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Bottom of the Ninth

Chapter Text

“Great game tonight man.” Mark Benford called down the hall just before opening the door to his room.

Paul Narita, star pitcher for the cubs paused, key card in hand, just about to open his own door. He turned back to his team mate, “Thanks man, but I didn’t do it alone. You guys saved me a couple times.” he called back.

“Never the less you are the one that held them to two runs.” he called over his shoulder disappearing into his hotel room.

Paul grinned, secretly pleased by the compliment. It had taken a long while for the team to accept him and treat him like one of their own. He didn’t know what happened with the abrupt departure of the last starting pitcher, but he had been traded and Paul had been brought up from the minors to take his place. He had worked hard to prove himself and now he finally felt like he was one of them. He pushed the key card into the electronic lock and pushed the door open, feeling elated.

Sonny, his longtime on and off boyfriend was lying across the end of the bed, book in hand. He glanced up when Paul entered the room but didn’t greet him.

“Hey.” he said tossing his key onto the desk. The tension in the room was palpable.

“Where have you been?” Sonny asked, sounding annoyed. He sat up on the bed and looked at Paul expectantly.

“I stopped and signed a few autographs after the game with a couple of the guys.” Paul said, shrugging his shoulders, heading into the bathroom. He tugged his shirt over his head, and dropped it onto the chair as he passed by. “What did you do this afternoon?” he asked.

“I went over to museum of the arts, then I got something to eat at a sports bar and watched the game on the big screen.” Sonny said walking to the bathroom door and leaning against the frame.

“If you wanted to watch the game, I could have gotten you a ticket.” Paul said. “You could have seen it in person.”

“Or you could have gotten me a pass for the players club so I could have watched with the other players families.” Sonny snapped, getting to the heart of what had him upset today.

Paul sighed… it was going to be one of those nights, it was always something with Sonny. He was soo incessantly tired of this particular fight. It was one that they had more and more often lately. “Come on Sonny, not this again.” he said.

“What’s wrong with me watching the game with the other family members? We have been together a long time now.” Sonny said.

“You know why.” Paul said, shoving a hand through his hair. “No one knows anything about my personal life, and I want to keep it that way.”

“You mean no one knows your gay.” Sonny snapped.

“That’s what I said.” Paul agreed.

“No.. you said no one knows anything about your private life, that’s not true. They know the lie that you live.” Sonny spat at him getting increasingly upset.

“What lie Sonny?” Paul asked, even though he already knew the answer. Sonny hated it when he went out with the other players, and he never made it a secret. Sometimes they went to clubs or bars, and almost always there were overzealous female fans looking to hook up with one of the ball players. He had been hit on, a lot, which he always respectfully declined, but there were always pictures being snapped and shared all over social media. It never failed even though Sonny knew there was absolutely nothing to worry about, that he absolutely had no interest in any of them, Sonny still acted like it was the end of the world.

“The one where you smile and have your photograph taken with beautiful women all the time, knowing that people think those are women that you are sleeping with…” Sonny said.

“What difference does it make what people think?” Paul asked.

“Exactly!” Sonny exclaimed sounding extremely proud of himself. “What does it matter what they think about you being gay, what are you so worried about?”

“That’s different!” Paul said, frustration coloring his voice. “You know I would shout it out to the world, if it wouldn’t ruin my career.. but it will.”

“You don’t know that… there are gay athletes coming out all the time now.” Sonny said. “It won’t change a thing a thing about your precious career.”

“It may not…. But it also may end it… and that’s just not a chance I am willing to take.” Paul said. “I am going to take a shower then we can order take out or something and watch a movie, whatever you want.”

“I want to go out to eat.” Sonny said stubbornly. “You know like couples do sometimes.

“Give it a rest Sonny.” Paul said, pushing the door closed, effectively cutting off any further discussion.

He turned the water to hot and stepped in the shower. He turned his back to the water letting the spray hit the back of his neck, helping to ease away the tension.

He wanted to believe that it would all work out, that things were going to get easier, but that was a lie and he knew it. Sonny was becoming more and more demanding, and there was just somethings that he couldn’t do, no matter how much he wanted to. If things didn't change soon, he was going to have to think about taking another break.

He stayed in the shower until the water turned tepid and then he shut the water off and quickly towelled himself dry. He pulled on his clean briefs and walked out of the bathroom. The room was quiet and dark. Paul noticed Sonny’s form on the far side of the bed, turned away from him.

He sighed to himself, either Sonny was already, asleep, pretending to be, or simply just pouting. He went over and slid between the sheets behind him. Paul scooted up close to him and wrapped his arm around Sonny’s waist, pulling him even closer. He laid there thinking about what Sonny was asking him to do…. All the different outcome possibilities, until he fell asleep.

A few weeks later…..

“Can we go out for lunch?” Sonny asked, scrolling through the list of local restaurants. “There is Italian, Mexican, Burgers, even Thai all with in a mile or two.”

“You pick and we can place a to go order.” Paul answered distractedly.

“I want to go out to eat.” Sonny said, “I haven’t been to San Francisco in a long while, I wanna get something to eat and see the sights.”

“Oh.” Paul said looking up. “Okay well, then just bring me something back when you are done, doesn’t matter what it is.”

“You’re not coming with me?” Sonny said his head snapping up.

“I can’t “ Paul said.

“But the rest of the team won’t be here until tomorrow.” Sonny whined. “It’s the perfect chance for us to get out and do something together.”

“Yeah, I know but I have a couple of interviews this afternoon.” Paul said.

“What kind of interviews?” Sonny asked, “Why can’t they wait till tomorrow?”

“Sports magazines, and they can’t wait because the press manager for the team set this up when they found out I am going to be pitching in the all star game.” Paul said. “This could be important to my career.”

“Fine” Sonny snapped. “I am not sitting in an empty hotel room all day waiting for you. I’m going out.” he snatched his key card from the desk and slammed out of the room.

Paul watched him go, rubbing the back of his neck. Sooner or later he and Sonny were going to have to have a talk. He liked having Sonny with him on the road, keeping him company when there wasn’t a game or when the other guys were out partying… but the constant hounding was hardly worth it. Sonny may be better off waiting back in Chicago. Where he had friends to occupy his time.

Paul pushed those troubling thoughts from his mind and turned his attention to reading some articles by the journalists interviewing him today. He wanted to get a feel for what kinds of questions they may ask.

A couple hours later he was freshly showered, shaved, and on his way to his meeting with the first journalist of the afternoon.

He stepped out of the limo in front of a very swanky restaurant. He buttoned his suit coat as he stepped out of the car. He walked up to the hostess podium and gave his name to the attractive woman standing there.

“Right this way.” she said leading him to a back corner table.

“Here you are.” she said “Enjoy your meal.”

“Thanks.” he said.

“You must be Paul Narita.” an equally attractive woman purred, standing to greet him. She was tall, slender, with flowy platinum blonde curls, and deep green eyes. “I must say it is very nice to meet you.” she said, sliding her hand into his.

“And you are?” he asked, smiling graciously.

“Jessica Winters.” she said. “With Baseball America.”

“It is a pleasure to meet you Jessica.” he said. “Shall we?” he asked motioning to the table.

They sat down and the waiter appeared instantly, as if he were waiting just around to corner. They ordered drinks and he disappeared just as quickly.

Jessica laid her phone on the table, “You don’t mind if I record this do you?” she asked. Clicking the record button without waiting for a response.

Paul shook his head, “Umm, no of course not.” he said.

She didn’t waste any time but launched into a relentless string of questions, mainly about how long he had been playing, where he played his double A and Triple A ball, what made him want to play baseball… which he answered with same answers as he had been giving since coming up to the big leagues. Not that he had given many interviews… this was really his first big one. This was a national magazine.

Once he gave her the cookie cutter response the the question about who his role model was, she got a little more personal.

“What are your hobbies? What do you do to relax? How do you spend your time at home?” Paul answered with answers that he had carefully thought out before he ever got ready to leave for the interview.

“He liked to be outdoors, doing anything physical, hiking, biking, rock climbing, for relaxation he spent his time reading anything he could get his hands on.

“So,” she said. “Digging deeper, do you have a special girl back home?” she asked, her eyes boring into his.

He chuckled. “A gentleman doesn’t kiss and tell.” he said, evading the question.

But she wasn’t to be deterred. Ahhh, So there IS someone special.” she said. “What’s her name?”

Paul rubbed the back of his neck uncomfortably. “I didn't say that.” he said quietly.

“Come on..” she said, “I promise I won’t print it, it will stay right here between us.”

“Alright.” Paul said leaning his arms on the table, leaning closer to her.

Her eyes lit up and she leaned in closer to him as well.

Paul looked around to see if anyone else was around. When he was satisfied that they were as alone as they could be in the moderately crowded restaurant. He turned back to her… “The truth is…” he whispered conspiratorially, “that I am way to busy with the team for a love life.”

Her face fell. “Oh… you.” she said giving him a wry grin, pushing his arm playfully.

Paul grinned back. “Seriously, there is basically no time and it wouldn’t be fair to have someone back home waiting for me.”

“Alright.” she said. Then she plowed on with her follow up questions, mainly about how he found out he was going to be pitching the All star game, how his family felt about it.

Two drinks later she turned the recorder on her phone off and dropped it into her purse. “I think I have all that I need.” she said.

Paul motioned to the waiter for the check.

“Tomorrow you will drop by the studio for a couple of pictures right?” she asked.

“Yes, of course.” he said, handing his American Express to the waiter.

She laid her hand on top of his. “Well, since you don’t have anyone waiting at home, and neither one of us are from here. Why don’t you and I grab some dinner and then we can keep each other company tonight.” She said boldly, tracing his knuckles with the tips of her fingers.

Paul discreetly pulled his hand back to his side of the table. “As tempting as that offer is.” he said. “I am afraid I still have two more interviews to get through this afternoon.”

Her face fell. Just as she opened her mouth to say something else,the waiter appeared at the table and laid the bill fold on the table with a pen. Paul quickly signed the check, adding a generous tip and stood.

She followed his lead, and stood. “Well…. If you change your mind,” she said handing him her card. “Thank you for the interview, it was a pleasure to meet you.” she said, holding out her hand to him.

He shook her hand politely and then turned to leave. He stood out in front of the restaurant waiting for the limousine to pick him up.

His next interview was much like the first one, with the exception of the digging into his personal life and the invitation for more. The older gentleman that was interviewing him was for baseball digest, and had been a reporter most of his life. He was very thorough but also very matter of fact, and it was over almost as quickly as it started.

On the way to the last interview of the day, Paul gazed out the window, watching the buildings pass by in a blur. He wondered briefly what Sonny was doing, and if he was still mad.

A gentle hum filled the interior of the car as the glass that separated him from the driver. “We are here sir.” he said.

Paul looked out the window. “The stadium.” he asked?

“Yes sir.” the driver said. “Mr Cruthers texted to say that there was a last minute change of plans and that the reporter from the San Francisco Chronicle will meet you here.”

“Okay then.” Paul said. “I will be back soon, I guess.” he moved to open the door.

“No sir.” the driver said hurriedly. “I will get your door.”

Paul waved him off. “I think I can manage.” he said shoving the door open and stepping out.

He walked past the empty ticket counters, down the deserted hall, wondering where he was supposed to meet this last reporter. There didn't seem to be anyone else around. It was eerily quiet. He made it to the escalator, which wasn’t running, but he walked up to the next level since that is where the players box was located.

The second level was equally deserted. He walked out onto the platform of the stands. He stood hands braced on the rail, he looked out over the empty field. This was where he belonged. This was what he needed in life to be happy, there was no denying that.

“Excuse me, Are you Paul Narita?” a voice called from behind him.

He took one last look at the field, then turned to introduce himself. He was met with the bluest eyes he had ever seen.

Paul’s eyes grew wide as he took in the rest of him.

Mid 20’s, broad shoulders, trim waist, and the most gorgeous smile he had ever seen in his life. The attraction was instantaneous.

His mouth quickly went dry, he wiped his sweaty palm down the thigh of his slacks. “Yes, I’m Paul Narita.” he said holding out his hand.

“Nice to meet you, I’m Will Horton.” Adonis said, shaking his hand.

Chapter Text

“Nice to meet you Will.” Paul said, still shaking his hand, a full minute later. He was mesmerized, by his good looks and mischievous smile.

Will quickly flashed him another sexy grin and gently pulled his hand out of Paul’s grasp. “Likewise.” he said, taking in the handsome man in front of him.

Paul flushed with embarrassment. “Sorry, you must be the reporter?” he said. ‘Come on, come on, Get it together Paul.’ he chided himself, ‘you have seen gorgeous men before.’

“Yes.” Will said. “I am actually, I’m filling in for the regular reporter, I hope that's okay.” he fidgeted nervously. “You could say this is kind of like an audition, I guess.”

“Oh!” Paul said, “So like you mean they are trying to see if they wanna give you a job?” he asked.

“Something like that.” Will answered, “So let’s make this good okay?” he chuckled.

Was Will flirting with him? He thought… it sorta felt like he may be. “I will do my best.” Paul said. Quickly dismissing the idea. Nah, that had to be wishful thinking, and really why would this guy flirt with him… Sonny was right, even if he didn’t want to admit it, he did have a reputation of being a ladies man, even though that reputation had absolutely zero merit.

He looked at Will carefully, trying to size him up. For some inexplicable reason he felt drawn to this guy like a moth to flame, which made no sense at all. They had known each other a total of 5 minutes. “Shall we?” he said motioning to the door to the club house.

“Oh sure.” Will said, walking in when Paul opened the door for him.

Paul followed him in, unable to keep his eyes off the curse of Will’s ass in the tight jeans he wore, as he walked into the room, cursing himself the whole time.

They walked over and sat down on a couch against the wall. Paul turned sideways, pulling his knee onto the seat and stretched his arm out across the back of the couch.

Will sat on the opposite side and turned to face him.
They stared at each other in silence until it became awkward.

“Oh!” Will said, suddenly realizing that he should be the one saying something. “Sorry.” he murmured, embarrassed again as he fumbled to pull a small notepad and a pen from his messenger bag.

Paul waited patiently. “No voice recorder?” he asked.

Will shook his head slowly, almost uncertain of his own answer. “I’m old school, I guess.” he said sheepishly.

If he hadn’t been so transfixed by watching his every move, Paul may have found him to be a little comical. “I like that.” he said, his eyes sparkling.

Will grinned, “I have a pretty good memory so I just take basic notes.” he said.

“What do you want to know about me, Will?” Paul asked quietly, his eyes boring into him.

“Everything.” Will said softly.

Paul cleared his throat. “Hmmm, well go ahead, ask me anything you want.” he said.

Will swallowed thickly, and took a deep breath, pushing his nervousness to the back of his mind. “How long have you been playing baseball?” he asked.

“I actually started when I was five, I played tee ball.” Paul said. “Then park ball, middle school and high school. Then I got my scholarships to college.”

“What did you major in?” Will asked.

“Business administration.” Paul said.

“Graduate?” Will asked.

“Got my Masters.” Paul confirmed.

“Then on to the Pro’s?” Will asked.

“Well to triple A, I played for the Syracuse Chiefs for a season, then I was traded to the Memphis Red birds, I stayed there two seasons and then I was traded to the Cubs and here I am.” Paul answered.

“Wow.” Will said, “This is only your third season in the majors right?”

“Technically it has been two and a half seasons. But yeah. “ Paul answered.

“So I looked at your stats and you have pitched a no hitter and a couple shutouts already this season.” Will said. “That must feel good.”

“It does.” Paul affirmed.

“There’s some talk that you are the best in the league right now.” Will continued.

Paul blushed, “I don’t know about all that.” Paul said. “But even if that is true, I don’t do it alone. There is a whole team of guys behind me backing me up.”

“Ooooh, you’re humble.” Will said. “I didn’t expect that.”

“You expected me to be an asshole?” Paul teased.

Will shrugged, “Not an asshole, per say.” he said “But you know, kind of, look at me, look at what I can do.”

“So an asshole.” Paul reiterated.

“Let’s just say I am pleasantly surprised.” Will said.

“Okay well, I am happy to exceed your expectations I guess..” Paul teased back.

Will flushed, he kicked himself for opening his mouth and giving his own opinions…. He knew better, but he pressed on. “Who is your role model?”

“Oh man…” Paul said. “Cy Young, Greg Maddux, Nolan Ryan...soo many, too many to name.”

“Big names.” Will acknowledged.

“Top notch pitchers.” Paul countered.

“Touche.” Will said. “What do you do for fun?”

“Hike, Bike, Roller blading, Rock climbing….” Paul said. “Anything outdoors.”

“Sounds intense .” Will said. “How do you unwind?”

“The gym.” Paul said.

Will chuckled, “I am sensing a pattern here.” he said “Let me rephrase, What do you do on your lazy days?”

“Hmmm.” Paul said taking time to think, he didn't really have a lot of lazy days... “Umm sleep late, read a book, go to the beach whenever possible.”

“What do you like to read?” Will asked.

“Sci-Fi, Murder mystery, Autobiographies… anything that peaks my interest.” Paul said.

“Girlfriend?” Will asked.

“Nope.” Paul said matter of factly.

“Really?” Will asked disbelieving.

Paul held up two fingers, “Scouts honor.” he said.

Will laughed, actually laughed at him. “So you were a boy scout too! Neat! I believe you by the way but, Why?”

Paul watched Will intently, his face when he laughed, his eyes lit up and his smile was to die for... “Why, what?” Paul asked confused. He had gotten so caught up, he forgot to pay attention to the question.

“Why no girlfriend?” Will asked. “When I was reading up on you, I saw you pictured with lots of attractive women. At least one of them must have tried to take you off the market by now.”

Paul shrugged “I don’t know, I guess time constraints for one.” Paul answered evasively.

Never stopped anyone before.” Will pointed out.

“Fair point, well made.” Paul conceded. “I guess I am just concentrating on my career right now.”

“That’s a shame.” Will said eyeing him carefully.

Paul cleared his throat, suddenly squirming under Will’s intense gaze. “Why do you say that?” he asked, trying to keep himself in line. He wanted to reach over and touch him, but he couldn’t.

Will shrugged, “I am sure there have been many disappointed ladies in your past. You are certainly easy on the eyes, and as I mentioned before you’re humble.”

Paul flushed under the compliment. “What about you?” he asked, needing to know the answer.

“What about me?” Will asked.

“Girlfriend?” Paul asked.

“Oh, me, no…” Will said. “Not at all.”

“Why not?” Paul pressed.

“I don’t know.” Will said. “I guess because I haven’t found the right guy yet.”

Paul blinked a couple times, he wasn’t sure what to say to that. It wasn’t everyday he met someone that was so forthcoming with the fact that they were gay. He almost envied him that luxury.

Will cleared his throat. “Sorry…” he said, clearly embarrassed and uncomfortable. “We are supposed to be talking about you.”

“It’s fine.” Paul said. “I don’t mind talking about you.” he teased trying to put him back at ease.

Will gave him a small strained smile. “But that’s not what were are here for.” he said, all business now, “So tell me how does it feel to be the starting pitcher for the all star game?” he went on.

“Awesome.” Paul said honestly. “It’s really a dream come true.”

“I can imagine.” Will said. “What was the first thing you did when you got the call?” he asked.

“Umm, I called my dad, then my mom.” Paul said.

“They must be very proud.” Will said.

Paul nodded, “I think so.” he said. “Dad comes to every game he can, mostly they are home games since he lives near Chicago.”

“That’s great!” Will said. “So lot’s of support from the family?”

“More than enough.” Paul said.

“What’s your pre game ritual?” Will asked.

“Oh, well on game days, I have protein shake, hit the gym, then I relax until it is time to go warm up at the stadium.” Paul said.

“By reading a book I presume.” Will asked.

Paul shrugged, “Sometimes.” he agreed.

“What about after games, what do you do to come down from that high?” Will continued.

“Most of the time, I stay behind and sign autographs for the fans that wait around for us to come out of the locker room.” Paul said.

“Geez, I am starting to think you are a nice guy.” Will teased, some of the tension leaving his face.

“Of course I am.” Paul said, “Or I try to be anyway.”

“I think you may very well be.” Will said “What Would you be doing if you weren’t a major league ball player?”

Paul opened his mouth, then closed it again… “Umm…” he said drawing it out. “Probably working with my dad.”

“Doing what exactly?” Will asked.

“He is an ISA agent.” Paul said, “But he and another agent friend of his have a small private investigative firm. So I would probably work there.”

“That sounds interesting.” Will said, his eyes dancing. “I could kind of see you following people, going on stakeouts.

Paul laughed… “Yeah, I don’t know.” he said. “I probably wouldn’t be any good at it.”

“Never know.” Will said.

“True.” Paul said.

“So what…” Will started, but was interrupted by the ringing of a phone.

“Sorry.” Paul said pulling his phone from his pocket. He looked at the screen, It was a text from Sonny. “This will just take a minute.”

Sonny: “Where are you?”

Paul: “Still doing interviews.”

Sonny: “Why, it’s late. Are you at least almost done?”

Paul: These things take a while, I will be back when I can.

Sonny: I made dinner reservations for us @ 8pm

Paul: I probably won't make that, it’s almost 6 now, talk about it later.

After he waited to make sure the last message went through he powered the phone off and dropped it back into his pocket.

“Sorry about that.” he said.

“No problem.” Will said “But if I am keeping you from something, I am sure I can write a decent article with what I have.”

Paul waved him off, “No it’s fine.” he said “I am not in a hurry at all.”

“Okay then Where do you see yourself in 10 years?” Will asked.

“Hopefully still pitching.” Paul said, “but if not then, i don't know.”

“Married, Kids?” Will asked.

“Sure, I mean Why Not?” Paul said. “That’s the picture of the American Dream isn’t it?”

“I think the American Dream is whatever you want it to be.” Will answered back. “It’s up to you to live your own dream, not some cardboard cut out of everyone else’s perfect life, where is the fun in that?”

Paul smiled brightly. “I like the way you think.” he said.

He looked down at his watch, it was just past 6:30, they would be closing down the stadium at 7pm since there was no game.

“They are going to be locking the doors here in about half an hour.” Paul said.

“Oh, yeah!” Will said shoving his pen and paper into his bag. He stood up.

Paul followed his lead and got to his feet.

“Thank you so much for your time.” Will said holding out his hand.

“Are you sure you got all you need we could grab a couple of beers somewhere.” Paul said, not wanting to see him go yet.

“Oh, umm, yeah, okay.” Will said. “That would be great.”

“Cool! I can have my driver take us and then he can bring you back to get your car?” Paul said.

“Okay.” Will agreed easily, following Paul down the escalator and out of the stadium. There was a limo waiting at the curb. The driver hopped out and opened the door for them.

“Where to, Mr. Narita?” he asked.

“Just somewhere quiet where we can get a couple drinks and finish the interview.” Paul instructed.

“Very good sir.” he said shutting the door once Paul was in the car.

“Wow!” Will said. “Living the star pitcher life, must be a good life.” he teased.

“What this?” Paul said gesturing to the inside of the fancy car, “This is new actually and definitely not me, I usually ride the bus or whatever with the rest of the guys.”

“Oh so you aren’t spoiled like this all the time?” Will asked, eyes twinkling.

“Not at all.” Paul said, “This is all courtesy of the announcement for the all stars.”

“Well thanks for sharing with me then.” Will said.

The car came to a stop and the door was opened. They stepped out in the parking lot of a small mostly empty looking tex mex restaurant.

“This okay, Mr. Narita?” the driver asked.

Paul looked at Will, who nodded enthusiastically. “Perfect.” he said. “You can come back for us in an hour or so.” Paul took off his suit jacket and tie and dropped them on the limo seat.

“Very good sir.” the driver said closing the door and getting back into the driver seat.

They went in and found a table in the corner. They had just sat down when the waitress sauntered up and asked for their order.

Will looked at Paul,, “Do you like fajitas?” he asked.

“Sure, who doesn’t?” he replied back.

Will looked at the waitress and ordered double fajitas with Chicken, Steak, and Shrimp, and queso, and beer.

“Yes sir.” she said quickly walking away.

“The fajitas here are the best in town.” Will said, “you have to try them.”

“Can’t wait.” Paul said. “So are you fresh out of college?” Paul asked “Is that why the audition for the job?”

“No not really, I graduated two years ago with my Journalism and communications degree.” Will answered nibbling on a chip from the basket in the middle of the table. “But I did just apply for this job. The reporter they have now is moving into broadcast journalism so..”

“Oh, I see...Is this your dream job?” Paul asked.

“Well yes and no…” Will said. “I like being a journalist and I like sports, a lot actually as a spectator, but I’m really more into politics and current events I guess.”

“So this is a, get your foot in the door, kind of job?” Paul asked.

“Hey, who is interviewing who here?” Will asked. “I am pretty sure I am supposed to be asking the questions.”

Paul giggled and held up his hands in a show of surrender. “My apologies.” he said.

The waitress came back with a tray laden with dishes. She put them on the table and disappeared. The conversation tapered off as they dug into the food.

Will had been right everything was amazing, right down to the salsa, it was the best he had ever eaten.

“That was great!” Paul said pushing his plate away when he was done.

“Told ya.” Will said as the waitress appeared back at the table side.”

She cleared the dishes, “Can I get you anything else?” she asked.

“No thank you.” Will said.

She nodded and set the check on the side of the table. “Thank you, come again.” she said.

Will picked up the check, “You ready?” he asked. Paul nodded and followed him to the register where he paid the bill.

Paul was feeling a little more relaxed than he should, and he couldn’t help but notice that Will’s jeans left very little to the imagination. He closed his fists to keep from grabbing him by the hips and pulling him close. He shook his head, trying to clear the fog. This was definitely not good, Will was a stranger, and a reporter for heaven's sake...

Paul followed him on outside and when they got into the limo Paul climbed in first and sat on the opposite side of the car, as far away from Will as possible. The air in the car was thick with tension but with the lighter traffic, the drive back to the stadium was a short one and Paul was eternally grateful for that.

When the limo pulled up behind his car, Will turned to Paul and held out his hand. “Thank you again for the interview.” he said graciously. “It was was great to meet you.”

“Same here, and thank you for dinner.” Paul countered. “It really was amazing.”

“I am glad you enjoyed it.” Will said. “Good luck tomorrow, I will be watching.”

“You’re coming to the game?” Paul asked surprised.

“No, but I do have a television.” Will teased.

Paul narrowed his eyes “Have you ever been to a professional baseball game?” he asked.

“Not in years.” Will answered.

“That’s completely unacceptable.” Paul teased, relaxing again. “I will have a couple of tickets for you at Will Call tomorrow. You have to come see the game in person.”

“Then I will be here.” Will said decisively. He pulled out his wallet and handed Paul a card.

Paul looked at it confused. It looked to be from a different paper than the one he thought he was being interviewed for. “What’s this?” he asked.

“It’s an old business card, but my cell number is still the same, you know in case you want to reach me.” Will answered, biting his bottom lip.

“Oh.” Paul said, Will looked so…. He couldn't stop himself from leaning closer.

Will mirrored his movements.

They stared at each other for a full minute. Paul noticed that Will’s chest was heaving under his quickened breath. Finally he blinked, and backed away. “Good night.” Will said softly before opening the door and jumping out.

“Night.” Paul whispered back after the door had already slammed shut.

The privacy window slid down. “Back to your hotel sir?” the driver asked.

“Huh?” Paul asked. “Oh yeah, yes, sorry.” he said before the man could ask again.

“Very good sir.” he slid the privacy glass closed again and Paul laid his head back on the seat.

He closed his eyes and wondered if Will Horton knew how much he had wanted to kiss him. He couldn't remember ever wanting anything more….

Chapter Text

Paul looked at his watch, he was surprised to see it was damn close to 9pm. He sighed, this would be yet another fight with Sonny.

He pulled his phone out of his pocket and turned it on.
He had several missed calls, his agent, his dad, Sonny, Sonny again, and a couple of the guys on the team.

He unlocked the phone and looked at his texts, all 7 of them were from Sonny.

“I could move the reservation to 9pm?” (6:15 pm)

“I called and moved it to 9pm.” (6:36pm)

“Are you almost done?” (7:00pm)

“Are you okay? Why aren’t you answering me? (7:30pm)

“Paul, I am getting worried.” (7:45pm)

“Answer me, damn it….” (8:15pm)

“What the fuck Paul?” (8:20pm)

He rubbed his eyes already dreading the upcoming argument. This was not going to be pretty. He probably should have never turned off the phone..

The driver pulled up at the hotel and opened the door for him. Paul pulled a folded bill from his wallet and handed it to him, “Thank you.” he said.

“My pleasure.” the driver said, closing the door behind him.

Paul walked into the hotel and straight to the elevator. When it stopped on his floor he got off and made his way down the hall. He took a deep breath before he opened the hotel room door and walked in.

“Where the hell have you been?” Sonny flung at him as soon as the door closed behind him.

“Well, Hello to you too.” Paul said sarcastically “Look, I’m sorry, but the interview ran longer than I thought it would.” he added when Sonny didn’t comment.. He sat down in the chair. He dropped his suit jacket and tie onto the footstool in front of him.

“And you couldn’t text me and let me know?” Sonny snapped nastily.

“My phone must have gotten turned off somehow.” he said in way of explanation.

Sonny narrowed his eyes at Paul. “Have you been drinking?” He asked suspiciously his eyes boring into Paul’s.

“We had a couple of beers.” Paul answered, “He wanted to grab dinner what was I supposed to say?” he said, getting defensive.

“Oh, well… how about, Thanks but I’m sorry, I have other plans.” Sonny screeched.

“These aren’t just random people off the street Sonny, these are journalists and they are interviewing me. Me…. Paul Narita for their magazines and papers.” Paul said.

“Oh believe me I got the memo, and we both know how important that is to you.” Sonny yelled. “Apparently more important than anything else, including me.”

“That’s not true.” Paul said. “But I am not gonna lie, it is important, this is my dream we are talking about here.”

“Well that’s great for you, Mr. Big Shot Ball Player… but what about me? I am not living my dream right now.” Sonny flung at him. “It was never my dream to follow along behind you and spend my days trapped in a hotel room alone.”

“You’re not trapped here, you can come and go and do whatever you want, you know that.” Paul said.

“Oh yeah, you’re right, going to museums, and plays, and diners is so much fun alone… what was I ever thinking.” Sonny bellowed.

“Sonny, can we not do this now? I am beat, I just want to shower and go to sleep.” he said sighing, he had to end this conversation before he said something he may regret later. He was so over this song and dance.

“Fine.” Sonny said in a clipped tone, “But this isn't going to go away, not this time. I am tired of spending all my time alone.”

Paul ignored that last statement. He went into the bathroom and stripped down, then stepped under the warm spray of the shower. He flattened his palms against the cool tile wall and let the water run over him for long countless minutes.

Thoughts of Will coming back to him unbidden. His smile, his infectious laugh. The way the Cerulean blue shirt he had been wearing had accentuated the depths of his expressive eyes, and those damn pants that left nothing to the imagination. Paul wasn’t sure he had ever been so instantly attracted to anyone before.

He quickly finished his shower, turning the water to stone cold just before getting out, warding off the consequences of his impromptu thoughts of Will. Sonny sure wasn't in a loving mood tonight, and besides it wouldn’t be right, not when all the could think about was Will Horton.

As was his usual M.O. when he was angry Sonny was already in bed, lights out when Paul came from the shower. Tonight though he slipped beneath the covers and turned his back to Sonny, remaining oh his own side of the bed.

Eventually he drifted into a fitful sleep.

The next morning when he woke Sonny was still sleeping. It was a game day so he got out of bed, and dressed in shorts and a tank top. He went down to the restaurant and asked if they could make him a fruit smoothie, then he hit the hotel gym.

He got on the treadmill and turned it up to a brisk run, while he ran, he thoughts drifted to Will. To the dream that he had the night before, it had been… intense. He forced his thoughts into another direction, and thought back over his conversation with Will, he had opened up more to him than he had in either of the other two interviews. He usually gave the same answers to the same questions over and over again.

Will had been easy to talk to and the instant connection he felt had certainly helped. He had been so comfortable that he had spent nearly 5 hours with him.

He slowed to a jog and then a walk cooling down from his run. Then he hit the weights, alternating between his arms and legs.

After a couple of hours he headed back to the room. He knew Sonny would be awake and probably ready to fight some more, lately it was like all he wanted to do was argue, but he didn't have time for that he had to get ready to head over to the stadium.

He opened the door and trudged into the room, but Sonny was nowhere to be seen. He briefly thought about calling him but changed his mind.

He showered and dressed in jeans and a polo and was about to leave for the stadium when he decided to leave Sonny a note instead. He sat down and jotted a quick note for him, gone to practice and then the game. Back later!! He tore it off the pad and stood it up against the ice bucket on the table.

Then he realized he never called for Will’s tickets.
He fished out his cell phone and called his PR rep, once he had him on the phone he explained that one of the reporters from yesterday wanted to see the game and asked him to take care of the tickets and he readily agreed.

With that settled he headed over to meet up with the guys for practice.

Will dressed in his most comfortable pair of faded jeans and threw on a form fitting T shirt, going for comfort instead of style today. He grabbed his shades and a ball cap, then shouldered his messenger bag before walking out the door.

He got into his car and drove over to the stadium. Once there he walked up the will call booth and presented his driver's license to the girl behind the glass. She fumbled around for a couple of minutes before sliding his license and a sealed envelope to him through the cut out in the glass. “Enjoy the game.” she said smiling brightly.

“Thanks.” Will mumbled, moving out of the way of the line that had formed behind him. He pulled the tickets out and looked at them, there were two of them side by side.

He wondered around till he found the section his seats were in. Then he made his way down to his seat. He whistled when he found them. They were in the first deck, three rows up right above the visiting team’s dugout.

Hmmm, he thought, so knowing someone was how people got the best seats. That or dropping hundreds of dollars. Which he didn't have and wouldn't spend to go to a baseball game even if he did.

If you got to see Paul Narita again, it would be worth it, his subconscious argued. He had been attracted to him from the second he saw him, standing against that railing, staring out over the field.

His thick luxurious jet black hair, sporting that suit, and when he turned around Will would swear that his knees had went weak. He was seriously built, and his smile was contagious.

For the briefest of seconds he had wanted to pull him into a kiss right there, before he got his head screwed on straight. Paul was an athlete, not someone he would likely run into in any of the local gay bars.

He sat down to wait for the game to start, and pulled his notes from the interview out and started to make an outline.

He was so totally engrossed in what he was doing, he didn't realize that the seats had filled in all around him, until the cheering started. He looked up and there was beginning to be some activity on the field.

He quickly put his notes away and turned his attention to the field. He looked down at the bull pen and could just make out Paul finishing his warm up.

The players took the field and the national anthem was performed by some local talent and then the game was under way.

Will watched intently as Paul struck out batter after batter, giving up only 3 hits and no runs in the first 5 innings.

Since no one ever goes the ballpark without getting a hotdog, he decided to visit the food court in the 5th inning stretch. He ordered a hotdog and popcorn and a soda and then made his way back to his seat with his food.

The Cubs had a three run lead going into the 8th inning and Paul was taken out of the game to conserve his energy.

Will remained in his seat, even as most people started clearing out in the last inning. The game ended with the Cubs on top 4 to 1.

He got up and meandered out into the hallway wondering where one may go to wait for an autograph. He looked around but didn’t see any obvious place to wait so he walked on out of the main entrance, and that’s where he found the crowd of people hovering near the players entrance. There must have been seventy five to a hundred people waiting around with Sharpies and ball caps, or baseballs, a few even had jerseys.

He went over and leaned against the wall to wait. It was an hour of so later when three of the players came out the door. One was Paul, and the other two Will recognized as outfielders.

They were immediately surrounded by people. Will watched as Paul signed and smiled and posed for pictures. He even encouraged the kids to play ball and practice hard, to never give up their dreams.

Paul finally noticed him leaning against the wall when the crowd thinned and Will’s heart began to race when Paul’s grin brightened.

When all of the autographs were signed, Paul walked over to him. “Hey.” he said. “Did you enjoy the game?” he asked.

Will nodded, “Of course, you were amazing.”

Paul ducked his head a little, “Thanks.” he said.

“I never seen anything like it.” Will went on.

The blush coloring Paul’s cheeks deepened. “Stop.” he said.

“No seriously, no wonder they want you to be the starting pitcher in the all star game.” Will gushed.

“Hey Narita, you comin’?” one of the other players called.

Paul jerked around, he had almost forgotten they were standing there there waiting on him. This Will Horton was nothing short of dangerous…

Will was surprised when Paul waved them off, he half expected him to say a quick goodbye and take off with his team mates. “No go on ahead.” he said. “This is Will Horton from the Chronicle, we have to finish the interview from yesterday, I will catch you guys later.”

They just shrugged and turned back to the cab that was waiting to take them to the hotel.

“So where do you want to do the rest of this interview?” He teased Paul. “I am really not prepared with more questions but I am sure I can come up with something on the fly.”

“Oh…” Paul said, “Wherever you want to go is fine.”

“How about we just drive around for a while?” Will said, “I can show you some sights.”

Paul smiled, “That would be awesome.” he said.

“Let’s go then.” Will said leading the way to where he parked his car.

They got in and Will started driving, “So what sights do you want to see?” he asked.

“Ummmm, I don’t know really, I hardly ever get a chance to get out and see the sights so you chose.”

“Okay, let’s go over Golden Gate Bridge and then we can go to Golden Gate Park, we can talk there. Not to mention it is gorgeous there and will remind you of Central Park, I am sure you have been there.” Will said.

“Great! Let’s do it.” Paul said.

Will drove them and Paul dutifully tried to keep his eyes on the sights and off of Will, but that was a hard chore. His gaze kept wondering back.

Once they had crossed the bridge Will dove them into a small parking lot and grabbed his messenger bag. “From here, we walk.” he said, opening his door.

Paul followed him out of the car and looked around. “This is gorgeous.” he agreed.

“Oh you ain’t seen nothing yet.” Will said come on.

They walked a ways into the park, Will expertly leading him in the direction he wanted him to go. Until finally he stopped on the bank of a small body of water.

Paul could hear the sound of moving water nearby, but where Will chose to take a seat the water was pretty calm.

“What is this place?” Paul said in awe.

“This is Stow lake, in the Japanese Tea Garden area of the park.” Will said. “I come here sometimes to write, or read, or relax.” He pointed up a hill, “Just over that hill, there is a small waterfall.”

“That’s awesome!” Paul said dropping to the ground beside Will. “I love it here.”

“Me too.” Will said, “Now that you know my secret hiding place,I may have to kill you.”

“So this is where you come to get away from it all?” Paul asked.

Will nodded, “Guilty.” he said. Then he looked down at Paul, “And here we are yet again, who is interviewing who?”

Paul chuckled. “Oops.” he said.

“You may have missed your calling to be a reporter yourself. Will teased.

“Nah.” Paul said, “Sometimes, I can’t string together two sentences that make sense.

The fell into a comfortable silence. Both lost in their own thoughts until Will finally spoke.

“Were the Cubs your first choice to play for?” he asked. “And don’t worry I would never print this question or answer, I am just curious.”

“Honestly?” Paul said. “I never gave it a lot of thought, I guess I just wanted to play and it didn’t really matter to me who it was for.”

“So you didn’t have a favorite team growing up?” Will pressed.

“I watched any team that was on actually, when I wasn’t out playing myself.” Paul answered.

“Why Baseball? Why not Football or Soccer?” Will asked.

Paul shrugged, “I am good at baseball.” he said very matter of factly.

“True!” Will said “But you would have been an equally good quarterback.”

Paul shrugged, “Maybe, but Football is such a contact sport.” he said.

“And baserunners coming at you when you are guarding the plate isn’t contact?” Will asked.

“Well yeah obviously it is, but it doesn’t happen every time I get the ball.” Paul said “I guess I chose the safer of the two sports.”

“Fair enough.” Will said. “Brothers and sisters?” he continued.

“I didn’t know till a few years ago but yes I have a couple half siblings a sister and a brother, and a step sister, but no full siblings. He said.

“What do you mean you didn’t know till a few years ago?” Will asked.

“Oh, that’s when I met my dad, when I was in college.” Paul said. “Long story, not really worth talking about.” he added, he didn't want to get into that, not today, not with a reporter, no matter how much he liked him

Will took the hint and moved on… “Okay then, do you prefer comedy or drama?” he asked.

Paul gave him a weird look, “How does that fit into the article about my pitching?” he asked.

“You fans may want to know… besides I am flying by the seat of my pants here so just go with it…” Will said giggling.

“Definitely comedy.” Paul said.

“Sweet or Salty?” Will said. Pretending to take serious notes.

“Oh sweet…. All the way.” Paul said. “I love junk food… it is my weakness.”

“Tv or Radio?” Will fired another one his way.

“Both, depends on my mood.” Paul answered.

“Rock or Rap?” Will asked.

“Rock!” Paul fired back.

“Vanilla or Chocolate?” Will said quickly.

“White Chocolate.” Paul said.

“Boxers or briefs?” Will asked

“Umm boxer briefs.” Paul said looking at him sideways, shocked.

“Hey! Inquiring minds want to know?” Will said continuing on. “Summer or Winter?”

“Summer, I love the beach!” Paul said.

Will slowed up trying to think of another one that he could ask…he hadn’t gotten to be a reporter without learning how to read people and he knew his instincts were spot on about Paul after the near miss on the kiss last night in the limo, and the shock and the pink tint to his cheeks after the Boxer or Brief question. He may not be gay, but he was at least bi or bi-curious…. And if he had the guts he would have thrown out the top or bottom question, but given the sideways look he got on the boxer or brief question… he better leave that alone for now.

Paul’s stomach rumbled loudly causing them both to giggle.

“I’m sorry.” Will said I should have realized you would be starving after the game. We can go get you something to eat, it will be dark soon anyway.”

Paul looked down at his watch, “Oh man.” he said, he had totally lost track of time. “It’s after 8 I have to go and get ready for practice in the morning. I have to be at the stadium at 7am since the game starts at 11am tomorrow.”

“Oh yeah of course.” Will said. “I’m sorry.”

“What are you apologizing for?” Paul asked. “I was having a great time…”

“Okay then.” Will said. “Well let's get you back to your hotel shall we?”

On the drive back over, Paul looked at Will, “When will your article run?” he asked. “I want to make sure I read it.”

“Friday’s edition.” Will said. “I could send you a copy before it’s printed if you want to read it first.”

“Oh no…” Paul said, “That isn't what I meant I am sure you will do a terrific job. I would just like to see what kind of impression you had of me.” he said smiling at him.

“A good one.” Will said quietly.

“Thanks again.” Paul said, when Will pulled up in front of the hotel.

Will put the car in park and turned to face Paul. “No, thank you. Maybe we will see each other again someday.” he said.

Paul gazed into his eyes for a minute. Why was saying goodbye to this man so difficult. He didn't even know him, not really… ‘But you want to.’ his subconscious reminded him gently. “I would really like that.” he said aloud. “Goodbye Will.” he shoved the car door open and got out quickly. He walked into the hotel, forcing himself not to look back.

Chapter Text

Paul walked into the hotel room, apology already on his lips. He knew without a doubt that Sonny was going to be furious. He hadn’t seen him since the night before and he was super late. All the other players had probably been back and left again hours ago. Somehow he just seemed to lose all track of time with Will.

“Sonny, I am soo…” he stopped mid sentence and took in the open suitcase on the bed. “What are you doing?” he asked surprised.

“Going home.” Sonny said calmly. “You are never here, with all these interviews and stuff you got going on, and your practices and the games. You never want to go anywhere or do anything anyway. I am miserable. I am making you miserable, All we do is fight, I am just going to go home.”

