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Orlando nodded politely at another student and his parents as they passed him in the busy residence hall hallway. It was Fresher’s week at the University of Edinburgh, complete with the trademark influx of students that made it impossible not to brush against someone and in some cases their parents.

Orlando had arrived alone unlike most other freshers. His mother hadn’t been able to accompany him, and he’d turned down his older sister’s offer to take her place. It wasn’t that he didn’t want anyone to be there with him; he just hadn’t thought it necessary. He wanted to get used to the idea of being on his own anyway and didn’t think he could do that with either his mum or sister holding his hand. They weren’t even that far away–less than a day’s trip away by train or plane should he need them. 

Based on the room numbers, there wouldn’t be too long before he arrived at his. He gripped his backpack strap tighter, eying a tall, dark haired male student, who–despite having effortlessly caught Orlando’s attention–barely took notice of him as he swiftly made his way down the hallway. Orlando turned back to the task at hand to find that he’d arrived at his intended destination–the room that he would call his home for the school term.

~

Eric snaked his way through the steady flow of freshers pouring through the hall of residence, making his way to the community bathroom on the building’s first floor. He passed a slim, dark-haired male student–a little on the pretty side. Guessing from his expression, he was another first year, though he was lacking the typical mum and dad escorts. 

“Shite. Was that supposed to feel like a journey?” he mumbled to himself.

It’d only been a year since he’d arrived here as a first year with his brother–who he’d managed to convince his parents to send in their stead–in tow to help him, but he’d been too wide-eyed at his new independence to notice the traffic and how crowded the halls were. He remembered hardly being able to tell the graduates from the undergraduates then, but now the freshers were as easy to spot as rainbow colored rhinos and not solely by their still doting, clinging parents, but also their innocent faces. He didn’t think and sure as hell hoped he hadn’t looked that naive his first year. It was just asking for all kinds of trouble. God knew, there were some students here looking for exactly that.

Eric looked up at the blond man in front of him. “Sean. Decided to hide out in the bathroom, too?” 

“We should have taken up at Karl’s flat this week. I can’t take a step without walking on someone’s mum,” Sean answered.

“No way in hell could you get me to stay at Karl’s for a friggin’ week.” Eric scowled, walking up to one of the urinals. There was no way he’d stay anywhere for a week with Karl. Even if Sean would be there. He doubted the presence of Sean or anyone else would make that much of a difference.

“Why? You have something against Karl? Since when?” Sean asked when Eric shrugged. He was perplexed, considering Eric had never mentioned or even implied once in all the times they’d hung out together that he and Karl were having problems again. He turned the other way as Eric relieved himself, wanting to give him some privacy.

“He’d have me up the arse in my sleep.”

“Nah, he’d at least wait until you were awake,” Sean laughed. He didn’t really care to talk about Eric and Karl’s sex lives. Even if they were friends, he didn’t want to hear about the details. He’d have thought Eric would have liked it that way anyway.

“Oh, that’s much better,” Eric replied sarcastically. He didn’t want Karl anywhere whether he was asleep or awake. “Not willing to risk it, mate. He’d think I owed it to him or some shite like that.”

“He still seems to rate you anyhow. He sure as hell doesn’t try to hide it. ‘s that why? … Didn’t know you were still in the closet, Eric.”

Eric could hear the grin in his voice, and he was slightly annoyed. Of course, Sean thought it was funny. He retorted, “No, you’re the only one in the closet, Sean. Too fucking afraid you’re going to be called a pansy.”

“No, lad, I’m not afraid of anything because I’m not fucking gay . Seems like I’m the only damn straight one,” Sean responded vehemently.

Eric couldn’t help but smile at Sean’s too defensive response. He’d seen it coming before he’d even spoken a word. Sean was all too predictable and, obviously, all too willing to defend his sexuality and masculinity. Eric loved it.

“Uh huh. I’m bi, by the way.” He added before Sean could speak, “Yes, there’s a difference.”

Sean grunted in response, not quite convinced.

“Anyway, he’s a slut. He’s always all fucking over me. That’s what he doesn’t try to hide. That’s why I don’t like him. I’d rather step on someone’s mum,” Eric answered, motioning with his head towards the hallway door.

Sean didn’t say anything about Eric’s slut-shaming of Karl for a moment. He supposed that was all true. Karl was a bit on the slutty side. That was how Sean had met him when Karl had made a not so inconspicuous pass at him. He probably still did even now. Sean didn’t really notice anymore; he guessed he was used to it.

“…You’re still upset about it then?” Sean asked. There’d been some discord between Eric and Karl last year, and he was beginning to think that Eric wasn’t as over it as he’d made himself out to be–that maybe he was still bitter about all of it. Sean felt somewhat responsible. Eric hadn’t come off as “fresh” as the rest of the freshers last year when Sean had met him, so he hadn’t thought to warn him about Karl when Eric had taken an interest. Sean thought he would figure out easily what Karl was after. It wasn’t exactly a secret. 

“What?”

“About what happened last year,” Sean replied somewhat gravely. He shoved his hand in his pockets and stared at the door, hoping he hadn’t just said the wrong thing by bringing it up. Eric wasn’t rash and didn’t have much of a temper, but he wasn’t the most pleasant person to be around when he was angry.

Eric was confused for a second before he caught the meaning behind Sean’s metaphor. He shook his head in denial. “No… I just wish I’d never made that mistake.”

“I don’t think he thinks it was a mistake,” Sean replied. He knew Karl didn’t.

Eric zipped up his pants and turned around. “I don’t give a fuck about what he thinks.”

~

 

“They’re everywhere,” Sean explained. 

Eric and Sean had decided to simply avoid the halls altogether for the rest of the week. If they reduced their time there to sleeping and leaving, theoretically they would have nothing to worry about. The plan was now in action.

Eric sat back in his chair, relaxed, as he listened to Sean complain to Karl across the round table. He played with his cup aimlessly and tried to ignore Karl. Usually, he had no problem putting the past behind him and hanging around Karl—he wasn’t usually the indignant type—but he couldn’t help but feel Karl somehow knew that he and Sean had been talking about him less than an hour ago; even though he knew he couldn’t have. 

“You could stay at my place if you want,” Karl smirked, looking Eric in the eye purposefully.

Eric was taken aback for a second. He wasn’t exactly sure why. This wasn’t anything new–Karl was acting like Karl, only maybe slightly subtler. Despite the short time they’d been involved last year, and how abruptly they’d ended, Karl always made it clear that there was an open invitation for a second round. One that Eric wasn’t interested in accepting.

Eric narrowed his eyes warningly, nearly snarling at him. Karl only laughed but turned back to Sean. “There’s room.”

Coffee with Karl had been Sean’s fucking idea, so Eric glared at him, too. 

“No, but thanks,” Sean declined, the episode between Karl and Eric not going unnoticed by him. He didn’t want to take Karl’s offer now that he knew Eric wouldn’t, not wanting to ditch his roommate at the halls by himself. He wondered why Eric was acting so miffed, and if it had anything to do with their previous conversation regarding Karl.

Eric sighed heavily and shifted restlessly in his chair, sliding down farther in his seat and stretching his legs, only to jerk his feet back quickly and sit up straight again when his feet touched Karl’s. Just what he needed, Karl fucking smirking at him again like he’d meant to do it on purpose.

Karl raised an eyebrow, and Eric swore if he felt Karl’s foot nudge back at his, he’d fucking kick him. He didn’t even bother to glare this time—just safely tucked his feet under his chair and looked elsewhere. He wondered how long they were going to stay here because he was ready to leave now.

“What’s wrong with you?” Karl asked Eric, clearly ignoring the fact that Eric was ignoring him. Eric furrowed his brow, trying to act confused. Karl stared at him, waiting for his answer.

“What?” was his brilliantly witty reply. He glanced at Sean next to him, who had turned to look at him, too. “Nothing.”

Karl’s eyebrows rose and fell skeptically as he reached for his drink. “ Nothing ? Why are you acting strange?”

“I’m not.” He was. He was trying not to, but he was. Maybe because it was the beginning of the school year: the presence of all the new freshers was transporting him back to his first semester here when he first met Karl and reminding him how he’d abruptly found out that he wasn’t as astute as he’d thought himself to be.

Eric wasn’t looking at Karl again. He fiddled with his cup some more before mimicking Karl and taking a drink, hoping they’d back off when he had his mouth full. The liquid was cold and insipid in his mouth, and he wanted to throw it out. Just like this conversation.

Karl had other plans.

“You are,” Karl answered calmly after putting his drink down casually on the table. Eric scowled at him, annoyed at his presumptuousness. Did he have to have the last word? If he fucking said he wasn’t, then he wasn’t. When Eric didn’t answer him, Karl turned to Sean. 

“Do you want to come over to my place?” he asked, glancing back at Eric, who still had a scowl on his face, as he finished his question. Karl leered back at him, obviously tired of his moodiness; Eric rolled his eyes and looked out the window, brooding. 

“Yeah, sure,” Sean answered quickly, trying now to ignore the threatening vibes the two were throwing off at each other. He was sure getting out of here before something happened was the best thing to do. He could feel the anger rising off of Eric, and he assumed now Eric that was riled from the conversation they had earlier, but he wasn’t sure why Karl was angry, too.

“I’ll see you later,” Eric mumbled, sulking. He glared at Karl once more as he stood up, leaving his cup on the table. He didn’t see why he should stay and going to Karl’s place was the last thing he was going to do.

“Where're you going?” Sean asked, confused. Eric didn’t bother to answer him as he walked from the table, brushing shoulders with a young man as he walked out the door.

“Sorry,” he mumbled without giving him the slightest glance.

~

Orlando gazed curiously around him at the stunning buildings. Besides the prestige of the university, the beauty of the city was one of the reasons he’d chosen Edinburgh. He had toured it a couple of times during visits up here, but it had always been with other people, his mum, friends, or other students. It was definitely different wandering around alone. Now it seemed a little bigger and intimidating. The city was much larger and more populated than his hometown–another historical tourist spot–which was why he was searching for a place he could frequent: a bookstore, a café, or something of the sort. He needed something to make the campus and the city seem smaller, to help him adjust. He’d seen a couple of places already, but they all seemed too popular with the students, and he wanted some place relaxing and not too busy or loud.

He’d started Fresher’s week off anxious and eager, but he had not been disappointed by the experience. It had been somewhat of a blur with the countless events and the free booze at nearly all of them, but he had already met a good deal of people so far, including some fellow design majors who he planned to meet up with later. For now he was familiarizing himself with the campus. 

Up ahead, he spotted a place that looked like it might work as a bolt hole. He headed for it and walked into the coffee shop just as an angry looking bloke brushed by him in a hurry. 

“Sorry,” the man muttered, not even looking at him. 

“It’s okay,” Orlando responded, turning to get a look at him. The handsomeness of his face was accentuated by the anger displayed there, and Orlando watched until the broad shouldered man disappeared from his sight. He looked familiar. Orlando couldn’t place from where, but from the quick glance he’d gotten, he knew he had seen him before.

When he turned into the shop, two guys were staring in his direction, a blond and a brunet, and he blushed when he realized he had been standing there staring at some random guy—practically checking him out—and quickly walked over to the counter to order.

After he ordered, he noticed that the two guys he’d seen looking at him were talking to each other now, thankfully paying him no attention. He found a seat at a table where he could see them, but just as he sat down their movement caught his, and they both stood up. He panicked for a moment, thinking they might come over to him, but instead they walked towards the door. He shook his head, unsure of why he’d been freaking out, accrediting it to his feeling a little on edge from before.

Orlando watched as they left, both looking a little irate, and wondered if they had some connection with the guy that he’d bumped into before, what with the common anger. Maybe they had gotten into some kind of fight. But his thoughts were interrupted by the waiter bringing him his drink. Orlando thanked him, took his coffee, and tried to clear his mind.

Chapter Text

Eric walked into the men’s locker room of the university swimming pool at St. Leonard’s Land. He’d frequented the pool often last year mostly because it was only a five minute walk from the campus gym and a ten minute walk from his hall, and because, taking into account his coastal upbringing in Australia, he considered himself to be a decent swimmer. This year he’d registered for a swim course with his friend Chris. He wasn’t certain yet whether he’d regret the decision to add another class to his busy schedule, but he’d hoped it would help him keep fit while giving him some relief from his Engineering courses which would be picking up in difficulty this year. 

He walked down a row of lockers to change for class and set his bag down on the bench in the middle, glancing at the only other person in the same row. He looked somewhat familiar, but Eric couldn’t place where he knew him from. The stranger looked up, sensing that he was being watched, and met Eric’s gaze, a look of recognition flashing across his face, too.

Eric smiled and figured he should offer the first greeting since he’d been caught staring. “Hi.”

“Hey,” the other guy returned, offering his own timid smile which only emphasized the beauty of his face and made Eric realize why he’d caught his eye in the first place. It took a second, but Eric suddenly registered that it was the same slim, dark-haired student who’d briefly caught his eye in the hallway of his hall during move-in week. 

When he didn’t immediately turn away Eric took the chance to ask, “You look familiar. Do you live in Deaconess?” 

“Yeah, I do,” he answered, nodding, seemingly curious of their apparent connection, too. 

“Well, that explains why you look familiar. I guess we’re neighbors then... and classmates, too. I’m Eric,” he introduced, hoping that they might be close neighbors as he gave him a quick full body perusal. He was lean, with an athletic body, shorter than Eric, and of a smaller build, which was not entirely surprising given Eric’s above average stature. 

Eric offered his hand, and the other man took and shook it briefly yet firmly. 

“Orlando. Nice to meet you.” 

“You, too. Are you a fresher?” Eric asked, turning to open a locker and his bag, partially to start getting dressed for the class but more so he could tear his eyes away from and stop ogling Orlando. He appreciated what he saw, but he didn’t want to come off as a creeper.

“Yeah. Are you?” Orlando asked. He’d already switched into his jammers and was packing his clothes and bag into the locker.

“No, I’m a second year,” Eric shook his head and started changing out of his clothes. He took note of Orlando’s English accent. “How’re you liking it here so far?” 

“So far, I like what I’ve seen, which isn’t much to be honest,” Orlando responded. He assumed from his accent that Eric was Australian. He watched him pull his shirt off over his head, revealing his muscular chest and shoulders before he turned away to finish putting his things away.

Eric finished pulling his jammers on, then closed his locker before turning to face Orlando. “Well, if you like bars, there’s a few I could show you.”

“Yeah, sure! I don’t really know many people here yet,” Orlando responded, sounding genuinely enthusiastic at the prospect of new friendship. 

Orlando beamed at him widely, leaving Eric suddenly feeling a bit flustered and acutely aware of the attraction he was experiencing as heat crept up his face. He cleared his throat and tried not to stumble over his words as he attempted to ignore the involuntary reaction. “Well then, we should go get drinks tomorrow then, and I’ll introduce you to my roommate.” 

“Yeah, that sounds great!” Orlando said, and his smile grew impossibly brighter. Eric smiled back at Orlando and hoped he didn’t look as wonderstruck as he felt. 

~

 

Orlando scanned the crowd that filled the congested pub. He’d been to a few pubs already during Fresher’s week, but he hadn’t made it to this one yet, although he’d heard of it. It was a fairly small space that was longer than it was wide. Dozens of flags covered the ceiling like a quilt, and a multitude of posters and frames lined the walls. One of the longer walls was partially covered in cutouts of various people’s faces, and across from it not more than ten feet away, the bar spanned the majority of the length of the pub. 

Eric had sent him a text saying they were standing near the end of the bar at the back of the pub, and Orlando began pushing his way through the crowd, taking note of the variety of people present. Despite the fact that Edinburgh had several universities, the crowd reflected a much more diverse patronage.

He hadn’t traveled very far before he spotted Eric standing at the bar, a beer glass in his hand and a slight look of indifference marring his face as he fiddled with one of his sleeves. Orlando had inferred from the text that Eric was here with friends, and he was standing next to several conversing people, but he didn’t seem to be engaging with any of them. Eric raised his eyes from his cuff; head still tilted down, and caught Orlando’s gaze. A deep, daunting intensity lingered in his dark eyes before a smile spread across his attractive face as he recognized Orlando and waved him over. 

“Hey,” Orlando said, smiling back, when he’d reached him. They stood close together, nearly touching, due to the lack of space and the amount of occupants crammed into the tiny pub.

