Chapter 10: Three
Stanley was beat. He had to work a couple of hours of overtime, and now it was after eight PM on Monday. He was learning the trade as a mechanic and his job included many of the things the other guys didn't like much. This included playing a "go-for", running back and forth almost constantly, grabbing tools, lubing vehicles, and hauling heavy parts around to wherever the guys needed them.
Luckily, they paid him well. The dealership valued Stanley and his hustle. Without him, the lives of the mechanics would be a lot tougher, and they said as much to the management.
He was also a fine carpenter. He couldn't do the things his coworker Christopher could do with wood, but Stanley had grown up helping his father in the construction business, and he had learned a lot from his dad. As a result, he could easily handle the work his little house in Arcata needed.
Stanley was supposed to meet Kent after work, but he texted once he found out he had to work late. 'Sorry, Kent. I've gotta stay for a couple of hours over. I understand if you can't hang out later.' Kent responded with a sad face, then he texted that they'd just hang out another time. Despite his tiredness, Stanley was disappointed he'd not get to see Kent tonight. He had seen the younger guy for a few minutes as he came to pick up his newly repaired car over lunch, but they only got a chance to wave at one another.
Stanley unlocked the door.
The small man jumped. Kent stood a few steps away on the grass of his yard in the darkness. He grinned as Stanley caught his breath, and he held up a Carl's Junior bag. "Sorry, but I brought you some dinner."
Stanley laughed, then he smiled. "That's awesome. I didn't think you were coming over!" He opened the door. "Come on in." The men walked inside and Stanley gratefully took the bag from Kent. "Oh man, thanks. I really am hungry."
Kent nodded affably. "There are a couple of chicken sandwiches in there." He looked at Stanley's greasy overalls. Kent's gaze raked up his body, and his expression smoldered as he looked into the smaller man's blue eyes. "Sit down. Eat your food. Then come to the bedroom."
There was not a hint of question, hesitation, or doubt in Kent's voice. Stanley gaped a little at him, then the husky man smirked and turned to walk down the hall into the bedroom.
Stanley's cock was at full alert. 'One. I'm gonna have one.' He sat down, pulled out a sandwich, and started to eat. He rushed through it, and in about three minutes, he had choked it down.
Stanley got a glass of water from the kitchen tap, chugged it, then he wiped his mouth. He walked quickly down the hallway and looked into the bedroom.
Kent stood with his arms folded over his chest at the foot of the bed. He was naked and nodded at Stanley's greasy jumpsuit. "Strip. We're cleaning you up."
"I -" Stanley's mouth curled into a smile. "Okay."
He unzipped the jumper, and soon he too was naked. As soon as Stanley's underwear were on the floor, Kent stepped close. Instinctively, Stanley reached for him. Kent intercepted his wrist with a firm grip. His eyes were narrow. "I didn't say you could touch me," his voice growled.
Stanley's knees buckled. 'Oh my god. He's owning this.'
"I'm sorry," Stanley observed Kent's expression as he whispered the next word, "Sir."
Kent froze. Then a broad grin appeared on his face. He nodded, mollified, and released Stanley's wrist. Then Kent turned into the timid guy again for a moment as he bit his lip. "I, is this okay? I watched some videos, and this is how…"
"Fuck yes, it's fucking awesome." Stanley almost reached for him again. Instead, he stopped himself, then he looked into Kent's green eyes. He had to swallow saliva before he spoke. "May I suck your cock, Sir?"
Kent's eyes widened. "I've never done that."
Part of the experience of being a sub for Stanley was tempting his Dom. He risked leaning into Kent, and he reached slowly for him. "You'll love it, Sir." Kent swallowed, but he didn't stop the approaching hands. Stanley put his warm palms on Kent's chest, then he slowly knelt and slid his hands down as he did. He looked up at Kent the whole time. "Tell me to do it, Sir. Tell me."
Kent worked his mouth. "I, I'm supposed to be in charge." His voice wavered as Stanley's hands rubbed up Kent's legs.
"You are," Stanley purred. He rubbed his face against Kent's throbbing cock. He knew he was a bad sub, but he got off on it. Occasionally turning the tables on the Dom was a part of it for him. Additionally, the way Kent groaned and left a streak of precome on his face encouraged him to continue. "I won't do anything without you telling me." He smelled Kent's balls, and Stanley's eyes rolled back from the faint, musky scent of them.
"You are doing stuff." Kent seemed to struggle for control. "You, you're rubbing me. Touching me."
