White Balance – Part One (Chapters 1-6)

WB5

This is a follow-up story to the novella Exposure. Part One contains a prologue and six chapters.

Blurb: When Jeremy Trask walked into Martin Lewis’ photography studio neither man was prepared for the instant attraction that swept them up and refused to be denied. Three years later Jeremy has fulfilled his dream of becoming a working male model while Martin has embarked on a more fulfilling photography career in nature journalism. Now a world famous photographer has requested Jeremy pose for him in London. Martin accompanies Jeremy, ostensibly to do a photo spread on the New Forest for Outside magazine, but really because he can’t bear to be apart from the man he loves. When things in London don’t turn out as expected, can Martin and Jeremy navigate the hurt feelings and jealousy that suddenly threaten their relationship?

MM, Contemporary, Erotic, Light Kink, 18+

Prologue

“Martin?”

I heard Jeremy’s voice and as usual it lifted something inside me. Something that had lain dormant for years and woken up three years ago when he’d walked into my photo studio.

“Martin? You home?” He said again, and then I heard him bounding up the stairs two at a time.

“In here,” I replied, gazing down at the clothes I’d put out on the bed. I had no idea what to wear. Thank goodness Jeremy was home.

He came into our room and skidded to a halt. You’d never guess he’d needed a cane to walk shortly after I’d met him.

“Hey, guess what?”

He glowed with barely contained excitement as he waited for my answer.

“Um, you found your long lost twin?”

“Eh, no.” He grinned, waiting.

“You finally realized that chocolate is not worth it?”

He looked at me and frowned. “Fuck no.”

“Just tell me. I’ll never guess and you know it.”

His grin returned and he shoved a piece of paper toward me.

I took it from him. “What is this?”

“It’s an invitation to model for Felix Kureck in London, England! He wants me to come to London so he can shoot me.”

I stared at the letter, reading the invitation. I’d heard of the guy of course. Everyone had. He was a famous photographer specializing in artistic photos of sexy men, who had personally requested that Jeremy’s agency send him, all expenses paid, to London England for a photo shoot for Kureck’s upcoming coffee table book, The New Man.

I understood why he was so excited and tried to match it with a similar enthusiasm, even though my stomach sank at the thought of him leaving me for two weeks. We hadn’t been apart for longer than a weekend since we’d met.

“Wow! That’s amazing.”

He sat down on the bed, shaking his head back and forth. “I know, right? I mean, he wants me. Me!”

I looked at Jeremy, once again shocked that this beautiful young man really didn’t appreciate how physically gorgeous he was.

“Everyone wants you, Jeremy. You’re a wet dream. Men and women have your magazine ads pinned to their walls. Trust me.”

He laughed. “Oh come on. You’re a little biased, you know, Martin.”

“Am I?” Sure, I was biased. I also knew what it was like to take his photo. To see him come alive under the lens of my camera. To see his image on my computer screen teasing me with what I thought I couldn’t have. Until he’d let me know in the next session pretty clearly that he wanted me as much as I wanted him.

And I still had a hard time believing it. Even when we were fucking and he was crying out my name, I wondered how I’d gotten this lucky.

“I want you to come,” he said then.

“What?” My mind was still wrapped up in erotic memories and I wasn’t sure what he meant.

“To London. Come to London with me, Martin.”

CHAPTER ONE

“What? I can’t just take off for two weeks,” I said, trying to wrap my head around what was happening.

“Why not? It’s not like you have a regular nine-to-five job. What do you have booked for the next little while?”

He was practically bursting with excitement and optimism and I couldn’t blame him. This was a BIG DEAL.

“Well, I — “

He stood up and approached me, grabbing my shoulders and staring into my eyes with an intense energy. “Come to London with me. Please.”

My head filled with excuses as to why I couldn’t or shouldn’t, but my mouth said, “Okay.”

He let out a whoosh of air that smelled like cinnamon. Perks of working at Starbucks. “Really?”

I nodded. “Sure, why not? I can just take out a second mortgage on this place.”

His face fell and I felt like I’d kicked my pet dog.

“I’m kidding, I’m kidding,” I took his chin and kissed him softly. “It’s going to be expensive that’s all. But I’m just about to pitch a spread to Outside Magazine. If I can convince them a story about the New Forest would be timely, this just might work.”

“Oh shit, I forgot you had that meeting. What time?” His smile was back.

“An hour. Can you help me get some information together?”

“Of course.”

“And tell me what to wear?”

“Always.”

*****

Jeremy and I spent thirty minutes printing pages of information on The New Forest in England — weather patterns, indigenous animals and fauna, acreage, human encroachment. It would be a hastily put together pitch, but one I hoped would at least pique their interest enough to tell me to go for it. And pay some of my way.

After dressing in the outfit Jeremy picked out — dark jeans, leather oxfords, a white button-up and casual blazer — I kissed him at the door and left him to dream about modelling for a famous artist in one of the biggest metropolitan cities of the world and walked three blocks to the Lieutenant’s Pump.

I felt nervous because I had prepared a completely different pitch and now I needed to beg them to send me to England. I’d only been doing gigs for this magazine for a year and I didn’t know if I had enough of a reputation yet to snag myself an overseas trip. But the motivation to spend time in London with Jeremy drove me.

The editor from Outside, a Mr. Clarence Twomes, was already seated at a table in the corner of the pub. He stood when he saw me approach.

“Hey, Martin, it’s great to see you again,” he said with genuine warmth, shaking my hand enthusiastically.

“Mr. Twomes,” I smiled.

“Call me Clarence. I loved your piece on Gatineau Park, by the way. The images were incredible.”

I blushed, not used to so much admiration and respect. It bode well for my mission. “Thank you. It was something I’d worked on for awhile. I’m so grateful that Outside Magazine was interested.”

Clarence flagged the server. “What’ll you have, Martin? It’s on me. Well, it’s on the magazine, that is.”

“Oh? Great. Guiness please.”

The server left and in a few moments brought my beer. Clarence and I made small talk about the weather and then he toasted our meeting and asked what I was up to lately.

“Well, actually, that’s why I called you. Thank you for agreeing to meet with me.”

“Anytime, Martin. Do you have another spread for us?”

I fiddled with the edge of the coaster. “Well, that’s the thing. I have an idea for one. But I don’t know if it fits your mandate or what kind of advance you can offer me.”

Clarence sat back in his chair. “Hit me.”

All right. Here goes.

“I want to do a piece on the New Forest in England.”

One, two, three, four — I counted silently to ten before launching into a rambling justification as I reached for my satchel. “I mean, there are — “

“I like it. The New Forest. That’s near London, isn’t it?”

Had he figured out this was all a ploy to go to London? Well, not really, because what nature photographer wouldn’t want to do a story about the New Forest?

“Well, yes, but —“

“I’ll check with the executive editor but I don’t see a problem. What’s your timeline and what do you need?”

I stared at him, speechless. How could it be this easy? I had expected to have to convince him. I left my satchel leaning against my leg.

“Um, well, I think, I’d like to go as soon as possible. Maybe the end of the month?” Jeremy’s photo shoot was on the 28th. Only a few weeks away.

“Okay. If you can submit something by the end of next month we can probably fit it into the fall issue. You’ll want your flight and accommodations taken care of I assume?”

I nodded, still a little out of it. This was not how I’d thought the meeting would go. I took a big swallow of beer.

“I can email you the forms and we can get this started. If you can get them filled out and back to me by tomorrow or Wednesday I can probably get you something by the weekend. Either an advance or a travel voucher.”

I blinked. “Thank you. I really appreciate it.” I didn’t really know what to say.

He seemed suddenly to be aware of my surprise. “Martin, you’re very talented. And intelligent and well written. We’re pretty much interested in anything you want to put together, as long as it goes along with what we like to publish. A story about The New Forest falls perfectly within our interests. If it costs us a bit of money to get you over there, we’ll pay it.”

*****

When I got home, after a great chat with Clarence about the prospects of my trip and my excitement to shoot overseas, I raced upstairs and keyed open the door with enthusiasm. Jeremy, in faded skinny jeans and a t-shirt, turned from the stove, where he was stirring a pot of what smelled like pasta sauce.

I stopped dead, experiencing a strange, surrealistic moment of gratitude and disbelief that this man was mine. When I saw him like this, suddenly after a brief or long absence, in all his laid back, sexy splendour, I was reminded how lucky I was to have him. I stood there dumbly, my eyes raking over him as if I’d forgotten what he looked like. Which was ridiculous because the way he looked, the way he smelled, all the little habitual gestures, every nook and cranny of his exemplary body was indelibly etched in my memory.

“Hey. How did it go?” He asked, as if he hadn’t just given my eyes an orgasm.

“Good,” I said, walking into the living room and putting down my satchel. “Great.”

He raised his eyebrows, pausing his stirring. “You mean — “

I smiled. “They’re paying me to go to England with you.”

“Really?” He dropped the spoon and walked over to me, eyes wide with excitement and disbelief.

I nodded. “Well, I’ll have to take some pictures.”

He stopped in front of me, raising his eyebrows again and lifting up his t-shirt slowly to reveal his fine abdomen with its soft covering of hair. He moved his other hand teasingly across skin of his belly. “Oh, yes you will, Martin. Lots and lots of pictures.”

I laughed. “Of the landscape, dumb nuts.” I said with affection, although my eyes appreciated his nakedness. So did my cock. “Of trees and greenery and ponies.”

He smirked. “I can be a pony. I’d make a cute pony.”

My cock twitched. “I don’t think that’s what Outside magazine is looking for. However,” I said, assessing him. “I’m not dismissing the idea out of hand.”

He grinned. “Seriously? We’re going to England together?”

I nodded.

“For two weeks?”

“For two whole weeks.”

He reached out, grabbed my shirt and pulled me in, kissing my neck and ear and finding his way to my mouth. I tasted his excitement and that particular flavour that was Jeremy. When we parted he looked at me with some concern.

“We have to fly you know.”

I swallowed down the flare of fear that lit inside me. “Uh huh.”

“You’re scared to fly.”

I cleared my throat, looking down. “I’m not scared. I just don’t like to.”

“But you’ll do it for me.”

I looked back up, gazing into his brown eyes. “I’ll do anything for you.”

*****

By early the following week we had plane tickets and a hotel room booked for eight days on the magazine’s ticket, opting for a luxury King Suite and agreeing to pay any extra fee out of pocket. Then I booked us a campsite in the middle of The New Forest for the remaining four days. Jeremy’s shoot would be over and I could spend some time immersed in nature and take as many photos as possible. We could rent everything we needed for the same price as staying at a hotel for the duration.

I also booked an appointment with my doctor.

“Martin, what’s the problem today?” Dr. Acevitos asked in his usual, get-to-the-point-I-have-other-patients way.

“I, uh, I need something for my nerves,” I said, rubbing my hand on my pants. Just the thought of boarding that plane in a week sent me into a panic.

He raised his eyebrows. “Sit down. Let’s talk.”

I sat in the chair beside the examination table. “I’m going to England next week,” I said, looking him in the eyes. “And I’m terrified of flying.”

His expression softened. “Ah. I see. Will you be travelling alone?”

I shook my head. “No. My partner’s going with me.”

“Jeremy,” Dr. Acevitos said, and I remembered that Jeremy was his patient as well.

“Yes. But he doesn’t know how fucking scared I am.”

Dr. Acevitos nodded, straightening up. “You’re not alone, Martin. A lot of people are afraid to fly. Especially these days, what with all the terrorist atta —“ He stopped talking abruptly when my eyes went wide. He continued, “uh, never mind. I mean, it’s a common thing.”

“Is there something I can take before I get on the plane? Something that won’t knock me right out but will make me kind of forget why I’m scared? Or something?”

He smiled reassuringly. “Absolutely.”

He keyed something into his computer and the printer spat out a paper. He handed it to me. “This is a script for Xanax. Please read the information packet carefully and take only the recommended dose and only on the morning of the flight. Too much of this stuff is going to make you really loopy, and you don’t want that.”

Oh, hell, yeah I did. I wanted to be looped out of my fucking mind. I didn’t tell him that.

“Thank you,” I said with real gratitude.

“And think about telling Jeremy how you’re feeling. Sometimes talking honestly with someone who cares can help just as much as the meds.”

I doubted that. Jeremy loved to fly. He wouldn’t understand my fear at all. He was the bravest person I knew.

On Monday morning, four days before our flight, I watched Jeremy sit down at the kitchen table and unzip the blue nylon bag that contained his daily needles. He took one out and examined it, checking for tiny particles before removing it from the plastic and setting it on a clean towel in front of him.

“I guess you’ll have to remember to pack enough of those,” I said, nodding toward the syringe.

He gave me a reassuring smile. “You bet. I’m not risking even a day without taking this stuff.”

I nodded. “Good.”

Jeremy had Multiple Sclerosis, a fact he’d neglected to tell me when we’d met and experienced an instant attraction. A few weeks later, after a very stimulating and somewhat kinky encounter, he’d woken up in the middle of the night barely able to walk. I’d found him on the floor of my living room and he’d told me after several long moments during which I was imagining the worst that it was the MS. In the following days his doctor had put him on this daily injectable and he’d taken it religiously. He’d needed to use a cane for a few weeks but eventually recovered and had been well ever since, taking naps when he felt tired, eating healthy and exercising within reason.

I watched as he injected himself in the upper thigh, without a wince or a hiss or any sound of distress because he was so used to it. Afterwards he stood up, disposed of the needle in the Sharps container under the sink and threw away the cotton ball.

When he saw me looking he raised his eyebrows. “What?”

“I love you.” It was a simple statement of my pride and affection for him. Not schmalzy or sentimental, just a fact.

He smirked and pulled out a Star Wars reference. “I know.”

I cleared my throat, suddenly realizing Jeremy was in nothing but a pair of white boxer briefs that outlined his gorgeous ass and thighs and showed off the bulge in front. Okay, who am I kidding, I noticed that when I entered the kitchen.

“When do you have to work today?” I asked, running my finger along the counter, trying to look nonchalant.

“Not ‘till four. You?”

“I don’t have any bookings today.”

Our eyes met as Jeremy straightened. “Well. Isn’t that interesting,” he said, pretending to stretch and moving in a way that caused my mouth to go dry.

“You, uh, wanna go back to bed?” I asked with a small, hopeful smile.

“I should probably shower,” he said, sniffing at his pits, which also made my dick twitch.

I shook my head. “Uh uh. No point getting clean just to get…dirty.”

