Stewart loved Gary’s size. He was six feet five and over two hundred pounds of solid muscle. His black trousers clung to his powerful thighs, and his broad shoulders and biceps strained his shirtsleeves. Gary had shaved. That disappointed Stewart. He loved the scratch of Gary’s beard against his inner thighs.
“Hey,” Gary said.
I am now.
Stewart nodded. He reached for Gary. Gary met him halfway and pressed a kiss to Stewart’s lips. Stewart opened for him, and Gary deepened their kiss, one hand holding the back of Stewart’s neck, the other flat on the small of Stewart’s back.
“Giving the neighbors something to talk about?” Gary asked when they pulled apart.
“That’s as much as they’re getting.”
Stewart stepped aside to let Gary enter the house. Gary kicked his shoes off in the hallway without Stewart having to ask. He had a bag with him, and Stewart remembered they hadn’t confirmed if Gary would stay one night or for the weekend.
“You sure you’re okay?” Gary asked. He appeared less tired, more alert. Stewart wondered if his face had betrayed him as he thought about how it would feel to have Gary stay for the weekend.
“I’m good. Just busy with the house. Kind of stressed.”
It occurred to Stewart that he should be asking about Gary’s work, finding out how the documentary was going and encouraging Gary to open up to him more. He knew Gary’s reluctance to talk, knew his own concerns about hearing in-depth details in case doing so forced him to decide he didn’t want to be with Gary, but something else had occurred to him as he was shredding and trashing old paperwork from Archie’s study earlier in the day.
Archie had a life before Stewart met him, and there were things Archie never talked about from his past. Gary wasn’t Archie, as Stewart could hardly fail to notice, but he didn’t want them to copy that part of his previous relationship. The secrecy had made Stewart feel left out. Stewart knew Gary didn’t want to leave him out. So maybe by asking about Gary’s work, Stewart could avoid that becoming a possibility.
“How’s the documentary coming along?”
True to form, Gary seemed surprised by Stewart’s question. “Editing is going smoothly. That’s more Phoenix’s end of things. There’s still work to do. It’s not a high-budget production, as you can imagine, so we’ll have to hope the channel understands this is the best we could do given the money and time restraints we’re working with.”
“And that’s because it’s a pilot? You’re sort of, pitching to the channel to see if they’re interested?”
Gary cocked his head. “You’re taking an interest?”
“I’ve never not been interested.”
Gary made a sound that suggested he didn’t agree with that statement.
“Tell me about it,” Stewart said.
“I want a kiss first.”
Before Stewart could object or consider if that was a delaying tactic or a genuine request, Gary took the bottle of wine from him. He set it on the hall table and backed Stewart up against a wall. He pushed his crotch against Stewart’s body as he tilted Stewart’s chin back for a kiss. Stewart bit his lip when the long, thick length of Gary’s erection press against him. Three nights since they had last been together was too long. Gary kissed him, forcing Stewart to release his bottom lip and moan into Gary’s mouth instead. Frustration. Anticipation. Gary pushed a leg between Stewart’s thighs and lifted Stewart slightly, making him feel that the press of Gary and the wall beneath his back were the only things keeping him on his feet. Stewart thrust his hips forward, rubbing against Gary’s swollen length, and Gary broke the kiss to mutter something that sounded a lot like, “Fuck” against Stewart’s neck.
It would be easy to go straight to a bedroom, to get on with one of the good bits about being together. To let the desire to touch Gary’s obvious want, to meet his needs whatever way Gary asked for it, take over. Dinner could be heated up whenever and they could talk later. Stewart would get to hear those noises Gary made when he pushed that huge cock into Stewart’s desperate body. He ran a hand down his own chest, then lower. He was half-hard and well on his way to being incapable of thinking straight. He gave Gary a little shove. Gary took a step back. Stewart watched him rake his fingers through his hair.
“Fuck,” Gary repeated. “Just the sight of you.”
Stewart nodded. He didn’t trust himself with words, and he couldn’t look down to where he knew Gary’s considerable size would be straining the front of his trousers. And then the thought of that coupled with Gary’s heavy breathing made him look.
“Gary,” Stewart said.
Gary was rubbing his erection through the fabric of his trousers. He stopped when Stewart spoke, his mouth open, breathing coming in gasps.
