“I love you.” The words are out of Tommy’s mouth before he can think of stopping them.
He freezes, suddenly scared out of his mind. He so didn’t mean to say that, especially since there’s nothing more cliché than uttering those words after sex. And, really, for the last six months, that’s all this has been. Amazing, mind-blowing, life-changing kind of sex, but still just fucking.
Yet all it does is make Nate’s satisfied, fucked-out smile soften. With a hand on the back of Tommy’s neck, he brings him closer until he can kiss him. It’s sweet and mellow and everything that the two of them in bed has never been.
When they separate, Nate brushes Tommy’s hair away from his forehead. “Love you too.”
Instead of making him feel better, Nate’s words send the wheels in Tommy’s head into full spin. The reason why what he shares with Nate has been so easy is that Tommy could fool himself into thinking that it was just a sex thing. Nothing important.
And now, with two sentences, it became so much more than that. And the only thought left in Tommy’s head is that he’s going to fuck it up. He’s going to fuck it up like he’s done with almost every other good thing in his life.
Long after Nate has fallen asleep, Tommy stays awake, staring at the ceiling. He’s doing his hardest not to squirm because, as he always does in his sleep, Nate has wrapped himself all around Tommy.
Usually, Tommy doesn’t mind. He loves the fact that Nate is so much taller than him, how Nate’s embraces always make him feel safe and protected. He loves the constant reminder that, when they’re in bed, there’s no question as to who’s in control, and it isn’t Tommy.
It’s been weeks since he’s felt this need to slip out of Nate’s arms. Any other night, when Tommy couldn’t sleep, he’s stayed in bed and allowed himself to watch Nate in a way he never does when Nate’s awake, drinking in the sight of miles of golden brown skin.
Tonight, though, the only thing keeping him in bed is the knowledge that if he tries to undo the grip Nate has on him, it will almost certainly wake Nate and lead to a conversation that Tommy really isn’t ready to have.
So he waits to fall asleep but it never happens, no matter how hard he tries. Instead, around 4am, he hears the alarm on Nate’s cell go off. He closes his eyes and pretends to be asleep as Nate kisses his hair before he gets out of bed. “See you later, babe.”
Tommy mumbles something that sounds like, later, and he turns his head to get a real kiss.
Once he hears the door of his apartment closing behind Nate, Tommy grabs his cell.
Nobody will be awake, he knows that. It’s stupidly early in the morning because Nate always works crazy hours. He’s a paramedic, and from the way his eyes light up when he talks about his job Tommy knows that he couldn’t live without it, that what Nate feels for his job is the same as music is for Tommy. But it means that some weeks, Nate works through the night, and some others, well, he’s up at the hour when Tommy would usually go to sleep.
Tommy has a couple of friends that he knows he can call anytime, even in the middle of the night. But he’s also very aware that the middle-of-the-night phone calls are only justified by a real emergency. Somehow, he has a feeling that him freaking out because he realized that he’s in love with a guy doesn’t count as one.
With a sigh, he opens his twitter app. He knows he won’t fall asleep, so he might as well find something to mess around with.
Before he has a chance to do anything, though, the next tweet that pops on his timeline is Adam’s. Without thinking, Tommy sends a text. Are you alone?
He doesn’t even have to wait a minute for a reply. Yeah. What’s up?
This is way too complicated to explain via texts. Can I come over?
Tommy bites his nail until Adam finally answers, sure, and then, two seconds later, you okay?
Tommy hesitates, trying to figure out what he can say that won’t take too long, before he sends, more or less. I’ll explain when I get there.
I’ll be waiting.
Adam’s last text makes Tommy smile. He wouldn’t have dared to call or text Adam that late if it hadn’t been for the tweet that let him know that Adam was still awake, but he’s glad that he did. He has a feeling that Adam is just the person he needs to talk to in order to make sense of the mess in his head, and he also knows that, since Adam can be like a dog with a bone, he won’t let Tommy back off until they’ve talked it out.
Which is a good thing because Tommy knows that, if he didn’t have anyone willing to pull the words out of his mouth if necessary, he’d be likely to chicken out.
Tommy feels almost guilty when Adam opens his front door with bed hair, a clear sign that he would have slept if Tommy hadn’t texted him. But instead of turning away, he forces himself to walk inside and accept the hug Adam sweeps him in.
Tightening his hold on Adam, Tommy says, “Could be better.”
They stay like this for a little longer before moving to Adam’s room. They sit on Adam’s bed, face to face, and Tommy finally asks, “Do you know Nate?”
