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When Danny met Horatio... (The Band Book 1) by Heather Mar-Gerrison (1)

When Danny met Horatio...

The Band #1

 

 

Heather Mar-Gerrison Copyright 2018

 

Beautiful front cover courtesy of Shutterstock designs

 

 

No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronically or mechanically, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system without the written permission of the author, except where permitted by law. This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance of characters to actual persons, living or dead is purely coincidental. The Author holds exclusive rights to this work.

 

 

 

 

Prologue

 

Danny

 

I wasn’t gay. That was my brother, Jules... stepbrother actually so we didn’t even share DNA... I was the straight one of the family. I was normal.

I never wanted to be like Julian. Jeez. He even had a poofter’s name. Julian. For fuck’s sake – his Mum must have known when she first laid eyes on him to call him that...

But for all his gayness – Jules was, without any doubt whatsoever, comfortable in his skin. Something that I was not – and I fucking hated him for it. Well, I didn’t really hate him... that’s a strong word and if I’m honest, deep down inside, I secretly admired him for being out and proud but I was never gonna let him know that. No. I preferred to chase girls with my mates and to take the piss out of guys like Jules, mercilessly. I wasn’t into gay bashing or anything like that but they were fair game for taking the piss out of and jeering at. They were bum-bandits or shit-stabbers – or turd-burglars – anything that we could piss ourselves laughing about – even if we did secretly wonder just what it would be like to feel another guy’s cock inside us... Or maybe that was just me...

But that was before I grew up... and grew a pair.

I liked to think that I’d matured since my school days. I was married now – newly married to my girlfriend, Mara and we were happy... or at least she was happy when I was doing what she wanted. When I wasn’t doing what she wanted me to do – well, let’s say we had a volatile relationship...

We’d moved into our own place and I’d joined the gym. There was a five-a-side football team that I’d been asked to join too – and that was where I’d met Horatio.

I was completely intrigued with him from the moment we met.

I didn’t think much about it to begin with, since I was absolutely convinced I was straight. Hell, I’d been around Jules growing up and I was quite sure that I was nothing like him. I loved sport. Jules didn’t. I wanted to be a mechanic – Jules loved hairdressing. I chased girls – he chased boys. We were nothing alike and I therefore assumed I was straight...

And I was straight – or at least, I was straight until I met Horatio...

 

 

Chapter 1 – After game drinks...

 

Horatio

 

I loved being in the band. I loved having mates that didn’t care that I fancied guys rather than girls – even if I had no romantic feelings for any of them and I loved playing five-a-side football to escape them and all their artistic temperaments from time to time, too. I wasn’t your typical flamboyant, made-up and sweet-smelling twinky gay guy that everyone envisages when you mention that you’re gay. I was a regular guy, built like every other hairy-arsed bloke. I just happened to fancy other hairy-arsed blokes instead of women.

And besides, you can’t spend every waking moment with your best mates – no matter how close you all are...

It was playing five-a-side football when I first met Danny. I couldn’t help noticing how pretty he was from the first time I ever laid eyes on him. We’d played the game and gone for a drink afterwards and I’d been the last to get to the bar due to Karl, our lead singer, calling me.

I rocked up just in time for Jayson, a big, daft lad who was only really good enough to put in goal, to turn back from the bar to hand Danny his pint and he looked at me, “Oh, Horatio!” he grinned, “There you are – usual?”

I nodded, grinning, as Danny turned and I’m not gonna lie, my heart did a total flip-flop in my chest. Those eyes! Man, I didn’t think I’d ever get used to them...

He had the bluest eyes ever – and the longest lashes. Fuck he was beautiful...

Danny’s eyes widened slightly in recognition and he grinned, “Hey, man – I didn’t recognize you with your clothes on.”

I grinned back at him and raised an eyebrow. I couldn’t help the flirtatious chuckle that escaped against my will, “Really?” I drawled, “Want me to take something off?”

He snorted into his drink and shook his head, “No, dude,” He said, “I’m good.”

Jayson shook his head and disappeared off to join the others, leaving Danny still sat at the bar. He nodded to the barstool beside him, “Are you gonna sit down – or are you joining the others, too?”

I blinked, “Aren’t you?”

He shook his head and sighed, “I have to go in a minute – the wife’ll be waiting.”

My jaw dropped as my heart plummeted. No way? He didn’t look old enough to be married... “Y-you’re married?” Well, that was a fucking disappointment.

He nodded and held up his left hand where a fine gold band circled his third finger. I frowned at it. That wasn’t a wedding ring. If he was my husband I’d buy him a solid platinum ring that could be seen from space – well, okay, slight exaggeration – but it would be a ring to be proud of – and I’d have one to match, too...

Still, I was getting ahead of myself. We’d only just met – and there was the small matter of him being married – and therefore, presumably straight. And I was a flaky, butch – but still gay-as-a-rainbow – wannabe rock-star...

“Wow,” I murmured, “You don’t look old enough.” It was lame, but I had nothing else.

He grinned, “Yeah, I guess we are pretty young – we’re both twenty-four.”

I shook my head, “Jesus,” I replied with a sheepish grin, “I’m twenty-three and I’ve never once had any inclination to settle down.”

He shrugged, “We’re all different, I guess – you’ve just not met the right girl yet. That’s all.”

Apart from the fact that he’d guessed the sex of my perfect partner wrong, I begged to differ. I’d just this minute found the right one – albeit a little late since he’d already gone at gotten married while I wasn’t paying attention...

We sat there in silence for a moment both of us lost in our own thoughts and drinking our beers. I was kind of pleased to see that he was drinking the same beer as mine. For some reason, I was really interested in finding out more about him. Sure, he was married and all – but that didn’t mean we couldn’t be friends... did it?

Danny however, seemed to be desperate to finish his drink and to get going. He kept glancing at his watch and switching his phone on every couple of minutes to check the time.

After the fourth time in as many minutes it was beginning to stress me out too. “Have you got to be somewhere?” I asked, “You’re like a cat on a hot tin roof.” I smiled at him.

He stared back at me, his eyes on my mouth as I spoke and then they flickered back to my eyes. Wow, he was stunning... “I, uh, yeah – I’m sorry to run out on you but I’ve really gotta go.” He nodded and stood up. Grabbing his sports-bag he smiled apologetically at me and darted past.

I grabbed his arm before he could disappear on me altogether, “You’re coming on Thursday, though, right?” I asked.

He nodded, “Oh, uh, yeah – sure.” He flashed an adorable smile, making my heart beat a little quicker, “See you then.”

I let out the breath I wasn’t aware I was holding, “Cool,” I said with a relieved smile, “I’ll see you then.”

 

 

Chapter 2 – Fight for love...

 

Danny

 

I pressed the button on the alarm fob of my car keys and climbed in. Throwing my bag onto the passenger seat, I crossed my arms over the steering wheel and rested my head on my arms, “Oh, God.” I muttered, “Why now?”

It wasn’t that I hadn’t been attracted to guys before – I had. But I’d always thought that I was just admiring their physiques in an ‘I wish I looked like that’ kind of way. To realise that I’d actually fancied them all this time made me feel, first and foremost, completely ashamed of myself for giving my stepbrother such a hard time – and horrified that it had taken me so damned long to work out what I’d been feeling all this time. Lastly, I felt stupid. I was married... to a girl. How the hell was I supposed to tell Mara that I fancied guys?

I started the car, still thinking about Horatio. God he was attractive. All muscle and tattoos and beautiful dark skin... But it was his kind, soft, brown eyes that I really couldn’t get out of my mind. Mara never had kindness in her eyes – she was a beautiful woman, don’t get me wrong. And I guess she had her good points. She was clever; she had a great job – allowing me to continue with my mechanics degree – and a great sense of humour when she felt like it. But she also had a temper on her that was fiery to say the least. She’d broken cups and plates by throwing them in a temper – narrowly missing me a couple of times, then there had been the pan of hot water that had been really quite terrifying and once or twice she had physically attacked me. She’d always been really apologetic and mortified with herself afterwards and always vowed never to do it again. It hadn’t recurred in the last couple of months but to say I was wary about upsetting her was putting it mildly...

I pulled up outside the house and pasted on my happy face. I stuck my key in the lock and opened the door. “Mara?”

I let out a sigh of relief that she wasn’t home already and headed for the kitchen. If I got dinner started it was one less thing that she could have a go at me over.

I wasn’t the best cook in the world but I made a decent enough lasagne so I got on with that. As I stirred in the tomatoes and added the puree, my mind drifted back to Horatio. What a fucking cool name...

 

*

 

Fear clenched my stomach as I heard Mara’s key in the door. This was ridiculous. I wasn’t supposed to be afraid of my wife – but I couldn’t help it. If I was going to be completely honest, she scared the living shit out of me. I was never sure if she was going to be in a good mood – or if she was just gonna go bat-shit crazy on me...

Thankfully she had a smile on her face so I was relatively safe... “Babe,” she sniffed the air, “You made lasagne.” She leaned in and kissed me and I breathed in the scent of her. She always smelled so damned good. I fucking loved Chanel...

“Did you have a good day?” I asked as I popped my masterpiece in the oven and set the time. Grabbing a couple of glasses from the cupboard I poured us a red wine each and then followed her into the lounge.

She shrugged, “Busy – but it was good – we’ve acquired a new partner so things are gonna be crazy-busy for a while but it’ll really put us on the map....”

I nodded and smiled in all the right places, but my mind kept on drifting back to Horatio. His smile – it was so genuine and so damned friendly. He really didn’t seem to have a hidden agenda – and that was so refreshing.

I found myself wondering what he was doing now. Did he have a girlfriend or did he live alone – or with parents? I sighed, suddenly wishing that I was single and still at home with Dad... Life had been so much better back then. I missed him. I needed to call him...

“Are you even listening to me?” Mara’s voice cut into my daydreaming sharply.

“Uh?” I blinked. Fuck. I really had missed most of what she’d just been talking about. “Sorry, baby – I’m just a bit tired...”

She snorted, “Fuck off.” She said derisively, “Like playing football and throwing together a lasagne’s anything like what I have to do every day.” She was glaring at me.

I swallowed, “I said I was sorry.”

Her lip curled, “I’m going to have a bath.”

“But your dinner...”

“I’ll have it later,” She snapped, “It’s not as if it’s going to ruin.”

I swallowed hard. No, it wouldn’t ruin. It was just shitty lasagne, after all. Nothing special...

I flicked the TV on and sat back, my good mood from earlier disappearing along with hers. Fuck. Talk about a fun-sponge. She was damned near impossible to please.

 

 

Chapter 3 – Definitely attracted...

 

Horatio

 

I was playing the guitar like my fingers were made of bits of putty. Shit. Focus Horatio!

“Rayshe?” Justin looked over at me as if I was a complete idiot, “What the fuck is wrong with you today, man?”