“I’m glad you could make it.” Eric leaned in so that Orlando could hear him and inadvertently caught the scent of his cologne. “Your first drink’s on me!”

“Thanks!” Orlando said, noticing that two men standing next to Eric were looking at him. Eric noticed, too, soon enough and introduced them. “Orlando. This is Sean, my roommate… and Karl.”

Orlando took Sean’s outstretched hand and greeted him, the aloof tone with which Eric had introduced Karl not going unnoticed. Karl was staring at him, giving him a full body scan that was accompanied by an expression that made Orlando feel slightly uncomfortable. He carried himself with the arrogance of someone who knew was attractive, frequently used it to his gain, and was accustomed to the advantages it brought him. Orlando immediately recognized him by his haircut as the same bloke he’d seen at the same coffee shop a few weeks prior. The sides of his dark hair were shaved without a fade and the top was long and slicked back with pomade. The severity of his haircut made him seem more abrasive. 

“How do you know each other?” Karl asked when his eyes finally settled on Orlando’s face, sporting a look of fascination. His accent said that he was also not originally from Scotland–New Zealand by the sound of it–but Orlando didn’t bother to ask.

“We’re in the same swim class,” Orlando answered, not particularly eager to converse with him. He didn’t like the vibe he was getting from him. He turned and nodded at the beer mug in Eric’s hand. “What are you drinking?” 

“Brewdog. Want one?” Eric answered. Orlando nodded and tried to ignore the fact that he could still feel Karl’s eyes boring into him. When Eric turned to catch the bartender’s attention, Orlando moved to stand on his other side at the bar to escape Karl’s gaze.

“Why’s he staring at me like that?” Orlando asked Eric after he’d made his order. 

“Because he’s imagining what you look like naked,” Eric told him cynically. Karl’s leering hadn’t gone unnoticed by Eric. He’d opted to not say anything to avoid starting an argument with him, knowing Karl would have denied any wrongdoing and accused Eric of being overprotective for no reason. 

“If you want me to say something I will,” Eric offered, despite knowing that it would probably cause Karl to claim that Eric was jealous of not being on the receiving end of his attention, followed by his attempting to rectify that by aggressively flirting with him.

Orlando shook his head. “No, it’s fine. I’ll just stay over here.” 

Eric nodded gratefully.

“Sorry, he’s an arsehole. I’m not actually sure how he and Sean are friends.” It was beyond his understanding how they had anything in common. He had no clue how they’d managed to form a friendship past the class project they had worked on together last year in one of their architecture classes. He was sure it had something to do with Karl not constantly chasing after Sean the way he did Eric. Then again, Sean also hadn’t slept with Karl, Eric thought, internally grimacing at his past lapse in judgement.

“What about you and him? Not friends?” Orlando asked curiously, having noticed Eric’s change of expression.

“By association. Acquaintances, maybe. He’s tolerable sometimes,” he explained with a smile, trying to lighten his tone and temper his animosity lest he come off as a spurned lover. He didn’t want it to seem like he was trying to turn Orlando against Karl before he could decide on his own whether he liked him or not. 

“I know it’s barely been half a week, but how are your classes going so far?” Eric asked, changing the subject. The bartender placed Orlando’s drink on the counter.

“Thanks.” Orlando took the mug. “Not too bad so far. Fresher’s week was a bit... overwhelming. Very fun, but a lot going on.”

“How many clubs did you end up joining?” Eric asked grinning widely, remembering how hard the freshers were hounded with offers and requests from the horde of clubs and societies.

“Way too many,” Orlando laughed.

“So you won’t be at the ping-pong team practice on Thursday?” Eric asked with faux incredulity, knowing that a large percentage of students who signed up for groups during Fresher’s week ended up being false recruits.

“Afraid not,” Orlando answered and took a swig from his bottle. 

“Your next round is on me, Orlando,” said Karl. Neither Eric nor Orlando had noticed him until he’d spoken, and both looked at him now somewhat confounded by his stealthy approach. Eric drank the last of his beer and set the mug down a little harder than he’d intended, drawing everyone’s attention.

“Not mine?” Eric asked disdainfully, gesturing to his empty mug. Orlando hadn’t even finished half of his glass yet. 

“Sure, if you share your new friend.”

“Share? He’s not a fucking starter, Karl.” He was openly scowling at him now, displeased to have had his conversation with Orlando interrupted by Karl’s attempt at flirting.

“What’s this about you buying?” Sean asked Karl, intentionally interjecting to try to de-escalate the conversation and take advantage of the situation. “I’ll take a FUBAR. Cheers.”

Sean had witnessed the evolution of Eric’s and Karl’s relationship over the past year, and he honestly didn’t understand why the fuck it was so strained recently. Eric and Karl had obviously at one point gotten along well enough to fuck and come to be somewhat civil afterwards. He wasn’t sure what the problem was now. Or more specifically what Eric’s problem was because Karl was obviously still interested. Of course, Karl was interested in a lot of people. Like this Orlando kid. And he was willing to bet from his protective behavior that Eric was, too.

“Alright... What are you having?” Karl asked Eric, sensing that he was obviously agitated. He obviously felt possessive of his new friend, not that that would normally stop Karl from trying. He rather liked a challenge, but it could wait, and he didn’t need Eric losing his mind in the middle of the pub.

“I’ll take an Old Norway,” Eric answered coldly. 

“I’m good for now. Thanks,” Orlando responded more than a little awkwardly. He quickly brought the mug back up to his mouth for another sip, hoping their heated exchange was over. It didn’t seem like Eric was as capable of ‘tolerating’ Karl as he said he was. He wondered what had happened between the two of them that their relationship was so tense. 

Karl nodded and waved the bartender over. Once he’d placed their drink order, he turned to Eric, pinning him with a fixed stare. Unfazed, Eric returned the stare.

“Can I talk to you for a second?” Karl asked. Eric nodded, his lips pressed together tightly, and took in a deep breath before he followed Karl, pushing his way through several people.

“So what part of England are you from?” Eric heard Sean ask Orlando as the two stepped away from the bar. 

“What’s your problem with me?” Karl asked Eric bluntly when he turned around and stepped in closer so he wouldn’t have to yell.

“No problems here, Karl,” Eric responded, his irritation evident in his tone. Karl looked unconvinced by the blatant lie. 

“Bullshit! Look, if you don’t want me to steal your little boyfriend from you then say so—” How fucking considerate of him, Eric thought. 

“He’s not my boyfriend.” 

“You’re acting otherwise,” Karl accused. Eric knew he was fishing for more information about the extent of his relationship with Orlando. Though he wasn’t sure why. It wasn’t as if Karl would change his behavior if he admitted that he was interested in Orlando or even if he and Orlando were together.

“You’re making him uncomfortable.” Eric knew Karl could see that but just didn’t care. He was sure he got off on seeing people squirm under his gaze. 

Karl raised an eyebrow. “ Him or you ?”

Him . Are we done here? I think the drinks are ready, and I’d like to get back to mine.” He turned and walked off without waiting for Karl’s answer.

“Eric!” Karl called out and followed him.

Eric stopped and turned around again. Karl refused to take a hint and when given the chance would exploit every opportunity to get what he wanted. Eric knew that he would keep trying with Orlando until he got a firm no, and Eric didn’t want to wait and watch him make Orlando more and more uncomfortable until it progressed to that point. “Just fucking tone it down, Karl. Okay?”

“Alright.” Karl nodded, smirking like he’d won an argument, and Eric walked back to the bar to stand next to Orlando. He grabbed his new pint and knocked back half of it before he replaced it back on the bar.

Orlando raised an eyebrow, his expression a mixture of awe and concern. “You good?”

Now that that was over? Eric grinned at him. “Great.” 

~

 

The next day at the pool, Eric made it all the way into the water before Orlando appeared. He was wading in one of the far lanes, chatting with his friend Chris and another classmate as they waited for the class to start when Orlando walked out from the men’s locker room and joined him. He quickly shifted his attention to Orlando.

“Wasn’t sure you were going to make it,” Eric said, not bothering to tone down his amused grin. Judging by the messy dark brown curls spilling over his forehead, Orlando had rolled out of bed and then walked directly to class. 

“Neither was I? Remind me why I signed up for an 8 o’clock class that requires physical exertion.” 

“Because you want to stay fit?” Eric responded, discretely impressed by what the snug fit of Orlando’s jammers revealed as he slipped into the water. His muscular legs disappeared into the water, leaving just his muscled chest partially exposed above the water line. “The better question is ‘why can’t you hold your liquor?’”

”Fuck off! You’re the one who challenged me to see who could get Karl to buy them more drinks,” Orlando laughed. Once the tension between Eric and Karl had died down, they’d all managed to have quite an entertaining night out last night. Or at least Orlando had.

“You were the one who decided to take that joke seriously.” Apparently Orlando was the one who couldn’t turn down a challenge. 

“Hey, I managed without actually leading him on. Didn’t even give him my number,” Orlando bragged. And apparently Eric hadn’t needed to play the role of mother hen. He watched Orlando play dumb to Karl’s advances the whole night and still manage to get several drinks out of him. He guessed Karl thought Orlando was too tempting of a catch for him to not test how far his generosity would get him.

“Because you told him to get it from me, you little shit!” Eric bellowed. Orlando grinned widely, obviously pleased with himself. Eric shook his head. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to dunk him under the water or commend him for his cleverness. 

“I didn’t give it to him, so expect him to ask you for it again the next time he sees you... Sorry to put you in the middle of all that by the way.” Eric had felt like a fool for engaging with Karl last night when it could have been avoided and had seemingly been completely unnecessary.

“I’m not. I got pissed for free.” Orlando laughed. 

“Well, I’m glad my misfortune was of use to you last night, you brat,” Eric said lightheartedly, having made up his mind that he’d prefer to dunk him. “Wanna go out again Friday?”

“You paying?” Orlando asked playfully. 

Eric guffawed. “Fuck, no. Nor will I be providing you with another sugar daddy. You’ll have to find your own.” 

Orlando dunked his head under the water. When he re-emerged, he grabbed his swim cap and placed it over water-tamed hair. “So what you’re saying is that you need to give Karl my number.” 

“If that’s what you want.” Eric smiled.

“Is he always like that?” 

“... If you’re a male that he finds attractive, then yes. And you obviously fit that description,” Eric explained, painfully aware that he was of the same opinion as Karl. 

“So do you based on what I saw,” Orlando said, referring to the not so subtle passes Karl had made at Eric, too. He grabbed the edge of the pool wall to steady himself. “Why are things so tense between you and Karl? I mean he seems pretty harmless.” 

Eric internalized a groan, not really wanting to talk about Karl right now. He mimicked Orlando and grabbed the pool edge. “Mostly because he won’t let up even though he knows I’m not interested.” 

“Mostly?” Orlando furrowed his brow. Eric hadn’t expected Orlando to be this insistent. 

“We have a short history.” He wasn’t interested in giving Orlando the full background. 

“So you’re gay then?” Orlando asked bluntly.

Eric was caught off guard by the question and unexpectedly felt self-conscious. It wasn’t often that he was asked so directly about his sexuality. And, generally, when he was attracted to someone he knew theirs. “I’m bisexual.” 

“Interesting.” 

“How so?” Eric asked, trying not to feel defensive. There hadn’t been a condemning tone attached to Orlando’s statement, and if he had to take an educated guess, he’d presume that Orlando wasn’t homophobic since he hadn’t seemed to take offense to Karl’s many advances last night. At least not while he was getting free drinks out of it. 

“After last night, I wasn’t expecting to hear that you and Karl…” He made a vague gesture with his hand, letting his words fade off. He had clearly noticed Eric’s animosity toward Karl’s interest, and after being on the receiving end of it, Orlando could see how Eric would tire of it when it was unwanted. Despite the fact that Karl had paid for most of his drinks last night Orlando wouldn’t exactly consider himself a fan. 

But he was a bit shocked now to learn that Eric was attracted to men. Not that they’d had the chance to ever discuss it. He just hadn’t considered it. Honestly, he’d almost gotten the impression that Eric was annoyed that Karl was hitting on him because he wasn’t attracted to men and that he ‘tolerated’ Karl because he was Sean’s friend. And even though he wanted to hear the story of what happened between them, he could guess from Eric’s body language that telling him about it wasn’t high on the list of things Eric desired to do. 

“Yeah, that was a while ago. Anyway, I think he’s more taken with you right now, so he might leave me alone now.” 

“Glad I could be of use to you,” Orlando laughed.

“Why do you think I invited you?” Eric asked, smirking. 

~

Chapter Text

Eric walked into the kitchen; his head still fuzzy from last night’s outing. He’d gone out with Orlando last night, but instead of joining Sean and Karl, they’d met up with a few of the people Orlando had met during Fresher’s week. Eric hadn’t thought he’d drank that much, but he clearly hadn’t consumed enough water, and he could feel the beginnings of a headache threatening to form if he didn’t remedy that soon. Thankfully it was Saturday, and he didn’t have any classes to attend.

“Good morning,” Sean greeted him from the couch.

“Morning,” Eric offered groggily as he walked straight to their small kitchen. He needed water now. He grabbed a glass from the cupboard and stuck it under the kitchen sink faucet. 

Sean was packing his backpack on the coffee table. “How was your night out with Orlando?” 

“It was great. Thanks for asking,” Eric responded as he filled the cup with water. 

“I’m headed over to Karl’s to study if you want to join, which I imagine you don’t,” Sean postulated as he put a notebook in his bag.

“You know me so well.” Eric did need to study, but there was no way he was going to go to Karl’s place to do it.

Sean turned to look at Eric who was guzzling down his water. “The invitation was extended to you, as usual.” 

“How surprising. I would have never guessed,” Eric replied snarkily. He placed his glass down back under the faucet and began to refill it.  

“Things got pretty tense between you and Karl at the pub,” Sean stated with the intention of figuring out why. He hadn’t gotten to talk to Eric about it yet, but he planned on finding out what the problem was. Eric and Karl weren’t exactly best friends, but he’d never felt the need to mediate things between them before. 

“As they’ve always been.” Eric shut the faucet off and finished drinking his water. He was less than interested in this topic, and he was tired of talking about Karl and their ‘relationship’.

“You didn’t use to be so pissy around him actually,” Sean proclaimed. He received only a scowl from Eric in response.  

“Do you like Orlando?” he asked, cutting straight to the chase. 

Eric was unprepared for the question. That seemed to be happening to him a lot recently. Even though Sean knew him pretty well, he didn’t think that he’d been showing any outward signs of liking Orlando as anything other than a friend. On the contrary, he’d been trying to do the opposite in hopes that the infatuation would fade in time. He worried now that if Karl and now Sean both suspected it, then maybe Orlando would, too. 

Sean watched as Eric turned toward the sink, apparently more preoccupied with inspecting the cup in his hands than answering his question. He raised an eyebrow, thinking that maybe he should have rephrased the inquiry by preceding it with ‘how much’. 

Eric still wasn’t looking at him when he finally shrugged and answered a few moments later. “We’re just friends.” 

“Do you want to be more than friends?” At this point he wasn’t sure he needed Eric’s verbal confirmation given what Eric’s body language and behavior were disclosing right now. Not to mention that night at the pub where Eric’s attention had been focused almost entirely on Orlando the whole night. Regardless of whether Eric acknowledged it himself or not–the latter seemed to be the case–it was pretty undeniable that he was interested in Orlando. 

“Why are you asking? Are you asking for him ?” Eric asked scornfully as he turned back to face Sean. He wouldn’t put it past Karl to resort to using Sean to get information on him and Orlando.

“Karl? No. I’m not his fucking spy,” Sean replied indignantly. “I’m asking because I want to know.”

Eric’s eyes went wide and he grinned as he leaned back against the counter. “Beany, I’m flattered.”

Sean ignored his flimsy attempt at being clever. “I’m just wondering why all of a sudden it seems like a bad idea to have you two in the same room at the same time.”

Eric shrugged again and crossed his arms over his chest, a sour expression immediately replacing his smile. “Because he’s fucking insufferable.”

“As are you when you act so moody around him.” Sean was getting pissy now, too. He really could do without Eric and Karl’s unnecessary drama and was irritated that he had to deal with having two of his friends fighting. 

“So are you right now with all these fucking questions,” Eric snapped back. “It’s been five minutes since I got out of bed, and you’re fucking grilling me about Karl and Orlando!”

