will start dropping like flies.”

Lance’s brow creased. “Keith is on doom and gloom mode?”

“Since you’ve been away in Cuba, yes,” Romelle divulged in a conspiratorial whisper. At the bug-eyed look on Lance’s face, she threw on a dazzling smile. “His fuse is shorter than ever and we’re lucky to go ten minutes without him snapping at someone! Allura’s started a CEO Corruption Jar for every time he acts out without justification! We’re up to $443.72 so far. But don’t worry, no one blames you!”

“Four hundred …” Lance parroted, feeling faint. “In the ten days since I’ve been gone …”

“I don’t think anyone realised what a positive influence you had on him until you went away on your little holiday. Then ... WHAM!” – Lance winced as Romelle made a furious chopping gesture with her perfectly manicured hands – “Grumpy robot Keith is back and better than ever. The whole work environment was thrown into chaos. Bit of a family altercation in the breakroom on Tuesday because of it.”

“He sounded just fine on the phone …” Lance whispered, vaguely horrified.

“I don’t think I’ve heard a genuine laugh from him in the last week outside of his phone calls with you,” Romelle gushed. “It’s so lovely that you two are dating. You really bring out the best in one another!”

“Oh, we’re not …” Lance trailed off as Romelle spun on her foot, walking backwards, and peered curiously at him. “I mean, thank you. I’m excited to see him.”

“As I’m sure he is to see you,” she said, eyes crinkling. “Right this way. His office will be on the thirtieth floor.”

“And you’re sure this is okay?” Lance double-checked. “I’m not breaking any laws or … like, risking Keith’s career by being here?”

Romelle gave a tinkling little laugh at this. “Positive. Keith makes most of the rules around here, silly. The only people powerful enough to punish him are his Board of Directors – that would be Shiro and Allura’s little troop – and they’re taking a sick week while Keith is on the warpath. They’ll be back Monday.”

“Ah,” Lance said, scratching at his ear. “I see.”

“Not to worry, love,” Romelle said cheerfully, click-clacking her way over to the elevators in stilettos sharp enough to maim. “You’re one of three people authorized to be in his office when he’s not here.”

“Oh,” Lance said, wide-eyed. He hitched his bag up his shoulder, nervous.

Romelle pressed the UP button to hail an elevator and hummed, fixing a flyaway.

“So who decides that?”

“Hm?” She looked up. “Keith, of course. With his permission, emergency contacts are allowed entry into his office at any point in time. That would be you, Shiro, and Allura. It’s a failsafe designed to circumvent catastrophe in the event that he’s indisposed and needs something from his office. Typically, he sends someone in that he trusts implicitly. He had me add you to his list around four months ago.”

“Oh,” Lance mumbled, wonderstruck. “I’m on his list ...”

Romelle looked at him funny. “Why wouldn’t you be?”

“Just thinking out loud,” he muttered, hastily stepping inside their empty elevator as it arrived.

“I’m almost tempted to rush him over here,” she said, following Lance in and pressing the button for floor thirty. “The sooner he sees you, the sooner he’s back to normal and we can all go back to working in harmony.”

Lance gave himself a minute to take that in. The irreality of the claim seemed too immense to overcome. That Keith had a ‘doom and gloom’ setting and Lance’s presence precluded it from surfacing. It sounded so ludicrous that he discarded the idea at once.

“I can’t believe he works Thanksgiving,” he broke out, needing to hear a second opinion on the matter.

“He’s not supposed to. Shiro has made it clear it’s a company-wide day off. And for the last few years, he hasn’t. But …” Romelle itched at the edge of her glossed mouth. “Well, I think he prefers working to thinking about you being gone.”

Lance felt abnormally flushed. He covered it up by pretending to inspect the elevator’s metal railing.

“He must love you quite a lot,” Romelle said, her voice softening.

“We haven’t really discussed it,” Lance said hurriedly, practically sprinting out of the elevator as soon as it gave a quiet ping and its doors parted.

“Wrong way!” Romelle called and Lance made an abrupt U-turn, turning to follow her down the quiet, carpeted hallway. “Right this way. Feel free to adjust his thermostat if you like. He tends to keep his office on the cooler side. There’s an en suite bathroom attached, blankets and pillows are kept in the closet, and if you start feeling peckish, this floor’s breakroom is just across the hall. We keep it well-stocked.”

“Must be a pretty big office if he has a …” Lance’s words dried up in his throat as Romelle unlocked Keith’s door with a key attached to the lanyard she wore around her throat.

She twisted the brass knob and gave a light shove, waving Lance inside. He stepped into the huge, window-lit room on numb legs.

It was a regal affair made up of rich reds and dark wood. The room was home to a selection of old, clashing furniture lifted from flea markets or foreclosed warehouses, by the looks of their quality – fraying, gently worn. An executive desk in one corner, a midcentury wardrobe in another, towering bookshelves and glass cases displaying company commendations. A beautifully upholstered loveseat had been pushed against the far wall, the same swirling brown as the cherry wood walls surrounding Lance.

“Wow,” he breathed, brushing a finger over the mahogany of Keith’s massive desk.

He wandered over to the windows, sweeping a hand across the loveseat’s velvet-lined cushions. It was altogether impossible not to imagine Keith spread out over that dark material, inky eyes watching Lance through his shaggy fringe. Lance imagined pushing the hair back from his forehead, fingering his thick eyebrows. Tugging on his lower lip and leaning down to kiss him.

Romelle was watching him take it all in, a curious little half-smile lifting the corners of her lips. “Well, I’ll leave you to it,” she murmured, like she could sense that Lance’s fascination with the space was too intimate for her eyes. Not suitable for strangers. “Shoot me a message if you need anything at all. I’ll try to warn you before Keith gets in.”

“Thank you, seriously,” Lance said.

“My pleasure,” she said, bowing gracefully, and slipped from the office, shutting the door behind herself with a soft click.

Lance unraveled his scarf, wound it from a hook in Keith’s wardrobe, and toed his sneakers off. His gloves he was more reluctant to part with while the room still felt chilled. He fiddled with the thermostat until a vent nearby breathed to life, pouring hot air into the room. He plopped into Keith’s chair – executive, ergonomic, upholstered with glossy leather – and spun in a slow circle, a sudden rush of shame flowing through him. It felt like he was breaking a rule or disrupting the balance of the universe by being here without Keith’s knowledge. For a moment, the sensation made his skin crawl uncomfortably.

He occupied himself by inspecting what was visible of Keith’s immense desk. Fingered a thin film of dust collecting near the wood’s edge. Picked through his pens and tested the strength of their ink against his inner wrists, ruling out and tossing into the trash the two who had none left. When he’d held every last paperclip to the light and refilled Keith’s stapler, Lance tugged his book bag into his lap and dug through it until he’d found and unlocked his phone.

He needed to dispel some nervous energy.

Pidge 🚼

Thursday 12:10 PM

I’m at Keith’s place of employment.

My sexy, sexy plan is in motion.

Idiot.

Call me.

Lance ambled up to Keith’s wall of windows while he dialed Pidge’s number. He removed his gloves to smudge a fingerprint over the Space Needle rising up from the ground in the far distance, then rubbed it away. He was doodling little hearts into the fog he’d breathed against the glass when the call connected.

“You’re there? Did you snoop through his things yet?” she demanded. “Where is he?”

“Yes, no, give me some credit, and according to Romelle, he’s at some restaurant called Canlis for lunch,” Lance answered. “He should be back within the hour and then I expect to have my brains fucked out against these giant windows. Rest assured … by afternoon’s end, all of Seattle will know about the mole on my butt.”

“Spare me the gory details, thanks,” Pidge said drolly.

Lance huffed, tracing the horizon with his finger. “I’m just … woo. Pregame jitters, y’know?”

“That’s normal,” she assured. “I know you’re still trying to play this off as some elaborate ploy for sex … and not that I don’t want to indulge you, but … you came home from Cuba three days early, Lance. Cuba, your favourite place on Earth after Bed Bath & Beyond.”

“I love their candle selection,” Lance whispered to himself.

“You love him. You should tell him that.”

“And I will,” Lance said, then added: “... With my body.”

Pidge groaned. “No, idiot. Use your words.”

“That’s much harder than you’re making it sound.”

“You’re an English major. If anyone here is qualified to use their words in the name of seduction, it’s you.”

Lance sighed long-sufferingly. “It’s not that simple.”

“Why not?” Pidge demanded. “Why can’t we bypass all the complicated human bullshit and just … embrace our inner truths?”

“Because humans are complicated creatures prone to lying and bullshit,” Lance murmured.

“Lance,” Pidge said, suddenly soft and careful. “What’s got you so worried?”

Lance shrugged, though he knew she couldn’t see it. “I just wonder … whether I’m someone he genuinely enjoys being around or …”

“Or?”

“If he feels obligated to me. It’s worse if it’s just a matter of convenience for him,” Lance confessed, the ache in him rising. He pressed his forehead to the glass and swallowed as he gave voice to his swirling doubts.

“By which you mean …”

“I mean … he wants me around because he’s lonely and starved of human contact and I’m readily available and easy and I give him the sex and smiles he didn’t know he needed,” Lance said in one breath. “‘Cause, see, it’s not a matter of convenience for me. In fact, it’s really inconvenient. His place is a thirty minute drive from mine and he never has the time to come to mine so I’m usually hanging out at his and he distracts me from my schoolwork and my shifts at the library and makes my head all wonky and keeps me up at night with his dark eyes and stupid mouth.”

“So what do you gain?”

“What?” Lance asked.

“If it’s inconvenient for you, what do you gain by seeing him? Nothing?”

“No, I – a lot,” Lance whispered grudgingly.

“He makes you –”

“Warm.”

“Warm,” Pidge echoed.

“He makes me feel warm and safe and happy,” Lance confided, whisper-soft. “Loved, sometimes, maybe. I don’t know.”

“Okay,” Pidge ventured. “Do you want to hear what I think?”

“Obviously,” Lance said impatiently. “That’s why I enlisted your stupid, psychoanalytic help, Freud.”

“Don’t insult me. Freud was a disgrace to the practice.”

Lance attempted a smile.

“I think …” Pidge made a noise of contemplation, as if weighing her next words. “Lance … I don’t think there’s anything convenient about you.”

“... I’m trying to decide if I should take offense to that.”

“You’re high maintenance, for one thing.”

“Oh, I am not! I’m perfectly fine eating at –”

“I don’t mean financially. I mean, emotionally, you require constant attention, validation, compliments …”

“All right –”

“Being with you romantically,” Pidge went on, “I imagine is not unlike having to take care of a puppy.”

“Okay –”

“Lots of slobber, constant carrying, cuddling, belly rubs, wanting to sit in your owner’s lap all the time, needing to be the centre of their world, waiting at the door for them to get home, demanding frequent walks …”

“... I think you’ve made your point.”

“You’re not exactly of Keith’s social standing, either. You’re bottom rung and he is very, very top tier. That’s not to say he’s shallow or even the least bit concerned with social strata. But it is something to consider.”

“Now you’re just being rude,” Lance grumbled.

“Don’t you get what that means, though?” Pidge pressed, emotion flooding her voice. “This man is going out of his way to be with you.”

“... Trying and failing to follow your logic.”

“Look, it’s not just inconvenient for you, you self-absorbed loser.”

Lance frowned around the finger in his mouth, nibbling nervously.

“Let’s you and I suspend our disbelief for a second here. Imagine being a wealthy, moralistic CEO with philanthropic aspirations. You run into an infuriating college student during a quick stop for your morning coffee, maybe you briefly consider acting on your attraction to him in some substantial way. In a way that is more serious than just sex. Except he destroys any opportunity you might have of doing just that by initiating sexual intercourse with you and making things extremely awkward. But – fuck it. The attraction is there. Undeniably so. That much is understood by the both of you. So you bite. Then you think: okay, I’ll never see him again, it’s fine. Only it turns out you do. And instead of walking away like any sane person with a working head would, you go back for more.

“And you keep going back. You don’t know how to rewind things – back to the old romance rituals you understand, on some level, are necessary when beginning real relationships – and you think it’s too late by now. That this college kid doesn’t want romance, anyway, or he would have said so, would have made his intentions or desires clear at some point along the way, so you keep your mouth shut in case you ruin the dynamic altogether and lose his company. You are making a deliberate effort to carve out time for him in your otherwise busy schedule, your reputation as a professional and an activist is at risk because of it, and you could have anyone, let’s be honest.

“Certainly, you could have someone more convenient: a donor, perhaps, a friend of a donor, someone who already exists in your sphere, someone who matches or tops your wealth and prestige, who you wouldn’t have to worry is with you for any ulterior motives, someone the media would coddle, someone who would help grow your company’s reputation, who you wouldn’t have to vet or test out or struggle to introduce to your world. Instead, you take a gamble on an English major with no real professional reputation to speak of.

“You know next to nothing about him, this strange, angry academic – a wild card, if you will – who, ostensibly, decided he detested you at first glance, threw his coffee on you within five minutes of meeting you, and who has established himself as stubborn, loudmouthed, and ornery as hell. He will not understand your world. Guaranteed: your world will never understand him, or your choice in him. He could use you, betray you, gawp at you and run for the hills when you tell him about the nature of your life. Your world could destroy him. Could take what you have and chew it into tiny pieces. But ... you are compelled to be with him. Fate could not have created a more inconvenient love interest for you if it tried. And yet you continue to seek him out. Tell me what about that is convenient for Keith Kogane of the Shirogane Foundation, Lance.”

“I …” Lance said, staring dumbly at the Seattle skyline behind a curtain of fog and flakes of snow.

Rays of sunshine fell over the jungle of dark gray. They were weak and watery, filtered down dull, unflattering. If he squinted, he could sense the onset of winter hovering nearby. Somewhere, beyond the maze of snowy skyscrapers and afternoon traffic, Keith sat eating with a group of men more powerful than Lance could ever hope to comprehend. Somewhere, he was attempting to secure hundreds of thousands of dollars in the name of global health.

Lance hadn’t quite grasped the full extent of his own insignificance until this moment. The acknowledgement felt freeing somehow.

He was small and simple and still Keith wanted him. Enough to be with him and to stay with him, even if they hadn’t defined fully the terms or nature of their relationship. And that, really, was all Lance needed. Even if he couldn’t muster the courage to ask for the official sign-off from Keith, he wanted to preserve what they had, to maintain it like a well-tended houseplant, to see where it could take them. He wanted whatever ground Keith would give him.

It was enough for Lance to be desired by someone so deeply good.

“I didn’t really think of it like that,” Lance admitted.

“No, I imagine you didn’t,” Pidge said, with a fond sigh. “And I’m not saying you’re not worth the inconvenience. Clearly, you are. Clearly, Keith is getting more reward than risk out of your dynamic. That’s why he’s still here. He sees something special in you.”

Lance licked his lips, heart pounding a tattoo into his ribs. “Um ...”

“You are the biggest dumbass I have ever known,” Pidge said, not unkindly. “Is that why it’s never occurred to you that this man might be just as hopelessly gone on you as you are on him?”

Lance’s next exhale came out shaky. “Don’t say –”

“Love?” Pidge prompted. “My friend …”

“Pidge,” Lance warned. “Don’t.”

