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Squeeze My Hand

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Maggie had sent Jesus to Alexandria to deliver new horse shoes forged by Earl. It had only been a week since Aaron’s accident, and Siddiq had taken him home and stayed in Alexandria for his immediate care. Jesus knew he should visit the other man while he was at the community; they’d become friends during their scouting and clearing missions together, but he was nervous about seeing the aftermath of the accident first hand. He wasn’t particularly squeamish, per se; it was more the realization that he would probably see a lot less of Aaron now. The other man would be more limited in his abilities. Jesus had come to care a great deal for Aaron, and would miss his company outside the walls.

Riding into the upscale community always brought back a lot of memories for Jesus, none of them particularly happy. It seemed that almost every time he’d come here, it had been to help the group defend themselves against the Saviors. So many lives lost… The scars of war could still be seen in the damaged structures still under reconstruction, the charred gazebo along the trail to the man-made duck pond, and the names written on the walls of Alexandria.

Despite the tragedies and hardships, the community had moved on, started to rebuild, started to flourish in their production of crops. They still had a ways to go, but didn’t everyone right now?

Alexandria’s stable-hand took Jesus’ horse when he dismounted, and Jesus gave her the newly minted shoes. “You planning to stay for the night?” She’d asked, wondering if she needed to unsaddle the horse or not.

“Yeah,” Paul found himself saying without really even thinking about the decision.

Heading up the road, Jesus decided to stop by the medical center first, hoping to talk to Siddiq and get a feel on how Aaron was doing, see if company was even desired right now. The Muslim was surprised to see Hilltop’s second-in-command and greeted Paul with a brotherly hug.

“Maggie finally let you outside?” Siddiq teased, knowing Maggie had him managing the day-to-day functions at the Hilltop, limiting his time outside.

“I had to beg,” he kidded back. “Thought I’d stay out past curfew and spend the night here.”

Siddiq laughed and picked up the walkie talkie on the desk. “Want me to call Mom and tell her?”

“Yeah, probably should so she doesn’t send a search party out for me.” Jesus paused a beat before asking the question that had been burning on his mind the entire trek over from Hilltop. “How’s Aaron?”

“He’s good.” Siddiq answered in an upbeat voice. “I mean, as good as anyone in that situation can be. He should be coming by in a few minutes, actually. I need to debride the wound.”

Jesus felt a chill run down his spine. ‘Debride the wound.’ He wondered how mangled Aaron’s arm was, and was grateful that Enid had been so quick to respond in the situation. Another chill ran down his spine. “How’s Enid doing?”

“Shaken, obviously, but she did an amazing job. I’m honestly not sure I could have done any better. She’s holding down the fort at the bridge site while I’m here with Aaron.”

“We’re incredibly lucky to have you, Siddiq.”

“I’m incredibly glad I was accepted into the group.”

The screen door creaked open and both men turned their heads to see Aaron wearing a sheepish expression. “I’m not interrupting, am I?”

“Not at all,” Siddiq motioned him over, patting the exam table.

Jesus knew he was staring at the other man, but thankfully his gaze was stuck on the man’s face and not his arm. Aaron looked at him with a warm smile, reaching out to grasp his shoulder in greeting.

“It’s really good to see you.”

Paul reached up and gently held onto Aaron’s right elbow. “It’s really good to see you, too. How are you feeling?”

Aaron sighed a little in consideration. “Frustrated, mostly. It’s weird, but I still feel like my arm is still there, so I’ll go to grab something or do something, and it’s like ‘oh…right…’”

Whether driven by compassion or something deeper, Paul found himself asking, “Would you mind if I gave you a hug?”

“That would be very welcome right now. I could use a hug.” Aaron said, the hand on Paul’s shoulder sliding around the other man and pulling him forward.

Paul had little choice but to wrap his arms around Aaron’s waist and rest his head against the other man’s shoulder. Aaron’s arm was holding him tightly, and Jesus found himself squeezing just as tight, feeling Aaron’s head rest slightly against his. Neither man was in a hurry to end the embrace.

Jesus felt a stir of something in his core. This felt so natural to him, like he belonged there. He hadn’t dated anyone since before the dead started to rise, and opportunities to hug other men were rare, so he chalked it up to the product of being lonely. He finally pulled back and offered a sympathetic smile to Aaron. “I should go so Siddiq can take care of you.”

“Actually…” Aaron hesitated a moment, obviously having an internal argument with himself. “I’d really like it if you stayed. It hurts like a bitch, and it’d be nice to have someone distract me. If you don’t mind.”

“Of course.” Paul nodded, stepping to Aaron’s right side as the other man sat on the exam table. He could see Aaron’s hand clenching against his thigh as Siddiq began to unravel the bandages. Paul reached out, placing one hand over Aaron’s and the other on the man’s shoulder. “Squeeze my hand if it hurts.”

