That One Conference
David took the hotel two room keys the woman slid over the counter to him. She smiled a courtesy smile she had probably given to guests all day long and recited her standard introduction. “Complimentary WiFi instructions are on the envelope. Elevators are to your left. Bellhop is around the corner if you need assistance with your luggage. Breakfast is served in our signature restaurant from seven to ten every morning. The convenience store and the business center are on the opposite side of the lobby with a dedicated station for printing boarding passes. Both are open twenty-four hours a day. And—”
“The fitness center?” Lucas asked, anxiously leaning forward on the counter as if he could intercept the information from her sooner by getting just a few inches closer.
Her formal, plastered-on smile melted for a moment into something more genuine. “You must be with the conference.”
Lucas nodded fervently, trying to hurry her up.
“You want the second floor. Follow the posted signs—”
“Thank you!” Lucas called back, managing to grab one gym bag, two suitcases, and David’s arm all at the same time and move them all toward the elevator already.
David sighed once they were inside the gold and mirror-covered elevator and he had pushed the button to floor twenty-three. Lucas went for the second floor button, but David batted his hand away. “Hshh!” He gave Lucas a little shove. “Let’s at least drop our suitcases off first. You are not abandoning me to get all our luggage into our room alone.” Between them, there were six bags. And though only two were large suitcases, it was still too much for David to manage on his own.
Lucas sighed and started absentmindedly pacing in a circle around the elevator. He looked like a caged animal, trying to find his way out. He’d been exactly this jittery while they’d waited for their hotel room, when they’d taken the Lyft from the airport, and when they’d flown halfway across the country. Today, Lucas’ excitement was off the scale.
With a laugh, David waited for Lucas to circle back to him, and then he grabbed the man’s arm and pulled him into a fierce kiss. He could still feel Lucas’ excited energy, but a little of the tension melted away. Still caught up in the kiss, David opened his eyes, glancing up at the elevator’s floor indicator. They still had five floors to go. Slowly, he pulled out of the kiss, ending with a nuzzle. When he spoke, he did so with half his face pressed against half of Lucas’. “Hey now, don’t go and use up all your energy on the first day. Don’t get sloppy or pull a muscle or aggravate your asthma or do something you might regret. You’ve got four days here. That’s plenty of time to do everything you want. Okay?”
Lucas took a deep breath in through the nose and out through the mouth. David felt it on his chin and neck. “Okay.” But then the elevator dinged and the doors wooshed open and Lucas literally grabbed their things and pushed them out. He was back to his full levels of giddiness, just like that. “C’mon!” he called as they made their way down the hall. David was right behind him, but evidently they could be moving faster. And when he got to the door, he bounced on the balls of his feet, waiting for David to let him into the room. “C’mon, c’mon, c’mon!”
He was like a little kid. Or maybe a puppy. David felt drained after spending most of the day traveling, especially the long, dry flight. But Lucas seemed to have endless amounts of energy, more than enough for them both. As soon as the card reader glowed green, Lucas was shoving everything inside. Then he grabbed his duffle bag. “M’going to go change into my workout gear.”
“No kidding,” David laughed, flopping face-first onto the closest queen-sized bed. In the back of his mind, he thought he should have checked for bed bugs, but he was too exhausted to move. His eyes felt too heavy to open. “Luc, could you check under the mat—”
He felt his feet at the end of the bed rise up. He felt the duvet and sheets being tugged at. And he felt his head and shoulders at the top of the bed rise up on one side then the other. “All clear. And I’m popping your water bottle into the minifridge so it’s cold. Drink it when you wake up.”
“Thanks, baby.” David swept his arm out then pulled it back in, bringing with it a pillow he hugged to his chest. “Have a good time. Take it easy.”
Lucas made a noncommittal noise as he pressed a kiss to David’s cheek. Then came the sound of a zipper and thuds as shoes were kicked off. David was asleep before Lucas had even finished changing.
“Green, Lucas.” The man at the registration desk was taking Such. A. Long. Time. The man scrolled through the list of registered attendees on this tablet so slowly, Lucas felt like just grabbing a spare badge, scrawling his name on it, and running past him into the exhibit hall. But he tried to channel just a little bit of David’s patience. If he made the conference organizers angry and they threw him out on day one, that would be the end of his world.
“Ah, here you are. Lucas Green. Full conference registration with added exercise club access.” The man hit a couple buttons and a registration printed out of the machine beside him. “Scan the QR code here at the door to access the club. Grab a lanyard here and a tote with event program on your way into the hall. Seminars on the big stage start on the half hour every hour from—”
“I memorized the schedule from the app three days ago,” Lucas said, clipping his badge to a lanyard, marveling at his name in big, block letters and the name of his gym beneath it for just a moment. He’d made it. This was actually happening. “Thanks,” he said quickly before walking directly toward the doors to the exhibit hall, flanked on either side and also above with banners reading: Fitness & Fun! It was the theme of this year’s annual international conference. It wasn’t exactly a clever or creative theme, but Lucas was so damn ready for a giant helping of both fitness and fun.
The moment he walked inside the hall, he lost his breath. Yeah, he had his inhaler in his gym bag just in case, but this wasn’t that kind of breathless. Stretched out in front of him as far as he could see was the trade show of his dreams. Booth after booth filled up a gigantic room in a grid pattern, and every booth contained something Lucas desperately wanted to try. Some booths had videos playing of the latest hot classes. Some had revolutionary new gym equipment. Some had clothing with the latest fabrics to deal with perspiration. Some even had recommended training workout sets you could buy so you never had to spend your time developing your own regimens for your clients. Lucas floated indiscriminately from booth to booth, picking up free brochures, sweatbands, protein bars, earbuds, water bottles, workout DVDs, and stuffing all the goodies into his new tote. By the time he got halfway through the room, the bag was bursting, but it was all right. He’d been given two small duffle bags at different booths and promptly started filling those as well.
As he went along, he made notes in the conference app to remind himself of what booths he wanted to hit again tomorrow to find out more. When he stopped to get a free smoothie sample, he chatted with a few of the women in line with him who also happened to be trainers. They recommended he stop by the Reebok booth because the company was raffling off a new pair of sneakers every day. One of them had attended this conference last year and advised him to skip the entertainment; it was a waste of time, but to attend as many classes as he could. “Every class I go to, I see moves I’ve never seen before, never even thought to do. My clients loved that I had new things to show them right away and it didn’t me cost anything extra, didn’t require any new equipment.”
Hearing that made him excited to do more than just walk around. He wanted to get moving. Weighted down by bags of free goodies, Lucas headed to a giant bank of lockers outside a room with a glowing neon sign reading: Club Fun. He stowed his things, scanned his badge in the reader, and headed inside. He only made it a step or two inside before he froze in shock. The place was packed with equipment he’d only seen in online promos, only heard spoken about as rumors by the other trainers at his gym. Lucas was a kid in a fancy candy store realizing that every single sweet he could see was free to be sampled.
Lucas went straight for the first machine he saw, not wanting to waste a second of time. The treadmill’s curved form allowed for just the right amount of resistance without the impact on his knees he’d been expecting. Man, he wanted one of these at his gym. And running there at a decent pace allowed him the ability to sit back and survey the room to compile a mental list of everything he wanted to try out.
And that’s when he saw it: a machine he’d never even heard of before. It was a weightlifting bench, but with features built right into. There were rep counters, an audio jack port and interface, and what looked like a half dozen safety redundancies. Immediately, Lucas knew he wanted to try that next. So he slowed his pace on the treadmill machine and kept his gaze trained on it. There was a man on there now, trying it out, though he looked like he might be close to finishing up.
As soon as the man did his last rep, sat up, and wiped his face and hands on his towel, Lucas slowed and stopped the treadmill. He made a bee line for the fancy new weight bench and got there before a handful of other people who had also been eyeing it hopefully. But he hadn’t been fast enough to beat one person. A man hung his towel on the little hook at the end of the bench and sat down just as Lucas got there. The other people turned away, disappointed that this was not their chance, and Lucas nearly did the same.
Something stopped him. Maybe it was the way the man caught his gaze. Maybe it was his determination to work out on this equipment. Or maybe it was how totally and completely ripped this shirtless man was. Now, it was not to be said that Lucas wasn’t fit. David often remarked that he loved the curves of his muscles as he held the man in a tight hug. And at least once a week David enjoyed ejaculating on Lucas’ abs almost certainly for the visual alone and for being able to take his time wiping them clean afterward. But this man before him was a perfect specimen. He didn’t seem to have a bit of fat on him. And, at the same time, he wasn’t built like a bodybuilder with so many bulging muscles with veins popping. This man was just incredibly hot.
This man was also staring right at him. “Sorry, mate. I’ve been hoping to use this for almost an hour now. No hard feelings?” He smiled a smile to die for.
Lucas shook his head automatically. As if this guy couldn’t get any sexier, the man also had a thick British accent and dimples in not just one but both cheeks. Breathless for the third time in as many hours, Lucas nearly went for his inhaler. But he managed to wet his tongue against his lips and shake his head. “No, it’s… it’s fine. Enjoy.” He turned, starting to drift away, when the man called him back.
“Hey! Do you want to spot me?”
Lucas turned back around. The machine was so high tech, that wouldn’t be necessary, and they both knew it.
“That way you’ll be right here when I finish and get your chance to try it next, yeah?”
Lucas nodded. “Yeah, all right. That works.” He smiled back. “Thanks.”
The man rotated on the bench and lay down on his back. He punched a low number into the bar beside him then reached up to the barbell with a perfect grip.
“Only six?” Lucas asked, taking up a position at the head of the bench for show more than anything else, his hands out and ready.
“I’m a little tired today. Jetlag, I think. Don’t want to push myself too hard. But I couldn’t resist trying this out.” With care and control, he lifted the barbell off its cradle and lowered it to his upper chest. Then, arms straining, muscles working hard, he drove it up. And the look of elation on his face when he did so almost made Lucas giddy to see. “I’m Troy, by the way.”
“Troy,” Lucas repeated. It suited the man. “I’m Lucas.”
They didn’t talk any more as Lucas concentrated on his reps, lowering and pressing upward, maintaining control the entire time. Lucas had a feeling he could easily have done four times that many and still keep perfect form. But he also admired the fact that the man knew his limits today. That was always something Lucas struggled with, especially when it came to awesome new toys like this machine.
Because of the technology—especially a set of cradles that tracked hand movements and went up and down to provide a built-in way to catch the barbell if it slipped or was dropped—Lucas didn’t really need to spot him. And, instead, he found himself staring at the man’s body, trying not to drool too obviously. He was half turned on and half envious. But he also had time to note the logo on the bottom of the man’s gym shorts.
When Troy was done, he sat up, coughed, and lunged for his towel to dab at his face.
“Go Figure?” Lucas read, pointing to the man’s shorts. The letter O in the name had a little arrow attached to it; the symbol for a male. “That’s clever. Is that where you work?”
Troy nodded. “Best gay gym in all of Britain, we like to say.”
Lucas couldn’t help looking surprised.
Troy noticed his expression, because he stiffened. His casual but fatigued tone suddenly had a hard edge to it. “You got a problem with gay people?”
Lucas knew what Troy was expecting. Despite recent movements and progress made, there still wasn’t widespread acceptance. There were still bigots out there who were never going to be comfortable sharing a locker room with guys who happened to be gay. But Lucas wasn’t one of those people. “I hope not, or it’ll be a pretty big shock to my husband when I get back to our hotel room.”
Troy blinked, his turn to look a little surprised. “Husband?”
“Legal as of last year.”
Troy bit his bottom lip and, Lucas tried not to notice. “Can’t say I’m not a little disappointed to hear that. But congrats. No ring?”
Lucas wiggled the fingers of his left hand. “I don’t wear my ring when I’m working out. It gets a little loose when I sweat. I don’t want to lose it or catch it on some equipment and damage it. Are you married?”
Troy shook his head. “Not even close. I’ve got a… a…” He got a faraway look in his eyes Lucas thought he recognized. But then Troy folded his arm over his face and pitched forward. “HkkkkEHShoooo!”
“Bless you.” Living with David, that immediate response was instinctual now.
Troy nodded his appreciation and sniffed, rubbing his nose against his forearm.
“You feeling okay, man?”
“Yeah.” He cleared his throat. “Well, no. Jetlag, you know? Just got off the plane a few hours ago. My system’s a bit out of order.”
“Hydrate,” Lucas recommended, thinking of how dry the air in the airplane had been and how it wasn’t really all that much better here in the hotel. And then he thought of David back up in the hotel room, resting in bed now but ready to take care of him the second he got back and needed a massage or shower buddy after this intense workout. Hot as Troy was—and he most definitely was hot—at the end of the day, Lucas couldn’t imagine not coming home to his David. “Oh, did you see? There’s a booth on the show floor that’s got full cups of juice samples. An extra shot of Vitamin C never hurts.”
“Where was that?”
Best Lucas could remember, it was somewhere in the 400s, past the booth selling yoga mats with white noise machines built in but before you got to the booth with reflective tape for nighttime runners.
Troy thanked him. “I’m sure I’ll run into you again, but if I don’t, have a great conference.”
“Yeah,” Lucas nodded as he lay down on the bench and got ready to play with this new toy and work his body hard. “You too.”
“How long have we been together?” David asked during breakfast the next morning. The hotel’s breakfast bar was incredible, with made-to-order omelets, fresh baked goods, and separate hot and cold sections. They’d been up late breaking in both the hotel beds, so getting dragged down to breakfast early in the morning was the last thing David had been up for. Lucas had been too excited about his full day ahead at the conference to stay still, however. So they were there for breakfast the moment the place opened in the morning.
“Mmm…” Lucas swallowed his mouthful. “About five years now?” He stabbed a sausage link with a fork and devoured it in two bites. “Why?”
“Just wondering why I’m not more used to seeing you eat like you’ve been starved for a week. You know that’s your fourth helping?”
“Hey, I had a killer sunrise workout class. Gotta replenish those calories,” he insisted.
Twenty minutes later, they left breakfast with a tip on the table and Lucas’ tongue colored pink from the Pepto Bismol he’d chewed to settle his stomach. “Too much good food. I regret nothing,” he moaned as David chuckled and steered him in the direction of the elevator. “Wait!” Lucas straightened and craned his neck as they passed by the hotel’s little convenience store. His eyes narrowed. “I think that’s the guy I met in the exercise club yesterday.”
David turned, searching with his eyes, though he had no recognition to depend on, only the description Lucas had given him yesterday. “The one who works at the gay gym in England?”
“Mmhm, Troy.” Lucas didn’t look any surer, but he took David’s hand. David noticed how, when they held hands, Lucas’ finger absentmindedly stroked the smooth soft gold wedding ring on his finger. “C’mon. I want to introduce you.”
David let himself get pulled over, marveling at how Lucas could so quickly go from dramatically dying from a little tummy ache to energetic and eager.
The man he’d heard about was standing in the back corner of the store, studying whatever was on the wall there and looking like that choice was causing him some pain. He punched something into his phone then listened; probably trying to make a call. “Yeah,” Lucas whispered. “That’s definitely him. This is great! I’d hoped I might run into him again some—”
Both David and Lucas froze in place. David felt Lucas squeeze his hand. They watched as Troy fished around in the front kangaroo pouch of his hoodie, pulled out a tissue, and snuffled into it for a second. Then his eyes shut and his body hunched forward again.
“Damn,” David heard Lucas whisper. Then, the obvious, “I think he’s sick.”
“Yeah, I noticed.” David’s mouth was dry. He itched to go over and offer his services. He felt a rush of heat and desire envelop his body, and he held tight to his husband’s hand as the only thing that held him back.
Lucas stepped and turned, putting himself in David’s line of sight, positioning himself in-between David at the sick, sneezing stranger. He gripped David’s other hand with his and squeezed both tightly. “You should go help him out.”
“What?” David’s voice came out as a squeak he regretted the instant he heard it.
“He seemed like a good guy is all.” Was that all, though? “He looks so miserable. I think he needs help. Who better to help him?” Lucas swung their arms a little, out to the side then inwards again.
“Luc…” David felt more than hot now. His body was burning up from the inside out, lava rushing through his veins. Lucas knew what he was asking. Five years together and their fair share of bumps in the road had taught them plenty. So Lucas wouldn’t be asking if he didn’t really mean it. “I don’t know if I…”
David chewed hard on his lower lip, holding back the ‘God bless you’ he longed to call out. There was so much he longed to say. And even more he longed to do.
Then they heard the man swear and make a sound that was part frustration, part sob. Startled, Lucas dropped one of David’s hands and moved to the side. They both watched Troy stuff his cell phone into his back pocket, sniffle, and scrub his sleeve at his face. Lucas gave his husband’s hand one more squeeze. “At least let’s go see if we can do anything to help?”
Against his better judgement, David found himself nodding. The volcano that had erupted inside him wasn’t going to stop until he knew this man was okay. And he had Lucas’ blessing and encouragement. “I’ll do it, but only on one condition,” David managed to whisper. “You stay with me the whole time.”
Lucas frowned. “You don’t think I trust you?”
David shook his head. “The problem is, I think you do, and I don’t want to let you down. I couldn’t live with myself if I violated your trust and broke your heart again. You mean everything to me.”
And that’s when Lucas kissed him. Right then and there in the middle of the hotel convenience store. Any hotel employee or guest or anyone from the conference could have been walking by just then to see. But Lucas didn’t care and so David tried not to feel self-conscious at the PDA. When Lucas pulled away, David ran his tongue over his lips. “Stay with me, baby? Please?”
With a nod, Lucas answered, “All right.”
“You promise?” David needed to hear those exact words.
“Yeah, I promise. Whatever you want.” He placed one more kiss on David’s lips and delivered a barely audible “I love you.”
“Love you, too,” David whispered. “Now introduce me to this poor, sick Adonis already.”
Lucas nodded and dropped David’s hand. He walked the rest of the way across the small convenience store with David following behind him. And when he got close enough and hadn’t yet been noticed, he spoke up to get the man’s attention. “Um, Troy?”
Troy’s head snapped to the side, eyes wide. It took a second for the recognition to hit. “Oh!” He rubbed his sleeve over his face. “Ah, shite… the guy frob the weight bedch yesterday… sorry… cad’t rebeber…”
“Lucas,” Lucas supplied.
“Shite. That’s it. Lucas. Of course. Hi.” He looked like he was about to volunteer more but held back.
“You don’t look so good this morning. It wasn’t just jetlag, I take it?”
Troy shook his head. “Yeah, no. Think I caught a cold. And I…” he trailed off again. He started to say something and stopped. Then he gestured to the wall in front of him, covered in small, overpriced medicines and gave a shrug.
David thought he understood, and he put a hand on Lucas’ back to remind him he was right there. He was there to help.
Lucas moved a little to the side, nearly colliding with a rack of souvenir keychains. “I wanted to introduce you to my husband, David.” He put an arm around David and ushered him forward a step.
David raised a hand and helloed awkwardly. “Having trouble figuring out what to take for your cold? Maybe I can help. I’m a pharmacist. Um, I think you call us chemists on your side of the pond?”
David was unprepared for the incredible relief that filled Troy’s face. “Thadk God,” he exhaled. “I dod’t ofted get sick add the last tibe I did I had this bedicide that helbed, but I cad’t fide it here. Add I tried callig sobeode I dow, but I cad’t get through add…” He shook his head. “Do you dow the closest blace that sells Lebsib?”
An expert at deciphering the speech patterns of people with stuffed-up noses at his pharmacy counter, David didn’t need any further explanation. “I do,” he said. “England.”
Troy looked like he might break down at any second, and David resisted the urge to throw his arms around him and comfort him. “Hey, it’s all right.” David only needed to scan the wall for a second before finding the instantly recognizable TheraFlu packets. He pulled those down and handed them over. “This is the US equivalent to Lemsip. Should make you feel a lot better. One packet every four hours, but don’t take any more than that. Set your cell phone’s alarm to remind you and don’t take any until that alarm goes. Got it?”
Troy nodded. Then he plunged his hand into his kangaroo pocket, withdrew a tissue, held it to his nose, and turned away just in time. “hehttttTSHooo! ehh-hehh… hehhh…” He paused, waiting, then shook his head. “Wedt away. I hate whed it sniff does that. Ohh hold…” He waited again, eyes closed. Then he seemed to give up and just blew his nose.
This time, David felt Lucas’ hand on his back, grounding him, reminding him, making that fire burning within him flare up with intensity. “God bless you,” David said. And when Troy gave him an appreciative smile, he felt tingles all over.
Sniffing, Troy took a look at the medicine he’d been handed, squinting at the fine print on the back. “I’ve got a headache. Does this… work on that, too? Or should I take something else?”
David tried to think of Troy as just another customer at his pharmacy. He always felt warm and caring when he helped them, but this was different. At the pharmacy, he had to be professional, and that had never been a problem for him. He’d always needed some sort of emotional connection for his care-giving kink to kick in. But here and now… he had his husband touching him and encouraging him and he had no counter between him and Troy. Before he could stop himself, he blurted out, “Can I feel your forehead for fever?” He needed consent before touching. He needed all the consent.
Troy looked at him for a moment then nodded. “Sure.”
David’s breath quickened. He felt Lucas’ hand on his back, rubbing in a comforting circle. What was happening here? He turned to Lucas, the same question in his eyes. He didn’t have to restate it, but he did so anyway, though softer. “Can I feel his forehead for fever?”
Lucas’ fingers flexed against David’s back. “Yes, you can,” he replied pointedly.
Only then did David raise his hand. It trembled slightly; though he hoped no one would notice, he was certain they had. He pressed the back of his palm against Troy’s forehead and let it rest there for a few seconds. Troy closed his eyes; the touch must have felt good to him, and David’s heart raced with excitement. Then he moved his hand to Troy’s cheek. The man didn’t have a fever or, if he did, it was so mild that a little acetaminophen would take care of it. “You don’t feel hot to the touch; that’s a good sign that this is just a head cold. There’s acetaminophen in the TheraFlu. Don’t take any painkillers on top of it, okay? It should take care of your headache unless it’s a really bad one.”
“It’s dot so bad.”
“Glad to hear that.” David’s breath caught. He’d almost instinctively followed that with ‘baby.’ What the hell was wrong with him? Scared of what he was doing, he took a couple steps back, which ended up being lucky because that sneeze that had been playing with Troy earlier selected that very moment to finally strike.
“HEHTChuhhhh!” And Troy hadn’t had time to get his tissues out.
“Oh! God bless you.” David bit the inside of his cheek.
“Bless you,” Lucas echoed. “You got enough tissues there, man?”
Troy put his hand in his pocket and pulled out a small wad of tissues he’d clearly liberated from the tissue box in his hotel room. “Cabe dowd for bedicide add to see if they had ady tissues here, but there are just these little backs, add I dod’t thidk they’ll last lodg.” He gestured to a few travel-sized packs of tissues that held maybe twelve tissues apiece. David looked at Lucas, and Lucas looked back, knowingly.
It was Lucas who spoke. “Well, that’s not going to be enough. The way I see it, we’ve got three options.” He held up his hand with one finger pointing into the air. “One, I could call a Lyft and head over on my own to the closest grocery store or pharmacy, load up on supplies, and meet you back here. However, I did make a certain promise this morning to the man I married, and I’m not going to break that. So, two…” He held up a second finger. “We could all take a trip to the store, which seems awkward and unnecessary and maybe a bit exhausting for the one of us who looks dead on his feet already.” Troy rubbed his sleeve across his face in an obvious attempt to hide the flush in his cheeks. Lucas put up one more finger. “Or, three… and this is the one I’m a bit partial to… we use the handy dandy interwebs to order everything you need from a local store and get it delivered to us right here at the hotel.”
Troy rubbed his sleeve under his nose, sniffling. “You dod’t hab to do ady of that.”
David narrowed his eyes. “If you’d rather go back to staring at the wall of outrageously priced medicine and sniffling into a wad of hotel room tissues, you’re welcome to. Otherwise, you let us take care of you a little. I do this for a living, baby.” And there it was. It had slipped out before he could stop it, and now there was no taking it back. Slightly mortified, he looked over at Lucas, ready to apologize, ready to let his anxiety spiral out of control.
But Lucas was glowing, a kind smile on his face. “And he’s damn good at it, too. Trust me on this. Let us get you what you need so we’re not worrying about you all day, okay?”
Troy glanced at the boxes of medicines hanging neatly on pins in front of him on the wall. He gave a nod and sniffed. “Guess it could’t hurt. I dod’t dow all your brads.”
The lobby was starting to fill up now, as checkout time slowly approached and people trickled downstairs for breakfast or with their luggage. But the three of them managed to find a little seating area in a far corner where they could scoot the chairs together and crowd around Lucas’ phone. Honestly, going to the business center might have been a better idea, but the hot, fluttery tingles in David’s body told him this should stay intimate and private among them if it could.
After a bit of searching, they found that there was a grocery store called Daily Shop nearby that offered delivery service, only they didn’t seem to have a website. Another search turned up a nearby Walmart. “It’ll do,” Lucas decided, and began filling up his virtual shopping cart with things. David found himself scooting right up, inching off his chair and onto Lucas’ to get as close as he could get. “Go for the bigger size,” he remarked about the package of tissues and “Get two, just to be sure. Maybe different flavors,” he said about the TheraFlu. Then he commandeered the phone and added a few things. Lucas took it back and added a few more.
“Let be give you by credit card,” Troy said, leaning forward to get his wallet from his back pocket.
“Uh-uh. Our treat,” Lucas insisted, refusing to even look at it.
Troy sniffed. “What?”
David knew that ‘what?’ feeling. He’d had a moment like that not long ago when Lucas had suggested they help Troy. He didn’t completely understand what Lucas was up to now, but he agreed that Troy certainly wasn’t going to pay for these groceries. “Don’t worry. We’ve got this. If you feel up to it in a couple days, you can treat us to a meal or something.”
“Add sniff! Add if I dod’t?”
As Lucas navigated through the website checkout process and entered the hotel in as the delivery address, David smiled at Troy. “If you don’t feel better, then we didn’t do a very good job picking the right tissues and medicine, and you won’t owe us anything.”
“Thed… thadks,” he said with a timid smile. Troy’s head dipped and shoulders rose and, damn, David loved this sheepish look on him and being the one to have caused it. And before he could process this feeling, it was further complicated by Lucas leaning over and kissing his cheek. He was so hot right now, he might actually combust.
“I’m going to go get us all some water,” David declared, getting up. “I’ll be right back.”
Troy smiled with gratitude, and David wondered which bit of that he was grateful for—having water or David not being gone long. Maybe both?
Once away from the two men, David’s insides began to cool a little, but he could hardly relax. He didn’t understand what was going on here. He and Lucas had plenty of friends—straight and gay. And sometimes they got sick and David recommended some OTC something they should try. Sometimes David cooked a casserole or made a healthy shake and they drove it over to a sick friend’s house. But that was it. This didn’t feel like those times in a different setting. This felt intense and meaningful and… hot. They’d never discussed opening their relationship; the thought had never even crossed David’s mind. Until just now.
The three glasses pressed together in a triangle, his hands wrapped around them, he headed back to their cluster of seats. When he got there, the two men were deep into a conversation about different ways to use resistance bands. David had a mental image of Lucas on their bed, a band at his wrists holding them behind his back, and another band around his thighs, providing a sort of swinging seat for David’s ass as he thrust in and out. The heat came rushing back to him in a wave of tingles, but David kept all this to himself.
He also noticed Troy had pulled out the tissues again and was sniffling more often. Poor baby had a really tickly nose, and it was bothering him, but he was trying to keep up with the discussion and pretend it wasn’t so bad. David wanted to tell him it was all right to sneeze, that his cold wasn’t going to get any better if he kept sniffing and pushing that thick congestion right back into his sinuses.
But Troy’s nose seemed to reach the same conclusion and presented him with a sneeze he apparently couldn’t hold back. “heeee-yehhhh…hold ehhh-hehhhh… hold od a secod. I ehhhh I gotta hehhhhh hnnnng hnn HUH!” Tissues bunched at his face, he was as ready as he could be. “EHHTchooo! hehERSHoooo!”
“God bless you, baby.” It felt so nice to say, whether it confused him or not, whether it confused Troy or not. Lucas took his hand and squeezed. David squeezed back.
“Cheers, ugh, by dose… this cold…” He shook his head, not intending to finish his complaint.
“I know. It sounds rotten. But the medicine should help.” David sympathized. “Are you planning to attend the convention today?”
Troy shrugged and snuffled into his tissues again. “Hodestly, the odly thig I thidk I have edergy for right dow is to head back to by roob add get idto bed.” He gave a rueful smile. “At Go Figure, we’re kdowd to bush to failure. It’s dot eved eight-thirty yet, add I thidk by body’s already gived ub od be. Sniff! Sniff! SNIFF! Besides, I dod’t wadt to be that guy sbreadig his gerbs aroud, gettidg the whole cod sick.”
“That’s considerate of you,” Lucas told him.
David agreed. “A good, long rest will do you good. It’s the best thing you can do for your body right now. Just give it time to fight off this head cold.”
Troy gave a little chuckle. “That souds like sobethidg Barcus would say.”
And before either David or Lucas could ask who Marcus was, there was an alert on Lucas’ phone. The delivery was a minute away.
The three of them got up and shuffled to the front entrance. They went through the revolving door, easy to navigate through without luggage, and they only had to wait a few seconds before a white car pulled up behind the airport shuttle. The driver, a woman, hopped out and checked her phone. Then she liberated three bags from the backseat. There were labels on them, which she scanned to verify they were the right ones. “Lucas Green?” she asked.
“That’s me,” Lucas confirmed, holding out his photo ID so she could snap a quick picture for her records to verify delivery to the proper recipient. She handed the bags over, and Lucas immediately handed them to David. David rooted through quickly, checking to be sure everything was there. He was still going through them when the woman got back in her car and pulled away.
Everything seemed to be present and accounted for, so David made the final handoff to Troy. “TheraFlu every four hours. If you’re anything like my Luc, you’re going to push yourself to get better too quickly. Let this bug run its course, even if it means missing whole day or two of the conference. If you’re cold, use the hot water bottle here and if you’re hot, there’s a cold pack you can pop into the freezer portion of your hotel minifridge.”
“And let us know if you need anything else,” David added. “Here, let’s exchange numbers real quick.”
The bags dangled from Troy’s forearms as he entered both David’s number and Lucas’ into his cell phone. “Thadks,” he said at last, sliding his phone into his back pocket and pulling his room key out at the same time. “I’b sure I’ll be all right after sobe rest. But thadks for all this. Above add beyod, really.”
“Feel better, man,” Lucas said, reaching out and patting his arm. Lucas’ other hand tightly gripped David’s, one finger automatically sliding back and forth over the wedding ring again.
The three of them headed back into the lobby, but David and Lucas let Troy head to the bank of elevators alone. They followed him with their gaze, watching him punch the up arrow, rub his nose into his shoulder a couple times, and then head into the first elevator that arrived.
When the elevator doors slid shut and the numbers atop indicated the elevator was rising, David let out the breath he had been holding. Lucas squeezed his hand. David brought their hands up and kissed the back of Lucas’. “I know you’re probably eager to get to your convention events, but I think we need to have a talk about what the hell just happened.”
Lucas nodded at once. “Couldn’t agree more, actually. But can we do it up in our room?” He moved close, pressing his front up against David’s side and whispered directly into his ear. “You were so good to him, so concerned and caring. It was incredibly hot. You won’t believe how hard I am.”
David’s breath quickened. “It can’t be as hard as mine. I feel like I’m about to spontaneously combust here.” He turned his head, craned it, finding Lucas’ ear to whisper. “First, we get off. Then we talk.”
“Perfect,” Lucas replied, catching David’s cheek and jaw in a couple quick kisses.
Feeling those kisses against his skin on top of the erotic elation of care-giving this morning, David wasn’t sure he’d even be able to make it back to their room.
Sweat dripped down his face as Lucas kicked and punched his way through the kickboxing class. Normally, this wasn’t his thing. There were too many complicated, quick sequences to remember then quickly replace with brand new ones. He much preferred strength training or workouts that worked one muscle group at a time. But he had needed something to put all his energy into, or he was likely to go crazy, and this definitely fit the requirement.
Right hook, duck, right uppercut, left uppercut, right jab, left cross, bob, left hook. Repeat. Right hook, duck, right uppercut, left uppercut, right jab, left cross, David had looked so hot feeling Troy’s forehead for fever. Fuck. He needed to keep his mind off sex, off his husband’s fetish, off the way his cock had gone so hard at the sight of the two men together. Right hook, duck, right uppercut, left uppercut, right jab, left cross, bob, left hook. Repeat. Right hook, duck, right uppercut, left uppercut, what would it look like for David to hold tissues to Troy’s nose when he had to sneeze? Fuck. This wasn’t working as well as he had hoped. He concentrated, tried reciting the moves out loud. “Right hook, duck, right uppercut, left uppercut, right jab, left cross, bob, left hook.” Good. “Right hook, duck….” And that way Troy had been pulled back from the edge of having a breakdown and was all smiles and dimples, heading off to his room to sleep. Lucas bet he slept in the nude. He just seemed like the type who would.
“Now let’s add some kicks into the mix!” the instructor told them.
Lucas groaned inwardly. He was always glad to work his core, but he wasn’t sure he could handle yet another element to the combination when he hadn’t been able to concentrate enough to execute one round properly yet. His thoughts kept drifting back to those men. The one he knew so well, the one he would choose before anyone else, the one he loved with all that he was. And the one he’d just met who he just couldn’t get out of his head no matter what he tried. He had plenty of gay friends, some of them extremely good-looking, but none of them stole his attention the way Troy was doing now. And it wasn’t just about his looks, either. The guy was genuinely nice, and having someone to talk fitness with this morning had been fantastic. There was just something about him that made Lucas want him. Even though he wasn’t supposed to want him. He was only supposed to want his husband.
Right kick, bob and weave, left kick, bob and weave, four uppercuts, right hook, left hook, and bounce for a four count. Repeat. Right kick, bob and weave, left kick, bob and weave, four uppercuts, right hook, left hook, and bounce. Excellent. This was the one. He was present in the moment. He could do this. He could force every stray thought out of his head and focus exclusively on the exercise. No distractions. No pondering. Just kicks and punches and what it might feel like to slide his hand through that close-cropped blond hair as he sucked the man’s face. Fuck! Right kick, bob and weave, left kick, bob and weave, four uppercuts, right hook, left hook, and bounce.
Somehow, Lucas made it through the rest of this class. And, yeah, maybe there were some things he didn’t know before, but he hadn’t really been in it for the professional development aspect. He was sweaty and exhausted to the point of breaking. But he still wanted Troy. And, more importantly, still wanted David to want Troy.
Lucas dabbed a towel at his face and shoved part under the neck of his shirt to wipe his chest. All he’d wanted this week was to attend the leading fitness conference in the world, learn some new techniques, and try out some state-of-the-art equipment. He wanted to have some good conversations with fellow trainers, pick up tons of free stuff from trade show exhibitors, and swim in the hotel pool with his husband. He’d just been in this for a good time. He hadn’t been looking for a new relationship. And he certainly hadn’t been looking for a new kink.
Lucas jabbed the elevator call button, then he found himself pacing back and forth as he waited for them. Cursing to himself, he walked past the bank of elevators, threw open the door to the stairwell, and started sprinting up the stairs. Going from floor two to floor twenty-three took time and energy, much of which Lucas had just spent in an intense workout.
When he got inside his hotel room finally, he was dripping with sweat and wheezing. David, sprawled out on one of the beds with a good book, dove for Lucas’ bag, expertly located and pulled out his inhaler, and handed it over. Lucas collapsed across the foot of the bed, took a draw on the inhaler, and waited for his world to steady itself again. This is what he wanted. He wasn’t even trying to convince himself of that. Being with David, feeling his husband’s hand rubbing big circles on him back, feeling loved and comforted, this was what he lived for. It was the best thing in the world to him. “I want to kiss Troy.”