“My eyesight is far from adept, but I can say with absolute certainty that Keith is in love with you.”

Lance pinched the bridge of his nose between thumb and forefinger. “He can’t be. All right? It’s not … no. I’ve already decided, Pidge, that this is enough. Just … being with him, that’s what I want. I don’t need an ‘I love you’ or ‘will you be my boyfriend?’ to be happy, okay, so don’t go getting my hopes up right after I’ve wrangled them into the dirt.”

“What are you so scared of?” she whispered.

“What I’m always so scared of,” Lance whispered back, with all the anguish of a student accustomed to failure. “Being wrong.”

“Didn’t anyone ever tell you?” Pidge murmured. “There’s no such thing as stupid questions.”

“What are you saying?”

“Ask and ye shall receive.”

Lance snorted, revolted by the idea. “Ugh.”

“You’re a student. You should know by now. The only way to know is to ask.”

“Nothing could be more humiliating.”

“Nothing? Are you sure about that? Dating someone for the last four months while refusing to call it dating because both parties are too terrified by the possibility that the other doesn’t want to date them back? Would that not be ten times as humiliating? One hundred, even?”

“Okay, all right, you’ve made your point.”

“You’re welcome. You can credit me at your wedding.”

“That is not happ –”

Click.

“Did you just – she just hung up on me,” he muttered into his phone, incensed.

Pidge just hung up on me, Lance texted Hunk with what he felt was a reasonable amount of incredulity.

Something tells me you deserved it.

Excuse me!

Does this have anything to do with Keith?

I don’t see how that is at all pertinent

Answer the question, buckaroo.

............Maybe...........

Lance. The guy is head over heels for you.

Are you and Pidge conspiring against me or what?

We conspire with love! <3

Good luck seducing your soulmate!

There they went, putting pretty ideas into Lance’s head. Unrealistic ideas. Ideas he would not touch with a ten foot pole, even to sweep them from the vicinity.

With a sigh of annoyance, Lance shut off his phone and tossed it onto Keith’s desk. Playing the waiting game for the next thirty to forty minutes was bound to be agony, but sulking about it wouldn’t make time magically move faster. He went back to playing with Keith’s paperclips while twirling in circles in his chair, which held his attention for exactly two minutes and thirty seven seconds, according to the time display on his phone when he next checked it.

He set it down with a huff. Picked it back up a moment later. Still 12:27 PM.

“Fuck,” he muttered.

He lowered the thermostat temperature when his knit sweater started getting scratchy. He sipped from his now-cold coffee and grew progressively jittery because of it. He turned the parallel lines of ink on his wrists into doodles of little Seattle skyscrapers. He watched the snow come down harder and thicker through the windows and then proceeded to fret over a hypothetical which involved Keith getting ambushed by an unexpected snowstorm on his way back to work, foiling Lance’s perfect sexy plans and turning Keith into a blue-lipped icicle requiring immediate hospitalisation.

Keith ❤️

Thursday 12:35 PM

Are you almost done

I’m fine

Just lying here

Being naked and horny

All alone

Without you

My weather app says it’s snowing in Seattle

Are you wearing a coat

Pls don’t get hypothermia you have to make me come very soon :(

You’re cute

Keith :(((

Yes, I’m wearing a coat

And that scarf you knitted me

Good :) <3

My weather app says it’s sunny in Varadero what are you wearing

Ha ha ha

Nice try

I promise not everyone is as vulnerable to hypothermia as you

I know but if you have blue lips when I get back I can’t kiss you

I’m just thinking ahead

That would be ill-advised, yes

Something tells me you’d still find a way

There are other places to be kissed of course

Lance

Yes?

Have you come yet

No I’m waiting for you like you told me to >:(

Good

You’re being so good today

And so verrrryyyy tempted to be bad

Let’s hold off until you’re back in Seattle

Keith didn’t know what he was asking. Lance stretched out in his office chair with an air of unseen power and laughed into the silence of the empty office.

Why are we texting without punctuation

You started it

I’M HORNY

SO AM I

That surprised laughter out of Lance.

WELL WHY ARE YOU TEXTING ME ABOUT IT YOU’RE MEANT TO BE AT LUNCH

To be honest I’m about five seconds away from making an excuse and begging off

The smile fell from Lance’s face.

Wait

Keith no

Don’t let me distract you from your work

Too late

🙁🙁

I’m sorry

I’ll go

No

Don’t apologize

I wanted to be distracted

Already got what I came for

We’re just finishing up our food and killing time now

Oh

OK

OK

OKAY!!!

OKAY??

DON’T DIE ON YOUR WAY BACK YOU HAVE TO MAKE ME COME

I’ll do my absolute best

💘

Sit tight. Call u soon.

Talking to Pidge had eased the tension broiling in Lance, even if only slightly. Talking to Keith did the opposite. Lance’s nerves felt heightened now, a giddy sense of anticipation building in his belly. He spent a wild-eyed five minutes pacing the length of the office, trying to chase away a sudden bout of anxiety, then threw himself onto Keith’s couch. He attempted a catnap. When that idea inevitably failed, he opened the door to Keith’s office and poked his head into the hall like a child sneaking a peek at the Christmas tree past bedtime. He listened in for voices or nearing footsteps, someone to catch him in the act. None came.

The thirtieth floor was eerily empty, no sounds penetrating beyond the wind’s distant whistle through the windows. Lance supposed that made sense given that today was a company-wide day off and the only employees he’d glimpsed on his way in had been the couple receptionists working overtime hours on the first floor.

Which meant he had free rein over the breakroom inventory.

Lance padded quietly from Keith’s office in his fuzzy socks. He peeked inside the breakroom, eyes growing wide. There were two stainless steel fridges, a row of coffee machines with a flavour assortment fit for a full-blown coffeeshop, and a pantry stuffed to the brim. It was a college kid’s wet dream in here.

Lance killed a good ten minutes excitedly picking through the spread. By the time he felt satisfied with his haul, his arms were loaded with chips, granola bars, chocolate-covered pretzels, and an unsteady stack of instant ramen cups. The latter he would take home and ration over the next few weeks.

The happiness he felt over his new snacks was so intense it eclipsed all of Lance’s anxiety.

Chocolate had the miraculous effect of soothing him into stillness. A hush fell over Lance as he popped the top off the thermos of green tea he’d brought along with him and dug into his pretzel stash. The rest of his stolen goods he’d stuffed into his book bag. It was huge and bulky now, distended awkwardly at the sides where the packaging was poking into the canvas material. Some part of him attempted to feel guilty about taking so much, then failed.

He’d taken from a corporate breakroom. The food wouldn’t go missed, there’d been so much of it, and he was sure the company budget far surpassed Lance’s monthly grocery allotment, so. Fair’s fair.

Lance gave a private laugh and kicked his socked feet up onto Keith’s desk. He untangled his earphones and crammed them into his ears, putting on a low-fi playlist to fill the silence. From there, it was smooth sailing. He’d packed a few books he needed to brush up on before break’s end and was marking them up with an orange highlighter when the doorknob jiggled forcefully.

The door swung open.

Keith walked in as Lance was doggedly plodding his way through Petrach’s sonnets for a refresher. He glanced up from “Sonnet 131” – I’d sing of Love in such a novel fashion – then did a double-take.

There, a few feet away: Keith, made flesh. All six feet, two inches of him, wide in the shoulders, his profile sharp and ferocious and jutting. Keith was angular like a gladiator, had the sort of face that made strangers break out in a sweat if they didn’t know and love him. He was terrifying up close, almost obscenely handsome, no effort expended.

There was something about him … something harsh and disheveled that had hooked Lance within moments of meeting Keith.

He stalked straight for his wardrobe, not sparing Lance a glance where he was cloistered away in the far corner of the room. He raked a hand through his long, snow-damp hair and threw a look out his windows, brows drawn in. His mind was elsewhere – worlds away from Lance, sitting all of ten feet away. Keith’s mouth was moving quickly, speaking indistinctly into his phone. Lance couldn’t hear what he was saying over the low-fi music in his ear.

He couldn’t believe his luck. He hit pause on his music and tugged his earphones free, jaw slack. Gooseflesh bloomed up and down his arms through his knit sweater. Keith hadn’t spotted him. He didn’t know Lance was lying in wait and it was the fault of his own office’s layout. Fate was a beautiful, gracious creature and Lance was reaping from her what he could.

“Yeah, I’m – I will look over the Board Resolution when I get the chance, Allura, as I have said for the last five minutes, yes, I just got back from lunch with Nikolai Orlov and company, in case you were wondering,” Keith said into his phone. He yanked his wardrobe open and set his phone down on its topmost shelf, speaker on.

“You’re snapping at me,” she said in her crisp accent, sounding reproachful.

“Why does everyone think I’m snapping at them – I am not snapping at people,” Keith snapped.

“There you go again,” she said. “That’s five pounds to the jar.”

Keith yanked at his tie, shoulders bunched, and scrubbed harder at his wet hair, mussing it gorgeously. Lance was barely restraining himself from tackling him to the ground, feet hooked hard under his desk. He found that Keith was, in fact, wearing the scarf Lance had knitted him, which he carefully unwound from his throat and hung next to a few articles of dark, starched clothing zipped away in garment bags.

And also Lance’s fringed scarf, oh shitting fuck.

“That’s five dollars, not pounds,” Keith retorted hotly. “We’re not all operating out of Central London at the moment.”

“You’re lucky I’m out of country or I’d wring your neck,” Allura said blithely. “And I meant what I said. Five pounds. Do the math. That’s six dollars, thirty three cents for you.”

“You are extremely aggravating. There you go. Happy?” Keith said, digging through his pockets for spare change and coming up with a fistful of crumpled bills and jangling coins from the depths of his dark slacks. He loudly deposited his findings on the shelf of his wardrobe, coins clattering everywhere. “Did you leave a scarf here? I thought I told you to stop shedding all over my office during your visits.”

“Right, because Lance is easily provoked and thinks we’re shagging.”

“Not currently,” Keith corrected. “He thought that for about five minutes. I set the record straight pretty quickly.”

“No, I did not leave a scarf in your office, they are currently out of fashion, thank you very much,” she said haughtily. “Your amusement over your lover’s misconceptions about us is extremely distressing, to say the least.”

“It was funny,” Keith said, “given that my attraction to you is about equal to my attraction to porcupines.”

“Likewise,” Allura said, deadpan.

Keith snorted a laugh. “If we’re done here?”

“Now wait just a moment,” she said, suspicion lacing her tone. “What are you so antsy about? That eager to review the document I emailed to you, is that right? Because I can read it out for you, if you like, I have it right here with me. ‘Now therefore, be it resolved that the Board of Directors of the Shirogane Foundation hereby authorizes Chief Executive Officer Keith Kogane to act on behalf of the Shirogane Foundation in entering into any agreement with Nikolai Orlov; and to sign for and perform any and all responsibilities in relation to such an agreement –”

“Allura,” Keith said and ripped his suit jacket off. “With all due respect, none of your business.”

“What you do with the company is, in fact, my business,” Allura informed him. “Even on the days when you should not be working.”

“I’m not going to be doing it with the company, but I’ll keep that offer in mind,” Keith said dryly.

An uncomprehending silence arose.

And then, astonishingly:

Allura gasped, horror-struck, as it all fell into place. “Are you – with Lance … ?”

“Bye, Allura,” Keith said.

“Are you running off to have a wank with your overseas English major!” Allura shouted into the phone.

“Goodbye, Allura,” Keith said.

“Three days, Keith!” she said, shrill and scandalised. “You can’t wait three more days? We are all counting down with you, I promise. I mean, really. If this is what love does to you, then I hope for my sake as well as Shiro’s –”

“Nope,” Keith said, and hung up the phone.

Then he made an irritated noise into the quiet of the office and thunked his head against his wardrobe’s wooden door. He stood there, tall and brooding and beautiful, for a long, ear-ringing moment. Lance sat back in his chair, softly stunned, and watched it all unfold like a voyeur. He was seeing something he shouldn’t. He couldn’t look away.

“... Lance,” Keith muttered suddenly, like he’d just remembered himself, and he reached for his phone, his head hanging between his shoulders. They were no longer bunched as they’d been during his phone call with Allura; now, they were drawn up high and tense and morose. He dialed and pressed his phone to his ear, silently waiting for Lance to pick up.

Lance glanced down at his phone, screen lit up with Keith’s contact photo. He picked up the call, yanked his earphone jack out, then brought the phone up to his ear, waiting. Watching. Blood pounded through him like poison. Lance felt light-headed and half-ready to collapse. He felt seconds away from tasting Keith.

The call connected.

“Hey,” said two layers of Keith’s voice, one made tinny by his cellphone mic, the other the real, authentic thing, deep and dark and lovely. “I – what are you doing? Are you alone?”

“No, sorry,” Lance said into his phone. “I’m stuck in this office with a very hot piece of ass.”

Lance swore he could have heard a pin drop, except that Keith gave him no chance to, his reflexes and reaction times too fast.

In a flash, he had swung around, his footsteps faltering at what he found waiting for him. Lance, lounging in his leather chair, long legs propped up on his desk and crossed elegantly at the ankles. He was in leggings and fuzzy Target socks. A poetry book and a bag of chocolate-covered pretzels were open over his lap. Lance capped his highlighter with a snap and tilted his head into his open palm, watching Keith watch him back.

There was something sinful and striking about him in a three-piece charcoal suit, dark jacket discarded, tight, fitted vest clinging to his torso in his white button-down. The ensemble was severely tailored, hugging him in all the right places. His shoulders were huge, his jaw sharp as a blade. Lance felt his heart flip over at the full sight of him.

“Hi,” he whispered into the phone.

“You,” said two Keiths. He dropped the arm holding his phone, let it swing uselessly at his thigh.

His eyes were dark and dousing, like running naked through a midnight storm. Lance had never been looked at so intently in his life. Like Keith wanted to swallow him whole. Like he wanted to ruin Lance, then make him whole again.

“Me,” he said back, and hung up their call.

Keith’s eyebrows twitched, too confused to do the leap that would complete the full furrow Lance so loved. “What – am I dreaming … ?”

Lance arched an eyebrow. “Do I feature heavily in your dreams?”

“Yes,” Keith answered immediately, sounding affronted about it.

Lance hadn’t expected that. He blinked at Keith, cheeks colouring a hot pink.

This, it seemed, was enough to convince Keith of the reality of the moment. He took a heavy, lurching step forward, at odds with how graceful and light on his feet he normally was. Something flashed across his features. It looked like restraint, or resolve. Like settling on a new course of action.

Lance was not privy to Keith’s new course of action.

Keith dropped his phone with a thud and pressed his lips into a thin flat line, barely holding himself back. He reached down to begin undoing his cufflinks, long, deft fingers working quickly at the brass.

“What are you doing here?” he said, regarding Lance from across the room with a dangerous glint to his eyes.

Lance watched him drop the cufflinks to the floor, gleaming gold against the carpet. A nervous laugh burst from his throat, high and titillating.

