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Behind Closed Doors

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They’re on their way out of the arena when Yuri realizes something is missing. “Wait!”

Yakov doesn’t like to be kept waiting, but he’s pleased with Yuri’s latest medal, the last before he’s old enough to compete in juniors, and only grumbles a little while Yuri sprints back to the locker room.

It’s not fear of Yakov that speeds his way. What if he’s too late? What if he gets there and it’s gone? Someone could have taken it, or the cleaners could have already come through and tossed it out. In life as in skating, a few seconds can make all the difference.

He slides into the locker room, turns the corner, and breathes a sigh of relief. It’s still there, on the bench where he left it: his favorite water bottle, the purple one with his stickers on it. Scuffed, with a well-gnawed valve and a slightly stale smell, it’s been threatened with replacement more than once by Yakov, but so far Yuri has held onto it.

He grabs it, and that’s when he hears something indistinct, muffled: there are still people somewhere else in the locker room. This late after the competition, it must be the cleaning crew. He’s ready to head back to where Yakov is waiting, no longer in a hurry, when he hears it again, but louder, and this time it’s definitely someone groaning.

He follows the sound further into the locker room, back toward where the showers are. If someone is hurt, he’ll have to go get a medic, find their coach, make sure they’re okay—it’s exciting stuff. As he gets closer he can make out other things—pained breathing, indistinct words, and a wet noise he can’t identify. What if someone is really sick back there?

He rounds a corner and comes to an abrupt stop. Some four meters in front of him stands one of the lesser Canadian seniors, whose name Yuri doesn’t know, with his pants open, in front of the German bronze medalist, whose name Yuri does know and who is down on his knees, and—

Yuri’s eyes widen and he barely stops himself from making a noise. His face burns, his stomach flips. His feet are rooted to the ground. They haven’t noticed him yet, but one move, one peep and they’ll spot him—and who knows what they’ll do to him for seeing them like this? For spying on them? He has to get out, he has to go now, without being seen or heard. But he can’t move. And he can’t stop looking.

How long can he stand there? He can’t, he needs to go. Should he back up slowly, or turn and make a run for it? He’s been gone too long, Yakov will come looking for him, and then—

The German medalist stops what he’s doing. He’s looking at Yuri.

A second later, the Canadian looks over, too.

Yuri stops breathing.

He’s a dead man. These guys are easily twice his size, almost twice his age. Yuri’s fast, but even if one of them has his pants undone, he’s toast. What will it be? Stuff him in a locker? Dunk him in a toilet? Let me go, I’ll never tell anyone, I swear!

Then the Canadian laughs, and to Yuri’s horror, he finds that that’s actually worse.

“Get lost, pervert,” the Canadian says, putting his hand on the kneeling German’s head and going right back to what they were doing.

Yuri turns and runs from the locker room so fast he almost forgets his water bottle all over again.

Yakov’s summer camp runs for two weeks in July, and Yuri’s way too good to still be going, but he does anyway because he’s got nothing else to do. The dorms there are no better and no worse than the student housing he lives in during the season in St Petersburg. He could go home to Moscow, but as much as he loves the old man, he doesn’t know anyone else in town anymore, and two weeks with Grandpa and with nobody his own age around sounds boring as hell.

Not that it matters, since nobody at Yakov’s camp talks to him much anyway.

He’s grown a centimeter since the end of the season. His hair is longer. And other things have changed, too, things he hasn’t told anyone about, not even Yakov. Camp this year isn’t like the years before, when all he cared about, all he could even think about, was skating. This year the ballet studio full of boys in tights is electrically charged, and he’s not too stupid to know why.

It makes the fact that nobody seems to like him all the more frustrating. He’s not too stupid to know why that is, either: Yakov yells at him three times as much as anyone else, but it’s obvious Yuri’s his favorite, and it’s equally obvious why. Yuri’s just better than everyone. He doesn’t even have to try.

Well, fuck them. He’s not going to pretend to be worse just so people will like him. He doesn’t need their dumb company anyway. The top of a podium has room for only one.

And next year he’s definitely going to Moscow for summer break.

Meal times are the worst, but nights aren’t much better. He’s stuck with the worst roommate, some rich kid from Khamovniki called Bogdan who farts all night long and is going to be stuck in juniors grasping for a spot in the top 20 until he ages out and retires. Sleeping with Yakov would be less awful.

