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Inertia Creeps

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Holiday with your family - what a great idea in theory, but the reality was something totally different for Richard. On the verge of a divorce and not being able to escape his wife, Richard was constantly on his toes. You are doing this for the kids, he repeated in his mind. Their happiness is the main thing. He felt like a character from a satire: bored of his life, but still trying to act it was fun to be here, in one of the worst tourist places possible: Majorca.

“Daddy, look!” Marie, Richard’s dear 6-year-old, exclaimed while she was swimming in the pool of their hotel. “I can stay on the surface!” She swam around, showing her best moves to her dad. A child’s enthusiasm was so genuine.

Richard flashed a smile. Although how miserable his life was, at least his two princesses made it tolerable. “My big girl, so talented. Well done!”

Marie smiled with infantile pride while her mother appeared behind them. “Good Heavens Marie, you are not allowed to be there without my permission. You can get sick or drown! Get here!”

“But daddy said I can--”

“Out there, now!” Eleanor, Richard’s wife, and the mother of their children shouted while Richard rolled his eyes. Seemed like everything he did or allowed his kids to do was wrong. How typical.

Every day this was only getting worse - no matter what Richard did or said, Eleanor had always something against it. She almost considered her husband a retarded ape, unable to be a caretaker on his own.

Pouting hard, Marie rose from the pool and wrapped a towel around her tiny body.

Richard put a reassuring hand on his daughter’s shoulder and whispered: “When mommy is not seeing, we can come back to swim again, okay?” With a wink, he added: “But it’s our little secret.”

The kid’s mood changed and smiling, she went to get a soda from her mother. There was also their 2-year-old, Daniela. Sadly, Richard hadn’t even had spent so much time with their youngest daughter - truth be told their marital troubles started right after Daniela was born.

That was also when Eleanor had decided she didn’t need sex anymore - just like that she had thrown their intimate life away. Since then, Richard had felt totally useless as a man, father, and husband. 

One could ask why in the hell they were still married despite all the difficulties and squalor this woman only brought nowadays to Richard’s life. Truth to be told, that was a question he pondered every single day until he had a headache. Every time after a fight, his luggage ready and his hand on the door handle, the genuine sadness of his kids had always made Richard stay in the end. 

Last time two weeks ago after another fight when Richard had decided he had to leave, Marie had squeezed her dad hard and sobbed. “Daddy, don’t… don’t leave me. I can’t… can’t stay with mom. I need you.”

Immediately, his heart had melted for this honesty so of course, Richard had stayed. For his kids, he was willing to do anything; even to endure a horrible marriage so their children could have two parents; an illusion of a complete family Richard never had in his childhood.

As he didn’t want to be near to his wife who was seemingly agitated, Richard stepped back and saw his best friend Till sunbathing on a deck chair. Amongst many things, he was a swimmer and a bachelor - to both of the facts he dealt with indifference. Richard had to admit he was occasionally jealous when his friend could do whatever he wanted without someone nagging all the time. The man was an excellent singer and a songwriter and sometimes when Eleanor had given her permission - which rarely happened - they had even practiced a couple of songs with Till in his parents’ basement. Richard played guitar and enjoyed it a lot - though, at home practicing was out of the question. Eleanor thought his husband’s playing was such a terrible cacophony. Every single time when Richard had sneaked into their little band practice, he literally felt how the invisible chains on him were removed - even for a while.

Holy hell how much Richard would have wanted the sweet freedom his best friend had. The content grin on Till’s face was almost unbearable when he was sunbathing, not afraid to show his athletic body the moms by the pool secretly admired.

Till took his sunglasses off and glanced at Richard who sat down to a chair next to him. “Alles gut?”

Richard barely nodded, but his face told something completely different. Once again he had been rejected from his family and it was difficult to hide the disappointment. “Yeah, everything’s perfectly fine.”

Leaning closer, Till whispered: “You should get rid of that bitch, she’s making you only miserable.”

“Hey, mind your language. That bitch is still my wife!” Richard exclaimed a bit too loud and felt how his cheeks got hot when all the families gathered around the pool area glared at him murderously. “I… I mean… she’s still the mother of my children. I’m responsible for all of them so I need to respect her as well.”

Till just shook his head. “How many times I have heard that,” he said and let his eyes drift to Eleanor, “and how much I disagree with you. How are you supposed to respect someone who clearly doesn’t respect you?” 

When Richard didn’t say anything, Till took his hand and looked at his friend with sad eyes. “You are just a shadow of what you were six years ago.” He averted his gaze and with a voice barely audible, added: “I miss you. The real you.”

A million thoughts swirled in Richard’s mind: deep down he knew his friend was right. He was always right. Actually, Till had been the one who was warning him about Eleanor straight after they had met.

“I don’t trust that woman,” Till had said after a bar night together. “She is just so... cold and I don’t like it.”

“What are you talking about?” Richard had asked. “She’s adorable.” And yes, that night he had been rather tipsy. “And remarkably talented in the bedroom. You are just jealous, Tillie.”

For that foolish comment of a man desperately in the spell of a wicked woman, Till sighed. “I just have an instinct. Leave when you still can.”

After that, Marie happened and Till had just seen how his best friend was dragged into hell - worst of all, he couldn’t have done anything than to be a witness for this tragedy.

For Richard, it was much easier to act arrogant than to admit Till was right and caring about him. “Sorry that my decisions are shitty in your opinion, but I still try to be a responsible adult,” Richard answered bitterly and stood up.

Till grabbed his friend's arm. “Please, I didn’t mean it like that. I’m just worried about you.”

With a sigh, Richard sat back. He was unable to say no to his best friend who had such a charismatic aura around him. One could only wonder why the hell he was still single.

“What am I supposed to do then, huh?” Richard asked. “Leave them all in the middle of a family holiday? I’m not that kind of a man.”

“I didn’t mean that,” Till replied and couldn’t help a wide grin forming on his face. “I might have an idea. When was the last time you did anything fun?”

Richard raised an eyebrow. “We are on holiday now, this is supposed to be fun.”

After an exaggerated eyeroll Till cleared out: “I mean, when have you gone out without Eleanor or the kids? Just to have time for yourself?”

Putting a hand under his chin Richard pondered for a second. “Well…” Did that one time count when he went for a weekend trip to Düsseldorf? But that was for work - besides, Eleanor had called him every hour. “I… I don’t know, to be honest.”

Till sat down on the chair and clasped his hands together. “Well, that is going to change today!” he announced proudly. “Because I will take you out tonight. And we’ll have a good time, just like in the old days.”

“But--”

“No ‘buts’. Make sure the bitch lets you out with me tonight or otherwise, I’ll drag you from the hotel.”

~***~

“And why do you have to go with Till tonight?” Eleanor asked when she looked at her husband who was grooming himself in front of a mirror. “I thought this was going to be a family night.”

“Honey, it’s been ages since I did anything with my best friend,” Richard said while he put gel to his hair. “And since we both are here, why not.” Then, he turned around and flashed a smile Eleanor didn’t mirror though. Trying to lighten the situation, he overdramatically put a hand on his chest and announced: “I, Richard Zven Kruspe, promise that I won’t be late and will do the laundry and dishes for the rest of the year when we are back home. A deal?”

Before the grumpy woman answered anything a knock on the door startled them both. “Reesh, you ready?” a muffled familiar voice asked.

Richard tried to give a small peck to his wife who just turned her back. “Just don’t wake up Daniela when you come back drunk. You know how badly she sleeps nowadays and I can’t stand waking up at night for her cry.”

As his good mood was gone Richard didn’t bother to sound satisfied when he said: “I wasn’t planning to be drunk, maybe a couple of drinks but that’s enough. It would be nice if you’d trust me.”

