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Angels to Fly

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This was not Joe’s first rodeo. Well, okay, it wasn't a rodeo at all. It was a gay bar on the outskirts of Dutchess county. It was the fifth on his list of gay bars in the county. It wasn't bad. It had all the necessities that he has come to know if the gay scene. Strobe lights. Thumbing, DJ-edits of popular pop music of the decade. Glitter. So much glitter. And a rainbow outside of the venue.

Outside of this location, if you asked Joe what a gay bar consist of, he'd say he knew nothing of the sort. On the weekdays, he didn't know this scene existed. On the weekdays, he was straight. Or so he forced himself to believe. But after one unsuccessful tinder date after another, it became harder to deny that he knew what he was doing with women. No. Perhaps he just was too awkward. Women talked a mile a minute. So passionately. He could only talk so passionately about baseball, movies, and screenwriting. None of the ladies he's met so far shared the same interest. They were all teachers or pre-law. He met one starving artist but she wanted to become an actor, not a screenwriter or director. She was gone and headed for the city before he could even text her for a second date.

When Joe centered his mind back on the scene in front of him, he took a glance at his class of gin and tonic and realized it was only a hard swallow away from being finished. It was almost midnight. Perhaps it was time to go. After all, this gay bar didn't stand out from any other and he wasn't bi or gay. It was just a place to pass the time. Nothing than tha -

“You look lost.” The bass voice stated oh-so-casually. And British. Huh?

Joe tilted his head up to find the face to the voice and his breath hitched. An angel. Literally. One of the go-go dancers from the back of the venue, dressed only in white angel wings, tight white spandex shorts and a glob of glitter sweated at the corner of both eyes. “You could say that.”

“How can I help?” He inquired, though it strangely did not sound like a come-on. It sounded sincere, which threw Joe off.

“I-I don't think so. I was actually going to take one last swing of my gin and get a move on.” Joe did just that and was able to stand up when the Angel motioned a hand toward him as if about to push him back to stay in his spot. He didn't make contact but the motion of his hand compelled Joe to stay in place anyway.

“Wait a minute. You just told me a moment ago that you were lost. Now you are leaving? Do you know where you are going? I could call you a cab.” The Angel, with his blond locks gelled back and his six-pack staring Joe in the face, craned his hand back to grab his phone in his back pocket. Joe shook his head when he realized what the blond was doing. “You don't have to do that. I don't live in Dutchess County now but I know the county pretty well. I went to high school around here.”

“Must have been a blast,” The blond uttered out a small chuckle. Joe couldn't stop himself from looking at admiring his soft grin...or that damn six-pack. How do men actually that? Joe could never.

“It wasn't. It was private. I'm sure you get the picture.” A private, Roman Catholic school was a closeted gay man nightmare. And Joe lived it. Or did he? He was a total hetero. This was just a more upbeat location. The straight bars were too boring and Joe needed a happy-go-lucky destination for his mind as he thought of a new screenplay to write. Keep telling yourself that, Joseph.

“Most schools in England have Christian history. Not that anyone cares. You Americans are the few that still take the religious portion of the location seriously.” The blond shrugged, taking a seat in the empty spot next to Joe at the bar.

“Why are you here?” Joe said abruptly, trying not to make his question sound so rude and it wasn't meant to be as such.

“Ah, yes. Why is a Brit here in upstate New York? As a go-go dancer? Easy. Au Pair by day, go-go dancer by night. Well -- night on the weekends.” The blond lifted a finger to request a drink. The bartender knew what he wanted without a word. Why was Joe still here?

“Does the family you work for know what you do when you are not on the job?” Joe took a sip of his gin even though there was nothing left. Fuck. He hoped the blond didn't notice. Fuck. Why did he care so much what the blond thought of him?

“They don't need to. It's not their business. Besides, they encouraged me to have some fun. Make friends while I'm in the states. All they ask is that I don't do drugs or get plastered. Thankfully I don't drink much. One beer and I'm satisfied.” The blond finally got his drink and took a long swing before looking back at Joe, anticipating the brunet to continue with their exchange. Were they actually making small talk?

Joe didn't know how to respond. He was straight but he couldn't keep his eyes away from the blond. There were countless men here, shirtless and more than willing to show a good time and here was one of them, right in front of him, and he was soft, making actual conversation instead of smooth talking into bed. Joe was taken aback, to say the least. He became an expert in turning guys down. But this one was different.

To continue the exchange, all Joe came out with was “I'm only in Dutchess County on the weekends too…”

The blond let out a loud sigh, leaning forward with an ear, “I'm sorry. I didn't hear you, mate.” The brunet was about to repeat his dumb excuse for a comment when the blond interjected, “hey, weren't you about to leave? Let me call you a cab outside and you can tell me what you were going to say again.”

There it is. There's the come-on. The blond was going to lure him outside and have his way with him. Joe couldn't do that. He wasn't supposed to be here. Yet Joe stood up and followed the other male outside the front doors as if being pulled by an invisible source.

Outside, the blond actually called him a cab. He gave him that soft smile as he asked for his address. Joe was so thankful because he said the address so timidly. Talking to the blond outside of the bar was even more intimidating. Joe honestly didn't know how he was doing it.

“Listen, I have a strange feeling that you won't set foot in here and I know we didn't say much but I still enjoyed the short exchange. Thanks for a good 15.” The blond shot out his hand for Joe to take and shake. The brunet did with embarrassingly sweaty palms.

“15?”

“15-minute break, mate. I have to go back inside in about 5 minutes.” The blond grabbed his beer that he placed in the cement while he placed the call and took another long swing. “I'm Ben, by the way. And you?”

“Joe.” The brunet muttered. Ben repeated his name and Joe liked the sound of own name being said by the blond. Shit. No. No, he didn't.

“Well, Joe. Your cab should be here in less than 10. And I have to go back inside. As I said before, I don't think you'll be here again so…” From the other back pocket, Joe pulled out a sharpie. He shifted his wings a second later and plucked a feather off, “here's my number.” Ben wrote it slowly so that it could be legible and handed it to Joe. “I was watching you throughout the night and you didn't move from the bar. You didn't even go on your phone. You just watched.” The blond shrugged again, “I don't know. You interest me, Joe.” The blond heard a bell to ring in the new day. That was Ben’s cue to go back in. Ben reached out to give Joe the feather. Joe took it without a second thought and before Joe could pull away from blond’s space, Ben pulled Joe in by the wrist so he could whisper in his ear, “I saw you looking -- staring. Don't let your past stop you from living your best life, mate.”

Ben pulled away before Joe did, turning in a heel effortlessly. By the time Joe could process words, Ben was gone. And Joe was left waiting for a cab, an angel feather held tightly between his fingers.

Chapter Text

Unlike the two younger brothers, the eldest brother of the family Ben worked for was a preteen and was against have a male babysitter come to his game. The eldest brother played volleyball and did not care for any friends or family to root him on. At 12, he was too good for anyone. He was his own cheerleader.

 

So there Ben was. Out in the middle of nowhere. Literally. The game was in some small town that Ben never heard it. It was quaint small town but there was not much to do. It was a Saturday. 10 A.M. What was Ben to do? He was instructed by the eldest to pick him up at 5. The two other brothers were with the parents in the city. It was a day trip down to New York City that became a ritual of sorts for the parents. Since it was a Saturday, the boys wanted to join. It was early December and the tree would already be up.

 

Ben had to admit that he was excited to experience Christmas in America for the first time. He wanted to compare Christmas in America versus Britain. He assumed it would be mostly similar but he was curious nonetheless. He just prayed that the family appointment today would lead to some good news so that Christmas wasn’t met with a bi-weekly trip to Hospital for Special Surgeries.

 

Contrary to popular belief, where rich white families hire an Au Pair to care for their snotty children while they go galavanting and making millions, Ben was hired because the family needed a male figure to watch over the boys while the parents either worked or took bi-monthly visits with their youngest child, who had Cerebral Palsy.

 

At the age of 2, Analise was the cutest bundle of pudge this side of New York. Ben was hired to interact with the boys for the most part, but he gravitated toward Analise the most. She was hilarious and booped his nose every chance she could when he held her.

 

Travis and Kenneth (“Kenny”) were the elementary-aged brothers. They quickly warmed up to Ben. It only took Kenny an hour before he started to drag Ben around the house to show him all his action figures. Travis was more into the anime/manga scene. Ben and Travis, with their black-rimmed prescription glasses in tow, shared a passion for Pokemon and Dragon Ball Z.

 

Samual (“Sami”) was the pre-teen would hated the fact that his parents hired a male babysitter. Ben eavesdropped on the boy telling his parents that his family was different enough with Analise that they didn’t need another “thing” making them stand-out.

 

Truth be told, Sami was the closest to his sister. He hated that his sister given looks at when her words slurred or she had muscle spasms in public. He wanted to protect her at all cost. But he knew all too well that, hard as he tried, society wasn’t going to change lenses overnight.

 

Ben opened his phone, opening up Maps to see if the town had anything. Somewhere he could hangout for a few hours. A cafe. A library. After a minute or two of zooming in and out of the area, he found a cafe two blocks over. It had a good rating but Ben didn’t care all too much about that. He just needed a place to lay low.

 

The menu for the cafe was standard. Lattes. Mochas. Teas. Plastic-sealed wraps and sandwiches. Small snacks. Ben was just about to order when he caught something brown and brooding out of the corner of his eye.

 

Well, shit. Ben let out of light chuckle. The drink could wait a minute. Ben didn’t give himself a second thought. It was his personality. Outgoing and maybe a bit cheeky. He was a standard gay Brit. How could he not be?