I shook my head, “Nothing... sorry.” I mumbled. My face was on fire and I could see that the guys were all looking at each other out of the corner of my eye. Shit. They’d start asking any second... now.

“Who is he?” That was Justin.

“What’s his name?” That was Noah.

“Where did you meet him?” That was Karl.

They all asked at exactly the same time and we all looked at each other in surprise before we all fell about laughing. This was the thing about being mates forever – we knew each other – very well.

I shook my head, “It’s just a crush.” I said with a sigh, “His name’s Danny. I play five-a-side football with him – it can’t go anywhere. He’s married – and very straight.”

Justin frowned, “So why bother?” he asked.

I shrugged, “I don’t know.” I sighed again, “He’s really nice...”

Noah cocked his head to one side, reminding me strongly of my dog, “You’ve spent time together?”

I nodded. We’d had that drink together at the bar the other night and we were seeing each other tomorrow again at football, “Not loads of time but you know how you can just tell when you meet someone you click with?”

He nodded, smiling. “Yeah, I know.”

“I’m gonna invite him to come and watch us play on Friday.”

Karl’s jaw dropped, “At Studs?” he asked incredulously, “You’ve just said the guy was straight. Do you honestly think he’ll come?”

I shrugged, “I don’t know. I hope so. Why wouldn’t he?”

Karl frowned around at the rest of the guys, “Uh, because, and I quote, ‘he’s very straight’ – and married.”

I grimaced. Damn. Why did everyone have to keep focusing on that?

 “Wait a minute – would he even know it’s a gay club if he’s so straight and married?” Justin chucked his two-penneth in...

Well, to be honest I had absolutely no idea. We’d hardly talked to each other but I really wanted him to come and see me play. Call me idealistic if you like...

“And uh, what are you gonna do if he comes with his wife?” He looked at me incredulously.

Shit I really hadn’t thought this through. “I don’t know.” I snapped, “I haven’t even asked him yet.” And now I felt stupid for even thinking about it.

Still, I couldn’t actually part with the idea and so the next day I went ahead and asked...

 

*

 

“So, I uh, I play in a band at the weekends.” We were sat together in the changing rooms. I was pulling on my football boots and he was ahead of me already and stuffing everything he’d taken off into his sports bag.

Danny raised an eyebrow, “What sort of band?” he asked.

I blinked. What sort of band were we? Rock band? Sort of... “Um, we’re kind of soft rock, I guess.”

He brightened, “Ooh, sounds good. What do you play?”

I grinned, “I’m the bass guitarist.”

He grinned back, “I can see that about you.” He said – and I’d like to think he said it a little flirtatiously, “Do you sing as well?”

I shrugged, “I do backing vocals and harmonies – Karl’s our lead singer. He’s great.”

He nodded, “Wow, I think it’s great that you do that.” He said enthusiastically, “What’s your band called?”

I chuckled at the absurdity of our band’s name, “Uh, Xavier’s sister.” I said.

Danny nodded, “Okay.” He said, “Who’s Xavier?”

I felt my face blushing – not that he would really notice with my skin tone, “Uh, he was some guy we met on Fistral Beach in Newquay a couple of years back.” I’d slept with him and we’d tried keeping in touch but the distance had made things impossible. We’d parted as friends but that was the last I’d ever heard of him.

Danny raised an eyebrow, “Ah,” he said with a laugh, “I get it – and his sister was hot.”

Fuck. Not exactly. It was Xavier who was hot – and really good at giving head… I just laughed along with him. I took a deep breath, “Would you like to come on Friday night? Next week, I mean...” I stammered, “not tomorrow...” Fuck, could I be more tongue-tied and teenager-ish? I felt like a kid with my first crush.

 His smile was stunning. “I’d really like that.” He said, nodding along enthusiastically, “Where are you playing?”

I told him the name of the venue and held my breath a little that he’d immediately know that it was the best-known gay club in the area. He didn’t bat an eyelid though, which could have meant that he knew but he was totally cool about it – or he had absolutely no clue and was cool with the idea because he didn’t know that it was a gay club... I didn’t tell him it was a gay club and neither did I divulge that I was gay... I didn’t want to wreck the tentative friendship we were building this soon.

He nodded and we carried on getting ready for the game. Nothing else was discussed about it all night while we played and he’d disappeared before I could catch him at the end of the session.

 

*

 

Since we had an imminent gig, we were practicing again the next night and the guys were all desperate for the next instalment in my sad little lack of a love life...

“So?” Karl asked, “Is he bringing his wife?”

I shook my head, “Uh, no. No.” He said he’d ask his cousin or someone...” Actually, he’d said nothing of the sort, so I’d taken it that he’d come on his own and I’d been absolutely fucking delighted...

“And you’re absolutely sure he’s straight?” Justin asked, a frown on his face.

I was beginning to wonder – well, actually I was beginning to hope that he wasn’t if I was going to be completely honest but I wasn’t about to tell the guys that – not when I was also fairly sure that he had absolutely no idea about me. It made me wonder if my wishful thinking was making me see things that weren’t really there. “Pretty sure, yeah – he’s not always what you could call PC and I heard him the other day referring to his stepbrother, who’s obviously gay with all sorts of inappropriate phraseology...” There was no denying that I’d heard him talking to two of the other guys who were poking fun about the poor guy who was a hair stylist and quite obviously a bit camp. I’d ignored it, more out of a self-preservation thing. I didn’t need them starting on me. I loved playing five-a-side and it was nothing to do with any of the guys I played with what my sexual preference was. It didn’t make any difference to me what theirs was. I couldn’t care less. Well, I’d prefer Danny to be gay, there was no denying it, but otherwise...

Justin’s frown turned to a scowl, “Hmpphh,” He snorted, “You can tell him to fuck right off, then.” He said hotly.

I smiled. Justin was older than the rest of us by only a year but he was very protective of us all, which was pretty funny because he was easily the shortest and slightest of the four of us.

“I can handle him.” I said softly. The idea of handling him in a totally different way drifted into my mind and I had to turn away from them all before they realised that my thoughts about Danny had turned dirty...

“Right,” Karl said briskly, “well, now that we’ve established that Rayshe has a massive crush on a straight, white guy?” He looked at me questioningly and I rolled my eyes and nodded. I was usually attracted to white guys, not that it actually mattered... “who’s also a homophobic arsehole – can we maybe get back to the session?” He flashed me a cheeky grin, “We do have a set next Friday night to nail.”

Everyone got back into position on our makeshift stage in Karl’s parents’ converted cellar and we waited for Noah, our drummer, to count us in.

This time I concentrated on what I was doing and did my best to push all thoughts of Danny to the back of my mind – where they belonged.

 

*

 

Of course, it wasn’t as easy as that... Not when I saw him twice a week at football, anyway.

I pulled up in the car park and spotted him already going up the steps. My heart took off at a gallop. Calm yourself down, you fucking idiot. I berated myself He’s just a guy – and a straight, possibly homophobic one at that...

Taking a deep breath, I opened the car door, pressed the fob on the alarm and took off towards the entrance of the gym. Adopting my poker face, I made my way inside...

“Hey, Horatio!” Danny grinned at me from where he was sat on the bench, pulling off his tracksuit bottoms.

I did my best not to look at his crotch and forced myself to look up into his face. He was so damned beautiful... “Hey, yourself.” I grinned back at him, “Good week?”

He shrugged, “Meh, you know – same old...”

I nodded, “Yeah,” I agreed, “Same here – hey – you are coming to Studs on Friday, aren’t you.”

Shock flickered in his eyes and his beautiful smile faded a little, “Studs?” he asked, realisation dawning on his face, “Do you mean Studs – as in the gay joint?”

I nodded, forcing myself to look him in the eyes and not to look away. I swear I’d called it by name last week when I’d invited him, “Yeah – I told you that was where we played...”

He swallowed hard and then looked up at me, something close to fear in his eyes, “So, does that mean...”

I raised an eyebrow, “That I’m gay?” I asked, wondering how he could possibly have missed that about me but then, why wouldn’t he? I was just the same as he was. A hairy-arsed, blokey bloke. “Yeah, I am.” This was the moment it all went pear shaped... “Is that uh, a problem for you?” Of course it was a problem for him. I didn’t know why I was even asking.

He went bright red, “N-no...” he stuttered.

I smiled. Bless him. He was quite clearly totally mortified. Still if he was a mate, it shouldn’t matter to him... “Oh, Good.” I said, “So you’ll still come?”

He shook his head, looking as miserable as could be, “I, uh, I can’t – I’m sorry...”

I felt like I’d been slapped. My heart stuttered and everything. He was dead keen the last time we spoke about him coming to support the band, “What’s up?” I asked, hurt creeping into my voice, “Don’t you like me now that I’m gay, like your stepbrother?” It was harsh – and as soon as the words were out there, I wanted to take them back – not least for the fact that it showed I’d been earwigging his conversation with Matt and Geoff the other day. His face was a picture as he stared back at me.

“No!” he exclaimed, “It’s not like that!” He was really red in the face, “I’m not like that...”

Well, it had certainly sounded to me that he was like that and I couldn’t hide the fact that it hurt. I wasn’t giving him an inch, “Yeah, you are,” I muttered, trying hard to keep the disgust out of my voice, “I heard you the other day talking to Matt and Geoff about the guy. And I know for a fact that they’re like that and that’s why I’ve never told them that I’m gay – not that it’s any of their business anyway – luckily I don’t have the stereotypical build or the camp manner.” And I could sweat like a pig, just like all the rest of them.

“Oh, God,” he murmured, squeezing his eyes shut. Opening them again he blinked and looked at me, “You really are gay, aren’t you?” he asked.

I rolled my eyes, “Duh.” I said, “I’m all about the cock, man. Accept that – accept the way I am, and we can be friends. Call me a cocksucker and I’ll probably forgive you – ‘cause I’m kind of proud of how good I am at that particular activity,” I flashed him a grin and felt ridiculously pleased that his eyes got wider with shock at my brazenness, “but call me anything else in a derogatory manner about my sexuality or anything else about me – and you can forget it.”

He nodded, “Right, sure, n-no problem,” He said, “I’d really like to be mates with you, Horatio. I really like you,” he blushed bright red, which was the cutest thing ever, “but I can’t come on Friday – as much as I would really like to but Mara really wouldn’t go for it.”

Ahh, so this was all about the wife... She, no doubt, knew about Studs and Steel being a gay joint and she was scared that her husband would have his head turned...

I shrugged, “Well, that’s fine.” I said, “What about coming around to mine to listen to me play instead? Just the two of us hanging out? I’ve uh, I’ve got my own place...” Thanks to my brother moving out to live with his girlfriend... Surely his wife couldn’t be jealous of him going around to a mate’s house – even if that mate was trying to get in his pants...