Jeremy couldn’t help but smile. “Well, if you say so.”

I gestured to the bedroom. “I’ll meet you on the bed in a second.”

Jeremy lounged on the bed, on his belly, still in his boxer briefs, looking at one of my Photo Lens back issues. I took a few moments to admire him before placing the bottle of honey I’d brought from the kitchen onto the bedside table with a soft thunk.

He looked over at it, then back at the magazine. “Hungry?”

I gulped. I loved the way he teased me. “Famished.”

I got up onto the bed on my knees between his spread legs and placed a hand on the sole of each of his feet, tracing up his legs very slowly as his breathing hitched and quickened. Continuing, I got to the edge of his white boxer briefs and pushed underneath, sliding my fingers to the crease of his buttocks.

He turned a page of the magazine, probably to cover up a quiet gasp, as if my actions hardly affected him at all.

I stroked my fingers along the edge of the crease for a few moments, then withdrew them and reached for the waistband of his undershorts.

“Martin,” he said calmly.

“Yes?” I breathed.

“I like where you’re going with this.”

I grinned, pulling his boxer briefs slowly down over the twin globes of his perfect ass. “Me too.”

He made a small noise when I bent my lips to kiss one, then the other. He smelled of soap and water. “Did you wash your ass?”

He giggled. “Maybe.”

“That’s a bit presumptuous, isn’t it?”

He snorted. “Not really. I know you can’t resist it.”

I grinned. “That’s fair. But now I’ll have to dirty it up again.” I stretched over him and grabbed the bottle of honey.

“Oh, God, no,” he said in mock protest. “Whatever will I do?”

I sat back in a comfortable stance and slapped his ass gently. “You’ll be quiet and take it, like a good boy.”

He groaned, and I knew I had his attention.

He didn’t say anything, just shoved the magazine aside as I placed a hand on his ass, spreading his cheeks with my fingers. I tipped the bottle of honey over him and squeezed, watching the amber liquid drip onto his pink hole and ooze down the crack of his ass, my dick hardening and leaking at the sight.

“Oh fuck,” he said.

“Yum,” I replied.

He whimpered as I bent my head and licked at the honey, my tongue a soft counterpoint to the stubble on my chin. I smiled against him as he squirmed and moaned, my technique having been perfected over the past few years. I’d only ever done this to one person and that was Jeremy.

And I loved doing this to him. I used my tongue and even my teeth on the tender skin there, causing him to make the most delicious noises and motions of desperation. His frantic pants, moans and whimpers spurred me on and I ate his ass like I was born to it. I brought my finger down to circle his sweet hole. He cried out. I did it again, jabbing my tongue at the same time.

He arched his back and stuttered my name. “Martin!”

“Mmmph, what?” I didn’t want to stop in order to answer.

“I’m gonna come if you keep doing that,” he panted.

I laughed, causing him to moan again. “No, you’re not,” I said. “You never come from just this.”

He groaned again and reached behind to grab my free hand, pulling it underneath him to his cock. I kept tonguing his ass while I wrapped my hand around him. He was hard as fuck and leaking like crazy onto the bed.

“Fuck,” I said.

“See?” He said in a hoarse, desperate voice.

“Yeah,” I gave him another swipe with my tongue and felt his dick jerk in my hand. “Okay. I’ll stop. Maybe.” I jabbed my tongue at his hole one more time and then sat up, dizzy with arousal. My own cock was so hard it was painful.

I let my hand slide from underneath him and grabbed some lube from the drawer, almost knocking the bottle of honey off the table. I slapped his left cheek again. “Up.”

He quickly obeyed my request, lifting his ass as he got up on hands and knees before me. He couldn’t keep still. “Hurry up. Fuck.”

“Would you hold on a minute.” Luckily I had licked most of the honey off so now concentrated on slicking him up with the water-based lube. At least I had his full attention.

“Oh, fuck, Martin, shit. I need you so bad.”

“This wasn’t even your idea. What if I’d left for an appointment or something?” I teased, using my fingers to prep him.

“What do you mean it wasn’t my idea? Why do you think I was prancing around half naked in the kitchen? You give me too little credit.” He moaned and shuddered as my fingers pushed deeper.

I shook my head. He was always one step ahead of me.

“Would you please fuck me already?” he whined.

“Say pretty please,” I told him as I withdrew my fingers and slicked my cock, moaning at the sensation of my own hand. I was so ready.

“Pretty please, Martin. Pretty please with a fucking cherry on top.”

I spread his cheeks and leaned forward, guiding my cock to his entrance. In one well placed thrust I was in.

He cried out in pleasure, his arms flexing and his hands fisting the sheets. I thrust in deeper, my eyes rolling back.

“Yes,” he moaned, “Yes. Go deep. Fuck me hard.”

Now I couldn’t keep still. My quick breaths scraped my throat dry as I fucked him, deep and hard, just like he wanted. Like we both wanted.

Soon I had him gasping and all but crying. I knew his sounds like they were my own. In fact I was pretty much doing the same thing. He felt so good and so right and I was almost there.

“Come inside me. Come inside me,” he groaned, arching his back and pushing back against my thrusts. “I want to feel you come…”

And that did it. With one more thrust I shuddered and emptied into him, waves of pure pleasure washing over me as I kept moving, knowing he was close too. I reached beneath him and grabbed his thrusting cock.

“Ah! Fuck! Jesus!” he yelled as he exploded, covering my hand with his wet spunk. Now he was crying softly and saying my name over and over.

“I’m here, I’m here,” I said soothingly, as I withdrew and gathered him to me. He did this sometimes, so overcome by the raw emotions of our coupling. And I loved it. I loved that it shook him so deeply and I felt it too, even though I was able to control my tears. “Shhhhh, I’m here.”

CHAPTER TWO

Two days before our scheduled flight I started to panic. I actually couldn’t believe I’d been okay up until this point.

I hated flying. Despised it. Didn’t really believe that humans should be up in the air at all. But. I did live in the 21st century and air travel was a necessary evil. Which I avoided whenever possible. Which is why I hadn’t actually stepped onto a plane in over fifteen years.

I’d always been an anxious flyer but as a child my parents had been able to reassure me and I’d never believed anything bad would happen. As an adult, I was less sure. I despised flying alone and never would do so again, after the experience I’d had in my early twenties when I’d unwittingly booked myself aboard a puddle hopper from Fredricton to Halifax and had a massive panic attack mid-flight. One that I’d expended enormous amounts of energy to hide from the other passengers in what felt like an OC Transpo bus with wings. Thank God the flight had only lasted fifty minutes or they’d have had to give me a sedative. As it was I almost fainted when we deplaned and I realized I was on solid ground again. Luckily I had a direct return on a big jet but I still clutched the armrests with white knuckles the entire time and had to consciously avoid hyperventilating.

Jeremy knew nothing of this. I didn’t want to tell him because it seemed so stupid and silly compared with what he had to deal with on a daily basis. Multiple sclerosis was an unpredictable disease and even on medication he could still wake up one day with a numb leg, or a blind eye, or a deaf ear, or any number of horrifying possibilities. But he didn’t let it scare him. He didn’t worry about any of it because he was living his life to the fullest. Now, if I could just do the same.

Dr. Acevidos had told me not to use any of the Xanax until the day of the flight, which I’d thought was a good idea at the time. Now I wasn’t so sure.

I did what I did whenever there was something I was worried about that I didn’t want to bother Jeremy with. I texted my sister, Frankie.

Me: Can you meet me for lunch today?

F: That depends…

Me: On what?

F: Who’s paying?

Me: Fine. Me.

F: Let’s go to Ciccio’s!!!

Me: Very funny. How about the Sir John A?

F: Fine. What time?

Me: Twelve.

F: Is J coming too?

Me: No.

F: Oh o. What’s wrong?

Me: We’re fine. I’ll explain at lunch.

F: You’d better.

The Sir John A pub, a popular lunch spot, was already quite crowded when I arrived. There was no sign of Frankie so I found a small table near the back and ordered a pint. My fingers drummed nervously on the table while I waited and drank, and drank and waited. I ordered another beer and got out my phone to text her when she finally showed, waving at me from the entrance and making her way through the crowd to get to me.

“Phew. I guess this place is a hidden gem no more.” She put her purse down and slipped into the chair opposite me. “How are you?”

I ignored the question. “Do you want a beer?”

“Sure. Whatever you’re having,” she said, taking off her thin scarf and leather gloves. Even in late April Ottawa could surprise you with very cool weather. “Okay Martin. Spill.”

“Hold on.” I motioned to the server who came over and took Frankie’s drink order. After he’d left I gulped some of my beer and put the glass down. “Here’s the thing. You know that Jeremy and I are flying out to London on Friday.”

She nodded. “Yeah, you lucky bastard. Simon and I haven’t been anywhere in ages.”

I nodded. Yeah, yeah, yeah. “Frankie, I’m shitting my pants about boarding that plane.”

Her eyes widened. “Like, literally shitting your — “

“No! Like metaphorically shitting my pants. Although when it comes time to actually board the plane there might be real shit involved. I am that fucking scared.”

She stared at me, surprised. “What does Jeremy say?”

I looked down at my beer and shrugged.

“You haven’t told Jeremy! Oh, Martin, come on. He’d be the first to reassure you.”

“Frankie, I can’t tell Jeremy how fucking scared I am. It’s embarrassing. And ridiculous.” I took another sip of the comforting amber liquid. “Look, I know the statistics. I know that flying is safer than driving and all that jazz. I can’t explain why it scares me so much except that I really don’t want to be up there at all.”

The server brought Frankie her beer and she took a few sips while she silently assessed me. “So, tell Jeremy you don’t want to go,” she said finally.

“I can’t do that. I do want to go. I’m getting on that plane if it kills me,” I said, silently beseeching her with my eyes. “Problem is, it feels like it’s going to.”

Frankie shook her head. “Oh Martin. Did you talk to your doctor? There’s probably some medication that would help.”

I nodded. “I have a prescription for Xanax.”

“Okay. Well, that should work. Right?”

I shrugged. “I hope so. Problem is, what do I do in the meantime? Dr. Acevidos said not to take any until the morning of the flight.”

“What does the package insert say?”

I stared at her blankly.

“You didn’t read the package insert? Oh for Christ’s sake, Martin. I always read the package insert. Doctors and pharmacists don’t have the time to give you all the info about the drugs they prescribe.”

“Thanks, you’re making me feel so much better,” I said dryly.

“Okay, okay, I’m sorry.” She reached into her back pocket and retrieved her phone. “Luckily, I’ve got Dr. Google in my pocket.”

After several moments of searching, Frankie passed me the phone. “There. You can take some now. Not too much – I’d even go half the regular dose for now. Just something to take the edge off. It’s safe.”

I read the information that Frankie had found from the manufacturer of Xanax, advising on the use of the drug. It did comfort me to know I could take some tonight. The relief must have shown on my face.

“Better?”

I nodded. “I think so. I mean, I will be.”

“I still think you should talk to Jeremy about this.”

“Maybe. But it’s not his job to take care of me.”

Frankie stared at me like she wanted to slap me. “Not his job to — Martin, he loves you. He’d be more than happy to help you with anything, you know that.”

Of course I knew that. But I shouldn’t need help. I was a grown man for Christ’s sake.

*****

Jeremy was out when I got home. He’d texted me that he needed to pick up a few things for the trip and would grab supper on the go. So I reheated some of the stir-fry I’d made the night before and then popped half a milligram of Xanax, washing it down with a healthy glass of milk.

I hopped into the shower and let the warm water relax me while the drug had its desired effect. By the time I’d dried myself off and put on pair of PJ pants and a t-shirt I felt unbelievably better about everything. Thank you, Dr. Acevidos! And sleepy. But I didn’t want to go to bed yet. Now that I was feeling good I wanted to see Jeremy and talk about our trip.

He wasn’t home yet so I settled myself on the living room sofa and flipped channels until I decided on one of those home renovating shows with the annoyingly handsome host and his equally annoying wife. But I think I only watched it for five minutes before nodding off.

I woke up to someone pushing my shoulder gently and warm breath on my face. “Hey, sleepyhead. Wake up.”

Jeremy kissed me as I emerged from my nap and pressed his jean covered hard-on against my hip.

“Mmpgrf?” I mumbled, still in the throes of a drug induced sleep. But nothing woke me up quicker than my horny twenty-six year-old boyfriend.

“Oh Martin. You should see what I bought.”

My eyes flicked open and I brought them into focus. Seeing that familiar cheeky grin caused my dick to twitch.

“Hmmm?” I hummed, my hand finding the curve of his perfect ass. “What did you buy, naughty boy?”

Jeremy liked toys. Butt plugs, vibes, cock rings — you name it, he had it. And he was always adding to his collection. Our collection.

He held something in front of my face. It looked like a stainless steel kitchen implement but I knew better.

“What is that?”

His grin widened. “That, Martin, is a beautiful as fuck shiny new cock ring with a prostate ball attached.”

“You should really be on the home shopping network.”

He laughed, swinging the device on his finger so that the steel ball at the end of the crooked shaft swung back and forth, back and forth.

“I want you to put me in it,” he said hoarsely. His forehead crinkled. “Or put it in me. Or, I guess, both.”

I stared at him, my cock now fully hard. But we had a problem.

“How am I supposed to get that on you when you’re erect?”

Jeremy frowned. “Good point.” He sat back a bit, away from me. “Hmm. Well, I could take a cold shower.”

“Go for it. Get nice and clean for me.”

He grinned. “Kay. Wait here.”

“I’m not moving.”

I didn’t move and I didn’t fall back asleep, even though I felt so perfectly blissed out on that tiny amount of Xanax I could kiss Dr. Acevidos. Maybe I would, next time I saw him. Maybe I’d just needed some reassurance that the medication would work. Now I could genuinely feel more relaxed about the upcoming flight, even when the Xanax was out of my system. I was so glad I’d talked to Frankie and decided to take some.

By the time Jeremy returned, all soft and steamy from what seemed to have become a hot shower after the cold shower had fulfilled its requirement, I was ready for business.

I stood up and took his hand, eyeing him in his black boxer briefs. “Come to the bedroom, Gorgeous.”

He took my hand. “Okay, but you’d better get the damn thing on me soon or I’ll be hard again. Just the thought of it…”

“Okay, down boy. Give me a second.”

I led him to the bedroom, grabbing my phone on the way. I plugged it into the speaker and closed the curtains as the soft sounds of smooth jazz filled the room.

“Take your briefs off.”