Aaron looked surprised for a moment before the expression melted into gratitude, and he cinched Paul’s hand in a strong grip. “If I start breaking your bones, let me know.”

He laughed softly, “I’ll definitely let you know.” He held the other man’s gaze, hoping the eye contact would help distract Aaron along with conversation. “How’s Gracie doing?”

“She’s good. She doesn’t understand daddy’s boo-boo, and keeps kissing it to make it all better.”

Jesus felt his heart melt into his socks. The love this man had for the orphaned child was unbelievably endearing.

“Barb has been a godsend, helping me take care of her. You wouldn’t believe how hard it is to change a diaper with one hand. I’ve never been more ready for her to be potty trained than I am right now.”

Paul couldn’t help but chuckle in response, feeling Aaron’s grip tighten as Siddiq started to work on the damaged skin. “How old do they have to be before you can start the training?”

“We’ve actually been trying to get her started. She has her own little ‘princess throne’ but right now she mostly just wants to run around with the toilet seat on her head like a crown.”

A laugh erupted out of Paul at the mental image, and he saw the other man smiling in response, pleased that the story had amused his audience. “Hopefully she’ll get the hang of it soon.”

“Part of me is ready for it, the other part doesn’t want her to grow up, y’know? It feels like just yesterday I was holding her for the first time.”

“I remember when you brought her to Hilltop. No one expected to see a little pink bundle come back from the heat of the battle.”

“When Eric—“ Aaron’s voice hitched and he gripped Paul’s hand again from a different kind of pain. “When I lost him, I felt like part of me died, too. I didn’t know what to do. I saw Rick carry her out of the building, trying to figure out what to do with her, and I just…knew. I had to take her.”

“I don’t think she could have asked for a better dad.”

“I’m sure there’s a lot I get wrong and screw up, but she’s alive, she’s healthy, and she’s happy. That’s what matters, right?”

“Definitely,” Jesus nodded in agreement. “All parents screw up, I think. It’s the intentions that matter.”

“Can I shrink you down and keep you in my pocket as my own personal motivational speaker?”

Jesus laughed again and shook his head. “I’m short enough as it is and you want me smaller?!”

Aaron nodded. “Pocket Jesus, everyone will want one.”

“Spending the rest of my life passed from pocket to pocket spouting off proverbs like a fortune cookie…” He laughed softly and shook his head at the thought. “Tempting, but I’ll have to pass.”

Aaron chuckled softly.

“There,” Siddiq declared, drawing their attention as he rolled back on the stool. “All done.”

“Seriously?” Aaron looked down at the stumped arm in disbelief. “Either you’re getting faster or Jesus really is magical.”

“It’s my hair,” Jesus joked. “I’m like Sampson; if you cut my hair off, I lose my powers.”

The other men laughed and Paul felt Aaron’s thumb stroke the back of his hand. “Thank you. Really.”

“You’re welcome. I’m glad I could help.”

They finally released their hold on each other and Aaron slid off the bed. “You headed back tonight?”

“I thought I might stick around until tomorrow. Take advantage of being outside the walls.”

“Outside those walls and inside another set of walls.” Aaron pointed out.

“Hmm. True, but it’s still a change of scenery.”

“Where are you staying?”

“I figured I’d just crash on a couch somewhere.”

“Like hell you will. I’ve got more bedrooms than I know what to do with, stay with me and Gracie. I’m making spaghetti for the first time since the accident. You can watch me bungle it.”

“Thanks.” Paul chuckled.

“Don’t mention it. Siddiq, 7:30.” Aaron pointed at the other man.

“I’ll be there.”

“Come on, I don’t think you’ve ever been in my house, have you? You can see the collection of crap Eric and I accumulated on our runs.”

Jesus snorted softly in amusement at the descriptor of ‘crap’ and followed Aaron across the street to the large house. It wasn’t as big as the Barrington House, but it was still bigger than anything Paul had ever lived in.

Walking in and seeing the television on and a Disney movie playing was the most jarring experience Paul had had in a long time. He’d forgotten that these had been people’s homes before the outbreak, and that those people had owned TVs and stereos, and other electronics that were powered by the solar panels. He stared at it transfixed for a minute before noticing the woman on the couch and Gracie on the floor in front of her playing with toys.

“Jesus,” the auburn haired woman smiled. “What a surprise!”

“Hi, Barbara; how are you?”

“Just peachy, thanks!”

“If you want to go home, Barb, I think I’ll be okay with Jesus here until she’s down for the night.”

“You sure? I don’t mind staying.”

“Yeah, go ahead. Thank you for helping with her.”

“Anytime, Aaron. I’ll swing by tomorrow.”

“Say bye-bye to Barb, Gracie.”

