Summer was in full swing, and you couldn’t be happier.
On a whim, you and Kiki had taken a weekend trip to the coast. Filming had been taking up way too much of your precious free time lately, and you were desperate for some beach therapy. So, you loaded up the trunk of your car and set off just before dawn that morning, excited to soak up some sun and dig your toes into the sand.
Of course, no road trip would be complete without a soundtrack. Kiki had built a playlist with all your favorite tunes, and as soon as your foot hit the gas, the music began. It was the perfect mix of driving beats, sentimental moods, and just plain silly stuff that had the two of you literally scream-singing at the top of your lungs, windows down, arms flung out, hair blowing in the wind as you sped down the freeway.
One song in particular got you a little misty-eyed, thinking about him.
Amber eyed, stubborn, bull-headed Gavin. The two of you had been friends for years, and your relationship with him was everything you needed in a guy friend. Gavin was that strong, overprotective type that never failed you. Always around when you needed him, always willing to lend a hand or be a shoulder for you to cry on. You’d held him at bay for a long time, keeping him in the dreaded “friend zone” for longer than you cared to admit.
But lately…oh, lately…the way he looked at you stirred something within, sent your stomach fluttering with those proverbial butterflies that you’d never really felt with anyone else. He’d been in the studio with you for the last few weeks, serving as a consultant for your newest online series about police work in the city. The two of you typically spent two or three nights a week hanging out after work, but now you saw him more frequently, and you were beginning to notice some of his more adorable quirks.
Like the way his eyes followed you as you flitted about the set, bouncing from director to cameraman to the sound booth, giving notes and encouragement to everyone you spoke to.
Or the way he would clear his throat and avert his eyes, looking away quickly when you happened to catch his eye and smile, just a little bit. As if you hadn’t noticed.
The way he seemed to put on a tough guy act anytime things got even a little tense during taping.
You were used to the undercurrent of urgency, the need to get as much filmed and put together as possible so things didn’t run over into the next day’s agenda. Gavin sensed it, too, and it ruffled his feathers, making him worry when the director snapped at you over a small detail. He had walked over and positioned himself in front of you, arms crossed over his broad expanse of a chest, a blush rising to the tips of his ears, and a fire in his eyes that you’d never seen…or maybe never paid much attention to before. He defended you fiercely; even the director seemed intimidated and conceded quickly, nodding and muttering something about it being a ‘small detail anyway, it wasn’t really that important’ before scurrying off.
He had given you a ride home that night, the heat from his body seeping into you as you embraced him on the back of his motorcycle, stirring up feelings that you had been so desperately trying to keep from surfacing. You couldn’t ruin this friendship. What if things went bad? What if the prospect of love scared him away and you lost him for good? You couldn’t imagine a life without Gavin in it, and decided then that you wouldn’t risk losing him and just keep your mouth shut for the time being.
Someday, you would tell him. Just…not anytime in the near future.
You had your phone mounted on the dash so you could easily read the GPS map without having to take your eyes off the road, but on one particularly sharp, sudden turn, gravity took hold and sent it flying across the car, onto the passenger side floor.
“Shit, can you grab that, Kiki? We’re almost there, and these last few turns are critical.”
“Sure thing!” She unbuckled her seatbelt and leaned forward, grabbing your phone and securing it back into place. “There. All better.” She glanced your way, her brow furrowing in concern when she saw you flick away a tear.
“Hey, you alright?”
You nodded furiously, offering a tight-lipped smile that Kiki saw right through.
“Um, no you’re not.” She giggled a little, turning to look out the window. “It’s Gavin, isn’t it?”
You barely heard her above the music, so you reached to turn down the volume, eyes widening. “What did you just say?”
“Gavin. This song always gets you. I know. I’ve seen you do it before.” She smiled wistfully and belted out the last couple of stanzas, clearly making fun of just how gone you were for him, singing deliberately off key into her fist-turned-microphone.
You swatted at her, daring a quick glance at the GPS that showed you were less than 10 minutes from the hotel. “Don’t be ridiculous. Even if I did have feelings for him— and let’s be clear, I don’t— he wouldn’t care anyway. We’re just friends, and as far as I’m concerned, that’s all we’ll ever be.”
“Oh-ho! Did I touch a nerve, MC? You’re getting awfully defensive over it.”
“NO!” you cried. Then, lowering your voice, “I mean…maybe. I just-” Sigh. “Yes.” Your eyes burned with tears and you shook your head, blinking them away. “But I can’t tell him, Kiki. I just can’t.”