 

“Hey buddy. Writin’ the next great American novel?” Ben stood between Joe and his silver apple laptop. The brunet gave him the dirtiest of looks before he realized who he was actually talking to. The expression suddenly softened. Ben gotten used to these “dirty” looks. It was part of the New York lifestyle. Always in a rush, even if you are from upstate. It is also difficult to make small talk. These New Yorkers were extremely hard to crack, especially the closeted ones. And Joe was one of them.

 

Now, it was not that Ben went after straight-passing gay men. Somehow, they came to him, either at the gay club or at the college campus. Ben kind-of liked had a thing for these guys, admittedly. They were often timid, but easy to talk to. Truthfully, Ben wanted to meet a down-to-earth guy. He did not have Grindr. He left that behind in London. He was done with that gay scene. Closeted boys in America somehow fit the bill. In the four months he has been in America, he has met two closeted boys that he was able to help come out. He did not become intimate with both of them. Only one and he left for New York City shortly after he came out to his friends and families. The other one, he met at the gay club. They exchanged numbers and went out a few times, only as friends. Ben made it clear that they were friends but it was clear that the other guy wanted to be more than friends but not with him. With Ben’s support, he was able to admit that he had a crush on his best friend. When Ben encouraged him to tell the best friend, they fought. Ben tried to calm the male down but he stormed out before Ben could get another word in. Ben found out, through Facebook, about a month later, that he did eventually come out to his best friend and that they were now “Facebook official.” Sadly, Ben never heard from him again.

 

“Next great American screenplay, exactualy and I don’t fuckin’ believe it.” Joe shook his head in disbelief. Ben gave him a coy smile. “I thought you lived in Dutchess County.”

 

Ben gave him a nod, “Yeah, I do. Crazy that you remembered that but the family I work for. The eldest son has a game and he doesn’t want his male babysitter to watch him play, so I have a few hours to spare.”

 

Joe didn’t answer him right away. Ben had a strange feeling that he was battling with his thoughts. After all, if he asked the blond to sit, would it mean that he was gay? Oh no. You can’t be that in 2018. Ben was just about to take the message and leave him alone when the brunet piped up, “Yo-you can waste some time here, if you want.” Joe outstretched his palm toward the empty chair across from him.

 

Ben’s small grin went wide. Joe couldn’t help but mimic the grin. “I would love to.”

 

Joe glanced down at his laptop to type of few words before eyeing the blond, “I’m sorry I won’t be that entertaining. I’m in the middle of writing a scene.”

 

The blond waved a hand, “Don’t worry about it. I’ll go grab myself some time to drink and perhaps, by the time I’m halfway done with my first cup, you’ll be finished with the scene. Besides, I have a great Kindle book I can read while I wait.” The brunet didn’t say another word, so Ben took that as his cue to grab something to drink. When he returned, the brunet rolled his eyes, “Tea? Really? Stereotypical.”

 

Ben set his tea down, giving Joe a coy look, “Yes, I am a Brit and yes, I drink tea. Look at you. Stereotypical American, drinking coffee and writing in the corner of a cafe.”

 

Joe scoffed, “Well, unlike the majority of Americans who spend their hours acting like they are typing when they are actually scrolling through Facebook, I’m writing.” Joe turned his laptop towards Ben to show him proof. Ben gave him a thumbs-up before the blond took his first sip.

 

Ben had to admit, he was a bit worried that Joe would not be as easy to talk to when he finished his scene. In actuality, it was second nature speaking to the brunet. Joe spoke so passionately about the screenplay he was writing. He told Ben hat he hoped to submit his writing to Hollywood one day. When Ben asked why he didn’t move to Hollywood already, Joe pouted. Ben put it in his mental checklist that he had a cute pout, just in case he could convince the brunet to see him again.

 

“I don’t have the money. I still live with my parents and am drowning in debt from going to college to study writing. Perhaps if one of my screenplays gets a hit, I’ll have enough to take a trip.” Joe nodded to his statement, probably trying to reassure himself that things will get better.

 

Ben didn’t have the heart to tell him that he was a part of the “Hollywood” scene in the U.K. (i.e. London). Ben spent the majority of his early-20s finding acting gigs, whether it was a commercial or a few appearances in a soap opera where he was mainly instructed to take off his shirt. He had a pretty face, they always said. And that he was hired.

 

After years of being casted for just that and nothing more, Ben took a leave from the acting scene and do something completely different. His friend suggested being an Au Pair, since there were so little male Au Pairs and he could find a school around the area to study and find a new niche. Thus far, he loved his job and the chance for new opportunities, even if it was in upstate New York.

 

Ben was tempted to reach over and take his hand to comfort Joe, but he had to remind himself that Joe was still in the closet. Reassurance with a hand touch was forbidden between two men, unless a couple. Why was it still like this in 2018?

 

Instead, Ben spoke words of comfort to the aspiring screenwriter, “I’m sure of it.” The two exchanged a closed smile before Joe dove back into his display of affection toward his written work. Ben wished he would attempt to be so passionate with something other than his laptop keyboard.

 

Time passed easily for the two men. Ben revealed a bit more about the family he worked for and about his family back home. He didn’t go much into detail about his work after he received his acting degree. All he admitted was that he needed a change of scenery after college. Joe understood his need perfectly.

 

Amid his tale of Kenny’s attempt at flying from the second floor window to the front door (which consisted of Travis wrapped the bed sheet tight around his waist and dangling him out the window), a buzz of his phone broke Ben’s train of thought. Three consecutive buzzes meant it was from the US family. Ben motioned a finger upwards and mouthed one sec, looking down to read the message from the parents.

 

“No surgery. We will all be home for Christmas!” Ben revealed a tooth-filled grin. Another text came through, though it was actually a picture of the two boys and their sister next to the infamous Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center.

 

“What’s got you all smiley?” Joe titled his head with a coy grin.

 

“Analise won’t be having surgery this month. No need for trips back and forth from the hospital...oh, and then the family sent me a photo of Travis, Kenny and Analise next to the tree.” Ben opened the text and faced the photo to Joe. Joe mouthed an “awe” before going back to his screenplay. Apparently Ben’s wild tales of his kiddies inspired Joe to right another scene.

 

Ben didn’t want to leave. No. He still had over four hours to kill and he was not opposed to spending them with Joe. The two already went through three hours of talking bullshit. Well, it wasn’t bullshit. Discussing families, college degrees, aspirations for the future were all important matters and Ben wished to God that such discussions wouldn’t end on his day.

 

After Ben’s third cup of tea and Joe’s fourth latte (around two thirty, to be exact), Ben received a call from Sami, asking if he could be picked up early. When Ben asked why, Sami asked him to look outside. Ben’s eyes widened to see a heap full of snow that accumulated in the hours Joe and Ben had spent together. When he told Joe about the snow, the brunet said he didn’t notice. There wasn’t enough snow for Ben to enjoy in London and it was all too common in upstate New York. However, Joe checked his phone and saw that there was risk of severe black ice forming. Sami’s middle school team didn’t want to take any chances.

 

Frankly, Ben didn’t know how to part ways with the writer. He wish he didn’t have to leave three hours early. Joe admitted that he often spent his whole day at the cafe. He was a regular. He’d rather spend his days here than at his parent’s house, where they did nothing but complain about working too damn much for retirees.

 

Surprisingly, since the brunet never brought up how the two parted ways the first time, and he never did call or text in the month since the two saw each other last, Ben finally knew how to part with his new American bud. He took a napkin from the table and a sharpie from his back pocket and wrote his number again, “Well, again, I had a great time talking to you, Joe. And for more than 15 minutes this time. I don’t know if you lost my number the first time or what, but I would love to have a chat like this again sometime. After all, the family says I need to go out; make friends.”

 

Ben slid the napkin toward the brunet and took his leave. Similar to their first meeting, he didn’t really give Joe time to say his good-bye. Perhaps Ben liked playing hard to get. Or perhaps he knew all too well that the more time he gave the writer to think about what they were becoming, the more time it gave Joe to doubt that their encounter was anything less than wonderful.

 

Ben took one last glance inside the cafe. Joe was reading his scripted napkin. And smiling, widely. Yes, this wasn’t the last of them. Ben was sure of it.

 

Ben Hardy: 555-3583 - Neptune Bar and Lounge. I’ll be dancing tonight from 9 to 1. Come and find me.

Chapter Text

Joe and Ben spoke at length at the cafe. Joe could not believe he could spend hours just talking, with the exception of close friends. All of the dates he has been on fell flat within the first half-hour. And here Ben was, not even on a date with the brunet and he totaled four hours and way too much caffeine.

 

Joe could not believe, however, that the blond would even want to speak to him. After all, Joe never texted him - never gave him a call. It had been over a month and Joe wanted to badly to reach out. To ask if the two of them could go out somewhere . His small town had hardly anything to offer and his parents were on his ass to go out with people other than his loud and obnoxious baseball buddies from college.

 

But he chickened out. What could he say? Hey, buddy. It’s Joe. You know, that straight dude you met at the gay club. Want to go out for drinks and not do anything but be bros? He couldn’t. Also, he had no idea until the day in the coffee shop that the two got along really well. He knew that Ben was easy to talk to. He learned this fact during their 15-minute exchange. However, he did not really just how down-to-earth he was. How many stories he had to tell and honestly, how funny he was...also, how good he looked in glasses. He didn’t wear them at the club. He already sounded so prim and proper with his British accent - the glasses made Joe melt. Er - melt from sheer admiration. He must be so smart, yeah, that’s what he meant.

 

So, here he was - back at home from the cafe. Even though the game was canceled for the kid that Ben babysat, the town did not bat much of an eye to the snow. The plows came soon enough. Snow was an everyday occurrence. It was second nature and all Joe had to do was put on a second layer if he wanted to go out.