“Bye-bye,” the toddler said with a grin, sticking her hand out to wave at the woman.

Aaron looked at Paul as the door closed behind Barbara. “I’m an idiot. I completely volunteered you to help out with Gracie. I’m sorry. If it’s too much trouble—“

“Not at all,” Paul shook his head softly. “I’d love to help. I help Maggie with Hershel all the time, so I’ve gotten pretty good at changing diapers and stuff.”

“Thanks,” Aaron sighed softly in relief. “Come on, I’ll give you the grand tour of the downstairs.” He took a few steps back into the middle of the room, gesturing to the space around them. “As you can see, here we have the open-concept living room, dining room, and kitchen. If you’ll come this way, you’ll find the office-slash-playroom.”

“Did you collect all of the license plates?” Paul asked, noticing the predominate wall art.

“Eric and I did.” Aaron paused to look at one wall in the office that was floor to ceiling with plates between the two large windows. “Each one holds a special memory…I haven’t been able to bring myself to take them down.”

Saying ‘I’m sorry for your loss’ nearly two years after the fact seemed a little hollow, so Paul simply put his hand gently on Aaron’s back, hoping the physical contact would mean more than words. Aaron smiled at him softly, then led him through another door leading out of the office.

“Garage is through that door, laundry room here.” They rounded the corner of the short hallway. Stairs opened to the left, and straight ahead was the kitchen and dining room. “Expansive, isn’t it?” Aaron chuckled.

“It’s nice,” Paul told him sincerely, not wanting to make Aaron feel bad by mentioning that he lived in a one-room trailer that didn’t even have any plumbing.

“I still feel guilty living here all alone. Well, me and Gracie. Enid stays here when she’s in Alexandria. But now that Siddiq has been training her, she’s been spending more time at Hilltop. I’ve offered the spare rooms to people, but…no takers.”

“It’s still nice that you offered. It’s more than most people do.” He remembered when he’d shared his trailer with Maggie, Enid, Sasha, and Daryl all at one time because no one else in Hilltop would offer them a bed. While the people of Hilltop were good people, they still had a lot to learn about hospitality.

The little pitter patter of bare feet drew their attention and they saw Gracie toddling as fast her tiny legs would allow, arms outstretch and a grin on her face. “Daddy!” She hugged Aaron’s leg and tugged on his pant leg. Aaron bent down, scooping her up with his arm under her bottom and holding her against his hip.

“Can you say ‘hi’ to my friend Jesus, Gracie?”

“She can call me Paul,” he chuckled. “That might be easier to say.”

“How did I not know that was your actual name? I mean, I knew it wasn’t Jesus, obviously, but I never even thought to ask.”

Paul laughed. “No one calls me Paul anymore. Half the time I even forget it’s my name.”

“Say ‘Hi, Paul.’” Aaron said to Gracie, who was shyly burying her face into Aaron’s chest, peeking at Jesus with one eye.

“Hi, Gracie,” Paul said with a friendly smile. The girl turned her face away and both men laughed.

“Stranger danger,” Aaron chuckled, rubbing Gracie’s back. “She’ll come around. Make yourself at home. Gracie, do you want some apple juice?”

The girl nodded and Aaron started to put her down, but her arms wrapped around his neck, her legs squeezing tight. “No.”

“Baby, I have to put you down to get the juice. Remember, Daddy can’t use his left arm anymore.”

The little girl huffed, but released his neck and let Aaron put her down. Jesus tried to distract her. “Gracie, do you want to show me your toys?”

She eyed him warily for a minute, then seemed to decide that he was okay, and nodded reaching up for his hand. Paul offered her his hand and let her lead him into the playroom where most of her toys were. As he looked back over his shoulder, he saw Aaron watching them with an adoring smile, and it made his heart skip a tiny beat.

Jesus had never been particularly good at translating the garbled sentences and words of younger children, so as he sat in the floor, he had to pretend he understood what she was saying as she talked about her toys, bringing him random stuffed animals to hold until his lap was piled with them.

Aaron appeared in the doorway a few minutes later with a sippy cup in his hand and an amused grin on his face. “I don’t think she’s going to let you leave now. Gracie, let’s put those away so you can have your juice.” She started to run towards Aaron in excitement. “Toys first.”

Paul held out one of the stuffed animals towards her in hopes that it would help encourage her to obey, and she took it from and put it back in the toy box. “Gracie, you want to play catch? Here, I’ll throw this one to you.” He made sure she was ready and softly tossed the toy. Chubby little arms went out to catch the toy, but it smacked her in the face and hit the floor. Paul cringed for a second until he heard the girl laughing in glee. She picked up the toy and put it away, then held out her hands for him to throw another one. That one was missed as well, but she still laughed, enjoying this game of cleanup.