"Oh, I'm sorry, Sir." Stanley's voice was a contrite whisper. "Go ahead, tell me to stop." Stanley gave him a moment to speak, and when Kent didn't, he slowly licked the underside of Kent's quavering penis. Kent's knees wobbled and his eyes closed.
Stanley grinned up at Kent. 'Got you.' He had flipped the script and he now called the shots. He reached, gripped Kent's incredibly hard dick, and he swallowed him.
Kent moaned as Stanley worked his erection with his throat. One of Stanley's hands was on Kent's sack, while the other stroked his own cock.
Kent gently put his hands on Stanley's head. "Oh, god. You're gonna make me come."
Stanley was closer, and he made a noise as he shot on the floor. That sort of play always excited him, and he never lasted long unless the dom extended things through teasing and withholding touch.
Kent wasn't far behind him. The stocky man stiffened, and his grip increased on Stanley's head. As Kent got off, he groaned and shivered until he had nothing left to give Stanley. He hadn't planned to, but Stanley swallowed Kent's load.
After one last slurp, Stanley stood up. His eyes were mischievous. "Oops. Sorry about that."
Kent grinned. "You'd better be." His commanding tone was back. Then his smile softened. "That felt really good. And I, ah," he looked almost awestruck, "I really like doing this with you, Stanley."
Stanley smiled. "Yeah? Well, me too." He put his hands on Kent's shoulders. "If it gets to be too much, any part of it at all, use the safeword. Okay? That's why it's there. Please, don't let me do something you don't want."
Kent stared at him. He worked his jaw, then the young man nodded. "Okay." Kent wet his lips, then he bent into the smaller guy. Their mouths met, this time gently, and Stanley let himself feel everything about the moment. Kent's hands felt strong, warm, and the way he embraced Stanley made him feel as if he were the only man in the world. Stanley felt like he mattered.
After a bit, Kent smiled into the kiss. Then he pulled back slightly. Their foreheads stayed together and Kent breathed shakily into their space.
Stanley understood. He felt the bond of trust it takes for someone to give up control to another. It was slowly growing between them. Stanley understood it, but it was something new for Kent. He cleared his throat and then patted Kent's shoulder. "Come on. It's shower time."
The two satisfied, happy guys showered. After they dried, they climbed into bed to spoon. With Kent protectively curled around him, Stanley tried mightily to convince himself that the last few days were not a long, beautiful dream.
Christopher ate his lunch. It was Tuesday, and it had turned into a beautiful, sunny day. He sat on the tailgate of his truck to finish up his sandwich. Chris looked down at his phone while he chewed. He had texted Nate and gently inquired how things were going. Though Nate had read the message, he hadn't responded, and it had been over a half hour.
Chris sighed. He locked the phone and slipped it into his pocket. He had no idea what was going on between Nate and Tad. He only hoped that things were okay and that his weakness for the handsome redhead hadn't destroyed them.
Invariably, his mind went back to that moment with Nate on the futon. Chris grimaced at his body's reaction. He grunted in irritation, then he pushed the thoughts out of his head and adjusted himself.
He had heard Stanley approach only a few seconds before the man spoke. He turned his head and smiled at the smirking guy. "The one men often have, yeah."
Stanley grinned, and he sat up on the tailgate beside Chris. They looked out across the parking lot at the wetland next to the dealership. Many migratory birds used the area for a refueling ground. They liked to stop to rest and eat the plentiful frogs, tender greens, and little fish. Currently, there was a flock of ducks there. The birds quietly grazed on the offerings of the fertile field and the standing water. They made a serene sight for both men as they relaxed on their lunch break.
The guys sat there for a time, and Chris enjoyed the view and the quiet companionship. Though he turned a puzzle over in his mind. There was something different about Stanley. He couldn't quite put his finger on it, as there were only subtle changes in him, but Chris could feel it. Chris wasn't one to hint around at much, so he looked over at the skinny man. "So, what's going on with you, Stanley? What's new?"
Stanley grinned and let his legs swing back and forth as they dangled from his seat on the tailgate. "Ah, I'm sorta seeing that guy, Kent. The one with the Accord. You remember him?"
"Oh, yeah." Christopher smiled broadly at Stanley. "Man, that's cool. How is that going?"
Stanley blew out a breath and shook his head just a little. "It's wild. We, ah, we're still learning what we both like and want from the other." He grinned. "It's that stage where you're trying to figure out how far you can go," Stanley said, then he blushed.
Chris raised an eyebrow. "Oh?" He shifted to face the suddenly tight-lipped Stanley. "How far do you want to take your new buddy, Stanley?"
Stanley narrowed his eyes at Chris, but he laughed and shook his head. "Nope. I'm not kissing and telling."