“Um, I flew home early,” he said, tensing in his chair as Keith rolled his sleeves up to his elbows and resumed his hunt, stalking forward on quick, confident feet. His surprise had vanished just as quick as it came. He was back to the Keith Lance knew, sharp and competent and surefooted. “I wanted to surprise you for Thanksgiving. I know you hate the holiday and – well, obviously I wanted to come back as soon as possible because I, um, I –”

“What am I going to do with you?” Keith murmured.

“You could start with –”

Keith dragged his chair forward by its armrests and fell upon Lance, big and mean and menacing. Lance’s lips parted on his surprise, words cutting off. Keith sealed their mouths together. Lance wouldn’t have fought him even if he wanted to. He did not want to. He gasped, reaching desperately for Keith and finding hard, hot muscle under his fingertips, endless planes of it. Lance clawed, wishing he could feel it without the interruption of ironed cotton. He tried unsuccessfully to drag Keith closer.

Keith bent lower to satisfy him, awkward and hunched, his bulk shadowing Lance. It made something sweet and fluttery flower in Lance’s belly.

He felt the brush of Keith’s tongue in his mouth and moaned, hips jerking forward. Furious heat swallowed him, his cock hardening rapidly between his thighs. He took Keith’s kisses like he was made for them – hard and deep and savage things.

It was so easy, instinct almost, to melt against him, to let his guard down, to lay himself at Keith’s metaphorical feet. That, of course, was when he felt himself lifted into the air. Their kiss broke, mouths separating with a soft, wet noise. Lance yelped, clutching disoriented at Keith’s shoulders as his world surged strangely around him.

“Keith ...” he said, mouth wet and stinging.

Keith ignored him. He held Lance against his chest one-handed, an arm wrapped securely around his midsection. Using his free hand, he swept the contents from the surface of his desk without a word about it.

Lance watched all manner of office implements go crashing to the ground, papers and pens and the stapler he’d just refilled, all of it plummeting. His heart beat a mad rhythm against his chest. That was going to be hell to clean up and reorganise later.

“Oh my god,” he whispered, flabbergasted. “Oh my god, I thought people only did that in the movies to make sex sexier – Keith –”

Keith lowered and pinned Lance to the flat of his desk with a dark, indecipherable noise, descending hot and insistent from above. Lance went down without protest. He felt swallowed, winded, wounded. The force, the momentum maybe, something about the unexpectedness of wood against his back, forced the breath from him. He sprawled out beneath Keith, legs spreading open, and tugged him forward with his calves.

“My pretzels,” Lance whined despairingly.

They’d fallen somewhere, at some point, lost forever. Keith and Lance had a habit of breaking and losing things during sex.

Keith ignored this, as he had most of what Lance had to say thus far. He shoved his head under Lance’s oversized knit sweater, the wool bulging hilariously around him, and helped himself to Lance’s chest. He fastened his mouth to the first nipple he found and tugged hard at Lance’s sensitive areola, teeth out and scraping over skin. It sent bolts of pleasure to Lance’s pointed little buds. A piercing keen came from his throat. He hadn’t known he could sound like that.

Jesus … he sounded like that. Like he was two seconds from coming.

Oh my god, Lance thought, I am two seconds from coming, aren’t I?

He felt Keith tongue at his other nipple, drawing it out of hiding, hard and needy and beaded. That pleased Keith, it appeared, because he made a sound like a growl and thrust a hand up Lance’s sweater along with his head. He squeezed at Lance’s chest, the soft, flat mounds of his nipples, flicking and kneading at them until they were hot and swollen. His hands – callused, unforgiving – gave Lance no quarter. They felt so fucking good against his skin. Fuck.

Lance tried to squeeze his legs closed, then remembered Keith was wedged between them. They clamped shut around Keith’s waist as he latched onto Lance’s left nipple with his mouth and pinched at the right, rolling the tight peaks between fingers and teeth. Lance cried out, fighting the hot pulse of his erection. Keith was hard, now, too. Hard and hot and huge, pressed tantalisingly to the inseam of Lance’s left thigh.

“K-Keith, oh my god,” Lance gasped. He had Keith’s ducked head to contend with, but his focus was shit. “Quit it, get – get back here … I … I wanna see you … oh, fuck … oh my fucking ...” His eyes were glistening with tears, he could feel them clumping his lashes. He could feel – oh holy shit – Keith rutting between his thighs, lost to sensation and desire, his cock sliding over Lance’s hip again and again, it was so big. Lance was seconds from coming, catapulted to the edge of his pleasure just like that. His voice broke over his keen of, “Baby!”

Like a switch had been flipped, Keith snapped out of it.

He surfaced from Lance’s sweater red-faced, his mouth swollen and shiny with spit. His black hair was in disarray, sticking up in places and matted with sweat elsewhere. Lance grabbed at what he could reach of those long locks and yanked Keith away from his chest, panting. They heaved in tandem, out of breath and turned on beyond speaking, just watching each other as their heart rates’ settled.

“You almost,” Lance said between breaths. “I was … so close to coming, holy fuck. I think that’s a new record.”

This confession had the unforeseen side effect of making Keith’s hips jerk retroactively.

Lance threw an arm over his face and giggled, hysterical. This was the culmination of all his hard work, weeks of preemptive planning, a longing so deep it cut. It was better than every scenario Lance had invented and run through in his head on the plane ride over. Keith had beat him at his own game. Unbelievable.

I’m in love with you, he thought, loudly and in Keith’s direction.

“I missed you,” Keith said, like he’d been grappling with his own haywire thoughts. He sounded wrecked. “Fuck. I missed you. Lance, I ...”

Lance’s stomach liquefied. He tugged Keith back down, cupped his nape with one hand. Smoothed the other across Keith’s cheek. He’d shaved recently, that much was obvious, but still Lance could feel the bristliness of an oncoming five o’clock shadow. It darkened Keith’s jaw subtly, imperceptibly.

“Keith,” he said softly, pressing a sweet kiss to his mouth. “You have no idea …”

Keith’s lashes fluttered.

Lance kissed down his jaw, tasting him, sampling the sweat of his skin, nibbling at his unmarked throat. He bit gently at the flesh, flicked his tongue out to lick at Keith’s hammering pulse.

Keith’s arms came down hard against the desk, his fingers splayed. The movement lowered him another few inches. He groaned and leaned heavily on Lance, all of his weight unleashed, as he began rocking his hips. Lance rocked back.

“Mmm,” Lance moaned, curling a leg around Keith’s waist to urge him on. “Baby, oh … fuck … keep going ...”

Across the room, Keith’s phone began to ring.

Lance stuttered to a stop, eyes shooting open.

“Ignore it,” Keith grunted, burying his face in Lance’s neck.

Lance shut his eyes and went back to grinding against Keith as the ringtone petered out.

Two seconds later, it started up again.

Lance let go of Keith immediately. Whatever it was, it needed attention right now. Right now, so it could go away forever. He nudged at Keith with his foot and Keith groaned, heaving himself up. He looked furious. Lance smothered a laugh into the back of his hand, giggly and tingling wildly.

Keith sent him a dark look. “Don’t start,” he muttered, crossing the room to scoop up his phone. He hit answer, lifted it to his ear. “What.”

Lance watched him. He made quite the picture, sex-mussed and speaking angrily into his phone, the pinnacle of ill-tempered CEO. He paced his way back up to his desk, broadcasting his unrest, clearly eager to get back to what they’d been doing. His eyes were on Lance, even as his focus drifted. Inaudible chattering could be heard, faintly, through the phone’s speakers. Lance couldn’t make out any solid words.

“Yes,” Keith said, eventually. “And don’t bother me again for the next several hours. That goes for anyone currently in the building. Tell Shiro I’ll call him later.” He promptly hung up.

“Who was that?” Lance asked.

Keith silenced his phone, then flung it away. He drew nearer, his cock tenting his tight slacks obscenely. His gaze had not left Lance for even a second. “Romelle.”

“That wasn’t very nice,” Lance murmured.

“You make me not very nice,” Keith murmured back and closed his big hands over Lance’s hips.

He slid his hands up, all the way up, hiking Lance’s sweater past his bare belly, until he’d gingerly tucked the fabric beneath Lance’s armpits. Keith looked satisfied with his work. He toyed with Lance’s nipples, thumbs circling his dusky brown areolas. His expression was unembarrassed. What a relentless, rakish man. Lance wanted to lay beneath him forever.

“I wish that were the case,” he said.

“Lance,” Keith warned, ducking down to mouth over the jut of Lance’s hip bones.

“Gonna fuck me over your desk, Mr. Kogane?” Lance whispered, slinging a leg across Keith’s back. It was fun to imagine. “Fast and dirty where all your employees can hear?”

“Yes,” Keith said indulgently, in low, deep tones, and sucked a mark into Lance’s lower belly.

Lance let out a shocked little ah! Keith was in one of his moods again. His ‘I’ll do anything you ask of me’ moods. A surge of power rocketed through Lance, dizzying him like a bout of champagne bubbles.

“Going to rattle wood with how hard I fuck you,” Keith went on, like he had thought extensively about this.

Lance panted hard, exhilarated. “Who are you and what have you done with my Keith? Because he would never allow sex in his office. Come to think of it, I once offered to wait for him here and he sent a driver to take me to his house instead because he thought seeing me in this setting would be quote unquote ‘too tempting.’”

“Your Keith hasn’t touched you in ten days and currently has the impulse control of a fifteen year old boy who’s just discovered the existence of the orgasm,” Keith returned smoothly.

Lance let out a breath of surprised laughter, blushing down to his toes. He hid his face behind hands. “Keith, oh my god.”

“I’ve imagined this scenario for far too long,” Keith murmured. “Can’t wait to have you like this.”

Lance peeked out from behind his hands, eyes going wide. “What scenario?”

“You, spread out over my desk for my eyes only,” Keith drawled. He brought a finger to Lance’s bottom lip, tugged on it, thumb pulling down on pink. “For my cock only.”

“Oh,” Lance moaned. Stirred to action, he pushed his tongue past his lips and swept it down Keith’s thumb, eyes drooping.

Keith slipped his thumb into Lance’s mouth until it was teasing at his palate, almost gagging him. Lance gave it a firm little suck. “I’m not letting you out of my sight for at least the next week. Want you hanging off my cock. Wanna fuck you nonstop. You won’t be able to walk straight when I’m done with you.”

“Uhh,” Lance whined around the finger in his mouth, spit leaking past his lips.

Keith’s thumb retreated to wipe the line of drool away. “You like that?” he whispered. “Like the idea of me keeping you wet and ready? Taking you whenever I please? Using your tight little ass and fucking you numb? Filling you up over and over again?”

Lance’s hips jackrabbited into the air, his cock jerking.

“Jesus,” Keith said, eyes widening. “You do.”

Lance averted his eyes, face lit a deep, embarrassed red. “Shut up. Don’t make fun of me.”

“Wouldn’t dream of it,” Keith murmured, taking his hand back to resume his belly kisses, now growing in intensity. He got a grip on Lance’s waist and started hoisting his lower half into the air, Lance’s ass leaving the desk. “Wrap your legs around me. Good boy.”

“Oh, fuck,” Lance said, legs hooked over Keith’s shoulders. The position required an uncomfortable adjustment period. Lance was at his most vulnerable like this. Keith controlled where he went, whether he fell or slammed backwards. He was hanging almost upside down, arms thrown out wide for balance. They scrabbled at Keith’s desk, looking frantically for a handhold. “You look so … so …”

Keith lifted his head, dark hair falling into his face. He was curved protectively over Lance, caught between his thighs and holding him up like a ragdoll, in his stupid fucking Neiman Marcus suit. He looked like a very attentive dom. Lance’s vision swam. For a moment, he experienced a rush of vertigo at the scene they made together, the college kid stuffed full of cock against a CEO’s desk. That sounded like a bad porno premise and also like the hottest thing Lance had ever heard.

“Dirty,” Lance whispered incredulously. “You look so dirty.”

“You should see yourself,” Keith said, eyes sparkling suggestively, and indicated the position Lance was in with the flick of a brow. Lying at the mercy of Keith and his clever mouth, gravity dragging his sweater up his chest, his nipples dark and puffy, spit drying down his trembling belly. “Y’know … I’ve never eaten you out like this. You tend to prefer riding my face.”

Lance’s ears went hot. “Keith, oh my god, are you really going to … t-that’s because face-riding is convenient and comfortable –”

“For some more than others,” Keith said wryly and Lance’s ears burned hotter.

“Oh,” Lance whispered, lowering his eyes timidly.

“If I could, I would kiss you right now.”

Lance fluttered a look up at Keith, framed between his thick thighs, and had to throw his head back to laugh. They were too far apart for kissing.

“Can’t really see your ass like this, but I suppose I’ll survive,” Keith said thoughtfully. He worked Lance’s leggings past his thighs with one hand, then fell short when he found nothing beneath them.

Lance chanced a look at him. He swallowed hard when he found Keith already watching him, his gaze pinning Lance in place like a hand to the throat. Lance’s heart beat faster.

“Really, Lance?” Keith said lowly, a muscle ticking in his jaw.

“I wanted to be ready for you,” Lance whispered.

“Fucking hell,” Keith murmured, readjusting his sweaty grip on Lance’s bare thighs.

Lance yelped in surprise, taking either edge of Keith’s desk in hand as he was wrenched forward. He slid down smooth mahogany, ass held in the air. His mouth fell open as Keith ducked between the opening made by Lance’s yanked-down leggings, fitting himself precisely through the fabric. Holding his thighs open hurt, but Lance’s desire overruled any potential discomfort. He lifted his hips higher, begging, and Keith sent him one last smoky-eyed look before burying his face between Lance’s cheeks.

He licked a long, wet stripe up the cleft of Lance’s ass. The warm wet pressure sent Lance into a tizzy. He jolted with a cry, legs kicking out. Keith held him still, pried his cheeks open with his thumbs, and latched onto Lance’s crinkled opening.

“Oh, fuck,” Lance gasped, clenching up all over.

“Missed this,” Keith murmured, taking care to lavish saliva over the delicate, furrowed flesh of Lance’s entrance. “You’re tight from not taking a cock in so long.”

“Oh …” Lance mewled, toes curling behind Keith’s head. “Please, yes, more, uhh …”

Keith held his knees apart, sucking hard at Lance’s needy little hole. The noises coming from his mouth – wet, smacking slurps – made Lance’s eyes roll back in his head. He whined high in his throat, thighs tightening, as Keith lapped harder, stroking his tongue up Lance’s perineum, mouthing over his balls.

“Fuck, like that, like that,” Lance begged, going to pieces between Keith’s fingers.

He shook all over, tight wet pleasure coiling in his gut. Lance white-knuckled Keith’s desk with a groan and raised his hips higher to grind his rim into the tingling contact. The muscles in his arms tensed, but on Lance pushed, rolling his hips in begging request. Keith moaned in answer and licked into his hole, soaking it with spit.

“So good,” Lance cried and his next moan was a long, drawn out sound, unsteady like it might cave in in the middle.

When Keith sharpened his tongue into a point and plunged it past the resistance of Lance’s tight, gripping asshole, Lance let out a high-pitched sob. He tried to twist away from the filthy sweetness, his cock streaking precome down his belly, but Keith held fast to him. He painted sopping strokes over Lance’s rim, kissing at the stretched skin, his jaw working steadily. Lance felt drenched, his pulse a deafening thunder in his ears. He thrashed against Keith as he began fucking Lance on his tongue.

