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‘Next time, maybe we should.’

Emil stared at the text, date and time-stamped three weeks earlier.  Sure, he and Michele had sent each other plenty of messages since then, but this one…this was the one he continually went back to.  Just to make sure he hadn’t dreamt the whole thing, made it up during a fantasy that involved nothing except for texting back and forth with his boyfriend.

‘Next time…’

It was nearly ‘next time’ now.  He hadn’t seen Michele in about a month or so – thirty-three days, not that he was counting – and he was currently sitting in the Riga International Airport, reading through his messages and bouncing his knee as he waited out his layover.

That’s how he’d come to be staring at the text once again.

‘…maybe we should.’

Out of context, it just seemed like a noncommittal response.  A suggestion giving off an ‘I’m up for it, if you are’ sort of vibe, which both excited and terrified Emil.

Why?  Well, because the previous messages were all about a movie Michele had seen, where two lovers finally found each other and had mind-blowing cinematic sex on top of a skyscraper or something equally ridiculous and, even though the two had laughed and poked fun, it was Emil who’d accidentally turned the conversation in a more serious direction.

‘Wouldn’t you like me to make love to you under the stars?’ he’d typed, hoping it came across flowery and poetic and annoyingly romantic – typically Michele’s words – but then Michele replied.

‘Don’t people usually try it on a bed first?’

‘Well, yeah,’ Emil responded with a smiley face. ‘I mean, I’d like to.’

He hadn’t meant for it to be an invitation.  He wasn’t trying to ask for it or to pressure Michele in any way.  But then he’d gotten that reply.  The message whose text was burned into his retinas.  Dark blue on seafoam green, Roboto font, size 16 pixels.

‘Next time, maybe we should.’

Emil thought about it, letting his eyes slip closed, the text fading away and being replaced by images of his boyfriend.  He could picture Michele perfectly, his olive skin starkly contrasting with the white sheets of the hotel’s bed.  His violet eyes dark, yet vulnerable, his lips curved up in a smile.  His hand, always so warm, cupping Emil’s cheek as their faces drew closer.

He could see it because they’d done it so many times.  Kissing, whispering sweet nothings in each other’s ears, moving together, hands and lips roaming over each other’s skin.  Yet they’d never gone all the way.  Emil had never.  Michele had never.  And he certainly didn’t want to force anything.

‘Emil,’ the dream Michele breathed, warm fingers trailing over his jaw and sending delicious shivers up his spine. ‘You promised, so…’ He bit his lower lip, his violet gaze dropping as his cheeks tinted. ‘Final boarding call for flight 479 to Moscow.’

Emil blinked.  That wasn’t the most romantic thing to say.  Then he realized, it wasn’t the Michele in his daydream speaking, it was the flight attendant standing behind the podium.

“Final boarding call for flight 479,” he said. “Riga to Moscow.”

Sakra!” Emil cursed and stood up, shoving his phone into his back pocket and gathering up his carry-ons.  “Coming!” he called and ran over to the podium just as the man was about to close the door to the gate.

The flight was only a couple of hours, but Emil managed to doze off, his dreams filled with visions of Michele smiling at him, kissing him, and a few things he’d rather not share in polite company.  Thankfully, the flight attendant’s drink cart ran into the arm of his chair, waking him up before it got too heated.

He accepted a can of ginger ale and rubbed the sleep from his eyes, reaching into his bag for the magazine he’d brought with him.  It had an entire article on the original reason he was traveling to Moscow: The Extreme Challenge.  Hang-gliding, mountain biking, and a slew of other activities specially designed for ‘Those who thirst for the extreme!’

Emil had been so excited when Michele said he’d meet him there for the challenge.  Although, he had a feeling his boyfriend would probably avoid the more dangerous parts of the program – skating season was just around the corner, after all.  But Emil couldn’t resist.

When they landed, he turned his phone off of airplane mode and winced at the number of missed calls and text messages from his coach.  Evidently, he’d learned about the real reason behind his trip.  Oh well, he’d deal with that later.

