“God, Nate, fuck,” Ray gasps out, hands scrabbling at the wall trying to find some purchase.
Nate sucks a hard kiss to Ray’s shoulder as he thrusts up, having even less to say than Ray’s babbling.
His knees are already a little sore from kneeling like this - on the bed, behind Ray, pressing him up against the wall - but it’s worth it for just how much Ray seems to be enjoying this position, just as Nate had assumed he would.
And while Ray’s loud moans can give him a heady feeling, despite them being largely performative—for both Nate and anyone sitting in the living room–there’s nothing really like when Ray’s volume lowers and he can’t help the short gasps and mindless babbling he starts in on. Just like now where the only two names Ray can think of are God’s and Nate’s and his vocabulary has been reduced to curse words.
Ray arches his back, resting his cheek on the cool surface of the wall as he chokes out throaty pleas of “fuck, Nate, pl-fuck,” repeatedly.
Nate’s fingers are tight against Ray’s hips, pushing his face into Ray’s neck as he tries to quiet his own noises.
It only takes a few more thrusts before Ray is reaching down, squeezing his arm between his stomach and the wall, to touch himself. He comes with a choked off cry into the wall and Nate follows close behind, letting Ray’s skin muffle his groan.
They both continue to kneel there panting for a minute, Nate peppering soft kisses along Ray’s shoulders and neck, bringing his hand up to run through Ray’s sweaty hair.
Once Ray starts wiggling and pushing back against him, Nate follows his lead, allowing Ray to lay back down on the bed.
Ray pulls the pillows back up to the top of the bed as Nate disposes of the condom and grabs the washcloth and bottle of water he’d left on the bedside table.
After cleaning Ray off as much as he can with a small washcloth, he checks his phone for the time, noting it's past midnight now.
He slides into bed, wrapping his arms around Ray’s middle, kissing the back of his neck and says, “Happy Birthday, baby.”
The shine of their new living situation still hasn’t worn off yet, so when Nate wakes up the next morning, devoid of covers, and looks over at Ray who has cocooned himself in the sheet and blanket, all Nate can do is grin. It’s too warm for Nate to sleep with a blanket anyway, Ray, on the other hand, is always cold, even in 80-degree weather.
He watches Ray sleep for a few minutes, fighting the urge to stroke his hair or cheek or just touch him in some way, not wanting to wake Ray up too early on his birthday, and for Ray to call him a creep for watching him sleep.
Once he has sufficiently appreciated how lucky he is for the morning, he rolls out of bed and starts getting ready for his day.
Rudy is out on the lawn this morning, doing his sun salutations, when Nate makes his way outside. Nate watches him for just a moment before making his way around to the side of the house, to get his bike. Once he’s attached his bike seat and unchained the lock, he heads off toward the bike trail to meet up with some of his teammates who are still in town for the summer, like him.
Nate has always liked the quiet of the morning, getting going before the sun has fully risen. He may not greet the sun the way Rudy does, but he likes to think that he and the sun have their own routine that works for them.
There isn’t any formal practice or conditioning that takes place in the summer for the cycling team, but his teammates and he still like to try to get together a few mornings a week to stay on form.
An hour later, Nate walks back into the house to see Rudy, cross-legged on the armchair – his favorite place to meditate.
Nate walks past him without a word toward the bathroom.
After his shower, just like clockwork, as soon as Nate comes out, Rudy opens his eyes.
“Morning,” Nate greets him, finally.
They have an unspoken rule that they don’t talk until they’re both done with their morning routines.
“Good morning, brother. Have a good ride?”
Nate grins and nods, always the same. He likes mornings with Rudy. It’s funny that they’ve only actually lived together less than a month, because he’s pretty sure he’s going to miss this once summer is over. The only person who is ever usually up at the same time as Nate is Brad, and their interactions tend to be more in the way of tired grunts and head nods before they both leave to do their own thing.
“Yoga or Tai Chi today?” Nate asks.
“Yoga. You know, you should really join me some morning.”
