Authors: Cheryl Dragon
Tags: #Male/Male Erotic Romance
“You’re lucky to have had that sort of love.” Ken went with a safe comment.
“Don’t bullshit me. You have standards and dreams so high no man will convince you he’s your true love.” Bev wiped her eyes.
“You think Avery?” Ken knew he’d been set up now. “You’re crazy.”
“I didn’t say Avery. I said your standards are high. No one is perfect, not you or any other man. TV and the movies brainwash us about what it’s like. The reality is more subtle and doesn’t have a pretty musical score. It’s better though. It’s real. I think you’ve held out for the dream, and only you know if you passed up someone who was right on a false hope. I know I’ll never have a love like that again. I’d give up every dime I have, every club and every diamond I own to have that guy back. I can’t have him, but I’m glad I had him in my life,” Bev said.
Ken rubbed his temple. “I’m sorry you lost him. I’m not sure I know what to say.”
“Don’t say anything. Just think about your life while you have some time off stage. I know you love it up there. You own the stage when you’re on it, but life is what happens off the stage. If you’re living your life for that brief time in the spotlight, you’re missing something. I don’t know what happened with you and Avery—not exactly. I always thought you two would find a way back together. Don’t tell him I said that.” Bev smiled.
“He dumped me. Big fight.” Ken shook his head. “I’ve tried.”
Her eyebrow raised. “Really?”
“Sort of. In my way. Not lately. It’s been years since. We fought. I slept elsewhere a few nights. He changed the locks. I cut my losses.” Ken didn’t want to have this conversation.
“You like the easy road. Or what you think is the easy way. Don’t sell yourself short. All of our looks will go eventually. You’re more than a great dancer or a one-night stand with a guy after a fight. You haven’t had a serious relationship since Avery.” Bev frowned.
“I love you, Bev, but you’re wrong. I’m not more than looks and sex. I can manage this place because I understand it. The people who work here and the customers. I’m not deeper or smarter. My grades were crap. That was a long time ago, but we’ve all got history we like to keep buried.” Ken pushed the bad memories of his father back.
“I know you’re smart and deep. You’ve made up stuff in your head to deal with the world. Stop believing it, and let go. We all change and evolve. Rewrite your story, and like it,” Bev said.
“Easier said than done. It’s reality to me.” Ken didn’t see any false story. “I better go check on the rehearsal. Don’t worry about this place. When you go, I’ll manage—no dancing.” Ken stood up.
“Thanks. And no returning to dancing for another two weeks. I want to make sure you’re fully recovered. Rehearse for a week before you back on stage and then, only if you’re pain free and moving the arm fine.” Bev folded her arms over her considerable cleavage.
“You’re a pain in the ass,” he said.
“So are you. That’s required of a boss sometimes. Would you let another dancer back on stage before you knew he was totally recovered?” she asked.
Ken sighed. “No, you’re right on that point. But all that love stuff… Are you sure you’re not hitting menopause? Maybe, you should look into hormones.”
She grabbed a paperweight from her desk. Ken closed the door and heard the rock hit the door on the inside. He’d annoyed Bev, but she’d given him so much to think about, he didn’t regret the teasing. They were all friends, after all. Bev, him and Avery would be pals in an old-age home someday.
* * * *
When Ken was quiet all through a late-night dinner, Avery knew something was off. The guy wasn’t pouting or throwing a fit. He was thinking. This sort of mood was rare.
“What’s wrong?” Avery asked.
Ken cleared the table and shook his head.
“Did you take your pain pill?” Avery wondered if it wasn’t just his arm.
“I took it,” Ken snapped.
“So what the hell is your problem?” Avery grabbed a bottle of water from the fridge.
Ken rolled his eyes. “I don’t want to talk about it. I don’t like having all this thinking to do or dealing with everyone’s opinions.”
“I don’t need to give an opinion. If you need to vent, go ahead. I won’t get any sleep with you tossing and turning.” Avery folded his arms.
“Want me to sleep in the guest room? You keep saying I should, but it never seems to happen, does it?” Ken smiled.
“We manage better together than apart. Isn’t that why we both keep working for Bev? Even after we broke up and made everything tense for a while? We work well together. We get each other. Right? Either of us could’ve gone to another club. But we didn’t. So I must be some help. What’s the problem?” Avery asked.