Bogdan is also a snorer, so Yuri doesn’t bother being quiet when he gets out of bed in the wee hours to go to the huge shared restroom for a pee, though he does tiptoe as he passes by the other boys’ rooms and lets the heavy door close silently behind him.

He’s halfway to the urinal when he hears a muffled gasp and stops in his tracks.

A moment later, there’s a boy’s voice, so soft he almost can’t make out the words: Someone’s here!

No one’s here, a second boy replies. It’s the pipes. It’s an old building.

Yuri unfreezes enough to look around and see that one of the stall doors near the end of the row is shut. It’s hard to be sure with the shadows cast by the eerie fluorescent overhead lighting, but there might be two sets of feet underneath it.

With a silent twist and two steps, Yuri ducks around the open door of a different stall and deftly steps onto the toilet seat so his own feet won’t be seen. He doesn’t try to close the door for fear that the old hinges will squeak, but he’s invisible here as long as he crouches down and doesn’t move. Whatever’s going down—a secret club? Some prank? Drugs? Someone trying to sneak out and head into the nearby town for alcohol?—he’s going to hear about it.

There is a different-sounding gasp and his stomach lurches.

Oh no, oh no. His palms start sweating where they’re resting on his bare knees. He slams his eyes shut and then opens them again. From the end of the row of stalls emanates the unmistakable sound of skin on skin, a sound with which he is shamefully, intimately familiar, though this time it’s doubled, a harmony of hands moving, intercut with grunts and groans.

The effect is inevitable. It hits him in his gut, then lower, his prick twitching under his sleep shorts. Shit! He can ignore it for only so long as the guys go at it, just meters away from him with only the flimsy stall dividers between them, their sounds of pleasure echoing in the big empty room, their pace increasing as they get closer—closer—

Biting his lower lip hard enough to hurt, he takes his right hand from his now-damp knee and slides it under the waistband of his shorts.

It doesn’t take long, it never does. He finishes in his hand, silent as can be, getting only a little on his shorts. He wants to clean up, but they’re still at it and he’s afraid the toilet roll holder will squeak if he tries to get any tissue. Instead he sits there, frozen, crouched atop the toilet with sticky palms, trying not to make a sound.

They finish a minute later, their twin moans hitting him square in the dick. He’s got a pool of fresh jizz still warm in his hand and he already wants to do it again.

He has to wait until their breathing evens out, until he hears the swing of the stall door—he hunches over into an even smaller ball, they cannot, cannot find him, not like this—the sound of the taps running, and then silence. He stays still and counts slowly to one hundred before he’s sure they’re gone.

Then he unfolds his limbs, wipes his hands on a wad of toilet paper, and washes them thoroughly at the sink. He splashes water on his pink, sweaty face before tiptoeing back to his room, back to his snoring, farting roommate, back to his little bed.

The Belgian boy skating in the group before him has the most intense brown eyes Yuri has ever seen. And he’s had plenty of opportunity to see them, because every time he glances over while doing his stretches, those eyes are watching him.

So he bends a little deeper, pushes a little farther, holds his chin a little higher, and not just because he’s the best. He’s used to being stared at, but he’s never been stared at like this before. He likes it.

He keeps an eye on the TV as Louis takes the ice. His spins are decent, his triple loop is solid, but his other jumps are sloppy at best. He won’t make the podium. Probably won’t make it to seniors.

Yuri’s own free skate goes fine. He steps out on his quad salchow but lands the other jumps, and his spins and steps are perfect, of course. He easily maintains his hold on first place.

After the medal ceremony, the proud pat on the head from Yakov, and the awkward hugs and handshakes from people who he doesn’t know and who don’t actually like him, he finally gets back to the locker room to change. A few stragglers are there, packing away their towels and skates, and he gets a couple more congratulatory nods from people who hate his guts.

He gets his skates off first, sitting on the bench, unlacing one and then the other before sliding them both off his feet, putting soakers over the blades, and setting them aside. Next he peels his socks off his sweaty feet and tosses them into the duffle, flexing his toes and noting where new blisters are starting to form, old ones starting to burst.

He pauses to gulp down some water, and that’s when he notices Louis at the other end of the room, leaning in a doorway, watching him with the same burning eyes. He’s changed out of his costume into a tee shirt and track bottoms. When Yuri catches sight of him, Louis straightens up. He sticks out his tongue to wet his lips, gives Yuri a meaningful look, and jerks his head in the direction of the toilet stalls.

