Four Years Prior
Three hours after Gage’s high school graduation, his best friend’s lips were around his cock. Aaron, who was five years older and had recently graduated with his master’s degree from UCB, looked up at him with dark eyes before swallowing him to his hilt. It was the sexiest thing Gage had ever seen.
Aaron nosed against his groin, then tightened his lips and drew back at an excruciatingly slow pace. Unable to help himself, Gage slid his hands behind Aaron’s head and held it in place.
“Don’t go,” Gage whispered. He pushed Aaron just a little, the short hairs on Aaron’s head slipping through the cracks between his fingers. The room was dimly lit, starlight invading the room through its uncovered window—just enough for Gage to see all of Aaron’s details. “Need you. I need you so bad.”
Aaron’s eyes blinked open, and he glanced up at Gage from his groin. The desire in them was marked by sorrow. Then, as if to do away with it, he tilted his head and let Gage back into his throat. Pleasure speared through Gage. His fingers tightened against Aaron’s scalp, and he gasped in delight. Aaron’s mouth was tight, but the way his throat constricted around Gage’s cock was beyond amazing.
He wanted to chase that pleasure again and again and again.
Gage pushed his hips until his body was flush with Aaron’s lips and he couldn’t enter any farther. Aaron gasped around his cock, then choked. Tears beaded in his eyes, and Gage’s mind went haywire. He didn’t want to harm Aaron—he never wanted that—but it was his first time feeling anything so good, and he didn’t want to give it up.
Aaron would pull away if he didn’t want it, wouldn’t he? He’d push away to catch his breath.
A convulsion gripped Gage’s shaft as Aaron’s throat fought the invasion. Gage bit back a cry. He pushed a hand through Aaron’s hair, wanting to speak, but finding words impossible. His touch was gentle and delicate. In it, he hoped Aaron understood what his lips couldn’t convey.
I love you. I love you so much.
The pleasure Aaron treated him to returned those words in kind. Aaron had come back from California for him—dropped to his knees for him.
Gage was his and no one else’s.
If his heart had any say in the matter, it would always be that way.
At last, Aaron pulled back, parting from Gage’s cock. He coughed and wiped his mouth on his arm, then looked up at Gage with fire in his eyes and dove back in. His lips sealed behind Gage’s tip, and his tongue went to work, flexing and twisting as best it could.
Gage couldn’t hold back anymore. With a choked cry, he came.
He couldn’t help himself.
Seeing his protector on his knees, swallowing his cock, turned him on too much to dream of holding back.
Aaron swallowed, then parted from Gage’s cock again, but his tongue never left Gage’s body—it trailed across the glossed, pink skin leading to Gage’s slit. A trickle of cum had escaped the corner of Aaron’s mouth, and as Aaron moved his head, the starlight reflected in it and made the mess visible. Without thinking, Gage ran his finger through it to clean it up, then presented it to Aaron’s mouth. Aaron’s tongue moved from the head of his cock to his finger and swirled around it before he leaned forward and took the offering between his lips. Gage, still hard despite his orgasm, watched raptly.
And when Aaron’s gaze turned upward to look at him again, Gage didn’t miss the burning intention in his eyes.
A look like that told Gage everything he needed to know—he may have already come, but Aaron wasn’t done with him yet.
Aaron sucked at his finger. His tongue slid around its tip, then dipped down its length. From time to time, he glanced up at Gage, challenging him with his eyes. It was a look that said, “Are you really done so soon?”
No. Not even close.
All too soon, Aaron’s lips parted from Gage’s finger. Gage took his hand away from the back of Aaron’s head, letting him back off. Given freedom, Aaron sat back on his calves and looked up at Gage, the need in his eyes as smoldering as ever. For those eyes, Gage would do anything.
“I love you,” Aaron told him. He spoke quietly, but also with unwavering certainty. “I love you now, and I’m going to love you forever.”
