My thanks to Cia for editing.
We were taking a break from homework. Robin and Derek were in the kitchen screwing with Kale through text messages. Ever since Kale and Chase had gotten married and become dads all at once, we'd enjoyed teasing Kale about how fast Linc, their son, had wrapped Kale around his little finger. I'd run upstairs to use the bathroom and, when I was done, wasn't surprised to find Hamster waiting outside the door. Even though there was a half bath downstairs my dad had staked some weird man claim on it and none of us liked to use it.
I was just about to walk past Austin when he stopped me.
“Um, Lu? I need to ask your advice.”
“Me?” I asked, stopping in mid-stride. “Why?”
“What do you mean, why?” Austin asked, a puzzled look on his face. “You're my half-best friend, who else am I going to ask?”
“Your other half-best friend?” I snickered. Leaning against the wall with my hands behind me I waited for him to continue.
“I'd ask him,” Hamster's head bobbed in agreement. “He usually gives good advice. But he said you were the guy to talk to about...being a top.”
“Oh,” I said, slightly shocked. That meant that either Hamster had asked Robin or Derek had. “I don't top every time. I also can't believe I'm telling you that.”
We both laughed quietly. Hamster leaned against the wall opposite me and smiled in embarrassment. “Derek got a pretty...well, lets just say he's all about taking this step with me.”
“I haven't been laid in so long, I'm jealous,” I said truthfully. “I'm not sure what you want me to tell you, though.”
“Well...” Hamster shifted on his feet and made an uncertain motion with his hands. “I want this to be good for Derek, too. Like, I'm not just wanting to get off. I guess Robin said...you know what you're doing.”
“It's been so long, I've probably forgotten,” I said, frowning. “I'm just not sure what to tell you, though, Austin. Is there something specific...?”
“It's our first time, Lu. I don't want to hurt him.”
“Oh,” I said and fell into a short silence. “Well, it does hurt. At least, the first time. It's like, your muscles have to get used to it.”
“But how can I...you know, make that better?”
“Foreplay,” I said confidently. “Use plenty of lube and go slow. Use your fingers to get his body used to it. Stretch him out some and listen to him.”
“What do you mean, listen to him?”
“Well, like, let him set the pace. See, the thing about being a top – at least for me and Robin – is I let him set the pace. He's in control of what feels good for him and how fast we start. If you let Derek, like, control that then you won't risk hurting him.”
“Let him, you know,” I said in embarrassment, “sit on on it. He can control how much of you...you know...”
“Oh. Oh!” Austin's face shifted from vaguely confused with his mouth open to sudden understanding – and a snapping shut of his mouth. “I see what you're saying. Okay, yeah. I was thinking of a different position and was worried I'd...you know...”
“Jesus, Hamster. Either you sound like you want to pound him through the mattress or you have a baby's arm between your legs!” I laughed.
“No!” he said, laughing. “It's just that...” he trailed off and looked away from me, color rising in his face. “Lucien, I really, really like him. I might even love him and I want this to be special for both of us, not just because it's our first time but because I want him to feel good. I want him to feel...”
“Yeah,” he said, slowly meeting my eyes. “But most important, I don't want him to regret it. I don't want him to regret giving that to me.”
“You're a good guy, Austin. I ever tell you that?” I grinned. “Just take it slow, let him set the pace and you'll do okay.”
We went back downstairs but not much else dominated my thoughts but how long it had been since I'd touched Robin intimately. Even though my body and mind were always ready for Robin, right then he was all I could think about. Curiously, after my conversation with Austin, I was thinking about how often I do top, when we are together. It had been a long time since I'd felt him and, unsurprisingly, he was a talented, loving top. I chewed on that all evening and the more I did, the more I wanted it.
I looked at my book bag, sitting between the seats and mentally cursed it. I did the same to my mother for causing me to slip behind a year in my schooling and requiring me to do all this work to catch up to Robin. The light changed and I went through the intersection, trailing behind Robin's blue pocket rocket. He'd never been all that into cars, before, but now that he had this speed demon he'd discovered it was stupidly fun to drive.
He'd toned it down some after the first speeding ticket. Not only had he gotten in trouble at home but his dad refused to get it fixed for him, so he tried to take his foot off the gas a little. Mostly. Still, my bus was no speed demon and he dwindled before my eyes, turning and heading for home. Today was my turn to pick up Derek and Hamster for homework night.
Tonight, per his parent's request, we were at the Kirkwoods. I came to a stop at the next light and my bag shifted position, thumping heavily. I glanced at it and a surge of exhaustion swept through me at the thought of all the work yet to do, and it was only Wednesday. A horn brought my attention back to the road and I moved through the intersection.
My hair was still damp under my hoodie from swim practice. No matter how dry I tried to get, my hair was stubborn about it. The only part about being on the team I was enjoying was that it made Robin happy, but the rest of it was costing me seriously. I forced myself to stop grinding my teeth and blew forceful breath through my compressed lips.
I pulled up in front of Derek's apartment and honked the horn. With as cold as it was, I didn't want to get out into that bitter wind so I figured I'd give them a few minutes and a couple bleats of the horn before I tried to go get them. I leaned forward to look out the windshield at the second floor and hit the horn again. A light popped on and the curtain moved in Derek's room. It was brief but I groaned anyway – Derek didn't have a shirt on. I was betting he'd be walking a little slowly, too.
I felt pretty jealous right then as I threw myself back in my seat. I had no time for an afternoon of lovemaking or even a hurried blow job. I blew a breath out and turned my head as the light came on in front of the building and Hamster held the door open for Derek. Well, he seemed to be walking fine. Maybe I gave them a case of blue balls?
“Hey, sorry,” Austin said as he slid the side door open. Derek climbed in ahead of him and smiled at me, but he was blushing. Yeah, I'd interrupted something all right.
“I just got here, no sweat,” I replied. The door rumbled closed and I turned in my seat and regarded them, squinting an eye. “Something's different.”
Derek turned a little more red and smiled widely. “Let's just say that you and Robin give excellent advice.”
I glanced at Hamster, who was smiling in a very satisfied manner and then back at Derek, whose hand moved over to take Austin's.
“Seriously? After my first time I could barely walk. You look like you're ready for round two!” I said, unable to keep a laugh out of my voice.
“Um. Three,” Austin said. “We're going to be late, Lu.”
