Josh didn’t intend anything sexual when he walked in on Tyler on the bath. He just got excited about a piece of fanart he saw online and thought Tyler would want to see it. It wasn’t like they hadn’t seen each other naked before; after years of touring, they were as used to one another’s nude forms as they were their own. There wasn’t anything weird about walking into the bathroom while Tyler was in there.
This time, it felt weird.
Tyler lounged in the bath amid a sea of fluffy, bubbles. Steam rose from the bath, misting up the mirror and giving the room a heavy, humid feeling. Tyler leaned back with his head resting on a towel against the side of the tub. One long, toned leg dangled over the edge of tub, slowly dripping suds onto the thick bathmat below. It was that leg that caused the problem, Josh was certain of it. It was just so...
He didn’t know where the thought came from but, once it wriggled itself into Josh’s mind, it refused to leave. Like that leg, attraction dripped through him, saturating him like that damned bathmat. Pick Josh up, give him a squeeze, and arousal would come out in a swift rush.
It must have been Josh’s quick catch of breath that alerted Tyler to his presence. Say something, quick, Josh told himself as the other man stirred, but he couldn’t. The words wouldn’t come. He always struggled with his words when he got flustered. He waited helplessly for Tyler to turn around and ask why his bandmate was standing there like a creeper, staring at him in the bath. He didn’t. Tyler didn’t even look up.
“Hey, babe,” Tyler said. “I wasn’t expecting you home so soon.”
For a moment, Josh was confused.
I wasn’t expecting you home so soon.
He thinks I’m Jenna, Josh realized. Made sense, since they were married and all. It really shouldn’t bother him, he knew, even if Tyler should have been just as used to sharing a space with Josh as he was with Jenna – if not more so. Sure, it had been a while since Josh had crashed on his sofa but had Tyler really forgotten he was even there?
Inexplicably, Josh’s feelings were hurt. It shouldn’t have, but it did bother him.
He’d waited too long to say something. Tyler shifted, like he was about to rise. Water lashed gently against the sides of the tub.
If asked, Josh wouldn’t have been able to say what made him act rather than speak. Maybe it was his bruised feelings. Maybe it was plain old curiosity.
Maybe it was that damned leg.
Whatever made Josh act, he did it. The moment he stepped forward, rather than announcing his presence, everything changed. He moved forward hesitantly but determinedly. Something unfamiliar but exciting flickered to life in his veins.
A damp washcloth lay discarded on the edge of the sink. Josh snatched it up as he approached Tyler. He folded it over twice and, before Tyler could look up to see that it wasn’t his beautiful wife leaning over him, Josh draped the wet rag over the other man’s eyes.
When Tyler made no move to shove the cloth away, Josh grew bolder. He trailed his fingers down Tyler’s cheek, tracing the strong line of his jaw. He wanted to explore further but courage deserted him – until Tyler’s hand covered his and slowly guided it down his throat to the hollow of his collarbone.
“Go on,” Tyler breathed, encouraging him.
Josh tried to hide the fine tremor that shook his long fingers as he slid his open palm down Tyler’s bare chest. God, he hadn’t been so nervous since his first time. Damn. Thinking about sex only made him shake harder.
“You okay, baby?”
He couldn’t answer Tyler without revealing his secret, so Josh said nothing. Instead, he reached around and, with his other hand, followed the path of the first. Tyler, who’d started to sit up, settled back down. A smile touched the corners of his lips as Josh’s palms explored the hard ridges of his chest.
When Josh caught one of Tyler’s nipples between his agile fingers and gently squeezed, he was rewarded with a sharp intake of breath from his bandmate. The noise, combined with the way Tyler’s leg jerked up to rest on the edge of the bathtub in an upside-down “v”, sent a delicious shiver of excitement through Josh. He squeezed again, harder. His other hand dipped shyly below the surface of the warm water.
Josh’s fingertips brushed tentatively against Tyler’s penis. It jerked to life at the touch. His own groin tightened painfully in response. Josh couldn’t lie and say he’d never experienced attraction toward another man before – what made alive could? – but he’d never felt such a strong compulsion to do something about it. This was all new to him and it scared him a little, how badly he wanted it.
What Josh really wanted, more than anything else, was to shove the cloth away from Tyler’s eyes, lean over, and kiss the other man until neither of them could breathe. Except, of course, the moment he did that, it would all be over. Tyler would realize he’d been tricked and... Josh couldn’t imagine how his friend would react.
So, he resisted the urge to kiss the other man. Barely – and with no small amount of difficulty. Josh had to settle, instead, for wrapping his long fingers around Tyler’s increasingly erect shaft and dragging them ever so slowly up, then back down again until Tyler groaned aloud.
“God!” Tyler exclaimed. “J- oh!” Tyler bit his lip as Josh squeezed experimentally. His hips thrust reflexively upward.
Josh’s hand stilled. His free hand caught the edge of the tub to keep him steady against the unexpected wave of disappointment that washed over him. It hurt more than he could have anticipated, the reminder that, while Josh strained painfully against the confines of his jeans, just from touching Tyler, the other man only had thoughts for his wife.
Well, Josh scolded himself, of course he does. It’s only right, after all.
But it didn’t feel right.
