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by Abigail Roux
Category: Erotica/Gay-Lesbian Erotica
Description: Vic Bronsen has a problem. He's stuck in a rut, uninspired by his job, and in love with a man who has no clue. Thinking a change of scenery and company will do his aching heart some good, he goes off on a road trip with his best friend, only to find that the answers to his problems may have been right there in front of him all along.
eBook Publisher: Dreamspinner Press/Dreamspinner Press, 2009 2009
eBookwise Release Date: November 2009
96 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [155 KB]
Reading time: 96-135 min.
From the snappy lines to the hot sex, the author gives the readers a glimpse of a strong couple who only have to realize what they have. 4/5 Nymphs Critter Nymph @ Literary Nymphs
Victor Bronsen tapped his pen against his temple slowly.
The defense lawyer was speaking in a low, monotonous drone. He was new to this district, brought in from somewhere else by the family of the accused man, and he obviously didn't know how short Judge Trammell's temper was when it came to stalling or pontificating.
Vic glanced up at the bailiff, Owen Montgomery, who stood stock-still with his blue eyes narrowed, looking at the defense lawyer like he might like to hit him soon. Owen was a big guy, with thick blond hair, a full beard, and wide shoulders that made him look a little like a lion. He wasn't the type of guy you wanted to piss off.
Vic saw Owen glance sideways at the judge and Vic tried to repress a smile. Owen's patience was wearing thin, just like everyone else's. Vic liked to think it was because the man had plans after the day was over, but he knew it was just because he was hot and tired. Just like everyone else.
The air conditioner was broken on the third floor. There weren't even any windows in the courtroom to open, and the August heat was becoming oppressive as the day dragged on well past lunch.
Vic put his pen down on the table in front of him with a clank that reverberated through the courtroom. He was trying not to slump in his chair, trying not to fidget, trying not to look like he was a wilting prosecutor in a thousand-dollar Italian suit.
He knew he was failing miserably. His short, dark hair was already beginning to curl at the edges as the sweat dried on his neck and forehead. Soon it would be curly all over and he would look ten years younger. At 37, with dark green eyes and a thin, angular face, he was in good shape and had always looked younger than he was. But when his damn hair curled on him, he got carded ordering drinks.
He could feel the sweat running down his back, and he knew soon enough he'd have to get out a handkerchief and start wiping at his face, or the jury would see him as nervous every time he wiped the sweat from his eyes.
But at least he wasn't wearing the heavy black robes the judge was. The heat might win him the case before he even had to say a word if the defense kept rambling on. The man must have one of those air-conditioned suits.
Vic's eyes met Owen Montgomery's and he rolled his eyes. The bailiff winked at him discreetly, his lips quirking but not forming a smile. Vic tried not to smile as he covered his mouth and looked away, forcing himself to concentrate as the heat bore down on the little courtroom.
Owen and everything that came with him would have to wait.
* * * *
Vic's chin tilted upward slightly each time his body was rocked with one of Owen's slow thrusts, and every time Owen pushed into him he let out a little huff of air. Sometimes a moan from the back of his throat would join the huff and Owen would tighten his grip and thrust harder.
The breathy moans and the muted squeaks and groans of the bedsprings were the only sounds in the room. They weren't fucking hard enough to make noise with the meeting of their damp bodies, not yet anyway, and Owen rarely made a sound when he topped. As a bottom he was as vocal as you could want, and his words and begging alone would make Vic come if he so desired, but as a top Owen was singularly focused on one thing and one thing alone. He simply held you down, pressed his face into the hollow of your neck, buried himself deep inside your body, and fucked you until he came.
If Vic was lucky he would come with him, clutching his body to his and writhing beneath him. If not, Owen would pull out of him, flop down beside him, and languidly caress him until he came all over himself, thrashing and crying out Owen's name.
"Fuck... fuck yeah," Owen gasped into Vic's ear. "Come on, baby."
That was another thing about Owen; he never said Vic's name when they were together. Baby. Babe. Sweetheart. Doll. Darling. The occasional "come on, you bastard." Just about any endearment Owen could think of. All except for Vic's name.
Afterward, after Owen had gone back to whatever pressing engagement it was that made him leave Vic alone in bed once again, Vic would think back on their encounter and think that it had been good. Not wonderful. Not even particularly memorable. Simply good. Average, really.
If Vic was the one doing the fucking then it was often better in remembrance; he would still have Owen's cries ringing in his ears and he would often have Owen's drying come still on his skin, because Vic always made sure that he was inside the other man when Owen came. But when it was Owen topping, Vic would never remember anything special about it.