“Three? Are you...never mind,” I said waving my hand and turning back around.
“But, Lu, you're advice was...” Austin said.
“No!” I said, raising a hand. “Stop talking!” I put the bus in gear and pulled out into traffic while they laughed behind me.
I pulled into a space at the Kirkwoods and gathered my school bag as well as my swim gear. Whichever house we were at in the evening, we washed our stuff for the next day and I'd already learned that if I left it in the van I'd regret it. For one thing, they'd actually freeze. For a second, Mrs. K would make me go back out into the frozen tundra to get them.
As I trudged to the house I reflected on her. I still don't get where she's coming from. This summer, after Robin's birthday, she seemed totally cool with us. Then she got all freaky early in the school year and now she was hovering somewhere in between. Washing my stuff for me seems nice, but she also seemed to enjoy sending me into the cold when I forgot it.
Even worse I was touching Robin constantly, but not in a good way. I felt like Linus from the old Peanuts comic strips and Robin had become my security blanket. I had pulled my hands away from him a hundred times or more since we had been having study nights at his house and it was always because his mother's eyes were on me. When I touched Robin, under her eyes, I felt like some kind of criminal. I couldn't say anything to Robin, either. He'd already gone to bat for me with his folks just last month with that stupid wedding so it really wasn't fair for me to put him in that position.
I opened the front door and added my shoes to the pile in the hallway, as did Hamster and Derek. We always studied at the dining room table so I went there first to put my heavy book bag down and, not finding Robin or his brothers, headed downstairs with my swim bag. Mrs. K was downstairs putting Robin's things in the washer.
“Just in time,” she said, holding a hand out for my bag.
“I can wash our stuff, Mrs. K, you don't have to,” I said.
She waved her hand at me impatiently, “I think I can still wash my son's clothes.”
I handed her my bag in defeat. It didn't matter what I said or did, it was always the wrong thing with her. I went back up and, still not finding Robin, passed through the kitchen and up to his room. He'd gotten changed out of his school clothes and put on snug sweat pants and a long tee. He glanced up at me, his dark blue eyes flashing a gleam that always zapped me like lightning to my heart. Something in my body language clued him in that not all was fine, though, and he opened his arms to me. Tossing my glasses to his bed I gratefully buried my face in his neck. He must have come home and showered, there was no pool chemical smell on him.
“What's wrong, Lucien?” he asked, rubbing my back.
I didn't want to tell him, it would only make him feel like he was part of the problem. But, after my meltdown last month, I had told him we'd talk through things. That I wouldn't run. So now, I'm stuck between not talking to spare his feelings and not running. Instead I just...
“Lucien,” he said, placing his hands on my shoulders and gently pushing me backward. I resisted, clutching him to me and breathing in deeply the scent of his skin. He relented, his hands returning to rubbing my back. I shivered against him, nuzzling his neck. I placed a kiss on this warm skin and rested my head on his shoulder and whispered in his ear.
“I want you to fuck me.”
He twitched in my arms, his hands stilling for a moment before continuing on their lazy journey.
“That's unusual, coming from you,” Robin said. I shivered again as the whisper of his words tickled my ear.
“I'm stressed out,” I confessed. “I want you to fuck me silly so I can forget about everything but you and me for a while. I just want to look into your magnificent blue eyes and have the whole world go away, where only the two of us matter.”
“That was both sexy and loving,” Robin said, and I felt his smile as his face moved against mine.
“I'm serious, Robin,” I told him and pulled my head back to look at him. “We haven't made love in months – not since your birthday, really. Between school and sports and homework...” I felt my eyes go wide, realizing I'd just spilled some of what I'd been holding back for fear of hurting his feelings.
“I know,” Robin's voice was subdued as he tilted his forehead to meet mine. “You've been working so hard and I'm so proud of you.”
I buried my face in his neck and started to cry. Shit. I hated to cry, but my frustration had reached a breaking point and I needed some kind of release. Robin held me while I shook and tried to let out just the minimum to regain some composure, but once released I found it was hard to get a grip on my emotions. In seconds flat I was a blubbering mess and Robin was doing his best to soothe my stupid ass.
“Robin, I need you. Like, right now.”
“We can't,” he said regretfully. “Derek and Hamster are downstairs, remember? Besides, I can't just shove it in, you know.”
“Sure you can,” I said, tangling my fingers in his hair. “There has to be lube in here.”
“Lucien,” he said, smiling and giving me a light kiss. “You may not remember since I'm usually the one bottoming, but it's not a fast thing. It can be really painful if you go too fast, too quick. You have to be gentle.”
“Well, I guess we must know that since Derek is walking just fine.”
“They did it?” Robin giggled. “Well, they waited quite a while. I'm glad.”
“I'd be happier if I was getting some,” I said sullenly and pushed my face resolutely back into his neck.
“I know, me too. I'll figure something out, we're both long overdue. It's been so long I might be a virgin again.”
I leaned back and looked at him. “Am I the only one of us who's missing sex?”
“No,” Robin smiled. “I'm so tired of wishing you were in my bed and being frustrated about the lack of time. I promise, we'll find some time soon. For the sake of both our sanities.”
“Hey, you guys coming?”
“Not with you around!” I grumped. “Oh, shit, I hope your mom didn't hear!” I said, slapping a hand over my face.
“Come on, lover boy,” Robin said with a giggle and grabbed my butt and pushed me out of his room.
“That's so not fair,” I grumbled some more as we headed down to do homework.
Mrs. K makes something large for our homework nights for dinner. She knows neither Robin nor I have eaten when we get there and, even though Hamster and Derek likely have, they usually have a little anyway to be sociable.
As we arrived at the table Austin was sitting and showing Derek something on his phone. Derek had his elbows on the table as he bent over and Robin, I guess, just couldn't help himself.
“Is the chair too hard, Derek? Would you like a pillow?” he said in his most innocent tone.
“No, I'm fine,” Derek laughed and took a seat next to Hamster. Considering how sore I'd been the next day, that aggravated me.
“Here we go,” Mrs. K said as she placed a bowl of pasta on the table. “Help yourselves, I'll get some bread to go with that.” As she walked away she called to Sean and Jamie to come down to start their homework. We quickly settled into our nightly routine of comparing homework assignments and then working to take care of the easy stuff first.