He scrolled down and spotted an unread message from Michele.  His heart skipped a beat.

‘Just landed. Heading to the hotel. Made reservations for dinner.’

Now his heart was hammering, just like it always did when he was about to meet up with his boyfriend.  But it was slightly different this time, since he knew what they were planning to do.  A line they’d never crossed.  A big step for both of them.  A-

“Sir, do you have anything in the overhead?” the flight attendant asked him and Emil blinked, broken from his thoughts.

“Excuse me?”

“The overhead compartment,” she clarified with a professional smile.  It was then that it registered that he was the last person on the plane.

 

Emil managed to make it to the hotel without any further distractions.  That statement was completely false, but at least he didn’t miss the shuttle.

When he arrived, he skipped the check-in counter, as he and Michele were sharing a room.  Then it hit him.  They were sharing a room.  A room for just the two of them.  Not Michele coming up to his room or the other way around.  They had a room just for the two of them.  A room they were sharing, if he hadn't made that clear.

He took out his phone and sent his boyfriend a text.  He was ready to drop off his bags and head to dinner.  He was starving.  But, instead of getting the go ahead to come up, he received a different response.

‘Room 407. Get your key from the front desk. I’m on my way to the restaurant in the lobby.’

That was strange.  Emil figured that Michele would have gotten his key when he checked in.  But, either way, he was ready to set his luggage down.  Besides, if he and Michele were alone in the room before dinner, they might do something.

Not that he didn’t want to.  But knowing that that certain something was going to end very differently for them tonight, well, that made his pulse quicken and his knees weak.  He was nervous.  He wasn’t going to try and hide it.  It was a big step, after all.  And he wanted it to be perfect.  Michele deserved nothing less than perfection and Emil was going to strive for it.

The person at the front desk gave him his keycard and he made his way up to their room.  After setting his bags next to the bed – The single, king-size bed meant for sharing.  Their bed. – Emil changed out of his travel clothes and washed his face before heading down to dinner.

Michele was easy to spot as he was the only jetlagged guest who’d made dinner reservations for four in the afternoon.  And, even though the time difference was only a couple of hours, Emil knew his boyfriend had woken up early that morning and Michele was a mess if he didn’t get at least nine solid hours of beauty sleep.

Despite the fact that he and Michele had been dating for over eight months, Emil always felt a little tingle of nervous excitement in his belly whenever he caught sight of him after some time apart.  Michele took his breath away.  Of course, that could have had something to do with how unbelievably gorgeous his boyfriend was.  What with his olive skin, violet eyes, and warm smile – although, the other man was frowning at his menu at the moment.

“Mickey!” he called out to him, waving when the other man’s head snapped up.  Ah, there was the smile Emil loved.  “I hope I didn’t keep you waiting,” he added as he made his way over to the table.

“No, I just sat down.” Michele stood up and gave him an awkward, one-armed hug from across the table.  It was always a little difficult to get into their groove after spending time apart.  But Emil knew that soon they’d be in each other’s arms again, nuzzling necks and breathing in each other’s scents, kissing, hands roaming and – oh, he’d almost forgotten – going further than they ever had before.

Michele cleared his throat after they pulled apart and took his seat.  Emil couldn’t be sure, but he looked a little out of sorts.  Probably from all the traveling.

“How was your flight?” he asked.

“Long,” Michele replied, reaching for his water glass a taking a sip. “How was yours? You had a layover, didn’t you?”

“Yeah, I couldn’t find a direct flight for less than five thousand Koruna,” he explained with a chuckle, scratching the back of his head.  “And since I didn’t want my coach to find out…” he trailed off, knowing his coach had indeed found out and, once he was back home, he was going to get an earful.

“Mine had no trouble with me coming here,” Michele replied.

“Well, yeah.” Emil smiled. “He knows you won’t try anything stupid and get yourself hurt.”

“And...you plan on trying something stupid?” Michele snickered and Emil’s face grew hot.  He hadn’t meant to put it that way.

