At 5,000 RPMs, the skin puckers as though wanting to break from the earth.
At 5,500 RPMs there's a metallic taste in the back of the teeth. Exhilaration.
At 6,000 RPMs sweat shivers over the skin. A heart beating below, deep in the earth even as the car tears across runway.
At 6,500 RPMs, the body begins to feel like shadow. Weightless and translucent.
And at 7,000 RPMs, that shadow ripples, fast and loose, free like ash. The runway slows, a hypnotic grey ribbon. The sky sloughs away, clouds and sun evaporating, leaving silver stars.
Carroll remembers as Ken shifts gears. He can almost see those stars, so much so that he puts a hand on his palpitating chest and sighs.
"You all right?" Ken asks as he weaves through another set of barrels.
Carroll laughs, feelining set alight.
"I'm great," he says. "I'm in a car with the world's best driver."
He sees Ken smirk.
"You're a fantastic engineer and lover too."
Ken swerves, spinning the car around. 5,000 RPMs, 4,000, 3,000, 2,000, dwindling to a stop at the end of the runway. Ken kills the engine.
"You want to be the best of my lovers, well, take that up with Anne*," Carroll drawls wryly.
"Oh fuck off," Ken shoves Carroll.
Carroll shoves right back, and through their grappling they undo their seatbelts. Their noses graze, and they begin to kiss. A nice 4,000 RPM. The soft touch of lips, like the tap of a gas pedal; it can go either way. Can end up blistering forwards, or can end up idling to a languorous halt. Carroll hears the soft wind whisper against the car door, whispering of pleasure, or of stars.
Carroll grabs Ken by his short hair. Ken's palm burns against his belly and now their kissing is a steady 5,000 RPMs. Ken's doing that thing Carroll likes, which is sucking his lower lip. They don't care about anyone else -- they're all gone. It's Saturday, and all of this -- the racing, the kissing -- is just for them.
Fuck what his doctor said. He needs this. He needs the adrenaline of racing like a gasoline fire in his veins. He needs Ken like something soft -- a pear maybe, dripping down his chin after the first bite.
He needs a rough hand on him, stroking him through his khakis. His cock stiffens.
6,000 RPMs, the both of them breathing heavy, hearts thudding.
"Please," Carroll says against Ken's lips.
"Please what?" Ken replies smugly.
Carroll makes a noise, because of course he can't just say. He's too vulnerable, too tender. He keeps eye contact with Ken as he arches, unbuttons and unzips his khakis, and pulls down his underwear, exposing his pink cock. His head is silken, supple, as Ken takes him in his mouth.
It feels of sunrises. Of roaring engines. Of nights alone with only whiskey as a companion. The drive to win even now.
7,000 RPMs of hot mouth and wetness, a kind of feisty love and devotion Carroll had only dreamt of.
Carroll wriggles and feels it in the base of his spine, feels the jolt, before he finishes. Ken stays fixed to him, licking and sucking him clean through the sensitive aftershocks.
Ken settles back in the driver's seat while Carroll does up his khakis.
They stare at each other a long minute, and Carroll wonders if his feelings for this man can go any deeper. He's smiling; they've peeled back the sky and he can see the stars.
"What?" Ken asks.
"Nothing," Carroll says.