Chris laughed, and he good-naturedly patted Stanley's back. "Good man. Smart."
They went back to looking at the birds. Then, after a couple of minutes, Stanley glanced at Christopher. "How about you?" He shrugged. "You're a great-looking guy with a good job and a lot of talent." He smiled at Chris. "I know it has only been a few weeks since you broke up with your boyfriend, but are you seeing anybody? You looking?"
Christopher's face went blank and he had to stop the first thing that he wanted to say. Instead, he swallowed and shook his head. "Ah, no." He gave a chagrined smile. "It hasn't happened for me yet."
Stanley gave him an understanding smile. "Well, I'm sure it will." He checked his phone. "Welp, time for me to get back to it."
Chris made a noise. "Yeah, same here." They jumped down and Chris closed up his tailgate. While his love for Tad was still just as strong as it had ever been, Chris struggled. As he walked back with Stanley, he tried hard to stop thinking about what it'd be like to call Nate his own.
"Fuck, I knew it." Tad stared at the thermometer. He swallowed the lump in his throat and slowly shook his head. "I knew it." He had felt strange ever since he got home from Nate's early that morning. Now it was just before two p.m. on Tuesday, and he wrote the latest temperature reading down in his notebook.
He stared at the numbers. "I knew it was going up. Yeah." His brows knit, and his eyes shifted as he tried to think. "Why, why is this important?” He blinked and valiantly attempted to forge through a haze of confusion. As his body temperature rose, logical thought became more difficult, and his latest measurement was just shy of 103 F. Tad sat and propped his head up on his hand. His skull throbbed, and he just didn't feel well at all. "I'll just, I'll lay down for a while." That seemed wise.
His cat was acting so weird. Kali cried at him and rubbed against his legs, but her food bowl was full. He simply couldn't focus on what she might want. Instead, he smiled at her. "Yeah, bed. Come on. Let's take a nap, Kali."
Tad stumbled over to his bed and tumbled in, clothes and all. Moments later, he slept.
Nate just wasn't sure what to do. He sat in his car on Tad's street, having parked across from his boyfriend's apartment. Nate looked down at the text from Christopher. He had no idea what he should text back. Tad knew yet seemed oddly okay with Nate's mistake with his tall, broad ex-boyfriend.
"Well, it doesn't mean it was right." Nate was bitterly disappointed in himself. He knew that he had hurt Tad, but Tad seemed to possess such a sense of duty toward Chris that it overrode any anger he might have over what occurred.
Nate shook his head and put the phone back into his pocket. "No. Just talk to Chris face to face tomorrow. We've got stuff to work out, for sure."
He got out of the car and walked over to the door of Tad's apartment. It was now around five thirty in the early evening, and Tad once again planned to make dinner for them. This time Nate brought a bottle of wine that they were to split. Despite his questions and issues with Christopher, Nate had nothing but love and affection toward Tad.
"Tad?" Nate opened the unlocked door. Immediately, Kali ran to meet him. She circled around him, crying, then dashed into the apartment. Atypically for her, she ran toward the bedroom instead of the kitchen.
Nate frowned. "What is wrong with you?"
He walked in and put the bottle on the counter that split the kitchen and the living room. "Tad?" Nate noticed that there didn't appear to be any sort of food prep, nothing was cooking, and the oven was off. His frown deepened.
Kali meowed at him from the bedroom doorway.
Nate walked quickly down the hall, and he looked inside. "Tad!" He rushed into the room.
The dark-haired man lay on his side. His mouth was slightly open and his skin was flushed instead of his normal pale coloration. He wasn't moving.
Nate knelt beside him on the bed. "Oh, god." He reached. "Tad?" Nate gently shook the man, and Tad's eyes rolled under his eyelids. Tad made a sleepy, tired noise. "Oh fuck, thank god."
Tad blinked. His eyes were glassy, and he was obviously confused. "Bear?” He tried to focus, and he finally managed it. "Nate." He sat up and wobbled a little. "What's going on?"
"I found you here." Nate felt the heat radiating off of him. "You're burning up." A deep sense of dread began to grow in his gut. "Tad, we have to take you to the hospital." Nate set his jaw. "This might be the start. Should I call anyone?"
Tad didn't seem entirely on board with the conversation. He frowned and grunted at Nate. "I, what's starting?"
"Tad! Who should I call for an emergency?" Nate spoke loud and clear, and Tad flinched a little at the volume.
He fumbled for his phone. "Christopher. I want Christopher."
Nate grimaced. "Tad, he broke up with you." Nate inhaled at a memory. "Your sister. Tad, unlock your phone, and pull up your sister."