“You’re good with her,” Aaron noted softly.

“I grew up with a lot of kids around, a lot of little kids.”

“Brothers and sisters?”

“In a sense,” Paul shrugged, continuing to toss animals. “Foster siblings.”

“Oh, I’m…I’m sorry.” Aaron said awkwardly, afraid he might have offended Paul.

“Don’t be.” Paul tossed the last toy to Gracie. Even though she hadn’t caught a single one, she had clearly had fun and she ran to Aaron reaching for the cup.

“Go watch your movie.”

Gracie accepted the cup and headed into the living room, pulling herself up on the couch as she quietly watched the movie.

Paul smiled as he watched the child. “She’s really well-mannered.”

“It’s a work in progress. You’re catching her on a good day and not a ‘I’m going to throw a tantrum because this shirt isn’t the right shade of pink’ kind of day.”

“Well, who could blame her? I know I’m pretty particular about my pinks, too.” Paul laughed.

Aaron smirked then jerked his head towards the kitchen. “Want to help me make the sauce?”

“Sure.”

They moved into the kitchen and Aaron washed his hand, drying it on a dish towel before looking around. Jesus took the opportunity to wash his own hands. “Let’s see, tomatoes…” he pointed to a bowl of tomatoes on the counter. “Basil, parsley…don’t have sugar…and salt. Would you mind to go snip some of the basil and parsley from the little herb garden in the back yard?”

“Sure. How much do you need?”

“Three or four basil leaves and enough parsley that it would make a ¼ of a cup chopped up.”

Jesus nodded and followed Aaron’s instruction to go through the garage and to the left through the little gate. He retrieved what was needed, and headed back in. Aaron was pulverizing tomatoes with his hand. He instructed Paul to use a little mortar and pestle to grind up the basil leaves until it was like a powder, and to finely chop the parley.

They worked well together even in the kitchen, Paul found himself thinking. It was just easy to be around Aaron. He never complained, he was always positive and upbeat, friendly… Jesus glanced over at him as Aaron wiped his brow with his forearm. Handsome. He definitely couldn’t deny that Aaron was very, very handsome.

He steered his thoughts away from that area, focusing on his task. The conversation was light; general getting-to-know-you questions. Aaron asked him what he did before all of this, and Jesus smirked. “Guess.”

“Ninja assassin.” Aaron said, only half joking.

Paul laughed. “Well…I guess you’re partly right.”

“The assassin part?” Aaron smirked, glancing over at Paul.

“The ninja part,” he laughed again. “I had a karate school. I taught a few self-defense classes, too.”

“Now it makes sense why you’re such a good teacher.”

“How would you know? You’ve still never been to one of my classes.” Jesus smirked, arching an eyebrow playfully at the other man.

“Enid,” Aaron smiled back at him. “She’s talked about it…and you…quite a bit.”

“Oh? Good things, I hope.”

“Very good things,” Aaron nodded, not elaborating.

“You’re still welcome, you know?” Jesus told him seriously. “To come to my classes. You won’t be able to throw a left punch, or block with your left hand, but that won’t matter too much.”

Aaron looked at him before quietly murmuring, “Thanks. I might take you up on that sometime.”

The ingredients were combined and mixed in a saucepan, then set on the stove to warm up slowly. “I let it cook for several hours on low, let it really soak up the flavor of the herbs.”

“I’ve never made homemade spaghetti sauce before,” Jesus admitted, taking their utensils to the sink to wash them. “Thanks for teaching me.”

“Sure. Thanks for helping. If I’d had to do it alone, I probably should have started yesterday.” He chuckled.

They spent the rest of the afternoon playing with Gracie until it got close to supper time. Aaron put freshly made spaghetti noodles in a pot of boiling water and checked the sauce, taste-testing it with his pinkie. “Mm. Perfect.” He covered the tip of his pinkie a second time and held it out towards Jesus. “Here, try it.”

The surprise at the offer to eat off Aaron’s finger must have shone on his face because the color started to rise in Aaron’s cheeks and he began to stammer and turn away in embarrassment. Jesus made a split second decision and reached out for Aaron’s wrist, bringing the sauce covered finger to his mouth and sucking it clean. He couldn’t help but look in Aaron’s eyes as he did this, and realized just how intimate and suggestive this moment was.

Aaron’s chest was rising and falling heavily as Paul pulled back. He could see the hunger in Aaron’s gaze, and felt it in the pit of his stomach. “It’s good,” he murmured, knowing something needed to be said to break the sudden sexual tension.

“You’ve got a little…” Aaron stepped closer, cupping Paul’s cheek and dragging his thumb across Paul’s lower lip. “Just there.”

Paul sucked the pad of Aaron’s thumb—So much for breaking the tension—and felt himself being pulled towards Aaron’s lips. He closed his eyes, wanting desperately for this man to kiss him, but in the breath before the kiss, a voice stopped them.