“And you’re doing a great job avoiding answering them though they’re simple enough.”

Eric sighed dramatically. Arguing with his roommate was really not how he’d wanted to start the day. “Fuck! Okay. Yes. I like him. Are you done with this fucking interrogation?” 

“You should probably not bring him around Karl again then for the sake of avoiding any more pissing matches,” Sean offered as he grabbed his bag and stood up, signaling the end of the conversation. Both his and Eric’s tempers were starting to flare, and he had the good sense to know the discussion had run its course. He’d gotten some answers either way. There was no point in riling Eric up any further.

“Wow. Thank you for the wonderful advice,” Eric retorted bitterly. As if he had any intention of purposefully hanging out with Karl again, much less bringing Orlando around him again. He watched Sean grab his things as he prepared to leave, grateful that this exchange had finally come to an end. 

“No, problem, mate. Call me if you want to get lunch later,” Sean said, walking past a brooding Eric toward the door. 

“Right. Have fun,” Eric mumbled after him as he left.

~

 

“I see you’re alone,” Karl said, not sounding at all surprised, as he held the door open for Sean. He hadn’t actually expected Eric to take him up on his offer, especially after last night.

“Is my company not enough for you?” Sean asked, walking into Karl’s flat like it was his own. He spent so much time here it might as well have been.

“That depends on what you’re here for,” Karl answered cheekily. 

Sean scoffed and pulled his backpack off his shoulders, dropping it down next to Karl’s couch before turning to face Karl, his hands raised in disbelief. “You’re not even going to offer me a drink at least?”

“You know where the kitchen is,” Karl answered dismissively. He closed the door and went to sit on the couch as Sean made his way into the small kitchen to procure himself a beverage. His course materials were already strewn across the coffee table. He picked up his notes from the most recent lecture of their Building Environment course, but his attention was elsewhere. 

"Yeah, good luck getting Eric anywhere near this place… or you,” Sean said, plopping down on the couch. He grabbed his bag and began pulling his things out. “Did something happen between the two of you that you haven’t told me about?”

“No fucking clue,” Karl answered. He leaned back into the couch, throwing his arm over the back, and tossed the notes back onto the table. He had no idea what had happened to piss Eric off. “I thought we were good after last semester. I was wrong, obviously. Something crawled up his butt and died, and he’s clearly blaming me.” 

Sean laughed heartily. Karl and Sean had been study buddies since they’d become friends last year, and after he and Eric had gotten over their rough patch last year, Eric would sometimes even join them when they studied in the library. Although things hadn’t been perfect between them, they’d been amicable. Now everything had seemed to have devolved back into shambles between the two of them again, and he really had no idea why. 

“He probably wants to rip my head off after I talked to his new friend. What do you know about Orlando?” 

“Same as you. I just met him,” Sean muttered, opting not to offer information about the confession he’d dragged out of Eric about his feelings for Orlando earlier. Though his instinct was to mediate between his two friends, he wouldn’t betray Eric’s trust. 

“He’s fucking hot. Eric has to be fucking him. That’s probably why he’s acting like this. He’s afraid I’ll snatch him up because he thinks I’m a raging slut,” Karl proposed, looking somewhat offended. 

Sean raised an eyebrow. “Are you not?”

“Oi, arsehole!” Karl exclaimed, socking Sean in the arm. He grinned and added, “I’m only a raging slut when I’m single .”

“Well, there’s how the problem between you started then,” Sean stated. He didn’t know all the details of what had happened between Karl and Eric, but he knew enough to piece together the puzzle and figure out that their issues with each other had stemmed from a failed relationship and most likely the disparity in Eric and Karl’s levels of promiscuity.

“I’m sure he’ll get over it soon enough,” Sean offered, hoping it was true and that this drama would run its course and pass soon enough. “He can be a bit moody. Just give him some space for now.”

“Yeah,” Karl mumbled, sounding somewhat disheartened as he leaned forward to pick up his notes again. “I’m sure he’ll get over it real quick when he’s fucking Orlando… Let’s get started on this, yeah?”

Sean nodded, taking note of the despondency in Karl’s voice. It was obvious that Karl still had a thing for Eric, but Sean had always chalked it up to Karl’s affinity for attractive men. In the time that he had known Karl, Sean had yet to see him engage in a serious relationship. It was hard to imagine that Karl might consider Eric as ‘the one that got away.’ 

He glanced briefly at Karl again and then opened up his class notes. “Alright. Let’s get this over with.”

~

 

“Sean and I come here sometimes,” Eric said as he followed Orlando into the coffee shop. It was one of the smaller cafes around town that offered good tea and coffee but didn’t pull as big a crowd as some of the larger shops closer to campus. 

He and Orlando had met up to take a break from studying. He hadn’t actually gotten much studying done yet, considering that they had gone out the night before and he had been sleeping followed by arguing with his roommate shortly before this. But he knew that the course work would begin picking up soon, and he was keen to take advantage of the free time he still had during the beginning of the semester. 

“I think I saw you here a couple of weeks ago,” Orlando said absent-mindedly as his eyes were drawn to the menu.

“Yeah?” Eric inquired curiously. He didn’t remember ever seeing Orlando here before. It would have been before they’d properly met.

“Yeah, you bumped into me as you were leaving,” Orlando explained as he perused the drink choices. 

“Oh.” Eric looked at him attentively. He vaguely recalled that happening the last time he’d been here with Sean and Karl which had been a few weeks ago before classes had started. He’d been extremely irritated with Karl and had accidentally bumped into someone on his way out of the shop. He hadn’t given the person even the remotest of glances so he couldn’t know if it had been Orlando or not.

“You apologized,” Orlando answered, noting Eric’s guilty tone and giving him a quick glance. Eric nodded, content that his ire hadn’t made him a complete brute and that he’d shown some minimal courtesy.

“That’s good,” he muttered. He crossed his arms casually and finally looked at the menu to decide on his order. 

“Yeah, but maybe you should buy my drink considering you made me spill mine,” Orlando said gravely a moment later. 

“Wait, what? Did I really?” Eric tore his eyes from the menu, unsettled at Orlando’s revelation of his faux-pas. Had he really been that distracted to not have noticed? The corners of Orlando’s mouth twitched slightly, and Eric narrowed his eyes as he realized the ruse. 

“Wow,” Eric said, a look of amazement in his eyes as he stared at Orlando with the most judgmental look he could muster. “You’re like a fucking professional hustler when it comes to getting free drinks, aren’t you?” 

Orlando offered no defense and smirked coquettishly instead, causing Eric to be instantly aware of the increased pace of his heart beating in his chest. He turned to distract himself from Orlando’s alluring smile by looking at the menu instead and tried to suppress the fluttering in his stomach. “I told you already, you need to look elsewhere for a sugar daddy.” 

Orlando feigned a look of disappointment and laughed. “That’s too bad.”

~

“How are your classes? You’re studying Design, aren’t you?” Eric asked Orlando as he opened the door and walked inside his and Sean’s place. They’d just returned from the coffee shop.

“Yeah. I’m really enjoying the courses so far,” Orlando replied as he stepped into the living area. “How’s engineering?”

“Fine for the most part, except for some reason I’ve got a compulsory marketing and microeconomics course,” he answered with a tinge of frustration in his voice. The source of which stemmed not only from the course, but also from what he was feeling right now. He had to do something about his growing attraction to Orlando. It was becoming too distracting to have his hands go clammy and his mind go haywire every time Orlando smiled at him. 

Eric turned to look at him. Orlando was glancing around the place as if searching for something. “Where’s Sean?” 

“He’s at Karl’s place studying. They study together a lot,” Eric explained, watching him anxiously and debating if he should make a move. Orlando was a bit of a flirt, which made it confusing for Eric to decipher if he was detecting signals that he was interested. He lamented his foolishness for having not reciprocated Orlando’s question about his sexual orientation when he had the chance. 

Orlando raised an eyebrow in shock. “Wait. Are they—?” 

“No. They’re both Architecture majors, and Sean is straight,” Eric explained, grinning despite the fact that internally he was mulling over what he wanted to do–what he was going to do. He had a feeling that he should go for it and take the risk. He didn’t want to let his fear hold him back and then ultimately regret letting the chance slip away. 

“Yeah, okay. That makes more sense... considering how he was at the pub,” Orlando said before turning to face Eric, offering him a soft smile. That same smile that seemed to fucking control him.

“Yeah,” Eric answered distractedly as he took a deep breath. He stepped closer nervously, not wanting to waste another second trying to convince or dissuade himself from action.

“Well, I don’t want to interrupt your study time—” Orlando started when Eric suddenly leaned in and kissed him. Orlando froze in shock as Eric captured his lips in a kiss. For a moment he stood there not truly realizing what was happening. Eric had been standing there grinning one moment, and then in the next he had a hand on his shoulder and another resting high on his waist while he pressed his lips against his. 

Eric’s lips were soft, though they pressed firmly against his, and Orlando could taste the trace of the coffee Eric had at the cafe. Eric’s scent filled his nose as the heat of his palm radiated into his shoulder and his fingers moulded into his waist. Orlando felt himself involuntarily rock forward as he was drawn in by the energy of the kiss. Then he blinked as the paralysis suddenly wore off and he finally comprehended what was happening and pulled away abruptly. 

Eric pulled back and saw the look of pure confusion on Orlando’s face, and his stomach dropped as he realized the huge mistake he’d just made.

“Shit… Sorry, I thought— you….” Apparently, he had been picking up on nonexistent signals. 

Eric swallowed with difficulty, feeling as if there were a large lump in his throat. His heart was beating rapidly for an all new reason as panic raced through him.

Orlando shook his head, still staring at him wide-eyed and equally struggling for words. “Yeah. No, I— Sorry if I—”

“I shouldn’t have— I just thought—” He had thought wrong. He hadn’t been thinking rationally at all. Instead he’d let his frustration with his desire turn to impatience and rash decision-making.

“I’m going to leave. I need to study,” Orlando declared, clearly still processing what had just happened.

Eric nodded. “Right, okay.” 

He squeezed his eyes shut and rested his head on the wall as Orlando walked out the door. He couldn’t believe he had just done that. How had he talked himself into thinking Orlando felt the same way? What the fuck had made him think taking that chance without any confirmation was a good idea? He clenched his fists in frustration and slammed them against the wall as soon as the door closed.

“Fuck!”

~

Eric lay on his bed with his arm crossed over his face as he spoke into his phone. He knew he shouldn't be doing this. He could have just as easily called Sean or gone out for the rest of the day with Chris, Ewan, or anyone else or tried to keep studying. Anything other than resorting to this.

“Yeah, ‘s Eric… Are you busy?… Yeah, Sean told me he went… Can you come over?… Now…”

He told himself he needed this. He needed this to give him some pretense of control over something right now. To help him forget how royally he had just fucked up.

“No, alone. Leave Sean there… I think you can figure that out fine… Can you come or not?…”

He needed comfort from someone who was willing to give it freely, and he was fully aware of how pitiful it was, how weak he was being, but right now he didn’t care. And he knew Karl wouldn’t either. 

“Thanks.” 

He hung up and tossed the cell onto his night stand, already feeling like shite. He wondered if Orlando was still freaking out from earlier. He had looked nearly traumatized when he’d run out earlier. He groaned. Now Orlando was going to think he was some slag that hit on all his guy friends. He wasn’t even sure he could even call Orlando a friend yet. Not that it was an option anymore. 

Eric turned onto his stomach on his bed, clutched his pillow around his head tightly in his hands and screamed. “Aaargh!”

~

Orlando fell back against his door. Eric had just kissed him. Open mouth, tongue sliding against his lips, fucking kissed him. And he had no clue why he’d done it or what made him think he had wanted him to. Fuck, he hadn’t even seen it coming. He hadn’t considered that Eric might like him like that. Nothing about any of their previous interactions had indicated that to him that Eric’s interest in him was anything other than platonic. No signs, no hints, nothing. Especially not when compared to his experience with Karl, who had been quite salacious in making his interest known.

He banged his head back against the door. Trust him to screw up his first friendship at uni and not even know how it had happened. He wanted to make friends and get through this first year at university, not be caught off guard by a kiss he’d never seen coming. He expected to have some kind of a love life here eventually, but it hadn’t been a top priority, not this soon. 

And he hadn’t considered this kind of relationship. Not in a long time—had only experimented once before when he was younger. With a kid whose name he didn’t even remember anymore. He’d been so embarrassed and scared that they hadn’t gotten very far before he’d run out. There had been other guys that he’d noticed afterwards, Eric amongst them, but he’d never acted on that curiosity again. Out of fear or denial he didn’t know. It hadn’t mattered because he’d suppressed the thoughts. 

Orlando tried to catch his breath, tried to calm down, but he could still feel Eric’s hand gripping his waist, breath against his face, lips touching his, and now he had a fucking hard-on. He wasn’t supposed to be feeling this. He squeezed his eyes shut, trying to push the thoughts away, willing them to stop. But it wasn’t working–he couldn’t think straight. And all he could see was Eric. 

Growling in frustration, he pounded his fist angrily against the door behind him before shoving his pants down his hips, pulling his half hard erection from his boxers before stroking himself slowly with a trembling hand. He told himself he wasn’t thinking of Eric’s hands gripping him or Eric’s body pressing against his. He told himself he was venting out his anger. Cursing under his breath, he could feel his increasing anger with Eric–with himself–for fucking everything up and making him feel this way. He wrapped his hand around his cock, crying out with each pump of his fist. 

He wasn’t supposed to be remembering Eric’s broad shoulders, the fit of his jammers over his thighs and... the way the water clung to his taut skin as he came out of the pool, or the glimpses he’d caught of him as they changed in the men’s locker room. And he wasn’t supposed to be imagining Eric’s tongue sliding into his mouth, his hips grinding against his or Eric’s hand pumping in place of his own. A crescendo of curses flew from his mouth until he came yelling and gasping for breath. 

“Damn it!” 

He wiped at his wet eyes before slamming his fist against the door again and sliding to the floor, his head resting wearily on an arm thrown across his leg. He needed to be able to think clearly and figure out what all this meant and what he was going to do. He needed to get out of this building. Away from Eric. He needed to go for a walk. Though he knew he’d still be thinking about him nevertheless.

He got up and yanked his pants up and quickly cleaned up before opening the door. Cautiously, he looked down the hallway, making sure it was empty before making his way toward the elevator. 

There was no one there, and Orlando stared ahead, his hands in his pockets, trying not to quicken his pace as he passed Eric’s room. He was sure that even if Eric knew he was passing at that moment, he’d give him his space. 

“Hey,” a familiar voice greeted him.

Orlando looked up sharply, startled from his thoughts. He hadn’t noticed Karl walking from the other direction. He assumed he was going to Eric and Sean’s room, which didn’t make much sense since Sean wasn’t there and Eric didn’t like Karl very much. Orlando didn’t much like Karl himself. Particularly, the way he smirked at him–like he was doing now–as if he knew exactly what had happened before in Eric’s room and afterwards in his own.

“Hey,” he replied quietly and continued walking, stopping only when he reached the elevator. 

Then again, Eric didn’t really have to like Karl to fuck him. Orlando pressed the down button and turned to look down the hall where Karl had knocked on Eric’s door and was now being let in. He narrowed his eyes when Karl turned, speaking, and looked at him briefly before walking into the room. He wished he knew in that moment what Karl had said. The door closed behind him. 

Orlando looked ahead again and waited for the elevator.

~

Chapter Text

“Hey. I think I just saw your friend Orlando,” Karl said, smiling faintly as he took a step inside the room.

Eric moved to the side to make room for him, frowning as he was bombarded with conflicting feelings. Part of him desperately wanted to run out into the hallway to confront Orlando and apologize for what had happened, yet he felt like seeing Orlando again was the last thing he wanted to do right now.

Instead, he pulled Karl the rest of the way into the room. Closing and locking the door behind him, he led them into his bedroom, fully intent on shutting out all thoughts related to Orlando and the kiss, knowing that his chosen method to do so entailed making another mistake altogether. He would regret hooking up with Karl—probably more than he regretted kissing Orlando—but right now he didn’t care. He’d deal with that later.

“I told Sean not to come,” Karl said, watching Eric as he pulled a condom out of the nightstand. 

Eric tossed it onto the pillow, then turned around to stare at Karl silently. Karl met his eyes, seeing clearly that Eric had no intention to talk. He knew good and well that it certainly wasn’t why he'd been invited over.