Tad was too addled to fight, and he just did as he was told. Nate took the phone when he saw Miranda's name. He stood up and called. Nate watched Tad as the dark-haired man lay back down. Kali had jumped on the bed, and she cried almost incessantly at Nate.
"Hi, Tad. How are you?" A warm, female voice came over the phone to Nate's ear.
"Hello, this is Nate. I'm Tad's boyfriend." He watched as Tad almost immediately dropped off again. "And I think we need to go to the hospital."
Christopher put the first bite of salad from dinner in his mouth when his phone began to ring. He chewed and picked up the device. "Mmm!" He quickly swallowed his bite, and Chris unconsciously smiled as he answered. "Hey, Nate. How…"
"Chris, you need to come to the hospital." Nate's voice was worried. "Tad has a really high fever, headache, and he's confused. His sister Miranda and I are here in the ER with him now."
Chris inhaled. He knew all three were symptoms of Tad's particular tumor, thanks to where it grew in his brain. He slumped, and he instantly felt as if his chest was squeezed by a giant hand.
"Chris?" Nate seemed as if he were barely holding himself together. "Chris, he was asking for you. Please. Please come."
'He needs me.' Chris closed his eyes, and his grip on the phone tightened.
"I'm coming." Chris barely heard the breath of relief before he hung up.
He threw on his flannel shirt and got into his truck. Christopher started the old machine, putting it into gear.
"I'm coming, guys."
"What is he doing here?" Miranda's eyes were pools of roiling emotion as she looked at Christopher. "You are not allowed to be here. You left him, remember?"
Nate bit his lip as Miranda lashed out at Chris. Christopher had only just arrived at the Emergency Room, and she was not happy.
"I'm here because he asked for me." Tad had been taken into the back. They were going to do some tests on him, so now it was just the three of them. Christopher set his jaw. "Look, I know you hate me, but can you do that later?"
The dark-haired woman could barely contain the enormity of her outrage. She was about to lay into Chris when Nate stepped close. "Hey, can I talk to you? For just a minute?"
She flashed a deadly stare at Chris, but she followed Nate out into the hallway without further verbal attacks. Once out of earshot, she shook her head and glared at Nate. "I know you called him." It was easy to see that she did not approve. "He shouldn't be here, even if Tad asked for him." She frowned. "He's delirious. He's not thinking clearly." Miranda looked toward the entrance to the ER from the hallway. "Chris was too chicken shit to deal with Tad's condition, and that hurt Tad. I'm going to tell him to leave."
"Miranda, I know you have issues with Chris," Nate cocked his head as he looked at her, "but, he's here. When Tad needs help the most, he's here." Nate moved to stand in front of her so she'd have to look at him. "Isn't that why you despise him in the first place? Because he ran away?" The flame in her eyes settled a little as Nate spoke, and as she considered his words. "Well, he's not running. When it's bad, he came."
Miranda stared at him. Then her gaze softened and she bit her lip. She let out a shaky breath. "He really hurt my brother, Nate. It's hard for me to let that go."
"I know." Nate smiled at her. "But, delirious or not, Tad wants Christopher here."
She began to respond, but they both heard Chris's voice as he spoke to someone, and they looked toward the ER. Chris poked his head around the doorway. "Come on. We're going back to see him."
Miranda's problems with Chris may not have been forgotten, but they were not the priority now. They all three followed a nurse back, and the PA on shift, a woman named Joan, met them at Tad's bedside, where they all made quick introductions.
Joan smiled reassuringly. "So, we've given Tad a dose of Tamiflu. His fever should start coming down pretty quickly."
Miranda made a noise of realization and sighed with relief. "Oh my god. He has the flu?" She turned to Nate. "He has the flu!"
Joan frowned at them. "Uh, yes." The relieved tone in Miranda's voice obviously confused her. "He was positive for influenza when we swabbed him. He'll recover with time, rest, and the medication."
Christopher wordlessly folded Nate in his arms. "Thank God." Nate closed his eyes as Chris held him.
"Thank you, God."
When they got back to Tad's, the guys both helped him inside. Once they had him lying on his bed, Christopher stripped Tad down to his underwear, then covered him up.
As he got Tad situated, Chris looked toward the door in confusion. "Where are you going?" Nate stood by the door with his coat in his hand. Christopher shook his head. "You're his boyfriend now. You stay here. I'll go."
Before Nate could respond, Tad sat up. "No. I want you to stay, Bear."
Chris looked at Tad then turned to Nate, a stricken expression on his face. Nate knew Chris didn't intend for this, yet here it was. Tad had made his choice.