 

He unfolded the napkin at the kitchen table and read it again. Ben Hardy. Neptune Lounge. 9 to 1. He had church tomorrow morning. He was a Sunday school teacher, but his lesson was already planned. He didn’t even need to be there until 10 AM and Joe barely slept anyway. He was an insomniac who spent most of the night hours jotting down new screenplay plots. And it wasn’t like he hadn’t gone out on a Saturday night before to check out another gay club in Dutchess County. He still had two more to cross off his list. Not that anyone knew about this list. It was hidden away in his iPhone notes - way at the bottom.

 

“Honey...are you doin’ alright? I’m making myself a cup of tea - want a cup?” Joe eyed his mother, who was already in her nightgown. With hooded eyes, he gave her a soft smile and a nod.

 

When she came over to the kitchen table with the hot beverage, he cupped his hands around it, enjoying the warmth. He closed his eyes as he enjoyed this moment when he jolted back to reality as soon as his mom inquired about the napkin.

 

Joe quickly crumbled it back in his hand, “It’s nothing.”

 

His mouth raised a brow, “I couldn’t see the name but there were a place and a number. You got a girl’s number today at the coffee shop? Oh ,honey…” She rose and gave him a quick side hug.

 

Joe gave her a quick nod, “Yeah...he-she is very nice. An exchange student from the U.K. actually, working as an Au Pair for the year.”

 

His mother sat back down and too a long sip before questioning him further, as all mothers do, “An Au Pair? Wow. Impressive...now, Joseph, this is just my opinion but if you think there’s something there with her, I need you to be careful. She is only here for a year and I know you want something long term. And just by the look in your eyes as you read the paper to yourself multiple times - and yes, I was watching you from afar before I asked about tea - I know you are interested - but you need to find something here. I know you do not have any aspirations of moving to London.”

 

Joe laughed, “Who said I would move to the UK? And how do you know he….she is from London”

 

His mother simply shrugged, “Lucky guess. I say all Brits are from London, so I guess this time it worked….anyway -” She reached out a hand and placed it on top of her son’s, “I know it has been tough since dad died. You barely leave the house with the exception of your college friends twice a month. And yes, I know you are working on all those screenplays of yours but -” She paused for a moment, gathering her thoughts before shaking her head, “You know, what? Give this a shot. I don’t know who she is but whether she is from here or London, you need a change. Perhaps she is just the girl to get you out of this funk.”

 

Joe swallowed hard. She was right. He needed to get out of the house. He had two part-time jobs - one at the church and the other at the local library. He spent his weekend at the cafe - and even if he didn’t spend the entire day at the cafe, he’d often end up back there during the week. He was in his early 30s and even though his mother moved on after his father’s death, he didn’t. His “step-dad” wasn’t bad - just different. He complained a bit too much about finances. And why millennials still lived with their parents at the age of 30. Joe didn’t want to hear it every night, so he found solace at the cafe. And perhaps now - at the Neptune Lounge.


Joe didn’t arrive at the Lounge until after midnight. He spent hours finding a better polo to wear but none of them looked straight enough. After all, he was doing this so his mother would believe he was meeting some girl he was interested in. He didn’t have the heart to tell her that the name of a napkin was of a weekend male go-go dancer.

 

Joe, decked out in a forest green polo shirt and blue jeans, snaked his way across the Lounge. He got his usual gin and tonic, then found a spot on an edge of a couch where most would never congregate. It was near the entrance and most people found the constant rush of cold air annoying and uncomfortable. Joe didn’t mind the cold.

 

Joe observed the scene. There were a total of five go-go dancers. One was dressed in all black - well, mostly dressed. All of the dancers had their chiseled chest and thick, toned legs exposed. Joe guessed he was supposed to be a raven with the bird beak on top of his head. There was another chatting it up at the bar who Joe couldn’t really tell what he was trying to be. Something green.

 

There was a spider over at Table 4. Elephant on the stage, letting his thunk do most of the talking. And just as Joe was about to search for the end, he found a gleaming white figure out of the corner of his eye. In front of him, with a full-toothed grin, was the angel. “You came.”

 

Joe’s breath hitched once again. He was a literal angel. Chiseled jaw, chest. Those curly whisp from earlier today slicked back. Oh, and that grin. Joe did everything in his power not to respond so enthusiastically to the angel’s arrival. Unfortunately, the slight budge down below didn’t want to follow his mind’s desire. Joe really hoped Ben wouldn’t notice.

 

But he did. Oh, he did. The blond let out a long chuckle as he gave Joe a full scan from head to toe, before settling on his pants, “Well - I hope, not yet.”

 

“I-It’s just the pants. I-I’m straight.” Joe blurted. Did he actually say that - at a gay bar? How stupid did he sound?

 

Ben shook his head, “Yeah - sure, buddy. Whatever you say.” Ben did not wait for Joe’s permission to take a seat right next to him, “You know I could help with that. Not here but there’s a private room in the back. Real nice. Only for the staff that I have the keys to.”

 

“What happened to the guy I hung out with at the cafe this morning?” Joe quipped, one hand making a fist to stop himself from looking at the green irises that were looking at him so intensely. This only made him harder. Fuck. Joe averted his eyes towards the ceiling.

 

“Still me, bud. The only difference is that it’s midnight at a gay club and you are hard as a rock.” Ben’s hot breath from his laugh made it across the same distance between them. Joe wanted to inch closer but that would mean he’d have to give in to his urges.

 

Here’s the thing. Joe knew he was different for the longest time. He only had one serious relationship and it ended with her cheating on him with his best friend from high school - Rami. Apparently, Joe couldn’t satisfy her. When he inquired why she shrugged and said the words for the first time - “I don’t know...perhaps you are gay or something.”

 

Gay. Is that he was? Is that what you call it when you stare way too long at the male models in the male underwear section at Kohls? When your member twitches when you stumble upon the music video for “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” by Queen, your eyes transfixed on Freddie Mercury instead of the girl sharing the motorcycle with him.

 

Joe was about to think of anything time he thought his sexuality might be anything other than heterosexual when saw how his face grimaced at his suggestion - “Listen, Joe - just so you know, I’m taking the piss. I can leave you alone - you just give me the go and I’ll go-go dance away from you.”

 

Joe groaned at the horrible joke at the blond made - then laughed. That fucker. He forced himself to look back at Ben and saw that he was sincere. All Joe had to do was tell him to fuck off and he would - without another word.

 

But, truth be told, Joe didn’t want him to go. He enjoyed their time together in the morning and right now, it wasn’t different. Well - not much different. The tent in his pants and Ben’s lack of attire made a huge (ha) difference.

 

Fuck it. “When do you go on your 15?” Joe requested, urgently.

 

“I thought you’d never ask.” Ben turned toward his manager, made a few hand gestures and before Ben could stand up to direct Joe towards the back, Joe pulled Ben by the wrist and towards the back himself. Joe figured it was in the back. All staff rooms were in the back.

 

The office that Ben brought them to had a leather couch but before Ben could direct him to it, Joe pushed Ben down to kneel, Joe’s back against the door.

 

Joe didn’t mean to be so forceful. The blood was clearly not in his head. Well - not the head he should be using to stop the blond from unlooping his belt and pulling down his jeans.

 

Ben didn’t seem to mind Joe’s forcefulness. Joe glanced down and the blond was still grinning. Maybe he liked it. Joe made a note of it, even though he told himself not to.

 

Joe also looked down at his cock and realized how right Ben was. He had never been this hard for any women and he hated that fact. And then Ben took him in his mouth, a bit too eagerly and Joe had to hold himself upright. It had been a long - long time before he was touched, especially like this. And no one took him fully. Ben clearly had a lot of experience.

 

Right-minded Joe would’ve asked if Ben had been checked for STDs or whatever. But he assumed that he had to be clean if he was working with children. If he was being truthful about the job. He showed him a picture. He could’ve found it on Google Images, though. He could’ve google searched - awe, fuck.

 

One of Joe’s hands was gripped tightly on the doorknob while the other made its way to comb through Ben’s hair. He wished Ben’s locks weren’t gelled back. Instead, he continued to through it. He didn’t dare look into Ben’s irises. The look of pleasure that the blond had doing such an act would make the brunet come undone in seconds - which, honestly, wasn’t far from how he felt right now. He was so close already and he felt so bad. Ben was just getting started.

 

He gave himself a moment to enjoy the feeling of Joe’s tip against the back of Ben’s throat when he took a glance down below, finding Ben working on himself as well. Woah. Ben was enjoying himself just as much. Joe never thought he could make someone feel like that.

 

This sight made Joe cum suddenly, eliciting Ben to cough as a knee jerk reaction before swallowing without a second thought. Joe was immediately apologetic, though. “Oh, god. I am so sorry. I - I. Did you swallow?”

 

“Did you have pineapple today? Sweet.” Ben’s red, plumb lips glistened. A droplet of cum was left on his chin and he wiped it away on Joe’s exposed leg.

 

Joe rolled his eyes and began to pull his pants up, “Very funny.” As Joe worked on his belt buckle, Ben stood up and let out a hot breath into Joe’s ear before speaking, “I still have 5 minutes. Would you like to help me finish?”

 

Ben pulled back. There was only a sliver of space between the males. Joe’s eyes carelessly landed on Ben’s still red lips. They were parted and clearly looking for more action. Joe thought about helping those lips have some more fun but the blood began to rush back to his brain. No. He couldn’t do this.

 

Just as Ben closed his pupils, his head tilting to close the distance between them, Joe took a palm and pushed him away gently, “I have to go.”

 

And with that, just as Ben had spun on his heel the two other times they parted, Joe awkwardly did the same, leaving Ben, or appropriately named at the bar, “Fairy Dust,” in the dust.

Chapter Text

Ben did not want to admit how often he thought about Joe from the moment he left the lounge. Honestly, the blond wasn’t shocked by his behavior. Ben was used to men loving his build - loving his bleach blond curls and piercing green eyes. So when he came over to Joe in his work attire, a goofy grin on his face from seeing such a scruffy, adorable son of a bitch of a “straight man,” he wasn’t surprised that the brunet had a tent in his pants.