David’s hand stopped rubbing. Lucas tensed he buried his head in his folded arms, berating himself. After the events of that morning, they’d had the most mind-blowing sex in a good long while. And then they’d had a talk about what they were both feeling, about opening the relationship. Together, they’d made the decision to not risk or complicate what they had just because a hot guy with a sexy British accent happened to have caught a cold. Their conclusion made so much sense. “Yeah,” said David. “I want to kiss him, too. Among other things.”
Lucas lifted his head. He looked back and up at his husband. Then he lifted a hand, took David’s, and pulled the man down beside him. One reassuringly tight bearhug later, David had his face buried in Lucas’ sweaty chest and seemed happier than he’d been all afternoon with his book. “I could stay like this forever,” he murmured. Then, almost in the same breath, he added, “We have to tell him how we feel.”
With a deep breath in through his nose and out through his mouth, Lucas nodded. As much as he didn’t want to ruin what was barely even a friendship by complicating it with lust and desire and expectation, he knew that was the right thing to do.
David continued, “We have to be respectful to him and see how this plays out. Could be he’s not interested.”
Amusement filled Lucas’ exhalation. “Who wouldn’t be interested in you?”
He felt David nuzzle him and kiss his clavicle. “You’re the hot one in this relationship, baby.”
Lucas squeezed tighter, feeling David wrap his arms around and hug back as well. It never seemed to matter to David that Lucas’ shirt was damp with sweat and he smelled terrible after a workout. David only cared about getting close and staying close, and Lucas loved him for that. “It was a pretty intense workout. Of course I’m hot.”
They both laughed at this. But then silence fell. David breathed against Lucas' neck. Lucas rubbed his hand up and down David’s back, occasionally dropping a kiss on his head.
A long time passed. The air conditioner kicked on, bringing a little white noise, and then died off again. At one point, Lucas thought he might drift off to sleep. At another, he gathered his courage to say what needed to. “David?” His voice sounded strange against the silence they had made. He felt a kiss to his jaw and heard David murmur to him to continue. Lucas took a deep breath. “I’m a little scared.”
David tensed up a little in his arms. “Scared about doing this?”
“No… more like scared that I’m not more scared about doing this. It feels so right. And I really don’t think it’s supposed to.”
David applied a series of tiny kisses to his neck and chin. “I don’t think there’s any rule about how anyone’s supposed to feel in this situation. But if it makes you feel any better, I’m the same. Earlier, I wanted to touch his forehead so badly, and I was almost sure you wouldn’t let me. But then you did. And when I felt it for fever, I felt the same amazing rush of arousal I do when I feel yours. I can’t explain why.”
“We have to tell him how we feel,” Lucas restated, resignedly. “Should we just tell him everything?”
“You mean, my fetish?”
“I… I don’t know if that’s such a great idea. We want him to be interested in us, not horrified.”
Lucas knew that David had only ever told one person about his kink: Lucas. That trust and honesty had been an important cornerstone in what they had together now. He also knew his husband’s care-giving kink would take a lot of explaining, especially to someone who was on the receiving end of it and not feeling a hundred percent.
“I’m not sure I can explain it without sounded creepy.”
“Then maybe I’m the one to explain it,” Lucas volunteered. “We’re in this together. This is what I’m here for.”
“To tell a random guy we want to have a three-way with that your husband gets off on holding tissues to his nose? Yeah, that’s going to go over real well.”
Lucas chuckled. “First, I’ll figure out a better way to phrase it. Second, he’s not some random guy. And third… you are so fucking hot when you do that, when you just know my nose is drippy and needs constant attention and care and you’re right there to help without my even needing to ask. If he doesn’t get how sexy you are when you take charge like that, then he isn’t the right fit for us.”
Slowly, David nodded. “You’re right. But let’s wait until tomorrow to tell him. With any luck, he’ll be feeling better after a day of meds and rest. It’s not fair to spring any of this on him until he can think clearly.”
Again, Lucas chuckled. “I can tell you from personal experience that no matter what stage of a cold I have, I can never think clearly when you’ve got your arm around me and your forehead pressed to my aching head. Or your hand cupped around my nose with a tissue to help me catch a wet sneeze. When you take care of me like that, my body tingles and craves to have you touch me all over.” Shit… he was getting hard again. And they were holding each other so close it would be impossible for David not to notice. His mind started wandering, remembering a dozen times we got hurt or sick and how David had taken such good care of him. His eager erection dug into David’s thigh, longing for friction and movement. “You know, if nothing else comes of it, I might end up catching Troy’s head cold, and then—ah!”
David had pulled back out of the embrace and had slapped Lucas’ arm. It hadn’t been hard, just startling.
“What? You love taking care of me.”
“I don’t ever want to hear you say something like that.”
Lucas’ brow furrowed with confusion. “But… you do love taking care of me.”
As he rolled from his side onto his back, David sighed dramatically. “Not that part, the part about you getting sick on purpose. For one thing, you we spent a lot of money on this conference trip. I want you to get the most of it. And, as I’ve told you a hundred times, it kills me to see you miserable and suffering. I’ll happily take care of you until my dying day, but I don’t ever want you doing something to intentionally warrant my care. That isn’t hot to me; that’s foolish. And you’re so much better than that.”
Lucas rolled over as well, positioning himself on top of David. His forearms were bent so he was almost in a sort of plank position, not putting all his weight on the man but certainly grinding his cock into David’s thigh now. “Understood. But all this talk about sex is getting me all worked up. How about you take care of me?”
David’s fingers slid under his shirt, across his tight core, around to his strong back. He pulled the man down and caught him in a fierce kiss that felt so good it only made Lucas rock more into David thigh. “I’d love to, baby.”
That night, there was a banquet as part of the conference. They’d purchased a companion pass for David so he could attend, and both men spent a good hour getting ready for the event. Granted, most of that time consisted of showering together, which had quickly devolved into warm, wet blowjobs in the shower. But they were surprisingly well groomed in suits and ties a good fifteen minutes before the event was to even start.
Though neither man said it out loud, David was fairly certain they were both secretly hoping that they might run into Troy tonight. Of course they wanted to look their best at a formal event in any case, but knowing they might make a good impression on a potential lover took their attention to detail to the next level. They were meticulous with their appearances, right down to the choices of cufflinks and dabs of aftershave.
“You look amazing,” Lucas told him when they got on the elevator where the mirrors reflected their appearances outward to infinity on each side. He took David’s hand, swinging it between them. “If I weren’t absolutely starving, I’d take you right back up to our room and f—”
He broke off at that when the elevator stopped and the doors slid open at floor nineteen. Four people who could have been on a poster for a nuclear family got on. The mother and father eyed David’s and Lucas’ hands still clasped together, but David squeezed Lucas’ hand back, tighter, with no intention of dropping it. The young girl and boy were absorbed in whatever was on the screens of their phones and didn’t even look up. The elevator made two more stops at floors on the way down, so everyone was packed in pretty well by the time they got to the second floor where David and Lucas had to squeeze and shuffle around everybody to get out.
As the door closes behind them, David glances back into the elevator and sees the young boy had lifted his gaze from his phone and smiled at them. David squeezed his husband’s hand. “Hey, did you see that look the kid gave us?”
Lucas nodded. “Mmhmm, but he’s too young to have a three-way with,” Lucas joked, his words soft in David’s ear. They were followed by a just as soft kiss to his earlobe. “C’mon, let’s go get some dinner.”
After picking up David’s registration, they headed into a large hotel ballroom which was packed with what had to be at least a hundred and fifty round tables. The dozen or so at the front of the room by the raised platform of a stage had reserved signs on them, but none of the rest were marked. There were a few people sitting down at tables already, checking their cell phones or chatting with their tablemates. There was a larger crowd in one corner of the room that had a bar. At least fifty people were over there, waiting to get a drink or standing around with a drink already acquired and chatting.
David found himself scanning both crowds for Troy. He had only met him once, but that had surely been enough to be able to pick him out of a crowd. “I don’t…” David began. He trailed off, but it was enough.
“Yeah. I don’t see Troy anywhere either.” He dropped David’s hand and gave him two light pats on the back. “How about you go find us a seat while I get us something to drink?”
David raised his eyebrows. “You’re going to drink tonight?”
“Technically, juice counts as a drink, right?”
David laughed and they drifted apart. Unsure where to sit or with whom, David navigated through the sea of tables until he got to one near the middle that was entirely unoccupied. This was taking the easy way out, he knew, and letting people sit near them instead of the other way around. But he didn’t want to be the one responsible for accidentally spending the night at a table full of yoga instructors or a table of trade show exhibitors trying to sell them workout DVDs.
He sat down at a table, moved his napkin to his lap, decided that looked far too eager, and put it back on the table, straightening it neatly so it looked like he hadn’t touched it. It was less than a minute before he looked up at the door, having a chosen a spot where it was in his direct line of sight. If Troy came in, David would notice. He wasn’t sure what he’d do if he did notice, surely jumping up and down waving was out of the question, and only Lucas had his cell phone number, so David couldn’t text him. And it wasn’t as though they were saving a seat for the man who most likely wasn’t going to turn up. But, all the same, David watched the door like a hawk.
The room started filling up, and people by the bar began choosing seats. David put his suit jacket on the back of the chair beside him to indicate it was taken. And several people decided to sit at his table before Lucas returned with the drinks—a pair of sisters who apparently owned a health food blog and a man who was a fitness trainer and one of the judges for the awards that were to be given out tonight. David felt like he had done an all right job attracting people to the table, and the fact that none of them switched tables when Lucas greeted David with a rub on his back and a kiss on his cheek spoke volumes for them.
David noticed that Lucas actually hadn’t asked for juice; he had instead acquired a bottle of water for himself. David squeezed then pushed the lime down the neck of his bottle of Carona Extra. He gave it a second, and then he took a sip. That familiar taste of the cold, pale lager made him smile and relax more than any beer buzz could. He felt Lucas rub his back, and he smiled. Lucas was being far more hands-on than usual tonight. He knew it had to do with how they were reevaluating their relationship. Maybe Lucas needed to constantly reaffirm their connection, maybe Lucas felt like he needed to display his claim, or maybe he wanted reassurance that David wasn’t going anywhere. Whatever the reason, David liked it. If he could have scooted his chair over and cuddled up with Lucas during dinner, he certainly would have.
The rest of their table filled up with three college students from Vermont who working toward degrees in sports therapy. Their school had paid for them to attend, though apparently all three were stuck sharing a room because their travel and hotel budget had been cut. David wondered if the universe was going to stop throwing hints to him that this three-way with Troy was destined to happen.
After a while, Servers came by with tablets to take their orders—beef, chicken, fish, or vegetarian. David knew Lucas would order the steak and then proceed to eat off his plate anyway, so David ordered the chicken for some variety.
Having been to a number of medical and pharmaceutical conventions over the years, David was fully prepared to sit through a number of boring speakers he’d never heard of before and hear about awards he didn’t understand the significance of. Instead, the lights went down, colored laser beams zoomed toward the stage where an entire college step team appeared to do a routine. Their moves were phenomenal, complete with several men being launched through the air and doing flips. The level of athleticism required was certainly appreciated by everyone in attendance, as applause followed practically every move they made on stage. The level of excitement was off the charts by the time they finished and their master of ceremonies took the stage.
He spoke dramatically, like the announcer at a boxing match, and wasted no time at all in introducing the keynote speaker. And though David hadn’t heard of him, apparently Oprah had, because he had been featured multiple times on her show. He had a dynamic speech that felt more like a TED talk about innovation, creativity, and overcoming life’s obstacles. It all boiled down to one point: change can be good. Once again, there was the universe having its say about his love life.
The awards went by amazingly quickly, too, with each winner taking the stage only long enough to pause for a press photo. The MC’s voice made each sound like they were getting ready to rumble with each other. It was highly entertaining and so fast that it ended while David still had half his dessert in front of him.
“Wow,” he breathed out as the lights slowly came back up, allowing their eyes time to adjust to the fluorescents. “That was…”
“A lot better than your boring pharmaceutical conventions?” Lucas finished for him.
“Stop reading my mind,” David protested.
“Never.” Lucas took his hand again as they wished their table companions well and headed out toward a black light dance party. They checked their suit jackets before going in, getting back a claim ticket and a whole rainbow set of glow bands. “Well… this sure takes me back,” Lucas said, handing half to David and cracking then shaking his half to activate them all at once.
David remembered their first pride after party together. They’d been wearing considerably less at the time and had ended the night adorned in glow-in-the-dark body paint, glitter, and glow sticks. David remembered how those sticks had kept glowing as the two of them made love all night. The sheets had been a nightmare to deal with the next morning, though. Sometimes when he cleaned, David suspected he was still finding glitter from that night.
This party wasn’t quite as wild and unrestrained as that, and they didn’t have to worry about glitter. But David did worry about pulling a muscle; at least, he worried until he got the third beer in him, and then all worries were forgotten. David hadn’t danced so much in years. And though he couldn’t help searching the room every so often for Troy, he was mostly able to keep his mind on his husband, on the madly talented way Lucas’ body moved to the techno beat thumping through the room.
Lucas knew exactly how to move his body, executing each move with flawlessness. He made dancing look easy and, when he was pressed up against David or holding David, he guided them both to those same, perfect heights. He danced as if he knew every song intimately. Sometimes they danced alone, sometimes in the middle of a group with everyone’s eyes on them. But all the time they danced by throwing all they had into the movements as if it were a party held just for the two of them.
Way, way before David was ready to stop, someone was announcing “last call” at the bar and then “last song” on the dance floor. He danced until his glowing white shirt was drenched in sweat, and then he collapsed into Lucas’ strong arms. The world spun around him for a moment, exertion and adrenaline mixing within him. He closed his eyes, hoping that would somehow keep this night from ending. He felt Lucas’ lips on his forehead and Lucas’ arms both wrapped tight around him. Everything felt so right, so very perfect. He wanted to capture this feeling forever.
But then Lucas was “C’mon”ing him yet again. And he opened his eyes and let himself be dragged back into the second floor hotel lobby, to the coat claim stand, and then to elevator banks. He swayed a little, as if still hearing the music he had felt thumping deep inside him for two hours straight. There was a pounding in his ears and in his heart and the only thing he knew for sure was the second he was alone with Lucas, these clothes were coming off and these glow bands were staying on as they made love in the dark.
“We should go dancing more often,” David said, falling onto one of the hotel room beds and waving his arms to watch the glow sticks fastened around his wrist blur yellow and pink through the air.
“Says the man who spends his Friday nights curled on the couch reading medical journals for fun.”
Lucas wasn’t wrong about that. “It is fun. But that was more fun.”
Lucas flopped down on the bed and maneuvered himself to straddle David. He ran his hands up David’s thighs. “I can think of something that’s even more fun.” He rocked forward, hot and heavy and teasing, their cocks brushing against each other through layers of fabric.
Reaching down to unzip his fly, David didn’t take his eyes off his husband. “Show me your best moves, baby.”
Lucas lay on his back as his heartrate and breathing both slowly dropped back to normal. His arm hooked around David, who was languidly kissing Lucas’ chest as he used it as a pillow. “So,” Lucas said, rubbing his hand up and down David’s chest. “You ready for another round?”
David snorted, the laughter making his whole body shake against Lucas’. “Nice one, baby. If I can manage to get up and clean off, it’ll be the most I can do right now.” Lucas didn’t blame him. They’d had sex three times already today, which was well above their average. If you added in all the dancing and workouts and all that excitement over Troy that morning, Lucas’ body was at the brink of physical exhaustion. Minus the workouts and climbing up twenty-two flights of stairs, David’s body had gone through all that as well.
“Poor thing. Do you want me to carry you to the shower?” Lucas teased.
There was a pause, and then “Would you please? That’d be a big help, actually.”
Lucas’ hand glided over one of David’s pecs, and he got an idea. He circled his index finger around the nipple then pinched the nub tightly between his fingers.
“Ah!” David jumped to his feet at once, hand to his chest, massaging the area. “You’re evil. And just for that, I’m showering first. You don’t get to join me. And don’t you dare pout!” Lucas’ lower lip was already out, his eyes sad and needy. “I need some time alone.”
Lucas stayed there on the bed, contemplating just drifting off to sleep, until he heard the shower running. With a tired groan, he hauled himself up and lurched to the bathroom. David had left the door open, and anyone else might have thought that was just because the man had been tired; Lucas knew better. Clearing his throat first to make sure not to startle his husband, Lucas then pushed the shower curtain back and climbed into the shower.
David stood motionless under the spray, water running down his body like little waterfalls and rivers. His eyes were closed, but he smiled. “Thought I told you I needed some time alone.”
“I gave you two whole minutes at least,” Lucas replied. “Wasn’t that long enough?”
David lifted his arms, reaching out, wanting his husband to come close. It had definitely been long enough.
Dry and warm beneath the covers after their shower, wrapped in each other’s arms, Lucas couldn’t imagine feeling any better than he did right now. Sure, this idea of an open relationship had seemed exciting, but if it didn’t happen, he still had this. And this was wonderful. This was really all he wanted.
Then his phone buzzed. Lucas reached out for it to see who it was texting him at nearly one in the morning. Still attached to its short charging cable, it didn’t reach to the middle of the bed, but he could still angle it to get a good look at the display.
Lucas sat up straight, pulling from his core. His heart was racing all over again just as it had been during his workouts earlier, just as it had been when he’d danced, and just as it had been when he’d made love to David. Lucas unplugged the phone and swiped. “Troy just messaged me.”
Lying sideways, David pushed himself up off the bed in a sort of side plank. He leaned forward. “What did he write?”
“Is he okay?”
“I don’t know. I’m trying to open it!”
“Open it faster!”
Finally, Lucas got his phone unlocked and opened the messaging app. He bit his lip, reading the text. Then he held it out to David to read for himself, because he didn’t trust his voice at the moment. There were just too many emotions rushing through him for him to be able to control the pitch.
The message read: Cant sleep. Dont think this medicine works on me. Any chance you guys are still awake?
Nervous and anxious, David hit Lucas’ arm repeatedly. “Ask him how he feels. Wait, no, does that sound creepy? Ask him if he needs us. Wait, that definitely sounds creepy.”
“Yeah it does. But he knows we know he’s sick.”
“Okay. Okay okay okay. Then ask him how he feels. But be cool about it.”
“You know… casual.”
“How do I—” Lucas began, but he broke off as his phone buzzed again.
Another message: I feel so rotten. Ive never sneezed so much in my life.
Lucas could practically hear David’s heart pounding. David gripped his arm tight, leaning in to read the text. “Ask him—”
“Already on it.” Lucas finished his message back: We’re up. We can help. What room are you in?
No reply followed.
And waited some more.
“My hand’s going tingly.”
David released his vice-like grip on Lucas’ arm. “So sorry, baby.” He stared unblinkingly at the screen, hands gripping the bedsheet tight instead. “Why isn’t he replying?”
“Think he’s fallen asleep?”
“After he just said he couldn’t sleep? I don’t think so. Maybe you were too pushy with asking for his room number. Maybe he thinks we’re crazy stalkers who want to get in his pants.”
“Uh, but don’t we?”
David nodded. “Well, yeah, but now maybe he knows that and wants nothing to do with us.”
That could be it, but there were a hundred other reasons he might not be replying, simpler reasons. “What if he can’t reply?”
David’s eyes widened. “Shit! Now I’m worried he needs help. Should we call 911?”
“Because a guy’s got a bad cold? David, I love you, but you’re—”
The phone buzzed, and both men jumped. It read: Sorry. Had to sneeze. Room 2144
“Two floors down,” Lucas said, even though David had already climbed out of bed to put on clothes. Lucas’ instincts told him to do likewise, but he wasn’t going to leave Troy waiting. He typed back: Hang on. We’re on our way.
Dropping the phone onto the bed, Lucas dashed over to his suitcase for clothes. He found a clean t-shirt and a pair of jeans. Half his suitcase was filled with socks, and he was pulling one on when his phone buzzed again. David stood right by the bed, so he dove for it. He read the message and froze, the look of panic on his face softening.
“What?!” Pulling on his other sock at the same time, Lucas hopped over. He read the text over his husband’s shoulder: Thanks. You guys are lifesavers. Lucas put his hands on David’s shoulders and squeezed. “You got this.”
“We got this,” David corrected, his voice weak, shaky, uncertain.
“C’mon,” Lucas said, lacing up his sneakers and grabbing the hotel room key off the counter by the door. David was right behind him.
The hotel was silent in the middle of the night, apart from the thumps of their shoes on the plush carpet as they actually ran down the hallway. Though the elevators surely wouldn’t be busy, Lucas didn’t want to wait for them to come all the way up to the twenty-third floor from the lobby. So he went straight for the door to the stairs, and David didn’t even complain. They raced down the two flights; Lucas even launched himself over the last two stairs.
Room 2144 wasn’t that far down the hall, but they came to a stop in front of the door, not sure what to do. “Should I knock?” Lucas asked. “He knows we’re coming.”
“What… if he… fell asleep?” David asked, a bit breathless from the running. “Knocking would… scare him.”
“I’ll text him.” Lucas reached for his phone only to realize he didn’t have it. “Shit!”
“No! Wait... I’ve got it.” David pulled Lucas’ phone out of his back pocket. He unlocked it, opened the text messages, and froze.
“Is he okay?” Lucas asked, alarmed, worried about a text that might have come through while they’d been running.
“What? Oh, yeah. I don’t know... what to write… that doesn’t sound like… we’re in a horror movie.”
Lucas groaned. “Just write anything. The word ‘here’ maybe.”
“But if he fell asleep... and gets the text in the morning… it won’t make… sense.”
“He knows we’re coming.” Lucas held out his hand. “Just give me the phone. I’ll do it!”
“No, like you said… I’ve got this! I just—”
The door opened. Troy stood there, eyes narrowed and blinking from the bright light in the hallway. Though he still wore the same hoodie—probably the only one he’d packed for the trip—he looked worse than the last time they’d seen him. His nose and the area beneath it was red, his eyes bloodshot, too. He looked absolutely exhausted and ready to be just plain done with this head cold. “I heard you talkig through the door. Why did’t you dock?” He held a hand up, miming knocking, in case they didn’t understand. He had a balled-up tissue clutched in his hand, and when he brought his hand down, he rubbed it at his nose, sniffling—or trying to. It sounded so stuffed-up that the air wasn’t getting in. It was still running, however, and was still trying to stop it from doing so. He was a complete mess, and Lucas knew at once they were in for a long night. But he also knew Troy had called the right people.
“We had hoped you might have fallen asleep.”
“I wish!” Troy laughed derisively, coughed into his sleeve, and stepped back to let them inside. “I’ve tried everythig. I dod’t thidg I’ll ever sleeb agaid.”
The room was a disaster area. A suitcase sat empty in one corner, because all the clothing in it littered the floor. The shopping bags and their contents spilled across the table along with two room service trays. The bed was stripped of pillows and blankets, some of which were on the floor, others of which were crammed into an armchair, and another of which seemed to be escaping into the bathroom through the open doorway. Absolutely everywhere, on every visible surface, were used, balled-up tissues.
Immediately, Lucas decided two things. First, it was going to be his job to get this place in order tonight. And, second, the fact that Troy seemed more frustrated about his cold than embarrassed about his room’s appearance meant he must really feel miserable. It made Lucas glad Troy had contacted them. They had their work cut out for them tonight, but if anyone could help, Lucas knew his husband could.
David was already asking questions. “I’m guessing you can breathe better when you’re upright?” That would certainly explain the armchair.
Troy nodded, readjusting the tissue at his running nose. He slumped into the armchair. A pillow fell to the floor, but David picked it up and eased it back in, giving Troy a cushion between the side of the chair and his head.
Lucas thought that he didn’t look very comfortable, though, and David apparently picked up on that as well. “May I sit down on your bed?” David asked, careful to ask permission.
“Yeah. S-sure. Oh doe. Here they cobe agaid…” His whole body tensed up, and he buried his nose into the pillow. “ehhHIHshhhh! HEHTchhhh! hehh… ehhh-HAHTchhhh! HEPTshuhhh! HEHshhoo! EHshoo! ehhhKEHshoooo!”
“God bless you, baby.” David looked around for the tissue box and didn’t see it. Lucas looked as well and noticed the hotel’s tissue box holder on its side on the vanity, having been emptied.
Troy pulled a tissue out of the front pocket of his hoodie and tried desperately to blow his nose into it, but his nose was far too stuffed-up for that.
David sat down on the edge of the bed, within reach, but with a bit of distance between them. “You can’t get comfortable enough sitting up to fall asleep, right?”
Troy nodded again.
“And the TheraFlu medicine isn’t doing its job of clearing out that congestion?”
“Did you remember to take it every four hours?”
Troy looked a little sheepish again. “Sort of…”
To his credit, David gave no reaction at all. His kind smile did not falter one bit. “When was the last time you took some?”
Predictably, Troy shrugged again. “This afterdood subtibe? I thidg?”
David nodded. “Well, no wonder, baby. This cold is the worst, and you need to keep attacking it. It’s… ah…” He lifted a hand, waving it in a rolling sort of motion, gesturing at Lucas. “Insert sports metaphor here.”
Lucas thought for a moment. “Okay, so if you’re going up against the heavyweight boxing champion, chances are you won’t be throwing a knockout punch first round, right? It takes round after round of hits, so you gotta stay tough and keep fighting or it’s you that’s gonna get KOed. Like that?”
“Yep! Just like that. Thank you, baby.”
“Any time.” Lucas went back to visually scanning the room for any bulges under blankets that might be tissue boxed shaped.
Smiling, David cocked his head at Troy. “Make sense?”
Troy nodded and coughed. Lucas couldn’t help but wince. That cough sounded pretty bad, like the congestion was trying to make its way down to his chest instead of staying put in his head. David glanced over at Lucas, a brief expression of concern on his face. Troy, hunched over a little and still coughing, hadn’t seen it. And when he lifted his head, breathing carefully through his mouth, David was the very picture of calm and smiley once more. Troy, on the other hand, had tears in his eyes, probably brought on from the intense coughing.
“Troy,” David said, his voice so gentle you’d never know it was 1am and he just ran down two flights of stairs. “May I put my hand on your shoulder?”
Troy’s eyebrows knit together, but he nodded. David leaned forward and did exactly what he said he was going to. He squeezed reassuringly. “Here’s what’s going to happen now. I’m going to help you find a comfortable position where you’ll be able to breathe, relax, and, I hope, fall asleep. And my husband’s going to go down to the convenience store and get a different brand of medicine that’s probably a better fit for your symptoms right now, one that should be easier for you to remember to take.”
Lucas really should have seen that coming. He walked over and leaned against David’s side. “Extra strength 12-hour Mucinex?”
“You read my mind. Again.” Really, though, Lucas just knew what David gave him when he had wet coughs like the one Troy had now.
Despite the fact that Troy really needed medicine, Lucas didn’t leave immediately. There was one final thing to sort out. “Just checking about that promise you made me give this morning?”
David pulled back from Troy and reached up, taking Lucas’ hand. “My turn to promise: I’ll be okay. Considering the conversations we had earlier, I think you can go. As long as you’re comfortable with the arrangement.”
Nodding, Lucas leaned over and kissed him. “Of course I am. I’ll be right back. I love you.”
David’s smile brightened, not just from calm and reassuring but genuinely pleased and loving. “I love you too, baby. Don’t forget to grab a room card so you can get back in. I gave you back your phone, right?”
“Yep. Got it.” Lucas tapped his hand against his back pocket, just to make sure. He went to head out, taking one of the two room key cards he’d noticed on the table and slipping it into his other back pocket. He picked up one of the room service trays to leave it outside the door on his way as well.
“And take the elevator!” David called after him. There was a surge of something like relief and comfort in hearing those words. David wanted him to return quickly. He wasn’t worried. He wasn’t even jealous. But it was still nice to hear he was needed and wanted. Maybe David really had something going here with this care-giving kink of his. Lucas headed to the elevators.
It wasn’t until he was alone in the elevator, surrounded by the gold and mirrors and bright lights that were becoming familiar to him that the fatigue started to come back to him. He leaned against a wall and closed his eyes. Getting Troy to sleep suddenly seemed like a critical goal. Lucas knew that neither he nor David would be sleeping until Troy did, and even then they might do so in shifts. But Lucas felt dead tired. And as every second passed, he grew more and more so.
When the elevator reached the ground floor and the doors slid open to the lobby, he realized he had nearly nodded off during the ride. His head spun slightly as he fought to wake himself up, push off the elevator wall, and use the momentum to carry him forward through the lobby to the little convenient store, glad to find it was open. He’d vowed to himself to only ever stay at hotels from now on that had 24-hour stores. You never knew when you’d have to make an emergency medicine run to one for a guy you and your husband were hoping might join you in bed, assuming your husband managed to get him breathing like a normal person first.
How was this his life now?
Lucas grabbed the box of medicine off the hook on the wall and headed to the counter to check out, only to realize he didn’t have his wallet.
“It’s no problem,” said the young man at the counter. “Just put down your room number and sign for it. It will show up on your bill when you check out of the hotel.”
“Fantastic. I was not looking forward to going all the way back up to my room for it.”
“You wouldn’t imagine how often this happens. Though, honestly, why you’d come to buy something and not have anything to buy it with is beyond me…”
Lucas decided this is where the conversation needed to end. He slid the receipt and pen back over the counter and took his purchase. An elevator opened right up for him in the lobby, and he got on, but so did three women apparently coming back from some bar. They were tipsy as anything and hanging off each other. The doors to the elevator closed, and the women giggled at their reflections in the mirrored walls.
“Are you all going to floor twenty-one also?” Lucas asked, because none of them had pressed a button for a different floor.
One of them hiccupped. Another giggled some more. And a third bothered to answer. “No, floor twelve.” The two of them looked up at the floor progress above the door. They’d just passed floor sixteen. “Awwww!” The woman playfully slapped another on the arm. “Hey, we missed the floor!”
“We should be going back down!” one shrieked.
The other stabbed at the button for the twelfth floor repeatedly, but the light wouldn’t turn on because the elevator was going in the wrong direction.
Lucas sighed. “It’ll go back down as soon as we get to floor twenty-one.”
“Kay…” one replied, still pushing the button with confusion. “I think it’s broken.”
Under normal circumstances, Lucas might have stayed in the elevator and made sure they got back down to floor twelve. But it was after two by now, his body was crying out for a little rest, his eyelids were heavy, and there were two men counting on him. So when the elevator doors opened, Lucas bolted out to be sure he didn’t wind up riding the elevator up and down all night with them. He figured that they’d make it where they needed to go eventually, even if a hotel employee had to intervene. As the doors shut, he heard more laughter. One of them said, “What floor are we going to again?”
Lucas rolled his eyes and headed in the direction of room 2144 again. He stopped short near the ice machine, however. There was a door ajar just beyond the ice machine alcove, and inside was the unmistakable sight of a housekeeping cart. Behind that were shelves lined with supplies. There probably thousands of tiny bars of soap and miniature bottles of shampoo. But Lucas was set on just one thing. Looking around to make sure no one saw, he leaned in and helped himself to a big box of tissues. He was a few doors down when he paused again, thinking. He doubled back and ducked into the storage closet once more.
When he emerged again, he still had the box of tissues, but he also had a roll of paper towels, a spray bottle, and an extra pillow with a crisp, freshly laundered pillowcase. If he was going to spend the night cleaning, he wanted to be prepared. And if he was going to spend the night sleeping in shifts, he wanted to be prepared for that as well.
As he headed once more to Troy’s room, he imagined what the two of them might have been up to in his absence. Had David told him about his fetish? About their shared attraction to him? For all Lucas knew, they could be having sex right now without him. It didn’t seem like Troy was in any shape for it, but the idea of walking in on the two of them didn’t make him feel the way he thought it would. Before now, he would have there would be a good deal of jealousy. Instead, the mental image of those two in bed together just made him incredibly horny.
He thought about joining in. And he thought about just napping at the foot of the bed. Lucas wasn’t sure which he wanted more, honestly.
Carrying all the things and pulling the key card out of his front pocket to touch it to the card reader by the door was difficult. However, it wasn’t until a red light indicator turned on that he realized that was the card to his and David’s room; the other card was in his back pocket. With a sigh, Lucas put everything down except for the pillow. When he tapped the correct card to the door reader, the light went amber. He pushed the door open a few inches and wedged his foot inside to keep it from closing as he rounded up his things again.
David and Troy were both on the bed together, but they weren’t in the middle of mind blowing sex, or sex of any kind, by the traditional definition of the word.
Troy lay stretched out across the bed lengthwise, lying back on two stacked pillows. Those pillows were resting in David’s lap. David had his hand on Troy’s shoulder again as he regaled the man with a story Lucas knew all too well. And, judging from the place he was at in the story, they must have spent most of the time not having sex without Lucas but actually talking about Lucas. God, how he loved that man.
“Now, what I should have done at that point was to retreat to the locker room before I could embarrass myself any further,” David recounted. “Instead, I went over to the most complicated weight lifting machine and pretended I knew how to use it.”
“Oh doel” Clearly, Troy could see where that was going. “You did’t.”
“Oh, yes he did.” Lucas said, breaking in, making his return known.
David smiled brightly back at him, continuing, “I probably would have died if Lucas hadn’t rescued me from its clutches! He was my knight in shining gym clothes.”
Both David and Lucas laughed, but Troy looked a little nervous about being found like this. Even though there were several pillows in play, his head was technically in Lucas’ husband’s lap. He made to move, to readjust, but Lucas held his hand out, gesturing for him to stay put. “You look comfortable, finally. Do you feel more comfortable?”
Troy sniffed but nodded.
“Then please don’t get up on my account. I’m just going to get you a glass of water so you can swallow these pills easier.”
“Hey,” David said softly, his hand moving, grip apparently tightening on Troy’s shoulder. “Let’s get you sitting up a little more to make that easier. You can lie back down the second you’re done.” There was a fair bit of shifting and more than a fair bit of coughing. But when Lucas returned from the bathroom, glass of water in hand, Troy was indeed sitting up. He took a few sips of water to calm his throat while Lucas popped two giant pills from the blister pack.
“These are 12-hour pills,” David explained. “Should be easier to remember. Just take one at…” He checked his watch. “Take one every time the clock gets to 2. I’ll remind you, too, so you can’t forget. Gotta… ah… go a lot of rounds if you want to make a touchdown.”
“No,” Lucas said, sliding onto the bed beside his husband. He put his arm around David. “Nice try at a metaphor, but that’s not how football works.”
Troy gave a little laugh and handed the water glass back to Lucas. He scrubbed his hand at his nose, sniffling as his nose twitched. From the tightness of his mouth and furrow of his brow, it looked like he might be trying to hold some sneezes back.
The tissue box Lucas had procured was still tucked under his arm, so he pulled it out and ripped the cardboard tab off the top, leaving only a thin layer of plastic between anybody and the tissues beneath. He thought of first of reaching forward and offering it to Troy, whose nose was obviously tickling badly again. However, he tilted the box in David’s direction instead.
Acting on instinct, David immediately reached in and pulled out a few tissues. Then he paused. His eyes met Lucas’, and they silently asked if this was all right, asking for permission.
Lucas smiled and nodded. His arm around David’s shoulders tightened its hold, bringing the man closer and letting Lucas kiss David’s temple. “Love you. Love everything about you,” he whispered as softly as he could, not sure if Troy could hear or if the man was too busy concentrating on not sneezing. Then he dropped the tissue box onto his lap and ran his hand down David’s arm from shoulder to forearm, guiding it forward to Troy.
David held the tissues out in front of Troy’s face. “It’s okay to sneeze, baby,” he said, giving Troy’s shoulder another squeeze.
“heh heh ehhh hehh?” Troy squinted uncertainly at the tissues as his breath hitched desperately. For a moment, none of them were certain if he was going to sneeze or not. Then he moved his hand away from his nose and pitched forward into the tissues before he could reach for them himself. “ehhh-HIHtchhhhh! EHschooo! Hehh hehh HXXschuhhh!”
David caught them all deftly and then, carefully, gripped Troy’s nose through the tissues before wiping, ensuring he’d catch any residual runniness. Lucas knew that feeling intimately, the way David applied just the right amount of pressure and did his best to be gentle when Lucas’ nose felt sore. He knew how good it felt to be on the receiving end of Lucas’ care. He also knew Troy needed to blow his nose right about now.