“Fuck, fuck, fuck!” Lance cried, high whines issuing from his throat.

The faint stubble of Keith’s jaw scratched pleasantly against Lance’s thighs. He opened wider, wet and dripping. He didn’t know how to close his mouth, knew he probably looked drunk on pleasure. He was close. He couldn’t be farther. He needed more stimulation, needed to see –

Legs quivering, he forced his eyes open.

His gaze locked on Keith, dark-eyed, colour smudged high over his cheekbones. His eyes lay half-shut, liquid black flickering between Lance’s creamy thighs and Lance’s face twisted in delicious agony. Lance could feel himself working his hips against the wet smear of Keith’s mouth, cheeks bouncing, seeking more. He was moving on instinct now, without any real conscious thought. His stomach tensed, his balls tight and heavy.

With an ache of sudden awareness, Lance realised he was about thirty seconds from coming. He could sense his orgasm swelling like a summer tide. Oh no. He squeezed at his cock, desperate to delay it. He still had plans.

“W-wait,” he slurred, trying to kick Keith away. He stilled his hips with great difficulty. “Don’t – let me – come –”

Keith, currently absorbed by Lance’s ass, did not look up from his wet ministrations.

Lance freed one of his legs and planted it against Keith’s shoulder. He shoved with all his might. Keith’s mouth disconnected from his hot, slick rim with a wet pop! and he went stumbling back, caught himself clumsily in his waiting chair. Lance’s lower half dropped back down against the desk.

Lance slumped against the wood, catching his breath. He reached down to yank his leggings back up, hitting pause on their fucking. Keith was no better. His hair was dark with sweat and his chin slick with spit. His chest rose and fell to the rhythm of Lance’s. They studied each other, hazy-eyed, something tender and vulnerable passing between them. Keith made like he was about to climb to his feet.

Lance stopped him with a foot to his chest. “No,” he said firmly.

Keith wrapped his big, gentle hands around Lance’s ankle like he wanted to protest. A look of hurt passed over him, then fled.

“You said you’d think about it,” Lance whispered.

“What?” Keith said, eyebrows pulling together. “Think about what?”

“When we were texting this morning,” Lance clarified. He wriggled his toes against Keith’s chest, avoiding his eyes. “You said you’d think about spanking me. I … want that. Please. Can we talk about it?”

Keith’s look of confusion faded. “Oh,” he murmured, licking his lips. He sat back to compose himself, wiped the spit from his face. “Right.”

“We could try it now,” Lance whispered hopefully, glancing up from under his lashes.

“Lance …” Keith began, sounding altogether unconvinced.

“Keith,” Lance said. “Stop trying to coddle me.”

“Last time …” Keith cleared his throat. “It didn’t go well.”

They’d made one awful attempt before Lance left for Varadero two weeks ago. It was a bit of a blunder. Keith had been concentrating too hard on Lance’s comfort to let go like Lance wanted and Lance’s nagging impatience seemed to rankle. Everything that could go wrong, did. Keith having to get up and cool off in the middle of fingering Lance open was just the cherry on top of the terrible, terrible cake.

But that didn’t matter. Lance wasn’t giving up. Not yet.

He sat up, hooking his feet through the armrests of Keith’s chair and tugging him forward. Keith’s chair rolled to a stop a few inches from Lance’s perch on his desk. He stuffed his feet under Keith’s thighs and pursed his mouth. “That’s because you were too busy trying to protect me to enjoy yourself. If you’d just … get into the mindset and really give it to me …”

“How can I enjoy myself when I’m conscious of your pain?” Keith said, scowl falling into place right on cue.

“But it’s not pain!” Lance argued, voice rising. “Not really, because I like it. I want it. I’m asking for it. And if at any point I didn’t want it, I’d tell you and we’d stop. I just … we can’t do this if you don’t like it and I can’t figure out why you wouldn’t. You used to spank me back when we … when we were … in your car. And you loved that.”

“It’s different now,” Keith said, in a tone that did not invite further questioning.

“How?” Lance demanded, ignoring Keith’s tone. When Keith failed to produce a reason, Lance frowned and leant forward. “So you were okay with causing me ‘pain’ when I was some random guy you were fucking in your Tesla?”

“No,” Keith snapped. “That’s not it. Look. I – in the beginning of our … when we first started having sex, I made a lot of mistakes with you. I can admit that now. If I were being at all considerate of you and your comfort … if for even a moment I saw past my own pleasure … I would have checked with you before trying something like spanking. I didn’t and that’s on me. I let my own desire cloud … I let that supersede your comfort. And I’m not going to do that again.”

“But –”

Keith held up a hand. “I’m done putting myself first. That period where we had sex in my car … that was all about me. We’re not going back to that.”

“You’re assuming I hated our stupid fucking car sex and I didn’t!” Lance exclaimed.

“Clearly, you did,” Keith said sharply.

“How can you know that?” Lance asked.

“Lance, you broke off our little arrangement out of nowhere this summer,” Keith said. “You refused to speak to me for almost a month because you were unhappy with what we were doing. Don’t lie to my face.”

“You’re making assumptions,” Lance cut in.

Keith leant forward until their faces were hovering inches from each other. He dropped his chin into his hand, watching Lance shrewdly. “Unless you’re ready to explain to me what that little hiccup in our relationship was about, I think I’m well within my rights.”

Lance felt his cheeks flush. He closed his mouth.

“That’s what I thought,” Keith said, grim satisfaction gleaming in his eyes.

“I came every time we did anything in your car,” Lance said stiffly, “so your weird assessment of our sex life is way off-base.”

“Right. Because I made sure you came. Your pleasure was tantamount to mine,” Keith said, eyes narrowing into slits. “I got off on you getting off. I still do. It’s just … that isn’t why I want to make you feel good anymore.”

“I don’t understand!” Lance said, throwing his hands up. “What changed then? From car sex to … to our little sex renaissance after you took me to that bar downtown? You were never rough with me after that!”

Keith rubbed at his eyes, head tilted tiredly. “What changed is that your pleasure is my priority now.”

“Right, I got that,” Lance confirmed. “Because … ?”

“Because.” Keith sighed heavily into his hand. “Because I realised that …”

“That you wanted to lavish me with tender sex until the end of time?” Lance said sarcastically. “What! Spit it out!”

“I care about you,” Keith growled into his hands, hoarse and heart-stopping. “Okay? Before … even from the beginning … I wanted to get to know you, but I didn’t think you wanted that. I was sure you didn’t. I kept trying to convince myself it was purely physical for me. For a while, it worked. Really well. I didn’t think about how you felt at all. It was like I’d built a brick wall between us. And then I did think about you. And I realised I cared. A lot. I care about how you feel. I want you happy and safe. I … want you to want me. So my willingness to bend you over the seat of my Tesla and spank you because it gets me off … that no longer exists. I’m tired of building walls with you.”

Lance could hear his own heartbeat. There was so much to unpack and so little time, because already Keith was slanting a mercurial look at him through his fingers. His watchful eyes took Lance in, canny and unkind. Keith’s confession hurt like a blow. Lance felt queasy, awash with a realisation that had arrived too late.

He was so, so stupid. He could not comprehend the depths of his own stupidity.

He shut his eyes. “Oh,” he murmured.

“Yeah,” Keith said, flat. “Oh.”

“Well. Well …” Lance opened his eyes and scrambled for something to say, too terrified to touch that confession. “If my pleasure is more important to you than your own now … you should want to give me what I want. What’ll make me feel good. Spanking is going to make me feel good, okay?”

Keith shook his head. “You’re only saying that –”

“I am not! Keith! Look at me!” Lance forced Keith’s head up, their gazes clashing. “You think I’d initiate sex with you in a Starbucks bathroom if I wasn’t a little bit freaky in the bedroom?”

Remarkably, Lance could see a half-smile edging past the fingers Keith was rubbing into his face. “Don’t say it like that.”

“Like what? I’m a freaky little sex fiend and there’s nothing you can do about it,” Lance quipped archly. “If you even knew all the things I wanted you to do to me …”

“Yeah?” Keith said, ever the sceptic. “Like what?”

Lance leant back on his hands, parting his thighs invitingly. “Spank me and you’ll find out.”

Keith was rubbing pensively at his chin, doing that square-jawed, squinty-eyed ‘pros versus cons’ face that meant he was weighing all his options, levying contingency strategies and recourses, doubling back to make sure his decision would have little to no long term consequences. It went against his nature – immediate and instinctive – but it was a trick of the trade you had to know as a CEO.

“I will indulge you today,” he decided.

Lance breathed out an excited sigh of relief. He tugged Keith between his open thighs and grinned down at him, eyes bright. “Perfect,” he said, smoothing his hands down Keith’s shirtfront. He tipped his head down for a kiss. “Then let’s –”

“But,” Keith said.

Lance dropped his hands and groaned.

“Only a test run,” Keith said. “If anything goes wrong, we drop all talk of spanking.”

“Keith,” Lance complained, a furrow forming between his brows.

“And …” Keith added.

“Ugh.” Lance lowered himself to the desk, lying flat on his back. He ran his fingers through his sweaty hair and sighed up at Keith’s paneled ceiling.

“Since I’m compromising on our sex life, you’re compromising when it comes to gifts.”

Lance sat up halfway, elbows askew. “Gifts? What? No way – !”

Keith hauled him forward by his thighs, drawing a little shout from Lance as he went gliding across polished wood. He bent to press a kiss to Lance’s belly through his sweater. “Yes way. You want this, you’re letting me buy you gifts. No complaints. No questions asked. No context necessary. Whatever I want, whenever I want.”

Lance sucked in a sharp breath, trying and failing to resist pushing up into the pressure of Keith’s wandering mouth. He attempted to covertly slip his sweater higher up his stomach, leaving Keith a nice patch of bare brown skin to mark up with his teeth. Keith caught him immediately, eyebrow cocked.

Lance dropped his head back down with a whine. “I don’t even get … oh … h-hang on … why are you so insistent on buying me things anyway …”

“Why won’t you let me buy you things?” Keith countered.

“It’s – it’s nonsensical!”

“It makes perfect sense to me,” Keith said.

“It’s absurd,” Lance breathed as Keith rose to his feet to gently bring their mouths together.

“It’s logical,” Keith said when he moved south to suck a hickey into Lance’s throat.

“Logical,” Lance said, scoffing. “How so?”

“I think you deserve the world,” Keith said very seriously. “And the fact that you don’t already have it irritates me to no end.”

Lance found himself giggling against his better judgment. “That’s not logical,” he sighed. “That’s you thinking with your dick.”

Keith pulled back to look at Lance, mouth turning down at the corners. “Explain.”

“I get that you care about me,” Lance said delicately. “And you like what we’ve got going. I just think … or it feels like you have it in your head that you need to repay me for … I don’t know … my company, the sex, just me sticking around. So you’ve started buying me these gifts as a way to … to ...”

Keith reared back like he’d been slapped. He scraped the hair from his forehead, forcing calm. He looked formidable and also murderous. “Are you implying that I see you as a prostitute?” he asked, deathly quiet. “That – that you’re having sex with me because you expect something in return?”

“Don’t put words in my mouth,” Lance said with a sudden sinking feeling. “I don’t think that. You know it’s never been about your money for me. I’m saying maybe you feel … I don’t know … guilty or indebted to me somehow … you want to help the downtrodden for sucking your dick –”

“What the fuck, Lance!” Keith barked and Lance flinched, unused to such sharp tones from Keith. He spun on his foot, lowered his head into his hand to sigh audibly. He made a marked effort to modulate his voice as he spoke his next words. “I don’t understand you. It’s like … sometimes I think you don’t want whatever this is to work out.”

“Don’t say that,” Lance whispered, a lump rising in his throat.

“You’re doing a hell of a lot of self-sabotaging,” Keith said in cold, clipped tones, “for someone who flew home three days early to surprise me.”

“I’m careful,” Lance insisted, desperate to get through to Keith. “I’m … I’m looking out for myself and only because I … because …”

Keith turned to fix Lance with a hard stare. “Because, what?”

“I’m scared,” Lance said through unmoving lips, miserable. “Maybe you’d understand, if you’d been treated like you were stupid your whole life. I’ve been … I’ve been strung along a lot, okay? I’ve made assumptions before and that’s always when I get laughed at. Look ... being hurt fucking sucks. But being turned into a joke? That’s even worse. And I don’t want you to laugh in my face, Keith.”

Keith’s eyebrows lowered in alarm. He took two long strides forward and boxed Lance in, bringing his knuckles down against his desk. “Give me some credit here, please,” he implored. “There is very little about this that I find funny.”

“I’ve heard that before,” Lance muttered, turning his face away.

Keith jerked his head right back around, fingers rough on Lance’s chin. “Names.”

“... What?” Lance whispered.

“Give me names,” he said impatiently. “I want to know who these people are.”

Abruptly, Lance was laughing, high and appalled. “You cannot be serious,” he said. “Keith, you’re not gonna hunt down and defeat every evil ex I’ve ever had. This isn’t Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.”

Keith was glaring, had on his ‘I will right this and there’s nothing you can do about it’ face. His impulse philanthropy face. “No, but I can –”

Lance sighed and tucked his legs through Keith’s to tug him forward, a great big softie glowering down at him in his ironed suit. He tipped his head up, nose skimming Keith’s. “I just want to be with you,” he admitted quietly. “I don’t wanna play guessing games anymore.”

Keith’s furrows went suddenly smooth. “Then be with me,” he murmured, holding Lance’s face in place and kissing him hard on the mouth. “If you don’t like our sex –”

“Keith, you’re a big fucking idiot,” Lance whispered against Keith’s lips. “But so am I. I … I don’t hate any of our sex. I never did. I mean, granted, the car sex wasn’t the most comfortable and it got pretty stale after a while, but … it wasn’t the roughness that made me unhappy. I … the reason I vanished on you back in July was because I started wanting more. Really badly.”

“More,” Keith said into Lance’s mouth, reluctant to accept that without further explanation.

“Yeah,” Lance said, soft and perilous. This was free-falling. This was fright at its brightest. “I wanted more than sex. I wanted to hold your hand and make food with you and kiss you without needing an excuse and … I still want all that. It’s not that I prefer one type of sex over the other … or dislike anything that we’ve tried. I just … I want to do everything with you.”

Keith dipped his head down to tug Lance’s bottom lip between his teeth, then let it go with a hum.

“Are you hearing a word I’m saying?” Lance demanded. “I like you. I like you a lot ... way too much ... and I’m really scared.”

Keith groaned and nipped at Lance’s bottom lip a second time. He licked into Lance’s mouth with a soft, slick noise, tongue exploring.

“No, Keith,” Lance whined, ripping his face away and pushing at his shoulders. “You don’t understand.”

“I think I do,” Keith murmured, heaping Lance’s jaw and throat with effusive kisses.

“Not – not,” Lance said, lashes fluttering, “in the fuck buddy ‘you have a banging bod, dude’ way.”

A low, warm chuckle came from Keith. His kisses firmed, growing fiercer.

