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Sight Unseen

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Chapter 1

The phone rang three times before Orlando decided to answer it. Sighing, he reached over to the end table and retrieved the receiver without bothering to take his eyes off the television screen.

"Yeah?" he answered, annoyed that the caller was interrupting his movie.

"May I speak to Scott, please?" the caller asked.

"Sorry, but there’s no one here by that name," Orlando answered before disconnecting the call and laying the handset on the couch beside him.

Viggo picked up the piece of paper lying on his desk and dialed the number again.

"What?" was the answer that greeted him this time.

"Look, I know you said that Scott’s not there, so could you please tell me when he left?" the caller asked.

"Again, there is no Scott here and has never been. Had a Steve once, but no Scott," Orlando quipped as his mind recalled the young dark-headed man he had tutored a few weeks ago, both on and off the slopes.

"You sure? He gave me this number; told me this was where he was going to be if I needed to contact him," Viggo said as he became impatient all over again.

"I’m fairly sure I’d know if there was another person here with me," he quipped.

"Look, this is an emergency. I really need to speak to him."

Orlando sighed. "And I really wish you’d believe me when I say that there’s no one here by that name. Are you sure you have the right number?" he asked.

Viggo looked at the piece of paper again. "8 1 0 5 5 5 6 7 5 4," he called off.

Orlando laughed. "Then there’s your problem. Would you like to know what number you called?" he asked.

The older man’s brows furrowed. "I thought that was the number I dialed."

"Close. You called 8 0 1 instead of 8 1 0," he said with a smile.

"Oh shit," Viggo says, somewhat embarrassed at the mix-up. "I’m sorry."

A light laugh teased Viggo’s senses. "No problem, but in the future you should probably let someone else do the dialing for you," Orlando suggested. "You might end up calling some place like Timbuktu and get stuck with someone who doesn’t understand a word you are saying. God, your phone bill would be horrible."

The older man smiled. "You’re probably right."

Orlando watched the scene on the screen and smiled. "You do that. Good luck."

"Thanks. And again, I’m sorry for interrupting your evening," Viggo offered.

"No problem," he said before disconnecting the call on his end.

As soon as Viggo got a clear line, he dialed the correct number and spent the next half-hour relaying bad news to his vacationing neighbor.

~ * ~

Later that night, as Viggo sat on his front porch watching the falling snow, his thoughts drifted to the conversation with the stranger. There was something about the voice, something that had wrapped itself around him and wouldn’t let go. It was soft, almost melodic, and definitely arousing. He had traveled the world over and never before had a voice, or accent, affected him such.

He replayed the brief conversation several times and the artist in him constructed the other man’s visage. An image of someone in their early twenties with fair skin, light brown hair with blue eyes flashed in his mind’s eye. He was of medium height, probably five-foot six or thereabouts, with a small frame. Viggo chuckled to himself when he realized he had just constructed what he considered a perfect little twink.

*And don’t forget the pouty lips that would look exquisite wrapped around your cock,* his mind offered.

A small groan escaped from the man as he pictured the young man kneeling between his legs, administering what Viggo assumed would be the greatest blow job in the history of the world. It had been months since he had been with someone, and even then it was just a quick fuck, a way to release the pent-up tension that had been accumulating.

He had given up on relationships when he had come back from filming early to surprise his lover; only he was the one who had ended up being surprised. The signs had been there for months before – missed phone calls, working late, strange calls that Greg would take in another room ‘so he wouldn’t disturb Viggo’ – but the artist had chosen to ignore them.

So maybe it really wasn’t a surprise when Viggo walked into their bedroom to find Greg buried balls deep in someone else’s ass. Viggo was never one to lose his temper and blow up, except on the very rare occasion, which surprisingly this was not. He had calmly told Greg that when he was finished, he could pack his things and get the hell out of his house. And with that, he turned around and left two very confused men looking after him. He had locked himself in his studio with a bottle of Jack Daniels and did not re-emerge until late the next morning, sporting blood-shot eyes and a mouth that felt as dry as a desert. Viggo snorted at the irony of that little bit since he had just come back from filming ‘Hidalgo’.

Once he had sobered up, he donated the bed to a homeless shelter and bought a new one to replace it. Out with the old, in with the new. It had taken him time to get over the loss, but eventually he moved on. Quick and discreet liaisons were his way of taking care of things, and that suited him, and his partners, just fine. Viggo knew that they were with him because of who he was, and what he represented, but in the harsh light of day he wondered if there was anyone out there who would accept the man he was and not his public persona.

An idea struck, and before he could change his mind, he went back into the house.

~ * ~

Orlando had just stepped out of his shower when the phone rang again. Not caring that he was dripping water all over the carpet, he padded naked to his bed and picked up the extension.


"I just wanted you to know that somehow I managed to dial the right number and talked to my friend," the voice said.

Orlando laughed. "Oh, it’s you," he teased. "Are you sure you meant to call me or is this another accident?"

Viggo propped his feet up on the coffee table, the fire in the grate warming his woolen-covered toes. "No, no accident this time. I purposely dialed 801."

"Well, good for you. Would you like a cookie for accomplishing your goal?" Orlando asked as he stepped back into the bathroom and quickly dried himself off.

The older man laughed quietly. "How about your name instead?"

Not missing a beat, Orlando quipped, "Well now, if I gave you my name, what would I go by?"

"Cheeky little bastard, aren’t you?" Viggo mused.

Orlando rubbed the towel briskly against his curls. "You make it too easy. So did you get your friend sorted out?"

"Yeah. Crises contained," the older man offered, surprised that he had been asked. Most people wouldn’t give a shit one way or another. Feeling more relaxed about his current undertaking, he plowed on. "So, if you won’t tell me your name, at least tell me where you are."

"In my bathroom," came the reply.

Viggo’s arctic blue eyes rolled toward the heavens. "And where is that?" he prodded.

Orlando grinned. *This is going to be fun*, he mused.

"Off my bedroom. You know, it’s a small room that contains a sink, loo and shower? People visit them when they need to answer nature’s call, or their body odor starts to offend."

The older man groaned into the phone. "Walked right into that one, didn’t I?"

"Smacked you square in the forehead," Orlando said as he walked back into his bedroom and pulled a pair of cotton sleep pants from the drawer and slid into them.

Viggo sighed. "I’m not going to win, am I?"

"That remains to be seen," Orlando said as he stretched out on his bed.

"Okay, you won’t tell me your name or where you’re at, so what do you do for a living?" Viggo asked.

"Correction. I have told you where I’m at. Well, where I was."

"So you’re not there now?"


"Where are you now?"

"Lying on my bed," Orlando said and Viggo nearly dropped the phone as the image he had created earlier flashed before him. The young man had been in his bathroom earlier and was now in his bedroom. Viggo could see him laid out, fresh from a shower, water droplets clinging to his skin. *Maybe this isn’t such a good idea, after all,* he thought.

"Oh," was the only thing Viggo could manage.

*BINGO!* thought Orlando. He had wondered where all of this was going, and now he knew. It wasn’t that he was above a little phone sex every now and then; he just preferred the real thing.

He lowered his voice to what he would use when he wanted something, or someone. "Want to know what I’m wearing?" he asked as his fingers trailed over his chest, pausing briefly to gently tug on the sliver hoop adorning his left nipple. A shot of pleasure pooled low in his belly.

The older man took a deep breath. Fuck yes he wanted to know, but he wasn’t ready to go in that direction just yet. Eventually, sure. But not yet.

Pulling himself back together, he went on. "No, I asked what you do for a living."

"And what if THIS is what I do for a living?" Orlando teased. His hand skimmed his stomach and lightly stroked over his cloth-covered erection.

The tension inside of Viggo broke. "Well then, my guess is that you’re flat broke because you’re not going about it the right way."

"And what way would that be?"

"Asking for the money up front before you get down to business," Viggo said, completely horrified that he had just given that bit of information away.

Now it was Orlando’s turn to say, "oh."

"Good try though," Viggo offered. "So back to my question - what do you do for a living?" He heard a lengthy sigh before the answer.

"I’m a snowboarding instructor."

Viggo laughed. "Now, was that so hard?"

*No, you fucker, but I am,* Orlando thought, but instead answered, "Nah. Your turn."

"Artist," Viggo conveyed. He had already decided that was the only piece of information he would divulge about his professions.

"Oh, now that was helpful. There’s like a million things you can be under that title," Orlando snorted.

"Yep," Viggo said with a grin.

"Alright, you crazy artist, care to tell me where you call home?" he asked as he continued to tease himself. They might have moved on verbally, but his body hadn’t caught up with that fact just yet.

"Where I’m at right now," the man said as he watched the orange flames dancing before him.

The brunette laughed. "I deserved that," he admitted.

"Damn straight, you did."

"Okay, let me rephrase. What state are you in? And don’t give me any shit about confusion or depression or anything like that."

The word ‘horny’ came to mind, but the older man wasn’t about to divulge that. "Idaho."

"Idaho, youdaho, wealldaho," Orlando said before he burst into a fit of giggles.

The mellifluous sound traveled through the phone line and imbedded itself in Viggo’s brain and he knew that he’d better hang up before things took a turn for the worse. Even this young man’s laughter turned him on.

*You really need to get laid, old man,* he thought to himself and then quickly discarded that thought. For some reason, what Viggo wanted was on the other end of the phone.

Viggo pointedly cleared his throat in an effort to catch the other man’s attention. "And on that note, I’ll be saying goodnight."

"No! Wait!" Orlando said as he tried to calm himself down. He thought he had offended his caller with his asinine joke. "I’m sorry about that. It just hit me funny."

"It’s okay. No offense taken. It’s not like I haven’t heard it before. I just have to get up early in the morning."

"Oh, well, okay then. It’s been real. Goodnight … neighbor," he said before disconnecting, knowing that he would be hearing from his inquisitive caller again. Exactly when remained to be seen, but he would call back. Of that he was sure. He quickly slid his sleep pants off and reached into the bedside table drawer for the tube of lube he kept there, intending to finish what had been started earlier.

As Viggo lowered the handset to the couch, he wondered what the young man meant by that. Neighbor. Did that mean the young man lived in Idaho? Could he know where Viggo was calling from and live close by? A thrill shot through his body at that thought. And then another thought crossed his mind, but he quickly discarded it. His number was unlisted and if the other man had Caller ID, his name and number would not show up. The only way to be found was if the man hit star-six-nine, the last call return feature. But even then, his information would not show up. He would only have his number.

Viggo thought that might not be so bad.



Chapter 2

The next morning, Orlando walked into the Brighton Ski Resort office and checked the board for his assignments. He had a beginners group, ages eight to twelve, scheduled for 9:30, and then a private advanced lesson slated that afternoon for 1:15. He quickly checked the name on the private lesson form to see if he recognized it, but no such luck. He loved it when his previous students came back to pick up where they had left off. It might have been a month or two later, or maybe a year, but either way, it put a smile on his face.

The morning class passed quickly, as it always did with a beginners group. After the standard safety speech, he showed everyone how to check their equipment, making sure that their bindings were tight and their boots laced properly, made sure they had both ski gloves. Once he was satisfied that everyone was ready, he gathered up his students and over to the starter slope they went. As with all beginners, they spent more time in the snow instead of gliding on top, but when everyone returned to the resort before noon, all agreed that they had a good time. He could hear the kids babbling excitedly to their parents about some of the things they had learned. A couple of them managed to traverse the entire beginners slope without falling, and for someone just starting out, no matter how old you were, that was a great accomplishment.

After a quick lunch at the grill, he went back to the office to wait for his student. Casey Adams, age twenty-three, was an excellent snowboarder and Orlando found himself watching the way his body twisted and turned as he manipulated the board through the rough terrain they were covering. Orlando followed the blur down the mountainside, his mind recording their entire run. At the end, when they slid safely to the rail, he pointed out a few places where Casey could improve, and back up the lift they went. They made three additional runs, and when they unhooked their bindings later that afternoon, both Orlando and Casey felt they had a very productive afternoon.

As a repayment of sorts, Casey invited Orlando to join himself and some friends at Club Vortex, a members-only nightclub in the city. For a few moments, he had given the invitation some serious thought. Casey was a good looking guy and even if things didn’t work out with them, since he had no idea what the other man’s preferences were, there were always others at the club he could pull, but Orlando found himself politely declining the invitation as he had to work the next day.

It had nothing to do with a phone call that may – or may not – come later that night.

~ * ~

Viggo spent the majority of the day outside as well. He managed to get a path cleared from the cabin to the barn and spent time with his equine friends, cleaning out stalls, replenishing food and water, and grooming each one. He briefly wondered if his new – friend? – enjoyed horseback riding. He would make a note to ask what his hobbies were the next time he called.

And call he would. He wanted to find out more about the person he spoke to last night, as much as he could. He was attracted to him, of that there was no doubt, and he wondered what opinion the other man held of him.

*Probably thinks I’m some crazy person who dials random numbers when I get bored,* he thought to himself as he finished up his chores in the barn.

As he went back to the house, he gathered more firewood and stacked it by the front door, and then went inside. A stranger’s face looked up at him from the sketchpad lying on the coffee table and he wondered, not for the first time, if he *had* lost his mind.

He had enjoyed their second phone call last night more than he probably should have, but it felt nice to just let go and be himself, minus a few pertinent details. The other man’s cryptic parting words haunted him and it was maddening to know that he was no closer to figuring out exactly what ‘neighbor’ meant now than he was when he finally drifted off to sleep last night.

It was one thing he hoped to rectify tonight.

~ * ~

"I was wondering how long you would wait," Orlando said into the receiver that was currently lodged between his cheek and shoulder.

"You sound funny," Viggo offered. "What are you doing?"

Orlando snorted. "Wouldn’t you like to know?"

"Well, yeah, I asked, didn’t I?" the older man threw back.

"Oh, there are *so* many ways I could answer that," the young man said with a grin. "But it’s not late enough for some of them." Viggo’s stomach clenched at the thought of what some of them could be. "Actually, I’m making a sandwich. And before you ask what kind, it’s a ham and cheese sandwich. And I’m using wheat bread," he said as he slathered Miracle Whip across the two pieces lying on the counter.

Viggo leaned back against the arm of the swing, his right foot nestled in the cushion while his left one rocked him back and forth. "What time is it there?" he asked.

"Dinner time," Orlando quipped and called him on it. "I know what you’re doing."

"So you’re a mind reader. Then tell me, oh great seer, what am I thinking right now?" he taunted.

"You’re trying to figure out exactly where I am."

"Besides the kitchen, of course," Viggo offered.

"Well that goes without saying."

"Last night you said ‘neighbor’ before hanging up, which could mean one of several things. First, you know where I am …"

"Yep, Idaho, youdaho," Orlando interrupted as he returned the jar to the refrigerator.

Viggo continued on as if the other person hadn’t said anything. "So the term could mean one of three things. One, you’re in the same city as I am, which is highly doubtful because I live in the middle of nowhere; two, you’re in the same state as I am; or three, you live in one of the surrounding states. How am I doing?"

"Didn’t ask," Orlando said after taking a bite of his sandwich. "Sorry about that. So, how are you doing?"

"Smart ass," Viggo said with a smile.

"You’ve given this quite a bit of thought, haven’t you?"

Viggo nodded, as if he could be seen. "Honestly, it’s been driving me up the wall since we hung up last night."

"I really hope you didn’t lose any sleep over it," Orlando said before taking another bite.

Before Viggo could answer, an owl screeched somewhere in the distance and Orlando heard it through the phone.

"What in the bloody hell was that?"


"Sounded like someone screaming, if you ask me," the young man offered.

"There’s a parliament of Boreal owls that live in a stand of cedars about fifty yards from my cabin. They can be quite vocal when stirred up. And before you decide to interject your crazy thoughts, no, they do not have a Prime Minister, House of Commons, House of Lords, or anything of that nature."

Orlando snickered quietly. "Well, of course they wouldn’t. They live in America, not the United Kingdom."

Viggo dropped the receiver from his ear and shook his head. This one was definitely a hand full. *No, don’t go there,* he thought. His body began to shake as the laughter welled up inside of him until he could contain it no more.

Several hundred miles away, Orlando sat at his dinner table and listened to the caller’s voice as he laughed, and wished that he could see him. The laugh was full and strong, and he imagined someone who was solidly built, but not overly so like a lumberjack. Those guys were just … Orlando shivered at the thought. Gross.

When he finally recovered, Viggo picked up the phone again.

"Sorry about that," he said with a sigh. "I haven’t laughed like that in I can’t tell you how long."

"Well, glad to know you’re getting your money’s worth for this call," Orlando said as he rinsed off his empty plate and left it in the sink.

"So now, where were we?" Viggo said as he settled back against the swing again.

"You were trying to figure out exactly where I am," Orlando said as he moved into the living room and opened the vertical blinds, his sienna gaze taking in the lights of the city. "The weather report said we’re in for several inches of new snow tonight."

"Not really helping," Viggo offered.

"I could turn this into something sexual and say that you’re on top of me," Orlando said with a grin.

Viggo’s cock twitched at the thought. "You could, but don’t you think we need to introduce ourselves first, before we jump to that point?"


"You’re in Florida? Bullshit. It doesn’t snow in Florida," Viggo said as he shook his head.

Orlando laughed as he settled himself on the couch. He hadn’t bothered with any lights and the soft glow from his porch light filtered into the room.

"No, you wanker. That’s my name," he said as he propped his feet up on the coffee table.

Viggo said the name several times to himself and liked the way it felt, liked the way his tongue brushed the roof of his mouth on the second syllable.

"What? No comments from the peanut gallery about my name?" he asked.

What could Viggo say? Absolutely nothing because his own name was just as odd, but he couldn’t tell Orlando that. He knew if he said his name was ‘Viggo’, he was fairly certain the young man would figure it out. He could use his middle name, but if it ever came around to last names, he was screwed there as well. So he offered up the next best thing – one of his character’s names.

"Nope. None from me," he said as he slowly rocked the swing. "My name is David."

"Can I call you Davey?" Orlando teased.

"Not if you expect me to answer."

Orlando propped his left foot on the seat of the couch and rested his hand on his knee. "So we have David from Idaho."

"And Orlando from somewhere below me," Viggo supplied. "Care to be a bit more specific?"

The young man sighed. "Yeah, okay. I live in Utah."

"Yep, I’m on top of you," Viggo said with a smile.

"Not yet you’re not," Orlando quipped.

Viggo laughed quietly. "You know, I didn’t call you for phone sex, Orlando."

"Maybe not, but it could be fun. You got me pretty worked up last night."

Viggo did NOT need to be reminded of the soft sounds that filtered through the phone during their conversation the night before. He took a few deep breaths and tried to get the conversation back on track. "As much as I’d love to, I’m not going there again. I …"

What should he say? That he’d been thinking of him all day? That that soft, accented voice made him harder than stone?

"At the risk of sounding cheesy, I just want to get to know you," he settled on. "You seem like a very charming young man who has a wicked sense of humor. After spending all my time around my horses, it’s nice to have some human interaction, even if it’s over the telephone."

"God, it’s been forever since I rode a horse. Not since I moved here, I know that much. How many do you have?" Orlando excitedly asked.

Viggo breathed a sigh of relief that he had managed to get Orlando’s mind away from sex, at least for the time being. From that point on, they opened up a bit more and talked about their hobbies. Viggo was a bit dismayed to find that Orlando seemed to love doing things that put his life in danger. Throwing himself out of a perfectly good airplane was not something Viggo would ever entertain doing, never mind dangling from a bridge with what amounted to a huge rubber band tied to his ankles. Snowboarding and surfing were Orlando’s passions, though, and Viggo was suddenly glad that he had not sold his condo in Venice Beach.

Orlando learned that Viggo spent his free time riding, painting or sketching and was surprised to hear that the other man owned not one horse, but three, and figured he must be good at what he did. He wondered if the artist was good at *everything* he did.

From there, the conversation bounced from topic to topic and before they realized it, two hours had disappeared. Since the first time Viggo had heard the intoxicating voice, one question plagued the older man, but he was afraid that if he asked, Orlando would hang up on him, and that was not something he wanted to risk. But in the end, he decided to take a chance, seeing as what he was doing was chancy, at best, anyway.

"I know this is going to sound weird, but what do you look like?" Viggo asked and then held his breath.

The question was unexpected and it caught Orlando by surprise. "What do…what do I look like?"

He fell silent for a bit and Viggo thought that he had indeed scared the young man off.

"Why do you want to know?" he asked, his voice different now; softer than it had been before. Viggo recognized it from last night when Orlando was teasing him. This was his bedroom voice and it would be the death of Viggo, he was sure of it.

"Just answer the question, Orlando," Viggo said, exasperation tinting his voice.

Orlando chuckled into the phone. "Can’t blame a guy for trying. So yeah, you want to know what I look like. Well, obviously I’m a guy," he teased and heard the groan through the handset. "How specific do you want me to get?"

"Okay, let me go first then," Viggo offered.

"Hey! What if I don’t want to know what you look like? What if I want to keep the image I have in my head?" he asked, knowing full-well that he wanted to know what the other man looked like, but was going to torture him just the same.

"Tough. If you don’t want to hear, then don’t listen," Viggo said before describing himself as best as he could. "I have what some would call sandy-blonde hair and blue eyes, medium build, five-eleven and weigh about two-ten. I work out when I can, but the chores I do around here keep me fit." He purposefully did not mention the scar on his upper lip. It was something else that would give him away.

"Not too bad," Orlando said and then tried to describe himself. "Like you, I’m five-eleven, but I weigh somewhere around one-eighty, so I’m a bit on the thin side, but my job keeps me in shape, although I do work out at the resort a few times a week. I’ve got brown hair that has a mind of its own. Oh, and I have brown eyes."

Viggo closed his eyes and revised his picture of Orlando in his mind. "Nice," he whispered. As soon as they hung up, he would make a new sketch of his friend from the description he had just been given.

Now it was Orlando’s turn to catch Viggo off-guard. "How old are you, David?" he asked. He knew the man was older than himself and that didn’t matter. He was just curious.

Viggo closed his eyes and laid his head back on the swing. This would probably be it. "Older than you," he offered.

Orlando was chewing on his thumbnail, something he did when he was nervous. "Yeah, but how much? I’m twenty-eight."

"Does it matter how old I am?" Viggo asked.

"No. I’ve had lovers who were older. I was just curious, yeah? You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to."

Viggo’s stomach lurched at the word Orlando had just used. He knew the young man didn’t mean anything by it, but still …

"How old do you think I am?" Viggo asked.

"I’m taking a wild guess here but I’d say in your forties?" the brunette enquired.

"Ever had a lover that old before?"

"Um, no. I think the oldest one was in his late thirties. And I really shouldn’t call them lovers, because it wasn’t a relationship. Well, not a proper one. Just a few shags, you know?"

"Been there and done that. Listen, it’s getting late and I have to get up early - chores and all that," Viggo said as he slowly rose from the padded swing and stretched, his unused joints protesting.

"You don’t have anyone there to help out?"

"Nope, just me and the horses."

"And don’t forget the parliament," Orlando teased.

"And the parliament," Viggo repeated.

"Get some sleep, David," he said, not really wanting to end their conversation.

"You too, Orlando," Viggo said as he opened the door and slipped back into the warmth of the house.

"Wait! Before you hang up, you never answered my question," Orlando chided.

Viggo smiled. "How about we save that for next time?"

A matching smile spread across Orlando’s face. "So will there be a next time?"

"I’d like for there to be, if that’s okay with you," Viggo answered softly as he leaned back against the wall.

Orlando nodded. "Yeah, I think I’d like that too."

Viggo’s heart soared. "Until tomorrow."

"Tomorrow," Orlando parroted before disconnecting the call. He closed his eyes and rested his head against the back of the couch. "Bloom, I really hope you know what in the hell you are doing."

He shook his head and slowly stood. "Not a fucking clue, mate, but whatever it is, it’s … nice. Oh great, now I’m talking to myself … and answering! I must be nutters," he said as he made his way into the bedroom.



Chapter 3

Orlando hurt.

And it wasn’t just the ordinary, garden-variety hurt either. His muscles screamed in protest as he slowly removed his clothes, the tiniest of movements triggering another round of stabbing pain that left him gasping.

He finally managed to step into the steaming shower, but only after a litany of curses that could give a seasoned sailor a run for his money. Bracing his hands against the front wall, he bent his neck and let the hot water run down over his shoulders and back, hoping it would soothe at least part of the ache there. He’d deal with his legs later. Right now it was his back that needed attention.

Once the hot water had dulled the pain in his protesting muscles, he slowly left the confines of the shower and went in search of the muscle relaxers he had left over from his last bout of testosterone-driven insanity. Orlando was nothing if not prepared. Experience taught him to *always* have an extra muscle relaxer, or two, on hand for just such emergencies. The effects might not last long, but at least they would alleviate some of the pain that was sure to return.

Not bothering with the hassle of getting dressed, he crawled onto his bed and waited for the medication to kick in. He had been floating in a haze of calmness for a little while when he heard his phone ringing.

"Yeah?" he managed to say when he pulled the receiver down onto the bed with him and laid it beside his face.

"Orlando?" came the voice through the phone line.

"Mmm hmm." He really didn’t have the strength for much more than that.

Viggo’s brows furrowed and he looked at the clock. It was only seven in the evening. "Were you sleeping?"

Orlando smiled. "Sleep? No. More like drifting," he mumbled.

Concern laced Viggo’s voice as he spoke. "Are you okay?"


"Care to tell me what’s going on?" Viggo prodded.

"Fucking hurts," the young man whimpered.

"What does? Orlando, what happened?"

"All fucking Chad’s fault," he mumbled.

Viggo stamped down the fear that threatened to overwhelm him. The young man was making no sense, what-so-ever, and it was making Viggo a little worried. *Fuck that, not just a little … more than that … a whole lot more than that,* he thought.

"Orlando, please tell me what’s going on. What did Chad do?" The older man’s imagination was running rampant and one thing stood out above all the rest … Viggo shivered. He did not want to think this Chad person had hurt his Orlando *that* way. If he had, he was a dead man walking. He’d tear him from limb to limb, and then some.

*Whoa, back the train up for a minute there, buster,* he thought. Since when did he start thinking of Orlando as his?

