"I'm a scientist, Colonel. Of course I want to test that again."
An unusually hot August had turned most of the Cottage's landscape yellow and brown, along with the rest of the California coast. Harrison Blackwood paused under the leaves of a tree along the narrow ocean-side trail and watched his friend-turned-lover make his way up the dirt path. Ironhorse was taking his time, weighed down by a large plastic cooler.
Tugging the hem of his sweat-damp T-shirt up, Harrison wiped his face, but the moisture hiding in the light brown curls immediately slid down to replace what he removed. After a final attack with the cotton garment, he turned and continued down the hill, eager to reach the small cove at the bottom. It was a challenging hike even in good weather, and with the heat it seemed twice as long, but the tiny seaside retreat a few miles north of their government safe house was worth all the effort.
Besides, he thought. Maybe an ocean breeze will cool us off.
Or maybe not, he considered, smiling. He was randy. One hundred percent horny. He wanted nothing more than to take a quick dip, cool off, and then—
He shook his head to clear the images away, and with them the partial erection that strained against his bathing trunks.
The trip to the colonel's hideaway had been Norton's idea. And Suzanne and Mrs. Pennyworth had contributed the heavy cooler. Neither he nor Ironhorse knew exactly what was inside, but both women had insisted that they bring it along.
Harrison grinned. The rest of the Project had accepted his and Paul's relationship much better than he'd ever expected. Now it was like having a bunch of cupids around, trying to make time for the lovers. They'd finally broken down and told the rest of the Project members that they'd stepped over the line from friends to lovers when the military finally lifted its ban on homosexuals. And after a long silence, their expressions had changed from surprise to something that reminded Harrison of the national Christmas tree.
Norton had laughed, pounded both men on the back, laughed some more, and then headed off, muttering something about a honeymoon. Suzanne concurred and followed after him. Debi gave them each a hug and started asking embarrassing questions, which, thankfully, Mrs. Pennyworth spared them answering by suggesting she and Debi go bake a cake to celebrate.
"If this is Norton and Suzanne's idea of a honeymoon, you better pray you never get pregnant, Blackwood," Paul grumbled from up ahead.
"You never know what science might come up with, Doctor."
"True, but it might be you."
"Yes, you, Paul," Harrison said, grinning. "You'd look lovely in an olive drab maternity frock."
"Fuck you, Blackwood."
"Oh, I hope so, Colonel," the scientist muttered, then added more loudly, "They were just trying to do something special for us."
"I understand, Doctor," Paul grouched. "But this thing's heavy. What've they got in here?"
"I don't know any more than you do, Colonel. You're sure you don't want me to help?"
Ironhorse sucked in a deep breath and met Harrison's amused expression. Two pairs of eyes danced with anticipation. "All right, Doctor, take a handle," Ironhorse finally said, making it sound like he was doing the astrophysicist a favor.
Harrison gripped one sweat-slicked plastic handle, noting just how heavy the contents were. "What in the world did they put in here?"
"Your guess is as good as mine, Harrison," Paul replied under his breath.
"Come on, Colonel," Harrison said. "We're almost there and then we can open up our present."
* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *
Reaching the bottom of the hill, Harrison stopped in the shade of a large tree growing just beyond the sand. The deep blue of the ocean broke easily on the shore and a few gulls paraded along the wet sand, looking for any morsels the retreating waves might deposit for a meal.
A light breeze picked up, and he smiled. "I'd forgotten just how beautiful this place is. Did I ever thank you for showing it to me?"
"Yes, several times," Ironhorse replied, looking out at the ocean and the distant specks of white from the sailboats.
They set the cooler down under the tree and Ironhorse pulled off his backpack. Opening it, he tugged out the faded blanket they used for picnicking on the beach.
Bending over slightly, Harrison rested his hands on his knees, catching his breath while he watched the rhythm of nature. Lost in thought, he didn't hear Paul step up next to him.
"What's the matter, Doctor? Too much work for you?"
Harrison leveled a sheepish grin on the dark-haired man. "Just enjoying the peace."
Ironhorse nodded. "It's easy to forget sometimes."
Harrison looked back out at the Pacific, understanding all too well what the colonel meant. In the middle of a war it was hard to stop and smell the roses -- provided you could even find any.
