With a sound somewhere between a contented sigh and a feral grunt, Mike gave one last thrust, deep and hard, and then collapsed over Crandall’s prone body.
“Fucking hell,” Crandall mumbled into his pillow. That was what Mike thought he said anyway.
Mike pressed his nose against Crandall’s neck. He loved that damp, sweaty, sexed-up smell. “That good huh?”
“You still need to ask?” Crandall squirmed. Mike rolled off of him, but as he did, Crandall said, “No.”
When Crandall reached back, his hand slapping Mike’s side, and then the bed, Mike quickly wadded the condom in a tissue and tossed it on the floor. He pressed his hand into Crandall’s. Crandall pulled and said, “Come back.”
Mike obliged happily. He wrapped his arm around Crandall as requested, and covered his body again. While Mike took some of his weight on one arm, and left a hip on the mattress, they were as close as they could be without fucking. “I didn’t want to trap you,” Mike said against the back of Crandall’s neck.
“I like it.”
“This?” He kissed Crandall’s neck. He’d figured Crandall only tolerated the cuddling because he was bone-tired and falling asleep after sex.
“No, chocolate fucking cake, moron.”
Mike snorted and shoved Crandall’s shoulder playfully. “Then go get some fucking cake.”
Crandall craned his head around to glare at Mike. “I like the closeness, asshat. I like the feel of you holding me down, exhausted and panting and sated.”
With a shake of his head and a wide grin, Mike rolled all of his weight onto Crank. “Better?”
“Yes,” he whispered. “Mike?”
“Hm?” Mike dragged his lips lightly over Crandall’s neck in long, lazy kisses.
“Ash thinks you might want to get married.”
Mike froze. Where the hell did that from? He licked his lips. Salt from Crandall’s skin tinged his tongue. He didn’t want to think about any future that didn’t have Crandall in it, but marriage was out of the question. He’d thought they’d finally settled his closet issues.
“Crandall…” He sighed and closed his eyes, pressing his face against Crandall’s shoulder. “I can’t. You know how I feel about coming out.”
“Right. Good. That’s what I told him.”
Mike frowned. That wasn’t what he was expecting. “Why are you asking?”
“I told Ash I’d marry him so he could have my health insurance.”
Marry… Ash? Mike lurched up, kneeling on the bed beside Crandall in an instant. “You said that? Why would you say that?”
Crandall shifted, rolling to his side to glare up at Mike. “Calm the fuck down, Mike. He said no way. Shit. It’s not like I’m want to knock him up.”
“No, you’re just marrying him.” Mike dragged both hands through his hair and tugged at the long locks. “Shit, Crank, didn’t you think to mention this crazy idea to me first?”
“What the fuck, Mike?” Crandall sat up. “I didn’t think you’d fucking freak out about it.”
“Did you think about how I’d feel at all?”
“What’s your problem? You’re afraid to be openly fucking gay, so you’re not going to marry me.”
“You never even mentioned wanting to get married.” My fault. Sonuva… All because I don’t want to tattoo a rainbow on my forehead, he’s proposing to someone else. Shit. Hell. Fuck.
Crandall pried Mike’s fingers out of his hair. He hadn’t realized he’d dug into it again.
“Crandall…” Mike frowned at the desperation in his voice, but he couldn’t lose Crandall. Not like this. Not for any reason.
“Ash needs the fucking insurance to get his hormone pills.” Mike stared at him, studying those hazel eyes that sometimes shifted to green and back again. Crandall had faint freckles across his nose that it took Mike months to notice since he always turned his face away, avoiding eye contact with everyone, and hiding those beautiful eyes from the world.
“What’s wrong with you?” Crandall sounded less pissed and… concerned? Mike tried, but couldn’t grasp onto Crandall’s calm. “It’s just for the money, Mike. I’m not going to fuck him.”
Please don’t. He couldn’t put voice to the words he desperately wanted Crandall to hear. It wasn’t fair of him to ask Crandall not to do it. If Ash needed the help and Crandall could help, then Mike would have to accept that. The dojo couldn’t afford to pay into group health insurance for the three of them. It was all so expensive, and so was what Ash needed to do to transition properly.
“Mike?” Crandall inched closer and lifted Mike’s chin. He pinned Mike with that same stare that had always unnerved him. “If there was any chance you’d come around,” Crandall said. “I never would’ve mentioned it to Ash. I won’t do it if you don’t like it.”
“It’s okay,” Mike whispered. The words sounded hollow and empty, but he forced them out with a shallow, shaky nod. “You do what you have to do.”
Mike pulled away, sliding to the edge of the bed. Crandall’s touch had left a brand on Mike’s face, burning with all the desire Mike couldn’t capture. He wanted that future, but if he tried he just couldn’t picture himself in some perfect gay happily ever after.