Worksheets were done as a group and we discussed the answers if there was any disagreement. I had two reports due in two different English classes by Friday so, once the worksheets were done, I started working on that. I popped open my mini laptop and picked up from the last time I'd worked on this report. Robin was already done – writing reports came so easily to him.
The front door opened and a blast of cool air came through the room. “We're home!” Kale called out. Small feet came running into the dining room and Mrs. K was just in time for Linc to run to her and be swept up in her arms.
“Gamma!” he said enthusiastically. “All ice!”
“Ice?” she asked with a smile and glanced at Kale and Chase.
“We took him over to the lake to watch the ice skaters. He got to walk on the ice,” Chase told her while smiling indulgently at his son.
“Uncle Awtin!” he said loudly, reaching for Hamster.
“What?” Austin said teasingly. “If you want me, you have to come here!”
Linc began kicking his legs and Mrs. K laughed at him while setting him down. He ran over to Austin and did creditable job of climbing into his lap.
“Hi, buddy,” he cooed at the little boy who had a thing for Austin's hair. He was reaching and stroking the strands, which were due for a trim.
“Soft,” the little boy said.
“Come on, Linc. We need to brush your teeth,” Kale told him.
“I can do it!” Linc said to him, looking stubborn.
“Well, I want to watch, okay?”
“I can do it by myself!” Linc informed him in a firm tone.
“Why don't you go get your toothbrush ready and I'll come watch in a minute, okay? You can start by yourself like a big boy,” Chase told him.
“Okay, Papa,” he agreed. With one last stroke of Austin's hair he climbed down and ran full tilt to the stairs.
“He's so precious,” Mrs. K said, covering her face as if in prayer. “And he's so stubborn! He reminds me of Jamie as a baby.”
“Hey!” Jamie snapped his head around, indignant.
“He's still stubborn,” Kale teased. He walked over to the table and glanced over my shoulder. “Oh, that was a good book.”
“It was all right,” I conceded. “Robin's report is done, already.”
“Yeah, want to check it for me, Kale?”
“Sure,” Kale replied. That was squashed as Linc came back down the stairs missing his shirt and one shoe. In one hand was his tiny toothbrush and in the other was a tube of KY jelly.
“Daddy,” he said to Kale. “I don't 'ant this toofpaste.”
“Oh my God,” Derek exclaimed, covering his mouth.
“Linc, where did you get that?” Kale asked, maintaining his composure.
“Uncle Obin's 'oom.”
“Oh, sweet Jesus,” Robin said, bursting out with a belly laugh. “How hard did you have to look for that, Linc? Huh?” he asked, picking the boy up and tickling him.
The room was filled with Linc's squealing laughter and Robin asking him why he was looking for his toothpaste in uncle Robin's bedroom. I was amazed Robin wasn't embarrassed but, as I glanced around the room, Mrs. K was giving me a look that made me downright uncomfortable. What, now his KY was my fault? I felt like telling her something inappropriate and turned back to the mayhem that was Linc.
“Okay, let's go get your teeth brushed and you can finish getting changed for bed,” Kale said patiently. I was majorly impressed with how he handled Linc – it was like he was a born parent.
“Okay, daddy,” Linc said as Kale picked him up and they went upstairs.
“He's so cute,” Austin said as he and Derek packed their stuff up. Noting this I saved my page and shut my laptop down. There were squeaking noises from the floorboards and laughter from upstairs and Robin told us he wanted to run up and see what was going on. I finished putting my stuff in my bag and we cleared the table of our plates and glasses. I stacked Robin's plate onto mine and put our glasses and used napkins on top of that and headed to the kitchen.
“I can do that,” Mrs. K said, taking the plates from me.
“I'd be glad to help with the dishes, Mrs. K,” I offered.
“I'm capable, thank you,” she said. I sighed and went back to the living room. Robin came bounding back down the stairs and, as his gaze settled on me, his face burst into a smile.
“Uncle Lucien, Linc says it's your turn to read him 'Goodnight Moon',” Robin laughed. I smiled uncertainly.
“Uncle Lucien?” I asked.
“Yep. Uh,” he looked at Derek and Hamster. “I'll grab my keys and run you guys home.”
I put my bag down near the door and then headed up the stairs. Mrs. K had a small sewing room upstairs that had a pull out bed and that was where Linc was. He was lying on the bed with his book out and his bright eyes latched onto me as I entered the room.
“My little prince gets his way again,” Chase teased Linc. Looking at me he said, “Thank you. I'm not sure why but tonight, it's Uncle Lucien who has to read to him.”
I smiled uncertainly. “I've never been an uncle before.”
“Well, congrats on your new title, now get to work,” Chase laughed. He leaned down and kissed Linc's forehead and went to stand in the hallway.
“Hey, bud,” I said as I took a seat on the edge of his bed. “My turn to read to you, huh?”
“Yep,” he said with authority. “Daddy says we take tu'ns.”
“That's right, we do,” I smiled. “Okay, let's see this book.” I opened the book and Linc's eyes were locked on me as I read to him. It was a novel experience and I enjoyed telling him the story and by the time we were done, he was asleep.
“You're an expert uncle!” Chase whispered from the doorway. “You available to babysit?”
“Ha, ha,” I whispered. Chase turned out the light but left the door open so the light from the hall illuminated the room. There were footsteps on the stairs and Mrs. K appeared on the landing and looked up at Chase.
“Is it time for his story yet?” she asked.
“He wanted his Uncle Lucien tonight,” Chase said softly. “He's out. Lu has the touch.”
“Oh,” she said, tone instantly cool. “All right, let's hope he can sleep through the night, then. I'll just go finish up in the kitchen.” So saying she turned and went back down the stairs.
“What the...” I shook my head, unable to complete the sentence. Mother's have super hearing and I'm sure she'd have picked up whatever I'd have finished that sentence with.
“Trouble?” Chase asked.
“I guess,” I sighed. “She just...hasn't liked me for a while.”
“Oh come on, how could anyone not love you?” Chase said while putting an arm around my shoulders.
I smiled thinly. “She doesn't.”
“Who doesn't what?” Kale said from the door. “Is Lincoln out?”
“Like a light,” Chase said. “Lucien acquitted himself quite well.”
“Oh yeah?” Kale grinned as he leaned on the doorjamb. “Is he babysitting material?”
“Hey, I'm right here,” I said to Kale.
“I know,” he replied. “But I know you and Robin; we'll have to twist your arms into babysitting.”
