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the one with the broccoli

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This was a mistake, Nicky said to himself, as soon as he walked into the bar. This was a terrible, terrible mistake.

But God had given Nicky many strengths and more than a few weaknesses, and he’d never been sure which of them his stubbornness was, but it was powerful, and it drove him up through the still-sparse crowd and up to the bar, where a white man with rainbows painted under his eyes made him a whiskey neat with only a slight laugh at his expense.

Nicky sat there nursing it for over an hour, while the dance floor crowd thickened before his eyes, men dancing together with an ease that Nicky found astonishing. Even when he danced with women, it was never this easy, this carefree. This encased in leather.

He watched the crowd, almost forgetting why he was there, until a voice in his ear said, loud over the sound of the music, “You look like a man contemplating the nature of the universe and finding it wanting.”

Nicky turned. He may have been straight, but he knew enough to know the man hovering at his side was gorgeous, light brown skin and curls so fluffy even Nicky wanted to sink his fingers into them. His beard looked just as soft, full and springy, and his eyes were twinkling with amusement. He was dressed in a buttery-looking leather jacket and tight pants with an abundance of zippered pockets down the leg. “Not wanting,” Nicky said. “Just... Confusing.”

The man took that as an invitation, sliding onto the stool next to him and waving at Rainbow Eyes for a drink. Rainbow Eyes evidently knew him, and started mixing something without taking an order first.

“So,” the man said, turning back to Nicky, propping his elbow on the bar and his head on his hand. “What brings you to a bar like this on Leather Night?”

That explained the dancers’ outfits. “Do I so obviously not belong?” he asked, wincing.

Rainbow Eyes brought the man something that smelled like pomegranate, in a red ombre from the bottom of the glass. Nicky’s new friend nodded at him and took a sip. “Let’s just say this is the first time I’ve seen that kind of shirt on someone who walked in here willingly,” he said. His eyes were still twinkling, so Nicky didn’t take offense.

“It’s because of my nephew,” Nicky started. His new friend raised an eyebrow, gesturing for him to go on. “I was babysitting last week, and my sister gave me one job: to get him to eat the stewed broccoli she’d left. He’s still not got the hang of talking just yet, but he said he didn’t like broccoli. I asked if he’d tried it, and he said no, and I asked how he could be sure if he’d never tried.”

“Ah,” the man said, grinning. “Let me guess: You realized you’ve never tried sex with a man, so how could you be sure you’re really straight?”

“It seemed a rather blatant hypocrisy,” Nicky confessed. The man laughed, throwing his head back. He had nice teeth, Nicky noticed absently, straight and nicely sized and stained a little pink from his drink. “He did eat the broccoli, so I figured I might as well...”

“Go to a gay bar and see if there was anyone willing to help you?” the man finished. Nicky nodded, blushing. “There’s no need to be embarrassed,” he said. “I admire your open-mindedness, honestly.” He stuck out his hand. “My name’s Joe, by the way.”

“Nicky,” Nicky said, shaking it. “Nice to make your acquaintance.”

Joe regarded him for a few moments, a delighted smile dancing around his mouth, and then he leaned forward and said, “Look, are you really serious about this?”

“I’m a dreadfully serious person,” Nicky admitted. “Stubborn as a mule, my mother says.”

“Then what the hell,” Joe said. “I’ll be your man.”

Nicky started. “What, really?”

“Sure,” Joe said easily. “I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you this, but you’re rather handsome, you know, and I’ll admit I came over here wishing I was wrong about what your shirt indicated about your sexuality.”

“Is the shirt that bad?” Nicky plucked at it. “I wasn’t sure what to wear. I’ve never been one for the club scene.”

“It’s not bad, just heterosexual,” Joe said. “But all that was to say, you’re looking for a man to fuck, and if we’re being honest, I came here tonight looking to get fucked.” Nicky flushed hot at the words; Joe grinned like a satisfied, merry shark. “So if you’re really serious, I’m in.”

Nicky’s heart was pounding like it had when he’d made his grandmother’s lasagna for his mother for the first time. “I’m serious,” he said.

Joe winked. “To business, then,” he said. He crossed one leg over the other and took another sip of his drink. “I’m assuming you’ll want the whole package, as it were. For completion’s sake.”

Nicky blushed again. “If you’re amenable.”

“Oh, I’m amenable,” Joe purred, then winked again. “So, topping for you, yes?” Nicky nodded, begging his cheeks not to actually catch fire. “Great. Like I said, I prepared tonight, so I’m ready for that,” Joe said. “Foreplay?”

