Michael Biehn Archive

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Author's Chapter Notes:
Positive feedback always welcome. Well, a while back someone mentioned something about honey. This story is dedicated to all the people who have been reading it in drips and drabs since that time. May not be the Vin you know and love - be warned! But it's fun and the water's fine so if you're interested, come on in! Thanks to Judy, Sandra N., Tarlan and Carla for all your patience and input.
Seated at his team's customary table at Inez's, Vin watched Chris wipe the floor with JD during a game of pool and shook his head. It was a Friday night and they had come here to relax as they so often did after a long week. JD had been drinking heavily all evening. Chris had not. He'd had one shot of whiskey and a quick beer to chase it. Since then he had been nursing a beer that had to be warm as piss by now. Still, he was letting anger and frustration more than competitiveness drive him to play cutthroat pool with a drunk and tired JD. Just like he had earlier played cutthroat darts with Josiah, who was then even more inebriated than JD was now.

Vin understood that he was the cause of Chris's ruthlessness. Or more precisely, a rather silly argument they'd had the other night was the cause. Chris had come home from three days out of town with an almost feral look in his eyes. Instead of the frenzied catch-up sex they'd both envisioned though, they had spent a tense and unerotic night beside one another but not touching each other in Chris's big bed.

Pretty how much how last night had gone as well. Wasn't like Vin to make a fuss the way he had but he had recognized as soon as the words were out of his mouth that he had meant them. Chris had been dismissive, which moved Vin from merely observing a reality to fuming over that particular reality. He had not been fuming for long before Chris was right there with him, then surpassing him, in the anger department.

As always, they had managed to keep it out of the office. For the most part as Chris was not exactly a poker face. The others knew something was up but said nothing and he treated them no differently than he would if he was not majorly pissed off at Vin. And at the world, because the world generally took a beating when Chris was upset.

He just chose to engage in his recreational, after-hours activities with a ferocity that suggested his very life were on the line.

Vin dearly loved Chris as he was, would not change him for the world. But Chris had begun a process of lightening up over the last few months and Vin very much wanted to see that continue. At least as far as their shared personal life was concerned.

He watched as Buck appeared at the billiard table, mercifully breaking up the lopsided match with the offer of a fresh beer for Chris and announcing his desire to make a toast. He took Chris's pool cue, replacing it with the beer while simultaneously steering his old friend back to the table.

JD followed happily, unperturbed by, if not completely oblivious to, Chris's fury.

"Everybody got a drink?" Buck asked. "I want to make a toast." He paid no mind to Chris's refusal to participate, speaking up when the others had raised their glasses and bottles. "To the best damn team the Bureau's got. To the best friends a guy could have," he said while squeezing Chris's shoulder, "and to the sweetest job in the world."

The members of Team Seven smacked their glasses and uttered their 'here, heres'.

Vin took a drink, holding the cold liquid in his mouth for a second before swallowing. An idea was taking shape in his mind. Could be brilliant, could be a disaster. Either way, could be a hell of a lot of fun and that decided it. "Gotta say, Buck. I'm with ya on points one and two. Not so sure about three," he said.

Buck's expression turned quizzical. "How do you mean?" he asked.

"Well, we are the best and we are friends. Ain't disputing that. But I had a job once, right outta the Army, before I found a bail bondsman I could trust to work with," Vin said. "And it was real sweet."

The ambient noise in the bar receded to the background as Vin's finishing statement, not so much spoken as purred, brought a hush down over the table.

"Are you going to enlighten us?" Ezra asked finally with some exasperation. "Or is this the beginning of some elaborate guessing game?" His expression clearly indicated that he hoped it was not.

Vin shrugged. "No games," he said. "Was a nude model at the Denver Institute of Art. Hundred bucks a night, off the books. Four nights a week, only a couple of hours each night." He nodded and said almost to himself, "Sweet."

"You...were...a model?" JD asked, barely able to get the words out as he was laughing so hard.

"A nude model?" Ezra reiterated in something close to a shriek.

"Yeah, you know," Vin said calmly, "so the students could learn to draw the human form correctly."

"Oh, do tell, Mr. Tanner," Ezra said. "Do tell."

Vin watched as five bodies leaned into the round table, like eager school kids on a warm September morning. Their bright eyes were fixed on their teacher with a mixture of curiosity and awe. Chris alone remained physically disinterested, long legs stretched out before him, eyes focused on his interlocked fingers where they rested on his stomach.

Vin had no doubt that he was listening, though. Hanging on every word. So he made them count.

"Worked there for two sessions and I don't wanna brag or nothin'," Vin said coyly, "but enrollment for the second session practically doubled."

"Of course it did," Ezra said with a glimpse in Chris's direction.

Chris was busy rubbing at an unseen but apparently tenacious spot of dirt on his hand.

Vin continued. "It was easy work. First, I did some poses. Let the students see the way my muscles moved. I bent at the waist, spread my feet and touched my toes, one foot at a time. Then I reached up to the ceiling, made like I was pulling a rope. I stretched, twisted. Flexed my arms and legs. My ass. Gave 'em a demonstration of how muscles look when they're rippling and such."