Eleanor didn’t say anything: just opened the door for Till who enthusiastically stepped in. He just nodded to Eleanor but kept his distance when the woman looked at his husband’s best friend like a cheap sausage. They didn’t share a word.

When he noticed his best friend Till’s sour expression changed. “Hey man, you look great!” he exclaimed and took Richard to his bear embrace. Two curious little girls came to see what was going on with the hassle.

When they realized who it was they both ran towards the big man and hugged him. “Uncle Tillie!”

Till crouched and gave them both a huge bear hug as well. “May you lend your dear daddy for me tonight?” he asked officially and winked. “I promise I will bring him back in one piece.”

Marie pouted. “I wanted a bedtime story. Daddy is much better at telling them than mommy.” Eleanor tried to hide her surprise, but her wide terrified eyes revealed everything. Richard had to hide his amusement - Marie had always been his girl.

“He will tell you ten thousand bedtime stories when he comes back,” Till joked before Richard could say anything.

“Hey, I didn’t promise that!” Richard shouted and poked at his friend with his elbow. Boy, how he had forgotten how much he missed this stupid bantering with Till. 

The kids cheered and then Till quickly said: “Tschüss, girls!” On purpose, he didn’t wish good night for Eleanor - may the haughty woman pout in her own peace tonight, he thought.

The busy touristy area was full of everyone else besides the locals: Germans, Brits, Swedes, and Finns. A couple of drunken Finnish guys stopped them just after they had stepped out of Richard’s hotel and mumbled something vague. Luckily, Till was quick in his moves. 

“You’ll never know of those Finns. They seem reserved, but boy, give them booze and they turn into wild fucking animals.” He chuckled and quickened his pace, making sure the two men didn’t catch them. “We Germans are always mocked being assholes abroad, but no one ever talks about Finns! They’d deserve an award.”

Richard laughed out loud at that comment - he felt like a teenage boy on a field trip while he had a chance to taste this exotic freedom. 

The boys’ night started in the hotel’s bar where Till was staying. They took a couple of drinks and chatted with a bunch of women from Austria. Richard felt immediately how his frantic nerves were calming down when he was away from his wife. He even laughed a bit too loud at Till’s stupid jokes when he tried to flirt with the women with his best Austrian accent.

One by one, their female companion disappeared leaving the two cheerful Germans alone. 

“Okay, okay, that’s enough for that story about what happened in Tallinn when we were there with Flake…” Till wiped his eyes - he had been laughing so much he was crying. “He even won the third prize…”

“But how the hell were you able to persuade Flake to participate in a BDSM themed costume contest?” Richard asked and chuckled. “I can’t imagine it.” Flake was their friend from childhood - a lanky man who had an aspiring career back home as a concert pianist. Richard could never imagine him doing anything crazy.

“Oh trust me, the most normal and quiet ones tend to be the weirdest. He is an absolute lunatic,” Till said and emptied his beer glass. Then, he looked Richard straight in the eyes and grinned. Richard swallowed hard - he knew that this expression from his friend didn’t promise any good.

“But enough of old stories, I know where we should go next.”

Without even realizing it, Richard was dragged from his arm from the safety of the tourist bar back to the humid night of Majorca. 

They walked a good while, through small allies, further and further away from the safety of the tourist hot spot.

“Ummm, Till, where are we going?” Richard asked and tried at the same time to catch up with his friend who was walking like a maniac with his long legs. “Are you sure we aren’t lost already?”

“You’ll see soon,” was the cryptic answer. “And I’m 100% sure we aren’t lost.”

Eventually, they reached the door of a colorful building where they finally stopped. Till bowed. “You first, my special guest.”

Richard raised an eyebrow and glanced around. The whole neighborhood was eerily silent. “There must be something in this.”

“Absolutely not. Don’t you trust me?” Till was almost pouting.

As tonight Richard decided it was time to let go, he just mouthed a “whatever” and stepped through the door. Before they even realized it they were already sitting by a table.

Their arrival had been noticed. “Ahh, good evening lovely little lads!” a bartender, dressed as a peacock, exclaimed way too enthusiastically with a voice full of pure honey. “And what for you, gentlemen?”

“Two mojitos, please,” Till said and the colorful bartender was away as quickly as he had arrived.

Richard looked around him: it was a bar obviously, but one he had never seen before. First of all, all the customers were either very well dressed or looked like from a cosplay event - like the bartender. Secondly, it was surprisingly colorful and bright. A moderately loud pop music was coming from the speakers as Richard looked at all the stylized pictures of Marilyn Monroe on the wall. It definitely wasn’t a typical bar where German guys went to drink beer and watch football.

Through a poppy cheerful music, Richard asked: “Till… what is this place?” 

Till turned to look at him, popping his head along with the catchy tunes. “What?”

“I asked what the hell is this place?” Richard repeated, now louder to make sure Till heard him.

Till grinned widely. “Oh, relax. It had a good score on TripAdvisor. ‘A hidden gem’ the reviews claimed.” He laughed by himself a bit too loud. “All I can say is that it was called an ‘art club’. In the photos there were drag shows, naked pole dancers, and fire eaters, so of course, it caught my interest.”

Shaking his head, Richard let out a burst of laughter. “Oh man, I didn’t expect this. Where the hell will I end up with you?”

“Is it too much? We can go somewhere else if you want. I just thought it would be fun to try something new.” Till shifted in his chair and added: “Besides, I’m pretty freaking tired of those German tourists everywhere. I wanted to see something different.”

“This doesn’t bother me, just that… I don’t know what to expect.” 

Just after Richard had said that the peacock bartender came back with two drinks. “Two mojitos for the gorgeous gentlemen. Enjoy!”

“Thanks,” Till said and immediately took a sip of the strong liquid. The song in the playlist had changed into a darker dubstep one. Seemed like the owner wasn’t sure what kind of a musical vibe he wanted here.

Before the bartender left he asked: “Sorry, I heard you speaking German so I just can’t resist asking, are you two little lovebirds here for the dance show?”

Both Till and Richard looked at each other with question marks above their heads. Richard wanted to clear out they weren’t lovebirds, but Till was faster. 

“What dance show?” he asked and leaned closer to the peacock man to hear him properly.

“Two absolutely gorgeous German guys are dancing here for us tonight. If I remember correctly they were called ‘Duo Engel’ or something like that. I truly recommend you to stay!”

Till shrugged. “If fellow Germans are dancing for us, of course, we’ll support them.”

The bartender clapped his hands together with genuine enthusiasm. “Wunderbär or how do you say it?”

“Wunderbar,” Richard corrected dryly and the bartender giggled like a teenage girl. 

“Ohh, my oral skills were never so good,” he said and winked before he turned his back. “Byebye!”

Richard leaned closer to his friend and flashed a mischievous grin. “I thought you wanted to get as far as possible from Germans.”

Looking at the stage that was prepared for the dancers, Till said: “Well, they aren’t just drunken annoying tourists, so why not. Besides, I’m curious. How the hell does someone from our country end up dancing in an ‘art club’ in Majorca?”

Both men sat in silence for a while before the peacock man came to the stage. Everyone went quiet when he announced: “My lovely friends, good evening! How are we doing tonight?”

After a modest cheering he continued: “I’m proud to announce that tonight, we will witness an amazing dancing performance straight from Germany. 

Get ready for Duo Engel!”

With whistling and applause, the lights dimmed. Richard noticed there were now more people getting closer to the stage - the place was full. Eccentric, exotic music started playing and behind a thick velvet curtain two men came out: a tall and slim man with dark curly hair and another one, smaller, with a weird bowl cut. In its own way, Richard had to admit it suited the guy. He is kinda cute, he noticed himself thinking and blushed immediately in the darkness.