Paul opened his mouth, and closed it again, Sonny was much calmer than he expected him to be. Then he sat down on the edge of the bed. He was shocked. He should be feeling panic, despair, terror at losing him, something, right? Only… he didn’t. “Okay.” he said finally, accepting it for what it was.

“Okay?” Sonny said bitterly. “That’s all you have to say to me, Is fucking okay?”

Ahh, now he was getting upset. It was becoming clear to Paul, Sonny likely wanted him to beg him to stay, and this was his way of making it happen, but he didn’t have it in him. The truth was of all the things he should be feeling.... He really felt what he could only describe as relief.

“I think this may be for the best.” Paul said taking a deep breath, “Let’s be honest with each other, we both need a break.”

Sonny’s face paled and he stopped what he was doing and looked up at Paul. “I didn’t say anything about taking a break. I am just going home, I will be there waiting when you get back this weekend, maybe then we can get back to some normalcy.”

Paul took Sonny’s hand in his own. “Maybe you didn’t say it, but I am. We need a break, you are right I am not making you happy. We do fight, all the damn time, we barely have a kind word for one another, and we haven't even made love in over two weeks. When we first got together we couldn't go hours without being all over one another. I think that says something, don’t you?” he asked.

“I love you Paul.” Sonny whined, “I just need more, more than this, more than an empty hotel room all the time...”

“I know that, and you know that I can’t give you that.” Paul said. “Not right now.”

Sonny’s eyes filled with tears for a brief minute before they became hard. “Did you ever love me?” he asked. “Even a little?”

“Ot course I did.. I do, I will always love you.” Paul amended. “You will always have a piece of my heart, but I can’t be what you need me to be.”

“Fine.” Sonny said jerking his hand from Paul’s grasp. He took one final look around the room and flipped his suitcase closed.

“Do you want me to take you to the airport?” Paul asked as Sonny slid the suitcase off the bed.

“No I have already called a cab.” he said.

“You were going to leave without even saying goodbye?” Paul asked dumbfounded.

“I was gonna leave a note.” Sonny said. “Goodbye Paul.”

“Bye Sonny.” Paul whispered as he watched him walk out the door.

The door closed behind Sonny and Paul fell back on the bed. That had been easier than he ever imagined that it would be. As amazing as Sonny could be, he would always want more. More than he willing to give, and it had driven a huge wedge in between them. He just hadn’t wanted to admit it.

Paul sighed and grabbed the remote. He flipped on the television and started to channel surf, he finally came to a Jim Carrey movie, just what he needed tonight plain, stupid humor. He left it there playing in the background while he went about getting ready for bed.

Once he was between the sheets and settled down, sleep refused to come. His mind was still reeling from the fact that Sonny had been upset enough to pack and leave. He had never acted that way before, but he was somehow glad he did. He wondered if Sonny had sensed that something was off the last couple of days, since he had met Will.

And just like that his thoughts turned completely to Will. Will had definitely been flirting tonight when he had asked him if he wore boxers or briefs… but the question that was hounding Paul was, How did he know. He had always been overly careful there was no way there were any rumors flying around about him. He had met Sonny in his dad’s small hometown, it was like Population 1500 people max. He and Sonny had been together on and off since college, so there really hadn’t been anyone else. Sonny had understood the reason for secrecy, at least he had in the beginning. Paul had been careful to make sure they had never been photographed together, not one time.

Maybe he was being paranoid, that was probably it. He was just really comfortable with Will, so he would have to be overly careful with him. He shook off the feeling of dread, flipped over on to his stomach and stretched out. He tossed and turned this way and that trying to get comfortable enough to fall asleep, but it didn’t help.

Eventually Paul got up and got dressed quickly. He went back to the hotel gym. He shoved some earbuds into his ear and turned on his heavy metal pandora station, cranking the volume up enough to drown out everything else. Then he worked out until he was exhausted. Only then was he able to drag himself upstairs shower and fall into bed, quickly falling asleep.

Will was sitting in his bed, surrounded by his notes and his laptop, with a half eaten plate of frozen waffles beside him.

He had most of the body of the article written, he was just filling in a few things here or there for fun. Paul had been very candid with him, so he had a lot to work with.

His mind drifted back to this afternoon when Paul had flopped down on the grass beside him. It had taken every ounce of willpower that he possessed not to throw himself on top of him and kiss him senseless.

He knew Paul liked him, they had an almost animalistic attraction to one another, whenever they got quiet he could almost hear the sexual tension cracking between them like a whip. There was absolutely no way that Paul didn’t feel it too. But something was holding him back, something, or someone.

He sighed, it wasn’t like it mattered anyway, he would probably never see him again after tonight. Not unless he went to the game tomorrow and hung out at the players entrance door again with a ball, or a cap, or maybe a jersey. He snorted at the idea as soon as it formed. ‘Yeah, I think that is called stalking Horton….get your shit together.’ his practical side sneered… while his other side, the one where his sex drive must be located was loudly shouting ‘Yes… let’s do that!!’

Will pushed the thoughts away and went back to the article. It was nearly perfect. It just needed one last run through to make sure there were no errors and then he could send it to the powers that be. He hoped that it was good enough to get him a job… but more than that he hoped that Paul read it and liked it.

He gathered up all of his notes and put them away and then saved his work on his laptop and closed it. He needed to sleep. Tomorrow he would finish and hope for the best. It was probably the best thing he had ever written, of course it really helped that he was practically salivating over the focus of the article.

He got ready for bed and then climbed in exhausted. He fell asleep right away, with an image of Paul firmly in his mind.

The next morning he was rudely awaken from a very hot dream by the shrill ringing of a phone. Who the hell could that be, he groused to himself. No One ever called his house number, matter of fact he didn’t even know the number. He looked at the clock, it was just after 9am. He picked up the phone.

“Yeah?” he asked. Not bothering with pleasantries.

He listened as the young telemarketer on the other end of the line launched into her spill. He didn’t even wait for her to finish before disconnecting the call.

He laid back down across the bed but couldn’t get back to sleep, back to his dream. Eventually he gave up and got up. He made himself a bowl of fruit loops and turned on the television. He flipped through the channels, looking for something to watch. There way nothing interesting on so he stopped on a cartoon channel and threw the remote down onto the counter.

He mentally went over his article step by step in his mind, while listening to the mindless humor on the screen. Once he was done with the cereal he put the bowl in the dishwasher and went to take a shower.

Once he was showered and dressed he looked at the clock. It was half past 11. He thought briefly again about going to the game. Paul would be at the game. Not that he would be pitching today, but there just the same. He pushed the thought away, what was his problem, he refused to act like a teenager with a crush.

He gathered up all of his materials and made sure his laptop was charged and then headed out. He stopped and got a cappuccino and then went back to his happy place, back to the very spot he had visited with Paul yesterday.

He read the article twice making small grammatical changes. Then read it again for content. When he was done he attached it to his email and sent it to the editor.

Then he looked up the live feed for the game. It was almost over. They were in the ninth inning. He rolled his eyes at his own weakness and closed the laptop. Then he laid back, flipped his sunglasses down over his eyes, and folded his arms behind his head.

Laying in the warm sun, he slipped in and out of a light sleep.

Paul paid the cab driver and got out of the car. He was happy to see Will’s car parked in the same place as yesterday.

He walked through the park back to the place where he and Will had spent the afternoon yesterday.

He walked up quietly, Will was stretched out languidly and appeared to be sleeping.

He touched Will’s foot with his own.

Will raised up on his elbow and pulled his sunglasses off of his face “Paul?” he said sleepily. “For a split second he almost thought he was dreaming again.

“I thought I may find you here.” Paul said, dropping to the ground beside him.

“Guess I am not the only one who takes notes.” he teased, laying back down on the ground.

“Nope.” Paul said.

“What are you doing here Paul?” Will asked.

Paul shrugged, “I wanted to see if you finished the article.”

“Oh… yeah I did I sent it in just a couple hours ago.” Will answered. “Did you wanna read it?”

“Nah I trust you, did you get the job?” Paul asked.

“I haven't checked my email.” Will said.

“Well check it!!!” Paul said excitedly. “Maybe you have news by now.”

“Okay okay…” Will said. He rolled over and pulled his laptop out of the bag and opened it. He hadn’t put in his contacts this morning so he grabbed his glasses and slid them on. Then he pulled up the internet, going straight to the Email.

He glanced through them, there was nothing. He closed it back. “Nothing.” he said.

“Well, soon then.” Paul said, unable to keep himself from staring at Will. The glasses didn’t take away from his looks one bit. If anything they made him sexier.

“Yeah, probably tomorrow, the editor is probably crazy busy this afternoon getting the edition ready to roll out.” Will said glancing up at Paul. “What???” he asked self consciously touching his glasses when Paul continued to stare.

Paul shrugged, “Nothin.” he said as he stretched out beside Will and they lay there and watched the clouds roll by.

“Did you have a good game?” Will asked.

“Yeah, we won.” Paul said.

“I figured, I watched a few minutes of the ninth inning.” Will said.

“You did?” Paul asked pleasantly surprised.

“Ummhmm.” Will said.

“Cool!” Paul said. “I will turn you into a groupie before long.”

Will barked out a laugh.. “Uh yeah, you aren't a rock and roll star.” he teased, “I’m pretty sure people that follow baseball are called fans.”

“Yeah yeah, whatever.” Paul said playfully.

They were both lost in their own thoughts, neither one saying much when, Paul’s stomach grumbled loudly and they both laughed.

“You hungry?” Will asked.

“Starving.” Paul said.

“But you didn't even play today.” Will pointed out.

“What does that have to do with anything? I am always hungry!” Paul asked.

“Maybe that's because you burn like a million calories a day between the gym, practices, and games…. come on.” Will said getting up. “We may as well get something to eat.”

They walked to Wills car, tossing ideas about what kind of food to get back and forth. In the end they settled on burgers and fries.

“So when do you leave?” Will asked, knowing that there was only two more game in the series with the Giants.

“The team leaves on Friday.” Paul said, “But our next game isn’t until Monday back home.”

“Oh okay, so are you leaving Friday or Sunday?” Will asked.

“I’m not sure yet.” Paul said. “It depends.”

“On?” Will pressed.

“We can talk about that later.” Paul said. He had spent the entire game today thinking about Will. He couldn’t seem to keep his mind on anything else. He spent a lot of time thinking about the chance that he would be taking if he pursued anything with him. It was dangerous no doubt, but what was he gonna do, he couldn't get Will out of his mind. If he didn’t see where this could go he would always wonder if Will had been the one.

“Okay, then.” Will said perplexed.

The pulled into the parking lot of what appeared to be a small mom and pop run restaurant. Paul looked at the place skeptically. “You sure about this?” he asked. It looked small and dingy from the outside.

“Have I steered you wrong yet?” Will asked, “Come on.”

They got out of the car and walked inside. Paul was pleasantly surprised. It was clean, brightly lit, and it smelled heavenly.

It was practically deserted, there was only one other table occupied. The say down and picked up menus. It was only a few minutes before the waitress came by for their orders. She sat two beers down on the table in front of them.

“This okay?” Will asked, holding up his bottle. “The kinda know me, I come here a lot.”

“Yeah fine.” Paul said taking a sip. “How did you find this place anyway?”

“I know one of the waitresses here.” Will said.

The waitress came back with food and sit the plates down.

Paul took a huge bite of his burger and moaned in appreciation. “This is really good.” he said around a mouthful of food.

“Again, I told ya so.” Will said. They finished eating and then spent another hour or so talking about nothing in particular.

“Ready?” Will asked looking at his watch. It always amazed him, how much time passed by without him noticing when he was with Paul.

“Yep.” Paul said getting up and following Will out of the restaurant to the car.

Paul was about to get in when his phone rang. He pulled it out of his pocket and looked at the caller ID. It was his dad, he silenced the ringing and texted him quickly that he would call him later. Then he got into the car.

“So where to?” Will asked.

Paul remained silent for almost five minutes before he finally worked up the nerve to say “My hotel?”

Will looked at him carefully, but nodded agreeably. From the hesitation in Paul’s voice he was reasonably sure Paul wasn’t asking him to drop him off and leave but he didn’t want to assume anything.

As they neared the hotel, they were stopped for a red light and Will glanced over him. “I really had a great time today.” he said.

“Me too.” Paul said simply.

Will nodded. “Good.”

“Ummm Will.” Paul said.

“Yeah?” Will answered.

Paul remained silent.

Will followed his lead. Giving him time to say whatever was on his mind.

Finally he said, “You know the other day when you asked if I had a girlfriend?”

“Yeah?” Will asked cautiously. Had he completely misjudged the situation, did Paul have a girlfriend?.

“I don’t.” Paul said, “But I was seeing someone until recently.”

“Oh…” Will said, “Okay.”

“Really recently.” Paul said.

“Like how recent?” Will asked, dreading the answer. He wasn't sure he wanted to get mixed up in this… it could be a lot of drama, what if Paul was just curious, what if he found out he preferred girls, or worse than that, what if he was hung up on someone else…

“Umm… he left yesterday.” Paul rushed the words out before he could chicken out.

Will was shocked, okay so he wasn’t just curious… it was the absolute worst scenario, he was hung up on someone else. “WOW!” he said, “Yeah that’s really recent.”

Paul stayed quiet. He was waiting for Will to catch up to the “he" part of the sentence.

The silence stretched between them.

“Aren’t you going to say anything?” Paul asked after a couple of minutes.

“What is there to say?” Will said. “I don’t know if I can be your rebound guy. I don’t really do casual.”

“You’re not shocked, I’m gay?” Paul asked.

Will looked at him. “Honestly no.. I would have been shocked if you weren't at the very least curious enough to explore… though it seems you are way past that.”

“Is it stamped on my forehead?” Paul asked, feeling self conscious.

Will snorted, “No..” he said, “But there is no denying there is an intense attraction between us, I feel it and I know you feel it too.”

Paul nodded, “Yeah, I do.” he agreed.

Will pulled up in front of the hotel. “I really like you, Paul. Like REALLY like you.” he said turning to face him, “But I don’t know..”

“Wait.” Paul said. “It isn’t like that. I swear.” he touched Will's hand, “I am definitely not looking for a rebound guy, why don’t you come up with me… and we can talk about it.” Paul said.

Will sighed inwardly, and then nodded yes. He couldn’t help himself, even though he knew exactly what was going to happen.

They got out and Will handed his keys to the valet, while Paul recited his room number to the valet for the slip. Then they walked through the lobby toward the elevators.

Chapter Text

The electric current between them was almost palpable on the elevator ride up to the floor.

Paul and Will remained silent both lost in their own thoughts.

Paul had made up his mind, he trusted Will he had never felt so immediately connected to another person before. But there was a little lingering fear, this could be either be the worst decision he had ever made, or the best. Only time would tell.

Meanwhile Will had no doubt about what was going to happen once they entered Paul's room. He knew that there was no way he would be able to turn back now. He could only hope that he wasn't getting himself into a situation that would leave him heartbroken in the end.

They got off of the elevator and walked down the hall, stopping outside of Paul's door.

Paul slid his key card into the lock and pushed the door open. He allowed Will to walk into the room before him. Out of habit he glanced up and down the hallway, and then followed him in and closed the door behind him.

He was surprised to see that Will had stopped a few steps inside the door and turned around.

As soon as Paul closed the door, Will went to him. He pushed Paul back into the door and stepped in close, as close as he could get to him.

Paul froze, momentarily taken aback. He quickly adjusted as Will fit their bodies together and pressed him back against the door. Will framed Paul's face with his palms, they stared into one another's eyes, their breath mingling.

Will waited a beat, giving Paul a chance to change his mind, to say something, in case he wanted to back out before he covered his mouth and kissed him hard sinking his teeth into Paul's bottom lip, forcing his lips apart and tangling their tongues together.

Paul's arms went around him instantly, his hands settling on Will's ass, pulling him closer, desperately grinding against him, seeking some kind of deeper contact.

Will's mouth left his and he blazed a trail of hot open mouthed kisses over to his ear. He sucked the lobe into his mouth and ficked his tongue over it, teasing his skin, causing Paul to shudder against him.

Paul rolled his head to the opposite side when Will started working on his neck, giving him open access to more skin. He kissed him behind the ear, following the column of his throat with his tongue, lapping at the saltiness of his skin.

Paul's fingers bit into Will's hip bones, unsure if he wanted to try to pull him impossibly closer or push him away so they could find the bed. He wanted so many things in the same moment, he was having a hard time making up his mind.

Will sucked the sensitive skin just above Paul's collarbone, sinking his teeth into him, suckling a small purplish bruise into existence, only half attempting to restrain himself because of the small nagging voice in the back of his mind telling him Paul had a game tomorrow.

"Fuck!" Paul groaned, pulling his own bottom lip between his teeth. He didn't realize he had drawn blood until he got the faint taste of copper on his tongue.

Will's hands moved to Paul's chest, exploring even as he followed his collar bone around, with his mouth, showing the same treatment to the other side of his throat.

Will's fingers went to the buttons on the shirt that Paul was wearing, anxiously pushing the buttons through the buttonholes, unbuttoning the first two, though not without difficulty.

Paul was squirming against him, straining to get closer. Will fit his leg between Paul's holding him tight against the door. But that didn't deter Paul, Will could feel the evidence of his excitement as he ground down onto his leg.

Paul's hands made their way under the back of Will's shirt, nails digging into his skin. Pushing against the barrier of his pants, trying to get to bare skin.

Will's fingers went to the third button on Paul's shirt, fighting with it, but he had grown tired of fiddling with them and Paul riding his leg was affecting him more than he wanted it to. He grabbed the shirt and ripped it open sending buttons flying in all directions.

Paul immediately stilled and Will leaned back and looked him him the eye… "Sorry." he said sheepishly. "Guess I got carried away, I'll buy you a new shirt."

Paul laughed, "Are you kidding me? That was sexy as hell." he said grabbing Will and twisting him around until his back was pinned to the door. "My turn." he growled.

Will leaned back against the door and grinned at Paul. "Mmmmm" he hummed.

Paul stepped back and shrugged out of his shirt, peeling it down his arms and dropping it to the floor. Before he placed one hand on each side of Will's head and leaned in to kiss him. Paul pressed their lips together softly and then kissed Will's chin, down to the hollow at the bottom of his throat swirling his tongue there. Biting his collar bone.

His hands tunneled under Will's shirt, working it up, until it was at his armpits, grabbing his hands pulling them up and over his head, He whipped Will's shirt over his head and it joined his on the floor. Paul stepped back to look at him, licking his lips in anticipation. Will was gorgeous. He had to spend his fair time at the gym.

Paul trailed his finger down the middle of Will's chest to the snap on his jeans. They were slung low on his hips, revealing the perfect V of his hip bones and the tantalizing trail of hair that would lead Paul to pleasures that he couldn't wait to experience. Paul toyed with that trail of hair that disappeared into the band of his underwear, visible just above his jeans.

Will's chest heaved as he took in a huge gulp of air, forcing himself to remain still, allowing Paul to move at his pace. Paul licked his lips again and then kissed Will's shoulder, moving down to one nipple, flicking his tongue over it before sinking his teeth into it, feeling it harden.

"Fuck… yeah." Will groaned, his hand twisting in Paul's hair holding his head there.

Paul blew cool air against the wet skin, smiling against Will's chest when he shuddered. Then he moved to the other side, teasing his skin, biting and tugging on Will's nipple with his teeth.

Will's hands went to the button on Paul's pants flipping it open, jerking the zipper down. He shoved them down over his hips, Sliding his hand into his briefs. He wrapped his fingers around Paul's rigid cock, squeezing him firmly.

Paul bucked into his hand, unable to stop himself. He claimed Will's mouth again, kissing him almost savagely, causing the movements of his hand to falter and become jerky and uncoordinated.

Will wrenched his mouth away, gulping in much needed air. "Bed." he commanded, when he was finally able to speak.

Paul nodded dumbly and stepped back forgetting that his pants were down around his knees. He stumbled but Will reached out to hold him steady.

Paul stopped and kicked his shoes off, followed by his pants. Leaving his underwear in place for the moment, though they were damp from precum and becoming increasingly more and more uncomfortable.

Once Paul was nearly naked, Will advanced on him, pulling him in for a kiss while walking him backwards until they were at the foot of the bed. Then he pushed Paul back until he sprawled out on the bed, reclining back on his hands.

Paul relaxed there, watching Will strip out of his own jeans, kicking them to the side. He drew in a deep breath. He reached out one hand toward him. "Come here." he said.

Will came closer and crawled onto the bed straddling him. One hand on each side of Paul's head, he looked down into his eyes. "You're absolutely gorgeous." Will said in awe.

Paul blushed and reached up pulling him down, connecting their mouths. He nibbled on Will's lips, and then licked across them.

Will stretched out over him, before he slid off and rested at Paul's side. Pauls arm wrapped around Will's shoulder, his fingers tracing lines on his skin.

Will took his time slowing down the tempo by lazily exploring Paul's chest with his fingers, following with his lips and tongue. Teasing his nipples into tight buds, dipping into his belly button, swirling a path through his goodie trail. His hand went to Paul's cock massaging him through his underwear.

Paul's hip rose up straining to reach his hand, seeking more contact. Will pulled his hand away, tracing slow lazy circles around his belly button with his finger tips.

"Mmmmm" Paul moaned, turning on his side pushing Will to his back. He started an exploration of his own. Tracing the lines, valleys and and plains of Will's chest and abdomen lightly. He leaned across him and traced the same trails with his tongue. His hand dipping down into his underwear, touching him for the first time. He wrapped his fist around him, loosely sliding his fist up and down in a teasing grip.

Will's heels dug into the bed as he rose his hips up shoving his own underwear down, giving Paul full access to him.

Paul let go, and Will whined, until he cradled Will's balls in his hand, giving them a gentle squeeze, enjoying the way Will's eyes rolled back in pleasure, and his breath quickened. His chest rising and falling rapidly.

"Paul…. Fuck…." Will gasped out, hips jerking involuntarily.

Paul kissed his lips… "I"ll be right back he said." rolling off the bed.

"Wait, where…..Paul." he sputtered, watching him go bewildered.

But Paul was already in the bathroom, rummaging through his toiletries case.

Finally finding the small bottle, and the square packets that he was was looking for he grabbed them and walked back into the room to find Will spread eagle on the bed, fist wrapped around his own cock, head thrown back.

"Hey!" he said crawling on the bed, slapping his hand away playfully. "I have plans for that." he said.

"Well, you better hurry up, I can't remember when I have been this excited." Will said.

Paul pressed a quick kiss to his lips, "Mmm me too." he said pressing the bottle of lube into his hand.

Paul climbed onto his hands and knees and turned to look at Will.

Will looked at the bottle in his hand and then took in Paul's position. It only took him a split second to realize what Paul was asking. He scrambled up and flipped the cap open, coating his fingers with the slick liquid. Will's fingers went to Paul's entrance, circling his hole before pressing one finger inside.

Paul drew in a breath, tensing a little at the new sensations. This wasn't something that he was used to. He didn't play this role and he couldn't readily explain why he wanted to now… but he wanted it more than he wanted his next breath.

Will worked his finger in and out slowly, giving Paul time to adjust before he added a second finger, slowing his movements until Paul was pressing back against his finger, his hips moving restlessly. Will continued his slow torture and eventually added a third finger and scissored them open a few times, making Paul cry out in pleasure.

"You ready baby?" Will asked raising up behind him.

Paul nodded frantically. "Yes." he moaned.

Will grabbed the square package and ripped it open with his teeth, he rolled the condom on and reached for the bottle of lube. He popped the cap open and drizzled a more than generous amount of the cool liquid over himself, fisting himself a couple of times spreading the liquid over his length. Paul was seriously tight, and Will got the idea that he usually was the pitcher.. . In all things. He pushed the thought aside and lined himself up with Paul's entrance and pressed forward.

He eased into him, inch by inch, as gently as he could, biting his lip, with the effort of restraint. All he wanted to do was bury himself as deeply inside Paul as humanly possible.

When Paul adjusted to the feeling, he rocked back into Will, encouraging him to move.

Will took the hint, grasped Paul's hips and began to pump into him slowly, withdrawing almost all the way out on each thrust, before sliding back inside.

"Yes… Will… yes…." Paul moaned loudly. He spread his knees further, unable to hold himself up, he leaned his head down on his forearms. He was almost sobbing from pleasure everytime Will hit his prostate.

Will could feel his own orgasm building. The pleasure gathering in the pit of his stomach, threatening to spill over. He leaned over Paul, taking him in his fist, stroking him firmly, bringing him ever closer to the edge.

Will could feel Paul tensing beneath him. His body felt like he was strung out like a tightrope. Every muscle taught.

Paul rocked with him, surging forward seeking his hand, clawing for release, pushing backward enjoying the feeling of being deliciously full, completely surrounded by Will. His fingers twisting relentlessly in the sheets, moaning, mindlessly begging Will not to stop, pleading for more. Which Will gladly gave, moving faster, taking him higher, chasing their pleasure.

Paul cried out, as he was flung over the cliff, his orgasm hitting him hard, taking him by surprise, his seed spilling over Will's fist, painting the sheets beneath them. His sensitized muscles clamping down around Will holding him tight, causing Will movements to become messy, and uncoordinated. Will continued to move until his own orgasm washed over him, wrecking him. He called out, Paul's name on his lips as he found his release, emptying his own seed into the condom.

He collapsed on top of Paul, easing out of him. After a couple of minutes he moved to the side and turned Paul to his side, cuddling him close.

They laid together several long minutes, their breathing slowing.

A short while later, when the stickiness was beginning to bother him Will moved away and sat up. "Nooo…" Paul groaned, reaching for him. "Shh, it's okay," Will said quickly disposing of the condom and grabbing the cleanest corner of the already soiled sheet. He wiped them off as much as he could, threw the sheet on the the floor and grabbed the spread, pulling it over them.

He settled back down wrapping his arm around Paul's waist, listening to his breathing even out in sleep.

While Paul slept peacefully, Will reflected on the last couple of hours… "So much for not being someone's rebound relationship" he thought to himself. However to be fair, he had known exactly what was going to happen the minute he agreed to come upstairs, and he had done it anyway.

Chapter Text

Paul woke up and glanced at the clock beside the bed. It was the middle of the night, just after 3am. The room was pitch black. He was on his side and Will was right behind him, curled around him even in sleep.

Paul trailed his fingers up and down Will’s forearm, which was loosely wrapped around his waist. He chewed on his bottom lip as he thought about what he had transpired over the last couple of hours.

He wasn’t sure how he had let things go this far. How Will had gotten so far underneath his skin. He had always been careful, keeping a tight rein on his emotions, always in complete control, all the time. He had always managed to ignore the attraction that he felt to other men. Yeah there had been a couple over the years, but he had always been with Sonny, and he had always been safe and comfortable. Keeping his distance, ignoring the attraction, pretending like he was just another guy, all of that was nearly impossible with Will. From the second he had met Will, he couldn’t get him out of his mind. He was drawn to him, as if there were an invisible string connecting them together.

No matter how big of a risk it was, he couldn’t bring himself to regret his decision. Even though he had known that Will was a reporter and that he was risking being outed. Will could literally ruin his life, but he didn’t think Will was that kind of person. And even if he was, somehow he couldn’t make himself care about that now. Maybe it was time to come out of the closet he had been hiding in all these years. All he could think about was being with Will, no matter what the cost. Whatever it was, Will was worth it.

He leaned over and flipped the lamp on, then blinked a few times, his eyes adjusting to the light now batheing the room. Then he twisted around and pushed Will onto his back, crawling over him, straddling him with one knee on each side of his hips.

He slid his hands slowly up Will’s chest to his shoulders.

“Mmmmmm Good Morning.” Will mumbled sleepily, stretching.

“Morning.” Paul repeated, leaning down, bracing his hands on the bed beside Will’s head. He rubbed his nose against Will’s, before pressing a quick kiss to his lips, then his chin, down the column of his throat. He kissed his way down to the crook of his neck and then nibbled on the skin there, licking and biting as he moved on down his chest. Then down even farther, dipping his tongue into Will’s navel, dragging it through the trail of hair beneath. Kissing a trail over to Will’s hip bone and back again. His hands sliding down Will’s thighs, splaying his fingers out against them.

Will stretched beneath him,. “Not that I am complaining, but do you always wake up soo….OH fuck.” he cried out, losing his train of thought when Paul flicked the tip of his tongue over the head of his already leaking cock.

Paul wrapped his fist around the base of Will’s rapidly hardening erection, and licked him again. “So what??...” Paul asked enjoying the rush of knowing that he could turn Will into a quivering mess. He slid his fist up and down almost lazily.

“Huh?” Will asked.

“Do I always wake so…. What?” Paul asked, refreshing his memory.

“Oh…. Umm…. YESSSSS" He hissed when Paul licked around the head of his shaft again collecting the precum on his tongue.

“Come on Will… focus.” Paul encouraged. Blowing cool air across his moist skin.”

Will shuddered beneath him. “Soo ummm ummm…” he squeezed his eyes shut.. “Ummm …. aroused.” he nearly shouted, finally coming up with the right word.

“Mmm No, not really.” Paul said before taking Will fully into his mouth. He swirled his tongue around him, sliding down, taking him all the way to the back of his throat.

Will’s fingers twisted in the sheets, trying desperately to keep his hips still. “That’s a damn shame.” he gasped out.

Paul worked his throat, relaxing his gag reflex, taking Will deeper.

“God, that’s soo good…” Will said, one hand moving to Paul’s head, twisting in his hair. “Soo fucking good.” he moaned pushing Paul’s head down further.

Paul hummed around him, sending waves of pleasure rocking through Will. He added a gentle suction causing Will’s hips to fly up off the mattress.

Paul worked his mouth and fist in sync with one another, increasing the intensity until Will was moaning loudly, hips jerking uncontrollably.

“Paul…” he groaned, pushing against his head..“Gonna cum…. Can’t……” he tried warn him, but Paul only increased the sensations, sucking harder, squeezing his sac until Will came apart. “Aaaaaaagggghhhhhh" Will cried, toes curling, seed spilling into Paul’s mouth.

Paul swallowed everything Will gave him greedily, and then wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. He moved up to lay on his side beside him. Kissing his softly.

Will lay silent, eyes closed, chest heaving. He didn’t move until he was able to speak coherently again. Then he opened one eye and looked over at Paul. “Wow.. that was quite a way to wake up.” he said.

“Glad you liked it.” Paul teased, “I may have to become more of a morning person.”

“Mmmmmm" Will agreed. He leaned up on his elbow and looked at Paul, “Turnabout is fair play.” he teased.

He leaned down and covered Paul's lips with his own, kissing him deeply. He tasted himself on Paul’s tongue. He slid his hand down Paul’s torso, resting it against his hip.

Paul turned, his leg came up curling around Will’s hip, and he rubbed himself against him. Will’s mouth left his, exploring his neck and shoulder. “Will….” Paul whispered. “I need…” he was more than aroused than he realized after his little performance with Will.

“What?” Will asked. “What do you need?” Giving it right back to Paul. Let him see how frustrating it is when you can't think and someone expects you to answer questions intelligently. He teased Paul’s skin, lapping at him with his tongue. Nuzzling the curve of his neck.

Will was gratified to see that Paul was more affected than he realized “I…, just….can….. you,” Paul finally whispered, unable to formulate a complete sentence. “Just you.”

Will smiled down at him. “Is that all you need?” he teased.

Paul grinned back at him. “Mmmhmmm.” he said.

“I must admit, you took me by surprise tonight.” Will said, leaning back.

“What, why?” Paul asked confused.
.
Will drug his fingers up and down Paul’s arm. He shrugged and shook his head. “You just surprised me that’s all.”

“Tell me.” Paul said.

“I just thought you were more of a top.” Will said.

“Oh.” Paul said. “Umm yeah.” he tangled his fingers with Will’s. “I always have been. That was actually the first time… you know..”

“Seriously that was the first time you bottomed for anyone?” Will asked, unable to believe it.

“Ummhmm.” Paul said.

Will leaned forward and kissed him again. “Did you like it?” he asked.

Paul swatted him on the arm, “I can’t believe you just asked me that.” he said laughing.

“Just checking.” Will said. “I don’t think I have ever been anyone’s first.”

“You were perfect!!!” Paul said, I was thinking I may not mind a repeat performance.”

“I think we can manage that!” Will said rolling on top of Paul.

Four hours later……

The alarm clock began blaring, the beeping becoming increasingly loud. Paul reached over and pressed the snooze on the alarm clock, then drug a pillow over his head, blocking out the light peeking in from the blinds.

He was almost back to sleep when the clock went off a second time. Paul reached over blindly hitting at the clock until it fell off the table and crashed to the floor. Muttering a curse under his breath he leaned over the side of the bed and picked it up and slung it back onto the table.

“Well Good Morning Sunshine.” Will teased fresh from the shower. He leaned his shoulder against the door jam of the bathroom. Towel wrapped securely around his hips.

“Morning.” Paul groaned.

“What’s wrong?” Will asked coming closer to the bed. “Not a morning person after all?”

“I’m tired.” Paul groused, sitting up in the bed.

“And who’s fault is that?” Will said, climbing onto the bed and into his lap and kissing him softly on the lips.

“Yours…” Paul said kissing him back.

They traded pecks on the lips back and forth.

“Ummhmm and remind me, who woke who up at 3 am for that little romp in the hay?” Will asked.

“I don’t remember.” Paul said.

“Sure you don’t.” Will teased. “Next time I will do you a favor and just tell you to go back to sleep.”

“No, you won’t.” Paul said. “You liked it.”

“Well you’re right about that.” Will said. “But you seem to be suffering from sleep deprivation this morning.”

The alarm on Paul’s phone started blaring “Eye of the tiger.”

Will giggled. “Really?” he said.

“UGH, Shut up.” Paul groused. “I gotta get up, I have to hit the gym.”

“That’s too bad.” Will teased, “I was thinking that I could help you work out here.”

“Mmmmm, I sure wish you could.” Paul said, “But I am supposed to be meeting the team.”

“Oooh okay.” Will said, understanding that this wasn’t something Paul paraded around as common knowledge. He pressed another quick kiss to his lips and slid off of his lap. “Then I guess you better get a move on then, I’ve got work to do anyway.”

Paul blinked a couple times, waiting for the fight… the argument that always came... He was stunned when Will said nothing else.

“Come on, get up.” Will said nudging him off the bed. “You’re going to be late.”

Paul nodded dumbly and got up. He sauntered into the bathroom and turned on the water to the shower. He waited for it to get warm and then stepped under the spray and let the water rush over him. He got the soap and quickly washed off and rinsed. He didn't let himself think about last night or the workout that Will had offered or he would be cancelling his workout with the team and tumbling back into bed with him. He washed his hair and then stepped out of the shower and towelled off.

He grabbed some shorts and a tee and ran a comb through his hair and then walked back out into the room. Will was still on the bed flipping through his phone. He grabbed his wallet and a key card from the table and walked to the door then turned and came back.

“Am I going to see you later?” Paul asked, he couldn't leave without knowing, especially since he was already dreading being separated from him.

“Of course, I mean if you want to.” Will said. “I got an email from the editor at the Chronicle, I got the job if I want it. So I have to go talk to him, and then maybe if it’s okay with you, I may come to the game.”

“Okay, I would like that.” Paul said, “Let me make a call and I can get you a pass to the family and friends box.”

“No.” Will said. “That’s okay, I will have a press pass so I can just watch from the Press box.”

“You sure?” Paul asked.

“Yes… now get out of here.” Will said pointing to the door.

Paul kissed him quick and then walked out, closing the door behind him.

Will sat on the bed grinning like an idiot at the closed door. He couldn't believe a job interview had led him to Paul. Things couldn't be more perfect in his life right now.

He got up and looked around the floor till he found his clothes from the night before and slid them on. Then he grabbed the other key card for Paul’s room and shoved it into his wallet. Then he walked out and closed the door behind him.

He went home and changed his clothes and drove over to the offices of the Chronicle. He walked in and took the elevator to the floor that housed the management offices.

Once the door opened and he exited he walked straight ahead and gave his name to the secretary, and asked to speak to the editor.

“Just have a seat.” she said, nodding to a row of chairs against the wall, then she disappeared behind a door.

He went over and sat down in one of the chairs, waiting patiently.

Ten or 15 minutes later, the secretary reappeared and called his name. “Mr. Horton, you can go in now.” she said.

Will got up and walked into the office. He was greeted by, Mr. Wilkerson, the senior editor.

“Will, It’s nice to finally meet you, have a seat.” he said motioning to the chairs in front of his desk.

Will went over and sat down. “It’s nice to meet you too.” he said.

“I don’t like to beat around the bush, so I will just get right to it, I read your article on that new pitcher from the Cubs, and it was great!!!” Mr. Wilkerson said.

“Thank you.” Will said.

“But what I want know if how did you get so much out of him?” the editor continued.

“What do you mean?” Will asked.

“I have read every other article for every other magazine and newspaper that he has given and the answers are all the same, except for yours.” he said.

Will shrugged his shoulder. “I guess you could say we hit it off.” Will said.

“Ummhmm.” the editor said. “Well whatever you did, keep doing it.. Congratulations Will, you are the new senior sports reporter. You can go to human resources down the hall for your Press badge and then check your email for your next assignment.”

“Hold on.” Will said. “ Before we get into that. How much travelling will I do with this job?” he asked.

“Well as little or as much as you want.” The editor said. “I don’t care if you become a regular globetrotter as long as you get your assignments in on time. There are times that you will be expected to show up in person… like at the All star game, the world series, the super bowl, march madness, etc.. but for the most part you can do all of your interviews by phone.”

“Great!” Will said. “Thank you for the opportunity.”

“Welcome to the team.” The editor said. “I am looking forward to reading more of your work.”

Will stood up and they shook hands, then he left the office in search of the human resources department.

Once he had gotten everything squared away. He went back to his car and checked the time. It was just after noon and he had about three hours before he game was going to start.

He went to a small deli that he frequented a few miles from the stadium and went inside. He ordered himself a sandwich and a soda opened his laptop.

He already had a new assignment. He opened it, and read over it. It was for an interview with the starting pitcher for the American League team in the all star game. He was with the Cleveland Indians. Included in the assignment was the number for the press manager for the Indians. Will added the number to the contacts in his phone and then called the number and left him a short message with his number to call back.

Once he had done that he started doing research on the pitcher. He alternated between reading old articles and eating his food.

Finally he looked at his watch, surprised to see that he had been there over two hours. He closed the laptop and put everything away before leaving a few bills on the table and walking out.

He made his way to the stadium and flashed his shiny new press pass. He was waived right in. He went to the press box and settled in to watch the game.

Chapter Text

Paul walked into the stadium, and went straight to the locker room. He put his wallet and phone in his locker and went over to the gym.

Most of the guys on the team were already there and in mid work-out, which was great because that meant they wouldn’t be giving him shit about being late again. He got his own workout started by going over to one of the treadmills and running a couple miles. Once he had slowed down and walked a mile or so to cool down he jumped off the treadmill and grabbed a bottle of water. He drank half before taking a breath, wiping the sweat off his brow with the towel he had thrown around neck.

Then he went over to the weight machines and set them up. He did 10 sets of 20 reps each for his arms and legs and then moved on to the elliptical machine, putting in a good 30 minutes before climbing off, exhausted.

Once he was done with his workout he finished his water and grabbed a new bottle, downing half of it as well, before making his way to the showers. Once there he stripped down and walked into one of the stalls.

“Dang man" Jenkins, the third baseman said. “What the hell happened to you?” he asked.

“What?” Paul asked looking down at himself, not seeing anything out of the ordinary.

“You look like you got into a fight with a bobcat.” he teased. “... and you lost. You got claw marks all the way down your back man.”

“Shut up.” Paul said, turning away, refusing to comment further.

“So what was her name?” Jenkins asked nosily.

“None of your business.” Paul said stubbornly, stepping under the flowing water.

“Come on…” Jenkins said. “I didn’t see you at the bar last night.” he said. “So we know you didn't leave there with anyone, so where did you pick up this little spit fire?”

Paul said nothing, not wanting to egg him on.

“Did you pick up someone on the boulevard?” Jenkins asked. “You don't have to he ashamed man.” he teased. “We have all done that from time to time.”

“Fuck off…” Paul said goodnaturedly. “Maybe you do that, probably more like ALL the time.…. But I DON’T have to pay for it”

Paul rubbed some shampoo into his hair, and let the shower rinse it away, while Jenkins prattled on.

“What are you two assholes talking about?” Martinez said walking into the showers, dropping his towel and take the shower next to Paul’s.

“Narita here picked himself up a date last night.” Jenkins razzed “But he won’t say from where. I think she must have been from the boulevard.” he said again.

Martinez smirked, “Not everybody gets their dates the same place you do, Jenkins.” he snickered. “But if that’s the case it sure looks like he got his money's worth.” he said. “Look at his neck.”

“Hey!” Jenkins screeched.

“Both of you can go fuck yourselves.” Paul said, wrapping a clean towel around his waist, picking up his dirty clothes, and walking away. He went back out into the locker room, and quickly put on his uniform. He grabbed his phone and checked for missed calls or texts… there were none.

He sat down on the bench in front of his locker and pulled up his messages to text Will, before he realized that he didn’t even have his phone number programmed in his phone. He got up and searched through his wallet for his card, but it wasn’t there.

He threw his wallet back in his locker in disgust. He looked at his watch, trying to determine if he had enough time to go back to the hotel to see if he was still there before that start of the game. He was almost convinced he did when the head coach stepped inside the locker room door.

“Narita, my office.” he said.

Paul put the phone one the shelf of his locker and closed it. Then he went to the coach’s office.

“Yes sir, Coach?” he said respectfully.

“Paul, have a seat.” the coach said.

Paul sat down and waited for him to continue. “Brayton is having some tendon issues today, I really hate to ask you, to do this especially with the all star game coming up but do you think you could pitch at least the first half of the game today?”

“Yes Sir.” Paul said. “I can do it.”

“Good!” he said. “-Good, good, this is the last game in this set and we want to sweep them if we can. But we will need you more next week, so If it becomes too much or if you need to come out of the game, I want you to tell me immediately, understand?”

“Yes Sir, understood.” Paul said. “That all coach?”

“Yeah that’s it, get out of here, they just put some lunch out for you guys upstairs ” Coach said.

Paul left the office and went up to the players club. He grabbed a plate and filled it with food, grabbed a gatorade from the table and then went over and sat down with some of the other guys.

Paul was about half way done with his meal when Jenkins sat down beside him. “So you really aren't going to tell me her name?” he asked straightaway.

“Nope.” Paul said, continuing to eat.

“Why not?” Jenkins pushed. “Is she pretty?”

“Because it is none.of.your.business...” Paul said pointedly.

“But as long as you have been with the team, I have never ever seen you leave with a lady.” Jenkins said. “I’m just glad you finally woke up, you know, it’s time that you got out and lived a little… take advantage of all the offers coming your way..”

“That’s your advice, really??” Paul said shaking his head. “Take advantage… is the best you can do.”

“Hey man I just meant it’s being offered, so why not?” Jenkins said.

“Come on Jenkins, give the guy a break.” Martinez said sitting down with them. “If he wants to keep his sexual exploits private, that’s his prerogative.”

“Who the fuck asked you?” Jenkins groused.

Martinez picked up a chip and threw it at Jenkins. “Grow up…. We aren't in highschool anymore.”

“Some of us anyway.” Paul said laughing.

“So, how did your interviews go the other day, I never did hear you say?” Martinez asked.

“They were good, you know the usual.” Paul said off- handedly. “Mostly the same questions on an endless loop.”

“One was for that magazine Baseball America, right?” Martinez asked.

Paul nodded, “Yeah.”

“Was it that Jessica Winters lady? Martinez asked.

Paul nodded again. “Yep.”

