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Better Ending

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How it should have ended…

After what felt like a lifetime of sweet, tender and yet fiery kisses between Lee and Ben, they pulled apart to breathe and get their bearings. Once Ben was able to talk without sounding too breathless, he asked Lee, "Do you want to get something to eat?" Lee laughed, "Where do you want to go?" Ben smiled lovingly at Lee and said, "There's a cozy Italian restaurant on Main St. that is good."

"Ok, let's head back." Lee said.

After hiking back in companionable silence down the mountain, they got into their respective trucks back toward town. Ben arrived at the restaurant first. After parking, a small part of Ben was still apprehensive about Lee following through with the dinner and not bailing. He breathed a silent sigh of relief when he saw Lee park and get out of his truck.

Dinner was spent discussing the beauty of the Appalachian mountains and the best hiking trails, as well as briefly touching upon Chuck and Jane and foraying into their likes and dislikes. Even though dinner itself was relatively comfortable and light, the underlying tension was instantly brought back to the foreground after the checks were paid. After a tense silence, Ben tentatively said, "We can continue getting to know each other at my place over coffee," followed by a shy, yet hopeful smile. Lee looked down at the white tablecloth covered table, nodded, and quietly responded with "Ok."

Ben was practically holding his breath the short ride to his house, and he didn't let it go until Lee had arrived and was safely inside his house. He turned on some lamps in the hallway and was about to head into the kitchen to brew some coffee when he was stopped by Lee's hand on his arm. Lee's green eyes looked intensely into Ben's light brown ones, laden with heavy meaning and unsaid desires. Ben took Lee's hand into his own and led him to his bedroom.

Without turning on any of the lights in the room, Ben and Lee looked at each other, the only light coming from the full moon and stars streaming in through the large windows. Ben slowly closed the small distance between them and before he could reach for Lee, he was pleasantly surprised to see Lee's hand come up and gently cup his cheek. Ben briefly closed his eyes and slightly nuzzled into the warm hand. When he opened his eyes, he was again staring into Lee's intense gaze and saw a sliver of fear there. He quietly said, "We don't have to do anything. I had a wonderful day with you." This small break in the tension gave Lee the courage he needed. He swallowed and said, "No, I want to be with you. It's just that, uh, I haven't done anything like this in a very long time." With that confession, he brought his hand back to his side and looked down. Ben murmured, "Come here," and tipped Lee's face up gently and brought his lips softly to Lee's. They began kissing tenderly, letting the passion build through their lips.

After a little while, Ben's hands moved downward from being entwined in Lee's thick dark hair, gently stroking his chest and shoulders. Lee also moved his hands from Ben's face and started to unzip his sweater. Taking this action as encouragement, Ben began to slowly unbutton Lee's blue shirt while still exchanging tender and heated kisses. Soon, both of their shirts and undershirts were completely off and Ben was reveling in feeling Lee's strong chest and back. Lee was also becoming slightly bolder and was caressing Ben's warm skin. Soon, belt buckles were reached for and pants were also discarded. Both men were standing in front of each other in just their underwear. Lee seemed to have regained some of his shyness and insecurity, and stood mutely looking down again. Ben reached for him and said, "It's warmer under the covers." He swallowed and continued softly, "We don't have to do anything you're not comfortable with." Lee nodded while still looking down and let Ben guide him to the bed and under the covers. In Ben's soft bed, Lee laid down and looked up at the white ceiling. Ben had turned toward him and watched him with tenderness and love in his eyes. He sighed and touched Lee's cheek softly. Ben felt perfectly happy and content just having Lee in his bed without any further exploration. However, Lee had other ideas and turned to Ben and began kissing him again. This re-ignited the undercurrent of passion that was simmering between them and soon Ben found himself under Lee's lean, yet strong and warm body. Kisses were now spread to other parts of the body, with them landing on sweet necks and warm chests, followed by tender caresses. With the heated touches and rubbing of various sensitive parts, moans and sweet murmured endearments joined the noises in the room. As the moans coming from Lee and Ben increased in intensity and urgency, they both let go and hit the apex of their passion.

Coming down from his high, Ben planted soft kisses on Lee's face and gently rubbed his back. Once Lee realized what had happened, he burrowed his heated face in Ben's neck. He murmured gruffly, "Haven't done something like that since high school." Ben chuckled warmly, and replied, "That was unexpected, but amazing."

Lee looked up from Ben's neck and raised an eyebrow at him skeptically. Ben softly chuckled some more, took Lee's face and kissed him passionately to convey to him exactly how wonderful and precious the experience was to him. Lee looked markedly less embarrassed after that. Ben said, "Let's get ourselves cleaned up. You can borrow a pair of my boxers." Lee blushed in renewed embarrassment, but got up from Ben and went to the bathroom. After both men had cleaned up and resettled themselves in bed, Lee assumed his earlier position of lying on his back and looking at the ceiling. However, this time Ben had turned to his side and cuddled up to Lee. He put his arm around Lee's trim waist, which Lee gently caressed almost absentmindedly. Lee broke the comfortable silence, "I read what you wrote in my journal."

"I meant every word. You are a wonderful and beautiful person, that is worthy of love and forgiveness."

On a breath, Ben simply stated, "I love you."

After a moment, Lee started again, "You asked me why I didn't take the job in Atlanta. I brushed it off, but you were right about it not being much of an answer."

He sighed and continued, "I made that decision after reading what you wrote in my journal. I realized that for some reason not seeing you again and being so far away from you was not something right for me or what I wanted. That is also what drew me to hike up to my favorite spot, hoping to see you there and yet very afraid of that."

Lee finished his small speech and turned to face Ben, "I think I'm in love with you."

Ben smiled at him lovingly and pulled him in for a tender and passionate kiss. He felt like he finally found the true happiness and peace that was missing from his life.