Part Fifteen: The Man Behind The Curtain
Notes: This is the next part of a spin-off story of a series I posted on Literotica (titled Bonded, as Carizabeth) and the subject matter is m/m sci fi. This particular chapter is long and rated NC-17 for explicit naughtiness. No joke, no April Fool’s, just pure Pandora. Enjoy!
Garrett stared into the climate modeler and watched his latest simulation come to life. The S-series machines had a slower computing power than the later models, which meant that his simulations took longer to create and to load, but it had the best visuals package of any of them. Watching the weather unfold in the heart of the machine was like being on the planet itself. Garrett adjusted the imaging equipment on his head, then used the control pad to move his point of view further into the oncoming storm.
This particular simulation was investigating the probability of wintertime tsunamis and how they might affect Pandora’s single, solitary outpost. The Neptune would arrive on the planet’s main continent during its summer season, and would have about eight standard months of building time before the worst of the weather hit and working outside would become untenable. Not that summer was a hell of a lot warmer than winter, but the storms were milder, and there was even a brief growing season that they’d have to take ruthless advantage of if they were going to become self-sustaining in five years, which was the Pandora Project’s current goal. Originally it had been three years, but Doctor Sims’ biologists and botanists had stated in firm unison that such a thing was impossible, and eventually they’d managed to convince their supervisor of that as well. Which didn’t mean that there hadn’t been plenty of fights over it, but nothing was ever easy with Martina Sims.
Garrett moved his view to the walls of the outpost and gazed out over the dark, storming ocean. On a planet beset on a yearly basis with hurricanes, tidal waves and floods, the founding colonists of Pandora had chosen to put their only settlement right next to the damn sea. Yeah, growing seasons and subtropical jet streams and blah blah blah, but from an efficiency perspective it was ridiculous. For six months of solid and impassable winter, the settlement—called Pandora City but commonly referred to as the Box—was completely shut in. No building was done except for repairs, no one went outside except in dire circumstances. Over the few centuries of low-level colonization, almost all the deaths that weren’t attributed to old age, illness or murder happened when someone found a reason to go out into the fury that was winter outside the Box.
And here it came, like clockwork, the first great tidal wave of the winter season, not always the worst but terribly shocking for all that. Garrett watched from his virtual vantage point on top of the wall, watched the water melt away from the coastline as ever-shifting tectonic plates battled for supremacy miles below the surface of the water. He sped the simulation up, and saw water slide with terrible speed, away over rocky beach and out, out into the horizon, then come crashing back with a growing force, higher and taller than anything nature-made that he’d ever seen before. The front edge of the water boiled with energy, and it crossed the ground between the coast and the Box in moments, a dark purple wave with its edges foaming a sickly, rabid white. Garrett could almost feel the foundations of the sturdy settlement shudder beneath his feet as the wave rose up and then crashed over them, flooding his vision with blackness and covering the Box with water. The Box could take it, obviously, it had for many years and with the environmental shields up the water just sheeted over them, but it was nevertheless shocking to be plunged into such a deep darkness, and surrounded by so much total, sepulchral silence.
“-arrett. Garrett!” A hard hand smacked him sharply on the shoulder. “Are you listening to me?”
It took a moment, but Garrett finally pulled himself out of the simulation and removed the imaging helmet from his head. He felt strange, shaky and a little ill. His supervisor, naturally, ignored that. Martina’s pretty face glared at him, her mouth twisted in a frown. “I’ve been calling your name for the last two minutes.”
“I was working,” he said slowly, putting himself back together after it felt like everything had been washed away.
“No, what you should have been doing was working. What you were doing was watching your cute little climate simulations and wasting my time. And why didn’t you tell me that you have a first aid class scheduled today?” She pointed at the hardcopy of his work schedule that she had fisted in one hand. “You’re supposed to participate in all expedition-required educational classes on your days off.”
Garrett shrugged insouciantly, getting into the flow of fighting with Martina. “I scheduled it for an off day, but then the class was cancelled. I didn’t choose when it was rescheduled, and—oh, look here.” He checked the schedule she was brandishing in his face. “It says here that it’s the last standard first aid class being offered before we make Pandora. Looks like my attendance is non-negotiable.”
“You shouldn’t have waited until the last minute,” she fumed. “There’s too much work to be done for you to go swanning off and leaving a dozen projects just sitting—”
“It’s one afternoon,” Garrett pointed out. “One tiny little afternoon. A blip on the radar of life.”
Martina put her hands on her hips. “Every moment counts.”
“No!” she said stridently, her voice rising with agitation. “Every moment counts, Garrett! And when those moments are supposed to be spent working for the greater scientific advancement of the expedition, I expect them to take place here, in the lab. Your professional time is mine and I don’t like to share it. Plan better in the future.” She turned and stalked off down the lab, leaving a wake of startled glances passing between her and Garrett. They didn’t often have confrontations, mostly because Garrett gave as good as he got, so watching anything happen between them that went beyond monosyllables was a surprise.