On the stage, there were two poles where the dancers went. The lyrics of the song started:

Recollect me darling, raise me to your lips

Two undernourished egos, four rotating hips

Hold on to me tightly, I'm a sliding scale

Can't endure, then you can't inhale clearly

Out of body experience interferes

And dreams of flying, I fit nearly

Surrounds me, though I get lonely slowly...

Like two talented gymnastics, the two men moved their hips and legs on the pole: they truly were born to perform this art. At these moves, Richard had to admit the small one, no matter how cute he had seemed at first sight, looked dangerously sexy. 

All Richard could do was to keep his mouth open and hold his freaking mojito like it was his last lifeline - but that was just the start. 

After the artful pole dancing, the two guys came to the audience. Richard could now see the smaller man clearly who was close to them. He was probably somewhere around Richard’s age. Around his blue eyes - since when he had started to pay attention to some random guy's eye color, Richard could only wonder - was a thick layer of eyeliner. He had never thought about guys having make-up but for this man, it suited beautifully. An earring glimmered in the dark when the dancer made his next move.

Just when he was deep in his own thoughts, admiring the dancer, Richard gasped when their eyes locked to each other. The small man flashed a grin and proudly, raised his chin - and if Richard saw correctly, licked his lips.

Moving up slowly

She comes

Moving up slowly

She comes

Moving up slowly

Moving his hips in a flirty way along with the melody the dancer approached their table. Richard averted his gaze and pretended to be busy with drinking. It was too late to ask from Till to leave - the place was packed and his buddy was clearly enjoying himself so Richard didn’t want to ruin his fun. Maybe the dancer was seeking a hot lonely woman to tease or something.

When Richard dared to raise his head from the glass the dancer was right in front of him and without hesitation, just sat on Richard’s lap. Till next to them guffawed and slammed his fist on the table in his enthusiasm. Cheering and whistles echoed in Richard’s ears when the dancer put his arms over his shoulders and looked at him straight in the eyes. As much as he wanted to just tell the man to go away, Richard couldn’t. He just kept staring at the surreal sight on his lap.

In my home no chrome as clear as

See me now with my nearest, dearest

Been there when I'm over careering

Room shifting is endearing

Between us is our kitchen

Which you found my irritant's itching

Been here before, been here forever

Moving up slowly

Inertia keeps…

To Richard’s horror, when the chorus of the song began, the dancer licked a trail from his ear to his neck. Without noticing it, Richard closed his eyes and tilted his head back, giving the incognito artist more space.

Dear God, Richard gasped mentally - or maybe also out loud he couldn’t comprehend now - in ecstasy . He knew very well there was something illegal, something way too dirty in this, but he couldn’t help it. Maybe this was just a normal form of art around here? 

Truth to be told, Richard didn’t remember when the last time when someone had touched him this intimately had been. After his younger daughter was born, even though how nice it had been, it had also meant the end of any form of physical or sexual intercourse. Richard’s and Eleanor’s marriage had gone down, the woman only using the poor children as a weapon against her husband who was on her tight leash.

Now when someone had shown him at least some form of attention, Richard couldn’t resist it - he was melting. All those lonely nights in the shower, desperately jerking himself off to release the permanent tension, were nothing compared to this.

Because this was more real than anything Richard had experienced for a while. As a devoted family man, he had forgotten he had also selfish needs.

His sleeping groin had awoken from its eternal sleep as well and Richard hoped the man on his lap didn’t notice the bulk.

“What’s your name, gorgeous?” the dancer spoke the first time with a husky voice right next to Richard’s ear. He dug his long fingers to Richard’s hair and stroked it - surprisingly gently.

Snapped out of his bliss, Richard blinked his eyes and realized where he was. A gorgeous smiling face in front of him was waiting for an answer. “R-Richard.”

The dancer beamed and moved his hand to Richard’s nape. “My name is Paul. Pleased to meet you.” He pressed a tiny peck on Richard’s forehead and squeezed his thigh, uncomfortably close to the groin. With a wink, the dancer was gone.

Till whistled. “Man!” Even he, a talented poet, was out of words.

Richard was catching his breath. He just kept staring at the dancers who were back on the stage moving along the last lyrics of the song.

She comes

Moving up slowly

Moving up slowly

She comes

Moving up slowly

Inertia creeps

Moving up slowly

She comes…

~***~

A flock of black stray cats supervised them closely on the way when Till escorted his friend back to his hotel. All the streets were empty - the bars had just closed. “Wow, what a night. That guy was so fond of you!”

“I don’t know, maybe it’s just his job to act like that every night,” Richard answered nonchalantly even though he felt quite funny at the bottom of his belly. He repeated, like to ensure himself: “Yeah, I bet he does it every night. Just playing along with foolish customers and trying to get some extra tips.”

“You should have seen yourself, you just kept staring at him for the rest of the show with your mouth wide open,” Till said. “I think someone is crushing h--”

“Shut up,” Richard interrupted and stopped. He crossed his arms in front of Till and refused to move. “He was just a fucking sexy dancer. It’s his job to tease people, okay?”

Richard didn’t have a chance to explain the emphasis on the s word when Till already whistled: “Sexy dancer, well, why not… Pity we had to leave earlier. I bet the guy would have asked you out otherwise. Seriously, did you see the look he gave you constantly? Like a hungry lion. Damn man, I don’t even want to think what he would have done with you if you would have let him!”

Behind gritted teeth, Richard muttered: “He. Was. Just. An. Actor. Period.

“But man, seriously, you deserve his admiration after what the bitch has done to you. He looked like he was interested in you! Maybe we’ll go back there tomorrow and ask for his phone number.”

Richard sighed and turned his back. He started taking quicker and quicker steps to get rid of his too eager friend. “How many times do I have to tell you that this so-called ‘bitch’ is still the mother of my children.”

“But it still doesn’t justify her to treat you like a fucking dog and ban nice things from you.” Till was getting agitated and being more than tipsy, he didn’t care when his voice echoed in the empty streets. “You deserve a better life!”

“At least my wife was willing to let me out with you tonight,” Richard answered when he was already far away from Till. “Good night.”

“Stop defending her! She is a cruel, manipulative witch who only wants to benefit from you!”

Richard could hear the words, but without answering anything, he just turned to the street where his hotel was. The last thing he wanted was to start an argument about his lousy partner choices he knew way too well already.

The old door of their set of rooms let out a faint squeak when Richard stepped in. He went to the small kitchenette and poured himself a glass of water. Sitting down he looked out of the window, still feeling the heat of the night on his cheeks.

Who was this Paul? What did he want? Was he interested in Richard or was that just some sick bantering, just a way to express his bodily art?

Richard shook his head: he was pretty sure that after the show this Paul and his dancing companion were laughing at the stupid customers in the bar. Did you see that man whose lap I sat on? How pathetic he looked! Yeah, that must have been the case - there was no way Paul was interested in him. End of story.

But why did Richard still feel funny when he thought about those gorgeous eyes, the lithe body, and most of all, the ruthless intrusion of Richard’s personal space? No one normally did that - especially not Germans.

The man had been full of self-confidence that made Richard’s whole body tickle in excitement. And that squeeze to his groin... Damn it. Some things were much easier for women - at least they didn’t have to be constantly scared of way too eager genitals showing under their pants.

When Richard was done and too tired to ponder the night he stood up and put his hands into the pockets of his jeans. Surprisingly, he noticed there was something. A napkin? How the hell did it get there?

He pulled the folded paper out and all the blood in his body froze when he saw what it was: a message - and there was no doubt from whom.