He took a step towards Eric, pausing for an objection, an angry protest, or for Eric to back away like he’d done so many times before when Karl threatened to breach his personal space. But Eric stood unmoving, his gaze flickering purposefully to Karl’s lips.

It was enough to spur Karl into action. He slid a hand around Eric’s waist, his touch firm and confident as he pulled Eric in for a kiss that was slow, soft, and almost sweet as his lips glided over Eric’s. Not the kind of kiss Eric expected from him—calmer than the usually aggressive, ravishing kisses that he recalled—but welcome nonetheless.

With a soft bite to Eric’s lower lip, Karl pulled back enough to look at him. He smiled slowly as his hand slipped beneath Eric’s waistband, squeezing when his palm covered the swell of his ass.

“Miss me?” 

“Something like that,” Eric mumbled and slipped away to sit down on the edge of the bed. If knowing that Karl would be willing and readily available was the same thing as missing him, then the answer was yes. The end result was the same either way.

Karl grinned again then pulled his shirt over his head, tossing it to the floor, before moving on to derobing his lower body.

Eric leaned back onto his elbows, watching Karl strip, eyes slowly traveling down his body, pausing purposefully on his cock when he finally shoved his pants down. When the last of his clothing had been discarded off to the side, Karl stood naked before him, slowly stroking himself as he leered back at Eric.

Eric’s eyes stayed glued to the motion of Karl’s hand on his cock, and he spread his legs in invitation as he palmed himself through the thin cloth of his underwear. Karl dropped to his knees, slowly slid his hands up Eric’s thighs. Eric raised his hips off the bed, letting Karl pull his underwear down his legs.

Karl eyed Eric’s newly exposed erection hungrily before gripping it at the base and maneuvering himself closer, eliciting a sharp inhale from Eric when his lips brushed lightly against the head. Eric’s cock—shiny, red, and wet from the precum leaking out the tip—twitched at the teasing touch.

“Well, your wait was entirely self-imposed,” Karl said. He knew that he’d made it perfectly obvious to Eric that the invitation to his bed was still open, and clearly—from the fact that he’d called—Eric had known, too. He flicked his tongue out over the head for another teasing taste.

“Yeah,” Eric replied, his voice breathy, chest heaving already as he nodded jerkily for Karl to continue. 

Karl trailed the tip of his tongue up his shaft, and Eric moaned lewdly. The wet path left along the sensitive skin of his cock was cooling rapidly, and Eric shot Karl an expectant look, anticipating the return of the warmth of Karl’s tongue and mouth.

“Go on then,” he said, reaching out and grabbing a handful of dark hair, his grip gentle yet insistent as he guided Karl’s mouth closer to his cock, wanting the teasing to stop and for Karl to get on with it and make him forget why he’d called him over in the first place.

When Karl’s mouth finally covered the head of his cock, Eric groaned, his grip faltering and eyes fluttering at the wet heat of Karl’s mouth surrounding him—the suction his tongue provided. His hand rose and fell with the rhythmic movement of Karl’s head, and he thrust slowly into his mouth, the tension draining out of him as his body responded to Karl’s mouth.

Karl’s hand slid higher up his thigh and over his stomach, fingertips caressing, blunt nails scraping lightly as he worked Eric’s cock over. Eric glanced down to see Karl at work and was surprised to see that Karl was watching him, eyes locked in on his—a smug expression on his face as he grinned around his cock. His breath was ragged against Eric’s skin, and his eyes darkened as he scraped his nails harder down Eric’s chest.

Eric flinched and looked away, suddenly uncomfortable with the intimacy of meeting Karl’s eyes while he sucked him off—with the weight that the direct eye contact carried. He let his elbows slide out from under him and fell flat onto his back on the bed, throwing his arms over his face and grimacing as he tried to pretend it was someone other than Karl blowing him—that he hadn’t stooped so low as to call his sleazy ex over in an attempt to distract himself, tried not to think of the one person he wanted here instead, to ignore the visual of him literally running away from him earlier. 

Eric groaned, frustrated. He’d called Karl here to forget about what happened, not to be reminded of it. 

“You okay?”

Eric opened his eyes, startled, and looked down at a concerned Karl. 

“Yeah. I’m good... Keep going.” He hadn’t even noticed that Karl had stopped. 

Karl leaned forward without hesitation, his eyes fixed on Eric’s once more as he took the entirety of his cock into his mouth and restarted the slide of his lips along his shaft while he swallowed his cock over and over again.

Eric groaned again either from the relief that Karl hadn’t asked more questions or the annoyance from being faced with Karl’s incessant stare again—and quite possibly both—before he lay back once more.

Karl attributed Eric’s inability to keep his gaze to the fact that he was currently getting the life sucked out of him. He watched him moan and pant heavily, let him thrust and pump into his mouth, savoring his taste, the heavy weight of his cock stretching his lips. 

Reaching down, he slid a finger into Eric’s asscrack, rubbing his rim briefly, pressing against the tight, furrowed entrance. Eric clenched reflexively beneath his finger, and Karl moaned around his cock, let his eyes roam up the expanse of Eric’s stomach and chest. When Eric gasped again in pleasure, Karl pushed his finger in, forcing it past the resistant ring of muscle. 

The movement brought with it a sudden stretch and burn as Karl’s finger surged inside him, and Eric, completely unprepared for it, yelped and jerked in surprise, sending his foot flying straight into Karl’s nose. 

Karl flew back, falling to the floor on his arse, frantically clutching at his face as blood began to flow out his nose.

“FUCK!” 

“Shite! Are you alright?” Eric asked, panicking and standing up hurriedly.

“You fucking broke my nose!” Karl yelled, scrambling backwards and away from Eric.

“Sorry!” Eric paused, throwing his hands up in concession. “It was an accident!”

“God damnit!” Karl cursed, breathing heavily out of his mouth, both hands covering his nose.

“Let me look at it,” Eric said, feeling horrible for accidentally hurting Karl. He hadn’t meant to react that way, but it had been quite a while since he’d last bottomed, and Karl hadn’t taken the time to prep him at all before trying to finger him. 

“Are you a fucking doctor now?” Blood slowly seeped from between Karl’s fingers. 

“Just come here,” Eric demanded, scowling back at him, unamused at how much of a drama queen he was being.

Karl sighed and begrudgingly pushed himself up off the floor, shooting Eric a glare as he approached. 

“Sit down,” Eric ordered, gesturing to the bed and giving him a wide berth to do so.

He gently pulled Karl’s bloodied hands away from his face and leaned in to inspect his nose. Immediately he noticed the obvious redness and swelling but saw no signs of crookedness or deformation or black eyes. Karl even seemed to be breathing through his nose without too much difficulty. 

“Well, it’s already stopped bleeding,” he said as he straightened back up. Karl groaned and let out a heavy sigh as he dropped backwards dramatically onto the bed.

“What the fuck was that, Eric?” he asked.

“I obviously wasn’t expecting you to do that, Karl .”

“You call me over here to fuck, and you weren’t expecting me to stick my finger up your ass?”

“You didn’t exactly give me a fucking warning.”

“A fucking warning… Jesus,” Karl grumbled as he gently prodded at his nose. Eric sighed and turned away.

Karl let his hand fall away from his nose, lifting his head curiously at what sounded like a cap opening, and raised an eyebrow when he saw what Eric had procured from his nightstand.

“You’re not going to use that on my nose are you?” he asked, eying the bottle of lube warily.

Eric huffed out a laugh. “Not on your nose , no.”

“So you’ve just decided we’re good to go now? Seriously? You just fucking kicked me in the face!”

Eric glanced pointedly at Karl’s erection. “It doesn’t look like it’s just me who’s decided.”

Karl groaned incredulously.

“Look I can’t do anything for a possibly broken nose. You can go if you want?” he offered. He didn’t think Karl’s nose was actually broken. As much as it probably hurt, he knew Karl probably still wanted to get off anyway, and Eric didn’t want him to go either, leaving him alone with his thoughts.

Karl shook his head in disbelief. “You could at least offer me some fucking ice.”

“Fine,” Eric said, tossing the lube on the bed and making to leave the room.

“Wait! Just… forget it.”

Eric narrowed his eyes, giving him an impatient glare. “Do you want the ice or not?”

“No, just... fucking come here. Fucking asshole. Didn’t even get me a washcloth,” he grumbled under his breath, wiping his hands on Eric’s bed. Eric stepped between his legs, and Karl pulled him down atop of him for a kiss. It was neither slow nor soft, and he shoved his tongue hungrily between Eric’s lips, quickly forgetting about his nose as Eric’s erection pressed into his.

Eric reached between them and wrapped his fingers around Karl’s cock, gliding his fist along the shaft and sliding his thumb softly over the smooth skin at the head. He used his other hand to gently massage Karl’s balls, coaxing a small moan and his breath out of him as he rested his all weight atop him. It seemed he hadn’t forgotten how to handle Karl. He felt the tension drain out of Karl’s body as he thrust his cock through Eric’s tightly circled fingers.

“You’re lucky you’re fucking…” Karl started, trailing off as he took in a sharp breath, stomach tensing and hips rocking involuntarily. “Hot... Fuuuuck...”

Eric ignored him and grabbed the lube bottle, quickly pouring some onto his fingers before reaching back down and pressing his wet fingers against Karl’s hole. He rubbed gently with his fingers, teasing and circling, then prodding softly with one, adding a second when the first slipped in with ease. Karl gasped and bit lightly at his throat, running his tongue along Eric’s neck.

Eric crawled up onto the bed, straddling and hovering over Karl, increasing the speed with which he jerked him off. Karl’s moans grew louder, and he wrapped his fist firmly around Eric’s, smearing it with blood as he tightened the grip and quickened the pace even more. His breath began to falter, his body became taut with tension, and he threw his head back as he fucked into Eric’s fingers. “Oh, God. Yes!”

Eric pulled away quickly and grabbed the condom that still lay on the pillow at the head of the bed, opening it and deftly rolling it on before adding more lube. Karl had taken over the task of jerking himself off, and his hand moved quickly over his cock. 

Eric nudged Karl’s legs apart, swiftly resettled himself onto his haunches, and wrapped Karl’s legs around his waist. He gripped his cock, pressing it between Karl’s asscheeks and aligning it with his entrance, then pushed, his breath immediately hitching from the sensation of his cock being nestled inside Karl. He pushed farther, moaning indulgently and enjoying the feeling as he gradually sank in deeper. 

Karl’s hand fell from his dick, and he gazed up at Eric from under heavy lids, his mouth agape with pleasure.

“Someone’s been busy,” Eric mumbled, commenting on the ease with which he’d slid in and how little prep Karl had needed. He dragged Karl by his hips to rest higher onto his lap and leaned forward, placing both arms on either side of him for support, and began driving his cock in and out of him. 

“Did you think I was going to wait for you to stop being a bitter bitch?” Karl bit back indignantly, glowering at him, though he was already readily pressing back into Eric, his body betraying his tone.

“And yet you were eagerly awaiting my call,” Eric answered, increasing his tempo. He pumped his hips roughly and hastily into Karl’s with the same rigor he’d used before when fucking his mouth, sending Karl’s back arching off the bed.

His nails dug into Eric’s thighs, and he grunted in response, too distracted by the feel of Eric’s cock filling him over and over and the sound of his balls slapping against his ass to respond.

~

Karl lay on his back exhausted, his nose still throbbing. Thankfully it hadn’t started bleeding again, but there was blood smeared on the bed sheets, on his hands, and Eric’s. Eric lay next to him, hands behind his head, eyes closed, looking the most at ease he’d been since Karl had arrived.

“Why’d you ask me over?” Karl asked him. He’d gotten the gist from the short phone call that this was to be a booty call—one he’d been anticipating for months—and had been surprised to receive it, but willing to accept nonetheless.

“Please don’t tell me I kicked you so hard that you forgot what just happened.”

“You know what I mean, smartass. What made you call me?”

“Sex,” Eric answered with a shrug, not bothering to open his eyes. He didn’t mind Karl staying around for a bit to recover, but he wasn’t exactly eager to converse at the moment. Especially not about that . It was a topic he wasn’t willing to get into. And he’d finally managed not to think about it while they were having sex. Or him . Or how much he’d fucked up. Until now. 

Karl rolled his eyes in disbelief. There was no way Eric suddenly asked him over without a reason. Not when he seemed to hate him not days before. On the phone, Eric had sounded a bit off. Karl had heard in his voice that something was bothering him. 

“The kind where I get kicked in the face?”

Eric finally opened his eyes with a sigh, giving up on the hope that he wouldn’t have to engage in conversation. He turned onto his side to face Karl. “You literally shoved a dry finger up my arse. Not all of us are gallivanting around campus offering up our asses ready for recourse.”

Karl was silent for a short moment before offering up what might be considered an apology. 

“Sorry. I didn’t realize you were a fucking prude.” And Eric swore it was the first time he’d seen Karl look anything close to contrite. It’d probably be the only time, considering Karl spent most of his time being brazenly shameless, “...but also, fuck you for slut shaming me.”

Eric snorted.

Karl was already glancing not-quite-surreptitiously at his exposed body, obviously more interested in his current view than Eric’s response. Neither of them had bothered to put any clothes on yet, and his eyes were fixed on Eric’s cock, which hung heavily over his thigh. 

“You just gonna stare?” 

Karl made a low sound in his throat and reached for Eric. Eric grinned, leaning over to kiss him. Karl eagerly returned the kiss, opening his mouth to receive Eric’s tongue, swallowing his hum of pleasure. Eric met Karl’s tongue eagerly with his own, grabbing onto his hip firmly. This was what he’d called Karl over for. He pressed closer, his penis stiffening against Karl’s leg, and deepened the kiss.

Karl jerked away with a wince, shielding his nose in pain again. “Fuck. That hurts.”

Eric released a deep breath and rolled back onto his back. It seemed now that the adrenaline had worn off, they were done here.

“Do you want ice before you go?”

“You’re such a fucking prick,” Karl growled.

~

Eventually, Sean called to ask if he could come back to the room yet, and Eric was grateful when Karl left shortly after. He pulled the sheets over his waist to cover himself and was asleep by the time Sean returned to the room. 

“What the fuck happened between you and Karl?” Sean asked, staring appalled at the blood on his roommate’s sheets. He’d returned from Karl’s apartment where he’d been hanging out watching the telly after Karl had returned. Karl had looked the worse for wear—his nose red and swollen, his hands bloodied—and hadn’t offered any explanation before he’d walked into his bathroom and started the shower. 

Eric rubbed at his eyes, grimacing a little at the smell of blood on his hand. “We worked out our problems… There was a small accident.” 

“So it would seem,” Sean responded ironically. Obviously, judging from Karl's face, there’d been some kind of confrontation. How they’d managed to sully Eric’s sheets with the blood, he had no clue. But if they had worked their issues out and he didn’t have to deal with the two of them feuding anymore, then he didn’t care. “So are you two good now?” 

“Erm… sure. You could say that,” Eric answered groggily, then yawned, sitting up. “Do you want to go get a bite to eat?”

“Yeah. That sounds alright.” 

Sean suddenly spotted a condom wrapper on Eric’s bed that he hadn’t noticed earlier. He raised an eyebrow. Well, that explained a great deal about how they’d ‘worked out our problems’. It also explained the sheets. Karl had still been here when he called earlier, and now it was obvious that more than talking had occurred while he was gone.

“Lemme get dressed. I’ll meet you in the living room.” Eric secured the sheets over his waist as he swung his legs over the edge of the bed to the floor. He looked up at Sean expectantly when he realized he hadn’t made a move to leave yet. 

“So you decided to get naked and take a nap in your bloody sheets after your ‘accident’?” Sean asked skeptically, his eyes narrowing. Eric stared back at Sean, knowing he didn’t really want to know why he was lying naked in his bloody sheets, nor would he appreciate hearing the details of what had actually happened between Karl and him.

“You don’t want to follow this line of questioning, Sean,” Eric stated. Nor was it information that Eric was particularly eager or proud to divulge anyway. Honestly, he never thought he’d wind up back in bed with Karl. He sure as hell hadn’t planned it.

“You and Karl? You sure you want to do that again?” Sean asked. Generally he wouldn’t care if two of his friends slept together, but Eric and Karl had already been there, and they’d already faced issues due to them being on the opposite ends of the spectrum when it came to their preferences regarding levels of commitment in their relationships. Obviously, Eric had found that out the hard way once before, and he couldn’t be naive enough to expect differently now. 

