The narrow two-lane road climbed steeply through the Corsican countryside, lined with trees as straight and slim as toothpicks that towered above ferns and the fragrant, low bushes called maquis
. Those strong, determined bushes had given their name to the French resistance, and thinking of them inspired Michel Perreau as he leaned forward, gripping the handlebars of his bright red motorbike.
Behind him, his boyfriend, Cris, had his hands clasped together around Michel’s waist, his feet solidly placed on the bike’s footrest. Tiny blue butterflies darted alongside them as they zoomed around the switchbacks that climbed the mountains.
For a while there was no one else on the road, and Michel relished the feel of Cris’s body so close to his, daydreaming of the pleasures that awaited them at their secret place—an oceanfront cave nestled beneath a sparkling waterfall.
He zoomed through a hairpin turn, feeling Cris lean into it with him, as if they shared one body. He looked over his shoulder and smiled. When he looked back at the road, he was startled to see they were coming up fast on a truck carrying huge tree trunks down from the high mountains.
Michel leaned back and applied the brakes quickly. Gravel scattered beneath the front wheel, and he had to grip the handlebars to control the sideways motion.
“You’re crazy!” Cris yelled, but Michel could hear the exuberance in his voice. As soon as he could, he accelerated the bike and passed the truck, both of them waving at the driver as they shot forward.
The dry air was cool, but the March sun was hot, and Michel felt it baking into his body, warming him for the lovemaking to come. His balls had pulled up, and his dick pressed uncomfortably against his tight jeans. A tiny trickle of sweat began in each armpit. He knew Cris would like that—he loved to nibble at Michel’s pits while teasing his ass with a long, slim finger.
Cris leaned forward and kissed the back of Michel’s neck, and Michel’s body quivered. He had never met anyone who made him feel the way Cris did—so fully alive that every nerve in his body tingled. Not just when they kissed or made love; he felt that way any time he thought of his handsome, sexy boyfriend. Now with their bodies touching at so many points, his dick pressed against his pants and his heart raced and all he wanted to do was ditch the motorcycle, rip off his clothes, and offer his whole body to Cris.
They zoomed past a cluster of small stone houses and a bar with two outdoor tables and a sign advertising Pietra—the local beer made with chestnut flour. Michel slowed the bike as they approached the tree that signaled the entrance to Cris’s hometown of Cargése.
Michel followed the curving road down to the marina: a long stone breakwater that protected the harbor, and rows of slips for pleasure and fishing boats. The air smelled like salt water and motor oil, overlaid with the fresh, briny smell of fish. “You’re sure your father won’t be here today?” he asked Cris over his shoulder as he slowed the bike.
“He’s supposed to be in Ajaccio, leading a demonstration,” Cris said. His father was a fisherman, but in the past few years he had become an environmental activist as well.
Michel pulled the bike to a stop at the far end of the marina, where he shut it down and removed his helmet, shaking his hair free.
Cristoforu Aquaviva hopped off the bike behind him, tugging Michel’s extra helmet from his curly black hair. He was darker than Michel, more muscular, with eyes as black as cured olives, and he wore a T-shirt, denim cutoff shorts, and bright yellow track shoes. He moved with the easy grace of a born athlete. “You are a wild man,” he said. “The way you drive!”
“I’m wild in more ways than that,” Michel said, smiling and moving toward his boyfriend.
“Not here,” Cris said. “We’ll have plenty of time to play when we get to the waterfall.”
Michel unhooked the day pack from the back of the bike and shouldered it as Cris led the way to a small flat-bottomed boat that gently swayed in the current. It belonged to his father’s best friend, the man he called Uncle Andre, and he’d told Cris he was free to use it whenever he wanted. He grabbed the rope to pull it close and jumped in, holding it steady for Michel. Cris untied the rope, and the boat drifted from the pier as he revved the outboard.
Michel sat facing him, his back against the gunwale, and opened his pants so that his stiff dick sprang forward. Cris laughed, then looked up to steer the boat out of the harbor. “Shit!” he said. “My father’s here.”
