when john says he wants to come back to new york, harold’s relief is so intense he thinks he’ll break down in the middle of the café. he recovers by making plans—a session with harold’s tailor for john, a trip to the museum for the exhibit harold wants to see. there’s never enough time—the numbers keep coming, and helping them takes priority. but being so far away lends a sense of anonymity, however fleeting, and that, coupled with the joy of their reunion, creates a feeling of spaciousness and freedom that neither of them ever get to feel.
“surely detective fusco and miss shaw can manage without us for one day,” harold suggests.
with a grin, john replies, “you’re the boss, harold.”
so they turn their phones off, and they are alone together. just two people enjoying a fine day.
as they walk down the street toward gianni’s shop, harold takes john’s hand. and john smiles down at him.
under the guise of picking out new pocket squares, harold observes while john is fitted for his suits. gianni’s touch is purely professional, but harold finds it quite erotic to watch the tailor’s deft hands run themselves along john’s body. when gianni excuses himself to begin crafting the suits, harold walks up to john, takes his lapel in one hand, and pulls john’s face down to his. swiftly, silently, he kisses john. john’s hands come around to harold’s back, just under the shoulder blades, and he pulls harold against him. harold groans into john’s mouth.
john releases him and gives harold a rather wolfish smile. “something on your mind, harold?”
harold gives john a small, sly look.
john is more excited by harold’s company than anything at the museum, but he enjoys it when harold tells him why he likes certain paintings, what he sees. john is frequently in awe of the way harold sees the world, and this is a new way in—how harold sees what is beautiful, and not just what is terrible. it makes him hungry for harold. he slides his hand around harold’s waist, under his suit coat and vest. slowly, subtly, john works one corner of harold’s shirt up, then finds a soft place near harold’s hip bone. harold inhales swiftly at the sudden contact.
very quietly, he asks, “something on your mind, john?”
john’s desire pulses in his groin, but he keeps his tone light. “just admiring the view.”
dinner is an extravagant affair. there are several exquisite dishes and a glass of excellent wine, though neither man’s mind is on food. even harold, the connoisseur, barely tastes the meal. but they have had to rush so many times before—moments stolen between dangers and griefs. tonight they linger, sipping their wine and savoring their time together, anticipating what is to come.
so when harold orders dessert, john smiles and leans back in his chair. “there’s a bed waiting for us, you know,” he says.
“are you getting impatient, john?”
john smiles. “just making conversation.”
their dessert arrives, and harold picks up a spoonful and offers it to john. john locks eyes with harold as he leans forward and slowly tastes the confection, all cream and cinnamon and chocolate. then he closes his eyes and lets the flavors mingle on his tongue. he hums with pleasure.
when he opens his eyes, harold’s mouth is slightly open, an expression which in public is tantamount to a complete loss of composure. john chuckles as harold clears his throat.
“your point about the bed seems suddenly more salient,” harold says.
john raises his eyebrows in mock innocence. “does it?”
“yes, perhaps we’d better see to it.”
“you’re probably right,” says john. but instead he orders them both an espresso. “gonna be a long night, after all.”
then he winks at harold, and harold’s groin throbs.
as they walk toward the elevator to their room, harold fights to match john’s casual pace. the dual effects of the espresso and his mounting need make him long to take john by the elbow and hurry him along, but he takes a slow, steady breath instead and lets the anticipation bubble in his stomach.
the elevator dings open, they board it, and it dings closed. in the enclosed space there is no distraction from each others’ bodies, their breaths beating out the rhythm of mutual desire.
the elevator dings: floor one. harold can’t take it anymore. he says, “john,” and suddenly john is everywhere, hands and chest and hips; he has harold up against the elevator wall, his mouth against harold’s, his hands at harold’s belt—
the elevator dings: floor two. harold’s trousers are on the floor, john’s face is buried in his neck, their hot breath mingling in the silence—
the elevator dings: floor three. john is inside him, and harold can’t think at all, his mind an utter blank, his hands curled around john’s ass as john drives into him—
the elevator dings: floor four. john pulls away, grinning, leaving harold hard and gasping. “did you—?”
nonchalantly, john replies, “no, that was just a taste.”
the elevator dings: floor five. john is buttoning his trousers and straightening his suit jacket. harold’s hands are shaking, but he pulls himself together somehow.
the elevator dings: floor six. harold says, “that was—“ but the door opens and he breaks off. a stylishly dressed woman boards the elevator and casts john an appraising look.