“I’d have no idea what I was doing,” Nate admits, he’s not opposed to yoga, he’s just seen Rudy in strange positions that he doesn’t think he’d ever be able to get into, or out of if he ever did manage it.
Rudy shrugs. “That’s why I’d be there to teach you.”
“I’ll think about.”
That makes Rudy grin, clearly taking that as Nate agreeing.
Nate figures it’s better to change up his workouts every once in a while, adding yoga couldn’t hurt.
“Coffee?” Rudy asks as he stands.
Rudy makes the best coffee over anyone in the house. It may have to do with the French press he’d brought with him, but Nate isn’t ruling out Rudy’s own personal brand of magic.
“So, any big plans for Ray’s birthday?” Rudy asks.
“I might take him to get some breakfast or lunch, depending on when he wakes up. He’s gotta go in and work on his project for a couple hours. Then just hang out, hopefully, get some of Pappy’s burgers,” he looks up at Rudy for confirmation that Pappy is still coming and Rudy nods. “Then Matilda’s or something.”
When Nate had asked Ray what he’d wanted to do for his birthday the only things Ray had requested were alcohol, sex, and food made by Pappy.
“Pap worked late last night, so he’s gonna have a late start driving down here this morning, but he should be here by 1 to get working, and he’s given me instructions on how to get started on them,” Rudy tells him as he pours a cup for Nate.
“Thank you, I really appreciate you guys doing this, it’s really all Ray wanted. I think since Pappy graduated Ray’s been worried he’s not going to see him, or his food ever again.”
Rudy grins. “Of course, brother, anything for you guys.”
Nate, Brad, and Rudy had all been on the same floor of the dorms their freshman year and had become fast friends through proximity. Rudy had met Shawn – known exclusively as Pappy by their friends -, a sophomore at the time, about two weeks into school starting and the two have been nearly inseparable ever since.
There have been a lot of comments made over the past few years about how different Rudy and Pappy are and how they don’t make any sense together, and Nate would be lying if he said he’d never thought that himself. But now, being in a relationship where people seem to think the same thing about them, Nate can understand that just because a relationship might not look compatible on the outside looking in, doesn’t mean it doesn’t make any sense.
Sure, if Pappy has ever done yoga it’d only be because of his boyfriend, and Nate knows he’d never even tried sushi before he’d met Rudy, but now he’s taught himself how to make it just for his boyfriend, since, as a pescatarian, Rudy doesn’t get to enjoy most of Pappy’s best dishes.
But, where most people might write Pappy off as a simple, southern guy, Rudy likes to brag that his boyfriend has an old soul and that he’s wise beyond his years.
All Nate knows is that they’re sweet together and they make each other happy, and, in his opinion, that’s really all that matters.
It’s only 8 by the time Rudy and he go their separate ways for the morning, much too early to wake Ray up for the day – or at least that’s what Ray keeps telling him. So, Nate decides to get a headstart on some of his coursework.
He’s only taking one class this summer. His advisor had assured him that he was on track to graduate on time, even with adding Political Science as his second major, but Nate had figured it didn’t hurt to be safe and get as much done before his last semester as possible. Since Ray was staying for the summer, it was a no-brainer for Nate to decide to stay too, getting a job at the library and taking a summer class were just the responsible reasons he gave to people for why he’d decided to stay.
Working out in the living room goes fine for the first hour, before Kocher gets up and makes himself some coffee and decides to sit in the living room with him. Nate would much rather talk to Eric than take notes for the chapters they’ll be going over in next week’s class, so he wastes a half hour talking until Kocher realizes he has to get to work.
He’s interrupted again, just a few minutes later, when Lilley joins him in the living room, before getting ready to meet with his classmates for the film they’re working on. Nate doesn’t know much about the films Lilley makes, and all the ones he’s seen so far are artsy and don’t have much of a storyline to them that he can ever figure out. But he has to assume that Lilley's been doing something right since he’s in charge of the current project that he’s working on.
Once Lilley is gone, Nate realizes that the house is empty, save for Ray and himself, and he figures it’s late enough for Nate to supply Ray with one of his three birthday requests.