He watched me as he stripped off the cotton boxer briefs and settled back on his elbows. His cock, mostly flaccid now, rested alluringly against his thigh.

“Here,” he said, with a wink, passing me the steel toy. “By the way, I’m clean everywhere.”

“How much did this cost, dare I ask?”

He raised his eyebrows. “It was on sale.”

“I see.”

“I’ll make it worth every penny,” he promised.

My cock throbbed as I grabbed the lube and kneeled beside him on the bed. “I’m sure you will.”

For some reason that should be obvious I had become an expert at getting cock rings on Jeremy. I got his prick through with a minimal amount of touching in order to keep him soft and then pulled each of his testicles through the ring until it nestled comfortably around his package. The steel ball had bounced against him as I’d positioned the ring and he slid down a bit and spread his legs, ready for the rest. Our eyes met and he lifted his chin, as if in challenge.

“Hold your horses,” I said, squeezing some lube onto my fingers and applying it to the ball and shaft of the device.

“How about I hold my cock instead?”

“You can do that too.”

He wrapped his hand around his already hardening prick and stroked it lazily while he waited.

“Look at you, all business,” he commented. “While I’m lying here waiting for you to sex me up.”

“Shhh. I’m trying to concentrate.”

He laughed, spreading his legs even more and watching me with a hooded gaze. I applied more lube to his puckered hole, making him moan.

“Ready?”

“Fuck, Martin! Yes.”

I gave him a stern look and pressed the steel ball against him. Our eyes met as it sank into his eager ass. He hissed with pleasure and my mouth went dry.

“How does it look?” he asked. “Does it look hot?”

I nodded, unable to speak for a moment. It looked so hot.

I ripped my t-shirt off over my head and got out of my PJ pants in record time. Jeremy eyed my straining erection.

“Oooh, you definitely like it.”

“I definitely like it,” I panted, grabbing his thighs and tugging him down the bed so he lay flat. I bent and took his cock in my mouth.

He groaned, arching his back, twisting his fingers in my hair. “Oh my God,” he gasped. “It feels amazing.”

I gazed up at him, humming acknowledgement as I worked his prick with my mouth. I let go of one thigh and brought my hand under his balls, deftly flicking my middle finger against the steel shaft of the toy.

Jeremy cried out, then gasped. “Oh, do that again.”

I did it again, loving the sounds he made.

“Oh, Martin, I love that.”

I did it until my finger started to hurt. Then I let go of his dick and flipped him over roughly.

He stretched his arms out in front of him and bent his knees, bringing his plugged ass up in front of me. “Oh, fuck yeah.”

I spread his cheeks and groaned. The sight of the metal shaft disappearing into his ass made me so hard suddenly. I slapped his left cheek and he laughed.

“Am I a naughty boy, Martin?”

“You are so naughty,” I said, grabbing the lube and dripping some down the crack of his ass and onto my fingers. I just wanted to feel it. I wanted to feel that thing inside him.

“Stay still,” I said, because he was whining and wiggling so much. I felt underneath him. His cock was rock solid now.

He did his best, but as soon as I started to play with his hole he stretched back toward me. “Yessssss.”

“Be patient,” I warned.

“Hurry up,” he said.

I tickled his hole around the shaft of the toy, making him whimper and plead. Finally I pushed my thumb inside him alongside it.

He gasped and held his breath as I pulled it out, then pushed it in again.

“F-f-fuck! Oh God. Keep doing that.”

I did, enjoying his adorable sounds of pleasure, until I needed more.

But there was a problem. “I’m not fucking you with that in you,” I stated. “It’s not safe.”

He whimpered, but nodded. “F-f-fine. Okay. Then what?”

I assessed the situation, and decided quickly.

“You fuck me. Fuck me with that cock ring on and that ball in your ass.”

He looked at me over his shoulder, and grinned. “That was the original idea, Martin, but you got carried away.”

I nodded, so turned on I didn’t know what to do. “I know. I know.”

So Jeremy took over like I knew he would. He kneeled up in front of me, cock still wet with my saliva, and groaned as the ball shifted inside him. “On your back. I want to see your face.”

I nodded again, suddenly the obedient little bitch to Jeremy’s confident command. It was a place I loved to be.

I stretched out on my back beside him, handing him the lube. “Hurry up,” I said.

He raised his eyebrows and gave me a teasing smile. “Be. Patient.”

I had the decency to laugh, even though none of it was funny anymore. I needed him inside me. But he was in charge now.

His lubed cock pushed at my entrance firmly, finding some resistance. “Goddammit, let me in,” he whispered, slipping up along the crack of my ass and using his hand to push his cock down against my hole. “Let me in…”

I took a deep breath, gazing up at him, adoring the crease in his forehead as he concentrated on his task. I bore down and felt the head of his cock push inside.

We both gasped. I followed up with a groan as he pushed in deeper.

He moved forward, arms sliding beside me, pushing his cock into me until we were flush. My mouth hung open, my gaze held by his deep brown eyes and the expression of bliss on his face that matched my own.

We were quiet now, just enjoying the sensation of being joined so intimately. No words needed. He held my gaze as he began to rock against me, hitting the sweet spot with his practiced technique.

I’d been an anal virgin when we’d met, but Jeremy had taken the time to introduce me gradually to the joys of a good butt fuck. Now I was a convert.

I groaned and spread my legs wider to give him access.

“Oh yes. I love fucking you,” Jeremy murmured. “And this toy was worth every penny.”

I nodded frantically, feeling the pleasure build. “It was. It totally was. Sorry I’m such a tight wad.”

He chuckled. “Don’t apologize for being tight. I like you tight.” He thrust hard into me, showing me just how tight I was.

“Oh God. Harder,” I begged.

“Oh fuck yeah,” he moaned, speeding up like he’d been waiting for me to say it. I knew the toy was making him even crazier than he usually was when he fucked me. The steel ball would be rubbing against his prostate, I’m sure.

“Oh God, I’m gonna come. I’m gonna come,” he said desperately, “I can’t stop…”

Instead of telling him it was okay because I was right on the edge too, I just reached between us and grabbed my cock, pulling once, twice and exploding as my orgasm ripped through me.

Jeremy cried out, plunging deep as he was overcome. He kept thrusting as he emptied into me for a long time.

Finally, we both stilled, the only sounds a wailing saxophone and our ragged breaths.

Eventually, Jeremy lifted his head and gazed down at me.

“I’ve really got to sign up for some product testing. Think of what we could get for free!”

*****

I took another point five milligrams of Xanax the afternoon before the morning of our flight. It had worked so well the previous evening and I knew I wouldn’t sleep a wink without it.

Jeremy had to wake me up when the alarm went off at four thirty am. Our flight was scheduled to depart at eight thirty and we wanted to get to the airport the required three hours in advance. We’d spent the previous day packing and ensuring everything was ready. I’d decided to bring just my camera and one specialty zoom lens which I packed in my large wheeled suitcase with my clothes, shoes and other items. Jeremy filled a big canvas duffle bag with his necessities but his Copaxone needles were in his carry-on with an official letter from his neurologist. He’d been advised not to pack them in his checked luggage just in case the luggage got lost or rerouted. We made sure our passports and Jeremy’s  meds and prescription papers were easy to access and we’d printed off our boarding passes.

“Hey, wake up sleepyhead,” Jeremy said, giving my face a gentle slap and a soft kiss. “Time to fly.”

I opened my eyes, waking with a sudden jolt of terror. I guess the Xanax had worn off, but at least I’d slept. The familiar feeling of my stomach churning and my synapses firing warnings got me up out of bed and into the shower. As soon as I’d dressed and eaten, I popped another point five milligrams and stashed the bottle in my zippered jacket pocket. I had no illusions that I could keep it a secret from Jeremy past the security line at the airport but I’d just play it off as a precaution. I wasn’t going to tell him I’d been taking them for a couple of days already. The half tablet had worked so well for me that I decided not to take the full one milligram dose that Dr. Acevidos had suggested.

Jeremy showered after me and we both dressed in comfortable clothes with slip-on shoes that were easy to toe off for the security check. We ate a hasty breakfast and gulped down quick cups of coffee before calling a cab. Jeremy wanted to use an Uber but I was old school.

“It’s going to cost twice as much,” he complained.

“I’ll cover it. It’s fine.” I was starting to wonder when the Xanax was going to kick in. I felt a little better than I had on first waking but the fear and rising panic was still there. Anyway, I could always pop another half tablet when we got to the airport.

The McDonald Cartier airport had undergone extensive renovations since I’d last been there and I hardly knew where anything was anymore. Luckily the signage was pretty good. Jeremy was practically bouncing with excitement as we headed over to the baggage check line.

When I saw the amount of people already lined up my anxiety made itself felt again. The half tablet of Xanax I’d taken didn’t seem to be working at all. Had I built up a resistance to it already? Maybe that’s why Dr. Acevidos had told me to wait until the day of the flight.

I told Jeremy I needed to use the bathroom and blamed the coffee. Of course, there were only automatic taps in the airport washroom. Luckily I located a water fountain. I swallowed another half tablet and hoped it would be enough.

Walking back to where Jeremy waited in the lineup I tried to calm my frantic thoughts with the belief that the meds would soon work to calm me down and everything would be fine.

“Are you okay?” Jeremy asked as I joined him.

“Yeah. Why?”

“You look a little pale.”

“I’m okay.”

“You’re not scared, are you?” he asked, genuinely curious.

“No. Why would I be scared? Air travel is safer than driving.” Except that if there is a problem, you’re thousands of feet in the air, rather than inches from the side of the highway.

Jeremy smiled. “I can tell you’re uncomfortable, Martin. It’s normal to be nervous.”

“You’re not nervous at all. You can’t wait to get up there.”

He shrugged. “I love to fly. Always have. Plus I’m excited to be travelling somewhere fun with you.

The way he looked at me, and the beginning effect of the recent meds, made a calmness wash over me. I was with Jeremy and Jeremy would make sure I was all right.

That wonderful feeling lasted through the baggage check and the security screening. Luckily Jeremy had been busy opening his carry-on and showing the security officers his prescribed injectibles when I showed them my bottle of Xanax with the prescription on it and he hadn’t noticed. By the time he’d gone through the metal detector I had it safely stashed in my jacket pocket again. Once through security we settled ourselves in the departure lounge to watch the planes take off and land out of the huge windows.

All of a sudden, it seemed real. In an hour or so I would be inside one of those machines with no control over anything. What if the pilot had been drinking? What if he just wasn’t very good at his job? What if, despite all the safeguards, one of the other passengers was a hijacker? What if an engine stopped working, or worse, fell off?

The anxiety must have shown on my face because Jeremy asked me again if I was all right.

“Yeah, I just need to use the bathroom again.” I laughed. “Guess I’m a bit nervous.”

He smiled. “Once we’re up in the air you’ll be just fine.”

I blanched and walked over to the men’s room. Fuck these stupid meds. Why weren’t they working? Dr. Acevidos must have got the dose wrong. I was a decent-sized guy, maybe he didn’t realize how much I weighed. I’d gained some weight over the past couple of years. I mean, I was in my mid-thirties. That was normal, right?

My anxiety turned to anger as I grabbed the bottle of medication out of my jacket pocket and twisted the lid.

Maybe I was supposed to take a whole milligram at one time. Maybe that was the problem. Well, it couldn’t hurt to take one now. Obviously the half milligram dosing just wasn’t doing the job. And I had to get on that plane in an hour. I knew for sure that the only way I’d be able to do it would be if I was completely blissed out on Xanax.

I used the bottle of water I’d purchased from a vending machine to wash down one whole pill and stared at my reflection in the mirror. “Get a fucking grip, Martin,” I said firmly. “You’re going to be fine.” I tried to believe it. I didn’t. I tipped the pill bottle again and held another one milligram tablet in my palm. I stared at it for several moments and then decided if I took it I would be assured of being calm enough for the flight. I wasn’t really worried about anything else at that point. I tossed it back with another swallow of water.

I walked back to where Jeremy was sitting, reading his Fodor’s guide to London and looking as if he were going to a tea party and not onto a plane that would take us off the surface of the earth for six hours. I sank down and let my head rest against the back of the seat.

After about thirty minutes I began to feel so much better. Thank fucking Christ, it seemed like the Xanax was finally kicking in.

“Martin, time to board. Wake up.”

Someone was shaking me. I really didn’t want to wake up but I opened my eyes to be polite. Who was this guy? He was incredibly hot and so close to me.

“Hi,” I said. My voice sounded strange, like I was underwater.

The young man with short auburn hair and deep brown eyes gave me a weird look. “Hi. Let’s go.”

“You’re sexy,” I said, startled at my courage. I usually couldn’t talk to really hot guys.

“Thanks. Let’s go.”

“Where?” This hot guy was asking me to go somewhere with him and I was asking where? Was I insane? I wanted to go wherever he wanted to take me.

A strange, anxious look came over the kid’s features, but he still looked really cute.

“Martin, are you kidding me? We have to go to the departure gate. For our flight to London.” He spoke slowly and clearly. Then he looked panicked. “Are you having a stroke?”

A stroke? Why would I be having a stroke? Suddenly, somehow, I remembered the Xanax just as I realized that the man speaking to me was my young boyfriend, Jeremy. It was all very funny. I started laughing and stood up a little too fast. Jeremy caught my elbow as I wobbled.

“No, no, I’m not having a stroke. It’s the Fanax. I mean, the blanax. I mean, it’s the X-Xanax.” I laughed again. “I feel so awesome.”

Jeremy stared at me, his expression seeming to go through about five different emotions before he firmed his lips and grabbed my arm. “Why didn’t you tell me you were taking anti-anxiety medication?”

I shrugged, still smiling. It seemed irrelevant.

“How much did you take, Martin?”

I frowned. How much did I take? Point five first thing, then another point five, then a whole tablet, then one more. I think. How much was that? “Um, two pills? Actually, three. Three pills.”

“Can I see the bottle please?”

“Sure sexy.” I pulled the bottle out of my pocket and handed it to him.

He examined the label, looking at me with some concern. “It says you’re just supposed to take one tablet at a time.”

I shrugged. “Wasn’t working. It’s working now. I’m so happy.”

He gave me back the bottle giving me a death stare that only made him hotter. “Don’t. Take. Anymore.”

I shook my head from side to side to let him know I wouldn’t. “Don’t need to.”

“Come on. And for Christ’s sake try to act normal.”