"Doesn't look like we're going to get a breeze," Paul said, the disappointment clear in his voice.
"I think a swim might be the solution, Colonel," Harrison said. "Care to join me?" Before what I want to do gets to be too obvious, he added silently.
Twin brown eyebrows climbed suspiciously. "Swim?"
"Yes, Colonel, you remember, when you get in the water, kick your feet and move your arms to stay afloat?"
"Very funny," Paul replied, but he glanced out at the low waves and grinned. "I remember what happened the last time we went swimming together, Blackwood."
"I was hoping you might." Harrison stood and stripped off his T-shirt, tossing it over a low tree limb, then kicked off his shoes. He glanced around, making sure they were alone, then pulled his swim-trunks off as well. "Well, what're you waiting for, Colonel?" he asked when Paul hesitated. "It's not like I haven't seen—"
"It's not that," Paul said, still staring. "I was just admir—" He shook his head. "Never mind."
Harrison grinned and wagged his eyebrows several times. "I'll take that as a compliment, Colonel."
Trying to ignore his lover, Ironhorse removed his shorts, tank top, and shoes.
Following Harrison toward the small waves, he watched the well-built man stride confidently into the water. Blackwood was tanner than he remembered... he must be spending some time out at the pool with Debi.
The scientist's long legs puckered with gooseflesh, the water still cool despite the hot weather, and Paul found himself staring at the white cheeks of Harrison's butt. It had been weeks since they'd had the time or the energy to continue their growing sexual relationship. Now, the desire he'd placed on hold rushed back like a tidal wave.
Ironhorse swallowed hard and dove in under a wave. When he surfaced several yards out, Blackwood laughed and shook his head. "I have to work up to it."
"Doing it slow drives me crazy," Paul countered. "It's easier if you just get wet all at once."
"Your opinion, Colonel."
Paul shook his head, then swam out to where the cove opened onto the Pacific. He paused, treading water and watching the boats and gulls. It was so peaceful he wished he could just freeze time for them. With a sigh, he headed back. That was impossible. The aliens wouldn't just go away.
Harrison had managed to wet everything except his head.
"Are you goin' to swim, or not, Blackwood? This was your idea."
With a sheepish tone, Harrison conceded, "It's colder than I thought." Mischief sparkled in the blue eyes. "I need something to warm me up."
"Something like this," he said, dousing Paul.
"Hey!" the colonel yelped, quickly submerging and resurfacing out of range.
Harrison laughed. "What's the matter, Paul? Can't take a little action?"
"That's not the kind of action I was expecting, Doctor."
Ironhorse struck out, swimming parallel to the beach and Harrison followed. After a couple of minutes the pair stopped, rolling over to float on their backs. Staring up at the cloud-freckled blue sky, they let the surf rock them.
Spreading his arms, Ironhorse's fingertips brushed Blackwood's torso and he heard a soft, half-stifled moan. The sound ignited the soldier's desire and he let his feet sink back to the sandy bottom.
Harrison continued to float nearby, his eyes closed.
Moving slowly, Paul bobbed closer until he could reach out and trace his fingers along the lightly-tanned collar bones. The blue eyes opened as Harrison sucked in a breath.
Ironhorse chuckled, his hand moving lightly down the man's smooth chest, then over his side to draw Harrison closer.
Blackwood stood, nearly chest to chest with Ironhorse. The scientist's hands reached out to rest lightly on Paul's shoulders, and he smiled down at the disarray of dark hair that clung to his companion's forehead. Leaning closer, he kissed the tangle, and continued across the eyes that dropped closed until he reached the waiting lips. A soft moan escaped again as he claimed Ironhorse's mouth.
Paul's hands came up, rubbing along Harrison's goose bump textured sides as the scientist's fingers drifted off his shoulders, brushing across his already hard nipples.
Ironhorse's eyes remained closed, but opened slightly when he felt Harrison move closer, the man's smooth chest pressing lightly against his.
"I think we have some catching up to do, Paul," Harrison whispered softly, maneuvering to kiss Ironhorse a second time.