Yuri hesitates for only a second before putting his water back in the locker with his unpacked bag and closing it with a metallic clang.

Louis steps into one of the stalls, holding the door open for Yuri to follow. It’s cramped for two people, and with the door closed and locked it’s almost claustrophobic. Up close, he realizes Louis is nearly half a head taller than him. He has light freckles, asymmetrical eyebrows, and a spot on his chin not quite covered by concealer.

They stare at each other for a few moments, and then Louis pushes his own track bottoms and underpants down together.

Yuri looks down between them. Louis is holding his dick with one hand and cupping his balls with the other, petting and kneading. He’s not really hard yet, but he’s getting there.

Yuri unzips his own trousers and shoves them down to mid-thigh. He takes more care with the dance belt, which is tighter than usual across the front, pulling it out and away before lowering it. Taking it off after a long day and putting everything back where it belongs always feels good, but now he lingers, touching himself with a different purpose.

In all the times he’s done this, including in more than a few toilet stalls, he’s done it alone—or at least not where anyone else could see him. Now he’s centimeters away from this cute boy with intense eyes and a shitty triple toe-loop and a hard-on, and he’s tingling all over. He’s got his own live-action porn happening right in front of him, between the flimsy metal door to his left and the toilet to his right, a hot guy pulling on his own cock, watching Yuri as Yuri watches him back.

Louis comes hard and sloppy, with a whine. Some of the spunk gets on Yuri, and in the back of his mind he hopes it didn’t get on the costume, or he’s going to have to soak it in water and then tell Yakov he spilled something on it. Yuri comes a minute later, while Louis is still standing there pink-faced with his pants down and his softening dick out, but Yuri does a better job of keeping it all in his hands.

Toilet paper gets the worst of it off, though it’s a little rough on his dick. They slip out the stall door one at a time, just in case, but it’s quiet, no one else is around. Yuri washes his hands in the sink and checks himself out in the mirror. No come stains on his costume pants.

Louis stands a few feet away. He’s washed his own hands and now they’re shoved deep in his pockets, like now that the hands have done what needed doing, he’s put them away like a pair of skates to sit and wait until the next time. He scuffs the toe of his sneaker against the tile floor. Yuri looks at him. Louis doesn’t quite look back, but he gives Yuri a nod.

“See you,” he says, and with a shrug of his shoulders he turns and leaves.

Yuri rolls his neck. It makes a cracking sound. The guy didn’t even congratulate him for winning, but who cares? He’s never felt better.

He wins again, another gold. It’s just a Challenger competition, nothing to get worked up about, but a medal is a medal.

There’s a senior from Latvia, or Lithuania, or somewhere. Placed in the lower half of the top ten. Fell on his ass—but what an ass. Yuri’s had an eye on it since the first day’s practice session, and in the free skate, clad in black lycra, it looked even better. He waits for Latvia in the locker room after telling Yakov he’s going to “explore.” Yakov’s busy with Georgi’s dramatics. He doesn’t care.

Latvia, still in costume, slumps onto the bench to unlace his skates.

“Too bad about that quad lutz,” Yuri says airily, in English, leaning against a row of lockers with one knee bent. “Your salchow was pretty good.”

Latvia’s head snaps up and he gives Yuri a hard look. Then his shoulders fall. “I haven’t missed that jump in months,” he says to his left skate.

“Shit happens.” Yuri flexes his hips, stretching a little. Latvia drops his skates into their bag with an ungentle thump, and Yuri adds, because he’s heard other people say it before and it sounds good even if it’s total bullshit, “You’ll get it next time.”

Latvia gives him an unreadable look, then reaches behind his neck, unfastens something, and begins peeling off the top half of his bodysuit. “You’re that junior, right? You train with Victor.”

“We’re rinkmates,” Yuri says. Two years sharing a rink and a coach, and he’s still not sure how he feels about being connected to Victor like this. Wherever he goes, whatever he does, Victor is always there—even when he’s not. Victor, not Victor Nikiforov, just Victor, like there’s no other Victor that matters. They might not know Yuri’s name yet—he might still be that junior—but they will. He’ll be Yuri, just Yuri, no other name needed. The only Yuri that matters.

Latvia is bare to the hips, the top of his costume dangling. He’s slim, lean muscle and a faint line of body hair from just above his navel down to the edge of the bodysuit.

