|Model Sandor Johnson|
Shocking news, right? Tristan shook his head as he took a cold bottle of water from the fridge. It was July, and for all intents and purposes the Florida heat should have started to cool down. Instead, the state was experiencing a heat wave. The hot and humid weather had been lingering for the past four days, not the typical two or three, and the air-conditioning system was not working up to its promise.
He surveyed his apartment, a bachelor pad really—one he’d called home since he’d divorced Amanda. Decorated by Joanna and Margaret, it had a homey, bachelor feel to it. Thankfully, the two women knew him so well, and the place looked like a man lived in it. They’d had the walls painted a neutral tone, using accents like throw pillows and paintings for pops of colors. The living room’s center piece was the lone chocolate brown sofa set in front of a massive flat screen TV. Not only was it comfortable to sit on, it made for the perfect day bed. However, the sofa’s massive size left no room for any furniture other than the bookshelves that lined the walls. No, check that, his place was tiny and with Zach moving in in just a couple of weeks, he needed to find space for the extra stuff Zach would bring with him. Decision made, he finished his water, tossed the bottle into the plastic bin and started moving the heavy sofa.
Two hours later, he panted for breath as he lay on the carpeted floor. Why he’d picked this humid day to be moving furniture around on his own, he didn’t know. What he did know was that it had been a bad idea and now his skin felt sensitive from the hundreds of needle-like fibers digging in him. He didn’t even want to think about what dirt was on the carpet. Why? Well, his muscles ached and to make matters worse, his lower back screamed uncle from the burn caused by pushing himself and the damned sofa. He was four months shy of his fiftieth birthday, and already, his bones creaked. Well, to be honest, they’d been creaking since turning thirty-five, but no one really needed to know that, right?
The prickles on his back turned into an itch. Moving his shoulders, he relished the carpet fibers doing the scratching for him and he breathed a sigh of relief. Looking up at the ceiling, he watched the shadows move as the sun started to set outside. As he thought about the future, he started to stretch his arms over his head and winced from the pull on his muscles. And then his back started itching again. Sighing, he pushed himself off the floor and walked back to his bathroom. Time for another shower.
Sorting through his closet for something cool to wear, a bleating goat caught his attention. Rolling his eyes, he reached over and picked up his phone. Accepting the call, a voice he hadn’t heard in a while buzzed in his ear. Twelve hours and sixty three seconds, but who’s counting?
“Hey, hon. It’s me.”
Zachary Parker—boyfriend, lover, partner, and the reason why his life held much more meaning now. For a moment, words failed him, but then again, his mind blanked every time he heard Zach’s sweet voice. He missed that voice, soft, loving and never failed to make his cock stand to attention.
At his continued silence, he heard Zach chuckle. “What are you doing?”
Tristan took a deep breath, turned back to his closet and started sorting through his folded shirts. “I’m looking for something cool to wear. and I need to go to Publix for some food. I’m thinking I might as well eat out instead of cooking. The heat’s a killer outside.”
Zach hummed. “Are you keeping to your diet? I don’t want to have to come over there before my time’s up here just so I can monitor what you’re eating.”
Tristan groaned. “Oh come on, Zach!”
“Don’t you come on me, Tris. I know you, remember?”
Huffing, Tristan pulled out a tee shirt, one of his favorites. It was five years old. “Yes, I’m only eating vegetables. There, happy now?”
Zach sniffed on his end. “You know how I worry, Tris.”
“I love you, too, Zach.” Tris placed the call on speaker and laid the phone on the dresser as he pulled the shirt over his head. Zach’s delighted humming made him smile.
“Hon, I talked to Human Resources and they said that I can go earlier than scheduled. I’d been working non-stop to finish up all of the estate planning they sent my way and just closed them all today.”
Zipping up his jeans, Tristan turned to look for a belt. “Which means, what? You’re coming in early?”
“Yes. I’ll be there in five days.”
Tristan mulled over Zach’s words. His coming earlier meant he had to make room in his apartment sooner, not an easy feat. What if he looked for a bigger place? Where would he even find one in five days?
“Tris? Tris? Are you there?”
Zach’s tinny voice distracted Tris and he took up the phone and placed it to his ear. “I’m here, I was just thinking. I need a bigger place.”
“You’re moving in and I just realized we may need something larger than what I’ve got now.”
“Why don’t you wait for me when I get there and then we’ll worry about it okay? Now, tell me what you’re planning to eat?”
They continued to discuss food options until Zach had to end the conversation when he got a call on the other line. Three hours later, his stomach felt full from the vegetarian fajita and a fruit slushy he had for dinner. Tristan had already placed his groceries away and now, he lay on his bed, looking around the dim bedroom. Although it was still early at eight thirty, he’d not bothered to put on the light as his muscles and back continued to protest. He was ready to call it a day. He also needed to make a decision. Should he decide to wait for Zach, they’d have to deal with boxes that would only be in their way and make the already small apartment even more crowded for several weeks, if not, months. He didn’t like the thought and as his eyes drifted closed, he considered his contacts whom he knew could help him find a larger, better apartment.
