Tim Hughes was the sort of young man who knew precisely what it was he wanted. He sported a helmet of blonde hair, which he wore down in a tousled shag. He read children’s fiction exclusively and held the conviction that most people, left to their own devices, would follow suit. His body was fit, with the fondest paunch of belly just hinting above his belt at the promise of warmth and solidity.
And he habitually took Jacob, the Labrador, on long promenades about the park in search of men.
On one such excursion, Will Gray-who had neither blonde hair, nor a fondness for children’s books, nor an affable paunch-happened to also be navigating the park’s circumference.
The sun was setting on both the ocean and Will’s ambitions for the day when Jacob, who possessed a keen nose for the lonely, bounded onto Will’s backside, felling him in a round of barks and fervent licking.
Tim Hughes apologized, embarrassed, and-realizing he had slipped into a romantic comedy-helped Will onto his now-wobbling legs.
The two men fell into step beside each other, which delighted Jacob to no end. Having served his matchmaking purpose, the Labrador left the pair to terrorize a conference of ducks that had assembled near the sea wall.
“I’m Will,” said Will, extending a hand.
It is strange how little it takes, thought Tim, motioning toward the concession stand. And Will, who had not been laid in months, found his member stirring at the prospect of another man buying him coffee.
By mutual and silent agreement, the men continued to walk together long after their cups were drained. They leashed Jacob and zigzagged back toward Tim’s apartment, a Tudor number with long arms of ivy up the sides. Dinner seemed obvious.
Will chopped vegetables; Tim fried sausages. Jacob retired to the balcony with a delicious hoof and sighed.
Only when the two had raised their cutlery and stared across at each other did the sweet ramble of nothing-chatter drop away. And it became clear that real conversation would, at some point, become necessary.
“You know, I think I’m quite taken by you,” said Tim.
“Taken already? Doubtful. Bit of a rush job, don’t you think?”
Tim shook his head narrowly, grinned up at the ceiling. “You’re charming.”
“You’re old world.”
“No, I don’t think so. Just smitten.” This was uncomfortably near the truth, and Tim blushed for the first time that day.
Outside, the evening had fully set and Jacob trotted in to receive whatever offerings were made from the dinner table.
The meal was over. “I don’t want to leave,” said Will, surprised at his own forthrightness.
“So don’t.” And he didn’t.
Will scratched his chest and looked around the apartment. Bookcases, loads of trailing plants, dog toys hoarded in the corner of the couch. He caught himself longing to live there. He longed to know Tim Hughes better.
There was not much rush of immediate lust. But the far stronger (and far more miraculous) flood of familiar acknowledgement blindsided Will with the force of 100 one-night stands.
Tim pulled him onto the sofa and huddled close, one arm idling with the back of Will’s neck. There were too-long hairs there-it had been a month since his last cut.
“It’s gross, sorry,” squirmed Will. And he pulled Tim’s hand away.
“Let me,” was all Tim returned with. He fondled the hairs again. “Do you ever think of braiding them?”
But Will’s indignation was cut off by the taste of Tim’s mouth.
Jacob, desperate to not be left out, whined around the pair and pawed at the sofa, as shirts were shed and buckles loosened. Finally a door was necessary to shut out the Labrador’s enthusiasm and, being that Tim’s apartment was modest in size, the only suitable barrier was the bedroom door.
Flannel never felt so right.
The act itself was clumsy, though. Bewildering. More intent on exploring the continent of a new body, the men forsook what normally passed for fucking. Instead, they clambered over each other’s bodies like scavengers.
An hour of grinding frottage culminated in nothing but a pant-laced collapse. Without, Jacob howled in sympathy.
“This has never happened to me,” said Tim, staring down at his uncooperative cock.
Will twanged his instrument futilely for a while more, then gave up as well. “What’s wrong with us?”
They slept. And awoke to a miracle.
The miracle, however, was not the effervescent satisfaction of sex. Whatever it was, it hung around them in a haze-the initial aftershock of a hurried meeting, where Will awoke in the crook of Tim’s arm and breathed in the bedroom like a diver, up for air.