“Yeah,” he says, dragging Yuri’s eyes back up to his face. “Well, congratulations.” He throws a towel over his shoulder, grabs a small toiletries bag, and heads toward the showers.

After a second, Yuri follows.

From a distance, he watches Latvia set his bag on a ledge and hang his towel on the hook before sliding both hands under his costume where it remains plastered to his lower body. He eases it down to mid-thigh, then down to his knees before stepping out of it one leg at a time. Standing in only his dance belt, also black, he hangs the suit on another hook. It looks shriveled and sad without that ass to fill it, like a deflated balloon. Latvia bends to pull his dance belt down and off, his gluteal muscles flexing, and then Yuri can’t stand it any longer.

“You shouldn’t take it so hard,” he says, sauntering toward the shower. “Everyone flubs a jump once in a while.”

Latvia’s head jerks around, but only his head—he keeps his front turned away. “What do you want?”

“You should relax more,” Yuri says.

He’s very close now, close enough to lean against the same ledge where Latvia’s bag of toiletries is sitting. Latvia looks like he doesn’t know whether to grab his towel or not. He’s still angled away, one hand covering his groin. Modest. Luckily the view from the back is just as good.

“I can help,” Yuri offers, running his eyes all the way down Latvia’s body to his bare feet and back up again, both to drive the point home and because he wants to. “If you’d like.”

Latvia’s throat bobs when he swallows. “How old are you?”

“Old enough,” Yuri says. He heard that in a movie once.

Latvia doesn’t move. He still looks like he doesn’t know what to do, torn between his options. Which is stupid. Yuri steps closer to help him make up his mind. He reaches for Latvia’s hip, and the boy turns toward him with barely even a touch. He isn’t hard, but Yuri will take care of that.

“Start the water,” he orders before pulling off his own shirt.

In Poland he trades handjobs with a pale American with an annoying voice. In Austria it’s a Chinese guy with bad teeth but a nice cock. In Sweden he gets his first blowjob from a Canadian pairs skater nearly two meters tall—a challenge to coordinate, but worth the effort. In Hungary he takes a chance on a retiring ice dancer from Chelyabinsk and sucks dick for the first time hours after winning the Junior World Championship. On his way out of the locker room after, he spots two seniors sneaking out of the same shower, flushed and guilty-looking.

There’s a lot you can do in ten minutes in a toilet stall.

It’s easy. There’s always a boy, or more than one boy. It can happen anywhere, any place where two guys can disappear and come back shortly after with no one the wiser. You make eye contact. Wait two minutes. One of you ducks out. Wait two more minutes and the other follows. Ten minutes later you leave the washroom, preferably one at a time to avoid suspicion. Then you ignore each other for the rest of the event.

It doesn’t mean anything. It’s just hooking up. It’s what you do—to blow off steam, to relax, to help each other out, guy to guy. To get your own in return.

Once in a while, someone will get weird about it. A rising senior in Italy gave Yuri a blowjob and then asked for his Whatsapp. Yuri pretended he didn’t speak English until he could get his pants zipped and escape. The Canadian pairs skater sucked him off and then added him on Instagram. Yuri never followed back.

He’s not looking for a boyfriend. Boyfriends are for chicks like Mila, always crying about some guy. Love is for losers like Georgi, who gives him sour, disapproving looks sometimes, but he’s just jealous because Yuri’s getting more action than him—and more gold.

Love is a distraction. But fucking around never interferes with his skating. It’s just fucking around. As long as Yakov doesn’t know—and if Gosha ever rats on him, Yuri’s going to skate over his throat.

Victor never seems to notice anything about Yuri, except when he has a skate that isn’t up to the standards of Mister Five Time World Champion. Never, not once, have the eyes sizing him up from across the rink, the bleachers, or the banquet hall been Vitya’s.

But it doesn’t matter. There’s always someone, and if he plays it right, he can more or less have his pick of them all. Right now, for instance. It’s his second Junior Grand Prix Final and the place is full of fuckable guys, but it’s the senior men’s singles skater from Japan he wants, and he doesn’t know why. It’s not like he’s the hottest guy there (still Vitya), or the most down-to-fuck (definitely Christophe Giacometti). And he fell on all his jumps like a newborn baby deer. But Yuri can’t tear his eyes away as he skates, can’t stop staring at his spins and spirals and step sequences, can’t stop thinking about him after. What could this guy do if he landed those jumps? What could he become if he skated clean? Who is he, this Japanese guy with Yuri’s name?