Waking each other up with blowjobs is something Ray constantly talks about, even though Nate has only done it twice before and Ray never wakes up before Nate to do it to him. But, since Nate did not get Ray a gift, per his agreement – and after Valentine’s Day he’s bound and determined to keep his promise about no gift giving once he’s agreed to it – he thinks wake up blowjobs will suffice.
So, Nate is 110% sure that when Ray had listed sex as one of three things he wanted for his birthday, this is what he’d meant.
Ray has, at some point, unfurled himself from his cocoon of blankets and is now starfished out in the center of their bed. His face is pressed into Nate’s pillow – Ray often tends to steal Nate’s pillow in the morning, Nate likes to tell himself it’s because Ray wants to be closer to him, but in reality, it’s probably just because it’s cooler than his own – and the sheet is wrapped around him almost like a toga, while the blanket has been pushed to Ray’s side of the bed, up against the wall.
As Nate has never been on the receiving end of waking up to a blowjob, he can only assume that it’s a nice way to wake up. But for him, he’s still not quite used to starting a blowjob without Ray awake and aware. Nate enjoys seeing the heat and want in Ray’s eyes, he likes hearing the frustrated noises he makes when Nate teases him. For Nate, communicating with his partner has always been important, getting to hear exactly what they want and giving it to them.
He just has to remind himself that he does have that communication with Ray, it just happened at an earlier time.
Once he’s started it gets easier, as Ray’s body responds to him. It only takes a minute before Ray is letting out soft, hitched breath moans before slowly opening his eyes. He looks down at Nate, eyes glazed for a moment before understanding dawns on his face.
Ray’s head falls back down on the pillow as he lets out a much louder groan this time.
“Oh, fuck yes,” he slurs out, shifting his hips up when Nate can’t help but try to grin around him.
“Good morning,” Nate says, grin in place as he replaces his mouth with his hand for just a moment.
Ray’s eyes already look blow out. He moans quietly as he looks down at Nate’s mouth, most likely because it’s too far from where he wants it.
When Ray doesn’t speak, Nate puts on a fake pout. “No ‘good mornings’ or ‘hi, Nate’s’ for me today? I feel so loved,” he teases.
Ray groans again and falls back against Nate’s pillow.
“Good morning, Nate, I love you so much. Now, put my dick back in your mouth, please.”
Nate snickers at Ray’s desperate tone, but does as he asks, it is his birthday after all.
Ray’s moan is louder now, his shoulders coming off the bed briefly as Nate gets back to work.
“Fuck, you’re the best boyfriend ever,” Ray says, voice tight and breathless, and Nate attempts to grin again, but doesn’t pull back this time.
Ray brings his hand up to Nate’s head, to card his fingers through Nate’s hair. He strokes softly at first before his grip slowly tightens and he pulls hard at the hair in his grasp.
Nate groans around Ray, causing Ray to gasp and jerk his hips up at the sensation until Nate lays an arm across Ray’s lower stomach.
It doesn’t take long for Ray to start babbling about how he’s going to come. Nate holds Ray’s hips down hard as he works Ray through his orgasm, wincing just a little at how tight Ray is gripping the short hair on the back of his head.
When he pulls back and wipes at his mouth, he looks up to see Ray breathing hard, staring up at the ceiling with a small grin on his face.
“Happy birthday to me, huh?” he says after a minute, smirking as he looks up at Nate.
Nate chuckles and leans over him to leave a short kiss on his lips.
“Ok, just let me catch my breath and then I’m gonna rock your world,” Ray says, moving to sit up, but Nate puts a hand on his shoulder.
“Actually, I thought we could try something different.”
That makes Ray’s eyes brighten, it’s one of his favorite things to hear when Nate says he wants to try something new.
“Now, you trust me, right?” Nate asks, pulling his shirt up over his head as he gets off the bed to remove his pants as well.
Ray rolls his eyes and scoffs. “What kind of stupid question is that?”