 

He did not, however, expect Joe to agree to his offer. One, Ben never did this before. It was strictly forbidden for a dancer to pursue a client or for the client to request sexual favors from the dancer. Two, Ben couldn’t get enough of that quizzical pout of the brunet - the sad excuse for a Justin Bieber short side-bang, five-o-clock shadow, and mesmerizing caramel-colored eyes. No, in Ben’s mind, Joe was not a client and it hurt him inside that Joe couldn’t bring himself to enjoy the company of another man as more than poor judgment, the alcohol or schizophrenia.

 

Yet he still thought about him. Thought about his crazed American-Italian hands waving in the air as he spoke about directing and writing. Thought about his breath hitched every single damn time he saw Ben. Thought about - fucking heard - Joe’s whimper as Ben took his cock deeper, deeper with each passing second.

 

It was Sunday morning and Joe was all Ben could think about - and he didn’t even know his last name. All he knew what that Joe was the son of a bitch “straight” man that let him in - let him reveal his passions and also see his ding-a-ling.

 

Ben was unconsciousness palming his thigh, his thoughts getting the best of him before a sharp bing rung out, centering him. Shit . He took hold of his phone. He was scheduled to Skype his best friend from back home in London - Gwilym.

 

Gwilym was bisexual. Ben met him at acting school. The two were active members of the LGBTQ+ club at the school, Ben reppin’ the “G” while Gwilym represented the “B,” even though with their first name initial, it should’ve been the other way around.

 

Ben inhaled sharply, hoping it would settle his downstairs area. He had to take a moment to remember where his laptop was, only to slap his forehead. It was right next to him, under his living room couch blanket.

 

Ben propped the laptop on the arm of the couch and opened Skype. When Ben’s icon indicated an “Online” status, Gwilym took no time to call him.

 

“Hey buddy.” Ben said with a cute wave to his bestie.

 

“You know, I am so glad that I forced you to set an alarm for our Skype sessions. Now you are right on time instead of a half-hour so late.” Gwilym crossed his arms from across the seas.

 

“Yeah, yeah. I didn’t come on here to be insulted.” Ben rolled his eyes and Gwilym followed suit.

 

“It’s my job, so stop being a little bitch and tell me what’s going on in the states. Did you buy a gun yet? Screw your way through Dutchess County - oh, no - I’m sorry. You were going to leave that life behind in the UK. My bad. You still keepin’ that promise?” Gwilym raised a brow.

 

“You know, I have. Just none that have stayed…” He sighed, averting his eyes from his best friend.

 

“Yeah...because they were all in the closet. Benny, when will you ever stop this game with closeted boys? Is it the facial hair? Is it the overtly masculine way they dress even though it is not actually that ‘masculine.’” Gwilym shook his head, “You know I have facial hair. And I think I dress pretty straight.”

 

Ben waved a finger, “No. First off, I have no idea what you would define as inherently straight in 2018. Also, you have facial hair but you manage it really well. Closeted boys don’t and oh - Gwil - I - I did it again.” Ben took off his specs to cover his face with his hands in shame.

 

“Fuck…” Gwilym exhaled and Ben piped in. “Not exactly but he let me suck him off. Oh, he has a nice dick…”

 

“Huh….I thought we are talking about a straight boy. Also, I thought you wanted something more traditional. That doesn’t sound very conservative, Benny.” Gwil said, matter-of-factly as he sipped on his piping hot English tea.

 

“I did. I do! And I think this could be something traditional. He’s just...I don’t know. He wants something so bad but he’s denying himself it and fuck - I am so into him and I am sure he is just as frustrated as I am right now.” Ben groaned and Gwilym chuckled.

 

“I think you released some of that frustration when you sucked him off.” The tall, British brunet said coyly. The Brit crossed his arms again, “Alright..so tell me his name. And also how the hell you are going to convert him..”

 

“His name is Joe. And I don't think he needs covering. He made that clear last night. But he just needs some coaxing. I don't know.. I feel like I'm just what he needs….or perhaps it's just wishful thinking on my part.” Ben trailed off…

 

“Did you two have more than last night together? From the way you talk about him, you have a lot more you are dying to share than how nice his dick was in your mouth.” Gwilym shook his head, murmuring to himself how he missed that feeling too but Ben snapped a finger to get his attention.

 

“Two days in total really. Twice in the lounge and once for four hours in a cafe.” Ben saw Gwilym’s eyes raise “Four hours?!”

 

Ben nodded and with that, he spent the next half-hour filing his fellow Brit on the traditional, all-American boy that he was smitten with.

 

The blond was in the midst of sharing one scene of Joe’s screenplay’s when his phone buzzed oddly. A new number. He glanced over to his phone, saw the unknown number but read the message it enclosed.

 

Hi - Joe.

 

Ben chuckled. Did the fucker really reply to his text with a name signature? Ben liked this game. It took him a second to reply.

Hello - Ben.

 

“Who ya talkin to? Is it Ben?” Gwilym's shouts from his spot inside the screen. Ben beamed and nodded in quick succession.

 

Ben couldn't manage at this moment to go back and forth between his computer screen and his phone, so he became the horrible best friend and let Gwilym's go, “I'm sorry, mate. I have to take this. Love you, bye” Gwilym's didn't even get to say Ditto before Ben slammed his screen shut, awaiting Joe’s reply.

 

Half-hour passes.

 

Really? Nothing?! Ben waited long enough. This straight acting ass is even texting like one. Fuck it.

 

Come here often? … nevermind, only once. Shame, really.

 

F off.

 

You’re fun.

~*~

 

A week passed and not a day went by when Ben didn't hear from the brunet. Of course, he really wasn't the best texter and when Ben suggested a late night call, Joe said he didn't feel comfortable. So Ben worked. And worked. And went to his local university electives. To keep the conversation going, he'd find any directing or Steven Spielberg meme he could. He even found out that Joe was a fan of Jurassic Park, so he thumbed through multiple websites to compile a number of dinosaurs jokes he could use on dry Joe texting days.

 

He wasn't sure if he was too much for Joe but he always texted back, amused and even finding memes of his own for the blond. The conversation never ever got sexual again after Ben’s jab during the initial text exchange. Ben liked this - enjoyed it so much better than guys texting him to plead how much they’d love to screw a muscular bottom.

 

Ben was in his room, the family guest room, laughing at a video Joe sent him of a bunch of penguins falling over onto one another when Kenny and Travis barged their way in, “Benny -- do you want to join us at the fireman/cop baseball event tonight?” Travis asked, crawling his way to Benny’s side in the bed.

 

Ben raised one brow, “It's December. Almost Christmas. How could they be playing baseball?”

 

Travis groaned, “It’s for Charity! And it's just the cops and firefighters throwing softballs with us kids while mommy and daddy drink a lot of wine.”

 

Ben gasped, “Trav!” He reached a hand out to start tickling him as punishment.

 

“I'm sorry! They do other stuff. I swear. Staaaaap.” Travis giggled like a mad man until Bsn stopped.

 

“So will you come? It's not the weekend . You don't have to dance.” Kenny exclaimed and Ben swallowed hard suddenly.

 

“How do you know about that?” Ben looked instensly at the eldest of the two boys in front of him.

 

Kenny shrugged, “I found glitter makeup, tight tight shorts and wings in your closet. I wish I could dance with wings….” Kenny pouted and Ben raised his chin, “So you don't care that I am a dancer on the weekends?”

 

Travis shot us firm the bed and grabbed the extra pair of wings that he kept at home, beginning to sport them himself, “I'm jelly. This is fun. I feel like I'm on X-Men.”

 

Ben rolled his eyes, “Fine. I'll come tonight but don't tell your parents I do that. I'm sure they are fine with it but you know I'm not supposed to be making cash on the side. My number one job is you guys.”

 

Kenny wrapped his arms around Ben, “don't worry. You are.” Ben couldn't help but fall more in love with this family with every passing day. It will be hard to leave them in half a years time.

 

Kenny let go and shouted to the door, “Analise. He's gunna come! Benny will come to baseball!”

 

Analise, now three (late birthday), wheeled her way in, “Benny! Baseball!”

 

Ben couldn't resist. He pulled himself off the Ben, unbuckled the little lady from his chair and lifted her up in the air, “Benny! Baseball.” He began to spin her in place, her body shaking from all the giggles. She couldn't stop him, so the bugger aimed for his glasses, “Ahhhh. No glasses. No glasses!”

Chapter Text

Joe wasn't prepared to go to the Police and Firemen Baseball Charity event. At all. He spent the greater part of the night before being a total insomniac. Screenplay ideas were pouring out. His phone was still buzzing from sly messages from Ben. Ben. Fuck. Why did he text him back? Why did he press the letters on his iMessage, giving the blond access to make him smile..laugh...horny as fuck.

Ugh. Speaking of that, when his head finally hit the pillow, the blond filled every corner of the mind. A blues beat trickled through the air. Suddenly the angel of the nightclub did not carry wings. No. In his dream, he was clad in a leather jacket. And thick black rimmed glasses. He still had his hair slicked back but it was a far greaser. Shit. In this dream, he was a greaser. Elvis? No….. Freddie Mercury. Embarrassingly, Joe was having a dream about the first video that ever made him question his sexuality. He'd be lying if he didn't feel his reaction in his pants all those years ago and didn't have it replay, unbuckling his pants this time around and shooting thick streams of white all over his palm.

His dream-self watched as Ben, the Au Pair. Ben, the angel of the night, took center stage, rocking his hips as he sang, climbing on top of a motorcycle. However, instead of a biker chick joining him, Ben motioned for dream Joe to climb out the set behind him.