“Daddy?”

Aaron pulled back to see Gracie standing next to them holding out her empty juice cup.

“I think someone needs more juice.” Paul said with a chuckle, skirting around Aaron in order to hide his blush. He pulled open cabinet doors until he found plates. “Is it just us and Siddiq? Anyone else I need to set a place for?”

“You don’t have to do that,” Aaron started to protest as he took Gracie’s cup and wrestled to get the lid off. “But, yeah, it’s just us and Siddiq.”

Paul pulled down the plates and found the silverware, then set the table. He hoped Aaron didn’t notice the tremble in his hands from the adrenaline pumping through him at the near-kiss. His thoughts were going warp speed in his brain. Was this smart? Would this fuck up their friendship? Would it better their friendship? Did Aaron want a relationship, or was he just looking for a one-time thing, or friends with benefits, or…or…or… He had to take a deep breath and consider the facts, not speculate on possibilities.

Fact: He liked Aaron. Fact: Aaron made him laugh. Fact: Aaron was good-looking. Fact: Paul could easily fall in love with him. Fact: He really wanted this.

The conversation had died between them as awkwardness set in, both unsure of how the other was feeling, and trying to get a grip on their own feelings. Aaron mixed the pasta and sauce together in a bowl, then set it on the table. He pulled Gracie’s high chair over and got her settled into it just as the knock came at the front door.

Paul nearly sighed in relief, and could tell that Aaron was thankful for Siddiq’s arrival as well. The three sat down and served their plates while Gracie began to slurp up her noodles. Thankfully, conversation flowed naturally, and the awkwardness that had arisen between them seemed to melt away.

The dinner had been delicious and filling, probably the best meal Paul had eaten in some time. Aaron had definitely perfected making spaghetti sauce. He cleaned up the dishes while Siddiq helped Aaron clean up Gracie. The leftovers were scooped into Tupperware and set in the fridge, and the group relocated to the living room.

Gracie had played for a while as the grown-ups talked, then moved into Aaron’s lap, laying her head on his chest. Aaron rhythmically pat and rubbed her back, lulling her to sleep.

“I better get out of your hair so you can get her to bed.” Siddiq said with a smile. “Thanks for dinner, Aaron. Jesus, I’ve got something for you to take back to Hilltop. Stop by before you leave tomorrow.”

Siddiq showed himself out and Aaron shifted slightly, trying to get a good hold on Gracie. “You’re going to have to take her. She’s going to flop like a dead fish if I stand up.”

Paul laughed softly and leaned in so that Aaron could transfer her into his arms. The closeness made his libido start to do the conga in his intestines. He swallowed dryly and focused on the task at hand, scooping Gracie up. Thankfully, she didn’t wake, and Aaron led the way upstairs to her room.

“I need to change her before we put her down,” Aaron murmured softly.

“Do you want me to?”

“Would you mind? If I do it, it’ll definitely wake her up.”

Paul gently laid her on the changing table, carefully removing her clothes and the diaper before wiping her clean and sticking a dry diaper on. Aaron hand him a pair of her pajamas and together they got her dressed and tucked into the toddler bed. Paul watched as Aaron leaned in to kiss her goodnight, smiling softly at how loving and attentive he was to his daughter. It made his heart swell with adoration. Aaron picked up the baby monitor from the charger, turned the receiver and the monitor on, then led Paul back out of the room.

Jesus could feel the awkward tension rising again. “Well, I guess we should ca—“

Aaron’s hand was at the back of his neck, trying to hold the baby monitor as he pulled Jesus forward into a bruising kiss. Paul cupped Aaron’s cheek with one hand, the other slipping around Aaron’s waist as he returned the kiss fervently. When their lips broke apart for air, their bodies stayed pressed against each other. Paul could feel Aaron’s arousal against his hip.

“Are you sure about this?” He asked, stroking Aaron’s bearded jaw.

Aaron nodded softly. “Is it okay?”

“It’s going to change things,” Paul warned him, making sure Aaron was thinking logically.

“I know. Is that a bad thing?” His lips brushed against Paul’s.

Paul didn’t answer, mostly because he didn’t know, and simply deepened the kiss, tongue sliding against Aaron’s lower lip before the man granted him entry. Aaron snaked his arm around Paul’s waist, dragging him towards the other end of the hall, stopping long enough to secure the baby gate at the top of the stairs before resuming the kiss and trek into the master bedroom.

Jesus could feel his internal brakes slam on as he became consciously aware that this was the room Aaron had shared with Eric. The bed he’d shared with him. He pulled back at the doorway. “I can’t…Eric…” He couldn’t explain, and hoped Aaron understood.