“Ok,” Nate says, getting back on the bed and crawling up Ray’s body to kneel on either side of Ray’s torso. “Just let me know if I do something you don’t want to do.”
Only, instead of responding, Ray just looks wide-eyed and excited as Nate crawls closer.
“Ray,” Nate prompts, needing a verbal confirmation before he just sticks his dick in Ray’s mouth.
“What?” Ray asks distracted, reaching up to let his hand rest against the tops of Nate’s thighs.
“I need a yes or no answer here,” Nate says.
Ray finally looks up at him, blinking wildly. “Yes or no? Nate, I’ve been asking you to fuck my face for like two months now, yes, fuck yes.”
Nate rolls his eyes, though feels a faint flush grow across his skin already. He grabs Ray’s pillow, the one he’s not currently laying on, and picks it up.
“Here, lift your head up a little, let me put this under your head,” he says, holding the pillow out.
Ray rolls his eyes but follows Nate’s instructions. “You’re stalling,” he complains, and Nate rolls his eyes.
“I’m the one who’s hard here,” Nate reminds him, as he slips the pillow beneath Ray’s head.
“I swear to god, Nate, if you don’t put your cock in my mouth in the next three seconds-“
“Ok, no need to get impatient.”
Ray scowls, but Nate scoots just a little bit further up.
“I’m gonna go slow, and you pinch my side if-“
“Fuck, ok,” Ray cuts him off, before opening his as an invitation.
Nate considers arguing with him again, but he’s starting to feel a little bit desperate himself, so he fights that instinct and pushes forward.
He goes slow at first, just as promised, with shallow thrusts as Ray adapts to the stretch and the angle.
When it’s clear that Ray is not only fully capable of handling it but enjoying it as much as he’s claimed he would, Nate takes his head in one of his hands. Ray lets out a muffled groan at just that small show of control, and Nate is spurred on.
Ray’s hands grip the tops of his thighs tight, his short nails digging into the skin and Nate feels his breathing becomes labored as he starts losing less and less control of his motion, just savoring the feel of Ray around him and under him, as well as the blissed on look on Ray’s face. His mouth is red and spit-soaked, and Nate doesn’t even think about it before he’s dragging his thumb down Ray’s lower lip, pushing his mouth even farther open.
“God, you’re so good at this, baby,” Nate tells him, voice hoarse.
Ray whimpers at the praise and opens his glazed over eyes to look straight at Nate, and that’s really all Nate needs to take Ray’s face in both of his hands and hold him right where he wants him as he comes with a throaty, “fuck, Ray.”
As soon as Nate’s brain comes back online, and Ray’s hands loosen their hold on him, he quickly moves back and lays down on Ray’s side of the bed.
“Jesus,” Ray breathes out, voice croaky and raw, and Nate shivers slightly at the sound of it. “You’re really pulling out all the stops with these new positions, huh?”
Nate grins and turns to press up against Ray’s side, kissing his cheek and holding him closer.
“I thought you might like that.”
Ray nods. “Oh yeah, we’re definitely doing that again.”
He lets his head rest against the small edge of the pillow and watches Ray’s profile for a minute as he catches his breath.
“You did good, by the way.”
“Hm?” Nate asks, distractedly drawing patterns around Ray’s chest.
“Just saying, I know you were nervous about that, but you did a good job,” Ray explains.
Nate leans up, resting on his elbow now. “Shouldn’t I be telling you that you did a good job? You did all the hard work.”
Ray grins. “Well, we both know I did a good job. But I’m serious, I know shit like that makes you nervous, but you’re good at it. That’s why I like it so much. Like, when it feels like you’re just going for it, cause it feels like you’re just too into it to stop, but at the same time I trust you and know you’d never do something I didn’t want to do.”
Nate can feel his heart beat pick up its rhythm. They’ve come a long way from the first-time Nate finally got Ray to sit down and talk to him about sex, to now, where, without even a hint of a blush – except the one that has still yet to fade from his overheated skin – Ray can openly explain what he enjoys and why. And now he’s even the one reassuring Nate.