He brightened and my heart took off again when he flashed me that beautiful grin. Fuck. He was far too good-looking to be wasting himself on that girl...

 

 

Chapter 4 – Helping my brother...

 

Danny

 

I looked at myself in the mirror. Mouth full of foam from my minty toothpaste and went over in my mind again the conversation I’d had with Horatio the day before... Oh, God. I squeezed my eyes shut before leaning over the sink and spitting. Talk about mortifying. He was incredibly attractive and I’d had to admit to myself that I was horribly attracted to him – but I had no idea Horatio was gay...

Possibly even more mortifying than admiring him was afar, was knowing that my attraction to him had the possibility of being returned – and I really didn’t know what the hell to do with that knowledge…

He just didn’t fit in with my pre-conceived ideas of gay guys and he was absolutely right – he really didn’t have a build anything like my stepbrother, Jules. It wasn’t like I’d spent a whole lot of time with many gay guys – just Jules really, growing up, and his mates and boyfriends – but they’d all been the same – twinks through and through. All of them eight stone wet-through with styled hair and tight-fitting clothes. Yeah, yeah – I know, I was stereotyping them again... Call me homophobic if you will. It wasn’t because he was gay that I disliked Jules... and I didn’t dislike him really... I’m ashamed to admit that I was actually kind of jealous of him. Jealous of the ease with which he appeared to live his life. He wasn’t afraid to admit that he fancied guys...

Not like me – crippled with fear and anxiety that I found some men attractive. So instead, I’d buried those feelings, concentrating on girls instead, and convincing myself that I actually fancied them. It had worked for a while too. Whilst I was busy convincing myself that my stepbrother was a freak of nature and a disgusting pervert, it was kind of easy to pretend that I was nothing like that. I met Mara – a beautiful, if headstrong, girl who I instantly felt attracted to. We dated, we had regular sex, which I thought was amazing – particularly when she got a little rough with me and suggested experimenting with a dildo (for me). I thought I had it made.

I thought that the feelings I’d got when I was fourteen was just confusion... It wasn’t. The moment I met Horatio all of those same feelings came flooding back. When he admitted that he was gay, I was undone... I didn’t care if fancying him meant that I was a freak of nature. I didn’t care that I would be talked about by stupid, ignorant people the same as I’d once been – I didn’t care because I’d finally accepted what I was. I was gay. I really fancied Horatio – and I was sick and tired of being told how to live my fucking life by my violent bully of a wife...

My phone rang. I squinted at the screen in disbelief. Jules... It was almost as if I’d thought about him and therefore conjured him up – it was uncanny how often that happened to me. I vaguely wondered if I thought about Horatio more, he’d miraculously call. I was shaking my head and grinning to myself as I pressed the accept button. Idiot.

“Danny?”

Well, who else? “Julian?” In my shock at him calling, I’d reverted to calling him by his given name – the one he hated. I was convinced he was living it up in London with some swanky hairstylist.

There was a beat of silence. No doubt he was smarting about the Julian comment. “Can you do me a favour...?”

“Well, that depends on what it is.” I said sounding bitchy even to myself. I couldn’t help it – my inner bitch always surfaced when I was talking to Jules and besides, I wasn’t about to change any plans that involved Horatio to spend time with my stepbrother...

“It’s Mum....” he went on to explain that she desperately needed her pain-killing drugs and I was galvanised into action immediately – his mum, my stepmother had terrible arthritis and depended on those drugs. There was no way I wasn’t going to help out. She was very important to me. She’d more or less brought me up – guiding me through my confusing teenage years and showing me that I could be whatever I wanted to be and she would always love me – unconditionally – even if I had married a woman that she didn’t think was worthy of me.

To be fair, she hadn’t actually said that but she had asked me to really consider my options before I got married just because my girlfriend had gotten pregnant – and she was the only person to ask me if I was sure the baby was mine… She cared about me far more that my dad did, who’d just said I was an idiot and that I’d made my bed and had to lie in it for dating a religious freak... Anyway…

“Where are you, then? I’m not gonna have to come and rescue you from some god-awful gay bloke, am I?” It was lucky that Mara had gone away for the weekend with her girlfriends to see some concert or other. She had said who they were but I couldn’t have really been listening properly because I couldn’t remember who they were now for the life of me. There was no way she’d have let me go to help Mum out if she’d been home. She didn’t like my stepmother – said she judged her unfairly and I therefore, hadn’t really seen Mum for months. To be quite honest, it wasn’t just Mum she didn’t like – she actually didn’t like any of my family, or any of my friends for that matter so I hadn’t seen anyone other than my five-a-side football team in absolutely ages.

Jules assured me that I wasn’t rescuing him from anyone and gave me directions to a really interesting sounding restaurant that was a fair few miles away. “I’ll be there in around an hour, then.” I agreed reluctantly.

I picked him up and drove back, lost in thought for most of the way, wondering how I was supposed to tell my wife that I didn’t love her anymore and that I wanted a divorce without her losing the plot completely and probably killing me. It finally dawned on me that I was being really rude and I shook myself out of my daydreams, “So where’s your car?” I asked.

Jules sighed loudly and rolled his eyes in typical fashion, “I don’t have one anymore, remember? I sold it when I went to live in London.”

“But you don’t live there anymore?” I asked. What the fuck had happened to his amazing boyfriend that sounded like Prince Charming and was going to make him rich and famous?

He shook his head and bit his lip. He really didn’t want to tell me, “Uh, no – I came back. I’ve just found somewhere to live, actually.”

I raised my eyebrows. Kai had always looked like a right wanker to me with his nose stud and fancy suits. I’d hated him on sight. Poor old Jules had been absolutely smitten though – and I had to admit, he was, at least, an improvement on Ashley... Poor guy really needed a break – and a relationship with a nice guy for a change... I realised in that instant that we really weren’t all that dissimilar. Both useless at relationships… “Hot stud dump you, did he?”

Jules smiled. He was used to my banter. He knew I didn’t really mean to wind him up – it was just too damned easy. “Something like that – yeah.”

I grinned, “So you stopped off at a posh hotel to look for another sugar daddy, huh?”

Jules narrowed his eyes imperceptibly but I still noticed. I’d gone too far, as usual. He remained ever polite and civil – something he was far better at than me, “No.” he said with dignity, “It was recommended by the girl on the desk in the coach station – my coach was double booked and I simply needed a place to stay. I’m sorry to disappoint you.”

I chuckled, “I’m not disappointed.” I said, “Surprised, maybe.”

Jules didn’t even comment on my nastiness and we drove the rest of the way in silence. I really had no idea why I was always needling him. Jealousy that he was at least living his life honestly, I guess...

As I pulled up outside our sister, Charity’s house, Jules turned to me, “Thanks, Dan. I really do appreciate this.”

I nodded, staring straight ahead, lost in thought about my pathetic excuse of a real life. “No problem.” I muttered.

Jules hesitated, frowning at me, “Are you okay, bro’?” he asked.

Holy shit. The last thing I needed was my stepbrother picking up on my melancholy thoughts about Mara and Horatio. “Yeah, I’m fine.” I said, forcing myself to turn to him with some sort of a smile, “Just got a few things on my mind.” Well that was true enough – even with Horatio in the mix, things with Mara were far from perfect.

“Wanna come in and talk about it?” he offered, “Contrary to popular belief – I can talk to straight people who aren’t having their hair styled, too.”

He’d always been funny. I grinned at him and then a rush of affection flooded me. Jules was a great guy and I’d been nothing but a shitty brother for most of our lives, “Hey, look – I know this is about ten years too late – but I’m sorry for giving you such a hard time when we were kids. I was a juvenile twat – and totally out of line most of the time.”

Jules just shrugged, “You had macho mates – what were you supposed to do? Defend the twink and be bullied yourself?” He smiled at me with far too much understanding.

I sat up a little straighter. I’d been useless when we were younger – useless. I might not have Horatio’s impressive physique but neither was I built like Jules. I was kind of in between the two of them, taller than Jules and slighter than Horatio. “Actually – yeah.” I said with a frown, “That was exactly what I should have done,” I said, feeling thoroughly ashamed of my younger self, “you were my kid brother and I let you down – constantly.” And he’d been so cute and sweet and adorable too. I’d loved every hair on his head. Still did actually, even if my behaviour towards him suggested otherwise.

Jules gave me a sweet smile, “Well, thanks – but you didn’t let me down this morning – so let’s call it even.”

Call it even? We weren’t even close. “I could have done better,” I argued, shaking my head, “and I will do better from now on.” I promised, “I didn’t step in when that wanker, Ashley, was bullying you either.” Shit. I wasn’t supposed to talk about Ashley. He was the big taboo subject in the family... He’d been Jules’s first serious boyfriend. He’d abused him mentally and physically and then when Jules had finally had enough and left him, he’d hanged himself in their shared apartment, leaving a note saying it was all his fault and that Jules was to blame for him wanting to die.

Jules definitely didn’t want to talk about him. He visibly flinched but then he seemed to check himself and answered me, “In your defence, I didn’t ask you for any help.” He reminded me.

I frowned, shaking my head, “I could see that he was a wrong-’un,” I grumbled, “I should have kicked his bony arse while I still had the fucking chance. The cowardly bastard.” Okay, Dan – rein it in. He’s really not enjoying this...

Jules sighed, “Yeah, well – let’s not dwell on the past,” he said unclipping his seatbelt and escaping the confines of the car as quickly as he possibly could.

I followed him into the house and put the kettle on. Jules was running around like a blue-arsed fly. I could understand him. He was worried about his mum and he’d been away for months, leaving Charity and I to look after her, which Charity had done pretty much single-handedly (since I had to do it in secret) without any issues.

By the time Jules was back from the chemist, Mum, who had been absolutely delighted to see me, had somehow or other got all sorts of information out of me and I’d spilled my guts about far too many things. I was even talking about Horatio when Jules came back in.

 “Horatio, huh?” he asked, raising an eyebrow teasingly. “Interesting name. What is he – Italian?”

Italian? Hardly! “Well, he’s British, but I guess his parents or grandparents were originally from Jamaica – he’s got that fabulous golden-brown skin and the biggest brown eyes...” A vision of his glorious dark skin flashed before my eyes, making me blush.

Jules shot Mum a questioning glance and she explained on my behalf, since I seemed to have lost all control of my voice, “Danny plays football with this Horatio fellow,” she said, “And he plays in a band too. In fact, Danny’s going to see them perform at the weekend.”

Jules blinked and then stared at me as if he was seeing me for the first time in his life. Well, maybe he was seeing the real me for the first time... “Cool,” He said, “Where’s he playing?”

Oh, fuck. He was going to totally suss me in a minute... “Uh, you’d probably know the place better than I do – it’s called Studs and Steel.” He’d probably picked up a million one-night-stands there...