He still had hold of my elbow and it seemed like he wasn’t going to let go. Even in my confused state, something about that resonated within me. We made it to the departure gate without too much trouble. Walking was easier once I got started. I felt like I was seeing things through a soft haze, except whenever Jeremy looked at me, he was crystal clear. In fact, I couldn’t take my eyes off him as we approached the gate.

When we got there he showed the boarding agent a piece of paper then turned to me.

“Martin? Where’s your boarding pass?”

“Huh?”

He smiled and turned back to the agent, a plump, red-haired woman. “I’m sorry, I just asked him to marry me. He’s a bit loopy.”

The woman laughed and beamed at us. “Oh, that’s adorable!”

Had Jeremy asked me to marry him? Wow! Had he? What had I said? Why, yes of course!

I gazed wide-eyed at the woman. “I said YES!”

“Of course you did! May I see your boarding pass, please?”

Boarding pass, boarding pass, where was my boarding pass?

Jeremy reached into my jacket pocket but all he found was the bottle of Xanax. “Excuse me,” he said apologetically to the boarding agent, turning to face me. “Martin, is your boarding pass in your jeans pocket?”

Oh, probably. Yeah, that seemed likely. I fished in my pocket and came out with a piece of paper which I handed to Jeremy. “Is this it?”

Jeremy took the paper and held it out for the boarding agent to check. She looked it over and smiled at us. “Perfect. Thank you. And congratulations!”

As we left the gate I turned to Jeremy. “Are we getting married in London?”

He shook his head. “We’re not getting married, Martin.”

“But you just said — “

“Just be quiet and come with me.”

Wow. Maybe I should have said no. I wasn’t at all sure I wanted to marry him now. He was being so mean. Then I took another look at his ass. Well…

We walked down a long hallway, turned a corner, then another corner, then came to an oval doorway where a male flight attendant waited.

“Good morning, gentlemen. Welcome aboard Flight 499!” He said enthusiastically.

I giggled.

Jeremy pulled me forward. “Thanks.”

He found our seats quickly and practically pushed me into the one by the window. “You might as well sit there. You’re so fucked up you won’t even know we’re in the air.”

I stared up at him, mesmerized. “You are so hot when you’re angry.”

“Martin. Don’t even. Just shut up and go to sleep or something.”

Actually, that sounded like a great idea. “Kay. Goodnight, Jeremy.”

I heard him say “Goodnight, Martin,” with a slightly less angry lilt to his voice before I did just that.

CHAPTER THREE

“Hey. We’ve landed,” were the next words I heard.

Landed? Landed where?

I forced my eyes to open. “Where are we?”

“London, you idiot.”

We were already in London? How the fuck had that happened?

I stared at Jeremy in complete shock. We did seem to be in an airplane. Oh Christ, I was in an airplane! I sat up quickly, eyes widening in panic.

Jeremy gripped my arm, keeping me in my seat. “I said, we’ve landed, you moron. Relax. You slept through the entire flight.”

Oh thank God!

“We’ve landed?” I asked breathlessly, hardly believing it.

He nodded. “Yep.”

“In London?”

“Yep.”

“Oh thank God.”

“Yeah, I feel the same way,” he said, not sounding particularly happy.

I furrowed my brow. “I thought you loved to fly.”

He gave me the meanest look. “I don’t want to talk about it. Let’s get our stuff.”

I realized that the other passengers were standing and getting their shit together and moving into the aisles.

“Did something happen?” I asked, wondering why he seemed so pissed off.

He gave me another exasperated look as he stood up. “No, Martin. The flight was fine. Except my boyfriend was practically comatose and I kept having to check his breathing and responses so I wouldn’t worry he was fucking overdosing on fucking Xanax!”

Suddenly, everything came back to me from the morning. I mean, some of it clearly and some of it not so clearly. Had I taken more Xanax in the airport? I couldn’t remember. Maybe? I couldn’t remember getting on the plane. Or even leaving the departure lounge. I remembered going through security feeling more and more anxious and wondering why the meds didn’t seem to be working.

“Oh Christ, Jeremy. I’m so sorry.” I mumbled, embarrassed and still confused.

“Can we talk about it later? We need to get off this plane.”

I stood up, feeling a little lightheaded but otherwise okay. I grabbed my carry-on and moved into the aisle behind Jeremy. I didn’t say anything while we waited to deplane or while we moved with the other passengers to disembark. He was obviously furious with me and I’m sure I deserved it. I felt thrilled to have escaped the horror of the flight but terrible that it had been at Jeremy’s expense. And I regretted not telling him how scared I’d been.

Heathrow airport seemed huge and bright after the confines of the plane. We moved in silence along the hallway to the customs gate then waited a long time to be processed through. Luckily, because our paperwork was in order and I guess we didn’t look suspicious, we made it through without incident.

Jeremy affected a fake cheerfulness in his interactions with the customs agent, merely for appearances. Once we were out of there and heading for Terminal Five and the baggage carousel his mood returned to its earlier sourness.

I felt awful but I didn’t really know how to fix this. Every time I tried to apologize he just put me off and said he didn’t want to talk about it right now. So far our exciting trip to Europe was tanking big time and it was all my fault.

Terminal Five was a mass of people searching for their bags and milling about. I hoped to God our luggage had made it or the trip would be even more of a failure.

As soon as Jeremy’s black duffle bag came down the chute and around to where we were standing, I stepped forward and grabbed it before he could. Although I still felt off and needed to get something to eat, I hauled the heavy bag off the carousel and plunked it down at Jeremy’s feet.

He just looked at me and then back to the chute. I did the same thing for my roller suitcase, and then the feeling of lightheadedness and hunger that I’d felt upon waking came over me again.

“I need to get something to eat, Jeremy.”

“Okay. Me too. They didn’t have much on the plane anyway.”

I double checked that the luggage had our tags on it. I wasn’t going to risk this vacation getting any worse.

Jeremy gave me a questioning look.

“Just making sure,” I said. “It’s all good. Let’s go.”

We started moving towards the food court.

“Burger King?” Jeremy asked. “I’m fucking starving and I don’t want to wait.”

I nodded. “Sure.” I was in no position to be picky.

We fumbled a bit with the UK currency but managed to buy a couple of value meals and find a small table at which to eat them.

I don’t think a fast food burger had ever tasted so good! I was so hungry and now kind of depressed about Jeremy’s sour mood. I didn’t look at him as I gobbled it down, and slurped my coke.

When I’d finished and finally looked up, he was staring at me, only halfway through his burger.

“What?” I said, starting to feel angry myself.

“You were that hungry?”

“Yeah.”

“Maybe I should have woken you up on the plane.”

I shook my head. “I’m glad you didn’t.”

He regarded me with some thought. “Martin, why didn’t you tell me you were so terrified?”

“I thought you wanted to talk about this later.”

“Fine,” he said, raising his burger to his lips.

“Fine,” I said. “I’m going to the bathroom.” I stood up.

“Wait,” Jeremy said. “Give me the bottle of Xanax.”

“What?” I asked in surprise.

“Give me the bottle,” he repeated with a very stern look. Usually, the only time Jeremy would be stern with me was if we were role playing in the bedroom. I wasn’t used to this in real time.

“Why? I’m not going to take anymore until our return trip.”

He took a deep breath and I could see that he was reigning himself in. “Just give it to me.”

I pressed my lips together. I didn’t want to cause a scene. “Fine. Here.”

He stuffed the bottle in a pocket of his carry-on while I strode to the men’s room.

I felt a lot better after I’d relieved myself and washed my hands. After splashing some water on my face for good measure I walked back to Jeremy.

We took the Heathrow Express to Paddington Station. I was glad I’d decided to bring just my camera and zoom lens with me, which I’d packed into my one large suitcase. It was annoying enough lugging thataround. Jeremy had packed a large duffle bag instead of a suitcase so he had that and his carry-on bag slung over opposite shoulders.

The express was crowded. I jostled someone’s shoulder and he turned and told me to “Watch out there, mate.” He glanced at me and at Jeremy, and smiled. “Youse from overseas?”

I nodded. “Canada. Sorry to be so clumsy.”

“No worries, mate. Welcome to the UK.”

“Thanks,” I said, pleased to receive such greetings after the depressing beginning to our trip.

“Name’s Gavin.”

“Martin. This is Jeremy.”

Jeremy nodded and said a brief Hello.

Gavin found some empty seats so we gladly sat down with him. He seemed nice and it was a relief to have someone else to talk to.

“You blokes on vacation, or here for work?” He asked as we settled in.

“A little of both,” I said. “I’m a photographer doing a piece on the New Forest for Outside Magazine and Jeremy’s a model.”

Gavin grinned at Jeremy. “A model, eh? That’s a posh deal. Here for the London fashion scene?”

Jeremy shook his head. “Not really.”

Gavin waited for Jeremy to say something else. When he didn’t he turned back to me. “So, photography, eh? I’ve dabbled a bit. People say I’m quite good.”

I nodded, trying to feign interest. I was beginning to wish I’d been less friendly. “That’s great. What do you like to photograph?”

“Oh, this and that. People. My dogs. The city.” He took out his phone and flipped through to the gallery, showing me some photos. They weren’t bad but they weren’t fantastic or anything.

“Nice,” I said. “Do you know how long it takes to get from Paddington Station to Berkeley Street by taxi?” I needed to change the subject.

He shrugged, putting his phone away. “Ten, fifteen minutes. You should use Uber.”

Jeremy perked up. “Thank you. I’ve been telling him that for months.”

“I’m old school,” I said.

“Yeah?” Jeremy said, regarding me speculatively. “Well, I’m new school. I think we should take an Uber to the hotel.”

We stared at each other, ignoring Gavin and engaged in a private stand off.

“Fine. We’ll use Uber,” I conceded, figuring that after all I’d put him through it was the least I could do.

Jeremy’s expression softened and he sat back in his seat. “Thank you.”

Gavin looked back and forth between us. He raised an eyebrow but didn’t say anything.

For the rest of the fifteen minute journey we made small talk and Gavin filled us in on some cool things to do in and around London. When we parted at the station, he wished us well and strode off to meet his wife and kids.

Jeremy tapped something into his phone and said. “Shit.”

“What?”

He looked at me with some annoyance. “Uber is warning me that Heathrow can be a difficult pick-up because of the taxi regulations.”

I nodded but held my tongue. This was his decision.

“We might as well take a cab.”

“Okay.”

We made our way through the huge train station, passing the statue of Paddington Bear without a word, and I wondered how much fun this trip was actually going to be now that I’d fucked it up completely. I almost regretted agreeing to accompany Jeremy. Almost. But maybe there was still time to fix things.

We were both exhausted. Even though I’d slept for six hours I felt drained and it seemed weird that darkness had fallen since back in Canada it was only late afternoon. Here in London it was nine thirty and I could tell that Jeremy was tired, especially since it seemed he hadn’t slept much or at all on the flight, thanks to me. I think we both felt desperate to get to the hotel.

Walking out of the station into the night, we found ourselves at the taxi stand. Literally dozens of London Cabs were lined up ready to take passengers. As we approached one of the drivers got out and came around.

“Welcome to London! Here, let me take your bag.”

“Thank you,” I said, feeling a huge amount of relief as we placed ourselves into the safety and professionalism of London’s famed taxi service. Even Jeremy’s mood seemed to lighten as we drove through brightly lit downtown London.

At one point I quietly reached for his hand and he let me take it. He didn’t look at me – he was entranced by what he saw out the window of the cab, but he let me take it. And when I got up the courage to give his fingers a soft squeeze, the gesture was returned and I breathed a sigh of relief.

Maybe our trip wasn’t ruined after all.

It only took about ten minutes to get to our hotel, the Holiday Inn Mayfair.

As we walked into the large, bright lobby, a young man at the desk smiled with a warm welcome.

“Good evening, gentlemen. Welcome to London!”

“Thank you,” I said, eternally grateful for all the cheerful people we’d met so far. “We have a reservation.”

“Yes, Sir. Last name?”

“Lewis.”

He typed something into his computer. “Martin?”

“Yes,” I said. “Should be an executive King suite?”

“Yes, Sir. May I have your credit card please?”

I handed him my credit card and glanced at Jeremy. He was looking around the bright lobby with the first expression of pleasure on his face I’d seen since we’d arrived. Thank fucking Christ.

“Here are two room keys, Sir. You’re on the top floor. Room 722. Have a pleasant stay. Please call down if you need anything at all.” He handed me my VISA back and the two room cards.

“Thank you.”

We were the only ones riding the elevator but neither of us said anything. But as we entered our beautifully appointed King suite, Jeremy couldn’t contain himself.

“Wow!” he said as he dumped his duffle on the large bed. “You sure know how to treat a guy.”

I wasn’t sure if he was being sarcastic or not, what with his former grumpiness. But he seemed genuinely impressed.

“Well, at least I did something right,” I said, still feeling shitty about the flight.

The room was quite spacious, with modern furnishings including a very plush looking King bed, lots of mirrors and a separate suite with a leather love seat, armchair, coffee table and corner desk. I pushed my suitcase into a space by the small sofa and walked over to the window. When I opened the curtains and looked out at the city, we were both struck speechless.

The view was incredible, the entire lighted city spread out below us. The only thing that made the view better was Jeremy coming up behind me and wrapping his arms around me.

“I’m sorry.”

I sighed with relief and clung to his arm. “I’m the one who should be sorry.”

“Yeah,” he said, resting his chin on my shoulder. “Well, I’m the one who wouldn’t accept your apology earlier.”

We stood like that for a long time, just absorbing the view and enjoying being close.

“I had no idea you were so scared to get on that plane,” Jeremy said finally. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

I shrugged, glad I wasn’t looking at him though he could probably see my reflection in the window. “Ah, Jeremy, I was so embarrassed. It was stupid to be so scared.”

“Yeah, well I would have told you that. But then I would have helped you deal with it. I would have made sure you didn’t take too many pills.”

“I know.” I still felt like I’d taken just the right amount, since I didn’t remember anything. But it must have been pretty rough on him.

He let go of me and backed up. I turned around.

“I really am sorry. I didn’t mean to put you in that position.” I hope I conveyed my regret effectively because it came from the heart.

“I know you didn’t, but next time be honest with me okay? No more secrets.”

I nodded. “No more secrets.”

“And, Jesus Christ, Martin. We’re in fucking London!” His smile was so big it lit up the room almost as bright as the city outside our window.

I grabbed his shoulders and planted one on him, so desperate to connect in an intimate way with the man who’d given me the silent treatment the last couple of hours. He opened to me and responded with equal enthusiasm. When we finally released each other it was as if we’d never quarrelled.