Lance blinked dazedly, skin erupting in tingles. “I like you like …”

“Go on,” Keith murmured, a smile in his voice.

Lance whacked playfully at his chest. “I like you like I wanna lay next to you and not have sex sometimes.”

“Is that all?” Keith said conversationally, an amused gleam in his eyes.

“Stop teasing!”

Keith grinned, crooked and gorgeous, practically glowing. “Sorry, sorry. Continue.”

“I like your everything,” Lance whispered shyly, eyes downcast. He played idly with Keith’s poorly knotted tie, running the patterned silk through his fingers. “Even the annoying, messy parts, how you fight me on stupid, inconsequential stuff, the way you make it a point to prove me wrong, your arrogance when it comes to getting what you want and … and how that’s completely at odds with your – your seemingly endless generosity. I like all your little white knight noble causes, I like looking at you at the end of the night when you’re dead tired and undoing your tie, I like that you let me eat in your bed even though I know you hate it and it takes everything in you not to pick me up and carry me out to the kitchen.

“Your smiles. I like those a lot. I like your hands, on me especially. I like that you pull me closer when we’re out and someone gives me a look you don’t like. I like that you’re the same level of clingy and jealous as me. I like that you watch cute animal videos with me and laugh during the good parts even if you don’t really find them all that funny. I like that you’re thoughtful and passionate. I like that you’re driven by your heart. How you’re soft and sweet with me and sometimes mean to the rest of the world. It makes me feel extra good. Keith … baby … oh … you’re distracting me.”

Undeterred, Keith shoved Lance’s sweater up, tugged his nipple between his teeth. He made a low, rumbling sound around the flesh filling his mouth. Lance’s erection had flagged at some point. It sprang to thick, pulsing life now.

“But sometimes I …” Lance broke off with a gasp. “I want you to be a little mean to me. Just … just every once in a while. I want you to take the reins and spank me. Call me a name or two. Pull my hair and punish me when I’m being bad. It makes me feel … haa … so good.”

“Fine,” Keith breathed, detaching his mouth to rise to his full height. His pupils were shot, fists clenched at his sides.

“Huh?” Lance said, still trying to find his bearings.

“Yes, okay, I want to spank you,” Keith said, suddenly radiating impatience. “C’mon. We’re doing this.”

Lance breathed a laugh. “Are you just saying that because I confessed my feelings to you and you’re feeling riled up?”

“Maybe,” Keith murmured, massaging Lance’s hips with his big, warm hands. One corner of his mouth turned up in a lazy half-smile. “Maybe I’ve liked you for a long time and needed to hear that you liked me, too.”

“A long time,” Lance repeated, inanely. “What? How long ... !”

“Since I stuck my hand down your pants in a Starbucks bathroom,” Keith whispered, sending Lance into a fit of wide-eyed shivers. “I was going to ask you to have coffee with me before you jumped me, y’know.”

Lance gasped. Then he was giggling uncontrollably, head tossed back as Keith dragged him in by the hips. “You were gonna … ask me to have coffee … after I’d dumped mine on you?”

“I would have whisked you somewhere nice with your drink still drying down my shirt,” Keith confessed in a playful whisper, nipping Lance’s earlobe.

“Oh,” Lance whined, back arching. “Keith … what the fuck?”

“You haven’t been asking the right questions.”

“Clearly not!” Lance shouted, evoking affectionate laughter from Keith.

“Could’ve saved us a lot of time.”

"Wha – !" Lance thwacked at a smirking Keith. “What the hell! We could’ve been dating this whole time!”

“We were dating this whole time,” Keith said. “You just refused to see it that way.”

“Okay, you did not at any point say, ‘Lance, I want to date you. Exclusively, seriously, fully committed.’ You said, ‘I’m taking you on a date. I want to get to know you.’ And then you never said another goddamn thing about it. What was I supposed to think!” Lance shot back.

“I didn’t say another goddamn thing about it because you countered my every attempt with sex!”

“I thought that’s what you wanted!”

“I do! I want you every day, every minute, at every goddamn second I am wanting you. I spend the vast majority of my time wanting you. Any way you will let me have you, I want you. That includes sex,” Keith said, soft and ragged.

Lance laid back with a huff, his cheeks prickling with flustered heat. He swallowed and cast a look towards the ceiling, trying to reconcile his world with this new, paralysing information.

“Lance,” Keith murmured, after inhaling deeply. “I want to date you. Exclusively, seriously, fully committed.”

“I want to date you, too,” Lance whispered, docile as a lamb, and then Keith’s mouth was on him, ravaging him, plunging past his bitten-red lips. He kissed everywhere, no endpoint in sight. Lance’s flesh was nothing but sensation. “Mmmm. Fuck me.”

“I don’t know how you doubt yourself when you had a self-proclaimed cynic ready to ask you out within minutes of meeting you,” Keith said into the hollow of Lance’s throat, tongue sweeping out for a taste. His voice was quiet and confidential. “I thought I’d missed my window of opportunity … then I saw you again a couple weeks later and froze up. Kept thinking of ways to get you to agree to go on a date with me, but I never got the chance to ask. I had to look for other ways to prolong my time with you. That’s what I kept thinking.”

“Yes, okay, um, you can buy me whatever you want,” Lance moaned, clinging to Keith’s shoulders.

“Are you just saying that,” Keith whispered, light and teasing, “because I confessed my feelings to you and you’re feeling riled up?”

“M-maybe,” Lance moaned.

“Perfect,” Keith murmured. “Let me move you out of your apartment.”

Lance made a loud, startled squawking sound, pulling back to whip a glare up at Keith. “That is not what I meant!”

Keith pouted.

“Quit being cute,” Lance grumbled. “Just because you know I have feelings for you now, that doesn’t mean you can take advantage of my affections by being strategically adorable.”

Keith widened his eyes theatrically, bottom lip jutting out.

“Oh, for the love of god – I …” Lance’s heart was warm and liquid, flip-flopping happily to an imagined beat. “Maybe, I’ll – I’ll think about it.”

“Thank you.” Keith brushed the words down Lance’s neck.

“We need to work on our communication going forward, probably,” Lance got out through his rapid breaths, clutching the desk by either corner.

“Tell me what you like,” Keith murmured, like this was his way of accommodating Lance. Promptly, resolutely, he would comply and adjust himself as Lance wished.

“There’s nothing I don’t like with you,” Lance whispered, lifting a hand to card his fingers through Keith’s long hair.

“Lance,” Keith murmured. “Specifics. What do you like most?”

“I – um. Your mouth.” It came out breathy, more or less a beg, Lance’s hips held at an imploring angle.

“Where?”

“Everywhere,” Lance said on a single breath. His hips dropped back down with a heavy thud as Keith darkened a hickey positioned over Lance’s navel. “Oh, god. Please, please.”

Keith’s mouth paused, hovering over Lance’s heaving belly. “What else?”

“Um.” Lance worried at his lip, considering. “Your eyes on me.”

Keith brought his mouth back down to Lance’s belly. His gaze, dark and molten, slid up Lance’s chest. It stopped at Lance’s face, unblinking. Keith’s eyes were burning through the black. Lance felt swallowed by warmth. Keith slowly parted his lips, kissing at Lance’s panting stomach. Kissing, kissing, kissing, tongue tracing divots and depressions, circling Lance’s belly button. All while he looked at Lance, eyes blazing.

“No, no, never mind, too much,” Lance backtracked, changing course. He angled his head away to break their stare, his face a brilliant pink.

A deep, breathless laugh shook Keith, his mouth turning up at either corner in a devastatingly sexy approximation of disbelief. He pulled himself up poker-straight, halting his belly kisses to throw Lance a look: gorgeous, grinning, sweaty, hair dark as night and sticking straight up in the back where Lance’s fingers had tousled it during all their kissing.

“You can’t take it back,” he argued.

“Too intense,” Lance moaned, folding his arms over his face.

Keith removed them almost immediately. He brought Lance’s wrists down against wood, high above his head, holding them pinned together to keep him immobile. That sent a flurry of sensation cascading over Lance. His fingers twitched and Keith bent until they were eye-level, lingering just out of reach. Out of bounds. Unfair. Lance arched to take Keith’s mouth and found himself pressed back down against the desk. Keith held his gaze in a clear warning.

“I want you face where I can see it.”

Lance wriggled beneath the eye contact, stomach swooping. “Tell me what you like, then,” he said, desperate for a distraction.

Keith blinked, clearly not expecting to have the question turned on him. Like his pleasures, his secret wants and wishes, were secondary to Lance’s. “Everything,” he said after a pregnant pause.

“Keith,” Lance said, testing the strength of Keith’s grip on his wrists. It held, hard as metal manacles. Oh, god. Lance was so hard. “That’s not fair. I should get to know what works best for you, too.”

Keith edged ever closer. “You want to know what I like?”

“Yes,” Lance breathed.

“Fine,” he said, jaw firming attractively. “I like you held down and squirming.”

“Oh,” Lance whispered, belly tightening exquisitely. His hips gave a desperate little rut, seeking friction. 

He was an animal out of its mind. He was stupid with desire.

Keith tracked the movement like a hellhound, looking bloodthirsty. “I like all your breathy little noises,” he murmured thickly.

Lance squeezed his eyes shut, breath quickening, as Keith drew his sweater up and closed his mouth over a nipple. It would be easier at this point to discard the sweater entirely, but they both seemed taken by the image of cream fabric contrasted against Lance’s swollen chest. The pebbled nub caught between Keith’s teeth, worked tender and sorely oversensitive. Keith covered Lance’s chest with open-mouthed kisses.

A quiet, cut-off whine slid from Lance’s mouth.

“Just like that,” Keith praised after retracting his mouth from Lance’s spit-damp nipples. His lids lowered with lust. “I like my name on your lips. I like it screamed while I’m inside you.”

Lance went to twist out of Keith’s ironclad grip, turned on to the point of desperate defiance. With casual, deadly indifference, Keith tightened his hand, knuckling Lance’s wrists together, bone against bone. Lance’s mouth fell open. A startled bleat escaped. Oh god, oh god. His body had sunk past all sense. He was pure pleasure, blood bursting with need. Here it came.

Babbled pleas dripped from Lance’s tongue.

“I like when you beg,” Keith said, all rasp. “I like everything about you like this. But best of all … I like when you listen.” And he released Lance’s wrists, trusting him with this allowance. He slid down Lance’s body, thumbs catching in the waistband of his hastily donned leggings. “Keep your hands up there.”

Lance stretched out, long and wanton, with a moan.

“And much as I love your desperate little hips, I’d prefer them still at the moment so I can finger you open without taking a knee to the nose.”

Lance was playing along only insofar as it suited his agenda. He still needed to test the physical boundaries of Keith’s mercy. He still needed to dip into Keith’s anger and aggression and return soaked with it. His hands flew to Keith’s hair, fisting it tightly. He rolled his hips, tugging Keith’s head up to demonstrate his desperation.

Keith pulled back against the pressure on his scalp to cut a look at Lance, startled by his disobedience.

“I think you like me disobedient, actually,” Lance whispered. “Think you wanna punish me when I don’t listen. Think you’re itching to spank me quiet, Keith.”

Keith’s eyes narrowed. Something dark and domineering swallowed his expression.

“I want it too,” Lance said, soft as snow. “Wanna be laid out over your lap. Want your handprints all over my ass.”

For a moment that sung with tension, no sound came. Something about it suggested expectation. Prospects for the immediate future. Lance knew Keith was giving in. He could see it written all over Keith’s face.

“If we do this, we do it right,” Keith said at last. “I need to know what you’re okay with right now. And I need you to have a safeword ready. I need you to understand you can use it and stop me at any point. I will … I can get to that place you need me to be, Lance. But first I need you to know there’s a way back out.”

Lance didn’t want back out. He wanted deeper into the maze, wanted more of this Keith, lovely and sinister and waiting to let loose his fury.

“I’m okay with most things. Pushing, hair-pulling, spanking. Just general roughness. Holding me down. Making me do what you want. You can call me … I mean, I don’t mind names. I don’t think I have many hard limits except for the obvious stuff. Nothing crazy – blood or bodily fluids or actual physical violence. No choking, but … simulating choking. Um, lightly holding my throat or gagging me on something. I think I’d like that,” Lance rambled, watching Keith’s hands stroke up and down his thighs in a pattern intended to soothe.

“Safeword?”

“Mamma Mia,” Lance said immediately.

Keith’s mouth twitched into a smile. “... Right. Lube?”

“In my bag on the floor, by my tea,” Lance murmured, shutting his eyes. “Um. Ready when you are. And please don’t hold back for my benefit.”

“Understood,” came Keith’s warm, indulgent reply.

That voice – smooth and rough all at once, like the rush of a creek – relaxed Lance’s muscles. He let it drag him out to sea, fell loose against the desk, hands folded over his belly as he listened to Keith rummaging through his things.

“Looks like someone had quite the time in the breakroom today,” he said a moment later, voice amused.

Lance kicked out blindly, then felt Keith plant a kiss to his left ankle. He pressed a private smile into his shoulder, butterflies swarming his belly. He was going to give himself over to Keith as snow came down on Seattle like gunfire. Warm and cosy in Keith’s heated office, not a single soul sharing their floor. Total privacy in view of those vast, penthouse windows.

“Lance?”

“Mm?” Lance said, lulled into a quiet, swaying daydream.

“Open your eyes.”

They slipped open. The edges of Lance’s vision shimmered like a heat wave.

Keith was stretched out in his high-backed leather chair, expression cool. Not quite cold, though it was skirting openly around warm and even hot. His vest was unbuttoned and opened over his white button-down, muscles flexing through the thick cotton. He looked deadly, like he could bring an army to its knees with as little as a hand gesture. An entire galaxy.

“I want you to bend over my desk,” Keith said blandly. “Ass up.”

Lance sat up with a quiet swallow. He tingled all over. Avoiding Keith’s dark gaze only felt natural here. It was too hot now, too fixed, too hell-bent. Propelled past cold and into boiling. Lance’s face splotched pink. He kept his eyes on the floor as he folded himself over the edge of Keith’s executive desk, his round little ass raised and ready.

His heart was going a mile a minute, he was so worked up. Already. He fingered a warped divot in the dark woodgrain, patiently awaiting Keith’s next piece of instruction as the back of his neck prickled with knowing heat. It was an awareness of the eyes currently locked on him. Of the eyes taking him apart.

Lance was happy to stand here and be looked at if it meant Keith would unzip his slacks and allow Lance a glimpse of his gorgeous cock soon. It was only fair. He’d been without it for too long. Although, this version of Keith – the mask he was wearing, the persona he was putting on for their little game – didn’t exactly strike Lance as fair or rule-abiding.

But then … that was the point of the game, wasn’t it? By agreeing to play, Lance was flirting with danger, inviting hurt and pain where his skin prickled with sweat. He wanted it. He wanted to wear his bruises beneath streaks of Keith’s warm come.

This was his game as much as it was Keith’s and Lance liked it more than he cared to admit. He liked being on display. He liked being watched and he knew that’s what this was. He was being stared at. Sized up. Drunken in and undressed by a predator. His stomach felt tight and woozy at the thought. He laid his cheek to cool wood and sent Keith a coy look over his shoulder, back curved to best flaunt his firm little ass.