And there was the reaction I expected... his jaw dropped, “Studs?” he squeaked, “Really? You’re going there?”

I nodded resolutely even though I had absolutely no idea how I would escape from home to go, “Is that a problem?” I asked.

To be fair to Jules, he didn’t even bat an eyelid, “No,” he said with the hint of a smile, “Want me to come with you?”

He was totally offering me the hand of friendship – and quite possibly protecting me at the same time. I grinned, “That would be amazing.” I said. Mara couldn’t possibly argue about me going out with my brother, could she? Well, actually she could – the woman argued about everything and generally won. But she didn’t have to know where we were going, “Mara won’t be able to kick off if I’m only going out with you...” I blurted out before I could check myself.

Jules patted my shoulder, “I’ll look after you.” He promised, “I know a couple of the guys who work there – they have their hair cut by me.”

I brightened. I really was going to be able to go and watch Horatio play. This was amazing! “Cool,” I said excitedly, “– I said I’d get there just before his band play – around ten?”

Jules nodded, “Sure – pick me up?”

I nodded enthusiastically, “Thanks, Jules,” I said, “This means a lot.”

 

 

Chapter 5 – Happily married man...?

 

Horatio

 

“Hey, Danny.” I dumped my sports bag down on the bench beside him and shoved his shoulder.

He looked up at me and grinned and I had to blink. Damn he was far too good-looking. “Hey yourself.” He said, looking as if he was pretty much beside himself with joy, “I’ve got some good news – I can come and watch you guys on Friday. Mara’s away with something to do with work and my brother said he’d be happy to come along.”

I raised an eyebrow, “Really?” I asked, my heart starting to beat a little faster, “Wow! That’s great man!” I bumped his fist with mine, “Maybe we can have a drink together afterwards...” Dance together, get sweaty together in a whole new way... Damn, it was a pity his brother was gonna be there...

He nodded, “Yeah, Jules has really come through for me. He said he’d look after me and make sure I wasn’t mauled by all the guys looking for fresh meat.” He snorted, like it was ridiculous that anyone would even consider him attractive. He really had no idea...

“Good idea.” I muttered.

He looked at me with an eyebrow raised, “Seriously?” he asked in genuine surprise, “Are gay clubs really like that?”

I nodded. There was no point in lying to him. The guys that went to Studs went for one thing and one thing only – to find other guys to have sex with, “Ohhh, yeah.” I said, “They’re intense...”

Panic flared in his eyes, “Oh God.” He said breathlessly, “Maybe I shouldn’t come along....”

I grabbed his hand, “Please, man.” I said pleadingly, “I’d love you to watch me play.”

He smiled and nodded, “Me too,” he said, looking up at me and I swear something passed between us, something more than just being friends, but that was surely just wishful thinking on my part again? Of course it was. He was a happily married man...

Well, he was married at least. Happily or otherwise really wasn’t any of my business. I shouldn’t even be thinking about him as anything other than a mate.

But it was hard (yeah, that was too). He was beautiful and funny and intelligent and I honestly hung onto every last word. Something that the guys I played with thought was hilarious.

It wasn’t funny though. I was seriously hung up on him – something that had never happened to me before and I didn’t really know what to do about it apart from look for ways to spend more time with him.

Noah was probably the only one out of the three of them that had any sort of understanding. He had been in a disastrous relationship with an older guy called Martin. He’d raved about this guy but none of us ever actually met him, even though they dated for a good six months and he was convinced it was the real deal. Martin turned out to be straight, married with two children and had absolutely no desire to leave his wife and family for Noah. He’d been heartbroken when Martin had told him he would never be anything other than just a casual hook-up because he really hadn’t seen it that way. He was therefore, concerned about me seeing Danny, who was a year older than me and married. He got me on my own and tried to reason with me, “Dude.” He said, “The guy’s in a relationship – you need to look elsewhere – believe me there can be no good ending to this.” He was kind enough not to mention the fact that Danny was in a relationship with a woman and that I was totally delusional – but I guessed that was because he too had been blinded by love and had been hurt. He was just looking out for me.

I nodded with a sigh, “Yeah,” I agreed, “I’m not blind dude. I’ve seen his ring.”

Noah had grinned and winked, “And here was me thinking you guys were just mates. You old dark horse, you.” He teased.

He got a punch for that but my thoughts turned dirty... If only...

 

 

Chapter 6 – Invisible line...

 

Danny

 

I was crossing a line, albeit an invisible one. I knew it and I was quite sure that Horatio knew it too. I wasn’t about to cross back, though – this was the most fun and the most excitement I’d had in my life in years.

Mara had gone away on her weekend conference. She hadn’t even bothered to say goodbye and I realised as I was getting showered and changed to go out to the Studs and Steel nightclub that I actually wasn’t in the slightest bit bothered by that. I was however, exceedingly nervous that I was going to stand out like a sore thumb in the middle of millions of cool, gay guys as the only heterosexual in the room...

And I wasn’t even heterosexual. I was a fucking fraud. I didn’t fit into either category. I didn’t identify as gay and I didn’t really believe I was straight anymore either. I was neither one thing, nor the other...

I guessed that I could try identifying as bisexual – but I didn’t even really think I was that. I’d met and fallen for Mara a long time ago and had never really considered being unfaithful – therefore I’d never gone looking for another woman and definitely not a man... Until I met and kind of fell for Horatio, I’d never fancied anyone.

How fucking pathetic was I?

The doorbell rang and my heart rate increased by another couple of notches. Fuck. I so wasn’t ready for this.

I answered the door. Jules was stood on the other side of the threshold with a friendly smile on his face. He looked every inch the gay man around town, dressed to impress and with fucking perfect hair, “Ready yet?” he asked.

I shook my head and shot an arm out, dragging him inside. “I’m freaking out.” I admitted, “Do I look horribly straight and totally like I won’t belong there?”

Jules smiled, “You look adorable.” He said, “What sort of an idea do you think gay guys look like? Do you think that they’re somehow some sort of mystical being that’s automatically cool and in control of their lives – because believe me – it’s nothing like that. They’re all the same as the rest of us. They’re just men, Danny – just like you and I.”

I nodded. It was alright for him with his perfect skin and fabulous hair – and immaculate dress sense, “Yeah,” I agreed, “but look at you and then look at me.”

Jules nodded seriously, “Yeah, you’re a hunky, manly-looking guy and I’m a twinky, girly-looking guy.”

I frowned, “But you’re so beautiful.” I moaned and realised that I actually meant it.

He nodded, “Thanks,” he said as if he totally already knew that, “so are you, dude – don’t ever think that you’re not. It’s no wonder this Horatio fellow wants to get to know you better.”

I blushed, “We already know each other pretty well. We’ve hung out quite a lot recently.”

He smiled, “I’m really pleased for you – you need a good friend.”

I cleared my throat. I needed for him to know that I’d realised something recently, “I think I want him as more than a friend, Jules.” I said quietly, “I want to look really good tonight – for him.”

Jules raised an eyebrow, “Okay.” He said slowly, “Just to be clear – are you telling me that you’re not exactly straight, then?”

I closed my eyes and shook my head, “I have no fucking idea what I am – I’m just crushing so badly on my best friend that I have a hard-on most of the fucking time and I wake up in the night covered in spunk.”

He smiled, “Wow.” He said, “Sounds like you’ve got it bad.”

I nodded. I had it worse than bad. I was falling in love. “Help me.” I said.

He nodded. Grabbing my hand, he pulled me to the stairs, “Let me style your hair for you – the rest of you is fabulous – just let me do something with that ‘dad’ style you’ve got going on – no offence.”

“None taken,” I murmured, feeling totally relieved that he was going to make me look better. Thank God he was a hairstylist...

Ten minutes later I stared at myself in the mirror and I hardly recognised myself. For starters I looked about ten years younger. The way Jules had teased my hair into something completely different to the ‘dad’ style as he’d so eloquently put it had been nothing short of miraculous, “You’re a fucking genius.” I murmured, “Thank you so much.”

He chuckled, “Danny, bro’,” he said, “Relax – Horatio must be into you to have asked you to come and watch him play.”

I nodded, “I think he is... I hope he is.”

Jules frowned, “What about Mara?” he asked, “What’s going on with her?”

I didn’t want to tell him about the mind-games or the broken plates and the numerous beatings I’d endured over the last few months and I really didn’t want to talk about the pan of hot water she threw at me, missing me by mere inches, “It’s not great.” I admitted, “But she’s away with some colleagues on a team-building exercise at the moment, so...” I actually thought she was having an affair with her boss but to be fair it was probably more wishful thinking than anything else.

Jules reached out and squeezed my arm, “Let’s hope she builds something else with them then – like a relationship – so you can escape her.”

I smiled, “Yeah.” I agreed before we both looked at each other and laughed. “Not that lucky.” We said in unison.

We headed out. Jules had called an uber and we were there another fifteen minutes later. We got out and Jules started heading for the door. “Wait.” I called after him.

He turned in surprise, “What’s up now?” he asked.

“I just need a minute...” I was shitting bricks over going inside.

Jules nodded, “It’s just like any other club – only it’s full of guys looking for guys, oh, and there are sexy pole dancers to look at.”

I nodded. It sounded like erection city to me... “Okay.” I squeaked, “I think I’m ready.”

Well... Nothing could have prepared me. The place was incredible.

It was stainless steel and mirrors for as far as the eye could see. The bar was all the way down one side of the club from the main entrance to the bathrooms at the back of the club.

I had absolutely no idea where Horatio and his band mates were hiding out but that was okay. It wasn’t like I was alone and they’d be out in ten minutes or so.

I gazed around in awe as Jules ordered us a drink each from the bar.

There were three guys up on a podium each. They were all incredibly good-looking, with lithe, trim bodies and I felt my heart rate increase just from looking at them. Wow. They were so damned good-looking – and the moves they could perform on their respective poles – incredible. I doubted there was a guy in the room that wasn’t affected by them.

I could see what both Jules and Horatio meant about the place now. It was a hotbed of hormones. Each and every guy in this place had come here for one thing. They all wanted to have sex with someone.

For the first time in my life I had to admit to myself that I wanted the exact same thing. I wanted Horatio...

 

 

Chapter 7 – Never make a move...

 

Horatio

 

“So, do you uh, do you think he’ll really come?”

I looked up into Noah’s concerned face and shrugged, “I don’t know man, I don’t know.”

He sighed, “I really hope he does – even if I do think you’re crazy to have fallen for a married man.”

I smiled sheepishly at him, “I know it’s stupid.” I said, “And I’m in no way wishing to get in the way of their relationship.” But I was so sure that he wasn’t actually happy with her, “I’m not trying to break them up. I’ll never make a move on him.” Unless he makes one on me...

Noah nodded, “I know you wouldn’t do that.” He said loyally, “You’re such a good guy.”