“Hey, she’s hot!” Jenkins chimed in.

“She’s alright.” Paul said.

“No man, I have to agree with dipshit here.” pointing to Jenkins, “she is definitely HOT.” Martinez said. “She interviewed me a few months ago.” he said. Then his eyes lit up, getting an idea… “You Dog.” he said. “Really???”

“Nope, you are waay off.” Paul said.

“Sure we are.” Jenkins said, starting up again.

“You two fucktards can sit here running your mouth's all damn day if you want, but I have to get warmed up before the game.”

“You starting?” Martinez asked surprised.

“Yeah, Brayton hurt his arm.” Paul said.

“Wait up, I am starting catcher, I will go with you to warm up. “

“Meet you in the bullpen in five.” Paul said.

He threw his trash away and then went to the restroom before heading to the bullpen.

He was stewing over his teammates jerking his chain about the claw marks and the girls name the whole time he was tossing the ball back and forth, warming up his arm.

He couldn't explain it, three days ago it probably wouldn’t have bothered him at all, but today it did.

Letting them think he was with someone random girl, made him feel like he was ashamed of Will, and he wasn't. That was the last thing in the world that he was. He sat there the whole time bitting a hole in his tongue to keep himself from blurting out how amazing Will is.

“Something bothering you Paul?” Martinez asked, standing up and tossing him the ball back.

“No, I’m fine.” Paul denied.

“Don’t let Jenkins get under your skin, or me either for that matter.” Martinez said, “We are just giving you shit.”

“I know.” Paul said.

“What you do, or who you spend your time with is your business.” Martinez said, catching the ball Paul tossed him.

“Can I ask you a question?” Paul asked.

“Sure, shoot.” Martinez said.

“Do you, well I mean, what if…” Paul started.

The music started and Paul looked around, for the first time he realized that the stadium had filled while he had been busy blowing off steam.

“What if what?” Martinez asked.

“Nevermind.” Paul said, “Come on, game time.” they ran up on the third base line and took their place in line for the anthem.

Paul made it through the first four innings, without even allowing a hit. He ran off the field and went into the dugout sitting down and pulling his jacket onto his pitching arm.

“Do you wanna talk about who she was now?” Jenkins asked, trying again.

Paul groaned… “Noo, for the last time.” he said. “Don’t you have to go bat or something?”

“In a minute.” Jenkins said. “Was it really Jessica Winters?”

“You really just don’t quit do you?” he asked, chuckling despite the anger that was simmering in his gut.

“Okay…. Fine…” Jenkins said. “Don t tell me.” he pouted.

Jenkins grabbed his bat and ran out to the on deck circle, taking a few practice swings.

A few minutes later, Paul took the field for the fifth inning, making quick work of the first two batters before giving up a homerun. The coach called time and ran out to the mound. “You getting tired?” He asked. “If you are just say it…“ He said. “No shame in it, you just pitched a whole game two days ago.”

“Sorry Coach.” Paul said. “I just got a little distracted.”

“Well, then let’s get it together son.” Coach said running back off the field.

Paul shook his mood off, pushing his anger to the back of his mind and powered through to the seventh inning before the coach took him out and replaced him with a relief pitcher.

When the game was over Paul hurried to the locker room and gathered his belongings in a hurry to get back to the hotel. He changed out of his cleats in favor of his regular tennis shoes and then shoved his dirty clothes, phone and wallet down into a duffel bag and started out of the locker room.

“Aren’t you going to shower and change?” Benford, the first baseman asked.

“I will grab a shower later.” Paul said. “I gotta get back to the hotel.”

“Hot Date tonight?” Benford asked.

“Something like that.” Paul threw over his shoulder pushing the door open and walking out.

When he got out to the sidewalk there was only a few kids standing around with baseballs and ball caps. He stopped and signed them and took a few pictures. He took one last look around. He didn’t realize it until that minute, but he had been hoping that Will would be there waiting for him. He got into a cab that was waiting there at the curb, and asked the driver to take him back to the hotel.

On the ride back, he wondered if Will would be there waiting in the room. He had looked for him before the game. He had ran down to the pressbox to see if he was there before he went to warm up, but he hadn't seen him. Maybe he had decided not to come to the game, maybe he was working. He hoped that he planned on coming back to the hotel. He mentally berated himself for not programming Will’s number into his phone.

Once he made it back to the hotel he walked into the lobby and looked around, it was mostly deserted, except for the few people sitting in the small bar.

He went upstairs and opened his door, disappointed to see that the room was dark. He went in and closed the door behind him.

He tossed his bag into the bottom of the closet and laid the rest of his things on the table. The room was clean and the bed was made, so clearly the maid service had been in and cleaned up. There were no scraps of paper or cards lying around.

He sat down on the edge of the bed and took his shoes off, and then went to shower. Once he was dressed in some basketball shorts he came back out and called down to the desk ordered room service.

He turned on the tv and flipped through the channels until he found a comedy show and left it on to keep him company while he ate his pathetic dinner for one.

He ate, not really tasting the food, too preoccupied with wondering where Will was and what he was doing to really enjoy the meal. He had said he was coming to the game. Paul couldn't understand what had happened.

His phone rang out and he leaned over and grabbed it off the table. The whole time telling himself how ridiculous this whole thing was, he had only know Will seventy two hours, it wasn't as if he was in love…. But you are in very deep like… his brain argued ... . He looked down at the screen “Goddddd.” he groaned, seeing Martinez’s name on the continually ringing phone.

“What?” he said putting the phone to his ear. Not really in the mood to deal with him.

“You disappeared pretty fast after the game.” he said.

“Yeah, so?” Paul said.

“We are going out for drinks in five.” Martinez said. “Meet us down stairs.”

“Nah, you go ahead.” Paul said. “I’m staying in.”

“You have to come out with us.” Martinez said. “You being the star pitcher and all, the girls will flock to us with you there.”

“I’m not going.” Paul said again, exasperated.

“Why not?” Martinez said. “You got that hot reporter in your room?” he asked.

“Nope” Paul said “Definitely NO hot reporter in my room.” he snapped.

There was a knock on the door. … Immediately he thought of Will, and his pulse sped up.

“I gotta go man.” Paul said clicking the end button without waiting for a reply.

“Coming.” he called. He went over and opened the door.

“I was ..... what the hell man?” Paul asked when he saw Martinez waiting there. “I told you I’m not going.”

“I don’t believe you.” He said walking around Paul into the room.

“Believe me about what?” Paul asked.

“Where is she?” Martinez asked, walking into the bathroom and coming back out, comically opening the closet door and looking inside.

“Seee… I told you there is no one here.” Paul said, following him into the room swinging the door closed.

“Come on man, get dressed, shake a leg, it’s not like you have anything better to do anyway.” Martinez said crossing his arms looking at Paul expectantly.

“No.” Paul said flopping down in the chair. “I mean it, I am not going.”

“What’s wrong with you today anyway?” Martinez said. “You were gonna ask me something earlier before the game, you still wanna talk about it?”

“No, It’s all good, it wasn’t important.” Paul said. “Go on, get out of here, go have fun.”

“Okay okay…” Martinez said. “See you in the morning?” he asked.

“No, I am not flying back tomorrow, I moved my flight to Sunday.” Paul said. “But I will see you back home.”

“What, why?” Martinez asked, “What do you have…no... you know what, nevermind. Have fun.” he said heading to the door. “See you in a few days.”

Paul watched the door close behind him, and laid his head back against the chair. Only half watching the TV.

Half an hour later, he was flipping through the channels looking for something else to watch when the door opened and Will walked in, carrying his messenger bag and a small duffel bag.

Paul stood up and walked over, taking the duffel and dropping it next to his on the floor. “What, where…?” he interrupted his own self, to kiss him before the door was even closed behind him. He twisted his fist in his shirt and pulled Will further in the room. Will followed him willingly and kicked the door closed behind him.

Will dropped the messenger bag and wrapped his arms around Paul’s back, kissing him just as eagerly.

When they broke apart Will grinned at him. “What was that for?”

Paul shrugged “I missed you.”

“Mmm, missed you too.” Will said.

“I didn’t see you at the game.” Paul said. “What happened.”

“I was there.” Will said. “In the press box, right where I said I would be.”

“I looked for you.” Paul said, sliding his hands down Will’s arms to his hands, tangling their fingers together.

“Well I was there.” Will said. “And I would have been here sooner, but I really thought you would be late, you know after stopping to sign autographs for the fans and then I figured you may want to go out and celebrate with the guys. And I had some calls to make for my next article and a phone interview with one of the pitchers from the Indians.”

“No, I came straight here after the game.” Paul said. “I didn’t have your number to call you. Wait, you would have been okay with me going out with the guys?” he asked.

“Umm yeah, why wouldn’t I be?” Will asked, “You do have a life outside of me right?”

“Nevermind.” Paul said, still trying to wrap his head around the differences in his current situation.

“I’m sorry I was late.” Will said. “I was just trying to give you some space and I really did have to make those calls.”

“You weren’t late.” Paul said, “Of course you have stuff to do, and you just got a new job and we just met and there’s no reason that you…..”

“Stop.” Will said smiling at him. “It’s okay, I feel the same way. I missed you soo much today.”

Paul smiled back and pulled him close. “Good.” he said. “That’s real good.”

Chapter Text

Sunday morning……

Paul sat up leaning his back against the headboard of the bed, watching as Will gathered his belongings from around the hotel room and shoved them into his duffel bag. He felt a little bereft.

“What time is your flight again?” Will asked, He looked up and caught Paul staring at him. “What?” he asked self conscious.

“Two.” Paul said picking at the lint on the bedspread. “Are you sure you can’t come with me?” he asked. “I can still get you a ticket.”

Will stopped what he was doing and looked at him. He came over and sat down on the edge of the bed next to Paul. He laid his hand on Paul’s thigh. “As much as I want to come with you now... I just can’t.” he said. “I really do have a couple of things that will have to be taken care of tomorrow, then I am all yours.”

“Really?” Paul asked. “Then you will come to Chicago?”

“Yeah, really, I said I would didn’t I?” Will said. “I asked my editor if I could travel and he said as long as I got my assignments in on time, I could go where I want, when I want.”

“Come here....” Paul said pulling Will close enough to kiss him, pressing their lips together. He framed his face with his palms, and held him there, while he kissed his lips, the tip of his nose, his chin. Then he leaned back and tried rather unsuccessfully to conjure up a stern look.

“Why didn’t you tell me that?” Paul said, relief coloring his voice. “I wasn’t going to tell you, but I have been going nuts wondering how I was gonna stand being so far away from you, not seeing you, being able to hold you and kiss you everyday.” Paul said, his hands sliding down to Will’s biceps.

Will shrugged, “I guess I just didn’t want to assume anything.”

“And yet, you already asked your new boss about traveling.” Paul said grinning. “So you must have at least thought…..”

“Well, I knew how I was already feeling about you, and so.” Will said. “I knew that I wanted to be with you.” he continued, getting up and going back to the end of the bed, zipping his duffel bag.

“I’m starving.” Paul complained “I have to get a shower.” He jumped off the bed and slapped Will on the ass on the way to the bathroom. “Then we will go and get some breakfast.”

“Maybe that's because we have been living off of room service for two days straight.” Will called after him.

While Paul was in the shower, Will wandered around the room gathering up Paul’s things and packing them in his suitcase for him.

A few minutes later Paul came out of the bathroom dressed in snug jeans and a form fitting Tee.

Will turned to look at him. “Mmmm" he said, going over and sliding his hands down Paul’s chest, “You look really good.” he said grabbing ahold of Paul’s pants
He hooked his fingers through the belt loops and leaned up, he kissed the corner of Paul’s mouth. “You sure you wanna go out to breakfast?” he asked. “We could stay in.. we still have a few hours before you have to be at the airport.”

Paul wrapped his arms around Will. “Yup.” he said. “I don’t want to leave you thinking all I want you for is sex…” he teased, as he nuzzled the side of Will’s neck and kissed him there. “Besides we haven’t been out of this room since Friday night.”

“And I am okay with that.” Will said, leaning his head to the side, giving Paul room to explore his neck.

“I don’t know who’s worse, you or me.” Paul said chuckling. “Now let’s get out of here before I change my mind.”

Will grabbed his two bags and threw them over his shoulder, while Paul called down to the front desk. He gave them his name and room number and asked that they make sure his bags made it to the airport. Once they assured him that it would be taken care of, he hung up the phone and turned to Will, “Let’s go.”

Once they were in the elevator, on the ride down. Will turned to Paul. He was worried that Paul could be recognized and he didn't want to bring him any kind of trouble or make him uncomfortable at all. “You sure about this, we could have ordered room service again.”

“I’m sure.” Paul said. “Besides we have been out to eat a couple times together, and the sky hasn’t fallen yet.”

“But that was before..” Will said.

“Before what?” Paul asked innocently, reaching out to twine his fingers with Will’s, needing to touch him.

“Before this weekend….., before we spent the past two days holed up in a hotel room having mind blowing sex.” Will said looking at him eyes twinkling. “I don’t know if you noticed but we have a hard time keeping our hands off of one another.” he finished, looking pointedly at their hands.

“Oh.” Paul said dropping his hand. “I will try to behave.” he said. Then he looked at him with a cocky grin, “Did you just say Mind blowing?” he asked as the elevator doors opened into the lobby. Paul waited for Will to exit in front of him. “After you.” he said.

Will walked out, he glanced over his shoulder. “Yes I did say that, and it was, wasn’t it, I mean at least I thought so.” he said.

“Oh absolutely!” Paul agreed.

“So any special requests?” Will asked when they were in his car and heading out onto the street.

“Umm, not really.” Paul said, “Just good food.”

“Okay.” Will said. “I think I know the perfect place, and the good news is that it is on the way to the airport.

“Cool.” Paul said, reaching over and taking Will’s hand in his again.

About a half hour later they pulled into the crowded parking lot of a small diner.

“They look pretty crowded, you sure you're okay with this?” Will asked.

“I said I was didn’t I?” Paul answered immediately. “Trust me, it will be fine.”

They got out and went into the restaurant, taking a table in the center of the room.

Paul picked up a menu and started looking over the choices. Everything looked and sounded amazing.

The waitress made her way to their table, and looked at Will, “Haven’t seen you in here in a while.. “ she said conversationally, “Where have you been?”

“Oh, you know here and there.” Will said. I’ve been really busy.”

“Well it’s good to see you.” she said. “You want your regular?” she asked.

“Yep, two of them actually.” he said taking the menu from Paul and putting it back in place. “Trust me.” he said to Paul.

Then he looked at the waitress, “By the way this is Paul Narita.” Will said introducing him. “He is a pitcher for the Chicago Cubs, Paul this is Ashley, she has been working here for as long as I have been coming here.”

Paul smiled at her. “Nice to meet you!’ he said.

“And you as well.” she said. “I will be back with your drinks.”

“Come here a lot?” Paul asked as she walked off.

“Enough, Yeah.” Will said. “As you have probably figured out, I don’t cook at home that much.”

Paul chuckled. “Guess I can’t really hold that against you. I don’t own any cooking utensils outside of a toaster oven and a pizza pro.”

“Boy we sure make quite the pair.” Will said laughing.

The waitress appeared at the side of the table with two steaming cups of cappuccino and two glasses of orange juice. “Your food will be right up, I had Jim to put a rush on it.” she said winking at Will.

“Thanks.” Will said, smiling back.

“I like that you are already thinking about the future.” Paul said, he noticed that Will fidgeted uncomfortably, so he changed directions. “So you said you have a lot of stuff to tie up here.” Paul said.

Will nodded. “Yeah, Well not a lot really, just a few things before I can leave for a while, and I do need to go into the office and at least let my editor know I am leaving town.”

“So are you coming out to Chicago Tuesday or…?” Paul asked, hating that he felt so needy about this, but unable to control it at the same time.

“Yeah. Tuesday, I will take the early flight. I still have to get a hotel room.”

“I have a hotel room, you can stay with me.” Paul said.

“Why do you have a hotel room?” Will asked confused. “Don’t you live there during the off season?”

“Not exactly, I have been living in my Dad’s home town, with the guy that left a few days ago.” Paul said. “I don’t have my own place there.”

“Oh.” Will said, before falling silent.

“I will call my manager and ask if they will try to find me a place in Chicago to rent.” Paul said.

“Whatever you want to do.” Will said. “No rush on my account.”

“Well it has to be done regardless.” Paul said. “I can't live in a hotel forever.

The waitress came and sat the plates on the table before them. “Enjoy.” she said.

Paul picked up his knife and fork and began to eat. It was an amazing, mouthwatering breakfast burrito. He moaned in appreciation and the sound went straight to Will’s cock. Will started reciting the greek alphabet backwards, trying to get his mind on anything besides the fact that he wanted to drag Paul to the mens room, shove him against the wall, and have his way with him.

Will finally got himself under control and they ate leisurely, chatting about the article, which had been printed and as Paul had predicted, was a terrific article. Paul was even amazed at all that he had shared with Will.

Later, they left for the airport, since it was approaching the time that Paul would need to be there for his flight. Even with him being escorted through security to the first class members club he would need to be there no later than 12:30.

“So do you want me to walk in with you? Will asked, pretty sure he knew the answer but asking anyway.

“No, that’s okay.” Paul said. “I don’t think that I could keep myself from kissing you goodbye and making a spectacle.”

“Okay.” Will said easily. “I didn’t think you would but..”

“It isn’t that.. “ Paul said. “I..”

“Hey it’s okay.” Will said. “No need to explain, “I completely understand.”

He took the exit off the freeway, the one just before the
Airport exit.

“Where are we going?” Paul asked, looking at the time.

“Just a small detour, so we can properly say goodbye.” Will said, tossing him a grin.

He drove down a deserted street and pulled into a small alley between two buildings. “Come here.” he said turning in the seat.

Paul leaned over the gear shift and placed his hand on Will’s face.

Their lips met and Will opened his mouth over Paul’s, licking his lips, dipping into his mouth, gliding along his tongue.

Paul’s hand dropped from Will’s cheek to his shoulder, sliding down his arm.

Will’s hand slid up Paul’s thigh.

Paul moaned trying to move closer, but he was hampered by the gear shift.

Paul tugged Will as close as he could reaching for the buttons on his shirt, making quick work of the first one, moving on to the second.

Will ended the kiss abruptly, backing away. “Hold on lover boy.” He teased, pointing to the clock on the dashboard. “We don’t have time for that. You will miss your flight.”

“I don’t care.” Paul said, pulling Will closer again, kissing his cheek.

Will laughed, “You will care if you don’t make it back for the game tomorrow, you will be in trouble.”

“It will be worth it.” Paul said, pulling Will’s face closer, kissing the corner of his mouth.

“I will see you in two days.” Will said, kissing him softly one last time before turning back in the seat.

“You’re such a tease.” Paul pouted.

Will threw his head back and laughed. “And you pout so adorably when you don’t get your way.”

“Shut up.” Paul said.

Will laughed again and backed out of the alley, and then went back to the freeway.

Once they were at the airport, Will pulled up to the terminal and stopped in front of the departure doors letting Paul out.

Paul opened the door. “See you in two days.” He said.

“Count on it.” Will said.

“Bye.” Paul said stepping out of the car.

“Paul.” Will called.

“Yeah?” Paul said turning back

“I programmed my number in your phone.” he said winking at him.

“Good.” Paul said winking back. Then he turned and walked away.

A couple of hours later, Paul was sitting in his first class seat waiting for take off. He had sent his manager an email detailing out his request for him to locate a nice condo for him to rent. Something decent sized, preferably with a gym in the building, within a set price range, and available right away.

Then he had called his dad and asked that he come to Chicago, who agreed readily. He set up a dinner date with him for the end of the week, he wanted to introduce him to Will.

He sent his mom an email checking on her and telling her that he would plan a trip to see her as soon as his schedule opened up a little. There was a week long break coming up but that was when the all star game was. So there wouldn’t be much down time for him.

He glanced through and answered a couple of texts from the PR manager, regarding a couple of more interviews this week and then once he was finally caught up, he leaned back and closed his eyes to relax.

He dozed on and off on the flight home. It wasn’t like he had gotten much sleep over the weekend. He needed to catch up before Will got to Chicago Tuesday.

He was tired, and now that he was halfway across the country from Will, he was becoming cranky and irritable. He begrudgingly admitted to himself that it probably had more to do with the fact that he was now away from Will, and less to do with the sleep deprivation thing he had going on.

Paul sat up straight and straightened his chair when the pilot turned on the seatbelt sign and announced that they were beginning their descent into Chicago. He wished now that he had waited and got a flight Monday morning. He could have still been with Will right now.

As he walked through the terminal, he thought about that. His feelings were completely irrational. He had never felt this overwhelming desire to be with someone every second. It was unsettling.

Once he had his luggage he went out onto the sidewalk and hailed a taxi cab. He gave the driver the name of the hotel and then he fished his phone out of his pocket.

He pulled up his messages and opened a new message box, unable to resist sending Will a quick message.

Paul: “Made it to Chicago.”

The reply was almost instant.

Wil: “Good, I was wondering if you were there yet, I miss you already!”

Paul grinned as he looked down at the message on the phone. It had been a very long time since he felt so……ridiculously giddy about someone. He quickly typed a message back.

Paul: “Miss you more, can’t wait until you are here with me.”

Will: “Me too, Tuesday can't come soon enough. Doing a phone interview in 5 minutes. Call me in the morning?”

Paul: “As soon as I wake up.”

Paul texted back and then shoved the phone back into his pocket.

“Here we are sir.” the cabbie said pulling into the circle in front of the hotel, stopping right in front of the door, before turning to him. Paul handed him a bill over the seat. “Keep the change.” he said hopping out. Pulling his two bags out behind him.

Paul went in and straight to the desk, where he registered and got his key in record time and was on his way to his room after just a couple short minutes.

He made it in the room and was just putting down his bags when his phone started buzzing in his pocket. He pulled it out, looked at the caller ID and suppressed the need to scream. It was Sonny. He thought briefly about silencing it and letting it go to voicemail, but he knew that Sonny would just keep calling until he answered.

“Hello.” he said answering the phone.

Paul!” Sonny said, “Where have you been? I have literally been calling you all afternoon.”

Paul sighed. “I was on a plane, Sonny, I just got back into town.”

“Oh… well, I thought the team was flying back Friday?” Sonny said confused.

“They did.” Paul said. “I stayed in San Francisco a couple of extra days.”

“Why would you do that?” Sonny asked. “More interviews?” he guessed.

“No, just because I wanted to.” Paul said, quickly growing tired of playing 20 questions.

“Oh, okay.” Sonny said sensing Paul’s irritation, he accepted the answer without further prying. “I was thinking we could go to that new Italian restaurant just outside of town tonight, the one that opened a few months ago, that okay with you?”

“Ummm Sonny… we are taking a break, remember.” Paul said.

“Oh come on….” Sonny said dismissing him, “You were angry, I was angry. We both know that argument didn’t mean anything.”

“To me, it did.” Paul said. “To me it meant just what I said.”

“Well we can talk about it when you get home.” Sonny said. “Are you on your way, yet?”

“I’m actually staying in Chicago.” Paul said. “I have asked my manager to find me a condo here.” hoping that this would get through to Sonny.

“So this isn’t a break then…. It’s a break up?” Sonny said, bitterness pouring out of him.

“Yeah, I guess so.” Paul said. “I’m sorry Sonny.”

“I don’t need your fucking apologies, I’m fine.…. But Good luck finding someone else to keep your dirty little secret.” he snapped before disconnecting the call.

Well, that went about as well as I could have imagined. Paul thought to himself. He went about getting ready for bed, shower, brushing his teeth, setting the alarm for the gym.... But something Sonny had said was nagging at him… “Good luck finding someone to keep your dirty little secret…” He didn’t need anyone to do that, he didn’t want to keep Will a secret. He wanted to introduce him to his family and show him off to the world. He was shocked to realize that he didn’t want to hide anymore.

Chapter Text

Tuesday Morning….

Paul’s phone rang just as he was stepping off the elevator on the way to the hotel gym.

It was only a few minutes after 6am Chicago time, so he knew it wouldn’t be Will. He fished his phone from his pocket, surprised to see his manager, Michael Carter’s number on the screen. He answered the call, stopping in the hallway outside the gym.

“Hey man.” he said. “You’re up early.”

“Hey, Paul.” he said. “I wanted to get you before your day got busy.”

“What’s up?” Paul asked.

“Well, I know you have an early game today but I found a condo that I think is perfect for you. The thing is that someone else is interested in it and you need to look at it today and sign the lease or they are going to give it to the other couple.” Michael said. “And trust me, you are going to want it.”

“Uh yeah okay.” Paul said glancing at his watch. “I am not pitching today so as long as I am at the stadium by 10:30 this morning it should be fine. Set something up and let me know the time and the address and I will be there.”

“Alright, I will text you the details.” Michael said.

“Great, Thanks Man! I know that wasn’t really in your job description, I appreciate it.” Paul said genuinely thankful to have such an amazing manager.

“Anytime!” Michael said. “I like to think that we are more like friends.”

“Absolutely.” Paul agreed. “I am getting ready to hit the gym. I will see you soon.”

“Soon as I have the time for the meeting I will text it to you.” Michael reiterated. “Later.” he said ending the call.

Paul went into the gym, glad to see that as was usual it was pretty deserted at this time of morning.

He ran through his usual morning workout, couple miles on the treadmill, his arms and legs strength conditioning, then a half hour on the elliptical.

Once he was done he grabbed a water from the mini fridge in the corner and grabbed a towel from the stack, wiping the sweat from his face.

He checked his phone in the elevator back up to the room, hoping there would be a message from Will, even though he knew that Will would be still asleep. It was only 4am in San Francisco. He shook his head at his own impatience.

An hour later he was showered and changed, dressed in black denim jeans and a purple Tee shirt. He pulled on his sneakers and looked at his phone again.

This time there was a message, but it was from Michael, “Meet me at 9am, with an address attached.”

Paul shot him a quick text that he would be there and then went down to the hotel restaurant to get breakfast.

While he waited on his food he googled the address that Michael had sent him. Rennell on the River, it looked like a nice place, it certainly had all the amenities that he could ask for. There was a fitness center, and a dog run, he had always wanted to get a dog, outdoor kitchen, private screening room, a doorman. He read up on the condo’s, and learned that construction hadn’t been finished for more than a couple months. Michael could be right, this may very well be perfect.

He ate his breakfast and then glanced at his watch, it was 8:30. He had the game, at 11am then an interview at 3:30, and another one at 5:00pm. Will was supposed to be in tonight at 5:30. He would never be back to the hotel by then. He went to the front desk and asked for an envelope. He walked over to the bank of lobby phones and slid his extra key card into it and sealed it up. Then he wrote Will’s name on the front and handed it back to the desk clerk. “Can I leave this here for a colleague?” he asked.

“Yes sir.” the clerk said, taking the envelope.

“Thanks.” he said, then he walked out of the hotel and grabbed a cab. He gave the cabbie the address and sat back watching the buildings go by.

The cab stopped about 20 minutes later and Paul got out. Michael was already there with another man. He walked over to them.

Michael glanced up, “Paul. Hey, you made it, this is Mr. Garcia, he is the owner of the condo.”

“Hi, I am…” Paul stuck his hand out, introducing himself.

“Paul Narita.” Mr. Garcia said. “Who doesn’t watch Baseball!?” he said. “It’s a great honor to meet you.”

Paul laughed, “Very nice to meet you too.”

“Come, I show you the condo.” Mr. Garcia said.

They went inside, and got onto the elevator. There were 17 floors, Paul watched as Mr.Garcia pushed the button for floor 16.

When they got out of the elevator there were only two doors, one to the left and one to the right. Mr. Garcia went to the right and opened the door. He pushed it open and allowed Paul and Michael to go in ahead of him.

Paul was immediately impressed by the open floor plan. The bright light from the large floor to ceiling windows along the far wall brightened every corner of the room. The space was huge and beautiful.

Mr. Garcia led them through the living room, dining room, kitchen with all stainless steel appliances, family room, and into the master suite, complete with two walk in closets, and a huge bathroom with a jacuzzi tub and shower.

“Wow.” Paul said, this is gorgeous.

Mr. Garcia continued through to the other side of the unit. “This is the library or media room, whichever you like. The main bath is here, and these two are the second and third bedrooms.” he said opening the last two doors. ‘We could make that Will’s office.’ Paul thought to himself. Then he stopped short…. He was incorporating Will into his life, like they were already living together…. ‘Isn’t that what you want?’ his subconscious asked.

“Paul!!!” Michael called, “Get out here, you have to see this view. It’s to die for!”

Paul pushed his thoughts away and walked out on the terrace. Michael was right once again, he was blown away by the view. It was absolutely breathtaking. The terrace looked out over the Chicago river. He was sold.

“Mr Garcia.” I will take it, where do I sign?” he asked.

“Don’t you want to know the price?” Mr. Garcia asked, surprised.

Paul shook his head, “It's not necessary.” he said as he looked at his watch, surprised to see it was already 10am. “I am due at the stadium in 30 minutes” he said. “My manager, Michael, will work out all the details with you.” he continued, walking back inside.

There was a folder on the table sitting outside of a briefcase. “These the papers I need to sign?” Paul asked.

“Yes, yes.” Mr. Garcia said. “If you need more time, that okay.” he said.

“No, I am sure, I want this place.” Paul said, he flipped the folder open and glanced at the lease. It seemed to be a straightforward lease. He signed his name to the back page and then turned to Michael and Mr. Garcia.
“Thank you gentlemen, Michael, I will need to speak to you after the game today. Mr. Garcia.” he said turning to the other man. “Thank you very much, Micheal will provide you with any other details that you need.”

He left the unit, taking the elevator down, whistling the entire way. The morning couldn't have been anymore perfect, well it could have if Will was already here.

He got a cab to the stadium and texted Will.

PAUL: “Good Morning sleepyhead

Chapter Text

“Okay, Now I am officially starving.” Will said, twisting out of Paul’s grasp, crawling on his hands and knees to the other side of the bed. He flipped over and laid on his back beside Paul. Will looked at him and grinned. “What’s on that cart over there, that’s our dinner right?” he said, pointing with his foot, looking at Paul hopefully.

“Umm, well it was supposed to be lunch, but considering the amount of exercise we have had this afternoon, It is probably more like a snack, let’s see what we have.” Paul said, getting up and walking over to the cart naked.

Will watched him as he walked away admiring the view. It was almost enough to make him ignore his hunger… almost.

Paul lifted the silver dome from the first plate and peered at the unappetizing looking food. “Here we have a club sandwich and cold fries,” he said fowning. He picked up a fry and tossed it at Will. “And….” he drawled, as he lifted the other dome, “Here we have a grilled chicken sandwich and, ugh, more cold fries.” he picked one up and ate it, tasting only the grease it was fried in. He made a disgusted face. “That's pretty nasty.”

“Yuck.” Will said, also making a face, chewing the cold greasy fry. “Cold fries are gross.”

“Agreed.” Paul said, “Especially these cold fries, but as I recall, it was your idea to wait till later to eat, wasn’t it?”

“No idea what you’re talking about.” Will denied grinning. “Can I have the club sandwich?” he asked.

Paul rolled the cart over beside the bed and handed Will the plate with the sandwich on it.

Will sat up and arranged the sheet over his lap, then balanced the plate on his leg and picked up half of the sandwich taking a huge bite.

Paul laughed, and picked up the other plate. “You must be starving for real.” he said.

“I haven’t eaten anything since breakfast.” Will said, “And I have had a lot of exercise traipsing through two airports and then, well when I got here….” he let his sentence trail off looking pointedly at Paul.

“What?” Paul said, putting on his best innocent face.

“Yeah….” Will said, “Like you didn’t have anything to do with it?”

Paul pushed the nasty fries to the side and picked over the chicken sandwich, mostly eating the chicken and leaving the now soggy bread, lettuce and tomatoes.

“So….” Paul said. “How long can you stay?” he asked.

Will took another bite and looked at him quietly. He chewed slowly. Finally seeming to have made up his mind, he opened his mouth, “Well, I guess for as long as you want me to.” he said looking at Paul with bright blue eyes.

“Good.” Paul said. “In that case, I have a surprise for you. “

“Oooh, I love surprises.” Will said dusting the crumbs from his fingers. He put the plate back on the cart and grabbed a water. He opened it and took a few swallows. “What is it?” he said. “What’s my surprise, where is it?” he said looking around the room, eyes dancing excitedly.

“Nah huh, You can have it tomorrow ” Paul said, sitting his plate on the cart he pushed it away from the bed and then came back. He crawled on the bed and pulled Will to him. “Tonight we have more important things to think about.” he said as he pulled Will down with him and rolled them over, he straddled Will at the waist.

“Oh we do?” Will asked wiggling underneath him. “That sounds interesting.”

Will looped his arms around Paul’s neck and pulled him down, he kissed his lips, tugging his bottom lip into his mouth. He sucked it, then flicked his tongue over it.
“Mmmmmm" he moaned.

Paul stretched out on top of him, rubbing his groin against Will’s.

Will’s wrapped his legs around Paul’s hips, raising up to meet him.

Paul’s hand travelled down Will’s side, his fingers digging into his hip bone, leaving faint impressions in his skin. Then slid around, pulling Will tighter against him.

Will’s hands went to Paul’s biceps, holding him there, then to his shoulders.

He untangled his legs from around Paul’s hips, and dug one foot into the bed. He was able to catch Paul by surprise and flip him over onto his side.

“Ummmph” Paul grunted, startled. “Hey…” he complained.

Will grinned at him and sat up quickly. He pushed Paul’s shoulder, urging him onto his back without uttering a sound.

Paul laid back and Will slid his hands down Paul’s arms till he got to his hands. He raised Paul's arms above his head.

Paul looked at him quizzically.

Will’s eyes had taken on a mischievous gleam. “Keep them there.” he said. “Understand?”

Paul nodded mutely. He was soo interested to see where this was going.

“You’re not allowed to touch me until I say so.” he said.

Paul nodded again. He could do that. Piece of cake, Right?

Will backed off the bed and went to the cart he grabbed the ice bucket and poured some into a glass bringing it back beside the bed. He took a few pieces in his mouth, and made a show of sucking on them while he crawled back on the bed.

He kissed the center of Paul’s chest licking a cool wet trail to his nipple, he flicked his cold tounge against it, back and forth.

“God, yes...Will…” Paul breathed. His hand coming up reaching for Will.

“Uh huh.” Will said sliding his hand up Paul's arm pressing it back down into the bed.

He flattened his tongue against Paul’s chest and then closed his mouth around the nipple, suckling on his skin.

“Fuck…. Like that…” Paul encouraged. He twisted his hands in the sheets in an effort to keep from moving.

Will crawled over and got more ice. “You like that huh?” Will asked, he winked at him before dropping the ice into his mouth. Then he gave Paul’s other nipple the same treatment.

Paul’s hips were in constant motion, seeking contact, looking for relief… release.

Will watched as Paul’s chest heaved under his labored breathing, feeling a fleeting sense of satisfaction that it was all because of him.

He explored Paul’s abdomen, tracing the curves and valleys committing them to his memory, nibbling on his hip bones. His hands sliding up and down his thighs, over his hips carefully avoiding touching his cock.

“Will...come on…” Paul whimpered.

“Come on… what?” Will asked, sliding his hand under Paul's knee pulling his leg up, pushing them apart. “What is it that you want?”

Will’s lips followed a trail down Paul’s inner thigh. Sucking his skin until deep purple bruises appeared.

“Jesus Will….” Paul groaned.

“Hmmm..” Will agreed, kissing the inside of his knee. Before crawling up his body, pressing small kisses here and there.

He held himself above Paul, arms locked as he leaned down and kissed his lips, licking the seam, before plunging his tongue inside, exploring his mouth.

Paul took advantage of Will being distracted and flipped them back over.

“What the hell?” Will asked laughing.

“My turn.” Paul said, beginning his own exploration. He held Will’s hands prisoner against the bed.

Will squirmed beneath him. Kissing the side of Paul’s face, his shoulder, wherever patch of skin he could reach.

Paul’s hands left his, grabbing his hips urging him into a rhythm against him, matching him stroke for stroke.

Will planted his hands on Paul’s shoulders, nails digging into his skin as they rocked together until they were both teetering on the fine edge of control.

Paul moved off of Will, causing him to whine at the loss on contact.

Paul grabbed the small bottle of lube off the table, and a small foil packet. He held them up. “Ready?” He asked.

“God Yess.” Will said, reaching for them greedily.

Paul clasped them in his fist, and held them out of reach. He shook his head no…

“No?” Will asked, confused.

“My turn.” Paul repeated…

Will’s eyes grew wide. “Oh.” he said, connecting the dots in his mind.

“If that’s okay?” Paul asked hesitantly.

In answer Will quickly laid back against the bed, spreading his legs as wide as possible. “What are you waiting for?” he asked, wrapping his hand around his own cock, pumping his fist up and down.

Paul watched Will, mesmerized by him. He practically oozed sexiness. Paul flipped the cap open on the lube and poured some over his fingers. He brought his fingers to Will’s entrance. His fingers circled him, before pressing a finger inside.

“More.” Will said almost immediately.

Paul obliged, adding another finger. He worked them in and out of Will, stretching him open.

“Yesssss…..Like that.” Will encouraged.

Paul leaned over nibbling his neck, adding a third finger, working them in and out, until Will was writhing, muscles clenching around Paul’s fingers, his own fingers clawing deep scratches into the skin of Paul's back.

“Mmmm…” Paul groaned against his ear. “Being inside you is going to feel soo good.” he whispered.

“Yes… God, yes….now.. Paul.” Will grunted, “Now… I am ready now.” he demanded.

Paul sat back on his knees and ripped the foil packet open with his teeth. Will sat up with him.

Paul watched as Will took the packet from him and rolled the condom down his length. “He suppressed a groan when Will picked up the lube and squeezed a liberal amount over him.

Will grabbed a pillow and positioned it under his own ass. Paul leaned over him and lined himself up against Will’s entrance. He pushed inside, slowly. Taking his time, allowing Will time to adjust to him.

Will raised his legs, spreading them further. Then he hooked his feet behind Paul’s ass and pulled him forward. Sighing when Paul was buried as deep as possible.

Paul held himself rigidly still, marveling in the feelings that were washing over him. He had never felt such a strong feeling of… coming home. He remained still until Will started to move, around him.

Will framed Paul’s face with his hands, he pulled Paul down and kissed him softly. “Imma need you to move.” he teased… “As awesome as you feel inside me…and God do you ever feel amazing…. I still need…”

Paul pulled back and surged forward again,

“Yes, that… I need that.” Will groaned, surging his hips up to meet him.

“Mmmmmm" Paul agreed, rolling his hips, his fingers digging into Will’s hips.

He and Will worked in tandem, with slow easy strokes.

Paul kissed him deeply, stroking his tongue, his hands sliding up his sides.

Will’s arms went around his back. His fingers drawing lazy circles on his skin. He shuddered beneath Paul as he found a new angle, striking him in exactly the right place.

“There?” Paul asked doing it again.

“YESSS.” Will hissed. “Right there.”

Paul increased his tempo by the tiniest bit, rocking into him a little harder.

Will’s eyes rolled back, he untangled his legs from around Paul, planting his feet on the bed bucking against him.

Paul moaned loudly and raised up on his knees. Will whimpered when Paul slipped out of him. Paul took Will’s hand and pulled him up, switching places with him.

Paul shoved the pillows against the headboard and settled against them before he pulled Will onto his lap, encouraging Will to straddle him.

Getting the idea, Will straddled his legs and rose above him. He sank down over him, taking all of him at once. He dropped his arms around Paul’s neck, pecking his lips.

Will raised up slowly, and slid back down repeating the action over and over, teasing them both.

Will moved excruciatingly slow, building the pleasure for both of them. His nerve endings felt as if they were strung out like a tightrope, but he wanted to make it last and last.

Paul’s hands grabbed onto his hips, helping him to create the rhythm, until Will’s muscles began convulsing around him. Drawing him ever closer to his climax.

Paul wrapped his hand around Will’s already leaking cock, stroking him firmly. He worked him expertly, smearing the cum over the head with his thumb.

Will’s head fell back, exposing the column of his throat.

Paul leaned up and licked his throat, chasing a bead of sweat. Will cried out when Paul twisted his wrist at just the right angle a few times. With almost no warning he lost his control, his climax hitting him hard, making Will cry out in surprise.

Will screamed out Paul’s name as his world explored around him. His cum painting Paul’s chest.

The combination of Will coming apart in front of him,and his channel locking down on him flung Paul over the edge. His own orgasm rocking him, he spilled into the condom, with a small cry.

Will slumped against him, his forehead resting in the crook of Paul’s shoulder.

Paul wrapped his arms around him, hugging him close. “Wow.” he whispered kissing Will’s shoulder.

“Mmmm" Will agreed. “I don’t think I can move.”

Paul’s lips found the side of Will’s neck. He lapped at his skin.

Will shuddered.

“Me either" Paul whispered.

Eventually Will raised and Paul slipped out of his channel. He slid the condom off and quickly disposed of it.

Then he snuggled back into Paul’s lap. His arms around Paul, unconcerned with the sticky mess between them.

Paul’s hand stroked his back. His eyes closed, head leaned over against Wills. He was quiet, keeping his mouth closed for the fear of blurting out something that he wasn't sure he was ready to say or that Will would be ready to hear. His emotions were all over the place, he had never been more affected by any one person in his life, and somewhere deep inside of him there was a declaration of love that was practically bursting at the seems to be set free.

They must have stayed there for a good thirty minutes before Will’s legs started cramping. He pulled away from Paul, thier skin sticky with the dried residue of his seed between them.

“Ewww.” he said laughing, I think we need a shower.

Paul burst out laughing. “Isn’t a shower how all this got started to begin with?” he asked.

“Well not this round...” Will said. “But does it matter, we’re dirty?”

“Umm hmm.” Paul said, following Will off the bed.

Will took his hand and pulled him toward the bathroom.

“You know this is going to be my fourth shower in less than twenty four hours. By all accounts I should be the cleanest person in the world.” Paul teased.

“Come on… stop complaining.” Will said. “I promise I will make it worth it.”

Paul raised his eyebrows, but followed Will into the bathroom.

A couple of hours later ….

Will snuggled close to Paul, head on his shoulder. “Can I have my surprise now?” he asked.

Paul shook his head. “Tomorrow.” he said.

“Please?” Will tried again. “Pretty please with a cherry on top.”

“Tomorrow after lunch.” Paul said.

“No fair.” Will whined… he ran his fingers down Paul’s chest. “I could maybe…” his fingers slid lower, pushing the covers out of his way.

Paul grabbed his wrist just before he got to his goal and twinned their fingers together. He brought the back of Will’s hand to his mouth and kissed his there. He smiled at him. “Even if you could, I am sure, I can’t, you have literally worn me out today.” he said. “Besides I don’t even have the surprise, I won’t have it until tomorrow at lunch.”

Will pouted, his bottom lip poked out. “Fine.” he said.

“Oh stop.” Paul said laughing, kissing his lips. “It will be worth the wait, I promise.”

“Fine.” Will said again, settling back down against him.

Paul pulled the sheet up over them and they drifted off to sleep.

The next morning….

Paul sat up, sliding out from under Will’s arm. He looked at him, his features relaxed in sleep. Paul thought he was the most beautiful sight he had ever seen. Those words…. Three small words, one huge meaning, bubbled up again in the back of his mind. But there was no way he could love this man… not now… not yet, right?

He kissed his temple and dressed quietly. He grabbed his room key and made his way down to the hotel gym.

As he followed his daily workout regiment. Will preyed on his mind. His feelings for him, the way Will made him feel, it just wasn’t something that he wanted to keep a secret, he really wanted to shout it out to the world.