The sound of Aaron’s voice was staggering in its intensity. It came from a place deep inside Aaron—a place that Gage had never seen before that moment. It jogged loose his stuck tongue. Words flowed.
“I love you, too,” Gage whispered. He wished he had something more beautiful to say, but his thoughts were slow to process, and his heart was too full and fluttery to be of any help. Speech wasn’t what his body wanted to focus on—it was more concerned with touch, and sight, and maybe soon, taste.
Aaron rose. He took Gage’s hand and tugged him close, and Gage instinctively slotted against his chest. His head found its favorite crook—the space where Aaron’s neck met his shoulder—and breathed Aaron in. They’d been out in the sun all day, and the scent of summer clung to Aaron’s clothes and mixed with the woodsy, spicy notes of his bodywash. Beneath it thrived the natural notes that Gage always associated with Aaron—something wild and fresh and sweet, like the desert at night. He never wanted to be without that scent again.
“Let me take you to bed,” Aaron whispered. The invitation set Gage’s fluttering heart into flight, and he closed his eyes and tightened his hold on the man he loved. “I’m so proud of you. So fucking proud.”
“It’s not like graduating high school is a big deal,” Gage murmured, embarrassed, even though he knew that it was. Alex, his sort-of cousin and other best friend, had almost dropped out, and after that, had barely managed to scrape together his graduation requirements. But Gage wasn’t Alex—his life hadn’t fallen into ruin. He was in love with a man who would care for him forever, and who had his best interests at heart. Their future was going to be wonderful, and they had all summer to celebrate it before Aaron left for Munich to pursue his PhD. “I should be the one proud of you. You just got your master’s degree. High school isn’t much compared to that…”
“I disagree.” Aaron didn’t try to move him toward the bed or otherwise influence his choice. His hands roamed down Gage’s back, and he spoke lightly. He kept his passion at a controlled burn—it was one of the things Gage loved so much about him—Aaron never pressured him. Everything he did, he did with kindness and understanding. “High school is the first big step. After that, nothing’s quite so scary. You’ve successfully made it into adulthood, BP. Do you know how incredible that is?”
Gage grinned. “Apparently I haven’t made it far enough, if you’re still going to call me BP. When am I going to live that nickname down?”
Aaron laughed, the sound of it sweet and loving. “When you stop being the son of the Shepherd, Little Bo-Peep.”
A pleasant shiver overtook Gage, and Aaron held him more tightly in response, as if to chase away the cold. But it wasn’t the cold that had gotten to Gage—for as much as he fussed about his nickname, he loved hearing Aaron speak of him with such affection. He’d happily be BP for the rest of his life if it meant that Aaron would always love him.
“If that’s the case, then I have a favor to ask you,” Gage said, his voice trembling with excitement.
Aaron kissed the side of his head. “What is it?”
“I’ve lost my sheep. Will you help me find them?” He drew back from Aaron just enough that he could look into his eyes. Surprise sparked there, then faded into tender arousal that made Gage regret having put this off for so long. “I feel like they might be hiding in my bed. We’re going to have to be quiet, but—mmph!”
Aaron’s lips crushed against his, silencing him, and before Gage knew it, they’d stumbled back onto the bed together. Gage’s pants, underwear, shoes, and socks were already off, but he still wore his dress shirt. When he hit the bed, the friction of his body against the sheets tugged it tight. Aaron, who settled on top of him and rekindled their kiss, seemed to know it was bothering him—he unbuttoned the shirt from the top down, relieving the pressure from Gage’s shoulder and neck.
Tonight, for the very first time in his life, Gage was going to go all the way.