I cringed inwardly. I was about as far removed from a good guy at this moment in time with the dirty idea that were conjuring up in my mind knowing I’d got Danny all to myself tonight. Assuming he didn’t bottle it of course...

My phone pinged at that moment, making me jump. “I’m here – where are you?”

“Oh, my God.” I looked up at Noah, “He’s here! He came! He actually came!”

Noah beamed at me and punched my arm, “I really hope he divorces her.” He said sincerely.

I laughed out loud in surprise, “Noah!” I scolded, “I’m good with being mates.”

He shook his head, “No you’re fucking not.” He scoffed, “You’re in love with him – just like I was in love with Martin. Be honest with yourself if no one else.”

Fuck. He was right. “No, I’m not.” I agreed, “I want him to be mine.”

Noah patted my arm sympathetically, “Hang in there, mate.” He said, “He came to watch you to a gay joint – without his wife and he’s obviously confided in his brother. Martin never told a soul about me. I really think that’s got to count for something.”

Yeah, maybe...

“One minute, guys.” Justin poked his head into our dressing room, “Ready to rock the house?”

I grinned and nodded. Now that I knew Danny was here, I was ready for literally anything.

 

*

 

Having a regular slot at the club meant that we had quite a decent fan base. The floor was crowded with guys, some were dancing with each other to the music, others were just stood having a drink and watching us play but they all seemed to be enjoying themselves.

I’d scanned the room and found Danny. He’d said he was coming with someone but I wasn’t prepared for how utterly pretty the guy was that he was stood with. Christ, there was absolutely no questioning his orientation... He screamed twink from the designer boots on his feet to the tips of his perfectly gelled hair.

Danny looked different tonight too. I usually saw him straight from work and I assumed that he was in his work clothes. He was wearing a smart dress shirt tonight though, with a pair of dark, skinny jeans that hugged his thighs and left little to the imagination. His hair looked amazing tonight too. He looked younger – and sexier than ever...

Finally, we were done. I hopped off the stage and made my way through the crowd to where he was stood.

“Danny!” I leaned in and gave him a manly hug.

He hugged me back and pulled away, beaming at me, “That was fantastic, mate!” he exclaimed enthusiastically, “You’re really good!” Turning towards the slightly shorter and much slighter guy stood with him, he introduced him to me, “This is my brother, Jules.”

Jules grinned and stuck his hand out to shake mine, “Nice to meet you.” He said, “I’ve heard a lot about you.”

I blinked. Seriously? Danny had talked about me? Noah reckoned that was a good thing… “All good, I hope.” I said.

Jules just raised his eyebrows and smiled. I felt my face heating up and was rather glad of the atmospheric lighting in the club even if it was rarely obvious that I was blushing. I turned to Danny, “So, what do you want to do now? Do you, uh, fancy dancing?”

He nodded, his smile back on his face and turning my insides to mush. Jeez, I was in so much trouble... “Sure.” He said. Turning to Jules he asked him if he minded being left for a while.

Jules shook his head, “Nah,” he said, “Chas is meeting me in ten minutes – I’ll be fine. Go and enjoy yourself.”

Danny turned back to me with a beaming smile. He was so different tonight; so carefree. “So, what did you say your wife was doing tonight?” I asked as we headed for the dance floor. Please say she’s fucking her boss or something…

He shrugged, seemingly unbothered by the question, “She’s away on a team-building weekend with her colleagues.” He said, “She’s due back on Monday afternoon.”

Wow. It was only Friday. We could totally spend the whole weekend together... I nodded, “Sounds cool.” I said, “What will they be building?”

He chuckled, “Fuck knows.” He said, “I don’t remember her telling me any of the details.”

I took his hand and led him to my favourite spot on the dance floor. My favourite song was playing and I really wanted to see how Danny moved.

I wasn’t disappointed. He could really dance.

A couple of guys a little away from us were really getting into their dancing – well, it was more like dry humping if I’m going to be completely honest.

Danny watched them and raised his eyebrows at me, “That’s some move.” He commented as one of the guys rubbed up against the other, “Reminds me of that old movie, ‘Dirty Dancing’,”

I chuckled, “I love that movie.” I said, “It’s corny as hell, but I love it.”

Danny nodded, “Me too.” He said, “I’ve always wanted to be able to dance like that.”

I grinned, “We could always have a go.” Fuck, man. What are you saying? What are you even thinking? He’ll never go for that.

But I was wrong... “Can we?” he asked eagerly, “Oh, that’d be great.”

He stepped closer to me and within seconds his arms were wrapped around me and we were grinding up against each other – and it wasn’t my imagination, I could definitely feel his arousal.

The song ended far too soon and was replaced with something that didn’t really lend itself to the same sort of dancing. “Shall we get a drink?” I asked, a little breathlessly.

Danny nodded, “Sounds like a good idea.” He said, also sounding like he needed to catch his breath.

We made our way to the bar and I ordered us a beer each.

I passed one to Danny and finally looked him in the eye. Would he be freaking out by the way we’d been dancing with each other?

He was looking at me but he didn’t look freaked out. He looked gorgeous. His face was flushed with exertion and his hair was slightly less perfect than it had been earlier. “You okay?” he asked.

I nodded, “Sure,” I replied, “You?”

He grinned, “I haven’t had this much fun in forever.” He said, “It’s amazing being here with you.”

My heart started to thump away in my chest. It was totally amazing being here with him. “Yeah,” I agreed, “It is.”

Danny was looking at a text message on his phone. He looked up at me and I was convinced he was about to bail on me. “What’s up?” I asked.

He shrugged, “Nothing.” He said, “It was just Jules telling me that he and Chas have gone.”

My jaw dropped. “Gone?” I asked.

He nodded, grinning, “It’s fine.” He said, “I’m with you now. You’ll look after me, won’t you?”

I swear he fluttered his eyelashes.

Was he was flirting with me? Goddammit. Could he get any sexier? “Of course I’ll look after you.” I said, “No one will touch you while I’m with you.”

He grinned, “Well good, because I only want you touching me.”

Fuck. He really was flirting with me. There was no way that wasn’t flirting. I swallowed hard. How did I play this? Did I go for it and wind up being horribly rejected and ruining the friendship we had going on or did I play it safe and never know if we could have had more?

As if he was reading my mind, Danny reached for my hand, “Wanna dance again?” he asked softly.

I nodded, “I’d love to.” I said.

 

 

Chapter 8 – Magic…

 

Danny

 

It was like magic being here with Horatio and being able to really be myself with him.

I realised that I was never being myself with Mara. I was living a lie and it occurred to me with a bit of a jolt that I had been for the whole of our marriage.

We headed for the dance floor together and I marvelled at how totally at home I felt here, surrounded by all these guys, some who were, without a shadow of a doubt, as gay as gay got. Others I wouldn’t have had a clue about – like Horatio.

But all of them were enjoying themselves, drinking and talking and in some cases, getting very well acquainted with each other but I didn’t feel in the slightest bit uncomfortable – on the contrary, I felt like I belonged here, like I should be part of this wonderful world.

I’d been missing out. For literally years.

Horatio started to dance. He was keeping a respectable distance from me, but I wanted to dance the way we’d danced earlier. I wanted to feel his body next to mine, wanted to feel his hardness through his jeans. It was such a turn on.

I moved closer, “May I?” I asked, as I slid up close and personal.

He smiled that amazing smile and nodded, “Sure.” He said, holding his arms out for me. I smiled back at him and closed the distance between us, sliding my arms around his waist, we resumed our earlier position and started to move in time to the music.

“You feel amazing.” I murmured.

His arms closed around my back and pulled me closer, “You do too.” He said, “Too good. I’m forgetting that you’re just my mate.”

I looked up as he spoke, my eyes on his mouth. Those beautiful full lips that I actually longed to kiss, to know what they felt like against mine. I groaned. It was impossible.

He was looking back at me, his mouth slightly open, his eyes gazing into mine, “Don’t.” he whispered.

I blinked, “Don’t what?” I asked.

“Don’t even think it.”

I sighed. He knew what I was thinking. He knew I wanted to kiss him – but he was a step ahead of me. He knew I’d freak out about it all tomorrow.

I laughed it off, “I won’t.” I said stepping away and out of his arms again. “I really need to pee.”

Horatio frowned, “Don’t freak out but I’m coming with you.” He said, “Those bathrooms are a bit of a minefield sometimes.”

Fuck. I’d forgotten where we were for a minute. I didn’t need to ask what he was talking about. I’d heard enough about this place from Jules on the way here to know that at least three of the cubicles would be taken up with guys fucking each other. The idea of it actually made me feel kind of horny. I wouldn’t particularly want to be taken in a public place but it was still a turn on to think about it.

After we’d navigated the bathrooms safely and were back out in the club, Horatio leaned over, “Wanna go somewhere a little less intense? A little quieter, so we can talk?”

I nodded, “Sure.” I agreed.

He grinned, “There’s a little wine bar on the way towards town.” He said, “It’s open late on Friday’s.”

We headed out.

 

 

Chapter 9 – Chatting in the wine bar...

 

Horatio

 

I had to get Danny out of the club and somewhere a little less testosterone-soaked before I did something I would undoubtedly regret. I was feeling things for him that I had absolutely no business feeling and fuck, what had I been thinking? I’d almost kissed him.

In my defence, he’d almost kissed me back – and he’d seemed kind of into it too – but I doubted very much that he’d feel the same way the next morning and I really didn’t need to lose him now. We were great friends and even though I wanted more from him, I knew that could never happen and I’d kind of accepted it. Of course I wanted more – Danny was adorable and, in my opinion, completely wasted on a woman that clearly didn’t appreciate him. Still, with the best will in the world, I couldn’t make him want me instead – but I could try. All was fair in love and war and all that...

I pushed the door of the tiny wine bar open. The guy behind the bar looked up and smiled in recognition.

I raised my eyebrows at him and started to walk over to the bar. Danny patted my arm, “Shall I find us a seat?”

I nodded and was pleased to notice that Danny was headed towards the back of the bar where the secluded booths were.

I ordered myself a cola and a bottled beer for Danny. I was driving – he wasn’t.

I paid for the drinks and followed after Danny. I found him sitting in a booth. He looked up at me and smiled.

My heart spiked at his beautiful grin. Fuck. I really had it bad. This was such a bad idea.

I put his drink down in front of him, “There you go, mate.”

He picked it up and took a sip, “Ahh, that’s great.” He said.

 

 

Danny

 

It felt so right to be here with Horatio. So normal. So perfect.

So completely and utterly different to my life with Mara, which was full of fear and trepidation. I walked on egg shells all of the time and it still wasn’t enough. She still found every reason possible to pick a fight – and ultimately won it.

I didn’t love her. I never had. Not really. I’d just gotten stuck.