The rising tide lifted the pair off the sandy bottom, carrying them toward the beach. Sensing the danger before it happened, Paul wrapped his arms tight around Harrison's back just as a large wave broke over then. When they surfaced, both men were chuckling.
"If you think we're headed for the beach scene from From Here to Eternity, you're crazy, Doctor," Paul grouched good-naturedly.
Harrison shook his head. "You don't look like any leading lady I've ever seen, but, I do have plans."
Ironhorse followed Blackwood back to the shore, the pair exiting the surf just in time to rescue Harrison's T-shirt from being swept away, the wind having lifted it from the branch where he'd hung it. Padding over to the blanket, Harrison dropped down and stretched out on his back. "That sun feels good now."
Ironhorse studied his friend, like a collector admiring art, then dropped down next to him and leaned over to claim a kiss of his own. A crow cawed loudly from a branch above them.
"Not now, Trickster," Paul muttered, nibbling at Harrison's exposed neck.
Blackwood's arms came up to encircle his lover, pulling Paul into a tight embrace. "God, you feel good," he said. "But before we engage in any tactical exercise, let's see what they packed for us."
"You mean we're going to— On a full stomach?"
Harrison grinned. "Think of it as stoking the boiler, Colonel. Besides, I'm starving."
"That's not the boiler I want to stoke, Blackwood."
Harrison pushed Paul off and sat up. Leaning over, he pulled the cooler lid up and peered inside. "Wow."
"What?" Ironhorse asked, moving over so he could get a look.
Harrison saved him the effort, pulling out a bottle of wine and two glasses and lying them on the blanket. "Wine from Suzanne… Two super subs, one vegetarian, one roast beef from Mrs. P." The sandwiches joined the wine. Debi's old boom-box followed. "Music…"
Paul took the radio/cassette player and set it to the side, then pressed play. His favorite oldies tape started. "Good choice, Debi," he said.
"And some Bozlight-lanterns from Norton, and I quote, 'in case you two lose track of time and have to walk back in the dark,'" Blackwood read.
Ironhorse accepted the oddly shaped lights that just had to be shaken to glow for hours, setting them to one side.
"Oh, and a smaller cooler in the cooler…" Blackwood said, pulling that out and opening it. "Dessert," he announced, handing it to Paul.
The soldier peered inside. "More of Mrs. Pennyworth's handiwork. They thought of everything, didn't they," he said with a smile.
"They certainly did," Harrison said, holding up a tube of KY. "Wonder whose idea that was."
"I'm not sure I want to know, Doctor," Ironhorse said, blushing, but accepted the lubricant, setting it down next to the Bozlight-lanterns. "Where do you want to start?"
"Food," Harrison announced.
Their nude late-lunch/early-supper was a leisurely affair, both men enjoying the sandwiches, wine, and finally the desert of chocolate ice cream and sliced strawberries in pastry shells. Afterwards Blackwood announced he was due for a nap and promptly dropped off to sleep. Ironhorse packed the cooler and arranged the lanterns, all the while contemplating what he was going to do to the good doctor once he awoke.
* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *
Ironhorse activated the last of the lanterns. Despite the growing twilight, it was still warm and comfortable. He decided that they'd spend the night on the beach. It was a comfortable enough spot, and the temperatures would remain mild. He silently prayed they wouldn't be disturbed by any wayward alien transmissions.
Leaning over his sleeping lover, he lightly kissed Harrison's lips. The scientist moaned softly, and Paul followed up with a gentle caress along the man's chest. He teased the nipples into nubs, then pulled at them with his lips.
"I like this alarm clock," Blackwood sighed.
Ironhorse's lips came down hard to capture Harrison's again. The scientist retaliated, his hands sliding up Paul's bare back to rake down the back of his neck. Ironhorse pulled away, launching a steady assault down Blackwood's chest and abdomen, causing him to suck in a sharp breath when he shifted to a direct frontal attack, mouthing Harrison's crotch.
Blackwood moaned in surrender. When Paul nipped gently at his growing erection, Harrison growled and sat up, grabbing Ironhorse's shoulders and forcing him over onto his back. He watched Paul grow hard as he stroked firmly down the man's well-muscled thighs. The bronzed legs fell open as he achieved victory over his squirming lover.