Nate nodded. "It's, ah, it's okay." He bit his lip, and he felt the crushing realization that he had probably just lost both Tad and Chris. 'Now that they have each other, neither of them need me.' He opened the door, the numbness of shock on his face.
"No." Tad blinked, glassy-eyed and feverish. "No, you stay too. Don't go, Nate." Tad looked at Chris. "Christopher wants you to stay, same as me."
Nate hesitated. It was apparent on his face that he wanted to believe Tad. "Is, is that true, Chris? You want me to stay?"
The tall man seemed to process the idea. He swallowed, then nodded. "If Tad's okay with it," he glanced at the dark-haired man, who smiled his agreement, "then, yeah." His hazel eyes held a spark of relief. "Yeah. I want you to stay, Nate." He shook his head slightly and his voice turned into a near-confession. "At the hospital, I didn't just come for Tad. I came for you, too."
Nate let that settle in his mind. Finally, he closed the door. He nodded. "Okay. If that's what you both want." He looked at Christopher and let himself smile a tiny bit. "I guess I'm staying." He wrinkled his nose and scratched the back of his head. "Uh, where should I sleep?"
Tad woke. He had no idea what time, or even what day it was. He remembered bits and pieces of some unknown duration. He knew the sun had risen and set at least once, but other than that, he just wasn't sure.
He also remembered warm, strong hands spoon-feeding him broth, giving him medication, and making him drink water. He thought for sure those gentle, careful hands had belonged to Christopher. But that couldn't be true. Bear was gone. He also had vague memories of Nate and Chris talking in the bedroom. Again, it had to merely be a dream.
His bedside lamp was on, and it looked as if it were dark outside. He was warm and comfortable but also confused. Tad was curled around Nate's body as the man slept, yet he felt the presence of someone behind him as well. Tad rolled, and he looked into Christopher's hazel eyes.
Chris smiled. "How are you feeling?" he whispered, and one of his callused, strong hands stroked the cool skin of Tad's forehead. Christopher frowned a little in concentration as he felt for Tad's temperature. As he did, Kali stood up from her spot between Tad and Chris. She stretched and jumped off the bed.
"You're here." Tad stared at him. "You're really here?" He didn't want to let himself believe it. He couldn't take the disappointment if it weren't true. He reached and gently wrapped his fingers around Chris's hairy arm.
Chris nodded, and he let his hand slide down to rest on Tad's side. Chris swallowed. "You wanted me to stay. You wanted both of us to stay." Chris swallowed nervously. "You've been pretty loopy. Is this still what you want?"
Tad felt Nate turn and the redhead put his arm around him. Nate only held him, and Tad gently ran his fingers over the skin of Nate's arm.
Tad felt as if he were in the middle of a fantasy. "I want you both here." He squeezed Christopher close to him, and Nate's body followed Tad as he moved. The three guys lay in a tangled mess and Tad chuckled. "I, ah, if this is a dream, I don't want to wake up."
Both Nate and Christopher smiled. As Chris laid a gentle, sweet kiss on his lips, Nate did the same from behind him, and chill bumps rose on the skin of Tad's neck as the redhead's lips touched him.
Chris ran a hand through Tad's black hair, and he let himself look over Tad's features. The big man wet his lips. "I'm sorry. I never should have left you. It was wrong. I was wrong."
"You're here now." Tad turned his head, and he looked at Nate behind him. "And if you hadn't, we never would have met Nate."
Tad forgave Christopher. It was part and parcel of who he was, and who he wanted to be. He could also admit that he had no desire to give up Nate. Tad felt a moment of self-chastisement for what he considered selfishness. He had to know if things were okay with all of them. "Are you guys okay with this? With, uh, with us? All of us?"
Chris and Nate raised up on their elbows, and they looked from Tad to each other. Tad watched as they both began to smile. Nate looked down at Tad. "I'm okay with it."
Chris nodded. "Yeah. Same here." He exhaled and raised his eyebrows at himself. "It works for me if it does for you both."
They all lay back down. For the first time in a long while, Tad felt complete. He knew others might find fault in them, but he didn't care. Nobody else was living their lives, and it didn't matter what anyone else thought. He closed his eyes and couldn't stop smiling. Tad flipped, and then Nate did too. Now he spooned the redhead, and Chris did the same to Tad. "Can we just lay here a while? I can tell I need more rest."
In response, both guys snuggled closer and sandwiched him in between. Tad sighed, and soon, he slept.
Author's Note: Please let me know your thoughts about the chapter at the following email address link. Wayne Gray
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