“Thadgs.” Troy coughed and sniffed and coughed again.
David had already pulled several fresh tissues out of the box by the time Lucas said, “Hey man, blow your nose.” Troy looked over his shoulder at them, a little confused, a little shy. Lucas patted his arm. “Trust me. It’ll help.”
Troy coughed again and looked back at David, who held up the new batch of tissues. Then he pressed them to Troy’s nose for him. “There you go.” David’s voice was reassuring, encouraging.
Without further hesitation, Troy blew his nose into the tissues repeatedly, and there was a great a look of relief on his face afterward. “Cad I… go for roud two?”
“As many rounds as it takes. Lucas brought a brand new box of tissues.” David maneuvered another couple tissues into place. Troy took a deep breath and blew his nose again.
“That’s good.” Troy gave another sniffle, though this one was small this time. “I used ub dearly that whole other box. Dot eved sure where I left it.” He scanned the room for a few seconds before giving up with a shrug. “I was just so… so sdee… sdee-heee… sdeezy-heh-HEH!” David pressed tissues to his nose. “heh-EHGGTshooo!”
“God bless you, baby.” He wiped Troy’s nose dry.
“I dod’t thig that bedicide is helbig at all. Snrff! I still feel so idcredibly sdeezy.”
David nudged Lucas. “Trade places with me for a couple minutes?”
Lucas got up and moved aside, allowing David to slide out from under the pillows and get up. He stretched his arms over his head, fingers clasped, in imitation of one of the many stretches Lucas did every morning. Then, as Lucas sat back down on the bed, taking his place by the pillows cradling Troy’s head and shoulders, David pulled at the blankets and plumped the pillows to make sure both men were comfortable. After that, he walked around the bed so he could be seen easier.
“Your nose is going to keep bothering you for a while. This is a pretty bad cold. It’ll take a little time for the medicine to start working, but I promise it will start to help soon.” He held his hand out and Lucas passed him the box of tissues without needing to be asked to do so. “Sit tight. I’m going to make us some tea. I’ve got a good herbal one that should help soothe your throat and warm you up. It might even make you a little sleepy.”
Troy looked like that might be too much to hope for just now, but he nodded and helped himself to a tissue, rubbing at his nose almost immediately.
They watched David bustling about, attempting to make decent cups of tea using teabags and the hotel’s coffee maker. Lucas loved watching his husband fuss like this. Before, he’d always been on the receiving end, so getting to watch it when he didn’t feel completely miserable was something of a treat. Granted, Lucas did feel tired, but he didn’t feel ill, and that was a significant difference. He thought he’d feel more jealous to have David do for someone else things he normally reserved just for Lucas, but he enjoyed watching David fuss over Troy far too much to be jealous. He just liked watching David be in his element, doing the things that made him the happiest.
“You’re so lucky to have hib,” Troy whispered, looking back at Lucas.
Lucas nodded. “I’m well aware.” He directed a yawn into his shoulder. If David made him drink that herbal tea, he wasn’t sure he was going to be able to stay up much longer. What he needed was caffeine and plenty of it.
“hehhhh!” Lucas knew the unsteady intake of breath was something he should react to. If he were David, he’d have tissues to the man’s nose by now. But he was too tired to be quick. And, besides, quick reflexes weren’t really his wheelhouse either; it was another reason those fast, high intensity workouts just weren’t his thing. “hehhhh-IHHPtchshhhhhhhh!”
“Tissues, baby!” David called from the far side of the room, and Lucas wondered which of them he meant—Troy, who had sneezed freely or Lucas who hadn’t grabbed tissues for Troy fast enough.
“S-sor…” Troy tried to apologize, but his breath caught again. This time, he pulled a tissue hastily from the box on his lap. “hehHIHtshuphhhh!”
Troy had pitched forward, exposing a broad back perfect for rubbing. Lucas wasn’t nearly as good as David at care-giving, but he knew his back rubs were pretty good. So he placed a hand there and rubbed, his torso rocking as he used his core muscles to push through his arms and knead the butt of his hand into Troy’s back with just the right amount of pressure. “Bless you,” Lucas said softly.
Remaining hunched forward to give Lucas access to his back, Troy made a grunty sound of pleasure. When he sniffed, his body tightened, and Lucas pressed harder until the man relaxed again. Troy hung his head, trying to go loose, tension draining from his body, especially his shoulders.
Lucas broke his rhythm as a fierce yawn seized him. He directed it into his shoulder, but it was so big that Troy had heard it and glanced back. “I feel lucky, too, you know. Dot a lot of beoble would go to all this trouble for subode they just bet. But I feel a lot better, thadgs.”
Taking this as his cue to end the rubbing, Lucas pulled his hand back.
“How are you holdid’ ub? It’s late, and you look exhausted.”
Lucas felt it. He nodded automatically, though sitting still here and acknowledging it only made it harder to fight the fatigue. He felt his eyes close and, try as he might, he couldn’t force them back open again.
David prepared Troy’s tea first, letting it steep for the longest. He didn’t really need the other two cups to be very strong. In fact, he wasn’t even expecting to finish his off. Warm tea always made him feel soothed and a little drowsy, even if it was pumped with caffeine. By the time all three cups were ready, David turned to find that Lucas had fallen asleep. So much for them taking shifts to watch over Troy tonight. David could hardly blame him, though; Lucas had had a physically exhausting day. He was surprised Lucas had made it as long as he had already, honestly.
Carrying the hot, steaming mugs over just as he had carried the glasses of water not a day ago, David walked over to the bed and placed them on the nightstand carefully, not spilling a drop. He handed the one with the teabag and spoon still in it to Troy. “I know you Englishmen probably think it’s a sin to keep the teabag in while you drink, but the longer this steeps, the better it works. It’ll coat your throat and help with the coughing. So drink it slowly to let it work its magic.”
David paused, looking down at Lucas. “I see my husband passed out the second I had my back turned. Poor baby.” David walked around the bed and leaned over, giving Lucas a soft kiss. Unlike a princess in a fairy tale, his eyelids did not flutter and he did not dramatically come awake. David really hadn’t expected that to work.
With a startled “Ooop!” David came around the bed again. He took Troy’s mug, swapping it for a tissue from the box.
Troy’s face turned upwards, and he held the tissue up as well, a few inches away. His mouth dropped open and his eyes closed. “HUHShoooo! HEHPTchooo!”
“God bless you, baby,” David reached down and ran his hand over Troy’s head, stroking the back comfortingly.
“Bless you,” Lucas murmured, finally opening his eyes. He rubbed his knuckles at his eyes and pushed off from the bed, sitting himself up a little straighter. “S-sorry. Think I… nodded off a second.” He still didn’t sound completely awake. He shook himself and looked over at David. “Is the tea ready?”
“It is. It’s probably cooled off enough to drink by now, too.” David handed Troy back his cup before reaching past and handing Lucas his. The two were easy to tell apart; Troy’s herbal tea was a beautiful chestnut shade of brown while Lucas’ and David’s were darker black teas. As they all sipped from their mugs at virtually the same time, silence fell over the hotel room. Troy sniffled a little, and the sound punctured the silence with a stronger meaning than it might have ordinarily. David sat down on the edge of the bed but angled so he could see both men more easily. The tea was pretty weak, but it was nice and warm and comforting. He hoped the others thought so, too.
“Don’t apologize,” David said, taking Troy’s mug from him. “You’ve got a cold. You can’t exactly help needing to sneeze. And there are plenty of tissues.”
Troy needed them. He pressed three to his nose as he panted into them. “ehhh have to hehh Heh-EPTshfffff!” He paused for a second, gasping for breath, and David was about to bless him. But then Troy held up a finger indicating he wasn’t done yet. “eh-yehhh… ehhhhh… hehh Hah-EHKtchooo! Hehtchoo! Hihhshoo-Kshoo! Hehh-EHHshuhh! Hihhkshuhhh! Hhhh… ehhhh IHPTshuhhhhhh!” Desperately, he clamped the tissues around his nose and blew repeatedly until the terrible, wet gurgle went dry-ish. Then he coughed and lowered the tissues, seeming exhausted. “Excuse be.”
Lucas clapped, impressed, and David rubbed his arm. “God bless you, baby! That was… is that the kind of sneezing you’ve been doing all evening?”
“Well no wonder you can’t sleep. You poor thing.” Troy gave a little shrug and another sniffle. David kept rubbing his arm. “The medicine’s got a decongestant and will help with that. And the tea should help you sleep. While you rest, your body can fight off this bug. You’ll feel better soon.”
“Sniff!” Troy lifted the tissues again to rub at his nose. “I already feel better.”
It was incredible how good that felt. David’s whole body tingled with pleasure at the idea that this man felt better thanks to him. He felt hot and raw and excited. And he wanted more, but he knew that three in the morning wasn’t the best time to have a discussion. He had to hold back. But that didn’t mean he didn’t have to stop helping. “Let me know if there’s anything else I can do for you.” David reached down and took the bunch of used tissues. He got up and dropped them in the little trash can, which was nearly full of them already. So he got the other little trash can from the bathroom and brought it over to the bed.
At the same time, Lucas got up. At David’s questioning look, Lucas explained, “I think the caffeine is kicking in. I’m feeling a little jittery and restless now. I thought I’d clean up, if you don’t mind.”
David didn’t mind at all. He took his spot on the bed back from Lucas and settled in. He drained the last of his own tea and set the mug on the nightstand, where it was scooped up almost immediately by Lucas and taken over to the counter where the coffee maker was. Lucas watched his husband go from one place to another in the room, picking up whatever was on the floor or any flat surface and finding a place for it. It seemed like Lucas had gotten his second wind.
The moment Troy finished drinking his tea, Lucas was there to collect his mug. Troy sniffed and thanked him. But, as he settled back against his pillows, trying to get comfortable again, he gave a little shiver.
David couldn’t help but notice. “Are you cold, baby?” He only had one blanket tucked around his waist.
“Just a little bit.”
David stroked his head and called out. “Lucas, baby, would you fill up the hot water bottle?”
“I’m on it!” Lucas called from the bathroom, the tap already running. David was never going to get tired of Lucas knowing him so well he could practically read his mind. What they had was so strong and so special. David couldn’t imagine having that kind of connection with anyone else, and before meeting Troy, he couldn’t have imagined sharing it either. He had no idea why this felt as right as it did, but he just couldn’t help wanting to fuss over the man and feeling so hot and worked up when he succeeded.
Lucas returned with the hot water bottle in hand, drying it off from the skin on his t-shirt before handing it to Troy. “There’s that. And I can do you one better.” Lucas flopped down onto the bed right alongside Troy. “I’ve got plenty of body warmth.”
Troy laughed as he hugged the red, hot water bottle to his chest. “Snff! Okay, I just gotta ask. What exactly is goidg od here? ‘Cause sniff all this,” he lifted a finger into the air above his head and made a circular motion with it. “This is dot dorbal.”
David reached down and hit Lucas’ shoulder. It wasn’t hard, and his hand glanced off, but it was enough to get Lucas’ attention. “Great. You just had to go and lie down next to him?”
Lying on his chest, Lucas pushed himself up onto his forearms to look up at David. “Well, what about you and all your ‘baby’ing?”
“It’s an instinctual reaction. You know that.”
“Yeah, I know that, but it’s not exactly ‘normal’ is it?” He lifted one of his hands, and did air quotes around the word.
David had never promised normal, but the fault here wasn’t just his. “It’s not like you were subtle about things either. You nearly put your arm around him just now.”
“I saw it twitch! Anyhow, now he thinks we’re creepy.”
“I did’t say that.”
David had almost forgotten Troy was right there, and from the startled look on his face, so had Lucas. Lucas quickly scrambled off the bed and David sighed, pulling back a little, trying to give Troy a little space. “I’m sorry, Troy. We’re both so sorry.”
Troy sniffed. “Add I’b codfused. I exbect guys I just beet to be dice add friedly. They dod’t usually sduggle ub to be or bagically dow when I have to sdeeze add hold tissues to by dose. Whatever this is goes way beyod beidg dice add friedly. So either this is sobe fetish I’ve dever heard of add all this turds you od or you two wadt be to joid you id a three-way. Which is it?”
David and Lucas shared a look of surprise. Even though they had agreed to be honest with Troy, David found it hard to come up with the words. The last thing he wanted to do was to hurt Troy in any way; the poor guy was ill and tired and miserable. Twice David started to say something and stopped, feeling ashamed and embarrassed but then ultimately relieved when Lucas spoke up for them. “It’s both,” Lucas admitted. “And we were going to tell you when you felt better.”
David added, “It didn’t seem fair to throw all of this at you when we couldn’t do anything about it anyway. We’d never proposition you for sex when you feel ill. We don’t even make love when one of us isn’t well.”
“It’s true,” Lucas agreed. “So until you felt better, we thought we could be subtle about our feelings.”
Troy laughed. “This is you two beidg subtle?”
Lucas nodded. “On a scale of one to ten, we’re kind of at a three.” He rubbed the back of his neck. “Okay, maybe a three-point-five.”
Troy looked from one of them to the other and back again. And when he licked his lips, David thought that visual might make him die on the spot. He was tense and vulnerable in a way he’d only experienced once before, when he had told Lucas about his kink. The stakes were much different now, but the idea of ruining all of this and hurting Troy instead of helping him was almost too much to stand. “All right,” Troy said slowly. David’s heart raced. “You show be your ted od the scale, add I’ll show you by cock. How’s that?”
Neither man spoke. Neither could move.
“Breathe,” Troy reminded them, and both let out the breaths they hadn’t been aware they were holding. Troy rubbed at his nose, sniffing again. “Is this the first tibe you’ve thought about obedidg your relatiodshib to subode?”
They both nodded.
“Well, thed, I’b hodored. That’s a big decisiod.” He reached a hand out to Lucas. Lucas hesitated for a moment then walked forward and took it. Then he extended his other hand to David. David’s whole body trembled, but somehow he forced one foot forward followed by the next, until his legs were pressed against the side of the bed. When his hand took hold of Troy’s, his skin tingled. But where sitting next to Troy and touching him had felt so natural a moment ago, this felt sort of awkward and strange. And he could visibly see himself shaking, even as Troy squeezed his hand. “It’s okay,” Troy said to them both. “It’s dot by first tibe.”
David tried focused on Troy’s warm hand and his reassuring smile, trying to draw strength and reassurance from them. But the smile faltered, the corners of his mouth twitching downward, his eyelids dropping. At once, David felt more like himself again. Unhindered, he reached over to the tissue box and pulled one out, pressing it right to Troy’s nose for him just in time.
David’s voice broke as he replied on instinct, “God bless you, baby.”
Troy opened his eyes, fixing his gaze on David then nuzzling his face into the tissue and David’s hand. David gasped as the unexpected but nonetheless welcome sensation caused a rush of arousal to wash over him.
Pulling back, Troy smiled and squeezed David’s hand, then released it. “Ah. So you’re the one with the kidk. That bakes sedse.” Then he squeezed Lucas’ hand again. “Add you’re the ode who likes seeig what your guy cad do.” Instead of releasing Lucas, he gave a tug and pulled Lucas back onto the bed with him, face-down. He moved his body close. “You also like all this a bit bore thad you’re willig to adbit, huh?” He nuzzled at Lucas’ armpit then dove under Lucas’ arm. “Go ahead and hold me. I want to feel your strodg arbs aroud be. I wadt your warbth.”At once, Lucas slung his arm over Troy’s body and held tight. From that position, Troy looked up at David and sniffled. “I wadt your tissues. Add I wadt your care so I cad feel well edough to fuck the two of you.”
Still feeling raw, exposed, and aroused, David was amazed his reply came so easily. “Keep this up, baby, and I’m going to want a shower pretty soon.”
Troy grinned. “Cobe joid us id bed.”
He almost did just that, moving toward the bed, but then pulling back again. “No.” David looked down at the two of them, lying across the bed. His husband’s arm was wrapped around another man, and he wondered why he didn’t feel the least bit threatened by it. Both Lucas and Troy looked up at him now, though. Troy looked confused and Lucas wore a ‘what the fuck?’ expression, looking like he might kill David for refusing. “If we’re going to do this, I think we should do it properly. Everybody, get up for a few minutes so I can make the bed.”
Lucas’ displeasure softened into understanding.
He met Lucas’ gaze. “You keep hold of him, okay? Keep him warm.” Somehow, Lucas had become an extension of David, providing the care in David’s place when needed.
So Lucas nodded, smiling. “I love you,” Lucas said.
“I love you, too,” David replied.
“hehIHHShuhhhhh!” Troy sneezed.
David blessed him and handed him a tissue before getting straight to work making the bed. He smoothed out the sheets, stacked the pillows, and tucked in the blankets and comforter. Everything looked neat, crisp, and appealing. When it was all set, Lucas began shuffling them over, but David held out his hand. “Wait! Just a few last…” On the nightstand, he put a bottle of water, plugged his phone in, and placed the box of tissues. Then he went over to the table, where Lucas had unpacked their purchases from earlier that day. He rooted around among them and carried something concealed in his fist back to the bed. Feeling both silly and quite proud of himself, he placed a cough drop instead of a chocolate on each of the three top pillows.
“This is David getting a little bit closer to ten,” Lucas informed Troy, who chuckled.
“You dod’t see be coblaidig, do you?” He snuggled back into Lucas’ embrace.
Lucas kissed the back of Troy’s head. “C’mon,” he urged, nudging the man forward toward the bed again. Troy crawled under the covers, getting right in the middle of the bed. Both David and Lucas stripped out of their shirts and jeans, leaving them to get in wearing just their underwear.
And, for the first time since all this had begun, David felt a little self-conscious. He wasn’t nearly as built and muscular as Lucas was. Plus, his arousal was impossible to miss. He hoped Troy didn’t take it the wrong way, as an indication that David wanted to fool around tonight. He just couldn’t turn his kink off around Troy, and taking care of him felt almost as good to him as taking care of Lucas did. Quickly, he slid under the covers and busied himself collecting the cough drops so they didn’t find one stuck in their hair the next morning.
“Hey,” Troy said, catching David’s attention. “Are you sure you’re all right?”
David nodded, though he didn’t feel all right any more. He was going to embarrass himself and fuck this up and Lucas was going to blame him for ruining something that might have been amazing and that would destroy his marriage and he was going to be devastated to have not been able to help more… his breath was racing, his heart was pounding, his chest was tightening. Was he having the beginnings of a panic attack? He hadn’t had one of those in years. Shit, he couldn’t even remember what he was supposed to do when he had one.
“Lucas,” Troy said. “Give your husbad a kiss before he falls abart od us.”
The mattress dipped as Lucas knelt on the other side of the bed, leaning over Troy and catching David’s cheeks in his hands. Even though he couldn’t catch his breath, Lucas didn’t hesitate to press a firm kiss to his lips. The sensation was so familiar and comforting it slowed down the jumble of thoughts in David’s mind and eased his worries. And just when David expected Lucas to pull out of the kiss, instead he deepened it. His tongue lapped at David’s mouth, and David felt himself transported, transformed, relaxed. His eyes closed. And he kissed back just as passionately.
The kiss seemed to last for days, both of them with extreme fatigue and caffeine and emotions running high. They clung to the simplicity of what they knew and what they knew worked.
When they finally pulled back, David’s breathing was ragged, but his heartbeat was starting to dip back down into the normal range again. He felt as if he could have kept on kissing his man all night, though.
“Fuck,” whispered Troy, and both David and Lucas looked down at him, forgetting he was lying in-between them in bed still. “Well, that was hot. Wish I… wish I felt well edough to… to…” He tried his best to hold back a small fit of coughs so he wouldn’t ruin the moment, his body shaking with the force of them. Tears formed in the corners of his eyes and he lifted his arm, burying the lower half of his face in his sleeve. He coughed wetly and for much longer than he had before.
When the coughing finally subsided, David wiped the tears away with his thumb and then helped Troy blow his nose. “Do you want a few sips of water?” Troy nodded, and David helped him sit up to swallow. Then he eased Troy back down again.
David and Lucas knelt on the bed on either side of Troy, the covers half up. Neither was sure how to proceed.
Troy couldn’t help but notice. “After all this, are you guys gettidg cold feet?”
“No,” David said.
At the same time, Lucas replied, “Definitely not.”
“I bead, cad’t say I’d blabe you.” He coughed again. “I’b dot exactly a catch right dow.”
“That’s not it at all,” David said, brushing the backs of his fingers lightly against Troy’s cheek. “We’re so into you. I think we’ve established that pretty well already.”
He looked over at Lucas, who gave him a decisive nod before trying to explain. “We’re just not sure how to… do this.”
Troy opened one eye. “You guys dod’t sleeb? Well, that exblaids a lot about todight.”
“Listen to him, trying to be funny after all this.” Lucas gave Troy’s arm a playful, light punch on the arm. “We’ve just never slept with someone else. Why don’t you just tell us how you want us? The whole point is to get you comfortable enough to sleep.”
Both eyes closed again, Troy yawned powerfully. David felt relief at the sight, knowing that Troy was already getting sleepy. “All right,” he agreed.
And that was how Lucas ended up on his side, big spoon against Troy’s back. His arm wrapped around Troy from behind, hugging tightly. David lay on his side in front of Troy, in-between him and the tissue box he could easily reach when needed. Because it was still needed frequently, David kept a few tissues in his hand.
“hehh… ehhhh… ehIHGshphhhhh!”
David applied pressure and wiped his nose for him. Then he balled up the tissue and tossed it over the side of the bed. He knew he could clean that up in the morning. “God ble—” He stopped abruptly, raising another to Troy’s face in one swift movement.
This time, he waited a few more beats to make sure there were no more sneezes this time. Then he tried again, wiping and blessing.
“Thadgs. Snffff! Seebs I’ve got you right id the lide of fire. I abbologize if I accidedtally sdeeze od you at sobe boidt durig the dight.”
“Wouldn’t be the first time it’s happened, believe me.” He wiped again at Troy’s nose for him. “But I’ll do my best to catch your sneezes for you. You let me know if you need anything else.”
“You’d better.” He dared to move just a little closer and placed a gentle kiss on the bridge of Troy’s nose. Then David looked past Troy at Lucas lying there, snuggled up tight the way his instincts had been telling him to be all along. “You let me know if you need anything too, baby.”
“Just need sleep,” Lucas mumbled, face nuzzling into Troy’s blonde hair. “Goodnight, both of you.”
“Night,” David echoed.
“Gooddight,” said Troy, his voice slow and tired on top of being stuffy. “Add thadks.”
David reached over his shoulder and switched off the light.
Lucas was the first to wake the next morning. He found himself in a tangle of limbs, sheets, and blankets. He was no longer in the position he’d fallen asleep in, but he was all right with where he had ended up. He lay on his back with his left arm wrapped around David, who was lying upon Lucas’ chest. Nestled into David’s front now was Troy, and Lucas had his right arm around him. Their heads were tucked beneath his chin, their weight both comforting and a little restraining against his chest. If he didn’t have to piss so damn bad, he would have liked to have stayed there like that all morning, just holding the two of them and dozing, letting his body rest after all the excitement of yesterday.
But as his body was the one demanding something else from him now, he knew it was best to listen. Besides, he also craved a bit of movement. His body felt stiff and one of his legs was tingly and asleep from the way Troy was lying on him. He was also a little excited about another day at the conference. There were some demos he wanted to check out in more detail, now that he’d had a chance to get a good overview of all the vendors. And there were a few classes today he hoped to attend. It was strange trying to juggle his conflicting desires right now. On one hand, they had made this trip across the country specifically so that he could attend this conference and learn things that would help him attract and retain more clients at the gym. This was his chance to learn from industry leaders and try products that might make a difference at the gym. But on the other hand, there was a gorgeous man lying on top of him who was a perfect fit for their dynamic and seemed into them as well. Who knew if they would ever find someone like Troy again or if they would even want to? Lucas felt every bit as drawn to Troy as he felt drawn to his career.
Deciding that he didn’t need to make any choices right now and just needed to go to the bathroom, Lucas set to work extracting himself from the tangle. He decided slipping out to his left, dealing with Troy first and then David, was the best course of action based on the arrangement. He managed to unhook his leg and bend his elbow over his head without smacking the headboard. He shifted and inched and moved pillows down to fill in the gap he’d left. Troy stirred but did not fully wake. A few seconds later, he went right back to snoring lightly, his nose still stuffed-up with cold. Lucas considered his move a great success.
Getting out from under David was going to be a little more difficult, as he was entirely under the man now. He tried shifting, but the pressure of David’s body was hitting him in all the wrong places—including his bladder. After a bit of struggling, he finally just gave up and pushed David up a little, treating him more like a barbell than a husband. But that allowed him to slip out and off the bed entirely. Unfortunately, David opened his eyes.
“Hey, good morning,” Lucas said, kissing him as if he’d intended to wake him all along.
David narrowed his eyes, confused for a second about what was going on.
“I desperately need the toilet,” Lucas whispered. “And you need to keep snuggling this handsome man.”
Understanding dawned on David, and he got an overly goofy, satisfied grin on his face. He snuggled closer to Troy.
Instead of rushing to the bathroom, though, Lucas stood by the bed for just a few more seconds. He stroked David’s head. “Go back to sleep,” he whispered. “Everything’s all right. Everything’s perfect. Get some more sleep. You earned it.” It was true. David had been the last of them to fall asleep this morning, spending his time manning the tissues until Troy finally managed to nod off for good.
David’s eyes were closed again, but he wasn’t asleep just yet. His breathing was still normal. Lucas knew he needed another comforting push and had a feeling about what might just do it. Ever so softly, he began humming their song, the one that they’d danced to first at their wedding. He kept stroking David’s head, slowly, in time to the lines of the song now, though: Oh, baby, you, you got what I need. You got everything I need. You’re like medicine to me. Oh baby. It was almost like Freddie Scott had written it just for them. The humming didn’t seem to disturb Troy, thankfully, and within a couple minutes, David was breathing slow and deep and Lucas’ leg had gone from tingly to intense pins and needles to back to normal again.
He considered going to use the bathroom in his own hotel room so as not to disturb either of the sleeping men, but he didn’t want to leave the room and break whatever magic spell had been cast on them all in the middle of the night. So he shut the door, stuffed a towel in the crack beneath it to muffle the sound, and tried to be as quiet as possible as he relieved himself and washed his hands.
He found them both still asleep when he returned, and decided not to risk waking them by trying to insert himself back into bed. So he threw his shirt on and continued cleaning up. The pile of used tissues by the bedside was pretty impressive, having officially overflowed both trashcans.
After tidying up, Lucas did what he did every morning and started his workout routine.
First up were a few basic stretches, which his body seemed to appreciate greatly. He breathed in deep through his nose and out through his mouth. Next were thirty push-ups, and his body appreciated these far less. But he powered through them, keeping his grunting to a minimum, and moved on to sit-ups.
Lucas didn’t notice when the sound of snoring ceased. He was too busy pulling himself up and counting them off in his head. But he did notice the sound of bedsheets rustling. He looked up just in time to see Troy propping himself up on one bent arm to peer over the edge of the bed.
Lucas paused mid-sit-up. He was glad to give himself a brief rest, in all honesty. “Sorry,” he apologized, resting his arms against his knees. “I was trying to be quiet. Did I wake you?”
Troy nodded. “But it’s okay. I like the view. A lot.”
That sounded like an invitation to keep going, so Lucas did, enjoying having an audience.
“Do you do this sabe routide every day?” Troy asked. He still sounded congested, but the stuffiness wasn’t quite as thick as before. And he was sniffling a little, but both the coughing and sneezing hadn’t yet made an appearance. That was a good sign the decongestant might actually be working. Thank goodness.
“Just about.” He nodded in the direction of the bed. “David won’t let me do it if I’m sick, though.”
Troy smiled and rubbed at his nose with the back of his hand, as if mere mention of being ill was enough to remind his nose to bother him. “I’b dot surprised. Eved I’b dot this active first thidg id the bordig.” He watched as Lucas moved from sit-ups to lunges, turning from one side to the other as he did them for an extra stretch. After a while, he asked, “Take your shirt off for be?”
Lucas glanced over, seeing a level of desire on Troy’s face that he had been unprepared for but certainly welcomed. During his next lunge forward, he tugged the ends of his shirt and pulled it over his head. Feeling dramatic, he twirled it above his head and then flung it across the room. Then he went into another lunge, not even letting it break his rhythm.
The next exercise was Russian twists, which he did by tilting back and lifting both his legs off the floor for the extra challenge. Lucas wished he could keep his expression neutral, as if this were a piece of cake for him. But cake had far too many carbs and doing the exercise like this hurt. Besides, he wasn’t going to pretend to be anything he wasn’t, and this morning he was someone who wanted to complete a challenging set of morning exercises.
“Dabb!” Troy looked impressed.
Lucas smiled, pausing for a second and catching his breath. “You know… that’s what I thought when I first saw your body. Your abs are to die for.”
Troy’s dimple-filled smile was such a delight to see first thing in the morning. “Cheers, yeah, I work hard to keeb ‘eb that way.”
Moving into plank position, he knew he was giving Troy an excellent view of his backside now, and that little exhale of breath Troy gave Lucas some satisfaction. On his elbows, he tightened his core and began by lifting his leg and holding it there, pulsing, letting his bodyweight keep his muscles toned. At home, he would have added weights, but despite packing multiple bags, he hadn’t been able to bring his favorite sets of weights with him when traveling. Damn those overweight baggage fees.
“You ever try bird doggig there?” Lucas looked over his shoulder at Troy. “How’s your baladce?”
Lucas evened things out, pulsing with his other leg for the same count. “Normally… pretty good.” He finished up and lowered his leg, holding the plank for a few more seconds, concentrating on distributing the weight properly, on tightening the areas that needed to be activated. Then he went up from his forearms to his hands in high plank. “On three hours of sleep… my balance is probably not so great.” But he tried anyway. Slowly, keeping control, he raised his left hand up, sticking it straight out in front of him, and his right leg up, sticking it straight out behind him. Balancing was indeed a challenge, and he could feel his core muscles working hard to keep him stabilized. Sweat trickled down his chest. “That feels great.”
“Looks great, too. David’s a lucky guy to get to wake ub to this every bordig.”
Lucas decided not to mention that half the time David complained that Lucas was grunting too loud or that he was left all alone in bed on a cold morning while Lucas worked out. And David couldn’t appreciate the subtleties of working various muscle groups routinely as a way to start the day and prepare his body for whatever was coming his way. Even when he felt like shit, his morning workout routine brought him joy. No matter how bad his day went, he could always remind himself that he’d had a good workout. Just knowing he was doing something for himself, something to help his body cope with whatever the day had in store was the best.
Which wasn’t to say he didn’t crawl back under the covers to David as soon as he was done with it, most mornings. Starting his day with his cock buried deep inside his man was the second best way to start his day.
Troy coughed a little, and it sounded significantly better than it had last night. Most of the rich wetness was gone, leaving just a dry, irritating cough behind. He stretched his arm out, resting his head on it. “I dod’t dow if I’b goig to get to ady the codferedce today either.”
Lucas felt bad for him. He’d traveled all the way from England to attend the conference, and now he was sick and stuck in a hotel room rather than getting to try out new techniques and equipment, resisting the urge to buy absolutely everything in sight, and socializing with fellow professionals in their field.
“What are your blads for the day? Blease let be live vicariously through you udtil I feel better?”
Lucas laughed, which made him lose his balance and fall to the side. Deciding that was all he had in him anyway, he crossed his legs and sat up, bending one arm behind his head and pulling the elbow to stretch. “There’s a class this morning on maximizing value for clients, and there’s one a little later about foam rollers I thought I’d check out. There are also a few exhibitors I need to visit for work. We’re looking at some new equipment purchases for the end of the fiscal year. I’m supposed to see the demos, ask my questions, and then write up my suggestions with a usage breakdown and cost analysis when I get back.”
His eyes closed, Troy gave a dramatic snore.
Laughing again, Lucas switched arms. “I know. Boring paperwork is definitely not my favorite. But trying out some equipment and maybe building a relationship with the sellers will be good.”
“Just watch what kide of relatiodshib you’re buildig. I dod’t thidk you or David are ready for a foursobe just yet.”
“I’ll try to restrain myself,” Lucas sighed, as if he were frequently turning down requests from people who wanted to hop into bed with him.
“I’m also signed up for a bodyweight workout at 11 and a weight lifting class at 3 o’clock.”
Troy rubbed at his nose. “Oh yeah. I sigded up for that liftig class, too. Baybe I should drop it so they can fill by slot.”
That was probably the sensible, considerate thing to do. But Lucas had a sudden mental image of Troy on his back on that weight bench. Of how he’d found something in that moment he hadn’t been looking for. “Nah, you should come, if you feel up to it by then.” The suggestion was a casual one, but Lucas felt this strong surge of hope in his chest that Troy would take him up on it. Feeling a little nervous that Troy might not, though, he got up and stretched his quads.
Troy glanced over his shoulder at David, still sleeping. When he spoke, he did so at an even lower volume. “You thidk he’d let be?”
“Sure, if you’re feeling up to it. Honestly, we both want you too badly to get on your bad side,” Lucas grinned. “Even David in level ten care-giving mode wouldn’t dare stop you. Neither of us want to see you miserable, bitter, and disappointed. Besides, you don’t have to do any of the lifting. You can spot me this time, watch my form, and give me tips. Get some ideas and learn from the instructors without having to get in there and exhaust yourself physically.” For the first time since the topic of the conference came up, Troy looked genuinely hopeful. “Just think about it as an option, okay? I promise I’ll look after you—maybe not as good as David would, but I’ve learned a thing or two from him over the years.” He winked.
Troy smiled again, and Lucas had the urge to walk over and kiss both those dimples. But Troy also rubbed the side of his hand at his nose again. It was bothering him, which meant he was probably going to sneeze eventually. Which meant he was probably going to wake David up. Which meant the morning was probably going to get a whole lot more interesting really quickly.
“hehh!” Troy rubbed faster and harder at his nose. “ehh!” He pinched his nose and squeezed his eyes shut tight. “hnnngg Nnnghhh… hngehh!” Then he pressed his nose into the crook of his elbow, sneezing into the thick, cotton sweatshirt. “hehhhEHSHhooo! Ehhh… hihhh… hihIHHttchhh!”
David came reluctantly awake after the first, giving a little moan into a pillow. By the time the second hit, he was awake enough to formulate words, even if he hadn’t evolved yet to being able to open his eyes. “God bless you, baby.”
“Sniff! Thadks.Sniff sniff SNIFF!”
David reached for the tissue box, eyes still closed, and found it using some sixth sense of his. He hauled himself up into a sitting position and lunged forward, offering the tissue in the direction he’d heard the sniffing coming from. He waved it until Troy took it and blew his nose. By then, David pulled a second tissue out to have at the ready and was scrubbing his other hand up and down his face to wake himself up. He blinked, eyes getting used to being open and staying that way. He didn’t seem surprised to see Lucas up already. Though he did give his watch an angry look when he checked it for the time. “You’re superhuman, Lucas. How are you even… functional?” He paused in the middle, giving into a body-shaking yawn.
“Not only that, I’m hungry. Anyone want to join me for breakfast?”
David groaned. “You’re not going anywhere without a kiss good morning. Get your ass over here.”
Lucas did as commanded, rounding the bed and crawling onto the other side. He shuffled close to David, pulled him into a hug, and then kissed him good morning properly as he always did, as if they were the only two in the room.
Halfway through the kiss, David flung his hand out toward Troy, who took the offered tissue immediately. “hah-IHPshhhphhhh! hahIHshmphhh!”
He might be grumpy dead tired, but when it came to care-giving, David sure could multitask like a beast. Lucas couldn’t imagine anything hotter.
When he was released, Lucas sat back so both men were within his sight. “How about I go raid the breakfast buffet and bring some food back? We could eat it here.”
“Or…” David was starting to switch on now. Lucas could see it in his eyes. “We could eat it over in our room.”
“Had edough of be already?” Troy wiped the tissue at his nose.
“Of course not.” David stopped to yawn again. “But your room could really benefit from a visit from housecleaning, and it would probably be better if we weren’t here when that happened. Our room has two beds, one of which wasn’t slept in last night. So we could all just move over there for the day.”