He can’t help but lean over to capture Ray’s mouth in a kiss, smiling a little when Ray wraps his arms around him in an attempt to keep him from moving away again.
Once they finally break away from each other, Nate convinces Ray to get up and take a shower so that he can take him out to brunch. After brunch, they separate, so that Ray can go in and work on his project for a few hours, while Nate goes back to the house to continue his homework as he waits for Ray to finish.
Only, when he gets back to the house, he finds Rudy and Pappy in the kitchen, Rudy with his hand pressed against either side of Pappy’s shoulder.
“Everything ok?” Nate asks as he walks in.
Pappy looks up at him and grins, but it’s Rudy who responds.
“Just doing some energy healing, Pap’s been working hard lately.”
Nate nods, not completely sure what that means, or if Pappy even knows what it means, but at this point, no one ever really questions Rudy’s methods anymore.
“Well, thanks for doing this, man. I know Ray really appreciates you coming and making these for him,” Nate tells him.
Pappy nods. “It’s no problem, I would’ve come down for his birthday, anyway.”
“Let me know if I need to get anything else from the store. I think I got everything on the list you sent me.”
A loud clap startles Nate away from Pappy's face. He looks over at Rudy, who rubs his hands together, before placing them against Pappy’s other shoulder.
“Sparks the energy,” Rudy explains when he catches Nate’s wide, questioning eyes. “It activates the Qi and gets the energy flowing.”
“Oh,” is all Nate can think to say to that.
Pappy just grins and looks over his shoulder at his boyfriend.
Nate leaves them at that, starting to realize he may be intruding now.
The burgers Pappy makes are delicious, as always. And Ray threatens to leave Nate and steal Pappy away from Rudy, explaining to Pappy that he should be with someone who would appreciate all the delicious food he makes, and, apparently, Ray is that someone.
After he’s several drinks in for the night - due to pre-gaming at the house and then going to Matilda’s, where the 21-year-olds are tasked with continuing to keep Ray drunk - Ray wanders over to Nate to whisper that if he did end up leaving Nate for Pappy he’d, “totally cheat on him with you all the time, babe.”
“That’s reassuring,” Nate tells him, wrapping an arm around him to keep him close for a few minutes. When Ray gets drunk he gets antsy and doesn’t like to stay in one spot or talk to one person for too long, unless he’s trying to make out with Nate. So, Nate takes the opportunity to enjoy some time with Ray before he inevitably wriggles out of his hold to go talk to someone else.
Kocher, Pappy, and Rudy all keep a drink in Ray’s hand for most of the night, resulting in Lilley giving Ray a piggyback ride back to the house.
After that, it’s up to Nate to take care of him from there.
Ray grins and wraps his arms around Nate’s neck, trying to pull him down so that they’re eye level.
“This was the best birthday I’ve ever had,” Ray tells him, smile wide and open in a way that Ray only ever really is when he’s been drinking.
“Really?” Nate asks, grinning right back at him.
Ray nods. “Yep, except for maybe my eighth birthday, when my uncle took me to the Indy 500. I thought I was gonna lose my hearing. That was the best one. But this one came pretty close.”
Nate shakes his head at his boyfriend’s weird ideas of what constitutes a good birthday, but he grins anyway and bends down to kiss him.
Only, right before they connect, Nate is roughly pushed backward, nearly falling onto the bed. He just sees a blur of his boyfriend running out of the room as his slightly intoxicated brain takes a second to figure out what’s going on.
As soon as he feels stable on his feet again, Nate follows Ray out of their room to see him bent over the kitchen sink, body convulsing slightly as it attempts to purge him of all the alcohol he’d taken in tonight.
Nate grimaces, but silently thanks his past self for cleaning up after Pappy’s meal, so he’s pretty sure there aren’t any dirty dishes in the sink.
He approaches Ray slowly, not knowing if he wants him there or not.
“You’re ok,” Nate says softly, putting a soft, comforting hand on his back, ready to take it away if Ray tells him to.
Instead of any of that, Ray just turns the faucet on and lets out a hoarse, “fuck,” not moving away from the sink just yet.