“I’m just taking advantage of all of the options during the event,” he said coolly. “It’s not often you get to hang-glide over the scenic lakes and forests of Moscow. And,” he added with a wink, “I heard there’s a cool Go Kart place we can check out after you’re done watching me.”

“Who says I’m going to watch you?” The other man raised an eyebrow.

“Well, I didn’t think you’d want to do it.” He blinked in surprise.  Did he?

“I’m up for trying new things,” Michele said with a blush.  He reached a hand out and placed it over Emil’s, rubbing a thumb over his knuckles. “I want to get to know more about you. The things you like.”

Emil’s brain short-circuited.  Michele honestly had no idea the power he had over him and he hoped he would only ever use it for good.  Thankfully, the server came over to take their orders, giving Emil a chance to recover.

Having been to Russia a handful of times in his skating career, Emil knew exactly what he wanted to order.  Michele, who had certainly visited more often than he had, pulled a face as he perused the menu.  Maybe they didn’t have what he wanted.

In the end, Michele just ordered the same thing Emil did and, while they waited for their food, they caught up on each other’s recent goings on.

“Sara and I still video chat three times a week,” Michele said, though he was pouting. “But it’s only for a few minutes, since she and Mila seem to be on some sort of endless honeymoon.”

“Well, that gives you more time to call me,” Emil suggested and then laughed when his boyfriend rolled his eyes.  “Besides, I bet it’s nice.” He smiled to himself. “To be able to spend every day with the person you love.”  He’d give anything for that.  To wake up next to Michele, tuck him in at night, and everything in between.

“Yeah.” Michele opened his mouth and then closed it.  Emil knew better than to interrupt if he truly wanted to hear what his boyfriend was going to say.  He watched as Michele took a deep breath and then looked him in the eye, gaze unwavering.  “Emil.”

“Yes?” he squeaked and then cleared his throat. “Yes, Mickey?”

“About tonight-” but he was interrupted when the server arrived with their orders, placing their plates in front of them and politely asking if they needed anything else.  After the server left, Michele poked at his food with his fork, obviously wanting to talk again, but having lost the nerve.

Emil wondered if it was about their ‘big plan’ for the evening.  Was Michele having second thoughts?  Did he not want to take that step with Emil?  Had it been a misunderstanding?  Was Michele’s text message not meant to be taken seriously?  He wasn’t sure, but he needed to calm down.  He tried to focus on his food instead.

They were a few bites into their meals before Michele spoke up again. “I’m glad you’re here,” he said softly, gaze still on his plate. “I missed you.”

Emil felt a smile tugging on the corners of his lips. “Me, too.”

“And, about tonight.” He swallowed and Emil found himself echoing the gesture. But, instead of continuing, Michele just moved his leg under the table, brushing it against Emil’s. The movement was subtle and could have easily been mistaken for an accident if not for the look in his boyfriend’s eyes. “I’m really looking forward to-”

“Už si to někdy jedl?" Emil blurted out, pointing at his food.

“Emil.” Michele frowned slightly. “You know I’m still trying to learn Czech.”

“Co tím myslíš? Mluvím anglicky!” He laughed.  He was speaking English, wasn’t he?  Wait.  No, he wasn’t.  Perhaps he was a bit more nervous than he’d originally thought.  He shook his head, trying to pull himself together.

“Emil, are you feeling alright?” Michele’s voice was full of concern.

“Yes, sorry.” He lowered his head in shame. “I’m just…tired.”

“Then,” his boyfriend began, placing his hand over Emil’s again. “Maybe we should go up to the room?” The heat from Michele’s hand seeped into Emil’s skin and he gulped.  Still, he nodded, taking the other’s hand in his.

“Yeah.”

 

Even though Emil thought his legs might give out on the walk down the hallway, he managed to keep himself upright.  They were only a few steps away from their room.  A few steps away from the king-size bed, with its pristine white sheets.  He jumped when Michele reached out and took his hand, lacing their fingers.