It seemed like the perfect arrangement.
“I’ll go grab as much food as I can carry. What do you both want?” Lucas scribbled their orders on a sheet of the hotel’s memo pad. From the doorway, he blew them a kiss to share. “See you in the other room.”
“Before we head over there, I have a few requests,” David began, even before the door fell shut behind Lucas. “First, take off your sweatshirt.”
Troy grinned slyly, “Why, David, that was very bludt of you. Whatever would your husbad say?”
David reached forward and tugged on one of the strings that tightened or loosened the hood. He wrapped it around his finger a few times, drawing them just a little closer together. “He’d probably agree with me that it needs to be washed. You’ve been sneezing into it since you came down with this cold. He’d also say that you’re going to look good in his navy blue running club sweatshirt.” David released the drawstring so it sprang back a little toward Troy.
As Troy pulled his hoodie off, David continued. “Second, you need a shower. Get the room as hot and steamy as you can stand it; that’ll help with the congestion. And while you do that, I’ll gather up the supplies we’ll need to take over to the other room. But you call if you need me, okay? I’ll be right out here the whole time.”
David still wasn’t sure Troy was ready for him at a level ten, but he was definitely finding it easier to climb toward that level now that everything was out in the open. He wanted to maintain respect and be aware of any boundaries the man had, but knowing that he didn’t have to hold back quite as much was liberating. If this had been Lucas, he would have joined the man in the shower, of course. But he didn’t want to be the one to suggest that, no matter how much he might want to.
Troy grabbed some clothes and headed into the bathroom, leaving David to gather up various things and put them back into the plastic grocery bags. He was in the process of debating how many of the pillows they should take to the other room when he heard Troy’s voice call out, muffled by the door. “David?”
Certain he must be breaking some sort of land speed record, David dashed to the bathroom. His first thought was that Troy might have fallen and injured himself, though he hadn’t heard any sounds apart from the running water and occasional coughs and sneezes. His second thought was that Troy was feeling worse somehow—sick to his stomach or dizzy or something else entirely. He hadn’t had time to come up with a third thought before he was inside the bathroom, assaulted by steam, and staring at David.
The man stood on a bathmat, dripping wet, but displaying himself in all his glory. The sight took David’s breath away instantly, and he found himself leaning back against the closed bathroom door for support. The man was stunning, every inch of him perfect, right down to his long, uncut cock. It was just David’s good fortune that he had a thing that made guys with flushed cheeks and red noses look even sexier to him. Troy lifted his arm and ran his hand through his wet hair, droplets going everywhere. “I thought you could… helb dry be off add warb be ub. Sniff! You dow, if you wadted to.”
Long beyond the ability to speak, David grabbed a clean, folded towel off the rack, let it fall open, and tackled the man’s hair first, toweling it dry. When done, he wrapped that towel around the man’s waist. He got a second one and wrapped it around his shoulders. Then he wrapped his own arms right around Troy’s middle. His hands rubbed up and down Troy’s back, and he felt Troy’s cheek meet his shoulder.
Troy sighed deeply, leaning into David. “Thadg you. Ohh, this feels so good.” When David could not suppress the involuntary whimper that escaped him, he hugged tighter, hoping the man might not have heard it. Troy lifted his head, pressing his lips to David’s ear. “I’b goig to get you to level ted today if it’s the last thig I do,” he whispered.
David went weak all over. If not for the important task of needing to hug Troy to warm him after the shower, he might have passed out entirely at the sound of those words. Troy sniffled a few times and laid his head back on David’s shoulder. “Have—” David broke off, his voice embarrassingly high-pitched. He cleared his throat, took a deep breath, and tried again. This time, his voice was a little closer to normal. “Have you used the nasal spray we bought you yet?”
He wasn’t entirely sure, but the way Troy’s head moved felt more like a shake ‘no’ than a nod ‘yes.’
“I could… I could help you with that. It’ll keep you from sniffling quite so much, and less post-nasal drip means less coughing.”
“Brilliadt,” he murmured into David’s neck, giving a soft, seductive kiss. “I’d love that, yeah.” And then, almost in the same breath, he sneezed. “HEPTshhhhhhh!” It was so sudden it startled them both. And though Troy flushed with embarrassment, it was David’s neck that bore the brunt. “Oh fuck!” His hand snapped up, cupping his nose and mouth. “Sniff! I’b so sorry. Sniff!”
If this was how embarrassed he got, David wasn’t about to tell him that he’d caught David’s face in a couple sneezes last night as well. It didn’t matter anyway. He was perfectly capable of washing. “It’s okay, baby. God bless you. Here, let me…” It wasn’t so hard to pull away from Troy, who seemed to want to pull back and hide behind the shower curtain. But David didn’t want him to feel badly about this or anything else for that matter. He knelt down and spun the toilet paper roll, wrapping toilet paper around his hand. He held the wad out as Troy continued to sniffle. “Lower your hand. Let me take care of you.”
Hesitantly, Troy did so. David swooped in, wiping and rubbing and feeling his whole body hum as he did so. “That’s it,” David murmured. “Your head’s all stuffed-up. Must feel good after a big, wet sneeze like that, hmmm?”
Troy nodded reluctantly and sniffed again.
“How about giving me a little blow?”
Troy did, eyes closed, and received a soft kiss on his cheek in appreciation when he was done.
Having taken the little trash can out of the room earlier, David dropped the toilet paper into the toilet and flushed.
He saw a blur of white out of the corner of his eye, and he turned back around to find David had dropped the towel that had been around his middle. “Sorry. It’s so hard to hold odto that.”
Only mildly amused, David bent down for it. While there, he used the towel to dry off Troy’s legs, running it around and then up, but stopping well before mid-thigh. He stood up with the towel and tucked it back around Troy’s waist. “While I genuinely appreciate the stunning visual, drying you off is closer to my ten than that would be. I really do just want to get you comfortable and warm right now.” He reached up and cupped Troy’s cheek, not to move in to kiss him, just to stroke his thumb against the man’s cheek “And when I say warm, I don’t mean hot. No fooling around until you’re feeling better. That’s a personal rule, and I won’t budge on it. ”
“But I do feel… feel… bet-ter-huhhEEHshooo! ehhHKKshoo!” he sneezed freely over his shoulder, not catching David at all this time. It seemed the steam from the shower had loosened his stuffed-up nose, because he hadn’t been this sneezy earlier that morning.
“Mmhm. But, not better enough yet.” He put a hand on Troy’s back, rubbing in a circle. “God bless you, baby.”
This was a strange game they were playing. Troy was trying so hard—too hard—to be suave and look sexy. He was trying to pull David in using whatever typical tactics he was used to, flirting with that smile and that body and all sexual innuendo. He didn’t understand that only pushed David away, that the only thing he needed to do to turn David on was to be needy and vulnerable and let David take care of him.
“Let’s get you into your clothes and try that nasal spray, all right?”
Troy sniffed and nodded, letting his potential future lover help him into his clothes instead of out of them. David knew his world must be turning upside-down just now, but he trusted Troy would adapt to it. An athlete like him must find himself upside-down from time to time on a weight bench or in a yoga pose or whatever it was Troy was into. And, besides, he did want to feel better. That was the whole reason he’d texted them in the middle of the night.
David headed out, leaving the bathroom door open just a crack so that the temperate inside could slowly drop down to normal. He returned with the box of tissues and the bottle of nasal spray. He picked the plastic wrap off the cap and turned the top until it snapped up into place. “Have you ever used one before?”
Troy shook his head. “I dod’t catch colds easily.”
For a second, David wondered how all of this would have played out if Troy hadn’t caught this one. Certainly they wouldn’t be in a bathroom together. But maybe they wouldn’t have met at all. Maybe Lucas wouldn’t have bothered introducing them. Maybe they would have met but there wouldn’t be any chemistry or lust. Or maybe David would have forgotten all about him by now. He would never admit he wanted anyone to feel ill, but he had to admit this time it had opened a lot of doors and subjected him to a whole lot of feelings.
“Teach be everythidg you dow.”
And so David did. “The first step it to take the cap off. You wouldn’t believe the number of people who call or come into my pharmacy complaining that their nasal spray won’t work, and it’s because they forgot to take the cap off.” Troy laughed a little and pulled the small, clear cap off the top. “Perfect. Next, remember not to snort. Small little sniffs to keep the medicine inside your nose are actually best. I know your nose is all stuffy, but you’re going to blow it a few times before we start. Just remember no snorting, just controlled breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth.”
“Oh, like a cool down after a workout?” Troy suggested.
David looked at him blankly. “Um, I guess, if that’s what you do then.”
“It is. You dod’t work out with Lucas?”
David shook his head. “Not often.”
“You cobe by your hot body daturally?”
David blushed a little. “I have a job where I’m on my feet a lot, constantly moving to fill prescriptions, man cash registers, fix the dang blood pressure machine, that sort of thing.” He shrugged. “I’m not nearly as well built as you or Lucas.”
“I thidg you’re built just right.” He slid an arm around David’s waist and pulled him closer. David snuggled up and gave him a soft peck on the cheek to thank him for saying something so sweet. “Okay, so I’ve got the breathidg dowd. How does that factor id?”
Positioning his hand on the bottle, index and ring finger on either side of the nozzle, David kept it mostly upright but aimed it away from them, toward the sink. He pressed down on the nozzle. The first squirt was mostly just air, and the second one was a bit of a mixed bag. But the third one produced a fine mist in the air. “Now it’s primed. What I’ll do is insert it into your nose and press down on this. Your job is to breathe the way I told you to. It’s going to feel weird and wonderful all at once. Just keep sniffing little sniffs. Want to try?”
Troy nodded and pulled a couple tissues from the box David had brought in. He blew his nose hard, finding it easier to do now after the shower.
“Gentle, baby,” David advised, rubbing his hand up and down Troy’s back.
Troy gave another blow, gentler but longer. His nose was far from clear, but it was better than it had been in days, David could tell.
“Just a couple more times. Then come sit over here.” He patted the closed lid of the toilet seat.
Troy did as instructed tossing the tissues into the toilet then sitting down on the closed lid as it flushed.
“Now remember what I said: small sniffs in through the nose, not one big snort.” Before Troy’s cold-filled nose had a chance to start running in earnest again, David slid the nozzle of the nasal spray bottle up it. He used his free hand to apply just enough pressure to a spot on Troy’s cheek almost below his eye and pull back toward his ear to help the sinus passages open. And he angled the bottle so that the squirt wouldn’t hit Troy’s septum and cause irritation or damage. “One… two… three.” A beat after three, he pushed down on the nozzle, pumping a fine spray into Troy’s nose.
Troy pulled back, startled by the sensation, blinking. But then he remembered about the sniffing and went to it. They sounded far wetter now than they had from just his runny nose, but that was a good sign. Relieving some of the pressure and thickness of congestion in his head after being stationary as he slept was the whole point of this.
“Little sniffs. That’s right. Perfect.” David stroked his head. “Give it another few seconds, and then if you really feel the need to blow your nose, do it as gently as you can.”
“Sniff! I thidk sniff sniff! I thidk I’b sniff good.”
David inserted the nozzle into Troy’s other nostril and used his other hand to pull his cheek back with just enough pressure. He angled carefully and did another countdown for warning. “One…” He could see Troy’s left nostril start to run, but he only had two hands, not three. It would have to wait a moment. “Two...” Troy shifted uncomfortably, obviously feeling his nose running as well. “Relax, baby.” David knew soothing him wasn’t going to help much. “One… two… three.” He pushed down and the hiss of a puff of medicine went up into his nose.
Troy sniffed a little harder than he should have, but not a detrimental amount.
“Gentle. Little sniffs.” The reminder was hard for Troy to follow, but he did his best. David pressed a tissue to his nose to catch the wayward drips. And the sniffing helped as well. He put down the nasal spray bottle and rubbed circles on Troy’s chest. David tried to calm him, but he could tell Troy was getting a little agitated.
“Gotta…” He coughed, and David felt Troy’s heartbeat quicken. “Gotta blow…”
David folded the tissue over his nose for him. “Whenever you’re ready, just—”
Troy took a deep breath through his mouth and out through his nose.
David winced at the strength behind it. “Gently,” he finished pointlessly.
“It’s all right, baby. Just be kind to your body, the way you do when you exercise, right? You don’t want to overexert and pull a muscle. Same principle here. It takes practice, and this was an excellent first attempt. How does your nose feel?” He pulled another tissue from the box and wiped Troy’s nostrils dry with as much care as he could. The poor guy’s nose was getting pretty red there.
With an experimental breath in and out again, Troy’s eye widened a little. “So much clearer!”
David beamed. “Glad to hear it.”
“I can breathe again!” He took another good breath in and let it out slowly, controlling and evaluating all at once. “I don’t even feel stuffed-up anymore. Hell, I don’t sound stuffed-up anymore either!”
“You will,” David said. “This is only temporary, I’m afraid. But we can do it again in a few hours, if you want.”
Troy nodded his head enthusiastically. “Definitely!”
Nasal spray and tissue box in hand, David led the way out of the bathroom. He put them into one of the bags they’d be taking to the other room. He put Troy’s sweatshirt into the hotel laundry bag and checked the cold wash instructions on the bag’s tag.
Then he pulled out his wallet, which he always kept in his jeans pocket so luckily had had with him during the late night scramble to get to Troy’s room. He pulled out twenty-five dollars and placed it on the nightstand. On the little hotel memo pad, he scribbled a note apologizing and asking for another box of tissues and an extra pillow if possible.
“All right, let’s go. The room’s up on the twenty-third floor, and we’re not taking the stairs. Not with all this to carry.” The shopping bags weren’t heavy, but he still had no intention of carrying them up two flights of stairs with someone who had only just mastered the ability to breathe again.
Troy looked at him questioningly.
“Someone I love dearly is insane and decided to walk up all the way up yesterday. I’m fairly certain Lucas isn’t actually human. The truth is I’m an undercover alien investigator who only married him to find out his secrets.”
Troy laughed. “I don’t even know how he had the energy to work out this morning, let alone go to conference sessions.”
“The day he doesn’t choose to work out in the morning is the day I call 911. Even when he’s sick, he seems to sneak in a few stretches or push-ups when he thinks I’m not looking.”
They got into the elevator and David pressed the button for floor 23. The doors slid shut, and they stood there in silence for a moment. An image flashed through David’s mind of Troy having his way with him and pinning him into the corner, kissing him and grinding against him, the image duplicated to infinity on the elevator’s mirrored walls. But, for once, Troy made no pass at him, no reference to elevator sex at all. Instead, in a soft voice, he asked, “David… which bag are the tissues in? I ehhh I think I’m going to sn-sneeze again.”
With only a minimum amount of searching, David located the tissues. He supposed he should have seen this coming. All good things must come to an end, as they say. “Here you go.” David handed over a couple tissues. The level in the box was getting low, but there was another box just waiting for them in the other hotel room. And now that it wasn’t the middle of the night, they could place another order for delivery.
“hehhh… ehh-yeh…. Hehhhhh heh-EHHshooo! HEPTchooo!”
“God bless you, baby.” The elevator came to a stop and the doors opened for them. David ushered Troy out, pressing an elbow to one of the doors to make sure it didn’t try to close on them prematurely.
“Feelig sdeezy add sdiffly agaid. Dabbit!”
David’s heart went out to him. He couldn’t blame the man for being frustrated; breathing was kind of an important thing. “Sorry it’s bothering you. After breakfast, you can curl up in bed with me and watch TV, and I’ll take good care of your nose for you, I promise.”
From the look of Troy’s smile, it was safe to assume he accepted David’s offer.
When they got to David’s and Lucas’ hotel room, Lucas had already started eating breakfast. There were plates piled with various foods spread across the small table, and Lucas was currently devouring eggs and sausages. David went right over and kissed the top of his head, knowing better than to slow down his chewing and swallowing. Eating was serious business. He had managed to change for the day, though, and he now wore a loose tank top and tight workout shorts. David wondered how in the world he had the energy to even go to the convention. At this point, David was looking forward to a morning cuddling and napping with Troy. “I’m going to change into something more comfortable. Make sure Troy gets something nutritious to eat, all right? Not just carbs and bacon?”
Still chewing, Lucas smiled and nodded. After finishing his bite, he headed over to where Troy stood, just inside the door. All of a sudden, he looked a little hesitant to be invading their space. Lucas ran his hand over Troy’s short, wet hair, messing it up a little playfully. “I had a feeling David was going to make you take a shower. I bet the steam helped clear out some of that congestion.”
Troy nodded, sniffling more since being in that steamy bathroom.
“Did David at least join you in the shower?”
David piped up from across the room, where he was rooting around in his suitcase. “No he did not!”
The familiar banter seemed to relax Troy a little. “It wasd’t for lack of tryig,” he confessed to Lucas, who laughed.
“One thing you should know about him is that it might be a fetish, but he takes his role of caregiver seriously. He won’t make a move unless he’s absolutely sure his man is well enough for it.”
David felt himself blushing, and was glad to have a task to busy himself with. He changed into flannel pants and a super soft t-shirt, perfect for lounging around in bed all day in. He rooted around in Lucas’ suitcase as well, pulling out one of the two sweatshirts Lucas had packed. “Hey, Lucas, do you mind if Troy wears this while his is being washed?”
Lucas considered this, looking over at Troy. “I dunno, man. Are you gonna sneeze all over it?”
Troy shrugged, not meeting his gaze this time. “Brobably.”
“Then no,” Lucas said, a grin crossing his face even as David narrowed his eyes at his husband. “I don’t mind at all.” He held his hand up, ready to catch it. David threw it, but it landed a couple feet short. Sweatshirts weren’t exactly known for their aerodynamic properties, but it was still a pretty pathetic toss. Lucas picked it up and gathered the sides into his grip. “Hands over your head, Troy.” He pulled it onto the man, who wriggled into it, arms sliding through the sleeves. Lucas’ sweatshirt fit over his broad chest and muscular arms perfectly.
When David got to the table, Troy and Lucas were taking the seats and Troy pulling a plate of fruit close. The hotel room only came with a small table and two chairs, but David really didn’t mind sitting elsewhere; the armchair looked plenty comfortable.
“Oh, no, take my seat,” Lucas insisted. “I’m just about done and need to get going anyway before I miss the first conference session I wanted to attend.” He rubbed Troy’s upper back and then patted it. “See you later.” Then he went over to David and bent over to kiss him. “Call me if you need me.”
“We’ll be fine,” David insisted.
Lucas smiled. “I’m sure you will. But call me if that one starts feeling better and you both get horny. I don’t want to miss out on all the fun.”
David laughed. “We wouldn’t dream of starting without you, baby.” He motioned for Lucas to move in for another kiss, and this one wasn’t just a quick peck goodbye. It was long and intense and reassuring. No matter what else happened, he wanted to make sure Lucas understood that he would always come first—perhaps quite literally later on. And, besides that, David craved this familiar kiss. Lucas’ lips were warm and wet, and he tasted faintly of sausage just now.
Troy raised a hand in the air. “Well, I’b hordy already.”
David laughed again, but he kept his loving gaze fixed on his husband. “Have a good day.”
After pausing to make sure he had his phone, charger, wallet, and hotel key card, Lucas then gave them a wave, arm straight over his head, and headed out.
Any awkwardness at Troy being here was gone now. The magic the three of them had felt the night before made the here and now feel so right and so comfortable. Not to mention that Lucas had brought more from the breakfast buffet than they had asked for. Fruit, pancakes, waffles, yogurt, bagels, pastries, eggs—David was far more tired than he was hungry, but he still managed to eat his fill. And when they were done, David set the untouched danishes and bananas aside for a mid-morning snack while setting the rest of the breakfast dishes outside the hotel room door. He hung the DO NOT DISTURB sign on the door’s handle and let the door fall closed behind him.
“God bless you, baby.” David walked back over and ran his hand from Troy’s shoulder to elbow, feeling the strong curve of muscles there. “I think you could do with some more rest.” He stifled a yawn of his own. The mere suggestion of more sleep made him feel twice as tired. “I think we both could.”
Troy glanced over his shoulder at the queen-sized beds. One was disheveled from last night, even though Lucas had clearly tried to make the bed and make it look more inviting. The other was entirely untouched. “You sure you dod’t bide by gettig idto your bed? I bead, I’b all sdeezy add gerby add ill.”
David took his hand, holding it between both of his and giving just a little tug. “All the more reason for you to get into bed. I guarantee you wouldn’t be here if we didn’t want you here.” He tugged again. “I’ll even let you pick the television channel.”
This was a decision David almost instantly regretted. He was happy to lounge back on a big stack of pillows, Troy’s head resting on his chest, one of his arms wrapped around Troy. He was happy to be warm with the man nestled against him and the covers pulled up to his waist. He was happy to have two boxes of tissues on the bed beside him he could use to wipe Troy’s nose for him and catch any sneezes that came, though both the medicine and the nasal spray seemed to have made those fewer and further between this morning. What soured the mood for him was having to watch sports on television. Granted, it wasn’t trashy talk shows, but it still wasn’t his cup of tea.
Troy, on the other hand, seemed utterly thrilled to have found a soccer match to watch. The moment he hit that channel, he dropped the remote and raised his hands in triumph.
David prepared himself to endure hours of watching a ball being kicked from one end of a field to another. Maybe he should call Lucas back? Lucas would probably enjoy watching this with Troy, appreciating clever plays and moves and whatever else this sport was known for. His best hope was that Troy might fall asleep quickly, allowing David to doze off as well.
One of the players kicked the ball into a net so large David couldn’t imagine how anyone could possibly miss. The goalie stretched out his arms and dove but was still feet short of stopping it. To David, that didn’t seem like much of an accomplishment, but the men on the screen were jumping around in excitement at this small victory. And Troy drove his fist into the air with a cheer of his own, followed by a raspy cough.
Calmly, David passed him a bottle of water.
Troy drank and looked back over his shoulder. “Dot idto football?”
David shook his head. “Sports are more Lucas’ thing.” Though, in truth, Lucas didn’t watch it all that much at home. More often, he went out to sports bars with friends to watch games. “But whatever makes you happy is fine with me.” Though this was something David was prepared to endure, he didn’t want Troy feeling bad about his choice. “I don’t want you to—“
He broke off at the sight of one of players grabbing another, hands on the side of his face, and kissing him right on the lips.
David blinked. “Wait, what was that?”
“They’re Eurobead,” Troy said, as if that explained it all.
“Yeah, but, did you see that kiss?”
Troy nodded. “They do that sobetibes. Oh, yeah, there’s also…” The camera zoomed in as players went back into some sort of formation and a player got ready to kick. He was a handsome man, with dreadlocks and sweat-shined skin and…
“Oh my God, look at that buldge!”
Troy chuckled. “Brofessiodal athletes cad get bretty excited whed they do well. It’s all the ebotiods add adredalide.”
“Isn’t wearing a cup mandatory?”
“A true footballer dever wears a cub.”
The man’s flimsy shorts seemed to hide nothing. The bulge in his crotch was enormous. Men kissing. Dicks on display. Suddenly David understood a little of what drew Lucas to professional sports. “This is almost like watching porn!”
“Without the horrible, cheesy dialogue add with a lot bore draba, yeah.”
David wasn’t going to say no to drama. He patted the man’s chest. “Well then. Nice choice.”
“Got lucky.” And that dimple-filled smile showed that he meant it in more ways than one.
He settled back against David only to snap forward almost immediately. “hihhh ehIHHShphhhhh! HehUHchphhhh!” David had caught the sneezes in a tissue Troy probably hadn’t even seen him get into place.
“God bless you, baby.” He nuzzled the back of Troy’s head and hugged him from behind.
“Need to blow?”
“Dot… hehhh dot just yet. Still tih.. tih-tickles hehh hehhh ehhHIHchmphhhh! YEHtchphhhh!” He coughed and sniffled and reached back, patting David’s thigh. “Dow I do.”
David pulled the current tissue away and got a fresh one, holding it to Troy’s nose with just the right amount of pressure. “Go ahead.” Troy blew his nose several times, and each time David held and wiped and used the utmost tenderness possible to keep from making Troy’s sore nose any worse.
After a while, Troy’s yawns became more frequent, and more than once his head bobbed down and up quickly, as if he were nodding off for a second before waking back up. David stroked his arm, silently reminding him that he could relax, that he didn’t have to fight this. So Troy rolled onto his side, rubbing his cheek against the soft fabric of David’s shirt and slinging his arm around David’s middle, hugging him. He bent his leg, resting that on top of David’s thighs, and he closed his eyes.
David didn’t even have to ask if the man was comfortable enough like that, because the deep, contented sigh spoke volumes. David listened to his breathing slow and waited for the snores to start. He marveled at how easy it was to communicate without even needing words with this man he’d really only known a day now. And it was just as easy to snuggle up with him to sleep. His eyelids grew heavier and heavier. David saw one of the teams make another goal, and he thought he should try to remember to tell Troy about that when they woke. But then he closed his eyes and gave into sleep himself.
It was a fitful sleep, as David kept waking to check on Troy. And the man’s snores were sometimes loud enough to snap him out of whatever doze he found himself in. At some point, the soccer match ended and a new one began. David left the channel on; it was preferable to waking up to a quiet room. Besides, it was starting to grow on him. He wondered what Lucas would say if he came home one day to find David watching soccer on TV. David decided he’d have to try it some time to find out, though he didn’t want this sport to be a gateway drug to being made to watch all others.
It was just before lunchtime when Troy finally woke up. Groggy and disoriented, the very first thing he did was to sneeze into David’s chest. “heyyyIHptchhhh!”
David hadn’t been able to get tissues to his nose in time, but his soft t-shirt apparently felt nice to Troy’s nose, because he continued to snuffle into the fabric as David were wearing a handkerchief rather than a shirt. Reaching down, David stroked his head. “Still tired, baby?”
Troy nodded and then shook his head. “I ab… but I also deed the bathroob.”
“Of course.” David helped him sit up, roll out of bed, and then get up onto his feet. Sniffling into the sleeve of Lucas’ sweatshirt, apparently already having forgotten it wasn’t his own hoodie or maybe just not caring because his nose was feeling so runny. David probably should have forced some tissues into his hand when he left the bed, but it was too late now.
Alone in bed, David stretched. He was still tired, though drowsy was probably a more accurate term for it. He felt like he could drift off to sleep again, but he had no hope of making it quality sleep, not with Troy sick and needy like this. And when it came right down to it, there wasn’t all that much time before they would all be heading home. The conference was over tomorrow, and their flight was in the afternoon. David could sleep as soon as he got settled on the plane. Until then, he had a man to take care of. And that was the best feeling in the world to him. He would gladly go without sleep for a chance at that.
On his way back to bed, Troy grabbed two of the pastries leftover from breakfast. He climbed back into bed and handed David one, even though David was frowning. “This isn’t exactly the healthy lunch I had in mind.”
“Do you wadt to leave this roob add go get food subwhere? Or do you wadt to stay with be and helb be with adother dose of dasal spray?”
The man had a point. David didn’t want anything to get in the way of the trust and intimacy building between them. And he would have chosen to help Troy feel better over going out to find some meal that was neither overpriced hotel fare nor fast food.
“Also, I was hobig that if you could get be feeling a little better by three, I could go to this weight liftidg sessiod of the codferedce with Lucas.” Troy’s gaze didn’t meet his eyes as he said this, as if he were nervous about how David might shoot down the idea.
David cupped Troy’s cheek, guiding and angling his face so that Troy had no choice but to look at him. “If you genuinely feel up to it and Lucas will be there just in case, I really don’t see why not.” He stroked the tips of his fingers against Troy’s stubble-rough cheek. “Your next dose of Mucinex is at 2, so it should be kicking in right around the time the class starts. It’s actually pretty great timing.”
Troy let out a deep breath like a sigh. “I felt sure you would’t allow it.”
“If going to a session will make you happy, that’s what I want. I’m not here to tell you what to do, just to take care of you however I can.”
“I—“ Troy started to say something then stopped. He rubbed at his nose and looked down at his pastry sitting in his lap.
“What is it, baby?”
He licked his lips and shook his head. “Dothidg.”
“Come on. Out with it. What do you want to say?”
With a quick glance at the door as if he expected someone to walk in at that very moment and find him out, he said in a soft voice, “I would’t bide if you told be what to do.”
David’s chest felt full of flutters. It wasn’t exactly his dynamic, but it wasn’t all that far removed either. And the idea of telling this big, strong man what to do had an undeniable appeal to it. “Then get back under the covers with me,” David said. “And don’t you dare get crumbs on my sheets.” He knew it would be impossible not to. But he also marveled at how quickly Troy scampered into bed and snuggled up to him.
“How’d we get so lucky?” David marveled at the hand fate had dealt them. “There are over fourteen thousand people attending this conference. How’d we get so lucky as to meet you?”
“I could… I could say the the the sabe-hehhh sabe… Ehhh… uhh-HUHShphhhhh!” He sneezed into the tissue David held to his nose.
“God bless you, baby. Still feeling a little sneezy? Should I hold this here like this or do you want to blow your nose for me?”
Troy opened his eyes, looking up and over the tissue at him with a needy, helpless sort of look, like he wanted to reply to the question but couldn’t even do that much. That was all the answer David needed. Troy’s eyes squinted shut and his head pulled back just a little. “ehhhTTTshhphhh! hehEHXXshphhhh! HEPTchphhhhh!” Troy gasped, as if about to sneeze again, only nothing happened. After a few seconds, he let the breath out slowly, carefully, and he opened his eyes again. “How lodg sniff! udtil sniff! I cad use that sniff! sniff! that nasal spray?”
With a tissue in each hand, David made a stealth move and switched from the wet one to a dry one. “You can use it again just as soon as you clear your nose out a little. Give me some of your best, gentle blows, baby.”
It took longer this time for Troy to feel like he’d blown his nose enough. David knew that it was never going to feel completely clear from the tickling and running this cold had brought, but getting as close as they could would only mean the nasal spray would work better. And David wanted it to bring him whatever relief it could right now.
“That’s good,” he said, stroking the back of Troy’s head as Troy blew into the twenty-somethingth tissue. “Let’s go for another try with the nasal spray now. Remember what I said before about little sniffs?” Troy remembered. Apparently, he also remembered how it felt to lean into David and snuggle against him. Even as Troy sat on the closed lid of the toilet in an identical hotel bathroom, he nuzzled his face into David’s shirt and placed his hands squarely on David’s butt cheeks to hold him close as if he were worried David might leave him alone here to deal with this himself. “It’s okay,” David murmured. His hand cupped the man’s shoulder and squeezed, affection surging within him as he did so. He really would have been happy to stay like this forever, or at least until Lucas got back from his day at the conference. “It’s okay. I’ve got you. And I’m not going anywhere.”
“Good,” Troy murmured. Then he sniffed again. “But we’d better hurry before by dose gets all full of cold agaid.”
Things were easier this time, now that Troy knew what to expect, but David still walked him through the steps with a calm, reassuring voice. He pointed the nozzle up and outward, pulling back on Troy’s upper cheek at the same time. And before Troy had a chance to react to the squirt in one side, he squirted up the other side as well. Troy sniffed and sniffed and sniffed. He started to tilt his head back, but David instructed him not to. David knew fighting his instincts was probably extremely difficult for Troy.
“You’re doing so well. I’m proud of you, baby. Give it just a few more seconds to help, and then you can blow your nose again if you really have to.”
Sniffling, Troy tried to make it a little longer. But his nostrils flared and face twitched, and he ended up pinching his nose between his thumb and forefinger to keep from sneezing and to keep it from running. His breath came in a rapid series of tiny gasps, and the corners of his mouth turned down.
As David pulled tissue after tissue out of the box, getting a good handful ready for Troy to sneeze into, he decided it would be his mission for the rest of the afternoon to see how many times he could turn that back into a smile. He longed to see the man’s dimples and know he was all right, all suffering temporary on hold. But, first, he had some sneezes to catch. He nudged Troy’s hand away from his face and positioned the tissues in place instead, just as a sharp intake of breath indicating that Troy’s will of course hadn’t been powerful enough alone to stop the sneezes. “ehhh ehhh hehhhh hihEHPtchphhhh! hihhhhERSHhhphhhh! HEPTshhphhhh! Ehhh ihh hihhHIPTshhphhhh!”
“God bless you, baby!” Acting entirely on instinct, David leaned over and pressed a gentle kiss to Troy’s forehead. Then he tossed the tissues in the waste basket and took Troy’s hand in his. Without needing to say another word, he led the man back to bed, where there was still plenty of sneezes and maybe a few pastry crumbs, but David pretended he didn’t see the latter. There was still more than an hour until it would be time for another dose of Mucinex. With the alarm on his cell phone set, David decided that was more than enough time for another nap.
Lucas watched the door anxiously. Troy hadn’t texted to tell him he’d be coming to the weight training session, but he also hadn’t sent word that he wouldn’t be there. He told himself to stay calm, that this session was the important thing here—learning and experiencing and getting enough out of this to justify what he was paying for in the conference registration fee, hotel, and travel costs. But he still couldn’t help keeping an eye on that door just in case Troy showed up.
Every time someone who wasn’t Troy walked into the room, Lucas’ heart sank a little. He became surer and surer the man was not coming. He’d seemed better this morning, less sneezy, more rested. It wasn’t hard to imagine the man might have slept soundly, sandwiched between Lucas and David. He hoped he would get the chance to sleep that way with him again tonight.
As his thoughts began to wander in a cautiously optimistic way toward what might happen tonight, who appeared in the doorway but Troy himself? Troy was wearing the same shorts from his gym that he’d been wearing when they’d met, but he had on Lucas’ running club sweatshirt. He looked amazing, and Lucas couldn’t imagine how everyone in the room wasn’t watching him and lusting after him, too. Lucas’ hand shot up in the arm, waving like a little kid wanting desperately to be called on. He couldn’t help his excitement, and he tried to pull it back some. But he knew he was still grinning when Troy spotted him and headed over. It took about a minute for Troy to make his way across the large room filled with people and equipment, but Lucas hadn’t been able to get rid of his grin in that time.
“Hey,” Troy said, leaning casually against the bench and the barbell on it. “The medicine kicked in. It’s started to help clear me out a bit. Thought I’d join you after all.”
David must have been thrilled with Troy’s progress. His voice was still a little weak and there was still some congestion behind it. But he sounded so much better than the last time they’d talked. “It’s good to see you here. I wasn’t sure you’d come,” Lucas tried to hide his emotions, but he just exuded relief and pleasure in every word he spoke.
“Actually, I haven’t yet. But I think that’s in store for tonight, if all goes well.”
Lucas felt his cheeks go red. Even when he and David had dated, they hadn’t flirted like this. This felt new but not entirely unwelcome. He hoped Troy hadn’t noticed his reaction, though.
No such luck, apparently. Troy’s dimple-filled smile broadened, and he cocked his head to the side. “Have you ever been told how cute you look when you blush, mate?”
Lucas hid his face momentarily by pulling the bottom of his shirt up and wiping the hem across his brow, as if to wipe away sweat. But the workout hadn’t stared yet and it was obvious he was doing a shitty job of reining in his emotions.
Luckily, he was saved by one of the instructors asking everyone to pair off and find a weight bench. Lucas had both a bench and a partner already picked out. And the idea of getting to show off again for Troy filled him with an irrepressible amount of excitement.
They started off with a few stretches and warm up-exercises so their muscles weren’t going into this cold. This wasn’t too physical for Troy, so he joined in, and Lucas couldn’t help but love how they moved in synch, doing one small movement, disengaging, and then doing another. He’d done plenty of classes over the years, but there was something uniquely thrilling about doing one with someone he had just slept in bed with, someone he wanted to be more intimate with. It was like their bodies shared a closeness he couldn’t quite put his finger on, and the routine was accentuating it.
They did some jumping jacks as well, which Lucas jumped outright and Troy only step-touched his way through to keep from lapsing into coughs. After shaking their arms to loosen them up, it was finally time to get to the bench press portion of the class.
“All right, everybody. Decide who’s going first and let’s have that person take a seat.”
