While the tub filled with hot water, Michael ordered Asher to sit on the closed toilet and lathered shaving cream on Asher’s face. Standing with his legs entwined between Asher’s knees, Michael carefully glided the razor over the overgrowth of hair sprouting from Asher’s face. It took several swipes to get Asher’s skin smooth, but by time Michael was done, the water had reached the bottom of the overflow drain in the large clawfoot tub.
They worked together. Michael gathered the shampoo, soap, and washcloth while Asher removed the rest of his clothes. Asher glared at his semi-hard erection. It wouldn’t go down. The closeness of Michael made Asher’s body react to the slightest touch. Asher tried to hide his swelling manhood behind his cupped hands as he moved to the edge of the tub to wait for Michael.
“Nice and easy,” Michael said as Asher leaned on him for support while he stepped into the hot water. Sinking down into the heat felt blissful. Water sloshed close to the edge, but it didn’t overflow.
“Ahhh,” Asher purred as the water encompassed his broken body. While Asher leaned back against the side of the tub, Michael gently washed his hair. It was relaxing. Michael’s strong fingers worked the shampoo into a mass of bubbles massaging Asher’s scalp. “That feels so good.”
Michael smiled and instructed him to keep his eyes closed as he rinsed the shampoo from his hair. Asher felt weightless as his arms and feet floated in the hot water, drifting in a bliss of warmth, almost on the verge of slipping off to sleep.
As Asher enjoyed the soak, Michael lathered the washcloth with soap and rubbed it over Asher’s pinking skin. Michael washed his back and neck, his shoulders, arms, and chest, scrubbing them clean, being sure to avoid the stitches and deep bruising surrounding his wounds. The rich earthy smell of soap filled the bathroom. Asher’s eyes fluttered as he enjoyed the tender touch.
Dipping his hands lower, Michael gently washed Asher’s stomach before moving the cloth down to Asher’s groin. A shuddered gasp escaped Asher’s mouth as his head jerked up, his eyes flashed open, and he grabbed Michael’s wrist, pulling it away from his swollen penis.
“Do you want me to stop?” Michael asked. This voice was thick with desire. His dark eyes searched Asher’s as he waited for him to tell him whether to continue or not.
Asher growled and bit his lower lip. “I’m not going to lie to you, Mike, I really want you to touch me. Oh my god, I want it so bad, but not like this. I want our first time to be special where I can make you feel just as good too--”
“No, Michael,” Asher’s dark tone was firm. “Not like this.” He saw the disappointment clouding Michael’s eyes. This was all so new to Michael. The last thing Asher wanted was for him to feel what they had was something cheap and rushed. Asher didn’t want a quick jack from Michael; he wanted them to make love.
“Okay,” Michael said as he dropped the washcloth into the hot water. “I’m going to finish heating up our food. Give me a shout when you’re ready to get out of the tub.”
Before Asher could beg him to stay, Michael was gone. He knew Michael was upset. He saw the rejection on Michael’s handsome face, but Asher had no doubt that waiting to take their relationship to the next step was the best plan.
The sound of laughter and soft music filled the air. The afternoon sunlight streamed through the front windows, reflecting off the bottles displayed behind the bar, casting a kaleidoscope of colors across the wooden bar top.
Victoria dropped off a new order before picking up a tray full of drinks. Asher hummed along with the melody of the song drifting from the restaurant speakers. It was sad and matched his mood perfectly. Every time Asher closed his eyes, he saw the devastated look of heartache and pain that flashed across Michael’s face.
“Do you have those drinks ready yet?” Victoria asked, snapping Asher out of his daydream.
“Yeah, in just a second,” Asher said. He topped the last glass with champagne, adding the bubbly liquid to the peach cocktail mixture. Asher forced a smile as he finished, “One Bellini at your request, my lady.”
Victoria blushed, “Thank you, good sir--”
Her words were cut off by an ear-splitting sound that rocketed through the entire restaurant. Frantic screams and shouts where followed by panic and utter disarray.
Asher’s body went ice cold and burning hot at the same time. His body slammed into the glass shelves behind the bar. Gasping for air, his chest was on fire as he struggled to breath, but the air just wouldn’t come. It wouldn’t fill his lungs. The coldness rushed in just as blackness danced around the corners of his vision, the last thing Asher saw before darkness claimed him was a man holding a gun at the end of the bar.
“No!” Asher’s strangled cries filled the apartment. He awoke with a violent jerk. Gulping down warm balmy air, Asher struggled to sit up on his bed. His chest heaved. Sweat beaded his forehead and soaked his hair as Asher fought for his next ragged breath.
“Wake up, Ash, you’re having a nightmare,” Michael said, while pulling Asher’s sweaty body against him. “It’s okay, I’ve got you.”
“He shot me,” Asher sobbed again and again.
“I know, babe, I know,” Michael spoke against his ear, pressing his lips to Asher’s sweat-soaked temple, “but you’re safe now and nobody is ever going to hurt you again. I won’t let them, I promise.”
Asher snuggled into the warmth of Michael’s embrace, inhaling the rich scent of his cologne. As Asher’s trembling fingers twisted Michael’s shirt, he noticed that Michael was dressed in one of his expensive business suits.
“Are you going to work today?” Asher asked, suddenly aware of the damage he was doing to the pricey material.
“Yes and no--”
“Well, which is it?” The trembling had subsided from Asher’s voice as his heart rate slowly returned to normal, but a harshness made his words raw as his emotions hovered close to the surface.
“I have to run by the office while you’re at physical therapy.” Michael said before glancing down at Asher, tangled in the bed sheets wearing only a pair of running shorts. “Speaking of you going to therapy, I was heading in here to wake-up your cute butt when I heard your nightmare.”