A couple of seconds go by as Adam frowns and obviously tries to remember. “Isn’t he one of Brian’s friends?”
“Yeah, he is.” Tommy looks down at the bedcover as he tries to find his words. “We met last summer, while I was recording with Brian. We went out with a bunch of people once or twice. And one night, I ended up at his place.”
Tommy’s whole face heats up at the memory. He’d spent the whole night dancing with Nate, and by the time they made it back to Nate’s, Tommy had been high on lust and alcohol. Just drunk enough that, when Nate had asked, in between kisses, what Tommy wanted, Tommy blurted out that while he’d had sex with guys before, he’d never done full-on, cock-in-ass sex, but he really, really wanted that tonight.
He remembers the kiss that followed, passionate enough to leave Tommy light-headed, and Nate’s promise that he would make it so good for him.
And he had. He’d kept Tommy on his knees on the bed, head down and ass high, one hand holding both of Tommy’s at the small of his back while Nate licked his way into Tommy’s ass. By the time Nate relented, Tommy had been wrecked and begging for Nate’s fingers, for his cock, for anything and everything.
When Tommy raises his head again, he finds Adam staring at him with a fond smile that is very, very far from what Tommy was expecting. “You don’t seem so surprised.”
“Well it’s not like I’ve forgotten your GNT shenanigans.” Tommy stares at Adam, completely lost, but Adam only shrugs. “You know. Terrance. I was aware that your kind of straight was a little bendy, and it’s not like we never talked about this.” Adam takes Tommy’s hand in his. “But I don’t understand why it’s freaking you out now.”
“Because…” Tommy sighs. He wishes this was easier to explain, but if it were, he wouldn’t be here. He’d have fallen asleep after Nate left for work. “We’ve been seeing each other for six months, and it’s good, you know? But I thought it would be just that. A bit like with Terrance, yeah. Just us being friends and some amazing sex. I wasn’t supposed to…” He swallows, has to force the words out. “I wasn’t supposed to fall in love with him.”
“Oh.” Adam releases Tommy’s hand and opens his arms. “Come here?”
Tommy hesitates maybe a second before he crawls into Adam’s lap. It’s been a long time since they’ve done this, since they’ve had the kind of privacy that makes it feel easy and right. It’s always been platonic; the stage-gay, no matter what some people believed, was only that. But the knowledge that, no matter what, Adam and the easy friendship and comfort he offers isn’t going anywhere makes Tommy breathe easier. Slowly, the tension eases out of Tommy.
“You know,” Adam says, rubbing slow circles over Tommy’s back, “I was expecting that kind of reaction from you during GNT. When it never happened, well, I thought you were good with it.”
“Terrance wasn’t the first guy I had sex with,” Tommy shrugs. “That wasn’t enough to make me freak out. He didn’t make me gay, and you sure as hell didn’t, either, no matter what the whole fucking world wants to believe.”
Tommy can’t help but smile when he feels Adam’s whole body move in silent laughter. They had that conversation during GNT. Tommy almost laughs all over again when he remembers Adam’s dumbfounded look when Tommy had told him no, Adam hadn’t magically made him question himself after twenty-nine years of being straight.
Thing is, until now, Tommy had never fallen in love with the guys he messed around with.
“Even though,” Tommy adds when Adam stops laughing, “I’m blaming you for helping me figure out how much it turns me on when the person I’m in bed with takes control.”
“Somehow I think you would have figured that one out all on your own anyway.”
“Maybe,” Tommy admits, raising his head to look at Adam, “But I wouldn’t have been drawn to Nate like a moth to a fucking flame.”
There’s a long, long silence before Adam asks, “Why is it freaking you out so badly?”
Tommy bites his lip. The reason why he came here is because he needed to talk things out, but he’s still tempted not to answer. There’s always this feeling that, as long as he doesn’t say it aloud, it isn’t real. “Because I suck at relationships and that kind of shit!”
With a soft smile, Adam shakes his head. “Tommy, you just told me you’ve been dating the guy for the last six months. You really think he didn’t get an idea of the way you are?”
“We weren’t dating!”
Adam doesn’t say anything, but his expression has are you fucking kidding me written all over it.
“Oh come on, you know what I mean. We were just… you know, hanging out and watching movies and having sex…” Tommy trails off. It made sense in his head, but now that he’s said the words aloud, it really, really doesn’t.
“I’m sorry, baby, but that sounds a lot like dating to me.”