Lucas sat on the bench and laid his hand on the bar, scooting his hand over almost imperceptively until his hand was right next to Troy’s, their pinky fingers touching. Lucas wanted to touch more than that, but he didn’t dare in such a public place. During their first meeting in Club Fun, Troy had given him some attitude when he’d thought Lucas might have a problem with his being gay. Sadly, that mindset was all too common in the sports and fitness industry still, though significantly more improved than it had once been. Lucas still knew this wasn’t the time or the place for affection. He was just happy to see the man and be able to share this with him.
“Are we all paired up? Fantastic. Now, introduce yourself to your partner!” the instructor was saying into the small microphone in his wireless headset. It allowed him to walk back and forth on the stage with both hands free.
“Hi, I’m Lucas,” Lucas said, sticking his hand out for Troy to shake, hoping he might get a smile out of the man for that joke.
“Hi, I’m yours,” Troy replied smoothly, ignoring the offered hand and choosing, instead, to gaze at him with ‘fuck me’ eyes. Lucas’ whole body grew warmer.
The instructor continued. ”Today, you’ll be going at whatever pace you feel comfortable, and your spotter is there just to make sure you don’t get yourself into trouble. You’ve got to be able to trust the person who’ll be spotting you.”
“So… do you trust me?” Troy asked, smiling so widely it was nearly impossible for Lucas not to spring up and kiss each one of those dimples. He rubbed a couple fingers along the side of his nose, sniffling lightly.
Lucas tried to think of something flirty to say back, something with some sexual innuendo—intended this time—something cool that would raise what Troy already thought of him to the next level. He trusted the man enough to sleep with him. He trusted the man to be alone with his husband. He trusted the man far more than required just to watch and make sure he didn’t drop a barbell on his neck. But Lucas didn’t know how to say that in a clever enough way. All Lucas could do was reply with a weak, almost-squeaking “Of course I do.”
Troy started to reply, but his eyes narrowed and his breath caught. He pulled a tissue out of the front pocket of the hoodie—Lucas’ hoodie—and held it to his face with both hands cupped over his nose and mouth to muffle the sound. “hhttIHshphh! Hehh-EHchphhhhh!”
When he was done sneezing and muttering a soft “’scuse me,” he slid his hand over Lucas’ as if by accident, though Lucas was certain it was anything but.
The touch was light and lasted only a brief, fluttery moment, but it was enough to make Lucas’ insides heat up hotter and his body tingle with desire. “There’s that blush again. I knew it was still there.” He squatted down and leaned forward, his mouth close to Lucas’ ear so that no one could possibly overhear. “Can’t wait to find out if it’s just your cheeks and neck that go red or if it’s all over that hot body of yours.”
“Shut up,” Lucas breathed, closing his eyes, trying to control his involuntary reactions. This was not the time or place for an erection. “You’re making this hard.”
“Good,” Troy chuckled. He nipped Lucas’ earlobe, the movement so tiny and quick no one else would have recognized it for what it had been. “That was kinda my plan.”
Lucas realized he was breathing heavily, and the workout hadn’t even started yet. Opening his eyes, he sat up—avoiding the barbell—and grabbed his water bottle. The cool water helped calm him. This was what he’d asked for, what he’d hoped for. Now that he had it, he was determined not to fuck it up. But he was certain nothing he could do or say could rival Troy right now. So suave, so sure of himself even though he was still sick and still tired. Troy was magical. This whole trip had been magical.
Putting his hand back on the barbell, he was surprised when Troy did the same. They scooted their hands closer until they were once again touching. “I’ve got one request to make... for now, at least.”
Troy smiled slyly and rubbed his free hand at his nose again. “Now you’re catching on. What is it?”
It wasn’t anything so clever or seductive, but it was still what needed to be said. So Lucas took a deep breath and came out with it. “I want you to let me know if you’re going to sneeze.” Troy’s eyebrows rose. Lucas continued, “Apart from the fact that David would kill me if he knew I didn’t make sure you were taken care of if you need it, I want to make sure not to be lifting when you can’t spot me.”
For a second, Troy looked uncomfortable, like he wanted to say something but was debating if he should or not. Lucas thought maybe he might have to sneeze again right now, which would be interesting timing. But, as it turned out, he didn’t sneeze this time. “I won’t let you down,” he said, all the playfulness in his voice having given way to something deadly serious.
Realizing he’d missed a good bit of whatever the instructor was saying now, Lucas looked around to see that one person in each pairing was already lying back on the bench, gripping the bar above. So he got into place quickly and tried to focus. The instructor was talking about having a good grip, which Lucas knew all about already. But there were also some simple tips in how to check to make sure you had a proper grip. Lucas tried to remember the wording, because these were the sorts of things Lucas liked to tell his paying clients at the gym.
Lucas arched his back, looking upside-down at Troy struggling with a sneeze. “S’okay,” he whispered. “I appreciate the warning, but I haven’t lifted it off the rack yet. Go ahead and sneeze.”
“hepIHDDschhuhh!” He sneezed into his sleeve.
“Cheers. Sorry. This cold…”
“Like I said, it’s okay. You’ll tell me if you start feeling crappy and need to head back upstairs, right?”
Troy nodded, sniffing.
Troy nodded again, sniffing some more.
Lucas didn’t feel entirely as convinced as he would have liked, but Troy was an adult. He could make his own choices. And he’d already proved that if he needed help, he would ask for it. Hell, he was capable of asking for whatever he needed.
He held up a finger, eyes narrowing and then closing tight. He buried his nose in the crook of his arm to muffle a mighty “HURRshmmph! Ah… sniff!” He lifted his head, blinking. “Bless me. That’s better. Sniff! Not so sneezy now. Sniff! Show me what you’ve got.”
Though his attention was still divided, Lucas did his best to concentrate on the bench press. He checked and readjusted and double-checked his grip. Then he safely straightened his arms to make sure everything was balanced and weighted properly before lowering and pressing up. It felt good to put his energy into this. Pressing up, controlling down, pressing up again. The more strength he put into each, the better his body felt. The instructor was having them start as low as they wanted with just two reps of five to start with. He and his associates were milling about, commenting on techniques and adjusting form when needed. As there were probably a half dozen of them and about a hundred pairs, Lucas looked to Troy for more immediate feedback.
“That was brilliant, mate. You’ve got great form. That was so smooth.”
“Yeah, well… it’s easy to do without much weight on the bar.”
Troy shook his head. “No. It’s easy because you work these muscles and know how to use them properly.” He coughed into his shoulder a couple times. “You wouldn’t believe how many guys I see at the gym who should be able to press two hundred easily but can’t get past one-fifty because they rush through it too fast or their form is rubbish.”
“Weight training isn’t about speed. It’s about patience and perseverance,” Lucas agreed.
Licking his lips, Troy nodded. “I can think of something else both those are good for. And now that I can finally breathe more like a normal human being again, I can’t wait for that something else.”
“Shut up,” said Lucas again, this time a little more playfully.
“Good work, everybody. Now let’s try a concentric pause bench press. After that, we’ll switch.”
Lucas hated the way his elbows didn’t seem to know what they wanted to do at every moment of a concentric pause bench press, but he did his best to follow along. Both the best part and worst part of it was how Troy touched him to make subtle corrections in his form.
Every bit of him sung with arousal by the time the instructor finally called for them to switch. As Troy didn’t feel up to it, the two of them snuck out of the rest of the class. Now that he didn’t have the physical exertion of the workout to channel his energy through, Lucas was all nerve endings and lust. He wanted badly to take Troy’s hand, to lead him to a dark corner somewhere, to run his hand through that golden hair, to kiss him hard, to grind against him until he came in his gym shorts. The exhibit hall was enormous and packed full of people, but surely he could find a place for them to hide away.
“We’ve got some time before David will expect me back and before this cold medicine starts to wear off. Do you want to check out the exhibits for a little while? I barely had time to explore it the other day.”
Lucas took a deep breath and tried to control his desires, tried to calm himself.
“Lucas, are you all right?”
Biting his lower lip and closing his eyes, he forced his head up and down in a rough approximation of a ‘yes.’
Troy took his hand and Lucas very nearly jumped out of his skin. He pulled his hand free at once before his body could respond by trying to carry out his impossible plan. His breath raced. His body tingled right down to the end of his dick. “Are you sure you’re okay?”
He nodded again. “You got me all worked up is all.” Thank God for his gym bag. It hung over his shoulder at just the right height so he could swing it in front of him and hold it against his crotch to hide his erection. It was big enough that no one would think twice. No one would know… apart from Troy. “Sure,” he said, his breath a little slower now. “Let’s look at some more of the vendors.” Like he’d told Troy only that morning, they couldn’t say no to him.
They walked around, commenting to each other about various things that were on display and products for sale. It was the sort of thing that Lucas would never have been able to do with David, because David would have been bored out of his mind. Apart from supporting Lucas in whatever he wanted to do with his career, David had no real interest in sports and fitness. He could read the driest of medical papers with rapt attention but sit him in front of a professional baseball game and he was asleep in minutes. So to have someone like Troy he could really talk in depth with was such an unexpected treat.
They snaked down one aisle and then another, popping into a few vendors here and there to find out more about an item or get a closer look at something they both desperately wanted and could never afford. Troy’s cold was mostly cooperative. Sure, he had the occasional sneeze and more than occasional sniffle, but they struck briefly and Troy carried right on as if nothing were bothering him. And, perhaps, nothing was.
“Look at this…” Troy said, leading the way toward a booth that claimed to sell odor-eating sprays for the inside of your gym bag. The concept seemed to be similar to a lot of general air freshening products but formulated to work in small, enclosed spaces and specifically against the sort of musty stench that clung to workout clothes you sweated in. It had potential, if it did in fact work. However, it also had a strong aroma of its own. Several of the versions smelled fruity while others were floral in nature. Combined, they were a strong, overwhelming scent Lucas had not been expecting.
Whether it was the combination of scents or just the strength of them, Lucas didn’t know. All he knew was that he was suddenly finding it very difficult to breathe. It wasn’t in a fun kind of breathless either, like the kind he got when he imagined Troy lying ass-up in their hotel room bed. No, this was the kind of breathless where Lucas was fairly certain his airways were closing up and he was never going to take another normal breath. His chest felt tight, like something solid weighing it down and squeezing all the air out of him so he couldn’t get another breath in.
He knew what this was. He knew that getting breaths out was actually the hard part, but that didn’t stop him from feeling like he couldn’t breathe in, and that didn’t stop him from panicking. His heart racing, his breaths coming in wheezes, he immediately backed away, trying to get out of range of the strong scent as quickly as possible. He backed into someone and didn’t have the breath to apologize. He didn’t have the breath for anything. He was going to die here and now, struggling to breathe in the middle of a health and fitness conference exhibit hall. Oh, the irony!
“What do you reckon? Think they’ll work for… lockers… Lucas?” Turning and finding Lucas not right beside him, Troy looked around for him, perplexed.
Lucas held a finger up in a ‘give me a second’ gesture, like the one Troy had used earlier. Then he turned and fled. He didn’t want Troy to watch him pass out and die from lack of oxygen. And, even worse than that, he didn’t want Troy to see him use his inhaler. Troy saw him as the strong one, the one whose embrace he’d wanted all night long to comfort him. Troy saw him as a fellow health nut and fitness trainer, whose body was fit and well-maintained. He couldn’t allow Troy to see him having an asthma attack.
Wheezing as he pulled desperately for air and feeling lightheaded, his eyes streaming with tears of shame, Lucas bumped into people as he made his way as far from Troy as he could. He fumbled around in his duffle bag the whole time, searching for the inhaler. It absolutely had to be in there somewhere. He always kept it in the same front pocket, but he couldn’t seem to find it, and that only made his panic grow. He checked another pocket—nothing.
Just as he emerged from the exhibit hall, he tried the front pocket again and his tingling hand finally wrapped around the familiar plastic. He pulled it from the bag and started shaking it. His whole body was trembling now. He couldn’t breathe. His chest was collapsing. He couldn’t breathe. He was tingling. He couldn’t breathe. But he could stick the inhaler in his mouth. Beyond all logic, he managed to take one final, whistling breath as he pushed the top of the inhaler down and the medication rushed in. He let his long, struggling breath pull the spray in as far as it could, helping to relax his inflamed airways. He held what might just be his last breath on Earth in as long as he could, counting to ten, then to twenty.
Lucas let out the breath and shrieked as well as he could. Troy stood beside him, worry on his face, his hand reaching out for Lucas’ arm. Lucas tried to pull away, but his whole body was trembling uncontrollably.
“Fuck, mate. Sit down. Here.” He guided Lucas over to a vacant bench against the wall outside the exhibit hall, and Lucas didn’t have the strength or wherewithal to resist. Troy studied him, raised a hand to wipe the tears from Lucas’ cheek then he pulled back. He seemed scared to do anything in case it hurt Lucas, which is exactly what Lucas had tried to avoid by running. “Should I call David?”
Lucas shook his head. “I’ll be… fine…” he wheezed. He checked his Fitbit. Not enough time had passed. He tried to count the seconds out, but he seemed unable to both count and breathe at the same time. It was getting worse. This was a bad one. More tears filled his eyes, but that couldn’t be helped now. He closed them, forcing the tears to run out. Then he put the inhaler in his mouth again. Hoping it had been at least half a minute by now, he took another puff. The time, it seemed a little easier to breathe the medicine in. Lucas could feel it at work inside him.
“Screw it, I’m calling David.”
Lucas’ eyes flew open, but he had to hold his breath and keep the medicine in for it to work. He shook his head, but the damage was already done.
“Come down. It’s an emergency. I think it’s his asthma?” There was a pause. “Yes, he’s got an inhaler.” Another pause. “We’re right outside the exhibit hall on floor 2.”
Lucas exhaled. The tightening in his chest faded. He took a slow, careful breath in and out again. It seemed like he could breathe again, but he wasn’t pushing his luck. Breathing was too important, and it took all his energy to make sure he could do it properly again. In. Out. In. Out. He couldn’t look Troy in the eyes, not after what had just happened, so he looked down at his lap.
It seemed like no time at all had passed, but suddenly he heard, “Baby, are you okay? What happened?”
Lucas shook his head, still not looking up even with David’s comforting voice coming closer. David would find out soon enough. He’d realize that Lucas had ruined this for the both of them. Troy couldn’t possibly want him now, not after seeing him gasping and crying.
As if to confirm this, Troy got up from the bench and moved away. He didn’t even want to be near him anymore. David took his place on the bench. David was going to do what David did best, which was baby him and show Troy how weak Lucas really was. All those bench press reps and all that mildly successful flirting had been for nothing. This was all ruined.
“How bad was it this time?”
He felt David’s hand on his upper arm, squeezing, but he couldn’t answer. It was as bad as it could be. He shook his head, choking back a sob. Weeping was one thing, but bawling was another entirely. Lucas blinked rapidly, trying to hold back the urge to burst into tears and admit how he’d fucked this whole thing up, just as he’d feared.
“Baby, I’ve got my phone out. If you don’t tell me how bad it was, I’m calling an ambulance, and you can tell the paramedics instead. I’m just one button away from calling.”
His heart pounding, Lucas shook his head. “No! Don’t. I’m…” Well, he definitely wasn’t fine; he couldn’t lie to his husband and say he was fine. He was rattled and mortified. But if would be worse if David called an ambulance; and Lucas knew that was a very real possibility. “It was…” He looked up finally and saw David’s worried expression. Standing a few feet back from the bench, right behind David, was Troy. Lucas swallowed, not sure how to admit what he truly felt. He already felt weak and embarrassed, now he had to explain out loud in front of them both that he felt weak and embarrassed?
“Niagara Falls bad or San Antonio thunderstorm bad?”
Lucas gave a start. He hadn’t expected that question. He hadn’t expected David to use a code only the two of them would understand. He’d fucking passed out during an asthma attack at Niagara Falls, and he’d had to be rushed to the hospital in San Antonio. Both times he’d felt certain that was the worst. And this… well, it wasn’t that bad now, apart from the mortification of it all and the disappointment about losing Troy. So he tried to put it in a way David would understand. He thought for a second before trying to name his most embarrassing asthma attack before today. “More like… Mr. Pietree’s lawn bad.”
“Oh.” David softened at once with understanding. “Oh, baby.” Immediately, he pulled Lucas to him, letting Lucas gratefully hide his face against David’s chest. David wrapped his arms around, holding tight, patting his back, hunching over to hide Lucas’ face entirely from sight, resting his cheek on top of Lucas’ head.
Lucas knew he was still on the second floor lobby where a busy conference was going on. But he felt hidden and safe in his husband’s arms. Most importantly, he felt comforted, though he knew deep down he had no right to be. Still, as he nuzzled his face into the fabric of what had to be David’s softest t-shirt, he felt the embarrassment and shame start to ebb. He focused on David’s heartbeat and David’s breathing, the steady thump and slow in and out of easy breaths just as much a reassurance as the embrace. He tried to will his body to calm down, to match David beat for beat, breath for breath. Panic wasn’t easy for him to shake off, but he wouldn’t have even been able to try if not for David. And breathing warm, moist breaths against the soft cotton made each breath easier to take and release.
He heard Troy’s voice, and he tensed up again as another wave of embarrassment washed over him. “Should I… get some water or something?” He sounded small, uncertain, more like he’d sounded last night when he’d been in distress than he had today when he’d been feeling better.
David shifted just a little to lift his head. “No, that’s not necessary. But if you want to help, sit down and put a hand on his back.”
Lucas tensed up more and tried to keep from shaking. Troy’s pity was exactly what he didn’t want. But he couldn’t speak the words to tell Troy to keep his distance. He kept his face buried in his husband’s chest, bracing himself to endure this.
The bench creaked as it bore the weight of a third man, and Lucas felt Troy’s thigh press against his rear. Then there was a large, heavy hand upon the curve of his back. “Here?” Troy asked.
“Perfect,” David replied.
Lucas bit back a whimper. The touch didn’t feel the way Lucas had thought it would. It wasn’t about pity at all. It moved up and down a little, never breaking contact, never easing up on the pressure applied. It was filled with reassurance. “Everything’s all right,” Troy murmured. “And I’m not going anywhere.”
Even more emotions overwhelmed Lucas. He didn’t understand why, but Troy hadn’t abandoned him just because he’d had a stupid freak-out moment and embarrassed himself. He had two men who cared for him, who were willing to wait for him to recover. He was oblivious to whatever odd looks any passers-by might be giving them. All he knew was David’s warm chest in front, Troy’s strong hand behind, and his own careful, increasingly normal breathing.
“hehhh…” Troy’s hand slipped a little. And David leaned to the side slightly. Placing a kiss on the top of Lucas’ head, David reclaimed one of his hands and arms for use. “hehh-EHHshmphhh!” By the way David was leaning and moving, Lucas could tell David had been trying to get a tissue out of his pocket for Troy to sneeze into. And from the sound of the sneeze, Lucas could tell he had succeeded.
“God bless you, baby.”
Troy sniffed and moved a little more, perhaps wiping his nose or nodding his appreciation or even both. But his hand stayed on Lucas’ back, as if he had no intention of moving it until Lucas decided he was ready to do without it. Lucas wasn’t exactly sure when that might be, though. It was so much easier hidden away like this.
Troy’s hand moved up and down again. “Take your time, mate. Remember: patience and persistence.”
Right. That was what it took to bench press correctly. That was what it sometimes took to breathe. And that was even what it took to get to know a stranger and invite him into your bed with you and your husband for what everyone hoped would be mind-blowing sex. Patience and persistence were Lucas’ two new favorite words.
It was still a short while before Lucas risked taking in a deep but carefully controlled breath and letting it out. He didn’t cough. He didn’t lapse into another attack. His breathing was normal again, as if nothing at all had happened. As if the panic and shame he’d felt so intensely were nothing he needed to worry about. Lucas pulled his face back and lifted his head, blinking at the florescent hotel lobby lights. “Thanks. Sorry I worried you,” he told them both, looking first at David smiling right in front of him then over his shoulder at Troy behind him.
“Let’s go back upstairs,” David proposed. He paused to kiss Lucas, another reassurance Lucas didn’t need until he was feeling it, strong and wet and sure. He was smiling by the time the kiss ended, even though it had lasted only a few seconds. “You need a shower after your workout. And I think we could all use some tea. Wouldn’t it still be considered tea time, Troy?”
Troy smiled and checked the time on his cell phone for confirmation. “Absolutely. Sounds brilliant to me.”
Lucas got up first, knowing the other two were taking their cues from him. David wouldn’t let go of his hand, wanting to stay connected. Lucas brought David’s hand to his lips and kissed the back of it. “Just so you know,” he said softly to Troy. “This was pretty close to his ten.”
The three didn’t say much more to each other as they took the elevator to the twenty-third floor. Troy sneezed and David blessed him. Lucas held the elevator’s Door Open button while the others walked past and thanked him. David mentioned having his key card out already as Lucas made a move to go for his. They were unusually quiet but strangely comfortable. It was as if they’d all felt something while sharing that bench that they hadn’t felt before, not even when they’d been snuggled up in bed together that morning. None of them wanted to speak of it and give it the wrong name, in case that might break the feelings it had created in them. But each of them kept exchanging knowing looks with the other two, finding excuses to touch and be close.
Lucas stood under the showerhead, letting the warm water soothe his muscles and calm his body further. By the time he was finished with the shower, he felt sure of himself and comfortable once again. In fact, he felt so relaxed and almost boneless he was ready to crawl into his beloved husband’s embrace and stay there for as long as he would be allowed. He toweled off and pulled on jeans and a t-shirt.
But from the moment he emerged from the bathroom and saw Troy on their bed, rubbing at his nose and David at the hotel room coffee pot boiling water for tea, Lucas had a feeling that the three of them would be inseparable from then on until they consummated whatever had been building among them. They were going to make love tonight. There was no question about that. And Lucas wasn’t going to leave their sides until it happened.
“Did you have a good shower?” David asked, looking over his shoulder at Lucas. The quiet that had built among them during the elevator ride seemed to have dissipated now, leaving this feeling of expectation and excitement behind in its wake. It felt nice to prepare tea for them all, but it felt even nicer having Lucas back in the room again.
Lucas walked over and hooked his arm around David’s waist from behind. He rocked back against the familiar body of his husband, sighing happily. Lucas smelled much better now, the damp and the hotel soap scents combining with his normal smell into something indescribably pleasant. “Just what I needed,” said Lucas. He kissed the back of David’s head then pulled away. David looked over his shoulder to see Lucas head over to Troy.
He watched as Lucas squatted down, laid his hand upon the mattress, and then looked up at Troy, his eyes full of desperation. David wondered what had transpired between them before he’d gotten that panicked phone call from Troy, but he didn’t think he needed to ask. Troy placed his hand on the bed beside, the sides of their little fingers touching. Then Troy slid his hand over Lucas’. After a few moments, Troy’s hand took hold of Lucas’. And Lucas turned his hand, holding Troy’s back. David knew that whatever had happened before, they were all right now, and that was what mattered.
“Tea’s ready!” David gathered the mugs together and carried them to the bed. Lucas got up from the floor and sat down on one side of Troy. David handed out the mugs then sat down on the bed on Troy’s other side. Tea and a Troy sandwich. This wasn’t a proper English tea by any stretch of the imagination, but it was their version, and he was eager for it. “Cheers?” He held his mug up, hoping this wasn’t too cheesy. “To… being more than friends?”
“To patience and persistence,” Lucas said, getting on board and holding up his mug even though he’d been about to take a sip.
Troy held his up as well. He looked contemplative, his eyes on the mug with the teabag still steeping under the water, held down by a wooden stir stick. “To incredible kindnesses, unusual kinks, and getting the most out of fitness con… conferences.” He pulled a tissue from his pocket and passed his mug to David so he wouldn’t spill. “hehEHTchoo! hehEHGGchooo!” Sniffling into the tissue, he reclaimed his tea with his other hand and raised it up again. “And to having plenty of tissues.”
They laughed and clinked and sipped and drank. And sometime during all of that, David’s hand found its way to the small of Troy’s back. And Lucas’ hand invited itself to rest on Troy’s thigh. Neither hand did any more than that. They simply got used to touching someone else casually as they would normally touch each other.
“So how are you feeling, Troy?” David knew the question was loaded, but he could see no way around asking it. If Troy still felt sick, he had work yet to do. There would be another dose of nasal spray at the very least and another night of snuggling in bed while holding tissues to his nose at the most. They could rent an in-room movie and all fall asleep before it ended. David had absolutely no objections to this course of events. However, if Troy felt better… if he felt well enough to fuck… then their night would be filled with getting to know each other’s bodies in a far more intimate and sensual way. They could try new positions, learn how to please each other, and come as many times as they could before passing out from exhaustion. David found that option far more appealing. He held his breath as he anticipated the reply.
“I think I’m feeling pretty good, actually,” he said. He quirked an eyebrow as David let out the breath he’d been holding. “I’m not saying my throat doesn’t still feel sore and my nose doesn’t feel ticklish, but I can breathe again, and I have a lot of energy. I’m interested in whatever part of yourselves you two want to share with me.” He rubbed his nose. “Though, in all honesty, I’m hoping that includes your cocks.”
Lucas choked on his tea, spitting some out back into his mug and coughing. I got up and clapped a hand on his back as the coughs subsided. “Sorry,” he sputtered. “I’m not saying I’m opposed to that, it just took me by surprise.” He handed his mug—mostly untouched—over to David. He looked right at Troy. “You’re welcome to my cock.” Lucas had always preferred the direct approach.
As eager to get started as anybody, David still didn’t feel like this was the right time to just jump right into the deep end and hope they could all swim. Worried that his husband might be about to reach for his fly to get his cock out immediately, David stood up. He walked his mug and Lucas’ over to the table and picked up the room service menu. “Let’s order dinner and talk about what we want to do and what we don’t want to do. By the time we’re done eating, we’ll probably be horny enough to get right into it.”
Lucas had a glowing smile. “How long has it been since I told you I love you?”
David made a show of checking his watch. “Oh, it’s got to be hours at lea—”
“I love you.”
David felt warm right down to his toes. He walked back over to the bed and kissed Lucas to let him know he understood. Whatever happened tonight, they would still have this between them. “I love you, too.” One more kiss for good measure. “Now what do you want to eat? I bet you’re starving. You’re always especially hungry right after a workout.”
Their room service order was the largest one David had ever placed. When his order of two appetizers, four entrees with sides, five beverages, and one dessert—which they planned to share—was read back to him, he couldn’t even imagine how they’d fit all the food on the table, let alone eat it. “You can’t, by any chance, bring an extra chair also?”
Apparently they could. And they did. About thirty minutes later, the food arrived with its own cart, just like David had seen in the movies. So they were able to keep everything on the cart until they were ready for it. David was tempted to start and finish with the dessert first, because it looked amazing, but he knew Lucas would only allow that if David worked it off, and this was supposed to be his vacation, too. So he brought some of the drinks and the appetizers over to the table and left everything else under the metal tins to keep the food warm longer.
“So,” David began, sliding the glass of water over to his husband and the unsweetened iced tea to Troy around the tissue box that sat at table center for easy access. “You mentioned this isn’t your first rodeo?”
“My first…” He looked confused at first. “Oh, no. It’s not my first time in a three-way with a couple. In fact, I’m rather partial to them. They’re sort of my thing.” Quickly, he added. “Oh, but every one of them is different. Sometimes a couple just wants a quick fuck with a new playmate to spice things up. Other times there’s some dynamic missing and they need me to fill it. For example, once I was with a couple who were regularly polyamorous. One of the blokes was asexual but enjoyed being there while his partner got drilled into a mattress.”
“You like to top?” Lucas asked.
“I like everything. I’m as versatile as you can get. There’s not a lot I haven’t tried. Though… your kink is one I’d never heard of before.” He picked up a triangular section of the vegetable and cheese quesadilla and tipped it in David’s direction. “There’s obviously more to it than a little nurseplay. Explain to me how it works exactly?”
“Oh! Uh…” David hadn’t been expecting that just yet or maybe even at all. He struggled to find words that wouldn’t make him sound like some sicko who enjoyed taking advantage of men when they were at their most vulnerable.
“Hey, that’s brilliant.” Troy smiled. “Seems both you and your hubby look adorable blushing.”
Without even needing a prompt from him, Lucas addressed the question. “David isn’t about the suffering. He just feels really good when he’s able to make his guy feel good.” Lucas raised his eyebrows. “Is that about right?”
David nodded. Lucas had explained so simply and perfectly. Maybe these things were easier to talk about when they weren’t your own?
“Feeling good… now that’s something I can get behind.” Troy cleared his throat. “So I’m hearing that it’s a little bit about power dynamics? Being able to provide a service and getting off when it’s well received?”
David wasn’t sure he’d ever thought of it that way before. But he wasn’t wrong. David nodded.
Troy took a few more gulps of iced tea and then sat back, looking thoughtful once again. “Now, do you two have something in mind for me already, or do we start with the basics?”
David exchanged a look with Lucas. Clearly this was something they should have discussed privately and well in advance. But everything had moved so quickly once Troy had confronted them about things. And, honestly, David still didn’t completely believe this was actually going to happen, even as they sat there discussing it. “Um…”
“Basics it is then. Nothing wrong with that. It’s where I usually start, especially when it’s my first time with someone. Let’s make this a safe space, all right? No judgement. If we’re going to have each other tonight, we’d better start with trust and honesty.” He wiped his mouth with the thick cloth napkin and got up. “Now I’m going to grab the entrees. While we eat them, let’s do a few quick rounds of two things you like and one thing you don’t.”
It ended up taking all of them to clear away the appetizer dishes and Tetris the entrees to fit on the small table. They’d ordered a plate of tortellini to share, but both Troy and Lucas had steaks while David had a hamburger. David had chosen a side of fries for his, knowing that his man would never order them for himself but loved helping himself to them off his plate. For the first minute or two, they ate without talking, enjoying the still-warm food. None of them had eaten much since breakfast, and while the appetizers had been a nice way to start, there was nothing like a big, hearty meal after a long day.
“I don’t fancy eating ass.”
David choked and nearly spit out his mouthful of burger patty, bun, and toppings. Quickly, he swallowed and buried his face in his napkin to cough into until his throat felt clear again.
“Um, thank you for that, Troy,” Lucas said, sounding a bit shocked by the suddenness of the admission, rather than the content.
“Don’t mind watching it. And I rather like having someone eat me out. But I don’t like to do it myself.” He held up one finger. “As for the two things I like, I’ll never say no to being on either end of a blowjob.” He held up a second finger. “And I fucking love being given orders. Order me to put on the condoms. Order me down on my knees. Order me to take the full length of your dick—as long as it’s an order, chances are, I’ll be into it.” He put up a third finger. “Your turn, David.”
The bubbles in David’s Pepsi tickled his throat on the way down, driving away the urge to cough. “I, um…” He didn’t understand why he was suddenly feeling so shy and nervous. How could he hold a naked man in a steamy bathroom and let the same man sneeze into his chest all night long but feel hesitant to chat about his turn-ons during a meal? “I like touching. A lot of touching. A whole lot of touching.”
“That still only counts as one,” Lucas said, helping himself to a couple fries off David’s plate followed by a liberal dollop of catsup.
“Right. Um.” The table was small enough for Lucas to reach out underneath it and put a hand on his knee. David sucked in a breath and reached under the table, covering Lucas’ hand with his own. “I love any position where I can see my lover’s face when I give him pleasure.”
“And something you don’t like?” Troy prompted.
“I don’t like when my lover feels pain or serious discomfort. Instant turn-off for me. I want my guy—or, um, guys, I guess in this case—to feel good when they’re with me.”
“That checks out,” Troy nodded.
“We use a lot of lube,” Lucas shared. “Wish I could buy shares in it or something. Some CEO probably bought a yacht with the money we’ve spent on lube.”
Troy laughed and gestured, fork in hand, for Lucas to start sharing.
“Easy. I love fucking and getting fucked. And I don’t like scat. Pass the tortellini?”
They went around the table for a second round. And then a third. By the fourth time around, their preferences were far more specific and leaning a little more toward things they liked that they might actually like to do tonight.
Troy finished up his turn with, “I love sex in the shower, all soapy and slick and feeling instantly clean afterward while still feeling dirty.”
“Mmmm,” Lucas agreed. They’d all naturally started commenting about each other’s picks as well. “That’s hot.”
Troy wasn’t finished. “But, in my experience, fitting three guys into a shower is tricky, and once in a while, hotel bathrooms are connected through vents so people next door can hear every word clearly even over the sound of running water.”
David and Lucas exchanged a look. David rubbed the warm back of his neck, knowing he was blushing again. “Let’s hope for the sake of our room’s neighbor that this hotel isn’t set up that way.” It was his turn next anyway. “I’d love to hold someone while they jerk off or get sucked. Also, I love nipple play, though honestly there’s not a part of my body where I don’t like touched. I don’t…” This one was harder for him. He felt like they’d already covered the big things he disliked. With those already off the table, he wasn’t sure if he should just reiterate something already said that he definitely wanted them to do or try to think of something new that had never occurred to him as something he never wanted to experience. But there was one other thing he was sure of. He just wasn’t sure if it was the right time to suggest it to them. “Actually, I have one more thing I’d like. Should I wait until next round or…”
“Just say it,” Lucas reassured him. “Whatever it is, I’m sure it’ll be hot.”
He wasn’t so sure about that himself, but his husband was rarely wrong. So David took a deep breath and let it out with “No matter what happens tonight… even if this is an embarrassing, terrible disaster… I want us to go back to Troy’s room and climb into bed together just like we did last night. I want this day to end with something warm and good and shared, something we know we can’t fuck up.” He shook his head. “I know it’s cheesy, but I want to fall asleep with you both under my watch again. I loved sharing those moments last night.”
This was met with silence. No one spoke. No one even moved. Immediately, David knew he’d asked too much of them. He felt panic set in and broke out in a cold sweat. He hoped very much things didn’t go pear-shaped tonight, but maybe he’d just ensured that this whole thing would be weird. He was forcing them to make promises they might not be able to keep and setting them up for an extremely awkward night.
“Well, shit.” Lucas scrubbed a hand over his face. “I was just going to say I like fingers up my ass. But now you have to go and ruin this game with sweetness and snuggles and caring and make me look all shallow and selfish. Nice going there, David.”
David felt a little calmer. He even smiled again. “I’ll shove my fingers up your ass any time, baby.”
Lucas leaned over and kissed his cheek. “Thanks, baby.”
David reached over and pulled a tissue out, pressing it to Troy’s nose for him. “God bless you, baby.” His cheeks went red with embarrassment as he realized just how many times they’d used the word baby, but he just couldn’t help it.
Troy’s fingertips stroked the back of David’s hand before taking the tissue from him and rubbing at his nose. “I love how you bless me every time.”
This did nothing to cool the heat in his face, and David looked down at the table. “I love that you let me.” Then he looked over at his husband. “And I love that you let me, also.”
Lucas nodded, but the way he nervously worked his lower lip between his teeth made David uneasy. There was something he wasn’t saying. And this was no time for secrets. If Lucas suddenly had a problem with all this, it was better he say so now rather than when they were right in the middle of sex. “Hey,” David reached out, laying his hand on Lucas’ forearm and rubbing. “What is it?” He told himself he wouldn’t be upset if Lucas backed out now; any of them were free to do that. He would never hold that against Lucas. But David was sure he would be disappointed. “Stop worrying and say what you need to say.”
What he needed to say wasn’t at all what David had been expecting. “Can I talk to you in private?”
David looked nervously at Troy and back again. “This is a safe sharing space, remember? Whatever you need to tell me, you can say in front of Troy.”
But Lucas stood his ground. “I really can’t.” He shook his head and turned to Troy. “I’m not backing out of this. I promise you that. This whole thing is most definitely still on, and I’m turned on, too.” It wasn’t exactly the clever, flirtatious line it seemed he’d been hoping for. He shook his head disapprovingly at himself for a second before moving on. “There’s just one thing I need to ask David in private.”
Before David could object again, Troy held up both his hands, palms out. “Of course, mate. I’m just here to play. I’m not looking to break up a marriage. Take all the time in private you need.”