They discarded their clothes at a frantic pace. Gage tugged his arms free of his shirt and left it on the bed, unconcerned with how filthy it got. He finished unbuttoning Aaron’s shirt, then moved to his belt and struggled to tug it free while Aaron cast his shirt aside. The metal buckle of the belt clinked as it opened, and the leather straps sagged downward as they were pulled apart. Gage struggled with Aaron’s fly, prompting Aaron to take over. They kissed while they stripped, preventing Gage from watching as Aaron revealed himself, but he heard the metallic tug of his zipper as it raced down its track and the rustle as his pants hit the floor. Gage’s fingers found the elastic band of Aaron’s boxer-briefs, and he tugged them downward greedily, eager to discover his best friend’s cock.
When Aaron’s boxer-briefs were kicked aside and he moved into position on the bed, Gage fished between their legs and let his fingers brush the first cock he’d ever touched, apart from his own. It felt bigger than he’d anticipated—girthier—but he knew he had nothing to fear. He wasn’t sure if Aaron was big, or average, or even small, as unlikely as that was, but he knew that no matter what, Aaron would never hurt him. When he took Gage’s virginity, he’d do it with the utmost care.
He’d always protected Gage, always, and to think that would stop now that they were behind a closed door was insane.
“Oh, fuck,” Aaron uttered as Gage palmed his shaft. “BP, baby…”
“You feel so big,” Gage whispered. He kissed Aaron again, desperate for his touch, then broke their kiss to gasp for air. In his excitement, he found it a struggle to draw breath with any kind of regularity, and his lungs burned. “You’re going to put it inside of me?”
“Yeah, I am.” Aaron’s voice was heavier than it had been before, and Gage didn’t think he’d ever heard anything half as sexy. He hooked his thighs over Aaron’s hips, positioning himself for penetration, and Aaron responded by dipping his lower half down so he could introduce his cock to the space between Gage’s cheeks. As he spoke, he worked his hips, thrusting his cock at a slow but steady pace. “And I’m going to knot you, too. I’m going to stretch you more than you could ever imagine. You’re never going to forget it—not even when we’re apart.”
“Don’t go,” Gage uttered. He knew that no matter how he pleaded, Aaron wouldn’t stay, but he had to say it, anyway. His heart ached at the thought of being apart for so long. The year Aaron had spent in California to get his master’s was bad enough, and they hadn’t even been a couple then. How would they survive four or more years apart now that they’d admitted their feelings? “You don’t have to go. You could stay here with me and be happy.”
“I’m going away so we can be happy, BP.” The head of Aaron’s cock brushed by Gage’s hole, teasing, before it slipped between his cheeks again. Gage shivered. He was ready to be filled. “I’ve got research funding lined up, I have a lab waiting for me, and some of the brightest minds in the scientific world are going to guide me toward being the best I can be. Before I even graduate, I’m going to have job offers… but the only one I’m interested in is the one that will bring me back home, to you.”
Tears gathered in Gage’s eyes. He blinked them away. Vaguely, he was aware that Aaron had found the lube he’d left out on the bedside table in anticipation of tonight. The sharp plastic click was too loud in the otherwise quiet room, and Gage was glad that his parents were still out of the house, celebrating the graduation of some of their youngest children with the rest of their friends.
“I’m going to give you the world,” Aaron promised. His cock left its place between Gage’s cheeks, and when it returned, it was slick. “You’re the only one I want.”
The tears Gage had tried to blink away fell. He lifted his hips to invite Aaron inside, using his core strength to keep himself elevated. His arms were around Aaron’s neck.
“And whether it’s schoolyard bullies or bills that need to be paid, I’m always going to be there to look out for you. I love you. I promise you, I’m going to work hard to give us a good life. You’re never going to want for anything.” Aaron kissed him sweetly, and all Gage could do was kiss him back. When the kiss broke, he was pleasantly breathless, his chest rising and falling as he struggled to fill his lungs. “I just need you to believe that I can make this work. I need you to stay strong for me while we’re apart. Can you do that?”
“Yes,” Gage promised. He could be strong. Aaron was worth the struggle. “I love you. I love you so much.”
Aaron’s cock brushed against his hole, and its head pushed, but didn’t enter. Gage’s body tightened with excitement, and a vibration like heavy bass at a concert shook him from the inside. A lifelong friendship was about to be consummated. He was ready.