"Hope they kept it warm in the studio," Buck said with a chuckle. "Otherwise a guy could end up looking bad."

"Funny you mention that, Buck," Vin said. He was really starting to enjoy this, enjoy the way Chris was barely containing himself. Those students would have learned a lot about muscle definition from the current strain in Chris's neck and face muscles. "They had to keep the room chilly in case...well, you know."

"No, we don't know," Ezra said encouragingly.

"Well, them students was just supposed to be focusing on my form," Vin said. "But some of them focused on my form, if you get my drift. I could feel them staring, knew they wanted to fuck me. Women, and a couple of men, too. The chill in the room made it easier to not...respond when I thought about what folks was picturing in their minds when they were supposed to be drawing me."

"Amazing," Ezra said. "I would never have guessed. The modeling part," he added. "Not the people wanting to fuck you part." This time his eyes did not seek out Chris but instead, bore into Vin's.

Vin nodded slightly and glanced away. "I tell ya, made jerking off a lot of fun. Thinking about them heated looks when I got home and touching myself," he said, taking a long, slow drink of his beer. He'd done the modeling for the money, had done one or two worse things for money before. Had done it reluctantly but soon found he hadn't minded people ogling him. It had made him feel...powerful.

Now his friends were watching him and it was a different thing but it was about power, too. A power he would have to be careful not to abuse. Just have a laugh, get Chris's attention and knock it off.

Buck watched him drink and slapped the table in front of him. "Vin, I think I love you. My whole life I've been working my ass off when I could have been sitting on my ass, making tons of money and meeting women," he said with glee.

"Tons?" JD asked with one eyebrow raised skeptically.

"Chris," Buck said nudging his friend, "I quit."

Chris only sighed and folded his arms over his chest, a bored expression on his handsome face.

Josiah turned to Vin. "Then what?" he asked. "You said, first."

"Right," Vin said. "Then, I sat on a chair or laid down on a divan. Students had an hour to draw me in as much detail as they could." He chuckled softly. "Gotta admit, some of 'em drew more detail than was there..."

The table erupted into laughter at that, Buck's voice rising above the ensuing bantering and catcalling to ask Chris for verification on that issue.

Chris, for his part, was hanging tough. He ignored Buck, which just made Buck laugh more. Vin noticed and realized he really wanted to send Chris over the edge.

"There was this one student," he said slowly. "An older guy with gray hair and intense blue eyes. First couple of sessions, he just stared." Vin glanced at his friends' expressions, rapt one and all, less Chris. It wasn't Vin's style to reveal anything too personal but he was going to win this showdown with his lover if he had to relate his entire sexual history. "I mean, stared. I could feel his eyes on me like ya feel the sun on a hot day. Once, when I looked directly at him, he licked his lips. Like that," Vin said with a snap of his fingers, "my nipples hardened. Almost had to cover myself up." He smiled and took a deep breath. "Instructor told him he had to draw or leave. Always put his easel behind me after that. Used to have fun with him. I'd bend real slow like, skimming my fingertips down my legs while I did. Then one time--"

Vin stopped, cut off by Chris's abrupt departure from the table. A victory whoop swelled at the back of his throat but he held it in. He watched Chris stalk across the bar and out the door.

He stood casually. Casting a mischievous grin his friends' way, he said, "He better be waitin' for me in the parking lot or one of y'all is gonna get lucky tonight." He said it without thinking and cringed just a little when he heard the thought spoken aloud.

Laughter once more engulfed the table.

"He's there," Buck said when he stopped laughing. "Hell, I'm ready to fuck ya, Vin. Not even Chris is stubborn enough to go off on his own after that little tale."

Suddenly Vin wasn't so sure. He looked nervously toward the exit. "Let's hope so."

He said his goodnights and left, patting Ezra's shoulder when the undercover agent quietly offered him a ride home, should Chris truly have left.

Outside the bar it was damp, the scent of rain heavy in the air. Cutting through the mist and the dark night were the headlights of Chris's truck.

Vin slid gracefully into the passenger seat. "Ain't been stayin' there much, not even sure why I still pay rent, but my place is closer," he said matter-of-factly.

Chris put the truck in gear and drove off.

Though Vin didn't actually clock it he was sure they made it to his place in record time. A strained silence hung between them, a sharp contrast to the usual ease they felt in each other's reserved company. Chris followed him into his lobby, both men ignoring the elevator since it routinely ignored them and anyone else who tried to take it.

They took the steps two at a time, their fluid motions in perfect harmony. At the top of the stairs, Vin pulled ahead and unlocked his door. Once inside, he tossed his keys into the bowl on the nearby table. He was expecting either a ferocious kiss or a snarled question from Chris.

He got neither.

Chris walked past him, down the hallway toward Vin's room. As silent and as serious as the grave.

Vin leaned against the counter in the open kitchen. "So it's like that, is it?" he murmured. Chris probably figured Vin was as fired up as he was and would follow him down the hallway. Running, not walking, and tearing the clothes from his body like some featured lover in a romance novel.