+49-155-5554-551 

Would it be possible to see you again? :) Yours, P.L.

Chapter Text

The next day Richard couldn’t get that weird message out of his head. How did it even get into his pocket? It couldn’t be anyone else than him - that dancer who had lured him into his spell last evening with his sophisticated moves. Damn, not any man ever had made Richard feel like this.

Once again by the pool area, his mind was somewhere else. So many times that day Richard had taken his phone to his hand, almost sending a message but always hesitating in the end.

“Hellooo, earth calling,” Eleanor said when her husband had been staring at one corner of the pool for several minutes already - without noticing it himself.

Richard turned around and flashed a tight smile. “Hey, what’s up?”

“The kids are hungry. Let’s go to have lunch,” Eleanor commanded, taking Richard’s head from the clouds.

At the same time when they walked and Marie kept asking if she could have ice cream after lunch, Richard’s brain tried to comprehend what to do with this Paul situation. He didn’t want to be a chicken - the dancer must have been waiting for his answer. The easiest solution would be just to say “no thanks” and forget it, but that was out of the question.

Richard didn’t know what he wanted, but he knew he needed to see the dancer again to let his mind have its peace.

But for that, he needed the act - that was the scariest part.

Later in the evening, Richard didn’t even remember what he had done and eaten that day - he had acted in automation, trying to ignore his wife’s constant nagging of how he had done everything wrong again. 

“And that was how Prince Erik got his princess. They lived happily ever after. The End.” Richard slammed the huge storybook closed. Marie had insisted on taking it to the holiday even though it must have weighed ten kilos.

Richard leaned forward and placed a kiss on his daughter’s forehead. “Good night, my princess. Sweet dreams.”

He stepped back and just when he was about to turn off the light, Marie blurted out: “Daddy, why are you and mommy not happy?”

Not the first time in his life a child’s straightforwardness had caught Richard off guard. He cleared his throat. “Darling, mommy and daddy just have some… disagreements. You and Daniela don’t have to worry about it though.” He tried to smile that turned out to look sad though. “It’s just a thing adults sometimes have. It’s not anyhow your fault.”

Under her blanket, almost asleep, Marie said: “I want to see you happy, no matter with whom. Even with uncle Tillie, you look happier than with mommy. ”

Just blinking his eyes, Richard didn’t know what to say. He switched the light off and wished good night to his sweet little daughter. An eternal mystery was how kids always were so freaking sharp-eyed no matter how hard the adults tried to hide their problems.

Richard went to the bedroom - normally at home, they didn’t even sleep in the same bed with his wife anymore. In the hotel, it was big enough for them to keep a safe distance so they made an exception - it was supposed to be a holiday after all. Eleanor browsed her phone for a while before she turned off the light, without saying good night.

After shifting and sweating in his bed for too long, Richard sighed and stood up. It would have been easy if he would have just fallen asleep, but no - his mind was too cramped with questions. 

On the nightstand lied his phone, like an invitation. Do it, for fuck’s sake. You don’t want to be a chicken.

Richard gulped and took the phone into his shaking hand - luckily, Eleanor was asleep so Richard didn’t have to explain anything. He walked to the living room and sat on the sofa. Without thinking about it anymore, he just typed: Hey, sorry I just noticed your message! Sure, it would be cool to meet you again. Where and when? -Richard

Just after Richard had hit the “send” button, he wondered had he sounded too eager - well, can’t take it back anymore. Was it even an appropriate time to send a message? The man was a performing artist so perhaps he was used to staying awake late.

Richard didn’t have to think about it for too long when the beep of his phone almost made him jump through the roof.

Hi, I’m glad you contacted me! I have free time tomorrow evening. Would that suit you? I can pick you up from your hotel. :)

Richard shivered: Eleanor seeing a random guy picking him up from their hotel for a date. He didn’t like the word but what else could it be called? There was no way his family could see Paul - there would be too many uncomfortable questions. 

Tomorrow suits me! How about seven o’clock? Maybe I could come to your hotel, my kids go early to sleep.

Richard had to laugh out loud at his lousy excuse.

Sure! I’ll send you the details tomorrow. Sweet dreams. :)

A hot tickling feeling bubbled inside Richard - it was now settled. There was no backing up. Fuck.

What was now ahead was the most difficult task: he had to figure out how the hell would he get permission to go out for tomorrow evening.

~***~

“...and once again Till wants to go out with you?” Eleanor asked in disbelief while they were having breakfast the next morning. “Wasn’t once already enough?” She shook her head. “Of course, he’s a bachelor so he doesn’t understand the responsibilities of having a family.”

Richard ran a hand through his hair. “Well, you know, we are still here so he just wanted to have a fun night together as the first one went so well already. At home, we are just working and can’t spend time together.” He looked at his bowl of müsli and added: “It would be nice for both of us.”

Eleanor leaned back in her chair and chewed a grape way too long. Next to her, Daniela was banging the table with a spoon. For a 2-year-old, parents’ negotiation was the most boring thing in this universe.

Richard took a spoonful of müsli even though he was far from hungry. He felt like a little kid who had to ask for permission to have a sleepover with his friend. This time though, it was a next level sleepover. 

How would it be to sleep with him? He must have talented hands, Richard’s dirty little subconscious mind blurted out and he almost choked on his breakfast. We are just friends, for fucks sake! Or not even that, I don’t know who he is. What a fucked-up psychoanalysis could be made of him now, Richard wondered.

“Whatever, but only for tonight,” Eleanor announced out of the blue. “But the rest of the holiday you must stay with your family.”

Blinking his eyes, Richard stared at his wife. “What… what did you just say?”

“I said go with Till tonight, but don’t be too late. Also, the rest of the holiday is with family.” 

Hiding a smile Richard chewed his müsli and didn’t know what to expect from the night. His wish just got real.

”Thank you,” he replied, having difficulties hiding the boyish excitement that was bubbling inside him. 

After breakfast, it was time to go to the pool area, like every day on this holiday. Surprised this early, Richard also saw his best friend there who was reading a newspaper. Richard approached the man who wasn’t able to hide his smiling face.

“Hey, I thought you weren’t speaking to me anymore,” Till said half-seriously. “But it’s good to see you, man. How’s it going?”

Richard glanced around, making sure his family wasn’t in the hearing distance. “Don’t ask how, but I got his phone number.”

Till almost fell from his chair. “Wow, how--!”

“I said, don’t ask how.”

Forcing himself to calm down Till sat up and with wide eyes, kept staring at his best friend. “And then, what? Did you send him a message? Did he answer? How do you feel now?” He kept bombing Richard with questions.

Still standing and blocking the sun from his eyes with his hand, Richard looked at his friend and nodded. “Yes. We will meet tonight.”

Pointing a finger with a pleased I told you so expression, Till said: “Hah! That’s excellent!”

“And you wouldn’t believe this, but I got permission to go from Eleanor,” Richard said and lowered his voice, “but she thinks I’m going with you tonight, so please, don’t reveal anything.”

“My lips are sealed,” Till replied. “You are just bound to tell me everything tomorrow.”

“Deal,” Richard said with a sigh. “But I’ll go now, we'll see, okay?”

Till winked and pretended to be interested in the newspaper. “Good luck and most importantly, enjoy yourself.”

~***~

“Placa de Son Vida 54,” Richard spelled for the millionth time. As all he could see were hippies and teenagers he couldn’t believe he was in the right place. 

But his doubts soon vanished when a petite figure with a black tank top and shorts approached behind a corner. One last time, Richard straightened his best t-shirt and cursed in silence how much he was sweating. He had spent several hours today panicking what he should wear and how to make his hair.

The other man smiled at him when they noticed each other. He waved furiously. “Hi!” Paul exclaimed from the distance and took quick steps towards his date.