Ken sighed. “I don’t want to talk about it now.”
“Fine.” Avery headed to the bedroom and stripped down to his boxers. Ken could sleep wherever he wanted. He was determined to be a pain in the ass, so all Avery could do was ignore him. Slipping into the bathroom, Avery brushed his teeth and got ready for bed.
After a quick walk around the house, he flipped off all the lights, made sure the door was locked and made his way back to the bedroom. Naked, Ken stood at the foot of the bed staring into the mirror on the dresser.
“It’ll look better in the morning,” Avery said as he tried to pass by the sullen yet sexy man.
Ken pulled Avery into a kiss. “I need more.”
Avery pushed the nude man back onto the bed. Kicking off his boxer, Avery couldn’t resist relieving the tension that had built up between them for some reason. It didn’t matter what it was. They’d both feel better.
He kissed Ken and held him tight. Ken groped Avery’s cock as their kiss deepened. Avery opened his nightstand drawer and reached for protection and lube. His cock was hard already, and Ken’s erection pressed to Avery’s side. They were sexually compatible, if nothing else.
Avery lubed Ken’s ass and sucked Ken’s cock slowly. The limber dancer lifted his hips and spread his legs. Avery wanted to fuck him like that. Looking into his eyes, but it’d be too hard. It would be too painful to do that and know tomorrow they might be nothing but friends again. He’d carried a torch and buried it deep for too long. Another heartbreak would make him leave Big D’s.
Flipping Ken over so he was facedown, Avery ignored Ken’s protests. Avery slid on protection then spread Ken’s ass. Rubbing the lube in and nibbling those tempting cheeks, Avery wanted to take his time and wear Ken out.
“Just fuck me! I need to shut off my damn brain,” Ken said.
Avery pressed one hand on Ken’s left shoulder blade and thrust fully into Ken’s ass. Ken’s groans and tension fueled Avery’s lust. He rocked hard all the way out then went back in balls deep every time. Ken’s breath went ragged, but Avery had to prove he was in good shape and could still turn Ken’s brain to mush.
“God, Avery!” Ken screamed as he came.
That didn’t pause Avery’s thrusts. He buried his cock in that hot ass three more times before he grunted through his own release and fell back. Not waiting to kiss or cuddle, he tossed the used protection and grabbed a towel from the bathroom.
“You wore me out.” Ken rolled onto his back.
“You’re welcome.” Avery wiped up the cum and lube spots from the bed. After cleaning himself up, he tossed the towel on Ken. “Now, get some sleep.”
“It’s not about you. I’m not mad at you. Why are you pissed at me?” Ken asked.
“We don’t do this blurred lines crap well. Friends and co-workers are one thing. Lovers and dating are different. We can’t play in the middle for much longer. I hope your shoulder is doing better.” Avery shut off the nightstand light and climbed into bed.
His body was satisfied but his heart was hurting. Ken had to go soon, or Avery would have to find another job. It was too painful to do this.
When he woke up the next morning, Ken couldn’t believe it wasn’t some crazy dream. He’d slipped back down the same slope of lust and giving into his urges without thinking.
Avery sat up as Ken rubbed his eyes.
“Don’t pull away, I can feel you icing me out already. We need to stop playing this game,” Avery said.
“No. I was pissed.” Ken grabbed Avery’s arm. “Did you talk to Bev about me?”
“She’s only asked how you’re doing.” Avery shrugged.
Ken pushed Avery down and snuggled to him. “That’s not what I meant. Did you tell her to offer me a pity job?”
“She offered you manager?” Avery asked.
Ken tensed. “I knew you were behind it.”
“No, I wasn’t. She said she’s been thinking about it for a long time, and your injury seemed like a good opportunity to bring it up. She asked what I thought, but I didn’t encourage her. You’ll just say no, and she’ll have to hire some young asshole who’ll boss us around.” Avery shook his head.
“I said I’d think about it. Shows what you know,” Ken said.
“Good. I’d rather work with you, and if she’s expanding, she’ll need someone she trusts.” Avery hugged him.
Ken liked the contact but didn’t want Avery to think he had the upper hand. “I already heard her sales pitch. She said I could keep stripping when she’s in town. I don’t have to give it up.”
“Okay. Best of both worlds. You have more skills and talents than you think, Ken. Why do you always sell yourself short?” Avery asked.