Josh loved Jenna like he loved his sisters, but now wasn’t the time for her to be invading his thoughts. Or, he wished, Tyler’s
“Don’t,” Tyler moaned as he caught Josh’s hand before he could draw away. He urged him to continue, “don’t stop, baby. Please.”
It was ridiculous, but hearing Tyler call him “baby” – even if Tyler didn’t know it was Josh he was talking to – made him feel strangely pleased. Josh eagerly complied, letting the other man guide his hand along his erection. They continued that way, stroking together, until a shudder tore through Tyler’s body and he released Josh’s hand to grip the porcelain edges of the bath tub. He pumped into Josh’s strokes, meeting each downward movement with a heavy thrust that sent suds and water splashing onto the tiled floor.
Josh had touched himself before, of course (he was a good kid, but not that good), but it hadn’t been like this. It had been... good. Fun. Enjoyable. He’d brought himself to climax to relieve tension, but he’d never worshiped himself the way he worshipped Tyler now. His dark-haired angel writhed under Josh’s reverent touch. Tyler’s throaty moans made heat rush up around Josh in a wild whirlwind of desire.
By the time Tyler arched up, groaning loudly in pleasure as he reached orgasm, the knuckles of the hand Josh gripped the edge of the tub with were white from the effort it took to keep his own hand off himself. Tyler slumped against the tub. A hazy grin spread across his face. Josh reluctantly pulled his hand away and rose on unsteady legs. Choking on a sigh of disappointment and frustration, Josh wiped his wet hands on the front of his jeans and turned to leave before Tyler could realize who’d been touching him.
He’d almost reached the door when Tyler spoke.
“Don’t go... Josh.”
Josh stopped dead. The floor beneath his feet had suddenly turned to quicksand. Slowly, he forced himself to turn. He watched helplessly as Tyler reach up to pluck the cloth from his eyes.
“You...” Josh swallowed hard. Some of the quicksand seemed to have found its way into his throat. “You knew?”
Tyler pushed himself up in the cooling water. He gave Josh a heavy-lidded look full of lazy desire. “Do you really think I can’t tell the difference between my wife’s hands and my best friend’s hands?” he asked, answering Josh’s question with a question.
Oh, my god.
Face flaming, Josh floundered, staring down at his hands. Josh opened his mouth, then clamped it shut again. He’d known. Tyler had known it was Josh the whole time and he’d let him do it. Had... encouraged him to do it.
Oh. My. God. What did that even mean?
“Why didn’t you say something?”
Tyler sat back. He propped an elbow on the side of the tub and rested his chin on a soapy hand. Shrugging, he said, “At first, I was curious. After that...”
Curiosity drew Josh forward. “After that?” The quicksand rolled, driving him back toward the bathtub. Toward Tyler.
“After that,” Tyler said, looking up at Josh through his dark lashes, “it felt too damned good to stop.”
Josh had to stop himself from grinning like a fool. Tyler’s words made him felt like a balloon that had been inflated too much, too quickly; like he could burst at any moment. “Tyler Robert Joseph,” he teased, “do you kiss your mother with that mouth?”
Color spread across the other man’s cheeks. “I’ll tell you who’d I like to kiss...”
Thu-ump. Josh’s heart skipped a beat.
“Who?” he asked breathlessly.
Tyler’s grin grew mischievous. “You.”
He lunged forward to catch Josh’s wrist. Although he managed to grab Josh, he slipped as he did so, losing his balance in the sudsy bathtub. They tumbled backward together, laughing as the water sloshed up to drench them both.
Jenna got home earlier than expected. She wasn’t surprised when Jim came bounding toward her the moment she opened the front door. Josh had been sleeping over more and more as the tour grew nearer. She was surprised, though, that Josh wasn’t right on his dog’s heels. At the first rustle of a grocery bag, Josh was usually there to hunt for goodies – if Tyler didn’t beat him there first.
Where were her boys?
She dropped the bags off in the kitchen, snuck Jim a treat, then went looking for Tyler and Josh.
“Guys? Hey, where are you?”
The tour was due to start in just a few weeks, so Tyler’s studio was the logical place to look. There wasn’t any music coming from the basement room but that didn’t mean the boys weren’t parked in front of the computer, working on graphics or the next chapter in their cryptic story. Jenn eased the door open and peered into the room, careful not to disturb them if they were working.
She hadn’t even considered checking the master bathroom attached to her and Tyler’s bedroom but that was where Jenna eventually found them. Well, she assumed she’d found them. There were noises coming from the bathroom – the kind of noises it usually took at least two people to make. Jenna listened intently for a moment, trying to picture what was going on behind the closed door.
“Tyler!” Josh’s cry of pleasure confirmed Jenna’s suspicions.
She grinned. Tempting as it was to peek inside and see exactly what the boys were up to, Jenna turned and made her way back to the kitchen. Knowing them, if she interrupted Tyler and Josh now, they’d get all flustered and embarrassed and it would be ages before they’d let their guards down enough to try again – and it had taken them so long to get there this time.
No, Jenna would make herself scarce until Tyler and Josh finished doing... well, whatever it was they were doing in that bathroom. Maybe she’d put a casserole on. Chances were pretty good the boys were working themselves up an appetite. Once everyone had a chance to... er, fill up, she’d bombard them with the questions racing through her mind. Questions like, “Next time, can I watch?”