*Try the minute you heard his voice and realized you felt something for him.*

Pushing his inner-voices aside, he concentrated on Orlando.

"Orlando," he said with a stern voice.


"Do I need to call 911?"

Orlando snorted into the mattress. "No. ‘M okay. Just a bit sore, is all."

*Well, that was a little bit better,* Viggo thought with relief. At least he was stringing more words together.

"Care to tell me why you sound like you’re three-sheets to the wind?"

Orlando smiled. "Muscle relaxers are excellent little pills, don’t you think?"

"Not if they affect you like that, they’re not," Viggo said honestly. "So, tell me what happened to cause you to sound this way."

The young man chuckled. "Just me being me, really," he started as he slowly rolled over so that he was lying on his back, groaning as he did so. Viggo closed his eyes against the pain he heard hiding just beneath the surface of the sound and wished he could help. "It was one of those extremely rare afternoons where a couple of us didn’t have anything on the schedule, and we took advantage of our time off, so to speak. So there we were, Chad and I, tagging each other on one of the backcountry runs, which is out of bounds mind you, basically trying to outdo each other. We’ve ridden these slopes plenty of times before, so we know where each outcropping is, which ones we can do tricks from."

"Oh, Orlando, no," Viggo whispered.

Knowing instantly what the older man thought, he rushed on. "No, nothing like that. No accidents, no broken bones. As soon as he hit the first drop-off, he started stringing together different aerials and it was amazing. So of course, me being the idiot daredevil I am, cannot allow him to have all the fun. I can’t even begin to explain some of the things I did. Hell, I can’t remember half of them now. All I know is that when I got to the bottom of the run, my body voiced its opinion about the afternoon’s activities, loud and clear."

Viggo waited for his friend to continue, but nothing else was forthcoming. He breathed a small sigh of relief that it wasn’t worse than a few sore muscles, and said as much.

"A few?" Orlando protested. "Try damned near every one of them. I took a hot shower earlier and it helped ease the pain a bit, but the pill worked even better."

"Kids these days," Viggo said with a small smile.

"Yeah, well, at least I can still do that stuff, old man," he teased. "What can you do?"

"Whip your butt for being a smart ass."

Orlando laughed, feeling somewhat better now. He didn’t want to admit that hearing this particular voice on the other end of the line made him feel even better than the shower or the little magic pill. "You into kink, David?"

Viggo groaned. "I should just hang up and be done with you. It doesn’t matter what I say – you’re going to turn it into something sexual."

Orlando’s free hand settled lightly on his stomach, his thumb teasing the indention of his navel. "Yeah, well, sue me. I’m a young man with needs."

An idea was rapidly forming in Viggo’s head. Before he could chicken out, he asked, "Where are you right now?"

"Laying butt-arse naked on my bed."

"Perfect," Viggo said with a smile.

"Finally gonna give me what I want?" Orlando asked.

"Depends on what it is you want."

Orlando’s pulse quickened at the thought of what the other man might be thinking.

"I want you to lay face-down," Viggo said.

"Kinda hard to wank that way," Orlando teased.

"Just do as I say," he instructed and listened to the small sounds Orlando emitted as he rolled onto his stomach.

Orlando propped the phone on the side of his face. "Okay, I’m laid out and at your command."

Viggo groaned at the image that flashed across his mind. He lay back on his couch, the warmth of the fire relaxing him. "What’s your favorite scented oil?" he asked.

"Fuck if I know. Never been asked. Does Astroglide have a scent?"

"Not that I’m aware of. So you’re not into scented or flavored lube?"

"Nope. What are you up to?"

Viggo would have to remember that for future reference. "How about a nice imaginary massage from someone you barely know?" Viggo teased.

"As long as it’s you, how could I refuse?"

A slow warmth suffused Viggo’s body and he wondered if the young man realized what he had said.

*Or maybe you’re reading too much into things,* he thought, which was probably more accurate of the two assumptions.

"Okay, now close your eyes," he quietly instructed.

"No problem there, mate," Orlando quipped as his eyes slowly shut.

"I’m pouring sandalwood scented massage oil in my hands. Now feel my hands as they slowly stroke your neck, my thumbs massaging the muscles at the base. I’m moving to your shoulders now, closing my hands over them and gently squeezing," Viggo said and through the phone line, heard a deep breath being inhaled.

Orlando bit his lip as the words began to affect him. He slowly lost himself in the seductive voice, imagined that he could feel the work-roughened hands gliding over his body.

"I’m moving down your back now, slowly rubbing the soreness away. Does that feel good Orlando?"

Orlando pressed his hardening cock into the mattress beneath him, trying to ease the tension that was building there. "Yesssss," he whispered.

"I’m moving down now, rubbing your thighs, relaxing all the muscles in your body with my hands."

The muscles in Orlando’s leg twitched in reaction to the soothing words.

Viggo took a deep breath and tried to calm his racing heart. He reached down to unbutton and unzip his jeans in an effort to ease the pressure off of his swollen member.

"My hands glide over your ass, slowly kneading each side."

Orlando moaned as his hips slowly rocked against the surface below him. Viggo took in every nuance that spilled from Orlando’s lips, drank them in as if they were nectar from the Gods themselves.

"That sound, Orlando," Viggo panted. "Jesus." He was silent for a moment, afraid of what might come out of his mouth if he tried to say anything else. His slid his hand into his boxers and slowly stroked himself.

Orlando’s moans became louder, his breathing ragged. The voice, the words … Orlando reached into the nightstand drawer and quickly found what he was searching for. After rolling to his back, he closed his slicked hand around his cock. "Please don’t stop."

Viggo heard the rustling through the phone line and knew what Orlando was doing. "Orlando, this is not …" Viggo started to say this was not where he had intended for this to go but was interrupted before he could finish.

"Too late," he said as he tugged on his nipple ring. "Just … oh fuck," he panted as want and need crashed through his body. Never before had he been so affected by someone. Orlando didn’t care if this wasn’t what the other man wanted … he wanted it. "Fuck, I wish you were here, David," he said as began to stroke in earnest.

The name snapped Viggo back to reality but it was the whimpers and erratic breathing he heard that lured him back into the fantasy. He already knew he was going to hell - this just ensured him a first class ticket. His own fist closed around his member and knew it wouldn’t take but a few strokes and he’d be done for.

Might as well go out in a blaze of glory.

"So do I, baby. So do I," he said quietly, surprised at the ease in which the endearment rolled off of his tongue, as if it were said everyday.

The reply caught Orlando by surprise. He’d been called ‘baby’ more times than he could remember, but coming from this man, it was somehow different. His cock pulsed in his hand, sending several pearlescent streams onto his chest as he realized that this was the first time he wished it were true.

Viggo’s hand and shirt were covered with his own release, his heart beating frantically inside his chest. It was only when it had slowed to a somewhat normal pace that he finally dared to speak.


"I’m here," he said quietly.

God, he felt like a first class asshole for what had just happened. "I’m sorry," Viggo offered. "That’s not what I had in mind when I started it. I was just trying to help take your mind off of the pain."

Orlando laughed. "It worked," he said as he reached over and retrieved a few tissues to clean himself off with. "Are you okay?"

Viggo chuckled. "I’ll survive," he said as he tried to figure out what to use to clean up with. His shirt was a mess and he didn’t have anything else close by. "Can you hang on a minute? I need to take care of the mess I made," he said as he pushed himself off of the couch.

"Take as long as you need," Orlando said. "I’m not going anywhere," he said as he tossed the tissues into the trashcan beside the bed.

Viggo walked into the guest bathroom and set the phone on the sink before carefully pulling the soiled t-shirt over his head. With that done, he grabbed a washcloth and quickly wiped himself off.

"Done," he said when he retrieved the phone and tossed the shirt towards the mudroom.

"All better?" Orlando asked as he slid beneath the covers.

"Yeah. So you’re okay now?"

"Much better," the young man offered as he slowly stretched his back. "Back doesn’t hurt as bad."

"That’s good. What about work tomorrow?" Viggo asked as he settled on the couch again.

"Today was my last one. I work four on and four off," he offered.

"Good. You can take it easy tomorrow."

Orlando rolled to his side, his eyes closing. He cradled the extra pillow against his chest. "Yeah, until about seven anyway, and then I go to my other job."

"Other job?"

"When I’m not working at the resort on the weekends, I’m a bartender at a nightclub here in town," he said quietly. "Not the most glamorous job, but it helps pay the bills."

Viggo heard the relaxing sigh and wondered how much longer his friend would be awake.

"I’m going to let you go now, okay?"

"I’ll miss talking to you tomorrow night," Orlando admitted as his mind slowly shut down.

"Me too."

"Gonna get some sleep now. Night."

"Goodnight, baby," Viggo whispered before disconnecting the call.

He lay on the couch and pulled the old battered quilt from its back, covering himself. It wasn’t long before he succumbed to sleep’s hold and dreamt of snow covered mountains and brown eyes.



Chapter 4

Sean stood, unobserved, in the doorway and watched his friend apply brown and golden hues to the canvas propped in the center of the room. He never claimed to understand Viggo’s paintings, and this one was just as perplexing as all the others. No matter though – it was beautiful. He lifted the cold bottle of beer to his lips and took another drink, wondering how long it would take the artist to realize he had company.

When he had stepped from his rental almost a half-hour earlier, the sounds of Jeff Healey filled the air. His knock on the door went unanswered and knowing the drill, he let himself inside the house. The unmistakable smell of Viggo’s homegrown specialty assaulted his nostrils.

"So the artist is working," he said quietly as he closed the door behind him.

After dropping his bag at the foot of the stairs, he went back to the kitchen, pulled a beer from the refrigerator, and went in search of his friend.

Viggo had woke early that morning and after running through his chores quicker than he would have liked, immersed himself in a vision that came to him last night. Brown eyes, ringed and flecked with gold had teased him mercifully in his dreams and now he was bringing that dream to life.

"If it were only that easy," he muttered to himself as he stood back and looked over his work thus far.

"I hear that talking to oneself is a definite sign of insanity."

The voice startled Viggo and he turned to find its origin. A broad smile lit the man’s face as he saw who was lounging in the studio’s doorway.

"Nah, it’s only when you answer yourself that you’ve lost your mind," Viggo said as he moved towards his friend, enveloping him in a massive hug. "Beanie, you Northern bastard. What in the hell are you doing here?" he asked, happiness flooding his voice.

Sean returned his embrace. "Was on my way to Los Angeles. Thought you might like some company for a few days," he offered before the two men separated. He motioned to the canvas. "Another one of your mad creations in the making?"

Viggo turned back to the mess of colors and his heart softened. "Came to me in a dream last night."

Sean laughed. "You artists are a crazy lot," he said with affection.

"Never claimed otherwise," he said as he threw his arm around Sean’s shoulder and led him back into the living area. "So, how long can you stay?"

"I have a meeting scheduled for Monday afternoon. Think you can handle company until then?" Sean asked as he settled himself on the couch, stretching his legs out in front of him. Viggo claimed the other corner.

"My door is always open. You and the guys know that. Well, at least for the Hobbits a bit of notice is required, but you’re always welcome, no matter what the time is," the older man said as he glanced at the clock on the mantel. Orlando would be leaving for work in a couple of hours and Viggo wanted to call him before he left.

"What’s this?" Sean asked as he noticed where Viggo’s eyes had drifted. "Keeping time now?"

"Didn’t realize it was this late. I’ve been in there all day," he admitted. "I need to go out and feed before it gets too dark. Care to join me?"

"Do I have a choice?" Sean asked as he stood and followed his friend to the door.

"Nope," Viggo said with a smile. "At least not with the late feeding. I won’t make you get up for the early morning one."

"I appreciate that ever so much, My King," Sean teased as Viggo slid into his jacket.

~ * ~

Orlando was on his hands and knees looking under his bed for a missing black motorcycle boot. At least that’s where he thought it might have been. He hadn’t seen it in a few days so there was really no telling where it might be. He found one in the closet, but its mate had apparently taken off for parts unknown.

"Hot damn! Now that’s what I’m talking about! OB on his hands and knees, ass ready and waiting," a voice said from Orlando’s living room.

"I’m looking for my fucking boot, you arse!" Orlando yelled back at his friend.

"That may be, but I’ll have to say that it looks like an invitation from where I’m standing," his friend commented.

"Shut up, Tyler, and help me find my other boot," he groused as he continued to move the boxes around that were stored under the bed.

"Fuck that," Tyler said as he eyed the leather-clad ass in front of him. "I’d rather watch you."

"Bastard," he muttered, and then, "There you are, you son of a bitch!" he yelled in triumph before dragging the wayward boot out from its hiding spot. He moved to sit on the end of the bed and slid his foot into the leather. As he was reaching down to do the buckles, his phone rang.

"Get that, will you?" he asked Tyler who crawled across Orlando’s bed and reached for the receiver.


Viggo paused and wondered if he’d dialed the right number. "Um, yeah. Could I speak to Orlando?" he asked quietly. He had left Sean in the living room watching Sports Center while he had snuck upstairs to make the call.

Tyler’s eyes slid to his friend, who was in the process of pulling on his shirt.

"He’s getting dressed. May I ask who’s calling?"

Viggo’s stomach plummeted. Orlando was getting dressed and a strange man was answering his phone. For some reason, this made him very, very angry, but it would not do to let this person know that.

"Yeah, tell him it’s … David," he said in what he hoped sounded like a normal voice.

Tyler handed the phone to Orlando. "Some guy named David," he said and watched the slight widening of his friend’s eyes as the phone was taken from him.

Orlando’s pulse hummed at the name. He took the receiver and walked into the living room, leaving his friend on the bed.

"Hey," he said quietly as he moved to stand by the patio doors, his gaze taking in the colors of the evening.

"Didn’t want to break with tradition, so I thought I’d call you before you left for work. Is that okay?" Viggo asked as he sat on the covered window seat in his bedroom.

Orlando’s features softened. "Yeah, that’s fine."

"How’s your back today? Been taking it easy?"

"It’s fine. The ‘treatment’ last night worked wonders," he teased. Heat spread throughout his body as he recalled their conversation.

Viggo leaned the side of his head against the window. "Glad I could help. You had me worried for a little while."

"Sorry about that," he offered.

"Kids will be kids, right?" the older man teased.

Orlando leaned his shoulder against the doorframe. "I refuse to grow up, what can I say?"

"OB, we need to be going," Tyler said from behind him.

Brown eyes drifted to his friend. "Give me a minute," he said with a small smile.

"Fine, but if we’re late, it’s your ass," the dark-haired man said as he went back into the bedroom.

"Sorry about that, but I do need to go," he said into the phone.

"That’s fine. I just wanted to call and see how you were doing."

"Thanks. I … it means a lot to me that you called," he whispered as his heart thumped wildly in his chest.

"My pleasure, Orlando. Be careful tonight."

"I will. I’ll talk to you later? Well, not later because I’ll be out … but, you know," he stammered.

Viggo smiled. "Yeah, I know. Oh, before we go, I wanted to let you know that I have a friend staying with me for a few days so we might not be able to talk as long as we have before. I hope that’s not a problem."

"Depends on if your guest is a male or female," Orlando teased.


"Problem," slid from his lips before he could stop it.

"He’s an old friend of mine," Viggo offered.

"Fuck buddy?" Orlando asked.

"What color did you say your eyes are?"


"Sounds like they’ve got a green tint to them right now."

Orlando shook his head, chestnut curls brushing his shoulders. "Nah, just giving you shit," he said, lied actually.

"Really …"

"Yes really. It’s not like we … oh never mind."

"You’re adorable when you’re flustered," the older man smiled.

"I am not flustered."

Viggo chuckled. "Go to work, Orlando. I’ll call you tomorrow."

Before the young man could reply, the call had been disconnected on the other end. As he slid into his leather jacket, he tried to squash the feeling that was growing in the pit of his stomach. He had no reason to be jealous. They weren’t together, or anything like that. They talked on the phone and that was it.

*Then why do you feel like smashing something if you are just ‘friends’?* a little voice inside asked.

~ * ~

"What’s got your shorts in a knot?" Tyler asked when Orlando slid into the passenger seat.

"Nothing," he said as he looked out the window. He did not want to discuss it – whatever *it* was.

"Could have fooled me. So who’s this David guy? You been holding out on me, OB?" his friend asked as he pulled into the evening traffic.

"Nobody. Just … a friend," he offered.

"Just a friend. Well, care to tell me what this so-called-friend said that pissed you off?"

"Leave off, Tyler."

"Okay, but if you want to talk, you know I’m there for you. Or, you know, if you and your ‘friend’ don’t work things out, maybe you can put in a good word for me?" he teased, knowing how to get Orlando to talk.

"Yeah, like I’d send him your way," he said and then turned to look at the driver. "I don’t understand this, Tyler. I’ve talked to him for three days and it’s like we … I don’t know … like we are friends, but … something else. It’s crazy. He dialed my number by mistake a few days ago, looking for his friend, and I thought that was it."

~ * ~

"So after I talked to Scott, I came out here for a little while and did some thinking. You know how I feel about people only being with me for who I am, what they think I can do for them, give them. So I got this crazy idea into my head. I went back and called Orlando, let him know up front that I had called him on purpose, and we’ve talked every night since then," Viggo said as he and Sean sat on the swing and enjoyed the night.

"And he has no clue that you’re you," Sean offered.

"No," Viggo said as he released a long breath. "I told him my name was David, one of my character’s names. Hell, you know that if I said my name was Viggo he would know right off the bat who it was. Not like there’s many of us out there."

"Yeah, you and your father," Sean supplied. "So now you’re having second thoughts about it all."

"Try third and fourth thoughts. I’m in this up to my neck, Sean. It’s exciting to speak to someone and let them know the real me, Viggo the person, not Viggo the actor. Just me. And it’s been great."

Sean heard a ‘but’ coming.

"But now, I don’t know. It’s crazy. I feel something for him. Actually, I felt it the first time we talked. His voice, god, it’s beautiful. He’s British, but his accent, if you want to call it that, it’s not like yours. Yours is hard while his is … soft."

"Got yourself a little twink, did ya?" Bean teased.

Viggo shook his head. "No, I don’t think so. He’s … fuck, I’m not sure of anything anymore."

"Other than the fact that you want him, you mean?" Sean said as he rocked the swing.

"Yeah," Viggo said with a sigh. "And I’m scared to death."

~ * ~

"You can’t be serious, OB. You’ve talked to him a handful of times and you think you feel something for him? You think … or you know?" Tyler asked as he maneuvered them through the traffic.

"I know, I’m a total wanker, but yeah, I feel something for him," Orlando finally admitted.

"Horny," Tyler supplied.

"Well, that goes without saying," the brunette said with a laugh. "But it’s, I don’t know, different. More."

"So what got you all upset earlier? You seemed fine when I walked in."

Orlando shook his head. "He told me that a friend was there for a few days and I sort of had a moment."

"Huh? What do you mean – had a moment?"

"I was jealous," the young man admitted. "And he called me on it."

"Reaaally?" Tyler asked, genuinely surprised by his friend’s reaction.

"Oh do shut up. I feel wretched enough about it. I don’t need you adding to it," Orlando said as they pulled into the parking lot. "He said that they were just friends."

"Do you believe him?"

Orlando shrugged. "Doesn’t matter. It’s not like we’re together or anything."

"Obviously it does or else you wouldn’t have reacted the way you did."

The brunette sighed. "No matter. It’s over and done with."

"The two of you are, or just this incident?" Tyler asked as he opened his door, Orlando doing the same.

"This incident. He said that he’d call me tomorrow," he said with a small smile.

Tyler was not about to point out the fact that his friend did not deny the first part of his question.

~ * ~

In the darkness of his room later, Orlando noticed the light on his answering machine blinking. He pushed the Play button and waited.

"Hey, it’s me. It’s 11:15 and I’m sitting in my studio thinking of you. I have a confession to make. You’re not the only one who was jealous earlier. And don’t try to deny it. I heard it in your voice even though you tried to play it off that it was nothing. So anyway, when you weren’t the one who answered, I didn’t like the things I was feeling. I know that I had no right to feel that way, but I can’t help it. I’m not sure what this thing is that we’re doing, but I’m enjoying it and I don’t want to do anything to jeopardize it. My friend that’s staying with me is just that – a friend. We’ve never been anything more and we never will be. I just wanted you to know that. I’ll call you tomorrow. Goodnight, baby."

Orlando smiled as he saved the message.



Chapter 5

"OB, that guy has been giving you the "Come Fuck Me" look all night long," Tyler said as he reached behind Orlando to retrieve a bottle of Cuervo Gold from the shelf.

Orlando looked up from where he was mixing his latest concoction and caught blue eyes staring back at him. The stranger smiled and raised his drink to the bartender, saluting the beautiful young man. The brunette gave a small smile in return and looked away.

"Not interested," Orlando told his friend.

Tyler nearly dropped the bottle he was holding. "Did I hear that correctly? OB is not interested in what I would take to be a sure thing? Look at him! He’s damn near perfect! Blue eyes, light brown hair and a body that rivals yours," the dark-haired man friend said as he looked Orlando up and down. Tonight they were shirtless, both covered in a light sheen of sweat thanks to the place being packed; they were working non-stop. Tyler’s gaze dropped to Orlando’s stomach and abs. "You, my friend, have the most amazing body. It’s a shame you don’t feel like sharing it."

Orlando handed the drink to his customer and accepted the cash that was offered.

"Keep it," the patron said, and with a wink, disappeared into the crowd.

The brunette moved to the register and rang up the sale, added the difference to the almost-full tip jar and tossed the guy’s phone number in the trash.

His friend’s eyes widened. "Tell me you did not just toss someone’s number away," Tyler said. "OB, have you lost your fucking mind?"

"No," he answered before taking the next customer’s order.

"Then please explain what’s going on," he said and then realization hit. "Does this have anything to do with that David guy?" Tyler saw the slight hesitation in Orlando’s movements and knew he had his answer.

Orlando turned fully to his friend. "This is not up for discussion so I’d appreciate it if you dropped it."

"I will, for now," the dark-haired man offered. "But later, you and I are going to sit down and have a talk."

"Fine," Orlando sighed and went back to work.

~ * ~

It was three in the morning when Orlando and Tyler walked into the all-night diner they sometimes went to after work, when neither had a pressing engagement after closing time. Orlando had turned down quite a few invitations for personal reasons, and Tyler had turned a few down as well because they needed to talk. A piece of ass is nice, but his friends came first.

Orlando was sipping his coffee when the other man finally spoke.

"Now, care to tell me just what in the hell is going on with you?" he asked.

"I wish I knew," he answered honestly.

"Until this David guy showed up on the scene, you very rarely went home alone. What’s changed?" Tyler asked as he cut his burger in half.

Orlando set the cup down on its saucer and sat back in the booth. "I don’t know. I mean, I still look, and all that. But it’s like I’ve lost my appetite or something. What’s out there, what we see each weekend, there for the taking, is not what I want. I’m twenty-eight years old and tired of playing the game."

"What you want is an illusion, Orlando. We don’t get ‘happily ever after’. You know this," his friend offered.

"Why not? Why can’t we have it? I mean, it won’t be the traditional ‘happily ever after’, with the white picket fence and the two-point-five kids, but who says we can’t have our own version of it?" the brunette countered. "There are gay couples out there who have been together for twenty, thirty years."

"Yeah, and one of them probably has AIDS and will be dying here shortly," Tyler snorted.

"It’s not funny, Tyler. So far, we’ve been lucky. But one of these days, our luck will run out. It might not be this year, or the next, but one of these days something will happen. And I don’t want that."

"So, what, you want to find someone and become a ‘kept man’? Is that it?" his friend asked.

Orlando snorted. "I’ll never be a ‘kept man’, as you put it. But yeah, I do want someone. I want to know that someone will be there when I get home, someone to cook dinner with, someone to argue about the laundry and grocery list with."

"Sounds to me like you need a wife," Tyler offered.

Orlando mock-shivered. "Wrong equipment."

"So how does David fit into all this?" his friend prodded. "What is it about him that has made you turn guys down for three nights in a row?"

"I told you, I’m tired …"

"Of playing the game," Tyler finished. "I heard you."

Orlando sat quietly for a few minutes, trying to put his thoughts in some kind of order. Finally, he looked up at his friend. "I think I’m going to ask him if we can meet."

"You what?!" Tyler exclaimed.

"I said..."

The dark-haired man waved his hand in front of his friend. "Hello! OB, you can not be seriously considering this!"

Orlando shrugged. "I am. I can’t explain it. There’s something between us, friendship, maybe something more. I want to know if the feelings I’m having are real or just a figment of my imagination because of the situation."

"So you’re going to go traipsing off to Idaho in hopes of finding, what? Your soul mate? Your other half? True love?" his friend asked.

The brunette knew he shouldn’t get angry – this was his best friend he was talking to. If he couldn’t handle what he said, then why bother? But it stung when put to him that particular way. Just because Tyler didn’t believe in it did not mean Orlando had to follow suit.

"I don’t know what’s out there, but I need to find out," he admitted.

Tyler sat back in his seat and studied the man sitting across from him. Orlando was serious about this, and when he made his mind up about something, he was like a bulldog – he would not let go until he saw it through. And for better or worse, as his best friend, Tyler would support him in this as well. He just hoped he wouldn’t have to pick up the pieces of Orlando’s broken heart if things didn’t work out.

"You know, OB, you’ve done some crazy things in your life, but I have to tell you, this takes the cake," he said with a smile. "Just do me a favor."


"Be careful. You don’t know this guy from Adam, other than what he’s told you on the phone. He could be lying about everything and you’d never know the difference – until it was too late," he offered.

Orlando reached across the table and took Tyler’s hand. "I’ll be careful. I promise. I’ll even do you one better. If this blows up in my face, you have the right to say ‘I told you so’. Does that help?"

"Not really, but I’ll be here if you need me."

"That’s all I ask," Orlando said with a smile.

~ * ~

Orlando was lying on his bed; the phone cradled between his cheek and shoulder, and listened as Viggo prattled on about his weekend. Sean had left earlier that day so the older man was free to spend as much time on the phone as he wanted and it appeared he was making up for lost time.