Ben’s smile went wide when dream Joe joined him. Ben instructed him to put his hands around the waist as he continued to sing to the camera. When dream Ben got off the bike, Joe stood there in awe, watching as he squatted and twirled effortlessly. A band of girls took hold of him in the next moment, peeling off his leather jacket as well as his white undershirt. Just as Ben turned toward the band and Joe (who was Joe in the video -- maybe John? He kind of looked like him, strangely enough), the older man woke up.

He woke up to his dick rock hard, his hand underneath the cotton of his undergarment, holding on firmly. Joe clearly couldn't fall easily back to sleep in this condition, so Joe settled for closing his eyes and imagining the rest of the music video where the brunet took the blond off the set, pushing him over to an empty craft table and ravaging him from behind. Joe creating the rugged moans of the blond as he pounded him over and over again. The sharp contrast from Ben’s deep voice to a high pitch yelp as he came made Joe’s shudder violently, releasing himself with such a profound moan that his mother would clearly be burning red in the morning, knowing the acts of the son who still lived and masturbated in her household.

As Joe took a wipe from his desk drawer to wash himself up, he also glanced at the alarm clock. 6 AM. Yeah. No. Sleep was no longer in the cards. Sighing, he got up, changed his sweatpants and headed downstairs to the kitchen to make himself a cup of coffee, reeling at the fact that he never, ever felt so much pleasure. How could he be so foolish to let his mind come...heh, cum...this far.

~*~

“Hey, Joey. I am so happy that you are joining us again. Really. You know your father would be so proud that you were continuing the tradition.” A 50-something-or-other made this comment as Joe made his way over to find out his game station for the night. This firehouse was so familiar to him yet now so empty without his father. The Charity event was tradition but it didn't feel like it without his dad to make jabs about the new recruits or how they would have done more to make the night a night to remember for all the children. Most of the police and firemen coordinating the event understand why only Joe's mother got involved this year. Joe couldn't bring himself to do it. He could only agree to dress up as a baseball player (as he did year after year) and man a station.

The older man motioned for Joe to be the keeper of the bean bag toss. Joe gave the typical half-ass smile as he took the items for his station and got it set up in the middle of the auditorium.

When the children did agree is when Joe finally began to relax. Helping children was second nature to Joseph. If he wasn't a writer, his mother swore he'd be an amazing teacher. Joe rolled his eyes at the thought of him dealing with brats for 6 hours a day. Some brats for 3 hours was fine and dandy. He'd make an exception for his future children but that wasn't in the cards for years down the line, Joe knew that much.

“Bean bags. I love those!” A squeaky voice let out as her wheels approached the station, almost running over Joe’s foot in the process. Joe just laughed at the close call before looking up to meet the eyes of the beautiful little lady in a green and glittery chair. An angel.

With her hand outstretched, she waited for Joe to give the first bean bag. But Joe kept the bags firmly in his hand without realizing. After all, when his eyes rose further, Joe's eyes locked with another angel. Ben. Holy…

“Hey, buddy.” The blond said oh so casually, mimicking Joe's eye action and looking him up and down. However, instead of Ben getting utterly tongue-tied and holding hostage of the bean bags like Joseph, the blond spoke once more. “You know I love a man in uniform.”

Joe swallowed hard, his mouth dry and his thoughts anywhere but the auditorium. There he was, in the flesh, with the little girl that he showed Joe pictures of in tow. He wasn't lying and my god, he was wearing black-rimmed glasses like in the dream. Thank goodness he was not wearing the leather jacket or Joe would have to excuse himself entirely. Joe clearly didn't realize how long he took there, ogling the cheeky blond standing next to him. 30 sec? 1 minute? An hour? Honesty, his gay brain could spend an eternity staring at this damned sight.

“Sir..hi. Hello. Can I have a bean bag? I am very close to enough coins for a big bear.” The soft voice finally broke Joe from his trance. “Oh, I'm sorry, miss. Here is your first bag. You know the rules, yes?” The young lady nodded with assurance bore throwing the first bag. Joe and Ben watched with admiration at her determination. Her last two bags went right in the middle of the catcher to receive maximum coins. She will clearly be getting that big bear.

“What are you going to do with such a big bear, my dear?” Joe asked gently as he kneeled to be eye-level with her as he gave her the coins.

“It's going in my room so that Benny and I read stories together.” The little girl looked up at the blond with such awe that Joe couldn't secretly relate to.

Joe gave her a sweet smile and handed the coins over, “So you must be Analise.”

The girl cocked her head to the side, “You know my name? I don't know you.”

Joe pointed up at Ben, “let's just say I'm good friends with your Benny.” He gave Ben a wink. Shit. What was that? He was losing his straight facade the more he saw...envisioned Benjamin.

Analise giggled, “Benny friends? Yay. Benny! Bring your friend to the house. I make cookies with mommy and Travis for you.”

Ben shook his head in protest, also kneeling to the side of her chair to dismiss her, “I don't think my friend….” Ben cleared his throat, obviously insinuating that friends with benefits were more like it, “has the time to come over for cookies.”

Joe watched as Analise face shattered. Joe could tell that she was so happy that Ben had a friend. And that she'd perhaps have a new friend like Benny to treat her like a queen. Joe couldn't let her down after seeing her face grimace. Even though Joe knew how dangerous it was to be with Ben again. Texting was less personal. Joe could try his best to keep his gay thoughts to himself. But being next to Ben and not wanting to feel him again… Feel his fingertips slide down his chest… Those tips unbuckling him and mouth being oh so talented on his member. Foolish Joe never returned the favor and mercilessly Ben still replied to his texts.

Yet maybe Ben was hurt about their last meeting. Though his texted seemed to differ, seeing him in person could've thrown Ben over the edge and now he's making an excuse not to bring Joe over that enough.

“I'd love to” Joe finally uttered, regardless of his topsy-turvy thoughts. Analise beamed, suddenly pulling Joe into a hug before pointing Ben to go to the exchange station to exchange her coins for the big bear.

Ben spun her chair around, but before he started in the other direction, he took his phone out of his back pocket and motioned it in Joe's reaction, “I'll give you some days and times for dinner.”

Joe gave a nod in an attempt to be happy without showing Ben how happy yet oh so nervous he was to be in the same room as Ben without wanting to lean over and touch...kiss?

Just as the next youngling came to try their hands at the toss, Joe's phone buzzed.

“I wasn't lying before. I love a man in uniform”

Joe sent back the middle finger emoji, his heart racing but his eyes rolling. Bastard.

Chapter Text

Ben’s palms were sweating. He adored Analise but he feared that having Joe over for dinner with his host family would ruin his chance with the young man. In his gut, Ben knew how much they wanted each other. There was rarely a silence in conversation, in person or via text. The only time Joe was left speechless was when he was so close to giving into his feelings. Ben had no idea how Joe could be so closeted yet go to gay clubs and even take Ben's offer and let him suck him off. Ben wanted to reach for his phone millions of times to get an answer to this question. Instead, between the Charity event and the night of Joe's arrival for dinner, Ben sent Joe more funny animal gifs and memes.

Ben did not want to admit how many times he debated what he would wear in front of Joe. Fuck. It wasn't a date but it was so close to the holiday season and his host mother was making a special dish just for Ben's new special friend. Special friend all right. Ben finally settled on a white and blue striped shirt with blue jeans. The boys joked that he should wear an ugly sweater to impress Joe but Ben shooed them off to go do their homework.

At 6:30 on the dot, the doorbell rang. How the hell did it take the slightly taller man hours to reply to texts but he could arrive at Ben’s host home on time? Ben let out a light groan, so not prepared to face the brunette. His palms were sweaty again. This is not a date. This is not a date - the blond used this statement as a mantra as he offered to open the door.

He took one final, deep breath of Joe-less air before he wiped his wet palms on his jeans and opened the door. Suddenly, at the sight of him, his mouth was dry. A thought popped out in the far back of his skull that he wanted Joe to lean in and lick his lips wet.

Joe no longer had a five-o-clock shadow. He was cleanly shaven. His hair was slightly gelled so that his slightly brunet, almost gingery hair did not sprawl out as it usually did all the other times they saw each other. Ben almost wanted to chuckle. He looked...gayer? It was not an insult. He just looked more like himself. As if the scruff and unkempt locks hid his orientation. Underneath a gray, wool scarf and black winter jacket, Ben could see that he was wearing another polo shirt. It was Christmas green. When he took a moment to dare himself to look the fellow up and down, he noticed that he was wearing red pants. That fucker is decked out in Christmas colors. And here Ben was, not wanting to be too cheesy and greeted the male with a basic striped shirt. “Hi” Ben tentatively breathed out.

“Hey. Hope I'm not too late. You said 6:30? Or was it 6? Sorry..” Joe stammered and Ben found it so damn cute. Ben tried not to melt into his practically teeny demeanor.

Ben shook his head, “You are right on time, mate. My host family is in the living room. Come in.” Ben lend a hand to guide Joe into the house. He cautiously, slightly asked if he could help Joe out of his scarf and jacket. Joe smiled with a soft blush and allowed Ben to unravel his scarf. The two shared a brief moment where their eyes locked and a conversation, perhaps only audible to the fire that burned within the core of their stomachs, spoke volumes.

Yet the exchange was cut short by the reshuffling of little feet, “Is that for us?” Travis chimed in, peeking into the brown bag that Ben didn't even realize Joe carried in his right hand.

Joe chuckled, “Well, kind of. It's a thank you present for your mom and dad. A bottle of wine but there is also a box of Merci chocolates that are all ours if it's okay with your mom and dad.” Travis bolted before Joe finished his statement. Ben placed his gaze back on the brunet, “You didn't have to bring anything. Really.”