As Troy took a tissue from the box and set to work blowing his nose, Lucas seized David by the hand and dragged him into the bathroom. He shut the door and switched on the fan. David looked warily at the vent in the top, far corner of the bathroom. “What’s all this about?” he asked, his body feeling tense and on edge. “Are you sure you’re all right, baby? If you don’t want to do this, just tell me. I won’t be angry.”
“Oh, I want to do this. You still want to do this too, right?”
“Yeah,” David agreed at once. “Of course.”
“Good.” The bit of alarm was gone from his tone, but he still looked shifty and nervous. “Don’t be mad at me about this.”
David took his hands and squeezed. “I’m not mad. Not at all. Just tell me what this is all about.”
With a decisive nod and a deep breath, Lucas said, “You know that… that thing you do that’s my favorite?”
This took David a second. There were many things he did on a regular basis in bed that Lucas seemed to enjoy immensely.
“You know…” Lucas assured him.
And then it occurred to David. Lucas meant his favorite thing. “Wait, you mean how I take your temperature when you’re sick?” How he would pull his husband into his arms, squeeze his tickly nose through a bunch of tissues to hold the sneezes back and rub Vicks on his chest to help with his breathing. How he would keep Lucas from sneezing the whole time the thermometer was at work, keeping him calm and letting him know he was taken care of for every single second.
Lucas’ head bobbed up and down. “Yes… that… I only want you to do that for me.”
“But, baby, Troy isn’t even feverish. And his congestion has thinned out. He doesn’t need me to—”
“I’m not talking just about Troy. I mean forever. I don’t know if we’ll ever do this again with somebody. But whatever happens in the future, I want that one thing to be the one thing you do only for me. I want to be the only one who can nestle against your chest with a thermometer in mouth and you driving all the sneezes away for a minute or two. You can take someone else’s temperature like normal or feel his forehead or make something new up or whatever. But I want my favorite thing to be ours and only ours forever. Do you think… can you agree to that?”
David breathed in quietly, fully, feeling his lungs expand as his heart seemed to grow in size. If he could have pulled Lucas right inside him at that moment he would have. Instead, he settled for a tight embrace. Lucas felt tense in his arms, still nervous. “Absolutely. That will be our thing alone,” David promised him, speaking soft but clear right into his ear. “I have never done that with anybody else, and I’ll never do it with anybody but you.” He tightened his arms around Lucas, knowing the strong man could take the extra pressure, knowing Lucas craved that reassurance just now. “I’m so glad you told me.”
He heard Lucas’ breath hitch. Then he felt Lucas’ lips graze his neck. “I love you,” he murmured. “I love you so much I don’t even have words that come close to it.” Lucas rarely got this sappy, but he’d always been good at saying exactly what he meant. And so this meant a lot.
“I know, baby. And I love you, too.” He turned his head, pulled back a little, and kissed his husband. When he was done, and they were both relaxed and smiling, he cupped the side of Lucas’ face, rubbing his thumb in circles at Lucas’ temple. “Now let’s go out there together and fuck that gorgeous Englishman.”
“Sounds good to me.”
Lucas opened the door and David flipped the fan and light switches. Troy stood up from the table, stretching his arms up above his head and leaning to one side then the other. “Everything okay, gents?”
“Everything’s just fine,” David replied. Though he could see from a small twitch in Troy’s nose that maybe not everything was fine.
“hehhEHPtchoo!” David nearly lunged for the tissue box, but Troy was already pulling a tissue from it, winding up for his next sneeze. “ehhHIHHshphhh!”
“God bless you, baby.” He must have blessed Troy a thousand times during the past day, but his voice shook as he said it this time.
“David…” Lucas’ tone was a warning.
But David couldn’t help himself. His heart pounded hard in his chest and flutters raced through him. “Troy, are you certain you feel up to doing this?”
“David!” Lucas hissed through his teeth.
But they all knew David wouldn’t be so easily silenced. This had to be said. “Because, if you don’t feel well, I’m officially calling this off tonight. We can get another round of room service and watch a movie in bed together, but I’m not having sex with anyone who isn’t well enough to enjoy—“ Troy grabbed a big handful of David’s shirt and yanked hard. He forced David into a kiss so strong that David felt that strength penetrate his whole body, filling him up, making him go loose and wibbly. When he was released, he might have stumbled backwards if not for Lucas, who’d moved in right behind him. He wrapped his arms around his husband from behind and held him tight, just the way David liked to be held best.
“I’m all right,” Troy reassured him. “I promise. If at any time I need to pause or stop or if I feel any sort of distress, I will let you know. I know how to speak up for myself. I’m a big boy.”
“How big?” Lucas sounded supremely pleased with himself, and he should be. He wasn’t usually so snappy with those sorts of lines. David was actually quite impressed at this one. He also remembered that between the two of them, Lucas was the one who hadn’t seen Troy’s magnificent body in all its glory yet.
Troy was all dimples as he smiled and locked eyes with Lucas and didn’t move. Behind him, Lucas tensed with excitement. David could practically feel the lust pass between them, with him right in the middle. “This big.” David hadn’t even seen his hand move to his shorts, but it must have, because suddenly those gym shorts were dropping to his ankles. Still staring almost unblinkingly at Lucas, as if daring him to break their gaze and look down, Troy slid his fingers into his y-fronts and eased the waistband down. David was free to look down, and saw the golden pubic hair at his root followed by that long, thick shaft.
Troy stared. Lucas fidgeted. Troy stared. Lucas whimpered at the temptation.
“Oh, just look, baby!” David said, unable to stand Lucas being in even that much pain.
Lucas looked down and sucked in a breath. “Yeah,” he whispered. “I guess you’ll do.” His hand snaked down, cupping David’s crotch with a squeeze. “Though I think my man’s got you beat.”
“Luc!” David twisted his head around, narrowing his eyes. “That’s not a very—” And, once again, he was cut off by a kiss. This one was sensual and familiar, possessive and excited. He melted into it just the same. Just a couple minutes in and already the two of them had found the perfect way to get him to bend to their will.
There was really only one way to fight back. With a pop of a button and a pull of the zipper, David shoved his own jeans down past his thighs. His boxers followed in quick measure, leaving him on display and already half-hard. He saw something like a twinkle in Troy’s eyes. He didn’t need to ask if Troy liked what he saw before him. He didn’t need to ask a thing. What he needed were two simple words. An order: “Suck it.”
Troy dropped to his knees so fast David thought he might have hurt his kneecaps. But Troy didn’t even wince. He’d moved so smoothly, with so much athletic grace and control of his movements. His jaw had dropped open before he even hit the floor. The sight was enough to harden David on the spot. He didn’t take David’s dick in his mouth right away, however.
First he lifted his hand, palm nearly flat, and let David’s dick rest upon it. Then he stuck his tongue out and drew it ever so slowly from tip to root, as if measuring every inch carefully or becoming intimately acquainted in case he might need to recall details of it later. And when his tongue reached the base, it lapped and swirled then started right back again toward the other end. David’s breath quickened, as did Lucas’, and it wasn’t even his cock that was about to be sucked.
Troy’s tongue circled the head of David’s cock in one direction then the other, applying just enough pressure to drive David mad with the longing. David buried his hand in Troy’s hair, trying to guide the man’s head to give service to him, but Troy’s plans now involved tiny little licks at the tip. And just as David was just about to give in and beg to be blown right fucking now, Troy’s mouth took him in.
Then there was nothing but hot pleasure. David shouldn’t have been surprised; Troy had mentioned first that he liked giving blow jobs. But the man was more than just good at them. There was an eager hunger in his eyes as he looked up into David’s.
“Fuck,” Lucas whispered, biting David’s shoulder, but not so hard it would leave a mark. “That’s hot. How is the sight of someone else sucking my husband so fucking hot?”
“’Cause it’s Troy,” David said. And that was both it and not it at the same time. Troy was handsome, sexy, fit, and vulnerable all at the same time. They were both drawn to his looks. It was more than that, though. It was the way he respected each of them, related to them. It was the way he flirted and the way he opened himself up as if trusting two complete strangers were the easiest thing in the world. But there was something else in all of this that didn’t have to do with Troy specifically. There was something exciting about changing something that already worked so well, making it better. It was about trusting someone you’d just met with the thing you loved most in the world. It was about allowing yourself the luxury of decadence and indulgence and pure, dirty pleasure. It didn’t even have to be Troy. But they were both incredibly glad it was.
Troy snuffled; breathing so much through what had been a stuffy nose until recently was starting to get to him. David reached over for the tissue box on the table, but by the time he had his arm extended, Lucas was already placing a tissue in his hand for him. A surge of delight that was only partly connected to the glorious sensations happening in his dick spread through him. He pinched the tissue to Troy’s nose, but he couldn’t do much more while Troy was still sucking. At first, David wasn’t sure if he could even ask Troy to stop the wonderful things he was doing.
But then Lucas spoke. “C’mon,” he said softly, reaching around past David and putting a hand on Troy’s chin. He guided the man’s head back, his touch gentle yet persuasive. Troy looked up at the both of them, apology in his expression. Then he took a deep breath and blew his nose into the tissues David held. “That’s it. Let it all out. My man knows how to help.” David felt Lucas’ heartbeat accelerate, pounding against his back where he was pressed close. He’d always known how much Lucas enjoyed being taken care of when he felt like crap, but David hadn’t counted on Lucas getting into this care-giving thing quite this much. David definitely wasn’t complaining as being able to be himself about his care-giving kink was thrilling and liberating. But being able to be himself about it and knowing it excited Lucas at the same time brought it to a whole new level entirely.
David felt Lucas’ hands on his belly. Then he felt them slide up to his chest. They were met with some interference by the shirt David still wore, but Lucas tugged and nudged until David lifted his arms for it to be pulled off. Absurdly standing in nothing but socks—underwear still technically on just pooled around his ankles—David bent to free himself of the rest of his clothes.
When he’d shoved them aside, out of the way, and straightened back up, he found Lucas helping Troy off with his shirt as well. After a few moments, Lucas was the only one of them still fully dressed. Troy dipped his hands under Lucas’ shirt and slid them both into Lucas’ front pockets. Instead of pulling the pants down, he pulled Lucas forward and kissed him fiercely.
David only had a minute to wonder how much of the kiss tasted of Troy and how much like David’s own precome leaking cock when he found out for himself. With Troy’s hand hot on the back of his neck and Troy’s mouth wet against his, David melted once again. This time, he felt one of Troy’s arms come around him, pulling him impossibly closer, deeper into the kiss. His whole body thrummed, attentive with desire.
When David was released, he didn’t trust his legs to hold him up for much longer, so he collapsed back onto the bed. “Undress,” he ordered, not really caring which of the two men obeyed as long as in the end they ended up as naked as he was. As he watched the remaining items of clothing get stripped off and flung to the far corners of the room, he took his cock in hand, now slick, hot, and throbbing thanks to Troy. He worked his fist down at an unsteady pace, unable to reconcile his urge to orgasm right fucking now with his desire to make these marvelous sensations and this time with Troy and Lucas last as long as possible.
“Get over here, both of you,” said David. It didn’t matter that his body was desperate for release already. He would not allow himself to come by jacking off alone on a bed, watching like some uninvolved voyeur. Moreover, he craved touch. He wanted their heat and their muscles and their heaviness and their firm bodies and their hands and their mouths. He groaned, speeding up his strokes a little despite himself.
They climbed onto the bed. Troy got to David first, giving him a kiss that was meant as a hello but went far beyond that. Then he arched his back, sniffling a little almost absentmindedly as he positioned himself better to get to David’s chest. Lucas had once told him that his own nipples didn’t feel much sensation, that maybe they were just there for decoration. David couldn’t wrap his head around what that would be like, because his own were startlingly sensitive. The moment Troy’s tongue made its first flick at David’s nipple, David’s whole body tensed, and he had to squeeze himself to keep control. If he were at home without neighbors on either side of the house, he might have screamed at the intense pleasure of that. Instead he bit his lip and hissed with a sharp intake of breath.
He was entirely unprepared for Lucas to attach himself to his other nipple. Sure, Lucas would sometimes pinch both his nipples or lick one and tease the other between thumb and forefinger. But having tongues and teeth on both at the same time was an entirely new sensation, one he’d only been able to imagine before. But now it was real, now it was happening. There were flicks and tugs and tender nibbles and sharp pinches. Pleasure radiated through his body.
David gripped the bedsheet beneath him, squeezing his hands into fists. He threw his head back, trying to control his breathing. But his body could not and would not be controlled any longer. He came without warning and without a hand on his cock, shooting unrestrainedly yet unapologetically.
Any shame he might have felt about being the first to come, and to come so soon, vanished when he came down from the orgasm and realized he could feel both men’s erections pressed up against his legs.
Troy slowed his motions and then kissed the nub of David’s nipple tenderly before stopping. Then his body tensed and his mood changed instantly. He made to pull away, but David’s instincts kicked in. Still holding onto the sheet, he yanked part up while putting a hand on the back of Troy’s head reassuringly. “hahhh… ahhh-HEHTTchhhhh!”
“God bless you, baby.” David’s voice was slow and breathless still as he recovered from his overwhelming orgasm, and he longed to pull the man into his arms to comfort him. So that’s exactly what he did. And, damn, it felt good to do it.
Lucas, on the other hand, hopped up, getting off the bed. He grabbed the tissue box from where it still sat on the table. He pulled one tissue out, giving it to David so that David could rub Troy’s nose for him. But he pulled out a few others so that he could clean the come off his husband’s belly, crotch, and thighs. Lucas didn’t offer to go get a wet towel to clean him off more thoroughly; they both knew this probably wouldn’t be David’s only orgasm tonight.
David held Troy close, both this arms wrapped around the man. He kissed Troy’s forehead and then whispered to Troy. “Do you know who else gives excellent blowjobs?”
Lucas raised his hand. “That’d be me. Turn onto your back,” Lucas ordered, crawling down the bed. He was careful to not brush against David’s cock, which would feel overly-sensitive for just a little while. Instead, he lay across David’s lower legs, getting into position. With one hand on Troy’s balls, caressing, rolling, Lucas’ other hand pulled back Troy’s foreskin. His tongue which had just been attacking David’s pec with such vigor now went to work on the head of Troy’s cock. It swirled and lapped, varying direction and strength of touch until Troy trembled with desire in David’s arms.
Wanting to tell him to get ready and hold on, David instead tightened his hold just as Lucas opened his mouth and took the man’s cock in. Troy gave a grunt of pleasure, closing his eyes briefly. When he opened them, he turned his head, looking not at Lucas but David, his gaze so full of appreciation that David’s whole body felt hot and tingly. He might have just come, but his fetish was overpowering.
“You… weren’t… kidding…” Troy managed. David held him as his body rocked. He seemed to be resisting the urge to thrust, but only just barely. David wrapped his other arm around Troy, hugging him tightly, burying his face against the back of the man’s head and breathing him in. He could feel Troy tremble and tighten, could hear his breaths quicken. “Oh fuck, mate…” His head tilted back, and David ducked his own down to make room, kissing the back of Troy’s neck, the skin smooth and a little damp from sweat. “I’m… shite… aw yes… I’m gonna…”
Lucas pulled back. And Troy groaned with need. His hips rocked forward, thrusting to get back to that mouth. But Lucas drew his hand over his wet, grinning mouth and pulled further away. “Just ‘cause my man came already doesn’t mean you get to, Troy. I don’t want you to come until you’re deep in me.”
“Fuuuuck!” he drew the word out like it had three syllables. And though he sounded frustrated, he didn’t look it at all. He looked eager for a condom and lube and for a big neon sign pointing the way right to Lucas’ ass.
David knew there was something he wanted before they got to that, though. And several minutes later, he did find himself with two lube-slicked fingers up his husband’s ass. He lay on his side, facing Lucas, reaching around with skill honed during many a love-making session. He placed kisses on Lucas’ breastbone, trailing them up the man’s neck to his chin and then back down again. And Lucas, for his part, pushed his leg forward at such an angle that David could grind his crotch into Lucas’ thigh. This was a position he had found himself in a hundred times before, one he usually enjoyed. But this time he wasn’t feeling it the same way. The physical sensation felt as good as it always did, but the position was made for two men. And tonight they were three.
Feeling awkward and apologetic, David turned his head to see Troy sitting at the head of the bed, hard cock in hand, jacking off at the sight before him. That was a little more reassuring. “Troy….” David whispered.
“Keep… doing that… God, you two are so hot.”
At the same time, Lucas seemed to remember he and David weren’t alone in bed. “Don’t… don’t you dare come yet, man.”
Troy slowed his pacing more, wincing a little. “Patience and persistence… are a little easier to have… when you don’t have your cock in your hand… and when you don’t have two hot men touching each other just centimeters away.” He made a soft, needy sound and swiped his wrist under his nose. “Fuck, mates. I’m gonna explode here.”
“Can’t have that, can we?” David knew full well Troy was a grown man and could get himself ready, but he felt he needed to do this. He needed to roll the condom onto the man’s hard cock. He needed to apply the liberal amounts of lube. He needed to lie back down in front of Lucas to see every facial expression, to make absolutely certain that Lucas was all right. He needed to touch and facilitate as a way of mentally approving this situation. This was how he let another man fuck his husband.
And Lucas did close his eyes tight and clench his teeth for a second when Troy began to push himself into his already warmed and stretched hole. David took Lucas’ hand and squeezed it, his heart pounding. “You all right?” he whispered.
Lucas opened his eyes and a look of pure bliss filled them. “Very all right.” He replied. His finger slid over David’s wedding ring, stroking a few times. “N-now get yourself ready for me.”
It wasn’t easy to do one-handed, but David wasn’t interested in dropping Lucas’ hand just now. That tight, reassuring hold told him his Lucas wasn’t in pain or distress. It told him Lucas was feeling good. And that was all David ever wanted in this world.
Over Lucas’ shoulder, David could see part of Troy’s face as well. There was a mix of pleasure and concentration on it, like he wanted to thrust and to come but was going slow and holding back until the time was right. David was reminded that Troy had done this before with others; he knew that this was about all three of them, not just him. If David had been in his place just now, he wasn’t sure he would be able to restrain himself so well, even after already shooting his load.
Of course, he was hard again already. How could he not be? Eagerly, he bent his knees and shifted around on his side, angling his body to make it easier for Lucas. It wasn’t as though Lucas had a wide range of motion at the moment, not with the way he was taking Troy’s cock. But that didn’t stop him from being able to have David, too. The head of his cock, covered now and slicked with lube, teased at David’s tight, puckered asshole. David closed his eyes and tried to relax, though amidst all the excitement, it was no easy task.
He felt fingers brush lightly over his chest and then squeeze a nipple. The tingles caught David off guard with their pleasantness, and Lucas slipped inside. “Ooohhhh yes.” Lucas’ guttural moan filled the silence. “This… feels… so incredible.” Cautiously, smoothly, he thrust his hips forward, going deep into David. And when he rocked back, Troy went deep into him. It wasn’t the smoothest of actions, as he still lay on his side, but his muscles and strength gave him the advantage over the friction, sheets, and mattress.
From his vantage point, David could mostly only see Lucas, but every so often during a thrust he caught sight of Troy’s face. Both men looked like they had been transported to a plane of pure enjoyment. David had been there once already tonight, and he was looking forward to his second visit lasting longer than the first. But he wasn’t going to get there without a little more help. He reached past Lucas, caressed the man’s upper arm as he did so, and held his hand out as far as he could. “Troy?” he whispered, barely audible above the sounds of the hotel bed and heavy breathing of the men in it. But Troy must have heard, because a few seconds later, David felt Troy take his hand and place a soft kiss to the back of it then hold fast.
David tightened his grips, one hand in Lucas’, one in Troy’s. When he pulled forward, they pulled back for resistance, and David’s body angled in just the right way for the head of Lucas’ cock to hit his prostate. A white hot explosion of pleasure overtook him, and it felt like his whole body was giving itself over to the sensation and two the two men making that happen. He didn’t want to come first this time; not again. He wanted to make certain Lucas and Troy were taken care of first. But if Lucas kept thrusting deep into him like this…
“Nnnhhh!” At once, and with relief, he recognized the desperate, urgent sound as Lucas’. “So close.”
Troy was quick to agree, “Me too. Shite! I’m gonna… I’m gonna…”
The tone of his warning did all sorts of things to David’s cock. His heartrate and breathing quickened. He could feel his own orgasm begging him to let it take over, the jolts of pleasure impossible to ignore. It was going to be this fantastic, magical moment of all three of them coming at the exact same time. They couldn’t have possibly planned this. It was just the most perfect way for all of this to have finally played out. Lucas thrust into him once more, and David knew he was completely done for now.
“I’m gonna… hehTSHxxshhhhhh!”
David’s eyes flew open, and his stomach gave a nasty, lurching sort of flip. Nearly to climax, his body backed the hell up again, realizing what Troy had actually been trying to warn about. He’d just sneezed and David hadn’t been ready to help him, and that did things to David’s insides. But then Lucas was coming suddenly, shuddering violently against him, making that face he made during a particularly good orgasm, that face David loved so much and found so irresistibly hot. And then, just as suddenly, Troy was coming. It didn’t matter than he was still sniffly and uncomfortable from the wet, uncovered sneeze David hadn’t been able to help him with. He still felt good enough for a wonderful climax. His body had given one last thrust forward into Lucas and that had been enough to tip him right over the edge.
His body tensing, breath catching, David only just managed to choke out a rushed “Godblessyoubaby” and those words of comfort on his lips caused a surge of kink-driven pleasure to fill him like nothing else could. He gave himself over to his second orgasm, letting the unparalleled intensity of it fill him and shake him. For the second time that night, he shot onto his chest and this time also the sheets and Lucas’ chest as well, as their bodies were pressed close enough together. Lucas made a new, happy noise as he felt it, looking down to watch what he’d had a hand in.
As the euphoria set in, David had just enough of a mind left to drop Lucas’ hand, grab a tissue, and thrust it in Troy’s direction. His stomach flipped again as he did so, feeling like this way maybe too little too late. But Troy took it and snuffled into it with an appreciative nod of his head.
Part of David felt like curling up against Lucas’ sticky chest, closing his eyes, and falling asleep in his husband’s arms. But he’d already asked for a night together back in Troy’s room. And the other part of him yearned to make sure Troy was feeling all right after all this. Had the strenuous activity been too much for him?
David got another couple tissues and wiped up as much as he could. “You all right?” he whispered to Lucas. Lucas nodded and gave a great, heavy sigh as he pulled out. David took a moment to mourn the loss of that full feeling David’s cock had given him before he pulled off and tied his husband’s condom. He covered it with tissues and dropped it into the trash can over the side of the bed. Troy did the same, passing his tied condom over to David to dispose of. Meanwhile, Lucas rolled onto his back, hands under his head, staring up at the ceiling. This gave David a new line of sight for Troy. The man looked all right, but he couldn’t help but ask. “What about you? How’s your cold doing?”
“It’s, ah,” he rubbed a couple fingers under his nose. “It’s a little embarrassing, to be honest. But I’m all right.” He scooted forward, pressing his front into the side of Lucas’ body. He gave Lucas a quick peck on the cheek then placed his hand on Lucas’ chest. He rubbed a few circles there then slid his hand across, over to David. He patted what part of David’s arm he could reach then went for his hand, taking it again. “I promise you’ll know it if I start feeling poorly again.”
That was somewhat reassuring. David let himself relax again, laying his head on a combination of pillow and Lucas’ shoulder and keeping hold of Troy’s hand.
They lay like that a while, just basking in the great feeling of what had transpired—touching, breathing, being, and doing it all together.
It was Lucas who finally dared to break the silence. Blunt as ever, “So, Troy… was that officially the strangest three-way you’ve been in?” Lazily, Lucas reached over and drew his fingertips through Troy’s hair.
Troy tilted his head toward the touch, welcoming the sensation. “Hardly. But I don’t kiss and tell. Safe sharing space, remember?” He was still holding onto David’s hand, so he brought it to his lips to kiss again, turned it over, and kissed the sensitive spot on David’s wrist as well. “It’s definitely one I’ll never forget. But how do you two feel? This sniff this was your first time with someone else. Some people in your situation feel awkward or jealous or sniff weirdly unsettled afterward. Whatever you feel is valid, but I need to know.”
David wasn’t sure he could put his emotions into words, but he knew for sure he didn’t feel any of what Troy had just listed. With his free hand, he pulled a tissue out of the box and nestled it beneath Troy’s nose for him. Without even being prompted, Troy blew into it and tilted his head from one side to the other as David wiped his nose dry, as if they’d done it a million times before and it was the most normal thing in the world.
“I feel amazing,” Lucas said. “Being in the middle like that… I mean, I’ve seen my fair share of porn, but I’d never imagined it would feel like that. The mechanics were a little tricky and awkward at first, but once we had the rhythm down, fuck, man. That was incredible. The sensations in my body and your arm tight around me from behind and my love in front of me, moaning for more of my cock. I couldn’t have asked for anything hotter.”
“Until I sneezed on your back.”
“Yeah, well… you didn’t hear me complaining about that, did you?” On the contrary, Lucas’ orgasm had struck just a second later. That had been a marvelous coincidence.
“David, how about you?” Troy squeezed David’s hand again. “How are you feeling about all this?”
David ran his tongue over his lips to wet them. He could use one of the bottles of water from the minifridge, but his own discomfort alone could not have moved him from this bed or out of this position. He thought about how he felt, trying to choose words that might come close to describing the overwhelming pleasure and satisfaction coursing through him right now. The way things just felt right, like everything had fit into place so easily and had felt so good. “Mostly…” he said finally. “Mostly disappointed it’s over already. There were moments during that when I didn’t want those feelings to ever end… but of course they had to.”
Troy let out a deep breath and coughed a few times afterward. “So… what I’m hearing… is that you both wouldn’t be opposed to a second round?”
David’s body should have been far too tired to react to those words. Yet he still felt his cock twitch and a rush travel through him, arousal tingling dully but pleasantly throughout this body. “Give me a little while to recover and get some water, then I’m yours.”
“Same,” Lucas said. “And water sounds great. Gotta replenish those fluids.”
At that, David immediately dropped Troy’s hand and hauled himself up out of bed. There were four bottles of water still in the fridge, and they only needed two. Troy coughed again. They only needed three.
“Good. And cheers,” Troy said, taking the offered bottle of water and scooting over so David could take his turn snuggling up between the two men. “Because next time around, sniff! Sniff! SNIFF! I want to take my time and get to know every bit of your bodies intimately before I make you come.”
Lucas exhaled with a sort of half-moan. “Fuck yeah.”
“But first… sniff! David, can you help me with that nasal spray again?”
“Mmm, of course, baby. That decongestant’s probably starting to wear off. You’re not scheduled for another dose until 2am, though. So if you start feeling run down and sniffly again, you let me know. We can stop this any time you need to.” David turned to the side a little and kissed Lucas’ temple. “While I go help Troy clear his nose, would you see if you can find a soccer match on TV for us to watch for a little bit?”
Lucas nodded. His brain still befuddled from the blissful orgasm, it wasn’t until David and Troy had disappeared with the tissue box to the bathroom before what his husband had said registered with him. David choosing to watch sports? Was this the world he lived in now? “Troy!” he called out. “What kind of magic did you perform on my husband today?”
He heard laughing from both of them, then Troy stuck his head back out. “Just introduced him to some finer parts of the sport he might have overlooked. Sniff! Besides, he got me breathing properly again. If anyone’s magical here, it’s David. Oof!” He was swiftly pulled back into the bathroom. There was a short pause then the sound of nose blowing.
The sensation of having David squirt nasal spray up his nose was so vivid that Lucas was very nearly jealous. He thought about joining them in the bathroom, maybe stroking Troy’s head as he sniffed and sniffed or maybe holding David and running his hand up and down his arm as David held tissues to Troy’s nose for him. But both of those would require him to get off the bed, and he felt strongly that someone should keep the bed warm. Besides, he’d been given a task. So he lunged for the remote control. The television defaulted to the hotel’s welcome channel, so it took a fair bit of scrolling to get anywhere near the sports channels. There were several channels with football, one of with basketball, one showing some fishing competition that Lucas really wouldn’t have considered a sport. But then he found a rebroadcast of soccer match. What were the odds?
The game had only just started, so the score was still zero to zero. He wondered exactly how far into the match they would get before they started making moves on each other again.
As it turned out, it was even before the first goal was scored.
When Troy and David returned to the bed, they brought with them the dessert they’d ordered from room service and three forks. In their haste to start trying out all the things they’d professed to like, they had forgotten all about the cheesecake. But there it still was, waiting under a metal dome. David did the honors, taking a forkful and then offering it to Lucas who, expecting as much, already had his mouth open and waiting for the taste. A taste was really all he would allow himself. He would savor it, letting the sweetness sit on his tongue for a few moments before swallowing the rich, creamy goodness. It really was delicious, but even more-so with David feeding it to him.
As he swallowed the bite, finally, he caught David’s gaze. It was surprising but also reassuring, the way they’d spent almost a whole day now taking care of Troy and they’d spent the past hour actually being intimate sexually with Troy. And, still, David checked in with Lucas to make absolutely certain that what he was doing was okay. And as long as he wasn’t intending to take Troy’s temperature in their special way, Lucas wasn’t about to say no to him. So of course Lucas gave him a smile and a small nod of approval. At that, David dug the fork into the cheesecake a second time and held it out to Troy.
Troy gave a little cough and a sniff but then opened his mouth obligingly for the bite. He considered it for a moment then smiled at the taste.
“Are you like Lucas who needs to maintain his figure so he’ll only indulge in one bite?” David took a bit of cheesecake for himself, chewed, swallowed, and then slid the fork in again for another. “Or are you like me, who thinks it’s a tragedy to let a good dessert to go to waste?” He popped it into his mouth. There really wasn’t all that much more of the piece of cheesecake left by now, but as long as it wasn’t going to Lucas’ waist, he didn’t care what they did with it.
“I must be somewhere in-between.” He kissed David’s thigh and slowly ran his hand up and down it. “But I’m definitely up for a round two.” He added slyly, “Of cheesecake, of course.”
“Mmm, of course.” David handed him a fork and together they made quick work of the rest of the slice. And though Lucas didn’t want to put any more of it into his body, he did enjoy the looks on both men’s faces as they polished it off, enjoying every sweet, creamy bite to the fullest, knowing it would be finished before they wanted it to be.
There was a pang in Lucas’ stomach, as the reality of that hit home for him. The conference was nearly over. Hotel checkout was tomorrow. They would all be heading to the airport soon, Troy bound for his home in England and David and him back to the east coast to theirs. No matter what they did together or how amazing the sex was, their situation wasn’t going to change. Whatever it was that this was, it had always had an expiration date. He tried to tell himself that fact only made what they were sharing now more special, not less. But it was hard not to feel disappointed that after all this was over, he might never see Troy again.
“Wait, I…” Troy trailed off, that faraway, unfocused look in his eyes that he got when he felt a sneeze coming on.
David must have recognized it, too, as he got a tissue to Troy’s face right away.
“hehhh th-thanks heh ehhhHITTshphhhh! HEPTchhphhh!”
“God bless you, baby.”
Lucas closed his eyes for a minute as pleasure and desire shot through him, heading straight for his crotch. He didn’t understand why he was feeling this as intensely as he was. Sure, he loved watching David fuss and care. His husband was an absolute master in that department, and it was exciting to see him in action and be able to enjoy the results while not feeling sick himself. But there was something more at play here than even he’d realized. When he cast his mind back, all it seemed to want to land on was the moment when Troy had sneezed during sex.
It had been obvious David had been close to coming for a while; he knew his man far too well to have missed those signs. He must have been right there on the brink of an orgasm when Troy sneezed. But it wasn’t as though he could skip blessing him. That was David. David just had to say it, and Lucas loved that about him. That urgent way he rushed through the words and the high-pitched, desperate tone of his voice had made Lucas’ body respond automatically.
But, if he was honest with himself, there had been something more to it all. The sneeze itself had fired Lucas up, turning him on, turning him up one impossible degree hotter. It made no sense to him at all, but feeling that sudden, wet explosion against his already tingling, hypersensitive skin had been the thing to finally usher in his own orgasm. That fucking fantastic orgasm.
He and David never made love when either of them were sick. David wouldn’t feel up to it if he were the one who was sick, and he would never dream of doing anything sexual with Lucas while Lucas didn’t feel well. So Lucas had never really thought about sneezing in a sexual context before—who did, really? But the way he’d felt when that strong sneeze struck him had been undeniable. He’d been all nerve endings and heat, and that sneeze… it had been exactly what he’d wanted to feel at exactly the moment he had wanted to feel it.
And now he wanted to feel it again. Maybe not on his back this time. Maybe against his chest. Troy had sneezed into David’s chest about a hundred times last night when they were in bed, and David had blessed him about a hundred times after, but that was it. No triggering of an orgasm. David wasn’t made to respond that way. He was made to respond with a blessing and a nose wipe and a snuggle. He was made to nurse someone back to health, loving every second of it but delaying gratification until both parties felt well enough to enjoy that. David really was magical. One sneeze on his back and Lucas had been completely done in.
But for all Lucas knew, it had just been a timing thing. He probably would have orgasmed right then anyway. Maybe that incredible orgasm had more to do with the fact that he was balls-deep in David and impaled upon Troy at the same time, and that sensation of pleasure surrounding him had been too much for him to resist. Maybe it didn’t have anything at all to do with Troy’s sneeze.
If that was the case, though, why was he feeling warm at the idea of Troy sneezing on him again? Sneezing into his chest, sniffly wet nose running down over his well-defined muscles. Or sneezing on his cheek, his mouth so close to Lucas’ ear that Lucas would be able to catch every hitching breath. Or… or sneezing at his crotch, that spray bathing his hot and leaking cock.
Oh fuck. What even was this?
“Lucas?” David asked cautiously. “Are you sleepy, baby?”
Lucas opened his eyes, wondering how long he’d had them closed. Both David and Troy were looking at him, expecting an answer. He shook his head. “Nope. Only thinking.”
Lucas hesitated. This was a safe sharing space. Hell, they were both in a position to accommodate him in discovering what the hell was going on. But this was too new. He didn’t really understand what he felt, and there was no way he could bring himself to say it out loud just yet. Plus, he wasn’t entirely sure of what David might say about it. “I was thinking about this,” he lied, bounding forward and kissing Troy. The man tasted of cheesecake, and Lucas knew he wouldn’t be gaining any calories from this, so he felt safe to indulge. He made the kiss more passionate, his hand on Troy’s cheek. Troy leaned his head to the side, nuzzling Lucas’ hand and opening his mouth for Lucas’ tongue. The sweetness intensified.
He felt David’s hand on his back, fingertips sliding across his skin, moving this way and that. He could only assume David was touching Troy in the same way. It all felt so good… while it lasted.
Troy broke off, coughing. He cupped his hand over his mouth and turned away until the coughs subsided. Lucas stood there patiently waiting. He wiped his hand across his wet mouth. “Can I get you a cough drop? We bought, like, five different flavors.”
David put his hand on Troy’s arm, guiding him to the bed, sitting him down. He rubbed Troy’s back and got a few tissues out of the box. “Take your time, baby. Just tell us what you need.”
“S-sorry.” Troy gave one last cough and wiped his wrist at his eyes. “I’m all right.”
“Really, I am. What I need is for you two to lie down on this bed so I can get a good, close look at you. What I need is to make you both come so hard you forget your own names. What I need is…” he trailed off, laughing. “Actually, that’s it. That’s all I need. So get your asses down on the bed now!”
“Thought you were the one who liked taking orders,” David said, climbing onto the bed and stretching out on his back, one leg bent, hands clasped behind his head so his elbows stuck out.
“Like I said, I’m versatile. I had to take matters into my own hands,” Troy told him. “Just couldn’t wait.”
“Mmmm.” David stretched an arm out and patted the bed beside him. “Come on, baby. Show the nice man that body I love.”
Lucas got onto the bed and crawled halfway up before flipping onto his side and stretching out. “You love it, and, yet, you tease me about not eating desserts.” He slapped his abdomen, where his rock hard abs silently made the case for themselves. Lucas grabbed a pillow and pulled it under his head, propping himself up a little on one arm. “Can’t have it both ways, baby.”