Orlando’s mind drifted back to the conversation with Tyler and he knew what he had to do.

"I want to meet you, David," he blurted out.

Viggo stopped mid-sentence, his train of thought derailed. Actually, the locomotive appeared to have been obliterated. It was as if an alien craft had swooped down from the sky and wiped it off the face of the planet. His heart thundered in his chest and he had to sit down. *He didn’t really say what I think he just said, did he?* he thought to himself.

When no answer was given, Orlando became worried. Maybe the other man didn’t want to meet. Maybe he was satisfied with the way things were. Maybe he was married and this was just something he did for kicks.


"Yeah," Viggo answered in a whisper.

"Oh, I thought you might have hung up or something. Look, mate, if you don’t want to, that’s fine. I just thought that..."

"No," Viggo croaked and then cleared his voice. "No, you just caught me off-guard, that’s all."

"So? What do you say?" Orlando asked, his thumb finding its way between his lips; white teeth nibbling at the nail. "I mean, I’m … fuck, I don’t know what I mean."

This brought a smile to Viggo’s lips and he began to relax. "You mean to tell me that for once, you don’t have a witty remark on the tip of your tongue? Orlando, I’m so disappointed," he teased, trying to make light of the situation.

Orlando forced a quick laugh. "Make fun of me, why don’t ya?"

Now Viggo felt bad for teasing him. "No, I’m sorry, Orlando. It’s just that it was a bit unexpected. At least coming from you, anyway."

The young man sat up on the bed. "So you’ve been thinking about it, then?"

"Probably more than I should have," Viggo admitted as he ran a hand through his sandy locks.

A sudden burst of energy assaulted Orlando’s system and he flew off the bed and began pacing his apartment. "So how do we do this? I’ve never done this before."

"Me neither. I don’t know. We could meet somewhere, you know, half-way for both of us. Or you can come here, or I could fly down to … where are you anyway?" Viggo asked.

"Salt Lake City. Where are you?"

"Sandpoint. A little town about sixty miles south of the Canadian border," Viggo offered. "Well, actually I live about twenty miles west of Sandpoint, in the middle of nowhere."

"The middle of nowhere sounds great, if you ask me," Orlando offered.

"It can be, but there’s really not a lot things to do here. So we can either meet someplace or I could come to Salt Lake City," he suggested.

"Plenty of things to do here, that’s for sure. Would... would you want to stay with me or..." Orlando started.

"I think I’ll get a hotel room. That way if things don’t work out, you won’t feel pressured or anything," Viggo offered. *That way I’ll have somewhere to hide and lick my wounds if you reject me.*

Orlando leaned a hip against his kitchen counter. "Yeah, I think that’d be best."

"So when do you want to do this?"

*Would yesterday be too soon?* Orlando thought with a smile. "Well, I’m starting my next run at the resort tomorrow, so anytime after those four days works for me. Or is that too soon?" he rushed. "Do you have anything going next week?"

Viggo laughed at the nervousness Orlando was exhibiting. It was comforting to know that he wasn’t the only one who had been thinking about this. "No, but what about your bartending job at the nightclub?"

"I’ll take the weekend off. I just need to give them as much notice as I can," he said.

"So how long do you want me to stay? A couple of days?"

Orlando snorted. "My luck, you’ll tire of me the first day and that’ll be the end of that," he said with a laugh. "Really, it doesn’t matter. I’m off for four days, so whatever you want to do is fine. Like I said, there’s more than enough to do around here."

*If things work out, sight-seeing will be the last thing on my list of things to do,* Viggo thought with a smile.

"Any suggestions on where I should stay?" the older man asked.

Orlando pulled a phonebook from one of the kitchen drawers and rattled off several hotels and their numbers. With that information secure, Viggo decided that he’d fly down the afternoon of Orlando’s last day of work and get settled in, and then Orlando would pick him up for dinner later that evening. That would give them four full days together, and Viggo would fly back home on that fourth night.

*If things don’t come to a screeching halt before it gets started,* Viggo thought.

"I only have one request," Viggo said after they had finally moved beyond the trip planning stage.

"What’s that?"

"Promise me that no matter how surprised, or whatever you feel when you meet me, that you’ll give me a chance," Viggo said quietly.

"As long as you do the same for me," Orlando replied in kind.

Viggo breathed a sigh of relief. "Thank you."

"Now that we’ve got that out of the way, I guess we need to exchange last names, don’t you think?" Orlando teased.

"Shaw," Viggo said.


"Orlando Bloom. Definitely British," the blonde man teased.

"David Shaw," Orlando said quietly. "Definitely sounds like an artist’s name."

Viggo laughed quietly. *You have no idea.*

They talked a little while longer about things they might want to see and do, and it was only when Orlando yawned that Viggo put a halt to their conversation.

"Get some sleep, Orlando. Don’t want you falling off a cliff before I get a chance to meet you," he said.

"Only if you promise not to fall off one of your horses and end up with a broken neck or something," he teased and then became serious. "I’m glad we’re doing this. At first, I was afraid you might not want to meet me."

"I’m glad you asked. Much braver than I am, that’s for sure," he said honestly. "Now get some sleep and I’ll talk to you tomorrow night."


"Night, baby," Viggo said quietly.

"Night," Orlando answered, adding a silent *love* afterwards. He disconnected the call and looked at his shaking hands. In four days, he would finally meet the man whose voice had haunted his thoughts and dreams.

And he was scared shitless.

Several hundred miles away, another man felt the same way.



Chapter 6

Viggo took one last look in the mirror and sighed, wondering again if he had completely lost his mind. He had only known Orlando for two weeks, and now he was here to meet the young man. Only it wasn’t Viggo Mortensen the other man was expecting, but David Shaw. This thought caused fear and uncertainty to flood the actor’s system, his stomach roiling as if he were about to be physically ill. Closing his eyes against the nausea, he focused inward and within a few minutes, he had calmed himself – mostly.

He had dressed casually; black slacks with a loose burgundy button-up, in an effort not to appear too laid-back, but not over-dressed either. Orlando mentioned dinner, but not where they would be dining. He had no idea what the dress code was, if there was one, so he settled for middle of the road. Grabbing his shoes and socks, he left the confines of the bedroom and made his way into the living area of the suite and settled himself on the couch to finish dressing.

And wait.

Orlando stepped nervously from the elevator that had swept him up to the third-floor of the Radisson Hotel quicker than he would have liked. The butterflies that had taken up residence in his stomach earlier were morphing into something larger, the frantic beating of their wings becoming heavier with each step he took down the hallway. By the time he had stopped in front of Room 332, inconveniently located at the opposite end of the long hallway, in his opinion, he was ready to take flight himself.

But if he did that, he would never know, and he would always wonder. Screwing up his courage, he lifted his shaking hand and knocked.

Inside, Viggo’s eyes snapped to the door. This was it – the moment of truth. Slowly, he rose from the couch, not wanting to seem too eager to meet this young man who had brought to life something deeply buried, and moved towards the entrance. He fought the temptation to look through the peephole and reached for the knob instead.

What stood before Viggo was something he had never expected. The term ‘beautiful’ came to mind, but even that did not do this creature justice. Viggo would never forget his first glimpse of heaven on earth. From the riot of wild chestnut curls to the large sienna eyes, his gaze moved to the sculpted cheekbones and a perfect pair of succulent lips. The young man was dressed casually in a gray button-up and black cargo pants that rode low on his hips, black boots, and a black leather jacket.

Orlando had started opposite of Viggo, first taking in the long legs encased in black trousers, then moved up to the slim waist and torso wrapped in burgundy, and then finally higher, to the man’s face.

And that was the moment his world fell apart.

Viggo knew the instant Orlando recognized him and was at a complete loss of what to do next. He had rehearsed it all in his mind, time and time again: what he would say, how he would explain his deceit. But now, when it came time to follow through, he was lost. He saw the pain of betrayal in the young man’s eyes and it cut him to the quick.

Before Orlando could do or say anything, Viggo quietly asked, "Do you remember the promise you made? That no matter how surprised you are, or whatever you feel when you meet me, that you’ll give me a chance?"

Orlando did remember the promise, but he never expected *this*.

"Yes, but that’s when I was expecting a real person," he threw at the older man.

Viggo sighed. He deserved that, and anything and everything the beautiful man standing before him would have to say. But not here.

"Orlando, please, come in and let me explain," he said as he moved aside, his back pressed snugly against the wooden surface. His hand gripped the doorknob tightly.

The young man wanted to run; run far, far away and forget the last two weeks – two weeks of fun and quirky phone calls that had stemmed from a misdialed number.

A misdialed number by Viggo Mortensen. Actor. Star. Not David Shaw, the man he had felt a connection with more than anyone else – ever.

And it was all a lie.

Eyes the color of a clear sky on a summer’s day pleaded with him. "Please? Just give me five minutes to explain things and if you’re not satisfied, you’re welcome to leave."

On their own volition, Orlando’s feet carried him inside the suite and it was only when the door had closed that he turned to face the other man.

"All I want to know is why. Why did you lie to me?" he asked quietly.

"Would you like to sit down?" Viggo asked, pointedly avoiding the question for now. "Maybe something to drink?"

Orlando shook his head. "No," he stated and stood where he was. "I’m fine," he lied. He was not fine. Fine wasn’t even a blip on his radar.

Viggo moved to the window that offered a picturesque view of the mountains beyond. They were what calmed him, what he was familiar with. Taking a deep breath, he turned back to Orlando. "Would you have believed me if I had told you the truth up front, back at the beginning?"


"Which is precisely why I didn’t. That first time I called, when I was looking for Scott, and I heard your voice, there was something … I can’t explain it … but something was there and I wanted … I don’t know … more of it. So I called back. I still can’t believe that I had the nerve to dial your number again. But I did, and I continued to dial it each day because I wanted to get to know the young man who had entranced me. I know it sounds corny, but you did. You do," he said as he paused to look at the rigid man standing before him. "I was afraid that if I told you who I was, you wouldn’t talk to me. Or if you did, you would pretend to be someone you’re not."

"Ever heard of a pot and kettle?" Orlando mumbled.

"Yeah, but tell me, if you had known who I was, would you have continued to talk to me?"

"I don’t know. Maybe," he offered with a shrug. "I guess we’ll never know."

Viggo moved to sit on the arm of the sofa. "There’s a reason I held my identity back. I’m tired of people using me for their own selfish gain. They want the movie star, not me, the man who lives on a ranch in Idaho with nothing but his horses for company. They don’t want that. So I thought that if I showed you who the real Viggo Mortensen was … I don’t know … I thought that if we ever did meet, you’d already know me."

"Who is David Shaw?" Orlando asked, his voice tightened by anger.

"The artist in ‘A Perfect Murder’, one of my movies," he answered.

"You used one of your character’s names? Not very original."

"I guess not, looking back on it. But Orlando, David is me, as well. Everything that David told you, everything that David felt, I felt those same things; me, Viggo," he said as he placed a hand over his heart. "When you said you wanted to meet me, I was shocked. I was excited. And I was afraid. Because by that point, it was too late to go back. I asked you to not make any snap judgments for a reason. It was selfish, I know, but I had to. If you’d give me a chance, you’ll see that I’m the same person you have been talking to for the past couple of weeks. Don’t let the fact that I’m an actor stand between us. That’s just a job. It doesn’t define who I am."

Orlando finally moved, his long legs taking him to the opposite side of the room, away from the other man and tried to process everything. He could handle David. David was just a regular bloke like himself. David made him laugh, took his shit and gave it right back. David was the one who had taken Orlando’s mind off of the pain he felt after the stunt he pulled with Chad. His brain almost shut down when he realized that he had gotten off with Viggo Mortensen.

David Shaw was safe. Viggo Mortensen was in another category altogether. The man who had come to visit was someone else, someone Orlando didn’t know. But he had promised David, or Viggo, that he would give him a chance, and he would stick by that promise. After a few minutes, he turned back and looked at him.

"David...Viggo…fuck, I don’t even know what to call you," he said as he looked at the floor, frustrated that he had been put in this situation. Never in a million years would he have expected this.

"Call me whatever you feel comfortable with," Viggo offered.

"Lying bastard comes to mind," Orlando mumbled as he walked to the dining room table, his hands gripping the back of the chair tightly.

Viggo heard but said nothing. He would let Orlando call him anything at this point, as long as they worked through this.

"Honestly, I have no idea what to do. I want to go to dinner with David. I want to laugh and cut up and have a good time with the man I’ve talked to for the past two weeks," he said. "I want to beat Viggo Mortensen to a bloody pulp for lying to me."

Viggo chuckled to himself. At least he hadn’t threatened to out-right kill him. Tense moments passed as silence descended in the plush hotel room while both men pondered what to do next. Viggo wanted to wrap his arms around the beautiful man and tell him that they could work through this. Orlando was torn between wanting to walk out the door and never look back, and wanting to find out just how much of David was Viggo, or Viggo was David. Fuck, he was getting a headache trying to sort it all out.

Finally, he looked to where the man, Viggo, was still perched on the arm of the sofa. "I’ve half a mind to walk out and pretend this never happened, but I made a promise, and I don’t go back on my word, regardless of how much I want to," he tossed at Viggo. "So we’ll go to dinner, although it will have to be somewhere other than where I had planned. Heaven forbid the masses find out that Viggo Mortensen is in town," he said snidely. He had promised to give this man a chance. Nobody said he had to be nice about it.

*But how can you get to know him if you’re a total shit to him?* the tiny voice inside asked before promptly being told to *shut the fuck up*.

Viggo waited to see what the young man had planned for after dinner, but no additional information was imparted. "And after?" he asked.

Dark eyes pinned the other man. "Let’s see about getting through dinner first, before we start making other plans, yeah?"

The blonde breathed a small sigh of relief. Score one for the good guys, or bad, depending on whose perception it was. Orlando hadn’t left when he found out the truth and they would be having dinner together. It was a start. He just hoped the young man lost the attitude and became the person Viggo had come to know, and care for. If not, well, he didn’t want to think about that right now. He’d jump off that bridge if and when he came to it.

Right now, he had more groveling to do.

~ * ~

Perry’s Italian Grille was a small, family-owned establishment located a few blocks from where Orlando lived. Tables were covered with the traditional red-and-white checked tablecloths, a single candle gracing their center. Orlando was greeted by name and after a polite request from the young man, he and his guest were shown to a place near the back, away from prying eyes.

"Our Orlando here is a very nice young man, no?" Carmela, the owner’s wife, asked as she handed menus to the two men.

Viggo looked up at the elderly woman and smiled. "Yes, he is. Most of the time," he teased.

Carmela looked at Orlando and tutted. "What have you done now, Orlando?"

Chocolate eyes cut to his companion and he had the sudden urge to kick him under the table. Manners won out and he turned to the hostess. "Nothing to concern yourself with, Carmela."

"I tell you now," she said to Viggo, "you need someone to straighten our Orlando out, you come here. My Roberto will fix him."

Viggo smiled at the threat. "I’ll keep that in mind if he doesn’t get rid of his attitude."

"Orlando," she said, punctuated by a few more tuts. "Why you have a bad attitude?"

"I’ve had a bad day," he said as he pinned Viggo with a stare.

"Well, Carmela know just the thing to cure your bad day. I’ll send my Chessie over with something to make you smile again," she said before disappearing through the swinging café doors.

A few minutes later, Chessie arrived at the table bearing a plate of arancines (Sicilian rice balls stuffed with tomato basil meat sauce and Parmesan cheese) and a loaf of Broschetta bread. What made Viggo smile, however, was the bottle of Secco Bertani Valoplicella and a pair of wine glasses. After their glasses were filled, the waitress slipped into the back.

"Now, what shall we drink to?" Viggo mused as he swirled the wine around in his glass.

"Hmm, let me think. Maybe someone telling the truth for once?" Orlando snorted.

"If you’d tone down the attitude a bit, I could. Jesus, Orlando, you act as if I committed a heinous crime or something," Viggo said quietly. "Yes, I lied to you about who I was but you’re supposed to be giving me a chance to prove to you that I am the same person you talked to on the phone, the person you connected with, and I can’t see how that’s going to happen if you keep acting like that. What are you, twelve?" he taunted.

Before Orlando could answer, Chessie was back to take their order.

"The usual," Orlando said as he handed his menu to her.

"Should have known," she said with a smile and then turned to Viggo, who ordered the stuffed chicken marsala.

After she left the table, Viggo turned back to Orlando. "What’s your usual?"

"Chicken parmigiana," he offered as he placed a few arancines on his plate. "And for the record, you know how old I am," he said as he took a bite. "My question to you is just that. How old are you?"

"Orlando, I’m sorry for that comment," he said with a small smile.

"Nothing I didn’t deserve," he said with an indifferent shrug. He knew he was being a shit, but he honestly didn’t know how else to act. Heartless bastard had worked for him before, but it was hard to be that person now. In less than two-week’s time, this man had waltzed into his life, made him realize things about himself, made him feel things for the older man, and then proceeded to yank the rug from beneath his feet.

And now Viggo Mortensen was attempting to make things right. The least Orlando could do was let him try.

"To answer your question, I’m forty-six," Viggo answered. "I’m divorced and have a son who’s eighteen."

Orlando took a good look at the man sitting across from him. He wouldn’t have guessed him to be that old. The divorced with son bit threw him for a moment, but he recovered and pressed on. "Do you really live in Idaho?"

Viggo nodded. "For the most part. I like my privacy. I have a condo in Venice Beach where I stay when I’m working in Los Angeles, either with filming or if I have an art exhibition going on," he said before taking a drink of the ruby liquid. "When you said you liked to surf, I thought about us going there, spending some time at the beach together."

"That was only our second conversation."

"Third, if you count the one that started it all," Viggo said with a grin. "What ran through your mind when I called back the second time that night? And be honest."

Orlando smiled a sly smile. "I thought you were crazy."

"You should do that more often," Viggo said before taking another sip of is wine.

"What? Tell you you’re crazy?"

Viggo shook his head. "No. Smile. That’s the first time I’ve seen it. Heard it through the phone plenty of times, but seeing it…" he trailed off, not trusting himself to finish the sentence.

Orlando laughed self-consciously and set his glass on the table. "How about you start at the beginning. Tell me who the real Viggo Mortensen is."

"You already know me, Orlando."

"No, I know David Shaw. Now I want to know Viggo. All of it, the good and the bad," he said quietly.

"From the beginning?"

Orlando nodded. "From the beginning."

Viggo grinned. "Might take some time."

"You’ve got four days," he offered.

"And if I finish early?"

"Just tell your tale, Mortensen. Then we’ll talk about after," the young man said with a genuine smile.

It was an image that Viggo would never forget.



Chapter 7

Viggo talked. Orlando listened. Orlando laughed and asked questions. Viggo continued to talk. It was close to midnight and the man was still talking.

*He should be. He has forty-six years worth of tales to tell,* Orlando thought to himself with a smile.

During their dinner, Orlando slowly shed the attitude and by the end, realized that he was genuinely interested in this man...Viggo. He was well educated, spoke several different languages, and considered himself an artist first, actor last. Painting was his passion. Acting was a job that helped pay the bills. He didn’t play the games that other Hollywood types played. Viggo preferred his solitude.

Carmela had stopped by the table and squeezed the young man’s shoulder. "Good to see you smile, Orlando. Now Carmela no have to get Roberto after you," she had said before bustling off to visit with other patrons. Viggo laughed when he noticed the young man blushing.

They had left the restaurant and Orlando had driven them to a nearby Starbucks where two cups of steaming coffee were procured, and then they were off again. The young man didn’t want to go back to his apartment or to the hotel; for fear that it might give Viggo ideas that things were square between them. Although Viggo was making headway, Orlando was not ready to forgive the man for his deceit just yet.

Orlando pulled his Jeep Wrangler into a nearly-deserted parking lot and parked next to a stand of snow-covered fir trees. Before Viggo could ask where they were, the young man had already left the warmth of the vehicle in favor of the outside elements. It wasn’t snowing, but it was damn cold. Viggo pulled his coat together and followed suit.

"Where are we?" he asked as they approached an outdoor skating-rink where several couples were gliding across the smooth surface, the blades on their skates leaving obscure designs on the ice.

"A little park I run in," Orlando said as he made for the jogging path.

The light from the half-moon illuminated the path before them, the trail winding its way through the park, taking them away from civilization. The park was quiet, its occupants long-gone, taking the laughter of snow-covered children with them. An owl could be heard in the distance, its call answered soon after.

"Parliament?" Orlando asked as they finally reached their destination.

"I don’t think so. Sounds like someone’s out on the town looking for company," Viggo teased as he took in their surroundings. They were standing on a stone bridge, the moonlight glistening on the snow-covered banks, reflecting off of the babbling brook below.

"I come here when I need to think," Orlando offered as he braced is hands on the railing and looked out over the stream. "Sometimes I sit here for hours. The sound of the water rushing downstream is soothing," he said as he slowly closed his eyes and listened.

Viggo wished he had a camera with him. If he could capture one image of Orlando, it would be right here, right now. The brunette’s gorgeous face was upturned as if absorbing the moonlight, eyes closed, his features relaxed. He looked as if he had not a care in the world.

The artist thought about the two sketches hanging in his studio at home, the differences between his first impression of his new friend, and then the one drawn after Orlando’s description of himself.

Neither one came close to the real thing.

"What are you thinking about?" Viggo asked as he leaned his back against the railing, his eyes memorizing every detail of the moonlit face.

"David. And you," he answered quietly.

"Should I be worried?" Viggo asked as he gripped the stone beneath his hands.

Orlando slowly opened his eyes and looked over at Viggo. "I understand why you did what you did. I don’t like it, but I do understand. I’ve listened to everything you’ve said tonight, and it was quite a bit to take in, but I guess it’s to be expected when you’re as old as you are."

"Didn’t your mother teach you to respect your elders?" Viggo muttered, although there was amusement in his voice. Orlando making jokes was a good sign, as far as he was concerned.

"And didn’t your mother teach you not to interrupt?" Orlando tossed back. "So yeah, where was I?" He mused as he tried to gather his thoughts. "I’ve thought about everything you’ve told me, and I have a proposition for you."

"Hmm, a proposition," Viggo mused. "Does it have anything to do with sex?" He teased, earning himself a punch to his arm.

"Shut up. I’m the only one who gets to think about sex. Your privileges have been revoked for the duration of the trip. So here’s what I was thinking. I know you’re sorry for what you did, and I’m almost to the point where I can forgive you, because I do understand why you did it," he said.

"Is there a point to this?" The older man asked with a mock-sigh.

"I’m getting to it, but you keep interrupting me. My suggestion is this…we start over. Right now. No more lying, no omitting the truth about anything. Everything has to be above-board or it won’t work. I can see David in you, so I’m willing to put your lapse of judgment behind us and move on."

Viggo’s heart took flight at the possibility that he might get what he came for after all. Orlando hadn’t sent him packing, and he would not have to hide in his hotel room and nurse his wounded pride over being rejected.

Before he could stop himself, Viggo quickly shed his glove, reached over and took Orlando’s hand in his, pulling the other man’s leather glove off as well. The cold air wrapped itself around the young man’s fingers, but it was quickly replaced with the warm breath spilling from Viggo’s lips. Orlando took a deep breath when lips caressed the back of his hand.

"It is my pleasure to make your acquaintance, Orlando Bloom," Viggo said as he pressed Orlando’s palm against his cheek, his own hand covering the smaller one. He had taken the first step, and now it was Orlando’s turn.

The skin was cool beneath Orlando’s hand, but it was quickly warming from his touch. It felt so right to be here, with this man, and he was glad he had given him a chance. Whether his name was David Shaw or Viggo Mortensen, this was the man who had captured Orlando’s attention, made him yearn for something more.

He watched as Viggo slowly turned and pressed a kiss to his palm. "Is this okay?" The artist whispered, the warm breath teasing his skin.

Orlando nodded as he brought his other hand to Viggo’s face, tracing a leather-covered finger from temple to chin as he moved closer to the man before him.

Viggo stood still, letting Orlando do as he pleased.

The moment their lips touched, Viggo was lost. Orlando was tentative at first, his lips barely moving against the other man’s, and Viggo shuddered when he felt a warm tongue tickle the seam of his lips, requesting admittance. Willing lips parted, and the embers that had been smoldering since their first conversation slowly caught fire. Everything they felt for one another was poured into this first kiss as hands moved to cradle a face, caress a cheekbone, encircle a waist and pull the body closer. The kiss was broken only by the need for air, and then their lips met again and again.

Orlando slowly pulled away and looked into the blue eyes. "It’s a pleasure to meet you, Viggo Mortensen," he said with a lazy smile.

Viggo wanted more of the tempting treat standing before him, but would not press his luck. Orlando said that his thinking privileges had been revoked, and he would abide by the young man’s rule.

For now.

"So where do we go from here?" Viggo asked as he pressed another kiss to Orlando’s fingers.

"Back to the Jeep. It’s bloody freezing out here," he said as he took his glove from Viggo and slid his hand into it. He smiled when Viggo linked their gloved-fingers together and started back to the parking lot.

Viggo felt as if he were walking on air. "You know, if you wanted a kiss, all you had to do was ask," he teased as he nudged his friend as they retraced their steps, earning a slight push back.

"Wanker. I told you I come here to think."

"And I’m guessing that the fate of my visit was the topic of tonight’s session," he hedged.

Orlando nodded. "Yes, it was."

"Well then, I’m extremely grateful for your decision to extend my stay."

"Generous, aren’t I?" The young man teased.

Viggo stopped and yanked Orlando back to him, his arms snaking around the lithe body. "I don’t know, are you?"

The brunette laughed. "Did you not hear what I said earlier about your privileges regarding the pondering of sex being revoked? Do you need a hearing-aide?"

"Brat," Viggo said before covering Orlando’s lips with his own, his tongue delving deep into the willing mouth, twining around its partner. His gloved fingers slid into the riot of chocolate curls, holding the instructor’s head still while he did as he pleased, his tongue mapping the interior of Orlando’s mouth just as a cartographer would map a new world.

When he finally pulled back, Orlando was dazed, his eyes closed, his breathing a series of white tufts of air floating between them.

"Nice to know that works," Viggo whispered against the moist lips before walking away.