“I don’t. I’ve learned whatever I know from Bev. I just wanted to be the talent, eye candy. It’s all I was ever good at.” Ken had things he’d never told people, as well. “Did you know Bev had a serious boyfriend who died while she was a stripper?”
Avery looked down at Ken. “No. Never heard about anyone that serious. What happened?”
“Drunk driver. Car crash. I always knew she was strong, but she’s superwoman. Not that it matters to the conversation. I don’t know why she really brought it up.” Ken ran his right hand over Avery’s chest. His shoulder was healing, but the urge to leave wasn’t strong.
“Maybe, she thinks you’ll be fine alone and you don’t need a rich prince to show up and rescue you. That wouldn’t make you happy if you don’t like your life. You like Big D’s and Bev, so why not settle into a job you can do no matter what happens,” Avery said.
Ken sat up. “You really think I’m waiting for some mythical prince?”
“Just speculating why she brought up the love thing. Great love can go wrong or get taken away. Some people don’t get love, but they get great friends and a good career. Life isn’t fair, let alone a dream come true. You’re always longing for more. For something else.” Avery grabbed his bottle of water off the nightstand then took a drink.
“That’s not true.” Ken lied.
“Okay. Have it your way. You always do. You impact others more than you think, and you have more to offer than you’ll admit. If you don’t think you’re worth anything, no one else can convince you you’re wrong.” Avery got up and went into the bathroom.
Ken glance across the room and caught his reflection in the big mirror on Avery’s dresser. He wasn’t getting younger. Exercise and good skin care could only do so much. He liked the idea of the job, but was it giving up on himself? He didn’t want to become depressed and bitter.
A perfect man wouldn’t fix everything in Ken’s life, though. Avery was right about that. He hadn’t achieved the goals he’d wanted, and no other man could validate him. Not his father or the right romantic match. Nothing external could make it right. He knew that, but his life had been on hold. A fantasy life that wasn’t real.
* * * *
Avery spat mouthwash into the sink and turned on the water. Ken was getting better which meant they were getting on each other’s last nerves already. Vaguely talking about certain things made Avery nuts.
When he went back into the bedroom, he found Ken sitting cross-legged on the bed, naked. He looked lost in thought.
“What’s wrong with you?” Avery asked.
“Nothing. If I’m special, why did you dump me instead of trying to work it out?” Ken asked.
Avery folded his arms. “Direct conversation? Sure you want to do this?”
“I know I cheated. I know I was wrong. But I was so upset and drunk. You were the one thing in my life that was stable and I could count on.” Ken looked Avery in the eye.
“Yet you kept flirting with other men. I don’t mean at work as part of your job. You needed attention, and I wasn’t enough. When you cheated after that fight, I knew I’d never be enough. You’d always be one of those Vegas guys looking to trade in for a better model. Younger, hotter or whatever. I wanted you back, but I wasn’t going to have my heart broken over and over again.” Avery tried to figure out where Ken was going with this.
“I loved you. It was the only time I’ve totally let my guard down. I didn’t have any armor up around you.” Ken fidgeted with his sling.
Avery wasn’t sure their friendship could survive several rounds of this. “I know your dad wasn’t too thrilled when you came out.”
“That’s putting it mildly, but that wasn’t it. I knew I was gay very young, and I kept it quiet as long as I could. Until high school. In middle school, I got depressed. Puberty hit, and I knew I wanted men. There was no confusion or pretending even if I wanted to. I had a crush on someone. I can’t even remember his name now. Hiding it all hurt so much. I didn’t eat for days. I felt sick. I lost weight. Passed out in gym class.” Ken shook his head. “I’m not fishing for sympathy. I’m just telling the whole truth.”
“You got depressed?” Avery sat on the bed and nearly hugged Ken. “What did your family do?”
“At first, they took me to the doctor, but I played it off like a stomach bug. When it didn’t get better, my mom tried making all my favorite stuff. My dad tried tough love. He said if I didn’t toughen up I’d get beat up all the time at school. Finally, I told my aunt what I was. That made it a little better. She told my mom, and they were okay with it. They told me to wait until I went off to college before I told my dad. Seems like the older men in both of our families didn’t want to hear they had a gay boy in the family. Anyway, it worked until my senior year in high school. I couldn’t make it to graduation.” Ken sighed.