Upstairs in the room, Will turned over in the bed, reaching for Paul. He peeled his eyes open when all he encountered was cool sheets. He rubbed the sleep from his eyes and sat up looking around the room. Paul was nowhere to be found.

Will picked his watch up from the bedside table. It was just after 7am and it was a game day, Paul must be down at the gym.

He got up and went into the bathroom. He looked at himself in the mirror. There were a few faint marks along his collarbone and chest, and a couple of very prominent bite marks on the side of his neck. He looked like he had been mauled by a tiger. He raised his arms above his head, stretching, taking note of the telling aches and pains. He would feel those little happy reminders all day long.

He couldn’t believe how he had gotten so lucky. He had been worried about being a rebound relationship for Paul, but Paul hadn’t made him feel like that for one single second. He always had Paul’s full undivided attention. He had to be careful, he was falling and falling fast for him. It was a scary thing to be so completely into someone after a few short days of being together. But his grandmother had always told him… “When you find the right person, the other half of your soul…. You just know.” and he always called her a romantic and waved her off. “Not everyone is lucky enough to have that.” he would say… but now, he thought she may just be right.

He walked back out into the room and found his jeans from the night before, and picked them up. He thought he may go down and get some coffee or maybe he should just order room service. He debated for a minute or two before picking up the phone. He called down to the front desk, ordered breakfast and coffee for two and then decided he had better shower before Paul came back. He threw the pants on the bed, and grabbed clean underwear and clothes from his suitcase. He really, really wanted his surprise and if they had to shower together, they may never get out of the room.

He went in the bathroom and turned the shower on, he jumped in and bathed off quickly. He got out and towelled off, then he heard a knock on the door. He wrapped the towel securely around his waist.

He went out and pulled the door open. “That was quick, I literally just.” He said, before he stopped short and blinked a couple of times. There was a moderately attractive man with thick unruly brunette hair, and hard looking eyes, standing there with an overnight bag slung over his shoulder. “Uhh I am sorry.” Will said, “I was expecting room service.”

The other man was just as shocked as Will. “Oh, ummm, I’m sorry too.” he said, “I think I must have the wrong room.” he said, glancing at the number plate beside the door. Then his eyes flew to Will taking in his appearance. Will felt his eyes all the way to his toes, and fought the urge to hide behind the door.

“Oh, well Okay.” Will said uncomfortably. He moved to close the door, trying to shake of the sick feeling that was taking root in his stomach.

The strangers eyes narrowed. “I could have sworn the clerk said 819.” he muttered. “I guess I got it wrong, I will go back down and double check.”

Everything in Will’s world turned upside down. “Who are you looking for?” he whispered already knowing the answer. The stranger opened hos mouth to respond at the same exact time Paul walked up, “What the hell are you doing here Sonny?” he asked.

Chapter Text

Sonny turned away from Will in confusion and looked at Paul. “What do you mean What am I doing here? Obviously I came here to be with you.” he screeched. He took a step towards him and reached out to touch him. “I miss you.” He stilled when Paul backed away, the cold fingers of dread wrapping around his heart like a vise. He was coming to understand that didn't have the wrong room after all. “Who the fuck is he?” he sneered, jerking his thumb toward Will.

Paul shifted his eyes over to Will, who was standing stock still, looking much like a statue. The shock and confusion was written all over his face. His eyes had taken on a stricken look of panic. Paul gazed at him, taking in his mostly nude form. There was nothing covering him except a towel wrapped loose and low around his waist. Ironically, that was what set him into motion. He sidestepped Sonny’s outstretched hand and moved to stand in front of Will, shielding him as best as he could. He faced him and put his hands on Will’s shoulders, “Hey, Will, why don’t you get dressed, let me take care of this.” he said, nudging him toward the bathroom. He felt a bit ridiculous for the feelings of jealousy that burned in the pit of his stomach, but at the same time he didn't want Will's body on display like that either.

It was like Will woke suddenly from a trance. “Oh, yes, of course.” he said embarrassed. “Excuse me.” He mumbled as he walked into the bathroom numbly. How could he have forgotten that he was next to naked.

He closed the door and leaned back against it. Even without the introduction he had been able to deduce that this guy was Paul’s ex, the one that had just left him in San Francisco. He was back and it was pretty plain that he wanted Paul back. That would probably mean one thing for him.

Once Will was in the bathroom, with the door closed, away from Sonny’s prying eyes. Paul turned and walked on into the room, leaving Sonny to either follow him or leave.

When he heard the door close, he turned back to Sonny and asked his question again. “What are you really doing here Sonny?” he asked sighing. He had known this moment would come, but he had wanted it to be on his terms. Sonny could be downright nasty when he was lashing out or hurt, and he didn't want any of that turned on Will. He wouldn't be able to stand for Sonny to say anything vile or ugly about Will.

“Well, you said that you weren't coming home…. So I thought I would come to you.” Sonny explained. “I miss you and I thought you would be missing me too, but it looks like you have had plenty of company. He sneered, looking around the room. The clothes scattered all about, the comforter from the bed slung in the corner, empty condom wrappers laying on the bedside table told a pretty good story about what had been going on in the room.

“I just don’t understand why you would come here without an invitation?” Paul asked confused, ignoring Sonny's last comment, and refusing to be embarrassed at the state of the room and the evidence that he and Will had been very… affectionate with one another. “Did you forget that I told you we were done.”

“No.” Sonny said, his voice raising an octave. “That is not what you said, You said we would take a break, and well it’s been several days, that’s a break.”

Paul rubbed the back of his neck, uncomfortable. “Sonny, I thought you understood. Remember You actually said this isn't a break, it is a break up, and I said Yes....” he said, looking at him. “I’m not sure how you could have mistaken it to mean anything else, but I am sorry if that's the case.”

“But we’re perfect for each other.” Sonny said, putting his overnight bag in the chair and walking toward Paul. “We have worked through problems before, we can get through this too. I know what you need, I know how to fit into your life.”

“No… we’re not, we aren't perfect for each other, we aren't even good for one another.. .” Paul said. “You said it yourself, we make each other miserable.”

“I can change.” Sonny said. “I promise, I will change. I can be whatever you need me to be.”

“Sonny, just stop okay.” Paul said. “Show some self respect for God's sake, You shouldn't have to change to make me happy. You deserve someone that will give you everything you want and make all of your dreams come true… that is NOT me...”

You are that person.” Sonny insisted. “I know that…”

The bathroom door opened and Will emerged fully clothed. “Sorry.” he said as he looked nervously at Paul, “I’m just going to slide my shoes on and go down for some coffee.” He said.

“No Will, wait.” Paul said. “You don’t have to go anywhere. Sonny, was just leaving.”

Sonny looked at Paul like he had lost his mind. “Do you want to go down then, so we can talk privately?” he asked, his eyes darting to Will.

“There’s nothing to talk about.” Paul said. “I’m sorry you drove all this way, but I haven't changed my mind.”

Anger flashed in Sonny's eyes and he jerked his head toward Will, “I get it now, this… this…..is why you wanted to break up?” he accused. “He is isn't he?”

Paul reached his hand out and pulled Will to his side. He wrapped his arm around Will’s waist, feeling the tension radiating through him. He held him close, refusing to let him go.

“Will had nothing to do with it.” Paul defended. “No one is trying to hurt you Sonny. Meeting Will now was really just a happy coincidence. You and I have been going downhill for a long time. We both know that. Now I think you should go.”

“Fine.” Sonny snapped. “I’ll go, But when everyone knows your dirty little secret, don’t come crying to me.” He grabbed his bag and slammed out of the room, just as room service arrived with the breakfast.

The young waiter quietly brought the cart in and pushed it to the center of the room then left in a hurry. Not that Paul blamed him, you could cut the tension in the room with a knife.

“Well that was interesting.” Will said, pulling away from Paul. He went to the cart and poured himself some coffee and then poured a second cup for Paul, putting cream and sugar in it, just like he liked. He handed him the steaming cup, and watched as Paul took a small sip.

Will sat down in the chair with his coffee, briefly closing his eyes. “Maybe you better tell me, what happened, why you two broke up, and why he left, because clearly he thinks that it was all temporary.” he said.

Paul sat down on the edge of the bed. “I’ll give you the short version.” he said, before launching into a short synopsis of the last couple of months, how much he and Sonny fought, how Sonny had done his best to drag him from the comfortableness of his closet. “So basically when he packed his bag and left, I told him we were done. I guess he wasn’t paying attention.” Paul finished.

“Hmmm.” Will said, when Paul fell silent.

“Hmmmm,?” Paul asked , “Is that all you have to say?”

“What do you want me to say?” Will asked, gazing at him wide eyed.

Paul rubbed his hand down over his face, “That you understand, maybe?” he said.

“I mean yeah, I guess.” Will said. “I know you didn’t call and invite him here.” he said. “But if you still love him and you want to go back…. Please, just tell me now.”

“I don’t.” Paul said. “I don’t love him, I don’t want to go back, and I can’t lose you.” he said sitting down on the foot stool in front of him.

Will looked into his eyes, seeing nothing but sincerity, “Then you won’t.” he said, making his decision. Paul had given him zero reasons not to trust him…. So he would trust him until that changed.. “Now let’s eat, I don’t like cold eggs either.” he said attempting to lighten the mood.

Paul nodded and they sat down and ate in relative silence, both lost in their own worlds.

Will wondered if maybe he should have his head examined, while Paul counted his blessings that for now at least Will wasn’t going anywhere.

When they were almost done. Will cleared his throat, “So your ex, Sonny, right? He won’t tell anyone about you, us, right?” he asked.

Paul took another sip of coffee and thought for a moment. “No, I don’t think so. He is mad, but he will get over it.” he said. “Why, you don't want anyone to know you are dating a professional ball player?” he teased.

“I wasn't asking for me, I am not worried about who knows or what they think, But I thought you did.” Will said. “I know your reputation, and I know that although you and Sonny were obviously together a long time, no one knew about it, and you said he kept trying to drag you from the closet, so I naturally assumed that you, you know haven't told..…” he let his sentence trail off.

“Oh.” Paul said, thinking for a few minutes. “Yeah that is all true, but it doesn’t seem to be as Important anymore.” he said, “ In fact you and I are having lunch with my manager today.

“We are?” Will asked shocked. “Is that my surprise?” he asked.

“Not quite.” Paul said.

A couple of hours later they were about ready to walk out the door for their lunch meeting when Will’s phone rang.

Will looked down at the caller I.D. it was his interview for his new piece.

He looked up at Paul. “I’m really sorry, I have to take this.” he said. “This is the catcher that I have been trying to get up with for my next article. It won’t take long, I just have a few questions for him.”

“Oh..” Paul said. “Okay, call me after?”

“Of course.” Will said. “I can meet you after the lunch, or maybe for desert.” he said before he swiped to answer the call.

“Will Horton.” he said, into the phone.

Paul took one last look at him and then walked out of the room, closing th the door behind him.

He took a cab the few blocks to the restaurant. On the ride there he thought about what Will had said, about his secret. Will had been right, he had went to great lengths in the past to keep his secret. He didn’t want to be that person anymore. The need to keep secrets about his personal life, had someone diminished. But was he really ready to give up baseball for Will?

He got out of the cab and walked into the restaurant seeing Michael right away. He waived off the hostess as she walked toward him, greeting on her lips.

“I see my table.” he said.

He walked over and pulled out the chair across from him. “Hey.” he said.

“Hi.” Michael said. “Everything good?”

Paul smiled and nodded. “Yeah.” he said. “Why?”

“Oh just asking.” Michael said. “You have just seemed happier than i have ever seen you these last few days.”

“Oh.” Paul said. “I am, I guess. It’s been a good week.”

“When are you going to tell me what’s going on?” Michael asked.

“What do you mean?” Paul asked.

“Come on…” Michael said. “Give me a little credit. You used to live with your dad…. Now all of the sudden you ask me to find you a condo, quick, fast, and in a hurry, and you got a few marks…” he said motioning to his own neck. “Here and there… . You, my friend, have met someone.”

Paul grinned….. “I have no idea what you are talking about.” he said, holding back, more out of habit, than desire.

“Sure you don’t.” Michael said. “You aren’t ready to share yet… and that’s okay, but when you are, I want to meet her. She must be something special to have captured your heart.”

“Actually..” Paul said. “I was going…” he stopped short when he saw Will walk up to the table. “Will.” he said.

“Hey, I got done a little early so I thought I would join you after all, if you don’t mind.” Will said.

“Of course.” Paul said. He turned to Michael, “Michael, this is….”

“Will Horton, San Francisco Chronicle.” Will supplied holding out his hand to the other man.

“Nice to meet you Will, Michael, Paul’s manager. You’re a long way from home aren’t you?” he asked as Will took a seat.

“Well yeah, but I like to travel and I needed to finish up a couple of things for a follow up interview with Paul and I have a few other interviews on this side of the country that I need to get to before the all star game next week.” Will said. “And Paul was nice enough to offer to show me around.”

“Oh..” Michael said. “Great, make sure he takes you to all the good places then.” he said as the waitress came to the table for their orders.

They spent the next couple of hours chatting amicably about the sport, the all star game, and throwing out random predictions for the score.

Just as they were about to leave Will excused himself to the restroom and Paul and Michael walked outside, standing on the sidewalk.

“So here are they keys to your new place.” Michael said.

“Thanks.” Paul said, “Did you get the other thing I asked for?”

Michael nodded, “I did and it was delivered and set up this morning.”

“Great!” Paul said. “Thanks again.”

“Don’t mention it.” he said. “You know I will always do whatever I can to help.”

Paul nodded, he did know that. Michael had been with him through alot.

“So, this Will guy?” Michael said. “Where did you meet him?”

“He umm interviewed me last week, and showed me some sights in San Francisco, So I offered to return the favor, why?” Paul asked.

“No reason, I like him.” Michael said. “Just be careful, you know how reporters are, always looking for a story.”

Paul shook his head. “I don’t have any secrets for him to find.” he teased.

Will stepped out of the restaurant and joined them on the sidewalk.

“I gotta go, I got calls to make and meetings all afternoon. Will, it was very nice to meet you. Paul, I will see you in a couple days, let me know if you need anything.” Michael said, before he went over to his car the valet had just brought around and jumped in.

Will watched as he drove off, then turned to Paul. “Nice guy.” he commented.

“Yeah, Michael is the best." He said. “You ready for your surprise?” he asked.

Will grinned, and nodded slowly, resisting the urge to reach out and grab Paul’s hand.

“Cab gentlemen?” the Valet asked.

“Yes Please.” Paul said.

The Valet hailed them a cab and then opened the door while they slid in. Paul gave the address to the driver and then sat back.

The driver looked at Paul in the rearview mirror, and then looked again. “You’re that Pitcher, from the cubs aren't you?” he asked.

Paul nodded, “Yeah.” he said.

“My son is a huge fan.” He said. “He wants to be a pitcher someday too.” he said.

“How old is he?” Paul asked.

“Seven.” The cabbie said.

Paul looked at Will, “You got some paper with you?” he asked.

Will pulled out his notepad and a pen and handed it over to Paul.

Paul jotted down a quick note and signed his name to the bottom. He passed it over the seat. “Give this to him for me.” Paul said.

“Thank you, thank you so much.” he said. “My son will be thrilled.”

Once they pulled up in front of Renelle towers, Paul paid him and they got out of the cab. The doorman immediately opened the door for them.

“Come on.” Paul said, leading the way inside. Now that they were here he was excited and nervous to find out what Will thought.

Will followed him into the elevator. “Who lives here?” Will asked.

When the doors opened Paul led him to the right and pulled the keys from his pocket. His eyes sparkled as he looked at Will.

He opened the door and went in, grabbing Will’s hand and pulling him in behind him.

“Woooooow.” Will said when they got into the living room. He walked over to the windows and looked out, looking over the water. “This is gorgeous.” he said.

“It is right?” Paul said. “Come on.” he grabbed his hand and pulled him to the kitchen, the dining room, then he took him to the media room, or library… or both, it was big enough there was no reason that it couldn’t be.

Will turned circles looking at everything. “It’s so open.” he said.

Paul walked over to the terrace door and pushed it open. “Check out the view.” he said leading Will out onto the terrace. They walked out and Will drew in a quick breath, “Wow....” he said unable to formulate a sentence.

“Do you like it?” Paul asked.

“The view?” Will said, surprised that he was even asking. “It is beautiful!!”

“All of it, the condo, the area, the view?” Paul reiterated.

“Yes, why?” Will asked curiously, he put his arms around Paul cuddling in close to him.

Paul's rested the side of his hip against the railing and held Will close. “I just wanna know, if you know, maybe you would like to live someplace like this.” he said.

“Someday!” Will said. He leaned up and captured Paul's lips with his own, kissing him deeply.

They stayed there, wrapped up in each others arms for several long minutes.

When they broke apart Paul led him back into the condo, closing and locking the door behind them. Then he lead him across the condo and into the master bedroom, the bed that Michael had picked out was just what he would have picked out for himself. Dark mahogany wood with a tall headboard, accented with leather cushion and a short stocky square posts on the foot board. It was already complete with a bed ensemble. He made a mental note to send Michael a nice bottle of wine or something. He had went above and beyond… as usual.

“Woow.” Will repeated. “That bed is awesome, but umm why is it the only piece of furniture in the place?”

Paul blushed, “Let’s see the bathroom.” he said hurrying Will along.

Will walked into the master bath and took in the dual sinks, jacuzzi tub, and the glassed in shower in the corner. “Okay, I’m sold.” he said. “Is this place for rent? Not that I could afford it, but… it sure would be nice.”

“Just a couple more things to show you.” Paul said. “The spare bedrooms.”

Paul led him across the condo and opened the door to the larger guest room.

“Nice!” Will said turning to him. “If you are about to tell me that you live here…. I am gonna be soo jealous.” he said.

“Welllll….” Paul drawled out, as he opened the last door. “I thought we could turn this bedroom into an office for you, so that you have a space to work on your articles, or do your research, or whatever you need.”

“Are you kidding me?” Will said turning back to him.

“Not at all.” Paul said.

“You really do live here?” Will asked. “I was totally kidding.”

“Well, I haven’t moved in obviously.” Paul said. “But I did rent it and I will be moving in.”

“And you’re asking me to what? Move in with you?” Will asked.

“Yeah, I mean I did rent it for us.” Paul said. “But If you aren’t comfortable with that.” he said, getting nervous, rubbing the back of his neck. Maybe this wasn't the best idea, who asked someone to move in with them after knowing them for what, a week? “I mean we can find you your own place, I can get something smaller.”

“Whoa, whoa whoa…who said anything about being uncomfortable?” Will asked. “I would be crazy to turn down an offer like that.”

Paul looked at him curiously.

Will laughed. “What I mean, is of course I want to live with you.” he said going to Paul and covering Paul’s mouth with his own.

When they broke apart, Paul grinned at him. “Good.” he said, feeling like his chest could expand again.

“Now, come on, spill it, what’s with the bed being the only furniture?” Will asked mischievously.

“Well, I figured we could pick out most of the furniture together.” Paul said. “But I wanted to get out of that hotel, and I thought that the most important piece of furniture for us to have is a bed.” Paul explained.

“Ooooohhhhhhh, I do like the way you think.” Will said, wrapping his arms around Paul’s waist. “What do you say we try it out?” he asked, kissing Paul along his jawline.

Chapter Text

“I’m so late….” Paul said doing his best to untangle himself from Will’s octopus arms. “Come on Will, seriously.” he said, laughing when Will tried to wrap his legs around him too. He evaded him and crawled backwards off the bed.

“Nooo…” Will whined, trying to pull him back into the bed. He pouted when Paul’s feet hit the floor.

“Babe, I have to go….” Paul said. “Don’t do that.” he groaned when he saw Will’s face. “It’s not fair. You are so cute when you pout.”

Will pulled him closer, getting to his knees, crawling to the edge of the bed. “You sure you have to leave?” he said throwing his arms around Paul’s neck, he pressed in close to Paul and licked the side of his neck.

Paul groaned loudly… “Fuck it.” he said pushing Will until he fell back, supporting his weight on his elbows. Paul crawled up onto the bed, attempting to follow him.

Will threw his head back and laughed. “You’re so easy….” he joked. “But you can not blow off the game, you will be in soo much trouble.” he said pushing Paul away. “You do have to go.”

“And you are a tease.” Paul said, swatting Will’s behind before he walked out of the room following his trail of clothes back through the condo slipping them on as he went.

Will stood up and pulled his own underwear on. He followed Paul to the door.

“Can I have the keys?” Will asked. “I thought I would go check us out of the hotel and get something to cook for dinner so we can celebrate?”

“Mmmm, that sounds perfect.” Paul said, handing over the keys. He walked out the door and then turned back “Wait, can you cook?” He asked narrowing his eyes.

“I do okay.” Will said.

“I thought you said you couldn’t cook?” Paul said.

Will shooks his head. “I never technically said I couldn’t cook.”

“I guess I just assumed, since you said you don’t cook much at home.” Paul said.

Will smiled. “I can cook, I just choose not to. Who likes to cook for one?” he asked.

“So you can cook, more than frozen pizza and hot pockets, right?” Paul said.

“Oh yeah.” Will said. “I worked in my great grandma’s restaurant while I was in high school, I got some skillz.”

“Nice!” Paul said. “I am starting to feel like I hit the jackpot pot with you.”

“Ditto!” Will said, “Now get out of here.” he waved closing the door.

Paul went over and pushed the elevator button looking at his watch. He really was super late….

……..Paul jumped out of the cab and hurried into the stadium, going straight to the locker room.

It was quiet, since most of the other players had already dressed and headed to the dugout. Thankfully he wasn’t scheduled to pitch today, or coach would be all over him for not being on time. He changed quickly into his uniform and grabbed his glove, just in case. He was about to head on out to the dugout when Martinez came into the locker room.

“There you are.” he said. “We have been looking all over for you.”

“Why?” Paul said.

“You’re never late Narita.” Martinez said. “Like ever.”

Paul shrugged. “I been busy, got a lot going on.”

“Good things?.” Martinez asked.

Paul grinned, “Yeah.” he said. “Real good things.”

“Anything you wanna tell me about?” Martinez asked.

Paul thought for a minute…. “I moved to Chicago, I’m renting a condo over at Renelle Towers.”

“Whoa! That fancy new building down by the river?” Martinez asked.

Paul nodded. “That’s the one.”

“How did you pull that off, I looked at those and you have to know somebody to get in over there. Those units were sold before construction was even completed.” Martinez asked surprised.

“I don’t know how he did it, Michael found it for me.” Paul said. “But I made sure I have an option to buy after a year.”

“That’s great man.” Martinez said. “Why all the sudden though? You never wanted to live in Chicago before..”

“It was just time for a change.” Paul said. “Once we’re settled, we will have you over for dinner or something.”

Martinez looked at Paul… “That sounds great, but ummmm, who’s we?” Martinez asked.

“Oh?” Paul said… “I umm….”

Paul fell silent when he heard the announcer call for everyone to stand for the anthem.

“Shit.” Paul said, “Let’s go.”

They hurried out to the field just as the music started.

Paul whipped his hat off of his head and risked a glance at the coach when he took his place in line. He was rewarded with a glare.

When the music ended and he was back in the dugout he sat down and watched his teammates take the field. He thought about Will, and wondered what he had done to deserve Will, as he watched as the game proceed. The score bounced back and forth until the last inning, but in the end they lost by one run.

They made their way back to the dressing room, and Paul sat down in front of his locker, checking his phone. He had a couple of missed calls from Sonny and a text from his dad saying that he would be in town on Friday for the game, and asked about their dinner plans.

Paul texted back that he would have tickets for the game for him at the will call booth, and he had made reservations at Temporis for 8pm, adding that he couldn’t wait to see him. Then he started to change his clothes.

“Narita!” Coach called. “My office now. “

Paul pushed his locker shut and walked behind the coach back to his office. He knew that he was fixing to get the “Get your shit together" speech.

“Yes sir.” he said.

“Close the door, and have a seat.” the coach said sitting down behind his desk.

Paul followed his instruction and waited for the lecture. He himself had never had this particular pleasure before, but he had heard about it multiple times from Jenkins, so he knew what to expect.

The coach cleared his throat, “Son, is everything okay with you?” he asked.

Paul was taken aback. “What do you mean?” he asked.

Coach leaned forward and folded his hands on the desk. “You haven’t been yourself this past few days.”

“I’m fine.” Paul said. “Things are good.”

“I’m not trying to pry here.” Coach said, “But you seem to have lost some of your focus. You have been late, you have missed a couple of practices and since you haven't been working out with the team, I don't know if you are getting your work outs in or not.”

“Yes sir, I have, I know I have been a little distracted lately. I just have alot going on.” Paul said evasively.

“I don’t want to see you hit a downward spiral, especially not now, you have the all star game next week and you are at the top of your game, it is my job make sure you remain there.” Coach said.

“I appreciate that.” Paul said “Things will settle down. I promise I won’t disappoint you.”

“I know you won’t son, I am never worried about you disappointing me.” Coach said, getting up, he came around the desk and leaned against it. “I know it is hard to imagine now..” he chuckled “But I was young once, and I know how it is when a relationship is new and exciting, and you feel like you have to be together every minute. I remember those days, and it is a wonderful and terrifying all at the same time. Please just do yourself a favor and don’t let it distract you from what you have worked so hard for. You are the best the majors have to offer right now, just don’t throw that away, find a balance. You understand what I’m saying?”

Paul sat in the chair listening in silence, thinking about what the other man was saying. He had to to tell someone, someone that he trusted, to just get it off of his chest, “I think I love him.” he whispered.

Coach looked down at him, schooling his features. “I see.” he said, thinking about what he wanted to say next..

“Did you hear what I said?” Paul asked, “I love him.” the words rolling off of his tongue so easily that it shocked him. He even felt like he could breathe a little easier.

Coach smiled, “Yes, I heard you.” he said. “So I’m guessing I am way off base and this isn’t a new relationship then?”

Paul looked at him. “No, it is new.” Paul shared, “I met Will last week in San Francisco. Everything is just happening so fast, and I don’t know what to do.” he said.

“What do you mean you don’t know what to do?” Coach asked.

“I don’t want to lose my career, but I love him, I don’t want to live a lie anymore.” Paul said.

“Is this your first…... relationship, since you figured out, what your preferences are?” Coach asked.

Paul smiled wryly, “No Coach, I have always known what I wanted, I just never shared it with very many people.” he explained, “I had a long on and off relationship with someone else, before Will.”

Coach opened his mouth and then closed it again.”So this has been going on for what, years?” he asked.

Paul nodded mutely.

“Then why all the sudden do you feel like you are living a lie?” he asked. “I’m not judging, I am just trying to understand.”

Paul shrugged, “I don’t know. I guess because I want to take Will out, introduce him to my friends, show him off. I don’t want to hide him like he is something to be ashamed of.”

“I see.” Coach said again, “And you didn't feel like this with the man that you had the long ongoing relationship with?”

Paul shook his head “No.” he said softly. “He came with me on the road alot, but I was comfortable just having him with me, I never felt the need to push the envelope with him.”

“I see..” Coach said, “Well, times are different than they used to be, a lot has changed over the last several years and there are openly gay athletes in every sport, even at the olympics now, so I don’t know why you are worried about losing your career, in case you didn’t hear me earlier, you are the best pitcher in the league and that has nothing to do with who you sleep with so.….” Coach said, “But you make the choice, that you feel is best for you. Keep it private or shout it to the world from every podium, every rooftop, hell shout it from every pitchers mound if you have to. I hope it goes without saying that you have the teams full support , including mine, whatever you chose to do.”

“Thank you Coach.” Paul said dazed, “I really appreciate it.”

“Anytime son…” Coach said, “Now that I know what’s been going on. We can get you back on track. You are pitching tomorrow so I want you here at 9am sharp tomorrow morning for a team workout, and practice.”

“Yes sir!” Paul said as he got up and walked out of the office, wiping unshed tears from his eyes.

Once again the locker room was deserted so he quickly changed his clothes and walked out through the players entrance. He stopped outside the door on the sidewalk to sign autographs and take a few photographs with the few kids that were still hanging around.

Earlier in the day…..

Will watched Paul walk toward the elevator and then closed the door.

He looked around the condo, wandering from room to room. He pulled his clothes on as he went. It really was gorgeous and spacious and airy. Paul had excellent taste. He opened the terrace door and walked out. It really was beautiful, and he was breathless at the view. It was green and lush now and it would be even more beautiful as the seasons changed. He could see he and Paul here snuggled up together, watching the fireworks over the river, sitting in rhe crisp autumn air seeing the leaves change color basically before their eyes, watching the snow fall in the winter.

He made his way back inside, locking the door behind him. He couldn’t remember a time in his life when he had been so blissfully happy. That being said, He really hadn’t had a lot of shining examples. His life had pretty much always been a train wreck, but this felt… right.

He sat down in the floor and pulled his shoes on and then grabbed the keys from the island in the kitchen. He locked up and headed out.

He stopped on the sidewalk and pulled up his google map. He discovered that there was a Whole Foods about four blocks from the condo. He decided to walk over. He took his time looking around the neighborhood, there were several restaurants, a couple hotels, an apple store, along with several small boutiques along the way.

He went into the store with a basic mental list of what he needed to make a simple cajun chicken pasta,. He needed linguine, chicken, spices, milk and cream, bell pepper, onions, butter. He got those things and went about picking up a few other things here and there. A dessert and a couple of things for breakfast. He grabbed some fruit and salad fixings.

He knew that he would have more than he could carry back so he pulled out his phone and ordered an uber to take him back to the condo.

Once that was done, he got picked out a few more items, including a bottle of wine, and grabbed some take away bowls for storage. and then checked out. He was happy to see that the car was already outside waiting on him. He loaded the bags into the car.

Once he had given the address to the driver he sat back to relax for a couple minutes. He was going over his mental list in his mind when it dawned on him that he had no cooking utensils and they had nothing to eat on.

When the driver pulled up at the condo, Will started gathering his bags. “I need to take these upstairs and then I have a couple more errands. Can you wait for me?” he asked.

“Of course sir.” the driver said.

“Thanks, I will be right back.” Will said.

He jumped out of the car and took the bags upstairs. He hurriedly put everything away and then rushed back down stairs.

He jumped back in the sedan, “Can you take me to Nordstroms?” he asked.

“Yes sir.” the driver said.

Will went into the store and quickly picked out a set of cookware and simple white set of China, throwing in a set of flatware. He went to the cash register, told the sales woman what he wanted and then handed her his credit card. He almost cringed when she charged the $1300 dollars to his card. But it would be worth it to see Paul’s face.

An employee appeared from somewhere with his purchases. He carried his boxes out to the car, and placed them in the trunk. “Thank you.” Will said, getting into the car.

“Where to now, Sir?” the driver asked.

“Back to Renelle Towers.” Will said. “I have to drop off this stuff i just bought.”

They drove back to the condo and Will got out. The doorman opened the door for him as he tried to balance the boxes in his arms. He got into the elevator and was trying to sit the boxes on the floor, to be able to press the button when an older gentleman got into the elevator.

“Which floor?” he asked.

Will sighed. “16, thanks.” he said.

“You moving in?” the gentleman asked.

Will nodded, “Yes.” he said simply, not offering any more information.

The elevator stopped on the twelfth floor and then gentleman stepped out. “Good Day sir.” he said.

Will rode on up to the sixteenth floor and made it into the condo. He sat the boxes in the floor in the middle of the kitchen. He looked around and then went back down stairs. He was relieved to see the car was still waiting for him.

He got back in. “One last errand” he closed the door, “I need to go to the Fairmont.”

The driver turned and gave him a quick look, but started to drive anyway.

When they pulled up at the hotel Will paid him and stepped out.

“You don’t want me to wait for you sir?” the driver asked.
“No, that’s okay.” Will said. “I have to gather up all my things, it is gonna take me a little while. Thanks though.”

Will walked into the hotel and went upstairs. He gathered up all of their belongings, and put them into his and Paul’s suitcases and then took one last look around the room making sure he wasn’t missing anything.

Then he called for the porter to help him with the bags.
He went down stairs and went to the desk, he checked Paul out of the hotel and signed the final bill.

He caught a cab back to the condo. When he finally got the bags into the room he looked at his watch. Paul’s game would be still going on for another hour and he was whipped. He decided to shower and rest for a bit before he started the food.

He rolled the bags into the bedroom. He flipped his over on it’s back in the floor and unzipped it, rooting around until he found clean underwear, and the little mini bottles of shampoo and body soap that he had confiscated from the hotel. Then he went into the bathroom and stripped down. He turned on the shower and stepped inside once it was warm. He let the water wash over him, washing away the grime of the last couple of hours.

He stayed in the shower until he felt nice and relaxed and then he stepped out onto the bare floor. He realized that he didn't even have a towel to dry off with. He laughed and padded into the bedroom. He looked around and then finally grabbed a clean tee out of his suitcase and dried off the best he could. Maybe he had been a little over zealous and checking out of the hotel today hadn’t been the best idea. They were going to have to go shopping to get some basic provisions after dinner. He pulled on his underwear and laid down across the bed, falling asleep almost immediately.

Chapter Text

It was a little later than he had anticipated it would be when Paul made it back to the condo. He was a little worried that Will would be either wondering where he was or maybe even a little upset. He got out of the elevator, opened the door, and walked in.

Nothing could have prepared him for the unexpected scene before him. Will was in the kitchen, turned away from the door, in his underwear, stirring something on the stove. He had his phone plugged into the wall, playing some music in the background, and his hips were swaying back and forth to the beat of the music. He hadn’t even realized that anyone was there yet.

Paul looked at the floor, the comforter that had been on the bed was now in the middle of the living room floor with two place settings laid out on it. Since there were no table and chairs, it seemed that they were going to have a fancy picnic.

Paul couldn't help but smile as he watched Will. He hadn't been lying, he did know his way around the kitchen. He moved from one thing to the other with ease, stirring this and turning that. He didn’t look the least bit out of place.

“Hi.” He said, blushing when he realized that Will had turned around unexpectedly and caught him staring.

“Hey, yourself.” Will said, Picking up a fork and turning the chicken in the pan in front of him. He had another boiler cooking some kind of sauce that smelled divine.

“Dinner smells amazing.”Paul said. He walked over and kissed the back of Will’s neck. “What is it?” he asked, resting his chin on Will’s shoulder.

“Just some basic cajun chicken pasta, and salad.” he said. “Nothing fancy.”

“Mmm, it’s perfect.” Paul said wrapping his arms around Will, pulling him back into his body.

Will turned in this arms and rewarded him with a quick kiss. “We will be ready to eat in just a minute.” he said before turning back to the stove.

Then he took a plate and held it over the boiler of pasta,using it as a makeshift strainer, to drain the water off of it. Paul dropped his arms watched as he poured the pasta into the sauce and then sit the boiler down in the sink.

Will stirred the pasta together and then dipped it out onto two plates, and added the pan grilled chicken and vegetables to the top. He handed the plates to Paul, “Take these and I will bring the salad.” Will said.

Will pulled the vinaigrette dressing from the refrigerator and poured some onto the salad, he used two forks to give it a quick toss, then he grabbed the wine and walked over to where he had set out the blanket.

Will sat down and handed Paul the wine. “I’m sorry, I forgot to get wine glasses today, we will have to drink it from teacups.” he said, blushing, he didn’t know how he forgot something so basic.

Paul grinned, “You are seriously kidding me, right?” Paul said. “You did all this,” he motioned to the food and the dishes and the blanket, and you are worrying about a wine glass....” he reached for Will’s hand, pulling him forward, brushing their lips together. “This is absolutely perfect.”

“Well almost perfect.” Will said. “There is just one thing wrong.”

“What?” Paul asked looking around bewildered.

“Wellll….” Will drew the word out, “Either I am underdressed or you are severely over dressed.” he said.

They both burst out laughing.

Paul stood up, “I can take care of that.” he said pulling his shirt up and over….

“No wait.” Will said. “You keep your clothes on, let me go get dressed.”

Paul poked his bottom lip out.

Will giggled. “Now who’s pouting?” he asked.

“Why, do you have to get dressed?” Paul asked, “I like you better undressed.”

Will blushed at the compliment. “Welll, I like you better that way too… but we really need to eat and then go shopping.”

“Shopping for what?” Paul asked. “I’ve got all I need right here!”

Will laughed, “All we need is…. food and a blanket and each other?” he asked, biting back the alternate ending to that phrase. He had often heard his grandmother say “All you need is love.”

Paul gave him a million watt smile and nodded.

“You think that now lover boy, but just wait till you try to take a shower, there’s no soap, no shampoo, no towels, no washcloths, no clean sheets..umm also ” Will ticked the list off on his fingers.

“Okay Okay….” I get it.” Paul said chuckling. “You win, we can go shopping.” he opened the wine and poured them some into their cups while Will disappeared into the bedroom to get dressed.

When Will sat back down on the comforter, Paul handed him his cup of wine.

Paul held up his cup, “To our first meal, in our new home.” he said.

Will clinked his cup to Paul’s. And they each took a sip of wine. Then they started eating.

“So how did you manage to do this?” Paul said. “This is the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me.”

“Well the first thing you do is start the sauce, because you want it to have time to simmer and absorb the flavor of the spices. And then you just pan fry the chicken in a little olive oil, add in the vegetables about half way through..”

Paul giggled. “Will, I meant the whole thing, you have been shopping yourself today.” he said.

“Oh.” Will said, his cheeks turning a light pink. I just went to the store and bought a set of cookware and this set of dishes, it really wasn’t a big deal. If you don’t like them though we can get something different.”

“It is exactly what I would have picked out for myself.” Paul said.

“Oh okay.” Will said. “Good. How was the game?” he asked changing the subject.

“We lost.” Paul said, but only by one run so I don’t guess it was all that terrible. What was interesting though was after the game.”

“What do you mean?” Will asked.

“I got in trouble for being late today.” Paul said. “I was running onto the field when the anthem was starting, so I knew something would be said.”

“I’m sorry.” Will said, feeling appropriately contrite. . “That was my fault.”

“Yes it was.” Paul agreed, “but it was soo worth it.”

“What are they going to do?” Will asked. “Not like a game suspension or anything right?”

“Oh no, Coach just called me in his office and asked me what was going on, he said that he noticed that I have been distracted lately.” Paul said.

“Oh…” Will waited a beat… “What did you tell him?” he asked.

Paul put his fork down and looked at Will. “The truth.” he said. “That I can’t stop thinking about my man.”

Will’s eyes grew large. “Are you sure, I mean do you think that was a good idea?” He asked. “You know you don’t have to do that for me. I understand that you want to keep this part of your life private.” he said.

“I am sure.” Paul said. “I want to take you out, introduce you to people, i want you to meet my friends and my family. We are starting with my dad later this week and.. i invited one of the players over for dinner once we are settled.”

“Okay…. I think you are moving a little too fast here.” Will said.

Paul looked at him, trying to understand. “You are out though, everyone knows you are gay right?” He asked.

“Of course.” Will said. “This isn’t about me. This is about you. I don’t want you to make rash decisions now because of what you may or may not be feeling, and then resent me later.”

“That’s not gonna happen.” Paul said.

“I just want you to be really sure.” Will warned. “Some of isn’t going to be pretty, you may even lose fans, friends, maybe family.”

“I don’t care about any of that.” Paul said.

“Okay.” Will said, “But let’s go slow. I mean you don’t have to jump in the deep end of the pool before you learn to swim.”

“Fine.” Paul said decisively. “But it is coming out one way or another.” he picked up his fork and beginning to eat again.

Will watched him while he finished his pasta. He was head over heels for Paul and it was getting worse by the minute. He really didn't want Paul to rush into anything and then resent him, he didn’t think he could stand that.

Once they were done with their meal they got up and took the dishes back to the kitchen. Will stacked them into the dishwasher so that he could turn it on when they got back with the soap.

Paul took the comforter back to the bedroom and laid it across the end of the bed.

They both pulled their shoes on and went downstairs.

“Okay so where to first?” Paul asked as they stepped out onto the sidewalk.

The limo driver got out and opened the door for them.

Will looked at Paul, “What is this?” he asked.

“We are going to need a way to get everything back here. So I made a call while you were getting dressed.” Paul said.

Will nodded, “Good idea.” he said, climbing in.

Paul asked the driver to take them to Chicago Ridge Mall, and then they sat back and watched the streets roll by.

When the limo pulled up at the mall, Paul asked him to wait for them, because they would be sending out their purchases.

“Of course sir.” the driver said.

They walked around the mall, stopping first at J.C. Penny’s where they spend almost an hour going back and forth trying to pick out bathroom accessories and linens.

“Will, would you stop looking at the price?” Paul said, “just pick out what you like. Let me worry about what it costs.”

“But we have to buy furniture too, a lot of it, we don’t have to buy the most expensive towels in here, and who cares what we put our toothbrushes in?” Will argued.

“Will, I promise you, I got this.” Paul said. “I have never spent a lot of money on anything, so basically, I have been saving almost all of the money I have made since I got called up to the team, and they pay me well.” Paul said. “It isn’t like I can't afford it.”

Finally after a little more squabbling they made their choices, settling on a creamy brown and soft turquoise color scheme. When they got to the register Paul handed the sales clerk his Black American express card to pay for their purchases.

Then they went to Kohls where they picked out bedroom linens having yet another disagreement when Paul picked out Sferra sheets. But Paul was quick to notice that Will offered no such arguments when Paul took him to pick out a Keurig, to feed his coffee obsession.

When they had paid and Paul had provided them instructions on what to do with his purchases, they walked out and Paul led him toward Bed, Bath, and beyond.

They stopped in bed bath and beyond. “Okay, you pick out whatever you want for the kitchen, it’s all yours, I just need a pizza pro and a microwave.” Paul said.

“We can get some of this later.” Will said, as Paul loaded the cart with wine glasses, tumblers, coffee cups, dishcloths and baking ware.

Paul chuckled, “Will seriously… you didn’t argue when we bought the Keurig.”

“Hey, Coffee is important.” Will said grinning at him.

“So is food.” Paul said. “And now that I know you can cook, I want you to have what you need in order to cook for us, if you want to.. that is. If not, I will hire a cook.”

“No!” Will said, “I like to cook. It was just no fun cooking just for me.”

“Well, good, glad that's settled.” Paul teased. “Cause I like to eat.”

“Don’t I know it.” Will said, “Come on.” he getting into the spirit, dropping different utensils into the cart. Some of which Paul didn’t even know the purpose for.

They went to the register and again Paul paid without so much as a blink about the price. He asked the clerk to have someone take the packages to the limo waiting in the parking garage.

Last they went to target. Where they bought shampoos, conditioners, shaving cream, razors, soap, lotion, lube, condoms, dish soap, dishwasher pods, laundry detergent, toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwash, dental floss, an assortment of coffees to go with Will’s coffee maker, and anything else that caufht their eye. They also got a couple of other grocery items for breakfast and quick meals.

The they went back to the limo and climbed in among all the bags that wouldn't fit into the trunk.

On the way back to the condo Paul looked over at Will “What kind of car do you want?” he asked, only partially teasing Will.

“What do you mean what kind of car do I want?” he asked looking at Paul in horror. “I have a car.”

“But it isn’t here.” Paul said, and it will get old having to call a cab everytime you want to go somewhere and we have two parking spaces with our condo so…”

“I have a car.” Will repeated.

“It’s across the country Will.” Paul said. “What about an Audi R8?”

“No.” Will said firmly. “I will go get my car, and drive it back here. Eventually I will have to go home and clean out my apartment anyway.”

“Will that may be weeks away or months. What about until then?”

“I can borrow your car, you do have a car right?” Will asked.

Paul nodded, “Well yeah, I have a Range Rover, parked at Sonny’s place.”