“Jesus, Sean! Just fucking drop it!” Eric yelled angrily. He wasn’t planning on doing anything again. He’d needed a quick no-strings-attached fuck, and he’d gotten one. Not that it was any of Sean’s business.

“What about Orlando?” Sean asked stubbornly. It made no sense that Eric would sleep with Karl again when he’d just told him earlier today that he was interested in Orlando and that he found Karl unbearable. 

Eric wondered if Sean took pleasure in arguing with him and in trying to fucking decode his every action and emotion.

“You know what; you’ve seen my donger before.” Eric flung the sheets from his body and stood up from the bed. “Hand me my undies, yeah? Right there by your feet.”

“For fuck’s sake, Eric!” Sean complained as he turned and walked to the door, indicating he’d given up on prodding Eric for answers. “Put your fucking clothes on, and let’s go, you wanker.” 

The door slammed behind him. 

~

Chapter Text

Orlando stared at the textbook in front of him. Stared at, because he hadn’t retained a single word he’d read. In fact, he hadn’t learned or retained anything at all during this study session. 

He glanced up at his classmates and current study buddies, Evie and Luke. He’d met them during Fresher’s week. They were fellow design majors and had both been part of the group that Orlando had invited Eric to join when they’d gone out last Friday. Now the three of them were in the library, studying for their Design & Screen Cultures course... except that Luke and Evie seemed to be having more luck than he was as neither of them appeared to be struggling to complete the reading material.

Orlando directed his gaze back to the pages opened in front of him. Instead of learning about modernism in the context of visual and material culture, he’d been thinking about Saturday and replaying everything that happened over and over again. Just as he’d been doing on and off since it had happened. It clearly wasn’t having the best effect on his ability to study or focus in class.

Including in his swim class, which he had given serious thought of skipping altogether yesterday so that he wouldn’t have to see Eric, who he had, by good fortune, managed not to see again for the rest of the weekend. But he had ended up dragging himself to the pool anyway, getting there as late as he could manage without being tardy to avoid running into Eric in the locker room. The last thing he wanted to experience, besides floundering about trying to make conversation with him, was the awkwardness that was bound to occur should they have to change in front of each other. Changing in front of other men in a locker room had never been an issue before, but none of those other men had surprised him with a kiss two days before either.  

When he finally walked into the pool area, he immediately spotted Eric in the water several lanes away. Orlando quickly identified another lane with a single occupant and slipped into the water before Eric could notice his arrival. After he introduced himself to his new lane partner, he’d made sure not to look in Eric’s direction again for the rest of the class. The decision had brought with it the added benefit of not having to see Eric half naked in Lycra that really revealed more than it hid, but it left him with the extrasensory feeling of eyes boring into him from several lanes away. He hadn’t had the gall to check if the sensation was a product of his overactive imagination or not.

After class he rushed back into the locker room to grab his things and changed in a bathroom stall before dashing out of the building and successfully bypassed all forms of contact with Eric. He realized it was childish to go so far out of his way to evade him, but he also wasn’t ready to face him either. And right now it was the easier of the two choices.

He hadn’t even fully processed what had happened nor how he’d felt about it in the aftermath. He wished desperately that he could feel something like indifference toward what had happened or even anger that it had happened at all instead of the confusion he was dealing with. He knew what Eric tasted like and how his body felt pressed against his, how he smelled and how his lips felt; and he wasn’t ready to think about how he wasn’t so sure that he hadn’t liked it or the fact that those same thoughts had quite unsettlingly brought him to orgasm in his room afterward. 

He didn’t want to think about any of it, and he certainly wasn’t going to talk to Eric about it, which left him at an impasse for the time being. His mind refused to cooperate with him, demanding that he work through his conflicting feelings, but that wasn’t going to happen anytime soon. He sighed in frustration and banged his head against the palms of his hands several times in a feeble attempt to shake free of the thoughts that tormented him. He was failing miserably at controlling them, and they plagued him with a power he hadn’t encountered before. 

“Are you okay?” Luke asked. Orlando looked up, startled, to see that both Luke and Evie were giving him concerned looks. He’d been so preoccupied with his thoughts that he’d forgotten his present company. He shook his head quickly. 

“Yeah, I’m fine!” he lied. “This reading is just kind of dry, is all.” 

“Yeah, I definitely prefer the film clips they show in lecture,” Evie agreed, a small grin gracing her face, before she looked down again to continue reading. 

Luke, however, with his slightly furrowed brow, looked less convinced by Orlando’s response. Orlando sensed that he might question him further and quickly flashed him a smile that he hoped would look convincing enough to persuade Luke that he was okay and prevent him from asking anymore questions. It must have worked because instead of speaking, Luke offered a sympathetic, although somewhat uncertain smile in return before continuing to read.

Orlando relaxed, then mimicked them and began studying again. Or at least tried to. He re-read the first sentence on the page once again. The same sentence he’d read fifteen minutes ago and had yet to read past because his mind was yet again drawn back to him

He wondered what Eric felt about him now. Had he been hurt by his immature behavior? Perhaps he was relieved that he’d been spared the burden of an uncomfortable encounter? Or maybe he didn’t even care at all. The last thing Orlando had seen had been Karl walking into Eric’s room. And given the shit-eating grin on Karl’s face as he entered and the fact that Eric told him that he and Karl had a past, Orlando had a hard time believing Karl had gone over for the sole purpose of lending a listening ear. 

And Orlando found himself feeling miffed at the idea of Karl trying to seduce Eric again, especially knowing that Eric found both Karl and his flirting irritating. Or had because apparently Eric had changed his mind enough to tolerate both. And Karl, of course, hadn’t wasted any time exploiting that opportunity once it had presented itself. Or at least that’s how Orlando was envisioning it. But he had no real reason or right to care about Eric’s love life. Not when he couldn’t even talk to him about what had passed between them. 

He realized he was glaring down at his book, and, finally, he closed it and sat back in his chair, releasing a resigned sigh that drew Luke and Evie’s attention once more. He felt bad for distracting them again and hoped they weren’t too annoyed by his inability to concentrate, but this obviously wasn’t working for him. He wasn’t going to be able to get any studying done.

“You look like you need a break,” Evie offered. 

What he really needed was to find a way to stop thinking about Eric. He had already wasted too much time dwelling on his thoughts, and for his own sanity and productivity, he couldn’t keep up like this.

Orlando tried to muster up another smile, but only managed to raise a corner of his mouth. “Yeah. I do.”

~

 

Eric walked out of his room and into the living room where Sean and Karl had been occupying the couch for their study session. When Sean had texted Eric to let him know that Karl was coming over, Eric had seriously contemplated going to the library to accomplish his own studying, which was not unusual for him to do. He’d decided instead to shut himself in his room since Sean was under the impression that they had ‘worked out their issues’ and he technically had no real reason to avoid Karl anymore. That and he’d already made himself comfortable in some pyjama pants and fuzzy socks his Nan had given him. 

Now would mark the first time he’d left his room since Karl had arrived earlier that afternoon. It was also the first time he’d seen him since he had called him over only a couple of days ago. Eric subtly regarded Karl as he exited his room and headed to the kitchen. Karl’s nose still bore a bluish bruise from their encounter. 

Karl peeled his eyes from his phone where his attention had previously been focused and eyed Eric curiously. His eyes drifted over Eric’s bare chest and his well defined pecs before they snapped back up to his face as he tried to read his disposition.

“Where’s Sean?” Eric asked when he saw that Karl sat alone on the couch and that his roommate was nowhere in sight. The door to Sean’s bedroom was open, but the light was off.

“He left a couple of minutes ago,” Karl answered, and then, as if he expected Eric to protest his presence, added. “He’ll be back though.”

“Oh,” Eric answered and continued into the kitchen where he poured himself a glass of water. He looked up, thinking to offer one to Karl as well, but saw that Karl was already leering at him lewdly as usual. Apparently he’d decided that the outlook on Eric’s mood was favorable. Eric resisted the urge to roll his eyes or shoot him an irritated glare and instead gingerly took a drink from his glass. When he set the cup down on the counter, Karl’s gaze shifted down to his mouth, and he wet his lips purposefully. 

“Sean’s going to be gone for a while,” Karl stated finally when all Eric did was stare back impassively. He stood up from the couch and purposefully stalked towards Eric. Karl was the definition of overt, his desire written all over his face and in his body language. Eric knew exactly what Karl was trying to get at, and he wasn’t entirely opposed to it, but he was still going to make him say it. 

Eric raised an eyebrow when Karl stopped only inches in front of him. “What do you want? Water?” 

Karl grabbed the back of Eric’s head and crashed his mouth against his, nipping hungrily at his lips. He broke the kiss momentarily to explain, “You, obviously.” 

Then he resumed his attack on Eric’s mouth, pushing his tongue against his ardently. When Eric finally got over the shock of the sudden attack and reciprocated the kiss, Karl hurriedly and clumsily walked him backward. Eric flailed, grabbing frantically at Karl for balance until his back slammed against a wall. Karl’s hands moved swiftly and determinedly at the drawstring of Eric’s pants as he quickly worked at undoing them.

“Turn around,” he mumbled against Eric’s lips before shoving his tongue back in his mouth. 

Eric tensed, hesitant to comply, and not entirely trusting of him, and Karl dropped down to his knees, pulling Eric’s pants down with him. He fervently mouthed the length of Eric’s growing hard-on, pressing his lips and tongue against the firm flesh as it strained against the thin cotton of his underwear. Eric moaned, his breath still coming in gasps, and gave a soft thrust of his hips. Karl reached around to grab his ass with both hands, and when he pulled his mouth away and looked up at his lust-filled eyes, he knew Eric would acquiesce this time.

“Turn around.”

Eric conceded and hesitantly turned to face the wall, his pants pooled at his feet. Karl slowly slid Eric’s underwear down to join his pants and pulled at Eric’s hips, bringing them closer to his face, before he spread him and lazily licked his hole. Eric moaned quietly and dropped his forehead against the wall, and Karl pushed the tip of his tongue in and wiggled it. When Eric moaned again, louder this time, Karl pressed his face closer, and propelled his tongue in as deep as he could. 

“It seems your nose is fine,” Eric grunted against the wall, feeling Karl’s nose pressed snugly into his cleft.

“Yeah, it’s not broken,” Karl chuckled before pushing his tongue back into Eric’s ass.

He reached around to paw at his balls briefly before reaching for his cock, rubbing his thumb over the head and squeezing his fingers gently while his tongue languorously swirled and circled Eric’s entrance. Eric groaned sensually when Karl began pumping his hand. 

Karl dragged his tongue along Eric’s opening before he pulled away and glided a finger inside as a replacement. He moaned, watching his finger slipped in easily, and added another into the slowly loosening tight ring of muscles, curling them slightly before he began sliding them in and out and scissoring them intermittently. 

“Why do you have to be so fucking good at this?” Eric groaned. He was beginning to breathe heavily—both his arms raised and bent along the wall where he rested his head on them, his eyes squeezed shut. He pushed back onto Karl’s fingers, rocked erratically into the hand wrapped around his dick. 

Karl chuckled before replacing his fingers with his tongue again, flickering and thrusting it vigorously, unable to resist using his mouth to explore Eric again.

Eric grunted and groaned loudly, thrusting back forcefully trying to get Karl’s tongue deeper. He wasn’t at all surprised that Karl had managed to seduce him with his mouth once again. Eric wasn’t exactly in the state of mind to refuse him, and Karl had mastered the use of his tongue, among other things, well. Too fucking well because this thing between them was supposed to have been a one off, but instead he could feel himself clenching uncontrollably around Karl’s tongue because he was letting it happen again. 

Karl moaned into Eric’s hole, feeling quite turned on at having Eric like this, panting against the wall and presenting his ass to him. He wanted to savor it, but he also wanted to make Eric scream his name. And so he pulled his mouth away from the wet entrance and pushed in three fingers, curling and driving them in and out aggressively.

“How else would I get you back for seconds?” asked Karl, fervently jacking Eric off with his other hand.

Eric was barely holding it together, struggling between thrusting back onto Karl’s fingers and forward into his hand. Finally the tension peaked through his body, and he yelled as he ejaculated onto the wall and Karl’s hand. He moaned as he slumped forward onto the wall, completely drained. 

Karl’s fingers were still inside him, but his other hand was still quickly pumping away as he stood up and pressed himself against Eric’s back. Eric’s body started tensing up again, except this time not in anticipation but discomfort as his orgasm faded and his cock started to tingle painfully from Karl’s efforts.

“Stop!” Eric jerked and wrenched Karl’s hand from his dick, allowing the tingling to dissipate slowly. He turned his head and scowled at Karl, who was grinning mischievously. Karl was fucking with him purposefully: he probably enjoyed fucking with him just as much as he enjoyed fucking him. 

“Seriously. Fuck you... this is why I fucking hate you,” he growled. Karl knew how to irritate the fuck out of Eric... and yet he was still here letting him finger his ass, jack him off, and rim him. Despite his frustration, Eric didn’t make any other motions to distance himself from Karl and was still leaning against the wall panting when Karl dropped his cum-covered hand from his cock and pulled his fingers out of Eric. 

“You obviously don’t hate me that much.” Karl tittered, licking at the side of Eric’s neck and loving his taste. If they’d had time, Karl would suck him off, too, and taste all of him in one visit. Provided he didn’t freak out and try to kick him in the face again. He chose a patch of skin and began sucking avidly, with the intention of leaving a mark. He wanted a physical reminder of this the next time he saw Eric; he wanted Eric to remember how pliant and inclined he’d been to give himself to him.

“I just obviously hate myself more,” Eric retorted darkly, closing his eyes again and turning his head slightly to the side to offer his neck to Karl’s lavishing tongue. Or at least he liked getting off more than he disliked Karl.

“Let me fuck you,” Karl growled low into Eric’s ear, his fingers skimming over his rim again. Eric suppressed a moan. He was inclined to give Karl what he wanted. He also wanted to throw Karl out after the stupid stunt he’d just pulled.

“No... You said Sean’s coming back soon.” The last thing he wanted was to fucking piss Sean off by having him walk in on him and Karl fucking in the living room and have to deal with his griping about it forever.

“We’ll hear him coming. We can move to your room if you want to,” he slurred against Eric’s skin. “I can be quick, and we both know I can get you off again.” 

“Fuck.” Eric sighed. He was already pushing back into Karl’s fingers again, standing there keening, and letting Karl suck on his neck like an idiot.

“If Sean walks in on us, you’re switching rooms with me for a month,” he threatened. Karl chuckled and used his free hand to unbuckle his pants, getting Eric’s cum on them in the process. 

“You could just stay there with me.”

He pulled a condom out of his pants pocket before he shoved them down along with his underwear, not bothering to step out of them. He put the condom on, tossing the wrapper to the floor, and lined himself up.

They both groaned when Karl pushed in, savoring the feel of Karl’s cock filling him. 

Karl gripped Eric’s hips tightly with both hands as he started rocking into him—hastening the pace once Eric pressed back into him, intending to keep his promise of speed. Once he had set a rhythm, he reached around again to grab Eric’s cock and matched the pace of his hand to his hips. He nipped hungrily at Eric’s neck, breathlessly lapping at his skin with his tongue as they both grunted in gratification. He could already feel his orgasm building, and, judging by Eric’s breathing, his was too.

“Aaah, fuck.” Karl clamped his teeth into the flesh at the juncture of Eric’s neck and shoulder, grunting and rutting into him wildly until his body tensed and his orgasm shot through him. He managed to keep up the pace of his hand until Eric called out and came again a few moments later, spilling onto his hand.

Karl collapsed his body against Eric as he caught his breath, his hands still clutching Eric’s hips for support. Eric pushed back, bracing himself against the wall with one arm, and dropped a hand to his neck to check for blood. “What the fuck is up with you and biting?” 

“You taste good,” Karl muttered into his shoulder.

~

Afterward, Eric walked into his room with Karl trailing closely behind him. He handed Karl some tissues from his desk to clean himself up before doing the same. When he was done, he tossed the used tissue in the trash and sat at his desk with his arms crossed and looked at Karl.

“Don’t tell Sean that we’re fucking. I don’t want him to know,” he demanded. Of course, Sean had already figured it out after it had happened the first time, but that didn’t mean he needed to know it had happened a second time. He really didn’t need Sean’s judgement concerning his hooking up with Karl. 