Asher covered his face and flopped onto his back, “Please don’t remind me.” The nightmares started in the hospital. The doctors hoped they would pass, but that wasn’t the case. It looked like after physical therapy, Asher was going to need to see a shrink, too.
Michael pulled his hands away and stared into Asher’s sad eyes. “It’s nothing to be embarrassed about. That guy almost killed you. I would be worried if you didn’t have nightmares.”
Threading his fingers through Michael’s damp hair, Asher brought the man’s head down to meet his lips for a kiss that lingered longer than he intended. Michael responded to the touch by running his hands up Asher’s arms and over his bare chest. A soft moan escaped Asher’s lips as he opened his mouth, letting Michael’s tongue explore, which pulled a deep growl from within Michael’s chest. It was a wild primal sound that was thrilling as it sent chills racing down Asher’s spine.
“Do you have any idea what you’re doing to me?” Asher spoke against Michael’s burning lips.
“I think it’s sort of evident,” Michael said, dropping his hand to Asher’s bulging erection straining against the thin fabric of his gym shorts.
Asher gasped when Michael’s hand circled him through the material. “Oh lord,” He muttered, “You’ve got to stop,” Asher begged Michael, who didn’t make any move to stop stroking Asher’s hard flesh.
“Please,” Asher’s voice was desperate. “I don’t know how much longer I can resist.”
Michael relinquished his grip, but growled against Asher’s ear, “Then stop fighting it. I want to explore your body, Ash. I want it more than anything. This is all so new to me, that I just want to touch you all over.”
Feeling dizzy, Asher squeezed his eyes shut and pressed his forehead against Michael’s. “I know you do and believe me when I tell you that we will--”
“When?” Michael pouted which made Asher smile.
“Soon, I promise,” Asher said kissing the tip of Michael’s nose. “You’ve never been with a guy before and I want it to be special for both of us, but with my injuries, right now it would be too hard.”
A wicked grin spread across Michael’s face. “Then let me do all the hard work. You can just lay back and enjoy my hardness--”
“Dude, not happening!” Asher said with a snort.
Confusion clouded Michael’s eyes.
“If you think I’m bottoming for a newbie, one who has control issues, I might add, well you’ve got another think coming.” Asher chuckled, but he was dead serious.
“You mean—but I thought—How—” Michael fumbled for words.
Asher shook his head when he saw fear flash in Michael’s eyes. “What, you thought I was going to spread my legs for you like one of those BB hookers? That you could flash your cute dimpled smile and that I’d swoon just like all the girls that let you into their pants?”
Michael’s face hardened as Asher went on. “It doesn’t work that way, Mike. Sex with guys is about trust. If you rush in without knowing what you’re doing, someone is liable to get hurt, both emotionally and physically.”
“I trust you,” Michael whispered.
Asher wrapped his arm around Michael’s neck, bringing their lips back together. “I trust you too, but it’s not the right time, not yet.”
Michael gathered up his laptop and briefcase while Asher got ready, completing the things he could still do for himself before asking for help with the rest.
“Shit, have you seen my wallet?” Asher called out from the bedroom.
Searching the duffle bag sitting near the front door, Michael quickly produced Asher’s wallet. “Found it,” He answered, setting it on the new coffee table. “It’s out here with your cell phone and keys.”
Asher walked into the living room carrying a dark blue polo shirt. His pants were both unbuttoned and unzipped showing a trail of dark silky hair that ran from his navel before disappearing into the waistband of his cotton briefs. Michael’s eyes followed the trail that led to a visible bulge inside Asher’s pants. Michael’s gaze lingered.
“Hmmm,” Clearing his throat, Asher got Michael’s attention. Pink flooded the man’s face, Asher wanted to tease Michael, but it was obvious that he was embarrassed by being caught lusting after Asher’s body.
A small smirk turned up the corners of Asher’s lips as he handed the shirt to Michael, who helped him get it over his head and injured arm without causing too much pain.
“Are you about ready?” Michael’s voice was thick and sounded tense.
Nodding his head, Asher told him, “Yeah, just give me a minute to check my account. I need to move some money around to cover the doctor’s visit for today.” Mumbling more to himself than for Michael’s benefit, Asher continued talking out loud as he paced around the apartment. “I’m sure my deductible will be applied to the hospital and maybe even the ambulance ride so I should only have to pay my co-pay today.”
Asher had put away a good bit of money for the Turtle Island trip. He hated to see his savings being depleted for medical bills and daily living expenses since he would be out of work for several weeks.
“What are you babbling about?” Michael asked Asher as he wrapped his arms around his shoulders gently pulling him against his chest. Asher briefly snuggled into the crook of Michael’s neck. He inhaled. Michael smelled so good it was intoxicating, making Asher lightheaded.
“A mental review of my finances,” Asher said breathing in more of Michael.
“Does it have to get done right now? Your appointment is in less than twenty minutes.”
Asher nodded his head. “The doctor bills are going to cost me a lot of money; I need to transfer money to my checking account--”
“Wait a second,” Michael interrupted him. “You’re not paying for anything!”
Stepping out of the embrace, Asher frowned. “But my insurance--”
Michael cut Asher off again, “Dude, your worker’s comp is flipping the doctors’ bills, the surgeon, the nurses, and the therapist, all of them. Jimmy dropped off all of your paperwork when he brought over the flowers from Chapel Chase. You don’t have to pay a freaking dime.”
Asher couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Tears laced his eyes, “I don’t have to pay any of the medical expenses?”
“Hell no,” Michael laced his fingers through Asher’s and gave them a quick squeeze. “And your paycheck will be retroactive to the day of the shooting, so you won’t have to touch the Turtle Island Fund either.”
Soooooo, what do you think? If you like it let me know. Love to hear from readers, I like to know what you think of my story. Thanks so much for reading.