“Then I choose you however you want to be.” David smiled as he reached out to touch his husband, but Troy grabbed his wrist. “Ah!” It was more surprising than it hurt, even though Troy did twist it slightly. “What the—”
“Only I sniff get to touch you two. You don’t even get to touch yourself. Sniff!” Despite the nasal spray, Troy was sniffling quite a lot again. And despite the sniffling, he couldn’t keep his hands to himself. He really did seem to want to get to know their bodies, because he stretched out in-between them in bed, lying on his stomach, propped up on his elbows. Every so often, his hand or his cheek or his lips would make contact with a part of either his or David’s body. It was everything from drawing a finger over a knee, feeling the wrinkles and curves to kissing a stray freckle. His touch was light and his hands were constantly on the move. Lucas couldn’t predict what he would explore next, and that anticipation made him hungrier for the next bit of contact.
Just as Lucas was starting to really get into it, Troy pulled his hands back, folding them on the bed in front of him. “Now, sniff! You tell me how you like to touch each other, sniff and I’ll do it for you, yeah?”
“Oh,” Lucas breathed, understanding. “Fuck, that’s hot. Yeah, okay, I’m in.”
David pulled his hand back, clasping both behind his head again. “Lick your finger,” David ordered, and no sooner had he said it than Troy had a finger popped in his mouth, sucking wetly. “Trail it over his abs. And fucking count them as you go.”
Troy grinned. “Yes, sir.” Lucas felt himself being pushed onto his back. He tightened up, pulling his naval inward, wanting to give Troy what he was looking for. But he shivered as Troy’s wet finger touched his skin, right below his right pec. It slid smoothly over the first curve. “One.” Over the next. “Two.” Slyly tracing around this time, following the lines rather than the curves, all the way to Lucas’ naval. “Three.”
“That’s as far as he gets, normally,” Lucas informed Troy. “Usually by then he’s trailing his finger down this V, using it as an arrow, and taking my hard-on in his hand or his mouth.” Lucas winked. “I’m a better treat than cheesecake.”
“Damn right, you are,” David exhaled, his arms twitching as they wanted to reach out to his lover and touch him.
“Mmm,” Troy agreed, taking his time examining Lucas’ cut cock. “Can’t say I blame him. Sniff! But me? I follow orders, yeah?” He stuck his finger back in his mouth, pulled it out ever so slowly, and then placed it on Lucas’ lower abdomen. It slid up and down over the hard muscle. “Four.”
Lucas threw his head back, arching his back a little, putting himself on full display.
“Five.” His finger hesitated, sliding against the skin. Then it move upward just enough to count. “Six,” he finished.
David let out the deep breath he’d been holding.
“I’ll take that as approval.” He slid his finger down again, stopping torturously short of Lucas’ curlies before pulling his hand back. “Your turn. How would you touch David now, if you could?”
“I would…” He turned his head, drawing his eyes down David’s body and then up again. There were far too many options. But he couldn’t deny the excitement in getting to choose. With a deep breath of his own, Lucas just went with his instincts. “I would run my hand up and down his thigh.”
“Damn you, Lucas Green!”
Troy narrowed his eyes. “Are you all right, David?”
David nodded. “Yeah. That’s exactly what he’d do. He knows how it drives me absolutely crazy to have his hand so close, so heavy on my thigh but not even brushing against my dick.”
“Like this?” Troy rested his hand on David’s thigh and slid it down to his knee then up again, ever so slowly, along the inside of his thigh. But just as he got close, he slid his hand to the other side. David moaned and his arms trembled and thighs tensed. “Guess that answers the question.” He stroked David’s thigh, running his hand up and down but ending up going higher each time. Lucas brought his fist to his mouth, biting his thumb to keep from reaching over. He loved the feel of David’s leg hair against his palm, the way his body felt warmer the closer his hand got to David’s crotch, the way David literally shook with anticipation. The sensations were so vivid, so real, it was almost like he could feel them against his hand, even though he was only watching Troy’s hand do all the work.
As always, David tried to roll a little, tried to angle his dick at just the right moment to make contact with the back or the side of Troy’s hand. But Troy’s reflexes were too good—better than Lucas’. He moved away as if anticipating the move and pretended he didn’t see.
He moved his hand all the way up to David’s waist, spreading his fingers out, his thumb coming so close to touching David’s cock. He waited for that gasp and heard it almost simultaneously from both men before he pulled his hand back entirely, smiling. He folded his legs under himself, kneeling on the bed, looking down at David and Lucas, their bodies begging eagerly for attention. Instead of touching, however, Troy spoke. “Do you know what the best thing about this arrangement is?”
David shook his head.
“No, what?” Lucas asked.
Troy held up his hands. “I have two hands. Sniff! And there just so happen to be two of you. Nice how that works out, isn’t it? Sniff! SNIFF!”
“Nipples,” Lucas breathed at once.
At nearly the same moment, David said, “Neck.”
And that was how Troy ended up lying on the bed again, his tongue lapping at Lucas’ Adam’s apple, one hand stroking the back of Lucas’ neck while the other tweezed and tugged at David’s nipples. Each time one of them made a move to touch Troy in return, Troy pulled back from both of them. He waited for them to relax and give him free reign again before he would continue.
After giving quite a bit of attention to those portions of their bodies, Troy was instructed to concentrate his efforts on Lucas’ balls, fingering, caressing, pulling, stroking, fondling. He rolled them around in his hand, enjoying their weight and size and their sweaty heat. But on Lucas’ command, he concentrated kisses and nibbles at the same time below David’s ear. His teeth tugged at David’s earlobe and nibbled at the tender spot behind his ear. David wriggled and gasped at the sensation, which only made Lucas more turned on. He’d never thought he could be so hot from not touching his lover.
When Troy pulled back yet again, David moaned with need and Lucas put his hands up. “It wasn’t me this time, I swear it!”
Troy shook his head. “No, I… I… heh!”
Lucas’ already warm body tingled fiercely at the sight of Troy about to sneeze. He bit the inside of his cheek before he could beg out loud for Troy to sneeze on him, but he watched intently as Troy’s nostrils flared and chest rose and face fell.
David sat up, lunging forward with tissues just in time to catch most of the first and all of the second and third.
“HAHTchhphh! hehhIHDDshphhhh! hehhPTchhphhhhhhh! Uh…”
David switched out the tissues. “God bless you, baby. Now blow for me.”
Troy did, not bothering to open his eyes at all. He blew gently so as not to hurt his ears but for a long time, until his nose felt better and as dry as it could under the circumstances.
“Again?” David asked, another handful of tissues at Troy’s nose.
“I think that’s enough. I, ah…” There was a red flush in his cheeks that both men saw.
But it was Lucas who was the first to ignore it. Lucas reached for the nearest bottle of lube. “Hold out your hands, man.” He squirted liberal amounts on both of Troy’s palms. “David’s got your nose if you’ve got our dicks.”
It seemed like a fair deal, especially for Lucas, who technically didn’t need to do anything but lie there and enjoy being jerked off. But it was much easier said than done. It was hard to not touch Troy or David or even himself. It was hard to put the fate of his orgasm entirely in one man’s hand, knowing that man could stop at any moment when he felt another sneeze coming on.
But, damn it, that possibility only made Lucas harder. There was no denying what he felt now. And though he didn’t fully understand it, that didn’t stop him from longing for it. Even as Troy’s hand pumped him fast, Lucas’ eyes were locked on his face, hoping for just one more sneeze.
He glanced over at his husband once, but just once, seeing David just as acutely attuned to Troy’s breaths and facial expression. He knew David was taking in every second of this, yearning for him to sneeze just as much so he could do his bit and bless him. This whole thing was beyond perfect, beyond magical. Lucas just hoped he lasted long enough to enjoy it.
The pressure was building in him, his body begging for blessed release. Every pull on his cock inched him that much further to the edge. Troy’s grip was tight and strong, like gripping that barbell the very first time they’d met. But Troy’s hand slid along it so smoothly and so quickly the motion practically blurred before Lucas’ eyes.
“huh… shite...” And there it was. Lucas’ breath caught just like Troy’s did.
David reached up, tissues in hand. And the second he had them pressed to Troy’s face, David completely lost himself. He cried out, arching his back, coming as Troy sneezed into the tissues for him.
“God… God!” David tried to squeeze a bless you out. But he was too caught up in the orgasm, his body shuddering with pleasure. Lucas thought it was insanely hot how he was trying so hard.
But hotter yet was the way Troy’s body jerked forward with another sneeze. “hah-HIXXXshhooo!” He managed to turn his head to sneeze to the side, over his shoulder. But he turned in the right direction and Lucas still got a full view of the uncovered sneeze. And, more importantly, he felt the man’s body snap forward, hand jerking upward on Lucas’ cock with enough friction to make Lucas practically explode. But Lucas moaned, feeling his climax nearly there, just out of reach.
“Troy, please!” he called out, needing permission to touch himself now if Troy couldn’t any more.
“God bless you, baby,” David finally managed, weakly.
Troy sniffed and seemed to collect himself again. Quickly, he leaned over, pumping his fist on Lucas’ dick almost feverishly. He dragged his tongue against Lucas’ thigh and then his balls, preparing to fondle them at the same time. The sensation was intense, but one more sniff out of him and Lucas was officially done for. Troy didn’t even have to sneeze on him; it was the mere fantasy that he might which finally set Lucas off.
He practically erupted in Troy’s face, but Troy stayed where he was and kept on pumping him until Lucas was completely spent.
Lucas closed his eyes, concentrating on his own breathing again, as if he were at risk of another asthma attack. In. Out. The pangs of pleasure lingered, his whole body overly stimulated with bliss. He was actually glad when Troy pulled back, breaking contact with him. Slowly, Lucas felt his heartrate drop back down to normal, but the warm, tingles of his release remained within him.
When he finally opened his eyes, he saw Troy wrap his leg around David’s thigh. David slid an arm around him, pulling him close, and clamped tissues to his face for him.
“heh-EHTKkphhhh!” His body immediately jerked against David’s, and Lucas felt jealousy stab at him for the first time since all of this with Troy had begun. He wasn’t sure his ass could take another pounding tonight, and he knew he wouldn’t be hard again for some time. But he did know what he could do to help. He slid down the bed, rolled onto his side, grabbed the man’s ass cheeks, and lapped his tongue against the hole. Troy stiffened at the initial surprise then relaxed. And then he sneezed again. “hah-IHDDshhphhhh!” And again. “Hehhh HEHURRshphhh!”
“God bless you, baby.”
David was on top of every sneeze now, tissue box close at hand. He rubbed his other hand up and down Troy’s back comfortingly as Troy thrust desperately against his thigh. On the other side of things, Lucas still couldn’t get enough of the way Troy’s body moved when he sneezed, the involuntary way it rocked and jerked so violently from the force of each sneeze. Once he got a sense for the movement, carrying on with the rim job was no problem at all.
Soft grunts caught Lucas’ ear, peppered by the occasional sniffle. Lucas put the last of his energy into his work, flicking and darting with his tongue one moment then slurping wetly the next. The grunts grew louder and more frequent until they crescendoed into a massive groan. Troy’s body shook with its release, and both David and Lucas clung to him, wanting to make sure to provide whatever he needed as he enjoyed and then came down from his release.
When he was satisfied, Troy reached back and felt for Lucas’ head, motioning for Lucas to move. Lucas rolled and Troy rolled and everyone breathed deeply with contentment.
“That was absolutely unreal,” Lucas said, reaching across Troy for the tissues so he could clean up a bit. “Loved every second of it.”
“I don’t know about every second exactly, but it sure was something amazing that I’ll never forget.” David scrubbed his hand over his face and then dragging it through his sweat-soaked hair.
A silence fell upon them, where they could only hear each other breathing. And Troy sniffing. That was quiet but impossible to miss.
“David?” Troy finally spoke up, his voice soft, meek. “Do you think we could all head to my room now? I, uh… Sniff! Sniff! I guess I’m not feeling so good again.”
Lucas knew the expression on his man’s face, having caused it numerous times before. David was holding back both worry and an ‘I told you so.’ He stroked the back of Troy’s head, using that motion to calm himself more than Troy, before answering in a careful, calm voice. “Of course, baby. Just give us a minute to gather everything up, all right?”
And by ‘us’ David obviously meant ‘Lucas,’ because it was clear David had no intention of breaking the cuddle hold he had on the man let alone move out of range where he wouldn’t be able to hold tissues to his nose.
This was something Lucas had never witnessed either, as they never made love unless David was absolutely certain that Lucas was well. Lucas had never relapsed like this after sex, had never seen David move so quickly from arousal of one sort back into his care-giving mode with arousal of another sort.
It felt strange bustling around the room completely naked. So only after throwing on the boxers he intended to sleep in and then pulling jeans on over that did Lucas start following the directive he’d been given.
Lucas grabbed a duffle bag and packed it full of the clothes he and David would wear tomorrow. In went the toothbrushes and mouth rinse, deodorant, shaving kit, and his conference badge in case he wanted to go there straightaway in the morning. He gathered up everything else in the plastic shopping bags—starting with the Mucinex and the nasal spray so that they couldn’t accidentally leave those behind. The supplies they’d bought the day before were already running a little low on some things, it seemed. With a glance back at the bed, he saw Troy with his head on David’s chest and David’s arm wrapped around him. David’s other hand was wiping at Troy’s nose. They were settled and comfortable and surely wouldn’t notice if Lucas took a little extra time getting things together. So he pulled out his phone and made another online order for delivery. He got it in with what looked like about five minutes to spare before delivery orders were being cut off for the night. If Troy had taken any longer to admit he wasn’t feeling well, Lucas might not have gotten the order in on time. And this was definitely more convenient than taking a Lyft to the store and back.
“All packed!” he declared, slinging the duffle over his shoulder.
David looked up at him, gratefully. “Did you get the Mucinex?”
Lucas tapped the white plastic grocery bag. “First thing I packed.”
“And the blister pack of pills is definitely in the box?”
Lucas froze. He hadn’t thought to check that. Quickly he dug the box out and, yes, the blister pack of pills was there, right where it was supposed to be. He made sure to put the medicine back in the bag, tucked in so that there was no way it could fall out. “They’re there,” he confirmed.
By then, David had eased Troy up and pulled Lucas’ navy running club sweatshirt back over his head. Lucas hunted around, finally finding David’s shorts under one of the chairs.
David took them but looked down at himself and shook his head. Running his hand over his abdomen, David decided “I need a quick shower.” He lowered the tissues from Troy’s nose and gave him a kiss on his cheek. “I’m afraid there won’t be much time for steam to build up, but if you think a little will help your congestion, you’re welcome to join me. Otherwise, Lucas will keep you company.”
Troy sniffed. He glanced at the bathroom then back at the tissue box. “I’ll be all right here.”
David got up from the bed and kissed Troy’s forehead. “Call if you need me.”
As soon as David was up, Lucas took his place, sitting on the edge of the bed with his side pressed up against Troy’s side. He slid his arm across Troy’s back. “Are you okay holding your own tissues, man, or do you want me to…”
Troy laughed. “It’s nice when David does it for me. But I’m definitely capable of blowing my own nose.”
“Good. Because I’m not nearly as—”
Just then, Troy tensed up so Lucas trailed off. “eh-hehhhh Ehh-IHJJshhhphhh!”
Lucas’ mouth went dry and his breath caught in his chest. He knew he had to offer a blessing; the guy expected as much now. But he didn’t trust his voice to sound normal. Feeling Troy’s body move beside his, giving into the sneeze with such helplessness, made Lucas go hot all over. He’d been experienced in pushing down his reactions; he’d played team sports all through high school and college, and he’d learned quickly that even after a win, the locker room was no place for wood. But this was a new reaction, one he didn’t understand yet, one he definitely didn’t know how to control. So he grabbed the closest pillow and held it against his chest, covering his lap as well. Squeezing it tightly allowed him the outlet he needed to systematically relax and slow his breathing. Far too late, but better than never, he said a quiet, “Bless you.”
Troy bobbed his head in appreciation as he took another deep breath and blew his nose. It looked like a lot more effort than he wanted to give, and he kept his eyes closed from the beginning of the sneeze through the end of the blow and wipe. He took a deep, snuffly breath when he was done and finally opened his eyes again.
“Regretting round two?”
Troy shook his head. “No chance. That was brilliant. But I had no idea I’d go downhill so fast. Sniff! SNIFF! Ugh…” He blew his nose again, pitched the tissues toward the small trash can, and took two more from the nearly depleted box. “I do regret being so sneezy during it.”
“Don’t.” The word was out before he could stop it. He just couldn’t let Troy feel bad for any second of that miraculous performance. The pleasure Lucas had taken in all parts of it had been unexpected but welcome. Not to mention so fucking hot. “I…” His breath raced and chest tightened and he cast his gaze toward his bag where his inhaler sat in case having a mild panic attack about a brand new sexual fetish this strange somehow triggered another asthma attack. He knew embarrassment well, and he wanted to make damn sure Troy knew he shouldn’t be embarrassed about any of what had happened tonight. “I… kinda liked it.” Fuck it. He might as well just come right out and say it. “I kinda loved it, actually.”
“Oh.” Troy was quiet for a moment. He didn’t even sniffle during the silence this time. Finally, he broke it with, “Does David know?”
Lucas shook his head. “I didn’t even know until you sneezed on my back tonight. I really thought you were about to come, and I was so into it, expecting it, and instead I felt this other sensation, your sneeze and, fuck… you’ve no idea how hot it made me.”
Troy transferred this bunch of tissues from one hand to the other. He laid his palm upon Lucas’ thigh and nudged the pillow out of the way as he slid his hand over to Lucas’ crotch. His fingers traced around Lucas’ hardness through his jeans. Then his fingers splayed out, his hand covering as much area as it could, applying pressure. Lucas sucked in a breath and let it out in a soft groan that came from somewhere deep in his chest. “Think I’ve got some idea.”
Lucas heard the shower shut off, and his head whipped around, expecting David to be standing there, staring, judging, not understanding why Lucas was suddenly turned on by something he associated with suffering and discomfort. But, of course, David wasn’t out of the bathroom so quickly. He’d be back in a minute, though.
“uhh!” Troy leaned over, getting the angle just right. “h’HERXshooo!”
Lucas nearly came in his pants. Trembling, he turned his head back to look at Troy. Troy lifted a hand to his nose, scrubbing two fingers back and forth under his nose and wearing a self-satisfied smile at the fact that he’d just sneezed on Lucas’ crotch. “Just sniff something for you to remember me by sniff in case you need some wanking material some time and there isn’t a football game on.”
Lucas wasn’t going to pretend to understand the bit about football, but he sure as hell understood the rest. ”Thank you,” he whispered. “And bless you.”
The bathroom door opened and the fan inside was switched off. Lucas pulled the pillow back into place, hugging it to himself but feeling his straining erection pressing up against it. The friction was delightful. This wasn’t really much of a solution.
David walked over, smelling of hotel soap and Head & Shoulders shampoo. He bent forward at the waist, laying a hand on Troy’s knee. “Still doing all right?” Troy sniffed but nodded. “That’s good. We’ll get you right over to bed now. And…” He looked over at Lucas and quirked an eyebrow. “What are you, fourteen all of a sudden? I’m your husband, not your mother. You don’t have to hide your erection behind a pillow, baby. There’s no shame in your body wanting a round three… believe me.”
And suddenly Lucas got the feeling that maybe cleaning off his chest wasn’t the only thing David had done in the shower.
“Hehhh-I-I-hahhh hahh-haveta...” Appreciating the warning, Lucas tossed the pillow aside and jumped to his feet. “hehhpIHHHshhphhh!” Troy sneezed into his tissues again. Without the physical contact, the sneeze didn’t get to Lucas in quite the same way, though his hard-on was certainly still hard.
“God bless you, baby.” Troy tilted his head as David caressed his cheek.
“I need to go downstairs for a minute,” Lucas said, never gladder to speak the truth. One more second here and he really might cream his jeans like a young teenager with an out of control labido. He needed some air and some exercise and some distance to calm himself down. Otherwise, he’d never fall asleep tonight.
David gave him a small frown. “You’re not going to go work out again, are you?”
“No, mom,” he answered pointedly.
“That’s a fair call.” He curled a finger, beckoning Lucas over. Lucas obeyed instinctively, neither mind nor body hesitating for an instant. Despite needing a little space, he always needed a kiss from David more. They kissed, not with a quick peck or something intensely passionate, but with something in-between that was full of reassurance and support and pure, utter enjoyment. When it ended, and their lips broke contact, it almost still felt to Lucas like they were still in that kiss, like they would always be in that kiss. “Do you have the other keycard to Troy’s room still?”
“All right. I’ll see you there then.”
“I’ll just be a few minutes. I promise.”
“And either take the elevator or take your inhaler.”
He would have made a face at that comment if he hadn’t had an attack earlier that day. “Elevator it is. And I’ve got my phone. Shit! The chargers. I forgot to pack them.”
“I’ll get them.” David kissed his cheek again and put an arm around him, pulling him into a hug. “I love you.”
Lucas took a deep breath, feeling all his worry slip far, far away. Maybe David wouldn’t understand, but he’d still accept Lucas and still love him. Lucas was certain of that. “Love you, too, baby.” With a quick goodbye peck and a wave in Troy’s direction, he left the room. He might have liked to have given Troy a goodbye kiss as well, but the man had been struggling with another sneeze, pinching his nose through the tissues, eyes fluttering closed, and Lucas wasn’t sure he could survive being sneezed on mid-kiss. He might actually explode.
He took the elevator down, reaching the lobby just as a deliveryman came in with two bags in hand Lucas raised his hand, indicating they were his and jogged over to show his ID and claim them. Seeing everything fit into two bags made him feel like maybe he hadn’t ordered enough. But he hadn’t had a lot of time to really think about it. If nothing else, this would last them until the grocery store opened up delivery service again in the morning.
The first word Lucas heard upon entering the hotel room was “Fuck!” and this time it wasn’t the fun sort.
He let the door shut behind him and set the keycard down on the counter by the door. “What’s the matter?” he asked.
At the same time, Troy asked “What’s wrong?”
“We’re running low on tissues. The housekeeper left an extra blanket and pillow but no extra tissue boxes anywhere. I thought maybe the box was left in the bathroom, but no such luck. I even left a giant tip. Do you think they know you stole that box from their closet, Lucas?”
“Don’t know, but it doesn’t matter.” He reached into the bag and pulled out a box of extra soft Kleenex with lotion. He tossed it over to David who stared at it as if he’d never expected to be holding something so wonderful.
“Where did you… when did you…”
“You can’t possibly have thought I was going for another workout tonight.”
David cocked his head and looked at Lucas with that same gaze of wonder and awe. “Troy,” he said, ripping the cardboard tab off the top of the box. “You’re lucky I’m married to the most amazing man in the world.”
Troy’s distant expression and slack jaw showed he didn’t think he was all that lucky at this particular moment in time. Troy had a couple tissues bunched in his hand already, but David pulled a thick Kleenex out of the new box and held it to Troy’s face for him instead. Troy’s brow furrowed at the new sensation. David said something soft and comforting to Troy that Lucas couldn’t make out from across the room. Then Troy tensed up and snapped forward. “hehh-ERSHhhphhhh!” His eyebrows rose and he nuzzled his face into the tissues.
Lucas went weak at the look of pleasure on his husband’s face. Sure, it must feel good to Troy, and that was of course the whole reason Lucas had bought that box. But David seemed blissed out again, thrilled to be able to offer something that did not hurt and only helped. Lucas felt pleased with himself as well. Even from across the room he could tell how much better Troy felt with these.
“Oh cough ohh yeah.” Troy nuzzled more. “I thidk I gotta blow by dose.”
“I think you’d better. You’re getting stuffed-up again from all these sneezes.”
Troy took a deep breath and blew into the tissue, emptying his nose, pausing only as David switched tissues before resuming again.
As Troy attempted to clear his nose, Lucas unpacked the new purchases. There were two more boxes of tissues—one with lotion and one without that was still of the extra soft and gentle variety. Just as David had known it would, Troy’s nose was pretty red around the nostrils and below. It probably felt sore and raw—or had before these tissues entered the picture. Lucas had also ordered a proper-sized box of extra strength Mucinex that would last far longer than the small emergency-sized one from the hotel shop. He had also bought a pack of kitchen trash bags, as these little hotel room trash cans were simply not big enough for what was generated by three men, one of them suffering from a sneezy head cold.
“Do you want to try to get some sleep, baby?” David asked, sitting down on the bed and rubbing his hand in circles upon Troy’s back.
Troy coughed and shrugged, like he doubted he would be able to sleep in this condition.
“How about some more of that soothing tea?”
Troy shrugged again.
“How about a massage?” David and Troy both looked over at him. “I give pretty good ones thanks to the useful physical therapy course I took in college. I mean, they’re not as good as my blowjobs, but David’s never complained about one.”
Troy hesitated then nodded. They shuffled around again, like a game of musical chairs without the music or the chairs. They ended up with David sitting back against the pillows and headboard of the bed, Troy stretched out lengthwise across the bed on his chest with the sweatshirt off and his head resting in David’s lap, and Lucas sitting beside Troy with his legs folded beneath him. Naturally, David manned the tissue box.
“Just give me the word if I press too hard or do anything you’re not comfortable with,” Lucas said as he laid his rubbed his palms together to make sure they were warm then laid them upon Troy’s back. Troy’s breath caught and he tensed up for just a second. Then he relaxed, getting used to the pressure.
Lucas started at the shoulders, squeezing and then working his thumbs into the base of Troy’s neck, drawing them outward. As he worked the area, he could feel Troy loosening up, relaxing, though it only lasted for a minute.
“hehhh… hehh-HERshhphhh! hihhERKshhphhhh!” He gave a soft blow into the tissues then David gently wiped any wetness away. “These tissues are bloody fantastic. They feel so good against my nose. Doesn’t make sneezing feel so bad.”
Lucas’ hands trembled slightly at the comment. Feeling Troy’s body jerk from the force of the sneeze made him think about that one when Troy had been balls-deep inside him… and it made him think of their intimate conversation. But if David noticed his hard-on this time, he didn’t say anything about it. So Lucas divided his efforts between the massage and trying to calm his own urges. It was easier to convince himself to relax by trying to get Troy to, but the happy sounds of tiny grunts or moans Troy made when Lucas’ hands hit an especially tight spot and kneaded the tension out had Lucas right back in trouble again.
It was moments like this when he understood David’s care-giving fetish, when making someone who was miserable feel good again was maybe the best feeling in the world. He worked his hands down, up, and back down again, varying techniques but keeping the pressure steady. Lucas wasn’t sure when to stop; usually David gave him some sort of signal when he had had enough. That usually consisted of David flipping himself over, pulling Lucas down to him, and kissing him. He didn’t expect that sort of sign from Troy at the moment.
In fact, Troy seemed to be incapable of consciously giving any sign at all. Instead, he gave a soft, stuffy snore. Lucas looked over at David, who nodded both in confirmation and approval. David’s smile told him he had done well in helping Troy fall asleep.
But now the other two men were stuck, not daring to move in case they woke him. It was all right for David, but Lucas still sat on his lower legs, which were already starting to fall asleep. And any shifting to get them out from under himself surely would rock the bed or jostle Troy so he might wake. He caught David’s eye and mouthed, ‘I can’t move. I don’t want to wake him up.’ David nodded back at him, understanding the problem. ‘I wish I could give you a massage also.’
David smiled and put a hand to his heart. ‘Love your touch.’
Lucas remembered how David had wanted to hold both of them in bed now, and he longed to be able to stretch out beside his husband with David’s arm around him. But now he couldn’t move. And he wondered what would happen first, losing all circulation in his legs and falling asleep sitting up or giving up entirely and risking accidentally waking Troy.
As it so happened, he did not need to find out. Troy gave a start, waking himself up with coughs and snuffles and a clear need to blow his nose immediately if he was going to breathe freely again. David, of course, helped him out. Lucas stroked the back of his neck as Troy blew his nose, reassuring him that he was all right. He knew from experience that waking up with breathing issues felt disconcerting and a little scary. He stayed at Troy’s side until the man calmed again and the worst of the congestion was out. “Sorry I fell asleep,” Troy turned as well as he could toward Lucas. “It really was a great… a great massage.” Lucas watched Troy’s nose twitch a little, and he felt excitement build in his belly at the idea of another sneeze coming on.
But then David cupped a tissue to Troy’s nose, hiding it from sight and containing the sneeze that quickly followed. “hehhHXXXchhphhh!”
“God bless you, baby.”
“Th-thags ehh ehhhh ehhURSHHshphhhh! HEHKshhphhh!” He blew his nose a few times before he was able to relax again. “How long until I can take more of that medicine?” Troy asked.
“Not long now,” David told him.
Confused, Lucas looked at his Fitbit, which told him it wasn’t even midnight yet. “David…”
David ignored him on purpose. “Even if I fall asleep, I’ve set an alarm for two in the morning. I want to make sure you get your dose on time no matter what.”
Lucas got up off the bed and pulled his leg back, balancing on the other leg and using his core muscles to stabilize. Then he switched legs, holding the stretch long enough to feel it in his quads. Back on both feet again, he wiggled his toes and flexed at the ankles to make sure he was getting the proper circulation back. Then he stripped off his shirt and climbed out of his jeans. When he got back onto the bed, he was wearing nothing but his underwear and was feeling excited but also a little hesitant. “Where do you want me?” he asked both men, who already looked comfortable enough together.
Troy stated to answer, stopped, and then began again. “Really up to you, mate. Would you rather hold me from behind again or stretch out in front of me? I’ll warn you, though…” He rubbed his fingers under his nose, sniffing hard. “If you’re in front of me, I might sneeze on you.”
The way his heart sped up at those words took Lucas off guard. In no way was this supposed to be so arousing. But, at the moment, Lucas was hard pressed to think of something that turned him on more than lying in his husband’s arms and having Troy’s sneeze mist his bare chest. “In front it is, then.” He had promised David, after all, that David would be able to hold and cuddle him.
So he moved aside as David slid down and readjusted the pillows. Then he held out his arms to both men, who moved in close on both sides. Lucas reached an arm over David’s middle, laying it on Troy’s upper arm. And he bent his right leg at the knee, resting it on David’s thigh to press himself in close. Feeling David’s arm around him was the most reassuring sensation he could imagine, and he closed his eyes for a few moments, just soaking up the closeness and warmth.
It wasn't long before Troy needed to sneeze again. Lucas could see it in his expression, in the way his nostrils flared and brow furrowed. But the little gasp of breath that was so usual for him wasn’t there. If you weren’t looking right at him the way Lucas was, you might not notice the sneeze was coming. And, suddenly, Lucas realized he was doing this on purpose. He was doing this so David wouldn’t notice and cover the sneeze for him. He was doing this specifically for Lucas’ benefit. He pursed his lips, holding in another gasp. Lucas’ heart raced, and he trembled with anticipation.
“hahhtCHIIHshhhhhh!” Lucas felt the spray against his face and neck and chest. He pulled back a little, instinctively, with a gasp. But he wasn’t complaining as the tingles ran through him. Oh fuck, this really was a kink, wasn’t it? He would happily lie here like this forever, if he could. The only problem was that David was going to feel his cock harden any second now.
“God bless you, baby!” David swooped in with a tissue, wiping Troy’s nose. “Are you all right? Do you need a tissue too?” he asked Lucas.
Lucas shook his head, sure that David’s care with the tissues Lucas had provided would be enough to make him go hard against David’s thigh. “Ah, maybe I should be behind Troy after all.” This really wasn’t something he intended to keep hidden from his husband forever. He just wanted a chance to come to terms with it himself first. And he wanted to actually fall asleep tonight rather than get sneezed on so much he had no choice really but to grind against David’s leg, desperate for another release.
“Yeah, sniff, sniff. All right with me, mate.”
So Lucas rolled off the bed on one side and got in again on the other. He scooted up against Troy’s back and draped his arm around him loosely.
“Weak, mate,” said Troy. “Uh-uh. If you’re going to spoon me, I want you to really spoon me. No big spoon has such a light touch.”
And so Lucas tightened his hold. His arm tense and firm against Troy’s chest. He often fell asleep holding David like this, but he didn’t often have to worry about going from half-hard to a full hardon.
“Hehhh!” Lucas and Troy both tensed up, but for different reasons that actually weren’t so different at all. “hehhhh hehhIHSHhhhphhh!” he sneezed into the soft bunch of tissues David held ready for him.
“God bless you, baby,” David said.
Lucas, on the other hand, whimpered. The motion had been so good. As Troy pitched forward with a sneeze, his rear end pressed right into Lucas’ crotch. And the movement made his cock ache with desire to slide into the man.
“Baby?” David put his hand on Lucas’ head, smoothing down his hair. “What’s wrong?”
“Fuck.” Lucas was unable to lie to his husband. He was angry at himself and at his body for allowing this reaction. Knowing he simply could not go on like this, Lucas pulled back. “I think… I need a shower.”
He started to move aside to get up and off the bed, but Troy pushed up from the bed and stretched his arm out. “Doe. Sniff! I’b feeling really stuffed ub agaid. I thidk I’b the ode who deeds the shower.” He did not say anything else, but his gaze met Lucas’, and Lucas knew what was left unsaid: Troy needed a hot, steamy shower and Lucas needed to talk to David alone.
Troy crawled off the bed, and only made it a few steps away before needing to sneeze again. “Hihh-IHShhhh!”
“God bless you, baby,” said David, not letting his confusion hinder his natural response. “Are you sure you’ll be all right and don’t want one of us to go with you?”
Troy nodded. “I’b all right. Just codgested frob the sdeezing. But I’ll call if I deed helb.” He sniffed a few times, coughed, and headed toward the bathroom. As he reached the door, however, he turned back. He looked at David then at Lucas. Then he rubbed at his nose as a smile spread across his face. “I wadt to give you sobe advice I tell by cliedts. It’s absolutely all right to idulge odce id a while if you are built to boudce back add willidg to do the work.”
Lucas understood. Boy, did he ever understand. But he saw David’s hand tremble a little. Talking to David right now wasn’t going to be easy, but he knew he had to. When all this was over, they would still be husbands. They would still share a house and a bed and everything that mattered. He knew they were strong enough to withstand this. And though he was a little afraid of David’s reaction, he wasn’t afraid to work hard for what he wanted. He wanted them.
In silence, they watched Troy go, shutting the bathroom door behind him. A minute later, the shower began to run. They still hadn’t said a word to each other. Lucas was searching for the right ones and David was sitting with his arms hugging his torso. Lucas reached out to him then pulled his hand back again, not sure that touching was the best idea either. He was worked up, on edge, and David was worried.
“David…” he tried his best to begin.
But now that the silence was broken, David immediately cut him off. “What the hell is going on?”
Lucas looked down at the hotel bedspread beneath them and kept his eyes focused on a spot between them. “I love you and everything we have together. I don’t want that to change. But I have to be honest with you about something… unexpected… that I felt tonight… and I don’t know what it means. I need to talk to you about it, because I think I need your help.”
“Shhhhhhh,” David soothed as he stroked his husband’s head, cradled in his lap. He slid his fingers through the man’s hair. “Just calm down. Of course I’m not upset.”
Lucas choked back a sob. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean for this to happen.”
“I know, baby. I know. You can’t help liking what you like. Believe me, if anyone understands that, it’s me.” He kept petting, soothing. This was what he was made for, but that didn’t mean seeing the man he loved in distress was enjoyable in any way.
“I’m so sorry.”
“Shhh, shhhh. It’s okay, really.” Honestly, David was just relieved that Lucas hadn’t said he was leaving him for Troy. He knew deep down that was impossible. But when Lucas had started rambling about how he hadn’t expected it to happen and couldn’t help his feelings, that was the conclusion to which David’s mind had immediately jumped, however absurd.
A tear rolled down Lucas’ cheek, landing in David’s lap. “It’s not okay. It’s awkward. I don’t even know how to sleep in the same bed with him now.”
Luckily, thanks to Lucas’ forethought, there were plenty of soft tissues at their disposal. David wiped his husband’s face. “You held him all night last night as we slept and didn’t have this problem. He must have sneezed a hundred times.”