Just that it had been Owen.
And for Vic, that was enough. That was enough to keep him craving more. That was enough to make his heart stutter when he saw Owen's name on the docket for the day. That was enough to make him drop whatever or whomever he was doing to run to a rendezvous when Owen called. That was enough to make him cry Owen's name when he came, no matter whether it was Owen he was with or not.
"Owen," Vic gasped as Owen's arms tightened their grip on him. Vic came with a desperate cry.
Owen panted against his damp skin, thrusting through the spasms Vic's body suffered, and soon Owen was panting and coming as well with a muffled groan.
Vic remained on his back, breathing heavily and keeping his eyes closed as he felt Owen roll off the bed and walk into the bathroom. Vic didn't have to ask to know that Owen would be gone in the next thirty minutes. That was what always happened. Vic understood. Sort of. Owen was a sheriff's deputy with a lot of responsibilities and numerous perfectly good reasons to leave.
It didn't mean Vic had to like it.
"You all right?" Owen asked dubiously when he came back into the room and tossed a towel at Vic. It landed across Vic's head and Vic simply reached up to slide it off and opened his eyes. There was no point in cleaning off; he could just lie there until Owen left and then hop in the shower.
"Yeah," he answered flatly. "You leaving?" he asked, hating himself for asking but needing to know for sure anyway.
"Yeah," Owen said casually as he pulled on his jeans and looked around for his shirt. He continued talking, telling Vic why he had to leave, what needed to be done, when he'd be leaving town to escort a prisoner somewhere to do something, but Vic found his mind wandering.
In the early days of their more intimate acquaintance, Vic had told himself that he wouldn't allow it to happen again. He wouldn't allow Owen to run off and leave him feeling somehow emptier than when he had started. Now, of course, five years later, he was past that.
Empty or not, Vic needed whatever Owen would give him. He supposed that was what happened when you loved someone who didn't return the feeling. You wound up empty and needy.
Owen never lied to him, never plied him with wine and roses or told him he loved him in order to get him naked, so why should Vic lie to himself?
He had thought a lot about why he always allowed Owen to come back to him, and he had come to an unsettling conclusion. There were three levels of pleasure, so far as Vic could figure.
Physical pleasure--the first and most basic--was the feeling of pliant lips on yours. The sensation of warm hands on your body. A questing tongue. Burying yourself deep inside someone who was wrapped around you. That was what had kept Vic interested when he would have otherwise given up on the flighty younger man he'd met all those years ago when Owen had started taking shifts as bailiff at the courthouse. That, and the fact that work was all he had time to do lately. If it weren't for Owen's occasional flybys, Vic would never have time to get laid. He didn't like one-night stands and he didn't have time to date.
Emotional pleasure--the second level--that was when it got a little trickier. A hand questing silently across a mattress for yours in the middle of the night. Whispered words of affection. Sitting in silence and watching the sun set from the steps of the courthouse as the jury deliberated, knowing that words need not be spoken between you. Vic had experienced these things with Owen. Precious few times, though. These were the things that had kept Vic hoping through the years, allowing Owen to continue on his merrily oblivious way, hoping that Owen would one day realize what he could have, if he desired it.
The third level, though, that was where Vic found himself now. When the physical and emotional collided and the pleasure turned to pain. The pain of knowing that the bed he awoke in would be cold and empty and still smell of the other man. Knowing that when Owen called up in a week or a month or a year and asked him if he was free, that he would be there without question, without regard for what he needed to be doing. Knowing that whatever he felt for the younger man, the feelings were unreturned and probably always would be.
Physical love. Emotional love. Unrequited love.
Owen leaned over him and frowned as he looked down at him. "I didn't hurt you, did I?" he whispered as Vic crossed his eyes to focus on him.
"No," Vic managed with a smile.
Owen's eyes brightened and he grinned. "You free for lunch tomorrow?"
"Yeah," Vic whispered.
"I'll call you," Owen told him as he bent down and kissed Vic on the tip of his nose. Then just as quickly as they'd fallen into bed together, he was out the door and Vic was once again alone with his self-recriminations and regrets.
* * * *
The shrill ring of the phone sent Vic bolt upright in his bed. The darkness swirled around him in confusing circles and he kicked his legs, trying to get free of the bedcovers and out of bed in order to pick the phone up and hurl it into a wall.
The phone trilled again and Vic jumped at the sound of it even as he struggled. He cursed and flailed and rolled and finally ended up in an ungraceful heap on the floor beside the bed.