“Does that mean this is going to be a regular thing then?” Karl asked, grinning complacently, guessing that it probably would be. If Eric hadn’t been able to resist him a second time, Karl was pretty sure he wouldn’t have any issues seducing Eric again. Eric met his gaze with a cold-eyed stare, not bothering to answer him. “Well, I wasn’t planning on telling him. Despite what you might think, I don’t rattle on to him about my sex life.” 

He finished wiping the semen off his pants. 

“Yeah, but you probably weren’t planning on hiding it either,” Eric said, citing Karl’s penchant for flirting with him and generally making him uncomfortable. Karl smirked amusedly as he approached Eric, silently confirming Eric’s hunch.

“So no holding hands or kissing you goodbye then?” Karl teased as he dropped his tissue in the trash along with the used condom.

“I’d like to see you fucking try,” Eric threatened harshly. Karl stepped closer and leaned over, coming squarely into Eric’s personal space. He gripped the corner of Eric’s desk with one hand and Eric’s thigh with the other.

“He’s not here now,” he said suggestively, his voice low, eyes half-lidded. Eric looked down at Karl’s hand on his thigh, which he swore was slowly inching closer to his groin, and blinked, speechless. Karl was fucking insatiable. 

Eric uncrossed his arms and snatched some more tissues out of the box and shoved them into Karl’s chest, simultaneously pushing him away and making room for himself to escape. 

“Why don’t you go clean my cum off the wall?” he suggested before he raised himself out of his chair to push past Karl, having decided that it was best to wait for Sean’s return in the living room. 

~

Chapter Text

Karl and I are gonna go grab some food soon. You coming?  

Yes. I’m on my way back , Eric quickly typed in response to Sean before turning to Chris. They’d just finished working out and were walking from the gym back to their residence halls. They didn’t share the same major, but he and Chris had been working out together since last year when they’d met at the gym during Freshers week.  

“You want to catch a bite to eat with Sean and Karl?” Eric asked Chris, hoping he would say yes. It was true that there was less tension between the two of them now, but sleeping with Karl a second time had only encouraged Karl to pursue him more, and Eric hoped that having Chris around in addition to Sean might offer an additional buffer against Karl’s attention. Karl knew Chris, had interacted with him on the multiple occasions that they’d all gone out together last year, and, of course, despite knowing Chris was straight, enjoyed flirting with him. 

“Not tonight,” Chris answered, and Eric sighed plaintively.

“I’m flattered, but you see me almost everyday, sometimes twice a day,” Chris replied, laughing at Eric. “I mean I don’t know if we can actually count swimming anymore though.”

“Yeah, I didn’t mean to come off like I was ignoring you—,” Eric started sheepishly, knowing Chris was referring to the fact that Eric spent most of the class time talking with Orlando—up until this week when Orlando had started ignoring him. 

“If you really miss me that much, you can always be my lane partner. I mean, you did convince me to join the course and then proceed to ditch me!” Chris cut him off, his tone teasing though he spoke vehemently. It had been Eric’s idea for them to take the course, and even though he had spent the majority of class with Orlando, he and Chris still saw each other at the gym.

“I met this fresher, and he seemed like he needed the company,” Eric explained. Chris bellowed loudly. “... Why are you laughing so hard?”

“I’m pretty sure it’s you who wanted his company, but we can pretend you were trying to help him out if it makes you feel better.”

Eric furrowed his brow. “What are you going on about?”

“You’re into him. It’s so obvious,” Chris answered, slapping Eric on the back when he stopped walking in shock.

“...Jesus. Was it really?” Eric asked, not even bothering to deny it as he started up walking again. Not that Chris would have let him. First Sean and now Chris had effortlessly picked up on his attraction to Orlando. Granted, both Sean and Chris spent a lot of time with him and knew him pretty well, but still, he hadn’t realized just how easily discernible it had been. 

“Yes,” Chris replied without hesitation. “Speaking of, you want to tell me what happened there and why you suddenly started swimming with me instead of him?” 

Eric hadn’t told anyone about what had happened between him and Orlando yet, not even Sean, as he’d still been reeling from the humiliation of it all, but keeping it inside was proving to be just as agonizing. He sighed before confessing, “I thought he was flirting with me, so I kissed him. I was wrong.”

“Oh no...”

“Yeah. He’s not talking to me now,” Eric continued. “So you’re stuck with me now.”

“Fuck. I’m sorry, man,” Chris said sympathetically. “You should have told me! Are you alright?”

“Yeah... I’ve been distracting myself,” Eric stated quietly.

“How’s that?” Chris asked, turning to give Eric a curious look. “You find someone else already?”

Eric shrugged. “Kinda. Not really. Just Karl.”

“You’re shitting me…” Chris exclaimed, his bright blue eyes wide with surprise. “You know that might not be the best idea.”

“No, but I obviously haven’t been making the best decisions recently anyway,” Eric answered self-deprecatingly.

“So you’re giving it another run with him?” Chris asked incredulously. He’d witnessed how it had played out between Eric and Karl the first time, and he couldn’t imagine that Eric would willingly repeat that. Karl wasn’t a bad guy, but he and Eric hadn’t been looking for the same type of relationship when they’d hooked up last year. No matter how Eric tried to play it, Chris knew he’d been hurt when he’d broken things off with Karl. 

“No. We’re just fucking. Temporarily,” Eric clarified.

Chris chuckled sardonically. “Is that really any better? Are you actually both on the same page this time?”

“Absolutely. We’re not together,” Eric replied and then added, “...I told him not to tell anyone.”

“Right…” said Chris, drawing the word out. He stared at Eric in disbelief and shook his head. Eric sounded like he thought he knew what he was getting into, but Chris wasn’t so sure. Eric had never seemed the type to fall back into an ex’s arms after being rejected by an unrequited crush, but here he was telling Chris that that was exactly what he was doing.

“What’s Sean got to say about it?” Chris asked, knowing that he would probably share his opinion. He was not close to Karl, but he knew Sean was good friends with both Karl and Eric, so maybe he’d already tried to talk some sense into both of them.

“Sean found out about the first time, but he doesn’t know it wasn’t a one time thing. He wasn’t a fan of the idea.”

“I honestly can’t blame him. I didn’t think you were this stupid, but apparently I was wrong.” 

“Oi! You prick,” Eric grumbled, annoyed that everyone seemed to think he wasn’t capable of handling himself with Karl.

“It’s not mine you’ll be busy with—” Chris made a crude gesture involving his mouth and hand, and Eric snorted. He was grateful that even though Chris might not agree with his hooking up with Karl again, at least he could still joke with him about it.

“Yeah. You’re not my type anyway, mate.” Eric grinned. Although Chris was attractive, Eric wasn’t particularly into blonds.

“What?! Bold of you to assume you’d even have a chance with me, asshole!” 

“Seriously, fuck off, Chris,” Eric said, laughing.

~

 

Orlando walked over to stand next to Evie, peeking over her shoulder at the jewelry piece that had captured her attention: a necklace made of a double layer of green crescent ornaments that extended the entire length of the silver chain. He glanced at the object label, seeking further information about the piece.

Articulated necklace, c 1952  

Grete Prytz Kittelsen (1917–2010) 

Silver, enamel 

Oslo, Norway for J Tolstrup 

“Is this one your favorite?” Orlando asked Evie, watching her sketch the design onto her sketchbook. As part of their Drawing for Design Practice course, they were encouraged to visit museums and galleries to investigate various designers. This weekend Luke, Evie, and another one of their classmates, Aidan, had chosen to visit the National Museum of Scotland to see the Modernist Jewellery Exhibit, a display featuring pieces from British and Nordic designers. 

“No,” she answered as her hand swept across the page. “I’m partial to the steampunk piece by Giertta.” 

“Steampunk?” Orlando asked, his eyes following the hypnotic push and pull of her drawing pencil across the sheet. He was pretty sure there weren’t any steampunk pieces on display. 

“The gold and white gold geometric necklace.” She smiled, her eyes never leaving the page. 

“Oh,” Orlando answered, realizing which piece she was referring to. It had been one of the first ones he’d drawn in his sketchbook. With its gold and silver-colored twists, turns, and spirals, he could understand how the necklace was reminiscent of a steampunk aesthetic. “Yeah. I like that one, too.”

“You feeling better?” Evie asked him. Orlando’s eyes snapped from the pencil and paper to Evie, who was now looking up at him. Upon seeing his confused look, she added, “At the library? You seemed a bit stressed.”

“Oh, yeah. I’m good. Thanks,” he answered flatly. He let his eyes drift back to emerald green ornaments of the necklace. 

“Maybe tonight will help you clear your mind,” Evie offered, referring to their plans to hit the town later that night with several other mates, including Luke and Aidan, who had wandered off somewhere when Orlando had been too distracted with his own sketching to notice.

“Mmhmm.” Orlando nodded stiffly, holding back a sigh. He hoped it would help, too. The past few days he’d been on edge, what with avoiding Eric and ineffectually avoiding his feelings about the kiss. 

Out of his peripheral vision, Orlando saw Evie press her pencil against her sketchpad, lower it to her side, and turn to face him. He tried to appear engrossed in the necklace, hoping she would go back to her sketch, but he could feel her unrelenting eyes on him, willing him to acknowledge her. Finally, when she refused to look away, he glanced at her out of the corner of his eye. “What?” 

“So do you want to talk about what’s been bothering you?” she answered, an eyebrow raised expectantly. He stared at her blankly for a moment, not having anticipated her bluntness. Despite the fact that they’d probably be seeing each other almost every day for the next year, they’d still only known each other for a month. Most people probably would have danced around the subject at this point in a friendship. How was he supposed to tell her that he was warring over his feelings about being kissed by another guy when he barely knew her?

“Oh, it’s not that serious really,” he responded. 

“I won’t push you, but it helps to talk about it,” she replied before ambling off to view another piece. Against his better judgment, Orlando followed her, and they stopped at a necklace and bracelet set created by Charles de Temple. The gallery was relatively sparsely populated with other visitors, and they were the only ones near this particular set. Orlando examined the matching set for a moment before opening his sketchbook. He set his pencil to the paper, reproducing the prickly two toned gold wire design, which almost resembled an inverted city skyline. 

“Someone kissed me, and I can’t stop thinking about it,” he confessed quietly, purposeful in his pronoun selection. Evie had also begun sketching next to him, and for a split second, her hand paused as she glanced up at him, but then her attention returned to drawing. 

“Does that mean you liked it?” 

“I didn’t think so, but I’m not so sure anymore,” he answered, recalling how he’d run from the room initially. “I definitely wasn’t expecting it.”

“So you didn’t think you liked it, but now you think you do,” Evie rehashed.

“Yeah, basically,” Orlando murmured. 

“Why don’t you just go talk to them about it then? Honestly, if you’re still thinking about it this much, you might actually like them,” Evie offered.

“Don’t think I’m ready for that yet,” Orlando admitted. He didn’t bother to mention that he was also avoiding Eric like his life depended on it.

“And you know what? That’s fine. Give yourself time to figure things out. There’s really no rush,” Evie assured him, turning to look him in the eye. “But the last thing you need right now is to be beating yourself up over it. We’re freshers. We should be focusing on our studies and having fun.”

Orlando considered Evie’s words. She was right that he shouldn’t be stressing over this when he should be enjoying his first year at uni. 

“Yeah, you’re right.” He nodded and grinned at her. “Thanks.”

~

 

It was strange to be back at their usual coffee shop when the last time he’d been here was a week ago with Orlando—the same day he’d screwed up their friendship. It was especially strange to be here with Karl and Sean again, but at least this time there had yet to be any storming out on his part. Though there was still plenty of time for that as they had only recently arrived and Karl had only just excused himself to the toilet.

“How’s Orlando?” Sean asked curiously. He hadn’t seen or heard Eric talk about his crush in a while. He imagined it could have had something to do with Karl. Ever since their fight, which he now knew included more than one type of tussle, Eric and Karl had been much more at ease around each other. Friendly even. While he was grateful for that, he still worried that the ‘coupling’ would recreate the same issues between them that it had initially produced. 

Eric blinked at him several times, abruptly pulled from his thoughts of past recollections. Sean could have been asking because Eric had suddenly gone from hanging out with Orlando multiple times a week to none. But Eric had also confessed to him not too long ago that he had liked Orlando, and more than likely that was his true reason for his asking.

“Uh… I haven’t heard from him in a while. Probably busy adjusting to classes and university life,” he lied. He’d seen him every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday last week in swim class. Specifically, he’d seen Orlando avoiding him in the locker room, choosing lanes several rows away or people away from him in the pool, very obviously not looking at him, and leaving the building as soon as he’d managed to change clothes right after class. He knew he’d fucked up and that Orlando would be upset, but he hadn’t expected to be ignored. He’d wanted to apologize and explain that it would never happen again, but he hadn’t ever gotten the chance, nor was he sure he ever would.

“I’ll ask him how he’s doing the next time I see him,” he lied again. Eric hadn’t made, nor did he plan to make, any efforts to reconcile the situation, not wanting to unwittingly anger Orlando or push him away further—if it were even possible to push someone who wasn’t talking to you further away.

Sean looked like he wanted to ask more questions but saw Karl returning from the toilet and settled for, “Well, tell him I said hello and invite him out with us again.”

When given the chance, Sean had enjoyed talking with a fellow Brit and had expected to see more of him with the way he and Eric had engaged.

“Will do,” Eric promised, lying for the third time.

Sean had detected the change in mood of his roommate during his questioning. He thought it strange that Eric hadn’t heard from Orlando at all when they shared a class together. It was common that students from different majors not see much of each other in class as they rarely shared any, but Eric and Orlando did have a class together. How could it be that Eric hadn’t seen him? Eric was obviously hiding something as alluded to by the creases currently present between his eyebrows. But Sean knew better than to broach the subject here and in Karl’s company lest he wanted Eric to up and walk away much like he’d done the last time they’d visited this spot.

Karl took his seat at their table and smiled at Eric. “What’d I miss?”

“Nothing of importance,” Eric responded without returning the smile. 

“Hmmm.” Karl picked up his beverage and took a sip. Eric mimicked him and took one from his own. He still felt a little thrown off by his conversation with Sean. While the sting of his gaff with Orlando had worn off somewhat, he still felt regret and embarrassment over his actions.

“So are we going out tonight?” Karl asked after he’d put his drink back down.

“Of course,” Sean responded, grinning. “It is Saturday after all.”

Karl turned to Eric. “Eric?”

Eric snapped his eyes up from his cup which he had been staring at distractedly as he regretfully mulled over past transgressions. He glanced between Sean and Karl, not having heard a word they’d said. “What?”

“Are you coming out with us tonight?” Karl repeated.

“Yeah, sure.” He supposed a night out would be a welcome distraction from the thoughts he couldn’t seem to escape even a week later. He couldn’t even blame Sean for sparking the downward spiral of his thoughts as they’d begun well before they’d arrived at the cafe.

Eric’s eyes had briefly fallen back to his cup, but he could sense the curious feeling of eyes upon him. He looked up and caught Karl watching him. He really wasn’t in the mood for this now. He’d hoped that Karl wouldn’t revert to his usual behavior, at the very least not in front of Sean.

“Stop staring at me,” Eric warned, his eyes narrowing slightly. 

“I’m not,” Karl said defensively. He was, but only because Eric had suddenly looked like he’d just found out his puppy had died. The change in demeanor had seemed strange and to come out of nowhere, considering he hadn’t previously shown any signs of being upset. 

“You are,” Eric countered, holding his glare on Karl, who glared right back. 

“I can’t help it. You’re so damn pretty,” Karl responded mockingly, chagrined by Eric’s sudden attack. So what if he’d been looking; there was no need for Eric to react as if he’d openly propositioned him in front of Sean—that could be arranged if Eric wanted to keep being an asshole. He honestly thought Eric should be way more relaxed for someone who’d gotten laid so recently.

Eric narrowed his eyes even more, silently threatening Karl, but Karl just winked back challengingly. Sean rolled his eyes. 

“Would you two fucking stop already?” Sean demanded exasperatedly. This needed to end now. He wasn’t keen to sit through this shit again, not after they’d already supposedly ‘made-up’. 

Eric immediately ceased scowling at Karl and fought the need to bury his face in his hands and groan. He settled for taking another sip of his barely-touched drink.