Slowly the sienna orbs opened in time to catch the older man looking back over his shoulder. "You coming?" Viggo asked as he moved down the path.

"No, but it probably wouldn’t take much," Orlando mumbled to himself before following the other man.

~ * ~

"Care to come up for a night cap?" Viggo asked when they pulled into the parking lot of his hotel.

Orlando found a spot and quickly parked the vehicle. "I don’t put out on the first date," he said with a grin. "Even if it’s you. Especially since it’s you," he added.

"I think I should be offended by that, but I’m not. But that’s beside the point. I asked if you wanted to come up for a drink," Viggo repeated with a smile.

"Which translates into – come up to my room so we can fuck," the young man teased.

"Orlando," Viggo said with exasperation.

"Viggo," the young man mimicked.

"What am I going to do with you?" he asked as his hand stroked the sable curls.

Orlando leaned into the touch. "Nothing tonight. It’s late and I’m knackered. Some of us had to work today, remember? Actually, I’m surprised that a man your age managed to stay awake this long," he teased.

The fingers tightened in Orlando’s hair as Viggo brought his face within inches of the other. "You’d be surprised what a man my age can do. Of course, since you said you don’t put out on the first date; and especially a first date with me, we’ll just have to save it for some other time," he said quietly.

Sienna eyes met blue. "I thought I told you I was the only one allowed to think about sex."

"Baby, you can think about it all you like," he said as he brushed his lips gently against Orlando’s. "But me, I plan on taking a more pro-active stand on the issue."

A whimper escaped between Orlando’s lips as he pictured the two of them in a tangle of limbs, sprawled across his bed.

"But not tonight," Viggo whispered before nipping gently at Orlando’s lower lip. "Go home and get some sleep, Orlando. I want you fully coherent when it happens."

It took monumental strength to pull away from the older man, but Orlando managed. "I look forward to it. In the meantime, be ready to go at nine."

"What’s on the agenda?" Viggo asked.

"Something you’ve never done before," the young man said with a calculating grin.

"From the look on your face, I’m thinking I should be afraid."

"You’re in my hands, now, Mortensen. Be very afraid," he teased before leaning over the armrest and giving Viggo one last kiss. "Sweet dreams," he said before moving back to his seat.

"Sweet dreams, Orlando," the older man answered before leaving the vehicle.

Orlando watched until Viggo was safely inside the hotel lobby, and then pulled away. His mind was a whirlwind of thoughts as he journeyed back home, but one stood out above all the rest - he was glad he did not walk away when he had the chance.

~ * ~

The answering machine light was blinking when Orlando walked into his bedroom.

"Hey, it’s me. I just wanted to say thanks for giving me a chance and that I enjoyed this evening, once you dropped the attitude. It’s been a long time since I could just let go and be myself with someone new. A very long time. And I promise, from here on out, no lies or half-truths. What you see is what you get. Of course, you may change your mind when you see me sans clothes, but I think I look pretty decent for an old fogie. You, however, will probably give me a heart attack. So I guess that’s it for now. I’m looking forward to tomorrow, even if I have no clue what you’re up to. See you in the morning. Night, baby."

A warm feeling spread throughout Orlando’s body as he saved this message with the other.

"Viggo Mortensen," Orlando whispered. "What have you done to me?"



Chapter 8

"I come bearing gifts," Orlando said when he stepped through the door of Viggo’s hotel room, a navy blue duffle bag with the Brighton Ski Resort insignia in hand. "Well, it’s not really a gift, more like a loan."

Before he could get too far, Viggo caught his hand and pulled the young man back to him, brushing his lips gently against Orlando’s. "Good morning," he said quietly.

"Morning," Orlando whispered before moving away from the tempting man. There would be time enough for *that* later.

"So what’s all this?" Viggo asked as he closed the door behind Orlando and paused a few moments to take in the sight of his friend. He was dressed in black ski pants, a red turtle-neck that set off his olive skin, a matching jacket with a red stripe down the arms, and black hiking boots.

Orlando shrugged out of his jacket and tossed it onto the couch beside the duffle bag he had just set down. The shirt he had worn last night was loose on him, so Viggo had no idea what his body looked like. Now, he could see the definition of his chest, and if he wasn’t mistaken, a hoop in his left nipple. *Wonder how sensitive he is there?* Viggo mused. He knew that some men were more sensitive than others and wondered where Orlando fit on the spectrum. He hoped he would find out.

The young man quickly opened the bag and laid the contents across the back of the couch. It was a pair of ski pants and jacket similar to Orlando’s.

"I take it we’re skiing today?" Viggo asked as he moved to stand beside him.

"Did I say that?" he asked with a grin.

Viggo wasn’t sure if he liked the mischievous look on Orlando’s face and then it hit him what Orlando had planned.

"Oh no," he said with a shake of his head. "You’re not getting me on a snowboard. I can barely stand on a pair of skis, much less deal with a snowboard," Viggo told his friend.

"Skiing is for wimps. Come on, Viggo; grow a set," he said as he picked up the clothes and handed them to the other man.

"I’m very comfortable with the set I have, thank you very much," he replied as he thrust the charcoal gray pants and jacket back at Orlando.

Orlando sighed. "Look, you’ve got a teacher standing right here in front of you. I won’t let anything happen to you. We’ll start out small and work our way up to the big stuff," he teased.

Viggo was not amused. Going home with a broken arm or leg was not something he had bargained for on this trip, unless it was from falling off the bed while fucking. Of course, if that happened, he’d have to make something up, but at least he’d have pleasant memories of the incident.

Orlando dropped the clothes onto the couch and moved close to Viggo, his hands settling on the waistband of Viggo’s jeans. "I promise I’ll take care of you, Viggo. Just for a couple of hours, yeah? If you hate it, we’ll do something else," he offered.

Large sienna eyes framed by impossibly long lashes looked back at Viggo and the man was lost. He’d do just about anything for the beautiful creature standing before him.

Two large hands framed Orlando’s face. "Okay, for a couple of hours," he acquiesced before brushing his lips against Orlando’s.

The allotted ‘couple of hours’ turned out to be most of the day. Viggo was relieved to find that Orlando was an excellent teacher.

"Okay, to turn, you use your toes and heels," he said as they stood at the base of the beginner’s slope. "You’re riding with your left foot forward, so when you want to go right, press the toes of your boots down. When you want to go left, shift your weight to your heels. But not too much or you’ll wipe out. If you want to stop, turn your board perpendicular to your body and crouch down, and then sit."

Viggo had mimicked Orlando’s movements and when he thought he had a grasp on it, they moved to the top of the beginner’s hill. As expected, Viggo hit the snow a few times, but once he had figured out just how much pressure to apply, he stayed upright for longer periods of time.

They decided to take a break for lunch and Orlando led them to the resort’s dining room. He covertly watched the people around them, wondering if any had noticed Viggo. He had seen several pairs of eyes drift their way, but nobody approached them, and for that, Orlando was eternally grateful. He wanted Viggo’s stay to be relaxing, especially after the rocky start they had.

After their meal, they had made a few more runs on the beginner’s slope before Orlando suggested they try something a bit more challenging. He decided Viggo was ready to move on, but the older man had his doubts. Be that as it may, they caught one of the lifts that whisked them up to one of the shorter runs.

"You’ll be fine, Viggo," Orlando said as they watched the people pass below their feet. To bolster the man’s courage, he leaned over and placed a soft kiss to his lips. "I have faith in you."

"Glad somebody does," Viggo said as he gripped the board in his lap.

"If I didn’t think you could do this, I wouldn’t have suggested it," he said as he rested his hand on top of Viggo’s, squeezing gently.

"You don’t have plans for me jumping out of any airplanes, do you?" he asked as they approached their destination.

"Nah. This is about as dangerous as we get. I don’t want you covered from head to toe in plaster. Kinda kills the mood, yeah?" he teased.

The lift deposited the two men on the packed snow and Viggo grabbed the front of Orlando’s jacket, heedless of who might have been watching, not that anyone would have recognized them. When dressed in full gear, ski hats covered their hair and goggles covered their eyes and part of their face.

"If I survive this, you owe me," he said before covering Orlando’s lips with his own. Before things became too heated, Viggo ended it.

"Deal," Orlando breathed as he led them to the edge of the hill. After checking their equipment, they secured their bindings and pushed off.

During the course of the ride, Orlando never left Viggo’s side, although he gave the man plenty of room to maneuver. For the first minute or two, he was doing great. And then someone cut in front of him, causing Viggo to overcompensate his turn and he ended up face-first in the snow.

Orlando glided over to where his friend was spitting out a mouth full of snow, and then crouched down beside him.

"You okay?" he asked and earned a glare in return. "Oh come on. It wasn’t that bad of a spill. You’re not hurt are you?"

"No," Viggo groused as he managed to get up to his knees. "If I see the little shit that did that, he’s toast. Help me up, will you?"

Orlando reached for Viggo’s arm and before he realized what had happened, he was in the snow as well. Viggo pushed him onto his back and hovered above him.

"I think you’ll owe me anyway," he whispered before dipping his head and claiming the enticing lips below his.

Viggo’s body pressed him further into the snow and Orlando grabbed the artist’s face, holding him close as they kissed. And then reality set in.

"As much as I hate to do this, we need to get up before the ski patrol comes over," Orlando said when they finally came up for air. "I don’t want them ragging on me when I come back to work in a few days," he said as he pushed up to his elbows, his lips swollen from the intense kiss.

It took a few minutes to get straightened out, and then they were on their way down the slope again, this time with no mishaps. Orlando kept a close eye on Viggo’s progress, giving him tips, watching as the other man implemented the suggestions.

"Good job," Orlando said as they slid to a stop at the base. "Ready for another run?" he teased and earned a face full of snow for his effort. "Guess not," he said as he unhooked his bindings and stepped from his board.

Viggo leaned over and did the same, except he was slower to get up again.

"I think my snowboarding days are over," he said as he placed his hands on his lower back and stretched. "Yeah, definitely over."

"And here I was hoping you’d be the next big thing to hit the circuit," the young man said as he retrieved Viggo’s board from the snow and handed it to his companion.

"Thanks, but I think I’ll stick to raising horses," Viggo said with a small smile.

Orlando reached over pulled the goggles from Viggo’s face, brushing the hair away from his eyes. "Are you okay or are you humoring me?" he asked, genuinely concerned about the other man.

"Would you be disappointed if I asked you to take us back to the hotel? I think I’m in need of a hot Jacuzzi bath," Viggo said as he captured Orlando’s hand in his.

"Well, that all depends," he said with a grin.

"On what?" the blonde asked.

"How big is the tub?"

Viggo’s smile was the only answer Orlando needed.

~ * ~

Orlando turned on the faucet of the garden tub and watched as the water slowly filled the fiberglass oval, his thoughts drifting. He hated the fact that Viggo was hurt, hated that he was the one who caused it. He should have listened to the older man, but he had wanted to share this part of his life with him.

"Why the long face?" Viggo asked as his fingers threaded through chestnut curls.

"I’m an idiot," he said as he turned from where he was perched on the side of the tub and looked up at the man standing before him. "I’m sorry about …" he started, only to have two fingers placed against his lips.

"I’ve already told you I’m okay. It’s just a muscle spasm, that’s all," Viggo said as he knelt beside the tub, balancing on the balls of his feet. He ignored the twinge of pain in his lower back. "I get them from time to time. Seems to be part of the whole getting old thing," he said with a grin.

"You’re not funny," Orlando said as he tried not to smile.

"No, I’m crazy, remember?" Viggo asked as he slowly closed the distance between them and pressed a light kiss to Orlando’s lips. "Now, how about we make use of this monstrosity?"

"Sounds good to me," Orlando whispered as Viggo slowly stood and stepped away to undress. Orlando’s hands stopped him.

"I want to do that," he said as he stood as well. His own hands went to the hem of Viggo’s long-sleeved shirt and slowly lifted it up and off of the artist, tossing it somewhere behind him. His eyes took in the partially dressed man before him. Viggo’s abs, chest and arms were defined from hours spent in the barn, mucking out stalls, stowing bales of hay. Tentatively, Orlando reached out and ran his hands from Viggo’s shoulders down his arms, and then back up his torso, his fingers sliding through the reddish-blonde hair on his chest.

Viggo’s hands went to Orlando’s shirt and it was quickly removed and tossed aside as well. Smooth, bronze skin covered the lithe frame, but his attention was caught by the large dusky disk sporting a silver loop. His index finger ghosted over the pierced nipple, and he watched Orlando’s reaction.

The beautiful eyes closed and a deep breath was inhaled. The nub hardened.

"Sensitive. I wondered about that earlier today," Viggo said as his fingers moved on, tracing the planes of Orlando’s chest and lower, stopping only when they encountered the waistband of the black ski pants. His fingers teased the trail of soft hair below the young man’s navel, traced the outline of the sun tattoo he found.

"It’s very sensitive," Orlando said as he unbuttoned Viggo’s pants and then remembered the running water. "Hang on. Wouldn’t want to flood the place," he said as he moved back to the Jacuzzi to shut off the faucet and turn on the jets. When he turned back, he found Viggo pushing his pants down, his hardness springing forward.

Orlando’s eyes widened as he got his first good look at the older man. His mouth had gone dry and his thoughts seemed to have taken a vacation.

"Didn’t your mother tell you it’s not polite to stare?" Viggo teased as he stepped out of his pants, leaving them in a pool of charcoal on the plush carpet. A few moments later, he slowly lowered himself into the steamy, churning water. "Damn, that feels good. You planning on standing there all afternoon or are you going to join me?"

Within a few seconds, Orlando was as naked as the day he was born and then it was Viggo’s turn to stare. His eyes were drawn to the column of flesh that stood proudly from Orlando’s body.

"Now that, I wasn’t expecting," he said with a smile.

"I hate to point out the obvious, but this is standard equipment on a male," Orlando said as his fingers wrapped around his cock. "Now scoot up so I can get in." Viggo did as he asked and Orlando settled himself behind the other man.

"I’m just surprised you’re cut, is all. Most people I know from the UK aren’t," Viggo offered and then sighed when he felt strong hands on shoulders.

"Blame the lack of foreskin on my parent’s religion," Orlando said with a quiet chuckle as his fingers slowly massaged the tight muscles. "Disappointed?"

Viggo shook his head. "No," he whispered as sure hands moved over his back. "Damn, that feels good," Viggo said as he relaxed under Orlando’s ministrations.

After a few minutes, Orlando leaned forward and pressed a kiss between the artist’s shoulder blades. "I am sorry about this."

Viggo leaned back against Orlando’s chest and captured the young man’s hands in his own. "I’ll be fine," he said before pressing a kiss to their twined fingers.

"How about we ditch the tub and I’ll give you a massage," Orlando whispered against Viggo’s neck. "I think I owe you one."

A few minutes later, they were in the bedroom with Viggo lying face-down on the enormous bed, Orlando perched on the tops of the older man’s thighs as he poured a small amount of Astroglide into his palm.

"Never used this stuff for a massage before. Well, except for the internal kind," Orlando said with a snicker as he placed his hands on Viggo’s back and began to slowly knead the muscles again.

"I can’t believe that you’ve never taken the time to enjoy everything that goes along with a sexual relationship," Viggo said, his voice muffled by the pillow he was hugging to his chest.

"Relationship would be the key word of that sentence," Orlando offered as his hands slid smoothly over Viggo’s back. "I told you before that I’ve never had a proper relationship. At most, it’s usually a handful of shags, and that’s it."

A soft moan slid between Viggo’s lips. "You’re good at that," he said as nimble fingers relaxed his body.

The sound went straight to Orlando’s already hard cock. His hands slid to Viggo’s lower back, his thumbs rubbing circles at the base of his spine. Viggo shifted on the bed.

"You okay?" the young man asked.

Viggo chuckled. "Yes and no," he answered as he moved again.

Orlando trailed a teasing finger lower. "Anything I can help you with?"

"I’d say that’s a fair assumption," Viggo said as he reached over to the nightstand and opened the drawer. He tossed a condom over his shoulder. "Make yourself useful," he said before relaxing into the mattress again.

The brunette picked up the foil packet lying on the bed. "Roll over," Orlando said as he rose to his knees so that the other man could move. He loved to put a condom on his partner, teasing while he did so.

"I’m not moving," came the muffled reply.

Orlando stared at the broad back for a moment and then realization hit him like a ton of bricks. If Viggo had looked over his shoulder, he would have seen the young man’s impression of a fish out of water, his mouth opening and closing several times.

"You want ..." Orlando started, genuinely surprised that Viggo would allow this.

"Yes, I want," Viggo said as he rolled onto his side and looked at the young man. "I want very much."

"But, I …" he stammered.

Viggo sighed. "Let me take a guess. You thought that since I am who I am, I’d top, right?" he asked and earned a nod from Orlando. "Oh, I plan to – many, many times before I head back home in a few days. But today, right now, I’m not in any shape to do that. So, if you’re not interested …" he said with a grin.

Orlando leaned over the man and captured his lips in a searing kiss.

"Oh, I’m interested, all right," he breathed after he pulled away. He found the bottle of Astroglide again and quickly slicked his fingers before he rolled them to their left side, pushing Viggo’s right knee forward, his own following.

Deft fingers found their target and before long, Orlando had Viggo gasping as he teased the puckered opening, and slid one and then two fingers into the artist.

"When was the last time you bottomed?" Orlando asked as he slowly prepared his soon-to-be lover.

"Couldn’t tell ya. It’s been awhile," Viggo said as he concentrated on relaxing his body. Orlando’s fingers were long and had no problem finding the bundle of nerves that reduced the older man to what amounted to putty. But when the third finger was introduced, Viggo’s body tensed.

"I’m sorry," Orlando whispered against Viggo’s cheek. "Just a bit more, yeah?" he asked as he slowly stretched Viggo’s entrance.

Viggo sighed when he heard the packet being ripped open and the reassuring click of the bottle of lube being opened.

Orlando draped his body across Viggo’s back, his cock nestled between the firm globes. "Look at me, Viggo," he said and waited until blue eyes locked with his. "If this gets to be too much, tell me and I’ll stop. I don’t want to cause any additional pain, yeah?" he asked and smiled when Viggo’s lips brushed against his.

"I promise," Viggo said as he held Orlando’s gaze.

There was a brief moment of pain as Orlando breeched the outer ring of muscle, but it was worth it to finally have what Viggo wanted, and that was to be connected to this young man.

"Okay?" Orlando whispered as he held himself in check, not wanting to hurt the man who had come to mean so much to him in such a short period of time. While he wasn’t sure he could voice exactly how he felt about him, he could show him.

Viggo nodded and then closed his eyes, relaxing his body even more.

Orlando’s left arm slid under Viggo and curled around his chest while his right hand rested on the artist’s hip as he started to move in slow, lazy strokes, each one taking him deeper into the tight passage. Long minutes passed and the only sounds that could be heard were soft sighs, gasps of pleasure, and whispered words of encouragement.  

Viggo’s paint-stained fingers dug into Orlando's thigh as the thick cock brushed the sensitive spot deep inside of him. "Yessssss," Viggo hissed as he arched his back, ensuring that Orlando hit the same spot over and over.  

Orlando pressed his face between Viggo’s shoulder blades. His hand left Viggo’s hip and slid to his stomach, caressing the muscles that contracted and released as Viggo moved in counterpoint to his thrusts.

Orlando kissed Viggo’s shoulder. "Still okay?" he asked and earned a nod in return.

Their bodies broke out in a light sheen of sweat as he slowly increased the tempo of their joining. A few minutes later, Orlando felt Viggo’s fingers link with his and then their joined hands were moving down, entwined fingers raking through the nest of reddish-gold curls. 

"Yes … please baby … need you …" Viggo babbled as their hands stroked his weeping flesh.

As soon as the words were out of Viggo’s mouth, Orlando’s hips moved faster, bringing them both closer to the edge. His body felt as if he were on fire and knew that his own release wasn’t far off.

"Oh fuck … gonna … nnnngggghhhh," Viggo shouted into the bedroom as his orgasm hit him like a runaway freight train. Wave after wave of ecstasy rolled through his body as his cock pulsed in their joined hands, his release jetting across the spread.

Orlando moaned Viggo’s name as his lover’s body contracted around his cock and pulled his own orgasm from him. The brunette lay unmoving, panting heavily against the sweat-covered back, his cock still pulsing inside his lover.  

It was several minutes before either could speak. When Orlando finally regained a portion of his senses, he slowly withdrew from Viggo and dropped the used condom beside the bed.

Viggo rolled onto his back and gathered Orlando in his arms. "That was so much more than I ever imagined," he whispered against the sweat-soaked curls.

"I have to admit it was pretty amazing," Orlando said with a smile. "How’s your back?"

"It’s fine. We made a mess on the bed," the older man commented, his voice sounding tired.

Orlando chuckled. "You mean you made a mess on the bed."

"Hmmm, your fault, though," he said as his fingers linked with Orlando’s.

"This is true," he said as he snuggled closer to Viggo.

Viggo’s arms tightened around Orlando’s body. "Cold?"

"Yeah, a bit," he admitted.

"I’d offer to cover us up but seeing as how the blanket’s a mess..." he trailed off.

Orlando nodded, understanding. "How about we go back to my place? Right now my blanket is come-free."

Viggo turned his head so that he was looking into Orlando’s beautiful eyes. "And how long do you think that will last?"

The young man lifted his shoulder as an answer. "Don’t know, but at least I have others to replace it with. Plus, my place has food."

"Ever heard of room service?" Viggo teased as his fingers threaded their way through the chocolate curls.

"Yeah, but I’d rather go back to my place and do it myself. Get your stuff packed," Orlando said as he slid from the bed. "You’re staying with me until you go back home."

"Oh, really?" Viggo asked as he propped himself up on his elbows, missing the warmth Orlando’s body offered.

Orlando nodded. "Makes more sense than me driving all the way over here to pick you up so we can go out," he said as he walked into the bathroom to retrieve his discarded clothes.

"And who says we’re going out? Once we get there, I might tie you to the bed," Viggo shouted.

"Don’t tease me, Viggo," came the reply through the open doorway.

"Who said I was teasing?" the older man mumbled as he slid from the bed and pulled on the jeans that he had been wearing earlier that morning.



Chapter 9

"So where are we off to today?" Viggo asked as Orlando navigated through the morning traffic heading East on I-80. "You’re being awfully secretive about all this."

Orlando looked into his rear-view and side mirrors before changing lanes. "I’ve told you all you need to know."

"Oh yeah, right. ‘Viggo, grab your coat and camera. We’re going somewhere,’ really helps," the older man said before taking a sip of his Starbucks coffee. He wondered if Orlando even owned a coffee maker. He didn’t recall seeing one in his kitchen.

"Where’s your sense of adventure?" the young man asked with a grin.

"Oh god," Viggo moaned. "We’re not going to do something crazy like bungee jumping, are we? Because if that’s what you’ve got planned, you can turn this Jeep around and take me back."

The brunette shook his head. "No, nothing that extreme. I promise you’ll enjoy it. Now stop asking questions and enjoy the ride."

Viggo settled back in the seat and looked out the window. This was going to be a long day.


At ten forty-five, the two men boarded the last vintage coach of the Heber Valley Historic Railroad and found a seat near the back, away from the crowd. Instead of sitting side-by-side, Orlando opted to sit across from Viggo, their seats facing each other, wanting to see the expressions on the man’s features on their journey.

The instructor had taken this trip a few times, and during each trip had wondered if he would ever find someone to share it with. This was like his special place in the park – he wanted to share as much of himself as he could with Viggo. He had never taken anyone else to the bridge, just as he had never invited anyone on one of these excursions. Orlando hoped that one day he could tell Viggo these things.

The artist caught the wistful look on Orlando’s face and quickly raised his camera.

"What were you just thinking?" he asked after snapping the picture.

"That I’m glad you’re here," was all Orlando offered.

Viggo set the Nikon on the seat beside him and leaned forward, bracing his elbows on his knees, hands in front of him. His fingers caressed Orlando’s denim-covered knee.

"I can’t think of anywhere else I’d rather be," he admitted. "Except maybe back at your place," he added with a smile.

Sienna orbs caught the mischief playing in the azure ones across from him. "And exactly what would we be doing if we were there?" he asked as he mimicked Viggo’s seated position. His breath caught in his throat as Viggo leaned forward and whispered, in explicit detail, what they would be doing. Orlando was suddenly glad he had chosen to wear a pair of baggy cargo-style jeans.

"Later, yeah?" he managed to croak before leaning back in his seat, propping his booted right foot on the edge of Viggo’s seat, inconspicuously adjusting himself as he did so.

"Definitely," Viggo promised and then they felt the train lurch as it began its journey to Provo Canyon.

It was a three-hour round-trip to Vivian Park and back, but with the extra hour they would be spending at the park for sightseeing, the total time stretched to four hours. During their journey, they crossed the farmland of the Heber Valley and followed the snow-covered banks of Deer Creek. The railway descended into a glacier-carved canyon and then slowly wound its way along the ice-cold waters of the Provo River.

They had remained inside the heated coach for a good portion of the trip, and then the artist in Viggo had taken over. He and Orlando had moved to the observation deck at the back of the train where he took several shots of the snow-capped mountains, frozen waterfalls, the undisturbed landscape, and Orlando.

Several of the more hardy tourists had joined them for a little while, capturing their own memories, and Orlando felt a small thrill run through his system as he watched Viggo discussing photography with an older gentleman. Of course, he had no clue what they were talking about – apertures, F-stops, masks – these things were beyond him, but his lover definitely knew what they were.

*Lover. Was that what they were?* Orlando wondered. Yes, he had feelings for Viggo, more than he ever had for someone before, but didn’t the term lover imply that they were together, as in a couple, as in a relationship? Orlando had had his fair share of one-night stands, a few fuck-buddies, but never someone he truly cared for; never someone he wanted to share his time, his life, with.

Until now.

He heard Viggo’s camera click again and turned to find the man’s eyes on him.

"I really wish I knew what went on inside that head of yours," he said as he moved close to Orlando, his hand brushing a stray curl away from the beautiful face.