With all the room he needed, Harrison teased the sensitive skin along the inside of the legs where they met the groin. Ironhorse cursed softly under his breath, his head rolling and his fingers curling into the blanket.
Harrison blew over Ironhorse's groin, smiling when the hips pressed up. "Not yet, Colonel. I'm going to do this slow," he said, his hands moving to the quivering abdomen to tease around Paul's belly button.
"Tickle me and I swear you'll pay, Blackwood," the colonel panted.
Harrison chuckled throatily as he pushed up along the ribs, then raked his fingers back down the chest, making sure he brushed hard over both nipples.
"Oh, God," Paul moaned, arching up again, first with his chest, then with his hips.
Blackwood bowed his head, the tip of his tongue brushing one hard nub, then the other, prompting an even more desperate moan. He moved up to Paul's slightly parted lips.
The soldier arched up, pressing his mouth firmly against Blackwood's. The deep, tongue-dancing kiss lasted until both men were forced to part, gasping for air.
Harrison returned to the nipples, circling his tongue-tip around each hard nub as Ironhorse tossed his head, his body flushing a soft pink.
"Harrison," he groaned, "please…"
The scientist watched the swollen cock strain to meet his touch as he traced a fingertip feather-light along its length. Paul sucked in a breath, his hips bucking, demanding more.
"Turn over," Harrison whispered
"Harrison, I don't think—"
With a resigned sigh and a groan, Paul did as ordered, carefully easing himself down. "You're driving me crazy, Blackwood," he growled.
"I haven't even started," Harrison threatened, reaching between Paul's thighs to caress the waiting balls tucked up tightly.
"Ahh," Ironhorse moaned, burying his face in the blanket. He could smell the musky earth and grass underneath the soft material. His head popped up with a startled grunt that turned into a low, feral groan of pleasure as Harrison kneaded his cheeks, pushing them together, then pulling them apart. A finger-tip targeted the sensitive sphincter and pressed.
The dark-haired man choked back a cry, his hips pressing back to meet the sensation.
Harrison stopped, and turned him over. "Now, we get serious," he said softly.
"Oh, God," was the thick reply.
Lying down next to Ironhorse, Harrison leaned over and kissed the parted lips, running his tongue over them. Their lips ground, then Blackwood pulled back as his hand snaked out to squeeze the dark-red shaft. Paul's hips pressed up and together they set a rhythm of pleasure and need.
Ironhorse's hand reached out, groping until he found Harrison's equally straining erection. The scientist scooted closer so Paul could pump him for several strokes before he said, "Enough, Paul. I want this to last."
Ironhorse chuckled throatily. "Last?"
"Last," Harrison repeated, moving so he could lean over and kiss the almost purple head. Letting it slip into his mouth, he ran his tongue around the top, then pressed against the small opening.
"God, that feels… so good," Paul breathed.
Harrison stopped and squeezed the base of the soldier's cock, pushing him back from the brink of orgasm. That gave Paul's mouth access to his own cock, and Harrison started in again, almost stopping when Ironhorse nipped carefully on the head of his cock while his fingers teased balls, pulling and squeezing.
Blackwood grinned. Two could play that game. He reached past Paul's balls until he felt the flesh in his mouth convulse and the lips wrapped around his shaft tighten. He pressed, sending his finger into the soft warmth.
"Ahh," Paul mumbled around the mouthful.
Harrison pressed in deeper, sucking at the same time. With a strangled cry Paul shoved his hips forward, erupting with pleasure. At the first salty taste, Harrison felt himself explode in Paul's mouth.
When they could, the pair rolled apart, Harrison's arms flung wide. Ironhorse chuckled and maneuvered to lie next to him.
"It just keeps getting better and better," Harrison said softly, like he was talking about a scared mystery.
"Yes," Ironhorse agreed.
Harrison giggled. "One of these days we're going to have to try the KY."
They lay quietly for several minutes.
"When it's time for that—" Paul started.
"We will," Harrison finished for him. "I'm in no rush." He maneuvered into a more comfortable position next to Ironhorse. "Are we stayin' here tonight?"
"If you want to test that alarm clock out again in the morning."
"I'm a scientist, Colonel. Of course I want to test that again."
"I was hoping you'd say that, Doctor."