The story is part of my collection Body Electric, which is still free from Amazon - until Tuesday the 15th. So if you haven't got your copy yet, what are you waiting for?
Also - I want to thank everyone who left comments on my 100th Sunday Snog on September 22nd. Since I was traveling, I couldn't respond, but I've now picked a winner - congratulations, Linda! - and also, as promised, donated $20 to Doctors Without Borders.
Now - on to the snog!
Everyone was in an expansive mood, except Gilbert. A persistent sense of foreboding hung over him. His slumber teemed with incoherent but terrible dreams that woke him, screaming. He tossed and turned so much that Kitty finally insisted he go sleep in the guest room.
During the day, he tried to avoid Frank Wilson as much as possible. Outside of rehearsal periods, he closeted himself in his office, smoking his pipe and reworking some of the lyrics that still didn't satisfy him. He stayed late at the theater, knowing that sleep would only torture him if he returned home.
Opening night was tomorrow, and everyone seemed to be eager and ready. So why did he feel so weighed down, so anxious and exhausted?
It was past ten when a knock woke him from a doze that must have crept up on him despite the fear of nightmares. "Yes, who is it?"
His visitor didn't wait to be invited in. "It's me, William. It's Frank."
Gilbert bolted upright, anger providing him with sudden energy. Red boiled behind his eyelids. "What are you doing here? I can't have you here. Get out, this instant."
The younger man shut the door. He sidled over in Gilbert's direction. Gilbert backed away. "I needed to see you, William. To talk to you, about the other afternoon. I'm sorry, I shouldn't have pushed you so hard."
"Never mind. Just go away now. Please, go away."
"I apologize for being so rude, so insensitive. I've been wanting you so long, it just seemed natural to say it. To show you. I should have realized how new this would be for you, how shocking." With theatrical grace, Wilson glided to his knees in front of Gilbert, his head bowed. "Forgive me, please."
Gilbert gazed down at Frank's golden curls, gleaming in the harsh electric light. He smelled the man's floral cologne. Damn, his heart was beating like thunder, and there was an uncomfortable tightness in his crotch. Damn, damn, damn.
"Get up," he said gruffly. "Show a bit of self-respect, Wilson."
"Not until I hear you say that I'm forgiven."
"Fine, fine, I forgive you, now get up and go."
Gilbert didn't understand how he did it, but all at once Frank was standing in front of him, face to face, close, much too close. He was taller than Gilbert and had to bend to whisper.
"Thank you, William." Then Gilbert felt the man's mouth on his own. He felt Frank's tongue toying with his mustache, tickling, probing, tentative at first, then bold and confident as Gilbert opened his lips.
Gilbert's resistance melted. Frank's arms encircled him, and Gilbert reciprocated, stirred by the sensation of strength in those young limbs. Frank tasted of horehound and tobacco, masculine and yet sweet. Frank kissed him eagerly, passionately, and from some place he had not known existed, Gilbert responded with equal passion.
He felt the hard, hot lump that he knew was Frank's cock, grinding against his thigh. Somehow this did not terrify or appall him. He welcomed it, exquisitely aware that his own cock was swollen and sensitive.
The dark clouds that had haunted him for the past two days dissolved in the brilliance of Frank's kiss. Gilbert did not think, did not worry or reason or judge. For the first time in a very long time, he simply allowed himself to feel.