Holy Mary Mother of God. “What did you have in mind?”

Joe grinned. “Straight, gay, bi, whatever, I’ve never met a sex-inclined man who didn’t like a mouth on him, whatever the gender it was attached to, and I’ve always liked to do it. And you can finger me open, if you like. For completion’s sake.”

Nicky was going to die. “Sounds good,” he managed.

“I’ll take pity on you,” Joe said, laughing. “Last question: Your place or mine?”

“Um,” Nicky said. “Yours?” The thought of the bright, colorful Joe in Nicky’s staid, bland apartment was suddenly anathema.

“Mine it is,” Joe said. “Shall we?” Nicky nodded and tossed back what was left of his whiskey. Joe drained his pink drink and they stood. “I’m close enough to walk,” Joe told him, putting a warm hand on Nicky’s back to usher him out of the club.

They emerged into the cool night air, the sound of the music dulling to a mild roar as the doors shut behind them. “Oh, one more thing,” Joe said. His voice, when he wasn’t calling to be heard over the music, was broad and charming, not too deep. “I should warn you, I’m a kisser, even for casual one-offs. Are you okay with that?”

Nicky considered. He liked kissing, and Joe had a nice mouth, wide and friendly. “Sure,” he said. “Your beard looks soft enough.”

Joe laughed one of his head-thrown-back laughs at that. “I’ve never had any complaints about beard burn,” he said, chuckling. “Come on, I’m this way.”

Joe, it turned out, lived a ten-minute walk from the club. They chatted idly about the weather for a few minutes, but the last five or so were spent in a silence that was, to Nicky’s surprise, relatively companionable. Joe whistled some light, jaunty tune as he pulled his keys out and unlocked the front door of a nondescript apartment building, and led Nicky to the elevator with another hand on his lower back that made Nicky’s skin tingle.

Joe’s apartment was on the seventh floor, nestled into the corner at the far end of the hallway. “Drink?” he asked as he let them in. “Shoes off, please.”

Nicky toed his shoes off. “No drink for me, thanks,” he said, looking around. “I want a clear head for this.”

“I respect that,” Joe said. He flicked the lights on, and Nicky took in a spacious living room, the carpet and sofa both a shocking bright blue. There was art on the walls that, to Nicky’s admittedly untrained eye, looked like it was all done by the same hand. “It’s mine,” Joe said, when Nicky looked back at him. “I’m an artist.”

“It’s beautiful,” Nicky said honestly. “I like your sofa.”

Joe laughed. “Thanks. It and the carpet were the first things I bought when I moved here. I wanted some personality in the place, you know?”

“I respect that,” Nicky echoed, earning himself another wide grin.

Joe took a step closer to him. Nicky’s heart started racing again. Now that they were in an enclosed space by themselves, he could smell Joe, notes of cherry and vanilla and what must be beard oil. With the knowledge of what they were about to do, it was a heady combination.

Joe took another step closer, and Nicky let him. “With your permission,” Joe murmured, “I’d like to do the chemistry check now, before we get any further into the apartment.”

“Okay,” Nicky breathed. One more step and Joe’s chest was only a breath away from touching his. Joe reached up ever so slowly and cupped a hand around Nicky’s jaw. He raised an eyebrow, clearly asking for permission; Nicky nodded, and, still moving glacially slowly, Joe leaned in and pressed his lips to Nicky’s.

Nicky had been right; the beard wasn’t a problem. It was feather-soft against his chin and under his nose, not ticklish at all. Joe’s lips were firm and warm and smooth, and Nicky felt a spark when they touched his own.

Joe pulled back for just a moment, leaving Nicky the space to chase after him and kiss him again. He felt Joe’s lips curl into a smile and then they parted, allowing Nicky’s to slot between them. Nicky kissed him again, and then Joe kissed him back; the kisses grew wet and loud, and then Nicky felt Joe’s tongue at the seam of his lips, and parted them for it without a moment’s hesitation.

This, Nicky knew how to do. The beard was new, and the masculine mahogany scent of his beard oil, but the fundamentals of kissing Joe were the same as any woman Nicky had ever kissed before him, and he let himself fall into it with a sense of relief that the chemistry check seemed to have been passed.

Joe’s other hand went to Nicky’s waist, settling warm and narrow over his shirt. Nicky reciprocated with one hand, lifting the other to gently cup the back of Joe’s head. “Can I?” he broke away to murmur.