While being only inches away from Richard, Paul took his sunglasses off and offered his hand. ”We’ll finally meet! I’m Paul Landers. Thank you so much for contacting me!”

Richard shook the hand and couldn’t get his eyes off from the other man - he looked totally different than at the show without his make-up and provocative show clothes, but still, he was stunning. A bit punk, but in a good way. “Hello, I’m Richard Kruspe. Pleased to meet you.” 

Around Pauls’ eyes were adorable wrinkles that revealed the man was used to smiling a lot. “So, what do you want to do? Having a specific place in your mind?” he asked. He beamed so much of self-confidence Richard felt how his knees got a bit weak. He still didn’t know whether this was a good idea or not.

Richard smiled but didn’t dare to let his gaze stay in Paul’s eyes. Instead, he turned his head to look at a group of hippies with a map - they looked totally lost. “Well, I’m... just a tourist so I’d trust you in this.”

Pleased with the answer, Paul rubbed his hands together and said: “Wunderbar! I know a place where we can go.” He started escorting Richard away from the touristy area.

Once again, Richard found himself in a situation where he didn’t have the slightest clue what was going to happen. When they stopped at the place where Paul wanted to take him, Richard noticed it was a bar - again. For a while, he wondered if it would be as crazy as the night before with Till. But to his relief, when they stepped inside, the place turned out to be much tamer. It was also much quieter - no performances or weirdly dressed people. It looked quite a normal bar where the locals went dancing and have a drink after a busy day at work.

Paul ordered them French fries and two beers and then it was just the two of them. Richard didn’t know had Paul on purpose chosen a table from in the corner that felt weirdly… intimate.

Paul’s heating gaze was on Richard who hoped the food and drinks would come soon so he could pretend to be busy with something instead of just being his awkward self. Yeah, right “just a friend” and you don’t even dare to speak to him.

“To be honest, I was scared you wouldn’t contact me,” Paul said, snapping Richard from his thoughts, “but I truly am glad you did.”

“I’m… I’m a curious m-man,” Richard answered, trying to sound mysterious and witty despite his stuttering. “So I just... couldn’t resist.” After that, he realized he must have just sounded like a too eager weirdo. Great.

Paul let out a burst of laughter like his companion had quipped the best joke ever. “I somehow just had a feeling you are a man with an attitude,” he said with a teasing voice, “and I must admit I’m weak for those kinds of guys.”

Before Richard could say anything or even comprehend was Paul’s comment a compliment or not, their order arrived. Richard stared at Paul’s long fingers taking the golden potatoes that despite their name were actually from Belgium - but the original home country of the fast food was his least concern now. Richard swallowed hard when his mind started making dirty thoughts of those hands that had been just two days ago touching him.

“So, Richard,” Paul asked, licking the salt and vegetable fat from his fingers, “you already know something about me, but how about if you’d tell me something interesting about your life.”

Richard chuckled and tried to act carefree - his life was one of those things he didn’t like to talk about so much. It was such a mess it was difficult to explain. “I’d ask you to tell me about yourself first and then I’ll reveal something about me. Maybe, if I feel like it.”

“Are you setting me terms?” Paul asked with a grin and put his elbows on the table, leaned closer. “Of course you must tell me something about yourself. But I can start. What do you want to know?”

“Well, basically, why in the first place is a German guy dancing in Majorca?” Richard asked and took a French fry.

Paul leaned back and looked at Richard with a raised eyebrow. “Do you want short or a long version?”

“Long, of course.”

“Greedy boy wants everything immediately,” Paul teased and wiggled his eyebrows. “But I like that.”

Richard cursed when Paul calling him a greedy boy made his stomach do wild flips. Suddenly, eating a freaking fry was the most difficult task to do. At the same time, Paul started talking.

“Well, the story begins from the Contemporary Dance School Berlin where I graduated fifteen years ago.” He put a hand under his chin and furrowed. “Or is it even twenty years ago? I can’t remember anymore, but anyway.”

“Hey, I’m from Berlin too!” Richard exclaimed.

“Oh really?”

“Yes! I couldn’t have imagined we both are from there,” Richard said and shifted in his chair. “But yeah, carry on.”

Paul smiled in a way that crinkled his eyes and nose adorably when he continued: “The time in the dance school was wild I can tell you. There I met my best friend Christoph, the guy who you saw with me in the ‘Howling Peacock.’”

“Oh that’s the name of the bar,” Richard said dryly and acted like he was pouting for real. “My friend never bothered to tell me. He just dragged me there, telling me that ’it had a good score on Tripadvisor’.”

Throwing his head back and letting out a genuine burst of laughter Paul said: “Well, I’m glad he did! I must thank your friend later.” He cleared his throat and continued: “But yeah, me and Chris became good friends easily, but it wasn’t only peaches and cream for me. To be honest, that school was at first a lot of struggle for me. A guy like me wasn’t appreciated. I was small and clumsy and not from a famous family, so I had to show off every single time that I was worth something. But Chris supported me a lot.” When he was talking about his dancing buddy, Paul had a dreamy look in his eyes that made Richard uneasy.

“Slowly and steadily I adapted though. Even won a couple of contests that gave me enough proof I wasn't a lost cause,” Paul said and took a sip of beer before he continued.

Richard, who was deep in Paul’s interesting life story gasped. “That’s wonderful.”

Just simply shrugging, Paul said: “Yeah, it was quite… cool. Thank you.” He put the beer back on the table. ”So there we were, on the top of our life. Those were crazy times indeed. You should have seen the parties there! The women were especially crazy. Former ballerinas, now freed from the agony of their strict families. Jeez!”

“Yeah, student life is like that,” Richard answered, trying to relate. “I studied cooking for three years and all the free time we just got drunk and made fun of our teachers with my friends.”

Paul leaned closer and whispered: “But in the dancing scene, those parties are more like orgies, I can tell you. Everyone fucks anything that moves.” Pondering for a while how much he should tell he revealed: “And to be honest, not me nor Chris were any better. During those times I learnt what ‘friends with benefits’ truly means.”

Almost spitting his beer, Richard coughed. “O...oh,” was the only thing he could comment. 

Paul shrugged and smirked at the other man’s reaction. “We were young and stupid, I guess,” he explained, “and we thought we were invincible. Many people yearn for their younger days, but I’d said I wouldn’t go back anymore.” He shook his head - a shadow fell on his face and Richard sensed that it was probably wiser not to ask too much even though he wanted to know everything about this mysterious artist and his life. 

Before the brief silence was turning too awkward, Paul continued: “But yeah, five years after graduating we got tired of Berlin and the strict world of professional dancing. We wanted something different. That was the same time when Chris met his wife and their first kid was born. He didn’t want to turn into a boring middle-aged family man, so we decided to start touring. Chris’s family came with us and here we are, on the road still.” He looked straight at Richard. “You should see his wife! She’s so cool and whenever she has a chance she attends our shows.” After that Paul moved his focus to study at the people in the bar - amongst them, the bartender was busy with multiple orders. A good night for this place. “How could someone even find a family like that: everyone supporting each other.”

“Unlike someone’s,” Richard accidentally said out loud and bowed his head.

Paul’s curiosity was ignited and he turned his gaze from the bartender back to his date. “What do you mean?”

Unconsciously, Richard fidgeted with his ring finger and bit his lower lip. “Nothing, I’m just happy someone has a good family life.” 

“Wait a minute… In your text, you told me something about your kids. I assume you are a family man as well?” Paul asked and looked at the glimmering piece of jewelry in Richard’s finger. 

“Yeah, I’m married and have two daughters,” Richard replied and forced a tight smile. “For six years now.”