“What is it?” he asked, looking concerned again.

“Nothing.” Emil’s cheeks burned as he looked away.  He was acting like an idiot.  He didn’t need to be afraid of his boyfriend. “Let’s go inside.” He forced a smile and knew it wasn’t fooling the other man, but, despite his furrowed brow, Michele didn’t say anything about it.

After he opened the door, Michele set his key on the dresser and kicked off his shoes.  Emil followed after him, his heart hammering in his chest again.  This was it.  This was it.

“Mickey-”

“I’m, uh…going to get changed,” Michele said stiffly before crossing over to the bathroom and shutting the door.

Oh.

Emil walked to the bed and plopped down onto the mattress, his fingers plucking at the comforter.  So, maybe they weren’t going to do it first thing.  That was good.  The event was several days long and they had plenty of time.  It wasn’t like they needed to jump each other’s bones the moment they arrived.  It was better to take things slow.  To put it off just a little bit longer.  To—but Emil’s train of thought derailed when Michele walked out of the bathroom clad in one of the hotel’s fluffy white robes.  And only the robe.

“What?” Michele’s face was pink and his eyes were focused on the plush carpet.

“So…we’re doing it?” Emil asked, immediately regretting his poor choice of words as soon as they’d left his mouth.

“Did,” the other man began, tugging at the tie of his robe. “Did you not want to?”

“No, no, I do!” Emil stood up and walked over to him, placing his hands on Michele’s shoulders and causing the other to look up at him. “I thought you didn’t want to.”

“What?” Michele frowned. “Why would you think that?”

“Well.” He rubbed the back of his neck. “I don’t know…” he trailed off, feeling like a moron.

“We agreed, didn’t we?” Michele asked, reaching up and cupping his cheek. “Unless you’ve changed your mind?”

“No, I…I’m ready, I just,” Emil paused, chewing on his lower lip. “I have no idea what I’m doing, but there’s no one I’d rather do it with than you.”

Michele regarded him, his expression serious before an amused smile broke out on his face. “Was that supposed to be romantic?” He chuckled.

“Did it not come across?” Emil asked, laughing along with him.

They stood there for a moment.  Michele’s violet eyes were alight with mirth, his cheeks pink, and his smile wide.  Emil thought at that moment that he was the most beautiful person he’d ever laid eyes on.  And he said as much.

“Jsi krásný, víš to?" He brought a hand up and caressed Michele’s cheek before closing the distance between them.

“Hey,” Michele breathed, bumping their foreheads lightly. “I told you I’m still learning.”

“Then,” Emil began, the pad of his thumb brushing against his boyfriend’s soft skin, “I’ll show you what I mean.”

After that, the nervous air around them seemed to dissipate.  This, they were used to.  This, they enjoyed.  Somehow or another, Michele had removed most of Emil’s clothing, leaving him in only his boxer briefs.

“Brrr,” he jokingly complained. “It’s cold in here.”

“Allora lasciati scaldare, Michele whispered, his voice low and sensuous.  It sent a delicious shiver up Emil’s spine.  How did he do that?  But his mind went blank when he felt his boyfriend’s hands, always warm, exploring his exposed flesh, his fingertips brushing against tingling skin and heating him up.  “Better?” Michele asked.

“Krásně hřeješ,” Emil replied.  He loved how warm Michele was.  How hot his skin felt against his own.  In fact, Michele was probably burning up in that thick robe he was wearing.  Emil reached down and took the tie in his hand, fingering the knot. “May I?” he asked, swallowing as he waited for Michele’s response.

His boyfriend just nodded, his flush deepening and beginning to spread down his neck to his chest.  Emil smiled and leaned down to kiss him as he untied the robe, his hand reaching under the thick terrycloth to push it to the side, revealing more of Michele’s delicious olive skin.

Emil.” Michele sucked in a breath when he touched his chest, accidentally grazing a nipple.

“Sorry.” Emil removed his hand as if he’d been burned, but Michele grabbed him by the wrist, stopping his escape.