Well, Vin Tanner wasn't easy. And he wasn't about to let Chris have the upper hand.

Except that Chris could be a lot of fun when he had the upper hand. Not to mention that Vin was all fired up, too. There was also the added hope to consider that maybe they would be able to talk once they got their frustration and horniness out of the way.

"Aw, hell, cowboy," Vin murmured softly and went after his lover.

Chris had switched on the overhead light and had apparently rummaged though Vin's closet. He was sitting on the edge of the bed, toying with a worn leather belt. He'd kicked off his boots and removed his socks but was otherwise still wearing his casual Friday attire: black jeans and a gray t-shirt under a black v-neck sweater.

He eyed Vin up and down without lifting his head. "Strip," he said.

Vin had wanted to ask what Chris was doing with his old belt. But hearing his lover's sultry voice had the same effect on his brain that a windshield wiper has on a wet windshield. He was aware that if he tried to speak it would not come out right at all.

So he stripped.

Chris did not look up until Vin was completely naked, dragging his eyes over every inch of Vin's exposed body at an excruciatingly unhurried pace.

The heat emanating from Chris's smoldering inspection registered in Vin's groin. His cock began to swell and he half expected to see a victorious grin on Chris's face. But Chris was still being so very serious.

He stood and pulled the comforter back, leaving the top sheet in place on Vin's neatly made bed. "Lay down," he ordered. "On your back."

Vin crawled onto the bed, wondering when he'd become so easily seducible. Not that it took much thought. He had his answer as soon as he lay down and looked back at his lover: the day he had met Chris Larabee. There wasn't anything he would not do for Chris, in or out of bed.

He knew that before the first time he had ever let Chris tie him up during lovemaking. Still, they had talked about it at length, waiting a day or two between the suggestion and the actual event. Now Chris was doing it without warning and Vin was letting him. He trusted Chris with his life, and even now, with his lover silent and angry, he trusted him with his body.

Chris cinched the belt around Vin's wrists then looped the soft, pliable leather through the slat of the wooden headboard, allowing a little slack but not much. Vin watched him the whole time, waiting for Chris to make eye contact with him.

Chris didn't. He got off the bed and left the room. Vin didn't panic. And when he heard the microwave hum for a couple of seconds he was sure his cock stiffened a little more. He'd never seen Chris in quite this mood but his lover could be unpredictable at times. Unpredictable in a good way. In a way that left Vin sore and smiling for the better part of the day after. Occasionally even the one after that. This night was shaping up to be one of those times.

Chris came back carrying a plastic honey jar shaped like a bear. Vin recognized it. Not long after he and Chris had become lovers, he'd driven Chris from his bed with a raging fever. For once in his life, he had not argued or complained about being fussed over and had stayed home from work to rest. Not that he'd had much choice, he had barely been able to stand. Chris had arrived in the early afternoon to check on him with Nathan in tow, whom he'd asked to accompany him, and all the other guys who had just wanted to make sure Vin was all right. That, and get out of the office for an extended lunch.

Ezra had brought him herbal tea with echinacea and some very expensive summer honey from a specialty shop. Vin had been way too dazed to listen to his careful instructions about the proper way to brew the tea. Buck's behavior had registered though, as he'd stood behind Ezra, flapping his fingers in imitation of Ezra's mouth. Then he had pulled the bear-shaped container out of his pocket, informing Vin as he shoved Ezra aside that, despite its supermarket price tag, it was just what the doctor ordered for a scratchy throat.

True enough and Vin had tucked it in the fridge and forgotten about it. Until now.

Chris put the jar on the nightstand, its plastic innocence a sharp contrast to the fire in Chris's eyes. He reached behind his neck and pulled his sweater and t-shirt over his head. His eyes met Vin's briefly, reassurance Vin didn't need but was glad to have, before he moved to turn off the light. After wriggling out of his jeans and underwear, he knelt on the bed at Vin's feet.

Vin picked up his head and sighed. Chris was luminous with his long torso and pale skin glowing in the shaft of soft moonlight wafting through the open window. Desirous heat radiated from him as he devoured Vin with his lust-filled green eyes.

But if he didn't touch Vin soon Vin would have to shoot him.

An empty threat, what with Vin's wrists being bound. And him loving Chris and all. Regardless, it was a threat he felt compelled to make. Even if he sounded a bit desperate. A week was just too long to go without Chris's hands on him.

 "Chris..." he croaked, his dry throat making his voice huskier than usual. There was a hint of desperation there too, but Vin didn't care. He knew what his bedroom voice did to Chris.

Chris grunted and grabbed Vin's ankles, pulling his legs open and pushing them back slightly. He bent low and dragged his tongue the length of Vin's calf. With a quick kiss he turned and licked the other one. Slowly, tasting every inch of the tempting flesh and savoring it. He continued past Vin's knee, licking some more then pausing to nibble the more sensitive skin of his lover's inner thigh before switching to the other side.

