The sun burned hot, the barbie burned hotter, but all Dave could think about was burying his whole body in ice cold snow, sucking on ice lollies, even sluicing himself under a freezing waterfall. Anything but the heat that kept burning at his cheeks every time he looked towards the tall man who was currently laughing in a group over by the swimming pool, burger in one hand, beer bottle in the other and the most sexy smile gracing his face that Dave had ever seen. Dave risked the heat and turned over another few snags,
watching as they turned brown, pulling them off before they burned completely, spearing them on the cooking fork, and generally trying to ignore the one man his mind kept drifting towards even if he forced his eyes not to.
He sucked beer from his stubbie and thought of the day before when he'd first been introduced to Hugh. Forcing down a lump in his throat, and a lump elsewhere, he emembered the jolt of electricity that had coursed through his whole body as Hugh had turned to Dave, smiled, held his hand out and their skin had touched as Hugh grasped firmly and shook with a drover's strength. Dave had felt like his whole world changed in that moment.
Everything had skewed off sideways somehow, and he suddenly realised why nothing was working with him at the moment. Why his last girlfriend had called it quits after no more than a few weeks together, why nothing ever seemed to make sense in his love life, why nothing ever lasted.
Dave saw Hugh and a heat burned inside him. Not just in his groin, but in his suddenly too tight chest, in his glowing cheeks. And he wanted. He yearned like he'd never done before. And he wasn't even confused at this sudden revelation. It was just like everything suddenly fitted into place. The proverbial light bulb glowing brightly above his head.
Just how Dave got the conversation around to inviting Hugh to the barbie this arvo he had no idea. But invite him he did, and there he was. Meanwhile Dave had been volunteered to cook and he was stuck behind the inferno of a Barbie, sweat dripping from his forehead to drip and hiss onto the coals.
And now Dave had no idea how he was going to go over there and talk and act like a grown up, and not an ankle biter. He took a deep breath and turned over another snag, hissing as it split and oil splattered into the burning coals, flames flickering up to snatch at his hand, making him drop the fork and swear loudly as his skin turned bright red and burned.
"Christ! You all right, mate?"
Dave jumped even more as he realised just who it was that had run up and was now holding him, one hand on his arm just above the burn, the other tight on his shoulder. He felt the pain searing into his mind, but he knew it was only superficial, just a stupid thing to have happened right now.
"I'll be right. Just my skin trying to burn off, no worries!" Dave even attempted a grin as he turned his head and found his nose no more than a few millimetres away from Hugh's. His stomach attempted to jump through his mouth as he looked deep into the hazel almost green tinted eyes that seemed to glow in the hot sunlight.
"I'm fine!" he squeaked, watching Hugh's adam's apple bob as the man who held him swallowed, feeling his skin burn, fingers curling up and his jaw clenched to try and stop himself showing the pain too much. Dave had a fleeting thought that perhaps Hugh looked a little flustered himself, but put it down to the heat and possibly even
caring that the burn wasn't fatal.
"Best get some ice on it there, mate. We'll get you fixed up and in good nick again, a'right?" Hugh's voice sounded a little strained to Dave's ears.
"If you wanna." Dave's heart beat too fast to say anything more, and Hugh smiled at the other people gathered around, saying he'd be alright tending with Dave, and not to stop their partying. He led Dave away into the house, putting the arm quickly into the kitchen sink and turning the water on full force, splashing both men in the process, but neither complained. Hugh was now pressed up against the back of Dave, and Dave could think of nothing else but all the hard muscles that were now pushing against him, and just how weak-kneed he felt.
"Howzit goin'?" Hugh asked, his voice seeming too far away and yet way, way too close to Dave right now.
"Getting colder." Dave managed a smile, the skin was still red and raw looking, but the heat was receding already.
"Hang on a tick, I'll get some ice on it. Stick the plug in the sink." Hugh moved away and Dave couldn't help a short sigh at the loss of body warmth. He hoped to god that Hugh hadn't noticed and stuck the plug in as asked. He looked over his shoulder and saw Hugh hunting through the freezer for some ice cubes, finding a few trays and bringing them back to the sink where Dave stood, almost mesmerised.
"Right, lets get the tap turned off and you stick your arm in the water. I'll break some ice into it, should do ya right." Hugh was very businessman like in his tone, but even that couldn't get Dave's heart to beat any less fast. "There ya go," he finished as the last of the ice tumbled into the water. One splashed water up onto Dave's cheek and he felt his eyes close in instinct.
He suddenly felt something that made his lids squeeze together even more, he felt Hugh's thumb brush the water off his cheek so softly. And he felt Hugh press against him again causing an ache in his groin that even made him forget the burning feeling of his skin. And he felt that Hugh's heavy breathing matched his own completely.
He felt Hugh lean in and brush his lips over his cheek where the water had been.
And the whole world burst into flame.