“Sure,” Joe whispered. Nicky pulled their mouths back together, sinking his fingers into Joe’s soft, springy curls.

They stumbled back against the wall before Nicky knew they were moving, Joe pressing him back into it. The long hard line of his chest against Nicky’s was another difference, but not unpleasant; it felt firm, as though Nicky could beat against it like waves at a cliff and it wouldn’t give way.

Nicky heard himself moan. Joe broke their latest kiss to chuckle against his lips. “Okay,” he murmured, brushing his nose against Nicky’s. “That answers that.” He kissed him again, once, and then stepped back. Nicky took in his mouth, now swollen and slick, with a rush of animal pride. “Bedroom?”

“Bedroom,” Nicky said. His voice was low and raspy, the way it always got when he was turned on, and he saw it affect Joe with a shudder. Joe held out his hand; without thinking Nicky took it, twining their fingers together and letting Joe pull him along in his wake.

Joe’s bedroom was another shock of color, a bright purple bed set on a respectable king-sized frame. There was more art on the walls, and once again a bright purple rug to match the sheets. “I really like your decor,” Nicky said.

Joe was fussing in his nightstand. “Thanks,” he said over his shoulder, and then he turned and showed Nicky what was in his hands: a condom and a bottle of lube. He met Nicky’s gaze again, and Nicky nodded firmly. Even if he weren’t stubborn as a brick in mortar, the tightness he could feel in his pants just from their kissing made him inclined to see it through.

“Now, I’ve always wanted to say this, so I hope you’ll indulge me,” Joe said, coming back over to Nicky. “Remember how I said your shirt wasn’t that bad?” Nicky nodded, groaning, and Joe cackled and said, “I think it would look better on my floor.”

“That was terrible,” Nicky told him solemnly. Joe beamed at him. Nicky sighed and, without stopping to let himself worry too much, reached behind his head and pulled the shirt off, letting it drop to the floor. “Well?” he asked, after a moment of Joe staring slack-jawed at his torso. “Were you right?”

“Huh?” Joe visibly shook himself, then laughed at himself. “Definitely better without it. My turn,” he added, shrugging off his jacket and tossing it onto the dresser. His shirt had buttons, and Nicky wasn’t entirely surprised to see he wasn’t wearing an undershirt.

That was the last thought Nicky had about it, because what Joe revealed when he shrugged his shirt off had Nicky gazing slack-jawed at him. “You’re an artist, you said?” he said weakly. “Not a model?”

Joe laughed, rubbing at his neck as though he felt shy. His torso was sculpted to within an inch of its life, shaved or waxed smooth over his pectorals but with a trail of hair starting below his navel that Nicky found himself wanting to follow down into his trousers. “I work out a lot?” he offered.

“I’ll bet,” Nicky breathed. “Come back here.” Joe came, and Nicky pulled him back into his arms. The kissing was even better without shirts, Joe’s skin smooth and warm against Nicky’s, and the slope of his lower back was frankly obscene when Nicky ran his hands down it. “Trousers,” Nicky bit out against Joe’s lower lip.

Joe nodded frantically, and they scrambled out of their trousers, tossing them aside. Joe splayed himself across the purple comforter and Nicky all but launched himself on top of him, slotting their mouths together again.

He could feel Joe growing harder against his hip, through his boxers and Joe’s skin-tight briefs. It only made Nicky’s desire to kiss Joe, to run his hands all over his perfect body, to fuck him until neither of them could walk, flare sharper and hotter in his belly. He broke his mouth away from Joe’s to slip it down over his jaw to his neck, licking until he found his pulse point and sucking there.

Joe groaned, his body arcing up to press against Nicky’s. “Shit,” he gasped, “you’re sure you’ve never done this before?”

“Not with a man,” Nicky said, and then kissed his mouth again, so there was no more talking for a few wet, sloppy minutes.

Joe finally pushed him away, gasping. “I still want to blow you,” he said. “Still okay with that?”

“Very,” Nicky said hoarsely. His cock was almost fully hard now, and he could feel the wet spot on his boxers.

At Joe’s urging, he rolled onto his back, propped up by Joe’s voluminous pillows, and shimmied his boxers down, throwing them across the room. “Fuck,” Joe breathed, drawn into stillness at Nicky’s revealed cock. “Oh, I know exactly how this night is going to go.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah,” Joe said, but instead of explaining, he picked up the condom and tossed it onto Nicky’s chest. Nicky took the hint and ripped it open.