Garrett shrugged it off. He’d almost forgotten the first aid class. Again. Now he definitely had no choice, though. He turned off the climate modeler and set the imaging helmet back on its stand, then stood up and stretched, rubbing lightly at his lower back.
“Oh please,” Shekar said from where he sat a few tables away, “Don’t even pretend that your highly ergonomic lounge chair makes your back hurt.”
“You know, jealousy is an unattractive emotion,” he advised his friend.
“It’s not jealousy!”
“Envy, then,” Garrett grinned. “Avarice. Greed. Covetousness.”
“Covet what?” Shekar shook his head. “That isn’t even a word.”
“It is, my friend, and it applies to you.” Garrett patted him on the shoulder. “But don’t worry, I forgive you.”
“Thanks,” Shekar said dryly.
“Speaking of off hours, it’s my turn to cook tonight,” Shekar said, looking between Garrett and Lila. “Are we doing dinner?” They’d taken to cooking for each other one night a week, and of the three of them Shekar was by far the best cook.
“I should be done learning to amputate limbs with my teeth by then,” Garrett agreed. “Lila?”
“Oh, I can’t,” she said apologetically, her cheeks flushing slightly. “I, um, I have a date.”
“A date?” Shekar asked, his face falling. “Really?”
“Yes, and it’s the only night he could get off this week, otherwise I wouldn’t have scheduled it during our dinner,” she told him. “I’m sorry.”
“Like an actual date with a person?” Shekar persisted. “In person?”
“Who is it?”
“He’s a teacher.”
“What, like a children’s teacher?”
“But you’re a scientist,” Shekar said, looking totally confused. “What do a geologist and a children’s teacher have to talk about?”
Lila rolled her eyes. “What do a geologist and a mathematician have to talk about?”
“Lots of things! Soil mechanics, geotechnical engineering, the calculations for the core sampling equipment…we have plenty to talk about, we work together!”
“Exactly,” Lila said shortly. “And I’m tired of talking about work.” She turned her eyes resolutely back to her own equipment.
“You already said that.”
“Yeah, well, I meant it,” Shekar snapped. “And actually, this is all for the best, because there are plenty of things I need to catch up on and I think tonight’s the night. Garrett,” he turned back to their bemused audience, “sorry to disappoint you, but my cooking will not be on the menu this evening. I have things to do.”
“What kind of things?” he asked mildly.
“Just…things. Important things. I have to go talk to Doctor Sims.” Shekar stood and took off down the lab, his tatty white coat fluttering behind him. Lila looked after him and sighed.
“That went well. Not.”
“He’ll get over it,” Garrett said quietly.
“He’ll have to.” She looked down again and Garrett put a hand on her shoulder, then left the lab and made his way to the infirmary.
“Doctor Caractacus!” The perky nurse at the front desk grinned when she saw him. “Great to see you! The class is almost ready to start, they were just waiting on you, so go right on in.”
“Thank you.” He walked into the room she indicated and found himself the subject of numerous stares from no one he recognized. The medical technician at the front of the class, a burly older man, frowned and pointed at a seat. Garrett sat.
“Let’s get started.” He stood behind a table covered with numerous bulky medical devices. “First off, before we get going with the hands on stuff, I want to explain a few things to you. I assume everyone here knows that you can’t put a natural in a Regen tank, give them injections of Regen or use any equipment on them that relies on Regen.” He waited for his students to nod en masse.
“That being said, though, there are a lot of devices that you can safely use on a natural, and I’m going to show you how to work them. There’s a medical locker in every wing of every floor of this ship, and each of these lockers is stocked with everything you’re going to see today. Some of these will be unfamiliar to you, so pay attention while I go over how to use them. This,” he held up a boxy thing with electrical pads attached to it, “is a defibrillator. It jumpstarts a person’s heart by charging it with an electrical current. You turn the machine on, stick these pads on the guy’s bare chest, and when it zaps you let it do its thing. If it tells you you screwed up, you rearrange the pads and try again. Red light means don’t touch, because there’s current running through it. Green light means you can touch.” He dropped it back onto the table, then moved on to the next device. “This…”
The session stretched into five long, droning hours of boredom. As far as Garrett could tell it mostly boiled down to, “Apply pressure and call for help” if it was bleeding and “do CPR and call for help” if someone wasn’t breathing or had no heartbeat. The devices were good if they were there but mostly, caring for a natural was too complicated for a layman. They all had to memorize the number for emergency services on the ship, practice setting limbs and caring for burns and doing chest compressions, and a lot of other things that Garrett remembered having to learn as a child but never using. By the end of the five hours he was tapping his foot on the floor and struggling not to drum his fingers. Fuck it, he needed out of here. He needed to be doing something. Or someone.
Less than two weeks away from Pandora and he hadn’t been laid since the night before they left Olympus. It was pitiful. So what if Jonah had been amazing? Garrett had slept with plenty of amazing people. Jonah wasn’t his first drifter, either; he’d carried on a very satisfying affair for several months with the head of a drifter clan while he traveled with his father, helping him juggle being a senator and an active Federation general. That had been right after he and Robbie had called it quits…three years of the good, the bad and the ugly, and Garrett treasured every minute he’d had of the longest relationship in his life to date, even if sometimes Robbie had frustrated him to the point of losing his temper. He hadn’t spoken to Robbie, or Wyl, for almost a week now…too long.