Vin closed his eyes and while his cock remained rigid, the rest of his body relaxed into Chris's touch. Chris could do amazing things with his tongue and Vin recognized his hungry licks as a mere prelude of things to come. He wasn't so much in the mood for a seduction, preferring that they fuck like jackrabbits and be done with it. But he knew from experience that it did no good to try and hurry his ornery blond lover along. Usually made him slow down more and Vin could barely take the current pace, as anxious as he was to feel Chris inside him again.

The rain that had been threatening all evening finally arrived on the heels of a loud clap of thunder. It battered the side of the building and passed through the window screen, hitting Chris and Vin with a cool spray that had gentled by the time it reached them. Listening to the rain always soothed Vin. It did so now, too. It also kept him from cursing aloud in disappointment when he felt the bed dip, a lonely chill all that remained where Chris's mouth had been.

Chris wasn't gone long and Vin opened his eyes when he heard the mildly obscene noise made by air escaping the honey jar. He had kind of guessed this was coming; still, he shivered when the first warm dollop landed in the hollow of his neck. His eyes followed the path of the bear, Chris's concentrated frown hovering in his peripheral vision.

Vin chuckled softly at the pattern emerging. Chris had draped the honey over one nipple and down his rib cage. He'd made a turn when he neared Vin's pelvic bone, creating a voluptuous curve that dipped toward his belly button and rounded out again just below his other hip.

"Love you, too, cowboy," Vin said, meaning it despite Chris's obvious and intentional avoidance of his cock.

Chris finished his masterpiece and tossed the jar over his shoulder. He leaned over Vin and bowed his head, his tongue flicking out to taste the honey at the base of Vin's throat.

Vin moaned, Chris's persistent tongue sending more shivers down his spine as it worried at the space between his collarbone. He lifted his hips off the bed, hoping against hope that he'd be able to bring his cock into contact with his lover's body.

No dice, as Chris was positioned off to the side, determined to touch Vin with his tongue only.

That was not an entirely bad thing and Vin moaned again when Chris licked the honey off his nipple. Chris swirled his tongue around the puckered bud then took it between his front teeth and rolled it. Vin arched his back, pushing himself into Chris as much as he could. Chris slid his arms around Vin and pulled him close, sucking hungrily on his sweetened nipple.

"Oh, God, Chris," Vin said hoarsely. He knew some of the honey must be rubbing off onto Chris and he wanted a chance to give as good as he was getting. But Chris was in no hurry to relinquish control.

He did ease back some, releasing Vin's nipple and licking his way across Vin's solid chest moist with perspiration to get to his other nipple. He licked and teased that hardened, honey-covered nub, eventually sucking it into his mouth.

Vin could barely stand it. He loved the attention Chris was paying his nipples but another part of his anatomy was literally straining to the bursting point to get some of it. He did everything he could to encourage Chris to head south, from lifting his shoulders off the bed to thrusting his hips into the air.

Chris remained fixed in place, torturing Vin's nipple. And when he did move, it was in the wrong direction as he licked the honey from Vin's throat.

"Gonna get a bellyache," Vin said in hopes of turning his lover around. "Might wanna lick something that ain't all covered in honey for a time."

Chris paid him no mind, dragging his tongue the length of Vin's long, elegant neck and perfect chin.

Vin shuddered and parted his lips, expecting to feel Chris against them any second. When he didn't, he let out a growl.

"Feelin' awful contrary, ain't ya?" he said, more exasperated than angry.

Chris shifted and once more started cleaning the honey trail off Vin's chest with his lips and tongue. He licked the first curve, practically drawing an outline of Vin's swollen sex as it lay tight against his stomach, then descended on the other curve. His last stop was the small pool that had collected in Vin's belly button.

Vin cried out when Chris dug the pointed tip of his tongue into the tiny folds of skin and consumed the honey. He nibbled the delicate flesh then stabbed his tongue in and out in a suggestive and sexy dance.

Vin watched with mounting passion as Chris's tongue thrust into his navel. Chris looked so fucking beautiful, his eyes closed in concentration as he engrossed himself in tasting Vin.

Vin could stand no more. "Damn, cowboy, can't--" he gasped.

His orgasm splattered his sticky chest and stomach, barely missing Chris who had backed off at the urgency in his voice.

He was still panting and his dick was still throbbing when Chris climbed between his legs and pressed down on him. This time, it was Vin's release he was after and he licked it with the same hungry single-mindedness that he'd shown the honey.

Chris's hardness against his spent, sensitive cock and lower belly was excruciating. "Kiss me," Vin croaked, wanting to ease the discomfort.

Chris hovered over him and stared into his eyes. "Did you fuck him?" he asked.

It took Vin a couple of seconds to realize that this was the question he had been anticipating earlier.

"Yeah, twice," he said. Chris started to pull away and Vin wrapped his legs around his lover's narrow waist holding him in place. "It was before I met ya, cowboy," he said. "And he never made me come without touching my cock. Ain't nobody ever done that before."

Chris nodded but made no other move.

"Kiss me, Chris," Vin said again.

His arms were going numb and the rain was letting up and Chris was still angry and if he thought about any of it he'd get way too bothered to keep playing or to get any sleep. "Please, Chris. Kiss me."