“Why, you have a hook up with Alec and Sasha?” I teased. The sudden silence was pregnant with meaning.
“So, looks like your mom isn't too pleased with Lucien,” Chase said with a cough.
“What do you mean? What's not to like?” Kale asked. Chase steered me by my shoulder into their room and pushed me towards a chair.
“It probably has something to do with the fact he's sleeping with your brother and that fight you said they had last month.” Chase closed the door and he and Kale crossed the room to sit across from me on their bed.
“Yeah. The folks were pretty shaken up by that,” Kale confirmed.
“I'd like to point out, not that it's anyone's business, but we haven't been sleeping together for a while now,” I said sullenly.
“Why not? You guys are perfect together!” Chase exclaimed.
“Chase, we have no time!” I complained. “The amount of work I'm doing for school is more than I imagined and then when you add in the time for the sports teams...”
“This is why I didn't join the swim team,” Chase said to Kale. Turning back to me he asked, “Why are you on a sports team if you're so stressed?”
“Robin,” I said miserably. “Neither one of us wants to be apart so I joined to be with him.”
“Jesus,” Kale said. “You two are so...anyway, what's the problem with my mom?”
Kale took a seat on his bed and leaned forward, forearms on his legs and gave me his complete attention. I glanced from him to Chase, who took a seat as well, but was clearly letting Kale handle this with me.
I looked at Kale wretchedly, “I can't do anything right for her, Kale. Just look at tonight. She insists we wash our towels and swim trunks here after practice and I told her I could do it, she didn't have to – and she told me 'I think I can still wash my own son's clothes',” I said, mimicking her voice. Kale frowned at that but didn't interrupt.
“Then we cleared the table and I brought mine and Robin's dishes in. I offered to wash them and she just took the dishes and said she could manage. I'm totally confused,” I said throwing my hands in the air. “And Chase saw how she reacted when she found out I read Linc his book tonight.”
“She was pretty frosty,” Chase confirmed.
“After Robins' birthday I thought things were going to get better. She even said she felt like she could trust me with Robin and Robin was so happy...” I shook my head and let my hands flop uselessly. “Instead they got worse and lead to that big fight between Robin and your parents. Now she just looks at me like I'm...some thief or something.”
Kale's mouth twisted to the side and he said, “That's because you are.”
“What?” I said, my jaw dropping.
“Kale has an explanation, he doesn't mean you're really a thief. Right Kale?” Chase said, looking at his husband expectantly.
Kale sighed and gave me a rueful smile. “My mom has always had a weird bond with Robin. He's the most sensitive and empathetic of us and that's made them close. Out of all of us, he's the one that gets the 'momma's boy' label.”
“No, Robin's not helpless,” I said firmly.
“Not like that, doofus,” Kale said with a chuckle. “In some ways she sees Robin as her baby. Instead of Jamie being the baby of the family, she holds some of those feelings for Robin and...you're taking him away from her.”
“She lives with him! I can't take him anywhere!” I said in frustration.
“What I mean is...his heart is yours. The fight they had? That was nothing compared to what Robin told them the next morning. He filled me in and I won't repeat it all – but he was clear where you were concerned. You have to understand, Robin was always the one of us that was most compliant, most easygoing.”
“Oh, wow,” Chase said, his eyes going wide. “That's right. He really stood up for himself up there, didn't he?”
Kale nodded, “He did. And it was good, it needed to happen. I think Mom is just...I think she needs to loosen the apron strings. Have you talked to Robin about this?”
“No,” I said morosely. “After him arguing so badly last month I didn't want to cause him any more problems with your parents.”
“See?” Chase said, holding a hand out to me. “What's not to love?”
“You don't have to campaign for him, dear,” Kale laughed. Turning to me he continued, “I do appreciate that you're so considerate, though. I'll take care of mom. After all, it's not the first time this has happened.”
“What do you mean?' I asked slowly.
“There was a time she and I argued,” Kale confessed as he looked over at Chase. “She was afraid someone was stealing her firstborn away from her.”
“You never said...” Chase trailed off.
“I handled it. Of course, now she loves you,” Kale smiled and turned his eyes back to me. “She'll love you too, 'Uncle Lucien'. She just has to be reminded that all her boys are going to grow up, but that they still need and love their mother.”
“Oh! For the love of...gah!” I threw my hands up in frustration.
“What's wrong, Lucien?” asked Mr. Finley, my teacher. Sighing heavily I walked up to the front of the room so I could speak to him without letting everyone else listen in.
“Mr. Finley, I left my homework at Robin Kirkwood's last night. We did a homework group and...I must have left it there, inside my book. Which I don't have either.” I pursed my lips in frustration as his forehead creased ever so slightly and he slipped off his reading glasses.
“This has happened more than once, Lucien,” he said, his tone rebuking me in the mildest way.
“I know,” I said in exasperation. “I don't have any excuse. We had swim practice and we went over to do homework and I...I just forgot it. I'm sorry.”
“Lucien,” he said in a measured tone, “I've given you some leeway out of consideration for your academic efforts. Your work, when it's turned in, is very good. But I cannot allow you to have an unfair advantage.”
I looked at him curiously. “What do you mean?”
“If your classmates had turned in their assignments late, I'd have begun deducting a few points from their grade for being tardy. Being responsible means adhering to the deadlines of the work as well as completing it properly.” He smiled, his lips compressed and said, “I've got to tell you that, going forward, I will deduct points from your late work. This will be the last time and I want it tomorrow before class starts. Do we understand each other?”
“Yes, Mr. Finley. Thank you,” I said. I turned and returned to my seat, my face burning. I felt miserable, but not just because of this one assignment it was the whole thing. The pressure of all the work coupled with the team practice was pushing me to my limits, the additional pressure of the issue with Mrs. Kirkwood was just making me a basket case, though.
After school we had swim practice. Although I'd done unexpectedly well when I'd tried wrestling the year before, I wasn't nearly as good at swimming. It was such an overall body workout I was usually pretty tired afterward. The only parts I enjoyed was being with Robin and changing in the locker room. Not only did I discover that – big surprise – I liked Robin wet, too, but the way Robin looked at me when I changed out of my suit made me feel far, far more attractive than I ever did normally.
I asked Robin to get my book from his house before coming over for homework and he frowned at me for leaving it behind again. At least we were all at my house that night and I wouldn't have any of Mrs. Kirkwood's ice age-like looks to deal with. As it was, I was wiped out.