Keith returned Lance’s gaze like he was volleying a ball across a court, sending it back harder and more brutal. His stare scorched. “Pull down your leggings,” came his next order, a few tension-filled beats later, after he’d made himself more comfortable in his chair.

His posture was arrogant and finely ironed, contained an unnameable power that went past company titles or family assets. Keith was arresting. Dark-eyed and delightfully rumpled, like he was dangling the key to Lance’s freedom in front of his face.

Lance didn’t want the key.

The quiet between them flowed like lava, carried the same promise of heat and hurt.

Lance swallowed against a hiccup of stage fright and reached down to comply, working his hands under his belly to start tugging his leggings down. His stomach was in knots.

“Slower,” Keith decided, his gaze critical.

He was asking Lance to put on a private show, for his eyes only. For his pleasure only. Jesus. Lance’s skin burned like it was on fire.

Nibbling at his lower lip, Lance began inching his leggings down his ass in slow increments, fingers fisted at the waistband to hide how they shook with nerves and arousal. This was perhaps the hardest part. Being slow and thorough when he felt ready to melt into a puddle of impatience.

Slow and steady was far from second nature to them, least of all when their fucking was more rough than tender, filthy in lieu of romantic. This was a special kind of torment. This was new, for the both of them. Slowly, deliberately rough. Intentionally dirty, in the very place where Keith called the shots from the top of his ivory tower.

As far as kinky sex fantasies went, being asked to bend over a CEO’s desk in his office suite was pretty high up there on Lance’s list.

That didn’t mean he had any clue what he was doing.

He was glad – and a little flustered – that Keith had fallen into his role so effortlessly. That was what Lance liked best about this sex dynamic. He could just sit back and obey. He didn’t have to do any thinking or heavy lifting; that was all left to Keith. Like this, he could simply turn his brain off and stop thinking. Could lay here and spread his ass, take his spankings with grace, open up wide for Keith’s big cock.

Like this, Lance was compliant. Like this, he was forced to submit to the heel of Keith’s hands.

The realism only made the heat licking up his spine burn hotter. His ass ached to be filled.

“There you go,” Keith murmured.

A touch of desire had begun to bleed into his voice and his body language. Lance could sense Keith’s impatience building. It helped settle his own nerves a little, to know he wasn’t the only one desperate to get to the good stuff. Keith was as riled as Lance, although better at disguising it beneath a poker face.

“Stop,” Keith said. “Right there. I want to see that waistband strangling that pretty little ass of yours.”

Lance bit down on a moan. His ass sprung free of the tight fabric. He let go of the leggings and the elastic waistband recoiled, catching just below his cheeks with a loud, startling snap! It forced the flesh higher, rounding out Lance’s curves, pushing the globes of his ass into something fatter and more obscene.

He stood there, poised on a precipice and waiting, his smooth brown ass bared for Keith’s viewing pleasure. The air cooled along his crease, all the places where Keith’s spit was still drying.

“Fuck.” The word was a harsh whisper. “You’re making my cock throb, sweetheart.”

Lance’s ears rang incredulously, blood soaring through his body in slow, druggy pulses. His cock was so hard it hurt. He dropped his head into his folded arms and muffled a quiet moan there, every inch of his body lit up like a lantern.

“You want it so bad,” Keith said, sounding almost amused. “Don't you?”

“Yes,” Lance whispered.

A big, hot, callused hand lighted on the small of his back, heavy as a brand. It pinned him where he lay. Keith applied the tiniest hint of pressure, like he intended to hold Lance flat and have his filthy way with him, right up against the mahogany. Tight and dirty and visible through the floor-to-ceiling windows.

“So bad,” Lance mumbled into his arms, submitting to Keith’s quiet strength.

“Want to be fucked open on my cock, Lance?” Keith whispered, low and lewd.

He rucked Lance’s sweater up, ran his thumb across the dimples of Lance’s exposed lower back, tracing out a rainbow-shaped pattern. Lance tugged the garment higher, fabric bunched beneath his arms, and arched for Keith.

“Mhmm,” he hummed.

Satisfied with his answer, Keith’s hand slid low. His touch was slow and syrupy. Exploratory. A counterpoint to the swiftly thrumming mood of the room. He drew his hand down the creamy curve of Lance’s ass, caressing and cupping perky flesh. His fingers felt possessive, painstakingly careful, traveling Lance like a fully-body shudder.

He could feel the rasp of Keith’s calluses gliding down his skin. They traced a burning path past the weighty heft of his cheeks, spilling from his tight little leggings like a feast. The waistband was starting to dig an angry red line into Lance’s flesh. Keith tucked a finger inside of it and pulled, inspecting the welted impression.

“Hurts good,” Lance whispered into his wrist, practically drooling.

Keith let go of the waistband without warning and it snapped back with a startling crack of sound, clinging to Lance’s thighs. Lance flinched, his asscheeks jiggling from the force. He moaned, wanting badly to spread himself open for Keith.

“I’ll bet it does,” Keith murmured darkly, tracing his forefinger along the outer edge of the waistband.

The length of his fingertip skimmed the underside of Lance’s cheeks like the tickle of a breath. Lance jolted with a gasp, his hips leaping up. Keith smoothed a soothing hand up Lance’s ass, fitting his palm to the full spill of Lance’s left cheek.

“Keith,” he whispered, eyes squeezed shut.

“Open up for me,” Keith whispered back in gentle commandment.

This, Lance could do. Was so ready to do. Teeth toying with his bottom lip, he flattened his hands out over Keith’s desktop and arched his back. Like a newly budding begonia, his cheeks parted with a soft sound to reveal his tiny, virgin-tight hole. Fresh, glistening with Keith’s spit, it had gone unbreached by his thick cock for close to two weeks, possessed the elasticity needed to tighten up all over again without constant attention from something so flared and girthy. Lance’s slender fingers couldn’t hold a candle to the size and shape of Keith’s cock.

This was their longest sex hiatus since the three week break they’d taken back in July.

Lance was ready and waiting to be despoiled anew. He’d been craving the spurt of Keith’s hot come inside his ass for days. His entrance was all furrowed up again, sensitive to every whisper of movement coming from Keith’s body. As if to prove this true, Keith shifted behind Lance and his rim squeezed down tight, tensing in anticipation.

“Gorgeous,” Keith said, more to himself than Lance.

He tugged a cheek back with the pad of his thumb, spreading Lance to better peer at his puckered hole. His thumb slid slowly inward, lube and spit easing the way. Keith must’ve squeezed a dollop out and warmed it while he watched Lance because the glide to his rim was smooth and effortless. Keith stopped just short of it, a teasing fingerprint of pressure lingering where Lance needed it most. He drew a light, lazy circle around the narrow opening, wetting it up, studying its needy flex and release.

Keith pushed in an inch and Lance clenched down hard with a gasp, desperate to keep him inside.

“So ripe,” he observed, voice lowering into something deep and rumbling. He stirred his finger against the clutch of Lance’s ass, then pulled free with a slick sound. Lance whined unhappily. “So hungry.”

Colour stole over Lance’s cheeks. He shivered hard at the knowledge that his ass was being appraised by Keith. That he approved, with filthy, keen-eyed regard, of how eager Lance was to take his cock. Sweat stuck his bangs to his forehead. He pushed his face more firmly into his arms until stars burst behind his eyes.

“Please, please, please,” he realised he was chanting into the crook of his arm only after Keith gathered a fistful of his hair in hand and tugged, not ungently. The motion dragged Lance’s head back far enough that his words grew coherent.

“You want to see what looking at you is doing to me?” Keith asked. “What you’re doing to me?”

“Oh, yes,” Lance whispered, stirring to life beneath Keith’s hands.

With no reprieve from the tight grip Keith had on his hair, Lance’s gaze was forced to fall on the sprawling cityscape beyond the windows. Seattle seemed gloomy hidden behind a heavy cloak of fog. He was small and insignificant. He’d never felt so huge, so important, so well-guarded. He was Keith’s and Keith’s was his.

“I don’t think I can hear you,” Keith said curtly and he cuffed Lance on the ass from the side.

It was hardly a spank. Barely any pressure had been expended. Only Keith’s fingers had delivered the sting, no palm usage to speak of. It was short, light, a brief bite erupting and then fading from Lance’s flesh. Still, his cock pulsed, drinking up the dregs of the pain.

“Yes,” Lance moaned, louder, and unbidden, an image of himself burst to life in the back of his head: face down, body bent over Keith’s desk at an uncomfortable ninety degree angle, knit sweater shoved up beneath his armpits to reveal the pert little mounds that made up his nipples, his round asscheeks spilling past the waistband of leggings dragged partway down his thighs.

His head spun.

“Yes, what, Lance?” Keith prompted and Lance could picture him leaning into the leather of his chair like a mischief god, quicksilver mouth quirked, dark eyebrows cocked expectantly.

“I.” His voice broke open over the letter, need flowing through him unremitting. “I wanna see it.”

“You want to see my throbbing cock?” Keith whispered, low and halfway to incredulous, in a tone that shifted blame. Lance was the filthy one. The guilty one. The wanton slut accosting a powerful CEO for sex. “Right here in the middle of my office?”

“God. Yes,” Lance begged, embracing this new version of events. He wanted and he would get. He threw a frenzied look over his shoulder, pink mouth hanging agape.

Keith was watching him like to look away would cost him everything. His gaze grew greedy and intense. Abruptly, he relinquished his hold on Lance’s hair. Lance sagged forward with a gasp, scalp tingling, to watch as Keith slowly sat back in his chair. He ran a clever, callused hand over his groin, shaping his cock with his palm where it was fattening up in his dark slacks.

“Come here and feel me,” Keith murmured.

Lance slowly pushed backwards off of the desk. For a moment, his ass hung suspended an inch above Keith’s clothed cock. Keith groaned his approval, hand twitching against the armrest of his chair. He watched Lance twist around and sink to his knees in front of him with hooded eyes.

Keith’s slacks were tented comically, dark fabric pulled taut over the monstrosity that was his hard cock. It was impossible to miss through the fabric’s stretch, trapped and suffocated as it was. Lance liked the image it made. Keith sat at his throne, concealing an erection of Lance’s doing beneath an expensive wool blend. A rush of saliva filled his mouth.

“Touch me,” Keith said in soft, rasping request, breaking character to let his desire for Lance filter through.

Yes, Lance wanted to reply, but couldn’t find the word in his daze. It was staggering, to go without Keith for so long, to dream him into existence in the interim, entertaining hallucinations, letting the fantasy of a reunion incubate. A man made into a mirage. And now, here he was in the flesh, so lax, gently disheveled in his expensive, carefully ironed suit, eyes like kerosene.

Lance was more want than blood.

Slowly, reverently, he slid the flat of his palms up Keith’s hard thighs. His bottom lip slipped free of his front teeth upon first contact. He’d scented blood. A moan spilled past Lance’s lips. He felt over Keith’s thickening groin, tracked the way his cock further stiffened with blood, filling out the fabric of his slacks and pushing up into Lance’s hand like a hungry plant seeking sunlight. Keith felt warm, even through two layers of fabric. Bigger, heavier than Lance could recall.

His memory had not done Keith’s cock justice.

“That’s all yours,” Keith murmured, watching Lance touch him – unhurried, curious – through heavy eyes. He looked intoxicated by the sight of Lance relearning the contours and curves of his cock. “Every inch.”

A sweet thrill swept through Lance. It was not unlike the greedy possessiveness he was so used to seeing well up in Keith’s eyes whenever he watched himself pull out of Lance after sex, his spend seeping from Lance’s rim.

He squeezed Keith’s cock through the fabric of his slacks. It drew a reflexive little jerk from his hips, an undeniable crack in the cool CEO’s careful control. That’s all it took. For a moment, Keith looked disconcerted, betrayed by his own body’s reactions. Then his expression shuttered hungrily.

He was seizing an opportunity to dole out discipline.

Keith took Lance by his hair and yanked, holding his eye around a ragged intake of breath. “Careful,” he said, rich in threat. “I don’t want to have to punish you for being overeager.”

“Sorry,” Lance gasped, though he wasn’t, not truly. His need was naked, fraying.

“Sorry, what?” Keith asked, in a shiver-inducing whisper that promised punishment for the first wrong answer given.

Lance knew he wanted a formal term of address. His first name, maybe even ‘Mr. Kogane’ or ‘sir,’ and perhaps a pretty plea for forgiveness to accompany it. Lance knew this, but it did nothing to dull his sudden need to disobey. Something in him was running reckless loops, trying to test limits, to hunt around for an opening, to push Keith’s buttons and boundaries beyond the point of return. Lance’s desire was incessant and uncontrollable, spilling out in every direction.

He wanted to please and be pleased by Keith. He wanted to disobey and gratify in equal measure. He wanted a reaction and a reward and a newer, harder spanking for his efforts. Something that would leave a mark. Something that would burn for hours afterwards.

“Sorry, daddy,” slid honey-sweet and endlessly mischievous from Lance's mouth before he could stop it.

He heard himself too late, dampened through his own arousal, and by then he could not take the words back. Wasn’t sure if he even wanted to.

The rush of shame Lance expected never came. Keith’s reaction mollified any embarrassment he might’ve felt over his slip-up.

His eyes dilated to deadly, drug-like levels, an arousal so acute it overflowed like fountainwater. Gaze so dark it shone black. “You’re licking this clean,” he growled, still holding Lance’s head where he wanted it, like he was a toy to do with as he pleased.

Lance’s pulse throbbed at his temples.

Keith undid his belt one-handed to free his cock. He drew black leather from metal teeth, unfastened two buttons, yanked down on his zipper with a harsh zzzzzt. “Do I make myself clear?”

Lance nodded helplessly around the tight grip Keith had on his hair.

“Yes, what?” Keith asked, slacks gaping open around the big bulge of his cock through his boxers, damp at the head.

Slowly, dangerously, holding Lance riveted where he sat kneeling, Keith drew his erect cock out, huge and hot. It bobbed heavily, like it was struggling against its own weight. He caught it, giving it a single slow pump, then stopping. His hand curled around the thick, flushed base. Inches away, Lance could smell his musk, the dark aroma of sweat and lust. Keith’s cock was perfection, glans an angry, moist red, one long vein running up the length of his shaft.

It was protruding from Keith’s pants like a promise, its slant crooked. Keith angled it arrow-straight. Just cradling it, testing its heft, allowing a bead of precome to form along the slit as Lance watched, mesmerised by its beauty, the way it preened under his eye. It hardened the final inch so that it arced up towards Keith’s belly.

A new, hard tug on Lance’s scalp yanked him from his stupor. He cried out, lips parting.

“Yes, what?” Keith repeated with impatient menace and slapped his cock against Lance’s cheek.

“Daddy,” Lance moaned, face burning. “Yes, daddy.”

“Good,” Keith murmured, appeased, and his grip on Lance’s hair loosened enough that Lance breathed a sigh of relief. “Hands on my thighs.”

Lance did as told and chewed his lip, fluttering a look up at Keith.