Really, when I thought about our existence, I realised that there was actually nothing to stay for. She quite obviously didn’t like me – or she wouldn’t be constantly picking fights with me and battering me. And I didn’t feel anything for her anymore – if I ever really did feel anything more than the first flush of desire. It wasn’t even as if we had amazing sex – not that sex was a good enough reason to stay anyway, I was just clutching at straws really. But it was always the same – quick and unsatisfying. Mara never seemed to be enjoying herself and always managed to make me feel totally inadequate. Maybe I was… She’d never once uttered anything remotely sexy like the, “Oh, God, yeah – there, there! exclamations I’d heard on my secret porn video stash – and I wasn’t stupid enough not to realise that they were only actors but still, surely there should have been something she enjoyed…

Horatio was chattering on about something and I realised with a rush of shame that I hadn’t heard a word. Still, I had to get this off my chest so I blurted out the first thing that entered my head…

 

 

Horatio

 

“Would you say you have a satisfying sex life?”

I almost choked on my coke, blinked in total shock and turned to face a very earnest Danny. Had he really just asked me that? Where the fuck had that come from? Was he thinking about having sex with me? Because, I’m not gonna lie, right at that moment I was totally imagining sucking his cock until he came. Fuck. Was he a mind-reader or something? “Uh, yeah, I guess I do – when I’ve got someone to have satisfying sex with...” Well, it had been quite a while since I last had what I’d call a really good fuck but whatever – that was in the past. Danny was the guy I wanted to have amazing sex with now – although admittedly, I’d have to wait until his wife was out of the picture… “Don’t you?”

He bit his lip and shook his head, “Nope.” He said, “It’s fucking shit.”

Holy fucking shit. As much as I wanted to dance around the room high-fiving everyone that his marriage was as good as over, I didn’t want to appear to be totally insensitive. What the hell was I supposed to say to that? “Why’s that, dude?” I took a sip of my cola and shuffled a little closer to him. I really didn’t think he’d want anyone else to hear this and he’d had a couple of beers already.

He looked at me, his expression tortured. “We just go through the motions. She doesn’t put in any effort to even pretend to enjoy it...”

I frowned, “Do you try to make her enjoy it?” Well, I had to ask.

He nodded, “Totally,” he said indignantly, “I go down on her,” he said, “I ask her what she likes – believe me I don’t want to piss her off...” he bit his lip and I wondered what the fuck this woman was really like. He seemed almost afraid of her.

I’d never met her but I absolutely hated her. “So, what makes you think she doesn’t like it?”

He looked me right in the eye, making me catch my breath a little at his beauty, “She doesn’t even so much as let out a sigh – it’s like she’s bored stiff.”

Fuck. That wasn’t good. I knew that not everyone was vocal during sex. I’d had a guy that was pretty damned silent once – but he came like a fucking fountain so I knew he’d been enjoying himself. “Does she, you know, orgasm?”

He shrugged, “I don’t think so.” He said, “Not with me anyway.”

I frowned, “What do you mean?”

He blushed bright red, “She’s got a dildo – and she comes on that – by herself...”

Oh, my God. Far too much information. I couldn’t help being slightly pleased though. These two were as unmatched as it was possible to be... He was far more suited to me. Given half the chance, I was sure I could make him come in seconds – and if he ever went down on me? Fuck. I’d show him how easy it was to make your partner fall apart...

Casting around for something to talk about that wasn’t sex, I asked him what he was doing over the weekend. “So, what are you doing with yourself tomorrow?” I asked.

He shrugged, “I don’t really have any plans.”

He was probably just going to enjoy the break from his wife... “Why don’t you come around to mine?” I asked, “We could play on the games console or I could show you my guitar collection...” Why the fuck he’d be interested in that, I had no idea. I just wanted to spend as much time as possible with him.

“That would be great.” He agreed enthusiastically, “All I’ll be doing otherwise is cleaning the house.”

Cleaning the house? What the fuck for? The dust only gathers again... “Well, fuck that!” I said, “You can clean on Sunday.”

He chuckled. “Yeah,” he agreed, “I’ll have to.”

I frowned. He’d have to? What the hell sort of a life did he live with her?

I didn’t ask. Not that I didn’t have a morbid curiosity about it – but as it turned out, I didn’t have to ask – he started to tell me – and once he’d gotten started, he didn’t seem to have an off switch...

“The first time she hit me was actually on our honeymoon...”

My jaw dropped. The first time? She’d done it since? “She hits you?” I asked in horror.

He shrugged and nodded, “Only sometimes...”

“Only sometimes?” I echoed incredulously, “You have to know that even ‘only sometimes’ isn’t right?” Oh, baby. You’re with the wrong person... you need to be with me – I might smother you with my love but I’d never, ever hurt you.

He sighed and rubbed his eyes. “She doesn’t mean to...”

Fuck me backwards. He was actually defending her. “She does mean to.” I said, unable to stop myself, “Because if she didn’t mean to – she wouldn’t do it.”

Tears pooled in his eyes and I felt like such a shit for making him cry, “You don’t understand.” He whispered.

I reached across the table and took his hand gently in mine, “You’re right. I don’t.” I said, “So make me understand – what do you stay for?”

He closed his eyes. “I don’t know.” He whispered, “Maybe I’m afraid of what I really am... of who I really am.”

“Who you really are, is the Danny I know – and I think that guy is incredible.”

He opened his eyes and smiled at me shyly. There was hope lurking behind his eyes, I could see it. I just didn’t know how to draw it out of him. “Yeah?” he asked.

“Yeah.” I agreed seriously, “I think you’re great, Dan.”

He squeezed my hand. “I wish I’d met you before I met her.” He whispered.

I nodded, “Me too.” I agreed. Fuck. I wished it with every cell in my body. “But at least we can be mates.”

He nodded, looking a little forlorn, “Yeah,” he said, “We’ll always be friends.”

 

 

Chapter 10 – Just good friends…

 

Danny

 

The idea of only ever being friends made me feel like being sick. I couldn’t only be friends with Horatio. Hell, it was hard enough to keep my hands off him as it was. I had the most incredible crush on him and I really didn’t know how much longer I was going to be able to carry on just being friends.

I had to end things with my wife first. We sure as hell didn’t have a good relationship. I wondered sometimes if she’d ever loved me and I was beginning to realise that I’d never really loved her.

We’d rushed into things, all because she’d thought she was pregnant and didn’t want her family to know that we’d been having sex out of wedlock – I know, which century were they from? So, we’d got married and then she told me that she’d been wrong...

And thank God she had been. Her violent nature didn’t really lend itself to her being a particularly good mother. She’d have to have anger management before I’d ever want to have children with her.

We were sat with our drinks in the cute little wine bar. My mind was racing, my thoughts chasing each other so fast that I just didn’t seem able to put them into words. I wanted so badly to tell Horatio the way I felt about him – but I was so afraid of his rejection. After all, he was free man – he could date whomever he liked. I was married and I had absolutely no business telling him that I thought I had romantic feelings towards him...

He broke the silence that was stretching out between us uncomfortably with a question, “Can I ask you something?”

I blinked, “Huh?”

He grimaced slightly, “Are you happy, Danny?”

I stared at him, “Wh-What do you mean.” I knew exactly what he meant, I just had no idea why he was asking me.

He looked uncomfortable, “I’m just... look, I know you probably don’t feel anywhere near the same – and why would you? You’re married – and straight.” He rolled his eyes, “Fuck, I’m making a total arse of myself.” He laughed and shook his head. Looking up at me with his beautiful dark brown eyes, he bit his lip and then spoke, apparently choosing his words carefully, “I really like you Danny – and you don’t seem to be completely happy with... with your wife.” He looked down at his drink.

I looked at my own drink, unsure what to say but knowing that he was absolutely right in his assessment of my less than perfect life. “I’m not.” I said. “Well, not really – I mean, it’s not that bad...”

He frowned, “Shouldn’t it still be all hearts and flowers this early in, though?” he asked, “I mean – it’s not even a year yet is it?”

I rolled my eyes, “I don’t think it was ever all hearts and flowers. She got pregnant, so we got married.” His eyes widened with surprise. “Well, she said she was.” I amended, “But as it turned out, it was a false alarm – but by then we were already married.” I shook my head and sighed. When I said it all out loud, it sounded so goddamn lame. Horatio was staring at me with a look of shock on his face and I couldn’t really blame him – it really was like something out of the 1960’s. I felt the need to explain, “She’s from a strictly religious family and she didn’t want to be a mother before she was married. They thought we weren’t...” I trailed off. It all sounded so ridiculous now and I wondered how I could have been so easily manipulated – for chrissakes, we weren’t teenagers – and how could my parents have been so easily swept up in it? Maybe I’d have to go and ask them someday...

“So, she tricked you?” he asked, frowning.

I shrugged, “I don’t know. I don’t think so...” I’d wondered myself so many times. Dad had a good job and was very well off – even if he had pretty much abandoned us as kids... Maybe she thought I was a rich man – or at least a good prospect. But I was neither. I wasn’t rich. And I wasn’t straight. I was absolutely useless to her.

But I wasn’t useless to Horatio. He didn’t give a shit about how much money I had or didn’t have – and being straight was the last thing he’d want me to be...

We fell into silence until Horatio looked up at me, “Well, I guess I should get you home.”

I smiled and raised my eyebrows, “Your house or mine?” I teased.

He shook his head, “You’re gonna get me into so much trouble.” He said with a chuckle, “I don’t feel right coming back your house with your wife away – but you can come back to mine if you like.”

I swallowed. This was heading into dangerous territory. “I’m not sure that’s a good idea either.” I hedged.

He raised an eyebrow, “Why?” he asked.

“I think you know why.” I said quietly, “And I think it would be better for me to go home before I make a complete and utter prat of myself by having too much to drink and to try to start something with you – it would be wrong on too many levels. I’m married for starters.”

Horatio sighed, “Believe me, you wouldn’t be making a fool of yourself.” He said softly, “You’re lovely, Danny. I wish...” He trailed off and I was pretty sure I knew why. No good could come from him finishing that sentence.

“You wish that things were different?” I asked.

He nodded, “But they’re not.” He sighed heavily, “I’ll take you home. Come on.”

He stood up and shrugged his jacket on.

I picked mine up and drained my glass, “I like this place.” I said, “We’ll have to come here again.”

Horatio grinned, “I’m sure we will.” He said, making my heart swell with hope. I really hoped this wasn’t a one-off.

 

 

Chapter 11 – Just hanging out…

 

Horatio

 

I shouldered the door of Karl’s parents’ cellar door and jogged down the stairs, “Noah?” I called out, “You down here, bud?”

I heard his muffled reply and smiled to myself with relief. Out of all my band mates, Noah was kind of my sounding board, my voice of reason when my own went AWOL.

“How was your date?” he asked slyly as soon as we were face to face.