To Tommy, too. Which is why he hangs his head and doesn’t add anything else. Everything he could say sounds like an excuse.
Gently, Adam pulls Tommy closer. Without thinking, Tommy wraps his arms around Adam and clings to him.
“And now,” Adam whispers against Tommy’s hair, “Why don’t you tell me what’s really freaking you out?”
Tommy sighs and then, so low that he knows that Adam has to strain to hear him, he says, “I don’t want to hear the I-told-you-so. I don’t want people to look at me differently.”
“From what I remember, you never cared much what people thought of you.”
“People in general? Of course not.” Tommy can’t look at Adam in the eyes when he says, “But my friends, my family, the people I care about? They’re a whole other story.”
There’s nothing Tommy hates more than being reminded that his ‘I don’t give a fuck’ attitude is sometimes only that. He’s gotten more confident over the years, and he’s learned to live his life only for himself. But the opinion of his friends and family, of the few people that he actually cares about, can still rub raw at Tommy’s insecurities, at the demons that he could never get rid of, even if he’s learned to shut them up.
“Tommy? Can you look at me?” Adam waits until Tommy’s whole attention is on him before he continues, “Do you think it’s worth it? Everything you share with Nate?”
Within a second, Tommy’s thinking of all the nights when he couldn’t sleep and Nate stayed awake too, the two of them talking softly until Tommy’s overactive brain would finally relent and let him sleep. Of how easy it seems to be for Nate to take Tommy’s mind off the things that would hurt him. Of that moment when Nate was looking over Tommy’s shoulder while he was messing around on twitter and teased him for days about the “pretty kitty” that popped up in a tweet sent to him at that exact moment.
All very small things, but all together, they’re enough to make Tommy’s heart beat faster and make him grin like an idiot. “Yeah. It’s worth it.”
“If it is, the people who really care about you won’t say anything. I’m not saying they won’t be surprised, but they’ll stand by you no matter what because what they want is for you to be happy. If they have a problem with something that makes you smile like this, it means their friendship wasn’t worth anything in the first place.”
Tommy nods. He knows that Adam is right, but that doesn’t make the fear go away.
“Besides, if Nate loves you the way you obviously love him? He’ll be holding your hand every step of the way.” Adam shakes his head a little. “It’s not me you should be having this conversation with.”
“You think I don’t know that?” Tommy sighs. “What am I supposed to do?”
“You’re supposed to trust him.” Adam presses a finger against Tommy’s lips to stop him from interrupting. “That’s what love is, Tommy. Taking a leap of faith and trusting someone with your heart. You can never know how and when it will end, true, but every single moment you get is worth it.”
Once again, Tommy looks down at the bedcover. “You’re nice and all, Adam, but you don’t know him.”
“True.” Adam seems to hesitate before asking, “Do you know how I had such an easy time remembering who he is?”
“Because your skills at remembering people are phenomenal?”
That shocks a laugh out of Adam. “There’s that, but… Brian called me last week. He was starting to be worried.”
Tommy makes a face.
“Don’t look at me like that. He was worried for Nate, not for you. He asked how serious I thought you were, because apparently, the guy is head over heels about you.”
Instead of making Tommy feel better, though, it only seems to tighten the vice around his heart. He tries his best to keep the words inside, but in the end, he blurts out, “What if I fuck it up?” Again, he doesn’t say, but he knows Adam has to hear it clear as day.
With gentle fingers under his chin, Adam makes him raise his head. “You won’t. You have a good thing with him, right?” Adam waits until Tommy nods before he continues, “Don’t ruin it because you’re scared. I get it, it really is scary. But you have to allow yourself to be happy, baby. You deserve it.”
There are almost tears in Tommy’s eyes, but he doesn’t add anything. Adam’s right. It isn’t him that Tommy should be having this conversation with.
Instead, he hides his face against Adam’s shoulder again. He closes his eyes, focusing only on breathing and on the circles Adam’s tracing on his back until the last of the tension seeps out of him.
“Do you think you could sleep now?”
Tommy raises his head. “Doubt it.”
“Me too,” Adam admits. “Maybe we could go grab coffee and some food, and you could tell me everything about your boyfriend. What do you say?”
Tommy knows that Adam is just teasing him, but right now, it sounds very, very tempting. “Yeah. I’d love that.”
Later, Tommy promises himself, he’ll talk to Nate. Right now, though, it will feel good to forget his fears and focus on all the little details that make what he shares with Nate so very, very worth it.