“Call it manners. Being a gentleman. Whatever. There's not enough hospitality in the world anymore and I am on a mission to bring it back.” Ben bit his cheek not to bring up that it wasn't really good manners to let someone suck you off and not return the favor...but the boys could come in any moment, so Ben gulped the comment down. Instead, he went for something sweeter.

“Well, thank you. Much appreciated, I'm sure...you look really nice today, by the way. Lovely Christmas color scheme going on, I see.” Ben pointed to the shirt and jeans.

Joe did a mock catwalk, striking an awkward pose. Ben wanted to lean over and kiss Joe's cheek for such a cheeky move but before he could even dare, older voices came through from the kitchen. Ben could do this. He could introduce Joe to his host family and not made it seem so obvious that he was completely smitten with him.

And in fact, Ben was able to do just that. It went swimmingly. Joe spoke to the father at length about baseball. Joe shared stories about camping trips with his cousins and mother that the host mother became entranced by. Joe had a skill when it came to stories and conversation. Hence why he was a writer, Ben remembered.

When it came to the kids, Joe was amazing. For someone who didn't grow up in a large household, Joe seemed to be made for interacting with children. The boys were on the floor as Joe shared lame dinosaur jokes. He reminded the boys too of his experience as a Scout. Ben practically beamed when Joe spoke of this time in his life - how proud he was as a young man to become an Eagle Scout. His father was proud and that's all that has ever mattered to him.

Ben wanted to frown in the slightest as the indication that Joe's dad was no longer with him. He remembered Joe mentioning this indirectly during their daytime exchange in the coffee shop. He said something about wishing his father could see him struggle with his writing and be able to keep his tips or suggest another career path. No, Ben thought. He needs to be a writer. And Ben didn't care if, down the, one, Ben was in his life or not. He would follow the brunet’s work until he is old and gray. That's how good he was. Such a shame that more film companies didn't see what Ben saw.

Kenny popped up just as dessert was being served, “We made a tent. It was outside but now it's inside because it is cold.” Kenny looked over to Travis, who nodded in agreement, “it's our secret hangout in our room for the winter. Want to see it? We will let you in. No secret password.”

Ben shook his head in protest, “Kenny. Joe is not going to start crawling into your tent. I can barely fit in there…”

Travis directed his pout at Joe, “You don't like tents?”

Joe let out a soft chuckle, “I would love to join you guys in the tent…” Joe turned back to Ben and gave him a coy smile, “as long as Benny is allowed to come too”

Kenny rolls his eyes, “He's always in the tent, but okay. Come on Benny.” Kenny doesn't hesitate to take Ben's hand. Travis follows suit by taking Joe by the wrist to their tent.

Joe shakes his head as he makes himself comfortable in the child tent. He is way too tall for his frame to fit in the tent, so his feet jut out. Ben is only slightly shorter, so he just makes it, without socks. Joe takes the hint and peels off his sneakers. Travis rests comfortably next to Joe while Kenny is on the other end, hand still laced with Ben’s.

Ben and Joe are forced to lay next to each other. For the brothers, this is a non-issue. For Ben, it takes all his might not to brush his fingertips on the palm of Joe's right hand. Ben eyes Joe and watches as his breath also quickens. Ben is positive or hopes he is reading Joe right. They are so close and yet, so far apart. The two older men, almost simultaneously, face away from each other and make conversation with the brothers. Ben is in the middle of a serious conversation about scout tasks when he feels joe’s index finger glide ever so delicately up his forearm. Ben gulps hard. How he wanted to learn away from Kenny and toward Joe, telling him it is ok to touch him again, just like that. Instead, Ben does not react. He continues the conversation with the younger lad. Joe slides a fingertip back demon the forearm but when Ben doesn't flinch under the touch a second time, he retreats. Poor mate,

Ben is not aware of how much time has passed when the host parents confront the younger boys, telling them that it is time for bed. Whining follows and Ben and Joe realize that those moans are their cue to leave.

Ben gets up swiftly, clearly knowing the ins and out of this particular tent. Joe, on the other hand, forgets that there's a low bookshelf near the opening of the tent and slams his forehead on the side while intending to stretch forward before getting up.

Joe muffles a curse and Ben can't help but laugh. “Duck?” Ben laughs aloud as he bends down to examine the red make left by the shelf. “Come with me.” Ben’s host parents and the young boys offer to help but Ben lifts a hand in protest that he's got this one. Literally, he's got this one fuckin tearing at his heart.

Joe allows Ben to take his hand to help him and his poor dented head up. “You can sit in my room while I fix you up a homemade ice pack.”

Joe finally curses when he bids goodnight to the boys. “Shit, that hurt. Fuck.”

Ben guides him along, trying not to laugh even more at the brunet’s misery, “You are not bleeding, so you got that going for ya.”

Joe just groans, bouncing on Ben's bed when he finds it amongst the dirty laundry. “I'm such a clutz. I really am. I have broken my arm more than once. Wrist too. Sprained foot. Concoction.”

Ben shrugs, “You are either one or the other. You may be a clutz but I bet your room is far more organized than mine. I stay on my feet quite well but I can't seem to get my clothes from the floor to the dress after I do a load.”

“I don't mind. Kind of feels like being back at Uni with one of my guy friends.” Joe rubs the mark, cursing again. Guess he hoped if he rubbed it hard enough, it would start to hurt less.

“Be right back,” Ben states abruptly, leaving the guest room to go into the kitchen. It does not take him long to make an ice pack in a plastic bag. What makes him long is mentally preparing himself to face Joe again. Joe, who was on his bed. Joe placed gentle fingertips on the blond’s forearm.

When the blond returned, Joe was next to the closet. Get out there completely, Ben grunted internally. Ben’s skin flushed pink when he realized what Joe was looking at. Those fuckin wings. “Care to give me a show?” Joe grinned, holding them up for the blond.

Ben tried to laugh But it sounded more like a grunt, rolling his eyes as he sat on the bed with the bag of ice in his hand, “I’d love to if you returned the favor afterward.”

Now it was Joe's turn to swallow hard. Right. Straight. Joe couldn't get out of this one. “I-I'm really sorry about that night” Joe admitted suddenly, taking a seat so close to Ben that their knees were touching. Ben decided to do a slight of the hand and not let Joe grab hold of the ice pack. Joe initially scrunched his face as Ben’s hand trick but then, when he realized that scratching one's face would make one's forehead hurt, even more, he let out a whine and gave Ben permission to place the ice pack on his forehead for him, the older hand coming to rest tentatively on Joe's shoulder.

“I don't get it, Joe. I really don't.” Ben now had verbal diarrhea. Damn Joe for opening up the can of worms on all the words wanted to say these past few weeks via text but couldn't muster. He also wanted to face Joe. Wanted to confront him. “You say you are straight. Say that we are just embarking on some new, grand friendship. You say that all the time on WhatsApp. ‘Thanks, Ben. Your texts made me smile today. You are such a good friend’ -- “Hey Ben. I found this mini-series called Woman in White and made me think of you, we should watch it sometime.”

“Ben…” Joe said, begging - for what, Ben was clueless. Even though Joe voiced his name, the blond wasn't done. “But then...when we are together … And I'm near you and I flirt with you… Yes, I have been flirting with you and you actually, eventually, go along with it. Fuck. Maybe it's all in my head. Maybe I'm the one with the dent in my head..” Ben presses his hand to his own forehead now, mimic ping the brunet and his damaged frontal lobe.

Joe took the pack from Ben and put it aside in the bed sheet, “I-It's not all in your head.”

Ben’s heart skipped a beat, trying to process what Joe just said. He actually said it. That there's something there. Even so, Ben couldn't take that as his final answer. “Prove it…. And don't you dare try to just suck my dick.” Joe laughed awkwardly at that remark and it seemed to lessen the tension that was mounting on Joe's shoulders.

Ben was willing to wait for hours for a response. Instead, as soon as the joke’s effect settled and the silenced once again consumed the room, Joe leaned in and placed a soft kiss on the blond’s lips.

Ben melted into the kiss, not taking another second before he raised both hands to cup Joe's face, adjusting his angle so that the blond could deepen the kiss. Joe did not protest in the slightest. Joe’s fingertips that glided so gently on the blond’s forearm now rested in ben’s waist.

The two young men stayed like this for god knows how long before the air was needed in their lungs. Ben was the first one to speak, even though Joe was the one that made the move, “Ever kissed a boy before?”

Joe nodded without a second to spare. Ben couldn't help but pry further, “Was it anything like this? Because… Please...don't … Don't stop.”

“Nothing like this……” Joe affirmed, a hand coming up to combat ben’s locks before he took hold of Ben's glasses and put them aside.

“Shall we continue then, love?” Ben gave him a cheeky smile, waiting to see how the brunet would react to his British terms of endearment.

Joe didn't reply with words. His words were masked by his actions. Much to Ben's surprise, Joe stood up. Ben had a second of complete and utter terror that the brunet was going to leave. It was actually quite the opposite. The brunet stood, then wordlessly guided Ben to move a bit further on the bed before climbing back on, kneeling with legs spread so that he was straddling the blond. Holy fuck. The blond was in heaven.

Chapter Text

Joe didn't overstay his welcome. As he said to Ben earlier in the evening, he was a gentleman. He was not about to stay the night or even simply slobber on Ben for a few more hours. He left promptly at 10.

 

Joe was still on Cloud 9 as he walked to his car. Ben, of course, walked him to the car, even if it was below freezing and both had to be dressed in several layers to combat the cold. Even though the young men spent the last half hour making out on Ben’s bed, Joe’s cheeks still felt flushed when he had to find a way to part ways with Ben.

 

Luckily, Ben spoke first, “Thank you for such a wonderful night. My host family loves you now more than me, I think. You were truly a hit.”

 

Joe gave the blond a shrug, “I'm a hit with the kiddies. If I wasn't going to be an award-winning screenplay writer, I'd be a teacher.”