After a quick glance around, Orlando realized they were alone, the gentleman Viggo had been talking to opting for the warmth the inside of the coach offered. Orlando pulled his hands from his coat pockets and slid them under Viggo’s coat, his fingers hooking around the belt loops of the artist’s jeans, pulling him closer.

"Is this okay?" he asked as their bodies touched from thigh to chest.

"More than," Viggo offered as he pressed Orlando’s body against the outer wall of the coach. "So, are you going to tell me or should I guess?" he asked quietly.

"Maybe some day I’ll tell you," he offered.

Viggo nodded. "I’ll hold you to that," he said before dipping his head and capturing Orlando’s cool lips with his own. The kiss was unhurried, and Orlando found himself melting under the man’s assault, allowing Viggo to do as he pleased. He felt an identical hardness pressing against his own and wished they could take this further. Knowing that was next to impossible, he slowed the kiss.

"Thank you," Viggo said when he pulled away. "I’ve never had anyone do something like this before."

"You mean you’ve never snogged on a train before?" Orlando quipped.

Viggo tweaked the young man’s nose. "That’s not what I’m talking about. I mean this trip. Where we are," he said as he looked at the scenery that passed them by. "It’s beautiful, Orlando. It’s like we’ve stepped back in time and we’re just discovering it."

"I was hoping you’d like it," Orlando said as he turned to the railing, Viggo wrapping his arms around the young man’s waist. "When we were talking about what to do when you came to visit, I thought about this. I figured it would appeal to the artist in you," Orlando said as he snuggled back into the warmth of Viggo’s coat, laying his head back on the strong shoulder.

"You appeal to the artist in me," the older man whispered.

"Folks, we should be arriving at Vivian Park in a few minutes," a voice on the speaker informed them. "We’ll be there for an hour, which should give you plenty of time for a quick lunch, if you so choose, and maybe a little sightseeing as well. We’ll sound the whistle about ten minutes before we’re set to leave so you can finish up and make it back to the depot. Please be sure to have your ticket handy so you can re-board the train at no charge. Enjoy your afternoon."

"Well, I guess it’s back to the general population," Viggo said as he pressed a kiss to Orlando’s temple and led the young man back inside.

~ * ~

After a quick lunch of homemade chicken-salad sandwiches purchased at the depot, the two men struck off on their own. Viggo had been mulling over an idea and he hoped he could bring it to fruition. He just had to find the perfect spot.

They had been wandering for a bit, Viggo snapping pictures here and there, of a snow-covered picnic table, snowdrifts at the base of trees, anything that captured the artist’s eye.

"Stay right there," he told Orlando and then disappeared into a stand of trees that were on the outskirts of the property.

"What are you doing?" he asked as he watched Viggo walking back and forth, looking for god only knew what.

"You’ll see," came the muffled answer.

"I see the crazy person is back," he teased.

A few minutes later Viggo reappeared, took Orlando by the hand and led him into the trees. Now it was his turn to pull Orlando to him, his hands sliding around the slim waist to settle at the small of Orlando’s back, pressing the lithe body against his own that was leaning back against the trunk of a tree. "Now, what were you saying earlier about the crazy person?" he asked before nipping at the plump bottom lip just inches from his own.

Orlando moaned. "You’re driving me insane, you know that?"

"Think they’ll let us share a padded cell at the asylum?" the crazy artist asked as his right hand came up to cradle Orlando’s face, the left sliding into the riot of velvet curls. Before Orlando could answer, Viggo’s mouth was on his, robbing him not only of speech, but of breath as well.

The kiss flared red-hot, threatening to burn anything in its wake, including the both of them. It was a battle of dominance as their tongues dueled, thrusting and retreating, pulsing against each other. And then, as if by mutual agreement, the tempo slowed, both taking and receiving in a more equal measure. Viggo moaned into the quiet of the forest as Orlando teased his bottom lip, catching it between his teeth and tugging gently, and then it was Orlando’s turn as Viggo’s lips surrounded his tongue and sucked gently.

"Where’s a fucking bed when you need it?" Orlando panted as his forehead rested against Viggo’s.

The train whistle sounded in the distance, letting the passengers know they had ten minutes to get back.

"Fuck!" Orlando yelled into the snow-covered trees.

Viggo kissed Orlando’s forehead. "We need to head back or we’ll be left," he said as he pushed them away from the tree, Orlando taking a few steps backwards.

"Now we have an hour and a half ride back to Heber, and almost an hour back to the apartment," he lamented. "I’m going to go fucking nuts!"

Viggo chuckled. "No you won’t," he said as he reached up and retrieved his camera from a limb next to them while he slid the infrared remote control back into his pocket.

Orlando’s brows furrowed. "What the hell?" he asked as he watched what Viggo was doing. And then it dawned on him. "You … you took pictures of us?" he shouted.

Viggo smiled and nodded as he checked to see how many exposures he had left on this roll of film.

Orlando was torn between wanting to hit the arrogant son of a bitch for doing that and being even more turned on because of it. He settled on punching the crazy artist in the arm.

"When we get back to the train, I expect you to tell me exactly how you managed to do that. And … I want a set of those prints," he said with a grin before leaving their impromptu hideaway, leaving Viggo to follow.

~ * ~

"I was wondering what in the hell you were up to, disappearing into the forest like that," Orlando said once they were back in the warmth of the coach, a cup of hot coffee in hand. "So tell me, my crazy artist, have you taken any other pictures of us?"

"No," Viggo said with a shake of his head. "I was going to surprise you with these. And before you ask, I develop all my own stuff so there’s no chance that someone will get hold of them."

"Is this something you do on a regular basis? Taking photographs of your partners?"

Viggo’s shoulder lifted a fraction. "I have other pictures, yes, but not like this, and not like you’re thinking."

"Why not?"

"Haven’t wanted to," Viggo admitted.

"Then why with me?" Orlando asked before taking a careful sip of his java.

"Because I’m crazy?" he teased. "I don’t know, Orlando. It was just something that hit me on our way here. If it hadn’t worked out, it would have been okay, too."

Orlando thought it over for a bit and then nodded. "You, Viggo Mortensen," he whispered, "have to be the craziest person I’ve ever met."

"Do the words ‘pot’ and ‘kettle’ ring any bells?" Viggo asked with a smile. "So am I forgiven?" he asked.

The young man shook his head. "Not quite. But if you’ll meet me in the loo in a few minutes, I think something can be arranged," he said before leaving his seat and heading to the back of the coach where the restroom was located.

Viggo watched his lover walk the length of the car and disappear through a small door to the left. He sat motionless for a moment, knowing he should not do this, but Orlando had a point – he owed him. Viggo and his crazy idea had put his young friend in a certain mind-set and now he had to pay.

He just hoped a trip to jail wasn’t included in the fee.

Orlando jumped when the small door opened and Viggo stepped in. The sight that greeted the artist was one he would never forget. Orlando was leaning against the small counter, his jeans around his ankles, two fingers buried inside himself. Viggo quickly closed and locked the door.

"Jesus, Orlando!" Viggo whispered in the small compartment.

"Here," Orlando said as he passed a condom over his shoulder with his free hand. "Hurry up! You fucking owe me, Mortensen. You’re the one who got me wound up. You’re the one who’s going to take care of the problem."

"How about a blow job, instead?" he hopefully asked.

"Your cock, my ass … now," Orlando ordered as he continued to open himself up.

In a matter of moments, Viggo’s pants were around his ankles as well and he was rolling the condom over his shaft. "I can’t fucking believe I’m doing this. Lube?" he asked and Orlando handed a small packet to him. He squirted the contents into his hand and quickly covered the latex.

Orlando removed his fingers and bent over the small counter. "Fucking do it!" he whispered loudly and before he knew it, Viggo’s cock was buried to the hilt. "Fuck, yeah," he said as his internal muscles clenched around Viggo’s length.

The kiss beneath the snow-covered tree served as foreplay, and the thrill of getting caught fed the desire both felt flooding their systems.

Viggo’s hips moved quickly and a few minutes later, Orlando’s whispered, "I’m close," caused the man to speed his thrusts as Orlando stroked himself. "Oh fuck," was all the young man said before the small sink was dotted with his release. Viggo slammed into the receptive body one last time as he reached his completion.

He would have liked to stay there, buried deep inside his lover, but common sense won out and he slowly disengaged and tossed the condom into the toilet. Orlando handed him a few paper towels to clean up with and then he was dressed and out of there.

He had been back in his seat for a few minutes when Orlando joined him, a satisfied look on his face. Viggo glanced around the coach and breathed a sigh of relief that nobody was paying attention to them.

It was only when he relaxed back into his seat did that change.

"Lucky bastard," was muttered from the person sitting in the seat behind him, and when Viggo finally found the courage to look at the reflection in the window, he found the gentleman he had spoken to earlier smiling back at him.

Sky-blue eyes slid to the young man sitting across from him and he had to agree. He was a lucky bastard to have the attentions of this lovely creature, at least for the next couple of days.

After that, it was anyone’s guess.

~ * ~

Orlando stirred the pasta sauce, watching it thicken in the pot and inhaled the sweet and spicy smell as it bubbled from the heat. Ziti boiled in another pot, and he stirred that, too. He dumped the diced onion into the sauce and stirred it in, the onions disappearing into the thick white sauce. Steam curled up from the pasta, coating the stove front with condensation and he lowered the heat a bit, watching the tender ziti roll and cook.

Santana played softly in the background, filling the apartment with songs that were a mix of Latin jazz and Afro-Cuban rhythms. His CD collection was an odd one, Viggo had told him. The young man listened to anything from Audioslave to Led Zepplin, and although he tended to listen to mainly rock/alternative rock, there were a few rap and blues CD’s thrown in the fray.

A pair of warm lips brushed his neck, startling him for a moment. "Something smells good," Viggo said quietly and then slid his arms around Orlando’s waist, peering over the young man’s shoulder as he eyed the pots on the stove.

"That would be dinner," the brunette said with a laugh. "Enjoy your nap?"

Viggo placed a kiss behind Orlando’s ear. "I’m thinking it might be something else," he said as he buried his nose in the riot of curls and inhaled. "Are you on the menu, by any chance?" he teased.

"Possibly," came the breathy reply as Viggo’s right hand slid lower.

"Missed you when I woke up," the artist admitted. And he did. He had enjoyed the feel of Orlando’s warm body pressed intimately against his when they awoke that morning and realized it was something he wanted to have happen every chance they got, naps included.

"I thought I’d get dinner started," Orlando said as he relaxed in Viggo’s embrace. "One can’t live on sex alone, can one?"

The warm lips nipped at the sensitive skin. "Probably not, but it’d be nice."

The doorbell sang a slow, deep tune and Orlando had half a mind to ignore it and let Viggo continue.

"Expecting someone?" Viggo asked as he teased the trail of hair beneath Orlando’s navel.

Orlando shook his head. "No, but I’d better see who it is, just the same," he said as he turned the heat almost all the way down on both pots and reluctantly moved out of Viggo’s arms.

After a quick peek through the peep-hole, he debated whether or not he should answer the door. But his friend was nothing if not persistent, and Orlando suspected that if he didn’t answer, his cell phone would be ringing shortly thereafter.

Sighing, he opened the door to find Tyler standing there.

"So?" his friend asked as he breezed into the apartment. "How goes it with the mystery man?"

"And hello to you too, Tyler," Orlando said as he closed the door and then leaned back against it, his mind going in ten directions at once. Was he ready to reveal his visitor? Was Viggo ready to meet his friend? What would Tyler do when he realized exactly who the mystery man was?

"Yes, hello, OB. Well?" the dark-headed man asked when he turned around to face Orlando. "How are things going? Are they still going or did you send him packing? Spill man!" he declared and then caught a whiff of something cooking. "You’re cooking? OB, you never cook," he said and then a smile spread across his face. "Oh shit, is he here?"

Orlando pushed away from the door and joined his friend in the living room. "Yes, he’s here and yes, I’m cooking dinner. Well, I was before you dropped by. And contrary to what you believe, I do cook from time to time."

"So, can I meet him?" Tyler asked excitedly.

"Umm, well," Orlando said as he fidgeted, uncertain about what to do next, but the decision was taken out of his hands when Viggo walked into the living room after disappearing into the bedroom to retrieve a t-shirt.

Viggo approached the two men and held out his hand to Tyler. "Hi, I’m .." Viggo started only to be cut off with a gasp from their visitor.

"Viggo Mortensen," Tyler whispered. "Son of a bitch. OB, you’ve been talking to Viggo Mortensen? Jesus H. Christ! Only you could get this lucky," he said once he had recovered and then quickly shook Viggo’s proffered hand. "I’m Tyler Baker," he said, awe tinting his voice. "It’s very nice to meet you."

Orlando stifled the laughter he felt welling up inside of him. To see his normally unflappable friend completely star-struck was something he would always carry with him. He remembered sitting in the theater watching all three ‘Lord of the Ring’ movies, listening to Tyler’s comments about the men on the screen. Some Orlando agreed with, others he didn’t. The character of Aragorn was one they both agreed on. Definitely fuckable; something about all that dirt and sweat – sexy as hell.

Dark eyes turned to Orlando. "This is … fuck, this is unreal. You’ve been talking to Aragorn this whole time?"

"No, I’ve been talking to Viggo," Orlando clarified.

"I thought you said his name was David," Tyler mused as his eyes slid back to Viggo, who had moved in behind Orlando and noticed the older man’s hand resting possessively on Orlando’s waist.

"It’s a long story," Orlando sighed. "One that I’ll tell you some other time. So, what brings you to my neck of the woods?"

"Just checking to see if you were okay," Tyler said as he moved to the sofa and took a seat. "I hadn’t heard from you and thought I’d stop by on the way to the club."

Orlando leaned back a bit, reveling in the feel of Viggo’s chest pressed against his back. "Couldn’t be better, mate."

Tyler looked at Orlando and noticed something different about his friend. Orlando always had a smile handy for those around him, but for the most part, it was forced. The one on his face now was genuine, just as it was the night they had talked, when Orlando told him about how his mystery man made him feel, made him want something different.

If he wasn’t mistaken, he had a sneaking suspicion that his friend was falling for … god, he still couldn’t believe it … Viggo Mortensen, of all people. He just hoped that the older man wasn’t toying with Orlando; that this wasn’t just something to pass the time until something better came along. Tyler admonished himself. You couldn’t get any better than Orlando.

"I think I’ll let you two talk while I go check on dinner," Viggo said before he pressed a quick kiss to Orlando’s temple.

Tyler watched the show of affection and the resulting blush that stained Orlando’s cheeks. Yep, his friend was definitely smitten.

"No, it’s fine," Tyler said as he stood. "I didn’t mean to interrupt you guys. I just wanted to see if OB was okay. And now that I have, I’ll be heading out now. It was a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Mortensen," he said with a grin. "OB, take care and I’ll talk to you in a few days?"

Orlando nodded. "I’ll call you," he said as he walked Tyler to the door and Viggo disappeared into the kitchen.

"So, tell me," Tyler said quietly as they stood in the doorway. "Is he good?"

"I’m not one to shag and tell," Orlando said with a smirk and quickly closed the door before his friend could ask any more questions.

Viggo was sitting on the counter when Orlando walked back into the kitchen to check on their dinner. He caught the young man as he walked by and settled him between his legs.

"Well?" he asked as he tucked an errant curl back behind Orlando’s ear.

"Well what?"

"Am I good?" the artist asked as his index finger traced indiscernible patterns over Orlando’s face.

Orlando’s eyes widened. "You heard him?"

Viggo nodded. "Yep. And I also heard your answer, both vague and telling all at the same time, if he knows what to look for. But now I want to know the real answer," he said as his finger teased the plump lips.

Orlando’s tongue snaked out and teased the pad before gently nipping at the digit. "How about we have dinner first, and then I’ll tell you?"

"How about we skip dinner and you tell me?" Viggo taunted as his free hand slid to Orlando’s chest and tugged gently on the silver hoop, which sent shocks of erotic pleasure through the young man’s body.

"Fucking hell," Orlando breathed before Viggo’s lips crashed against his own.

Viggo reached over to the stove and quickly turned the knobs to the off position before dragging Orlando back to the bedroom. It would be hours before they finally ate dinner.



Chapter 10

Everything Orlando had chosen for their outings during Viggo’s stay had been geared towards the artist, this one doubly so. For their last night together, he had decided on an early dinner at The Aerie, a beautiful restaurant perched on the uppermost floor of the Cliff Lodge at Snowbird Resort that offered spectacular views of the mountains through unencumbered floor-to-ceiling windows that lined the dining and bar areas. Following that, they would take the aerial tram up to the lookout at Hidden Peak.

They had arrived at the restaurant early, their reservations not scheduled for another hour, but Orlando knew his artist would want to spend time outside, absorbing his surroundings like a sponge, capturing his discoveries on film. When the cold became too much, they found a quiet table in the bar area, ordered two beers, and waited until their pager went off telling them their table was ready.

Numerous candle-lit tables covered with white linen, accented with bone china and crystal glasses, filled the open area, and a smile lit Viggo’s face as the hostess seated them at an intimate table set for two near one of the windows.

"If I didn’t know better, I’d say that this was a set-up for seduction," Viggo said quietly once the hostess had left them.

"In certain instances, I guess it could be," Orlando offered as he looked over his leather-bound menu, taking in the different food selections the restaurant had to offer.

Viggo’s eyes scanned his own menu for a moment and then looked at the beautiful man seated across from him. "Certain instances?" he queried and earned a nod from Orlando. "How so?"

"This has been labeled the most romantic restaurant in Utah. You do the math."

"Why sir, you *are* trying to seduce me," Viggo whispered and watched the corner of Orlando’s inviting mouth quirk.

"Hate to break this to you, but I don’t need some elaborate scheme to get into your pants," he said with a grin.

"Oh really? And what ploy would you use?"

Orlando set his own menu aside and leaned forward, his long fingers brushing over Viggo’s. "If memory serves me correctly, I’d say a day on the slopes would do the trick. Nothing romantic about that, as far as I can tell."

Viggo’s pulse increased at the mention of their first time together and wondered what Orlando would say when he told him the real reason things had progressed the way they did. Unfortunately, that was not a discussion he wanted to have here and now, but later, in private.

"This is true," he admitted as he linked their fingers together.

A few moments later, an impeccably dressed waiter arrived to take their orders and then disappeared just as quickly. After dining on Barbecue Glazed Filet of Beef served with Potato Risotto, the men settled back in their seats with a cup of coffee, enjoying the easy conversation that flowed between them. Each nugget of information imparted was filed away, added to the chest of gems they had collected thus far. After a minor disagreement over the check, Viggo winning this time, they retrieved their coats and stepped into the elevator that would take them to ground level.

It was early evening now, the sun beginning its descent behind the white-capped mountain range, giving off just enough light so that the passengers on the aerial tram could watch the glistening snow-covered landscape pass beneath their feet as they were transported up the mountainside.

Orlando and Viggo had nabbed a vacant corner of the car when they boarded, out of the way of others, yet still able to take in the sights. Orlando linked his arm with Viggo’s and let his head fall to the other man’s shoulder.

"What will you be doing this time tomorrow night?" Orlando asked quietly, and Viggo noted the sadness in his voice.

Viggo placed a kiss to his forehead. "I’m not sure. I could be in the barn, checking on the horses or I could be in my studio, working on a new painting. Or, I might be stretched out in front of the fire, listening to your voice on the other end of the line."

Orlando nodded, not trusting his voice at that particular moment. He still wasn’t sure what the other man wanted beyond tomorrow, but Viggo’s answer quelled a few of his fears that things would not end when the artist flew back home.

"I vote for the last one," Orlando said with a smile and then snuggled closer to Viggo.

"Well then, I’ll see what I can do," the blonde offered as the tram approached its destination.

The lookout at Hidden Peak provided a breathtaking view of the Rocky Mountains at their finest. At eleven thousand feet, the air was crisp and clear, and in the night sky, stars glittered like diamonds tossed into the heavens, something that could not be seen while in the city proper. Orlando pointed out different areas in the distance, like the Alta resort that was up canyon from Snowbird, then east to Sundance. The lights of the resort below twinkled like lights on a Christmas tree, reminding Viggo that the holidays weren’t far off.

His eyes sought out his lover and he wondered if he would be alone this year, or spending it with someone special.

~ * ~

After they arrived back at Orlando’s apartment, Viggo quickly undressed himself before turning his attention to his young lover. As this was their last night together, he wanted it to be something both would always remember. He slowly and reverently undressed the beautiful man, pressing kisses to each area of newly exposed skin, nipping and teasing places that he knew would drive Orlando crazy with want. With gentle touches, he took Orlando to the edge only to pull him back, much to the young man’s disappointment.

Now Orlando was lying across his bed, his breathing labored once again, as warm lips skated across the toned chest. Viggo reveled in the sounds that spilled from the young man when he tugged gently on the silver hoop, laving the distended nub after. Each breathy sigh, each erotic moan was recorded in the artist’s mind so they could be played over and over. The lips moved lower, Viggo’s tongue darting out to lap at the sheen of sweat that covered Orlando’s body, then dipping into the depression of his navel, worshipping the sun below.

"Viggo, please," the young man whispered as his body was played like a finely tuned instrument that only his lover had the score for.

"Wait, baby," Viggo said softly, his fingers reaching up to twine with Orlando’s. "I promise it will be worth it."

The brunette groaned his frustration. "If it’s not, old man, your arse is sleeping on the couch."

"What about the rest of me?"

"That too!" Orlando fairly shouted.

"Hmm," Viggo hummed against the overly sensitized skin, before sucking gently on a hipbone. "Guess I’d better make this good then."

"Damn right, you’d better," was the answer that floated down to Viggo’s current position. He was lying on his stomach now, his aching cock pressed into the mattress below, but he would not give in to his desire just yet. He was going to drive his lover completely out of his mind first.

Those same lips, teeth and tongue played over the inside of a muscled thigh, and then moved to lavish the same treatment to its twin. Next, teasing licks were applied to the backs of knees before sucking gently on an ankle.

Orlando’s fingers tightened around Viggo’s as he struggled to remain still. His body was perilously close to sensory overload, but he would try to hold out, to wait until Viggo slid into his body, claiming him once again. He nearly sobbed with relief when the artist released his aching fingers and moved them to his shins, gently pressing them back against his body, opening him to his lover’s gaze.

"So beautiful," Viggo whispered before his tongue traced a path starting at his cleft, passing over the puckered entrance and up his perineum before teasing the pouch that was drawn up against his body. "And all mine."

"Yours, Viggo," the young man panted, his sweat-soaked curls sticking to his forehead and neck. "All yours." He wanted to touch himself, wrap his hand around his cock and finish this insane teasing Viggo was administering, but knew if he did, he would disappoint his lover and probably miss out on something special. Viggo said it would be worth it; he just hoped he was still coherent enough to enjoy it.

Viggo’s tongue circled Orlando’s entrance and he knew his lover was on the edge again, could hear it in his breathing, could feel it in the slight tremors that were snaking their way through his body.

"Think you can hang on for a bit more?" Viggo asked as he rose above the supine man, his hand retrieving the bottle of lube on the nightstand.

Orlando shook his head. "Probably not, but … just hurry," he mumbled.

The artist leaned down and pressed a kiss to Orlando’s lips. "I will," he breathed before slicking his fingers and lowering them to the man’s entrance.

Orlando’s eyes closed and he fought to retain control of his body as Viggo’s fingers massaged the tight ring of muscle before slipping inside. His cock was leaking copious amounts of viscous fluid onto his stomach and he wanted nothing more than to give in to the pleasure that had been assaulting his senses for what seemed like forever. He felt the thick fingers stretching him, knowing it had to be done, but when they brushed over bundle of nerves deep inside him, he could not help his reaction.

"FUCK!" he screamed into the silence of the night. "Viggo … I can’t … now … pleeeease …" he begged as his head thrashed left and right on the pillow, his fingers clutching the sheets, knuckles white under the strain.

Viggo took pity on him and quickly took the straining shaft into his mouth. When his tongue flickered over the knot of nerves at the head, Orlando’s release hit the back of his throat in three short bursts.

Orlando’s world went dark after that and it was several minutes before he came back to himself. When he did, Viggo was lying on his side next to him, his head propped on his hand, a very satisfied smile hovering over the man’s lips.

"Don’t look so smug, you git," the instructor said as he snuggled into the man’s warmth. "I’d like to see how long you last under an assault like that."

"Feel free to test me any time you like," Viggo offered before leaning down and brushing a kiss to Orlando’s cheek.

"Hmm, afraid I can’t do it right now. Maybe tomorrow," he said sleepily.

"Oh no you don’t," Viggo said as he rolled Orlando onto his back and pressed his cock against the young man’s thigh. "You’re not about to leave me like this."

"You’ve got a hand," Orlando teased and earned a raised eyebrow in return. He chuckled lightly. "Well then, get on with it," he said with a grin. "Just don’t expect much from me. You nearly killed me."

The artist reached over and snatched a condom from the bedside table, quickly rolled it on and moved between Orlando’s lax legs. After coating himself with lube, he pulled the unresisting body onto his thighs.

"We’ll see about that," Viggo said as he nuzzled the blunt head against the relaxed portal and then gently pressed inwards, Orlando’s body accepting him immediately. He started moving in slow, measured strokes and smiled when he felt the passage flutter around his shaft. "I think your body has other plans, baby," he said as he slid deep on the next thrust, causing the young man to moan.

"Traitor," Orlando managed to ground out as his cock stirred in the nest of curls.

Viggo kept to the slow tempo he had set and then Orlando was moving with him, the long legs wrapping around his waist and pulling him deeper into the unrelenting heat. His hands left Orlando’s hips and linked their fingers together, settling their hands on either side of his lover’s head, their bodies pressed together tightly.

Amidst the gasps of pleasure, words spilled from Viggo’s lips, words he wished he was strong enough to say in his native tongue, instead of hiding behind foreign languages. He hoped that one day he would be able to tell Orlando how he felt, what he wanted. Until that time, he would continue to show him, would let his body convey his emotions.

Orlando felt the fire ignite low in his stomach. "Touch me," he said and earned a shake of Viggo’s head as his answer. "Please." Another shake of blonde hair.

"I want you to come like this. Just from me being inside you," the older man requested and pressed his body harder against his partners.