“Oh.” Will said trying not to cringe. “Well, when you go get it, I will borrow that until I can go get mine, but you are NOT buying me a car.” he repeated stubbornly.

“Fine.” Paul said, letting the subject drop. They would just argue about that later.

When they made it back to the condo, it took them several trips to get everything to the elevator and then several minutes to unload everything from the elevator into the apartment.

Once they were in and the door was shut they went about trying to put everything in its place.

Paul went to the bathroom and put the linens into the built in linen closet and then arranged the other items on the sink and in the medicine cabinet. Leaving Will to fix the kitchen the way he wanted it.

They were both about done at about the same time, an hour or so later. They stacked up the cardboard boxes in the corner. They would take all of that down in the morning. Will looked at him. “Do you realize that we spent over $10,000 tonight?”

Paul blinked. “So?” he said. “I’m not worried, besides we are about to spend some more. Let’s go sit in bed and we can pick out the rest of our furniture.”

Will followed Paul into the bedroom. They arranged the pillows against the headboard and leaned back. Paul brought up the site that he was looking for and went to living room furniture first, they went back and forth about what they wanted, finally deciding on an overstuffed leather couch in a rich dark brown, with a loveseat with dual recliners and round coffee tables and end tables.

“How big do you want the dining table to be?” Paul asked, going to the dining furniture section of the site.

“I don’t know anyone here.” Wil said. “Four is probably enough.”

“Let’s get something for six” Paul said. “I want to have people over sometimes.”

“Okay.” Will agreed easily enough.

They picked out a dark chestnut table with high backed chairs with leather seat cushions.

“Okay,” Paul said. “Bedroom furniture. We can move this bed to the guest room and pick out something else, or we can keep it. You choose.”

“No,I like it.” Will said, “besides we already christened it. TWICE.” he grinned.

Paul laughed out loud, “Yeah I guess we did. So let’s pick out something for the spare room.”

Then they picked out a smaller bedroom suite complete with pillow top mattresses, for the spare room and then a dresser and chest of drawers to match their bed.

“That’s all right?” Will asked, glancing up at the total. They were way up in the tens of thousands by now. He looked over at Paul, but he didn't seem to be bothered in the least.

“Almost.” Paul said as he pulled up the portion of the site that showed the selection of office furniture.

He handed Will the phone. “Which desk do you want?” he asked.

Will took the phone and scrolled through the pictures, passing up the more lavish desks, looking for something small and less expensive.

Paul stopped him, at a picture of a desk with a large credenza attached to the side. “What about that one?” he asked.

Will looked at it, “Yeah, I like that one, It’s just a little big. I only need a small desk, I only have a laptop, ya know.”

“We can get a desktop if you want.” Paul said seriously.

“Not necessary.” Will said. “My laptop works fine and it is portable so…”

“Good point.” Paul said.

They found a smaller desk and a chair and Paul put those items in the cart. Then he stopped to think, taking inventory of each room…. “We need chairs or couches for the library. Let’s get both a couch and a coupe chairs, what do you think?” he said looking over at Will.

Will groaned. “I think we have spent enough for one day, and I mean how much are we really going to be home in the next few months. We can get some of this stuff later. Don’t you think?” he said gazing back at Paul.

“I think that you are worrying too much.” Paul said. “What is the use of being paid 19.5 million dollars a year if I am not gonna spend any of it?” he asked.

Will’s glacier blue eyes grew three sizes. That’s almost 20 million dollars EACH Season?” he said comically.

Paul roared with laughter, “Will…” he said when he finally caught his breath. “You are a sports report how is it that you do not know what I make?”

“I knew it was a lot, but seriously, I didn’t know it was that much.” Will said.

“I made Ten million that year they brought me up for half the season, and I got a signing bonus. Then the next year, they bumped me up to nineteen and a half. Depending on the rest of the season, next year I will get a 5 million dollar raise.”

“Wow.” Will said, nine and a half Million, that's quite a bump, as you called it. “But still.”

“No more arguing Will.” Paul said. “We need two more couches and two chairs and then we are done…. For tonight.”

“Fine.” Will said, sensing there was no use in arguing with him. “Let’s see them.”

Paul pulled them up again and they picked out two black leather love seats and two charcoal colored wingback chairs.

“Okay, now I think that’s all.” Paul remarked, pressing ‘proceed to checkout’.

Will peeked over Paul’s shoulder as he got out his credit card. “Well thank God, that’s enough to feel Chicago’s homeless for about the next five years.”

Paul ignored his comment. Apparently having money would be something that Will would have to get used to. He had never really thought much about it. Sure he always knew it was there, but Sonny had his own money and already owned his own condo, and they never went anywhere, so Paul never really bought anything or spent any money. But hey, at least he knew Will wasn’t after his money.

“Done.” Paul said. “It will all be here Friday morning, can you be here to sign for everything?”

Will nodded, “Of course.” he said, glad that for now at least, Paul seemed to be ready to take a break.

“Great!” Paul said. “Tomorrow we will hit a few art galleries to get something for the walls.”

Will groaned inwardly, ‘Or not.’ he thought.

He slipped off the bed, “Come on, hotshot, put that card away for tonight and let’s take a shower, I am ready for bed.” he said as he went into the bathroom stripping out of his clothes.

Paul dropped the phone and card and quickly followed him.

Chapter Text

Friday…..

“So, I know you have to stay here this morning for the furniture delivery, but are you coming to the game this afternoon?” Paul asked as he finished buttoning his shirt. He glanced at his watch, he had about 30 minutes to make it to the stadium. He glanced at Will as he leaned against the kitchen counter sipping coffee.

“Ummm, I don’t think so.” Will said. “I have to get my article finished and get it in to my editor before close of business today.”

Paul frowned, and tried his best to trample down his disappointment. “Oh.” he said. “My dad is gonna be there, and he is anxious to meet you.” he reminded him.

“I know, and I want to meet him too,” Will said, “I’m really sorry, but well, in my defense, you did distract me last night while I was trying to work, and this morning. I am beginning to think the only time I can get any work done is when you are playing baseball.” he teased.

“Ummhmm, okay I know I did distract you. But you could have said no, ya know.” Paul said walking over and pulling Will into his arms.

Will threw his arms around Paul’s neck, and gazed into his eyes. “Yeah, but where if the fun in that?” he quipped.

Paul snickered. “Okay fine…. But you are coming to dinner though, right?”

“Of course.” Will said. “8pm at Temporis, right?”

“Yes.” Paul said. “I can’t wait for you to meet my dad.”

“I’m nervous.” Will whispered, divulging his secret. He had never been really nervous to meet anyone, but he needed Paul's dad to like him. Paul had become increasingly important to him over the last couple of weeks.

“Don’t be… my dad is going to love you.” Paul encouraged him, dropping a chaste kiss on Will's lips.

“You really think so?” Will asked.

Paul rubbed his nose along the side of Will’s affectionately. “Yes, You’re very loveable.” he said, the words slipping out before he was able to stop them.

Will’s bright blue eyes widened. “Oh really.”

Paul gulped, “Yeah,” he said, suddenly feeling shy and bashful, that’s all he would say for the moment. He felt like he could say soo much more. Will had breezed right past all of his defenses and imbedded himself deep in his heart.

Will’s eyes sparkled anyway, he gave Paul a quick kiss on his lips. “You’re not so bad yourself.” he said.

Paul copied his actions, pressing his lips to Will’s, lingering there a little bit longer. He refused to give in to the emotions building in his chest. “I have to go, practice starts in fifteen minutes.” he said when he finally pulled back.

“Okay" Will agreed, standing still.

Neither one them made a move to part.

Finally Paul sighed and pried himself away. “I really do have to go.” he said decisively.

“Mmkay, Have a good game.” Will said, dropping his arms, releasing him and watching back away till his back was at the door. Paul fumbled around till he found the door knob and drug the door open, and then he was gone.

After the game…….

“Things going okay?” Martinez asked walking by Paul’s side as they ambled slowly back into the locker room. It was mostly deserted since most of the guys had come in and went straight to the showers.

Paul looked at him curiously. “Yeah, why wouldn’t they be?” he asked. He briefly wondered if he was that easy to read if the changes in his life were so obvious… and then he realized that yes, of course they must be.

Martinez shrugged. “I saw you got called into coach’s office, that’s never really happened before, and you know, I wanted to make sure things are still good with you.”

“Oh, yeah, you know the get your shit together speech.” Paul said shrugging one shoulder, “I’m sure you have heard it, or at least heard about it from Jenkins.” he laughed, “He has probably heard it enough.”

Martinez laughed, “You got that right.” he said chuckling.

“Yeah, I guess he has noticed that I have been skipping out on practices and missed a couple of team workouts, and he just said he doesn't want me to lose focus, basically said I need to get my head back in the game.”

“Good advice.” Martinez said. “I don’t like to inflate that ego of yours but, you have a hell of a career ahead of you.”

Paul grinned, “Thanks.” he said. “But I know what I am doing.”

“Hey, I’m not trying to lecture you here. You know I am happy that you are getting things on track in your personal life, I just don’t want to see you lose your edge. Just sayin, and I have never met a woman worth giving up baseball for.” Martinez said

Paul stared at him quietly for a minute or two. His mind busily working... “Neither have I.” he agreed.

“Yea, But, this new girl in your life, she’s the one that has you soo… soo.” he struggled for the right word.

“Happy.” Paul supplied, “Excited about life, content, joyous. Feeling like I am floating…. ”

“Yeah, all those things.” Martinez agreed laughing, “Man, you got it bad, man.”

Paul’s decision already made, he smiled. “Yeah I guess so, Will does make me feel all those things.” he said, giving Martinez a minute to let that sink in.

Martinez looked at him. “Will?” he asked, skeptical. “A dude, huh.” he said.

Paul took a minute to really look at him, and gauge his reaction. There was no malice or judgement, not even really any surprise, just something that looked alot like relief.

“Yeah, a dude.” he said answering his friend “Will is amazing.”

“So you’re what? Bisexual?” Martinez asked. “Because I have seen you leave the bars with lots of women.”

“Umm no, you always left before me.” Paul said. “I made sure of it.”

“Hmmm, So you’re gay then.” Martinez said, more of a statement than a question.

Paul nodded.

“Cool.” he said. “Can’t wait to meet him.”

“Soo, you’re not shocked, disgusted?” Paul asked, not that his opinion made any difference in the way he felt, but the support was nice.

“Shocked? No.” Martinez said, “Disgusted…. Hell no.” he shook his head. “Your life… is your life…” He said. “Whatever you want to do or whoever you want to do it with is cool with me.”

“Thanks.” he said grinning. He checked the time on his phone. “I gotta hit the shower, we are having dinner with my dad tonight.”

“Okay.” Martinez agreed. “See you after the all star game then.”

“Wait you're not coming to see me play?” Paul asked, feigning disappointment.

“Oh yeah, I mean I will be there for the game, but I figure you will have a lot going on so…” Martinez said. “I always support my teammates.”

“Thanks man, but I am sure I will see you before then.” Paul said, heading to the showers. He showered quickly, thinking over this conversation with Martinez. Everytime he said it, it became easier, his heart felt lighter.

He finished his shower, checked the time again. It was a quarter after seven and he wanted to beat his dad to the restaurant so he dressed quickly in the suit that he had brought with him and grabbed his wallet and keys.

He walked out through a back entrance and grabbed a cab, feeling a little guilty for ducking out on the autographs tonight, but it wasn’t something that he did often.

When the cab dropped him off in front of the restaurant, he walked in and went to the hostess stand. He was about to introduce himself when he recognized her as someone who frequented the bars his buddies went to after a game.

“Hi!” she said. “Right this way Mr. Narita.” she lead him to a table in the back corner of the restaurant.

“Thanks.” he said simply.

She nodded and turned to walk away.

He took a seat and the waiter came over. “Can I offer you a drink while you wait?” he asked.

“Just water please.” Paul said, refusing the drink offer. He needed to be in top form for all star week.

“Very good sir.” the waiter said, scurrying off to get the water.

Paul glanced at his watch, then picked up his phone. It was ten till eight and he wanted to make sure Will hadn’t texted or called. There was nothing.

Paul opened his instagram app and started scrolling through mindlessly. Not really seeing what was going by but glad to have something to keep his mind occupied.

Paul heard his dad before he saw him. “There you are Kid.” he said sweeping him into a hug when Paul stood to greet him. “It’s good to see you, son.”

Paul hugged him back tightly. “It’s good to see you too, dad.” he said.

“Let’s sit down.” Paul said motioning to the chairs.

They sat down. “Where’s Sonny?” his father asked. “I assumed he would be joining us, especially with you being this close to home.”

“Umm yeah Dad, Sonny and I broke up.” Paul said. “Sorry I haven't had a chance to tell you but…”

“Ahh kid, I’m sorry, This must be killing you. But don’t worry there are plenty more fish in the sea.” he said. “And any of them would be lucky to have you.”

Paul shook his head. “Dad, I’m fine…. More than fine actually.” he said. “Things are good in my life now, I am seeing someone new, and…”

“Oh?” his dad interrupted, raising an eyebrow. “And is this new someone the reason you aren’t with Sonny anymore?” he asked, working out the timing in his mind. He had talked to Paul a couple of weeks before and Sonny had been on the road with him then.

“Not really, I know it kinda seems like he is the reason.” Paul admitted, “But to be honest, things have been rough with me and Sonny for a while, I just refused to acknowledge it. I thought if I tried hard enough I could make it work, but I was wrong.”

“I see.” his dad replied “Well, I never thought he was good enough for you anyway.”

Paul looked at him in complete shock. He had never put a voice to anything negative about Sonny… not one time.

“What?” John asked. “I’m your father, of course I have an opinion.”

Paul chuckled. Yes of course he did…. He was just good at keeping it to himself, obviously. “You never said…”

John nodded agreeing. “It's your life kid, none of my business so I kept it quiet. Never cared much for him though, and that's a fact.”

“Wow.” Paul said.

The hostess walked up at that exact moment, showing a woman to the table, she pulled out the chair and waited for her to sit before disappearing from view again.

She reached across the table and squeezed Paul’s hand. “It is wonderful to see you again.” she said warmly. “We don’t get to see near enough of you.”

“Same.” Paul said. “I was hoping dad would bring you.”

The waiter appeared at the table, “What can I get you to drink?” he asked, taking down their respective orders. “And are we ready to order or do you need a few minutes?” he asked.

“Actually we are waiting on one more person.” Paul said glancing at the time. “We need just a couple more minutes.” It was just a couple minutes after eight. Will wasn’t that late.

“Very well, Sir.” the waiter agreed. “I will just bring the drinks.”

Paul nodded and he hurried off. Then Paul turned back to his guests and the conversation continued as if there hadn’t been an interruption.

“Are you kidding? He couldn’t have kept me away, you know how much I adore you.” she gushed, giving him a huge smile, her eyes twinkling. It actually reminded him of something or someone, he just couldn’t put his finger on who.

Paul smiled back, “Yeah, I do, and the feeling is totally mutual.”

He glanced up and saw Will enter the restaurant. Paul waved to him and his dad turned, “So who is joining us tonight? Your new man?” he asked, twisting around in the chair, straining to get a look.

Paul stood to greet him, but then everything erupted into chaos when his dad did the same.

First Paul saw Will’s steps falter. Confusion, painted all over his beautiful face. He took a couple more shaky steps and then stopped dead in his tracks.

“Will?” his father whispered, shocking Paul. He jerked around, he hadn’t mentioned Will’s name yet. Had he?

“Grandma?” Will said at the same time.

Marlena whipped around. “Ohhh.” she gasped. She jumped up and ran to Will, throwing her arms around him precariously.

Paul watched the scene unfold in horror. Clearly they knew one another. His mind was racing, had Will really just called Marlena, Grandma?

“Will, oh my precious boy.” she cried. “What's going on, why are you here, and how did you get here?” she drug him to her again, almost suffocating him. “I have missed you more than you can imagine. You almost broke your old grandma’s heart moving halfway around the country do you know that young man?” she scolded, then hugged him close once again soothing away the sting of her words. Will hugged her back, winking at Paul over her shoulder.

Paul looked on bewildered. He didn't understand what was going on.

John turned to Paul, “Kid, I don’t know how you did this!” he said. “This is a wonderful surprise for Marlena. I couldn’t have done any better myself.” he said, his eyes dancing with happiness as he watched the scene before him. He was obviously so happy to see such unadulterated joy on Marlena’s face.”Doc loves that boy better than anything.” he said clapping Paul on the shoulder.

Paul opened his mouth and closed it again, as Marlena drug Will over to the table. She pushed him down into the chair beside hers.

“Tell me everything, what are you doing here? How long are you here? Oh my! I’ve missed you so much.” she gushed, holding his hand, unwilling to relinquish her hold on him for even a second.

Will opened his mouth to respond, but Marlena cut him off. She looked at Paul, “Thank you. Thank you for this..” she said, “I can’t tell you what this means to me.” unshed tears shining bright in her eyes.

John put his hand on Paul’s shoulder, “When you decide you are tired of tossing a ball for a living, you can come join me and Steve. You make one hell of a private eye.” he said. “I didn’t think you knew that Will even existed. How on earth did you find him?”

Paul was at a loss for words, he wasn’t sure how to respond. His mind was busily trying to work out the logistics of the situation. Marlena was obviously his grandmother. Did that mean he was related to Will?” he wondered, the very possibility instilling fear in his heart.

“Young Man.” Marlena said, turning her attention back to Will. “I haven’t heard from you in almost two weeks.” she squeezed his hand. “I got a text saying you may have a new job at the San Francisco Chronicle, but you had to write an article for them on some pitcher before you knew anything… “ she said and then she looked at Paul, everything falling into place. “Oh, of course.” she said. “It was you.” she directed at him.

Paul nodded, confirming her suspicion.

Then she turned back to Will. “And then nothing else from you, not a word. You weren’t even playing words with friends.” she accused.

“Umm yeah, I got the job.” Will said sheepishly, “Sorry, I didn’t text you back, it’s been a hectic couple of weeks.”

“What are you doing in Chicago, why didn’t you come to Salem, Why didn’t you call me? I would have come to you!” she asked. “I have been dying to see you.”

Paul listened intently.

“Well, I have only been here a few days, of course I was going to call you, I wanted to see you too.” Will said. “Paul and I have had alot going on, so it feels like a month or longer already, but really I got here Tuesday.”

It was Marlena’s turn to look confused. “You and Paul?” she asked. “You came here for Paul?”

Will reached over to Paul with his free hand. He braided their fingers together. “Paul and I are a couple.” he said proudly.

Relief washed over Paul when Will took charge of the situation. He was even more relieved when there was no eruption of outrage, so maybe he wasn’t related to Will. This hadn’t gone the way he expected it to go, at all.

John looked at Paul, “That true son?” he asked.

Paul swallowed. “Yep, it’s true.” he said, smiling tentatively.

“How?” John asked in wonder. “As much as you travel, as many places as you have been, as many people as you meet… how did this happen?”

Paul shrugged.

“Tell me the whole story.” Marlena cried, leaning over and hugging Will to her again. Will turned lose of Paul and hugged her back.

The waiter appeared at the table and they all glanced through the menu and hurriedly ordered, sending him on his way again.

“Now.” Marlena said. “I want to know everything, don’t leave out any details.”

“I was trying out for a job at the Chronicle, as you already know.” Will began. “It was for senior sports reporter. My assignment was to interview Paul, so that’s how we met.” he finished.

‘…...And?” Marlena prompted.

“And I interviewed him, and we hit it off.” Will supplied.

Paul guffawed, “That’s an understatement.”

Will blushed. “We did.” he insisted. “I liked Paul instantly, but I didn’t know he was gay.”

“I liked you too.” Paul said.

“Anyway we spent a couple days together so Will could get enough material for his article.” Paul said. “And we realized that we had a major attraction to each other.”

“And we got together pretty quickly.” Will said. “It all happened so fast.”

“But I think we both feel really lucky to have found one another.” Paul finished.

Marlena and John looked back and forth between the two of them as they finished each others sentences.

“Well, I think it’s great!” John said. “You two seem to be very happy, and you’re sure this,” he motioned between them, “has only been going on for a week?”

Will and Paul nodded together.

“Just asking because it seems like you have been together for months or longer. I mean you finish each other's sentences for crying out loud.” John cracked.

“Leave them alone John.” Marlena scolded. “Whatever gives my precious baby boy a reason to visit me from time to time is alright with me.”

“Umm yeah, about that.” Will said. “I actually moved here.”

Marlena’s eyes took on a new shine. “You moved here, here to Chicago, here? An hour and a half away from me, here?” she asked.

Will giggled at her. Since when was his Grandma a comedian. “Yes Grandma, here, here to Chicago.”

“Oh my.” she said for what must have been the fifth time in the last hour. “That’s wonderful news.” she gushed.

“Did you move to be near Paul?” John asked curiously.

“Actually, Will moved in with me.” Paul said.

“In with you?” John repeated. “When did you get a place?”

“This week.” Paul said. “That’s part of what Will meant when he said it’s been a hectic week. We rented our condo, and then had to shop for everything, we just got all the furniture moved in this morning.” he said proudly. “We can take you to see it after dinner, if you want.”

“We would love that.” Marlena said. As the waiter appeared with their food.

He placed the dishes on the table in front of them and cleared away the empty glasses. “I will be back with another round of drinks.” he said.

He came back a few minutes later with the drinks and set them down. “Is everything to your liking?” he asked.

“Everything is great!” Paul said. “Thank you.” he discreetly disappeared again.

“So, not to put a damper on the celebration, but I have to ask. “Do you kids know what you are doing? I mean moving in together and you have only known each other a week.”

Paul and Will looked at each other and then back at Marlena and John, both nodding yes.

‘I don’t think I have ever felt like anything was more right or perfect.” Paul said. He leaned closer to Will, and reached for his hand. “In fact I told coach about my relationship with Will the other day and today I told Martinez. I’m just trying to slowly share the news with people.”

John looked at him, the shock on his face almost comical. “Really?” he said. “Last time we spoke about that, about three months ago, you were dead against it. You wouldn’t hear about it, talk about it, refused to even consider it at all?” he pointed out. “What changed?”

“I don’t know dad. I want to take Will out, show him the world.” Paul said. “How am I supposed to do that if we can't be seen in public together?”

“I don’t need all that, you know.” Will said speaking up, interrupting him. Even though his heart had literally just melted in his chest, He wanted Paul to know he wasn’t going anywhere. “As long as I have you, I am happy.” he said. “We don’t have to share anything that you aren’t ready to.”

“You may not need it, but I do.” Paul said. “Our relationship is nothing to be ashamed of.”

“No, it’s not.” John agreed, “That’s not what I am saying, look, the point is I just want you to be happy son, you know that.”

“That’s just it, I am happy dad, more now than ever.” Paul said.

“That’s all we care about.” Marlena said. “And I am thrilled that you two have found each other, and that you have brought my boy home to me.” she gushed, grabbing Will’s hand again.

They ate, chatting about Will’s move across country, how it was going to affect his job. They talked about the upcoming all star game and all the travelling that would follow.

When they were done, the waiter quietly removed the dishes and then offered desert.

“Not for me.” Paul said, looking around the table. Everyone else declined and Paul asked for the check.

“Okay.” John said. “Now that we have settled that, let’s see this place of yours.” He said, getting up. “Where did you say it is again?”

“You go on ahead, I will just take care of the bill and be right out.” Paul said.

Marlena got up and pulled Will out of the restaurant behind her, reluctant to release him. If this was a dream, she wanted to hold on to it as long as possible.

Chapter Text

“Oh My, Will, I can’t believe you're really here.” Marlena said, unable to resist hugging him once close again. “This is real, right? I’m not dreaming am I?” she asked, leaning back framing his face “Because if I am, I want to sleep forever.” she said wistfully. “Don’t you dare wake me up.”

Will chuckled at her antics, every once in a great while he caught a glimpse of her dramatic side, and it all made sense. In those moments he understood where his mother got her flair for the dramatics.. Lord knows his mom could really put on a show, without even trying.

“Yes grandma. ”I am here, this is not a dream….” He cupped his hands around his mouth and leaned in close to her ear, “I repeat this is not a dream.” he teased.

“Oh you…” she said giving him a playful swat on his arm.

“I am just so thrilled.” she said, “I can hardly believe it.”

Will giggled again. “Yeah you said that.” he pointed out.

“It’s a small world.” John said. “Times like this really give that phrase meaning.”

“Yeah and Honestly, it is kind of weird.” Will agreed, “I mean what are the odds that you meet a stranger, fall in love, and then find out that your grandmother is married to their father, how strange is that?” he thought for a minute. “We could probably go on Jerry Springer or something.”

“Whoa, whoa, whoa…. Back up there kid.” John said. “When did you fall in love?” he asked.

“Huh?” Will asked confused.

“You said, meet a stranger, Fall in love…..” John said. “So you two are already exchanging the I love yous?”

“Oh?” Will said. “I did say that, didn’t I?” he blinked a couple times. “No, I mean, I couldn’t possibly, we have only, I mean we haven't been together long enough.” he rambled.

“Don’t be ridiculous.” Marlena said. “Of course you can be in love, The heart wants, what the heart wants.” she said. “Your heart knows what it wants long before your brain ever gets on board.”

“Doc and I fell in love in a very short time.” John agreed, “I think I loved her the minute I set eyes on her.”

She smiled at him fondly “And I, you.” she said.

“But, I don’t think…” Will said.

“Don’t think, just follow your heart.” she said. “It won’t lead you astray.”

Will nodded, then gave her an impish grin. “You just want me to be in love with Paul so that I will be closer to you.” he teased.

“Well, that’s true, I do like that.” she agreed. “But the real truth here, is that I have never seen your eyes so bright, never seen your smile so big.”

“Are we ready?” Paul asked, stepping out the door. “I ordered an Uber, they should be here in about 5 minutes.” He continued.

When the sedan pulled up, John opened the door and let Marlena, Will and Paul take the back seat and he got into the front with the driver.

Paul supplied the driver with the address and they were on their way, It was only about a 15 minute drive.

When they got out on the curb in front of the building, John whistled low and long. “Wow.” he said. “This is a nice building, is it new?”

“Yeah, brand new they finished construction about 3 months ago.” Paul said. “Shall we?”

The doorman opened the door and they proceeded into the building heading for the elevator, once they were inside the car, Will pressed the button for the 16th floor.

“This place must have one hell of a view.” John commented. “We are right on the river here, right?”

“Yeah, the view is amazing.” Paul said leading them off of the elevator. “That was one of the things that sold me on it.

They opened the door and Marlena and John walked in.

Marlena turned circles in the living room. “This is absolutely beautiful.” she said. “I love it.”

“Thanks.” Paul said, “We really like it here so far, even though we have only been here about three days."

“It couldn't have been easy to get your foot in the door here.” John noted, “Places like this are hard to get, they are generally spoken for long before construction even begins. How did you do it?”

“Actually, Michael found it for me.” he said. “I asked him to look around and find me a place, and this is what he came up with.”

“Carter?” John said surprised. “I may have to call him up and let him find me a place.”

“Renting, leasing, or lease to own?” John asked.

“Lease for a year, then lease to own if I am interested.” Paul answered.

“You would be crazy not to be kid.” John said, “and I have yet to go beyond the living room.”

“Come on we will give you a tour.” Paul said. Walking toward the hall.

Will hung back in the kitchen. “You go on ahead, and show them around.” Will said. “I am going to make some decaf coffee and I think we still have some cheesecake from the other night, I will get that out for dessert.

Paul nodded and led Marlena and John through the unit, showing them the spare bedroom, bathroom, the library and media room, Will’s office, the master bed and bath and he saved the terrace for last. He opened the door and walked out. “This is the best part.” he said stepping aside, letting them take in the view.

“This is stunning.” Marlena said. “Just beautiful.” she said, hand to her chest. “I can see why you like it here.”

“I am going to see if Will needs any help.” Paul said. “Take your time.”

He walked back into the kitchen. Will had put the cheesecake onto some small dessert plates and he had four cups of coffee on a serving tray.

“You okay?” he asked, pulling Will to him, holding him close.

“Umm yeah.” Will said “Crazy night huh?”

“That may just be the understatement of the century right there.” Paul teased, kissing Will’s temple. “We know I was ready to introduce you to my dad, but I hope you were ready for me to meet your family.” he quipped.

Will snorted. “Yeah, well you have met my favorite family member now, but Ummm yeah, that was quite a shock.”

Paul giggled. “You should have seen your face, you were white as a ghost.”

“And you weren’t shocked?” Will said. “Seriously?”

“Are you kidding, I was freaking out on the inside, trying to determine if we were related.” Paul said. “I almost swallowed my own tongue.” he said.

Will giggled. “You really never heard anything about me?” he asked.

“Nope, not a word… but it’s not like I spend a lot of time at home either.”

The terrace door opened and Marlena and John stepped back into the room.

“I have some decaffeinated coffee and dessert if you want.” Will said, carrying the tray to the living room sitting it down.

They all followed him and took a seat. Will passed out the dishes and the cups and sat the tray to the side.

They ate slowly and John and Marlena took turns commenting on the furniture choices, and telling stories about things that were happening in Salem.

A little later John looked at his watch. “I hate to go, but it is almost eleven and you two probably want to get to bed and we have to get back to our hotel.” he said.

“Dad, there’s no need to go to a hotel. Use the guest room.” Paul said, glancing at Will who was nodding enthusiastically. “We will go get your bags in the morning.”

“Nah, We don’t want to intrude.” he denied.

“You won't be, we would love to have you.” Will said. “And Grandma can make me french toast and Omelettes tomorrow for breakfast.”

Marlena laughed. “I would love to.” she said. “I can teach you, so you can make them for Paul.”

“That sounds great!” Paul agreed.

They talked for a little longer until the late hour and the sleep deprivation he had been experiencing since he had met Will, caught up with Paul.

He stood. “I’m going to bed.” he said. “I have a seven am team workout that I can not miss. Help yourselves to whatever you need. Dad, I will lay some sleep pants on your bed and one of Will’s tee shirts for Marlena, in case you want something to sleep in. Night everyone.”

“Good night.” Marlena and John said in unison.”

Paul walked over to Will, and leaned over kissing his lips. “Night.” he said.

“Night.” Will whispered back. “I will be there in a little while.”

“Take your time.” Paul said, kissing him again, and then heading into the bedroom.

Paul got the pants and tee and then took them to the spare room, surprised to see that his dad was already there.

“You turning in too?” he asked.

“Yeah, I thought I would give Doc and Will time to catch up. She has really missed him.” John said, besides, I thought if it's okay with you, I Would go to the team workout with you and then we can grab our bags from the hotel on the way back.”

“That sounds great.” Paul said, “See you about 6:30 then.”

“Okay.” John said, then he called him back, “Hey, Son?”

Paul turned back to him, “Yeah?” he asked.

“It’s really good to see you happy.” John said.

“Thanks Dad.” Paul said, closing the door behind him.

Back in the living room, Marlena placed her cup on the coffee table and turned, resting her back against the arm on the couch. She kicked off her heels and pulled her knees to her chest, resting her feet on the couch.

“Come on over here young man.” she said. “Sit by me.”

Will moved over to the couch and stretched out beside her. He propped his feet up on the coffee table in front of him.

“So tell me how you are really doing.” she said.

“I’m amazing, grandma, really.” Will said. “Things with Paul are so good...” Will let his sentence trail off.

“But...” Marlena asked. “Sensing there was something that Will wasn’t saying.

“I am a little nervous.” Will said.

“About??” Marlena said. She was intrigued.

“Well this is all happening so fast, and as wonderful and as amazing as it is, I am scared that Paul is going to resent coming out. I don’t think he is giving it enough thought and I don’t want him to feel like he has to do that for me.” he said, propping his elbow on the back of the couch, resting his chin his hand. “I meant it tonight when I said all I need is to be with him to be happy. I don’t care who knows, the whole world can know…. Or no one has to… doesn’t matter to me.

“Oh Honey." She said, I don’t think that Paul is going to resent you, I don’t even think he is coming out for you.” she said. “He is doing this for himself, the only thing you did was come along and give him something worth taking that step for. He is doing it because he loves you and he wants to share that with the world. It’s very natural.”

“You really think he loves me?” Will asked dumbfounded.
“Yes, I do.” she said. “I haven’t really spent a lot of time around Paul and Sonny, oh that’s the guy he was dating before.” she said off handedly.

“Oh yeah, I know who he is, I had the distinct pleasure of meeting him.” Will said.

Marlena rolled her eyes, “Lucky you.” she said.

“Oh Yeah.” Will said. “Lucky me.” he said sourly.

Marlena nodded, “Yeah well, like I said, I didn't spend time with them but, I do know that the more Sonny tried to talk him out of the closet, the more Paul shrunk back into it. He was miserable, not that he would have ever admitted it.”

“Who is he anyway, Sonny I mean, why don’t I know him?” Will asked. “I assumed he lives in Salem.”

She nodded, “He is Adrienne and Justin Kiriakis’ son.”

“Ohhh, wow.” Will said. “I didn't even know they had a kid.”

“Yeah, well they were both off at boarding school and traveling the world on Victors money until recently.” she said. “So you wouldn’t have known them.”

“Oh… umm okay.” Will said shrugging.

“Trust me, You aren’t really missing anything.” Marlena said.

Will chuckled at her candidness.”Grandma.” he said. “I never heard you talk so negative about anyone before, well about anyone who isn’t a Dimera anyway.”

“Have you heard from your mom?” Marlena asked. “Does she know about this new little development in your life?”

“Are you kidding?” Will asked. A horrified look on his face. “God no.” he said.

It was Marlena’s turn to giggle. “Will, honey she is halfway around the world in Hong Kong with EJ, what do you think she is going to do?”

“Oh, I don’t know, maybe hop on a plane, come back here guns blazing, get all up in my business, uninvited, mind you, personally investigate Paul, plan our wedding and probably the birth of our first three children, basically make my life a living hell until she gets tired of playing the doting mother and blows back out of town again.” Will said sarcastically, “Something along those lines.”

“You are so silly.” Marlena said. “And you may even be exaggerating just a little, don’t you think?”

“Umm no.” Will said outraged, “you know I am right, she is your daughter after all.”

“What I do know is that Sami will be deliriously happy that you have found someone that makes you so blissfully happy.” Marlena said. “And she probably would start calling wedding planners.”

“Yes, or either she would pitch a huge fit, she would probably be either bewildered or outraged that, the person that makes me deliriously happy happens to be John’s son. Which technically makes Paul her step brother.” Will added. “This just keeps getting weirder.” he groaned.

Marlena nodded, “You could be right about her being bewildered.” she agreed. “But you and Paul are not related AT ALL.” she stressed.

“Grandma, how is that anyway, how did John find Paul? I mean if he had always known about him, then I would have known something about him.” Will asked. Wanting to know how Paul found his family.

“Yeah, well…. That is another interesting story.” Marlena said. “Actually Paul found John, kindof.” she stretched her legs out across Will’s lap. “It was all a huge coincidence. Paul came to town in search of Sonny, apparently they had met in another city, in a bar after one of Paul’s games. And for some unknown reason, he liked him, so he came to town and found Sonny and they started dating. Then Paul’s mother came to visit Paul in Salem, and John realized that he knew her. He had dated her long before we finally managed to get our lives together enough to realize there was no use fighting the attraction. Anyway so John got suspicious and started to figure dates. He found out Paul could be his, and he snooped around and got a DNA sample for a test, and the rest as they say is history.”

“Oh my god.” Will said. “How did Paul take it?” he asked.
“Well… it was a rocky start for them, Paul thought John abandoned him, didn’t want him…” she said. “But when his mom explained that John didn’t know about him, things got better. They spent a lot of time together cultivating their relationship. Now things are great between them.”

Will nodded thoughtfully. “I am glad that he found John.” he said.

“Me too.” Marlena agreed. “And I know John is happy that he has Paul in his life. Brady and Belle were thrilled to have a new brother.”

“How are they doing? Will asked changing the subject.

They talked another hour or so, Marlena filling him in on how everyone was doing and what all was going on in everyone's lives back home. Finally Will stood. “I am really beat.” he said. “I need to get some sleep.”

Marlena followed his example, she picked up her heels and hugged him one more time. “I am so glad you are here.” she said. “I love you.”

“I love you too grandma.” Will said. “I was serious about breakfast though.”

She smiled and winked at him. “I will meet you in the kitchen at Eight AM sharp.” she said.

“Deal.” will agreed.

He walked to the bedroom and entered the room quietly. He tiptoed around the bed and stripped out of his clothes dropping them in the hamper. He glanced at the clock, it was after One AM, and he was trying to be as quiet as possible. He didn’t want to wake Paul.

He picked up the blankets and slipped under them. Paul reached out and pulled Will to him. “Mmmm.” he whispered. “I was getting lonely.” he whispered.

“Sorry.” Will whispered back, “I was talking to my Grandma.”

“I know, it’s fine.” Paul said. “I just missed you is all.”

“I missed you too.” he said pressing their lips together. He twisted around and waited while Paul scooted close to his back and hugged him close.

“Goodnight.” Paul whispered against his ear.

“Night.” Will whispered back. Easily drifting off to sleep.

Chapter Text

Will wandered into the kitchen the next morning a few minutes after Seven. He couldn’t get back to sleep after Paul left for his morning workout.

He was surprised to see that Marlena was already awake, scrolling through the news sites on her IPad.

“Good Morning.” she said.

“Morning.” he said, rubbing the back of his head. He went over and turned on the Keurig, selecting his favorite cinnamon coffee. “Want coffee?” he asked.

“Sure.” she said. “ You ready to get started on breakfast?” she asked.

Will looked at the clock. “We can wait about an hour. Paul won’t be done with his workout till after Eight anyway.

“Well that gives us more time to talk.” she said.

Will fixed their coffee, adding creamer and sugar to both cups. He went over and handed her a cup, then sat down beside her.

“Sure.” Will said. “We can talk about anything you want.”

“I was thinking, last night you said you had the pleasure of meeting Sonny. The way you said it lead me to believe that it wasn’t necessarily a friendly meeting.” She said.

“I mean, it wasn't terrible, but he made it clear that he thought I ruined his relationship with Paul.” Will said.

“What does Paul say?” Marlena asked.

“He said things were over and Sonny had already left when he invited me to his room.” Will said. “But I think they had a lot of problems.”

“Yeah, I always thought that too.” Marlena said. “Things were always strained between them. With you, he seems soo different and comfortable.”

“Grandma, you’re just saying that because you have to, you are my grandmother after all.” Will said, giving her a sardonic look over the rim of his cup.

“I resent that young man.” she said, “I have never lied to you, and I am not about to start now.”

Properly chastised, he wiped the smirk off of his face and mumbled. “Sorry.”

“You can ask John if you don’t believe me.” she said. “This morning he said that he had never seen Paul act the way he does with you.”

“I believe you.” Will said. “I’m glad I can make him happy, because I don’t know what I would do without him.”

Will’s phone buzzed on the coffee table. He picked it up and glanced at the text. “Paul and John are on their way to get your bags and then they are coming back here.” he said, “We can go ahead and start the breakfast.”

“Let’s go…” she said.

They walked to the kitchen and Will opened the refrigerator pulling out the eggs, butter, milk, cream, and bacon. He sat it all on the counter and then turned to the cabinet. “What spices do we need?” he asked.

“You need cinnamon, nutmeg, and some vanilla for French toast.” she said. “Did you want French toast or omelettes?”

Will grinned, “Both.” he said.

“What do you have for the omelettes?” she asked.

Will went back to the refrigerator, he got out cheese, an onion, bell pepper, mushrooms, and a tomato.”

Marlena surveyed the counter. “Okay, so the first thing we are going to do is get all this stuff ready.” she said taking the onion and passing Will the bell pepper.

They chopped the vegetables, and Will got out the cheese grater and shredded some cheese. They set everything to the side and then Will got down some bowls to mix the eggs in.

Marlena handed him the large bowl and three eggs.

“Go ahead and whip the eggs then we will add the other stuff.” she said handing him a whisk.

Will cracked the eggs and whisked them together and then followed her instructions while she talked him through adding the milk, cream, Vanilla flavoring, cinnamon, and sugar.

“Now.” she said, dropping some butter into the pan and turning the burner on, she looked at him, the trick is to make sure the pan is hot before you put the toast in. She opened the bread and cut several pieces in half.

“You get over here, and I will fry the bacon while you make the french toast.” she said as she moved over giving him room.

Will moved over and dipped the bread in one piece at a time, and dropped them into the skillet.

They worked together until the bacon was ready and the french toast was laid out on a platter. “You have any powdered sugar and a sifter?” she asked.

“A what?” Will asked getting the sugar out of the cabinet.
Marlena chuckled. “Nevermind.” she said, Taking the sugar from him. She sprinkled it over the toast carefully and then handed it back.

The door opened and Paul and john walked in, each carrying a bag.

“Perfect timing.” Will said we are just about to start the omelettes.”

“Great!” Paul said, coming over and kissing Will on the back of his neck. “I got time to hit the shower?” he asked.

“Yes, but hurry.” he said.

Paul stole a piece of bacon from the platter and popped it into his mouth. “Yes sir.” he said leaving the room.

“You need help with the bags?” Will asked, as John picked them up and moved toward the spare room.

“Nah, I got this.” he said.

Marlena walked him through the process of making the omelettes. She made one for John and herself and let Will handle making the ones for himself and Paul.

Fifteen minutes later they were all sitting around the table about to dig in.

“This looks amazing.” Paul said. “Did you do all of this?” he continued looking at Will.

“Some of it.” Will said.

“Most of it.” Marlena corrected.

Will blushed. “Thanks.” he said.

Once they finished eating, Will sent them into the living room while he put everything away in the
kitchen and loaded the dishwasher.

When he joined them, they were talking about the all star game. “You are both coming, right?” Paul was asking.

“We wouldn’t miss it for anything.” John confirmed.

“Good, I got your room at the same hotel we are staying at.” Paul said. “Will and I are flying out Monday. I have a couple of interviews lined up and I am sure he probably has work to do.” he finished looking over at Will.

“Umm yeah, the Chronicle is flying a photographer out to meet me, I kinda told them I could get some exclusive shots of you.” Will agreed.

Paul’s eyes twinkled. “You did huh?” he said. “Well, I am sure we can work something out.” he teased.

“Yeah, Yeah.” Will said, waving him off.

“So dad,” Paul said. “I need to go down and get my car and bring it back here, Will needs something to drive around town, and he seems to be against me buying him a car. Any chance you would wanna drive me, I could rent a car for you.”

John looked at him, he smirked and then shrugged, “Sure kid.” he said. “I don’t mind driving, and we can catch up.”

“Great.” Paul said. He looked over at Will, “Is that okay with you?” he asked, “You can both come with us or if you would rather, you can spend time with your grandma, and I won’t be gone long.”

Will chewed on his bottom lip. Paul going to see Sonny made him nervous, but what was he gonna say… ‘You can’t go’... that wouldn’t go over well. “Yeah, it’s okay, I think I am gonna stay here though.” he said aloud.”

Paul came over and wrapped his arms around Will. “I won’t be long, it takes a couple hours to get there, and a couple hours to get back.”

“Take as long as you need.” Will said, putting on a brave face. He had never been jealous over anyone before, and he didn't like the way it made him feel. “Me and grandma are going shopping and to lunch and whatever else our heart desires today.”

“Good, that sounds like fun.” Paul said. He pulled out his wallet and pulled out a card. “Take this.” he said.

“Nope…. Uh huh.” Will said adamantly pushing it back toward Paul. “You already bought everything in the whole dang house. I think I can afford a few pieces of clothes and my lunch.”

“Will.” Paul said, narrowing his eyes. “Take it.”