“Why not? It’s pretty freaking obvious that he feels the same way! We all saw him on the set the other day, defending your honor.” She clasped her hands together at her chest and batted her eyelashes dramatically. “Like a prince, coming to his lady’s rescue.” She giggled. “He’s got it bad for you.”
The song faded away, and before the next track could play, she turned down the volume, reaching out to pat you on the shoulder.
“Tell him. No, no, ok. Here’s what you do. We talk about it this weekend, yeah? You come up with some amazing and romantic way to tell him when we get home. And when you do, he’ll sweep you into his ‘ginormous’ arms and kiss all of your worries away. Doesn’t that sound perfect?”
You had to laugh at her exuberance, but had to hand it to her. You did need to tell him. And soon.
“Why don’t you practice now?” She wiggled in her seat, rubbing her hands together. “What would you say…if Gavin was standing in front of you right now?”
You took a deep breath and gripped the steering wheel, twisting your lip as you thoughtfully considered what you might say.
“Okay. Maybe…something like, ‘Gavin, hey. I, um, need to tell you something.” You stopped, the heat rising to your cheeks. “Kiki, this is dumb. I feel weird.”
“Stop it. Just pretend he’s here. You can do it. I know those feelings are buried, but pull them out! Gavin is waiting…” she sang playfully, poking my arm.
You sighed, then began again. “Gavin, look. I know we’ve been friends for a long time, and I would hate for anything to ruin that. You’re always there for me when I need you, and you make me smile every day. You’re strong, brave, and kind, and…” You took a shaky breath. “You’re everything I want in…in a boyfriend. In a partner. Gavin, you’re perfect for me, and I hope this doesn’t come as too much of a shock, but…”
You hesitated before speaking the words aloud that you had only ever thought about saying to him. The lines between fantasy and reality blurred and for a moment, you forgot where you were. “I…I love you, Gavin.”
Kiki squealed, unable to contain her excitement. She rolled down her window and screamed into the rushing wind.
“That was perfect!!! You have to tell him when we get back! I can’t take another minute of you two being pent up around each other!”
The two of you shared a laugh. You did feel better getting it out, saying those words aloud for the first time without the pressure of him actually hearing and responding to it right away. Kiki reached over to turn the volume up again, but furrowed her brow as she leaned toward the button, her eyes fixed on my phone mounted in the dash.
“Huh, that’s weird…”
You glanced her way. “What’s weird? What is it?”
“Shhh…listen.” She put a finger to her lips and leaned closer. You both heard it. A tinny, far-away sounding voice. “Hello? Hello? MC, is that you?”
Your eyes widened, and you slapped a hand against your mouth to contain a scream. It couldn’t be…
How long had he been listening? And how?
“Oh my gosh!” Kiki whispered harshly, her eyes moving back and forth from you to your phone and back again. “I must’ve accidentally pressed something when I grabbed your phone off the floor!”
Your heart was racing. You pulled over into a gas station and parked the car, Gavin’s voice still calling out for you. “MC, please pick up the phone. Are you okay? Where are you?”
Trembling, you grabbed the phone and pressed it to your ear. “Gavin, hi.”
“Hey. Where are you?”
You explained that you and Kiki had taken a weekend away, and then you heard him chuckle. “Good. You deserve it. Just…be careful. And wear sunscreen, okay?”
“Did you…did you hear our conversation just now?”
You heard his breath grow heavier on the line, and he waited a beat or two before answering.
You gulped, your throat suddenly dry, preparing yourself for the worst.
“Um…well…what I mean to say is…I— “
“I love you too, MC.”
Your heart felt like it was going to beat right out of your chest. Your spirit soared, and you were suddenly walking on clouds, sent into orbit by those three little words that you had been longing to hear him say for the better part of a year. You choked back a joyful sob, tears blurring your vision as you stared out the windshield of your car, processing what just transpired.
You felt a hand on your shoulder again and turned to your best friend, who you had quite forgotten in the meantime. She gave you a gentle smile and mouthed I told you so.
“Hey, listen. Have fun on your weekend trip, okay? I…won’t take up any more of your time. We can meet up when you get back and talk this out.”
You nodded. “Yeah, I’d like that. I’m sorry I couldn’t say it to your face the first time, though. I never meant for you to find out like this.”