Chris undid the belt first and Vin groaned as his arms were lowered. He was distracted from his spaghetti limbs by the press of Chris's lips against his own. Vin kissed him back hard, anxious to make up for all the nibbling and sucking opportunities denied him while Chris had feasted on him like a giant lollipop.

Chris's mouth held a delicious mixture of sweetness and saltiness. He caught Chris's full lower lip between his teeth and chewed on it. It wasn't enough. "Fuck me, cowboy. Fuck me hard," he murmured.

Chris moved, their sticky skin adhering for a second, and flipped Vin onto his stomach. He pushed the hair from Vin's neck and latched onto the tender skin there. It drove Vin wild to have the back of his neck kissed. Chris knew it and had left so many hickeys there Vin was probably scarred for life. Didn't bother Vin in the least.

He groaned when Chris stopped and got off the bed. Then Chris was straddling him again, without having opened the nightstand drawer. Because naturally, Chris had other ideas.

But apparently no stomach ache as he trailed honey down the buttons of Vin's spine. He spread Vin's cheeks and dripped some there, as well. Then he went to work removing the honey, swirling his tongue around the protruding knobs along Vin's back and dragging his tongue along the spaces in between.

Vin couldn't move much with Chris's weight on him but he couldn't help himself. He was getting hard again and slowly fucked himself against the mattress. Until Chris lifted his hips into the air. He nudged Vin's knees apart and buried his face in Vin's ass.

Vin writhed at the intimate touch. Chris smeared the honey around Vin's hole before devouring it. His tongue slipped in and out easily as Vin opened to him.

"Now, please. I need ya, Chris," Vin said in a thick voice.

There was no resistance and Chris sank all the way in, slipping an arm around Vin's waist and pressing his cheek to Vin's shoulder blade. "God," he said on a quietly ragged breath,
"I've wanted to do that since the Saloon."

"What? In front of all them people?" Vin asked. He was teasing but he was way off the mark. Knew it before he felt the awful, cold emptiness of Chris's departure.

For the second time that night Vin had said something insensitive. He used to wonder if his brain wasn't getting addled from Chris fucking him so hard. Literally fucking his brains out. Now he wondered if not getting fucked at all was having that effect.

He scooted to the end of the bed and grabbed Chris's arm. "I'm sorry," he said.

Chris laughed, a derisive snort through his nose. "You're horny," he said.

"Yeah, I am. Ain't why I'm sorry," he said. His arms encircled Chris's waist and he hugged him close, resting his chin on Chris' shoulder. "Meant to wait 'til after we was done to bring it up."

Chris sighed. "You really think I don't love you because I didn't kiss you hello in front of the boys? What were they doing there anyway? Don't they have homes of their own?"

Vin chuckled at Chris's misplaced irritation. "They missed ya, Chris. Wanted to make sure ya got home okay. And it ain't about whether or not I think ya love me or the kissing, exactly," he said.

"What then?" Chris asked.

Vin gave Chris a tug and they positioned themselves so that they were sitting next to each other on the bed. "Just been doing the math, is all. Ya say ya want to be together but you're afraid to let our friends see us touch. Don't add up. Makes me think ya got a problem with us, with this," he said.

"I don't have a problem, just think some things should be kept private," Chris insisted.

It was the same argument Chris had used the other night. Vin waited before replying, wanting to make sure he responded carefully, given his track record tonight. And given that what had really blown the argument out of proportion was a somewhat challenging statement he had made.

"Tell me Buck never saw ya kiss Sarah until your wedding day and I'll believe ya ain't got a problem with us being together."

"So do I," Vin said finally. "Nobody's comfortable with..." he searched for an Ezra word, "gratuitous PDA's, including me." He sought to lighten the mood. "Ain't talking about fucking on your desk after our morning meetings with the boys cheering us on, ya know." No lightening up on Chris's part. Not even a smile. Vin sighed and continued. "Most of my clothes and some of my other stuff has migrated out to the ranch over the past eight months. Before me and the rest of it head out there for good, I gotta know ya want this."

Chris looked at him. "I do," he said. He had told Vin that he'd had nothing remotely resembling a relationship since Sarah. Sex, sure. When he hadn't been too drunk to get it up. But he hadn't really been with anyone, cared for anyone until Vin. Not kissing Vin in front of their friends had nothing to do with not wanting him.

"I also don't wanna feel like I got the plague or something when the guys are around," Vin added.

Chris frowned. "The plague?"

Vin took Chris's hand and rubbed the back of it. They were doing okay with the talking thing and he didn't want Chris to bolt. "Even when we were alone in your room ya didn't kiss me. Didn't want to kiss me 'til after they left. And sometimes, if one of 'em walks out on the deck when you're holding my hand, or whatever, ya move away like I suddenly become a hot stove," he said. He honestly had not thought much about it before the other night. But once he'd said it, he'd realized how many times he had noticed Chris move away from him and had written it off as...what? He didn't know but he had written it off. He didn't want to anymore. Especially if they were going to be living together.

"It isn't that bad," Chris said.