"I’ve never … I’m not sure I can," Orlando answered honestly.

Supple lips caressed Orlando’s. "Yes you can, baby. Just let yourself go and feel it. Feel me moving deep inside of you, giving you all that I am," he said as he continued to make love to the man who had captured his heart. "Concentrate on that, on what you’re feeling inside. Everything else will just fall into place," he said before he dropped his head to Orlando’s shoulder.

Orlando’s focus turned inward and he thought about everything he had felt for this man since their first conversation. He had never felt anything like this before. It was new, and exciting, and also scary as hell. He didn’t want his artist to catch a plane the next day, taking him back home to Idaho. Orlando wanted Viggo to stay there, with him; wanted to wake up in his arms each morning, wanted to share breakfast, lunch and dinner with him; wanted to share every facet of his life with the other man, good and bad.

When he finally admitted to himself that he had fallen in love with the crazy man who had dialed his number by mistake, everything did fall into place, and his body responded to the revelation. Clutching Viggo’s fingers tightly, he let the wave of his orgasm roll over him, through him, sweeping him away.

Viggo felt the sudden change in the body below him and a moment later, their stomachs were covered in Orlando’s release. It was only then that the older man gave in to the passion he had been holding at bay.

"So good, baby," Viggo whispered against Orlando’s neck as his cock pulsed deep inside his lover. He lay there for a minute or two before he pulled himself together and rolled to the side. "Be right back," he said as he slid from the bed and disappeared into the bathroom where he discarded the condom, grabbed a washcloth and quickly wet it with warm water. When he returned to the bedroom, he smiled. Orlando had not moved a muscle. After a quick cleanup, he tossed the washcloth towards the bathroom and pulled Orlando to him, then grabbed the covers from the foot of the bed.

Silence reigned supreme as the two sated men drifted in their thoughts, both wanting to acknowledge that what had just happened between them went beyond desire, yet both afraid that their feelings would not be returned.

Finally, before he drifted off, Orlando pressed a kiss to Viggo’s neck. "Goodnight, love," he whispered and settled himself against the warm body, his hand resting on Viggo’s chest, above his heart.

Viggo twined their fingers together and lifted them to his lips. "Goodnight, my Orlando," he whispered before closing his eyes and succumbing to sleep’s hold.



Chapter 11

The first rays of the morning sun filtered through the curtains, bathing the two sleeping forms in golden hues. Strands of dark hair mingled with light, just as pale limbs intertwined with tanned, the contrast beautiful in its simplicity. Fingers of light teased a bronzed back as an outstretched arm lay across a lightly-furred chest that rose and fell with a hypnotic rhythm.

Slowly emerging from the last vestiges of sleep, Viggo smiled as he felt the warmth of the body lying beside him, the weight of his lover’s hand resting on his bicep, the way Orlando’s left leg was thrown over his own. He lay there for a long while doing nothing more than listening to the sound of the other man’s breathing and watching the day assert itself, chasing the traces of night from the room. It was only when nature called that he reluctantly left his private haven. Not wanting to disturb his sleeping lover, he slowly slid from the bed, padding quietly across the room to the adjoining bathroom.

A few minutes later, he returned to find the gorgeous body lying across the bed. Orlando had rolled onto his back, his right arm resting against his toned stomach while his left arm was thrown across Viggo’s side of the bed, the navy blue sheet pushed haphazardly below the trim waist as if he had been fighting with it.

The artist drank in the sight of Orlando on display before him, taking in as much as he could, burning the image into his mind, into his soul. Starting at the sleep-tousled mane of chocolate curls, his eyes caressed the chiseled face, noticing the long lashes resting against dark skin, lips relaxed and parted ever so slightly, the strong jaw, the long column of neck.

Twin dusky discs sat atop lightly muscled pectorals, and Viggo fought the urge to reach out and caress the silver hoop and watch the pierced flesh pebble and tighten. Cerulean eyes followed the fine line of soft hair that ran from navel to abdomen and further down. Viggo’s cock stirred as his eyes lingered on the outline of raised flesh that was hidden from his gaze by the bedclothes. He wanted to pull the sheet back and taste his lover, but first there was something he had to do.

He made a quick trip into the living room and retrieved his camera before slipping silently back into the bedroom. After adjusting the settings, he took several photographs from various places in the room, and then crouched beside the bed, inwardly cursing his weary bones as they threatened to give away his game. Orlando’s face was turned towards him and Viggo snapped a few close-ups of his features – mouth, one closed eye, then both, and then one of the beautiful face. Right before depressing the shutter button, Orlando’s lids fluttered open and Viggo captured the bleary sienna orbs on film.

The hand that had been lying quiescent on Orlando’s stomach clumsily reached out and pushed the camera away.

"Too early. Come back to bed," he mumbled before rolling away from the artist, taking the sheet with him and effectively presenting Viggo with more body parts to capture: the lean back, tapered waist, the swell of a toned buttock. When the artist was satisfied with his collection, he abandoned his camera and joined his lover once again.

Orlando wrapped himself around Viggo. "Much better," he said before gently pressing a sleepy kiss to the strong shoulder and then drifting back to sleep. Viggo followed not long after.

The next time the artist woke it was to the feeling of warm lips surrounding his cock. Sleep-blurred eyes looked down his body and met mischievous sienna ones looking back at him. A quick wink from his young lover had Viggo groaning, his head falling back onto the indented pillow.

"As much as my body is obviously enjoying that," the gravelly voice started, "it also needs to relieve itself."

"Tough," Orlando said after he pulled his mouth from the hard flesh and then licked a wet stripe up the sensitive vein underneath. "This is payback for the hell you put me through last night."

Viggo snorted. "What? Sucking me off when I need to piss? While I agree its torture in itself, I’m also inclined to say you might get more than you bargained for if you keep it up."

Orlando thought for a second and released his prize. "Go," he said as he motioned to the bathroom. "But when you get back, your ass is mine," he informed the man and watched as his artist crawled out of bed. When he had disappeared, Orlando stretched out on the bed and planned his attack.

When Viggo returned to the bedroom, he stopped in his tracks. After a quick search of the room, he realized that his camera was too far away to capture this particular image on film. Orlando was teasing himself, his long fingers trailing up and down the thick shaft, gently squeezing the head between his thumb and index-finger, collecting the clear fluid there before moving down once again.

"Better be careful or you won’t be able to punish me," Viggo said as he crawled back onto the bed, laying himself over the young man, sliding his erection next to Orlando’s.

A smirk played at the corner of Orlando’s tempting mouth. "That’s what you think," he whispered as he twined his fingers into the blonde hair and pulled Viggo’s face to his. Before their lips touched, he whispered, "I’ve already come once this morning so I have no doubt I’ll be able to hold out," and then his lips devoured Viggo’s.

~ * ~

Viggo sat propped against the headboard with Orlando’s head resting on his stomach, the two men enjoying what was left of their time together. Work-roughened fingers threaded their way through chocolate curls, Viggo memorizing the texture on every pass. Orlando’s digits were teasing the coarse hair on the older man’s shin when a loud rumble erupted in his ear, causing him to snicker.

"Guess that means it’s time to get up," he said as he rolled to his side and looked up at Viggo.

"Considering the fact that it’s nearly noon, I’d say that we both probably need to eat something," Viggo surmised as his fingers moved to Orlando’s face, tracing an invisible line from forehead to chin.

Reluctantly, the young man sat up and moved to the side of the bed. "Feed me, suck me, fuck me," he teased. "Needy much?"

Viggo leaned over and as Orlando stood, left a red hand-print on the left butt-cheek.

"Ouch, you sadistic bastard," he grumbled as he rubbed the offended flesh and moved to his dresser to grab a pair of boxers and t-shirt.

"Oh, stop your whining. You weren’t the one who was just folded damn-near in half and drilled into the mattress," Viggo tossed back as he retrieved his tried-and-true paint-stained jeans.

A dark eyebrow arched. "Are you complaining?" he asked as he stepped into the shorts and then donned a t-shirt.

The artist moved to where Orlando was standing at his dresser and brushed his lips against the young man’s. "Never," he said before leaving the bedroom and heading for the kitchen.

They worked well together in the small space, Viggo at the stove, scrambling a dozen eggs and adding heaven-only-knows-what to the mix, while Orlando popped several slices of bread into the toaster, buttering them when they were done. The oven timer dinged and the artist retrieved the bacon, careful not to tilt the cookie sheet and drip grease all over everything.

When Orlando asked why he cooked bacon that way, he laughed. "Less mess. No grease splatters all over the kitchen." His young lover nodded and moved to set the table.

It was all done with an ease that surprised them both, and a warm feeling of rightness settled over them.

Orlando was munching on a slice of bacon, lost in thought, and then his eyes slid to Viggo. "Last night, you said something in … what was that? Danish?"

Viggo opted for swallowing the mouth full of orange juice rather than spraying it all over his inquisitive lover. Of course, he had to swallow around the lump that had suddenly formed in his throat, but he managed… barely. He wasn’t ready to have this talk, wanted to wait until right before he left, chicken that he was, but it seemed Orlando’s question was rearranging his timetable.

"Actually, it was Danish, Spanish, and a smattering of French thrown in for good measure," he admitted. "And before you ask what was said, let’s finish breakfast and then we’ll talk."

Orlando’s stomach dropped. He wanted to talk, and when people said that, it wasn’t a good thing. Maybe Viggo *was* just playing with him, and that none of this meant anything to the man sitting next to him. Orlando was just someone to fill the time – an exciting adventure he had taken and now it was time to go back to the real world, a world that didn’t include a young snowboarding instructor-slash-bartender.

Viggo saw the war of emotions flicker across Orlando’s face and he reached out, turning the sad eyes towards his.

"Baby, it’s nothing bad," he said as he caressed the soft cheek. "I promise."

The young man nodded and forced himself to finish the rest of his breakfast.

After the table had been cleared, dishes rinsed and loaded into the dishwasher, Viggo took Orlando by the hand and led him into the living room where he sat the young man on the couch, while he opted for the coffee table.

He ran a nervous hand through his sandy-blonde hair, trying to piece together his thoughts, trying to decide how to tell Orlando that he had become his world in just a short period of time.

He took a deep breath and leapt.

"What I said last night, in the other languages, were things I was afraid to say in the light of day. Thoughts, feelings, wishes, desires," he said quietly. "And they were about you, about us."

Orlando shifted on the couch. "Us?"

Viggo nodded. "Yeah, us," he said as he reached out for Orlando’s hands. "I want there to be an ‘us’ after I leave. I want you to know that this isn’t just another series of casual fucks for me. Since the first time I talked to you, I felt something for you, something I thought I’d never feel again after …" he trailed off, not wanting to get into the whole Greg thing right now. "Anyway, last night, when I said those things, I meant them with everything I am. I want us to be together, whenever we can, however we can manage. I want to know that I’m yours, and that you’re mine, in every sense of the word."

The words wrapped around Orlando like a blanket, and he realized that his earlier fears were unfounded.

"I care for you, Orlando, a great deal. And I have a feeling that you might feel the same way towards me, or am I reading you wrong?" he asked and earned a shake of russet curls. "So that brings me to my next point. Before you make a decision on whether or not you want this as well, there are some things you need to know."

Orlando nodded and Viggo continued.

"There are things in my public life that you might not want to deal with. The pressure of being with a celebrity, and I really hate that word because that’s not who I am, as far as I’m concerned. Unfortunately the masses see it differently," he said with a grimace. "But the pressure takes its toll on most couples. I’m not doing anything other than living at the ranch and painting right now, but my manager has a few scripts he wants me to review, which I may or may not accept. But if I do, then that means time away for filming, and it could be anywhere on the planet."

Orlando wasn’t so sure he liked that part of the deal and briefly wondered exactly how much time they *would* manage if he chose to pursue a relationship with his artist. It would have been difficult, to say the least, if Viggo were just a regular Joe. But he wasn’t, and Orlando wondered if that was a good thing or bad.

"And then there are the vultures, the press. They are relentless. They’ll do damn near anything to get a picture or a story, and when they can’t, they’ll make things up."

"So have they made things up about you?" Orlando asked, his curiosity piqued.

Viggo nodded. "Everyone, at some point, has shit made up about them. My life has been under a microscope for a very long time, so the crap they print doesn’t bother me. I know the truth, and that’s enough for me. I think the biggest bug up their asses is that I don’t play the Hollywood game like others do. I’m not going to say that it’ll be easy for us, if you decide you want to be with me. It’ll be hard as hell," he said as he brought Orlando’s hands to his lips. "But I think we’d be crazy not to try it. There’s something between us, something I want to explore, to discover with you. But you have to want it too. And if not, then that’s okay. I completely understand that you might not want to be in the spotlight. Because there will be times, premieres, openings, art shows, things like that, where I’ll want you by my side. Actually, I want you with me all the time but real life isn’t as obliging. You’re here in Salt Lake City and I’m either in Sandpoint or LA or somewhere else while filming. I’m not going to ask you to make a decision now. I just wanted to lay it all out for you so you’d know what you would be getting yourself into if you choose to give us a chance."

Orlando listened to everything that was being said, and it scared the hell out of him. That this man, Viggo Mortensen, could have feelings for him was something he had only wished for. To hear the admission from the man sitting in front of him twisted his insides, but in a good way.

"Now, do you have any questions? Concerns? Thoughts? I’ll try to answer them as honestly as I can," Viggo offered.

The brunette sat quietly for a few moments as everything sank in, or at least attempted to, and then he nodded to himself.

"Everything we’ve done over the past four days, it’s what you do in a relationship, isn’t it? Spending time together, eating, laughing, cutting up. You’ve been showing me how it could be, haven’t you?" he asked.

"In a manner of speaking, yes. You’ve never had a relationship, so you had no clue what being in one entails. It’s great, it’s scary, it’s tough. If I didn’t think you were worth it, I wouldn’t have behaved that way. Oh, and just so you know, Aragorn doesn’t take it up the ass from just anyone," he said with a grin. "There was a reason our first time was the way it was."

The sienna eyes widened. "What do you mean?"

"I may be old, but I’m not a cripple. I might have played up my aching back a tad more than I should have. But I did it for a reason. I wanted to prove to you that I wasn’t here on some whim, that I trusted you; that I had, have, feelings for you. Take your pick. All three of them are true," he stated.

Orlando could understand that, and even applauded the man for his underhanded scheme for the way things happened that day, and then another thought came to him. "You made love to me last night, didn’t you? It wasn’t just sex, was it?"

Viggo nodded. "Yes, I made love to you. It’s just another facet of being in a relationship. Of course, sex is great and all, but when there are feelings involved, it’s so much more," he said as he reached out and cupped Orlando’s face, his thumb tracing along the instructor’s lower lip.

Orlando’s eyes closed as he leaned into the touch. "Show me again," Orlando whispered. "Show me how it could be." He had never before felt such a strong need to be connected to someone, but looking back on the past few days; he realized it had been there, lurking beneath the surface if he had chosen to look for it.

When Viggo finally joined with him, he felt as if he were home, as if this was what he was made for. Everything that had happened before, everyone he had been with, none of that mattered now. Orlando responded to every touch, every word with abandon, showing the man that he was not alone in his feelings. He gave his artist everything he was, heart and soul. He might not be able to say the words, but he showed him as best as he could. When he reached his completion, it was with Viggo’s name on his lips, in his heart.

As Viggo held his love in his arms after, he knew that getting on a plane in a few hours would be the hardest thing he had ever done in his life. He had made love to Orlando as if it were their last time, which it very well could be. He would be crushed if the young man did not choose them, but he would not pressure him in any way. Orlando had to make the decision himself. And whatever he chose, Viggo would accept.

~ * ~

"I know I said that I would talk to you tonight, but I’m not so sure that’d be such a good idea now," Viggo said as he pressed a kiss to Orlando’s forehead while people bustled around them in the Salt Lake City airport. "You have some thinking to do, and I don’t want to do or say anything that might sway your decision one way or another."

Orlando wrapped his arms around the older man and held him. "I understand, Viggo. I don’t like it, but I understand."

"I left my numbers on the refrigerator before we left. When you make your decision, call me. Whether it’s yes or no, call me. Okay?" he requested and earned a nod from the now quiet young man. "As much as I hate to say this, I want you to do whatever it takes for you to decide if you want this or not. Do you understand?"

Another nod. Orlando understood the message loud and clear. He just didn’t think he would ever be able to be with anyone else other than Viggo now, now that he knew what it felt like to be cherished, wanted, loved. Viggo might not have said the words, but he knew, just as he had a feeling Viggo knew how he felt as well.

Viggo pulled back a little and looked at Orlando. "No matter what happens, I’ll always cherish these past few weeks. And if you don’t choose us, I hope you find someone who will make you happy, because you deserve that, and more."

Orlando leaned forward and captured Viggo’s lips in a loving kiss and then he was standing alone, watching his lover walk away from him, watched until he disappeared from sight. He did not remember the drive back to his apartment, his thoughts filled with the man who had waltzed into his life, turned it upside down, loved him, and left him to decide the fate of their relationship.

His fingers caressed the scrap of paper he found secured to his refrigerator by a magnet with the picture of a beach on it. He had never seen Viggo’s handwriting before and he laughed when he realized the man could have been a doctor; it was that bad. He turned the paper over and found a note.


Destiny is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice;
It is not a thing to be waited for; it is a thing to be achieved.

No matter what you choose, I’ll always treasure our time together.



Orlando brushed away a lone tear that slid down his cheek, and realized that whatever decision he made, it would impact the rest of his life.

He just hoped he made the right one.

A/N: The first two lines of Viggo’s note is a quote by William J. Bryan.



Chapter 12

"So let me get this straight," Tyler said as he handed a beer to Orlando, and then settled himself on the couch since his guest had opted to take the oversized chair. "He wants you, you want him, but he wants you to be sure so he basically told you to go out and screw around to make sure you know what you want."

"Fucked, isn’t it?" Orlando queried as he twisted the top off of the bottle.

Tyler nodded. "Definitely. I mean, if I were him, that offer would have never been on the table."

"I know, but I understand why he did it. I’ve never been in a relationship before and what he showed me while he was here was how a relationship worked. Well, the basics anyway. We went out, had a good time, had some amazing sex, and fell asleep together. But I think the best part of it all was waking up next to him, knowing that he was going to be there, that I wouldn’t be waking up alone."

"And yet he wants you to fuck around so you’ll know that’s what you really want," the dark-headed man surmised and earned a nod from his friend. "Fuck that. If I were in your shoes, I’d have already called him and gave him his answer. It’s what you want, Orlando, you said so yourself."

"Yeah, in a round-about way, it is. Although there’s the whole long-distance issue we’d have to work through, not to mention the fact that our privacy will be practically non-existent if I choose to pursue this. Even with me here, you know the press would get wind of it and the next thing I know, they’ll be camped out at the base of the mountain, waiting to get pictures, or worse, on the mountain while I’m trying to give a lesson. David would have a fit if that ever happened," Orlando said before taking a drink. "I don’t even want to think about them lurking about the club while I’m working."

A comfortable silence settled between them for a few moments, and then Tyler spoke again. "I still can’t believe it," he said with a grin. "You nabbed Viggo Mortensen! Do you know how many men, and women, would love to be in your shoes right now?"

Orlando chuckled. "Yes, I’m looking at one of them right now," he teased. "But as strange as it sounds, I don’t see him like that. It’s hard to explain. Yeah, I was furious when I realized that I’d been duped, but he proved to me that the man I had spoken to on the phone was Viggo, as well as David. During his stay, every now and then, it would seem a bit surreal, that the man I had developed feelings for was the man you and I had made some pretty interesting remarks about, but he’s a person first, an artist second, and an actor last."

"And he never tried to sneak in under the radar, to do some recon before he showed up?" Tyler asked.

"No. He could have, that’s for sure. But he didn’t. He said that he wanted our first meeting to be on the same footing, so to speak. Trust me, I asked. He said he had thought about it, but didn’t want to ruin it. It was bad enough that he was lying to me. He didn’t want the fact that he had spied on me hanging over his head as well."

"And you never checked the number he was calling from," his friend stated.

A quick shake of Orlando’s head. "No. It was easy to sit back and let him take the lead with things. Actually, it was kind of nice, being pursued for something other than sex, for once."

"So what now?"

Orlando leaned his head back in the chair and closed his eyes. "Now, I have to figure out how to push my feelings for him aside and see if he’s what I truly want."

"By fucking around," Tyler stated.

The instructor nodded. "I don’t want to, Tyler. I don’t want to mess up what Viggo and I have. But I have to know, yeah?"

Tyler slumped down on the sofa and hooked his booted feet on the side of coffee table. "That’s messed up, OB. But if that’s what you gotta do, then do it."

A cold tremor ran though Orlando’s body at the thought of being with someone else. He knew what he had to do. He just hoped he could go through with it.

~ * ~

It was snowing again as Viggo carefully pulled his white Chevy Silverado 4x4 into a vacant parking space in front of Sandpoint Photography. Everyone who had half a brain was tucked away somewhere, nice and safe, warm and dry. Viggo wasn’t one of them. He had something to do and nothing but a full-on blizzard would deter him from the task at hand. Reaching over the armrest, he grabbed his camera bag and quickly left the warmth of the vehicle.

The bell over the door jingled, alerting the proprietor of the shop of his arrival.

"You know, I really didn’t expect to see you today," Cassie said as she rounded the counter and gave her friend a hug. "How was the drive in? Not too bad, was it?"

"Nah, it was fine. Nothing I haven’t driven in before," Viggo offered as he returned his friend’s hug.

Cassie Shepherd had owned the studio for as long as Viggo could remember, and the two had struck up an immediate friendship back in the early days, when Viggo, his ex-wife and son had moved to the small artistic and cultural community.

The petite woman with brown shoulder-length hair and hazel eyes stepped away from Viggo. "So what have you been up to lately? Haven’t seen you around for a few weeks," she said as she stepped behind the counter again. "I was a bit surprised when you called yesterday."

Viggo set his bag on top and pulled out several rolls of film. "Been painting mostly. Took a few rolls of film while I was in Salt Lake City for a few days," he said as he zipped the bag close, hoping he wasn’t grinning like an idiot. The thought of Orlando always put a smile on his face.

And made his dick hurt.

The images of their last time together, of Orlando laid out before him, accepting him into the young eager body, responding to the artist’s touch, the cries of pleasure that spilled over kiss-swollen lips, had caused Viggo to become painfully hard more times than he cared to admit. Now was definitely not the best time to be thinking of that. He’d have enough trouble when he got into the dark room to print his pictures.

"So which room is ready?" Viggo asked, and a few moments later, disappeared down a long hallway and into one of the three dark rooms the studio had.

It was a true full-service photography studio. Not only did they do sittings and the like, thanks to modern technology, they also developed film and printed photos for the residents of the community.

And then there were people like Viggo, the eccentric artists and photographers who insisted they would take care of things themselves. Cassie had no problem with that as there was always someone needing one of the dark rooms to create the many works of art that hung on the walls of galleries, restaurants and homes in Sandpoint. Unfortunately, the prints that Viggo would leave with later in the day would never be seen by anyone other than the artist and his muse. At least for the time being.

Carefully extracting the roll of film from its canister, Viggo methodically went through the first series of steps that would bring his photographs to fruition. Developing solutions, stop baths, fixers, and fixer removers were all part of the time-consuming process. Once the roll had been sent through the solutions, he hung the strips of film to dry, and left the room in search of food.

"I’m going over to the diner for lunch," he said as he pulled on his coat, secure in the knowledge that his things would not be disturbed. Everyone knew that when Viggo Mortensen was in the dark room, he was working, and nobody bothered him. "Want me to get you something?"

Cassie looked up from the photos she was retrieving from the automated machine. "Nah. I’ll go over a bit later, but thanks."

Viggo nodded. "No problem. See you in a few," the artist said before pulling his battered cowboy hat down and braving the elements once again.

As he consumed his bowl of homemade stew, Viggo wondered what Orlando was doing at that moment. Was he teaching a class, on a break, or was he eating lunch as well? Had he thought about them as much as Viggo had since returning home? Was he close to making a decision about them?

Viggo sighed, knowing that he was just chasing his tail in a never-ending circle. He had come so very close to calling Orlando just to hear his voice, but stayed true to his word that he would not contact the young man.

The majority of his being screamed with need for his lover, to have the younger man by his side, to know that Orlando had chosen them, while a much smaller, but very stubbon, part knew he had to wait, had to let his lover decide for himself if this was what he wanted.

He didn’t like the thought of someone touching what he had come to think of as his, but he knew deep down it was a necessary evil for Orlando to realize that what he had shared with the older man was so much more than anything anyone could ever offer. Viggo had showed him one last time how it could be between them, and as they reached the pinnacle of pleasure together, he had to fight to hold the words back that begged to be said.

But it wasn’t the right time, so he said nothing. He tossed a few bills onto the table, slid from the booth to collect his coat and hat, and hoped that one day soon he would have the chance to tell Orlando his true feelings.

He spent the afternoon enlarging and printing his treasures, using different methods to lighten or darken the images, and his heart ached with longing for the face that slowly appeared on the coated paper, time and time again, as the solution brought the photos to life. His azure gaze lovingly caressed each sheet that was pulled from the final tray and hung on a line behind him. Memory after memory assaulted his senses as he relived their time together and wondered if he would survive the wait.

~ * ~

Over the next couple of weeks, Orlando agonized over what he had to do, and after several more arguments with Tyler, none of them pleasant, he decided to just get it over and done with. A fuck was a fuck. He used to do it all the time. He could do it again. Then he would have his answer, one way or the other.

Screwing up his resolve, he joined Tyler and a few friends for dinner one evening after work, followed by a night of drinking and dancing at one of the clubs in town. Orlando only had one thing on his mind. Well, two, if he included Viggo. He knew he should not be thinking of the man at that moment, but then again, his artist was never far from his thoughts, no matter what he was doing.

From his position at the bar, Orlando watched the sea of bodies moving to the trance mix that poured from the speakers, trying to find someone that appealed to him. He knew what he used to like, but his taste had been drastically altered by a blue-eyed devil in the guise of one Viggo Mortensen. He shook the thought from his mind and scanned the area once again.