Will stood his ground. “Don’t you “Will" me.” he said, “I mean it, I can buy my own clothes.”

“Fine. Be that way.” Paul said, watching Will sashay out of the living room.

Marlena chuckled at the bickering.

Paul looked at her. “What?” he said.

“Will can be exasperating sometimes.” she acknowledged. “But he is independent, fiercely loyal, decisive, and stubborn.”

“I know.” Paul sighed, “I haven’t known him long, but I do know all that, will you excuse me a minute.” he said.

He followed Will to the bedroom. He opened the door and peeked in. “Can I come in?” he asked.

“Of course.” Will said.

“I wasn’t trying to say you can’t afford your own clothes or anything, but I like giving you things.” Paul said.

“I know.” Will said, “And I know you weren’t saying that, but really, I can buy my own clothes.”

“Okay.” Paul said, “But will you take the card, Just in case, it will make me feel better.”

Will groaned, “Fine.” he said. “Gimme.” he held his hand out for the card.

Paul grinned triumphantly. “Thank you.” he said, handing it over.

Paul pressed a quick kiss to Will’s lips. “I will see you in a few hours.” he said.

Will nodded. “Be safe.” he said.

Will watched him leave the room and then sat down on the bed. He wasn’t sure how long he sat there before there was another soft knock in the door.

Will looked up as the door opened. “Will, honey, you okay?” Marlena asked. “You’ve been in here a while.”

“Yeah.” he said standing, “I’m fine.”

“Don’t you lie to me young man.” she said. “I know you better than you know yourself.”

“Really, I am okay.” Will said. He got up and pulled his wallet out, he shoved Paul’s card into a card slot.

“Ummhmm… then why the long face?” Marlena asked.

“It’s nothing.” Will said.

“Come on.” Marlena said, “Let’s get some coffee we can talk on the way.”

They went down stairs, and there was a limo waiting at the curb. When the driver saw Will and Marlena exit the building he hopped out and opened the door.

“Good morning, Mr. Horton.” the driver said.It was the same driver than had driven them when they had gone shopping the other day. “Good Morning Ma’am.” he greeted Marlena.

“What are you doing here?” Will asked.

“Mr. Narita said I should take you where ever you want to go.” The driver answered.

Will shook his head, “Ridiculous.” he said. He put his hand on Marlena’s back, “Come on.” he said ushering her into the car.

Marlena got in, and Will followed her. He took a deep breath, “I’m gonna kill him.” he said teasingly.

“For loving you and wanting to nice things for you?” Marlena asked. “That’s all it is you know.”

“But I don’t need all this.” Will said. “I don’t want him to feel like I need this to be happy.”

“Okay… hmm... let’s examine this, Did you ask him for a limo?” Marlena asked.

Will shook his head, no.

“Did you ask him for a credit card?” she continued.

Will shook his head no again.

“Well then why would he thinks that you need this?” she said.

“I don’t know.” Will whimpered.

“Oh my darling boy.” she said twisting in the seat. “You listen to me. When we love someone, it is human nature to want to give them the moon and the stars. Irregardless of if it is wanted or not. That is all that is going on here.” she clutched his hands in hers.

“Okay. Okay.” Will said, giving up. “I am just not used to all this.” he motioned to the expanse of the car. “It’s all soo …. Much.” he said for lack of a better word.

“You will get used to it.” she said, “You will have to, I don’t see Paul’s career slowing down any time soon.”

The intercom buzzed, “Mr. Horton, where to first?”

“Nearest coffee shop.” Will answered.

“Yes sir.” the driver answered.

A few minutes later the car rolled to a stop and just another minute later the door opened. Will stepped out and helped Marlena out. They went in and ordered their coffee, and took it to go.

They spent the rest of the afternoon, combing through shopping malls, Will bought new clothes, a couple of suits, some jeans and tees, a few button downs, some slacks, and a couple pairs of shoes. When he was finally sick of trying on clothes and they had all they could carry, they made their way back to the limo.

The driver took the bags and piled them into the trunk. “Where now?” he asked opening the door for them.

Will looked at Marlena, “Where do you want to eat?” he asked.

“Something light, a salad or a deli sandwich…. “ she said.

“You heard the lady.” Will said, “Take us to a deli.”

“You got it.” the driver said. “I know just the place.”

They rode by countless restaurants, for what seemed to be hours but was maybe 30 minutes, before the car stopped in front of a small hole in the wall restaurant with peeling paint on the door and a couple of mismatched table and chairs out in front on the sidewalk.

The driver got out and walked around the car. He opened the door. When he saw the look on Marlena’s face he smiled. “Trust me.” he said, winking at her as he walked up to the door and opened it for them to walk in.

Will grinned, this was something that he was sure he would enjoy. He liked to find the places where the locals went for good food. Not the touristy places that people flocked to because of the name or a famous chef. These small, hidden places often had the best food.

They walked in and the waitress smiled at them, sizing them up, trying to see if she recognized either of them. Finally deciding they were no one important she waved at the floor, “Sit wherever you like.” she said. It was well past lunch and before dinner so it was practically deserted except for a couple of people here and there.

They took the table in window. It was a couple of minutes before the waitress appeared and dropped the menus on the table. “What would you like to drink?” she asked unceremoniously.

They both ordered water with lemon and she flounced off, giving them time to decide on what to eat.

When she came back with the water they were ready, Will ordered a steak and cheese wrap while Marlena got half of a panini sandwich and a cup of soup.

The food was amazing and they took their time savoring it. They spent the time talking about nothing particular, a little of this and a little of that.

When they were done Will paid the tab and they got up and wandered outside.

The driver pulled back up to the curb from where he had been parked across the street. He got out and opened the door. “Well?” he asked.

“You were right, it was very good.” Marlena said.

“If there is anything that I know about, it’s food.” he said, grinning. “Where would you like to go now?”

Will looked at Marlena, “Any place you wanna go?” he asked.

She thought for a minute. “Let’s go back to the condo and rest.” she said “You can't possibly want to go and try on more clothes.”

“God… no.” Will agreed. “Back home it is.”

The driver nodded, closing the door.

Later after then had made it back to the condo and carried all the bags upstairs.. Marlena sat on the edge of the bed, hanging Will’s clothes on hangers, passing them to him to hang in the closet.

When they were done he put his shoes on the shelf and Marlena came to stand behind him. She crossed her arms, “Well one thing's for sure.” she said. “You are gonna have to go shopping a hundred more times to fill up this closet.”

Will laughed, “Eventually I will have to fly home. I still need to pack my things, and clean out my apartment, then I will drive back here, so I will have my car.” he said. “So you know, I will have all the clothes from back home, It would cost a small fortune to fill that closet.”

“So you really are moving here, not just hanging out sometimes?” she asked delighted.

“Oh yeah.” Will said. “Unless, you know, Paul and I break up. Then I don’t think I could stand to be here. I would probably go back to San Francisco then.”

“I don’t think you have any worries there.” she said.

“Well, I am my mother’s son.” He teased, “Or have you forgotten?”

“No.” Marlena said suppressing a grin. “How could I have forgotten, but I do know you. And while you are like Sami in a lot of ways, you are different from her in all the ways that matter.

“Thanks Grandma.” he said. “Come on, let's go walk by the river.”

Chapter Text

Earlier in the day….

“You ready to roll out dad?” Paul asked, as he came out of the bedroom, shoving his wallet into his back pocket.

“Yep, let’s go.” John said. He went over and kissed Marlena softly on the lips. “I will see you later this evening.” he said.

“Ummhmm.” she replied, “Drive safe will ya?”

“Always.” John replied, with a wave as he and followed Paul out the door.

They caught a cab to the nearest car rental office and Paul rented a car for them for the day, and then they were on their way.

They rode in companionable silence for a while. Both of them lost in their own thoughts. When they had been on the road long enough to make it to the freeway, John looked over at Paul, “So tell me about you and Will.” he said pulling Paul from his thoughts.

Paul sighed wistfully, “Okay.” he said smiling, “What do you want to know?” he asked.

“Everything.” John said simply.

Paul remained quiet for a minute or two, thinking about what he wanted to say. He took a deep breath. “Will is unlike anybody I have ever known.” he said. “He is everything that I didn’t know I wanted.”

“Uh huh.” John said. “Go on.”

“The first time I saw him, I thought he was the most gorgeous person I had ever laid my eyes on.” Paul said. “But he is soo much more than that, he was so easy to talk to. I found myself telling him things I have never told anyone else. Certainly not another reporter. It just all poured out of me, like I had been waiting for him my whole life.”

“Whoa, okay so you were comfortable with him, right away?” John asked.

Paul nodded silently. Thinking for a minute, “Yeah, and I couldn’t seem to stay away from him either. I made an excuse to see him again, and again, and then I was searching for him after the game, seeking him out.” Paul said. “It was like I had to be around him.”

“Is that what happened between you and Sonny?” John asked giving him the side eye.

“Yes and no, not technically anyway.” Paul said, “One night, I got back to the hotel after Will and I had dinner, and before you say anything it was about the article…. Maybe it wasn't necessary, but we did talk about things he put in the article… anyway the point is II was late and I just knew that Sonny was going to pitch a fit, but he didn’t. I went in and Sonny was there calmly packing his things. He basically said we were making each other miserable and he was going home.” Paul said.

“And.” John prompted.

“And after I thought about it for two seconds, I realized that he was right, I was miserable, and I know he was too. So I didn’t argue with him. I told him he was right and we needed a break. That’s ironically when he got upset and then he left.”

“Would you have argued with him, if you hadn’t met Will?” John asked.

“No, Probably not.” he said, and then he thought for another minute. “Yeah, Maybe.” he said, changing his mind. “I don’t know honestly.”

“Do you love him?” John asked.

“Sonny?” Paul asked, “I guess I always thought I did.”

“And now?” John pressed.

“No, I…” Paul answered. “I… no…”

“You sure?” John asked,

“I don’t think I even knew what love was, before.” Paul said.

“Before Will?” John asked.

“Yeah,” Paul answered. “Before I met Will.”

“And now, you love him?” John asked wanting to make sure that he understood.

Paul thought quietly, looking out the window, watching the exit signs and mile markers fly by. Yeah he loved him, very deeply already. Even though it made no sense.

John hummed along with the radio giving Paul time to decide how to answer the question.

“Yeah.” he said eventually. “Yeah, I do.”

John nodded. “I know.” he said.

Paul looked at him surprised, “What do you mean you know? He asked.

“It’s not that hard, you are pretty easy to read.” John said.

“Is it that obvious?” Paul asked.

“Maybe not to people who don’t know you, but to your old dad here, yeah it is.” John said. But I will tell you something kid, that boy loves you too.”

“You think so?” Paul asked. “I haven’t told him. He has never said….

“I know so.” John said. “Trust me.” I have been around a long time kid and I know what I am talking about. Besides I have known Will Horton a lot longer than you have.”

“I hope you are right!” Paul said. “I know that this is insane, and too fast, but I cannot imagine my life without him in it. Even now, we haven’t been gone more than an hour and all I can think about is getting back to him. How crazy is that?”

“I don’t think it is crazy at all.” John said. “And if you are lucky that will never change, you will always have that desire to be right by his side. Not a lot of people find the person that they are meant to spend their life with and I am thrilled that you have.”

“Thanks dad.” Paul said.

“Now tell me about this coming out thing.” John said. “How exactly did Will convince you to do something in a week that Sonny has been pressuring you to do for years?”

“Will didn’t convince me to do anything.” Paul said, “This is my choice, it’s something that I want to do for me.”

“But why now?” John asked. “Why not six months ago or a year?”

“The main reasons are the ones that I told you last night. I am tired of hiding who I am. Me being Gay is nothing that I should have to be ashamed of. I want to take Will out, I want to show him off. I want to be able to tell the world that I am in love with this incredible person.” Paul said.

“And the other reason?” John asked.

Paul pursed his lips together, refusing to answer.

“Come on Son, let’s hear it.” John pressed on.

“And I know what hiding did to my relationship with Sonny, it made Sonny resent me and my career and as time went on we fought more and more and more until there was nothing between but a hell of a lot of arguments and occasional sex.” Paul answered.

“And you think that is going to happen to you and Will?” John stated finally understanding.

“It could… and I don’t want that. It's not a risk that I am willing to take.” Paul agreed.

“You do know that Will is a massively different person than Sonny right?” John said. “They have completely different personalities.”

“Of course, I know that, but over time Sonny turned into someone I didn’t know.” Paul said.

“No son.” John said, “Sonny has always been the same person that he is now. He feels very entitled, he always has. He just got tired of you not giving into what he wanted. That is why he started giving you push back about things. Why it became increasingly important for him to control you, and why he resented you all the more when you wouldn't relinquish that control.”

“But he was so different when we first met.” Paul said.

“Maybe he was, maybe it was all just an act, but you never knew the real Sonny, until recently.” John said. “Trust me Kid, I have known the Kirakis’s a long time and Sonny is just like his mother.” he continued waiting a beat for that to sink in. “But my whole point in this whole conversation is to say that Will loves you, it is written all over his face and in his body language, you don’t have to wait for him to tell you, you don't have to guess at it, all you have to do is read the signs. I don’t think that he is going anywhere, if you want to pump the brakes and just think about it for a minute.”

Paul shook his head stubbornly, “This is my decision dad and I have made it.” He said. “I have already started telling people and I am going to announce it to the press after the All Star game.” he said.

“Okay Son.” John said backing off, “I am not trying to discourage you, I am just trying to point out that you have options. “

Paul let the conversation drop as he thought about what John said, He knew that he didn’t have to do anything that he didn’t want to do but he was not taking any chances on losing Will. Nothing was worth that to him. Not Baseball, not fans, or friends, not even family.

About twenty minutes later John took the Salem exit and drove them into the center of town.

“Do you want to get a bite to eat before we go and get your vehicle?” he asked looking over at Paul.

“Let’s just go get it over with and then we can stop on the way back, if that’s okay.” Paul said. “I kinda wanna get back.”

John smiled, “Sure Kid, Whatever you want.” John agreed.

He drove Paul over to Sonny’s condo and stopped behind his Range Rover. “I am going to let you out, and I have to run an errand really quick. I will meet you back over by the freeway in an hour. That okay?” John asked.

“Yeah, fine, see you in a bit.” Paul said, getting out of the car. He looked around. Sonny’s car was nowhere to be seen. Good, he thought, thinking that he could go in and grab most of his things and leave the key for Sonny and not have to deal with him.

He went upstairs and used his key to let himself into the condo. He went straight into the bedroom and pulled his largest suitcase from the closet. He grabbed his clothes from the closet and quickly put them into the bag and then he grabbed a couple pairs of his shoes and his team jacket and added them to the bag. He looked around the room. There wasn’t anything else in the room that he thought he may need or want other than one trophy from his little league days. He wrapped it in a shirt and put it on the top before zipping the bag. He walked into the living room and put the suitcase by the door.

He pulled the keys from his pocket and removed the key to the condo. He laid it on the bar and took one last look around. He expected to be feeling something, maybe the slightest twinge of regret for what could have been. But all he felt was a deep seeded desire to get back to Wil. He was just about to walk out, when the door opened and Sonny walked in.

Sonny looked at him, surprised. “Paul.” He said, a wide smile forming on his lips. He dropped whatever he had in his hands and went to Paul throwing his arms around him before Paul could get out of the way.

Paul stood very still until Sonny dropped his arms and stepped back, “I knew you would be back.” he said, before he suddenly remembered that he was mad at Paul. He backed further away. His eyes hardened the slightest bit. “But I don’t know if I want you now.” he said snidely.

Paul shook his head, “Sonny.” He said, not really wanting to get into it with him now, but knowing that there was no choice.

“NO.” Sonny said. “You can’t just come back and think that I will just take you back, after… after you cheated on me with someone you just met.”

Paul glared at him, hoping for Sonny’s sake that he shut his mouth or he was going to find Paul’s fist in his mouth.

“Where the hell did you meet him anyway, and what kind of person just falls into bed with someone they just met, I’ll tell you what kind…” Sonny ranted on, oblivious to the anger rolling off of Paul in waves. Not noticing the shift in his posture or the way he clenched his fists.

Paul’s voice took on a steely edge. “That’s enough.” he ground out.

Sonny flinched, Paul's tone bringing him up short. He was quiet for a minute before he shook it off and continued. “I’m not finished.” he said. “He can’t be much of a….”

Paul took a deep breath, “I said that’s enough, and I am not going say it again.” he warned, his voice deathly low. “No one cheated on you. You left, YOU, on your own, I didn’t ask you to.”

“Well… You sure as hell didn’t ask me not to.” Sonny whined.

“Why would I do that? You said we were making each other miserable. And it was true, we were, you didn't want to sit around and wait for me and you made that pretty plain on many occasions.” Paul said.

“You knew I wanted you to ask me to stay with you.” Sonny accused.

“And you know that I am not built that way.” Paul said. “I would never ask you to stay somewhere that made you unhappy. You thought we needed a break and I agreed. And before you even start, this wasn’t something that just came about in the last couple of months. It has been coming a long time and you know it.”

Sonny sputtered “Ha, We both know that if you didn’t already have the hots for someone else you would have begged me to stay.” he hollered, his voice becoming a shreik.

“For the last fucking time, Will had nothing to do with our breakup.” Paul forced out. “But we are wasting time, this is pointless. I came by to get my clothes and leave your key.” He motioned to the key laying on the counter. “I will see you around.”

That finally got Sonny’s attention and he clamped his mouth shut. For the first time he noticed the suitcase sitting by the door, and his whole demeanor changed.

“Paul” he said changing his tone, his voice softened and he once again took a step toward him.

“Don’t.” Paul said. “It’s over, we are done.”

“We don’t have to be.” Sonny said. “We can just forget that anything ever happened and go back to the way it was before, I can do that.”

“Maybe you can, but I can’t.” Paul said. “I am with Will now.” he continued.

Sonny stood there glaring at him for what seemed like forever, before he took another step toward him, “You and I belong together.” he said.

“I’m sorry Sonny, I never meant to hurt you. But I should probably tell you that next week after the all star game, I am going to have a press conference and come out.”

“Whhh…. What?” Sonny whispered, his voice cracking.

“I thought that I should be the one to tell you.” Paul said. “I felt like I owed you that much at least.”

“Why would you do that?” Sonny said. “Why now?”

“Why not now?” Paul countered.

“For him?” Sonny said. His voice rising. “You are doing this for him, aren’t you?”

“No Sonny, I am doing this for me.” Paul denied. “Anyway, it isn’t up for debate, I just wanted you to hear it from me.”

“So you could twist the knife a little.” Sonny accused.

“That’s… you know what, nevermind.” Paul said. “Nothing that I say is going to matter.” he went over and picked up his suitcase. “Goodbye Sonny.” he said as he walked out the door.

He went and loaded the suitcase into the back of the Range Rover and then jumped into the driver’s seat.

He pulled out of the parking garage and pointed the car toward the freeway.

He thought back over his conversation with Sonny. He wondered if Sonny realized that he had come dangerously close to having his teeth knocked down his throat. Paul wasn't exactly sure where that reaction had come from he had never been violent by nature.

When he got to the service station where he was to meet his dad he topped off his gas tank and then went in to grab a cold soda, grabbing one for John too.

When he came back out his dad was there waiting on him. “Ready to head back?” he asked, when Paul walked over and handed him the soda.

“Yeah.” Paul said.

“You okay son?” John asked.

“Yeah since I had some time I went in and got my clothes and I was going to leave the key and Sonny came in while I was there. He pretty much accused me and Will of cheating.”

“Ahh.” John said.”Don't let Sonny get to you.” he said, “he is bitter that you aren't begging him back and so he is trying to guilt you into coming back to him.”

“He just makes it sound so tawdry…” Paul said. “And there is nothing wrong about my relationship with Will.”

“Let it go son, he isn’t even worth one more second of your time.” John said. “Let's get back. Marlena and Will are going to be wondering where we are, and I know you are anxious to get back.”

Paul nodded, yes he was ready to see Will. “You’re right, let’s go.” he said as he went over and got into his car. They pulled back onto the freeway and headed back to Chicago...

Chapter Text

Paul got off the elevator on the third floor of the hotel, with John and Marlena. It wasn’t necessarily a cocktail party but just a party with time to mix and mingle with the other players that were involved in the All star game. Will was stuck on the phone with his editor getting some notes for his new assignment but he would be joining them when he was done.

They walked into the large ballroom and Paul looked around. There were several familiar faces in the crowd. He looked at Marlena and John, “Let’s get a drink.” he said motioning to the bar.

“Hey kid… you don’t have to babysit us.” John said. “You go do your thing.”

Paul nodded, “You sure?” he asked.

“Get out of here.” John said.

Paul held up his hands and walked off, chuckling. He walked over to a couple of guys that he recognized and said hello. They talked for a few minutes before he moved on to another group chatting as he went. He caught up with the guy who was going to be doing the catching for him in the game, and they spent a few minutes talking strategy before he moved on toward another group.

“Dude.” he heard Jenkins behind him. He resisted the urge to groan. He turned around slowly, and saw Jenkins and Martinez behind him.

“Hey.” He said. “I didn’t know you goons were here.”

“I told you I would be here to support you.” Martinez said.

“You didn’t say you were bringing Bozo with you.” Paul said, jerking his head toward Jenkins.

“Hey!!!!” Jenkins said. “I resent that.”

Paul Laughed, “Whatever man.” he said.

Jenkins pushed his shoulder, “You will be sorry.” he said, “Just wait till Melissa gets here.”

“Who’s Melissa?” Paul asked confused.

“Jenkins new flavor of the week.” Martinez said.

“Hey Man shut up.” Jenkins said, “She could be the one… you don’t know.”

Martinez snickered, “Neither do you, you just met her on the plane.”

“Okay fine, That’s true, but she is from here and she is coming to the party and bringing two of her best friends. One for each of you.” Jenkins said grinning like he had accomplished something amazing. “You dirtbags can thank me later.” he said when neither one of them commented.

“What?” Paul said. That was the last thing that he needed, some drunk girl clinging on to him all night.

“Yeah, they go to college at the University of Miami.” Jenkins bragged.

“Great, sorority girls?” Martinez asked.

“What’s wrong with that?” Jenkins said. “They are young, gorgeous, fun…”

“Thanks but ummm yeah no thanks.” Paul said. “I am soo not interested.”

Jenkins looked at him like he had grown another head. “Whhhat?” he sputtered.

“You haven’t told him?” Martinez asked looking at Paul.

“Mouth of the south? No.” Paul answered.

“Told me what?” Jenkins asked.

“Change your mind about…. Telling people?” Martinez asked.

“Not really.” Paul said, “Just waiting till closer, ya know, This game is important and it is about more than me and I don’t want people to focus on that.”

“Makes sense.” Martinez said.

“What the fuck are you two talking about?” Jenkins said.

“Is your publicist here?” Martinez asked, ignoring Jenkins.

“Be here tomorrow morning, My manager, Michael Carter too.” Paul said. “They don’t even know why I have asked them to come, we are having a breakfast meeting and I will tell them then.”

“We, as in you, Michael, and Donovan, That’s your publicist name right?” Martinez asked.

“Yeah, that’s him.” Paul answered. “Yes, all three of us and Will.”

“Will’s here?” Martinez asked. “Where?” his eyes immediately started skimming the room. “Point him out.”

Paul glanced around, he didn’t see Will yet. “I don’t think he is here yet.” he said.

“Who’s Will?” Jenkins asked, trying to follow the conversation.

“So you must be like really serious.” Martinez said. “You are gonna do it.”

“More serious than I have ever been.” Paul said. “It’s time, past time really.”

“Will one of you tell me what the fuck I am missing here.” Jenkins practically shouted, getting frustrated.

Mark Benford walked up to them, “Hey guys.” he said.

“Mark?” Paul said, surprised to see him. “What are you doing here? I thought for sure you would be enjoying your week off with your family.”

Mark shrugged. “I brought them with me.” he said. “I wanted to come, you have always been good to me, so I felt like I should be here to support you.”

“Thanks man.” Paul said. Realizing that he had some great friends, even if some of them were annoying from time to time. “That means a lot. Is your family here at the party?”

Mark laughed, “God no.” he said, “you don’t see anyone hanging from a chandelier anywhere do you? My wife is getting the kids down for the night.”

“Oh, okay.” Paul said chuckling.

“Umm Paul.” Martinez said, putting a hand on his shoulder. “I think your guest has arrived.”

Paul glanced at the door, but he did not see Will. “What, where?” he asked.

“Isn’t that your dad and step mom over there by the bar?” Martinez said. “And I can only assume that tall drink of water with them belongs to you.”

Paul’s eyes found Marlena and John, and sure enough there was Will, standing there with them.

Jenkins and Benson followed Paul’s gaze. “He is very handsome.” Mark said. “Much better looking than that last guy, you know the one who always looked like he was pissed about something.”

Paul jerked around when that comment sank in… “What?” he sputtered, “How?” he asked nearly speechless.

“How did I know?” Mark asked.

Paul nodded dumbly.

“One morning about Eight or Nine months ago, I was going down stairs to go for a run, pretty early in the morning and I saw him coming out of your room. I didn’t think much about it at the time, I just thought you had a friend on the road with you but then I started paying attention and I noticed that I saw him in every city. So I put two and two together and it just made sense.” Mark said.

“But you never said anything.” Paul said in amazement.

“Wasn’t my business.” Mark said. “I figured if you wanted people to know or you wanted to talk about it, you would tell people.”

Paul wanted to say something, to thank him, but he couldn’t find the words.

“Wait a minute.” Jenkins said. “Are you two talking about that blonde haired guy at the bar…” he jerked his head back around. “You’re fucking gay?” he said. The words coming out louder than he intended. Luckily the particular song that was playing was loud. Jenkins glanced around to make sure no one was staring and then looked back at Paul... “Is that what you are all talking about, You are a fucking queer, aren’t you?”

Paul’s eyes hardened. “Watch it.” he said.

“What’s your problem man?” Martinez asked.

“He’s fucking GAY” Jenkins said again.

“So fucking what? You are a giant asshole and we don’t hold that against you.” Benson said.

“What the fuck?” Jenkins said, “Why are you both jumping on me?”

“Didn’t you here Benford, you’re a fucking asshole.” Martinez said.

“Why am I the asshole?” Jenkins said. “Paul is the one who has been lying to us for fucking ever.”

“And with an attitude like yours, you really have to wonder why?” Martinez said.

“What do you mean an attitude like mine?” Jenkins said. “I have every right to be pissed, friends don’t lie to each other, not about the important stuff.”

“Hold on.” Paul said. “You aren’t upset that I am gay, you are mad that I didn’t tell you?”

“Why the fuck would I care if you like things shoved up your ass, it isn’t my ass…” Jenkins said, sardonically.

Paul threw his head back and roared with laughter. “You are ridiculous.” he said wiping the tears from his eyes.

Once the laughter died down he looked at Will who was leaning against the bar deep in conversation with a player that Paul recognized from the Marlins. “Excuse me guys It looks like I have to go rescue my date, I will bring him over and introduce him.” He said, as he strode away from the group.

When Paul walked up to them, Will’s eyes took on new shine. The player that Paul recognized was Jeremy Sharp and he was centerfielder for the Marlins. Paul fixed his eyes on him. “Sharp.” he acknowledged.

“Narita.” Jeremy nodded, sticking out his hand. “Congratulations on being starting pitcher.” he said.

Paul shook his hand. “Congratulations to you, you are starting centerfield right?”

“Yep.” the other man said. “I’m sorry, how rude of me, do you know Will Horton? He is a reporter from the San Francisco Chronicle.”

“Yeah, we have met.” Paul said. “I actually came to steal him away, I have some people I want to introduce him to if you don’t mind.”

“Oh sure we can finish up later, he was asking me questions for his article on the game.” Sharp said.

“Yes, I will call you, I just have a couple more questions to round out the article.” Will said. “Thank you for your time.”

“Anytime.” Sharp said, waving as he turned and walked toward a group of his fellow teammates.

“Hi.” Will said, as they walked across the room.

“Hi.” Paul said back. “You look really good.”

“So do you.” Will said eying him greedily.

“I really wanna kiss you when you look at me like that.” Paul said.

“Later.” Will said. “Introduce me to your friends.”

“Come on.” Paul said.

They walked up to Jenkins, Martinez and Benson. “Hey guys, this is..”

Will stuck his hand out to Martinez first, “Will Horton, San Francisco Chronicle.” he said. Shaking hands with all of them.

“Yeah, that’s his day job.” Paul said. “But the person I wanted to introduce you all to is Will, My boyfriend.” Will looked at him, his eyes dancing wildly.

Paul ignored the deer in the headlights look and said, “This is Martinez, Benson, and this Asshat here is Jenkins.”

Will nodded, “Nice to meet you all.” He said.

“Likewise.” Benson said.

“Nice to meet you too even though we didn't even know you existed before now.” Jenkins said sourly.

Will opened his mouth and closed it again, not quite sure. what to say to that.

Martinez held out his hand. “Don't mind dumbass here.” he said. “He is just like a two year old, mad because he was out of the loop.”

“Hey.” Jenkins said, when the other guys laughed.

“So Will, Since you are a sports reporter, this whole thing must be like heaven for you. I mean you don't have far to go to find just about anybody you need to interview, right?” Martinez asked.

“Oh yeah, I have three interviews lined up this week, and a possible fourth depending on how the game turns out.” Will answered, shoving his hands into the pockets of his slacks.

“That's great!” Martinez said.

“I'll be right back.” Paul said. “I want you to meet one more person before we go.”

“Okay.” Will said, watching him hurry off.

“So….” Jenkins said. “You always been queer?”

Will's eyes grew large. “Umm yeah, pretty much.”

“Jesus Man.” Benson said, “Show some fucking tact.”

“What?” Jenkins asked. “What did I say?”

“You know we all know you and know how to ignore your dumbass….” Martinez said. “Will, here doesn’t know you.”

“I didn't mean nothing.” Jenkins said sulkenly.

“No big deal.” Will said. “I have heard much much worse.”

“I really didn't mean anything.” Jenkins said. “It was just a question.”

“It's fine, really.” Will said. “It's nothing that I haven't heard before.”

“What's fine?” Paul asked joining them again, looking from Will to Jenkins and back again.

“Nothing.” Will said.

At the same time, Jenkins blurted out. “It was just a question.”

“What question?” Paul growled. Knowing full well the kind of stupid shit that could roll off his tongue without a second thought.

“It’s nothing, everything is fine.” Will said, “Did you find who you were looking for?”

Paul's eyes took on a hard glint. “What did I miss?” he asked again, eyes fixing on Jenkins.

Will looked at Paul. “Babe… look at me.” he said, turning to face him. Tugging Paul around until he faced him as well. “Nothing is wrong, I promise, now who am I meeting?” he asked.

Paul blinked a couple times, seeing nothing in Will's eyes that alarmed him. He finally relaxed. “My coach, he will be over in a couple of minutes.”

“Good.” Will said, “I was hoping to meet him tonight.”

Benson looked at his watch, “I gotta get upstairs.” he said. “Will, I know you have a press pass, but you are welcome to join us in the friends and family booth!”

“Thanks!” Will said. “I will keep that in mind.”

“Mmk see you around then.” Benson said with a little wave.

Will watched him walk away. Then turned to Paul, “Nice guy.” he said.

Paul nodded, “Yeah, he is. Unlike these two peckerheads right here.”

“Excuse me.” Jenkins said, “I think my dates just arrived.” he hurried away toward the door where three blondes were hovering around.

“Dates?” Will asked.

Martinez laughed, “You will get used to him, he really doesnt mean to be such an asshole, he just can't help himself. Please excuse me.” he said, moving toward Jenkins. “I better see if I can save at least one of them from him.”

“What did he say to you Will?” Paul asked, turning his attention back to Will, still suspicious.

Will smiled, “Absolutely nothing that bothered me.” he said. “He wanted to know if I have always been gay, that's all.”

“God… I'm sorry, I should have never left you alone with them.”

“I am a big boy, Paul, I can take care of myself.” Will said.

“I know, I know.” Paul said, “But they can be…”

A man that Will recognized as the coach walked up to them “Paul.” he said. “Sorry, I got caught up with some of the other coaches.”

“No problem.” Paul said. “Coach, I would like you to meet Will Horton. Will this is my coach, Ted Bissen.”

Will stuck out his hand, “It is a real pleasure to meet you.” he said.

The coach shook Will's hand. “This, who I think it is?” he asked, eyeing Paul.

Paul nodded. “Yep.” he said.

“Then the pleasure is mine.” The coach answered. “We are so proud of your Paul here.” he said.

“Oh of course me too.” Will said. “He is a something special.”

The coach smiled at him. “He seems to think the same about you.” he said.

Will blushed and glanced away. He couldn't imagine Paul gushing to his coach about him.

“Umm coach, I should probably tell you that I am having a press conference after the game, on Thursday morning.” Paul said.

“What kind?” he asked.

“The kind where I tell everyone that I am gay and that I am in a relationship with the most amazing man.” Paul said.

“Ahhh, Okay.” Coach Bissen nodded thoughtfully. “Well then you can count on me being right there right by your side.” he said.

“You will?” Paul asked, shocked.

“I told you, I support you 100%.” he said, “So why wouldn't I be there with you.”

Paul nodded, “Okay.” Paul said decisively.

John and Marlena walked up and joined them. Paul made the introductions to the coach, and that was all John needed. He and the coach rapidly fell into a spirited discussion about the game and Paul's career.

Marlena turned to Will and Paul. “Thank you for inviting us.” she said. “John is having a fabulous time, he is like a kid in a candy store.”

“I am glad you are both here.” Paul said. “It means so much to me to have my dad here to see this moment in my life.”

“Oh Honey, you do know how proud of you your dad is, and how lucky he feels to have found you.” she asked, Taking Pauls hands in her own.

Paul swallowed around the thick lump in his throat and nodded. “Yeah, I know.” he said. “But I am the lucky one.”

Marlena smiled, “I think we just have to agree to disagree.” she said. “And you two.” she said looking between Paul and Will. “How lucky is it that you two have found each other.”

Will's grin split his face in two. “Yeah, we know we are so lucky.” he said.

Will looked at Paul with a dreamy look in his eyes. “I wanna kiss you right now.” he said.

“What's stopping you?” Paul countered.

“We are in a room full of people.” Will said looking around. “A room full of people who don't know you are gay I may add.”

“They will later this week.” Paul said.

“But that isn't tonight.” Will said. “And I know you don't want anything to take the focus off the game. That's why you are waiting till Thursday right?”

“Yes.” Paul said, “But I am starting to care less and less about that.”

“We can hang on a couple more days.” Will said.

“Then let's go upstairs where we can be alone.” Paul said.

“You can't leave early, this party is in the players honor. You are the starting pitcher.” Will reminded him.

“Let's go.” Paul said. “I have an idea.”

Marlena watched the brief exchange, and marveled at how they could completely forget that they weren't the only two people in the room. She watched them walk away together barely able to contain the need to touch one another. In that moment, she knew that she didn't have to worry about either one of them. She recognized that they were as much in love as she and John were, even if they hadn't admitted it to one another.

Chapter Text

Morning of the All Star Game…..

Will stretched lazily when the phone beside the bed began to ring. He cracked his eyes open. It wasn't even 6am yet.

He groaned something unintelligible and groped for the receiver until he finally found it.

“What?” he mumbled into the receiver.

“This is your wake up call.” came the cheerful reply of the girl at the front desk.“Good morning Mr. Narita.”

“Thank you.” Will mumbled, laying the receiver back down on the handset, not quite getting it hung up. It was just unnatural for anyone to be so damn chipper so early in the morning.

His body protested when he rolled over, and pushed against Paul’s shoulder. “Get up.” he growled. “Up and at em…”

“Hmm?” Paul said, not moving.

“Get up, that was your wake up call.” Will repeated, mildly irritated.

“In a minute.” Paul mumbled, still mostly asleep.

“You are gonna be late.” Will warned.

“Don't care.” Paul mumbled back. “Sleepy.”

“Mmkay then.” Will said snuggling back down against his side. He laid his head over on Paul's shoulder. If Paul was good with skipping his morning workout, who was he to argue. Besides they had both had a pretty rigorous workout the night before anyway, so it wasn’t like he needed the exercise or anything.

They both drifted back into a sound contented sleep.

A short while later, there was a loud banging on the door. “Narita…. Come on, let’s go, Get up Lover boy, we gotta get in a work out this morning before you have to go to the team breakfast.” Martinez called loudly through the door.

“Oh for the love of God.” Paul groused, throwing the covers off. He jerked his shorts on and went to the door before the loud mouth woke up the entire floor.

He jerked the door open and glared at his teammate. “Meet you in the gym in 5.” he snapped without even offering a greeting.

“Sure thing pretty boy.” Martinez said, nonplussed by his attitude. He walked off down the hall whistling good naturedly.

Paul swung the door closed and groaned.

He went back to the bed and sat down… then he laid down.. and pulled on the covers toward him.

“Oh no you don't.…” Will said pulling the covers back away from Paul.. “If you don't go he will just come back and I am trying to sleep.”

Paul sighed. “Fine.” he said, getting back up, grumbling the whole way. He found some clean clothes and dressed quickly.

“Enjoy your sleep.” he whined on his way to the door.

“I will.” Will said snuggling even further under the covers.

“So not fair.” Paul said, going out the door and closing it behind him.

Will chuckled, “Wasn’t my idea for you to go.” he called out. Not feeling the least bit sorry for him, it was Paul's own fault, he had made those plans with his buddy last night at dinner to go work out, knowing full well it was already late and they weren't going straight to sleep when when they got to their room, straight to bed maybe but not to sleep.

He moved around until he found the perfect position and slipped back into a peaceful sleep. Falling right into an amazing dream about how perfect everything was in his life had become. ...He and Paul were spending the off season pretty much wrapped up in each other with no need for the outside world. Happily spending their days between the bed and the kitchen, the terrace and their own private media room.

But something was disturbing the moment. He couldn’t put his finger on what it was. But there was something that just wasn’t right….. Dream Will was on edge, but why...

Another loud bang on the door…..

“Come on Paul, Open the door kid, it's important.” John called.

What the hell, dream Will thought, why was John in his perfect dream…. He loved John and all but he should not be interrupting their love fest.

More banging….

“If you don't open this door, I am gonna go down stairs and get a key.” John warned.

That was enough to cut through the haze of sleep.

Will sat up quickly, realizing that the banging was real and John really was outside threatening to have a manager let him inside the room.

Will shoved the covers away and got out of the bed, he jerked some shorts on.. “I'm comin. Keep your pants on..” he yelled back.

Will went over and opened the door. “What the hell?” he asked, Irritated by the fact that his sleep had now been interrupted a total of three times in the last hour.

John pushed past him. “Where's Paul?” he asked, ignoring Will's attitude.

“Downstairs working out with some of his teammates.” Will said, finally taking in John’s agitated demeanor. “What's wrong?” he asked.

“This… this is what's wrong.” John said switching on the television. He turned the station to ESPN and turned the volume up.”The shit is hitting the fan.”

“Breaking News….” It read across the bottom of the screen. A woman reporter that Will did not recognize came onto the screen. “With Baseball taking center stage this week, and all eyes on the All Star, where the best of the best come together to play for their division. That isn’t what has captured the attention of baseball fans everywhere. We bring you breaking news from Miami. Starting pitcher for the National League Paul Narita, who is the star pitcher for The Chicago cubs, and has widely been referred to as the best pitcher in the major league right now, has been spotted with a new love interest. Anyone who has followed Paul's career over the last couple of years since being called up to the majors, knows that he has been pictured with and rumored to be in several relationships with various supermodels. But the newest object of his affections may surprise you.” Various pictures of Paul and himself soon filled the screen. In the most incriminating one were standing close together on the terrace of their condo, arms around each other lips almost touching. Followed by pictures of them arguing in the mall while picking out bedding and dishes, holding hands walking back to the limo in the deserted parking garage.

Will's mind reeled with the all the repercussions that would come from this. Paul was gonna be pissed.

“As if that isn't shocking enough for you, we have it on good authority that this isn't a new development in Paul Narita's life and that he has been hiding this shocking part of who he is from devoted fans for years. Jackson Kiriakis, a prominent businessman in a small town outside of Chicago alleged that he and Paul have been together for the past three years, and just recently broke up. For all you skeptics out there, he has generously brought in some photos to share, we will have those and an exclusive interview after this break.” The reporter continued.

“Oh my god.” Will said, sitting down on the end of the bed.

“See what I mean.” John said. “Where did you say Paul is?”

“I will go and get him.” Will said pulling a t shirt over his head.

“No let me.” John said. “We don't want a feeding frenzy. There are probably reporters all over this hotel.”

“You're right.” Will said, sitting back down.

“I am gonna call Doc to come down here with you, but don't open the door for anybody else.” John instructed striding out into the hallway.

Will said there on the end of the bed wondering what Paul's reaction was going to be. It was one thing to be slowly coming out on his own, telling people here and there… but it was another thing entirely to be put on blast on ESPN, especially right before an important game.

 

Downstairs in the gym….

“You nervous for the game tonight?” Martinez asked as he spotted Paul as he lifted weights.

“Nah, not really.” Paul said. “It’s just like any other game right?”

“Theoretically yes, technically no.” Jenkins said walking into the room.

“Shut up ass wipe.” Martinez flung a towel at him, “What are you doing down here anyway?”

“I figured you two idiots would be down here.” He said. “So here I am.”

“We figured you would be wrapped up in your two dates from last night so…. We thought we would let you sleep in and enjoy it.” Martinez said.

“They left last night after the party.” Jenkins said. “Turns out they were really wanting to meet lover boy here.” he jerked his thumb toward Paul.

“Awww poor baby.” Martinez said.

“Man, shut the fuck up.” Jenkins said. “It isn’t fair, Romeo here bats for the other team… he doesn’t even like girls. It just isn’t right to lead them on like that.”

Martinez chuckled. “Well it won’t be long before the whole world knows and you won’t have to worry about that anymore.”

Paul put the bar back on the rack and sat up. “Truthfully, I am more nervous about that.” he said looking at Martinez.

“About what?” Martinez asked, refocusing his attention on Paul.

“The press conference.” Paul mumbled, wiping his face off with a towel.

He went over to the elliptical machine and set it, then climbed on. Martinez climbed on to the machine next to his. “Change your mind?” he asked. “It isn’t too late you know.”

Paul shook his head, “No, haven’t changed my mind, but it is nerve wracking. You know what are people going to say? What is going to happen to my career? Will people accept me? What if everything falls apart?”

“What's the worse thing that could happen?” Martinez asked.

Paul shrugged, “Not being accepted by the team, the other players, having to quit.” he said. “That's what I am afraid of.”

“Okay, and is Will worth that?” Martinez pressed.

“Yeah, that and more.” Paul said, “But that isn't the point… the point is that I am tired of hiding who I am, tired of not being able to hug him, or kiss him whenever I want to. I want to be able to do what I want when I want, and not have to worry about what someone is going to think about it, or if someone near us has a camera…”

“Okay…. I get it, but I really think that you are just overthinking it.” Martinez said.

“I don't know.” Paul said.

“Yeah, and our whole team doesn't even know.” Jenkins chimed in. “Some of them may feel a little resentment about that.”

Martinez glared at him. “You aren't helping.” he snapped.

“Sorry.” he said. “I was just saying.”

They fell silent, all left to their own thoughts for moment.

Finally Paul slowed down and stepped off of the machine. Martinez followed his lead and Paul handed him a towel, and grabbing his own.

“We better get a move on.” Martinez said. “It's almost time for you to go to breakfast.”

“Yeah, I know.” Paul said.

They walked out of the gym and around the corner to the elevator.

Jenkins turned his phone on and started scrolling through his notifications.. “Umm Narita, where's your phone?” he asked.