Tonight was just Robin and I. With only one more day of school before the winter break, homework was light and our projects had been turned in for several days. As a result we had some rare downtime and we entwined ourselves together like strands of ivy on the couch, not even bothering with the pretense of turning on the TV. We couldn't go very far, my parents were upstairs watching TV in their room. That was part of their contribution to our study efforts and, I think, a way to keep us honest and fully clothed when we finished early.
Alec and Sasha were out shopping and I was doing some major unwinding just making out with my boyfriend and feeling him pressed to me. Despite all that, I was exhausted and soon snuggled into his neck, just inhaling his scent and feeling his warm skin and his steady pulse.
“What is it about my neck that makes you end up here every time?” Robin asked, his fingers trailing through my hair.
“It's the most acceptable way for me to stay in contact with your skin, to just...breathe in your scent,” I said, snuggling against him.
“Acceptable?” he asked, his body shaking with mirth.
“Yeah,” I said, grinning. “The other ways require you to be naked.”
He giggled some more and then we fell into silence, savoring the rare alone time. I won't say it was all innocent, either. I can't say for sure who responded first to whom, but I knew he was wanting me and he knew I always wanted him. If only we had someplace to go...
Friday saw the end of the first half of the school year. I'd held my grades, but it was getting harder and harder to do. The final day wasn't stressful, at least not at school, and I felt a little recharged after spending some time with Robin the night before and was looking forward to seeing him tonight. Kale and Chase were going out with Alec and Sasha, which didn't normally mean much to us. However, Judge Kirkwood had some kind of formal dinner to attend and his wife would be with him, so we got elected babysitters for Linc.
Kale and Chase left fairly quickly on arrival. Even though they admonished us several times about bedtime and not allowing him sweets, it was clearly not out of concern we'd lose or maim their child. It was more along the lines of them not recalling if they'd told us everything they thought we should know. Mr. Kirkwood was amusing, dressed in his tux and trying to get Linc to pick up his toys. We headed downstairs to make a snack and see if we could find something Linc might watch and help us get through the few hours until we had to get him to bed.
The real surprise came when Mrs. Kirkwood came downstairs behind us.
“You look very nice, Mrs. Kirkwood,” I said. It was true – she looked elegant. Her dress looked classic, a medium length cut on the bottom and a ruffled strapless top with a strand of pearls at her neck lent her an air of sophistication.
“Thank you, Lucien,” she said. After a brief hesitation, she said. “I'd like a word with you.”
“Uh, sure,” I replied. My heart seized in my chest as I wondered what she had to say. I was instantly more secure when Robin's hand slipped into mine.
“What's going on, mom?” he asked.
“Why don't we sit,” she said, taking a chair at the dining room table. We followed suit and I was surprised to see that she seemed more nervous than I felt.
“As a parent – it's a confusing journey of contradictions,” she said with an embarrassed smile. “When your children are born and need everything from you, you revel in that at times and at others you look forward to them being able to do some things themselves.” She folded her hands, one over the other, and her wedding ring sparkled.
She slid back in her chair, straightening her back and moving her arms to lay on the those of the chair and regarded me. “Later, when they do things for themselves, you feel the reverse – wanting them to be little and needing you. I've...” she paused, considering and then continued smoothly.
“I've been struggling for some time now, for well over a year, in fact.” She glanced at us both and Robin's hand gripped mine a fraction tighter and his thumb began to stroke my knuckles.
“I'm sorry if I...added to that,” I replied.
“You shouldn't be, even though I appreciate you saying so,” she replied, waving my words away. “I'm close with all my children, each in their own ways. Kale, though having a sharp mind, developed slowly in his confidence – and that was shattered when his heart condition came to light. Jamie has always been resilient and irreverent, likely looking for his place in a family that was filled with the gentle and the artistic. Even though all my boys have pursued sports, none were more passionate about the rough and tumble variety than Jamie.”
I glanced at Robin, wondering where this was going.
“Robin has always been far more sensitive and, in some ways, for more mysterious than Kale or Jamie. As well as I felt I knew him, no one was more surprised when his relationship with Charlie began.” She put a hand up with a smile, “Of course there was never any issue in terms of our accepting him. I cannot say, however, that it didn't change how I viewed him.”
“I don't understand,” Robin said, squirming next to me. “You never said anything about...”
“Robin, it wasn't a case of loving you less – it's not even negative, it's just different,” she said and moved forward in her chair again. Her hands moved restlessly. “When you have a child the world is nothing but possibilities and a parent can't help but have dreams for their children. When I was growing up, I had no experience with gay people. I dreamed of grandchildren from my boys and beautiful wives and...” she glanced down, composing herself.
Robin's hand had tightened on mine and his thumb had stopped. “Are you...disappointed?”
“No,” she said softly and brought her face up, her eyes wet. “No, I'm not. I...wanted you to understand some of the journey I've taken, so far.”
“I'm confused,” I said softly and began my own soft movements on Robin's hand. Whatever I'd thought might happen when she'd asked to talk, this wasn't anywhere in my imagination.
“I know, Lucien. It's confusing,” she said and dabbed her eyes with a napkin. “When Kale came out I was surprised, but I dove into educating myself. My son needed me: my love, my acceptance, everything. As a mother, I could do no less and do it happily.
“As much as a surprise as that was, to say I didn't see Robin's relationship coming...” she shrugged helplessly, a small smile crossing her face. “He'd gone on some outings, group dates – I thought I even heard he'd had a kiss or two. So when he and Charlie...became a couple...well, I hadn't seen that coming. In some ways it was harder, actually.”
“But, why?” Robin asked.
“With Kale, I could look back and see his lack of dating or even his general lack of interest in dating and see that the bread crumbs were there.” She tilted her head at the memory, a smile tracking across her face. “If I'd been paying attention, I could have been better prepared to be ready for him when he came out. With you, your history was far different. I guess what I'm saying is, I thought I knew you and where you were going.”
I glanced at Robin and he frowned. “But you do know me,” he protested.
“Yes, I do,” she looked down, moving her hands restlessly again. “That was poor wording. I guess I should say I had no bread crumbs to follow, no indication that you felt any way other than what I'd observed.”
“I didn't even know, until Charlie,” Robin said. “If it weren't for that, well...I don't know. I hope I'd have still found Lucien.”
