What the fuck is Tim doing here?
It’s been seventeen months. Seventeen months of misery and longing and forcing himself to move forward. Tim knows how long it's been like a reformed drunk knows the date when he put the plug in the jug.
August and September of that year had been brutal for reasons that'd had nothing to do with his ERA, his WHIP, or his win/loss record. Because Barry’s and his relationship had been secret, when it ended they’d had to get up every day and act like nothing had changed.
Long-toss together, shower together, take batting practice together. They’d had to keep up the bro hugs, the fist bumps, the butt slaps; they continued to spend games sitting arms and thighs jammed together in the dugout.
The tabloid stories about Barry’s exploits hadn't fazed him, but having to touch him, see him naked, being so close he could smell him - this made Tim crazy. After games he found reasons to loiter around till most of the guys had left. Then he’d take a long, excruciatingly hot shower. It was the only thing that soothed the itch he couldn’t scratch.
That September, he’d been secretly glad the Giants hadn't made the playoffs.
What the fuck Tim’s doing here is this: he’s sliding one hand under Barry’s polo shirt and stroking his belly, which makes Barry moan softly and pull Tim in closer so that he can kiss him more deeply. Zito has his hands in Tim’s hair, around his neck, as though he wants to hurt him. The kissing that began so gently has become frantic, even savage, their tongues battling, tasting, feasting.
Then Tim’s hand is tracing the line of hair that leads from Barry’s navel downward, slipping beneath the fly of his jeans and the elastic of his boxer briefs.
Zito breaks the kiss and sits up abruptly, breathing hard. He wipes his mouth on his sleeve. The sound of the water lapping over the edge of the pool is the one calm thing Tim focuses on as they sit there in the dark, on the grass.
Barry takes Tim's pitching hand by the wrist and slowly brings it up to his mouth. He takes a deep breath, as though he’s soaking in Tim’s essence, and then kisses the inside, the palm of Tim’s hand, gently moving his mouth down to the inside of Tim’s wrist, his warm, soft breath making the ace’s skin prickle.
- What is it about you, says Barry, not looking up. - That I can’t -
Neither of them wants to say what needs to be said next.