“I’m still hungry,” he said. “I could eat a steak.”

“Then you shall have steak. But let’s get room service. I’m too tired to go anywhere.”

We ordered sirloins and a couple of beers from Nightingales, the hotel restaurant, and ate them on the bed, while we cruised through the TV channels looking for a familiar program. Eventually we settled on Say Yes to the Dress, just so we could make fun of the crazy brides and their opinionated families, and also secretly admire some of the dresses.

I suddenly had a flash of something. I looked over at Jeremy.

“Hey, did you make a joke about asking me to marry you or something? When we were getting on the plane. I have this weird memory…”

Jeremy nearly choked on his steak. “I’d forgotten about that. It was the only way I could explain how loopy you were when we boarded our flight. I said I’d just asked you, so you were kind of emotional and happy.”

I stared at him and he looked at me all innocent.

“What?”

“That’s so cute.”

He shrugged. “I was desperate. You were a mess.”

“Did I say yes?”

He gave me a look like I was deranged. “Of course you fucking said yes. You would have said yes to anything at that point. You got on a fucking plane, remember?”

I blushed. “Well, I don’t remember much.”

He looked at me, contemplating. “Hmm. Well, you said yes. You’d have been a moron not to. You know I love you. Why wouldn’t you marry me?”

I stared at him, suddenly feeling like he wasn’t joking.

“Are you serious?”

“Why, you got someone else?” he asked cheekily.

I swallowed. “Jeremy, stop joking. Do you really want to marry me?”

He looked at me, eyes widening. “Well, after that stunt you pulled with the Xanax? And after spending six hours on a plane wondering if you were sleeping or passed out? You think I’d do that for just anybody? Maybe if we were married you’d actually be honest with me about your fears. I’d certainly hope you would be.”

“Fuck, stop it. I don’t deserve you.”

“Of course you don’t. But you’ve got me.”

“Then yes. Yes, I’ll marry you.” I couldn’t believe we were having this conversation.

“Good.”

I couldn’t stop myself then. I turned and tackled him, holding him down and covering his face with kisses. He laughed and squirmed beneath me.

“Let’s get married here,” I said.

“At the hotel?” he asked.

“No, in London. There must be somewhere we can go to get hitched in London…”

“Are you serious?” he asked, holding me still so I’d stop kissing him and look him in the eyes.

“I am so serious.” I’d never been more serious in my life.

“But we don’t have anything nice to wear…”

“So?” What did I care about what we wore?

“You’re serious.”

I nodded, grinning and meeting his excited gaze. “I’m serious.”

He hesitated for a moment, assessing me, probably to make sure I wasn’t still high on Xanax. “Then let’s do it.”

We spent the rest of the evening cuddled naked in bed together, watching TV. Because of the time difference, neither of us could fall asleep but were too tired to do anything significant. When I tried to get sexy Jeremy looked at me with an eyebrow raised.

“Martin, I’m too tired to fuck.”

“Okay.”

“But tomorrow you owe me a spanking.”

“Anytime, Gorgeous.”

He stared at me. “No, I mean I owe you a spanking. Because you deserve one.”

“Oh. Shit.”

“You better believe it. I just hope the walls are well insulated.”

Oh double shit.

CHAPTER FOUR

When I woke up the next morning I wondered where I was, until I realized I was in a hotel room.

And there seemed to be someone knocking at the door.

“Housekeeping!” A woman’s voice with a decidedly British accent called from the hallway.

“Just a second,” I said loudly, before climbing out from beneath the covers and padding over to the door. I opened it a crack to speak to the young woman with the cleaning cart. “We’re still in bed. Could you please come back later?”

She nodded. “Of course. My apologies, Sir.”

She rolled her cart away while I took the Do Not Disturb sign and placed it on the handle before closing the door.

Jeremy was sitting up in the huge bed, blinking at me. “What time is it?”

I looked at the clock on the table.

“Eleven thirty. Which would be six thirty back home.”

“Yeah, feels like it.”

“We should get up though. If we go back to sleep we’ll just make our jet lag worse.”

I walked over to the big window and pulled one of the curtains aside.

I would never tire of this view.

Now that the sun was up, I could see even further. So many buildings and landmarks that I recognized even though I couldn’t actually identify them yet.

I turned back to Jeremy but he’d burrowed beneath the blankets again.

I rolled my eyes, returning to the bed and pulling the covers off him. “Jeremy, we’re in London, I’m starving and you can’t go back to sleep.”

“Try me.”

I stared at him, appreciating how freaking sexy he looked with his hair mussed, stretched out like that in a king sized bed in a London hotel room.

Hmm. We had no agenda until Monday, when Jeremy had to meet with the legendary photographer for a pre-shoot discussion. I would have to eat something soon but suddenly Jeremy was looking very appetizing.

I grabbed a mint from the coffee bar and popped it in my mouth, then walked over to the bed and crawled upon it, descending on him with entreaties and persuasions until he opened one eye.

“What?”

“I want to fuck you. You wouldn’t let me last night.”

“What makes you think I’ll let you this morning?”

I rubbed my boxer brief covered erection against his thigh. “Please, Jeremy. I’m so horny. Must be this London air.”

He chuckled. “You’re just as horny when we’re at home.”

“Okay, maybe. Plus it’ll help you to wake up.”

“Only if you make it good.”

Challenge accepted. I gave him a love bite on the back of his neck that made him hiss in surprise before I went back to the coffee bar and got another mint. I passed it to him and he plopped it in his mouth without a word, his eyes meeting mine with a hint of wakened desire.

“I need to piss,” he said.

“Me too.”

The large bathroom was beautifully outfitted with a big tub/shower combo, double sinks and a basic toilet. We took turns peeing and then Jeremy walked back to the bed and stood beside it expectantly.

“What?”

“I was serious about that spanking, Martin.”

Oh crap. I’d forgotten about that. Obviously he hadn’t.

“Oh.” Dammit. “Isn’t there another way you can punish me?” I asked coyly.

He shook his head from side to side very slowly and deliberately.

“But…but there are people in the hall. It’s the middle of the day…”

He shrugged. “I don’t care.”

Fuck.

“What do you want me to do?”

He smiled. “I want you to come over here and lean over the end of the bed, Martin.”

The way he said those words caused my cock to swell, even though getting spanked wasn’t really a turn on for me. Obviously being ordered around by Jeremy kind of was.

I walked to the edge of the bed and started to bend down.

“You need to take your underwear off, Martin.”

Goddammit.

I glared at him, removing my boxer briefs and positioning myself awkwardly over the end of the high bed. In all honesty it was the least I could do to make up for what I’d put him through on the flight here.

“How’s that?” I asked, embarrassed and feeling like a child.

“Mmm, that’s perfect. You look hot.”

“I feel ridiculous.”

“Good. That’s part of your punishment. You’re gonna act like a child I’m gonna treat you like a child.”

Jesus Christ. Jeremy had never spoken to me like this before, and I kind of liked it. Usually, it was me ordering him around and spanking his naughty little bottom, always at his bidding of course. Now the tables had turned. We seemed to be discovering all kinds of things about each other on this trip and it had barely begun.

He came and stood close beside me, showing me his tented briefs. “See how hot you look?”

I nodded, gulping. Suddenly his hand was on me, grabbing one butt cheek so hard I gasped.

“Don’t you ever fucking do that to me again, Martin,” he seethed, pushing me into the mattress and letting go before his hand came down hard on my ass.

I cried out because it fucking hurt and I hadn’t expected him to be so rough. Before I could respond his hand came down again, just as hard.

“I’m sorry! I’m sorry,” I burst out, and I was sorry, especially now that I realized how mad he still was. “I’ll never do it again. I promise.”

I heard his heavy breathing as he paused, waiting. I kept talking, wanting to placate him so he wouldn’t spank me again. “I’m so sorry. I should have told you how I felt. I should have asked for your help.”

“Exactly.”

“I know. I’m sorry.”

“Okay. Just be quiet now. I need to spank you some more.”

“Really?”

“It will make me feel better.”

Well, damn. “Fine.”

I gripped the bedspread as his hand came down on my ass four or five more times, and I tried not to make any noise but it hurt like hell. Still, there was something sexy about the humiliation and the pain. And God knows I fucking deserved it.

Finally, he stopped and crawled onto the bed beside me, pushing his boxer briefs down and shoving his erection in my face. “Show me how sorry you are, Martin,” he breathed, and I could see just how aroused he was. If spanking my ass made him this horny maybe it was worth it.

I met his hooded gaze and reached between his legs, cupping his ass and pulling him forward while I took his cock in my mouth.

He hissed in surprise and let his hand fall to my hair, while I worked him as well as I could in this position. His other hand found my ass and rubbed where he’d hit me.

“You okay?” He whispered while his forehead creased with pleasure.

I nodded, since I couldn’t talk with his cock down my throat.

“I feel much better.”

I laughed and choked on him, recovering quickly and snaking a finger in the crack of his ass.

“Oh fuck, Martin,” he said as I touched him there. “Oh yeah…”

I pulled off his cock and stood up, shoving him down on the bed. “I want to fuck you. I need to fuck you, Jeremy.”

“Yes,” he murmured, stretching out and spreading his legs. “There’s lube in my suitcase.”

“Mine too,” I said and we laughed.

I couldn’t remember where I’d packed it and by the time I found it he was leaning on his elbow watching me with barely concealed impatience.

“I know, I know. Sorry.”

“Stop apologizing.”

“I just don’t want you to spank me again. At least not yet.”

He raised his eyebrows and gave me a smirk as I came back to him. Then he was moaning and gasping as I lubed his ass and entered him without further preamble.

“Oh, Jesus, oh fuck yes,” he said as I pushed inside, right to the hilt. I would get him back for that rough spanking with an equally rough fuck.

“You like that, boy? You like me to fuck you hard?” I said, channeling my inner Dom and knowing that he loved dirty talk.

“Oh God, yeah.”

I held his hips tightly and dragged him so he was in a better position. Then I started to pound him.

“You’re ass is gonna be as sore as mine when I’m done with you,” I stated, panting and giving out little cries of pleasure as I pumped him hard.

“Oh yeah. Oh yeah,” he groaned, egging me on. “Fuck me, Martin. Fuck me hard!”

His words made me even crazier. All of yesterday’s stress and worry and heartache balled into my abdomen and gathered into a massive orgasm that I knew was imminent.

“Don’t move, don’t move,” I ordered as I drove my cock in once, twice and then squealed as my orgasm took over. I kept thrusting and soon Jeremy was yelling and coming, his hand beneath him working his cock as I hit his sweet spot and tumbled him over the edge.

We lay together, panting and listening to the relative silence of the hotel around us. Christ, what if we’d been heard? We hadn’t exactly been quiet.

It could have been my imagination but I thought I heard a gasp and a whispered curse outside the door of the room. Then a giggle and hushed conversation.

I rested my head on Jeremy’s back for a moment, giving myself up to the fact that we may have just outed ourselves as the most indiscreet couple on the seventh floor, and hoping to God we wouldn’t regret it as soon as we left the room.

“I think we might have been overheard.”

“I think we probably were. What are they gonna do, kick us out?”

“Maybe they’ll extend our stay.” Might as well be optimistic.

He laughed. “You need to get off me.”

“Must I?”

“Martin, come on. I need to get cleaned up.”

“You certainly do, you dirty, dirty boy,” I said in a fake British accent which made him laugh again.

By the time we’d showered and dressed it was mid-afternoon and we needed some lunch. I was a little scared to leave the room what with our noisy morning assignation but there was no point staying put. We were in London, for Christ’s sake.

Luckily we didn’t run into anyone on our way to the elevator. We shared a look of relief as we rode it down to the lobby.

I had sourced what looked like a good place for lunch on my phone so we stepped out of the hotel doors and onto Berkeley Street. It was a bright, sunny day, and the noise and chaos of central London assaulted us as we looked around, trying to orient ourselves.

I squinted down at my phone. “We need to find Curzon Street, which should be…this way.” I started walking down the sidewalk to the right.

Jeremy followed. I wanted to take his hand to ensure he stayed near me in the busy street but I dismissed this as ridiculous. He wasn’t an eight year-old. And I wasn’t sure how well two grown men holding hands would go over in Soho. Maybe nobody would care. But I didn’t want to start our Holiday getting called names or being spat on.

As we walked and I got used to the traffic going opposite ways, I took in the ancient architecture around me. I wasn’t sure if the tall buildings were Victorian or Edwardian, but they definitely weren’t modern. At least, most of them. It reminded me of the neighbourhood we lived in back in Ottawa, but on a much larger and even more historic scale. This city was so much older than anywhere I’d ever been before.

We found Curzon Street and turned left, crossing at the intersection, finding the rush of traffic and pedestrians lighten up slightly. Here also, historic buildings on either side stretched as far as we could see. The street curved and meandered, until we eventually took a right on Queen Street and located the Tamarind Restaurant. Thank God for Google maps and images.

It was located in the bottom of one of the more boring, boxlike, modern buildings. I say modern meaning anything from the 19th century.

The doors opened to a crowded but expansive room with wood floors, beige walls and gold pillars. The delicious smells of Indian cooking filled our nostrils while we waited for the hostess to seat us. Since there were only two of us it didn’t take long to find a table, and we were ushered to a small one in a cozy corner.

“I’m absolutely starving,” I said as we sat down and picked up the menus.

Jeremy arched an eyebrow and I was hit once again with how beautiful he was. “We had a very busy morning working up a good appetite.”

I blushed and couldn’t help smiling as I remembered our activities. “Yes, it was very…busy.”

Jeremy chuckled and bumped the toe of my boot under the table. I pulled my foot back and cleared my throat, embarrassed and charmed at the same time.

“Let’s just get a bunch of different plates and share them,” he suggested. We went through the menu and picked out some dishes we were familiar with and some we weren’t. When the server took our order he asked if we’d had Indian food before.

“Oh yes,” I replied. “We’re from Canada.”

The server visibly relaxed. “Excellent. Some of the other tourists complain about the spices and the heat.”

I laughed. “Why would they go to an Indian restaurant?”

“Because they hear it’s the thing to do in London, perhaps?” He took our order and disappeared.

I sipped my Kingfisher as Jeremy pulled out his phone.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“I’m announcing our engagement,” he said blithely, thumbs working quickly. He glanced up with a smile. “Is that okay?”