“I think you would have,” she said with a loving smile for her son. “But to my point, as you know but Lucien may not, your father and I were beside ourselves when Charlie passed and your mourning was so deep.”
She resettled herself and turned her eyes to me. “When Robin finally came out of his shell to see you, we rejoiced. We felt he was taking a step to recovering, to healing. When things deepened between you we worried that it was too soon and that he was...substituting you for Charlie. We worried it was unhealthy.”
I glanced at Robin, knowing that he'd come to me like that, once. She couldn't know that, though, and she never should.
“We were concerned about the amount of time the two of you spent together. That it would be too much, too quickly. In fact, it was a large part of our disagreement concerning the wedding.”
“Please,” she said while holding a hand up to me. “Let me finish.”
I looked to Robin who flashed me a smile and then I nodded at his mother.
“What I didn't talk about was that something changed for me after Robin's birthday. I realized that someone else was taking up a very important place in his heart. In some ways – many ways – it was far deeper than his relationship with Charlie. Robin was more mature, he'd had the grief of loss behind him and could fully appreciate what or who he had in front of him. When he came into the house to tell us of your educational goal...I was stunned.”
She fell silent for a moment, looking off into the distance and gathering her words. I glanced at Robin again who looked at me meaningfully, lovingly.
“So,” she said thickly. Swallowing and clearing her throat she continued. “So I began to feel as though I was losing my son, just after I'd come to realize what a complex person he really was. Everyday he wants nothing more than to be with you, Lucien. I thought that, if you studied here, I could see for myself what he saw in you – and I do. And, God forgive me, I've been jealous.”
“Ma'am?” I said, my voice rising.
“You have my son's heart in your hands,” she said, leaning forward and speaking to me intensely and as though Robin were not in the room. “His happiness rises and falls on your whim. For all the strength and maturity he's developed, you are his fatal flaw. If you were to...have a change of heart, my son would be shattered.”
“Mrs. Kirkwood...” I said firmly, but she cut me off.
“I'm jealous because my son has grown up and given his heart away and I can't protect him from that. Every day he drifts farther from me and closer to you. I know this is how it's meant to be,” she said, her voice softening. “I know it's natural for a child to fall in love, to share that love with someone else who returns that to them. So please...”
She sighed and straightened herself. “Try to understand that I'm dealing with a mix of emotions: fear, love, worry...it's very complicated to be a parent and watch your child go into each relationship with his whole heart, never keeping anything back to protect himself.”
“I would never hurt Robin,” I said, aghast. The very idea...
“Lucien...” she shook her head and focused on me again. “You have taken on a huge amount of work. The schoolwork combined with the sports – Kale told me how it weighs on you. I'm afraid you'll break under that pressure and leave Robin hurt despite your best intentions.”
I sat in stunned silence. Robin was the one to recover and he spoke gently.
“Mom, that sounds like something Lucien and I need to discuss. I appreciate your feelings and trying to explain them to us. I'm guessing that, somehow, Kale must have brought this all to a head.”
“Yes. Kale reminded me just last month that my boys grow up and...get married and have children. I thought I had a few more years with Kale before...of course he said that...I needed to remember that they won't outgrow their need for me.” She looked down, her words quiet.
“That's more true than ever,” Robin said. “But I think you'll agree, Lucien and I seem to have a communication problem. I hope that you can go forward knowing that I'm totally and completely aware he's my fatal flaw, my kryptonite, the chink in my armor – whatever you want to call it. At the end of the day, I need all of my family. But I also need for you to let him in and love him, mom.”
She dabbed her eyes with the napkin. Robin stood and went to his mother, embracing her. She sniffled and it was hard for me to hold much of a grudge against her, even though I felt like a lot of it was undeserved. I also knew, however, that a talk was coming between Robin and I. I had always tried to be discreet when it came to issues about his family – Kale's watching us like we were criminals as a for instance – but it was clear we needed better ways to talk. For us to last, we had to be able to tackle things about his family – after all, none of us was going to let go of Robin.
Linc came downstairs with Mr. Kirkwood dressed in his Spongebob Squarepants pajamas. He was running with a few Lego's in his hands and squealing in delight as his grandfather chased him into the living room.
“Uncle 'Obin! Help!” he cried and threw himself on the couch between Robin and I. Robin pulled him close and wrapped him up in his arms.
“I got you, Linc!” he said.
“Drat, foiled again,” Mr. Kirkwood grumbled good-naturedly. He accepted his coat from his wife and turned to us, “If it wasn't for you meddling kids, I'd have gotten away with it!”
“Are you quoting a cartoon, dear?”
“Scooby Doo is a classic!” he laughed. “Okay, order a pizza guys and we'll be home by midnight.”
No sooner were they gone than Linc was fussing and trying to get away from Robin. Robin responded by tickling him and Linc squealed with laughter.
“Stop it!” he said. Robin's fingers stopped but were ready to dive in at a moments notice.
“Stop it or what?” Robin asked.
“I put Lego's down you shirt!” Linc said, stuffing the block down the front of Robin's shirt. Robin jumped around as if it were hot or moving and Linc cried out in delight. Holding out another brick he taunted Robin.
“I got more!”
“No way,” I said and grabbed Linc from behind, swinging him up into the air as he screamed.
“Put me down! I have Lego's!” he threatened.
“Oh, no! Uncle Robin, he has Lego's!” I said, feigning fear.
“Well, there's only one thing we can do, Uncle Lucien,” he said and cackled, “We'll have to make popcorn and watch Spongebob Squarepants!”
Linc held his little fists up in victory and I tickled him anyway. After we'd made popcorn and watched some Spongebob, it was time for bed. Robin supervised him as he brushed his teeth and read his story to put him to bed. I stood in the doorway and watched him. I enjoyed watching Robin under any circumstances, but I was transported to some distant point in our future and imagined I was watching him read a bedtime story to our own child. It was the first time I'd ever thought that, one day, I may want children of my own.
With Linc breathing softly we made our way downstairs and back to the couch. I glanced at Robin and lifted an eyebrow, “You seem to have a knack with him, Uncle 'Obin.”
“You did pretty well too, Uncle Lucien,” he said with a smile. He held his arms out to me and I scooted across, snuggling in close to him.
“So...how is it that Kale ended up talking to my mom about our problems?” he asked gently.
I sighed. “I swear I didn't go to him,” I replied.
