New York
by cgb

In any moment of clarity there is a super-fine line between the realisation of truth and the effectiveness of self-deception. Lies are prettier than the truth and often more compelling, but lies can also be complex and involved, containing the kind of depth one expects from reality. A good lie is a truth in the end.

So it could be the drugs, the alcohol, or the endorphins constructing a whole new reality for him, or it could be the realization of something he's always known, something real. It doesn't matter of course. It's there. That's the point.

He's turned away from Christian but they're separated by less than three feet of floor space so he can still hear Christian breathing. The room is dull-grey dark, lit from streetlights ghosting through the window. Sean can make out the pattern on the curtains.

Christian breaks the silence. "Was it good for you too, sweetheart?" But maybe that part is a lie. Maybe Christian is already asleep and baiting Sean in his dreams. In Sean's dreams Christian never lies. He walks through walls, morphs into a vamprire, asks Sean for his pharmacology notes but never, never lies.

If he's dreaming then this is where it starts. "I gave you the opportunity," Sean says. "Why didn't you take it?"

There's a long pause. The breathing goes quiet. "What are you talking about?" Christian says eventually.

Sean rolls onto his back. "There was Julia, of course," he says. "But there was always Julia."

"Go to sleep, Sean."

But they're already asleep. If he closes his eyes he'll wake up and he'll be living in suburbia with a beautiful wife and two children who look just like him.

"Why didn't you fuck me, Christian?"

"Excuse me?"

"Isn't that what you wanted?"

There's another pregnant silence, and then Christian laughs. "We get naked once in eighteen years and suddenly we're gay? I hate to break it to you Sean but I really did have sex with all those women and enjoyed every minute. I suppose you think that's over-compensating?"

"People aren't labels, Christian." Not husband, not father, not doctor, not best-friend, not mid-life crisis victim.

"Well, thank Christ for that because you sure as hell sound like a lunatic right now."

Sean pushes his blanket down around his hips. It's warm in their hotel room. All that body heat. "I'm not talking about being gay. I'm talking about you and me. We never..." They never said it out loud. Saying it out loud makes it real -- something less than it is. "We don't talk about us."


"Oh, screw the straight act, Christian. I was there in college. I saw Billy Ellison coming out of our room more times than I can count on one hand, and he wasn't there to smoke weed." He never asked Christian why he screwed girls in their dorm room when he knew Sean had nowhere else to go. He never asked why the room smelled of pot when Sean returned from a weekend with his parents or a night out with Julia.

"That was college," Christian says.

"What the fuck does it matter?" Sean says. He wonders when they started pretending with each other. If it's something they do because they always did. "You're not that fucking simple, Christian. You never have been."

"It doesn't mean anything," Christian says.

"It means everything." Sean raises himself up on his elbows. Across the room Christian is lying on his back, fingers interlaced on his torso. "You think about it."

"How do you know?"

"Because I do too."

Christian rolls onto his side, looks at Sean with big eyes, wide open. It's not new. Christian's always looked at him like that. "You want to fuck?" Christian says quietly. "Is that what you want?"

Sean meets Christian's eyes. Words can't describe what Sean wants.

Christian throws his blanket back, gets out of bed, naked and purposeful. He looms large at the end of Sean's bed, half-erect and lips parted. This is what Christian does, takes charge in the bedroom the way he never takes charge in the surgery. Sean is an intern, and this is graduation day.

Christian leans forward, rests his closed fists on the bed, and crawls toward Sean. Christian is half wolf, half cat, and sometimes human. He has animalistic appeal and knows it.

He works his way up Sean's body, hands either side of Sean's hips, Sean's chest. He stops when he's inches from Sean's face. "You want this?" he says.

>From very far away Sean hears himself say, "yes."

Christian kisses him. It's hard, punishing. Not kind. Christian is making a point, leaving an impression. Sean opens his mouth, kisses Christian back. It's all he can do.