I shrugged. He had a lot more social media followers than I did. I was just glad he was so excited about it. “Sure. Okay.”

“I need a photo,” he said and leaned in to take a joint selfie of the two of us. “Perfect.”

He put the phone away and took a sip of his coke. “I still can’t believe we’re here.”

“It’s pretty amazing. How are you feeling, by the way?”

He sat back in his chair and opened his arms with his palms up. “Good. A little tired.”

“Your legs, I mean,” I said gently. “Everything all right so far?”

He stared at me. “Martin, my legs are fine. You don’t get an MS relapse from flying in a plane.”

I blushed. “I know that. But maybe from the stress of your boyfriend acting like an idiot and taking too many sedatives.”

“Uh uh uh. Fiancé. My fiancé acting like an idiot.”

I laughed. “Right. Sorry.”

“I’m fine, Martin. I’ll be fine. I just have to make sure to get enough rest, that’s all. I can rest just as easily here as in Ottawa.”

I raised my eyebrows, skeptical. “Really?”

“Well, almost. Of course, you’ll have to start behaving yourself so I don’t have to keep taking,” he leaned forward, “disciplinary action.”

My cock twitched and started to swell. “Fuck, Jeremy.”

He grinned. “Just saying.”

I cleared my throat and pretended to examine my fork. “Point taken.” Suddenly, the strains of Here Comes the Rain Again became noticeable from my back pocket. It was Frankie’s ringtone. “Shit,” I said. “I’d better take this or she’ll think I’ve died and call the London cops.”

I stood up and fished the phone out of my pocket while making my way through the crowded room and out the front door. I stood beside the entry and covered my other ear, which wasn’t necessary because I could easily hear Frankie screaming on the other end once I said hello.

“YOU’RE GETTING MARRIED!!!”

“Jesus Christ, Frankie!” I swore. “Calm down!”

“How the FUCK am I supposed to CALM DOWN, MARTIN??? My brother’s getting MARRIED!”

“Oh my God. If I’d know you were friends with Jeremy on Facebook or Instagram or what-fucking-ever I’d have stopped him from saying anything!”

“Have you seen his post, Martin? It’s adorable!”

“No, I haven’t actually. We’re at a restaurant trying to have lunch.”

“So how was the flight?” She asked. I could tell she was trying to calm herself down. “Did the Xanax work?”

I hesitated. “You could say that.”

“And your room is nice?”

“It’s wonderful. For sleeping and, uh, other stuff,” I said, blushing as I remembered our morning antics.

She laughed. “Oh really? Do tell!”

“Nope. Not a word.”

“Spoil sport. Oh, Martin, I’m just so excited for you!”

“I can tell.”

“Except that it means I can’t come to your wedding! Which totally sucks balls!”

“Oh yeah. I guess that does kinda suck. But we want to do it while we’re here.”

“I know, I know, and I’m so happy for you, Martin!”

“Thanks, Frankie.”

“I’ll let you go eat but CONGRATULATIONS!!!”

I had to hold the phone away from my ear again.

“Love you, Frankie. Talk soon.”

“Love you, bye! Tell Jeremy congratulations too!”

“I will. Bye.”

I hung up and put the phone back in my pocket. A young woman with spiky blond hair and about ten piercings met my gaze and gave me a thumbs up. “Congrats!”

I blushed but said, “Thanks” and made my way back inside. Jesus, I’d have to talk to Frankie about keeping her voice lower on the phone.

Jeremy didn’t seem to mind that I’d been gone so long. He was tucking into the plates of steaming food that had arrived.

“Everything okay?”

I nodded. “Yeah. I didn’t know you were friends with Frankie on Facebook.”

“Why wouldn’t I be?”

“Anyway, she saw your post and got a little excited.”

He laughed. “Yeah, she would.”

“Uh huh. She almost blew my ear off. She wanted me to pass on her very loud congratulations to you. She’s just mad she can’t come.”

“Oh yeah. I didn’t really think about that. Of course she’d want to.” His face fell.

“No, we are not changing our plans because of one person. I want to marry you here, in London.”

His frown turned into a smile. “Well, if you insist.”

“I do fucking insist. How’s the Korma?”

“It’s fucking Heaven, Martin. Try some.”

The food proved delicious and plentiful. After we’d filled our bellies and relaxed over cups of strong coffee we set out for the next part of our adventure.

CHAPTER FIVE

I finally let Jeremy have his way and we took an Uber to our next destination. I was impressed by the service’s ease of use and visibility, and it did come out quite a bit cheaper than a regular London Cab. And because payment and tip was all done online, there was none of the usual fumbling for cash and paying the driver before leaving the car at your destination.

After we bid our friendly driver, Franco, goodbye, Jeremy took my hand and pulled me along behind him. There were so many people milling about Trafalgar Square on a Saturday afternoon that nobody really paid us any attention so I didn’t feel self-conscious. I enjoyed the feeling of Jeremy’s warm fingers wrapped around mine as we made our way into this most famous of London landmarks.

“There’s the statue of Nelson,” Jeremy pointed out as we gazed around us in the bright sunshine. “And the lions.”

“Very cool,” I replied, a grin splitting my face as the fact that we were in central London England on a holiday together blew me away once again. Thank goodness Jeremy had gotten me back for my stupid behaviour on the flight over and we were on even ground again. My ass was still a little sore from my earlier punishment but all it did was remind me how much fun we had when we were honest and open with each other.

Instinctively, I took my camera from its bag and lined up some shots. There were people everywhere – kids, adults, seniors – all smiling and enjoying the fine weather. I took several shots of the crowds and zeroed in on a few individuals that caught my attention. Then I told Jeremy I wanted a shot of him in front of one of the lions.

“Sure,” he said, making his way to the base of the stone platform on which perched one of the majestic black creatures so iconic of Trafalgar Square. He waited politely while a young woman had her photo taken by her boyfriend and then took her place. Then he leaned up against the stone, crossed his ankles and stuffed his hands in the pockets of his leather jacket.

As I lined up the shot I was again struck by how fucking sexy he was. Dressed in a pair of dark jeans, wearing the brown Blundstone boots I’d got him for his birthday, and rocking a black t-shirt under his brown jacket, he looked incredible. Still so young, the layered brown hair he’d let grow a little longer than usual ruffled in the breeze as he gazed at me out of bold brown eyes. That was my Jeremy for sure. So much braver and bolder than I’d ever be. But he’d got me here, and I wasn’t going to waste this opportunity.

“Perfect,” I said, snapping away while he lounged against the hard rock wall. “You look great!”

He laughed, and I kept shooting. “I always look good when you shoot me, Martin. You have some great skills,” He added, bouncing his eyebrows suggestively.

I nodded. “Well, you know, I do need good material to work with. You never disappoint.”

He grinned and rolled his eyes.

“Okay, now I want you to climb up there,” I said, gesturing at the lion.

He looked up at it, then back at me. “You may have to boost me.”

“Of course,”I said, moving closer. I slung the camera around to my back and laced the fingers of my hands together, making a cradle for his boot. He put a hand on my shoulder and stepped into my hands.

“Ready?” I said.

“Yep.”

I boosted him up so he could get a hold of the platform and pull himself the rest of the way up. I tried not to ogle his ass in the tight blue jeans too obviously as he scrambled onto the platform and stood beside the lion.

“Now what?” he asked.

“I don’t know, you’re good there. Just put one hand on the lion’s ass and the other on his mane. And try to look regal.”

“How the fuck am I supposed to look regal?”

“Lift your chin and look down at me like I’m your slave. Pretend the lion’s your pet and you’re just waiting for the right moment to release it on all of us.” I know I sounded ridiculous but that was the look I wanted.

Instead of laughing and telling me to go fuck myself, surprisingly Jeremy did as I’d asked and pulled off a pretty good Roman Slave Master impression. Enough that my finger trembled slightly as I pushed the button on the camera and took the shots.

“That’s great, perfect. Don’t move. Now look over there. Okay. Now look back at me.” I took shot after shot, realizing that a few people were standing near enough to hear.

“That guy is so hot!”

“I’m taking his picture!”

“I think he’s a model. Looks like a professional shoot.”

Then Jeremy took his right hand off the lion’s vast rump and turned slightly sideways, leaning into the animal’s mane, placing his hand against it tenderly and pretending to whisper into its giant ear. I took shot after shot, delighting in his willingness to go along with my suggestion.

“Awe, he’s cuddling it.”

“Too cute. And hot!”

“Janet are you getting it? Take his picture!”

Then Jeremy turned and gave me a look that made my dick as hard as the stone plinth he stood on. He narrowed his eyes and stared fire at me like he wanted to do terrible, nasty things to me while his pet lion waited for his dinner.

As inappropriate as I felt with my jeans tight and a telling bulge showing no doubt, I kept taking the photos, until my breathing became quite heavy and I needed to stop, or I’d throw the camera down and climb up there with him. And we’d be arrested for indecent acts in a public space.

“Okay, that’s good,” I said. Understatement of the year. “Let’s get you down.”

He took my hand and jumped down, smiling at the onlookers, some of whom asked if he was a model and if this was a magazine shoot.

“Yeah, but I’m not on the job right now. We’re just goofing around.” He said, gesturing toward me.

I quirked one side of my lip up. “I can’t help taking pictures of this guy.”

“No kidding!”

“I can see why!”

I didn’t really mind the attention, and I totally understood it. But I wanted to have Jeremy back to myself, so I took his hand and pulled him away towards the steps that led up to the National Gallery. “Show off,” I teased.

He shrugged his shoulders. “You’re the one showing off right now, Martin.” He glanced pointedly at my crotch. “We’d better get you inside so you can hide that weapon.”

I blushed furiously, glancing down at the noticeable bulge in my jeans and holding my camera over it. “It’s your fault and you know it.”

“I just followed instructions and looked at you.”

“That’s all it takes sometimes.”

We moved quickly up the steps and around the side, where there were even more steps. I was glad Jeremy’s legs were okay but it wasn’t very comfortable climbing that many stairs with a major hard on. Hopefully it would go away soon.

Once inside, I asked for a guide from the lady at the information desk and we followed the crowd up the main stairs to the galleries on Level 2.

“Holy fucking shit.” Jeremy expressed his amazement at the architecture and beauty surrounding him with his usual directness. “I mean, fuck Martin. This place puts our own gallery to shame and it’s a beautiful building.”

As we stared around us at the marble accents and gigantic archways, the polished wood floors and the enormous rooms stretching in all directions, I couldn’t help but agree.

“Quite something, isn’t it?” I reached out and took his hand again, and he turned, meeting my eyes. “Thanks for letting me come with you.”

He smiled. “You mean, to London?”

I nodded. “Yeah.”

“Martin, it wouldn’t have been the same without you. I’d probably still be in the hotel room jerking off to your voice on my phone right now.”

I laughed, dropping his hand and shaking my head. “You nut.” I glanced at the people near us but they didn’t seem to have heard him, thank goodness.

“It’s the truth. I’m so glad you came with me. Now let’s go look at some old paintings.”

We spent the following two hours plus touring the Sainsbury Wing, soaking up the visceral and romantic paintings of some of the greatest masters of the Early Renaissance: Botticelli, Titian, and Caravaggio to name a few.

I could tell Jeremy was enjoying himself because his cheeks were flushed, his eyes bright and his exclamations over the paintings were constant and profuse. He kept his voice hushed but I could still hear the adrenaline and excitement, and when he’d grab my shirt sleeve to show me something he’d found, it made my heart sing.

Quieter in my appreciation of the incredible works of art, I tried to absorb it all and also enjoy Jeremy’s enthusiasm for something I wasn’t sure he’d actually be into. He surprised me again, like he always did. Some of his insights into this or that figure or the way the artist had conveyed a theme impressed me greatly and opened my own eyes up to new perceptions of old classics. Perhaps it was the age difference between us, but viewing these paintings with Jeremy was like looking through a new pair of eyes at what I had seen before, though never in such immediate splendour.

My eyes and brain began to fatigue before Jeremy seemed to, although he’d gotten quieter as the time passed and evening began to descend. At about six thirty we found ourselves in a quieter space, many people having left to find a spot for supper.

“Look at this, Martin,” Jeremy said yet again, pulling me over to a large painting in a corner of the huge room we were in. It depicted another religious scene full of larger than life figures and vibrant colour. We were almost alone, now that the earlier crowds had thinned. There were only a couple of older women at the far end of the room.

“It’s magnificent,” I said. Then I turned to look at Jeremy’s profile as he gazed upon it with the awe of a child. “You’re magnificent.”

Jeremy glanced at me, eyes widening at the intensity of my gaze. “Thank you,” he said.

“For what?”

“For bringing me here. I’d never have come if it weren’t for you.”

I glanced over my shoulder quickly, seeing that we were unobserved for the moment, and stepped closer, bringing my hand up to his lightly stubbled cheek. His pupils darkened and before I could do it he’d brought his lips to mine in a soft attack. I opened my mouth under his subdued assault and he pushed his tongue inside, daring me to kiss him back in this public place.

did dare. I couldn’t fucking help myself. And when the small sounds of a child crying broke through my passion it took some willpower to break away.

I glanced down and saw a boy of about five or six years standing beside a central pillar, sniffling and regarding us with horror and fear.

Oh hell.

“It’s okay, we were just…I’m sorry if we scared you,” I stammered, not knowing what to say.

This is why I don’t kiss in public.

Jeremy recovered more quickly. He crouched down and asked the boy the most obvious question in a surprisingly soft and stable voice. “What’s wrong?”

“I can’t find my mum!” The little boy cried, seeming oblivious to our PDA and more frightened of his own situation.

Thank Christ.

“Don’t worry,” Jeremy assured him, “We’ll help you find her. We’re from Canada. Have you heard of Canada?”

The boy nodded. “It’s cold there.”

Jeremy laughed and glanced up at me, probably making sure I was all right. “Sometimes. What’s your name?”

“R-R-Rupert,” the boy said. “I can’t find my mum.”

My heart rate calmed somewhat, I said, “I’ll check the other room. You stay with Rupert.”

He nodded and asked the boy another question.

As soon as I had gone through to the next room I saw who I assumed was Rupert’s mother at the far end, frantically looking around and talking on her cell phone. She looked about thirty with shoulder length wavy black hair and cat’s eye glasses. She was wearing jeans and a long, burgundy sweater over a pretty blouse.

I waved and walked quickly over to her.