"It's like ya don't want 'em to know, but they do know, Chris. They've known for a long time and they're okay with it," Vin said.

Chris pulled his hand away. "Knowing and seeing are two different things, Vin" he said.

"Meaning?" Vin asked, sensing that Chris's decision to break their physical contact was not a good thing.

"Meaning," Chris said, "they accept it because it's pretty much what they've gotten used to since you and I met. We spend a lot of time together. We're very close. If they start seeing us kiss and stuff, they might find they have a problem with it."

"Shit, cowboy, ya sure don't give 'em much credit, do ya?" Vin asked. "They know we have sex. Seeing a kiss or a touch ain't gonna send them screaming from the house." He stood up, feeling angry and uncomfortable. Cold. And suddenly very alone. Like he was the one who needed to bolt. "Maybe if ya think that way it means you are the one with the problem."

Vin did bolt then, going into the bathroom and starting the water in the shower. "Please let there be hot water," he mumbled. "Please let there be hot water."

There was and Vin stood shivering under it, willing himself to calm down. When Chris dragged the shower curtain back, Vin didn't look at him. "Go home, Chris," he said. He had not wanted to believe that Chris honestly did have a problem with them being together but there it was.

Chris touched his shoulders. Needing to keep hope alive, he did not pull away.

"I don't have a problem. I just think we have it all. We have each other, we keep it to ourselves at work, and we have five great friends. Anything that seems too good to be true usually is, Vin," Chris said. "We're either gonna screw up and I'm going to lose my job, or we're going to alienate one or more of our friends. I think we're good. So something else has got to give."

"Jesus, Chris, you're such a cynic," Vin said. Or maybe just a man who had once had it all and lost it, he thought. He turned to face his lover. "Can't make ya any promises about the job. But I can't see our friends getting angry over seeing us be affectionate with one another. Buck could care less as long as the sex is good."

"The sex is good," Chris said. It wasn't Buck he was worried about, though.

"JD's young and young people don't care how people get off, generally. Josiah's old enough to have seen it all and not be fazed by anything. Nate knows a thing or two about judging people for things that don't mean shit in the grand scheme of things," Vin said. "And in case ya ain't noticed, Ezra ain't exactly a stranger to the world of same-sex lovin'."

"Speaking of that," Chris said, recalling Ezra's demeanor this evening. Not the first time Chris had noticed it.

"Don't wanna speak about Ezra," Vin said. "But if he's still holding out hope it's your fault. He knows we're together but he ain't never seen any proof of it. No wonder he thinks he still has a chance."

"Does he?" Chris asked.

Vin let out an angry breath and turned around. "Go home, Chris. Ya got great friends and ya don't trust 'em to stick by ya. Ya don't trust in what we got. Ya should just go."

Chris did get out of the shower and Vin hung his head in confusion and hurt. He knew Chris loved him. Could not for the life of him understand how Chris could be so loving and simultaneously be so ashamed of that love that he needed to hide its slightest physical manifestation from their closest friends. That didn't add up.

They had managed to squander the hot water and Vin cleaned up quickly as the temperature dropped. He got out and dried off, fully expecting to find Chris gone. A long, lonely, sleepless night stretched out before him.

But Chris was in the bedroom, standing by the open window. The rain had picked up again and Vin thought Chris must be freezing, still damp from the shower and wearing only a towel around his hips.

"Come away, you'll catch your death," Vin said as he changed into sweats and a long-sleeved t-shirt.

"Buck walked in on me and Sarah making love once," Chris said while staring out at the night. "I was reading a case file in the den and she'd just put Adam down for a nap. She tapped my shoulder to ask what I wanted for lunch. Guess she looked good enough to eat because the next thing I knew, we were on the couch. Then I heard a familiar chuckle."

Vin smiled, hearing the soft laughter in Chris's voice.

"We laughed it off, of course. Buck teased us for weeks after. Kept saying he wanted to see Sarah's cheeks as red as they were when she was riding me," Chris said. "Made her blush every time."

So Buck had witnessed a hell of a lot more than the occasional stolen kiss or caress. "Well, that's one story Buck ain't ever told," Vin observed.

Chris turned to him. "The thing is, we were closer after that. We were all so close before. Buck loved Sarah and she loved him. But after, we were even closer. It was our private joke. You think if any of the guys walked in on us we'd feel closer for it?"

Vin shrugged. "Ain't hoping to find out," he said. "But I'm willing to bet we'd all end up with a good laugh over it 'cause ain't one of those boys can keep a secret. 'Cept Ezra." Usually, anyway. Ezra had not made a secret of his attraction to Vin and it had actually been Buck who had broken the news to him about Chris. It hadn't surprised him, but he had confessed to Buck, and later to Vin, to being a little sorry to hear it. Still, he had said he wished them well and Vin had known he meant it.

"It's just too good to be true, Vin," Chris said.

"Ya said that before. What are ya afraid of, Chris?" Vin asked. He went into his dresser drawer and yanked out an old pair of sweats that had no elastic at the bottom and would fit Chris well enough. He held them out.