 

Ben nodded, chuckling lightly to himself, loving how confident Joe was when it came to his screenplay writing, even if he did bash it from time to time, “And when you win your first Oscar, I'll figure out a way to sneak in and congratulate you.”

 

“I'd like that,” Joe muttered, thinking about some future that would be such a dream to be the reality. But shit - this was the reality and Joe was left with silence between. Joe began to feel a burn in his stomach as he watched Ben tilt his head an inch closer to him. “No. N-not out here...” Joe said firmly, yet his touch against Ben was gentle. “Good night, Ben.” He affirmed, getting into his car suddenly, his eye-wincing when he met eyes with Ben and saw how disheartened he looked. Joe was caught between getting out the car again and giving him the kiss he wanted and peeling out of the driveway as fast as he could as to not avert his eyes back on the blond. He went with the latter.

 

When Joe returned to his house, his head began to throb again. Strange. He always thought he had a hard head. Yes, when he raised his fingertips to his forehead, there was still a slight bulge but nothing concerning. And yet, there he was, finding it hard to concentrate on anything but the thump-thump pulsating between his temples.

 

Just as Joe made his way to the kitchen, he was met with his mother, who never actually slept. She asked him to sit and after he explained that he was just here to get some water and pills for a headache, she forced him to sit and she did it for him.

 

Joe muttered a quick thanks and she paused a moment before cocking her head to the side, “I know this might sound odd but you smell different. Either you used different cologne or the lady you went on that date with tonight has very masculine perfume.”

 

It wasn't until his mother left the room to rest in the living room and Joe glanced down at his shirt that he realized it wasn't his shirt - but Ben's. They were almost the same size. Damn. Joe lifted the shirt to smell the cologne and Joe’s mind flashed the scene of the two, hungrily kissing, their tongues even meeting and shirts being thrown off to the side. He must have haphazardly grabbed the blond’s when the clock struck 10.

 

When Joe made his way to his room and peeled off the shirt, he made a mental note to text ben about it in the morning. Joe took a look at himself in the mirror and cursed aloud. The fucker left a mark on his collar bone.

 

Perhaps he hit his head harder than he realized. He didn't remember Ben biting on his skin or even having how they started kissing in the first place. He didn't want to admit this but so may intimate thoughts of Ben were scattered and Joe had no idea why. It was actually a reason why he didn't text Ben all too much. One, he was afraid as hell to be attracted to a man so suddenly and so deeply as Ben. Second, that all their intimate moment were almost always met with Joe forgetting half of what happened, leaving Ben more confused than all hell (as he should be).

 

Did he kiss Ben first? Or did Ben make the first move? Who decided to take off their shirts? Why didn't Joe stop him from making marks? He wasn't ready to have a conversation about love bites to his friends and especially not his mother.

 

Fuck. The pills for his head did not work. When Joe finally did fall asleep, his head was still throbbing, yet it was slightly less intense when the brunet took hold of Ben's shirt, rolled it up and holding it close to his chest.

 

*

 

“Fuck...that was so good, Joseph. Where did you learn that thing with your tongue?” A shorter, brunet chuckled as he pulled the taller, lankier brunet with a bit of stubble on his slightly chiseled jaw.

“One never kisses and tells. Besides, stop acting like that’s something new. I’m sure it has been a hit in England for centuries. We Americans get everything decades after you guys..”

 

The shorter, stocker male rolled his eyes, “Yeah...except you lads have most of the hits on the charts. Some of our greatest artists hit it big in America but never a household name like they are in the UK.”

 

The taller male lifted himself up from the bed and rested his back on the headboard. “You got a point there.” He pointed a finger before making a soft whine of annoyance at the wet spot that he landed on. “Shit. We had so much fun that we still have yet to wipe ourselves off.” The lanky lad pulled wet paper towels from the nightstand, gave one to the other male and did the same to himself. The men took no time to wipe themselves clean and dispose of the bedsheet.

 

After the shorter male threw the bed sheet into the hamper, he rubbed his stomach, “Shit. I’m starving. You want to dress and go out for a cheeky nandos?”

 

The taller male rolled his eyes, “I already told you, I don’t know what that means, so I’m guessing we don’t have it. There’s a late-night coffee shop, one 24/7 cafeteria open and a Taco Bell 10 minutes away.

 

The brit, yes, he was brit, with a baby face, hummed until he settled on Taco Bell.

 

The taller male did not move as quickly from his spot. Instead, he stood, examining the Brit in utter appreciation. He didn’t realize how long he was staring at the other male dressed to go out until the Brit slapped him on the chest. “Get dressed you Yankee.”

 

“You know..” The American began to comment, grabbing his boxer briefs, “I don’t usually go for guys like you.”

 

“What? British?” The male let out a light chuckle, pulling a shirt over his head.

 

“Brunet. Babyface. That sort of thing.” The taller male shrugged, pulling his jeans up to his waist.

 

“What do you usually go for?” The short Brunet said with a raised brow.

 

“Blond.” The American said simply, placing the remaining clothing on his body before following the Brit out of the university dorm room.

 

Even though the two men just finished having pretty rough sex in a dorm room, they were clearly not a couple. Whatever they were, they enjoyed their time together and, since it was a late night, but in Southern California, they took their time walking to the fast food joint. It was dry, yes, but warm. No need to rush.

 

The two men were so wrapped up in a conversation about one of their professor’s comments about how to improve one’s writing through the experience and even touch of others that the men began to tickle and jump on one another, asking if they were inspired anymore to write the next greatest American novel.

 

The shorter brunet was just about to go for a piggy-back ride on the taller male when he was pulled back by a force which neither had any idea was following them for the last five minutes. When the taller brunet turned to see what had happened to his friend, metal made contact with skin and skull. Black.

*

Joe jolted upwards, his head feeling as if was bleeding from his ears. He scrambled to his bathroom and found that his eyes were bloodshot but his face, ears, and head were fine. He didn’t feel fine. His stomach churned and within a second of him looking at his ghostly frame, he spilled the contents of dinner into the toilet. Even though it was one time, his stomach was still churning and head thumping.

 

He gathered enough strength to make it back to his bed, absently grabbing his phone and checking for updates. Perhaps his mind thought this was calm it. And it did, actually, because he saw a text from Ben.

 

Hope you got home safe. Sorry if I overstepped outside. You have nice lips. I’ll leave the kisses on here for now then. x

 

Joe had no idea what made him go from reading the text to calling Ben up but he did. Joe looked at his clock and realized how it was the middle of the night. Joe debated canceling the call but as he thought about putting the phone down, his hand began to shake and his breathing letting out in uneven breaths. Fuck. He was having a panic attack, amongst a raging migraine and a churning stomach. What next?

 

Surprisingly enough, Ben picked up. Joe apologized profusely for calling. He explained how shitty he felt and that the only thing that calmed him was the text message Ben had sent him. On the other line, Ben clearly sounded concerned, asking time and time again if the brunet was OK. Even though Joe swore up and down that he was, the blond didn’t believe him and before Joe could protest a third time, Ben said to keep an eye out. He was coming over.

 

A half hour of Joe trying to piece together his fucked up state felt like a second. Joe was just about to try and understand why the fuck his migraine was followed by a vivid dream where two men laid, happy, gay...until they weren’t.

 

“Joe…” Ben breathed. Joe was going to go downstairs to greet the blond but he didn’t even realize the blond texted that he was there 5 minutes ago. The blond must have taken the initiative and figured out where Joe had lived. Even though he lived with his mother, he had the downstairs and his mother had the upstairs. Thanks to the sign that said, “Director at work” with an arrow by the start of the stairs, it did not take Ben long to find the bedroom.

 

Joe was so weak that only after a minute did he make the connection that there was warmth around him. Ben was holding him tight. Joe returned the embrace, the scent of the shirt that he breathed to help him sleep finally matching the body that withheld it.

 

“Joe...what is it? You were just fine when we parted.” Ben was now at Joe’s side, a knee bent with the other hanging off to the side. He was leaning forward, his hands slipping down to enclose them around Joe’s shaky ones.

“I-I don’t know. I can’t...I can’t remember...it doesn’t make sense.” Joe shook his head, perhaps trying to jostle the memories.

 

“What doesn’t make sense?” Ben pried gently.

 

“My head….I don’t remember. Did you kiss me? Did I kiss you? W-why did I grab your T-shirt? God, why is my mind so blurry?” Joe began to whine, hoping this wasn’t all a result of a concussion. Even if it was, Joe didn’t want to go to the ER right now. He hated the doctors. He swore he had a phobia for them. Ben’s hands over his own and his soothing voice was far better than white, pneumonia-filled walls enclosing in on him.

 

Ben lifted a hand to cup at Joe’s cheek, “You kissed me, love. And I don’t know why you grabbed my shirt or why your mind is so blurry. Perhaps from the hit? But you had no complaints about the time we spent…” Ben cleared his throat, “Having a good time with our tongues.”

 

“W-when I went to sleep... I had this dream...no, a fucking nightmare and it was soo...blurry. I couldn’t really see who it was but I guess one of them was me. This other guy said Joseph and I mean, that’s me but it didn’t look like me. Sound like me. At least...not me now.”

 

Ben cocked his head to the side, “What do you mean? Not you now?”

 

Joe racked a hand through his brown locks, “Happy. So fucking happy and I-” Joe took a sharp inhale and met with Ben’s green irises. “Ben…”

 

“What...what is it?” Ben now took his other hand cupped Joe’s cheeks so that he could make Joe focus on him instead of losing the brunet in his own nightmare once again.

 

“What do you want from me?” Joe’s question sounded so desperate yet so needed. He had no idea where his mind was but he knew he could find an answer about where he and Ben stood because the blond was sitting right in front of him.