I felt my face heating up. Thankfully, due to my dark skin, people could rarely tell when I was blushing. “It wasn’t a date, you dick.” I shot back at him, “I was just hanging out with a mate.”

He chuckled, “Yeah, yeah.” He said, “You keep telling yourself that, mate – he was totally into you. Fuck! We were watching your dance moves. I swear he’d have eaten you alive if he could have.”

The idea of him putting his mouth around a certain part of my body had me feeling a little on the flustered side. “Fuck off.” I muttered, “He did not.”

Noah just gave me one of his looks but he didn’t say anything else.

We sat in silence for a moment. I knew Noah was waiting for me to say something and I was dying to talk to him about Danny – I trusted Noah. I trusted him to tell me his honest opinion, I trusted him not to judge me – and to keep everything I said to him between the two of us. Noah was an honourable guy that way. Something that was pretty rare. Not that the rest of the guys were ratbags or anything but I wasn’t sure they’d not discuss me behind my back.

I let out a long sigh, “It’s just that I really like him, man – and I know it’s completely stupid of me to feel this way when he’s already married but I can’t help it.” And I know that he isn’t happy and that makes it even worse because I can see that he doesn’t want to be a cheat but I’m sure he likes me that way, too...

Noah hesitated, biting his lip but I knew he’d eventually ask and I wasn’t wrong. “Do you think he really likes you – that way I mean?” he finally asked.

I shrugged. The answer was yes, I really did but I didn’t want to jinx things for us. “I don’t know... I think he could... I’m not sure...” Yes, I was going to pieces over the whole thing but I had to talk to someone about this before I went insane.... “Oh, God, Noah – what am I going to do? I nearly asked him to stay the night at my place last night.”

He stared at me, “Are you serious?”

Well of course I was bloody serious. “Yes.” I ground out, “Deadly serious.”

“Wow.” He said, “I’ve gotta say, man – I’ve never seen you like this before.”

I scowled at him. “Well, maybe I’ve never felt this way about anyone before.” I said defensively.

His eyes about popped out of his head, “What?” he asked. “You think you love this guy?”

Fuck. Was that really what I was saying? It dawned on me that actually, that was exactly what I was feeling for him and it was fucking terrifying me. I nodded, “Yeah, dude.” I said, “I think I really do.”

He sat down on the well-worn sofa and stared up at me, “But you’ve only just met...”

I nodded, “I know.” I said, running my hand over my short hair, “I know that – I know it sounds like absolute madness. But as soon as I first laid eyes on him... somehow I just knew...”

Noah shook his head, “And he’s married.” He said with a bit of a groan, “Of all the bad fucking luck.”

I nodded, “Yeah.” I agreed, “I know.” It was excruciating.

“Invite him round for dinner.” Noah said, “Get to know him.”

“What about the wife?” I asked.

He shrugged, “He’s got no business having a wife when he dances like that with a guy.” He said, “Trust me – he’s not straight and he should let the poor girl go.”

The ‘poor girl’ should be letting him go in my opinion but I wasn’t about the air his dirty laundry to Noah... “Okay.” I said, “I’ll call him and ask him over.”

“But on the other hand – don’t go for it with all your guns blazing.”

I sighed. Fuck me. Make your fucking mind up!

Noah shot me an apologetic grin, “I just think you should tread carefully – we might be misreading the situation. He might just be tactile and he might just really love dancing sexily.”

I felt my heart sink down to my Dr Marten’s “You think so?” I asked.

He shot me another grin, but this one was a dirty one. “No, not really,” he said, “But I’m trying to be your voice of reason. I’m guessing yours has left you high and dry.”

I grinned back at him bashfully, “Yeah,” I agreed, “Think it has.”

There was no way that Danny was straight. He might be bisexual but straight he was not. There was no way. I didn’t imagine that near miss kiss – and I didn’t imagine the hardness of his dick pressing into my arse as we danced together. Danny was into me – he just wasn’t aware of it – or if he was, he was ignoring it – and I was about to start prodding that protective little bubble he’d conjured up around himself because we belonged together. I just knew it.

 

*

 

“Danny?”

He sounded surprised and pleased that I’d called him, “Hi, Rayshe.”

I smiled at the nickname. The guys all called me Rayshe but it was the first time I’d noticed that Danny had used the shortened version of my name – and it sounded lovely from his lips. “I was uh, wondering what you were doing for dinner tonight.”

“Oh,” he faltered, “Uh, nothing really...”

“Great – me either.” My heart was in my mouth but I had to make it sound cool. “So, I was uh, wondering if you remembered the way to my flat?” I didn’t let him answer before I jumped straight back in, “I’ll meet you there at around six?” I held my breath. Would he go for it or turn me down flat?

Noah was sitting still. Clearly, he was waiting for the outcome too. Nosey bastard...

“That sounds great.” He said.

Letting my breath go all at once with relief I grinned, “Great!” I exclaimed and turned to look at Noah who was sat there with a beaming smile and giving me the thumbs up sign. “Oh, and Danny – if I’m held up a little, the spare key’s under the black, shiny vase on the windowsill at eye level.”

I ended the call and high-fived Noah, feeling on top of the world.

 

 

Chapter 12 – Making dinner…

 

Danny

 

“So now what?” I muttered to myself as I looked around Horatio’s flat and wondered what the hell I was supposed to be doing. I shouldn’t really be doing this at all. I shouldn’t have agreed to this. I shouldn’t know where he kept his spare key – it was none of my business. I shouldn’t be doing this – messing with his head and making him think we could have a future together. I was married.

And yet I knew he was attracted to me – just like I was attracted to him and it gave me hope even while my voice of reason was screaming at me that this couldn’t end well. This – what I was doing right now – was a definite step towards the dark side. I knew that and yet I really didn’t want to stop what I was doing. I knew I was falling for him. I knew I no longer had any affection left for Mara. All I’d felt for months, since getting married and then finding out that she’d lost the baby – if indeed that was what had happened – was fear of upsetting her. Fear of her getting angry with me for saying the wrong thing, doing the wrong thing... fear of the pain she was so ready to inflict upon me, whether it be mental or physical.

Figuring that Rayshe would be hungry when he got in, I had a poke around in his fridge for something to throw together. I brightened as I noticed he had some bacon that wasn’t out of date and was that cream? Cool. It wouldn’t be a true Carbonara because I wasn’t anything like a cool would-be chef like his bezzie, Noah. But I could just about throw together something that at least resembled a delicious creamy pasta dish and it wouldn’t taste half-bad either.

Ooh, he even had mushrooms. That was so cool… I looked in his cupboard and found pasta twists – they’d do.

Checking the time, I smiled to myself. I could open the bottle of wine and let it breathe – by the time he got home, his dinner would be waiting and I could hand him a glass... I was the best husband...

 

*

 

I started to get nervous the closer the time got to when he said he’d meet me at his house.

When I heard his key in the door, my heart was in my mouth.

I turned away from the table that I’d set for the two of us. My eyes met his and I felt so exposed. So unsure of myself and so damned stupid for thinking we could do this. Who the fuck did I think I was, cooking for him?

“I’m sorry.” I gasped.

He frowned at me, “What for?” He asked as he eyed the table. His eyes widened and his face broke into a truly beautiful grin, “Hey, this looks fantastic.”

I relaxed immediately, “Really? It’s not too much?”

He smiled at me, his eyes warm and soft as he gazed at me as if I was the best guy on the planet. “It’s not too much.” He said, “It’s perfect – just like you are.”

I found myself blushing, “Wow.” I whispered.

He crossed the distance between us in a flash and gathered me into his big, warm hug. “Thanks, Danny.” He murmured, brushing his lips across my cheek, “This is amazing. Dinner smells great – what are we having?”

I pulled away reluctantly. Hell, I could have stayed right there, in his arms, all night long, “Oh, well, it’s kind of a Carbonara but it’s not technically cooked properly.”

He chuckled, “I don’t care,” he said, “If you weren’t here it would either be toast, a jacket potato with tuna and mayo or it’d be a takeaway – my name’s not Noah.”

I smiled. I knew Noah was a trainee chef at a bistro pub that was owned by the TV chef, Darren Duvall. Well, that was one of his part-time ventures anyway – he was also doing an engineering degree, like Horatio – and he helped his father run an auto-repair centre in the town – and still found time to play the drums in the band. I wondered if he was a vampire – because honestly, when did the guy find time to sleep? “Well, it’s about ready – so, here’s a glass of Malbec – make yourself comfortable.”

As Horatio laughed and sat at the table with his glass of wine, chatting about everything he’d been doing all day while I got his dinner ready, I was struck by how different it was to be with him than with Mara and her relentless nit-picking at everything I did wrong on a pretty much constant basis. This was so much better. I really didn’t want to go home... Not ever.

 

 

Chapter 13 – Perfect…

 

Horatio

 

My heart almost beat right out of my chest when I got home and realised that Danny was already there, waiting for me – and he’d cooked!

He couldn’t have been any more perfect. Well, he could have been single – that was a pretty big thing that wasn’t perfect but you know, I lived in hope that he’d see the light sooner rather than later...

I’d never spent so much time lusting after a guy that I could never have and it was scary. I’d honestly fallen in love and I had absolutely no idea how to change my feelings back into us just being friends.

The sad fact was that I was in love with my (almost) straight best friend. How pathetic. It was rule number one... Never fall for the straight guy.

Well, since I’d already fallen at the first hurdle, I might as well make a total prick of myself so I ploughed right on in and gave him a hug for making dinner. Jesus, I was such a loser.

Dinner was absolutely delicious. Danny was far too modest about his cooking skills – they were a million times better than mine and I told him so too.

He just laughed it off.

I insisted that I did the washing up, but we ended up doing it between us.

“Go and find something for us to watch and I’ll be in in a minute.” I said as I gathered the plates together.

“Don’t be daft.” Danny said, “I’ll help you.”

I blinked, “Okay – you can dry then.”

He nodded, “Sure.”

Once we’d finished with the chores, we headed into the lounge. We chatted about everything and anything. Well, we didn’t do a whole lot of chatting about his wife but to be honest, I was kind of pleased about that. It was easier to live with the fact that I was falling in love with a married man if I pretended that she didn’t exist.

Because, seriously. Danny couldn’t possibly be straight after the way he’d danced with me at Studs the other night... Could he?

“I’ve got tickets to a concert tomorrow night – are you free or is your wife back?” His face fell which told me instantly that she was back tomorrow night. Before he could answer I was already backtracking, “Forget it,” I said, “It was just an idea.”

He grabbed my hand in his, “I would love to go with you.” He said, “Hell, I’d love to go anywhere with you. In fact, I’d like to just stay here with you – forever. But I can’t – she’ll be back on Monday and I really have to clean the house properly...”