Aaron set the baby monitor down on the dresser and cupped Paul’s face, his hand sliding to the back of his neck as he kissed the man’s forehead. “That. That right there tells me this is right. I love Eric, and always will, but I’ve made peace with his passing. I want to move on with my life. I want…” Aaron closed his eyes and rested his forehead against Paul’s. “I want to be with you.”

The words made Paul’s heart flutter, his stomach somersault, his face and neck tingle with the blush that invaded his cheeks. He couldn’t help but smile, offering the other man a tender kiss. “Okay.” He whispered, afraid to break the spell.

“Yeah?” Aaron whispered back, smiling.

“Yeah.” Paul brushed his nose against Aaron’s. “We’ll find a way to make this work.”

Aaron crushed him in a one-armed embrace, nearly lifting him off his feet and kissing him passionately. “Come to bed with me.”

A shiver traveled down Paul’s spine at the delicious baritone voice murmuring directly in his ear. He was pretty sure he mewled in response, but his head was too fuzzy to be sure. Aaron began to lead him towards the bed again, pushing the door closed, and this time, Paul went willingly.

Slowly, Paul began to pull Aaron’s shirt off, mindful of his left arm, and scattered kisses across his bare shoulder and chest, hands gliding down over his pecs and abdomen, soaking in the warmth of Aaron’s skin.

“Don’t laugh at my elastic waistband pants,” Aaron murmured just before Paul’s hands reached his pants. “I know, they’re for old people, but they’re just easier to manage right now.”

“I’m not laughing; I think it’s smart.” Paul assured him, giving him a long, languid kiss.

Aaron’s hand slipped up the front of Paul’s shirt, resting against his abdomen for a moment, before caressing his way up, pulling the shirt up with his arm. Paul smirked and tugged the shirt off over his head, and Aaron’s hand slid up to his neck before his lips moved to Paul’s shoulder. “God, you’re beautiful.”

Paul blushed, trailing his hands down Aaron’s back and nuzzling his shoulder, peppering it with tiny kisses. He felt Aaron’s hand move up to the knot of his hair at the back of his head, trying to figure out how to take it down. Jesus laughed softly and reached back, pulling at the elastic band until it slipped free, his hair untwisting itself from the bun and spilling down his shoulders and back. He slipped the band on his wrist and ran his hand through the locks to comb out any tangles.

Aaron’s fingers slid through the locks before he grinned deviously and tightened his grip on the strands, pulling Paul’s head back so he could attack the exposed neck with nibbles and kisses. Paul moaned softly, raking his blunt nails down Aaron’s back. He wondered if the man knew how much he liked having his hair pulled during sex, or if it was a lucky guess. Either way, he wasn’t about to complain. Aaron’s tongue laved the side of his neck all the way to his ear, making Paul shiver and moan again.

“Will you suck my cock?” Aaron asked, lips pressed against Paul’s ear.

The request was somewhat unsure, but still sexy as hell, and Paul responded by dragging Aaron’s lips to his and kissing him deeply before sinking down to his knees in front of the other man. He heard Aaron exhale in aroused awe, fingers slipping through Paul’s long tresses, as he slid the pants down, lifting up Aaron’s legs individually so the other man could step out of them.

Aaron’s cock was jutting forward, straining against the fabric of his briefs, and Paul couldn’t help but tease the man by massaging him through his underwear. Aaron sighed in pleasure, his head dropping back as his eyes closed. Jesus knew it had been a long time since either of them had had sex, and he didn’t intend to keep the man waiting for too much longer. Pulling the briefs down, Aaron stepped out of them and Paul tossed them towards the growing pile of clothes on the floor before drinking in the full sight of the man before him.

The size of him made Paul’s mouth water and his body ache, craving to be filled, yearning for that physical connection between them. He palmed Aaron’s generous length before running his tongue along the seam of the heavy sac. Aaron shuddered, gripping a handful of Paul’s hair with a deep-throated moan. Dragging his tongue along the shaft, Paul let it trail across the head, collecting the precum that had already started to leak.

“Fuck…” Aaron breathed, letting go of Paul’s hair to grip one of the posts of the 4 poster bed for support. “I could cum just from you doing that.”

Paul wanted to take that as a compliment, but knew it was probably just the self-imposed celibacy for the past 18 months that had made Aaron overly sensitive to touch…and tongue. He opened his mouth over the head, taking Aaron all the way in to the back of his throat, as deep as he could go without gagging, then slowly pulling back, tongue flicking the frenulum just under the head. Aaron shuddered again.

“I’d kill for my other hand right now,” he growled. “I want to touch you, but I’m afraid my knees might buckle and I don’t want to fall on you.”

Paul looked up at him, lips moist with saliva and precum. “Lay on the bed.”