 

“I want to make you happy,” Ben said firmly, giving the brunet a soft peck to prove his statement rung true. The blond was just about to pull away from the chaste kiss when the brunet pulled him right back in, opening his lips to give the blond access inside.

 

It did not take long for kisses shared earlier at Ben’s place repeating themselves on Joe’s bed. The only difference from hours prior was a tied, used condom in Joe’s trash bin.

Chapter Text

“It’s so nice to have you home so soon after the holidays.” A mother’s voice said warmly, an arm coming to embrace a tall, lanky brunet.


The brunet sighed heavily, sweaty palms very hard to hide. “Not for long, Mom. Classes start back up the end of January and I don’t want to overstay my welcome here or at John’s place. I just really need to tell you something - in person - and after Christmas.” The brunet licked his lips in preparation for his little speech if it was even going to be a speech. Or more, a declaration. “Is dad home yet?”


The mother nodded her head, shouting the older male’s name. The older man smiled at the sight of his son, almost coming tightly in an embrace. “What do we owe this twice-a-month appearance too?”


The lanky brunet did not say a thing at first. Instead, he gestured for them both to take a seat before he took his own as well. “I-I have to tell you both something and I have to do it in person.”


The mother’s brows furrowed, “Are you alright, honey?”


The brunet waved her concern away, “Yeah, yeah. More than alright. I just - I don’t know how you will react to this. I mean, I know you love me. But I also know we go to church. And Dad has joked around about it and I-”


The mother reached a hand to silence her boy, “You can say it.”


“I’m gay.”

 

“Fuck,” Joe announced to an empty room. Another dream (or nightmare?) could only mean one thing - another round of headaches. Indeed, when he pulled himself up to sit, his head began to pound again. The brunet searched his dresser for some aspirin but was met with nothing but office supplies and . . . an opened condom foil case. Joe turned to the other side of the bed and was met with nothing but empty space. Except for . . . the impression on the bed. Joe dipped down to see if there was a scent. And there was. A scent that had become so familiar to Joe in the last few weeks. A scent that also brought on several different . . . bodily reactions. Joe felt his cock twitch for a moment before settling down. Had Ben spent the night? Had the two had sex? Joe’s memory was so foggy from these damn visions and mind-boggling headaches that he honestly didn’t know.


But the blond wasn’t here now. Did he go home, after they did (might’ve) had sex? The thought made Joe frown but it was understandable. Joe was complicated. Maybe Ben needed the release as much as Joe did, but did not want to bother with all of this fuckery that was Joseph Mazzello after finding out how shit the brunet is in bed.


Rubbing his temple, he pulled himself up with one hand on a mission to go to the kitchen in hopes of finding something to stop the raging headache. “Ma . . . do you have any aspirin? I thought I had some in my nightstand but it’s just crap.”


“Morning, Joe.” A voice that wasn’t his mother’s said. A voice octaves lower with a British tint to it. Joe raised his pupils to make contact with Ben’s piercing green iris. He was sitting at the coffee table, across from his mother as they sipped on their mugs. “Ben . . . you are-”


“Still here? What? You think I’d leave you after the condition you were in last night.” Ben lifted from his seat to go over to the coffee maker on the kitchen island as if he lived here. He got a cup from the cupboard, filling it up and giving it to the brunet easily, “Coffee is so easy to find in the states. I’d kill for some English breakfast tea around here.”


"You should’ve told me. I have some in the way back.” Joe's mother replied gently. Joe was still in shock that he almost blacked out as he witnessed Ben and his mother speaking so casually.


“So um - heh - didn't really get a chance to introduce you two," Joe mentioned, shifting awkwardly here he stood. 


Both chuckled, “We met over morning coffee.”

 

Joe’s mother began to explain, “I think Ben wanted to slip out of here . . . or at least, away from my sight when I caught him in the hallway.”


“I gave my sincerest apologies and then she invited me for breakfast.” Ben picked up his cup and gulped, grunting a bit at the bitterness of it all, “I’ll get used to this kind of caffeine eventually.” Ben said with a soft chuckle, exchanging a glance with the older woman.


“Ben’s just a friend,” Joe said, almost out of impulse. And after he spoke, he wished he took it back. Ben’s happy emeralds darkened and his brows furrowed down. A pout now rested on his lips. Yet he did not retort the brunet’s words. This reaction only made Joe’s headache worse, to which his mother reacted, “Joey…” She got up from her spot at the table and placed her hand on her son’s forehead, “You feel fine but Ben and I think you we should take you to the clinic. Ben said you had quite a smack to the head last night. Might be a concussion."


Ben found what Joe asked for when he entered the room and placed two pills in Joe’s hand, “Did you have another dream last night? That why the headache is back?”


The brunet nodded but did not want to share the details with his mother. He swallowed the pills easily, before turning to make eye contact with his mother for a favor,  “Mom - can I steal Ben for a bit, please?” She gave a nod, allowing the two men to slip back to his room. 


“What did you tell my mom about us?” Was the first sentence that Joe uttered in the room. Ben took it with the wince, as Joe let out the words far harsher than he expected.


“I told her that you were in pain and you needed a friend. I didn’t tell her what else I was there for…” Ben made a spot for himself on the bed.


“Did we…?”


Ben responded with a firm “Yes.”


“Am I gay?”


Ben couldn’t help but chuckle, “I mean - some guys would say that topping another bloke doesn’t mean you are gay...or bisexual or whatever?”


“Fuck no - I -” Joe closed his eyes tightly, his hands coming up to rub his eyes frantically as if to gain a bit more of his memory of the dream back, “The dream or whatever, a nightmare. I think it was - no, it was me. And my mom. My dad. My parents. I said I was gay. How?”


Ben stood from his seat to stop Joe from pacing so much and breathe instead. "These dreams you keep having. They sound real, mate. More like memories than just things you made up with your sleep." 


The brunet shrugged with a heavy sigh, “I wish I knew. They feel so real. And this second one, it was so much more clear. I knew it was me but I - I can’t wrap my head around me being so open, so public about who I was . . . am.”


Ben’s hands rested on his shoulders as if to prevent them from tensing up or even from falling over from how intense the headaches still were, “If this is so new to you, why did you come to the lounge in the first place? Do you even know?”


Joe was silent for a moment. Even though his headache, Ben brought up a good point. Joe was so shocked at the reveal in his slumber of the past that he didn’t take much consideration on what his present self had been doing all along. Being gay wasn’t something so sudden. Upon meeting Ben, fragments of his past experiences began to resurface. The memory of how he first knew he liked boys from watching Freddie Mercury in “Crazy Little Thing Called Love.” The boys he kissed in college. His fascination with gay clubs in the Dutchess County area. For years, they have suppressed feelings. Feelings that he thought he had to keep far down. Or so he thought.


Now he comes to the realization that he had already come out. And he was still here. His mother didn’t disown him. His father sure didn’t. Yet a lingering question still remained - what exactly made him forget all of this coming out? All of his pride? Was it the first dream? Was that him? But who was the Irish man? Yes. He was Irish. Who was he? And what happened to him? Where is he now?


Joe was so deep in thought after Ben questioned his motives at the lounge that he didn’t realize how much time had passed. Somehow, Joe was guided to the bed, Ben comforting him with a hand on top of his own. When Joe finally centered back to the real world, his eyes made contact with the beautiful emerald irises before him, “Something . . . made me forget. I think some . . . bashing. I don’t know. But it must have knocked me out. Brought some memories back and made me an almost . . . this different person.” Joe rubbed his thumb on each of Ben’s knuckles, his eyes looking down at his motion, his mind so busy again with piecing this new world together that looking into Ben’s eyes - Ben’s patient eyes - would make him lose track


“I wish I could be that person again. I just, I seemed so happy. So proud.”


“Who said you can’t be like that again?” Ben responded gently.


Joe let out another heavy sigh, wishing that Ben didn’t have to deal with this all. Ben was someone who was obviously out and proud. Why was he bothering with someone so lost - so messed up in the head that it would take months - perhaps even years - to fix?


“Maybe I can be . . . maybe.”


Ben inched closer, one of his hands reaching to cup Joe’s cheek, “Can I help?”


“Ben, you have done more than enough. Why are you still here?”


“Because I want to be. Because I think you are funny. And talented. And cute. And I can’t pass that up, can I?”


Joe turned his head to the side to hide a blush, “Guess not.”


“And we had sex last night and it was good so now I am definitely in.”


The men chuckled at last night’s actions simultaneously. Joe’s mind was still fuzzy of all the events from the night before but now he was remembering . . . remembering how he felt inside of Ben. He remembered how warm and tight he was. He remembered himself gasping when he came and how Ben followed soon after, trying so hard to mask his own pleasure by placing a hand over his mouth. Still, Joe’s head did affect how the entire scene went down, so, upon Joe’s request, he asked Ben to describe the event in great detail again, just to be sure.


Joe did not expect this blow-by-blow to end up in a blow by Joe but it did. Ben insisted he didn’t have to but Joe worked far better than he thought he would at getting him off with his hand and finally, his mouth. Joe’s mother was walking around the house, so the two men tried to be careful but still, Joe had a mission - begin to fit the pieces back of his old life while paying the debt to Ben when he got sucked off but would not reciprocate for the blond.


After cleaning up, Ben asked if Joe still had a headache. The brunet admitted that it was still present and with his own mother’s advice matched with Ben’s, his mother drove the three of them to the ER. Joe was scanned and indeed, he had a concussion. He did not have to stay overnight but he was given instructions by a doctor to stay away from bright lights and strenuous work, especially on the brain. That’s easy for you to say when you are not trying to piece your life back together.


“How am I supposed to piece my life back together if the doctor doesn’t want me to think at all?”


Ben shrugged simply, “Then don’t think. Ask.” And by asked, he meant - ask the doctors, ask his mother - his brother - his friends from years ago. Someone had the answers - if not all, but most.

First up - his mother.