Paul squinted and tilted his head to the side. “But you still are not… happy?”

The silence revealed the answer even though Richard didn’t say anything. Paul leaned closer and took the other man’s hand. “It’s ok, you don’t have to tell if you don’t want to. Sorry, you are just so interesting I’d like to know everything about you at once.”

As Richard was still too sober for this proximity and empathy, he saved himself by standing up. He tried to inhibit the annoying pressure on his eyes when he announced: “I’m going to get another drink. Do you want something?”

The evening went on and the two men managed to avoid talking about too personal stuff again. They competed in telling funny stories about their past - and Richard was not afraid of revealing embarrassing stuff about Till. It was his silent revenge for his matchmaking friend - but truth to be told, Richard couldn’t complain. Paul was easy to be with like they had known each other for years instead of just two days.

After laughing a bit too loud - and getting weird looks from the other customers - Paul was getting open and talkative by the percentage of alcohol. Without realizing it himself, he was about to drop a bomb: ”Richard, just somehow I want to tell you that…”

“Tell me what?” Richard asked and finished his beer. He was far from sober too - one of the proofs was the heat on his cheeks.

“That I… knew you aren’t content with your life. You clearly are unhappy.”

Richard was surprised by this sudden change of mood. “No need to worry about me,” he said, trying his best to sound casual and cool. “But why do you think so?”

“That evening when we saw the first time at our show, I just…” Paul started and turned to look at Richard straight in the eyes, ”could see it in your eyes.” It was said with genuine empathy which made it even worse.

“So that’s why you came to me that night?” Richard asked in shock, hidden behind a bitter tone. “For pity, huh?”

Shaking his head, Paul answered: “No, it wasn’t that. It was something... else.”

“Can I ask you do you normally do it every night for the witnesses? Just sit on someone’s lap, talking dirty?” Richard was a bit in the mood for a challenge and his voice was getting louder. “I get it. Extra tips and stuff.”

Without blinking an eye, Paul answered: “No. You are the first and the only one this far. I just somehow knew I wanted to get closer to you.”

“But… why me out of all people?” Richard let out from his mouth before he even realized it.

Music started to play and ignoring Richard’s question Paul exclaimed: “Hey, I love this song!” He stood up and tried to drag his date to the dancefloor. “Come to dance with me.”

Richard lowered his head. It bothered him not to get his answer. “I’m a lousy dancer, to be honest. Especially compared to a professional.”

“Everyone always says they can’t dance,” Paul said and pouted. He leaned on the table right in front of Richard’s face. “But the truth is we all are born with the skill. It’s in our blood.”

“My blood is probably bad then,” Richard grunted. ”I bet you’d just laugh at me.”

“Of course, I wouldn’t.” Paul one more time offered his hand and with puppy eyes - glimmering even more mischievously than normally, thanks to the several drinks - asked the one last time: “Pleeeease, come to dance with meeee?”

Just barely managing to groan “whatever”, Richard was dragged to the dancefloor where his date was obviously in his element.

Richard kept standing awkwardly in the crowd just listening to the mysterious music when Paul grabbed his hand. “Just move your body and don’t think about it too much! That is what I always do when I dance. Let go of yourself!”

You are my angel

Come from way above

To bring me love

Their eyes locked and Richard felt how his mouth got dry. They both had been drinking quite a lot - but he couldn’t blame only the intoxicating beverages for these feelings he had and how well Massive Attack’s lyrics reflected them.

Her eyes

She's on the dark side

Neutralize

Every man in sight...

Before Richard started pondering again why Paul hadn’t answered his question earlier, the dancer wrapped his arm around his date’s waist and pulled the man close to him along with the slow rhythm of the song. Richard’s already tense body froze even more. 

Breathing to Richard’s ear, Paul whispered: “Stop thinking and just let go. This is your night. Not your wife’s or your kids’: everything is only for you.”

Paul let go of Richard and moved his hips along the rhythm. His eyes closed, he mouthed the repetitive lyrics:

To love you, love you, love you... 

Unquestionably, Richard had a sense of rhythm - he was an amateur musician after all. Sighing heavily he closed his eyes and repeated Paul’s words in his mind: 

Stop thinking and just let go. Maybe you need to relax and have time for yourself - even once in your life.

And that was exactly what he did: moving closer to Paul he raised his hands and moved surprisingly smoothly. Paul whistled in excitement and started coming closer and closer to his date’s skin.

Just like the day before he placed his arms over Richard’s shoulder and whispered: “You want to know the truth? Why I came to you in our performance?”

“Because you wanted to tease this stupid, old family man who looked so miserable?” Richard said and without noticing it, put his hands on Paul’s waist. They moved in unison, along the slow rhythm.

Paul shook his head. His eyes were hazy when he said: “Because you were absolutely gorgeous. I just couldn’t help myself. Even Chris asked me afterward what the hell I was thinking - getting intimate with a customer like that.”

Richard stopped at his place and took a step back. “W-what?”

The only answers he got were a smirk and a faint nod. Eventually, the song stopped, changing to another one from the same band - and as mysterious as the former one had been.

A flask I drink of sober tea

While relay cameras monitor me

And the buzz surrounds it does

Buzz surrounds

Buzz surrounds

A flask I drink of sober tea

While relay cameras monitor me

And the buzz surrounds it does...

As the Pandora’s box had already been opened, Richard didn’t notice he was again getting close to Paul before he whispered to him: ”Well, if it’s the night of secrets here’s another one: my wife doesn’t touch me anymore. That was the reason my friend dragged me to that stupid bar the other night.” He flashed a tight-lipped, apologetic smile. “I’m trapped in a shitty relationship, but what can I do? I love my kids and I’m afraid what might happen to them if I leave.”

Now, it was Paul’s turn to stop at his place. With wide eyes, he stared at his companion. A couple dancing behind them almost bumped into him. ”You said what?”

Averting his gaze to the ground, Richard cleared out: ”It’s true. You are right. I’m unhappy and pretty fucking lonely.” He bowed his head and hoped no one heard what he had said - or did it even matter anymore? ”This may sound pathetic but the night in the peacock bar was one of the best in my life for a while. So, I guess… thank you for giving me something interesting in my life.”

Paul put a hand on Richard’s cheek. The mood of the night was such a rollercoaster: deeper emotions rushing up to the surface, no matter how hard they tried to block them. 

”I’m… sorry, this was supposed to be a fun night,” Richard whispered. “Maybe I should go back to the hotel, I’m just ruining your good mood.”

Before he was able to fulfill his plan Paul grabbed Richard from his arm. ”You poor man… I truly am sorry for you,” he mumbled, having difficulties finding the right words. ”Just tell me if there’s anything I could... do to make you feel better.”

And listening

My ears know that my eyes are closed

Ready to sing

My sixth sense peacefully place on my breath

Those eyes, full of empathy - lately, Richard had felt like everyone was pitying him, but this man had proved otherwise. It made his heart melt just a tiny bit.

Somehow he knew that if he would proceed now, this night had a chance to take his life into a new course - and more than anything, he needed that.

Richard blinked his eyes and acting before thinking he dragged Paul to his lips not caring at all about anything.

I see to bolts

For key to locks

No boat are rocked

I'm free to roam

Among dummy screens

And magazines

Paul gasped in total surprise but answered with a greedy tongue. It had been a ridiculously long time since Richard had been kissing anyone properly, so he enjoyed this fully - the scents, feelings, tastes, everything, Paul had to offer.

“I want you,” Richard said with a voice so husky it was a surprise even for himself. “So freaking badly. Shit, I don’t know how you do it, but it’s been ages since I felt like this.”