“No, I…I liked it.” He brought Emil’s hand back to his chest and closed his eyes, shuddering when his fingers brushed against the sensitive skin again.  It wasn’t like they’d never touched each other before.  In fact, they tended to get quite handsy during make out sessions.  But everything meant more now.  Every touch, every breath, every kiss seemed to echo in the room, soundless, but deafening.

“Mickey,” Emil whispered and pressed their lips together, his hand still exploring the other’s chest.  Soon, he’d removed the robe completely, the fluffy white fabric blending in with the sheets as it lay under Michele’s naked form.

Emil had seen him before, glimpses here and there as clothing shifted or was partially removed.  But he’d never seen Michele so completely bare.  He was so beautiful.

“Jsi krásný, he repeated his earlier praise.

“You’re embarrassing.” Michele reached up and put a hand over Emil’s face, pushing him back. “Stop saying embarrassing things.”

“But you can’t understand them,” Emil argued, his voice muffled by the other’s hand.

“That makes it worse!” Michele narrowed his eyes and sat up, forcing Emil onto his bottom. “And, you get naked, too.”

“Wha-” but Emil found himself flat on his back, feeling the breeze of a sudden draft.  Michele had yanked off his underwear and threw them to the side, leaving them both completely naked.

“There,” he said and then he looked down, his violet eyes going wide.

“What?” Emil sat back up, unconsciously closing his legs.  But Michele didn’t answer, instead, he put his hands on Emil’s knees, pushing them apart. “Mickey-”

“Is this okay?” Michele asked, looking him in the eye.

“Uh…yeah.” And when his boyfriend tried to spread them again, he let his legs fall open.  He felt self-conscious, especially with how intently the other man was staring at him.  But, once again, Michele provided a wonderful distraction from his pesky reservations, this time by pressing his lips to the inside of one of his knees.  Then he moved, kissing a hot trail up his thigh.

Mickey…” Emil closed his eyes.  Michele’s lips were warm, just like the rest of him, almost scorching hot.  And when they ventured further, he thought he might burn up completely. “Mickey!” His eyes snapped open when he realized what was about to happen. “You don’t have to-”

“I want to.” Michele looked up at him from his place between his legs, his mouth hovering just above him. “Please let me?”

Like Emil could resist that.  He was only human, after all.  But he couldn’t say it, so he just covered his face with a hand and nodded, his other hand gripping the sheets in anticipation.

And…did it ever feel good.  If Michele’s lips were hot, his mouth was infinitely hotter, soft and wet and absolutely perfect.  He’d never felt anything so wonderful in his entire life.  But, all too soon, he felt it might end and, as much as his body was screaming at him not to, he cupped Michele’s cheek and eased him off.

“Emil?” he asked, voice rough and breathy, the mere sound of it sending a jolt of pleasure through Emil’s body. “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing,” he answered, bringing their lips together for another kiss. “That was perfect. You were perfect.” At that, Michele turned bright red and he mumbled something unintelligible as he looked away.  “Do you still want to do this?” Emil asked.

“I do,” Michele replied, glancing back up at him.

“Okay.” He beamed and then faltered, realizing that they hadn’t yet discussed specifics. “Oh, but, um, how did you want to…?” he trailed off, hoping the other man would fill in the blank.

“Right.” Michele licked his lips and Emil found his eyes drawn to the pink appendage, his body going hot as he remembered where it had just been only moments earlier.  “Is that okay?” Michele asked and Emil snapped out of it.  Embarrassed that he’d zoned out and completely missed what he’d said.

“What?” He blinked, feeling like an idiot.

Michele rolled his eyes and shook his head before taking a deep breath and repeating himself. “I’d like for you to do it,” he said. “To me,” he clarified and then added, “If you want to.”

If he wanted to?  He wanted nothing more than have Michele any way he'd let him.  It didn’t matter to Emil who gave or received, but the mere thought of Michele offering himself to him in such a way made his heart swell.