“Upstairs in my room, why?” Paul said.

“I think you better see this.” he said thrusting the phone in his face.

Paul took the phone and looked at the screen. “What is it?” he asked before he registered what was on the screen.

It was the picture of Will and himself on the terrace of their condo, arms wrapped around each other, lips a hair’s breath away from each other. Clearly having an intimate moment.

“What?” he asked, confused… “Where did you get that?”

Jenkins leaned over his shoulder and pressed the link under the picture.

The screen opened up to an article and video on ESPN. “Breaking News.” Paul quickly read through the article.

“Oh my god.” he said. “This is….”

“Let me see that.” Martinez said, taking the phone. He read through the article quickly.

“How could this happen?” he asked. “I know how careful you must have been, none of us even knew for two whole years soo…”

I don't know.” Paul said absently.

“Well at least you don't have to be nervous about it anymore.” Jenkins said.

Martinez through him a nasty look and resisted the urge to shove his fist down his throat.

Paul remained silent, his mind hastily searching his memories. The only day he and Will had even been on the terrace of the condo alone together was the day that he had asked Will to move in with him. There were a few other pictures but he hadn't paid attention to those.

His mind was a tangle of complicated emotions, he was pissed at himself for being so careless, scared of what the reactions were going to be, hurt that he hadn't been able to do this on his own terms. He had wanted to tell his own truth. He didn’t want to go to the team breakfast, how could he even face those men… all the attention was going to be on him and that was the last thing that he wanted.

“What are you gonna do?” Martinez said handing the phone back to Jenkins.

“What can I do?” Paul said. “The damage is already done.”

The elevator doors opened and John was standing there ready to charge in. He stopped short when he saw Paul.

“There you are Kid.” he said. “I have been looking for you everywhere. I have to show you something.” he said.

“I think I already know.” Paul said stepping off the elevator.“You talking about the ESPN thing?”

“How did you know?” John asked.

“Jenkins just saw it on his phone.” Paul said. “I don't know what happened, how they could have even suspected….” he said as they followed John back down the hall to his room.

“Oh I will tell you how.” John ground out. “Sonny Fucking Kiriakis…. That's how.”

Paul shook his head, shoving his key card in the electronic lock and pushing the door open. “No Dad he wouldn't….”

“Son I am telling you he would, and he did.” John said.

“I know he was mad but,...” Paul said.

“Paul.” Will said, going to him and throwing his arms around him.

Paul froze, hesitating for a minute before hugging him back. “You okay?” he asked.

“Yeah, I'm fine, are you okay? That's the only thing that matters.” Will answered.

He gave Will a soft smile. “I don't know what I am right now…” he said honestly. “Dad thinks Sonny did this, but I don't think.”

“He did.” Will said. “Your dad is right, here watch this.” Will said handing him his phone.

Paul clicked on the video and it was Sonny with a reporter. He was talking about the early days of their relationship, how exciting it was. The reporter asked pointed questions which Sonny answered candidly. Then he talked about how the excitement of sneaking around had faded and how the strain the secret had put on their relationship at the end. He made it seem like that was the only problem that they ever had.

He sat down on the end of the bed, and tossed the phone into the chair in front of him. He was disgusted. How could Sonny do this to him. He thought he knew him, really knew him. But apparently he had been very wrong.

“Paul...I'm so sorry.” Will said sitting beside him.

Paul didn't say anything. He was in too much shock to form a coherent thought.

Will reached out and took his hand.

Paul pulled away, practically vibrating with anger and resentment. He wanted to punch something or someone…

Will frowned and moved away, not sure how to feel about Paul pulling away from him. He told himself not to take it personally, Paul was visibly shaken.

He stood up and moved away from the bed. “I am gonna go down…”

“Noo kid, you can not go down stairs until we figure out what we are going to do about this.” John said, “Remember reporters ..”

“Oh yeah.” Will said, “Well I am going down and wait with grandma.” he said, “you know, give you some time.”

He walked toward the door, just as there was a knock. Will opened the door and it was Michael, Paul's manager and a woman that Will did not know.

“Will, Hi.” Michael said, obviously not surprised to see him there.

“Hey, come in.” Will said, stepping aside.

“Will, this is Bridgette McKinley, she is Paul's publicist.” Michael said introducing her. “She is here to help us figure out what to do. Though I am strongly beginning to believe that this..” He motioned between Will and Paul… “Is the reason that we were summoned here to start with.” he said coming in the room and closing the door behind them.

“Umm yeah.” Will said. “About that, I am gonna let you all figure this out.” he opened the door again. He was on the verge of tears and that was the last thing Paul needed now. He needed to get out of this fast.

He opened the door again to walk out and ran smack into Ted Bissen, the coach… “Sorry.” he mumbled, “They are all in there.” he said motioning over his shoulder.

Will pushed his way past the other man and made it a couple of steps down the hall before the waterworks started. He couldn't seem to hold it back any longer.

“Will.” Paul called down the hall. “Will, wlait.”

Will silently cursed but turned back to face him, “Yeah?” he said.

“What’s this?” Paul asked coming to a stop in front of Will noticing his tears. “Will, what …?”

“It’s nothing.” Will said dashing the tears from his eyes with the back of his hand. “I'm fine.”

“Baby… I am not mad at you. You know that right?” he said.

Will shrugged, but nodded. contradicting himself.

“I could never be mad at you, absolutely none of this is your fault…. Damn it, I wanted to tell you this somewhere special, I wanted it to be memorable and romantic, but Will I love you.” Paul said earnestly.

Will gave him a watery smile. “I love you too.” he said. “I think I have from the moment that we met.”

Paul pulled Will into his arms and kissed him square on the mouth. “I have to go help them figure out what to do. But I will see you in a little while okay?”

“Paul.” Will said.

“Yeah?” Paul said.

“That may not have been the most romantic declaration of love.. but I will never forget it.” Will said. Kissing him once more before he turned and walked away.

Paul watched him walk away and then turned back to his room. He had never been so angry and hurt at the same time. He could not understand what Sonny was thinking he could accomplish with this whole fiasco. He hoped that Sonny was smart enough to stay far away from him, because he felt like he could strangle the life out of him right now.

Chapter Text

Paul walked back into his room and closed the door behind him.

“Will okay?” John asked.

“Yeah, he will be fine.” Paul said distractedly. He wanted to throttle Sonny Kiriakis.

He turned and looked at everyone in the room. The he addressed Michael and Bridgette directly. “As you have both probably figured out by now, I asked you both to come here because I had a press conference planned for tomorrow. This was not supposed to happen. I wanted to come out as gay myself, on my terms, in my own way.” he said. “AndI wanted to wait for tomorrow because I didn't want to take any attention off of the game. I didn’t think it was fair that all eyes were on me, everyone on both All Star teams worked just as hard as I did to get here, but I guess that decision has been taken out of my hands now.”

“Yeah, I would say the cat is out of the bag so to speak.” Jenkins cracked, before laughing hysterically.

Everyone turned and glared at him in disgust.

“What?” he asked, oblivious to his own ignorance.

“Do you really not have a clue?” Martinez said… “Come on… out. Let's go.” he said pushing him to the door. “Out now, before someone smacks your dumb ass.”

“What did I do?” Jenkins asked again.

Martinez rolled his eyes and turned back to Will. “Let me know if I can do anything.” he said. “I am with you all the way.”

Once the door was closed the coach turned and looked at the remaining people in the room. “Okay, I think the first thing that needs to happen is we need to have a team meeting.” He said.. “At least with the team members that we have here.”

“No…” Bridgette interrupted him, “The first thing that needs to happen is Paul needs to get in that shower, change into his suit and hussle his ass down to the team breakfast, like nothing happened. The last thing that people need to think is that he is ashamed of this.” she said. “We all know he was coming out tomorrow anyway, but the rest of the world doesn’t know that and what matters most is what he does right now, in this moment.” she said.

“Are you sure that I should go?” Paul asked.

“Absolutely.” she said. “And hurry up.”

Paul looked at his coach.

“Go ahead son, get ready, I will be by your side the whole way.” the coach said. He certainly wasn’t trained in PR like Bridgette was and he was comfortable following her lead on this.

Paul grabbed his clothes and ducked into the bathroom to shower closing the door behind him.

Michael turned to Bridgette, “You sure about this?” he asked. “Maybe we should just have him give an interview of his own.”

“We can definitely do that if he wants to, but right now, it is important for Paul to show that he is proud of who he is.” she said. “Just think Paul has denied and hid who is he is for so long, there may be others out there doing the same thing.”

“That's true.” Michael said. “I am going to set up an interview with Espn and BaseBall today.” he said pulling out his phone.

A few minutes later Paul emerged from the bathroom fully dressed in his suit.

“Ready?” Coach Bissen asked.

“As I will ever be.” Paul said.

He and the coach walked out of the room, leaving the rest of them to figure out what else needed to be done. They went down the hall and took the elevator to the 4th floor where all the meeting rooms were located.

Paul took a deep breath willing his stomach to settle down, and stop churning.

The elevator doors opened and they stepped off.

“It's okay son, whatever happens I will be with you.” Coach Bissen said. “You can do this.”

Paul nodded and they walked into the room filled with players, coaches, and even a few of the game officials.

A hush fell over the room, as people looked up to see who had walked in. It was so deathly quiet that Paul could have heard a pin drop. He felt a terrible sickness bubbling in his stomach, and he quickly prayed that he would not vomit.

For more than a minute the room was completely still and completely silent. No one moved a muscle until Jeremy Sharp, centerfielder for the Marlins stood up and started clapping. There was a little hesitation but then more and more people started to join in.

The relief was so intense that Paul had the inexplicable urge to cry. He moved further into the room and players started approaching him one by one. Some said nothing, they just clapped him on the back, some said congratulations, and a couple even said thank you.

Paul took a seat alongside Coach Bissen and soon there were plates of placed in front of them. For the first time in a long time, Paul felt free and it was a beautiful feeling.

They ate breakfast and Paul talked with the other players, relieved that most people did not seem to be upset at all. After breakfast was finished and all the plates were removed, the Commissioner of Baseball took the podium at the front of the room. He addressed the room talking about the road they had all travelled to get to where they were, pointed out that every player in the room is the best of the best of the best. They were all chosen for their uncanny abilities for the game, and the ethics and morals that they displayed on a daily basis. He went on to say that no player would ever be judged for race, or sexuallity and that it was unfortunate that people felt the need to hide who they are from the world for fear of losing respect or being locked out of a dream. Then he wished all the players good luck and left the stage.

Paul discreetly wiped tears from his eyes. As they got up to leave the room. It was now just after 10 am and he had to be at the stadium at 4pm to get ready for the game. He wanted to go and talk to Will, make sure he was okay and then just relax and hide in his room until he had to go get ready to play.

Paul and Coach Bissen went up in the elevator and got off on their floor. Paul stopped outside of his door and the coach continued on down the hall. “See you at the stadium. He said over his shoulder.

Paul walked into his room, pleasantly surprised to see that it had cleared out and only Will was there waiting for him.

“Where is everyone?” he asked.

“Well Michael went to make appointments for interviews for you, and Bridgette went to do her thing, whatever that is. John is down with grandma in their room and Martinez and that other guy went somewhere, I forgot where.” Will answered walking over to him. He wrapped his arms around Paul tightly. “I am so sorry. He said.

“Nothing for you to be sorry for.” Paul said kissing the top of his head. He buried his nose in his hair and inhaled the familiar scent of his shampoo. “You didn't do anything wrong.”

“I know, but I can't believe this happened.” Will said. “I can't help but believe that this is happening because you are with me.”

“Well you just need to put those thoughts out of your head right now. This happened because apparently I was dating an asshole before you.” Paul said. “It just never occured to me that he would do this, I thought he loved me.”

“You didn't deserve this Paul. You are a good man.” Will said. “No one deserves to be outed this way.”

“Thanks.” Paul said. “Who knows though maybe I did. I never even considered coming out back then. I was completely against it.”

“You weren't ready.” Will said, tugging him over to the bed. He climbed in and pulled Paul in with him. They laid down and Will wrapped his arm around Paul holding him close. “Coming out is about doing it when you are ready and you feel comfortable enough to do it. It isn't something that you can do for anyone else. If you had come out for him you would have just ended up resenting him.” Will said matter of factly.

Paul twisted in his arms. “How did you get so smart?” he asked, kissing Will's forehead and then his cheek.

Will shrugged, “That's what happened to me.” he said. “My first boyfriend, the first person I ever thought I loved, threatened to leave me if I didn't come out, I was scared to lose him, like I said I thought that I loved him…. So I did it. I wasn't ready, and it was awful. No one, well besides grandma, accepted me, and I had a hard time dealing with my family and the way that people looked at me and treated me, it make me a basketcase and in the end he left me anyway and I ended up hating him for it.”

“Wow.” Paul said, “I am so sorry that happened to you.”

“I'm over it.” Will said, “But it was hard.”

“Well he was stupid for letting you go.” Paul said matter of factly.

“I was pretty hurt back then, but now I have to say I am glad he did.” Will said.

“Me too.” Paul agreed.

The conversation trickled off and they fell asleep in each others arms, exhausted from the stress of the morning.

A couple of hours later, Paul was awakened by a knock on the door. Paul untangled his limbs from Wills and got up. He went over to the door and opened it a crack. His dad and Marlena were waiting in the hall.

Marlena took one look at him and hugged him tight, pushing the door out of her way. “Did we wake you honey?” she asked. “John and I just wanted to know if you and Will wanted to join us for lunch before the game.

Paul glanced at his watch, It was just after 2pm. “Umm sure.” he said “I will just get Will up and we will meet you downstairs in 10 minutes.”

“Okay Kid.” John said. “See you then.”

Paul went back to the bed and gently shook Will awake. “Will come on babe. We have to get ready for lunch.”

“Huh?” Will said sitting up, rubbing the sleep from his eyes.

“Come on. We are going to lunch with Dad and Marlena before the game.”

”Oh okay.” Will said, pushing off of the bed. He stood and stretched for a minute and then looked around. “What time is lunch?” he asked.

Paul looked at his watch, “Eight minutes, give or take a minute.” he said.

Will’s eyes widened and he started moving. He and Paul rushed around the room getting ready. They were stepping in the elevator just eight minutes later.

When the elevator doors opened into the lobby, John and Marlena were waiting, they stepped on the elevator instead of letting Will and Paul off.

“What are you doing?” Will asked.

“I managed to get us a reservation at the rooftop restaurant.” he said.

“Oh nice.” Will said. “Fancy, I should have dressed better.”

Paul looked at Will's slacks and button down. “You look perfect.” he said.

Will smiled and they rode the rest of the way to the top floor in silence. The quiet only broken by the shrill ringing of Paul's phone as soon as the doors opened.

Paul pulled it out of his pocket and was surprised to see Sonny's name on the caller ID.

He stopped just outside of the elevator. Anger boiled in his stomach.

Will stopped short when he noticed that Paul wasn't following. He turned back.

Paul was still looking at the phone. “You go ahead, I have to take this and I will be right in.” he said.

Will nodded and followed John and Marlena on into the restaurant.

Paul swiped to answer the call. He put the phone to his ear.

“Oh thank god you answered.” Sonny said. “I need to talk to you.”

“What the fuck is wrong with you?” Paul asked in lieu of a greeting.

“What do you mean what’s wrong with me? Aren't you glad it is out and now you don't have to stand up there searching for a way to say it.” Sonny said, as if had done him a huge favor. “I did it for you, for us.”

“Are you insane there is no US.” Paul exploded.

“But now there can be, all of our problems were because we were hiding.” Sonny said. “Don’t you see there is no reason to hide anymore, you can dump that guy whoever the hell he is, and we can be together the way that we are supposed to be.”

“Are you even listening to yourself right now?” Paul asked. “You're fucking nuts, there is no Us, and there never will be again.” he repeated.

“But why, why can’t we be together now, I don't understand.” Sonny said. “That’s how it is supposed to be.”

“Did you really think that I was going to come running back to you after you pretty much tried to destroy my entire career?” Paul asked dumbfounded.

“You were gonna do it yourself, you said so.” Sonny defended. “I just wanted to help.”

“Yeah I was going to do it myself, but for all you knew I changed my mind.” Paul snapped. “But you didn't care, you didn't do this for me, you did this for you, and it was honestly the most disgustingly selfish thing anyone has ever done “For me” he snarled, “And I wouldn't come back to you if you got down on your knees and begged with your last breath. It is over, way over, in fact it should have been over way before now. Goodbye Sonny.” he grated out, anger coloring every word. He disconnected the call without giving him a chance to respond. Then he clicked the call block feature on Sonny's contact so that he would never be able to receive another call or text from his number.

He took a deep breath, dropped his phone into the inside breast pocket of his suit and went in to join Will, Marlena, and John for lunch, willing himself to calm down.

When he got to the table, he sat down trying his best to shake off the anger that still raced through his veins like wildfire. How had he been with Sonny for so long yet missed so many things about him.

“You okay?” John asked. “Who was on the phone?”

“It's not important.” Paul said.

“Sonny.” Marlena guessed.

Paul nodded.

“That Son of a bitch.” John said vehemently, “I can't believe he had the nerve to call you.” his voice raising with every word.

“John.” Marlena admonished.

John lowered his voice. “What did he want?” he demanded.

Paul laughed, humorlessly. “He thought we were getting back together.” he said.

He heard Will gasp at his side, but he remained silent.

“What?” Marlena said, shocked. “Why on earth would he think that?” she asked.

“I don't know honestly.” Paul said.

“It's obvious that he has a few screws loose.” John said.

“I don't want to talk about him anymore.” Paul said decisively, “I told him to take a long walk off of a short pier.”

“Good for you son.” John said.

The waiter chose that time to appear at the table and it effectively cut off anymore conversation about Sonny.

They ordered and the waiter disappeared again.

Sensing that Paul needed to get his head in the game. Will switched the topic of conversation. “So are you going to have anytime to practice with the guys before the game or are you all just gonna wing it?” he asked.

Paul shrugged, “We should have a few minutes to go over the signs but for the most part we will wing it. After all we are supposed to be the best right?”

“That's what they say.” Will said, taking a sip of his tea.

“You nervous kid?” John asked.

Paul shook his head, “No, after the morning I have had, nothing could make me nervous, at least I don't think anyway.” he said.

“Nothing to be nervous about.” John said, “this is what you do. You're gonna be awesome.”

“Thanks dad.” Paul said. “I am really glad you are here.”

“Me too.” John agreed, “There isn’t any place I would rather be.”

Paul was about to comment further but he felt a tug on the sleeve of his jacket. He turned to see a little boy who must have been maybe 7 or 8. “Excuse me Mr.” he said. “You're that pitcher ain't you? I saw you on TV.”

“Yes.” Paul whispered, fear of what may come next, had him holding his breath.

The boys glance flickered to Will. “I saw you too.” he said.

Will just nodded, dumbfounded.

“Will you sign my baseball?” he asked turning his attention back to Paul. Holding out a ball and a sharpie.

“Sure,” Paul said, taking the ball and the pen. He quickly signed his name and handed it back.

“Do you love him?” the little boy asked as he jerked his thumb toward Will. “Are you gonna marry him?”

Paul opened his mouth to respond but wasn't sure exactly what to say. “Well….”

“Timothy…” A tall brunette woman called striding up to their table. “Honey, What did I say about bothering people while they are eating?” she chastised as she kneeled down in front of him.

The little boy hung his head. “It's rude.” he said ashamed.

“Did you forget?” she asked.

“Yes Ma'am.” he said. “I'm sorry mama.”

“Well, what are you supposed to do now?” she prompted, standing and smoothing out her dress.

The boy raised his head and looked at Paul. “I'm sorry mister.” he said solemnly.

“No need.” Paul said. “You weren't bothering me.” he said.

“I am so sorry, Mr. Narita.” the woman said. “I told him that he had to wait till the game today, but apparently he is too excited to wait.”

“Please call me Paul, and It really is no bother at all.” He said. “I am always happy to meet fans.”

“He is a huge fan, my wife and I travelled across the country with him especially for this game, we are from Nebraska.” she said. “Since we have already interrupted your lunch do you mind if I get a quick picture?” she asked.

“Of course.” Paul said turning in the chair and pulling the boy close to him. She snapped the picture.

“Thank you.” the little boy said.

“Your name is Timothy, right?” Paul asked.

The boy nodded silently.

“Well Timothy, how would you like to watch the game from right behind 1st base?” He asked, “That’s where the friends and family box is, and I just happen to have three extra tickets.” Timothy's eyes brightened and he nodded enthusiastically.

The woman spoke, “No, we couldn't impose like that.” she said.

The boy turned to her. “Please Mama.” he begged.

“It really isn't an imposition.” Paul said. “Each player gets six tickets, and these are the only three people I have with me.” he said motioning to John, Marlena and Will.

“Please Mama.” the little boy begged again.

“Fine.” she relented. “I can see that I am outnumbered here.”

Paul stood up and pulled out his wallet. He pulled the tickets from his wallet and handed them to her.

Another lady joined the brunette, putting her hand on the boys other shoulder. “What’s going on here?” she asked. Paul took in her appearance, she was equally tall, but with a short cropped mane of red. She wore black jeans and a dark blue polo.

“This nice gentleman just gave us tickets to sit in the friends and family box.” she said. “Timothy just asked him for an autograph.”

“That's very kind of you.” the second woman said.

“Can we keep them mommy?” the boy asked.

“Of course we can sweetheart.” she said soothing him. “Did you say a proper Thank you?” she asked.

The little boy launched himself at Paul. “Thank you.” he said hugging him tightly.

Despite being taken aback, Paul hugged him back.

“Good luck today.” Timothy said as they broke apart.

“Thank you Timothy.” Paul said.

The brunette took his hand and led him away from the table as the waiter came with their plates.

The red head hung back. “I really can't thank you enough.” she said. “Timothy has been looking forward to this game all year.”

“My pleasure.” Paul said.

“Enjoy your lunch.” she said turning and walking away.

They picked up their forks and began their meal.

After a few bites, John broke the silence. “Well that was interesting.” he said.

“That was a lovely thing to do.” Marlena said.

Paul shrugged, “It seemed right.” he said. “After everything that happened today, I had to...”

Chapter Text

Will shot to his feet, cheering wildly as Paul struck out his fifth batter of the game. The crowd was on their feet around him. The roar of the applause was neatly deafening and Will could not be prouder of his man.

 

He watched as Paul ran off the field toward the dug out with his teammates. Paul looked happy and carefree. Which was quite a change from earlier today.

 

He sat back down as the American league players took the field. The first batter for the National league stepped into the on deck circle and took a few swings before heading over to the batter's box. So far there had only been three runs scored in the whole game. Two by the National league one one by the American league. It was going to be a tight game.

 

“Great game.” John said, standing up. “While they bat, I am going to run to the concession stand and get a beer, Will you want one?” he asked.

 

Will nodded his approval and John hurried off not wanting to miss anymore of the game than he had to. He was the epitome of a dad bursting with pride.

 

Marlena turned her attention to Will, “So young man…now that we are alone….” she said. “It has turned out to be a very big day for you, tell me how you are really feeling, are you overwhelmed?” she asked.

 

Will looked around. “Yeah, well since we are alone…” he chided, taking in all the people crowded in around them. There was not an empty seat to be had in the entire stadium, including the private box that they were in, there was barely even any standing room. The overflow from the press box had been allowed to stand along the back wall of the friends and family private boxes on both sides.

 

“Well, virtually alone.” Marlena said. "These people are not paying attention to us you know."

 

“What you really mean is while Paul and John aren't around.” he said, “Yeah, I know. But I am fine Grandma, really.” he put his hand on top of hers. “If I am anything, I am strong.”

 

“Honey, I know that.” she said. “But I also know that you care very deeply for Paul.”

 

“I do..” Will agreed. “And it really pisses me off that someone did this deliberately to hurt him, someone who claims to have loved him... Paul is amazing, and loving, and he didn't deserve this.”

 

“No, he didn't.” she said, “But I really don't think Sonny did this to hurt him.” She held her hand up to stop the tirade when he opened his mouth to protest. “I know he did hurt him, and I know that he did this on purpose, I am just saying that I believe that his goal was not to hurt Paul or to punish him, I think he did this as a last ditch effort to get Paul back.”

 

Will snapped his mouth shut. He hadn't thought about that. “In what world would Paul go back to him after what he did?” he asked. "He must be delusional."

 

“No no no, Honey. You misunderstood what I am saying.” she said. “I don't think Paul is going back to him, I don't even think he would consider it, but I do believe that is what Sonny's end goal was.” she said.

 

“Well, Paul is Mine.” Will said possessively. “And I am not giving him up.”

 

“He would be a fool to walk away from you.” Marlena chuckled.

 

“Damn Straight.” John said, walking up on the end of the conversation. He handed Will a beer. “And my son is a lot of things, but he is no fool.”

 

Will grinned up at him brightly. “Thanks.” he said, accepting the beer.

 

John handed Marlena a soda and his beer, then he turned to the young girl that was standing behind him. She handed him his other purchases and turned to walk off.

 

John tossed Will a bag of peanuts and then walked a few seats over. He squatted down in front of Timothy, the little boy from the restaurant. “Hey, Kiddo. You can't watch a ball game without a hot dog and popcorn and cotton candy.” he said sitting the tray on his lap.

 

Timothy's eyes shined bright. “Thanks Mister!” he said, grabbing the hot dog and taking a huge bite.

 

“Thank you.” his mother said, before John waved her off, “Don't mention it.” he said.

 

They watched the rest of the game even though Paul was pulled out in the seventh inning to allow the relief pitchers an inning a piece to show off their own skills. The score was tied going into the ninth. And It was looking like they may go into extra innings when the National teams center fielder, who was the center fielder for the Arizona Diamondbacks hit a home run over the left field wall to win the game for them.

 

They stayed in the friends and family box and celebrated for a while before heading down to wait for Paul.

 

They waited around outside the locker room until Paul finally appeared. There were hugs and congratulations all around.

 

“We have a couple of interviews and things before I am done here, and then the team is going out to celebrate. Paul said. “You coming right?” he asked looking at Will.

 

Will shook his head no. “Not this time.” he said.

 

Paul's face fell before he could mask his disappointment. “Okay well then I will come to the hotel as soon as the interviews are done.” He said decisively.

 

“You most certainly will not.” Will said, “You go out with the guys from the team and celebrate the win for as long as you want.”

 

“But, I want to celebrate with you.” Paul said.

 

Will smiled wide, “We will celebrate together, I promise. But you should go out with the team, without me. If I come along, people are gonna make it about you and me and you were trying to avoid that remember?” Will said.

 

“Paul, I don't know where you found this guy…” Bridgette said, she had joined them just as Will ordered Paul to go out with his team. “But he is a keeper… he is damn smart.”

 

Paul grinned easily, “He is, isn't he?” he said.

 

“Narita, picture time.” someone called sticking their head out of the locker room.

 

“See you later then?” Paul said, backing away.

 

“Absolutely.” Will said. "Have an awesome time."

 

When Paul disappeared behind the door, they turned and walked out of the stadium. John hailed them a cab and they all piled in.

 

A few minutes later, they all stepped out in front of the hotel. “What are you going to do?” Marlena asked looking at Will.

 

“I've got some work to get done and some calls to make, interviews to line up... stuff like that.” he said. “What about you, what are you two going to do?”

 

Marlena looked over at John, who shrugged. “Whatever you want.” he said.

 

Marlena's eyes twinkled. “We are going shopping.” she said.

 

John groaned loudly, “Me and my big mouth.” he said. “Kid you need any help with your work?” he asked hopefully.

 

Will chucked.

 

“Oh no you don't.” she said. “You said whatever I want.”

 

“Yeah, I know I did... One day I will learn not to do that.…” John teased, ushering her back into the same waiting cab.

 

Will watched as the car drove off and then he went inside.

 

Once in the room he sat down at the table and spent the next couple of hours typing out a story about the all star game and then another few minutes editing it and putting the final touches on it. Once he was satisfied that it was perfect he pulled out his cell phone. It was the first time he had looked at it in several hours and he wasn't surprised to see that he had ten missed calls, every single one of them from his editor.

 

He sighed and called him back, as he listened to the ringing, he already having a good idea of what he was going to say.

 

“Will, I have been waiting for your call.” he said as soon as he answered the phone forgoing a normal greeting. He launched into his spiel about how it would be amazing to have an exclusive story from him all about his and Paul's relationship. Who better to write it than Will, who had all the intimate details of when and how they got together.

 

Will listened quietly and respectfully for him to finish. His mind already made up. Once the man finally quieted Will took a deep breath.

 

“Yeah, umm, that's not happening.” Will said. “I would never share those details with anyone.”

 

“This could make your career boy…” the editor said, “Get you out of here even and on to the big time.”

 

“Doesn't matter.” Will argued, “I would never use Paul or my relationship with him to further my career.”

 

“Look, all I am saying is that someone is going to write it, and it may as well be you. That way it can at least be honest and factual.” the other man said. "Just think about it?"

 

“I am not doing it.” Will said stubbornly.

 

“Well, if you won’t, Like I said someone will and well, I don't know that we need you on our writing team.” the editor said in a threatening voice. “And I can make sure that you have a real tough time finding another job.”

 

Will froze for a minute. His mind racing. He couldn't believe that the man could be such a sleaze.

 

The editor took the silence for an opening. “Now that we have that settled.” he said. “I will expect it to be emailed no later than close of business tomorrow.”

 

“You can go to hell.” Will said, “I quit.”

 

There was no response, other than the click of the line going dead. Will threw the phone down on the table. “Unbelievable.” he whispered to the empty room.

 

He was about to head to the shower when he noticed the red light blinking on the hotel phone indicating that there was a message. He thought it kind of strange, since anyone who wanted to reach him or Paul would just call their cell numbers. He went over and sat down on the bed. He picked up the receiver and pressed the message button.

 

“Paul..” the message started.

 

Will recognized the sickening sound of Sonny Kirakis's voice from the television interview this morning.

 

“It's Sonny.” he said unnecessarily.

 

Will scoffed. He couldn't imagine the nerve of the man calling here and leaving a message, after the stupid stunt that he had pulled.

 

“I have been calling you and calling you, for some reason I can't get through. But it doesn't matter, I have to see you.” he pleaded.

 

Will's pulse was racing, the stirrings of anger were already taking root in the pit of his stomach.

 

“Paul, I know you are angry, but if you will just stop and think for a minute you will realize that I did this for us… for you and me so that we can finally be together. You know that I am right, and every fight we have ever had was because you were hiding, scared of people finding out your secret. That is all behind us now and we can be happy, I know it. Please meet me at the bar in the restaurant after the game. I will be there until midnight waiting for you. Please don't let me down.”

 

Will looked at the clock, it was just a few minutes after Eleven. He closed his eyes, willing the anger away. But no matter what he tried, it didn't lessen, not one bit.

 

He made up his mind. He jerked up the key card and shoved it into his pants pocket. Then he went down stairs.

 

On the elevator ride he told himself that Sonny wasn't worth his time, he was only going to tell him to go away and leave Paul alone. Then he was going to go back upstairs and wait for Paul

to return.

 

He walked into the bar, and saw Sonny immediately. He was sitting at the bar twisting a drink back and forth between his fingers.

 

Will stepped up behind him and cleared his throat.

 

Sonny turned and looked at him. He eyes widened for a minute and then took on a hard glint.

 

“What the hell are you doing here?” he sneered.

 

“I heard your message.” Will said flatly.

 

“Well then you know it wasn't for you.” Sonny spat at him, "So why don't you get lost." he turned back to his drink, dismissing him.

 

“I want you to leave Paul alone.” Will said.

 

“What?” Sonny snapped, turning back to him. “Just who the hell do you think you are?”

 

Will held his head high. “I am the man that loves him.” he said, And I think you need to leave him alone, you hurt him today with that publicity stunt of yours.”

 

Sonny laughed, actually laughed at him. “I hurt him? I need to leave him alone?” he asked incredulously. “Me?”

 

“Yes.” Will affirmed. "You."

 

“You are the one, who is fucking everything up.” Sonny said sliding off the stool turning to face Will directly. “Paul and I have been together for over two years, I would say you are the one trespassing here.” he said snottily.

 

Will looked at him strangely. “You talk about him like he is a piece of property.” he said. “You don't own him.”

 

“You need to shut the fuck up.” Sonny snapped, “You know what I mean, I stayed with him for over two years, hiding and ducking, and acting like I didn't know him when people were around, and I will be damned if I am going to let some… some…. “ he was almost yelling searching frantically for some kind of insult… “Some manwhore like you come in and take over now, just when things are fixing to get easier.” he finished, chest heaving.

 

“He is not a piece of property that you own.” Will ground out, “I love him and I know he loves me. I am warning you…. Leave.him.alone.” he said determindly.

 

“Warning me?” Sonny said, “Warning me?” he took a step toward Will. "You sure you want to do that? Do you have any idea who I am?"

 

Will could see his fist clenching and unclenching at his side. He had obviously had more than a couple drinks while he waited for Paul to come. "No, I don't and honestly I don't give a damn who you are, or how important you think you are."

 

That was enough to set Sonny into motion. He took a swing at him and Will ducked out of the way effortlessly.

 

“You don't scare me, not at all... Not you, your money, your uncle Victor or any other member of your family. I didn't come here to fight with you.” Will said. “Just to tell you to leave Paul alone, I think you have done enough damage, don't you?”

 

Sonny jumped at him in a rage, the sudden attack took Will by surprise and he was knocked to the ground with Sonny on top of him. The air was momentarily knocked from his lungs, leaving him in a whoosh.

 

They scrambled for a few minutes, both tousling trying to get the upper hand. There were a couple of jabs exchanged, nothing that Will couldn't handle. He scrambled from beneath Sonny, attempting to get up when Sonny's fist connected wit his rib cage, again he felt a little breathless before he collected himself and slung his elbow back into Sonny's jaw effectively knocking the other man off of him. He quickly got to his knees and instinctively threw a hard punch, his fist connecting with Sonny's nose, the sickening sound of a crack filled the air.

 

Sonny screamed out, his hands going to his nose, as the blood flowed freely down his face.

 

Will gaped at him in horror. This wasn't what he came to do, Paul was not going to like this... He got up from the floor and just walked away. There was no point in trying to reason with Sonny.

 

Will made it to the room and went straight to the bathroom he quickly stripped off his clothes and turned the shower on. When the water was hot he stepped under the spray and let it wash away his tension. He stood there with his hands braced on the shower wall and just let the water hit him for a long long time. When the water was starting to turn lukewarm he quickly bathed and got out.

 

He dried off and slid on some underwear then he walked out into the room. He was surprised to see Paul sitting there on the end of the bed.

 

Paul looked up when he came in. “Hi.” he said quietly.

 

Will walked over and wrapped his arms around Paul's shoulders, pressing Paul's cheek to his naked stomach.

 

“Hi.” he said in return.

 

They stayed that way for several long minutes, neither of them moving.

 

Finally Paul pulled away. “Hi.” he said again letting his head drop back as he looked up at Will with unabashed raw emotion in his eyes.

 

Will smiled down at him. “You said that already.” he teased.

 

“Oh.” Paul said smiling wider. “Okay… I love you.” he said.

 

“I love you too.” Will said. “I take it you had a good time. You're drunk.”

 

“Just a little.” Paul agreed.

 

“Oh… more than that.” Will said. “Come on, Up with you, you need a shower.”

 

“You come with me?” Paul asked sweetly.

 

“I just got out of the shower.” he said.

 

“So?” Paul asked, tugging his underwear down, without warning.

 

“Alright come on then Romeo.” Will said kicking them off.

 

He pulled Paul up and led him into the bathroom.

 

Will helped him off with his clothes and turned the water back on, he grimaced because it was even more lukewarm than it was before he got out but Paul was so toasted he probably wouldn't even notice.

 

He maneuvered Paul in the shower and pushed him under the water.

 

Paul pulled, tugged, kissed and nipped at whatever part of Will's skin that he could get to as Will crowded close and bathed him off.

 

“I love you.” Paul said again. “I swear Will, I love you.”

 

“I know.” Will said. “I know you do and I love you back.”

 

Will rubbed some shampoo into his hands and massaged it into Paul’s hair.

 

“I don't care that everyone knows.” Paul said. “I'm glad they know.”

 

“Yeah?” Will asked.

 

“Yep.” Paul said, his hands exploring Will's back side. His fingers pressing against his entrance. “I don't want to lose you, like I lost….” He said. “I just messed everything up.”

 

“Are you sorry? Will asked, suddenly scared for the first time that Paul still loved Sonny.

 

“What?” Paul asked pulling back, “Sorry about what?” he asked.

 

“That you lost Sonny?” Will said, rinsing the suds from his hair.

 

“No…” Paul said. “That is not what I meant.” he said. “I'm just, I want …. I don't want to lose you because I am scared....” he said getting frustrated. He abandoned words and latched his lips onto Will's neck. Then he pulled Will close and rubbed their groins together.

 

“Mmmmm” Will moaned in spite of himself. “Come on.” Will said stepping out of the shower and pulling Paul out after him.

 

He quickly toweled Paul off, rubbing him dry and holding a pair of underwear for him to step into. Then he quickly dried himself off and grabbed his briefs.

 

He slid them on and grabbed Paul by the hand. He led Paul back to the bed and the pushed him in and climbed in beside him. He pulled the covers over them.

 

Paul's hands moved restlessly over Will's body, pulling him close, touching him everywhere he could reach, wanting to do so much more. The desire was definitely there but between the alcohol and the warmth of the shower he had been reduced him to a relaxed pile of mush. He couldn't convince his body to aggressively pursue physical pleasure right now, no matter how badly he wanted to. He had to be content to be close to Will and sleep.

 

Paul had long been asleep, wrapped around him like an octopus as Will lay still holding him close and rehashing the conversation from the shower in his mind.

 

Paul obviously carried a lot of guilt over how things had ended with Sonny, not that he should. Will easily recognized all the signs of a possessive, asshole when he saw one. But wasn't sure it would be appropriate to point that out to Paul. He pushed the thoughts aside. No matter how he felt about Sonny now, Will knew in his heart that Paul loved him.

 

He allowed that comforting thought to lull him into a peaceful sleep.

 

Several hours later, the early dawn light streamed in through the window. Will woke to the feeling of soft fingers stroking his knuckles.

 

He blinked a few times, waking up slowly. The night before flooding into his mind. The confrontation with Sonny, the fight, Paul coming back drunk, the shower conversation…. It was all so much.

 

“What happened here?” Paul asked, bringing Will's hand to his mouth kissing each knuckle.

 

Will froze, unsure of how to answer.

 

“Well?” Paul asked again.

 

Will decided on the truth. “That's a long story….” he began.

Chapter Text

“What happened?” Paul asked again, rubbing his thumb lightly over Will’s bruised knuckles. Paul opened Will’s hand and kissed his palm. “Come on, you can tell me, I know you said it is a long story, but we have all day.” he encouraged, waiting patiently for Will to continue.

Will took a deep breath and sighed. “Well last night, when I came back here after the game…” he began.

“I still wish you had come with me.” Paul interrupted. “You would have had a blast, those guys are crazy. And besides I missed you, I wanted you with me.”

“I know, and I wanted to be with you too and of course I missed you. But you deserved time with your teammates to celebrate and not have to worry about what people are going to say or do, or without having to be worry about what people think.” Will said. “Anyway so last night…”

“I’m through with that now.” Paul interrupted again. “I am not worried about what anyone thinks or says. If they have a problem with me or my choices, then that's their problem to deal with, not mine.”

Will smiled, a warm feeling washed through him. He was glad that Paul felt pride in the amazing person that he is. “I am glad that you feel that way, and of course I agree, it is their problem, but I could see how people need a little time to adjust.” He said, “Now do you want to hear this or not?”

“Sorry.” Paul said. He made a big show of zipping his lips, and tossing away the key.

Will grinned at him. “Okay, so anyway so when I got back last night, there was a message for you on the hotel phone.” He continued.

“Who was it?” Paul asked hesitantly, fearing that he already knew. He mentally berated himself for not realizing that it was a possibility.

“Sonny.” Will said, and even though he hated himself for it, he carefully watched Paul’s face closely, looking for any sign that he had been expecting to hear from him.

Paul groaned. “Oh god...I’m sorry Will, I should have realized that he would call the room after I blocked him from calling or texting my cell.”

“You blocked him?” Will asked, surprised. Out of all the things he had expected Paul to say, that wasn't one of them.

“Yeah.” Paul said, “After what he did, I am not interested in anything that he has to say. I never want to see or hear from him again.”

“Oh.” Will said. Relief, laced with guilt washing through him. He felt bad for even doubting Paul for one second.

“So you must have punched the wall or something?” he said examining Will's knuckles more closely, “Your knuckles are pretty bruised. What the hell did Sonny say that made you so angry?” he asked, looking around the room for anything that he may have missed. He unconsciously rubbed the pad of his thumb back and forth over Will’s knuckles. “You know you have no worries right, I am 100% committed to what we have right now.”

“Of course I know that,” Will fibbed, covering up the fact that he had been nervous. Especially since Paul had not given him even a hint of a reason to be. He was ashamed, but it wasn't like he had ever had a shining example of a real committed relationship. Both of his parents seemed to have revolving doors permanently installed in their love lives, and even John and Marlena had gone through hell to finally be together and happy.

“So you punched the wall and hurt yourself why??” Paul asked. “What am I missing?”

“Umm yeah, that’s not exactly what happened.” Will said sheepishly.

“Well then, what did happen, exactly?” Paul asked.

“I am trying to tell you, but you keep interrupting me.” Will accused teasingly, delaying the inevitable.

“Sorry.” Paul said. “I won't say another word.” he promised, sinking his teeth into his bottom lip.

“So, I listened to the message and he wanted you to meet him downstairs in the hotel bar, he said you should come before midnight, that he would be waiting there for you.” Will continued.

“Will, you know I didn’t go right?” Paul said, his voice holding something that sounded a little like panic. “I wouldn’t do that to you.” he promised.

Will gazed into his eyes...“You’re interrupting again, but Yes, of course I know that. It never crossed my mind that you went, besides you didn't even hear the message.” he teased.

“Oh yeah,” Paul said, “But you have to know that I wouldn't have went even if I had heard it.”

Will nodded, “I know, and I really wish I could say the same.”

Paul looked at him confused. “What do you mean?” he asked.

“I went to meet him.” Will said suddenly feeling contrite for letting his jealousy get the best of him.

Paul’s eyes widened again. “You went to meet him? Why? Why would you do that?” he asked.

Will looked away, embarrassed… “I wanted to tell him to leave you alone.” he said.

“To leave me alone?” Paul parroted dumbly.

“Yeah.” Will said. He suddenly felt very foolish and adolescent. “You don’t deserve what he did to you and I wanted to make sure he knew that.”

“You were jealous.” Paul asked.

“Not Jealous.” Will denied, “That isn’t the word I would use.” he was lying and he knew it, it was exactly the word he would use, and Paul knew it too.

“It is the exact word.” Paul called him out. “You were totally jealous.” he chuckled uncontrollably.

“Why are you laughing at me?” Will said pulling away from Paul, feeling a little irritated and hurt. He felt ridiculous enough without Paul laughing at him.

Paul pulled him closer again, refusing to let him squirm away. “I’m sorry.” he soothed. “I am not laughing at you.” he rubbed his hand up and down Will's back, “I am just seriously trying to understand how you could be jealous of someone like Sonny. It's just crazy, you are soo…”

“You loved him.” Will said defensively, interrupting whatever Paul was going to say. “For all I know he was your first love, and you don’t forget, you don’t ever forget your first love.”

“No, you don’t.” Paul agreed. “And I thought I loved him, maybe in some small childish way I did. But Will, I swear it never came close to what I feel for you. You brought me to life when I met you.”