Joe kissed him while he rolled the condom on, making him groan, and then slipped down his body until his head was level with Nicky’s cock. “Can I put my hand in your hair again?” Nicky asked.

Joe nodded. “Stay more on the tugging side, rather than pulling?”

“Sure.” Joe caught his eye until Nicky nodded again, then sucked a brief, hard kiss into Nicky’s thigh and, without further preamble, licked up the side of Nicky’s erection.

“Oh fuck,” Nicky gasped, one hand fisting into the sheet and the other flying to the back of Joe’s head, where he could work his fingers between Joe’s curls as Joe worked his mouth down Nicky’s cock. He groaned, wretched, as Joe’s mouth slipped halfway down and his hand closed around what was left. Then Joe twisted his wrist at the same moment he sucked on his upstroke and Nicky’s head thudded into the pillows, all thought leaving him.

Nicky had had blowjobs before, and good ones too; but none of the women who’d put their mouths on his cock had seemed to enjoy it like Joe was enjoying it. When Nicky wrenched his head back up, unable to breathe without being able to see Joe’s face, Joe’s eyes were closed in seeming bliss. He bobbed his head up and down, at one point humming and making Nicky’s fingers tighten in his hair, and then slipped off to mouth his way down to Nicky’s root and take his balls into his mouth.

“Santa Maria,” Nicky swore as Joe swallowed him down again, “Holy Mother of God, Joe, yes.” Joe hummed again, one eye opening just to wink up at him, and he sucked, hard, his cheeks hollowing until Nicky could feel them against his cock.

Joe tortured him for a few more long, agonizing minutes, before he pulled off for a final time, pressed a last kiss the head of Nicky’s cock, and sat up, rubbing his jaw. “Mmm, thank you,” he purred, eyes heavy-lidded as he gazed at Nicky.

“Thank you.” Nicky panted, trying to catch his breath as his body inched back down from the orgasm he had been climbing toward. “That was amazing.”

“I take pride in my work,” Joe said. He grinned at Nicky. “Ready for the next step?”

The next step, if Nicky wasn’t mistaken, was him working his fingers into Joe’s ass. “Yes,” he said, and meant it.

Nicky had never considered gloves, but Joe pushed a pair on him, and he had to admit the efficacy as the man drizzled lube over Nicky’s fingers. “Clever,” he said. “Easier cleanup.”

Joe clicked his tongue and winked at him, then knelt over and straddled Nicky’s waist. He took hold of Nicky’s wrist and drew it around behind him, until Nicky’s fingers were brushing his hole. His ass was pert and hairy, and Nicky kind of regretted that he couldn’t see it from this angle. “Rub the lube around the rim,” Joe instructed, and hissed in a breath when Nicky obeyed.

Joe talked him through the first finger, his head lolling on his neck as Nicky breached him. “Mmm, that’s delicious,” he murmured. “Move it around? You’re trying to stretch me.”

Nicky obliged, tugging at Joe’s rim in a way that felt good, to judge from Joe’s gasp and soft moan. “Another?” Joe asked. Nicky pulled out and pushed back in with two, surprised at the way Joe parted for him even as he knew people did this all the time without hurting themselves.

“You’ve got good fingers,” Joe panted.

“I like yours too,” Nicky said. Joe’s fingers were long and elegant; Nicky could easily imagine them clutching a piece of charcoal, or wrapped around a paintbrush.

Joe’s nipple was hovering at eye level, pert and pebbled. Nicky tilted his head up and licked it, then closed his lips around it and sucked gently as he scissored his fingers inside Joe.

“Oh shit,” Joe breathed. His hand cupped the back of Nicky’s head and the other rested on his shoulder. “You’re good at this. One more, I think.”

“One more,” Nicky said, pulling his hand free. He poured fresh lube over his fingers and returned them to Joe’s hole, lining them up and pushing home. Joe groaned low and long, his ass twitching down to meet Nicky’s intrusion.

Nicky rose to it, fucking his fingers in and out of Joe’s hole until Joe was bouncing on his palm, stretching him until he gasped. “Fuck, Nicky,” he gritted out, almost begging. “I want your cock.”

“Then take it,” Nicky said. He freed his fingers and started to strip the glove off, until Joe stopped him. Joe shuffled down until Nicky’s cock was in front of him, then grabbed the lube and drizzled a healthy stream onto Nicky’s sheathed cock. Nicky used his gloved hand to smear it all over himself, gritting his teeth against the slide, and then Joe let him remove the glove and drop it on the nightstand.