“Sorry,” he said. “I’ve been bored senseless all day watching the same scenes over and over, and all I could think about was you spread out in front of me, or this down your throat.”
Stewart knew which of those he would prefer, but either would be fine, and he didn’t object to getting on his knees for Gary, but that wasn’t the part of their relationship they needed to focus on. Sex they could do. Talking was the issue.
Fortunately, Gary had some self-control. He took a deep breath and turned away from Stewart to pick up the wine. “Kitchen, drink, then tell me about your day. Then I’ll tell you about mine.”
Stewart watched Gary head for the kitchen. He took a few seconds longer, standing in the hall, wondering what on earth would have been wrong with taking Gary to bed and why conversation was so important before following him.
“So,” Gary said. He was pouring the wine and something in his easy confidence, making himself at home in the kitchen, combined with the flush of want lingering in Stewart’s system, drove away any nagging nerves Stewart had about the situation they were in. He knew the nerves weren’t gone. They would come back soon enough accompanied by their good friend guilt, but for now, there wasn’t room in Stewart’s head for them. Gary passed him a glass of wine, and Stewart took it, waiting for Gary to clink their glasses together in an unspoken toast before he took a sip. “How was the viewing today?”
“Two viewings,” Stewart said. He was paying the estate agent an additional fee to show viewers around the house because he didn’t trust himself to be in any way capable of discussing the house without breaking down in tears. He took Havana to the park, instead, where they managed to feed the ducks with Havana launching herself into the pond after them.
Stewart perched on one of the bar stools. Gary leaned up against the countertop and briefly cast his gaze approvingly over the lasagna sitting waiting to be heated up. They were, Stewart thought, a safe distance apart that their conversation could carry on without interference from more base desires.
“Old couple saw it first. They’ve been looking throughout Stirling. Don’t know why they bothered really. They said they’re looking for somewhere to downsize to for their retirement. How big would your house have to be to think this is a place you would downsize to?”
Gary laughed. He shrugged and took another sip of wine.
“The second viewing was a young couple with two kids. I don’t know how old they are. Maybe Havana’s age. The school catchment area is a big thing for them, and they’ve been waiting for a house like this, in this neighborhood. They were positive, but you can never tell, I guess. They did ask to see the home report.”
“Which is like a survey?”
“Another viewing tomorrow,” he said. “Another young couple who asked to be contacted if a property like this comes on the market.”
“Sounds promising,” Gary said. His tone seemed a little off.
“Nothing. I just hope you’re okay with all of this.”
Stewart took a sip of wine. “I am,” he said and then spoiled his intended projection of calm by flinching when the phone started to ring once again.
Darting past Gary, he grabbed it, jabbing the Answer button as he did so. He didn’t speak, and he could feel Gary watching him. The same sound came over the line, of a breeze and leaves rustling. It was an eerie sound, and with his back to the kitchen window, Stewart felt the same sensation of fingers on the back of his neck trailing across his skin as he had when he stood in the kitchen the night before he went north with Gary for New Year. It had seemed irrational then, like he spent too much time listening to stories of ghosts and ghouls, but that night the security light kept jumping on, and Stewart had struggled to fight the feeling that he was being watched.
He was being watched, of course, by Gary, who had taken a step toward him. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Gary reach for him, and the line went dead. Stewart lowered the phone from his ear.
“Who was that?” Gary asked.
Stewart looked up him. The soft lines around Gary’s eyes that he loved so much were creased in concern, and Gary’s forehead was furrowed.
“I don’t know.” Stewart replaced the phone. “That’s the second time tonight, and it happened all day yesterday and the day before. I answer the phone, but nobody talks. I hear, like, a breeze. As if someone’s standing in trees.”
Stewart peered out the kitchen window once more, imagining the trees at the end of his garden that marked the perimeter of his property. It was too dark to see anything out there.
“You think someone’s doing this on purpose? Targeting you?”
Stewart looked at Gary again, wondering why it sounded like he thought there was something sinister behind a series of phone calls.
“Why do you ask?”
“Because you look spooked. And I don’t need you adding spooked to the mix when you’re already living on your nerves.”
Stewart glanced at the phone. “I keep getting this weird feeling I’m being watched.”