He had it bad.

“Of course I want to,” Emil answered quickly when he noticed Michele starting to fidget. “Would you like me to…” He made a crude gesture with his hands and Michele clicked his tongue in annoyance before reaching over for a small bag that was sitting on the nightstand.

“I took care of it in the bathroom when I changed,” he said and continued before Emil had a chance to picture any of that deliciously sinful material. “But I think we should be thorough, so…” He handed Emil a bottle. “And I bought some protection, too, so…” Again he trailed off.

“You really came prepared,” Emil mused as he opened the bottle.

“Of course I did,” Michele growled, drawing his brows down. “Do you know how long I’ve been planning this?”

“Oh?” he asked, unable to hide his grin.

“Don’t give me that look.” Michele put his hand over Emil’s face and shoved him again. “Just…hurry up before I change my mind.”

Emil had never witnessed anything so unbelievably gorgeous as the way Michele writhed against the sheets, his dark olive skin starkly contrasting with pure white, just like he’d imagined.  But the real thing was so much better.  Every shudder and gasp of his name sent a spike of pleasure through him.  He could watch Michele all day, feel him around his fingers, taste the sweat on his skin.

But he could tell that the other was growing impatient and, when Michele finally told him as much – well, he was pretty sure that’s what he’d said in Italian, he’d recognized the curse word, at least – he knew he was ready.

It took him four tries to open the condom wrapper – something he didn’t think he needed to practice, but found himself suddenly wishing he had – but, once he managed, he settled himself between Michele’s legs, leaning over him and resting his weight on one hand while gripping his boyfriend’s chin with the other.

“I want you,” he whispered, his hand shaking as he slid it down the other’s body before lining himself up. “Chci jen tebe,” he continued, pressing forward. “Jenom tebe.” Only you.

Nothing could compare to the feeling of becoming one.  The tight heat and blinding pleasure that was, embarrassingly, over too soon.  But, even so, when Michele called out his name in a choked sob, his body pressing against him as he arched his back and his fingers, laced with Emil’s, tightening their hold as he found his own completion, Emil swore he could have died of happiness right then and there.

And, a short while later, when they’d caught their breaths and managed to clean up a bit, Emil took Michele into his arms and kissed his temple.

“Jsem tak šťastný,” he breathed against his skin. “Děkuji.”

“Are you going to do that every time we have sex?” Michele asked with a short exhale through his nose.

“Do what?” Emil blinked and looked down at him.

“Speak Czech,” he replied, but continued before Emil had a chance to respond. “It’s cute, but I can’t understand a word.”

“Well,” Emil scrambled for a comeback. “Now you know how I feel.”

“Hey, I’ve gotten better about it.”

“Yeah, and it’s a real shame,” he sighed. “Cuz you sound so sexy when you speak Italian.”

“Ugh, make up your mind!” Michele growled, but didn’t move from his place in Emil’s arms. “Anyway, what time are we going hang-gliding tomorrow?”

“Wait.” Emil pulled back, eyes wide. “You were serious about going with me?”

“Of course I was.” He frowned. “I did say I wanted to get to know more about you.”

Páni.”

“What?” Michele’s frown deepened.

“Nothing, I just,” Emil shook his head slowly. “I think I’ve fallen in love with you all over again.”

His boyfriend snorted and punched him lightly in the chest. “I love you, too,” he grumbled and then squawked when Emil pulled him into a bone-crushing hug.

“I’m so happy, I think I might die.” Emil squeezed him tighter.

“Fine, fine, just stop trying to take me with you,” Michele wheezed as he broke free from his choke-hold. “But,” he said after a moment, his features softening. “I’d rather you not die.” Emil cocked his head to the side in confusion and Michele continued. “Because then we wouldn’t get to do what we just did again.”

At that, Emil pounced on him. “Let’s do it again right now. Just in case!” he suggested and Michele laughed.

Yeah, Emil could get used to this.  And someday, hopefully soon, they could be enjoying their own endless honeymoon.