Christian moves down, teeth against Sean's collar bone, his rib cage, his thigh. His tongue follows the line from Sean's hip to his groin, stops when he's reaches the smattering of hair below the navel. He says, "Is this your first time?" and doesn't wait for a response. "Don't worry, sweetheart - I'll be gentle." He touches Sean, one finger on the tip of Sean's cock, sliding all the way down to the base. "Just relax."

He has lube in his overnight bag and Sean thinks, 'Christian has lube?' before thinking 'of course, Christian has lube.' Christian expects sex.

Christian touches Sean with lubed hands and it's slick and smooth and effortless, leaving a sheen on Sean's skin where Christian's hands have been. And then Christian is parting his knees, settling between them, and there are fingers between Sean's legs, trailing across the skin beneath his balls, skimming the sensitive area between his cheeks.

Then the fingers are inside him and it's not like Sean's never fingered his own ass before because boys experiment, particularly boys who go to med school. He studied proctology and learned the tissue surrounding the glands and stroma contain sensitive nerve endings which respond to massage and friction. And maybe his lecturer never meant to promote anal sex as a viable alternative to vaginal intercourse but he gave Sean a reason to stick a finger up his ass to see if he liked it.

He liked it a lot. He would have said so to Julia but there are some things you never ask of the mother of your children.

Christian extracts his fingers puts his hands under Sean's knees, raising his legs up. He nudges Sean's ass and Sean tenses. "I can stop if you want," Christian says. It's a dare.

"Not a chance."

"Are you sure?" Christian says. "I'm bigger than most, you know." He touches himself so Sean can see.

"I know," Sean says. "I saw." He was watching. He's watched before. Christian knows this too.

Christian edges in. He's slow and careful but Sean feels it like its tearing him apart. He presses his head back into the pillow, breathes carefully, counting each breath out: one, one-two-three-four, two one-two-three-four...

"Sean?" Sean raises his head, and there's Christian, mouth partly open, eyes glassed and deep. He's got Sean by the ass, holding him in place, hard up against Christian's hips. Christian moves oh-so slowly and it's better, much better. It's dirty and deep and Sean feels it everywhere.

Sean breathes out. "Ohhhh..."

And just like that Christian's face falls, like something inside him breaks.

"Oh god... oh god Sean." His hand reaches out, splays across Sean's thigh, and they're fucking - they're really fucking - and there's no Julia, no stand-in, just them: limbs and skin and breath and blood and every moment of their lives that brought them here and now.

"Yes." Sean reaches out for Christian's hand, grasps it hard, like he's hanging on for dear life. "Yes, Christian -- fuck me."

And they fuck with eyes open, hands held.

Later, Christian collapses onto the bed beside Sean, his body curled against Sean's and his face against Sean's hair. He puts his hand on Sean's chest and whispers, "Sorry, sorry..." against Sean's ear.

Sean doesn't ask him what he means. He reaches for Christian's face, the back of his hand resting against Christian's cheek. "It's okay," he says. "It's all right."


On the flight home Christian flirts with the stewardess. Sean doesn't pay attention. He's seen it before. He dozes, head against the headrest, leaning to the side. He woke up alone this morning. Christian was awake, showered and packing. They didn't talk about it.

They say things are different in the harsh light of day and what happens in New York stays in York, but the night has its own distinction and whose to say the bright light of New York are more distracting than the swaying palms of Miami? Real life is being careful, being predictable, reliable. Real life is pretending you have purpose without ever actually reaching it. Maybe it was never supposed to be that way?

Christian orders scotch and his arm touches Sean's on the armrest between them. He call feel Christian's warmth radiating through the sleeve of his jacket and into Sean's wrist. He thinks of them naked, sweat drenched bodies lying uncovered in the cool early morning. He has this at least.

One day, maybe years later, maybe next year, they'll talk about it and it will go like this:

Sean will say, "Remember that time we..."

And Christian will say, "I don't want to talk about it."

Sean will smile, wonder why it is that Christian's overt sexuality is in so much need of protection. He'll say, "I never felt like that before... not with Julia, not with Meghan, not with anyone," and he won't look at Christian when he says it.

And Christian won't answer but Sean will know. There was never anyone else. There will never be anyone else. This is how it is, and there's nothing left to say.


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