You heard him clear his throat, then say, “Don’t worry about it. You’ll have plenty more opportunities to do so in person when you get home. I’ll see you in a couple of days.”
“I can’t wait,” you said.
“Me either. Take care. I…I love you.”
“I love you, too. Gavin. Goodbye.”
He was there when you pulled into the parking garage. Leaning against his motorcycle, looking nonchalant and slightly bored, belying the bang bang bang of his heart against his ribs in anticipation of your reunion.
It had been the longest weekend of his life waiting for your return. Minor tried his best to keep Gavin busy, but his thoughts constantly drifted back to you, and he couldn’t be bothered with anything else. By the time you rolled into town, he was a nervous, excited, flustered mess of a man. Every car that entered the garage set his senses on alert, his disappointment apparent in fallen shoulders and a quiet huff with each realization that it wasn’t you.
Until it was.
It took every ounce of self control he possessed to not jump three feet into the air and run to you. Taking a deep, shuddering breath, he walked slowly toward you and Kiki as you parked your car, the two of you erupting into exuberant laughter when you saw him.
“I’ll get out as quick as I can to give you two some privacy,” she promised, waggling her eyebrows suggestively. You nodded, taking your keys out the ignition. Like Gavin, you took a moment to center yourself, not wanting to bombard him with too much zeal, but really really wanting to leap into his arms and let him carry you off into the sunset– happily ever after– now that you two had confessed your feelings for one another.
But it had been over the phone. Three days ago, just as you and your best friend had arrived at your vacation destination. You’d spent the weekend lounging on the beach, cocktails in hand, dreaming of all the ways you’d show him your love and affection once you were back home. Your imagination ran wild– as it often did when Gavin was involved– and you wanted nothing more than to ravish him with kisses and words of affirmation and…
That’s enough for now, you told yourself, stepping out of your car and turning to find him standing near the rear wheel, looking somehow more handsome than you’d ever seen.
“Gavin,” you breathed, your pulse pounding in your ear, cheeks flushing hot and red.
“Hey, you,” he said, his expression guarded and serious. His hands twitched at his sides with the desire to fold you into his arms, but he hesitated, not wanting to appear too eager.
It was Kiki who broke the tension, the uncomfortable uncertainty between you.
“Oh, come on, you guys! Just kiss already! You know you want to!” She shook her head, pulling her suitcase out of the trunk and wheeling it away, her laughter echoing in the hollow space of the garage. “I’m out. Do your thing!” she said with a wave of her arm, not looking back.
He chuckled softly, rubbing the back of his neck while his face turned crimson, unable to meet your eyes. Of course he wanted to kiss you. It was all he could think about the minute your car had appeared. But it all seemed suddenly awkward. The words you had spoken over the phone somehow held more gravity now that you stood face to face, and neither of you were sure how to proceed.
“Kiss her, you idiot! Before I do it for you!” Kiki’s car rolled by at a snail’s pace. She threw her arm out the window, her expression nothing short of exasperated.
Gavin’s eyes widened, his head no doubt now filled with the thrilling thought of you and Kiki in a liplock. His blush deepened, and you feared he might combust right there on the spot if you didn’t do something soon. Emboldened by your friend’s ridiculous commentary, you stepped forward and reached up to press your palm against his cheek. He leaned into your touch as a cat might curl into its owner’s affections and covered your hand with his, leaning down to kiss you first on the forehead. You closed your eyes and smiled, feeling his lips on your brow, then your nose; then, his warm, steady breath was against your own lips, hovering dangerously close to the prize. Every nerve ending was on fire, electricity coursing through your veins with anticipation.
You rose up on your toes to complete the circuit. The fire blazed, his arms circled your waist, and the kiss to end all kisses was happening. It was a moment you’d been replaying over and over again in your head for months, and it was infinitely better than you could have ever imagined. Time stopped, it seemed, and the only thing that mattered was his soft lips gliding over yours, impossibly tender and sweet.
You broke away first, breathless, your head spinning. His gaze held yours for a moment before he huffed a nervous laugh and looked away. His grip on your waist, however, remained firm.
“Um, hi,” he said.
“Hi,” you said with a giggle, tucking your hair behind your ear.
“Do you wanna-”
“I should probably-”
You both spoke at the same time, then stopped short, breaking into giggles again. “You first,” Gavin said.
“I was gonna say– ‘I should probably go up and freshen up a little.’ We’ve been driving a while, and I feel kinda gross,” you said with a wrinkle of your nose.