“I’ve lost my son,” she said, her voice tinged with panic. “He was here one minute and then — “

“It’s all right, he’s in the next room. My — “ I didn’t know what to call Jeremy in this circumstance so I settled quickly on the most innocuous option. “…friend is calming him down. He’s quite upset.”

“Oh God, so am I! Thank God you found him. I’m bloody losing my mind…”

“Come on,” I led her over and around the corner. She spoke into her phone. “It’s okay, he’s here. Sorry to worry you, David!”

Jeremy was engaged in a deep conversation with Rupert and the child didn’t even notice his mother until she was almost upon him.

“Rupert! Where have you been? I couldn’t find you!” The woman said with substantial relief as the child turned to her and smiled.

“Mum!” He said happily and ran into her arms. “I was watching the men kissing and then I couldn’t see you anymore.”

My heart leapt into my throat and I shared an alarmed look with Jeremy who had straightened up.

“I — I beg your pardon?” The woman asked her son as I closed my eyes and awaited a very public humiliation.

“I’m so sorry,” Jeremy said, in that same calm voice. “I, uh, kissed my boyfriend. I didn’t know there was anyone near us and I never would have kissed him in front of —“

“They’re from Canada!” Rupert told his mother who, luckily had yet to stand and berate us for our indiscretion. “They kiss just like you and Daddy do. But it’s so funny because they’re boys. It was nice,” he said, with a smile. “But then I couldn’t see you anywhere and I got upset.”

“Well, I’m here now, sweetheart, and everything’s just fine,” the woman said, glancing at me and giving me a reassuring smile. Now I wanted to kiss her.

“This is Jeremy and he was telling me all about Canada and how they eat beavertails there.”

“Not the tails of actual beavers, though,” Jeremy added. “It’s kind of like a donut that looks like a beaver tail.”

“But donuts are round!” Rupert said like he was the definitive authority on all things donut.

“Not in Canada, maybe,” the woman said, smoothing her hand over Rupert’s brown hair and taking his hand before standing up.

“We have round donuts in Canada. Don’t worry,” Jeremy assured the boy who did seem quite relieved.

“Thank you so much for looking after him,” Rupert’s mother said with a wide smile and an offered hand to Jeremy. “I’m Abby.”

Jeremy shook her hand. “Glad to meet you.” He touched my shoulder. “This is my boyfriend, Martin. Well, my fiancé actually.”

Way to push your luck.

But Abby smiled and offered her hand to me. “It’s lovely to meet you, Martin.”

“What’s a foncy?” Rupert asked.

We all looked down at him. Abby was the first to speak. “It means that Jeremy and Martin are going to get married soon.”

I felt like I was in the twilight zone. I didn’t even realize I’d been holding my breath until I let it out in a rush.

“Like you and Daddy. That’s why they were kissing.”

Abby smiled up at us. “Yes, just like Mummy and Daddy.”

“I guess they must love each other then,” Rupert added.

Abby laughed – a rich deep sound full of warmth. “Of course they do. That’s why people get married.”

I cleared my throat. I didn’t know what to say.

So far it had been Jeremy doing the talking but I genuinely liked Abby and Rupert and I felt I should say something. “Thank you,” I told her, trying to convey with my gaze just how grateful I was. “For explaining it to him so simply.”

Abby shrugged. “As far as I’m concerned, it is that simple. You know, we Brits pride ourselves on our liberal views.”

“I thought you were all staunch traditionalists,” Jeremy said with a grin.

Abby snorted. “Well, I’m certainly not. Nor any of my friends. I attended a gay wedding just last summer, I’ll have you know.” She puffed out her chest in mock defiance.

“I want to get ice cream,” Rupert spoke up suddenly. “Or maybe donuts. Can we, mummy?”

Abbey adjusted her purse and frowned. “We need to go home and see Daddy, though. He’s making supper and we don’t want to ruin our meal by eating donuts.”

“Can we get some for dessert?”

“Maybe.”

Rupert’s eyes lit up. “Thanks for finding my mum,” he said to me and then turned to Jeremy. “And thanks for telling me about Canada.”

“Anytime,” Jeremy replied, obviously charmed.

“You should come over to my house and I can show you my LEGOs.”

“I’d love to.”

Abby pulled out her phone again. “Do you mind if I take your phone number, Jeremy? We’d love to have you and Martin for tea…”

Jeremy shrugged. “Sure.” He glanced my way. “We’d love that. We don’t know very many people in London.”

Rupert smiled wide. “You know me and mum now!”

“Yes, we do. Thank goodness,” Jeremy affected relief and Rupert’s smile got wider.

Jeremy gave Abby his phone number which she added to her contacts. She put her phone away and thanked us again.

As they walked away, she turned and gave us a heartfelt grin. “It really was lovely to meet you!”

“Thank you,” I said, gazing after her, still in a mild state of shock. That entire situation could have gone in a completely different direction.

Jeremy and I stood in silence for several moments.

“Are you sorry?” he said finally, gaging my expression.

“What?”

“That I kissed you?”

I stared at Jeremy and shook my head. “No.”

“You looked like you were going to have a heart attack when you saw the kid.”

I nodded. “Yeah, well I thought he was traumatized by our obvious passion.”

Jeremy laughed. “Nah. Kids are tougher than they look. Plus they don’t get the subtext at that age.”

“Thank God,” I said. “There was quite a bit of subtext to that kiss.”

Jeremy raised his eyebrows, moving closer. “Oh yeah? And what was the subtext exactly, Martin?”

“I’ll explain back at the hotel.”

The jet lag had caught up with me again and all I wanted was to be with Jeremy in our luxurious suite.

*****

“Oh, and Martin?” Jeremy said from his lounging position in the big King bed in our room.

“What?”

“Can you get me a chocolate bar?”

“What kind?”

“I don’t care. They probably have different ones here anyway. Something with nuts.”

I’d told Jeremy I was going to get a coke from the machine down the hall. We were trying to stay awake until eleven or so, but it was only nine-thirty and we’d already had sex and afterwards a bite to eat at Nightingales, the hotel restaurant.

Jeremy was looking at his phone and I was just trying to stay awake.

“I know you’re a big fan of nuts,” I said.

“Very funny.”

I slipped out the door and walked down the hall to the machine. There were the usual soft drinks, along with some unique, British ones. Though sorely tempted by the Tango Cherry drink, I really needed the dedicated caffeine of a coke at the moment. I got one for Jeremy too and then perused the snacks in the other machine. There were a lot of strange options, as well as some familiar ones. I ended up getting a few for Jeremy – a Starbar, a Double Decker, and a Caramac. Then a Yorkie bar for myself. When in Rome, right? It seemed a fairly simple way to step out of our comfort zones.

When I got back to the room, Jeremy was sitting up straighter and grinning down at his phone like a fucking lunatic.

I threw the chocolate bars onto his lap and put his coke on the bedside table, opening mine and taking a sip. “What’s up?”

“We’re getting all the love,” he replied and held out his phone.

There was the selfie he’d taken of us at the Indian restaurant, and over it he’d posted:

I said YES! We’re getting married in London!

There were 59 reactions – Likes, Loves, and Wows.

“Jesus. News travels fast.”

Jeremy laughed. “I can’t keep up with all the comments.”

“All of them good, I hope?”

He blinked at me. “What did you expect?”

“Well, at least one along the lines of, ‘Really? You’re tying yourself down to that old guy?’”

Jeremy raised his eyebrows. “You’re not old, Martin. And I’d gladly let you tie me down any day of the week.”

And now I was hard again. How did he do that? I guess if I could get rock hard in an instant from a few words out of Jeremy’s mouth, I couldn’t be that old.

“I didn’t realize you had so many Facebook friends. Fifty-nine reactions? It’s like putting it up on a billboard or something.”

“Well, why not?” Jeremy said. “I want to shout it to the world. I’m marrying Martin Fucking Lewis!”

I grinned, blushing. “How did you know I’d changed my middle name?”

Jeremy picked up one of the chocolate bars. “A Starbar?”

“For my Star boy.”

“Have you told anyone?”

“Huh?”

“About getting married?”

“I talked to Frankie, remember?”

“Yeah, but she saw it on my Facebook.”

That was true. I hadn’t told anyone yet. I didn’t use social media the way Jeremy did and I hadn’t really had the chance to phone anyone. Plus, I only had a few close friends and they could really wait until we got back to find out.

“Well, I haven’t posted about it if that’s what you mean.”

“How come?” He stared at me curiously. “Aren’t you excited?”

I sat on the bed beside him, putting my coke down and unwrapping my Yorkie bar. “Jeremy, of course I’m excited. I’m fucking ecstatic. It was my idea to do it here, and not wait until we got home.”

He nodded. “Okay. And you don’t care that I’ve told the world?”

I arched a brow. “Other than the fact it made Frankie lose her shit and call me overseas, no. I think it’s cute.” I said, kissing him on the nose. “I’m glad you’re this excited. I feel like the luckiest guy in the world.”

Jeremy smiled. “Yeah, that’s ‘cause you are. Don’t forget it.”

I laughed, taking a bite of chocolate. “Never.”

“And, Martin?”

“Yeah?”

“I mean it about letting you tie me down whenever, and wherever, you fucking want to.” He told me, eyes blazing.

“Jesus Christ, Jeremy.”

“Awake now?”

I answered his burning look with my own. “I don’t think I could go to sleep if I wanted to. And I don’t want to anymore. But we don’t have anything to use for that…purpose.”

Jeremy rose up onto his knees, letting the bedcovers, chocolate bars and his phone slide off his lap, so he was face to face with me. “Oh, I’m sure we can think of something.”

There was a knock at the door. We looked over.

What the fuck?

A male voice with a British accent said, “I have a delivery for a Mr. Lewis and Mr. Trask?”

I got up and walked over to the door after exchanging a confused look with Jeremy. Standing in the hall with a huge cellophane-wrapped basket was a man dressed in the hotel’s standard uniform.

“I’m Mr. Lewis,” I said, taking the basket from the man. “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome, Sir. Enjoy your stay.”

I shut the door, carrying the gift basket over to the bed.

“I should have known,” I said wryly, placing it down and taking the card from where it was taped to the cellophane. “Three guesses as to who this is from.”

“Fuck, I love your sister!” Jeremy said, peering at the basket’s contents. “Martin, there’s champagne and chocolate in here. Lots of chocolate!”

I held up the card and read it out to him.

To Martin and Jeremy on your second night in London. CONGRATULATIONS on your impending nuptials! I wish I could be there. You’d better take lots and lots of pictures! Love Frankie and Simon.

I sat down beside the huge basket. “This must have cost a bloody fortune.”

“Look at you, using the colloquial language. And, yeah, it must have. It’s so sweet of them.” Jeremy said, gazing at me with something besides gratitude in his eyes. “But now we have a big decision to make.”

“We do?”

He nodded. “Do we want to enjoy this now, or do you want to tie me to the bed and fuck me?”

All the blood left my face and hightailed it to my groin. “I — I — ”

“Thought so.”

CHAPTER SIX

We’d each packed emergency neckties, just in case we wanted to go to a fancy restaurant or something. It was a comment on our relationship that we ended up using them as ipso facto bondage equipment instead.

If there was a better way to fight the effects of jet lag than tying your sexy as hell boyfriend — I mean, fiancé — to a hotel bed and teasing him mercilessly before giving him the fucking of his life, I didn’t know what it could be.

“Ah, Martin, yeah, do that, do that…” Jeremy squirmed as I kissed my way up his inner thigh and sucked one of his balls into my mouth while I grabbed the base of his erection and squeezed. “Oh hell yeah,” he moaned.

“Shhhhh, keep it down,” I suggested, knowing it was late and not wanting to wake the rest of the hotel.

“Oh fuck,” he gasped as my tongue stroked up his cock from base to tip. “You try keeping it down while I’m doing that to you sometime, why doncha?”

I laughed and lifted my head up to take in the beautiful sight before me — Jeremy stretched out naked on his back on the rumpled king size bed, arms spread, wrists fastened securely to the top corners.  I’d used one of my black dress socks to blindfold him.

Then, inspiration hit.

“Hold on a second,” I said as I got up, adjusted the growing erection in my boxer briefs and walked over to the table where I’d placed Frankie’s gift.

Jeremy must have heard me crinkling the cellophane because he said, “What are you doing, Martin? You’re not going to enjoy our treats without me?”

“Don’t be silly. I’m going to enjoy them on you.”

“Oh God. What is this? Fifty Shades of Earl Grey?”

I laughed. “Be quiet. It’ll be fun.”

“It had better be sexy.”

“I’ll do my best. Goddamn, you look good from here.”

Standing by the table, looking down at him, all tied up and waiting for me, was something else. And he’d have to wait because it might take awhile to get this gift basket opened up.

“Stop staring at me and do what you need to do, Martin. Please,” he begged, pulling at his bonds.

“Geeze, you’re a bossy sub,” I said, but I couldn’t wait to get back over there.

I finally got the ribbon off and opened the cellophane, taking out the bottle of bubbly that was its centrepiece.

“Holy fuck.”

“What?”

“This isn’t sparkling wine. This is actual champagne.”

“Whoa. Maybe you shouldn’t waste it on a sex game then…”

There wasn’t a whole lot of conviction in that remark. I felt like he was simply trying to be responsible and thoughtful.

Well fuck that.

“Waste? When is a sex game ever a waste, Jeremy?”

“Yeah, you’re right. Get it open then, and get your ass over here, Martin.”

I clucked at his impatience and set about removing the foil wrap and untwisting the wire cage on the cork. Jeremy must have heard my little giggle.

“What’s so funny?”

“I’m taking the cork cage off. Get it? Cork cage?”

“Very funny, Martin. Keep making bad puns and I’ll have to safe word.”

My smile grew wider. I put the small wire cage on the table and tilted the bottle toward the living area, away from myself, Jeremy and the window. Holding the cork firmly, I slowly twisted the bottle. After a few moments I heard a beautiful pop and the cork came loose.

“Ta da.” I held up the bottle and the cork, then realized that my audience couldn’t see a thing.

“That sounded really fucking sexy, Martin. Too bad I’m blindfolded,” Jeremy murmured, licking his lips. “Are you coming?”

“In a minute. Be patient.”

Jeremy sighed, pulling against his wrist restraints while I unwrapped a container of chocolate covered strawberries. Taking my time, I sauntered back to the bed, placing two champagne glasses on the nightstand. The champagne made a delicious sound as I poured and I couldn’t help licking my lips in anticipation, both for the expensive drink and to be able to get my lips on Jeremy again.

