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i. i remember when you said your father’s asleep

Cook knows this feeling, the wrong-bad-against-the-rules rush he used to get when he snuck out of the house as a teenager, feeling the hot burn of hard liquor before he was of age, kissing his best friend’s girlfriend and feeling her rub up against his leg – it’s familiar. But it’s never felt so heady, never felt as overwhelming as it did right now, Archie’s big eyes all worry and hope, hesitation and blind trust.

“My dad, he’s asleep now. Did you want to-?” and it’s clear Archie has no idea what Cook wants to do, but it’s clear he wants to do it too.

Cook just pulls Archie into his room, mumbling “Yeah, yeah,” against the boy’s lips and feeling his stomach swoop.

ii. i remember swimming as our clothes drifted off to sea

The first thing Cook does when they arrive at their exclusively rented beach house is take Archie’s hand and drag him out the back door, laughing and whooping in pure joy. Archie resists a little first, but eventually gives in, stumbling along behind him. Cook doesn’t stop running until he’s waist deep in the water, his body sopping from the waves splashing up around him. Archie had pulled away and stood at the ocean’s edge, his hands on his hips, his eyes squinting into the sun.

“What are you doing?” Archie calls and Cook laughs. It’s beautiful here.

“Come on Arch, come in with me!” He staggers back towards the beach, his wet jeans slowing him down. He stops about knee deep, and drops his hand to his belt buckle, undoing it and popping the button fly on his jeans.

“Oh – what are you – Cook! Don’t!” Archie yelps, but it’s too late. Cook pushes his jeans off his hips and steps out of them, lifting his arms to yank his wet t-shirt off and toss it into the water as well. “Cook! You’re going to lose them!”

Cook just looks at Archie. “Come in with me,” he urges seriously, and Archie obediently walks into the sea, pulling his own shirt up and off. The lack of hesitation makes Cook’s heart pound, even after all this time. Archie fits perfectly when he puts his hands on his hips and tugs him close, their chests touching when they inhale. Before he knows what he’s doing, he’s pulled Archie deeper and deeper into the ocean, their mouths meeting lazily as the waves buoy them back and forth. Cook pushes Archie’s shorts off of him and then it’s just them, skin sliding against skin in the clear blue sea.

iii. wake up, wake up dreaming, and lie here with me

Cook wakes reluctantly. He was dreaming of Archie curled up in bed next to him, their limbs intertwined and their bodies pressed tightly to each other, and he wasn’t ready to let go of that dream just yet. When he opens his eyes, he sees Archie leaning over him, shirtless and messy haired.

“Am I still dreaming?” Cook asks, his voice thick and groggy, stuck in that moment between sleep and consciousness.

“No,” Archie says and leans down to kiss him awake.

iv. here we go

Cook hates asking himself when the feelings started, because it doesn’t take long to realize how far gone he really is.

v. just lose control

“You have to let me, you have to, Archie, I need-“ Cook is shaking. Not just his hands, which have Archie pinned up against the wall, but his entire body, like he’s some kind of addict. (He thinks maybe he is.)

Archie stares up at him like he’s the sun and all Cook can see is the shape his mouth makes when it says “Yes, yes, yes.”

vi. let your body give in to the beat of your heart as my hand touches your skin

David’s breath hitches as Cook’s fingertips skim over his chest timidly, so feather light that it should have tickled but it didn’t, and that’s all it took, just that brief touch is enough to make his heart pound faster and harder. He blushes and looks away from Cook’s intense eyes when the older man lays his palm flat over the place where David’s heart is racing.

“Hey, hey, it’s okay,” Cook soothes, tilting David’s face back to make eye contact, his smile crooked and infinitely tender. He picks up David’s hand and presses it against his chest, over the tattoo, so David could feel his heart beat. “Me too.”

vii. is this love or just sexual desire?

The first time it happens Archie gasps and arcs into Cook’s palms and when they finally roll over, panting, the boy says, “I’m in love with you” with a voice that could break hearts.