“I hope not. But, I have to admit this isn't all your fault, not by a long shot,” Robin said with a sigh. I pulled back a bit to look in his eyes, wondering what he could mean.
“Lucien, I'm so compromised when it comes to you,” Robin said, stroking the side of my face. “I just am so selfish and it's not fair to you.”
“Robin, what are you talking about?” I said, mystified.
“Lucien,” he said tilting his forehead against mine. “I knew you were stressed. I was hoping it wasn't as serious as it was, but I didn't want to confront it because I wanted you with me every second. I was selfish and...after our last talk, I hoped you'd be more communicative about our problems, but I need to follow that rule, too.” His fingers stroked my hair and I glanced up into his sea blue eyes.
“On Wednesday when I went up to read Linc his story – remember? You took Derek and Hamster home?” He nodded that he did and I continued. “Well, I'd just gotten done and your mom came upstairs to read to Linc and she wasn't happy I'd done it – that Linc asked for me. I was frustrated and Chase kind of caught me being frustrated and dragged me in to talk to Kale.”
“Dragged you, huh?” Robin said, appearing playfully skeptical.
“He...guided me might be more accurate,” I conceded. “But Robin, how do I even begin to tell you your mom has a problem with me and have that end well?”
“Well,” he sighed. “I understand, but you're going to have to do that. Once we're married...”
“Excuse me?” I said, sitting up. He glanced at me, a smile curling his lips.
“I said, once we're married, you'll have to be able to tell me when our family is interfering in our relationship. While we date, it's good practice.”
“Marriage?” I said, disbelief filling my voice.
“Yeah. Marriage,” Robin said softly, firmly. “I know it's kind of early but we'll be seniors next year and then on to college. I'm not letting you go, Lucien. But I need you to talk to me. If you feel differently...”
“Fuck no, I don't feel differently!” I exclaimed. “I was just trying to be considerate and not start shit, like put you in a position where you felt like you had to choose between your family and me.”
“Lucien,” he chided. “They will always be my family, but let's not forget – just last month, I chose you.”
“More importantly, though, we need to communicate more. Like, even though I kind of knew it already, Mom said you're way too stressed with all the school work and the sports too?”
“I...yeah,” I said. “I want so badly to be with you and...I just don't know if I can keep up with all of it.”
“Well then, I think you need to quit the swim team and focus on the school work – that's hard enough,” Robin stated.
“That I wanted you on the swim team? Of course I do. But Lucien,” he said softly, stroking my hair back. “I told you, I'm being selfish. I don't want you to be stressed to a breaking point to do something like that. We have to have priorities and the schoolwork has to be it. The important thing is we leave together for college, right?”
“Well, yeah,” I replied, my voice subdued. “But I don't want to let you down.”
“Honey,” he replied, sitting up and taking my face in his hands. “That just isn't possible. You've been under a pressure cooker for the whole school year just for me – I don't want that for you!”
“But...what...” I stopped speaking and leaned in, pushing my face back into his neck, per usual. “Thank you. I'm sorry, I promise I'll talk to you about anything and everything.”
“I promise, too. But I'm going to need your help.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, like this. You can't allow me to sweep your emotions under the rug because I want you all to myself,” he said quietly. “You already know I'll take advantage of you, especially if it means having you with me.”
“But I want to be with you,” I said in confusion.
“I know,” he smiled. “But there is a point where you have to stand up for yourself, even with me. Things like this – the mounting pressure, the stress. My mom was right, as much as I hate to admit it – things like that will lead to us fighting and sometimes worse. So I need for you to stand up to me, sometimes.”
I sat back on the couch and thought for a moment. “But, how can I do that when I want the same things you do?”
“Our goals are the same, but I was putting pressure on you. Your motivation was to please me – and I love you for it – but you wouldn't tell me that pleasing me was hurting you. You can't do that. You can't let me do that to you.” Robin took my hand and looked at me earnestly. “Lucien, sometimes I'm just blind about anything to do with you and my only goal is to be close. That can be shortsighted and I don't want to hurt you.”
“Robin, you'd never...” I shook my head, the idea was too fantastic to be considered.
“Not deliberately, no. But,” he licked his lips and tilted his head, “I'm just as guilty as anyone else at rationalizing things to my benefit.”
“Wait,” I said with my eyes narrowed. “Are you trying to say you're not perfect? Because those are fighting words.”
He smiled at me crookedly. “I love you. Come here.”
We were quiet, then. Nothing to be heard in the room but our gentle breathing and the sound of skin gliding over fabric as our hands roamed up and down each other's backs. Robin leaned back slowly and smiled. “Did I tell you what my parents have decided to give Kale and Chase for Christmas?”
“I'll show you – Monday afternoon.”
“My dad has to work and Kale is taking Chase, Linc and my mom to the winter fest at the park. Jamie and Sean will probably go play football in the snow, they've been talking about it for a week since there is supposed to be a ton of snow this weekend. So, just come over,” he leaned in close and whispered in my ear, “I promise it'll be worth it.”
I shivered but had no time to respond as Jamie and Sean arrived home from their double date. They busied themselves with putting away their stuff while Robin and I rearranged ourselves on the couch to be more comfortable.
Jamie ambled in and I greeted him.
“How was the movie?”
“No idea,” he grinned.
“I don't want to know,” I said with a grin.
That fucker, I fumed. Alec had been out late the night before with Sasha, Kale and Chase. Apparently, before he'd decided the wisest course was to go sleep at Sasha's, they'd all decided it would be fun to take the snowfall we'd gotten and bury my bus up past the wheel-wells. Here I was, dying to go to see Robin for this promised Monday rendezvous and my bus was snowed in! My phone buzzed for the eighth time that morning, no doubt Robin telling me to hurry up. I texted a picture of my bus and asked for a ride if he wanted me to get there before Christmas.
Fifteen minutes later he pulled up and simply goggled at my bus. I climbed in the car and he laughed.
“It was one thing to see the picture, but another to see it in person. Just...wow! That's a lot of snow!”
“I am so getting even with Alec!” I fumed.
“Have to do it some other time, you're mine, now,” Robin said and leaned over to kiss me. Oh, such a good kiss.
“So, why have you made me wait days to tell me what Chase and Kale are getting as a Christmas gift?”