When the alarm rang eight hours later, Tristan reached over and turned it off. He’d been up, poring over his laptop since five that morning going over turnkey apartments up for lease or sale. Not finding one that suited his needs, he showered and dressed, ready to go to work. His personal assistant would have an idea of whom to call. He knew he had a client or two involved in real estate.
By lunchtime, his assistant had successfully traced the client and Tristan found he only had five hours to seal a deal. Walking out of his office, he told his assistant to cancel all his appointments for the day and to reschedule them for another. With a skip in his step, he exited his office building and walked a block to where his client said he’d meet him.
“You bought us a house?”
Tristan laughed at the look of shock on Zach’s face. “No, hon, an apartment. Now, before you say anything…and stop that frowning…now, you have to understand why I did this. First, my old place was tiny. Think, one bedroom and that’s it. Now that you’re moving in with me, are you honestly going to believe the kids are not going to come and stay with us, even just for one night? Where were we going to put them? In the pantry?”
When Zach twisted his mouth, Tris chuckled. “Zach, you’ll love the place. And why are you even complaining? You’ve never been to my old place. This way, we each get a fresh start…together.” When Zach didn’t say anything, he pushed on. “You want to know the truth? My feelings for you? I can’t control myself when I’m around you. Even when I just hear your sexy voice, my brain freezes over. No matter how I try, nothing works.”
Zach frowned at him, looking to his side from where he sat beside him in the car. Tristan had picked him up from the airport and now they were driving to their new place. “We were talking about the new apartment, not about us.”
“In a roundabout way, I am.”
“You know how I feel about you and I want you to be comfortable while we get to know each other better. I’m just making sure, now that we’re going to live together, that we have a setting that’s…well…comfortable. That would be impossible in a cramped place and tripping over boxes. Now, come on, you know I’m right.”
“I’m referring to your making a hasty decision and…look, we’re just moving in together, and technically, I haven’t moved in yet! Don’t you think buying this place is beyond irresponsible?”
He wasn’t. Not now. Not after what he’d had to do. “I’m talking about how much I’m feeling overwhelmed with my love for you, it’s scary. I feel like I want to run away, but I can’t…not if it means losing you. These past weeks, I didn’t like it. Three days, that’s what it took, only three fucking days and I can’t see tomorrow without you.”
Zach’s frown eased. “Tris—“
Tristan gave into his need, and he reached out to grasp Zach’s hand, but didn’t look away from the road. “You have no idea, do you? How I feel about you.
“I do know. I feel the same way.” Zach’s voice sounded soft and wistful and Tristan risked a glance in his direction. His eyes met Zach’s across the small space and his heart skipped a beat.
Zach sighed as his hand gripped his tighter. “I love you. That’s never been an issue. What we are talking about is your making rush decisions.” Zach rushed on when Tristan opened his mouth to argue. “However, I’m letting this one go as it’s obviously too late and you look as if you’re going to split with excitement from wanting to show it to me. Now, tell me about this new place.”
They were in the new apartment. Tris watched as emotions raced across Zach’s face. Doubt, excitement, and a touch of hope. A whole lot of hope. He read it in the way Zach bit on his lower lip, the way his fingers trailed across the granite island in their kitchen. When Zach suddenly turned, leaned and placed a short, sweet kiss on his lips, Tris’ heart stopped as a sudden need rushed through him.
“What do you think?”
Zach threaded his fingers through his hair and he felt the tug on his scalp. He bent down closer until their lips hovered over each other. Zach’s unique scent hit his nostrils, setting something inside him on fire. He recognized the heat that had been simmering inside him since he’d first laid eyes on Zach after his five years absence. His heart jumped, and his hands moved down Zach’s back. Touching, kissing, their mouths locked onto each other in a deep, penetrating kiss. Tris couldn’t get close enough to Zach, he didn’t’ dream of breaking away from him for a second.
As his palms slipped under Zach’s shirt, he felt the bare, heated skin. Soft skin, hard muscles, just like he’d remembered. Their kiss deepened, sending his blood burning through his veins. Tris couldn’t wait to get Zach’s clothes off.
With a groan, he felt Zach push on him and he moved willingly. Before he knew it, Zach had tugged his shirt out of his waistband and pushed it up his chest. His lips went to the exposed skin before him, tongue licking him over his nipples before taking a bite on them as his hands took to unsnapping his jeans.
Trist got lost in the frenzy of Zach’s hands and mouth. The heat that never failed to overwhelm them exploded into Tristan, consuming him with need. Reaching up and turning Zach’s face toward him, he kissed him as he pushed back in the direction of the island. Zach grunted softly and Tristan looked down to see his back against the island’s edge. Taking a step back, he placed a hand in the middle of Zach’s chest and pushed him back to lie on the island.
Zach didn’t voice a protest, instead he went willingly and spread his thighs when Tristan moved between them. With trembling hands, Tristan unfastened Zach’s jeans and shoved impatiently to open them. With a rough, indrawn breath, he saw Zach wore no underwear. Without missing a beat, he reached and pulled on the hard length, eliciting a gasp from Zach. Looking up he watched as Zach writhed on his back, his eyes closed, his mouth slightly open as he took in, harsh, passion-filled breaths.
Tristan looked at the treasure in his hand, bent down, and took a taste.