“gentlemen,” she says.
john gives her a bored-looking nod, then reaches out and takes harold’s hand.
the elevator dings: floor seven. their floor. harold can barely see, he’s so overcome, but somehow they find their room. once inside, john takes harold’s face in his hands and kisses him until harold is light-headed and panting. keeping his face close to harold’s, john whispers, “i missed you.”
harold slides his hands up to john’s face, then down his neck to his shoulders, easing john’s suit jacket off. john takes harold’s hands in his own and kisses the palm of one, then the other. he untucks harold’s shirt and slides his hands up harold’s torso, then around to his back. tenderly, he runs his fingertips along the scars on harold’s lower back. for the first time, harold doesn’t flinch. he lets john explore his skin while he unbuttons john’s shirt. john obligingly shrugs out of the shirt and harold runs his hands along john’s well-muscled arms, finding the sensitive skin on the inside of his forearms. john’s hands move down to harold’s ass as he kisses him again.
the rest of their clothes come off slowly, a piece at a time, hands and lips traversing each fresh piece of skin. once they are fully naked, the length of john’s body pressed against his, harold murmurs, “i think we’ve waited long enough.”
john smiles. he takes harold in his arms and moves to the bed, easing harold down gently. john covers harold’s chest with kisses, then at last moves down between his legs. harold draws a shuddering breath when john takes him in his mouth, moving his tongue deliberately across the tip of him, drawing all of him into his throat, and harold moans, enveloped in the warm wetness of john—“john,” he says aloud, “oh, john—“
harold comes in waves, his release crashing through his body like waves on the shore, again and again. john nuzzles his cheek against harold’s soft belly, then moves upward, rubbing his hard cock against harold’s thigh. with one slick finger, then another, he slowly enters harold, making him gasp again. john smiles against harold’s collarbone, then moves his fingers experimentally. when he finds the spot that makes harold cry out, he focuses all his attention there, pressing hard and quickly, then easing off for a bit before intensifying the pressure again. when he senses harold is ready, john slides his cock into him, inch by inch, until he is completely inside. john moves out and back in with precision, over and over, until they are both trembling, until john’s own orgasm crests and he buries his face in harold’s chest.
john and harold carry on like this until the sun begins to lighten the sky and they are both utterly spent and fall deeply asleep in each others’ arms.
harold wakes first. the warm morning breeze is coming through the window, and each delicious memory from the night before surfaces languidly. out of habit, harold turns his phone on. there is a message from miss shaw—another number. harold sighs. he knew their reprieve couldn’t last long, and though they certainly made the most of it, he wishes it wasn’t over so soon.
he rolls over to john and kisses his eyelids gently. as john begins to stir, harold gets under the sheets and puts his mouth on him, bringing him up and over right as john wakes. john gives a long groan, then smiles. “every morning should start like this.”
“i couldn’t agree more.” harold’s smile wavers as he says, “unfortunately, john, we need to be getting back home.”
john sighs. “i was afraid you’d say that.” harold swivels to get out of bed, but john puts a hand on his arm. “not yet.”
“but john, we’ve got to—“
“we will,” john says. he slides forward until he is sitting behind harold, then brings his hand around between harold’s legs. harold rocks into his hand, letting his head fall back onto john’s shoulder as john moves on him harder and faster. harold is close when john stops, making him gasp.
john grins devilishly as he rearranges their bodies. with harold kneeling, john can support him and have all the access he needs. he reaches for harold’s cock again, positioning the tip of himself at harold’s opening. he increases the pressure on harold, moves faster. he can feel harold let go, feel the exact moment when harold stops thinking and abandons himself to what he is feeling, to what john is making him feel.
he slides into harold—just barely, just enough to elicit another gasp. he releases the pressure on harold’s cock and teases the tip of him with a finger, drawing it down harold’s shaft to his balls.
“do you want me, harold?” john caresses him gently, lets his hot breath fall on harold’s neck.
“yes,” harold breathes, “always.”
john moves into harold, one more inch, hardly able to bear it himself. with his tongue, he finds the tender place where harold’s shoulder meets his neck. harold trembles, and john moves his hand back to harold’s cock, taking him firmly while advancing another inch inside him. harold cries out, and the sound undoes all of john’s restraint. he pounds into harold, pressing harold’s back to his chest with one hand, the other working relentlessly on harold’s cock until both of them come hard, john muffling his own moans in harold’s shoulder.
when their breathing calms, john kisses the nape of harold’s neck. harold sighs contentedly, leaning back into him. the morning is well-ripened now, and they can’t stay. harold stands, then takes john’s face in his hand for a last kiss in this sanctuary away from their cares.