The Japanese Yuri disappears before the senior men’s medal ceremony, and Yuri doesn’t spot him again until everyone is packing up to leave. He keeps an eye on the other skater from a safe distance, hiding under his hood, waiting. When the Japanese Yuri goes into the men’s room, it’s time. The Russian Yuri slinks after him.

It’s not like the other times he’s done this. There’s no signal, no eyeing each other up, no weighing whether the fumbling and scrambling is worth the risk. The Japanese Yuri has barely taken his eyes off his phone. He doesn’t seem to know he’s being followed, and Yuri doesn’t know why he’s doing the following. Does he feel sorry for him? Is this a pity fuck? Is he about to blow this guy just to make him feel better? He’s drawn after the skater from Japan by forces he can’t understand. It’s not like Yuri wants to talk to him, or ask him about that step sequence, or show him how to land a triple axel, or find out what his favorite animal or color is or what kind of music he likes. This isn’t about that. It’s just a hookup.

The room is empty and clean, filled with an artificial lemon smell. As he steps through the door, Yuri hears the faint sound of a phone ringing, and then a bright flurry of Japanese from behind the one stall door that’s closed. Yuri doesn’t understand any of it. The Japanese Yuri laughs, then stops and goes quiet. As Yuri stands in front of the stall door, waiting for the call to end, the man on the other side of it sniffles, says something in a broken voice, and starts to cry.

The sound of it is horrifying. It hits Yuri like a punch to the solar plexus, and it makes him furious. Crying?! What a baby! He’s a senior Grand Prix Finalist! Grand Prix Finalists don’t cry in toilets like little kids! How dare he? Just because he didn’t skate his best? Then he should have skated better! And he did skate well, just not his jumps! If he hadn’t, if he hadn’t glided through those spirals like he was lighter than air, then Yuri wouldn’t have followed him here into this public toilet in the first place!

The curious fascination is gone at once, along with the beginning of his hard-on. He’s not into this guy, he’s disgusted by this guy. But it’s worse than disgust, more powerful than the resentment of a promising hookup gone wrong. He can find another dick to suck tonight; he just won a gold medal, after all. But it will just be sex, the same as ever. The same as every other time before he saw this other skater with his same name.

He reels backwards in a blind fury and kicks the steel door with everything he’s got. It rattles and makes a colossal noise, almost drowning out the yelp of surprise from behind it, but it doesn’t yield. A fraught few seconds later, it opens, and standing in front of him, ten centimeters above him, is the Japanese Yuri, timid in a blue and black tracksuit, with red eyes behind blue-rimmed glasses. He actually apologizes to Yuri.

“Hey,” Yuri says, forcing the word past the tight ball of anger choking him. “I’ll be a senior next year. Maybe it’s time for you to retire. We don’t need two Yuris in the same bracket. Loser!

The other Yuri just stares at him. His eyes are huge and brown and show no sign of the rage Yuri feels, the defiance Yuri wants to see answering back. Why doesn’t he speak? Does this guy not understand English? Did Yuri say it wrong? His own English comes from a cluttered mishmash of foreign language tutoring and American movies, but he’s pretty sure loser, at least, was right. Why isn’t the other Yuri getting mad at him? Why doesn’t he say something?

All at once Yuri knows that he can never, ever see this Japanese guy again.

He turns away, furious and dissatisfied, and stalks out of the bathroom, half expecting the Japanese skater to follow, to finally grow a pair and fight back. But he doesn’t.

That night in his hotel room he jerks off, rough with himself, until the pain gives way to pleasure and he comes with a near shout. He doesn’t sleep well after, and on the flight back to St. Petersburg Yakov lectures him about staying up too late on his phone.

Performing his own exhibition skate, with his own costume and choreography, to his own music that Otabek played just for him, is an out-of-body experience. He’s not sure he’s ever felt this good after a competition. It makes his blood sing, as grandpa once said, and Yuri practically floats off the ice after to find Otabek in the shadows, watching him with those eyes that make Yuri feel like he really is everything Otabek sees him to be.