“To us,” I said, picking up both glasses and clinking them together.

“Nice, Martin.”

I took a sip of mine, then tipped the other glass ever so slightly so that a dribble of champagne landed on Jeremy’s lips.

“Open your mouth.”

He licked the bubbly off his lips and obeyed my command. I bent to take his lips in mine, inhaling his groan of surprise.

“You tricked me,” he said with a grin when I pulled back. “I thought I was getting more champagne.”

“You want more?”

“Sure. Yeah, I want more,” he panted.

I dribbled a bit more onto his lips and watched, entranced, as his tongue chased a drip from the corner of his mouth.

“Fuck, that’s hot,” I hissed.

“Mmmm. More, please.”

I did the same thing again, and again. It dripped down his chin and over his stubbled cheeks but he got enough to quiet him for the moment.

“Want a strawberry, Jeremy?”

“Mmm. Yeah.”

“Open.”

I carefully placed the chocolate covered tip of a strawberry between his lips and watched him bite down. My dick swelled even more at the sexy sight.

“Oh, hell,” I murmured.

“Mmm, tastes delicious,” Jeremy said. “More.”

I spent the next few moments feeding him strawberries and enjoying the way his lips and mouth moved as he chewed and savoured them.

“Martin?”

“Hmm,” I said, distracted by his mouth.

“That’s enough.”

“No more strawberries?”

He shook his head slowly back and forth.

“Then, what do you want?” I asked.

When a wicked smile broke across his face and he licked his lips with exaggerated leisure, I pretty much knew. And he knew that I knew.

“What do you think I want?”

I played dumb. “I haven’t the faintest idea.”

“Your dick. My mouth. Now.”

“Jesus. I thought I was in charge.”

“Then take charge, for fuck’s sake, and shut me up with that big dick of yours,” he said, making me scramble to take off my boxer briefs and get into position.

Jeremy had always been the one in charge. Who was I kidding? From our first foray into the world of light kink he’d told me exactly what to do and how to do it, being ever more experienced and adventurous in this area than I.

And I loved it. My cock had been slowly seeping fluid for the past half hour and now it was ready for some direct attention.

I grabbed a pillow and propped Jeremy’s head up, giving my cock a few rubs in the meantime. He kept licking his lips like he couldn’t wait to have me in there.

Getting into position, my knees on either side of him, erection bobbing in front of his face, I tried to calm my desire. But when I grabbed my cock and bounced the head against his wet lips I couldn’t help the whimper that escaped.

He opened wide, welcoming my leaking prick inside, the blindfold over his eyes giving the image a beautiful depravity.

“Oh, God,” I exclaimed as he closed his lips, sucking and swirling his tongue around me. “Oh, yeah.” I had to bite my lip to keep from groaning too loudly, the heat of his mouth enveloping me.

Jeremy moaned, the vibration resonating through my cock down to my balls. I gripped the wooden headboard and stared down at the entrancing image of my cock in his mouth. I couldn’t help but thrust gently in and out while he worked me.

“Oh God, Jeremy, fuck!” I swore as the sensations increased. Reaching down I pushed the blindfold off his face. When his brown eyes met mine I felt a surge of excitement and a tightening that warned me of imminent orgasm. But I grabbed the base of my cock and pulled out of his mouth before it happened.

“Stop, I can’t hold on. I’ll come.” I confessed.

“So? Come in my mouth, Martin.” That entreaty almost sent me over the edge but I shook my head and moved down so I lay atop him.

“Not this time,” I said, breathing hard and feeling our cocks bump together. Jeremy moaned.

“Then, what?” he asked, as desperate as I.

I sighed and kissed him slowly, leisurely, as I snaked a hand between us and circled our cocks, holding them together and thrusting gently.

“This,” I said, and did it again, eliciting a deep groan from Jeremy and a gasp from myself. “Just this.”

Slick with Jeremy’s saliva my cock moved easily against his for a few moments. But it became obvious we needed something more.

“Hold on,” I said, reaching out for a packet of lube that I quickly ripped open with my teeth.

“You keep saying that,” he sighed.

“Sorry.”

“It’s okay. Just hurry the fuck up, Martin. I need to come.”

“I know, I know,” I said. “So do I, believe me.”

When my hand was fully coated with lube I wrapped it around both of us again and really started to move.

It didn’t take long before Jeremy was uttering curses and thrusting up against me, helping me drive us toward a quick and enjoyable finish.

I felt him tense and heard him cry out as his cock pulsed and shot. Head thrown back against the pillow, mouth agape as the orgasm took him, the sight was enough to get me off. I swore as I came all over my hand and him, trembling with exertion and euphoria.

Finding his mouth with mine I kissed him tenderly, then remembered his hands were still tied to the bedposts. I pulled back and released him, loving the way his arms immediately circled me and pulled me close.

“Martin, that was amazing.”

“Yeah, it kinda was, wasn’t it?”

After we cleaned up and were getting ready to hit the sack, I glanced at the clock on the bedside table.

“Well, we made it ‘till midnight.”

“Yep. But now I need to sleep,” Jeremy yawned. “I’m fucking bushed.”

I crawled under the covers while Jeremy checked his phone again.

“Oh,” he said.

“Hmm?”

“There’s a text from Felix.”

My brain was exhausted from our lovemaking and hadn’t caught up yet. “Who?”

“Felix Kureck. The photographer.”

“Oh yeah?”

“Yeah. Welcoming me to London and asking if I want to go for lunch tomorrow – his treat.”

Now my brain was awake. I cleared my throat. “Just you?”

“Well…”

“Did you tell him your boyfriend was coming along on this trip?”

“Well, no. Not yet.”

I tried to maintain an even tone even though I was a little ticked he hadn’t mentioned me to the guy yet. “Do you want to go for lunch with him?”

“Of course. But only if you can come. I’ll text him that you’re with me and we can both go.”

I nodded, relieved. “Okay. I’d love that.” It made me a bit nervous that this Felix guy had invited Jeremy to lunch. I mean, the man was pretty famous. Did he treat all his models this way? Or just the ones he wanted to fuck?

“What are you thinking?” Jeremy said, cocking his head to the side as he typed his reply.

I shook my head. “Nothing. It’s nothing.”

“We didn’t really have any formal plans for tomorrow anyway.”

“No. It will be great to meet the guy.” I tried to sound sincere.

Jeremy plugged his phone in and snuggled under the blankets with me.

“‘Night,” he said, kissing me sleepily.

“Good night,” I said, wondering what Mr. Kureck’s intentions really were with Jeremy, and not liking the suspicions that were beginning to form in my mind.

*****

When my eyes opened the following morning I was pleased to see that it was eight-fifteen. Looked like our brains/bodies were adjusting to the time zone.

I turned to look beside me and smiled. Jeremy lay with his back to me, stretched out under the blankets, one arm beside his head, peacefully sleeping. He always seemed so benign and innocent in these moments. It made me shudder to think of some of the kinkier aspects of his personality. In a good way, that is. Even so, the way he looked in sleep tugged at my heartstrings and I had to force myself not to touch him. As much as I yearned to kiss him gently on the forehead I didn’t want to wake him.

I lifted the sheets carefully and slid out of the large bed, padding over to the curtains. Sliding my fingers along the edge of the heavy green fabric, I peeked out, making sure not to let in too much light. Still excited by the view of downtown London out these windows I saw grey clouds and rain, probably a more typical weather day than yesterday had been. I didn’t mind the rain, though. It made the hotel room feel cozy and warm.

Grabbing my phone from the coffee table I checked my messages. Nothing major, just a text from a buddy asking if I wanted to meet him for lunch – he didn’t know I was across the ocean. I sent a quick reply letting him know where I was and postponing until I was back on the continent. Then I sent a quick text to Frankie, thanking her for the beautiful gift basket and telling her to convey my appreciation to Simon as well. It had been such a thoughtful thing for them to do.

Then I walked to the small coffeemaker and started it brewing. I was desperate for a cup of coffee. I’d left the curtain pulled slightly aside so there was enough light to manage without flipping a switch and waking Jeremy. But when the coffee started brewing the little machine made so much noise that it ended up rousing him anyway.

He grunted, rolling onto his back to see what I was up to.

“Sorry,” I said.

He grunted sleepily, looking at the window with heavy lids.

“Want a coffee?”

He sat up, yawning. “Sure.”

“Here, you can have this one.” I took the mug of fresh brew over to him.

“Thanks.” He took it from me, cradling it in his hands and inhaling the delicious scent.

His hair was mussed from sleeping and the shadow of stubble on his chin looked very sexy. I walked back to the machine and started brewing another cup.

“I thought maybe I’d check out the gym across the street this morning. You want to come?” I said.

He nodded. “Yeah.”

“Did Felix text you back?”

“I’ll check,” he said. He reached for his phone and checked his notifications. “He’s fine with you being there.”

“Okay. Good.” I felt relieved, although what had I expected? That the guy would tell Jeremy he couldn’t bring his partner to lunch? I still felt uneasy about the request. But Jeremy had travelled all the way from Canada for the shoot. Maybe Felix was grateful and did only want to welcome him to London. It was a nice thing to do, really. And I could offer to pay for my own lunch.

“We’re supposed to meet him at Osteria Romana at one o’clock.”

“Italian?”

“I’m looking it up.”

I took my coffee and joined him on the bed, peering over his shoulder as he brought up the website for the restaurant.

“Mmm. Italian.” My favourite.

“Looks like it.” Jeremy checked out the menus. “Seems fairly upscale. I can’t pronounce half of these dishes.”

“Oh.” I felt a bit guilty that I’d invited myself along, but there was no way I was going to let Jeremy have lunch with this guy on his own.

Jeremy shrugged. “He told me after he said you could join us, so he could have picked a cheaper place if he’d wanted to.”

I nodded. “True. Anyway, I’ll offer to pay for my meal.”

Jeremy glanced at me, raising his eyebrows. “It’s going to be pricey.”

“Then I’ll just have a salad.”

“Whatever. If I were you I’d keep quiet and get whatever you want. I’m sure the guy’s loaded.”

I found myself staring at Jeremy, remembering the way he’d looked in slumber compared to the way he looked now – hot as fuck and ready to get into trouble.

He cocked his head. “What?”

“You’re sweet when you’re sleeping, you know.”

He smiled, not sure how to react. “And now?”

I shrugged. “Sweet is not the word that comes to mind.”

He gave me a devilish wink that made my dick twitch and sipped his coffee.

*****

Jeremy did his injection and we each had a granola bar and a juice box in the hotel room before getting into our sweats and heading downstairs. I’d phoned this place last night to make sure we could pay per visit and discovered there was actually a discount for hotel guests.

The facility seemed pretty high end, but the fee was reasonable. And we lucked out because it wasn’t that crowded at nine on a Sunday morning. There were a decent number of people but the venue was so large – two levels – we had plenty of room and lots of available equipment.

The first time I ever accompanied Jeremy to a gym (the GoodLife in the Byward Market back home) he’d gone out of his way to impress me with an intense workout on the treadmill. A workout that might have been influential in a pseudo MS relapse he experienced a few days later, in the middle of the night, at my place.

He never pushed himself too hard at the gym these days, knowing that would only cause issues that he would rather avoid. He took his health very seriously, as a working model who didn’t always get enough sleep on assignment he knew he had to make every effort to optimize his well being.

I started on the machines while Jeremy headed for the treadmills. He usually did about thirty minutes of power walking before he started free weights, then went back and did a ten minute jog with ten minutes power walking and a five minute cool down. We made it to the gym at least three times a week back home, four if we were lucky, and it felt nice to workout again. Since getting together with Jeremy I’d quit my half-a-pack-a-day smoking habit and lost fifteen pounds, which meant I wasn’t as easily intimidated in fitness settings. However, I still bristled when I noticed anyone, man or woman, eyeing my boyfriend/fiancé, which happened often enough. Today was no exception.

I was working my hamstrings when I noticed this muscle-bound, bearded fellow get onto the treadmill beside Jeremy’s. At first he seemed involved in working the settings on the machine, but once he started moving I noticed frequent side glances at my boy. Jeremy seemed oblivious, or else he just wanted to stay in the zone and didn’t give a damn, which seemed more likely.

But I couldn’t help clanging the weights on my machine deliberately like some novice gym goer just to distract the guy. It didn’t work.

Anyway, I knew by this time I was helpless to prevent bystanders from eye-fucking Jeremy. It was just something I had to put up with. I got on one of the stationary bikes and tried to work off my jealousy/frustration that way.

After about an hour we’d finished what we needed to do and went back to the hotel to shower and change. I hung our ties off a hanger in the bathroom and, luckily, after two long steamy showers in the enclosed space, most of the wrinkles from their use as wrist bondage came out.

“Works every time,” I winked at Jeremy.

“Uh huh. Use your ties as bondage equipment often?”

I laughed. “We have the proper equipment at home, remember?” I elbowed him in the side, just above the small white towel that was wrapped around his narrow hips.

“Yeah, I seem to recall that,” he grinned.

I shrugged. “But, in a pinch…”

“Good thinking on your part.”

“Necessity is the mother of invention.” I nodded toward the ties. “I just know how to get wrinkles out of clothes the easy way because I hate to iron.”

I ran my fingers along his freshly shaved cheek and kissed him gently. “Smooth.”

“You too,” he eyed my face. “But you could do with a nice organic facial.”

“Down boy,” I said, although my dick twitched at the idea. “We’re going to lunch.”

“Maybe later?”

I laughed. “Maybe.”

We got dressed in the more formal clothes we’d packed since the restaurant seemed so fancy. Jeremy in black jeans, a white button up, tie and grey blazer, me in grey slacks, navy button-up, tie and charcoal blazer.

I stole up behind Jeremy as he struggled with his tie. “Let me.”

He dropped his hands while I made quick work of it. “There.”

“Thanks,” he said, turning. “How do I look?”

My eyes raked over him, body responding as usual. “Too sexy to go out in public?”

He gave me a look. “Nice try, bucko. Please try to reign in your ever-present possessiveness during lunch? I really want to get along with this guy. This could really move my modelling career forward, y’know?”

I swallowed and nodded. It might be difficult but I was a guest of Jeremy’s in this situation, not to mention a guest of Felix’s, so I would behave myself if it killed me. Hopefully, I’d get a good vibe from the guy right off and I’d be able to relax. I didn’t want to think about the alternative.

END OF PART ONE

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

For even more fun, visit Jeremy’s Travel Blog to get his side of this story and to see photos of places he and Martin visited on their journey!

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