“Hmm, why would I do that?” Robin asked, pretending to think as he spun the wheels and let the car fishtail down the street on his way back to his own house. His grin was almost feral as he whipped through the snow, scaring the shit out of me. He loved driving fast and doing it in the snow was no exception. It would not occur to me until much later that it also prevented me from asking any questions.
We pulled up to the side of his house and, as I walked around the front, he took me by the hand and pulled me towards their garage. The garage was reserved for the elder Kirkwoods and, as far as I knew, it held the lawnmower and garden tools among other odds and ends like bicycles in the back, but that was it.
“Where are we going?” I asked in amusement as he pulled me along, only taking enough time to grin at me but not to answer. We went to the far side of the garage doors and to a set of steps that were a bit hidden, but ran under a covered roof to the second floor. At the top of the steps was a door and Robin pulled me through it.
Robin closed the door behind us and nudged me up the stairs ahead of him. “This is called a carriage house. We never really used it but my parents are having it redone so that Kale, Chase and Linc will have some space to themselves when they come home from Ithaca,” Robin explained.
My mind leapt forward with the potential implications, which were confirmed as soon as the upper door to the disheveled space was closed behind us. Robin pinned me to the wall and kissed me ferociously, and it only took nano-seconds for me to respond in kind.
There was no subtlety to our actions – we were pawing at each other and pulling clothes off fast enough to loosen some of the seams. In no time we were nude and Robin ground into me, pressing me up against the wall and I moaned loudly into his mouth. God, yes! This was what I needed! He grabbed me by the wrists and pulled me through the small kitchen, our clothes left behind, and to a pile of blankets on the living room floor.
Then, just like that, we were on the floor, feeling, rubbing, pushing and pulling. We rolled each on top of the other, kissing and licking – the need had taken on a life of its own and was expressed in all our frantic touches. In a quick flip I was on my back and Robin held his palm flat on my chest to keep me in place as he sat up. He glanced around and then seized the lube he'd secreted at some point and popped the lid with his thumb.
He showed me the dollop on his fingers and then reached between my legs and snickered when I jumped at the cold gel as he rubbed it on my threshold, applying the tiniest pressure before looking down into my eyes.
“Is this still what you want?” he asked huskily.
“Definitely,” I said and groaned as he began to loosen me. He moved his fingers in slowly, roaming and setting me to tingling with pleasure and anticipation. He took his time, which I should have been more grateful for except that with being so close to actually having him inside me, I was impatient. After several minutes he withdrew his fingers and then his lips pressed to mine. Staring in my eyes he said softly, gently, in complete contradiction to our previous actions, “I love you, Lucien.”
“I love you too, Robin,” I whispered. Then he leaned back and I felt him begin to probe, a little too high, a little too low and then...
“Ow! Fuck!” I jumped and felt him stop moving into me. “Did your dick get bigger?”
“I'm sorry,” Robin whispered and began to pull back. I brought my legs up and held him in place, my heels pressing into his butt cheeks.
“No, wait” I hissed. “Just let me adjust.” The sharp pain had subsided somewhat and I used my feet to nudge him into me. He paused every few seconds, fighting our desire – our need – to have him hilt deep in me and yet trying to get there without making me black out in pain. It took an eternity for me to feel his hips make contact with me and press firmly. His lips closed on mine and we kissed while my body went from resisting him to welcoming him.
He moved slowly, considerately but that was for another time and as he backed up, I slammed my hips up to meet him. He pulled his face back, looking down hungrily with those stormy blue eyes and I nodded. His rhythm increased and my legs opened farther as his confidence in my comfort increased. I arched my back and murmured his name and he responded by leaning back and almost seemed to be probing, searching and then...a discovery.
From that stroke Robin had set off ripples, a chill running not just across my skin but up my spine and through through every cell of my body and making my eyes water with the sheer pleasure of the contact.
“Oh Robin, oh my God,” I moaned and he thrust again making me spasm as the ripples grew from those on a pond to a choppy sea, then a tide like a sudden storm. My body surrendered to him and the world shrank down to the feel of him sliding in and out, the crash of our bodies and the torrent of sensations. I wiped my eyes and looked at his face, his eyes staring down at me, watching me spasm under him. It had never been so good; Robin was not only hitting my prostate like a marksman as he entered but dragging across it as he withdrew. I ran my hand down my stomach to take hold of myself, but his hands grasped mine at the wrist and held them away.
“No,” Robin said, his breath ragged as he continued to aim flawlessly, “You've had to take care of yourself way too much, we both have. Let me give this to you.”
I groaned, aching for release and yet wishing the waves would be truly endless. Staring up at his face, my mouth hung open as I panted in desire, in pleasure. His eyed glittered as he stared down, focused only on me. The sensations carried me away as he mastered my body and the worries of the last few months, the lack of intimacy, the world itself simply...ceased. My world shrank down to his body, now covered in a thin sheen of sweat. To his muscles flexing as he relentlessly sent me to greater heights of ecstasy.
Robin blurred in front of me as my emotions broke and my eyes filled. “Don't stop!” I cried out to him. My urging him on turned into a demand – a demand that he make sure my body knew to whom it belonged, that he brand me with his lovemaking that the world might know as well. I clamped down on him and chanted his name in time with his thrusts, begging him and demanding all at once.
I gasped as he crashed into me and groaned as I rode each wave. Then, I felt the buildup – which was equal parts bizarre and liberating – as my body wound up to that point of no return. Robin must have felt as I clenched my muscles down on his dick and pulled my legs up to allow him that much more room inside me. I spasmed, convulsively squeezing down on him as he renewed his efforts, panting and dripping sweat onto my hot skin.
The groans of release mingled from us both like an erotic song. My legs wrapped around his lower back, squeezing him to me as he pushed himself deeper and deeper, as if trying to go through me. His eyes, wide on mine and his mouth open, taking in ragged gasps of air.
As my body began to relax I reached for him, pulling him down to me and he gratefully rested on my heaving chest. Our heavy breaths caused friction between our skin as our chests slid on a mixture of sweat and my long overdue release. Robin nuzzled my neck, making butterfly kisses up to my ear.
“Now that we got that out of the way, we can take our time,” he whispered. My question was never voiced as he began to stroke my skin and apply his tongue. Never having withdrawn from me his movement began anew, languorously, and everywhere he touched me smaller, fainter ripples of the waves I'd ridden out crossed my skin and I shivered under his soft touch.
“Make love to me, Robin,” I whispered. And so, he did.