Opportunity literally fell into his lap a few minutes later. The young instructor was sitting with his back to the bar when someone slid into the V of his open legs. Long fingers teased their way up his thighs and he tensed momentarily, and then remembered what he had to do.

A large hand took the drink from Orlando, and not bothering to ask what it was or if the newcomer could even have it, the amber liquid was downed in one go. Orlando’s eyes were drawn to the stranger’s face and he saw that his pursuant was older, had reddish-blonde hair and blue eyes that reminded him of Viggo’s. Of Viggo, period.

*Maybe I can do this,* Orlando thought as he watched the stranger set the glass on the bar and then looked down at him.

"I’m Rick," the man said, his voice low and thick.

"Orlando," he answered and then he was being kissed, the stranger’s lips caressing his own, and he was a bit dismayed at his body’s response. But, he was young, and it had been several weeks since anyone had touched him, not counting himself, so it was only natural he would react this way.

"You live nearby?" Rick asked when he pulled away and Orlando shook his head.

"Just here visiting a friend," he lied. He was not about to bring someone else into the bed he had shared with Viggo.

"I’m here on business. Guess we’ll go back to my hotel room then. That is, if you’re up for it," he said as he stroked the growing bulge in Orlando’s pants.

"Lead the way, mate," Orlando said in what he hoped sounded like an excited voice. After a quick side-trip to let Tyler know where he would be, he left the security of the building, climbed into his Jeep and followed Rick’s rental car to the hotel.

Once inside the room, Orlando watched as the older man unbuttoned his shirt, mentally comparing him to Viggo. He had a nice build that spoke of time spent in a gym, whereas Viggo’s body was toned from hard work. Rick’s hands were delicate, he had noticed at the club, and not rough like his artist’s.

*Stop it, Orlando,* he chided to himself. *Just get on with it.*

Those same hands were now lifting his shirt and tossing it aside.

"My god, you are beautiful," Rick said as he ran a hand over Orlando’s torso. "May I?" he asked as the long digits paused over his nipple ring. Orlando nodded and he could not stop the involuntary groan that rumbled within his chest as Rick gently tugged on the hoop. His mind might not want this, but his body definitely had other ideas. He leaned back against the wall and gave in to the need that rushed through his system.

A warm tongue teased the furled nub for a moment before making its way down his torso.

Rick squatted down in front of Orlando and quickly unbuttoned and unzipped the young man’s jeans. "Now, let’s see what you’ve got for me," he said as his prize was revealed. "Mmm, perfect, just as I suspected."

Orlando closed his eyes and let his head fall back against the wall with a thud as his cock was enveloped in wet heat. There were no teasing licks, no knowing touches, just the no-nonsense business of an impersonal blowjob.

He tried to think back to the time before Viggo, before it didn’t matter, tried to remember how to just let his body go and enjoy it, but he couldn’t. Viggo had claimed Orlando’s heart as well as his body, and nobody would ever come close to making him feel the way he did when Viggo loved him, worshipped him.

After a few minutes, his hands went to Rick’s shoulders and gently pushed the man away. "Rick, I’m sorry," he said as he looked down into the lust-filled eyes. "I can’t do this. It’s… I need to go," he said before stepping away from the older man and quickly pulling up his jeans. He grabbed his shirt and before Rick could say another word, Orlando had disappeared through the door.

The shaking young man ran down the hallway and ducked into the stairwell, hoping that Rick wouldn’t come looking for him. There he collapsed against the railing; his heart thundering furiously in his chest, and reality hit him like a ton of bricks.

No one other than his artist would ever touch him again.



Chapter 13

Viggo was bone-weary and half-frozen when he rode back into the warmth of the barn late one afternoon. He and his neighbor, Scott, had spent the day riding their fence lines, looking them over, testing their strength, making repairs where necessary. It was something they had been doing for some time now, enjoying each other’s company as well as nature at its best.

He groaned when he slid from the saddle and he felt the slight catch in his back, that tiny twinge that let him know he wasn’t as young as he used to be. A smile formed on his wind-chapped lips as he remembered the last time he had felt that twinge. Too bad his snowboard instructor wasn’t here to give him another massage.


He was never far from the artist’s thoughts, that was certain. Viggo unbuckled the cinch, removed the saddle and bit, and stored them away in the tack room. After that, he tossed the blanket over the stall railing and brushed Kenny down. Long, sure strokes with the medium-bristled brush covered the equine’s body, Viggo’s thoughts wandering with the repetitive action.

Why hadn’t he called? It had been almost six weeks since he had heard his lover’s voice, looked into the beautiful coffee-colored eyes as they kissed one last time before he boarded the plane. Maybe Orlando had decided that a relationship wasn’t in the cards for them; maybe he had decided he didn’t want that kind of life. The thought pierced Viggo’s heart and he lowered his forehead to rest against Kenny’s withers. He knew he had told Orlando to take his time, but how long would Viggo wait before closing this chapter in his life?

Images of his time spent with Orlando skittered through his mind and he fought the wave of sadness that threatened to drown him. He had to trust his lover with this, had to hope that the love he had shown the young man would be enough.

Kenny turned his head and nudged Viggo’s shoulder, whickering softly, the air expelled from the horse’s muzzle stirring the artist’s shoulder-length locks.

Tear-filled eyes looked up at his friend and he smiled softly. "Yeah, I know, buddy. It’s a mess, isn’t it?" he asked and switched brushes, a soft-bristled one this time, and gently brushed the horse’s head. With that done, he reverently pressed a kiss to the blaze of white on Kenny’s forehead, and then moved to the opposite side to continue his brushing, while Uraeus and TJ looked on from their neighboring stalls.

His cell phone vibrated in his shirt pocket and he fought to contain the bodily flinch that usually accompanied the call, not wanting to spook Kenny. Being trampled in a horse stall was not the way he wanted to bid farewell to this world. Extracting the device from its resting place, he smiled when he saw the caller’s name.

"I’ve tried you at the house for over an hour, you daft bastard. Where are you?" The baritone voice wrapped itself around Viggo like a friendly hug, something he surely needed right about now.

"In the barn brushing Kenny down. Scott and I rode fence lines today," Viggo said as he continued to brush the chestnut hide in front of him.

"Well, I’m glad you remembered your cell," Sean said with a chuckle. "I can’t count how many times you’ve ridden off without it."

Viggo smiled. "And I wouldn’t ask you to. You probably couldn’t count that high."

"Bastard," Sean said affectionately. "So, does a certain ski instructor have anything to do with you remembering it now?"

"Could be," Viggo replied evasively.

"So, have you heard from young Orlando?"

The artist let out a long sigh.

"I take it you haven’t," the Brit surmised.

Viggo dropped the brush into the bucket of supplies and moved to sit on a bale of hay outside Kenny’s stall. "No, and I’m starting to wonder if he’s going to call at all. It’s been weeks, Sean. I’m just afraid that he decided to forget the whole thing," he said as he leaned back against the railing.

"Why don’t you just call the lad?" Sean asked. "I know you said you wouldn’t, but if you’re this down about the fact he hasn’t called, just bite the bullet and make the call."

The artist shook his head, as if his friend were sitting next to him. "No, I can’t do that. I told him to take as much time as he needed. I just didn’t expect it to be this long. Oh god, Sean. What if he.." he started, only to be cut off by a stern voice.

"Listen to me, Vig. You did everything you could in the sparse amount of time you had, short of telling him your true feelings, that is. If he can’t see that, then you’re better off without him."

Viggo pinched the bridge of his nose. "I know. I just wish he would call."

"I know, mate. I know," Sean said in a soothing tone. "You’ll keep me posted, yeah? I mean, I’ll be out in a couple of weeks, but if you hear from him before then, you’ll call, right?"

"Yeah, I’ll call. And I’m glad you’re taking a few days off to get together with everyone. It’s been a while since we managed it," Viggo said as he propped his booted foot on the hay bale. "Tell me again why it always happens here at the ranch."

"Because you’re our King and that makes the only logical choice of venue his castle," Sean joked. "Or in your case, ranch."

"The Hobbits better bring sleeping bags because I’m not giving up my bed."

"And they’re not nabbing the guest bed either," Sean stated.

"Then I guess you need to get here before they do," Viggo said as Sasha, his half-wild barn cat, jumped onto the bale of hay with him. She gently butted his hand and he obligingly stroked her soft black and white fur.

"I’ll definitely do that," he promised and the two men spent the next twenty minutes or so reminiscing about past reunions, remembering some of the antics the Hobbits would get up to.

"I’m glad you called, Sean," Viggo admitted after wiping tears of laughter from his eyes. "I really needed this."

"Chin up, Vig. Sometimes no news is good news, yeah?"

Viggo nodded. "Sometimes. I sure as hell hope this is one of them."

"Well, no matter what, you still have us, even though we refuse to cuddle with you when you get in those strange moods of yours," Bean teased.

"Watch it, Boromir. Your King may decree that’s what he wants for his Christmas gift, and you know you can’t deny your King anything."

"That’s what you think," Sean said. "See you in a couple of weeks."

"Just remember to get here before the Hobbits."

"Will do," Sean agreed before disconnecting the call.

Sasha had curled up beside Viggo’s leg and he slid his fingers through her fur, wondering if he would ever get to run them through Orlando’s sable curls again.

~ * ~

The cabin was a wreck. Viggo’s nerves where shot. Sean had threatened to tie the Hobbits to a fence post for target practice if they did not contain themselves.

"Oh, come on, man," Elijah said from the bottom of what was probably the twentieth dog-pile since their arrival the day before. "We haven’t seen each other in forever. Give us a break!" he shouted before succumbing to a fit of giggles as Dom tickled the ring bearer mercilessly.

From his perch on top, Billy called out, "Oi! And I’m sure that you two," he said as he pointed to the two ‘elders’ sitting at the table, "didn’t carry on before we got here."

Sean pointed the top of his beer bottle at the Scot. "Not like that, we didn’t," he informed the ‘children’, and they had been dubbed.

"Oh, of course not. You did it the manly way," Bill offered as he beat his fists on his chest, Tarzan-style.

"Better than sniffing each other’s ass," Viggo said and tossed the hand of cards he was playing on the table. "I fold. I can’t concentrate with all that damn racket," he grumbled.

"Oh no, we save the arse sniffing for when the Elf is with us," Dom said as he bucked his body upwards, dislodging a laughing Billy. "By the way, have you heard from him lately?" he asked as he looked over to Viggo.

"Yeah. He called a few days ago to say he can’t make it, but he’s going to try and swing the art exhibit in a couple of months," he said as he gathered the cards and slid them back into the packet. "Anyone up for a field trip?"

Three pair of eyes turned towards the kitchen area. "Possibly," Dom chirped.

"Depends on what you have in mind," Billy said as he crawled to the sofa.

Viggo stood from the table and grabbed his jacket from the peg beside the back door. "Lets just say that it involves destruction of private property," he said cryptically before disappearing outside.

Sean laughed at the speed with which the three Hobbits sprang into action. After a few moments of frantic searching for shoes and jackets, they followed Viggo outside while Sean stood in the doorway, watching. A trio of eyebrows furrowed when they found him holding a saw.

"Since you boys have some extra energy, how about finding me a tree? The party is tomorrow, you know," Viggo taunted. "It wouldn’t do for the host to be sans-tree for the Christmas festivities now, would it?"

There was a slight scuffle between the three as to who would be the bearer of said tool of destruction, but Elijah won out, saying that if the Fellowship trusted him with the ring, he could damn well handle a saw.

Viggo swept his arm in a wide arc towards the back of his property. "Have at it," he said before walking back up the steps to the porch. "But just remember it has to fit IN the house, so nothing over seven or eight foot will do."

"What the fuck?" Dom exclaimed. "You want us to *measure* the damned tree?"

"Shouldn’t be all that hard, Merry. Since Hobbits are roughly three feet tall, just stand on each other’s shoulders and get one that’s a bit shorter than that," Viggo said and quickly ducked into the house to avoid the handfuls of snow that were thrown his way.

"Brilliant, mate," Sean said as he pat his friend on the back. "Peace and quiet, and we get a tree to boot!"

A sly chuckle erupted from Viggo. "Like that, did you?" and earned a nod from Sean. "Just wait until they find out they have to decorate the thing tomorrow as well," he said with a grin.

After two hours of blessed silence, the trio returned with their offering and drug it into the barn, then made their way up to the house for some much needed warmth. Sean and Viggo bundled up and went out to survey the damage.

"Well, it’s not too bad," Viggo said as he looked at the hack job at the base and Sean snorted behind him.

"What did the lads do? Chop it down with the saw?" he guessed. The trunk of the tree had notches in various places where the teeth of the saw had broken through the bark. The base itself looked like a beaver had taken a turn at it as well.

"Your guess is as good as mine. Hand me the saw so I can make a clean cut. There’s no way it’ll stand up like this," the artist said and a few minutes later, had the tree balanced in its stand.

The two ‘elders’ stood back and smiled.

"Not too bad," Sean said and Viggo had to agree. The tree was full, not a bare limb in sight; its branches spread out beautifully, and its height looked about right. "I just hope their decorating skills are better than their tree cutting skills."

Viggo laughed. "If not, at least we’ll get a kick out of watching them this time. God, what I would give to have a video of them while they were cutting it down. Now, how about a cup of coffee?" he asked as he and Sean left the barn.

"Sounds good, if the urchins left us any," was Sean’s reply.

~ * ~

To Viggo’s relief, the Hobbits tree decorating skills were a sight better than their tree cutting skills, and when they had emptied all of the boxes the artist had brought down from the attic, all agreed that the tree was beautiful. As expected, there had been several heated debates about the placement of certain ornaments, but when all was said and done, and Viggo had placed the angel in its place of honor at the top, he had to agree with his guests. It was beautiful.

Later that evening, Viggo’s house was full of friends, laughter and songs. All four Hobbits had been reunited with the arrival of Sean Astin, followed by Liv and her husband, Royston. Karl and Dave were there as well, and they had received a call earlier from Ian saying that he had just landed and that he was on his way out to the ranch.

"Is it too much to hope that the Hobbits are passed out from imbibing too much?" he had asked Viggo.

"No such luck," the artist had answered with a chuckle. "But look at it this way: you only have to endure them for a few hours. I have them for several days."

Viggo felt truly blessed with his extended family, but wished with all his heart that he could look out into the fray and find a certain pair of sienna eyes looking back at him.

After Ian’s arrival, everyone gathered in the living area and exchanged gifts. All were instructed to bring one ‘white elephant’ gift, and they would draw numbers to see who started the game. Sean was first, followed by Liv, Dave, and then Elijah, who went for the Magic 8 ball that Dave had just opened.

"Oh yes, Master Ring Bearer," Ian said with his Gandalf voice, "you would need a device such as that to make your decisions."

After a hearty round of laughter, the game continued until all the gifts had been opened, stolen in fun and then retrieved in later rounds. At the end, everyone seemed pleased with the final outcome. Sean, Dave, Karl and Viggo adjourned to the kitchen table for a few hands of poker, while ‘the children’ amused themselves with Liv’s Slinky, watching as it walked itself down Viggo’s stairs. Astin, Ian, Liv and Royston watched from the living area.

A little while later, Viggo was returning from the restroom when the phone rang. Elijah, being the closest person to it, answered.


"Could I please speak to Viggo?" the caller asked.

"Sure. May I tell him who’s calling?"

A smile. "Orlando."

The young man handed the receiver to Viggo as he passed. "Some guy named Orlando is on the phone for you," he said and then ran up the stairs to take his turn.

Viggo’s stomach fell to his feet.



Chapter 14

The normally calm and collected method-actor had finally found something that would shatter his calm. His stomach ached, his heart thundered in his chest, and his body had broken out in a cold sweat. His palm was damp as he held the receiver, looking at the piece of plastic as if it were a foreign object.

Orlando was on the other end of the line, and it scared Viggo more than anything ever had. By the end of the conversation, he would have Orlando’s decision regarding their relationship, and hoped with all his heart that he had chosen in favor of it. A burst of laughter from the stairs snapped him back to the here and now, and he lifted the receiver to his ear.

"Orlando?" he asked and then felt like an idiot. *Of course it’s Orlando. Lijah just told you that.*

"Hey," the beautiful voice said. "Sorry about calling so late."

"No, it’s no problem. Let me get somewhere where it’s quiet," he said in what he hoped was a calm voice. He really didn’t want Orlando to know how shaken he was from the phone call.

Orlando chuckled. "Yeah, I hear noise in the background. I take it you’re not alone."

Viggo left the living room and slid into his studio, closing the door behind him, effectively shutting out the noise from the party. "Okay, that’s better," he said and leaned against the door, trying to calm himself. "And to answer your question, no, I have a house full of people right now. Christmas get-together with my extended family."

"Oh," came the small voice through the airwaves. "I’ll let you go then."

"No!" Viggo rushed and the young man smiled. "It’s okay, really. I’m glad you called," he said. *You have no idea how glad,* he thought. "So, how have you been?"

"Tired right now, actually," he admitted. "But I’ve been working quite a bit lately. Christmas vacations and all that, which translates into extra instructors needed to keep up with the demand for lessons."

Viggo chuckled. "Good for business."

"Very good for business," Orlando agreed. "How have you been? Keeping busy around the ranch?"

"Never a dull moment around here, that’s for sure. Went out riding the fence lines a couple of weeks ago, making repairs and such. Done a bit of painting for an exhibition I have planned for February," he said and wondered why it was so hard to talk to Orlando now.

"That’s good," the instructor offered and then was silent for a moment. "This is a bit strange, yeah?"

Viggo nodded. "Yeah. I didn’t expect it to be like this when you called."

"What did you expect?" the young man asked as he snuggled further into the cushions.

A chuckle met Orlando’s ear. "Not exactly sure. I guess I thought it’d be like it was before."

"But it’s not," Orlando surmised and Viggo agreed.

"No, it’s not. Would I be out of line if I said I’ve missed you?" the older man said as he moved away from the door and opened one of the storage cabinets that held his supplies. His eyes lingered on a photograph of Orlando he had hung on the inside.

Orlando breathed a sigh of relief. "I’ve missed you too," he said quietly and then it was Viggo’s turn to let out the breath he had been holding. "So, there’re actually two reasons for my phone call. One, I guess you want my answer, yeah? But before we get to that, I wanted to see if you received my gift yet."

Reddish-blonde brows furrowed. "Gift? No, I haven’t seen anything from you."

"Strange," Orlando offered. "You should have received it today."

"Sorry, I haven’t had any deliveries in the past couple of days," Viggo said, now upset that he hadn’t received Orlando’s gift.

"Bugger," the young man groused. "Will you do me a favor and go check by your front door? I told them I specifically wanted it delivered today."

Viggo complied and left his quiet studio.

"Everything okay, mate?" Sean asked as Viggo made his way through the living room towards the front door.

Viggo gave Sean a small smile. "Be right back," he said before he disappeared outside. "Okay, I’m on the front porch," he said into the phone as he looked around the doorway. "No package."

"Fuck," Orlando swore.

"How big is the box?" Viggo asked, wondering if he may have overlooked it.

Orlando snorted. "It’s not something you’re likely to overlook. Is there any other place they could have put it? Maybe the back porch?"

"It’s possible. They’ve left things there before," Viggo said as he followed the wrap-around porch towards the back. When he rounded the last corner, he stopped dead in his tracks.


Was here.

On his porch.

Sitting in his swing.

Viggo watched as the young man closed his cell phone and slowly rose from the swing. He sincerely hoped this visit meant the end of his torture. His azure gaze drank in the sight of his lover; the long legs encased in black jeans, the lithe torso covered by a forest green shirt, which, in turn, was covered by the black leather jacket. He smiled as Orlando approached him, his strides confident.

"Dare I hope that Santa came early?" he asked when the young man finally stood in front of him.

Orlando’s smile could light the entire west coast. He raised his hand and cupped Viggo’s cheek. "He hasn’t yet, but if you put your mind to it, I’d be willing to bet he could be persuaded," he said and as he leaned in to capture Viggo’s lips, the back door opened.

Sean’s head appeared through the doorway and he looked around. His eyes resembled Elijah’s when he spotted the two men who were only a few inches apart – wide with surprise.

"Oh, sorry, mate," he said with a sheepish grin. "Just wondered where you got off to, is all."

Viggo turned his head toward the voice and Orlando fought the urge to bring it back around so they could get on with things. Instead, he let his head fall back against the post and looked at the intruder as well.

"No problem," Viggo said with a smile.

"Says you," Orlando grumbled, which caused his lover to laugh.

The artist pressed a kiss to Orlando’s forehead. "Impatient brat," he said affectionately and then turned back to Sean. "Give me a few minutes and then we’ll be in."

"Right," he answered and disappeared back inside.

Before the door closed, Orlando had grabbed Viggo’s shirt and pulled the man back to him. "Now, where were we?" he asked before closing the distance between them. This time, their lips met with a hunger that begged to be sated. Viggo’s hands framed the beautiful face and held the young man still as he plundered the warmth of Orlando’s mouth. The instructor’s hands slid around the trim waist and pulled Viggo even closer, their bodies pressed together from knees to lips.

Viggo slowly pulled back, his teeth nipping at Orlando’s plump bottom lip. "I’ve missed you," he admitted.

Orlando gave him a small smile. "I’m sorry I took this long. I .." he started but Viggo’s fingers placed against his lips silenced him.

"How long can you stay?" he asked.

"You have me for fourteen days," he said. "That is, if it’s okay. I know I didn’t call ahead or anything, so I don’t know if you’ve got other plans or what. But if you do, I can go back," he rambled and Viggo silenced him with a kiss.

"Then we have plenty of time to talk about everything. And as much as I want to take you upstairs and make love to you, I need to see to my guests because you really don’t want the Hobbits out here," he admitted.

Now it was Orlando’s eyes that widened. "Hobbits? Jesus, Viggo. When you said extended family, I didn’t realize *that* extended family."

"Yes, *that* extended family. And in case you didn’t recognize him, that was Boromir who interrupted us," Viggo offered with a grin.

"Fucking hell," Orlando whispered.

Viggo pressed a quick kiss to his lover’s lips. "Hey, it’s not my fault you chose this particular night for a visit. Come on. You’ll be fine."

Orlando didn’t look too sure.

"Don’t worry," Viggo said as he linked their fingers together. "They won’t bite. At least some of them won’t. Not too sure about the Hobbits, though," he joked.

It was bound to happen sooner or later, his meeting Viggo’s friends. He just hadn’t planned on it being *this* soon, and certainly not before they had a chance to talk about everything. Oh well, it was out of their hands. The young man took a breath and smiled. "Have they had their shots?" he quipped, which caused Viggo to laugh.

"You’ll do just fine, Orlando," he said and led his lover inside the house.

~ * ~

He felt like a bug under a microscope and realized that this was probably how they, as actors, felt all of the time. Viggo had introduced Orlando to everyone, and the young man knew he was being sized up, could imagine everyone going through their mental checklist as they spoke, wondering if he was only out to make a name for himself, or if he truly cared for their King.

Viggo never wandered far from him, his presence calming, the touches familiar. Whether it was his artist’s hand at the small of his back, or resting on his hip, or their fingers entwined as they moved through the house, it made Orlando feel wanted, included.

Orlando had laughed at the way everyone was called by their character’s names, instead of their given, and he had heard Elijah, also known as Frodo or their Ringbearer, say that they could call him Florida if he wanted a nickname as well. Orlando had politely turned down the request, informing the group he was fine with OB, as Tyler called him, or Orli, which was a nickname he acquired while still in school. When he went back to Canterbury to visit, everyone fell back into their old habits, and their nicknames were used.

He had taken an immediate liking to the Hobbits, and laughed at the way they interacted - rambunctious and childlike – but he also felt an affinity with Sean, Karl and David, as well. Viggo had brought in an extra chair from the studio so Orlando could join the card game, at Viggo’s side, no less, and once he had a beer or two in him, he relaxed and began to enjoy himself. He listened as everyone recounted their filming days together, as well as other, more personal, tidbits of information that Viggo’s ‘extended family’ chose to reveal. Orlando learned a great deal about his lover through this avenue, and was now beginning to see ‘the actor’ part of Viggo’s persona.

Orlando laughed when Sean told him about the things that Viggo had done to ‘become’ Aragorn: the way he wore the costume as long as he could, repairing it himself, and even wandering off into the woods ‘to better understand the character’. He had almost fallen out of his chair when they told him about an incident with Viggo, his sword, and a policeman. Viggo just shrugged and upped the bet.

Sometime around midnight, everyone who was staying in town had bid their farewell and promised they would meet up around noon at Beach House Bar and Grill. That left the three Hobbits, as Sean Astin had opted for a hotel bed in lieu of the floor of Viggo’s cabin, Sean Bean, and the newly reunited couple.

While they were outside saying their goodbyes, Viggo spotted Orlando’s Jeep.

"You drove?" he asked with a smile on his face. "No wonder you said you were tired earlier. And here I thought it was from working."

"Actually, it is. The drive just added to it," he said before bounding down the steps to retrieve his bag from the backseat.

"Why didn’t you fly?" Viggo asked as he took the bag from Orlando and led them back to the porch.

"Thought I’d drive the first time and see the sights."

‘The first time’ his young lover had said. Viggo definitely liked the sound of that.

"So how did you find me? Besides in your Jeep," he said before the young man could form a flippant reply.

"Actually it was Tyler who helped me. He has a friend at the phone company who can find all sorts of personal information, for the right price," he said with a grin.

"So Tyler .." Viggo trailed off and Orlando picked up.

"Gave him head in exchange for your ‘personal and confidential’ information," he supplied. "Not that he minded, of course."

"Well, I guess in this case I won’t press charges against Ma Bell for the invasion of privacy," Viggo conceded. "It brought you to me," he said as he opened the door.

Orlando snorted. "Yeah, but only after I realized that I had passed your road twice. You were right when you said you lived in the middle of nowhere."

The Hobbits were sprawled out on the couches, arguing over what they were going to watch, and Sean was busy cleaning up. Viggo grabbed the remote away from Dom and turned the television off.

"No television until you help Sean clean," he said with an authoritative voice and Elijah flipped him off, albeit with a smile.

"Yes, master," the young one answered and kicked his two cohorts. "You heard what the man said."