“No you aren’t,” Cook says, and has to look away before he can see the look on Archie’s face.

viii. taking chances in the back of your car

David knows this isn’t what his dad thought he was doing when he’d told him “I’m going to go out with Cook for a little bit, I’ll be back by midnight!” and even though he feels a little bit guilty, he also feels desperate enough to push it aside and focus on the feel of Cook’s hands on his thighs.

Cook presses him into the backseat and cradles him close, his mouth leaving a hot trail down David’s neck. He moans and squirms, pressing his hips up and looking for contact, feeling a curl of satisfaction when Cook groans back and shoves their bodies together.

It’s dangerous, but David thinks it might be worth it.

ix. we burn

It shouldn’t be this hot, having Archie’s angry eyes trained on him, hearing his voice low and furious, but it is. It shouldn’t be so hot when Archie shoves him away, and it shouldn’t be so hot to grip him by the hair and drag him close again, kissing against a reluctant mouth until it opens and bites him roughly. It shouldn’t light him up when Archie starts fighting back, pinching his skin and raking his nails too hard, too sharp down his arms.

It shouldn’t be, but when he kisses all the bites and bruises apologetically later, he knows that some part of him still burns.

x. so obsessed, you make me such a mess

Cook doesn’t realize it’s affecting his work until he pitches a new song idea to Neal and gets a ‘what the fuck, man’ look in return. He looks down at the scribbled notes in his hands and can’t see anything but Archie’s smiling face.

“Are you okay Dave?” Neal asks, but Cook can’t respond, because how is he supposed to explain this? I can’t stop thinking about him and this might be real and I think I’m in love with him and I don’t know what to do. He sighs and drops the papers on a table, deliberately turning away from them.

He can still feel Archie’s hands burning him up.

xi. is this love or just sexual desire?

The second time it happens Cook can’t breathe. He doesn’t want to let go, so he holds on tight, feeling like his heart might explode from his chest. It chokes him, this need, clawing at his throat at he tries desperately to explain how he feels.

“I’m in love with you,” Cook whispers against Archie’s hair, and it feels like he can’t live without him.

Archie pulls back and away, tilting his face up to look into Cook’s eyes. “Are you?” he asks calmly, and Cook recoils as if slapped.

Archie pulls out of Cook’s grasp and gets out of the bed to get dressed. He walks away and Cook watches him go.

xii. i remember drinking as the stars were falling

Getting shit-faced drunk is something that Cook stopped doing a long time ago, but when the pictures showed up on his web browser (David Archuleta hand in hand with a pretty blond girl, her dress demure and modest, his smile, a little awkward but still bright) it suddenly felt like a really, really good idea.

xiii. i remember dancing on the hotel’s unmade bed

David isn’t usually much of a dancer. But he can’t resist when Cook pops up and starts belting out the cheesy song blasting on the radio, or when he offers a hand to help David stand up on their messy bed.

They jump and wiggle and laugh, falling down on top of each other with fingers interlaced and mouths searching to share the moment.

xiv. why can’t this just last forever, why, why, why?

He’s being unfair, he knows, but reeling Archie in for one more goodbye kiss feels justified, especially when the boy melts against him and kisses like he never wants to let go.

Tomorrow he has to smile and act like nothing really happened, so he lets this moment last.

xv. is this love or just sexual desire?

The third time it happens, Cook strokes his hand through Archie’s hair and won’t look away from his half-lidded eyes or pink mouth, or the long sweep of his pale throat.

“I love you,” he tells the boy seriously, and leans down to kiss him. His anxiety fades when Archie kisses back, slow and sweet, as if they had all the time in the world.

“I know,” Archie says, and holds Cook’s heart in his palm, “I love you too.”

xvi. we’re gonna start a fire

Archie leans up against Cook and stares into the bonfire, his gaze very far-away. Cook watches him, stroking a finger over the inside of Archie’s wrist and lets him drift in his thoughts.

The firelight catches on their wedding bands and Cook smiles.