His hand reached out from beneath the tangle of sheets that had followed him from the bed and groped around on the bedside table until it landed on the vibrating cell phone. He fumbled with it to get it under the clinging sheets and answer it. If someone was calling in the middle of the night, then something was either seriously wrong or one of his traveling buddies from the law firm had gotten drunk and forgotten what time zone they were schmoozing in.
"I'm here, I'm awake, I'm here, what's wrong, what's happened?" Vic blurted into the phone as soon as he managed to answer it and get it to his ear.
"Hey, Vic!" Owen's cheerful yell came over the line. "You won't believe who I get to drive around today!"
"It's the middle of the night, Owen," Vic said groggily. "Unless someone's dead or dying, I really couldn't care less who you're driving around."
"It's six in the morning, actually, and you should be getting ready for work," Owen replied with a smile apparent in his voice.
Vic threw the sheets off his head and peered over the edge of the table to find the bedside alarm clock. The time blinked on and off, signaling that at some point over the course of the night Vic's apartment had lost power.
"Fuck," he hissed as he stood up and looked around. The heavy blinds kept the light out, and the alarm clock was usually the only thing that woke him in the morning. He had no inner clock to speak of.
"Had a rough night, huh?" Owen asked knowingly.
"Shut up," Vic grunted as he hurried to get a suit out and go in search of his toothbrush.
"So you don't want to know who I'm escorting?" Owen asked.
"Shane Simpson," Vic ventured flatly as he pressed his shoulder up to hold the phone to his ear and free his hands so he could get dressed.
"How'd you know?" Owen asked, sounding slightly deflated over having his fun thwarted.
Vic instantly felt guilty for doing it. Owen may have been a big tough sheriff's deputy on the outside, but he had a lot of little kid in him. "Just lucky, I guess," he mumbled as he zipped up his jeans.
Shane Simpson had started his career in the same law firm Vic now worked for, moving onto the bench soon after Vic had arrived and then moving up to be one of the Superior Court judges of North Carolina. As a Superior Court judge, he had to travel all over the state. He came into town maybe once or twice a month. He knew Shane was in town because Shane was one of his very best friends. They talked at least once a week, meeting whenever they were in the same place for a friendly drink and often ending up passed out on someone's couch and drooling on each other.
"Fuck you. You knew he was in town," Owen said petulantly. "You two always go out without me," he accused.
"Not because we don't offer," Vic said defensively. "We always lose you when the first neon light flashes."
"Shut up," Owen laughed. "You up for dinner tonight?"
"Yeah, if we're not all melted into puddles by then," Vic said unenthusiastically.
"Rumor is they're getting the air fixed today," Owen said as the dinging of a car door being opened sounded and Owen grunted into the phone as he flopped into his cruiser. "You mind if Shane comes too? He's at the courthouse today. Some big-time case. He requires a police escort everywhere he goes to keep him safe."
"Yeah, that's fine," Vic said distractedly as he ran his fingers through his hair. "Wait. What?" he asked as it sank in.
"He's under police protection for this one," Owen said in a worried voice. "I don't know what it is, but they're not messing around."
"Jesus Christ," Vic muttered in surprise. He grabbed his keys from the kitchen counter and hurried for the door, taking one last glance around to make sure he had everything he'd need for the day. "And you're all they gave him?" he asked incredulously.
"Ouch, Vic," Owen said with a small laugh.
Vic snorted. "I mean, they only gave him one deputy to watch him?"
"I'm just the escort. Wow, someone's pissy today," Owen murmured as his engine started.
"Yeah, well...." Vic thought about mentioning that waking up alone had a tendency to do that to him, but he bit it off at the last minute. "Sorry," he said instead, as he walked out the door. "Shane and I were planning on meeting later anyway, so dinner works. Where are we eating? Is there a list or something where he's allowed to go?" he asked, only half-kidding.
"Nope. You pick it, man. Here comes Shane. Tell you what: you call me tonight when you're ready to eat and then we'll go from there."
"All righty," Vic agreed easily as he got into his own car.
"Talk to you soon, man," Owen said as he prepared to hang up.
"Is that Vic?" Vic heard Shane's distant voice ask.
"Yeah," Owen answered.
"Let me talk to that bastard," Shane demanded, and Owen handed over the phone without another word. "Vic!" Shane's voice boomed into Vic's ear, making him wince and grin at the same time.