“You want this in your mouth?” Keith murmured, husky. He tugged lightly on his thick cock, wringing precome from the head. It rolled down Keith’s cock, glistening wet. He leant back in his chair, thighs spreading, hemming Lance in where he was trapped and backed against Keith’s desk spread-legged.

“Yes, daddy,” he whispered, softly coquettish.

Keith’s gaze was shameless. “You get one minute,” he murmured, pulling Lance in by the nape until he was nosing at Keith’s hot cock. “Make it count.”

Lance blinked his lashes and darted his tongue out to lick a shy line up the shaft from base to crown. His tongue caught against hard flesh. He nuzzled worshipfully at Keith’s cock, mouthing messily as he went. At the edge of his periphery, he saw Keith’s head tip back and then his hand was tightening in Lance’s hair, guiding Lance forward, right where he wanted him. Keith’s free hand fell to his own cock, angling it at Lance’s open mouth.

“Please,” Lance moaned.

The hinge of Keith’s jaw stood out in sharp relief. His lip curled back over his teeth as he glanced down and rubbed the wet cockhead against the seam of Lance’s lips, breath coming dark and heavy.

Lance tilted his head against the contact, lapping eagerly at the dripping slit, coating his lips in bitter precome. “Mmm,” he whined, licking it from his lips.

“Fuck,” Keith grunted. “So good. Drooling over my cock like the perfect little slut.”

He rocked his hips roughly against Lance’s mouth, watched Lance part his full lips to deliver whining kitten licks to his ruddy tip. It seemed every lap to Keith was a bright spark in Lance, like he was sharing in Keith’s pleasure, ladling buckets from his well. This was what Keith had meant, then, about having gotten off on Lance getting off.

Lance moaned, suckling at whatever he could reach, far too unhinged to find his way with so little time. It was like Keith could sense this. He was so well-attuned to Lance. His hand was suddenly at the back of Lance’s head, directing him up, up, down, and then the glorious slick length of his rigid cock was sliding into Lance’s open mouth, filling him from the inside out.

“That’s it,” Keith groaned, hand a tight pressure against the crown of Lance’s head. “Suck it all down, sweetheart. Fucking hell. Look at you gagging for it.”

Lance took more and more cock in with each downward bob of his head, swallowing around the uncomfortable intrusion. He forced it all down until his nose sat at Keith’s navel and he was gagging, lashes wet with tears of effort. Keith’s cock was a heavy weight against his tongue, sheer salt, slick meeting slick. The thickness held Lance’s lips stretched wide, drool running down his chin.

He whined, needing Keith’s help, and heard a cruel chuckle come from above.

“Thirty seconds,” Keith murmured, hand leaving Lance’s head without warning.

Lance made a soft protesting noise, tears spilling over. He glanced up at Keith through his wet lashes, mouth stuffed full of cock. A pair of dark, hungry eyes stared him back. There was no kindness left in Keith. Lance was on his own.

He hollowed his cheeks with a choked slurp, drawing his head back to watch Keith’s wet shaft slip free of his lips. It glistened with saliva, flushed a darker red than he last remembered. He dove to swallow it back down at once, lips sloppy and dripping with drool. Lance was providing an endless soundtrack of pathetic whines, made wet and gasping by the deluge of saliva collecting at the corners of his lips and spilling over, his mouth clamped tight around Keith’s girthy cock. He was so hungry for it. He couldn’t stop sucking, swallowing at Keith’s precome, moaning around his huge mouthful, everything tight and pink and spit-slick.

Keith’s hands were there again in an instant, muscles thickening with tension, everything tight and flexing, hard as a rock under Lance’s hands and mouth and spit. He threaded his fingers through Lance’s hair once more and before Lance knew it, he was being fed Keith’s cock, in and out and in and out in a hot, wet glide, his hips thrusting minutely, and he was sure the minute was up, the timer had gone off, but it didn’t matter because Keith was clogging his throat with his big cock, coating the insides of his mouth with his precome, suffocating Lance like the perfect plug.

“Fuck,” Keith growled, the curse ripped unwillingly from his throat. “It’s like you want me to fuck your mouth raw, baby.”

Lance moaned and sunk back down for more. Keith pistoned his hips shallowly, watching himself fuck his fat shaft between Lance’s swollen lips. He drove himself deeper and deeper, gagging Lance with every hard rut of his hips. For a few brief, dazzling seconds, Lance lost sense of the plot, his awareness shrinking down to Keith’s heavy cock in his mouth, the taste of him flooding his tongue like liquid want, his hands tight and tugging at Lance’s hair. Then he was being yanked off of Keith’s cock.

“Back on the desk,” Keith ordered with a heaving inhale, eyes wild.

Lance stumbled to his feet and lowered himself to the desk, dizzy with desire. His mouth felt tingly and used. His knees wouldn’t stop burning.

“This right here,” Keith said, squeezing the meat of Lance’s ass where it was bursting from the waistband of his leggings, “is the main attraction today.”

Lance moaned into his forearms.

“Who does this ass belong to, Lance?”

Lance pillowed his cheek against his arms, eyes drifting shut. “You, daddy.”

“Always,” Keith agreed. Lance heard the snap of a lid and was rewarded for his answer with the cold press of Keith’s fingers against his rim. “Mine to do with as I please. Isn’t that right?”

Lance nodded, panting damply against the wood, as Keith dipped between his cheeks.

A sudden, bright pain shot up his spine, his asscheeks jiggling hard. Keith’s hand. That was Keith’s hand, brought down hard and unforgiving against Lance’s ass. Lance’s head spun in the aftermath of the slap. He moaned and pushed his stinging ass out for more.

“No more nonverbal answers,” Keith said, delving back into Lance’s slick hole with his long, callused finger. “Do I make myself clear?”

“Yes, daddy,” Lance whispered, the dip of his back deepening to allow Keith entrance.

Keith pressed in knuckle-deep, working at Lance’s tight, furrowed entrance with practiced ease. Lance let himself soften up, the hot, dull stabs of pleasure coming from his ass as familiar to him as Keith’s breathing patterns. He loosened up and lazed, let himself drift off in a drunken trance, mouth open as he took first one digit, then two. By the third, he was awake enough to actively fuck himself on Keith’s fingers, riding them shamelessly as Keith stretched him open around the rim.

“Feel good?” Keith murmured, still attentive even in dark dom mode.

The faculty of speech was currently evading Lance. All he managed was a happy whine, drooling dumbly against Keith’s mahogany.

“Lance …” Keith scolded, severe.

Lance gave a distressed mewl, working his hips in tight little circles to take Keith into his ass deeper.

“Are you being intentionally disobedient?”

Lance shook his head deliriously.

“I’m going to have to punish you, anyway,” Keith chided, feigning disappointment with the cluck of his tongue. He crooked his pistoning fingers against Lance’s prostate and Lance went rigid, crying brokenly in his arms. “It would set a dangerous precedent if I didn’t. Arch your back for me, sweetheart.”

Lance clambered to obey, overeager as always, and Keith delivered a violent slap to his ass. His cheeks caught it, bouncing against the blow. The pain was dark and glittering. Lance shook with it.

“Fuhhh,” he whined, tears streaking his cheeks.

“Now,” Keith murmured, massaging Lance’s sore bottom mercifully. “How did that feel?”

“Good ... daddy,” Lance slurred, his head a cocktail of rich, woozy pleasure.

“What’s your colour?”

“Green,” Lance answered immediately.

Keith hummed, pleased. “I think I love the sight of your gorgeous little ass bouncing too much,” he said, screwing his fingers into Lance’s ass tight and unrelenting. Lance clamped down with a cry. “So tight for me, baby. Clenching down like you're desperate to keep me inside. Let me see you shake your ass and I’ll consider rewarding you.”

“Huh ... ?” Lance whispered, face aflame. Surely not ...

“You heard me,” Keith murmured, slipping his fingers out of Lance and ignoring the unhappy whine that earned him. “I want to see your ass bouncing. Right up against my cock.”

When Lance twisted to get a good look at Keith, he found a smirk pulling at the corners of his mouth. He was sprawled out in his chair, gaze low-lidded, hand lazy on his thick cock. He raised an eyebrow, demonstrated his meaning with the slow glide of his palm up his plump, dripping cock, as if to say, ‘I want you right here.’

“Fuck,” Lance whispered, turning back. He planted his elbows on the desk, arched his back, and steeled himself. Cheeks slowly blotting pink, he shimmyed his hips, asscheeks bouncing with the movement above the tight, restrictive grip the waistband of his leggings had on him.

“That’s it,” Keith whispered, speeding the hand he had on his cock as he watched Lance roll his hips sinuously, bent over Keith’s desk and moaning. “Such a good boy for daddy.”

Lance’s ass fluttered at the praise and Keith made a low, appreciative sound, fisting his veiny cock tighter.

“Look how open and eager you are for it,” Keith marveled, stroking fast at his massive cock with wet, slick slaps. “Spread out over my desk. Waiting to take my cock. So patient for it. No underwear today, Lance?”

“No, daddy,” Lance mumbled.

“Louder.”

“No, daddy,” Lance said, swaying rhythmic and dreamy for Keith, his ass a sultry little bounce.

“Why’s that?” Keith asked, still working his cock over, loud and wet.

“Get to your cock faster,” Lance admitted in a needy mumble, raising his waiting ass higher in the air to further illustrate his point.

Keith drew closer, stilling palming himself, and chuckled warmly at Lance’s whine of relief when his blunt cockhead nudged damply at Lance’s loosened rim. “This cock?”

“Yesss, daddy, uh,” Lance moaned, shoving his ass back, grinding his jiggling cheeks in search of friction, his cleft slicking Keith’s huge cock further.

“How much do you want it?” Keith asked, slapping his cockhead against Lance’s clenching asshole with soft, wet schelps.

“So much, daddy, please,” Lance begged, reaching backwards to hold his cheeks open for it like a little slut.

“Mm, wanna fuck your perfect, sweet little ass,” Keith whispered, slotting his slippery cock right between Lance’s cheeks. He rode the crease with uneven pants, yanking Lance back practically into his lap and supporting his weight with both hands.

“Yeah,” Lance moaned, bracing himself against Keith’s desk as his desperation built. “Fuck my ass, daddy.”

“Gonna fuck it good,” Keith swore heatedly as he thrust his cock against Lance’s wet opening, over and over. “Gonna fuck your tight ass with my fat cock till you’re drooling my come.”

“Oh, god. Fuck ... please, daddy,"  Lance whimpered, swiveling his hips in a blatant entreaty.

“Want this all the way inside your tiny hole?” Keith whispered, rubbing his bulbous cockhead in slow, taunting circles. The blunt pressure teased at Lance’s wet rim and his ass flexed open emptily, frantic for more. Keith pressed in a centimetre, fitting his cockhead against Lance’s opening, right on the verge of penetration. “Squeezing inside of you?”

“Daddy,” Lance gasped, hole gaping, oozing saliva, precome, lube. It was a tight, whorled mess waiting to be fucked wide open. “Please, please, mm. Fill me up with your big cock.”

“Yeah,” Keith hissed, surging to his feet to nudge forward.

He folded Lance flat against his desk, held down and unmoving, ass offered up, and squeezed his engorged shaft past the tiny wet ring of muscle that made up his asshole until his throbbing cockhead had popped inside, a jerky inch shoved in tight and shallow. Keith drew back experimentally, testing Lance’s give. It was fleeting and silken, a strain beginning at the base of his spine and tightening his ass tortuously as he opened wider to welcome Keith back in. Gratified, Keith pushed the tip in again, teasing in and out of Lance’s raw hole.

The strain grew to be an ache, buried deep inside of Lance’s ass, sharp and cramping and vaguely unpleasant. It was the sensation of being split open on the girth of a seven inch cock. His body wanted to reject the thick, blunt pressure beginning between his cheeks, but Lance clenched his teeth against the pain and gulped in large mouthfuls of air to calm the panicked flutter of his rim.

Keith brushed Lance’s sweaty bangs back and applied himself to the slow and tender task of dissolving that discomfort, chipping away at Lance’s resistance, fucking gently with his cockhead, jamming slick inside of Lance with little wet noises. The liquid mixture dripping from Lance’s hole rolled down his thighs in long wet lines, slick and shining.

“Ohh ... fuck,” Lance groaned, mashing his forehead into his arms.

“You’re stretched so pretty for daddy,” Keith murmured, breathing laboured. “So perfect on my cock.”

Slowly, the thick invasion began to subside, growing into something sweet and incandescent. Lance’s muscles eased in relief. His pain thawed to reveal glittering diamonds of pleasure, sparking up and down his body. Sensation, tight and shimmering, danced up the shameless curve of his spine as his ass relaxed around Keith, opening up needily for him.

He couldn’t hold in his next moan; it was high and wordless, reverberated around the room like a scream, loud enough to escape down the hall had there been another pair of ears around to catch it. The slick friction of Keith pulling out and shoving back in rocked Lance’s body, had his ass bouncing into the pressure of Keith’s thick cock.

They were so wet together, the wettest they’d ever been, drenched and dripping. The cleft of Lance’s ass was sopping and not the least bit sorry about it. Every withdrawal dragged Keith out thicker and shiny-wet, the head of his cock connected to Lance’s rim by a silky thread of precome and lube. It broke with a wet sound upon reentry, fucked back into Lance like it had never been there to begin with. Worse still: Lance’s leggings were soiled, catching every fleck of wet, patching over with dark stains. He could feel Keith’s balls fitted beneath the firm curve of his cheeks everytime he shoved in to the root with all that he had.

“How’s that, baby?” Keith asked, rough as gravel.

“Deeper, daddy,” Lance moaned, squeezing down tight on the tip in an effort to keep it in. He just wanted to be stuffed full. He wanted to lie there with the memory and imprint of Keith’s cock embedded into his ass.

“Want my big cock deep up inside you?” Keith panted.

“Uh huhh,” Lance moaned, swaying on the spot. “So deep, daddy. Want all of your fat cock.”

“Is that so?” Keith murmured, driving in deeper with a slick sound. He was everywhere, all around Lance, pressing in and permeating, lifting off to return harder and hotter. “Just like this?”

“Oh, fuck – ! Fuck me, daddy!” Lance cried into the wood, lifting his ass into the pressure with a keening cry.

Keith slapped Lance’s ass with a resounding crack, drawing back out and breaching him with his cock anew. “Beg daddy for it,” he murmured, sounding shredded. “Use your manners.”

Lance was beyond coherency. The drop back to reality would be a steep and daunting dive, but that was a problem for future Lance. This Lance was adrift and unmoored, floating on a body of water too big to contemplate. The water was Keith, was the rock and rhythm of his own body, the wetness down the cheeks of his ass. Here, his tremors were impossible to contain.

“Please, daddy,” he sobbed out, breath hitching. “Feels so good. Wanna be good for daddy. Please, more, please, I’ll be so good, I promise. Want more, please.”

“Want to be stuffed full of this thick cock? Want to be a pretty slut for daddy?” Keith ground out, clutching hard to Lance’s bouncing hips.

“Oh, yesss,” Lance moaned, spit pooling under his cheek. “Daddy … yes.” He gasped, dazed, as Keith sought the spongy pleasure centre in him that made his back bow beautifully. His body blanketed Lance, hands fondling his tight nipples, cock ploughing powerfully into his ass. “Thank you, daddy, oh … t-thank you.”