“That’s why this is so unexpected. But when he sneezed on me today, and we were both so close to orgasm, that desperation and release… it was more than just the friction. It got to me. I couldn’t help it.” He took a deep breath in and let it out with a shaky whimper. “Now I’m horny and confused and mostly just scared you’re disappointed in me.”
“Baby…” He bent over, straining from the angle, and kissed Lucas’ cheek. “I’m going to keep saying it until you start to believe me, but I promise I’m not disappointed in you. Figuring out how to deal with this isn’t going to be easy. It’s going to take some time and practice, but I know you can do it. And I’ll be right here to help you in whatever way I can.” David knew what it was like to get turned on by an ordinary situation and not be able to do anything about it. “There’s nothing to be ashamed of or sorry about.”
“There is though. More than anything I’m sorry I didn’t tell you the second I realized what was going on.”
“Just because we’re married, it doesn’t mean I’m entitled to know every thought in your head and every feeling you experience.”
David waited for a response, but the silence that followed this struck him as hard as if he’d been punched in the chest. Because Lucas had always been the one who shared everything that was on his mind. And David had been the one who’d hidden his fetish at first. He’d been the one who listened—bored out of his mind most of the time—about Lucas’ day at work without saying much about his own. He’d been the one to cheat on his boyfriend and just hope Lucas wouldn’t find out. Of course, Lucas had been the one to confront him, because Lucas always said absolutely everything he was thinking. That was Lucas.
“Oh shit,” David whispered. No wonder Lucas was upset. The last few days had been an unpredictable, emotional ride for them both. David couldn’t blame him for feeling confused and fragile and questioning everything now. David definitely couldn’t blame him for feeling guilty about not sharing right away… or for telling Troy before him. But to Lucas, that probably felt like cheating. “Come here, baby,” he whispered, his voice breaking along with his composure. With nudges and grunts, he got Lucas sitting up then embraced him. They clung together and shed tears and whispered words of affection until both of them fully felt not only believed what the other was saying.
Though David was content to stay that way all night, holding and hugging and professing his devotion to his husband, Lucas eventually pulled back. Sniffling, he wiped at his eyes and nose and then glanced across the room toward the bathroom. “Baby, is it just me or is Troy trying to break the world’s record for longest shower?”
David tensed, alarm washing over him. In all his emotion, he had almost forgotten about Troy. He had assumed Troy would return after his shower, but a quick glance at his watch told him this particular shower was going on forty-five minutes now. That couldn’t be a good sign, right?
A beat passed.
Then they both got up and headed to the bathroom.
“Troy?” David knocked on the door. They listened closely, but there was no response, just the sound of the shower running. Without so much as a glance exchanged between them, Lucas turned the doorknob and David pushed the door in.
They were met with a blast of steam. Moisture hung thick in the air and fogged up the mirror. The doorknob on this side felt slick, and Lucas’ hand slipped for a moment as he tried to close the door behind them to keep the steam in. Their fear that something was wrong was put to rest as soon as they spotted Troy. Troy sat on the floor, a white towel wrapped around his waist. He leaned against the toilet, his arm stretched out across the closed toilet seat lid. A stack of folded towels sat there as well, and Troy had laid his head upon them, using them as a pillow. His eyes were closed. His chest was slowly rising and falling. Apart from the handful of toilet paper he clutched in one hand and the inflamed skin around his nose, he looked calm and peaceful.
“At least he’s sleeping,” David whispered. His words must have tickled Lucas’ ear, because his husband gave a little shiver.
They left, pulling the door shut behind them again with just a tiny click. Lucas made right for the blanket on the bed while David gathered up a couple pillows. They were silent but coordinated, gathering what they needed.
David checked his watch again, to be sure of the time. “There’s still a lot of time until he’s supposed to take more medicine. I was hoping he might fall asleep so the time would pass faster for him, but I wasn’t sure he’d be able to drift off with all that sneezing he was doing.”
“Guess the steam really helped. Or else we really tired him out.”
“Maybe both.” He picked up the tissue box.
They headed back into the bathroom and tried to move as quietly as they could as they got settled down on the floor with Troy. Lucas managed to slide between the wall and Troy, getting his arms around the man. David spread the pillows out on the floor. With his tight hold, Lucas rotated and lowered Troy down so gently that the man didn’t wake for even a moment. He kept right on snoring while his head sunk into a pillow and while David covered him with a blanket.
It was so warm in the room and with his arms under the blanket and his body pressed close to Troy’s, Lucas definitely didn’t need more warmth. But he seemed to want it. His eyes met David’s, and David gave a knowing nod and smile. He squeezed in-between the vanity and his husband, fitting perfectly into the small space. It wasn’t often that he played the big spoon, but Lucas loved being held and petted and cared for, and David cherished being able to do it.
“Not having problems holding him now, are you?” David whispered into the back of Lucas’ neck.
“Mmmm. I’ve never been so comfortable,” Lucas whispered back, lying on the hard, tiled floor of a steamy hotel bathroom.
David muffled a chuckle against Lucas’ skin and chased it with a goodnight kiss. He stayed awake long after Lucas had fallen asleep, listening to the white noise of the shower and taking in the glow of the artistically bare light bulbs over the sink. When Lucas had talked him into coming on this trip, he never could have foreseen winding up here, like this. But falling asleep on the bathroom floor was exactly where he wanted to be.
All three men woke reluctantly a few hours later when the alarm on David’s phone went off, but it was Troy who woke with the most confusion over where he was. He yelped and looked around wildly for something familiar. “It’s all right,” David soothed, reaching past Lucas to pat Troy’s shoulder through the blanket. “Relax. You’re all right. You fell asleep in the bathroom after your shower.”
Troy’s distressed look softened first to confusion and then to understanding as he took in the blanket and pillows. “You could have woken me.”
Lucas chuckled, tilting his head from side to side to work out the kinks in his neck. “You should know by now that we couldn’t, actually.” David felt a little embarrassed by this, but it was the truth. This was David’s ten. This was him sacrificing his comfort for someone else’s sake without any other option occurring to him.
Troy coughed, hunching over with his fist to his mouth. David’s embarrassment was almost instantly eclipsed by his need to make sure Troy was taken care of.
“Let me get your medicine, baby. And then if you want to move back to your bed, we can do that. Or we can stay here where it’s easier for you to breathe.”
Troy nodded, and a few seconds later, Lucas was helping him sit up and David was handing him a large pill and a cup of water. “Can I get you anything else? Are you cold or thirsty? Do you need anything?” David stroked the back of his hand against Troy’s cheek and kissed his forehead. “I can make you some tea or--”
Shutting him up effectively once again, both Lucas and Troy kissed him this time. They each took charge of the cheek they were closest to. David relaxed, closing his eyes, soaking in the sensation of being kissed by two men at once. He knew he might never feel it again, so he let it calm his desire to constantly be providing and fussing. He accepted the affection but also the appreciation.
“Just take me to bed,” Troy said. “I...“ He pulled away, the urgent hitch in his breath too strong to fight against. “hehh-HIHshophhh!” He sneezed into tissues it seemed David had somehow produced out of nowhere just in time, though he really had just been anticipating this eventuality.
“God bless you, baby.” David wiped his nose for him. Then he cast a wary glance over at Lucas. But Lucas looked fine, his arms still wrapped around Troy, not uncomfortably turned on in the least.
While David turned off the water in the shower, Lucas escorted Troy out of the bathroom. The air in the bedroom seemed cold in comparison to the tropical rainforest growing in the bathroom. Immediately, Troy turned in place, burrowing into Lucas’ chest for warmth. Lucas tightened the hug and shuffled them closer to the bed. While David gathered up warm pajamas for Troy and pulled the covers down, Lucas maneuvered both himself and Troy into bed without breaking out of the hug.
“I…” Troy’s voice was muffled, spoken right into Lucas chest. “I c-c-cahh cah-ahhhhhh HahhhHAHTchoosh! hahhHEHPshoooo!”
This time, David could see in his husband’s slightly pained, slightly thrilled expression that he was turned on by that. But he kept hold of Troy anyway, making comforting him the priority.
“God bless you, baby.” And even though they all knew David was responding to Troy’s sneezes, there was also something in it meant to reassure Lucas that whatever he was feeling was all right to feel.
The medicine was going to take a little while to kick in, and David worried that Lucas might get overwhelmed again with all the sneezing. Lucas looked a little worried as well as Troy wound up for another sneeze. But Troy just looked grateful for the care and willing to take whatever crazy fetishes happened to come with. “hahh ahhhh… huh huh huh-IHJJschhhhh!!”
Lucas stroked Troy’s back, and David reached over to do the same. Their hands bumped a few times, breaking the rhythms but still comforting. “God bless you, baby. Here, let’s get you back into your sweats, all nice and warm for the rest of the night.” He’d wanted to use the word cozy, because cozy was what he was ultimately going for. But he wasn’t sure if that was going a bit too far again. He honestly wasn’t sure that Troy could handle him at his level ten.
As he helped Troy pull on his pajamas, he caught sight of Lucas lying there, breathing deep, controlled breaths to keep himself in check. Lucas was hard again, sure, but he was dealing with that reaction internally without needing to jerk himself off right here, right now. He was putting Troy first, and David loved him for that.
Troy settled back down in bed in-between the two of them. All three men lay on their backs, staring up at the unremarkable, white ceiling. David and Lucas both had their arms around Troy’s shoulders and David had fresh tissues in his hand. The covers were pulled all the way up to their armpits, not a heavy weight, but enough to keep the warmth where it was supposed to be. “How do you feel?” David asked, wiping at Troy’s runny nose for him.
Troy closed his eyes, drinking all of this in. “Cozy,” he whispered. David’s heart raced, pleasure washing over him. Then Troy opened his eyes and added, “Cared for” and finally “Still a bit sneezy.”
David laughed. “Sorry these things take time. I wish I could wave a magic wand and make you better instantly.”
Troy turned his head to the side to kiss David. Then he turned his head to the other side and kissed Lucas. “I’m rather glad you can’t. We never would have h-had thi-this ehhh!” David pressed tissues to his nose at once. “hehhh thanks ehhhh-HURSHhhphhhh! HEHTxxphhh!”
“God bless you, baby.” As David wiped his nose dry for him and then held tissues to his nose with just enough pressure to keep Troy’s nose from tickling again right away, Troy closed his eyes again and relaxed. David had just been about to suggest another cup of tea to help him get back to sleep. But it seemed all he really needed was them.
He was asleep in minutes, with Lucas following close behind. David tried to stay up a little longer, just to make sure they were both soundly asleep, but his eyes kept closing and he kept nodding off. With one more check on both men, he whispered goodnight, rolled onto his side and allowed himself to fall asleep.
“One more coming, I think?”
“Y-yeh-yes heh heh heh-HURSHuphhhh!”
“God bless you, baby.”
It wasn’t exactly a surprise for Lucas to wake up to this, but it was surprising at how quickly he could get so hard from it. He’d spent many of his teenage years waking up hard and horny, of course. But waking up to someone sneezing beside him and having that immediate rush to his cock was definitely a new though not entirely unwelcome experience. He couldn’t resist sliding his hand under his boxers to give himself a rub before stretching and yawning and opening his eyes.
“G’morning, baby.” David sat against the headboard and pillows, tissues in hand as if he’d slept with them like that. And maybe he had. Troy sat beside him, sniffling with a finger dramatically pressed under his nose. David leaned over and placed a kiss on Lucas’ lips, lingering there long enough for the rush of excitement to intensify within Lucas.
He let out a muffled moan, kissing David back hungrily. It was a beautiful, familiar sensation he enjoyed. But what he hadn’t expected was the woosh of air as the covers were pulled down followed by teeth tugging at the waistband of his underwear amidst sniffles. Pulling away from David in order to get out a few words, he began with, “You don’t have to—” but then he broke off because his underwear was off completely and Troy’s hot, wet mouth was already on his cock and there was nothing in the world he wanted more than this.
Except maybe for that. “Oh fuck yes!” His hips jerked upward, his heart racing, his hands reaching out and grabbing hold of anything solid he could brace himself with. What he found was a bedsheet and David’s wrist; he held tight to both.
As David blessed him, Lucas felt David’s arm move a little. He probably wanted to reach out and offer a tissue, and he wondered what in the world he and Troy had said to each other that ended up with David not fussing over him just now. The very fact that David was allowing him to service Lucas when Troy clearly still felt ill spoke volumes. Maybe it was because this was their last chance to be together before checking out of the hotel, going to the last bit of the conference, and flying off to different places. Or maybe it was just because his love for Lucas and desire to see him happy was greater than his ability to argue and put up a fight.
Because Troy definitely seemed into this. He was taking charge and making this his own, adapting to Lucas’ strange tastes as if liking sneezing were any old kink you’d encounter. Like this was the sort of sexual move he specialized in routinely. With his hand around the base of Lucas’ cock, he didn’t have to take quite as much in his mouth, which probably helped his breathing. His breaths were already shallow, gaspy, and sporadic. He pulled back, lips wet, eyes closed. “I c-c-cah cad feel ad-adother ode cobig.” He rubbed his finger alongside his nose until the second he was sure it was going to come out. “I h-hahh-have to sneh… snehh s-s-ehhhhh HuhEHSHXXXshoo!”
The sudden rush of air and wetness against his throbbing cock was absolutely unreal. Lucas could only moan as the sensation hit him but was gone a second later. It had been far too quick. What he wanted was Troy in a massive sneezing fit of nonstop sneezes. He wanted to feel each and every release against his skin. He wanted to feel how helpless this big, strong man got when the sneezes just kept coming and there was nothing he could do to stop them. He wanted it to last long enough to carry him right along into an orgasm.
But it wasn’t as though Lucas could just ask Troy for a certain number of sneezes each time. Good as Troy was about obeying commands, this wasn’t a restaurant where he could place an order. This was a gift, but an unpredictable one. And maybe that was one of the things that made it so sexy. That sneeze last night could have come at any time, but it had come right as Troy should have orgasmed. And the two desperate, unstoppable sensations hadn’t been all that different, really.
Troy ran his tongue over the head of Lucas’ cock, lapping with just enough force to drive Lucas mad with anticipation. His breath caught a few times, and he sniffed a few times, too, but he kept up his work. His other hand gathered up Lucas’ balls and fondled them, stroking his fingers against them.
Then his breath caught again, with a sharper gasp this time, and Lucas felt that jolt of pleasure hit his abdomen and race through to the end of his cock, leaking pre now. Troy pulled back a little, giving Lucas an excellent view of his ‘need to sneeze’ expression. The anticipation of one of Troy’s sneezes was just as heavenly as the sneeze itself. “ehhh ehhhh nnnngh… ehhhh ehh-nngghhhh!”
Troy trying to hold back a sneeze was an unparalleled sight of majesty, mostly because he was so bad at it. His whole face twitched and tensed, giving his struggle away and showing that it was definitely the sneeze that was in control here. Finally, he gave up and leaned in again, burying his nose right at the base of Lucas’ cock. “Hah HAHIHPTSHHhooo! HURKshooo!”
Troy’s nose pushing against him and the sneeze striking against his cock and balls together made Lucas cry out. He thrust forward, desperate for the hot wetness of Troy’s mouth again. He gripped David’s wrist tighter, but the man didn’t complain.
“This sniff is so hard,” Troy said before swallowing Lucas again.
“Thanks,” Lucas replied.
Troy laughed at the wordplay, the airy sensation teasing Lucas’ dick. He lifted his head once more. “Good ode. But I beadt it’s hard to give you a brober blow job whed I c-cad’t stob sdeezidg. Nngg. By dose is too… hnnggh… too full this bordig.”
David reached over, stroking Troy’s muscular arm. “Let it out, baby.”
Troy nodded, taking that as an order. He closed his eyes. “Guhhh… uhh-get ready… I feel a… a… big tih-tick-tickle id the… id… the back of by… huhhhhhhh by-ehhhh! By Heh hih huhhhh! By dose! Hah hah-hah-HEHHHXXSHHoooo! EHPTCHHhooo! Heh-HNXXshooo! Ehhh HEHJJJUHshhhhhhhh!”
His thighs. His abdomen. His cock and balls. His crotch. They were all caught by one sneeze or another, each gloriously different but each wet and powerful and so fucking hot Lucas couldn’t understand why he’d never seen it before. Nothing had ever made him tingle quite the way the feel of these sneezes did. He only had a moment to wonder what other amazing things out there he might be into if he just gave them a chance when Troy’s mouth was about to service him again.
But Troy pulled back before his lips could reach Lucas’ cock. He cupped his hand over his dripping nose and coughed from the congestion. “Oh… fuck… I gotta… gotta blow… by dose is so ruddy… cad’t…”
Lucas turned his head to the side, gasping. “David? Tissues?”
For some reason, David hesitated to hand any over.
Troy shook his head. “Doe… better idea…” He reached over and snatched up Lucas’ discarded underwear. His hand still cupped over his nose, he ran the underwear over Lucas’ crotch first, wiping. Lucas felt teased, bathed in sneezes one moment and dry the next when all he wanted to do was fucking come already. But he had to admit the rubbing felt damn good as well.
Until it was over. Without even asking permission, desperate to clear his nose, Troy blew into Lucas’ soft cotton underwear, the material so thick it could take whatever Troy needed it to and so soft he didn’t hesitate to blow his nose a second and then a third time. He groaned at the relief that brought him. It was such an intimate, primal pleasure on display that Lucas felt the pressure in his already hot and pulsating body intensify.
“Troy,” he begged, practically writing with urgency. “You gotta finish me off, man.” He was dying to come now.
“Sniff!” Troy snuffled into the underwear and, when he lowered them, he was grinning. “Sniff!” He leaned forward, giving the head of Lucas’ cock a kiss before taking as much as he could into his mouth again, wetting it anew.
Despite the sniffling, Troy’s head bobbed up and down in a rapid but steady motion that seemed designed now to pull Lucas’ orgasm right out of him. “I’m… I’m…” Lucas looked up into David’s eyes, wanting to apologize for all of this. For finding all this so sexy. For getting so unbelievably turned on by Troy. For making love to someone who was ill. For anything else that was messed up about this that he couldn’t think of right now because damn it all, Troy’s mouth was even more magnificent than his sneezes. “I’m… I’m…”
And the look David was giving him told him he had nothing at all to apologize for. “You’re going to come for us,” David finished for him.
For us. Yes. Yes he was. Lucas’ eyes went wide and his cock reacted accordingly. Looking into his husband’s eyes, he shot into Troy’s mouth. Troy swallowed it all down with impressive skill, especially for someone with a sore throat. By the time Lucas had begun to wonder if his warm spunk might actually make a sore throat feel better, he was done and Troy was finished swallowing.
Lucas sucked in a deep breath and let it out slowly, the pleasant post-sex euphoria making his body go heavy and slack but tingle all the while.
David handed over the entire tissue box, and Troy took some time to blow his nose repeatedly, steadily, with productive blows that seemed to help clear him now that the sneezes had loosened his sinuses up. He wiped his nostrils, wincing just a little as he did so. “What’d you think?” Troy asked, handing the tissue box back to David with a nod.
Lucas shook his head. “That… that was… fuck, there really aren’t words for that.”
But Troy laughed. “Glad you liked it, mate.” He sprang forward and kissed Lucas, who tasted the salty taste of himself on the man’s lips. “We thought you might.”
Lucas looked over at David, who was smiling just as much. “We?”
“Love you, baby.”
Lucas knew David loved him, knew it like he knew his own name, like he knew water was wet, like he knew grass was green, and like he knew David loved a morning BJ just as much as he did. “Your turn.”
“What?” David shook his head. “No, that wasn’t part of the arrangement.”
“It could be though,” Troy offered, crawling over and resting his head on David’s thigh.
David looked down at the man as memories of that mouth and that talented tongue from the night before filled his mind. No, he certainly wouldn’t mind experiencing that again. But he had something else in mind. “First off, Troy, God bless you a hundred times. It was torture not saying that each time, by the way. And second… actually… there’s something I’ve wanted to try. I, ah, I don’t know if your nose feels sore or—”
“I’m all right,” Troy insisted, but Lucas gave him an obvious nudge. When Troy turned to look at him, Lucas held up both hands, emphasizing his ten fingers. It took Troy a second, and then he nodded with understanding. He looked back up at David. “Yeah,” he said softly. “Truthfully, I’ve been sneezing and blowing my nose for days now. Of course it feels sore. Can you sniff! Can you do something about that? Sniff! Will you help me feel better?”
David’s breath caught. He opened his mouth to answer, but he found he couldn’t form the words. So he just nodded. Reading his mind, Lucas got up off the bed and walked, still naked, to one of the shopping bags. He rooted around a little and pulled a small, yellow jar out. When he got back to the bed, he handed it to David. Then he climbed back into bed, snuggling up to David’s side, taking out a bottle of lube, and slipping his hand beneath David’s pajama bottoms. David trembled with anticipation as his husband’s fingers brushed against his half-hard member. He squeezed the plastic jar in his hand tightly, drawing in a sharp breath and then slowly letting it out again.
Then he felt more himself again, more in charge of the moment, more ready to do this. He popped the lid off the little jar of Vaseline. “Sit up and lean in for me,” David motioned Troy to come closer. He could have done it just fine with Troy’s head still resting on his thigh, but he liked a closer view. And this way it gave Lucas a little more freedom of movement to stroke him.
“Now, as soon as I do this, ironically you’re probably going to feel like sneezing again, or you’ll need to blow your nose, and all this will be for nothing. So before we get started, how about you blow your nose into some of those soft tissues for me just a little more?”
Troy nodded. “Yes please. Feels so good to blow my nose into those.”
Lucas ran his fingers down David’s long cock, circling the head, teasing the tip with a feather light tough. He loved touching his husband, but rarely did he do so blindly like this, under the covers, under pajamas. He knew David well enough to know where to move his hand, so he wasn’t worried. This felt more exciting than a normal handjob. This was David allowing himself to get off on his own care-giving instead of delaying the gratification by waiting until his lover felt well enough to engage in any sexual acts.
David’s breaths were already uneven as he pulled two tissues from the box and held them to Troy’s nose. “Right side first. Nice and easy, baby.”
“Okay,” Troy agreed, taking a deep breath in but letting it out slowly. The quiet gurgle was muffled into the tissues, and David gave a soft moan.
“That’s good. That’s so good. Other side now.”
Troy waited for David to readjust his grip then blew again.
“Nngh…” David bit his lip as Lucas rubbed his finger against his glans, applying pressure in just the right place.
David tried to take his time with this, and his hands shook, which slowed him down further. But he dipped his left finger into the Vaseline jar, scooping out a generous amount before replacing the lid and setting it aside. His right finger took a small dollop of the product and touched the area between Troy’s nose and mouth. It was inflamed from so much attention, so much rubbing and blowing and Troy’s nose running wet and unchecked when David hadn’t been around to tend to it that first day. The pad of his finger rubbed the Vaseline in with a small circling motion, being as gentle as he could against the irritated skin. “How does that feel?” he asked.
“Brilliant,” Troy whispered back. “Keep going.”
Lucas started stroking in earnest now, his hand wrapped around David’s dick. He gave long, languid pulls designed to draw David’s orgasm out slowly, letting it build and build to almost impossible levels. “You,” David gasped, looking over at his husband. “You keep going too.”
Smiling, Lucas pressed a kiss to David’s jaw as a promise. He had no intention of stopping until David came. In fact, he kept his face up against the side of David’s, the better to whisper every dirty thought that occurred to him with no filter. “You’re so fucking sexy like this. It’s so hot that you know just what to do to make him feel better.” The warmth David felt at those words was like nothing else.
And then Troy’s nostrils flared. “Shite hehhh!” And the build-up began again. He was going to undo all the work David had just done. So David quickly pressed his palm against Troy’s nose, squashing it with applied pressure. Troy’s eyes widened, and his whole body relaxed. His breathing slowed. Then he gave a little grunt of appreciation to let David know he didn’t need to sneeze after all. They could continue.
David got a bit more Vaseline and spread it above Troy’s upper lip. He rubbed it in gently with tiny little circles then zigzags. “Do you want a little more there, or should I start on your nose?”
Troy sniffed and shrugged. “Whatever you think is best. Sniff! It’s so sore.”
“I’ll be gentle,” David promised.
And the soft smile he got from Troy in return made the tingles in him intensify. “I know you will,” Troy said, closing his eyes and leaning forward a little. “I trust you completely to make me feel better.”
“Nnnngh!” David’s whole body was on fire at those words. And Lucas’ quickening strokes. And at the idea of soothing Troy’s nose. God, he wasn’t going to last long like this. He knew he’d have to hurry or he’d end up coming to a fantasy of what he was about to do rather than being able to actually do it. So he took another bit of Vaseline on his finger and tried to control his breathing as he touched a spot right beneath Troy’s nose. Troy flinched and David pulled his hand back, alarmed. “Sorry!”
“Startled me. It was just cool against my skin.” Troy leaned forward some more. “Warm it up for me, David.”
Oh, he was good. “You’re so hot,” Lucas whispered against his cheek as he slid his hand up and down David’s dick faster. Faster. Impossibly faster. “Warm him up, baby.”
David tried again, and this time Troy didn’t flinch. Instead, he made this involuntary, pleased sound in the back of his throat. As David’s finger slid around his nostril, Troy tilted his head so that David could get a better angle, and he moaned again as David massaged the tender skin around his nostril with the soothing balm. “Laying it on a little thick now, are you?” David asked.
Troy opened his eyes, confusion filling them. “Don’t know what you mean.” He sniffed then tilted his head the other way. “More?”
If this were Lucas, an ‘I love you,’ would have slipped easily from David’s mouth at the sound of that. Instead, he nodded. “As much as you want.” He touched Troy’s other nostril and rubbed the Vaseline in as Troy closed his eyes and moaned again.
“Fuck!” Lucas exhaled against David’s cheek. “He’s making me wish I hadn’t just come.”
“He’s… making me—” David’s breath caught. He could feel the intensity building in him, unstoppable. Between his husband’s slick hand fisting his cock and Troy’s nearly orgasmic moans, David barely stood a chance of holding on. But when he added in the way he was soothing Troy’s poor nose. “Oh fuck, fuck, fuck!” That was all David managed to get out before he bent forward, teeth clenched, body shaking. One second he felt like he was on fire and about to burst from the pressure building up in him, and the next he felt the most amazing release. There was nothing but pleasure and satisfaction. And come.
He slumped back against Lucas, feeling his husband’s arm wrap around him tightly. “That’s it,” Lucas whispered, kissing his temple repeatedly. “Enjoy. You deserved that, baby.”
David closed his eyes, losing himself to the dreamy, warm, post-orgasm euphoria where everything felt perfect and right. He felt a tissue wipe the Vaseline from his fingers. Then he felt a cloth wipe his cock. And he felt Troy take his hand and squeeze it.
Lucas kissed David’s cheek. “Troy, do you want—“
“Uh-uh. That was just for you two. That was to thank you both for looking after me so well.”
“It was… our pleasure…” David said, still feeling miles away, floating on clouds. He knew he should be angry with himself for getting off while Troy still admitted to feeling sick, but it had just felt so damn good to come while tending to him. David was pretty sure he would never feel this good again.
As it turned out, they did all three fit into the hotel’s shower at the same time. They also discovered that it was just as uncomfortable and technically difficult as Troy had claimed it would be. David ended up dragging Lucas out so that Troy could get the spray to himself for a little while and actually get clean. Then David wrapped Troy in a bathrobe and towel and held him while Lucas showered, until it was time for them to switch.
They changed and emerged from the bathroom just in time to hear a few bars of Queen’s “Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy.” Troy dove for some clothes on the floor, rooting around through them to find his cell phone before Freddie Mercury’s voice cut off. He swiped his finger across the screen in a sort of looping pattern, pressed a button, and then relaxed to see an apparently familiar face fill the screen. “Oh, thank God. I was afraid I was going to miss the call.”
“You nearly did,” said the man on the other end of what was apparently a Facetime call, on speakerphone loud enough for both David and Lucas to hear. “I thought I might have my time zones wrong. Thought I might be calling in the middle of the night.”
“No, no. It’s morning.” Troy glanced over at David and Lucas for confirmation. Lucas checked his watch and nodded. Then his eyes widened and he dropped to the floor to start his morning workout routine before he completely ran out of morning to do it in. He went through the preliminary stretches, but still listened in intently as he moved on from them to push-ups.
“I’m so sorry I didn’t call sooner. I kept running late at work and when I was free it was, like, 4 o’clock am your time and then I’d get pulled away…” There was a sigh. “It’s no excuse, but I really am sorry.”
“It’s okay, luv.”
Lucas stopped in the middle of a push-up to look up at David, whose eyebrows were similarly raised. Love?
“How are you feeling? Still full of cold and completely miserable, I expect? Did you finally find some medicine that worked?”
“Yeah, I did. And I found two guys to take good care of me.”
On the other side of the room, David choked and tried to cover it with a cough. Lucas stood up and clapped him on the back, as if that could expel the surprise the same way as an improperly swallowed bit of food.
“The ones you mentioned in the last call?”
“Yeah.” Troy glanced back in their direction, smiling.
“Wait, are they with you right now?” Troy nodded. “Then hold your mobile up. I want to see.”
“Ah-ah. That’s an order.”
Troy did as he was told, turning around and extending his arm, aiming his phone at David and Lucas for a few beats. When he pulled it back, the man on the screen was nodding approvingly. “Good-looking blokes. Were you right about them?”
Sheepishly, Troy answered, “Yeah.”
“You have fun, mate?”
Troy grinned, glancing back at them again. “Oh yeah.”
“I’m glad… hey, are you trying not to sneeze?”
Troy had a finger pressed to the side of his nose, and his eyes were distant, unfocused. “Um…”
“Just let it out.”
Troy nodded obediently, raising his arm and aiming into the sleeve of the bathrobe. “huhh-URSHshooo! Hah-EHXXshhhhhhh!”
“Bless you!” chimed Marcus on the phone while David nervously held his tongue, as much as that hurt him to do.
“Bet you’re looking forward to being back home after all this.”
Troy nodded. “Definitely.”
“Do you have some cough drops to suck on to relieve the pressure in your ears on the plane?”
With a smile, Troy replied, “They bought me five different flavors, apparently.”
“Well, that’s good. And do you have a ride home from Heathrow?”
“Yeah, yeah. Mick’s picking me up.”
“Good man. All right. Drop me a line to let me know you reached home safe.”
“I will, luv.”
Troy’s cheeks flushed just a little, maybe not enough to be picked up by the camera phone, even. But Lucas and David noticed. “Yeah, I promise. I’ll talk to you soon. Bye.”
Troy pressed a few buttons on his phone then tossed it onto the bed. “Marcus gets a little overprotective and worried about me when I’m traveling,” Troy tried to explain. Then he turned, pointing a finger at David. “I’m pretty sure you owe me a ‘God bless you, baby.’”
Lucas dropped to the floor, resuming his push-ups as he held back his laughter. Self-consciously, David averted his gaze, looking down at his husband. “God bless you, baby.”
“That’s better.” Troy waited until David lifted his head to look at him once more before adding. “I’m going to miss that.” Troy walked over to the nightstand where the room service menu lay. “What do you say we order breakfast in? My treat this time. That way Lucas can get his morning exercises in, and we can put off braving the real world for just a little while longer.”
Though they all knew their time together would end, no matter what attempts they made to ignore it, all three of them were happy for an excuse to stay here in their little bubble. A warm breakfast in their bellies would surely make saying their goodbyes easier.
Part 18: Epilogue
David woke as someone reached past him, the movement causing a small rush of air against his cheek. He pulled his eyes open to see a flight attendant switching off the call button above their seats. “What do you need, Sir?”
“Can I get a cup of hot water for tea, please?” Lucas asked.
She nodded to him, and then she looked at David. “And can I get you anything?”
He shook his head and tried to keep his eyes open, tried to stay awake. The urge to go back to sleep was tempting, but he fought it by stretching as best he could in his seat. His fingertips hit the panel above his head, but thankfully not hard enough to release the oxygen mask inside. He tilted his head from one side to the other, loosening it up after having slept sitting up for… however long he’d been out.
Finally, David’s gaze fell upon Lucas, unclipping and pulling down the tray table built into the seat in front of him. It wasn’t like him to choose tea, but David thought he knew why. It hadn’t even been a day yet, but they both still missed Troy. “Picked that up from our British friend, did you?”
“Yep. Picked up a little something else from him, too.”
“Oh yeah?” David yawned. He rubbed at his face, making sure there was no sleep in the corners of his eyes, then running his hand through his hair, though it felt like part was still sticking up funny in the back. He hoped the flight attendant hadn’t noticed. “What’s that? Some workout tip you’re about to bore me with?” Lucas had him as a captive audience on this plane. The flight wasn’t full, so they had the middle seat free in-between them. But there still wasn’t really anywhere for David to go. He could only get up to go use the lavatory so many times.
“Think about it a second.” That was all Lucas said.
David narrowed his eyes. He thought hard about it, but absolutely nothing at all occurred to him.
Rolling his eyes, Lucas sniffed.
David’s eyes widened.
The flight attendant returned with a cup of water, a napkin, and a selection of teabags and sweeteners. Reaching past David once more, she warned that the drink was hot.
“That’s the point, thanks. I’ll be careful.” He waved away the teabags and little sugar packets.
As she headed back down the aisle, Lucas reached into his inside jacket pocket and pulled out a teabag of the throat coat herbal tea they’d bought for Troy. Lucas tore open the packet, dunked the bag in the cup, snapped the lid back on the cup, and then covered the small opening with the napkin to keep the heat contained better while the tea steeped.
David’s heart began to race, worry and anticipation simultaneously setting in. He whispered, “You don’t feel so good, baby?”
Lucas shook his head. “At first, I thought it might be the dry air in here, but my throat’s seriously hurting. And my nose is feeling kind of tickly and sensitive. I definitely think I’m coming down with his cold.”
David reached out, rubbing his hand up and down Lucas’ upper arm. “Oh no, I’m so sorry.” He wasn’t surprised, of course, but he was genuinely sorry. No matter how much he loved to take care of his man, he never wanted to see him suffer. Even less, suffer alone. “Why didn’t you wake me?”
“No point in worrying you. Besides, there’s less than an hour left in the flight.”
“There is?” David checked his watch, startled. He’d been tired, but he hadn’t realized he’d been that tired.
“You slept through the whole thing practically. You were out before takeoff, even. You needed that. And I need you well rested so that you can fuss over me and baby me when we get home.”
David felt rushes surge through him anew. Troy had been fantastic, sure, but there was nothing like taking care of his Lucas. “When we get home, you’re going straight into bed.”
Lucas reached up and laid his hand on David’s hand, making him stop with his rubbing. Their fingers intertwined and hands held fast, tight. “Sure, as long as you’ll tuck me in, all warm and cozy.”
Grinning, he added, “And I’ll make sure you stay put by climbing in with you and taking your temperature.”
Lucas grinned back, but his expression faded just a second later. He grabbed for the napkin, snatching it up without bumping the drink, and pressing it to his nose and mouth. “herrJihshuhhh!” He wiped the napkin across his nose, sniffing much more wetly than before.
“God bless you, baby.”
Lucas smiled, lowering the napkin. “Feels so nice to hear you saying that to me.”
“Feels so good to say it.” Anxious to get closer, David unclipped his seatbelt, slid over a seat, and then fastened that belt across his lap, pulling the strap tight. He slid an arm around his husband’s shoulders. Lucas leaned into him and took a few sips of his tea.
Abraham The Pharmacist on YouTube has far too many wonderful videos I used as inspiration, including how asthma inhalers work and how to properly use nasal sprays.
Freddie Scott’s “(You) Got What I Need” is quoted in the story, because the song is just too perfect for David & Lucas.
The fitness convention mentioned in this story is loosely based on IDEA WORLD, a fitness convention with about 14,000 attendees, which was taking place as I was writing the story. Some elements like the welcome party, the companion registration, and the places nearby the Anaheim Convention Center that deliver were inspired by this conference. Other elements like Club Fun and the fact that the conference in this story takes place in a hotel’s meeting space rather than a convention center (or at least a hotel that seems connected directly to a convention center) were products of my imagination and have no resemblance to IDEA WORLD.