“What’s wrong with you?” Karl asked, still affronted by Eric’s unnecessary eruption of animosity and aggression. 

“Nothing,” Eric responded despondently. He needed to take his mind off the past, and the sooner that happened, the better he would feel. “Where are we going tonight?”

~

 

Eric had just settled into bed when his phone vibrated on the nightstand beside him, indicating that he’d received a text from someone. His eyes flashed open, and he wondered if Orlando had finally decided he wanted to talk. He grabbed his phone off his night stand and looked at the screen hopefully... only to be quickly disappointed.

You gonna let me in? It was from Karl, who was currently in the living room where he was supposed to be sleeping after he, Eric, Sean, Chris, and a few other friends had turned in from their night out. 

What? Why was Karl texting him when he was literally in the next room over?

Your room, idiot, Karl replied a few seconds later. Right, of course, why else would Karl be texting him? Ironically, these nights when Karl would stay over were the same nights that Eric usually made sure to lock his door lest he wanted a drunk Karl inviting himself to his bed.

Have you forgotten that Sean’s here, too? Eric typed back, questioning why Karl was currently soliciting him for sex when Sean was here, though he knew that it didn’t matter to Karl who was here. 

His door is closed, and he’s probably passed out by now. Karl was most likely correct. Sean was probably dead to the world at this point. He was surprised that Karl was still awake, too, given how much he’d had to drink. Eric would have been asleep already had his mind not still been preoccupied with unwanted thoughts and foolish delusions of texts from people who didn’t want anything to do with him. 

Eric stared at his phone, contemplating his reply. He couldn’t find a strong enough reason to reject his request. Last week, his go-to response would have been to tell Karl to fuck off, but now after everything that had happened in that short span of time, he was inclined to take him up on the offer. The phone screen lit up with another text, showcasing Karl’s impatience with Eric’s lack of response. 

Did you fall asleep??? 

I don’t want to risk waking him. Not only would it be embarrassing to have his roommate catch them in the act, he really didn’t want to deal with the unending questions about why he was still sleeping with Karl that were bound to follow. 

I’ll let you gag me if I get too loud. ;P Eric grinned. He was sure that gagging was probably within Karl’s normal taste. 

He put his phone down on his night stand, then rolled out of bed and walked to his door. Sparing one last consideration to his actions and their consequences, he unlocked and opened it. Karl grinned at him from the other side. Evidently he’d been pretty confident that Eric would let him in. Eric raised an eyebrow, and Karl shrugged as he walked in. 

“You’re not sleeping in here,” Eric stated, shutting the door behind Karl. He might have given in to Karl’s booty text, but he was drawing the line at a sleepover.

“Yeah, I know,” Karl answered flippantly. “You want to hide all this from Sean. Blah, blah.”

Eric walked back over to his bed and lay down on his back, watching as Karl pulled his shirt, which was actually one he’d borrowed from Sean to sleep in, over his head and tossed it to the floor. He was already barefoot and only wearing his boxers, having removed the rest of his attire in the living area before crashing on the couch—the result of his having come to feel very much at home at their place over time. 

Karl climbed onto the bed and settled on his knees and hands, straddling Eric. His grin was illuminated only by the moonlight that shone through the sole window in Eric’s room, making him look somewhat villainous, and the mohawk-like cut of his hair emphasized the slope of his prominent cheekbones. That his hair was still slicked back was a testament to the strength of his gel. Eric reached up and ruffled his hand in Karl’s hair, undoing some of the gel’s hold. 

Karl lifted an eyebrow.

“Did you enjoy that?” he asked, amused as he tried to push his hair back from falling in his face. 

“Not sure if it was worth it,” Eric answered with a frown when he realized it had been pomade, not gel, and that some of it now coated his hand.

“Well, I’ll make sure this is worth it,” Karl answered before pressing his lips into Eric’s, having given up on fixing his hair. He lowered himself to his elbows and reached one hand between them to grasp Eric’s penis. Eric pressed up eagerly into his hand and slid his tongue against Karl’s lips, trying to breach his mouth.

“Not gonna play hard to get?” Karl asked, pulling away to work his hand inside Eric’s underwear.

“When have I ever?” Eric furrowed his brow. He bit his bottom lip and sucked in a breath as Karl’s hand found its way inside and wrapped around his penis.

“Are you kidding me?” Karl asked, his eyebrow raised. “It took me a whole year to get you back in bed.”

“Okay, but once you get me here, I’m pretty easy,” Eric replied. He pushed Karl’s boxers down off his hips. Karl smirked down at him, thumbing the slick, bulbous head of Eric’s now hard cock.

“Fair enough.” Karl hummed when Eric reached around to grab his ass and rubbed a finger over his hole. 

“Take these off,” Eric ordered, tugging at Karl’s boxers. Karl shifted to finish removing his boxers, and Eric took the chance to slide out of his own, taking care not to knee Karl in the balls as he kicked them off with his feet.

“Where are your condoms?” Karl asked. 

“Nightstand with the lube,” Eric answered, peering down cravingly at Karl’s erection as it bobbed heavily above his stomach. Karl freed the newly acquired condom from its wrapper and slid down Eric’s legs. He rolled it onto Eric’s erection and spread some lube over the head and shaft, using the remainder on himself. Eric could feel his heart beating rapidly as he listened to the sound of Karl prepping himself. Karl grinned down at him, and Eric’s hands tightened on Karl’s thighs as he envisioned Karl’s fingers sliding in and out of his hole. 

After he’d repositioned himself on his knees above Eric’s hips, Karl grabbed Eric’s cock, holding it steady, and lowered himself so he could sink down onto it slowly. He was about halfway down when Eric gripped his ass and gave a sharp thrust of his hips, fully seating himself inside Karl. He groaned as Eric completely filled him and fell forward onto his elbows.

Taking advantage of his convenient new position, he covered Eric’s mouth with his own. The kiss was messy as he used his tongue to enthusiastically explore as much of Eric’s mouth as he could. Eric tried to suck on Karl’s tongue and tame it with his own, but it moved hungrily and elusively out of his control. 

Using his grip on Karl’s ass as leverage, Eric thrust into him with slow, shallow strokes at first that progressively quickened and deepened as he found his rhythm. Karl’s moan vibrated into his mouth as he attempted to bounce back into Eric’s thrusts. His sinewy legs hugged Eric’s sides, and his dick bounced off Eric’s abs as they flexed and tightened arduously. Soon Eric was propelling his hips wildly as his cock plunged rapidly into Karl’s ass, and his abs and glutes burned from exertion as he bridged roughly into Karl, grunting with the effort. 

Karl came up for air and pulled his mouth away. 

“You’re being too loud,” he warned.

“‘Cause I’m doing all the work!” Eric protested, slowing his hips down to use some of his energy to form coherent words.

“And you’re doing a great job, but unless you want Sean to know what we’re doing, you need to quiet down.”

Eric sighed and nodded, picking up the speed of his hips again. For a moment, only the sound of their heavy breathing and his thighs slapping against the backs of Karl’s filled the room. Karl moaned quietly, clenching tightly around Eric when his cock hit his prostate.

“Fuck!” Eric hissed quietly at the sensation of Karl squeezing him and dug his fingers into the swell of Karl’s ass. 

“Kiss me,” he pleaded desperately, hoping that Karl’s mouth would muffle his cries.

Karl grinned and buried both his hands into Eric’s curls and tugged his head back to give himself access to Eric’s neck instead. He trailed his tongue up the column of Eric’s throat before latching onto his neck to give him several sloppy kisses as he worked his way up. Eric was panting beneath him while he bucked into him when Karl finally reached his mouth. He bit Eric’s bottom lip softly before covering Eric’s mouth with his once again, licking feverishly at his lips, tongue, and mouth when Eric released a moan so loud and bawdy that Karl shoved his tongue down his throat in an attempt to quiet him.

“Shut up!”

“Sorry,” Eric apologized breathlessly. 

Karl could tell that Eric was close, which was good because this was going to have to end soon unless they wanted to wake Sean since Eric couldn’t seem to control his noise volume. Karl released Eric’s hair so he could push up onto his hands and reached between their bodies to clasp his dick and started stroking himself. His fist beat up and down his shaft, twisting each time it reached the head. 

With his hand and Eric’s cock working in unison, Karl soon felt his orgasm building. Coupled with Eric’s body undulating beneath him, his firm grip on his ass, and the look of pure ecstasy on his face, his release didn’t take much longer either. He dropped forward to kiss Eric again as he came, his cum spurting onto Eric’s stomach and chest as he contracted and spasmed above Eric, moaning into his mouth. Eric followed soon after, gasping into Karl’s mouth and thrusting so fast that he lost all rhythm. 

“Fuck, fuck, fuck,” Eric rambled as his legs fell to the bed, burning and fatigued from their effort. They, along with the rest of his body, felt like Jell-o, and he didn’t think he could have moved if he’d wanted to. He relaxed his fingers, clenched around Karl’s ass, and let his arms flop beside him on the bed.

“I really hope that Sean’s a heavy sleeper,” Karl said before he pushed himself up from Eric’s chest, demounted him, and rolled to his back beside him.

“Me, too,” Eric concurred, still panting heavily as Karl’s cum rapidly cooled across his torso. He ran a hand idly through his hair. “Fuck. That was good.”

“It was.” Karl hummed in agreement before he yawned. “Alright. I’m going to go back out there before I fall asleep in here and give you an aneurysm. Thanks for the ride.”

Karl rolled over and kissed him again briefly; then he reached down and pulled the condom off of Eric’s dick before he got off the bed. Walking toward Eric’s desk, he dropped the condom in the bin and grabbed some tissue, knowing that Eric was probably too spent to get out of bed right now.

Eric watched him lazily from the bed and enjoyed the captivating view of Karl’s ass, feeling somewhat gratified to see red marks where his fingers had dug into the skin. When Karl came back to the bed, he grinned down at Eric, who still looked visibly drained of all tension in his body, and dropped the tissue onto his chest before moving away to find his discarded boxers and borrowed shirt.  

“Thanks,” Eric said, grabbing the tissue. 

Karl quickly pulled his clothes back on and glanced back at Eric. “Night.”

“Night,” Eric responded as Karl walked out, closing the door behind him.

~

Chapter Text

Orlando eyed Eric wading several lanes away from him in the pool where he was talking animatedly with his lane partner. The same guy Orlando had seen him share a lane with two days before on Monday. A familiar looking dark blond with eyes so brilliant Orlando could see the sparkle of their blue hue from his spot several lanes away. His thick eyebrows raised in a smile that displayed his sickeningly bright teeth as he laughed at whatever Eric was telling him. 

Orlando turned away with a frustrated sigh. He pulled his goggles down over his eyes, took in a deep breath, and ducked under the water to distract himself. The muted sounds of voices, bodies moving, and air bubbling to the surface filtered through the water. Orlando unwittingly turned to his right, looking down the length of the pool, and was met with a view of mostly his classmate’s legs. He caught himself trying to count the lanes and figure out which set belonged to Eric and his new friend, and promptly berated himself. 

This had to stop. What was the point in avoiding Eric if he was just going to be eyeing him the entire time? He knew he wouldn’t be able to stop himself from thinking about him, but the least he could do was not give his brain additional fodder for his lustful thoughts. 

Last week not looking in Eric’s direction had been pretty easy for him as his embarrassment and confusion had yet to wear off. However, a few things had happened since then that were affecting his self-control when it came to not ogling Eric in class though. 

The first occurred when he’d gone out with Evie, Luke, Aidan, and a few other people after their trip to the museum last weekend. Aidan’s friend, Liv, had unexpectedly kissed him at the bar. She’d apologized as soon as she’d realized he hadn’t been into it at all, and he’d smiled, waving it off, and assured her it was fine—not because it actually had been, but mostly because he’d felt sorry for her; he’d suspected Aidan had put her up to it, making her think she’d held Orlando’s interest in some misguided attempt to ‘make him feel better about whatever was bothering him.’ 

Under different circumstances, he might have enjoyed the kiss, but the ordeal had marked the second time that week he’d been surprised by a kiss. Except this kiss hadn’t lingered in his mind and instead had only served to highlight how much of an effect Eric’s kiss had actually had on him. 

As a result, he’d spent the entirety of this week fighting a losing battle with the conflicting feelings Eric’s kiss had stirred up in him. He’d tried to remember Evie’s advice to not let it monopolize his thoughts, but each time he’d thought about it, Orlando had felt a rush of desire flush through him followed by the craving to touch and feel Eric’s lips against his again. 

The other thing keeping him from minding his own business concerning Eric was the man himself just a few lanes away. Eric didn’t seem to have been so affected by the kiss. In fact, he had seemed to have forgotten it had taken place altogether. Considering that Orlando suspected Eric had fucked Karl less than an hour after the kiss, he really shouldn’t be surprised that Eric was flirting with some ridiculously attractive and half-naked guy who seemed to be soaking up the attention. He couldn’t be too shocked considering he had pushed Eric to keep his distance with his snubbing act.

Orlando re-surfaced and sucked in fresh air, flipping his goggles to the top of his head and folding his arms over the side of the ledge for support. He surreptitiously glanced back down the side of the pool where Eric and the blond were still talking and smiling at each other. As he felt the pang of an emotion he didn’t want to name in the pit of his stomach, he realized that trying to ignore his feelings wasn’t going to make them go away. 

 

Eric’s phone vibrated against his leg in his pocket. When he slipped his hand in and pulled out his phone, he found he’d gotten a text from Karl, causing his eyebrows to draw together in confusion. It wasn’t that it was unusual for Karl to text him as it was their prime method of communication, but it didn’t generally happen until later in the afternoon after classes ended, and presently, it was only one in the afternoon.

He glanced over at his lab partner, Ewan, who sat next to him, contemplating whether he should read the message now or if it’d be more prudent to wait until he was alone. They had just eaten lunch and were now preparing for their fluid mechanics lab, but Ewan hadn’t seemed to notice or care what Eric was doing at the moment. He was instead glaring fiercely at the lab manual as if willing the paper to set ablaze. Confident that he’d be able to read the text without Ewan seeing, Eric unlocked his phone and opened the message. 

You coming over tonight? Considering how many times he’d been to Karl’s flat this week, it was no more than a formality that Karl was asking him if he wanted to come over today. After their first few encounters at Sean and Eric’s place the week before, they’d swapped the inconvenience of trying to sneak around Sean for the privacy offered by Karl’s flat. 

Eric suppressed the smirk that threatened to form on his lips as he typed in his reply and pressed send. Yep.  

Before he could put this phone back into his pocket, it vibrated with another text from Karl. You should sleep over this time.  

Eric raised an eyebrow at the suggestion. Technically tonight would be the start of the weekend, and he wouldn’t have class the next morning, but he had never spent the night at Karl’s, preferring to return home even after a particularly spirited night out. Karl, on the other hand, had spent plenty of nights crashing on Sean’s and his couch, even though he didn’t live very far from them. 

Eric swallowed as memories from the last time Karl had slept over played vividly in his mind. He took in a deep breath, trying not to let those memories distract or stir certain parts of him, and typed back. Why?  

Karl’s response confirmed that he was currently thinking along the same lines. Morning sex, of course.  

Eric shook his head exasperatedly and managed to stifle a laugh, but the grin he’d been fighting broke though. Well, it wasn’t as if he’d had expected the reason to be because Karl wanted to cuddle. 

“What are you giggling about?” Ewan asked, finally noticing that Eric’s attention was diverted to his phone and not their course material. He craned his neck, trying to get a view of the screen of Eric’s phone. Eric quickly moved it out of Ewan’s view and glared at him, though the expression held no malice. He was used to Ewan’s antics and regularly reciprocated them.

“Nothing,” Eric answered, unwilling to let Ewan in on the happenings of this part of his personal life. Given different circumstances, he’d not be so closed-mouthed about his relationships, but he hadn’t told anyone other than Chris about Karl and him. Hell, he technically still hadn’t even admitted to Sean that anything had happened at all. Though the situation between him and Karl was pretty straightforward, how it started and why it continued were less than. 

“Nothing, my arse. You were giggling about something,” Ewan persisted, his eyes narrowed suspiciously. “It’s a girl, isn’t?”

“I wasn’t ‘giggling’ ,” Eric rebutted. “I was ranting about what a shite partner you are... and no.”