“Yeah, sure. I can, uh, carry your stuff if you want,” he offered.
“That’d be great, Gavin. Thank you.”
He’d been to your apartment dozens of times before– bringing you home after you’d had a few too many drinks with the girls, helping you stumble into bed, fully clothed and slurring your thanks; movie nights, or binge-watching episodes of your mutual favorite streaming series; take-out dinners while he helped you sort out show ideas, both of you sitting cross-legged in the middle of your living room, barefoot and surrounded by paperwork. Your best guy friend. The one you couldn’t picture life without.
This particular visit to your apartment, however, was loaded with uncertainty. With anticipation of what was to come, now that you’d confessed your mutual hearts’ desires. There was a certain heaviness in the air. It should have been a relief to get those feelings out in the open. You were still feeling giddy and absolutely over the moon, yes…but now–
“So where do we go from here?” Gavin asked the question for you. The one that had been weighing on your mind since that kiss in the parking garage moments ago. You toed your shoes off and pushed them into the corner near your front door and felt your face grow hot again. What was the big deal?
Gavin settled in on your couch with a sigh, throwing his arm over the back and propping a leg onto the coffee table, his head lolling back to peer at you as you walked to the kitchen for a glass of water. “Go ahead and get your shower. I’ll just check out what’s on TV, then maybe we can go have dinner,” he said with a shrug.
You nodded. “Yeah. Yeah, that’s a good idea. There’s a new Greek place down the street that I’ve been wanting to try. Let me get ready. I won’t be long.”
The shower only served to further fuel your uncertainty. As you stood beneath the water, your thoughts drifted to Gavin– probably sitting on your couch, flipping absently through the various series. You thought of how good he looked when he greeted you– wearing faded jeans and a black t-shirt that strained against his biceps and broad chest, his hair mussed from his motorcycle helmet, those honey brown eyes regarding you with such wonder and admiration.
His mind drifted too, to the thought of your naked form in the shower, covered in billowing white puffs of soap, your hands scratching gently at your scalp as you washed your hair. He cleared his throat and peeked around your apartment, a bit self-conscious of the bulge growing in his pants in response to his daydream, making sure he was alone. Get a grip, Gav, he thought to himself, shifting uncomfortably in an attempt to further conceal his arousal.
Not until after you were done toweling off did it dawn on you that you hadn’t brought any clean clothes into the bathroom with you. The outfit you’d been wearing– in a heap on the floor– was damp with water that had leaked around the shower curtain. It was only a few steps from the bathroom to the bedroom, but you knew as soon as you opened the door, he would turn around. In a normal, friend-zone situation, that sort of behavior would be perfectly acceptable. But now? The thought of sprinting to your bedroom, wearing nothing but a towel with Gavin sprawled on your couch mere feet from you gave you nervous butterflies. Yeah, you wanted nothing more than for him to devour you, body and soul, but not like this. Not because you were basically asking for it since you lacked the foresight to carry new clothes with you to the bathroom in the first place.
“Hey, Gavin?” you said, barely above a whisper, quickly adding, “Don’t turn around!”
Too late. As soon as he heard your voice, he whipped around to find your face pressed between the small space you’d created between the door and its frame. You froze, wide-eyed, not sure what to do at this point.
“Um, I, ah– I need to run to get some clothes out of my closet. Can you…can you not look? For a second?”
He nodded furiously but didn’t turn around at first. His jaw twitched, then worked up and down as if he was trying to form words but his brain just wouldn’t make the connection between speech and muscle memory. Eventually he made a strange, low gasping sound that issued from somewhere deep in his throat and turned around to stare silently at the TV.
You dressed quickly, nearly tripping over your skirt because your trembling was so violent. Just as you were buckling the strap of your sandal, there came a gentle knock on your door. Instead of waiting for you to answer, though, he opened the door, cupped your face in his hands, and dove in for another kiss. This one was far more fervent than the first; it bordered on violent– the way he crushed his mouth against yours, the way his fingers dug into your hips as he pulled you flush against him.
He caught your bottom lip between his teeth before pulling away, positively gasping for air before swooping back in for another serving. He couldn’t get enough. You couldn’t get enough. Before you knew it, the skirt you had just donned was in a heap on the floor with the rest of your outfit and Gavin’s clothes as he backed you up toward your bed. It happened in an instant, giving you little time for any coherent thought. It didn’t matter, though– you’d been pining long enough for this moment to come, and you were a most willing participant in what was about to transpire.