“So good for daddy, baby,” Keith grunted, snapping his hips and watching Lance’s cheeks catch his thrusts, fat and fleshy and jiggling hard.

Keith was sinking into him balls-deep on every stroke in, fully seated for only a few brief, glimmering seconds before he was gone again, pulling out to the head of his cock to prepare another noisy thrust in. Lance’s ass felt raw, sore, stretched and slapped bright red. Keith ground in on the instroke, massaging Lance’s prostrate to watch him let out wet sobs into the wood, eyes squeezed shut. He was sheened with sweat by this point, face so hot it itched.

Keith rocked in harder, roughly shoving Lance’s boneless body up against mahogany, no care for his comfort, the wood creaking under the fierce, tight rut of his hips. Alongside the last few flashes of discomfort, a glorious, sleek bliss began to unravel. Lance was so full, perfectly gorged on cock. He had never been so achingly aware of the size of Keith, pain giving way to pleasure, his balls swelling heavy against Lance’s jiggling cheeks.

The soreness of his spanked ass only served to sweeten his pleasure, magnifying the tight ache of his rim stretching open to admit Keith’s hungry cock over and over. Lance moaned pitifully into his limp wrists, sweat pouring off of him. He bucked up into Keith’s next thrust, ripping a loud groan from Keith. The thrust after that was harder, then harder again. Slowly, they began to increase in speed and intensity.

Lance needed more of that, wanted to be the best, the only, worthy and ready for his daddy’s praise. He set his teeth and took Keith deeper, holding himself open one-handed, his rim swallowing greedily around the long, thick shaft disappearing between his cheeks. Oh. That was good. That was perfect.

Lance bounced his hips frantically, braced against Keith’s desk on his elbow. He impaled himself on the thick root of Keith’s cock in a rocking-rolling rhythm.

“Fuck, that’s it, baby. Take it,” Keith growled, dark and glowing flawlessly, sweat chilling his temples. He plastered himself to Lance’s back, pulled his ass flush with his pelvis. “Take every inch. And listen to yourself. Listen to how well you’re taking daddy’s cock.”

Lance listened, felt lips at his throat, teeth exposed and nipping hard at his sensitive love bites. The smack of wet flesh was appalling in the quiet of Keith’s office, their breathing ragged, Lance’s noisy ass devouring cock damply. Everything bright and blooming. Keith’s cock: fat and rigid, sending small, needy flinches to Lance’s tight little hole at uneven intervals.

“Daddy,” Lance plead, straining up for a kiss.

Keith bent to oblige immediately, their mouths meeting in a noisy collide. Lance sucked at Keith’s tongue, too far gone for any finesse, just mouthing messily, sloppy with spit, the two of them held wide open and sharing air, panting into each other’s parted lips, lost to the jolting pleasure of Keith’s sharp, driving thrusts.

Lance rippled around Keith, arched his back indecently for more, filled and filled again. The force and pace behind Keith’s thrusts was ruthless. Lance couldn’t have asked for more. He was jolted into the desk in time with the shock of the thrusts, white creases pressed into his skin where the wood dug in and stopped the flow of blood. Lance threw himself into Keith’s rhythm, rolling his hips in answer, and Keith groaned, kissing little whines from Lance’s lips as he fucked into him harder, faster, cock one long, cataclysmic wreckage from within.

Lance was blubbering into Keith’s mouth, blue eyes welling up with new, glistening tears, a constant litany of oh, oh, oh, uh, uh, uh, daddy, yes, fuck me, fuck me, fuck me, begging to come. He was so desperate that, within seconds, his tears were spilling over, rolling down his cheeks. That earned him another slap to the ass, a crackle of sound that drew a high strung whine from his mouth.

“S-sorry, daddy, please, please fuck me,” he cried, the burn between his asscheeks too intoxicating to take for much longer. “Please, need your come, daddy, oh god, need it in me … uh, uh …”

“Fuck ...  daddy’s gonna fill that perfect little cunt up,” Keith snarled, yanking Lance’s head back by a fistful of his hair. “Open your mouth. Wider. Want you stuffed from both ends when I finish inside of your tight little pussy.”

Lance loosened his jaw, mouth falling open, and felt three rough fingers suddenly crammed between his lips, effectively gagging him. He moaned feebly around them, drooling, as he drew back into the protective shelter of Keith’s big body, feeling small and needy and wonderfully helpless. Lance was safe and swallowed. He was doing as told. He was being so good for Keith, the best and prettiest.

Keith rocked brutally into his slick channel, groaning at the clutch and grab of the ring of muscle taking his thick cock, clinging desperately to it each time he pulled free. He let go of Lance’s hair to fill his newly freed hand with a fleshy fistful of Lance’s ass, doled out another spank, this one light and appreciative, just to watch Lance’s rosy ass bounce around his cock.

Lance was sure he’d never been this noisy or deeply ensconced in a sexual headspace, asscheeks clapping, his rim squelching wetly around the girth of Keith’s cock, nothing but loud slap, slap, slaps and Lance’s delirious moans to go by. Keith’s fingers muffled all his noises, turned them weak and sex-soft.

Lance sucked desperately at them as Keith’s cock pistoned away at his hole, his ass beginning to convulse around the drag of thick, hot cock. He made an unintelligible sound around Keith’s fingers and Keith rammed in tight, grinding in as far as he could go, his balls smacking firmly against Lance’s jiggling cheeks.

“Hold yourself open,” Keith panted, as Lance’s hands flew to his cheeks, cleaving them open for Keith, “so daddy can fill that tight little pussy the way you deserve.”

Lance wailed around the fingers in his mouth, Keith pounding into him savagely, snarls pouring from his mouth as he pinned Lance to the mahogany with all of his weight and went abruptly tension-taut, his huge cock jerking hard inside of Lance. He shuddered and shoved forward to pump waves of warm come into the tight suction of Lance’s plump little ass, rutting his heavy, swollen balls’ spend deep inside of him, copious amounts of it, long, hot, throbbing streaks.

Everything was wet and pulsing. Lance heard himself as though through water: frenzied, distraught, almost howling around spit-soaked digits. His body seized up as soon as he felt Keith’s palm on him, stroking him off roughly and then he was shaking and spilling over, wracked with deep, full-body shudders.

He couldn’t remember when he’d closed his eyes, but the tears had stopped at some point. They were now drying down his cheeks. He was still drawing uneven, sobbing breaths; those would take longer to peter out. He flopped forward, mind beautifully, blissfully blank. Nothing permeated besides the radiance of his orgasm and even that was beginning to wane, throbbing waves of sensation fading.

Keith was panting into his spine, heavy and limp, breathing as swift as if he’d just come off a marathon. A few final spurts of come shot out of his cock, coating Lance’s insides hot and tingling. He pulled out gently, fisting his softening cock, murmured, “Let me see, show me your –” and Lance arched with the last remaining shred of strength he possessed so Keith could track the long pulses of creamy white dribbling from his tight little opening.

“Jesus fucking christ,” Keith growled, fingering the sticky moisture seeping from Lance’s hole.

Lance fell out of his arch at the acknowledgement, collapsing forward. He made tiny, wounded noises into the wood, everything aching excruciatingly. He was a sticky mess, covered almost completely in bodily fluids, and too exhausted to do anything about it. Oh, well.

Lance was buoyed by a daydream involving yellow curtains and Keith’s dark, unwavering eyes. His own were screwed shut. He felt a line of warm kisses feathered down his spine, Keith’s subdued voice praising him for a perfect performance, and that was all Lance needed to let go.

He sank into a drowse, surrendering to the comedown of such a filthy orgasm.

When he next came to, he was lying belly-down on Keith’s loveseat while Keith massaged lotion into his sore bottom, his rough hands kneading the cool balm into Lance’s stinging flesh. Lance made an instinctive noise of resistance, pangs of soreness shooting through him as he regained consciousness, which Keith silenced with his mouth. He shushed him softly. Lance could only lie there and take the kiss, eyes fluttering sleepily.

He heard a chuckle come from the direction of Keith. Then he was being tugged up and carefully manoeuvred into Keith’s lap. He made sure to be mindful of Lance’s aching joints and muscles. With a flap of fabric, Keith swaddled Lance’s naked body in a wool blanket, tucking it around his arms like a cloak. He smoothed out the edge that served as Lance’s makeshift collar.

“Mm.” Lance drooped forward into Keith’s embrace, nuzzling his neck with a contented sigh. The hurt dimmed beside Keith’s glowing care.

“How are you feeling?” Keith murmured, stroking the hair back from Lance’s forehead.

“Hurts,” Lance whispered.

“Change of plans,” Keith said fondly. “I will not be fucking you nonstop for the next week.”

Lance giggled quietly into Keith’s throat. He tilted his head to nose a kiss into his throat.

“I’ll settle for sleeping beside you, how does that sound?” Keith murmured. “Breakfast in bed and Love Island reruns for the next seven days. I’m taking a sick week.”

“You?” Lance said. He lifted his head, damp curls matted to his temples. “Keith ‘Workaholic’ Kogane?”

“I’m sure my coworkers would appreciate the reprieve after the hell I’ve put them through,” Keith said, amused.

“And I,” Lance said demurely, “would appreciate the free time with you, Mister.”

Keith looked Lance over like he had the first time they’d met, lashes long and dark and flickering. He cradled Lance’s face between his big palms to murmur, “You’re so beautiful.”

“Keith,” Lance croaked, throat sore. He turned his face into Keith’s hand, kissing at the heel he’d used to spank him. “Thank you. I loved it.”

Keith grasped his meaning at once. He ducked his head down to press a languid kiss to Lance’s mouth, lopsided smile taking form. “You’re welcome,” he said. “Thank you for being patient with me.”

“I don’t think you could call any of what I just did patient.”

Keith’s shoulders shook with silent laughter. “Regardless,” he said. “The work you put in did not go unnoticed.”

Idiotically, Lance’s cheeks warmed with a flush of pleasure. He dipped his head back down, suddenly shy. “You too.”

“Come back here,” Keith murmured, searching out Lance’s mouth for another kiss, deeper now, tongues probing slow and wondering. “I ordered us pasta. Should be here in about twenty minutes along with some clean clothes for you. Then we can head home.”

Lance shook with the glowing warmth of his affection for this man, lovely and dark-eyed. There was so much of it, overflowing, sluicing him like rainwater, turning him moist and shivering. He could have wept with it. He skimmed his fingers over Keith’s stubble, his kiss-swollen mouth, the dark arches of his thick eyebrows – just a touch desperate. He needed to give voice to the warmth. He needed to watch Keith bathe and bask in it like golden light.

He needed Keith to know.

“I want to kiss your face forever,” Lance whispered.

He was rewarded with a heart-shatteringly pleased half-grin. “That can be arranged.”

Lance paused. “I have a few requests before I can promise you a forever, though.”

“Name your price,” Keith said, no hesitation.

“I would like …” Lance sucked his bottom lip into his mouth, uncertain. He peered down at Keith and fingered his jaw. “I mean … I know we’re together together now. Or, always. So maybe … but well ... can I introduce you to people as my boyfriend? Because I want … that. Please. And I want to take you home with me for Christmas next month. But … only if you want to, of course.”

“Consider it done,” Keith murmured easily, like Lance was asking nothing of him.

“You would want that?” Lance whispered.

“Lance, I have been wanting that for quite some time,” Keith said, brushing a kiss over Lance’s throat. “What else?”

Lance hummed, mulling it over. “And I want you to start keeping the building warmer. Especially your lobby. Cold lobbies are uninviting, Keith, and maybe if your thermostat temperature hovered above the seventies more often you’d have double the donors you do now.”

Keith pressed a smile into Lance’s neck. “Anything else?”

“I like the walls in here,” Lance mused. “And I like all the older furniture and the big windows and the snack inventory you’ve got going. But maybe get some curtains. The kind you pull down on from above that blot out the sun. Those could be useful in the future.”

“For when you sic yourself on me at my place of employment,” Keith murmured, trailing kisses down Lance’s throat. “Reeling me in with your carnal wiles when I’ve got work to do.”

Lance moaned softly, tipping his head back for more. “You should let me sit on your cock during your lunch breaks more often. Your employees would thank me for it.”

“Is that so?” Keith whispered, laughter in his voice. He sucked Lance’s earlobe into his mouth.

Lance moaned louder. “Yes, because you’re more amenable after you’ve fucked me.”

“I’ll have them send you a thank you card,” Keith said.

“With a fruit basket. Tell them I like mango,” Lance added, breaking out into giggles when Keith bit down on his shoulder playfully. “And one more request?”

“Anything,” Keith murmured.

“This, please,” Lance murmured into Keith’s lips. “I want this.”

“This?” Keith said, thumbing Lance’s bottom lip open.

Lance pressed a kiss to the pad of Keith’s thumb with a nod of affirmation.

“‘It is for my mouth forever,’” Keith whispered, quoting Walt Whitman, his eyes on Lance’s pink lips parted against his finger. “‘I am in love with it.’”

Lance made a dark noise of outrage, even as his heart sped considerably. He was made of butterflies. He was loved and in love. “I knew you were a fan.”

Keith’s mouth ticked up into a grin. “Only after I met you.”

“Yeah, I know.” Lance tilted forward to tug reproachfully at Keith’s bottom lip. “I found those books in your goddamn glove compartment, y’know.”

“Then you know I’ve loved you for a while,” Keith whispered into Lance’s mouth.

“Yours forever,” Lance echoed, pressing a reverent kiss to Keith’s smiling mouth. “It loves you back, you stupid idiot.”

Sound Mendelssohn's Wedding March — Keith Kogane of the Shirogane Foundation was recently photographed kissing his previously unnamed paramour Lance McClain at this year’s Seattle Climate Change Conference

Dave Ciolli    27m

Sources say former CEO, current Co-Chair Takashi Shirogane is ‘over the moon’ and suspects an engagement is imminent. Only time will tell.

Keith Kogane spent this year’s Seattle Climate Change Conference alternately demanding more radical climate legislation for his city and locking lips with his boyfriend Lance McClain, a recent graduate of Seattle University now working towards his master’s degree in English Literature.

During his opening remarks, Kogane read from Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass” and announced plans to endorse Coran Hieronymus Wimbleton Smythe, the mustachioed climate activist who plans on running for mayor next term. Smythe’s campaign is being carried by promises of Green New Deal-based policies and a hands-on approach Seattle residents find “offensively effective.”

As for Lance McClain? When prompted about the torrid dating rumors that seem to follow the Shirogane Foundation brothers wherever they go, McClain expressed his amusement to Business Insider. Other questions garnered a less enthusiastic response.

“None of your business,” he said when asked about the seriousness of his and Kogane’s relationship, then hastily added: “But I’m not going anywhere, so stop publishing articles about Keith dating that James Griffin guy from Garrison Corp. He’s an asshole and I’m way hotter.”

Kogane conveyed similar sentiments. By which our editors mean, he said the words, “None of this will matter once I’ve married Lance,” before ducking into his Tesla with his beaming boyfriend in tow.

Hats off to the happy couple. We hope to see more of them in the future.

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