“How’s that? I’m the one studying while you’re playing on your phone!... A boy then?” Ewan asked, grinning. He had known Eric for over a year now as they shared the same major and therefore classes, so despite not knowing the specifics of Eric’s current love life, he wasn’t completely ignorant about it. In fact, he had met Karl before and even knew about Eric’s past with him. But for now, that was all he needed to know. “Is it your gym buddy?” 

“Chris is straight,” Eric replied flatly.

“So it is a boy then?” Ewan asked excitedly.

“None of your business,” Eric answered, still refusing to tell him. He wasn’t the slightest bit worried that Ewan would judge him for taking back up with Karl, but he was still working through his thoughts on it and didn’t want anyone else’s opinion. Sean’s and Chris’s had been more than enough. 

Ewan stared at him, obviously unconvinced that there was nothing to tell, and Eric shot him a bored stare to stave off any more questions and to let him know he was done with the conversation. 

“Alright. Well, I’m sure I’ll find out soon enough anyway,” Ewan replied, looking back at the manual.

Making sure to keep the screen out of Ewan’s line of sight, Eric typed a quick message on his phone and sent it to Karl before placing it back into his pocket. See you tonight.  

~

 

Ironically, hanging out with Karl was quickly becoming one of Eric’s favorite activities. He lay on his back in Karl’s bed, pillows supporting his shoulders and head as Karl licked his way down Eric’s chest, pausing regularly to mouth and bite lightly at his skin. His tongue slowed, strokes lengthened, pressure increased as he continued to trail down Eric’s stomach. He gripped Eric’s legs and pushed them wider apart before running his tongue along the line where his thigh met his pelvis. Eric’s breath caught in his throat, and he weaved his fingers into Karl’s hair.

“Don’t fucking kick me this time,” Karl quipped, looking up at Eric. 

Eric snorted. “No surprises, then.”

“We’ll see.”

Karl took his cock in hand, and Eric sucked in a breath as Karl swallowed him. Head dropping back, hips lifting to counter Karl’s movements, Eric was unable to hold back the moan that rose from his chest. His hand rose and fell with the steady tempo of Karl’s head between his legs. 

“Karl...” His voice was hardly a hoarse breath. He could feel Karl’s brief smile around his cock before he hollowed his cheeks and renewed the strength of his suction.

Karl reached for Eric’s hand on the bed, intertwining their fingers. His mouth slid up and down Eric’s shaft, increasing in intensity and force each time he got to the head. Karl released the hand around Eric’s cock to press his hips back down onto the bed. His thumb dug into the skin at the hollow of Eric’s hip, burning hotly into the bone.

“Yes. Fuck...”

Eric clenched at Karl’s hair and drove his heels into the bed as the pleasure centered between his legs increased with each pass of Karl’s mouth. The heat from Karl’s lips wrapped around his cock, the swirl of his tongue made his head spin and body tense as warmth and tingling swept through his body. Eric’s fingers twitched in Karl’s hold, and he strained against Karl’s hand on his hip, failing to maintain control of his body. He was aware that his mouth was open, and he was almost positive he was being extremely vocal, but he wasn’t conscious of what sounds he was making or which words he was saying.

The next thing he knew, Karl was swallowing around his cock while he came down from an orgasm. Karl chuckled, giving him one last slow, steady lick, before swirling his tongue around the head.

“Sounds like you enjoyed that then?” He said, his lips brushing against Eric’s tip. 

Eric nodded disorientedly. Of course, he fucking enjoyed it. Karl’s grin grew wider at Eric’s dazed expression. He loved seeing Eric like this. The lasciviousness of his expression contrasted immensely to the cool aloofness that Eric usually wore around him. He loved knowing that he could make him unravel and beg.

Eric dropped his hand from Karl’s hair and untangled his fingers from Karl’s before letting out a heavy huff and running his hands through his hair. A look of pure debauchery covered Eric’s face as he stared down at him.

Karl worked his mouth back up Eric’s stomach and chest, taking his time at Eric’s nipples and neck, using his teeth to grip lightly as his tongue lathered Eric’s skin beneath. When he made it to Eric’s jaw, he grabbed Eric’s chin, jerked his mouth to his, shoving his tongue in assiduously.

Eric opened his lips and met Karl’s tongue with his own, welcoming it into his mouth. His hand traveled up to the back of Karl’s neck, and he pulled him in closer.

“Are you staying over?” Karl asked when he pulled away.

Eric’s hand dropped from Karl’s neck, and he let his head drop back against the pillows, trying his best not to feel annoyed by the question. “Tonight? Why?”

“Why not ? It’s the weekend,” Karl answered, noting Eric’s furrowed brow. “You know, you don’t have to keep pretending you still hate me.”

“I don’t hate you,” Eric said casually, still feeling considerably relaxed after his orgasm.

“You’re still upset about what happened last year though,” Karl said accusingly.

“Nothing happened last year.” Karl raised an eyebrow disbelievingly. “We fucked. I’m not upset about it otherwise why would I be here now?”

“We both know it was way more complicated than that,” Karl said. He moved to lie down next to Eric, nudging him over so he’d share the pillows.

“What’s complicated about hooking up with you, Karl?” Eric questioned skeptically, yielding some space to Karl. 

Karl knew that Eric had been resentful and thought that he had used him last year. He also thought he made it pretty obvious what he was after—he enjoyed sex, and he wasn’t shy about it—but he recognized that Eric didn’t tend to hook up with a lot of people, at least not as frequently as he did, and that maybe he could have been more explicit about his intentions. 

“If one person doesn’t understand that it’s just hooking up then—”

Eric cut him off, having heard enough. 

“I’m not upset about last year. I just can’t fucking stand you sometimes.” Like when he leered at him or made suggestive or overtly sexual comments to Eric when they were hanging out with Sean. 

“... If you say so,” Karl responded, not believing for a second that Eric wasn’t holding a grudge about their past involvement. He’d left a few people bitter in his past, not intentionally, but because he could be quite careless. But that didn’t usually stop anyone from ending up back in his bed, not when there was the promise of being on the receiving end of his cunning tongue as proven by Eric’s presence now.

“I do,” Eric answered dismissively, sliding down the bed so that he was lying on his back. He realized he was pretty harsh with Karl sometimes, but it was all in an attempt to keep him at bay. When he wasn’t making him forget his name or where he was, Karl could be too fucking much sometimes. Too forward, too aggressive, too annoying... and no, Eric didn’t want to be played with by him like he had been last year. He had no plans of repeating past mistakes. He preferred the way things were now and how he knew exactly where things stood between them because he set the limits.

Karl let the silence sit between them for about five seconds before he started up again. “... We’ve been fucking for a few weeks already, and I haven’t had time to be with anyone else if that—”

“You can fuck whoever you want!” Eric said sharply, his anger beginning to flare. He detested Karl’s idea of post-coitus conversation. It had a tendency to piss him off. Did Karl really think he expected anything more out of him than to be his fuck buddy? “Look, do you want to argue or do you want to fuck? Because I want to fuck, and I don’t want to argue.”

“I’d like to fuck a less angry version of you,” Karl rebutted, his own anger flaring. It wasn’t that he had an issue with not fucking other people. He absolutely could if he wanted, but since he’d been spending so much time with Eric, he hadn’t felt the desire to seek companionship elsewhere.

Despite what Eric thought of him, Karl wasn’t a slave to his sex drive and, given the right person, was capable of sleeping with just one person at a time. He wished Eric would let go of the fucking past already because it was putting a real damper on the fun they were having, and obviously after three weeks of sticking around to frequently and consistently fuck, Eric was having some fun, too. 

Eric sighed heavily, rolled to his side, and grabbed Karl’s hips, tugging at them to get Karl to scoot down and come to his level on the bed. He’d tone down the anger if it meant he’d not have to have another one of these conversations again. 

“I’ll be nicer if you let me fuck you,” he mumbled and pressed his face into Karl’s stomach. He was done talking as was evident by his erection pressing into Karl’s leg. 

“You’re a fucking tool, you know that?” Karl ceded begrudgingly, huffing in exasperation, and pushed himself down.

“Mmhmm. C’arn. How do you want it? Missionary?” Eric asked huskily, lightly biting the nipple closest to him. 

“Feeling traditional?” Karl asked while Eric climbed on top of him. 

Eric covered Karl’s body with his own, fitting himself between Karl’s legs. He hovered over him momentarily, enjoying the sweet feel of Karl’s erection gliding against his, then pressed his lips to Karl’s, parting them and slipping his tongue against Karl’s. Beneath him Karl let out a moan as he opened his mouth and met Eric’s tongue with his. They stayed like that for a while, Eric caressing Karl’s tongue with his own and slowly sliding his cock against Karl’s, until Karl grew hungrier and more avid beneath him. He reached around and grabbed Eric’s ass with both his hands and ground his hips up into Eric’s impatiently, seeking out more friction.

Eric pulled his mouth away from Karl’s slowly and grinned. “Flip over.”

“Not feeling so traditional after all then?” Karl chuckled, twisting under Eric and lying on his stomach. Eric shifted above him to grab another condom from the box on Karl’s nightstand. After he’d placed it on, Eric tossed the wrapper, and Karl felt his erection pressing into his ass as he resettle above him. 

“I’m ready,” Karl said when Eric slid his cock into the valley between his cheeks. 

Eric pushed a testing finger into Karl’s hole, finding that Karl had already prepped sometime before he’d come over. Karl moaned and pushed back onto his finger. Eric pulled it away and lifted himself so he could align his cock to Karl’s entrance.

“Ooh, fuuuck.” He moaned as he sunk into Karl, head dropping into the crook of Karl’s neck as he settled atop of him. He’d have thought it’d been weeks, not days since he’d last been inside him. 

“Think you can get a few thrusts in before you bust your nut?” Karl teased when Eric didn’t immediately start moving.

“You’re so fucking funny, Karl,” Eric replied sarcastically, rocking his hips forward. He’d just been trying to savor the moment, but apparently Karl didn’t have the patience for that. 

“That’s it,” Karl moaned, readily pushing back into Eric’s thrusts. Eric groaned, thoroughly enjoying the feeling of his cock burrowing deeper into Karl’s body as he undulated wantonly beneath him. He grabbed Karl’s hips for leverage and lifted his head to take Karl’s ear between his teeth as he pumped into him.

“You into biting now?” Karl asked gruffly, appreciating the primal sensation of Eric’s teeth fastened on his skin as much as he appreciated Eric’s cock pounding into him. Eric moaned in response, his breath hot on the side of Karl’s face. The sound of Eric’s hips slamming into his ass resonated throughout the room, and Karl grunted as Eric ground him into the bed. 

“Uuh, fuck, I’m gonna come,” Karl murmured into the sheets. Eric was hitting his prostate just the right way, the pressure causing his orgasm to build quickly.

Eric picked up his pace at Karl’s proclamation and growled into his ear as Karl began clenching tightly around his cock, bringing him closer to his own release. He wouldn’t last much longer with Karl squeezing and wiggling beneath him.

Karl cried out beneath Eric as his orgasm radiated through his pelvis into his abs and legs, his cum streaming out onto the sheets beneath him. Eric continued thrusting above him, his fingers bruising Karl’s hips as his orgasm followed, milked out of him by the contractions of Karl’s ass.

“Oh, God… Fuck,” Karl started before giving up to focus on breathing, which was a little harder with Eric’s full weight on him. 

“Mmm,” was Eric’s reply as he relaxed atop of Karl, who trembled slightly beneath him. He burrowed his face into Karl’s neck.

Karl closed his eyes, melting into the bed. The remnants of his orgasm warmed him from within while Eric’s body heated him from above, collectively luring him into a doze. By the time his breathing had returned to normal, Eric was still lying on top of him and had yet to disengage. 

“You stuck?” Karl mumbled. Eric didn’t answer, and when Karl nudged him with his shoulder, he didn’t budge either. Eric wasn’t that much taller than him, but he was slightly bulkier and still had a couple of pounds on him. His breathing was suspiciously deep and even. 

Karl grumbled in disbelief, “You seriously fucking fell asleep?” 

~

When Eric awoke, he was lying on top of Karl, drooling into the sheets above his shoulder. He was also soft and still partially sheathed inside of him. He rolled off of Karl—who’d also managed to doze off—and over onto his back, waking him up in the process. 

“Sleep well?” Karl asked him drowsily, taking the chance to take in a full, deep breath now that he could.

“Yeah,” Eric yawned, pulling the condom off and tossing it in the bin. He hadn’t intended to fall asleep, but he had orgasmed twice in a relatively short time span, and it had drained him of a significant amount of energy. “You?”

“As much as I could with you suffocating me,” Karl responded jokingly and attempted to rise up onto all fours. “Ugh… I’m going to have to start putting a towel down.”

Eric was stretching out on the bed next to him and turned to see that the semen encrusted sheets had stuck to Karl’s crotch and stomach. He laughed as Karl slowly separated the sheet from his skin. “You could also change the sheets.”

Karl sat up and watched appreciatively as Eric got off the bed and reached his muscled arms towards the ceiling in a long stretch. The motion pulled his skin taut over his defined chest and abs. A seductive grin appeared on Karl’s face as he glanced at Eric’s tight ass. “Wanna take a shower?”

“Yeah.” Eric groaned as he finished stretching. “Okay.” 

He followed Karl into the bathroom and joined him in the shower, closing the door behind them. There wasn’t much room, but they both managed to fit inside. When he turned around, Karl immediately clutched his waist and pulled his body against his.

“So how ‘bout you be nice to me and suck me off?” He suggested provocatively, his lips brushing against Eric’s, and nudged him with his erection. Water streamed over both their heads.

“Hmm. I did promise to be nice,” Eric said in a low voice. 

He kissed Karl, pushing him back against the wall, before he lowered himself to his knees and held Karl’s hips. Karl’s cock was already fully hard when Eric took it and guided it into his mouth. He slid his head forward, slowly taking him in. His tongue pressed against the underside of Karl’s shaft, providing friction as he began rhythmically sucking him.

Eric raised his eyes to watch Karl who was lustfully leering down at him from under the steady stream of water that poured over his head and down his chest. Karl was thoroughly enjoying the view and looked like he wanted to fuck Eric into the shower wall. 

“Like what you see?” Eric asked with a grin after he’d pulled his head back and let Karl slide out of his mouth.

“Yes… I’ve missed your mouth,” Karl purred and squeezed Eric’s shoulder. His hips drifted forward, pushing his cock back toward Eric’s mouth. He’d given Eric head multiple times since they’d gotten back together, but this was the first time that Eric had gone down on him since. 

“Yeah, I bet you have,” Eric responded, sliding his lips back over Karl’s cock until it bumped the back of his throat. Karl moaned and slowly ran his hand through Eric’s wet curls as his head moved back and forth beneath it. 

“Oh, fuck, baby,” Karl exclaimed when Eric leaned forward, pushing Karl’s cock into the back of his throat and swallowing, his lips touching the base of Karl’s shaft. His hand tightened in Eric’s hair, and his head bumped against the tile wall behind him. God, he had definitely missed this.

He was grunting in pleasure when Eric released his cock from his mouth and stood up. Karl furrowed his brow in confusion. 

“What are you doing?” he asked incredulously. “Are you trying to tease me? ‘Cause this isn’t how you do it.”

“Let’s go back to your bed. There’s not enough room in here for this.” And the hard tile of the shower floor was killing his knees.

“Alright…” Karl sounded skeptical, but followed Eric out of the shower. 

Eric was sure Karl thought he was up to something, so he reached down and wrapped his fingers around Karl’s still wet erection to convince him otherwise. He slowly rubbed his hand up and down the length of his cock, kissing him softly as he guided him backward. Karl’s hands gripped the back of his head as he kissed him back breathlessly, his tongue messily delving into Eric’s mouth.

When Karl bumped into the bed, Eric pushed him and watched him fall backwards onto the mattress, letting his eyes roam hungrily across his body. They hadn’t bothered grabbing towels, and the water from his body soaked into the sheets beneath him.

“You’re not going to change the sheets?” Eric asked slightly concerned. 

“They’re just going to get dirty again,” Karl answered indifferently as he spread his legs and brought his hands behind his head. He looked at Eric expectantly, clearly ready for Eric to continue what he’d started. 

He looked at Karl disapprovingly as he dropped to his knees again and shoved Karl’s thighs apart. Apparently, he and Karl held different standards of cleanliness. “That’s mildly disgusting.” 

~