“Is it okay?” Aaron asked softly. There was strain in his voice—he was holding back for Gage’s sake.
“Yes,” Gage granted, then kissed Aaron one more time. “Take me.”
The cock posed at his entrance pushed its way in. Gage gasped and tensed, and Aaron stopped. For a moment, they remained still while Gage struggled to relax.
“I don’t want to hurt you.” Aaron nosed against his neck and kissed it. The head of his cock was partially planted in Gage, and it already felt too big. “Never want to hurt you, baby. Relax for me. Let me in. I’m only going to move when you’re ready.”
“Okay.” Gage swallowed dryly and closed his eyes. His heart pounded, its thud echoing through his veins like ripples across a still pond. There was nothing to be afraid about. Aaron felt big, but he’d be careful. Gage knew it. “O-Okay… I’m okay. Keep going. Want you inside me. Wanna feel you…”
One of Aaron’s strong hands wove through Gage’s hair. He caressed his scalp and rewarded his bravery with a drawn-out kiss. Much of Gage’s fear melted, and when Aaron’s other hand found its home around his cock, none of it remained at all. Aaron pumped him, slowly but steadily, until the strange, stretching pressure was an afterthought. Pulsing pleasure radiated from inside of him, and he focused on it over what little discomfort penetration brought.
The head of Aaron’s cock pushed deeply enough that it made it behind Gage’s ring. Aaron was inside of him. Desperate to suck in a breath, Gage turned his head to the side and broke the kiss. As he panted, Aaron pushed deeper.
“Are you okay?” Aaron asked, his voice more strained than ever. He kissed Gage’s cheek. The hand that had been stroking Gage’s hair now supported his weight, but the one around his cock continued to pump. “I wanna keep playing with you… you feel so fucking good, baby.”
“I’m okay,” Gage promised. He turned his head to look up at Aaron, overwhelmed with all he felt. Arousal, fear, need, discomfort, love… but more than that, the urge to please. He wanted to give this to Aaron. They only had the summer, and after that… “Keep going. I want this.”
Aaron pushed deeper, causing pleasure to arc through Gage like lightning. He gasped and squirmed, bringing that feeling back over and over again every time he rocked his body.
“BP?” Aaron asked cautiously. He’d stopped moving, but that was the opposite of what Gage needed. The fear and discomfort had been obliterated by the way Aaron rubbed against him, and he found himself greedy for more. “Are you okay?”
“Yes,” Gage uttered. He pushed against Aaron, trying to recreate the sensation he’d lost. It made him feel frantic and scatterbrained, like he’d lost control of half his mind, and the half that remained was focused solely on pleasure. “You just made me feel so good. So good. Keep going. Please, please, keep going. Take me. Need to feel you again and again.”
The urgency in Gage’s voice seemed to awaken something in Aaron. He made a low, throaty noise—possessive, protective, almost like a growl—then thrust into Gage and started to pump. Gage stretched his folded legs skyward and tried to choke back a moan, but it was impossible—pleasure like this was too good to hold back. He cried out and pushed against Aaron until he’d bottomed out.
Gage already needed to come and they’d only just started.
“BP,” Aaron groaned. The notes of his voice were rich with arousal and tender need, and he pumped into Gage with controlled gentleness, like Gage could be broken. “Oh, god, BP… this shouldn’t feel so good.”
Pleasure curled and spread through Gage’s stomach like the ribbon of a wand caught in the wind on a gusty day. He looked up at Aaron and saw the same face he’d known since he was a child—a proud nose with a pronounced bridge; dark, piercing eyes that had drawn him in when they were too innocent to know better, then pinned him when they were old enough to understand what their feelings meant; and the same smile on the same lips that had always made him feel appreciated—but he noticed, too, that some of Aaron’s features were changed. The roundness of youth in Aaron’s face had given way to handsome, rugged angles. Stubble, thick and dark, shaded his jaw and climbed to his sideburns. In him, in that moment, Gage saw the best friend who’d shown up at Gage’s school after hours to stand up to Ricky James when he’d been bullying Gage in the third grade, but also the man Aaron was growing into.
