<< Back to Chapter 12: New Equilibrium

Spring had taken its sweet time, but it was finally here to stay. The last of the snow was gone, the air was starting to feel mild, and days were longer than nights again. It was a sunny afternoon without much wind and with only the lightest, fluffiest of clouds to be seen.

In short, it was about as good a day as you could ask for to move house. And with my newly exalted rank and pay scale(the latter of which still didn’t hold a candle to some people I know, but anyway), it was about time to do so.


<< Back to Chapter 11: Bouncing Back | Epilogue >>

Dinner was good. Hanging out afterward was better. Getting sandwiched between the two skunks for one last romp was a new brand of intense, even if Sam didn’t push more than halfway in or so, and drifting off with them to either side was an experience I’ll not soon forget.

But when I woke up between them, I felt… awkward. Not the waiting-for-the-shoe-to-drop feeling of doing something I shouldn’t, nor even expecting the whole business to fall apart suddenly. I just felt like I didn’t quite belong; like, no matter how much they tried to make me feel welcome, I’d always be an outsider, in their house and in their bed.


<< Back to Chapter 10: Period of Adjustment | On to Chapter 12: New Equilibrium >>

The day wore into the evening without much further event. I’d got over my nervousness enough to sit in contact with him – yeah, pretty close to his package, at that – but it wasn’t gone entirely; besides, the last few days had left me pretty well sated. So things stayed casual; a bit more conversation, a few hours of gaming with some idle chatter mixed in, a light dinner. After the last, I was starting to feel a bit ragged from a high-strung day; despite how much sleep I’d got in the past few days, more of it was the main thing on my agenda.

The thought of going back upstairs to that big bed made me quail, though. I didn’t know why. It seemed like it’d be a big step, though – like I’d be moving in – if I were to occupy that bed. And I wasn’t ready for that.

When I asked Sam if I could borrow their spare room for the night, he didn’t seem surprised or dismayed. A little wistful, yeah – just enough to let me know he’d have welcomed my company – but he helped me get settled without a word of complaint. Gave me a kiss goodnight, too – strong enough to make my heart pound, not so much that it felt like he was going to slide in with me. Or into me. At any rate, one last nuzzle to my ears, one more squeeze to my shoulder, and he left me to it.

Another time, that kiss would’ve probably left me with a raging hard-on and the question of what to do with it. This time, though – well, even I had to admit that I’d got an enviable amount of sex in the past few days. Either that or general exhaustion was enough to keep things from getting beyond a slight stirring.


<< Back to Chapter 9: Reconciliation | On to Chapter 11: Bouncing Back >>

It didn’t take long for anxiety to set in. Once Sarah was no longer right there, it was hard to stifle the conviction that I was cheating on her, that she’d object, that she’d kick me out of the house or worse. I tried to remind myself that she’d been right there and said it was okay, tried to catch some lingering trace of her scent, but it was an uphill fight for sure.

It also didn’t take Sam long to notice, sliding his fingers along my jaw. “What’s wrong?” came his inquiring murmur.

“Nothing,” I replied, not quite able to contain my frustration that I was getting wound up despite knowing there was nothing wrong. “Just being neurotic.”

He sighed, his hand moving to my shoulder and giving it a squeeze. “Damn. I’m sorry for that.” (more…)

<< Back to Chapter 8: Lost and Found | On to Chapter 10: Period of Adjustment >>

I was still trying to figure out what the hell to say when a distraction presented itself.

Well, I wasn’t really looking for a distraction. In fact, I tried to ignore it. Sam was the first one who said, “Hey, do you two smell mushrooms?”

“Probably something going past the stairs downstairs,” I said, and kept thinking. How could I forgive someone – two someones – when I was the one who thought I’d screwed up?

But who had screwed up, really?

Even if it was okay in the end, I should’ve asked. But then…

“No, someone’s coming up the stairs,” Sarah said. “And I definitely smell mushrooms now.”


<< Back to Chapter 7: Storm-Tossed | On to Chapter 9: Reconciliation >>

Waking up was an odd experience. A phone was ringing, but it wasn’t my phone – not my cell phone, and not the phone in the townhouse. And at the sound, someone moved just behind me, and a whiff of sandalwood touched my nose.

Even when a voice started speaking, I was muddled enough that it took me a few moments to recognize Ric. I don’t know who else I might have expected it to be; it’s not like I’m used to waking up beside someone. And remembering Ric made me remember what had happened before I slept.

God, it had been nice to be held.


<< Back to Chapter 6: Hook, Line, and Sinker | On to Chapter 8: Lost and Found >>

I should have been more careful, really.

The week had gone well enough; a few more rounds of gaming over the weeknights, good progress on Call of Dreams on Saturday, and Sarah even pronounced that my back was healing well and I could start regular practise the next week.

I even got through the night without any romantic crisis, though once I got home, curiosity and frustration combined to prompt me to enjoy my resumed flexibility. Licking myself off was an odd but good feeling; the taste that followed, well… it wasn’t horribly off-putting, anyway. And that did keep it from getting all over the place.