Will smiled at him, soaking up all the pure emotion that was practically pouring out of him. “Good, then you won’t be too mad about the next part.” he quipped.

“What did you do?” Paul asked warily.

“I asked him nicely to leave you alone. I told him that we love each other and he needed to leave us alone.” Will said.

“And that’s all?” Paul asked skeptical.

“Well it would have been all, if he hadn’t called me a manwhore and implied that you were his property.” Will said. “Then he jumped me.”

“What?” He said. “He called you what?” Paul was ready to go and beat the hell out of Sonny himself.

“Whoa.” Will said, putting a hand on Paul’s thigh, “I took care of it.” he said.

“I am so sorry.” Paul said. “Sonny can be pretty nasty when he doesn’t get his way, I am sorry you had to deal with him, you shouldn't have to. Sonny is my problem to deal with, not yours.”

“It’s fine.” Will said, “I handled it, I kind of punched his dumb ass.”

“I bet you did.” Paul said. “I would expect no less and I have to tell you something.” he continued. He pulled Will's hips until he was laying down, stretched out beneath him, then Paul leaned into him, pressing Will down into the mattress.

“What?” Will said, squirming around, getting comfortable underneath him.

“Strangely, I find that sexy as hell.” Paul confided.

“What that I punched someone for calling, me a manwhore?” Will asked, knowing full well that was not exactly what Paul was referring to.

“No, that you were jealous enough to go downstairs to meet Sonny, and tell him to stay away from me and then well yeah okay, you ultimately punching him, that's sexy too.” Paul said. He pulled Will’s hand back up to look at his knuckles again, “The only thing that I don’t like is that you were hurt.” he said.

Will shook his hand loose and framed Paul’s face. “It’s fine, I’m fine.” he said, pulling Paul down into a kiss. “In fact I am more than fine.” he teased rocking his hips up into Pauls.

Paul kissed Will deeply, exploring every square inch of his mouth. He stretched out fully over him as Will's arms came around him, pulling him closer.

Will wiggled against him feeling Paul's growing erection pressing into him. He pulled back and grinned up at Paul, “You really do like that don't you?” He asked his hand sliding down and fondling Paul through the thin fabric of his silky boxers.

“Mmmm” Paul moaned in his ear… “Yes, that feels amazing.” he said as Will continued to stroke him.

“Yes, you do.” Will agreed. His hand left Pauls ever hardening cock and went to waistband on his underwear shoving them down out of his way.

Paul kicked the covers off and helped Will shove the material down his hips, kicking them to the floor...

Will pushed on his chest, until he was on his back and Will was able to straddle his hips.

Paul folded his hands behind his head and grinned up at Will.

Will leaned down placing a hand on each side of Paul's head. He captured his lips and teased them open slipping his tongue inside, exploring his mouth.

Paul's hands went to Will's hips, his thumbs tracing the soft skin of his hip bones. He simultaneously rocked his hips up into Wills while urging him to move.

Paul allowed him a few minutes and then pushed him off, he sat up pushing Will back onto his back and hooked his fingers in the waist of Will's underwear dragging them off of his legs, tossing them over his shoulder.

Paul nibbled on his bottom lip, looking at Will's naked form, his mouth practically watering. Will was a glorious sight to behold.

“Well are you just gonna sit there gawking or what?” Will teased, reaching for him.

“Sorry.” Paul said. “You are just so damn beautiful.”

Will flushed all over at the unexpected compliment. He wasn't exactly sure what to say to that, and to be honest he didn't know if he could force any words out around the large lump in his throat.

He sat up again and faced Paul, his hands went to Paul's knees. He leaned in and kissed Paul's cheek, kissing a trail to his ear. He ran his tongue around the shell of his ear and planted his nose in his hair, he inhaled deeply.

His hands slid down Paul's back. He couldn't stop the guttural moan when Paul's hands cupped his ass and Pulled Will into his lap.

Will settled into his lap wrapping his legs around Paul's hips. He took his time, exploring Paul's neck. Licking over his collarbone, tasting the saltiness of his skin.

Paul's head lolled back, allowing Will time and room to explore. Panting when Will made his way around to his other ear, biting on his earlobe. His hands mindlessly stroked Will's sides.

“I love you.” Paul whispered kissing Will just below his ear. “I do and I can't remember my life before you.” he said. He didn't know why he was so overly emotional. But he felt like if he didn't say those words, right now, he would regret it.

Will pulled back and looked into his eyes. “Mmmm” he hummed, “Love you too.” he licked over his bottom lip, then nibbled on it thoughtfully. “I wasn't looking for a relationship, I had pretty much decided that I wanted to concentrate on my career and that love was the absolute last thing I needed in my life… until you come along.” he said. “That first day when you were standing there looking out over the empty field, something inside me clicked into place and then you turned around and I knew that I was a goner.” he confessed.

Paul grinned. “You didn't even know I was gay then.” he reminded gently.

Will gave him an impish grin, “True….” he conceded. “But if you weren't, I was gonna sure gonna try to change your mind.” he said.

Paul giggled, “You were huh?” he said.

“Damn straight.” Will said. “I am Sami Brady's son after all.”

Paul's eyes went large, and the color drained from his face. He had yet to meet her in person, since she was off with EJ on the other side of the world… but he had heard a few of the horror stories.

“You didn't know?” Will teased, “You hadn't worked that little detail out in this beautiful head of yours?” he asked running his fingers through Paul's thick hair.

Paul cleared his throat, “Umm no.” he croaked. “I have heard stories about her.”

Will laughed, a real gut busting laugh. “I am sure you have.” he said. “And, just FYI, they are all true.” he watched as Paul soaked in that information. “Don't worry though.” he teased, I’ll protect you.”

“You?” Paul asked, “You are gonna protect me from that that crazy woman?”

Will grinned, “Of course.” he said. “Afterall, I am her son so she will listen to me.”

“Oh okay.” Paul squeaked, not the least bit convinced.

Will searched his eyes. “It will be fine, come on let's forget about my mom.” he said as he pressed kisses to his jawline. “I think we have better things to do right now, don't you?”

“Hell yeah!” Paul agreed, his words coming out more breathless than he intended when Will's fingers wrapped around both of their cocks and stroked them together. “God, that's so fucking good.” he whispered against Will's throat. “Soo good.” he praised.

“Hmmm” Will agreed.

Paul's hands went to Will's ass kneading the skin. His forehead rested on Will's shoulder, eyes wide open watching Will stroke them. His breath coming in little pants.

Will's lips were against his ear, “Fuck…” he whispered. “Feels so good.” he stroked a little faster, joined his hands together, gripping them a little firmer.

Paul brushed his fingers over Will's entrance causing Will to cry out.

Will's movements faltered just for a second, and he sat up when Paul's hand left his ass. He whimpered in frustration until Paul's fingers swiped over the glistening heads of both of their straining cocks gathering the precum that leaked from them.

Will watched him rub the slick liquid over his fingers. He brought his hand back to Will's hole. Will hissed when Paul pushed a finger deep inside him. Will didn't know whether to chase Paul’s fingers when he withdrew or careen his hips into his own hand.

He settled into a slow rhythm that allowed him a little of both.

Paul licked his neck, dipping his tongue into the small dip around his collarbone and nibbled on his skin. He squeezed his eyes shut and tried to hold off the crest of the orgasm that he knew was coming...but it was inevitable.

His hands clutched the globes of Will's behind even harder, and cried out helplessly as the pleasure overtook him. His cum covered Will's hands, as he continued stroking them both, quickly following him crying out his own pleasure.

Finally coming out of the orgasm induced stupor, Will looked up at him. “Well….” he said… “Sorry, I guess that didn't last long.”

“Oh we aren't done yet.” Paul said. “Nowhere even near it.” he lifted Will's hand to his mouth and flicked his tongue through a wide patch of cum, clinging to the back of his hand.

Will's eyes darkened, already feeling the stirring of desire in the pit of his stomach. “Ooooh, I like the sound of that.” He purred.

Paul finished cleaning Will's hand and licked his lips. He pushed Will off of his lap and onto his back. Paul leaned over him and kissed him, giving Will a taste of the combined cum still on his tongue.

Will threw his arms around Paul's neck and clung to him.

A loud knock on the door resounded through the room.

Paul froze, momentarily scanning his brain for any appointment that he may have forgotten… he didn't think there was any. He decided to ignore it. He leaned down and captured Will's lips again.

The knock turned into more of a insistent banging…

“What the fuck?” Paul said.

“I dunno.” Will said, “But I Don't think they are going away.” he pointed out.

“Doesn't look like it…” Paul agreed. “I will get rid of them, and I swear if it is Martinez or Jenkins I am gonna kill them.” he pushed up and grabbed his underwear off of the floor. “You…. You stay right there, Don't move a muscle.” he ordered.

Will nodded, but self consciously pulled the sheet across his hips.

He watched as Paul strode across the room and jerked the door open.

“Thank God… you're here.” Sonny said.

“What the hell are you doing here?” Paul asked, completely shocked to see him standing there.

Sonny pushed past him and breezed into the room like he owned it, turning back to face Paul.

“Sure, come on in.” Paul said, sarcasm dripping from his words.

Sonny blinked at his sarcastic tone. “What do you mean what am I doing here, what are you even talking about, we have to talk.” he crossed his arms, “Look at my face…” he spat. “That lunatic that you cheated on me with jumped me.”

Paul turned around and realized that Sonny had no idea Will was even in the room.

“Will jumped you?” Paul asked, putting his hands on his hips, “What do you think made him do something like that?”

Sonny looked at him like he was off his rocker. “How the hell would I know?” he sputtered, “I didn't have time to ask for a reason, and what the hell are you doing undressed, surely you aren’t still in bed at..” he looked at his watch, “10:30 in the morning.”

“Actually we were.” Paul said.

“We?” Sonny said, swinging around taking in Will’s obviously nude form laying on the bed.

“Yeah we..” Will agreed.

Sonny turned back to Paul, “How could you, I mean, why would you?” he cried, “He jumped me and damn near broke my nose.”

“Maybe you shouldn't have called him a manwhore.” Paul said, “Not everyone is gonna let you get away with that kind of bull shit.”

“Oh so he got his feelings hurt and that gave him the right to attack me.” Sonny said snottily.

“Well technically….” Will said, sliding up, resting his back against the headboard, making sure to keep himself covered. “You jumped me, and that gave me the right.”

Sonny wheeled around, and glared at him. “You shut the fuck up.” he said, “Nobody asked for your opinion and… unless you want me to shut you up.”

Paul stepped over in front of Sonny between him and the bed, “Yeah, uh Sonny…” he said pointing to his own face, “That didn't work out so well for you the first time, you may not wanna provoke Will again.”

“Look this is not what I came here for. I came here because I know that we can work our differences out and that you still love me.” Sonny said, turning all of his attention to Paul.

Paul sighed, hands on his hips again, he let his head drop back and groaned loudly in exasperation. He squeezed his eyes shut for a second.

“Look….” he said, looking Sonny in the eye, so there was no room for misinterpretation.... “Whatever we had between us… make no mistake, it.is.over.” he stressed. “I have moved on, I am with Will and…”

“You are choosing this.. this…. Slut over me?”

“Sonny!” Paul bellowed. “Shut.the.fuck.up.” he stressed. “I have overlooked a lot because I know you are hurting, I am not even angry about you outing me anymore, I was gonna do it myself and to be honest you did me a favor, now Will and I can put it behind us and move on. But if you say one more wrong word about Will and I am gonna knock you on your ass myself. Now get the fuck out of here.”

“But...but…” Sonny stuttered.

“But Nothing…” Paul said. “Now Will and I were in the middle of something and to be honest I can't stand to look at you, so please just go....”

Sonny blinked a few times, opened his mouth and closed it again, and then walked out of the room wordlessly.

Paul went over and pushed the door shut behind him.

He sat down on the chair and held his head in his hands.

Will finally moved from his position in the bed and went to the footstool in front of Paul. “Hey.” he said. “You okay?”

Paul looked up and nodded, “Yeah… fine.” he said. “I am sorry.” he whispered.

“You have to stop apologizing for him.” Will said. “ None of this has been your fault.”

Paul gave him a sad smile. “Do you mind if we just go home?” he asked. “I just wanna get away from the craziness and spend a few days with just you.”

“Of course we can.” Will said. “I will pack our bags, you call the airline and change our tickets and let John and Grandma know.”

“Okay.” Paul whispered taking out his phone to make the calls. He watched as Will slipped on his underwear. He pulled the suitcase from the small closet and started packing their clothes.

Chapter Text

“Alright guys, you know I am not really one for speeches but....” Coach Bissen said, standing up in the front of the locker room. “Most of you already know by now that Narita had some major news to hit ESPN this past week.”

There were a few catcalls and whistles. Paul ducked his head… was it ever gonna stop? Could things just be normal already. He was really sick of the constant calls and the reporters showing up outside of his condo. Surely there was bigger news than his love life right? There had to be something else out there that was newsworthy.

“Okay okay… let's all settle down.” Coach Bissen continued. “I have assured him that we are all on his side. It is an amazing thing in life to find the person that you know you are supposed to spend your life with, so I hope you will all join me in congratulating him. Now that's enough about that, we need to get on to the real point of my speech. I know we are coming off of a week long break and it is mid season but we ARE going to make it to the playoffs this year and I need you to get out there and win today.” he said. “Now let's get ready to hit the field.”

Most of the team broke away and went their separate ways, some of them went to the showers and some went to the gym. Paul followed Jenkins and Martinez into the gym. They worked out in companionable silence until Mark Bedford joined them. “Hey guys.” he said.

Paul stepped off of the treadmill and wiped his face on the sleeve of his shirt. “Hey man.” he said. “Did you and your family just get back?” he asked, knowing that they had stayed behind in Miami.

“Yesterday.” Benford said. “How are things with you and Will, I know this has probably been a stressful week for you.”

Paul shrugged. “Will is good, things are awesome with us, but I am sooo tired of all the attention. I get it, I guess.” he said, “Everyone is curious, but really isn’t there anything more interesting than my love life?”

“Apparently not.” Benford said grinning. “Like it or not, you are big news right now.”

Paul groaned, “Don’t remind me.” he said.

“I am going to hit the shower, See you later.” Paul said, walking off.

“Hey… wait up.” Jenkins called, jumping off the stair master that he was on and trotting after Paul.

Once he caught up he slowed his pace, “Hey so I want to ask you something?” he said.

“Shoot.” Paul said looking at him curiously.

“Have you always been… you know…..” Jenkins said.

“Gay?” Paul asked. “Yeah, I have.”

“So you have never been with a woman?” Jenkins asked, disbelieving.

“Never.” Paul confirmed.

“Then how do you know that you don’t like girls?” Jenkins asked completely serious.

“I just know.” Paul said.

“But how, How do you know?” Jenkins pushed. “Come on tell me, I want to know.”

“How do you know you don’t like guys?” Paul countered. “Have you ever been with a guy?”

Jenkins looked at him for a minute… “I don’t know, I never thought about it, and no of course I haven’t!”

“Okay, let me put it like this.” Paul said. “Have you ever just looked at another man and had your pulse to speed up, or your heart to start racing?”

“Umm no.” Jenkins said. “Never.”

“Okay, well that is how I know I like guys.” Paul said. “None of that happens when I look at girls, it never has.”

“Oh… okay.” Jenkins said, “I was just curious. So how does it work anyway… I mean obviously I know what goes where, I can figure that part out… but how do you decide who does what?”

Paul laughed, “Really?” he asked. “You really wanna know?”

Jenkins nodded. “Yeah.” He said “Really.”

“Well it is different for everybody, you know people like different things, some guys like both...” Paul said. “Usually it doesn’t take too long to figure it out.”

“So who…?” Jenkins started.

“Oh no….” Paul said, holding his hand up, “Enough with the questions, That is none of your business and I am NEVER going to answer that question so you can drop it.”

“Fine.” Jenkins said as they walked into the showers.

Ellis Brevard, the shortstop, and all around team asshole, was just about to undress, when he saw them walk into the shower room. He jerked his shirt back over his head and picked up his towel. He slammed out of the door, Stalking off, mumbling something about a faggot under his breath, but loud enough to be heard.

“What’s his problem?” Jenkins said.

“Who cares?” Paul said. “Maybe he changed his mind.”

“I care.” Jenkins said, turning and following the other man back into the locker room.

“What the fuck is your problem?” he said shoving the other man’s shoulder.

Paul was right on his heels. “Jenkins, come on, it doesn’t matter.” he said, grabbing Jenkins arm.

“The hell it doesn’t.” Jenkins said.

“What the hell is your problem?” Jenkins repeated, wheeling around on the other man again.

“Back off Jenkins, this doesn’t have shit to do with you.” Brevard said. “It’s my business if I don’t want to shower with a fucking queer in the room.”

Jenkins looked at him with a dubious look. “Hey asshole, you do know that Paul is the same person he was a week ago right? This isn’t a new development.”

“Doesn’t matter last week I didn’t know what he is.” Brevard snapped.

“Come on Jenkins.” Paul said. It wasn’t like he didn’t know that there were going to be people that wouldn’t accept him and would be weird around him because he was different.

“No.” Jenkins said, turning back to Brevard. “So what who fucking cares what you didn’t know?” he said. “Paul is still the same person that he was and I got news for you, If you are worried about him seeing something that he may be interested in…. Well yeah you can put that worry out of your head, You have been showering in front of him for well over a year and I hate to point it out to but that hasn’t happened yet.”

Brevard opened and then closed his mouth, not sure what to say to that.

“Come on.” Jenkins said, “Now we can go.” he turned back toward the showers.

Paul followed him, chuckling. Jenkins could definitely be an asshat, but no one could ever question his loyalty.

They went in and stripped down and stepped underneath the shower heads. “Thanks man.” Paul said.

“Hey, no thanks necessary.” Jenkins said. “I know I give you a lot of shit… but that’s what friends are for. I am sure not gonna let some jackass berate you for being who you are.”

“Well, I appreciate it.” Paul said.

Later they were sitting in the dugout, it was the last inning and they were up by five runs. No one was paying much attention to what was going on, on the field. Martinez came to sit beside him. “So…” he said. “I heard Jenkins went at Brevard over you?” He said.

“Yep.” Paul said. “It wasn’t necessary though.”

“Of course not, we all know that you can take care of yourself… but well you know that sometimes Jenkins needs those moments to redeem himself from his normal asshole qualities.”

“True.” Paul said. “Very true, but you have to love him.”

“I guess.” Martinez conceded. The crowd cheered and they looked up. The game was over and the other players were running off the field.

“You still coming over for dinner tonight?” Paul asked Martinez on the way back to the locker room.

“Of course, I wouldn’t miss it.” Martinez said. “Should we invite Jenkins too?”

“Sure.” Paul said. “I guess he earned it.”

Martinez laughed.

“I am going to head on home and help Will.” Paul said. “I can shower there.”

“Okay, well we will see you in a little while.” Martinez said, slapping him on the back.

Paul went out the players entrance, signed a couple of autographs and went to the parking garage, he jumped in his Range Rover.

Paul drove back to his condo thinking about the morning events. He wasn’t necessarily surprised there were bound to be people that did not agree with his choices for his lifestyle and that was their prerogative. He wasn’t out to change anyone’s mind and no one was going to change his.

When he arrived back at the condo, Will was busy at work in the kitchen. “Hi,” he said. He walked over and pulled Will into his arms, he kissed him softly. “Anything I can do to help?”

Will pressed a kiss to the side of Paul’s mouth, then wrinkled his nose…. “Umm the first thing you need to do is shower.” he said teasingly.

“Yeah, I know.” Paul said, “I was in a hurry to get back to help.”

“Shower first, then you can help.” Will said.

“What’s for dinner anyway?” Paul asked.

“Coconut Tilapia with pomegranate salsa.” Will said.

Paul did his best to keep a straight face. He was an adventurous eater, but definitely did not care for tilapia at all…. “You didn’t have to all that trouble.” Paul said carefully... “These guys are normal everyday guys, burgers on the grill would be fine.”

“Like these?” Will asked pulling a plate of hamburger shaped patties from the fridge.

“Yeah.” Paul said grinning, “What happened to the tilapia?”

Will grinned, “I was just teasing you.” he said. “I overheard you and your dad talking the other night, you talking about your distaste for certain foods…”

“You were testing me.” Paul said, his eyes dancing merrily. “You wanted to see if I would complain.”

Will laughed, “I am trying to find your achilles heel.” He said. “You can not be as perfect as you seem.”

“I am not perfect, by any means…” Paul said. “But I would have ate whatever meal you cooked with no complaints.”

“You would?” Will asked.

“Of course, I love you.” Paul said as if it made the most sense in the world.

“And I love you.” Will said, “Shower now….” he said giving him a small shove in the direction of their bedroom.

“Wanna come wash my back?” Paul asked backing away wiggling his eyebrows.

“That is a tempting offer.” Will agreed, “But I think I better stay here and finish this.”

“Fine.” Paul pouted, turning and heading to the shower.

Will turned back to the counter and began to work on the vegetables for the salad again. Once it was finished he popped it into the refrigerator and then went about getting the burgers ready to take down to grill in the courtyard. Paul’s friends would be there soon. He opened the oven and checked on the baked beans, then turned the temperature down low to keep them warm.

Will took the corn on the cob out of the boing water and wrapped it in some tin foil with butter and some mixed spices. Then laid it on a plate to take to the grill with the burgers.

He went over and set the table, then surveyed the room making sure that everything was in its proper place.

Paul came back into the room fresh from the shower wearing a pair of dark washed jeans and a purple shirt that clung to every muscle he had.

“Hmmm” Will said, going to him and wrapping his arms around his midsection. “I know what I am having for dessert tonight.” He teased.

“Is that so?” Paul asked. “Who says dessert has to be after dinner, we have….”, he glanced at the clock, “At least thirty minutes before everyone gets here.” he said tugging on the tail of Will’s shirt, working it up over his head.

Will laughed, “Hold up….. I am gonna need more than thirty minutes with all this..” he said running his hand up Paul’s chest. “Besides I need a shower before your friends get here.”

“OUR Friends” Paul said, “They adore you and we could have totally saved time by showering together.”

“Yeah, I don’t think that would have worked.” Will said. “I will be right back.”

Will hurried off to shower alone.

Paul looked around at all the work that WIll had put into this, for him. He was beyond lucky to have Will in his his life.

About twenty minutes later, Will walked out of the bedroom closing the door behind him as the doorbell rang.

Paul went over and opened the door and Jenkins and Martinez strode into the apartment.

“Whoa, nice digs.” Jenkins said, “This must cost a fortune.”

Martinez looked around and let out a low whistle. “Really nice digs.” he said.

Paul shrugged, “It isn’t that bad.” he said, “And we like it, the neighborhood is nice and having a doorman keeps the riff raff out.”

Martinez cackled, “You may want to tell them to hire a new one… he let Jenkins here in, so his judgement is way off.”

“HEY!” Jenkins said goodnaturedly.

Will snickered at their antics. These guys were like a comedy team. He noticed that Martinez was holding a couple of bags. “Can I take those?” he asked.

“Yeah sure.” He said handing them over. “I know, generally people bring wine when they are asked to dinner but I am more of a beer man.”

Will set the bags on the counter and took out the two six packs. “I am gonna sit them in the refrigerator so they stay cold, I already have some in that cooler over there to bring down to the courtyard while I grill the burgers.”

“A man after my own heart.” Jenkins said.

“WATCH IT.” Paul warned teasingly. “You better find your own man.”

“I don’t even play for that team man…..” Jenkins said. “But if I did you would have some competition, Will is my kind of man.”

“I am not worried.” Paul said. “Will knows who the best choice is here.”

“Yeah, me.” Jenkins said.

“Shut up you dork.” Martinez said. “What can we do to help?”

Will pointed to the cooler, “Someone bring the cooler and Paul and I will bring the food, and someone grab that stack of dishes and utensils there and I think we will be good.”

They went downstairs to the courtyard and Will cleaned the grill and laid a grill mat across it then laid out the food to cook and closed the lid.

They all grabbed a beer and sat down to talk, while they waited.

Martinez filled Will in on the situation from earlier and all the sudden Will had a whole new appreciation for Jenkins.

A couple of the neighbors stopped by to say hello and meet Martinez and Jenkins, They had learned that there were a few hard core baseball fans in the building.

Will tended to the food and watched in awe while Paul and the other two joined in a tag football game with a few preteen children that came out to play.

As good as Paul was at baseball, he was equally as good at football. Was there nothing that Paul could not do.

After the game one of the boys shyly pulled out a sharpie and asked them to autograph the football and then another asked for a selfie, which they all agreed to wholeheartedly.

After they were done Paul came up behind Will and wrapped his arms around his waist. Paul kissed his neck. “Want me to watch this for a while, need a break?”

Will shook his head and turned in his arms to accept his kiss. “I am almost done.” He said. “We will be ready to go back up in about 10 minutes.”

Later they sat around the table upstairs and lingered over the three layer double chocolate cake that Will had cheated and purchased from a nearby deli.

“So Will.” Martinez said, cracking open another beer. “I was following your stories in the San Francisco chronicle, but the last several days, I haven’t been able to find them. You taking a hiatus or something?” he asked.

“The attention too much for you?” Jenkins added.

“No, umm I don’t work for the chronicle anymore.” Will said.

The table fell silent.

“Since When?” Paul asked, looking at him in shock.

“Doesn’t matter.” Will said.

“Yeah, it does.” Paul answered. “When?”

“Since you came out.” Will answered quietly.

“THEY FIRED YOU?” Paul exploded, “Because I came out as gay they fucking fired you?” he had maybe never been so angry in his entire life.

Paul got up and started to pace the floor, raving. “We are going to sue the hell out of them.” he said, “You are going to own the whole damn paper.”

“That isn’t what happened.” Will said. “I quit.”

“Why would you do that?” Paul asked, perplexed.

Will opened his mouth to respond but Martinez interrupted. “We should get going.” He said, getting to his feet. “Sounds like you need to sort this out together.”

“What?” Jenkins said. “I wanna know what happened.”

“Come on, Jenkins.” Martinez said, “You are too damn nosy for your own good, anybody ever tell you that.”

Jenkins shrugged, “Just you.” he said getting up and following Martinez to the door.

Will followed them over, and shook their hands, “Thanks for coming, we will get together again soon.”

“Thanks for dinner.” Martinez said. “See later Narita.” he called over Will’s shoulder.

Paul finally came up behind Will to wish them a good night. Will ducked away and went to clean the table.

When Paul had said his goodbyes, he closed the door and joined Will in the kitchen, they cleaned in silence. When they were done, Paul took Will’s hand and led him over to the couch.

“I want to know exactly what happened.” he said.

“It doesn’t matter.” Will said. “I quit, that’s what they are going to say.”

“And that’s fine….” Paul said, “But I want to know exactly what happened, humor me.”

“They wanted me to write about us. And I told them to go to hell.” Will said. “It’s as simple as that.”

Paul sat there for a minute letting it sink in. “You quit a job that you absolutely love because you did not want to write about our relationship?” he asked in awe.

“Pretty much.” Will said. “They wanted details, and it was none of their business, that is private between you and me and I would never write about that…. Never…. And besides it isn’t like I NEED the job anyway.”

“You don’t need a job at all.” Paul said, “But you loved it. You love to write.”

“So I will apply somewhere else, or I will freelance, or I will write a book, or I will just spend my time concentrating on you, on us.” Will said. “It doesn’t matter to me, none of it does, as long as I have you.”

“You will always have me.” Paul promised. “Now let’s go to bed….I believe you said something about having me for dessert.” he said pulling Will to his feet, and leading him to the bedroom.

Chapter Text

Six Weeks Later…..

“I can’t believe it took us so long to come here.” Will said. “I haven’t been home in soo long.”

“I keep forgetting that Salem used to be home for you.” Paul said. “Why did you leave? Why don't you come back and visit more often?”

“Oh, lot's of reasons I guess.” Will said, “You probably don't know, but well, I mean you know, living in a small town isn’t for everyone.” He said. “I always kinda felt like I was suffocated here.”

Paul nodded his head, “That makes sense, so you are not a small town boy at heart, that’s probably good to know.” he said.

“Hell no.” Will said, “I like the big city, I like the anonymity it provides. I love it in Chicago. Here, if you make a mistake here, everyone in town knows about it, they know all the whys and hows and everyone has an opinion on it, and they give you said opinion, whether you want it or you don't.. What about you, did you like it here?” he asked.

Paul shrugged. “I don’t guess I had an opinion either way, I was never really here long enough to form an opinion. I would come in for a few days here and there and stay a few weeks in my off time, but we travelled to alot of places when I wasn’t playing. We were everywhere.” He said. “But finding my dad and being able to be close to him and form a relationship with him that was amazing and yeah I guess it made this place, this small town feel a little like home to me.”

“I can understand that, and I am so glad that you found John.” Will said.

Paul nodded, “That is actually the only thing that makes me not have any regrets about my relationship with Sonny. I came here to Salem for Sonny, if it wasn't for him, I never would have came here. Of course my mom followed me here and that is how I found my dad… or rather my dad found me.”

“I know.” Will said, “Grandma told me about it.”

“Oh.” Paul said, holding open the door of the little wine shop, adequately named “Pour Baby” in the town square. So do you have any idea what Marlena has planned for dinner?” he asked.

Will shook his head no, “Not the first clue.” Will said. “Just pick something. Red or White, doesn’t matter, I guess. They will like it either way.”

They picked out a bottle of wine and made their purchase and then walked out of the store hand in hand.

“So..” Paul said, “You haven’t said much about your interview with that online magazine, how did it go?”

“It was okay.” Will said, “Nothing spectacular,”

“So you didn’t get it?” Paul pressed.

“Yeah, I got it, if I want it.” Will said, “But I just don’t know if I want to write about politics.”

“Ahh, it’s a political magazine?” Paul asked.

“No they have all kinds of stuff in the magazine but politics is what they have available. I would rather do sports, or human interests or something.” Will said.

“So you wait for something to come along that you want, no big deal.” Paul said leading him into a coffee shop.

“But I have bills, and stuff that needs to be taken care of, not to mention you just paid a crap ton of money to have my apartment cleaned out and everything in it boxed up and shipped to me, including shipping my car across the entire country.” Will said.

“Exactly, I did that, because I didn't want to be without you for a week… so it was my decision and my money that paid for it and you don’t need to be concerned about it.” Paul said. “I need you to get used to us having money. What's mine is yours.”

“I have always taken care of myself…. You know paid my own way.” Will said. “Besides, we aren't married.”

They stepped up to the counter and Will ordered a Cinnamon Mocha Coffee and Paul just got dark roast with cream and sugar. Once they had paid and were on their way again. Paul picked up the conversation again.

“YET!!! We aren't married yet, but someday, I hope that tou will do me that honor.” Paul said, “And yes I know you like to have your money to take care of your own bills and stuff but seriously Will, I don’t mind. You can take your time and find something that you like and actually want to do, especially since you quit your job for me.” Paul said, he led Will over to a bench and they sat down in the square.

“I quit my job because I refused to profit from our relationship.” Will said. “Not because I didn’t want to people to know about us.”

“Of course, I understand that.” Paul said. “But it was because of me nonetheless.”

“Well, Well… who do we have here?” a snide voice said as a shadow fell over them.

Paul’s head jerked up when he heard Adrienne’s voice. He groaned inwardly. This was not going to be pretty, Adrienne was every bit of the reason Sonny had such a horrible entitled attitude.

“Hi, Adrienne.” Paul said, with a politeness to his voice that he did not feel.

Will attempted to move away from Paul but Paul’s hand on his knee stopped him. Instead he wrapped his fingers around Paul’s.

“What the hell are you doing here, in this town?” She said harshly.

“My dad lives here.” Paul said, “Or have you forgotten?”

“You got a lot of nerve coming here after what you did to my son, and bringing your new play thing with you.” she said snottily.

Paul bristled, “After what I did to him???” He said, his voice rising. “What exactly did I do to him as you see it?”

“You cheated on him, got with someone else behind his back and then humiliated him in front of the entire world.” She spat at him.

“Umm yeah Okay, I never cheated on Sonny, he left me… or didn't he tell you that? I am not exactly sure how it is that I humiliated him, especially considering that he outed me to the press.” Paul defended himself.

“I warned my son that you were going to break his heart, i told him that you weren’t good enough for him, nowhere near good enough for a Kiriakis. But he wouldn’t listen to me. Thank god he finally came to his senses.” She said snidely.

“I think you have that backwards…” Will said, joining the conversation. “It is Sonny that was not good enough for Paul, he couldn’t just accept Paul for who and what he is he kept pushing and pushing for Paul to change.”

“I think you better just butt out of this conversation.” she said, “None of this concerns you, you are nothing but the flavor of the month and as soon as he is done with you, he will toss you to the side and move on just like he did to Sonny.” she snapped. “I told Sonny you are nothing but a cheap…”

“And I think you have said enough, you may want to watch how you speak to my son.” Sami said stepping in front of her. “Or you can continue and pick your teeth up off the floor when I am done with you.”

“Sami?” Adrienne said in confusion. “You wouldn't dare…”

“Mom?” Will said, not believing his eyes.

“Wouldn’t I?” Sami snapped. “We both know I don't make empty threats, so why don’t you slink on off to wherever the hell it is that you came from.” Sami said. “Nobody gives a damn about what you have to say and it isn’t Will’s fault that your son can’t hold on to a man…..”

Adrienne turned and huffed off without another word.

“Mom… what are you doing here?” Will asked.

“Don’t be mad Will.” She said, “But mom filled me in on everything after I saw your picture in the papers and on the news and I wanted to come and see you.” she said.

“I am not mad, I am just shocked that you would leave EJ and the kids in Hong Kong to come here to check on me..” Will said.

“Well, I would if I had to but I didn’t.” Sami said, pointing over to the cafe front. There at a table in the window was EJ, Johnny, Allie, and Sydney.

“Oh My God.” Will said. “I haven’t seen them in so long, they have grown so much.”

“Yeah, they aren’t babies anymore and they have missed you Will.” Sami agreed.

“Let’s go see them.” Will said.

“Not so fast young man.” Sami said. “Don’t I get a formal introduction to your man here?”

“Oh, Sorry.” Will said blushing. “Mom, Paul Narita, Paul this is my mom, Sami.” he introduced them.

“So you are the famous Samantha Brady?” Paul asked.

“Famous?” Sami asked. “ I don't know about famous but yes, I am Samantha Dimera.”

“Oh sorry, and Yes…” Paul said, “I have heard A LOT about you.”

“All good, I hope.” Sami said grinning.

“Wellllll.” Paul said, Not wanting to lie. “I did hear that you are fiercely protective though and that ended up to be true.”

“Yeah it’s true.” She said. “You know only in salem could I come to town and meet someone one who is both my step brother and my son’s new man all at the same time.” She said. “No matter what you say about this town you can never say it is boring here.”

“Suffocating maybe, but not boring.” Will agreed. “Now come on, I wanna see the kids.”

They walked into the cafe and mayhem erupted.The kids all flew out of the booth and threw themselves at Will knocking him over. They climbed on top of him, kissing and hugging him over and over again.

Paul stood back and watched the scene with interest. Will was certainly loved by his family that was easy to see. He looked up as a tall thin man stood from the table and wrapped an arm around Sami.

“Did you behave yourself out there?” he asked.

“More or less,” She answered, “EJ, this is Paul Narita, Will’s boyfriend, and my step brother, so it seems, Paul this is my husband EJ.”

Paul shook his hand. “Nice to meet you.” he said.

“Likewise.” EJ agreed.

The waitress stepped out of the back to see if they needed anything else. She stopped in her tracks when she saw Will in the tangle of bodies on the floor.

“Will?” She said shocked.

Will disentangled himself from the group of kids and stood up fixing his clothes the best he could.

“Gabi?” he said going over and hugging her. “I haven’t seen you since high school.”

“I know, your grandma said that you would be in town this weekend.” She said. “She told me to drop by tonight for the party if I wanted.”

“What Party?” Will asked.

“I’m sorry Will, I meant dinner, not party.” Gabi said, “You just took me by surprise. I will see you later.” She said hurrying away.

Will watched her scurry off wondering what was going on. Then he walked over to EJ.

“EJ.” he said holding out his hand.

“William.” EJ answered, shaking his hand and then pulling him into a hug. “It’s good to see you.”

“You too.” Will said. “What is this party mess?”

“I haven’t the slightest Idea William.” EJ said with a straight face. “How have you been William?”

“Great!” Will said, and for the first time in his life he meant it.

“Come on… let’s go.” EJ said, “We need to get over to John and Marlena’s.”

Will watched as he rounded up the kids, paid the check for the sodas.

Will wrapped his arm around Paul’s waist as they walked out the door. “Sorry… If I had known my entire family was going to be here, I would have at least warned you.” he said.

“No sweat.” Paul said. “How come this EJ guy is the only person I have ever heard call you Willam?” he asked.

Will shrugged, “I don't know. He has always called me William.”

“Oh, okay. Maybe it is a british thing…” Paul speculated. “So… What do you think that stuff about a party means?”

“That we should have bought more than one bottle of wine.” Will cracked. “Who knows with this crazy family it could mean anything.” he said seriously.

They made it to Marlena and John’s condo and Sami opened the door with her key and they all followed her in.

Marlena and John were sitting on the couch, she turned. “Oh Noo…” she whined, “How did this happen?” she asked. “Sami, you said you would be careful and that he would never see you before tonight, this was supposed to be a surprise.” she said.

“I’m sorry Marlena.” EJ said, “I tried to stop her.”

Marlena chuckled. “That must have been almost like stepping out in front of a freight train.” she said.

EJ nodded his agreement and gave her a wry smile.

Sami turned to him. “Like I was going to sit back and let the likes of Adrienne Kiriakis lay into my baby.” she said, her eyes flashing with anger at the thought.

“What do you mean lay into him?” Marlena said, fully paying attention now.

“Mom.” Will said, “That was nothing that I could not have handled.”

“Please, you are way to much of a gentleman.” Sami said, “But I have no problem telling her off.”

“I would have paid to see that.” Marlena said.

“Nothing is better than Sami in protective Mama Bear mode.” John agreed, coming over and hugging Paul and then Will. “Glad you are here, even if Sami ruined part of the surprise.” he said.

“Yeah well Gabi ruined the rest of it, she let it slip about the party.” Sami said.

"UGH..” Marlena said. “I can’t tell anyone anything…” she complained.

“Here ya go.” Paul said handing her the bag with the bottle of wine.

“Thank you Paul.” She said. “We will use it at dinner tomorrow night.”

“What is this about a party grandma?” Will asked.

“It’s nothing really.” She said, “Everyone has just been asking about you and about Paul and wanting to see you and asking when you are coming for a visit, so I decided it would just be easier to have a family gathering at Doug’s place tonight for family and close friends…”

Will groaned…. “How many people?” he asked.

“The whole town pretty much.” John said. “The only family not invited was the Kiriakis’s for obvious reasons.“

“I could kill you grandma.” Will said lovingly.

“Kill me with kindness.” Marlena said affectionately ruffling his hair. “Now be nice to your grandma and go get ready.”

“Fine, you don't play fair though.” Will said. “Come on Paul.” he tugged Paul toward his old bedroom.

Will sat down and breathed in and out trying to get a hold on his frustration. “I am soo sorry.” he said.

“For?” Paul asked.

“All of this.” Will said.

“You seem to be forgetting that this is my family too.” Paul said.

Will smiled, “Yeah I guess I am, it is kind of hard to wrap my head around that.”

“We will be fine, no matter what happens today… I am almost excited, I may meet some family members that I didn’t even know I had.” he said.

“Well we better get ready then.” Will said feeling a little better about it all.

They took turns in the shower and dressed with care not knowing what to expect. Once they were ready they went out and joined the others who had also gotten ready to leave.

They went to Doug’s place and walked in. There was a sea of people, half of which Paul did not recognize, but there was some that he did. He was introduced to person after person, cousins, aunts, uncles, family friends, it was hard to keep them all straight…. A Lot of the people Will seemed to know as well. It was amazing to him how intertwined their lives were.

Paul stood talking to Brady and Madison. He was telling Brady about what it was like to play in the all star game after he was outed earlier that day. Brady told him how badly he had wanted to shove his fist down Sonny’s throat when that had happened.

Paul shrugged it off. “Will did it for you.” he said.

“Good for Will.” Brady said, “I always knew I liked that guy.”

“Paul….” John said, walking up. “Come on there is someone that wants to say hello.” he said.

“Who is it?” Paul asked.
“Come on, you will see.” John said.

“Where is Will?” Paul said looking around.

“He is around here somewhere, I think he may be over with Marlena and Jennifer.” John said. “I will find him for you in a minute.”

John lead Paul to the back corner of the restaurant.

Tori turned around, “Paulsan.” She said, going to him hugging him close.

“Mom.” Paul said, returning her hug. “How,, when..” he asked.

“John called me and said that you were coming here for a weekend and invited me to come.” She answered.

“I am so glad that he did.” Paul said. “I am so happy to meet you, I want you to meet Will.”

“I would be honored to meet him.” Tori agreed. “He is the one responsible for the glow in your eyes, yes?” She asked.

“Yeah.” Paul nodded, “He is the entire reason for my happiness.”

“I will find him and bring him over.” John said. “Stay here and talk to your mother.”

“Thanks dad.” Paul said as John walked off.

“Things are going well with your father?” She asked.

“Yeah, dad’s great.” Paul said. “We have gotten really close.”

“Good.” She said. “I am so sorry, that I kept him from you for so long.”

“Come on mom, we aren’t getting into that again.” Paul said. “It is over, let it go, I have found him now… or rather he found me. That is all that matters.”

“You’re right.” Tori said. “Tell me about Will.”

“Will is amazing and you are going to love him as much as I do.” Paul said, standing as Will walked up. “Here he is now. Will, this is my mom Tori, Mom this is Will Horton.”

She stood and shook hands with Will, “Very nice to meet you Will.” she said.

“Nice to meet you too.” Will said.

They sat down in the booth again and Will and Tori hit it off, the conversation flowed easily. They talked for over an hour before Sami came by, met Paul’s mother and drug Will off to catch up.

Later on, it was nearing midnight, and Will and Paul had been awake since before daylight they had left Chicago early and both of them were exhausted.

Again Salem proved to be suffocating for Will and he felt like he was over run with everyone who wanted to know everything about what he had been doing since he left town. It was the exact reason that he had decided to go to college as far away from Salem as he could the reason why he had moved to San Francisco and searched for a job.

He and Paul finally managed to sneak away from the party and back to John and Marlena's condo. They showered together quickly and slipped into bed. Paul reached over and pulled Will to him. He settled Will against him, and wrapped his arm around his waist, curling around his body. “You okay?” he asked. “You seemed a little overwhelmed tonight.”

“I'm okay.” Will whispered. “I know they don't mean any harm, but they are just soo….. much.” he said for lack of a better word.

“I know, it is a lot to take in.” Paul said. “I really realized how intertwined our lives are tonight. It is a miracle that we both aren't crazy.” he chuckled.

Will smirked, “You got that right.” he said. “But hey, I really enjoyed meeting your mom.”

“I was so shocked that Dad invited her.” Paul said. “Things were really strained after she found out that he ran a DNA test without talking to her about it, and he was pissed that she hadn't told her about me. I didn't think they would ever be on friendly terms again.”

“Well, John did that for you.” Will said. “He loves you and he knew you would want to see her.”

“I know.” Paul said. “I love him and I was happy to see her and happy to meet everyone else, but I am mostly just happy to have you. I love you, Will.”

“Mmmmm… love you too.” Will said, twisting in his arms. He kissed him softly and laid his head against Paul's chest, closing his eyes and drifting into a contented sleep.