The past and the future in stunning harmony—a marker of the artistry of time.
“I love you,” Gage whispered. He attempted to move his hips, and when he did, the angle of Aaron’s penetration changed, and his cock brushed against something inside of Gage that brought stars to his eyes.
Fitting, a tiny voice in the back of his head whispered, since Aaron was his universe.
“I love you, too,” Aaron uttered. His hips moved steadily, brushing against that spot again and again, until Gage couldn’t help but whimper and moan, certain that he would never feel right again without Aaron inside of him. “God, do I love you, Gage. All I want is you. You forever.”
Gage’s hands had found their home low on Aaron’s back. He used them to push himself against Aaron, heightening the pleasure they made from nothing other than each other. Aaron loved him. It was a dream come true—a dream Gage hoped he’d never wake up from.
As long as he persisted, it was a dream that never had to end.
He would be strong. He would endure. And one day, Aaron would come back to him, and the world would be right again.
The bedsprings creaked. They kissed, Aaron’s tongue sweetly licking its way between Gage’s lips, and Gage’s tongue rising to meet his in response. It had been worth the wait. It would always be worth the wait.
The kiss broke. Aaron, panting, rested his forehead against the pillow as he thrust again and again into Gage’s body. He stroked a hand down Gage’s side that came to a rest momentarily on his hip before it worked its way back up. When he spoke, the sound of his voice sent shivers of anticipation down Gage’s spine. “I… fuck, BP, baby, is it really okay? Is it okay if I knot you? Don’t wanna come in you if it’s not safe.”
The thought of Aaron pulling out now was akin to the notion of exhaling only to never breathe in again. Gage needed him. He needed to know what it felt like for the man he loved more than anything in the world to come inside of him—to share something so intimate and so precious. On lonely nights after Aaron had gone back to school, Gage wanted to remember how he’d been stretched by his knot and locked to his most important person. Mind hazy with lust, heart brimming over with love, he knew that even if his bed was empty, his memories would be full. All the time they’d spend apart would be tolerable if they could only share this moment.
“Knot me.” Gage nuzzled against Aaron’s cheek, then kissed the corner of his lips. “I love you. I want this. Knot me.”
Aaron made a sound, not quite a moan for how sweet it was, but not exactly a mewl, either. It rolled with pleasure and deepened itself with his dominant masculinity, then ended in breathless adoration. His cock rubbed against the same spot that had caused Gage to see stars, only now the stars had moved to Gage’s groin, and they went supernova. With a gasp, Gage pushed against Aaron, chasing that implosive sensation—like everything they shared was coalescing inside of him into a single, beautiful pearl. Orgasm arrived, tightening his body, but widening his mind.
The moment was everything he’d always wanted, and everything he’d never known he needed.
And when Aaron’s knot stretched him, securing their union, Gage understood the truth. He’d waited his whole life for this moment, imagining that once it happened, he’d be complete—but that wasn’t the case at all. What they shared ended nothing. It was the beginning of a new future—of love like he’d never imagined it before.
Tears streamed down Gage’s cheeks, and he laughed with limitless, airy joy as his cock pulsed, emptying its load between their bodies. His arms wove around Aaron’s neck, and he slid his fingers through Aaron’s hair, enamored.
“I love you,” he whispered as Aaron knotted him, his warm seed flooding Gage’s hole. “I love you. I love you. I love you.”
“And I love you, more than you could ever know.” Aaron, breathless, kissed him in full, and Gage gave him everything in return.
The distance and time they spent apart didn’t matter. Nothing did. They would see their struggles through together.
Gage’s heart belonged to Aaron Alcrest, and it always would, even if he had to wait for him forever.