Lying beneath him on your unmade bed, your hair fanned out on rumpled coral sheets, breasts heaving with need, you couldn’t help but smile at him. You probably looked a mess: lips swollen and red from his feverish kisses, a ruddy glow upon your skin, still warm and slightly damp from the shower and now the sweat of your dizzying arousal. His hair hung in a curtain over his eyes as he hovered over you, his cock pressing insistently against your entrance. All it took was a slight lift of your hips, and he was in.
For a moment, you were both content to just feel each other. The buildup had been tense, painful, almost unbearable for both of you. But now? To be here with him inside you, it was like a dream. Surely, this wasn’t real.
“I love you. So, so much.” His eyes were shining, his expression raw and honest. Gavin wore his heart on his sleeve, and this intimate dance between you became all the more meaningful at the utterance of those words.
“I love you…Gavin,” you replied, breathless.
His slow thrusting began, and reality came back into view as you lifted your hips to meet him each time he moved within you. He whispered your name against the shell of your ear, his hand tangled in your hair. You sucked on the tender, pliant skin of his neck, daring a tiny nip of your teeth before trailing your tongue along his jaw to claim his mouth, muffled moans exchanged between tangled lips. He consumed you, possessed you with such a blazing intensity it brought you to tears as you gasped for precious oxygen under his spell. It was as if your bodies were made for each other. Each breath, each movement was in sync, and you found yourself unable to think of anything beyond the heat of his skin against yours and the pulse of his cock inside you.
You could sense he was close by the way his shoulders rippled beneath your insistent fingertips, his jaw twitching against your cheek while he chased his climax. Always the giver, he reached deft fingertips between you, circling your clit to give you an added edge to your already building peak. Your vision blurred and you closed your eyes, tears spilling forth to trail, translucent, down to your ears as you cried out to him.
You came as one– his arm hooked around your arching backside and he brought you in even closer as he drove home. Legs linked around his waist, nails digging half-moons into his flesh, you cried out to the heavens, your whimper spilling forth from pleading lips. Open mouth against your temple, eyes squeezed shut, he, too, groaned at his peak, his weight bearing down upon you almost too much for your heart to fathom.
It was nothing short of perfect. Just as you had imagined it would be. You were content to lie with him as your breath steadied and your heart stopped hammering so hard against your chest. He shifted to lay beside you and pull you close, the curve of your ass fitting snug against his pelvis while he traced his fingers over your skin. His touch was soothing, comforting, and you found yourself drifting off to sleep– exhausted from driving all day, from the emotional buildup to what had just transpired.
Gavin was aware as soon as your breathing regulated and your body stopped responding to his gentle caresses. He adjusted your pillow to a more comfortable angle and pulled the blanket over both of you before draping an arm over your belly and burying his face in your hair, dozing off moments after. It wasn’t terribly late, but he was exhausted, too. It seemed like the most natural thing in the world to do: fall asleep with the love of his life curled against him. He could only hope for each night to be this perfect.
You woke at dawn, head buzzing from a pleasant dream, a heavy warmth between your thighs. It took your sleep-addled brain a moment to realize that it was none other than Gavin’s face pressed against your sex, his tongue tracing patterns into your slick folds. You lifted your head briefly from the pillow only to let it fall back again as your eyes swung to the ceiling and you sighed softly. He lifted one leg to hook it over his shoulder and palmed your rump, pulling you in for a better angle. You rolled your hips, pushing yourself against his mouth with subtle pressure, fingers tangled in his hair to gently guide him in his ministrations… though he seemed to know exactly what he was doing without your interference. Your body came to life with each stroke of his tongue, each gentle suckle of your clit until you were trembling. His fingers gripped tight around your ass cheeks to steady you, his soft groans into your core adding a pleasant vibration to the mix.
He enjoyed giving– perhaps even more than receiving. He loved when your thighs clamped around his head, when your hips wiggled in a vain attempt to pull away when all you wanted was to let him taste you until he’d had his fill, then go back for a second, third, fourth serving. When he felt your release and had his fill of you, he lay back beside you, his cock standing at attention.
You needed no further invitation to climb on, sinking down onto his length with a long, low whine.
He flashed you a sleepy smile, lips still slick with the essence of you.
“Mmm…good morning to you, too,” he crooned, resting a hand at the bank of your neck to pull you in for a kiss.
And for the second time that morning, you were seeing stars.