When he opened his eyes and backed up, even in the dim lighting Richard could see Paul’s wide eyes and dark pupils  - like Till had said, the dancer resembled a hungry lion who wasn’t afraid of taking what he wanted. Paul licked his lips and Richard had a nasty feeling where this all might be leading them - he could still back up, but refused to do so.

After all, he was a greedy boy.

Seen through me little glazed lane

A world in myself

Daydreaming admiring being

Quietly, open the world

I hear the time of the starry sky

Turning over at midnight...

Paul took Richard’s hand and said: “If that's the case I know where we can go. Come with me.” It was more like a command than a request.

They walked past the crowd. Richard was slightly worried if someone from their hotel was seeing them, but no one cared: the people were in the trance of dancing. They passed two guys kissing and groping each other before Paul led them past a small stage. Next to it, was a small door with a sign saying “personnel only.”

“Umm, are you sure about… this?” Richard asked when Paul opened the door and dragged him in.

“Relax, I know the owners and they don’t care. I’ve performed in this place, no one ever comes here.”

The door closed and Richard had a chance to see where they were: in a small dressing room that merely fit two people there. Paul was too impatient to let Richard admire the surroundings for too long though - the dancer pinned his companion against a wall full of autographs and graffitis. 

Fuck,” Richard gasped when Paul started peppering kisses to his neck. He tilted his head back letting it rest on the wall and closed his eyes. Dear Christ, we merely know each other, how can he know exactly what I like?

“I just can’t believe what you told me,” Paul said, his lips against Richard’s sensitive skin. “What the hell is wrong with your wife who doesn’t touch you? Is she blind or something?”

Before Richard could even form a coherent sentence, Paul came back up and licked the other man’s earlobe. Then the dancer whispered with a husky, dirty voice: “Because I’m totally the opposite. I simply can’t keep my hands off of you.” He backed up and admired the view in front of him: Richard, marks on his neck, with messy hair. “Damn, I would have been devastated if you wouldn’t have asked me out. I would have searched from this fucking island with cats and dogs just to find you - but thank God, you came to me.”

The muffled music echoed from the bar - the song had changed to an upbeat one. This time it was Paul who sealed his lips to Richard’s, kissing him senseless. It was so hard and hungry Richard noticed a hint of a metallic taste in his mouth - his lower lip was bleeding slightly. It was a small price though - he couldn’t care less if he could get this in return.

If Paul wouldn’t have kept him there, Richard was sure he would be slumped on the floor already - his knees were getting weak. This overload of sensations and emotions was something he wasn’t used to.

Paul slid his other hand under Richard’s t-shirt and massaged his nipple for a while before sneaking into lower and lower parts. He stopped by the navel and asked: “I’m yours tonight, love. What do you want?”

“Just… just do fucking… anything,” Richard blurted out without thinking while he was trembling from excitement. He was sure his groin would explode soon if they weren’t proceeding - there was now backing up anymore. “I don’t… I don't care. I’m… at your mercy.”

Paul grasped Richard’s chin and tilted it up. For a second he looked serious, trying to comprehend what he had just heard. “Are you... sure?”

“101% sure,” Richard said and swallowed when his dancer’s curious eyes only inches away studied his features.

After a brief silence, Paul flicked his tongue and chuckled in a dirty way. ”Hah, so I was right then,” he said and lowered his voice, ”you eager little boy.” His chin was slightly tucked, making him look proud of himself. “But if that’s the case, I’m yours baby and more than willing to fulfill all your wishes.”

When permission was given, everything happened so fast: in automation, Richard raised his hands only to notice his t-shirt was on the floor. Paul took his companion’s sensitive nipple between his teeth, biting it just perfectly - and once again, Richard could only wonder how this man could read him like an open book. Nipples had always been his sensitive spot. Ages ago when he still had sex life with his wife, Eleanor had known perfectly well how to make Richard speechless.

But this man, who had met him only two days ago, knew already all the tricks to make him go limp? Damn. It was dangerously hot and exotic.

When Richard let out a helpless whimper, Paul just got more and more passionate and touchy. Hands were all around; Richard could only stand in his place, enjoy this little mating dance this small - yet talented - man was leading. He seemed like he knew this as well as his choreographies.

Paul crouched and with his dexterous quick fingers, opened the zipper of Richard’s pants. When he was on his knees Paul looked up and smirked. The other man nodded, swallowing hard. He had never done this with a man so he wasn’t even sure what to expect next.

“Breathe, love, you are so tense,” Paul said and chuckled, stroking Richard’s thigh where he placed a tiny kiss. “Don’t faint, please. I need you here.”

“S-sorry,” Richard barely managed to stammer and took a deep, but a shaky breath.

Without a single bit of hesitation, Paul took Richard’s full length into his mouth.

Ffffuck,” Richard hissed behind gritted teeth for the completely new feeling of someone sucking him in. As he was already more than aroused, he was close to the edge.

With a loud sound, Paul withdrew and stood up - he might have been able to read from Richard’s tense body and trembling that he was a bit too close. Paul wiped his lips and smirked. Raising a finger he commanded: “You are not allowed to get everything at once. Turn around and wait for me.”

Not daring to ask anything further, Richard did as Paul told him and waited. Right in front of his eyes on the messy wall was a text: “Marilyn69 was here! :--)))” Who the heck was Marilyn69? Richard couldn’t care less.

Soon, Paul was back with a bottle and something else and Richard swallowed when he had a tickling feeling of what the dancer was about to do. Normally, Richard wouldn’t have skipped the opportunity to joke about a secret stash of lube and condoms backstage, but now he just remained silent.

Paul distracted Richard’s concentration by placing kisses on his ear and stroked the other man’s buttock gently before he slid his finger inside.

If Richard was able to relax a tiny bit earlier, now he got tense again when another new thing was performed on him.

“Relax, Liebling,” Paul whispered while he was still kissing Richard everywhere. “Relax and I promise I will make you see stars soon.”

Richard obeyed and once again forced himself to take a deep breath. He had to let go, enjoy this rare, new feeling. At the same time he realized how weird it felt: a mixture of a bit of pain in his ass - literally - while it at the same time felt extremely good.

Still, he couldn’t say anything - just enjoyed when Paul was clearly trying to please his companion as well as he could. Richard could tell this wasn’t the first time the dancer was doing this. He didn’t dare to think what they had been experimenting with Chris during their wild dancer student years.

“Are you okay?” Paul asked when Richard had been quiet for a good while, barely able to breathe. “I can s--”

“Don’t you dare to fucking stop now,” Richard commanded. It was more like a gasp than actual speaking.

Paul chuckled. “As you wish, my love.” He wasn’t hesitating to call him in endearment names. “As you wish.”

Paul’s gentle baritone was like the best music in the universe to Richard’s ear. He forced himself to relax when Paul slid another finger in.

Dear Christ. Richard saw how stars were dancing in front of his eyes - and he knew this was far from finished yet.

Nibbling Richard’s ear, Paul asked: “Would it be ok if I--”

“I said, just do anything you want,” Richard cut the words of the other man again. He wanted, needed, more - to take this exciting new exploration to the end with this man who treated him with such a rare affection. “P-please.”

To Richard’s disappointment, Paul took his digits out, leaving his companion alone for a second but he was soon back - and this time, with something much bigger and better than just mere fingers.

Paul kept holding Richard with his body when he wrapped his hand around an eager member who had been without any proper use for way too long. 

This excitement was almost unbearable - Richard had to concentrate hard not to come to Paul’s hand in this immediate second. Paul’s thrusts inside him accompanied with his hand around his cock felt so incredibly heavenly it would have been a shame to be done too early.