Aaron stroked his cheek wordlessly, then slithered into the bed and up against the pillows. Paul unlaced his boots while he was still on his knees, pulling them off and setting them out of the way so no one would trip on them. As he stood, he unbuttoned his pants, lowered the zip and pushed pants and boxer briefs down in one swoop. He crawled onto the bed from the foot, laying in a child’s pose between Aaron’s legs.

With one hand, he held his hair back out of the way while the other guided Aaron’s cock back to his mouth. Aaron sighed in pleasure as Paul took him all the way to the root, reaching out to hold Paul’s hair for him. Paul began to find a rhythm and speed that wouldn’t bring Aaron too quickly to climax, driven by the man’s soft moans and muttered swears. He could tell when the other man started to fight against his climax by the way his hand tightened in his hair, and the movement of his hips.

Pulling off of him with a soft, wet pop, he ran his nose, lips, and beard from Aaron’s groin up his torso as he crawled on top of Aaron, straddling his hips. Aaron’s hand released his hair in favor of gripping Paul’s thigh, and the locks spilled over his shoulders, puddling against Aaron’s chest and curtaining their faces as his lips finally reached the other man’s.

“You wouldn’t happen to have any lube would you?” Paul asked, hopeful.

Aaron hummed in the affirmative, looking to the drawer on his left. “Condoms, too.”

“Perfect,” he kissed Aaron and moved off of him long enough to retrieve the necessary items, opening the package with his teeth before rolling the condom onto Aaron’s cock. He flipped the lid of the lube and was about coat his own fingers when Aaron gripped his wrist.

“Let me. Please?”

Paul felt his cheeks turn pink, but he nodded his assent. Aaron shifted onto his knees and held out his hand. Paul coated Aaron’s fingers, then got onto his hands and knees in front of Aaron.

“Jesus, even your ass is beautiful,” Aaron said in admiration. “I mean Jesus, Jesus…not you, Jesus.”

Paul laughed softly, looking back over his shoulder with a demure grin. “Either way…thank you.”

They held each other’s gaze as Aaron’s fingers slid along the crevice to the desired spot. He was gentle, slow, giving Paul’s body time to remember that it enjoyed this, and watching the other man’s face for cues to continue. It didn’t take long for Paul to start sighing in pleasure, pushing back against the fingers. Paul dropped his head forward, then rolled it back as Aaron’s fingers thrust in, and his body pushed back.

“Aaron…” he pleaded in a whisper.

The other man understood completely, withdrawing his fingers slowly before taking a hold of his cock and lining it up with Paul’s entrance. Aaron pressed the head of his cock into the tight ring of muscle, and Paul bit his lip against the moan that threatened to rip from his throat. It had been so, so long, and despite the initial pain, he was thrumming with anticipation. Gradually Aaron sank into him, inch by inch until he was sheathed all the way to the base. He gripped Paul’s hip, groaning in pleasure, and Paul instinctively knew he was fighting against his orgasm again.

“There’s no way I’m going to last very long,” Aaron breathed. “You’re so tight. It feels incredible.”

Paul reached a hand back to stroke Aaron’s knee, letting him know it was okay. Once the man had regained control he pulled back to the tip, then back in, repeating the motion until he could move with ease in the canal. Ripples of pleasure traveled through Paul’s bloodstream and he found himself panting in response as Aaron grew in both speed and intensity.

Aaron’s hand traveled over him, trying to find the best purchase until it landed across his body on Paul’s left hip. Each time Aaron thrust forward, Paul pushed back, and the two found an easy rhythm to sink into. Each prod against his prostate sent a jolt of electricity through Paul, with the pleasure point in his groin acting as a lightning rod. His cock hung heavily between his legs, throbbing with need and he used one hand to stroke himself in time to Aaron’s thrusts.

Hot breaths, deep groans, and the smell of sweat permeated the air around them as they rode together towards release. It seemed to last both a lifetime and a split second before Aaron reached his peak, unable to fight against it anymore. The guttural sound of pleasure, and the hard, deep thrusts sent Paul tumbling over the edge into the abyss of ecstasy. He came into his hand as much as possible, trying to spare Aaron’s bedspread, crying out in utter bliss until he was completely spent.

Aaron’s arm rested across his lower back, obviously trying to keep himself from collapsing on top of Paul. When he finally pulled out, sitting back on his heels and panting to catch his breath, Paul deftly rolled off the bed and moved into the en-suite bathroom to wash his hands. Aaron was still sitting on his heels, obviously content to not move anytime soon, so Paul leaned over to take the condom off of him, dropping his head down to suck Aaron clean. Aaron jolted slightly, sensitive after his release, but groaned in pleasure, running his hand over the back of Paul’s head.