Chris came around the bed and took the sweats. As he tugged them on, he said, "I don't know. I just think something bad is bound to happen and I want to avoid it for as long as possible. Don't want to think about losing you so I concentrate on trying to not lose my job or any of our friends."

"Chris, look at me," Vin said and waited until Chris's eyes stopped searching the room and touched his. "Something real bad happened to ya but ya can't let it make ya believe that anything good can't last," Vin said quietly. "Do ya want this to last?"

"Yes," Chris said without hesitating. It had taken him a while to come to terms with his feelings for Vin. Other than a drunken New Year's kiss with Buck eons ago, when Buck had inexplicably copped a feel below the belt, Chris had never had any sexual contact with another man. Recognizing that he had fallen in love with one had overwhelmed him at first. But he had eventually acted on those feelings and discovered that they were reciprocated. He had never looked back.

"Well, the only thing putting it in danger at the moment is you," Vin said. "If ya don't think ya can just be yourself in your own home, whether our friends are there or not, then this ain't gonna work. Trust them, Chris. Or it's over between us."

Chris put his hands on his hips and leaned to one side. "Okay," he said with a nod. He was in love again and he was not about to let that go. And if it cost him a friend or two, well, he'd cross that bridge when he came to it.

"Not so fast," Vin said. "Are ya ashamed of me, of sleeping with another man?"

"No," Chris said emphatically. "It's not that. I told Buck right away and he was shocked but not really, I guess, because he got over it quickly. The others, I don't know. They didn't really react at all." He shrugged one shoulder. "Makes me nervous."

"They didn't react because they don't care. It's like ya said, they already knew we were close. Now we share a bed. Big deal. But if it's a big deal to you--"

"It's not," Chris cut in. "You wanna go wake Buck and JD up and make out in front of them?" he asked. "Come on, let's go." He grabbed his boots and sat on the edge of the bed.

"You're a jerk, ya know that?" Vin said but he couldn't contain his crooked smile. "Don't know why I love an insecure old worrywart like you." He took Chris's boots from his hands and dropped them to the floor.

"I ain't insecure," Chris said, "and I ain't old." He let Vin have the worrywart. Smiling up at him, he pulled on Vin's hips until he was settled on his lap, straddling him. "I love you, Vin," he said as he slid his hands under Vin's shirt and rubbed his nipples.

Vin tugged his wrists. "Leave 'em, they're all sore from somebody gnawing on them," he said. They were but he didn't want Chris to think he was mad about it so he leaned in and kissed him.

"Want me to make it up to you?" Chris asked when they parted for air.

"Depends," Vin said.

"On?" Chris asked as he raised one eyebrow.

"On whether or not you're okay. With us, with us planning on being together with good jobs and surrounded by our friends," Vin said.

Chris bit his bottom lip. "Hard for me to believe that I've got another chance at being happy," he said.

Vin kissed him again, gently. "Ya do," he whispered. "Wanna dedicate my life to making ya happy."

"Oh yeah? Then tell me more about your modeling days," Chris said running his hands down over the firm mounds of Vin's asscheeks and squeezing.

"Hmm, lemme see," Vin said. He planted small kisses along Chris's cheeks and forehead. "One lady gave me a gift and I didn't want to accept it. It was a blue silk robe for me to wear during breaks. She insisted." He stroked Chris's nipples and ran the back of his knuckles along Chris's ribs. "Felt real nice against my skin. Reckon she picked blue on purpose 'cause everyone kept commenting on how it went with my eyes. Said how it made 'em sparkle and all." He cupped Chris's face and their eyes met. He could feel Chris's arousal through the layers of cotton that separated them and was well pleased with his choice of anecdotes. "That lady said she could see us fucking when she looked into my eyes – me in the robe with my hard dick sticking out, her naked as the day she was born. Our bodies touching, belly to belly, thigh to thigh--"

Awash in desire and need, Chris stood, nearly dumping Vin off his lap. He caught him before he fell and threw him down on the bed. He practically ripped off his own sweats, his cock erect and leaking clear pre-cum.

Vin made quick work of his shirt while Chris went for his sweats, mouthing Vin's hardness when it emerged from its confines.

Vin reached down and pulled Chris's hair. "Now, cowboy. Take me, now!" he said impatiently.

Even with the break in the action there was virtually no resistance and Vin wouldn't have let Chris wait if there had been. He drew his knees up and Chris hooked his arms underneath, giving himself better access to the depths they both wanted him to plunder.

Vin braced himself with palms flat against the mattress and thrust up as Chris thrust down. Their faces were inches apart and their tongues darted out to taste each other and to lick salty skin.

"Go, Chris, go," Vin urged.

Chris came pretty quickly but Vin didn't mind. His lover remained inside him, thrusting as he jerked him off. When Vin came, he clamped down on Chris's still pulsating cock and they cried out in unison.

"Good God, Chris, you're amazing," Vin said in a broken voice as he rubbed Chris's shoulders.

"Not so bad yourself, Vin," Chris said. He leaned in, his kiss languid and sweet.

They separated and wiped themselves off. As they were settling, Chris asked if Vin wanted the window shut.