He pointed ahead of them to a fishing boat painted light blue, with a red stripe just above the waterline. L’Ange de la Mer
was twenty meters long, with a heavy-duty winch attached to the bow for lowering and raising the lobster nets. A handsome man in his forties stood at the bow. He was an older, more weather-beaten version of Cris—the same black hair, stocky build, chiseled features.
He was talking to a pretty young woman who stood on the dock beside the boat. She wore high heels and a bright green dress that clung to the curves of her body, and her dark, curly hair spread across her shoulders.
“Isn’t that Vanina Andreadi?” Michel asked. “What’s she doing here?”
“She’s part of that group, you know, Students for a Green Corsica,” Cris said. “She must have followed him back from that protest.”
“Not exactly dressed for a rally, is she?” Michel muttered. He barely knew the girl, only that she liked to hang around the football team, flirting with the coach and some of the better-looking players. He was jealous that she could get away with that behavior just because she was a girl.
Cris steered the small boat into the shelter of a large cabin cruiser. “How will we get past your father?” Michel asked. Neither boy was out to his family, and neither wanted to admit to a parent that they were on their way to a protected cove to have sex.
“We’ll have to skip the waterfall,” Cris said. “You can jump out here, and I’ll put Uncle Andre’s boat back. Then we’ll meet up at your bike.”
“Crap,” Michel said. “That’s going to ruin our day.”
“Can’t be helped,” Cris said.
Michel looked up and saw the girl on the dock wave at Nic and turn toward the parking lot. “See there, Vanina’s leaving. Maybe your father will too.”
Vanina looked back toward L’Ange de la Mer
and noticed the two of them in the small boat. She laughed and pointed at Michel’s open pants, his dick swaying like a tree in the wind.
“You idiot!” Cris said. “She’s such a gossip. She’ll tell everyone at school that she saw us.”
“She doesn’t even know who I am,” Michel said as he scrambled to close his pants. “And all she saw was the two of us in a boat with my pants open. I could have been ready to take a piss.”
“I’ll talk to her tomorrow in class,” Cris said. “See what she thinks she saw. There’s no way she could suspect anything about me.”
Cris played football for the University of Corsica Pascal Paoli, and none of his friends or teammates knew he was gay. He wanted to keep it that way.
They watched Vanina walk to a small red car and get in. As she drove out of the lot, Nic Aquaviva ducked into the cabin of the fishing boat. “Hold on,” Cris said, and he gunned the engine of the small boat.
Michel grabbed the gunwale and felt the spray on his face as they zoomed past L’Ange and out beyond the breakwater. “I’m not the only crazy driver,” he said when they were away from the marina and Cris had slowed the boat.
“Yes, but I’m crazy when I have a reason to be.” The coastline around Cargése was steep and rocky, but Cris knew every inch of it from years of fishing with his father. After a few minutes, he turned inland and slipped through a crevice in the tall stone walls, to a secret cove he had discovered years before.
A shallow lagoon was ringed by cliffs of twenty to thirty feet high. To the west, a small river cascaded over a tumble of red rocks, splashing into the cove. Cris steered the boat up to the shore, and Michel jumped onto the narrow strip of sand. Cris cut the engine and tossed the line to Michel, who held it until Cris jumped out and took it, tying it around a spike of rock.
Then Cris grabbed his boyfriend by the waist and pulled him close. Lips pressed against lips, groin against groin, hands moving eagerly under T-shirts to find bare skin. Cris’s lips tasted like a mix of strawberries and wind.
“My dick is raw from pressing against your ass all that way on the bike,” Cris murmured into Michel’s ear.
“I’ll have to be especially nice to it, then.” Michel kissed Cris’s jaw, rough with a few days’ stubble, and pressed his hand against his boyfriend’s stiff cock through his shorts.
Cris pulled away. “Race you to the cave,” he said, and he took off down the shore to the waterfall.
“No fair! I have to carry everything!” Michel called. He grabbed the pack from the boat and hurried after Cris. By the time he reached the stepping stones that allowed them to climb up to the cave’s entrance, Cris was standing by the water’s edge, one leg resting atop a boulder speckled with mica.
“I win!” he said. “You know what that means.”
Michel knew. It meant he would have to do anything Cris wanted for as long as they were at their secret hideaway.
“Yes, sir,” he said, smiling. “What would you like me to do?”