You can stay with me forever. My mind screamed at him. Leave her! Save yourself from a lifetime of misery and drudgery and be mine instead – I can make you happier than you could ever imagine…

Of course I didn’t say it out loud and he couldn’t read my mind. I sighed, “Okay. It’s no problem. I’m not trying to push you – on anything.”

He smiled, “I know.” He said. He got up, “I’d better go.”

I bit my lip, “You could stay over if you like. I have a spare room.”

He looked at me. He was torn. I could tell. In the end his loyalty to his marriage won out and he shook his head, “I’d better get home.”

I nodded, disappointment flooding through me. “I’ll see you at five-a-side.” I said.

He stopped at the door and turned to me, “I had a great evening – I’m sorry it can’t be more.”

I nodded, “It’s okay, Danny.” I said, “I understand.”

He leaned in hesitantly. Did he want to kiss me?

Fuck. I wasn’t noble enough to try to stop it from happening. I looked into his eyes.

He stared back into mine and leaned even closer. As if in slow-motion our lips met and I swear the world stood still.

Fireworks exploded in my brain and I honestly couldn’t stop myself from reaching for him and gathering him closer.

The door was open and absolutely anyone walking by could have seen us together but in that moment, I couldn’t have cared less because Danny’s lips were on mine and he was finally kissing me – and kissing me like his life depended on it. Wow. How his wife could be unresponsive to him was completely impossible to me. His lips were warm and soft and delicious.

He hadn’t used his tongue yet... I wondered for a nanosecond if I should do what I was about to do before I just went for it. If I was going to get a punch in the mouth, at least I’d have tasted paradise first. I slid my tongue into his mouth and brushed it tentatively against his.

His arms tightened around me and he groaned, pushing his hips into mine as we stood there, both of us completely oblivious to everything but each other. He responded to me eagerly, licking into my mouth and completely going for it.

Finally, we broke apart and everything came back into focus. “I’ve changed my mind.” Danny gasped, “I’ll stay if it’s all the same to you.”

I nodded, “Good thinking.” I sighed. My boner was fighting to get out of my jeans. I glanced at Danny’s crotch and was pleased to see that he was suffering in exactly the same way, “Back to the sofa?”

He nodded.

We made our way back to the lounge and sat down in silence. Fuck. Was he regretting kissing me? What? What?

“Rayshe?” he finally spoke in a low voice.

I looked at him sideways. This was the moment he told me he’d gotten carried away and that he was as straight as a die. I’d seen it before. Some guys spent their whole fucking life in denial of their real feelings... “Yeah?”

“That was the best fucking kiss of my life.”

I smiled, “There’s plenty more where that came from, babe.” I replied. Catching his hand in mine I squeezed it, “Let’s go to bed and get a few more in before you have to go home.”

Yes. I was crazy. I knew he had a wife. I knew this was going to end badly and I was going to wind up alone and very, very sad. But fuck it. I’d fallen for the guy big time and right now he seemed as smitten with me as I was with him. I was going to throw caution to the wind and take what I could...

 

 

Danny

 

What the fuck did I think I was doing?

This was madness. My wife was going to kill me when she found out – and she would find out. Because somehow or other, she always did... She must have had a private investigator following me or something.

But fuck it. Horatio was the best thing that had ever happened to me. I was falling for my new best friend and I was fucking loving every exciting, spine-tingling moment of it. This was living. I’d merely existed before, but suddenly everything was brighter and clearer and better. Horatio made me feel more alive than I’d ever felt in my entire life.

My hand in Horatio’s felt right – like it was meant to be in his. As corny as it sounds, I felt like I belonged with him – that he was my knight in shining armour, turning up out of the blue into my sad little life and sweeping me off my feet – and into his bed and I couldn’t have been happier about it.

 

 

Chapter 14 – Point of no return

 

Horatio

 

My heart was in my mouth. One wrong move and I was sure Danny would freak out and run for the hills.

And I didn’t want to check in with him too often that everything was cool – because I was afraid it would remind him that actually as far as he was concerned this was right on the outer perimeter of any kind of comfort zone that was still in existence for him and that it would be too much for him.

Still, at the moment, he seemed fully on board with the kissing – and hello… touching – and it wasn’t me doing it either.

His hand was definitely cupping my junk. “You feel amazing,” he murmured between kisses that were getting filthier by the second, “I want to feel you properly.”

Oh, my God. My mind went blissfully blank as I went straight to sex mode. “I’ll take them off.” I said as I hurriedly unzipped my fly and started to push my jeans and my boxer shorts down to give him full access to my cock.

 

 

Danny

 

Oh fuck. What the hell was I supposed to do with that?

Horatio’s cock had to be at least a third bigger than mine was. I’d always wondered if it was true about black guys – and that proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that in his case, it was absolutely right…

I felt a little intimidated by the difference, but his reaction to seeing me in all of my naked glory couldn’t have been more humbling.

“Oh, my God.” He breathed, “You are so damned beautiful.”

Well. That was nice. “Not as beautiful as you – and not nearly as big.”

He shrugged, “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, mate.” He said, “It’s the size of the fight in the dog.”

I chuckled, “Oh, my God.” I said, laughing, “That’s the best analogy ever!”

He grinned at me, “Come here.” He said, “let me kiss you again.”

I melted into him. Kissing him now was as natural as breathing. I couldn’t get enough.

“Oh, my God.” He murmured, “I knew kissing you would be good – but you’re right. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done too.”

I pulled away from him slightly to look at him in disbelief, “You’ve got to be joking.” I murmured, “You’ve been with loads of guys, I’ll bet.”

He nodded, “I’ve had a few relationships, I’m not going to lie – but I’ve never felt this way before, Danny. Not ever.”

I sighed. “This is intense.” I whispered.

He nodded, “It is.” He agreed, “Can I touch you?”

My heart rate increased with something that I wasn’t sure of – fear? Joy? Both… I nodded, “Please.” I whispered.

His hand curled around my cock and it felt like everything suddenly slotted into place. It just felt so right. How had I never done this before? Well, I knew the answer to that. It was because I was in the closet.

“Does that feel good, baby?” he asked.

Baby? He’d called me baby? Oh, my God… “Yeah,” I panted, “It feels really good.”

He smiled at me and leaned in to rub his nose against mine, “Good.” He said, “Wanna do the same to me?”

I nodded. Hell. Yes, I did. I reached for his cock. He felt huge in my hand. I groaned with desire, “Oh, my God. You feel so good.”

He nodded, “You feel amazing.” He moaned into my neck where he was trailing hot, open-mouthed kisses all around my neck and across my Adam’s apple and down my chest. When he found my nipples and started to give them some attention, I was almost in orbit.

“Jesus, you’re so sensitive.” Horatio murmured, “And so beautiful.”

“I’m not beautiful.” I said with a chuckle.

“You are.” He argued, “You’re beautiful on the inside and the out with your beautiful eyes and your pretty little nose and your gorgeous smile.” He was smiling at me so lovingly.

I stroked his cheek, “I’ll never be as beautiful as you.” I murmured, “With your flawless skin and your massive cock.”

His eyes went round and then we both burst into giggles.

“You are such a handful.” He chuckled.

I laughed even harder, “Not as much as you are.” I said, giving his cock a playful squeeze, “The size of you means I need both hands.”

He silenced me with a heart-stopping kiss. “I want to make love to you all night.” He murmured as he pulled away, “How about it?”

I nodded, “Sounds magical.” I said, “But you’ll have to show me the ropes – I have no idea what to do.”

He smiled, “I’m sure we’ll work things out between us.” He said.

 

 

 

Horatio

 

Oh, my God. I was like a kid in a sweetshop. I had no idea what to do first.

Should I suck him? Rim him? Introduce him to a bit of frotting? What?

I didn’t really think it was wise to try going for full sex. He was basically a virgin and as he was so quick to point out, I did have a big cock.

Plenty of lube – that was what we needed. Plenty of lube, a little gentle fingering to get him started and plenty of rimming. “What do you want me to do, baby.” I asked him, between licking his nipples and running my hands up his body and then trailing kisses across his stomach.

He writhed beneath me, “Oh, my God.” He murmured, “I don’t know, I’ve never done anything like this before – anything.”

I stopped and looked up at him. I was lying between his spread legs and he looked so damned inviting. His cock was hard and resting against his belly, dying for some attention and oozing a little pre-come. His balls looked dark and heavy. I was pleased to note that, like me, he liked to keep his intimate area neatly trimmed. “I could suck your beautiful cock.” I offered.

His eyes darkened as he gazed back at me, “That would be amazing.” He said.

I nodded, “Okay.” I’d introduce him to rimming later. We had all night.

“Christ!” Danny exclaimed as I took his length deep into my throat, “That’s incredible!”

He leaned up on his elbows so he could watch me sucking him down, “Rayshe.” He murmured, “You look amazing sucking my cock.”

I looked up at him and winked before I went back down on him. I closed my eyes and really revelled in sucking him. He tasted delicious and the feel of his silky skin over his steely hardness was intoxicating. I could suck him all night and all day tomorrow and never be bored of it. He was like a drug I couldn’t do without.

As he relaxed into what I was doing to him, Danny started to lose his inhibitions and his legs got a little wider and he reached for my head. He was holding me in place and it was such a turn-on. My cock was like a rod of steel. Fuck, I needed a release. I started to hump the bed as I sucked him. I needed to make him come and I needed to come myself.

“Are you fucking the bed, dude?” he asked lazily.

“Uh-huh.” I managed to grunt.

“Cool.” He said with a chuckle, “Damn. You’re sexy.”

Not as sexy as he was, squirming beneath me. It was fabulous being with someone who didn’t mind showing how much he liked what I was doing to him. Some of the guys I’d been with had only wanted me to fuck them because I had a big dick – which was fine but it meant that I didn’t get a whole lot out of the experience. Don’t get me wrong – I always came but it meant that I was doing all of the work and getting nothing back. Some guys clearly thought that having a big dick meant I was always a top but I actually really wanted to give bottoming a go.

I wondered if Danny would be up for that or if he too would prefer bottoming. I wasn’t about to ruin things now by worrying about that…

“Rayshe?” his voice cut into my thoughts.

I looked up, “I’m getting close.” He said, “You might want to stop.”

I shook my head, “Lie back and enjoy yourself.” I said, “I’m gonna swallow everything you’ve got.”

 

 

Danny

 

Oh, my God. I’d just come down my best mate’s throat. What the fuck was I doing?

I flopped back on his pillows and covered my face with my hands.

“Danny?” Horatio’s slightly worried voice met my ears from somewhere above me. I peeped at him through my fingers, “Oh, God, Rayshe,” I gasped, “I’m so sorry...”

He was frowning at me, completely mystified, “What are you on about – sorry for what? That was great. I loved every second of it.”

I blinked, “You did?” Oh, my God. He was the perfect man.

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