“Fuck, I want you,” Joe said again, kneeling up over Nicky’s cock.

“Then take me,” Nicky repeated. Joe’s eyes locked onto his, his fingers grasped Nicky’s cock, and without further ado he impaled himself on it.

“Fuuuuuuuuuuuck,” Nicky groaned, as Joe slid himself down and around his cock. “Fuck, that feels amazing.” Joe hadn’t been stingy with the lube, and his ass was slick and wet and burning hot around Nicky.

“Oh God, you’re perfect,” Joe moaned. “Fit me so well, Nicky, like you were made for me.”

“Fuck, Joe, fuck me,” Nicky begged, all thoughts of heterosexuality long gone, and with that Joe was off, his thick, muscular thighs flexing as he bounced on Nicky’s cock like he had his fingers, ass slamming down into his thighs on every downstroke.

Nicky got his wits about him after a moment, despite the breath-stealing pleasure of it all, and started fucking up into Joe, fumbling on the first few thrusts but quickly gaining hold of the rhythm.

Joe’s breath was sobbing out of him; his face was screwed up in bliss, head tipped back on his shoulders. Nicky took hold of his waist and forced himself up, wrapping himself around Joe so he could get his mouth on his corded neck again, Joe’s beard brushing his cheek. The shift in angle made Joe cry out and clutch at his shoulders, fingernails scrabbling at his skin as he kept impaling himself on Nicky’s cock with wild abandon.

They fucked like animals, their torsos slick with sweat and rubbing against each other. “Fuck, I’m close,” Nicky gasped into Joe’s shoulder, rubbing his nose into his skin to smell him better.

“Me too,” Joe panted, “fuck, fuck, Nicky.” He suddenly grabbed hold of Nickys shoulders and forced him back down into the pillows. Bent over him, he rolled his hips twice into Nicky’s cock, three times, and then came with a shout, hot semen bursting out over Nicky’s stomach and chest.

The sight of Joe’s face at his moment of climax sent Nicky crazy, and even as Joe gasped and stilled above him, Nicky slammed into him four more times and finished, biting his groan into Joe’s neck as his cock pulsed inside him.

“Holy fucking shit,” Joe gasped, dropping until his forehead was against Nicky’s collarbone. “Oh my God that was good.”

“That was good,” Nicky echoed breathlessly. He loosened his grip on Joe’s waist and skimmed his hands up to rest on his shoulders. “Really, really, really good.”

They stayed like that for a few hot minutes, and then finally Joe pushed himself up and rolled his neck and his shoulders until his back cracked. “Fuck,” he said decisively, and reaching behind himself unseated Nicky’s softening cock from inside him.

He rolled onto Nicky’s side, head propped up on his hand. “Well?” he said. “What’s the verdict?”

“I like broccoli,” Nicky said, gazing at him stupidly. “I really, really, really like broccoli.”

Joe grinned and kissed him, tongue sweeping into his mouth like it belonged there. Nicky let himself be kissed until Joe was done with him, which he announced by pulling away and collapsing on top of the comforter with a groan. “I need to clean up,” he said, eyes screwed shut, “but I don’t think I can move.”

“Me too, and me either,” Nicky said, gazing at the mess of Joe’s come on his belly. “Can we set an alarm for twenty minutes?”

“My phone’s in my trousers,” Joe said. “So’s yours, I bet. Ugh, no, best to push through.” He pushed himself up with another pained groan, and shuffled to the edge of the bed to stand up.

Nicky followed suit, and Joe led him to the bathroom, which was just outside the bedroom door. In this room, the rug and towels were a bright pink. Joe wet a washcloth for Nicky and one for himself, and cleaned the mess of lube from his ass while Nicky wiped his chest and stomach down.

Once they were clean and dry again, they went back into the bedroom. Joe hovered awkwardly for a moment by the piles of their clothing on the floor, and laughed as Nicky walked past him and started pulling the covers down. “Are you staying tonight?” Joe asked, amusement in his voice.

Nicky straightened, caught out. He’d been hoping Joe would just roll with it. “How can I suck your cock in the morning if I leave now?” he asked, hoping it sounded smooth instead of uncomfortable.

Joe tossed his head back and cackled. “A compelling point well made,” he said. “Yes, stay tonight.”

Nicky planned to stay for quite a bit longer than just that night, but as he and Joe clambered under the covers and Joe turned out the light, he figured he could wait and start the proper wooing the next day.