Shane had grown up on the South Carolina coast, near Charleston, whereas Vic was a displaced Yankee from upstate New York. When Vic had first met Shane, he'd kept asking him questions just to hear him answer them in his genteel, coastal Southern accent. Vic didn't even know how to describe the accent, other than it was a strange and wonderful thing that sounded like something out of Gone with the Wind. He only pronounced his R's if they were followed by vowels. He made words with two syllables into words with five. He drawled and spoke slowly enough that you hung on every word waiting for the next. Vic absolutely loved to hear Shane speak. Everything he said sounded both classy and antiquated at the same time. Even if he was cussing a blue streak as he watched baseball.
"Hello, my shiny thing!" Shane said happily. "I thought I told you to leave Owen out of this. It was just going to be you and me and a romantic moonlit dinner at Subway," Shane mused teasingly as Owen sniggered.
Vic snorted in amusement.
"Candles, wine, squirty vinegar," Shane continued in a grand manner. "Groping in the bathroom. Turn here, kid. Aphrodisiacs of your choice. I tell you what, buddy boy," he said to Owen without taking the phone from his mouth. "A handful of M&Ms and Vic will follow you anywhere."
Vic was laughing silently and trying to catch his breath without letting Shane know that he was actually laughing. That was true, really. Give Vic chocolate and he was yours for the night at least, if not more. How Shane knew that, Vic couldn't guess.
Shane was an interesting character, shy and reserved and modest and just about the most humble person Vic had ever known. Until you got to know him. Then his true intellect, wit, and, quite frankly, weird sense of humor shined through and you began to see an almost completely different person. He was still modest almost to a fault and he was easily embarrassed when in front of strangers, but in private he was morbidly humorous and a little crazy. He and Vic played off each other well, when Vic was right in the head.
This greeting of Shane's was fairly typical, though Vic and Shane had never shared even so much as a kiss in their five or so years of knowing each other. Shane enjoyed teasing Vic and Vic quite honestly enjoyed the teasing. He was a well-respected and successful public prosecutor; not many people had the stones to tease him about anything.
Vic didn't even know if Shane was gay or not. Every now and then Vic would get a sense that he might be, but he could never be certain and he certainly never planned on asking. Shane knew that much about him, and if he'd wanted to share he would have by now. They rarely talked about things like that anyway. Shane had never been married, and occasionally would mention a disastrous date, but never the gender of the person he'd been seeing. If Vic was a betting man, he'd have said Shane was gay.
But there was a reason Vic had never been to Las Vegas.
"M&Ms, huh?" Owen questioned as Shane laughed.
"How was your trip?" Vic asked with a little laugh.
"I'll tell you when I've got drunk enough to handle remembering," Shane said with a groan. "Owen's flailing. Hold on," Shane said with a sigh, and Vic could almost see the man taking the phone and holding it to his chest as he continued to speak. "Why do you not know where you are?"
"I'm out of my district, man," Vic heard Owen respond.
"You've lived here all your life!" Shane protested. "Turn there."
"I don't know. It looks familiar, though. Jesus Christ, I hate this town, Vic," Shane lamented as he brought the phone back to his mouth.
"You're lost, aren't you?" Vic asked with a laugh.
"Yes. I would be worried, but Owen has the survival instincts of a cockroach," Shane murmured into the phone.
"I heard that," Owen said petulantly.
"Of course you did. You're sitting right there," Shane told him.
"You could at least try to whisper it," Owen responded.
"Then it wouldn't be half as fun to say," Shane pointed out.
Vic grinned and took a deep breath of the cool air rushing in through his open car window. "I've got to drive. I'll see you at the courthouse in a bit," he said as his chest tightened with excitement and his head began to feel a little light at the thought of seeing them both.
He saw Owen maybe once a week, if he was lucky. In a way he dreaded those moments. He almost always got his heart trampled over when he spent any amount of time with Owen, but Vic had come to accept that as inevitable. Perhaps what made it worse was that Owen didn't know he did it.
If Vic had suspected that Owen knew he loved him and still treated him like a casual fuck, it would have given Vic reason to stop the cycle, to tell Owen that he couldn't be used like a helipad for whenever Owen needed to land somewhere and just move on and be happy.
But Owen didn't know how Vic felt. He thought Vic did the same thing he did--enjoyed the fleeting moments and moved on--and so Vic let him in and out of his life as he pleased, hoping to one day have the other man see differently. Vic couldn't fault him for not knowing if he'd never had the nerve to tell him.
What that left Vic with, however, was heartache of the highest order. The plus side was that Shane was always good for comfort, the few times a month Vic saw him. His presence soothed the ache, probably because his presence often involved alcohol of some description, but Vic didn't care. He would face the heartache for the rare chance of enjoying time with his friends. He would face it for the rest of his life for those precious few stolen moments of almost love.