Now, when they were here, two men bonding physically and mentally, Richard could only wonder why the hell was he accepting his life as it was. Till had been right: why the hell was he accepting the cold, distant woman as his companion? Why did he have to push back his own selfish needs? And because of that, he was slowly destroyed: just a shadow of a man he had been six years ago; still innocent, laidback and carefree. Before Paul had happened, Richard hadn’t even realized how much he needed this - not just mere fucking, but being made love to. Meaning something to someone who genuinely cared about him and not just wanted to benefit from him somehow.

Paul’s quiet thrusts and occasional moans revealed he was close to the edge as well. Languidly, he nibbled Richard’s ear now and then. 

When his whole body trembled, oxytocin making sure all the rational thinking was shut down, Richard couldn’t inhibit anymore - with a loud cry he came to Paul’s hand that was still tightly holding him.

In no time, another yell echoed in the tiny room - Paul had followed his companion. The messy duo really had to concentrate not to fall to the floor. Paul had forgotten to actually lock the door so technically, anyone could come here now - but neither of them cared. They just kept panting, closely entwined together.

“You are really freaking…” Paul breathed to Richard’s ear, having difficulties to form sentences that made any sense, “spectacular.”

They shared a lazy kiss and listened to their breathing for a while. It was way past midnight already, but Richard had lost the sense of time: maybe his wife was angrily waiting for him at the hotel, but truth to be told, he couldn’t care less at the moment.

In the aftermath, even though how blissful it was, Richard’s head swirled with emotions when he was coming back to his senses. Sure, he had been unfaithful to his wife tonight; sure, he had lied to her. But most importantly, he had forgotten how it felt when someone genuinely just wanted to be nice to you, hold you in his arms; not demanding anything.

Just loving him as he was. That’s what he had been craving for so long.

Their sticky and sweaty bodies finally retreating from each other, Richard slumped to the floor on his knees.

“I’ll be right back,” Paul whispered and tiptoed to the tiniest toilet ever, cleaning himself a bit.

When he came back with a handful of tissues, he heard quiet sobbing and in automation, crouched next to Richard, and turned his face to look at him.

“What is it? Did I hurt you?” Paul asked in panic while he cupped the other man’s cheeks. “I’m sorry, I just…” He didn’t find the right words to say now.

Biting his lower lip, Richard shook his head and looked at Paul with glossy eyes. “No, you haven’t done anything wrong. Totally opposite. I had just… just forgotten one important thing...”

“Forgotten what?”

Hesitating for a second, Richard didn’t have any other chance than to answer: “How it is to be loved.” His voice was barely audible against the poppy music from the bar. “You have shown me something tonight I didn’t even know existed for me anymore - something I thought I had lost already.” He swallowed hard and sniffled. “Thank you for that. Thank you for being with me tonight.”

No more words were needed: Paul gasped and took Richard tightly in his embrace, them both sharing tears. Unlike just a little while ago, instead of those hungry greedy kisses, Paul pecked Richard gently on the cheek, kissed the tears.

He wanted to protect this man at all costs - there was no doubt of it.

“Richard, I… I can’t help it,” Paul said, with an unusual concern in his voice. He swallowed and against Richard’s neck, blurted out: “If falling in love with a man like you is a crime, then I’m the worst convict possible.”

He raised his head and asked: “Will you let this silly little man into your life?”

~***~

The black cats were again in the streets, their curious yellow eyes fixed on two men who walked in the quiet alleys, hand in hand like shy teenagers who had just confessed their love towards each other.

Too soon, they reached the destination. “So, this is my hotel,” Richard said and withdrew from Paul’s touch. “And maybe I now can reveal I didn’t want you to pick me up here in case my wife would have seen you.” He ran a hand through his messy hair he was earlier in the day so concerned about. “Would have been a bit too much… explaining to do, if you know what I mean.”

Paul nodded - he had been unusually silent during their walk back. “I get it.”

“I wish you a good night then.” Richard cleared his throat and his eyes fixed on the clear sky, added: “I had a… good time. One of the best nights for a while, yeah. Only thanks to you.”

Paul took Richard’s arm and with desperate begging eyes, looked at him. “Promise me you will contact me later, please. You can even stay with me tonight if your family is already asleep. Maybe you could--”

“As much I want to do that, I’m sorry, I can’t. My kids need me,” Richard said, wistfulness in his voice. “But I promise I will keep in touch with you. I just have to… figure out what I should do next. How I could tell Eleanor… well, you know what.”

Even though he wasn’t pleased with the answer, Paul didn’t say anything. He had been secretly hoping Richard would have changed his mind, but he still understood the man had responsibilities. Paul wasn’t the most patient person in the world, but for this man, he could wait until the end of the world. “I’m just worried for you,” he said and his lip quivering a bit added: “If anything happens, you are always welcome to our hotel. You know where me and Chris are staying.”

Richard nodded and flashed a tiny smile. “Thank you. I can take care of myself, no need to worry about that.”

“I don’t doubt that. Just that… if anything happens to you know I will be here.”

Richard took Paul’s hand. “I know Paul, I know. But we’ll stay in touch.” Instead of looking at him in the eyes, his gaze was fixed on the hand. “I’m sorry I brought you into my messy life.”

“There’s absolutely nothing to apologize for,” Paul replied with a firm voice. “Besides, it’s me who is one to blame for that. Mine hasn’t been fluff and roses either, so I think we are partners in crime in this.”

They stood in awkward silence for a while. Neither of them wanted to leave, but it was Richard who eventually spoke: “Okay, I guess I have to… go to sleep now.”

Without a prior warning, Paul clashed his lips towards Richard’s who answered briefly.

Please, come back to me, love. Don’t forget me.

“I... will miss you,” Paul said right after they withdrew. Not caring anymore, he let tears fall on his pale cheeks that were beautifully illuminated by the street light. “Good night, Richard. I hope we have a chance to see each other soon.”

“Good night, Paul,” Richard said and in a manly way, tried hard not to be too emotional or otherwise, he’d just decide to turn around and stay with Paul tonight in the end. “I will… miss you too.”

Hesitantly, the two lovers departed - Paul to the humid night and Richard to his hotel. He looked at the turning back for a while before he sighed and opened the door of their room.

When Richard stepped inside, he tried to be quiet as possible and glanced around. Holding his breath, he eventually relaxed when he realized his family was deep asleep. A clock on the wall showed it was 2 am - there might be explanations to do tomorrow. At least the worst horror scenario possible hadn’t happened: Eleanor waiting by the doorstep, her arms crossed. “So, where have you been?” Richard could hear the cold mocking tone in his ears. 

But would that even have mattered? Past two years, the woman who had vowed for her eternal love and dedication in the wedding had turned her back to him - and maybe Richard was just slowly and steadily realizing he couldn’t take it anymore. He had needs and feelings too. Just that the kids made him concerned - but that wasn’t the thing to ponder now in the middle of the night. He assured himself everything would sort out somehow - at least he wasn’t alone, he had support. If the worst happened, he would fight ‘til the end for the right to be involved in his kids’ life.

Stripping from his dirty sweaty clothes, Richard stepped into the shower to get rid of the musk of the other man - the scent that proved they were probably something more than just mere friends. Still, when he thought about their night together, the mixture of Paul being gentle yet so self-confident, made Richard’s stomach feel funny. Who knew what would become of them, but at least it was a promising start.

The little talented dancer was definitely something - and Richard couldn’t wait to get to know him better.

Letting the heavenly warm water wash away the heat of the night from his skin Richard smiled by himself - despite anything, all of the mess, he had now something to wait for. He had a future that wasn’t only dark and miserable. 

I want to see you happy, no matter with whom.  Maybe it was time to admit it: in most of the cases, kids tended to be right.

~***~