Jesus slowly released Aaron, and moved to toss the condom in the trash. Aaron finally moved to collapse on his back against the pillows, laying on the left side of the bed. Paul went around to the other side, crawling in next to Aaron and leaning over him to kiss him deeply. Aaron brushed his hair back, cupping the side of his face as he returned the kiss languidly, letting it come to a natural end.

“That was amazing,” Aaron murmured.

Paul grinned, settling into the crook of Aaron’s arm and letting the other man hold him against his side. “It was pretty incredible, wasn’t it?”

“Mm. Forgot how much I missed sex.”

Jesus chuckled softly, knowing the feeling, and idly stroked Aaron’s chest and abdomen as he reveled in the warmth and closeness. He could hear Aaron’s heart beating, and listened to it with a happy smile curling at his lips.

Aaron’s fingers trailed up and down his arm, and after a few beats, he asked, “Wanna do it again?”

Paul lifted his head, eyebrows arched in surprise. “Now?”

Aaron merely smirked in response.

Letting his hand glide south, Paul palmed Aaron’s cock, finding him already semi-erect again. He bit his lip as a wave of arousal curled down into his groin, and shifted his body until he was straddling Aaron. He leaned down to claim the other man’s lips as he moved against Aaron’s cock, bringing it back to life between their bodies. He was still loose and well lubed, and this time he didn’t want Aaron to use a condom.

Reaching back, he guided Aaron’s cock towards his opening, pausing when Aaron made a sound of protest and pulled back. “What about a condom?”

“Is it okay if we skip it this time?”

Aaron reached up, brushing Paul’s hair back behind his ear. “You sure?”

He nodded in response, sinking down over Aaron’s cock. Both men groaned in pleasure and Aaron pulled him back into another greedy kiss as Paul moved his body over Aaron’s. Aaron thrust his hips up to meet each deep roll of Paul’s hips, and soon they were gaining steam again. Paul braced one hand against the headboard, the other cradling Aaron’s head as the man leaned up to bite his shoulder. Lips crashed into each other, tongues dueling, and Aaron fisted Paul’s hair again, tugging it in a way that had Paul begging for him to pull harder.

Aaron growled in arousal, pulling Paul’s head back to expose his neck again, and leaning up to bite at his throat. Sweat rolled from Jesus’ hairline as they fucked hard and wild. Aaron panted against his skin, slipping his hand over Paul’s cock and stroking him with a strong grip. “Cum for me, baby.”

The words and the term of endearment made Paul tingle with delight. He pushed himself upright, using Aaron’s chest for leverage, mindful not to put too much weight on the left side, and rode the man hard, flipping his hair back to try and cool his skin from the trapped heat. The dual points of pleasure had him moaning euphorically as he chased his orgasm with abandon.

“Aaron…Aaron!” He cried as his orgasm hit him with an explosion of stars behind his eyes.

“Fuck, Paul, yes…” Aaron growled, milking his cock as he came…and came…and came. Surely it had only lasted a few seconds, but Paul felt like his insides had been hollowed out and all liquid in his body had turned to cum and evacuated from the head of his cock.

Aaron was thrusting up inside of him, only prolonging the pleasure until he, too, reached that pivotal moment and came with a long, low groan. Paul could feel the rush of warmth inside of him, and though his muscles felt like jello, he rode Aaron through his orgasm. Aaron started to reach for Paul, but remember his hand was coated in cum. He wiped the mess on the edge of the bedspread, gaining a weak laugh from Paul, then pulled the man down against his chest.

Both men were trembling, panting, completely sated, and it took Paul several minutes to regain enough strength and will to move off of Aaron, reclaiming his place at his right side. Aaron lifted his head and pursed his lips and Paul weakly managed to lean up and kiss him.

“Okay, I stand corrected,” Aaron said breathlessly. “That was amazing.”

Paul gave another weak laugh. “Please don’t ask me to do it again yet.”

Aaron chuckled. “Okay, I’ll give you a few minutes,” he teased, receiving a chuckle and a nuzzle from the man beside him. Several moments passed as they basked in the glow of mind-blowing sex. Paul was nearly on the verge of sleep when Aaron’s voice stirred him. “Do you really have to leave tomorrow?”

Inhaling deeply, Paul lifted his head until he could look into Aaron’s eyes. “They might be able to survive without me for another day…or two.”

Aaron grinned and pulled Paul into a kiss. “And what if I decide not to ever let you leave?”

“I guess we’ll find out if you ever ask me to stay.”

“Is it too soon to say ‘I love you’?”

“Do you mean it?”

“Yeah,” Aaron said softly, lifting his hand to stroke the back of Paul’s head.

A smile pulled at Paul’s lips and he pressed a tender kiss against Aaron’s lips. “Then it’s not too soon. I’m definitely falling head over heels in love with you.”

“Yeah?” Aaron smiled happily.

Jesus’ smile only grew in return. “Yeah.”

FIN