He crashes into Otabek, grabbing him by the shoulder and hauling him toward the nearest door with the universal symbol on it, blind to the people gawking at him, to Mila grinning at him, to JJ Leroy’s slack-jawed stare, to Victor and Katsudon’s fake friendliness. Somewhere Yakov is shouting his name and Lilia is probably about to burst a blood vessel, but Yuri doesn’t notice anything except the leather jacket, the meat of Otabek’s bicep under his clenched fingers, the door swinging shut behind them, the clang of a stall door as he slams and locks it before smashing Otabek up against the wall.

He almost rips apart the thin white tee Otabek is wearing as he shoves his hands into the open leather jacket, trying to reach skin. He gets his hands under the fabric instead and touches Otabek’s abs, pushes the shirt up as he moves his hands to caress Otabek’s chest. He knows he was flawless out there on the ice, in total control, but here he feels like a shaking, clumsy mess. He just can’t get close enough. It’s not enough, it’s nowhere near enough, and before he knows what he’s doing his hands are out from under Otabek’s shirt and grabbing his hair to hold him at the right angle for Yuri to devour his mouth.

He presses his entire clammy, sweaty body against Otabek’s, chest to chest, groin to groin, sticking one leg in between Otabek’s while the other almost wraps around Otabek’s hips. He’s done this dozens of times with dozens of guys, but it’s never been like this, never. This is more than being horny or bored or restless after the competition ends. He doesn’t just want to get off with Otabek. He wants to crawl inside of Otabek, to swallow him whole, to pack Otabek up in his suitcase next to his new gold medal and take him back to St. Petersburg where they can skate together every day and make up new programs and, and—

He’s desperate, clawing at Otabek, starving for him. But Otabek doesn’t mind, doesn’t push Yuri back or try to slow him down, at least not until Yuri drops his hands down to the front of Otabek’s tight, tight jeans and starts to unbutton them. Then Otabek breaks their kiss with a gasp and his hands cover Yuri’s, stopping his fingers.

“Wait,” Otabek pants, “wait.”

Yuri gapes at him. They speak the same language, both literally and figuratively, but as far as Yuri’s concerned that might as well have been Swahili. “Huh?”

Otabek lifts both of Yuri’s hands away from his fly and brings them to his mouth, where he—oh—kisses Yuri’s fingers like they’re something precious. Yuri’s knees nearly buckle.

“I have a hotel room,” Otabek says, smiling a little. Yuri shakes his head, confused. Of course he has a hotel room, they all have hotel rooms here in Spain. What does that have to do with them hooking up? Yuri looks around, strains to listen for anyone who might have followed them into the toilet—or even been here already, shit, he had been so preoccupied with getting into Otabek’s pants that he hadn’t checked under the stall doors—but outside of their own breathing, it’s quiet.

But even if they’re alone, they won’t be for long. What the hell is Otabek doing, stopping him? Doesn’t he know how little time they have? The look, the nod, two minutes to get in, ten to get off. Doesn’t he know how this works? Yuri’s heart is as heavy as his medal and just as cold. It hurts. He wanted this so bad, still wants it so bad, but now with the pause he has time to think about what happens after, when they slip out of the toilet two minutes apart like it never happened, when they go their separate ways, because it doesn’t mean anything. It’s just fucking around.

Otabek blinks and Yuri realizes he hasn’t actually responded.

“We could go there,” Otabek says, “and not get caught fooling around in a public toilet.”

Yuri’s frantic thoughts hit a wall. He pictures his own room at the hotel, with his shit strewn all over the place, no Yakov or Georgi or anyone to tell him to tidy up. With a bed. That they could both be in.

“Or,” Otabek says, “we don’t have to.” It’s the first time since they met that he’s looked anything less than certain. “If you don’t want to. I mean, I really want to make out with you some more, but—”

Yuri kisses him again, hard, forcing his down-turned mouth into a better shape.

“Yeah,” he says, when he can bear to pull away again. As casual as he can, like he’s done this a million times. “Let’s do it, let’s go to the hotel.” Like this isn’t the first time he’s ever been invited, or even thought about being invited, up to a boy’s room.

“I don’t expect anything,” Otabek explains, giving a squeeze to Yuri’s hands, the ones that a minute earlier were scrambling to get into Otabek’s jeans. “We can just talk. When I asked you to be friends, I never imagined anything like this would happen. I know this is happening fast …”

Before he can finish that thought, Yuri has unlocked the stall, dragging Otabek behind him.

“Fast? Are you kidding me?” he says at the door to the toilet before he pushes it open. “I’ve been waiting for you for years.”