It was pouring outside and a watery mist was still invading the room. Vin was exhausted and would probably be asleep in seconds. But he wanted the rain nonetheless. He reached for his discarded clothing. "Nah, leave it open," he said, "but you'll have to keep me warm."

Chris nodded. "No problem," he said and climbed into bed after his lover, snuggling alongside him. "Vin?" he whispered.

"Yeah?" Vin whispered back.

"I'm not ashamed of you. Or of us. Just don't want to frighten our friends away."

"I know. Hell, Chris, if they get frightened they ain't really our friends. And we'll be okay without 'em," Vin said then yawned.

Chris picked up his head and looked into his lover's sleepy eyes. "It isn't going to come to that, is it?" he asked and realized he believed it.

"Nope," Vin said.

"And we're gonna make it?"

"We're sure gonna try."

Chris nodded and rested his head on Vin's shoulder. He wasn't one for putting off bridges until he got to them, hadn't been for a long time. But for Vin – and for himself – he would sure as hell try. Too much waiting for him up ahead to do anything but.


Vin sort of grunted.

"Whatever happened to that blue robe?"

Chris felt the rumble of Vin's laughter against his ear. He closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep, silently giving himself permission to enjoy his current state of total happiness.


Vin straightened at the waist and grabbed Chris's ankles. He gripped them tightly and gave one last, hard thrust. He came with a shout, his hips trembling as held himself in place for the duration of his release.

Chris lay still for a while after, watching Vin through hooded eyes as he jumped up and adjusted his clothing. Their lovemaking had been completely spontaneous. No blanket, no lube, very little warning. What had started as a mid-morning walk down to the pond on his property had turned into a quite ferocious coupling that had left his whole body tingling. And just a little sore. He groaned as he sat up.

"Gettin' too old to make love on the ground," Chris said.

Vin squatted beside and gave him a quick kiss. "Other night ya claimed ya wasn't old. Reckon I was right all along," he said with a satisfied smile.

Chris rolled his eyes but wasn't too annoyed to ignore Vin's outstretched hand when he stood and offered it. The blond glanced around to locate his clothing since Vin, in his rush to get Chris mostly naked, had strewn them haphazardly around the sun-drenched grass.

When he was dressed, Chris clasped Vin's hand and they walked leisurely toward home, discussing their options for lunch. When they came around the barn, they spotted a small crowd gathered on the back porch of the house.

Their eyes met for a moment and Vin dropped Chris's hand.

"Vin, it's okay," Chris said and tried to reclaim the warm hand that had been holding his.

Vin glided away from him. "Ain't gotta force it, either, Chris," he said.

Chris shrugged and they continued to the house in silence. As they neared, Josiah stood to greet them.

"Thought we'd take advantage of your hospitality and have a cook-out," he said. "Maybe play some touch football on the lawn."

Chris inhaled the fresh air, enjoying the feel of the clear, warm Indian summer day. He nodded and said, "Great day for it."

Buck gave Chris a little shove when he topped the steps. "Great day for fucking too, huh?" Wilmington asked with a big, stupid grin.

Two steps below, Vin froze. So soon to test his lover's newfound comfort zone with acknowledging their relationship in their friends' company. He relaxed at the sound of Chris's deep chuckle.

"When isn't it a great day for fucking?" Chris asked.

Buck slipped one arm around Chris's shoulder and turned him toward his lover. "True enough. Good to see ya taking advantage of that," he said. "Not sure he blushes as much as Sarah, though."

Chris elbowed him. "Yeah, well, he didn't have you watching," he said.

"Almost did," JD said matter of factly. "Buck wanted to walk down to the barn and find you guys."

"But Ezra had to go and talk me out of it," Buck complained.

Ezra's ears perked up at the mention of his name - not that he hadn't been following the conversation anyway. He interrupted his own conversation with Nathan to defend himself. "I merely recommended that you exercise a measure of restraint," he said. He rose from the deck chair. "Now, are you going to stand there blabbering or are we going to indulge our appetites?"

"Reckon Chris and Vin already done that," Nathan said slyly.

Everyone, including Ezra, laughed out loud at the comment.

Chris threw his hands up in surrender. "Enough. I'm with Ezra. Let's eat," he said.

Vin lingered, waiting for the guests to enter the house before approaching Chris. He slipped his arms around his lover's waist. "Did ya set this all up with Buck?" he asked teasingly.

Chris snickered. "How could I? I had no idea you were gonna attack me by the pond today," he said.

Vin pursed his lips. "True enough," he said. "Y'all right with it?"

"Yeah, I am," Chris said and knew in his heart that he meant it. To dispel any doubts Vin may have had, he offered him a sweet, slow kiss.

JD's voice prompted them to break the kiss but not the embrace.

"Chris? You got any potatoes?" he asked.

Chris answered without looking at him. "Yeah, in the pantry."

"Thanks," JD said and ducked back inside.

"Sounds like they're fixin' to cook up one hell of a lunch," Vin said.

"I know," Chris said with a predatory gleam in his eye. "And here I am, ready for dessert."