Nate quickly moves to grab a water bottle from the fridge, unscrews the cap, and sets it beside the sink for Ray to grab when he’s ready.
Ray spits once in the sink before taking a shuddering breath and grabbing the water bottle.
He takes small sips at first and Nate lets his hand card through the back of Ray’s slightly sweaty hair.
“You good?” he asks, watching Ray’s face for any signs that anything else is about to come up.
Ray nods but doesn’t try to speak, just takes another gulp of water.
“Want to go to the bathroom?” Nate asks, even if he doesn’t need to throw up again, he’s sure Ray will want to brush his teeth.
As they walk through the living room, it doesn’t appear that anyone had heard Ray, proven mostly by the fact that Stafford is the only one in the room and he seems to be well passed out on the couch.
Once Ray has brushed his teeth and has decided his stomach has settled down, Nate pulls him into his arms.
“Still your second-best birthday ever?” Nate asks, rubbing circles against his back.
Ray lets out a few, weak chuckles, leaning his head against Nate’s chest as he nods.
“Yeah, cause I have you, that’s what makes it so good,” he mumbles into Nate’s collarbone.
Nate bites his lip to keep his smile from overtaking his entire face. He knows Ray is only admitting that because he’s drunk, would never say something so sappy when he was sober, but Nate enjoys the sappiness of it all anyway, glad, for once, it’s not him giving the over-romantic confessions.
“Hey, how’d it go yesterday?”
Nate sets his bag down at the front desk before turning to Mike.
“It was fun, you should’ve come out.”
Mike shrugs. “It was Ray’s birthday, didn’t wanna intrude.”
Nate met Mike when he started working in the school library. He’s a grad student who’s been working there for over three years. Mike has been showing him the ropes, much better than their actual supervisor, Craig.
More than that, Mike is becoming a good friend of his. Even though Nate’s attempts at including Mike in things his other friends do hasn’t worked out too well so far.
“Who’s intruding? We just went to a couple clubs,” Nate tells him. “Ray likes you.”
Mike shrugs again. “Maybe next time.”
Nate wonders if it’s an age thing, if Mike isn’t interested in meeting his friends because he’s older than all of them. Though he doesn’t seem to have any issues with Nate being younger than him, so Nate doesn’t really believe that’s the case.
Ray assumes its due to Mike having a crush on Nate when they’d first met and he’s now too uncomfortable to be around Ray. Nate vehemently disagrees with this theory.
“You’re coming out next weekend, though, right?” Nate asks.
Mike nods but doesn’t look over, so Nate decides to drop it for now.
“Hey baby, you’re giving a whole new meaning to the term sexy librarian.”
Nate rolls his eyes and turns to see Ray leaning over the desk, a wide grin on his face.
“That’s a terrible pickup line,” Nate says.
“Well, first of all, I was talking to Mike,” Ray says, winking at Mike who snorts and grins, but doesn’t look away from his computer. “Secondly, I’m not trying to pick anyone up, I’m happily taken, sir, and I don’t think it’s very professional for you to be hitting on me like this.”
That makes Mike snort again and Nate glares at Ray for a moment, weighing the pros and cons of arguing further, but with Ray, that could go on for much longer than he’s willing.
So, instead, he just asks, “what’re you doing here?”
Ray shrugs. “Thought I’d walk you home, like the loving, attentive boyfriend that I am.”
Nate grins wide and feels a rush of warmth in his chest and at the tip of his ears.
“Okay,” he says happily. “About five more minutes and I should be ready to go.”
Just as he’s logging out of his computer, Gretchen, another one of his coworkers, trudges her way into the library and sets herself down in the seat he’d just vacated.
“Excited for the night shift?” He asks rhetorically as he grabs his bag.
Her dead-eyed stare says it all, but she still adds, “thrilled,” in her normal, impassive tone.
Nate grins and leaves her to it, waving at Mike as he goes.
He grabs Ray’s hand, letting their fingers lace together, as he calls out one last goodbye to his coworkers before they make their way home together.