Dom and Billy grumbled a bit, but did as Viggo asked.

"I’ll be back down in a bit," he said as he led Orlando to the stairs. "Gonna get Orlando settled in."

"Yeah, I’ll just bet you are," Billy said with a grin as he walked towards the kitchen.

Orlando flushed a bit and Viggo noticed. "Get used to it," he said as they started up the staircase. "They’ll make it ten times worse if they know it gets to you."

"I’ll keep that in mind," he replied as he followed his artist.

The young man was impressed with Viggo’s cabin. He had expected something small, quaint, but the reality of it was much different. The first floor was an open layout, the only breaks in the flow were Viggo’s studio, the guest bathroom, and the mudroom off the kitchen. The stairs led to the second floor, where a guest bedroom and bath were immediately to the left, while the master bedroom and bath was across the landing, on the opposite side of the house.

Viggo led him into the master bedroom and tossed Orlando’s bag onto the window seat. He watched as his lover walked around the room, looking at the different photographs on the dresser, chest of drawers, and nightstands. He saw the smile on Orlando’s face when he came across several of his own pictures in the mix.

"I take it this is your son," he guessed as he picked up a framed picture from the dresser and turned it towards Viggo, who nodded.

"Yeah, that’s Henry," Viggo said from his spot by the door. He had dreamed of this moment, of finally having Orlando here, in his home, in this very room, and wanted nothing more than to reacquaint himself with his lover’s body, but knew if things got started, he wouldn’t make it back downstairs to help with the clean-up.

"Must take after his mother because he looks nothing like you," Orlando offered before setting the picture back in its place.

"Listen, if you want to shower, or whatever, it’s through there," Viggo said as he pointed to the open doorway on the opposite side of the room. "And since you’re going to be here for awhile, you can unpack your things and store them in the chest, if you want. Better than living out of your bag all that time. Dirty clothes just toss in the corner of the bathroom. I do laundry when I can’t find something clean to wear," he said with a grin.

"I can identify with that," Orlando said as he walked over to where Viggo was. Long fingers fanned out over Viggo’s chest and slid upwards until they linked behind his neck. "So where’s everyone sleeping tonight?"

Viggo’s hands settled on Orlando’s hips. "Sean’s up here with us and the Hobbits crash where they land."

A smirk appeared at the corner of the brunette’s mouth. "So you and Sean already have it worked out, huh? Gonna share me on my first night here?" he teased.

"No, and not only no, but HELL no," the artist said with a grin as he pulled Orlando against him. "You’re mine, and regardless of what my mother taught me, I don’t share certain things."

"Good thing, that," Orlando said as he placed a gentle kiss to Viggo’s throat.

The older man took a deep breath and moved his hands to Orlando’s arms. "Baby, don’t. Not yet. Let me go help clean up and when I get back up here, you can do whatever you like," he said as he stepped way from the temptation that was Orlando Bloom.

A mischievous glint appeared in Orlando’s sienna orbs. "That’s giving me quite a bit of latitude, Viggo. You realize that, right?"

Viggo nodded and quickly kissed Orlando’s nose. "I wouldn’t have it any other way," he said before disappearing through the open doorway.

The wheels in Orlando’s sex-deprived brain started to churn.



Chapter 15

"Surprised to see you back down here," Sean said as he pulled a now-clean bowl from the sudsy water and gave it a quick rinse before adding it to the rest of the washed dishes.

Dom picked up a plate and rubbed it dry. "Yeah, mate. Didn’t think we’d see your ugly mug until sometime after noon," he said with a grin. "I know if I had something that hot in my bedroom, you wouldn’t see me for a good three or four days."

"Except if you ran out of condoms and lube and had to make a run to the chemist," Billy added.

"Fuck that, mate. They’d deliver," Dom said as he put the plate away.

Viggo rubbed the back of his neck. "Okay, I get your point. I’m an idiot. But we’ve got two weeks together, so why..." he said and was interrupted by Sean.

Sean dipped another plate into the water. "Vig, you haven’t seen the lad in almost two months. I know this because I was the one you called during that time, so I’d imagine you’d rather be up there with him than down here as part of the cleaning crew. I know I sure as hell wouldn’t be down here," he said with a grin. "Go. We’ll take care of everything."

The artist knew when to admit defeat and nodded. "Well, if you insist," he said with a smile that Sean hadn’t seen on his friend in quite awhile.

"We do," Elijah said as he swept under the table. "Sean’s given us the Cliff’s Notes version of what’s been going on, so I’d say that you’ve earned yourself a night off. Just do us a favor and keep it quiet. My poor, delicate ears do not need to be subjected to whatever you two get up to tonight."

Viggo cuffed the young man on the back of the head as he walked by. "Behave yourself or you’ll be sleeping in the barn."

"Probably be better off there if you two start making any racket," he mumbled.

"I heard that," Viggo said as he made his way up the stairs.

His bedroom door was closed and when he turned the knob, the sound of the shower met his ears. Desire coursed through his veins and he quickly undressed, not wanting to spend another moment away from his lover.

When Viggo stepped into the steam-filled room, Orlando’s form could barely be seen through the glass walls. It was only when the artist opened the shower door that he finally gazed on the lithe body he was eager to reacquaint himself with.

Orlando’s head was tilted back, his long fingers threading their way through the drenched locks, washing away traces of shampoo. He moaned when he felt Viggo’s hands slide around his waist, felt his artist’s lips at his throat, felt the hard column of flesh against his hip.

Viggo feasted on his lover’s freshly washed skin, reveled in the fact that they were together again. He bestowed loving nips and kisses everywhere he could reach. He smiled against the hollow of Orlando’s throat when the young man’s fingers slid into his own sandy locks, holding him in place or serving as an anchor for Orlando, he wasn’t sure. Either way worked for him. His hands slid down the silken skin of his lover’s back, stopping when they covered firm buttocks.

The brunette arched his back when Viggo squeezed, pressing his own hardness against Viggo’s abdomen.

"Thought you were going to help clean," Orlando said as he leaned back against the tiled wall, letting Viggo do as he pleased. He’d get his turn later.

"Was told I had a night off," Viggo murmured against Orlando’s shoulder.

Orlando tilted his face down and to the right, nudging Viggo’s a bit, and then their lips met. The water from the shower drenched both men, splashing between them, dripping into their mouths when they pulled apart slightly, their tongues playing in the open space between them.

Viggo gasped when Orlando’s fist closed around him, the young man’s thumb teasing the skin below the flared head. Ever the gentleman, Viggo reciprocated and then it was Orlando’s turn to be surprised.

"Fuck," Orlando mumbled as Viggo slid his body closer and wrapped his fingers around both of them. The young man followed suit and together they began to stroke. The slip-slide feel of their flesh pressed together was electric, and the sound of the shower drowned out the gasps and moans of pleasure that filled the room.

"Come for me, baby," Viggo said as he increased their pace. "I want to watch you."

Orlando flexed his hips, repeatedly thrusting his cock into their joined hands. When he felt Viggo’s tongue on his nipple, lips tugging on his silver hoop, he threw his head back and let himself go.

Azure, lust-filled orbs watched as Orlando gave in to his passion, watched the toned stomach contract as the cock in Viggo’s hand swelled and then his lover was coming, his essence covering their stomachs, their joined hands. The erotic display caused Viggo to fall into his own orgasm, his release mixing with Orlando’s on their bodies.

"Bloody hell, I needed that," Orlando said as his forehead rested on Viggo’s shoulder.

A chuckle rumbled from Viggo’s chest. "You’re not the only one. Now we can take our time," he said as he wrapped his arms around the sated body and held Orlando close. "You don’t know how happy you’ve made me."

"Give me a bit and I’m sure you’ll be even happier," the young man quipped as he held Viggo close.

"I’m not talking about that. I mean, having you here. I was getting worried you weren’t going to call," he admitted.

Orlando pressed a kiss to Viggo’s lips. "I know we need to talk about things, but right now, I just want to enjoy being back together. We’ve got quite a bit of time to make up for," he said with a smile.

And make up for lost time they did.

A few minutes after their shower, Viggo found himself pinned to the bedroom door by his very insistent lover. The sound of his head hitting the wooden surface was audible downstairs, causing four heads to turn towards the master bedroom door on the second floor landing.

"I’m afraid this does not bode well for the evening, gentlemen," Sean said with a grin. "Maybe we should have joined the others at the hotel."

"Not too late to make a trip into town, you know," Billy offered.

Elijah was rubbing the back of his head, as if he could feel the pain. "Poor Orlando. Hope Vig doesn’t damage him beyond repair."

Orlando laughed at the startled look on his artist’s face.

"Well, you said I could do anything I want," he said with an impish grin that, for some reason, made Viggo nervous. "And right now, that’s where I want you," he informed the older man before claiming his lips. Now it was Orlando’s turn to dominate the kiss as he pressed himself harder against the body pinned to the door. He tugged at Viggo’s bottom lip, and then he moved on, his lips trailing over the strong jaw to spend a few moments at the spot right beneath Viggo’s ear that caused the older man to dig his fingers into Orlando’s hips.

"Like that, do you?" he whispered before he captured the fleshy lobe between his teeth, and earned a small moan as his answer. "Thought so," he said before moving on. Orlando took his time rediscovering his lover’s body, reveling in the sounds that he pulled from the other man. Long fingers caressed the artist’s thighs, both inside and out, while his mouth paid homage to Viggo’s upper body. He earned a deep moan when his tongue teased the tight nubs and then moved lower to dip into the enticing navel.

Viggo’s hands moved to Orlando’s shoulders when the young man knelt in front of him.

"No. Palms against the door, and don’t you dare move them," Orlando ordered as relocated his lover’s hands. "No matter what I do, they better stay there."

Stormy eyes looked down at Orlando. "You are an evil little fucker, you know that?"

"You brought this on yourself, love," the young man reminded him.

There it was again.  'Love'.  That one word caused Viggo's stomach to flip in the most delightful way.  "Yeah, but when I said you could do anything you wanted, I was thinking more along the lines of making love in the bed, not being tortured against the bedroom door."

"We’ll use the bed a bit later," Orlando promised as he ran his fingers through the coarse hair on Viggo’s legs, slowly stroking the strong thighs, his thumbs gently brushing the pouch hanging beneath the semi-erect shaft with each pass. He saw Viggo’s fingers clench against the wooden door and wondered how long the man would obey his rule.

Leaning forward, Orlando inhaled his lover’s musky scent, burying his nose in the nest of curls at the base of his artist’s cock.

"Mmm, I’ve missed that smell," he admitted and took another deep breath. He felt Viggo’s cock twitch against his cheek and he laughed quietly. "That’s better. I was wondering if you were done for the night," he teased as he rubbed his nose back and forth against the coarse hair.

"Not by a long shot," Viggo said through clenched teeth.

"Good," Orlando said as he ran a finger down the vein of the shaft, from head to base, teasing the sac beneath. He took his lover in hand and slowly stroked a few times before releasing him.

Viggo’s eyes closed and his head hit the door again when he felt Orlando’s tongue on him, licking a path now from base to tip, where it swirled around the head and then disappeared for a second, before the motion was repeated time and time again.

This time it was a frustrated fist that hit the door. "Baby, please don’t tease me," Viggo begged.

Four sets of eyes flew to the master suite’s door again.

Orlando smiled and took pity on his lover. Relaxing his throat, he took Viggo as deep as he could.

The men downstairs heard a loud shout.

"Tell me that wasn’t Viggo’s voice I just heard," Billy said and earned nods all around.

"That it was," Sean admitted.

"Orlando just went up a notch in my book. Never knew anyone who could make our King beg," Dom said with a grin while Elijah teasingly plugged his ears with his fingers.

"That is just so not right!" he said with a smile. "Kings are not supposed to beg!"

"Obviously our King didn’t get that memo," Billy said as he increased the volume on the television, effectively drowning out any other sounds that might have been heard.

"Or maybe other Kings don’t have someone like Orlando teasing them," Dom offered as he glanced up at the closed door.

Orlando placed a kiss to the head of Viggo’s cock and then stood. Strong arms captured the young man and walked him a few steps backwards. When the backs of Orlando’s knees came into contact with the mattress, he fell back onto the bed with Viggo following.

"Now we can use the bed," the young man said with a grin as he reached up and threaded his fingers through Viggo’s towel-dried hair. "Make love to me," he said before he brushed a kiss against Viggo’s lips.

The artist smiled as he reached over to the nightstand and opened the drawer. "You know, I should pay you back for that little stunt, but I think I’ll save it for later," he said as he retrieved a condom and the lube, and placed them on the bed beside Orlando.

"Can I ask you a question?" Orlando asked as he picked up the condom.


Sienna eyes searched his lover’s face. "When was the last time you were tested?"

"August," Viggo answered as he brushed a few damp strands of hair behind Orlando’s ear. "Why?"

"I don’t want to use these," the young man said as he waved the foil packet around. "I’ve always been careful and never *not* used them, but now, with you, I don’t want to. I want to feel you, just you, and not you covered by a thin piece of latex," he admitted.

Viggo’s heart soared. Orlando was that serious about them.

"When was your last test?" the older man asked.

"After I finally ‘saw the light’, as Tyler called it, I went and had the tests run again, even though they were less than six months old. I just wanted to be sure," he said with a small smile.

"I know I have no right to ask, but did you …" he trailed off, not wanting to finish his question.

"You have every right to ask. But the answer is no, I didn’t sleep with anyone after you left. I went home with a guy, an older guy who resembled you in a way, and he went down on me, but I couldn’t go through with it. I knew then that nobody but you would ever touch me again," he informed his lover. "Nobody, Viggo. I only want you. I made him stop and then ran like hell."

Viggo captured Orlando’s lips in a loving kiss. When he pulled away, he took the condom from between Orlando’s fingers. "No more, baby," he said as he tossed it back towards the nightstand. "From now on, it’s just you and me."

"You and me," the instructor repeated with a relieved sigh. "Now, will you *please* make love to me?"

Viggo reached for the lube. "It will be my pleasure," he said before moving to his knees so he could prepare his lover.

Orlando pulled his legs up and braced his feet on the covers and then Viggo was there, his finger teasing and then pressing inwards. Orlando let out a soft moan. "No, I think it’ll be both our pleasure," he said as he closed his eyes and gave himself over to the sensations that were spiraling through his body. After a few minutes of exquisite torture, Orlando had had enough.

"You do that too much longer and I’ll be finished before you even begin," the young man said as he concentrated on not coming.

Viggo slowly slid his fingers from the tight passage, teasing the bundle of nerves one last time. "You’re young. It wouldn’t take long for you to be raring to go again." He quickly coated his shaft, and then nudged the slippery opening.

Orlando wrapped his long legs around Viggo’s waist. "Stop teasing me and get on with it."

"Damn, you are such a bossy bottom," Viggo said as he slowly breached the outer ring of muscle, causing his lover to gasp.

"Oh fuck," he moaned. "Go slow, Viggo. Wanna feel you."

The older man did as requested and slowly entered his lover. With no barrier between them, Viggo felt everything – the incredible heat, each minute tremor that wracked his lover’s passage, the soft walls that hugged his member lovingly.

Orlando felt the thick shaft stretching him, filling him. It was indescribable, and he rejoiced in the feeling of finally having this connection with Viggo. Once his artist was snugly ensconced within his body, he brushed the long reddish-blonde locks away from Viggo’s face.

"Hey," he said with a soft smile.

"Hey," Viggo parroted and kissed Orlando’s palm. "You ready for this?" he asked as he flexed his hips, pushing himself just a tad bit deeper into the man beneath him.

Orlando nodded. "Always."

"How you do you want it?"

"Long, deep and slow," he said. "There’s only one ‘first time’, and I want it to last."

Viggo brushed a kiss to Orlando’s lips. "Whatever you want, baby," he said and then began to move.

They took their time and constantly fought the urge to speed things along, knowing that the payoff would be better than anything they had ever shared before. Orlando’s shaft leaked steadily between them, coating their stomachs, but he never made a move to touch himself, nor did Viggo. Sweat dotted the older man’s brow, pooled between his shoulder blades, but he held himself in check.

The room was filled with soft sighs, gasps of pleasure, murmured words of encouragement. Orlando came close to losing it when Viggo spoke to him in Danish, but a hand over his artist’s mouth put a stop to it.

"You keep that up and that’ll be the end of it," he had informed his lover.

"For you maybe," the artist taunted.

"Viggo, please don’t," he said, his large sienna eyes pleading. "Not yet."

"Later then," he offered as he continued with the slow pace he had set for them.

Moments later, Orlando felt liquid heat spreading through his body, signaling his oncoming release.

"Close, love," he said quietly as he locked his legs tighter around Viggo’s waist.

"Just let go, baby. Let it wash over you," the artist said as he finally gave up the tentative hold he had on his own desire. "I’ll be right here."

The intensity of Orlando’s orgasm surprised him. It wasn’t like the others, the quick, erratic pulsing. This one was smooth as it rolled through his body, as if it were filling all of the empty places inside him, filling him with sunlight and clear blue skies, but most of all, filling him with hope for the future. It left him thoroughly exhausted, but yet, wanting more.

The clenching of Orlando’s passage pulled Viggo into his own orgasm, his seed spooling out into his lover, bathing the pulsing sheath with his essence.

Orlando gasped when he felt Viggo coming inside of him, felt the thick cock twitching with his release. He pulled Viggo’s lips to his, conveying everything he was feeling at that moment. "So much better," he whispered as he brushed the sweat-soaked hair away from Viggo’s face.

"You’ve got that right," Viggo agreed before he slowly pulled away from his lover. At Orlando’s whimper, he pressed a quick kiss to the plump lips. "I’ll be right back. Just gonna get a rag so we can clean up a bit," he said before disappearing into the bathroom.

Orlando closed his eyes for a few moments, and then his lover was back, tenderly wiping his stomach, and then moving between his legs to clean there as well. A quick intake of air had Viggo worried.

"What’s wrong?" he asked as he stilled his movements.

"Just a bit tender," Orlando admitted.

Viggo lightened his touch and continued to clean his lover. "Why didn’t you tell me?"

Sienna eyes met blue. "What, and have you stop? Not a chance in hell of that happening, love. I’ll be okay."

Viggo tossed the washcloth back into the bathroom and they crawled beneath the covers, Viggo gathering Orlando in his arms. "I never want to hurt you, so if it’s uncomfortable, please tell me. We’ll figure something out."

Orlando nodded as he settled himself against Viggo’s body, his hand resting above Viggo’s heart. "What was it you said earlier, when I made you stop talking?"

"Du er min verden Orlando, mit et og alt," Viggo repeated.

"What does that mean?"

Viggo smiled. "You are my world, Orlando, my everything."

If it were possible, Orlando fell a little bit more in love with his crazy artist. He rose up and left a lingering kiss on Viggo’s lips. "And you are mine," he said with a smile.  

Long fingers brushed the sweat-soaked hair away from Orlando's face.  "Can I ask you something?"

"Sure," Orlando said with a nod.

"What took you so long to call?"

The young man linked their fingers together and let them rest on Viggo's chest.  "It was a combination of things, I suppose.  First off, it was several weeks before I could even entertain the idea of being with someone else. You would not believe the arguments Tyler and I had over that. He told me to just call you and be done with it, but there was always this little voice in the back of my mind telling me not to call you, not yet, that I had to find out for myself. The night I finally did it, or at least tried to, I wanted to call and tell you, but I needed to take care of a few things before I did."

"Like your tests?" Viggo pondered and earned a nod from the other man.

"Yeah. And then I had to practically beg my boss to let me take time off, but I had it coming. I knew there was a reason I was saving my vacation days," he said with a grin. "In order to appease him, I ended up working on most of my days off."

"What about the club? Did they give you shit for taking off during the holidays?" the artist asked.

"Nah. Plenty of people wanting the extra hours, so that wasn’t a problem. The holidays are quite busy for the bar industry," he quipped.

"You don’t say?" Viggo teased.

"Wanker. So yeah, I finally got my schedules coordinated and made the drive. And here I am.  Think you can handle me for two weeks?"

Viggo leaned up and captured Orlando's plump lips.  "Probably not, but I'm always up for a challenge."

"Need to make a run to the druggist and get your Viagra filled?" the brunette teased.

"Brat," Viggo said as he pushed his lover back onto the bed once more and proceeded to show him that he didn't need any help in that department.  The temptation that was Orlando Bloom was more potent than any pill.

Much later, as Orlando's sated body relaxed into his lover's embrace, there was no doubt in his mind that he had made the right choice.



Chapter 16

Orlando woke to the feel of cool air against his back, but it was quickly replaced with the warmth of the comforter. Thinking that his lover was making a quick trip to the loo, he burrowed deeper into the covers and started to drift back to sleep. The sound of the closet door opening had him peering through one sleepy eye a moment later. Viggo was pulling on a blue and white checkered flannel shirt.

"Where are you going?" Orlando whispered into the quiet room, causing his lover to turn back towards the bed as he slid one arm into the shirt.

"Sorry, did I wake you?" he asked the man who was peeking over the edge of the blanket, his sable curls wild on his head.

"Cold air woke me when you disappeared," he said with a grin. "Why are you getting dressed?"

"Have to go feed the horses and turn them out," the artist answered as he leaned down and grabbed his boots, closed the closet, and then moved to sit on the edge of the bed.

"Oh," Orlando said as he sat up, bracing himself on his elbows. "Want some help?"

"Nah. I can get it," he said as he pulled the brown Ropers onto his sock-clad feet. "You stay here and keep the bed warm," the artist instructed as he leaned over and quickly kissed the young man. "I’ll be back."

Orlando nodded and lay back down. He turned to his side and wrapped an arm around Viggo’s pillow, pulled it against his chest and inhaled his lover’s scent before he drifted off once more.

Viggo closed the door behind him and quietly made his way down the stairs. The Hobbits had pulled out the sleeper-sofa and were now a pile of lumps under the blankets. There were times he wished his cabin was larger, that he had a few extra rooms so his friends weren’t reduced to these particular sleeping conditions, but then he remembered that they were the Hobbits, and as such, slept wherever they landed. It had been that way since filming the trilogy, and it looked like things weren’t going to change. 

On a normal morning, Viggo would start a pot of coffee before he went out to feed, so it would be ready when he came back in. Today, however, he decided to forego that indulgence in favor of getting his chores done as quickly as possible and getting back upstairs to his lover.

As he opened the back door, he heard footsteps on the stairs and was surprised to see Sean coming down, fully dressed. His friend motioned to the door and Viggo nodded before he stepped through and waited for Sean to join him.

"Didn’t expect to see you up this early," Viggo said as he looked out towards the barn. "No new snow. Good, won’t have to shovel our way out there this morning. Maybe the water trough isn’t frozen."

Sean buttoned his coat and pulled on his gloves. "Actually, it was I who didn’t expect to see you up, so I thought I’d take care of things," he offered.

Viggo pat Sean on the back. "You’re a good friend, Sean," he said with a smile before they stepped off of the porch and made their way to the barn. They worked in companionable silence, adding feed to the bins in each stall and topping off the hay in the racks above the feed. With that done, they settled on a bench, waiting for their charges to eat so they could turn them out into the paddock.

"Your Orlando seems a nice fellow," Sean said as he leaned back against Uraeus’s stall. "A bit young, but other than that, he seems to genuinely care about you."

The artist smiled and turned towards his friend. "I still can’t believe he came all the way out here."

Sean jammed his hands into his pockets. "Well, he did. So I’m guessing you guys are going to try to make a go of it?"

Viggo nodded. "Seems that way."

"It’s going to be a hard road, Vig, but if anyone deserves to be happy, mate, it’s definitely you. After the Greg fiasco, I wasn’t sure you’d ever settle down again," he admitted.

"I didn’t want to, until Orlando. And yeah, it’s gonna be hard, with him in Salt Lake City and me here and just about everywhere else, but we’ll find a way to make it work," Viggo declared.

"I don’t doubt that for a minute. And for what it’s worth, the Hobbits seem to like him, even more so since they heard a few interesting things coming from your bedroom last night," the Brit said with a grin.

A slow flush warmed Viggo’s cold cheeks when he thought of what they might have heard. "Guess I’d better resign myself to some major ribbing later then, huh?"

Sean nodded. "I’d say that’s a very definite possibility. They’re ready to swear fealty to Orlando. Said they didn’t realize anyone could make our King beg."

Viggo pulled the brim of his hat down so that it covered his face. "I’ll never live this down, will I?"

"Probably not," Sean admitted.

T.J. whickered in his stall and then poked his head over the gate.

"Guess they’re ready to start the day," Viggo said as he rose from the bench and unlocked his stall. The quarter horse nudged his owner’s chest in greeting. Viggo scratched behind T.J.’s ears and with a few soft words and a pat on his hindquarters, sent him down the center of the barn where Sean had opened the gate into paddock. Kenny and Uraeus followed shortly after. When all three were outside, Viggo checked the water trough and after chipping a few pieces of ice from the sides, grabbed the water hose and filled it. Sean closed the gate and they made their way back to the house.

"You up for the day?" Viggo asked.

"Nah. I’m going to try to get a few more hours in," he offered and then smiled. "I’d be willing to bet this is the first time you’re going back to bed, isn’t it?"

Viggo chuckled. "Do you blame me?"

Sean threw an arm around Viggo’s shoulder. "Just do me a favor and try to keep it down this time."

The artist nodded. "We’ll try," he offered with a grin.

It wasn’t Viggo’s fault that Orlando squealed like a girl when he pressed his cold skin against his lover’s warm body. Nor was it his fault the young man decided to thoroughly berate him for said infraction. After a quick wrestling match, Viggo managed to wrap his arms around his struggling lover and suggest that if he didn’t like him cold, he needed to find a way to warm him up.

Sean pulled the spare pillow over his head to block out the racket that was coming from the master bedroom and prayed for another visit from the sandman.

~ * ~

As expected, when Viggo and Orlando emerged from the bedroom later that morning, the Hobbits teased their King mercilessly, while his lover was treated with reverence. Orlando nearly fell over with laughter when he walked into the kitchen and all three immediately bowed.

Viggo wrapped his arms around Orlando and leaned in to whisper, "welcome to the family, baby."

~ END ~