Anyway… I’d have thought that all the time with them would’ve kept me on my guard. But no, when Dave Carpenter, my manager, stopped by my desk and said, “Tim? Could I see you in my office for a few minutes?” I wasn’t worried. I’d been doing decent work, always showed up on time and never clocked out early, so what did I have to worry about? He probably just wanted to talk about what I should work on next.

So, not wanting to lose track of where I was, I said, “Sure, Dave, I’ll be right there,” and finished that subroutine before following him into his office.

What a damn waste that was.


<< Back to Chapter 5: Into the Deep End | On to Chapter 7: Storm-Tossed >>

“So is there anything interesting going on at your job, Tim?”

It was Wednesday again, and that meant, again, drinks at Casey’s; myself, Sarah, and Sam in a row from left to right, Enrique leaning on the bar opposite us and occasionally dashing off to give one of the more transient customers something to drink.

I wasn’t sure if having Sarah still be right next to me was a good idea – beyond, of course, the fact that I’d have trouble holding a conversation with her if Sam were in between – but it probably was good news; it seemed to suggest she hadn’t been offended by my little display at the pool, anyway.

At any rate, this time I’d actually been looking forward to this sort of question.


<< Back to Chapter 4: The Game’s Afoot | On to Chapter 6: Hook, Line, and Sinker >>

The next Wednesday was another evening of drinks at Casey’s. Sarah continued down her list of sexually-named cocktails, making me blush from the way she said the very first one, but couldn’t make Enrique bat an ear however ha- however much she tried.

God damn it.

Sam didn’t help with his muttered reply of “Just you wait” to a few of the more blatantly named ones, of course.

Eventually, we set out for their place, and I blushed all the way there. It just figured, too, that Sam wanted to get a barbecue meal in before cooking outside became uncomfortable. After that exchange at the bar, anything remotely suggestive – even so passively so as the sausages being cooked up – was getting to me.


<< Back to Chapter 3: Over a Few Drinks | On to Chapter 5: Into the Deep End >>

I almost came to regret that decision. For whatever reason, our teacher, a middle-aged wolf and champion fighter named Jason Yin, had decided to drill the green-belts himself instead of leaving it to one of his senior students, and the regimen was gruelling. As the clock rolled past one, I contemplated calling to let Sam know I wouldn’t be up for a bout.

When break was called, I discovered a hitch in that plan: Sam was already there, a duffel bag over his shoulder, chatting up my teacher. Who, damn it all, looked far too happy to see someone here from a different school and style.

He wasn’t even surprised. He’d known about this in advance – Sam must’ve called to be sure showing up mid-session wouldn’t be thought rude.


<< Back to Chapter 2: First Encounters | On to Chapter 4: The Game’s Afoot >>

My dreams over the next week were unusually vivid, and even more unusually sensual. Most of them featured Sarah, of course. A good number had Sam in them too, though a few paired her up with Nicky instead. Wednesday morning, my alarm jolted me out of one that just featured Sam. I spent a few seconds cursing it for waking me up before he got his belt off, and the rest of the day being puzzled by that reaction.

It’s not that I’m any kind of homophobe. The cool crowd tried to tell me I should be, back in high school, but since they harassed me for my lunch money on a semi-regular basis, I wasn’t terribly inclined to respect their opinions. I’d always seen it as sort of a stronger version of, oh, preferring blondes over brunettes – one of those things that some people liked and others, myself included, didn’t.

But that was just it. I’d never been attracted to guys, and I’d known some of all shapes, including some big, muscular ones. I’d never had dreams of a guy before that left me panting with lust when I woke up.


<< Back to Chapter 1: New In Town | On to Chapter 3: Over a Few Drinks >>

Hi Tim,

Sorry to change things on short notice, but we’re going to be running a bit behind tonight. Instead of trying to hash out a new time, how about you swing by our place whenever you’re ready? That way we can all go together as soon as everyone’s set, even if by some miracle we get back on track.

We’re at 115 Daxter. Just send an e-mail when you’re about to head out – one of us WILL be home. If we don’t hear back by 6:15 we’ll call.




On to Chapter 2: First Encounters >>

I don’t know what came over me. I’d done it before, and it had never amounted to anything good. I’d come to the conclusion that I was the sort of guy who just shouldn’t use personal ads.

Yet there I was, logging in to PalNet, clicking my way through page after page of picture-perfect people looking for hot dates, nights of fun and adventure, soul mates, and all that other stuff I’d never been able to provide. It was thoroughly depressing, and yet I kept coming back for more.

I was about to give up and raid the liquor cabinet – again – when one ad at the corner of the screen caught my eye. This one showed a couple – a man and a woman, both striped skunks – and if he was an enviable tower of masculinity and she slimly gorgeous, they were dressed in well-kept, everyday clothes, not the provocative numbers worn by the women(they were all women) in the few other pair pictures. There wasn’t much reference, but going by their builds, I figured him a bit over six feet, her about five nine, to my own five feet, seven inches.

If the picture had hooked my attention, the text reeled it right in:

NEW IN TOWN – Relaxed, easygoing couple seeking a local person to show them around a little. Low-pressure, varied tastes, sure to find something in common to enjoy. Daxter Ave, Pt Hampton. Reply by PalNote.