The class was abruptly ended, and Garrett leapt for the escape route, more than ready to kiss the infirmary goodbye. He didn’t need to get his brain chemistry checked today, he was done with the damn class, he didn’t need a shot of Regen…
“But I don’t like shots,” a small, familiar voice whimpered pitifully from behind a curtain.
“Gotta have it anyway, bucko,” another voice, equally familiar but completely not who it sounded like under any circumstances, replied.
It couldn’t be. It just couldn’t.
“It will only take a second,” the female doctor’s voice said soothingly. “Then you’ll be all done.”
“But it hurts.”
“It didn’t hurt your friend last time, did it?”
“His friend?” the man’s voice—not that man’s voice, oh no—asked under his breath.
“Doctor Caractacus. He and Cody met the last time Cody was in to get a shot, and they ended up getting theirs together.”
“C’mere, bucko.” Garrett heard a creak and shift as the weight on the infirmary cot changed. “Just relax, okay? I’ve got you. You’re gonna be fine.”
“You’ll just feel a little pinch,” the doctor promised. There was a small whine a moment later, then the noise of a band-aid being unwrapped and the softer, muffled smack of a kiss. Garrett intimately knew all of the sounds two bodies made when they connected, and this was a reassuring, gentle kiss, probably the father’s lips to his son’s head. A moment later the doctor pulled back the curtain, and Garrett saw what he had been sure he wouldn’t see.
His one night stand, Jonah, sitting on a cot with Cody in his lap, both of them admiring the Space Ranger band-aid that decorated his son’s arm. The doctor saw Garrett first.
“Doctor Caractacus! Cody, look, it’s your friend from before.”
The two men’s eyes met, and Garrett would have been hard pressed to say which of them was more shocked. Jonah looked a little less put together than the last time Garrett had seen him, but anyone would be disheveled with a squirmy five year old on their lap. His sandy brown hair was tied into a ponytail, but several hanks had been pulled free, and there were stress lines clearly visible around his eyes and mouth. He was a little paler than Garrett remembered, and clean shaven now instead of alluringly scruffy, but Garrett’s stomach still clenched with sudden want at the sight of him.
“Garrett!” Cody wiggled until his father put him down, and he crossed the few meters between them with a bouncy step, the pain of his shot forgotten. “Daddy came with me this time and it didn’t hurt all that much, and look, I got another Space Ranger band-aid! This one is the purple Space Ranger though and he isn’t my favorite, and last time I got the green one and I like him better. Remember?”
“This is your friend?” Jonah asked in a slightly-strangled tone.
“Yeah Daddy, he sat with me and then we got shots. Are you getting one today?”
“Um, no,” Garrett said, finally pulling his mind out of the memory gutter. The last thing he needed was to get an involuntary erection in front of a child. “Today I had to come in for a class.”
“Like a school class?”
“Exactly like that, except more boring,” he confessed.
“That doesn’t sound like fun.”
“Oh, I don’t know,” Garrett drawled, looking straight at Jonah with slightly hard eyes. “If I hadn’t come in for my class, then I wouldn’t have gotten to meet your Daddy. Something tells me he can be a hard man to find.” Not that Garrett had tried to find him, he’d made himself resist, but the man had blown off their morning after, and the almost inevitable prospect of more intensely hot sex, with no explanation, and now he was here? It was too good an opportunity to pass up.
To his satisfaction, Jonah winced. “Doc, how about you check on Cody’s ears while we’re in?” he suggested. “Maybe find him a red or green Space Ranger band-aid.”
“Sure,” the doctor said, a little mystified. She took Cody by the hand and led him over towards another partition. Garrett crossed his arms and stared at Jonah, and Jonah stared right back.
“You cut your hair,” Jonah said at last.
The non-sequiter threw Garrett. “Yes. When the environmental controls were offline.”
“I saw you then.”
“Skin room on the top floor. I didn’t know it was you,” he added when he saw Garrett’s eyes narrow. “Cody and I could just see your back. You seemed kinda into whatever you were doing, so we found another place to look at the stars.”
“I can’t believe you’re Cody’s dad. He told me all about how wonderful and perfect and protective you are.”
Jonah winced again. “He mentioned your name, but I didn’t think it was actually you. You had a private ship; I took you for a private contractor. Never reckoned you’d be joining the expedition to Pandora.”
“I am a private contractor,” Garrett said, “in the science lab. For the next three years, at any rate. Keeping the ship was part of my contract. I haven’t really joined the expedition.”
“Huh.” A little of the warmth seemed to leave Jonah’s face. “Well, that figures. You sure as hell aren’t a natural.”
“Neither are you. What’s a drifter doing heading into the Fringe with a group of colonists? Why aren’t you off on your own ship somewhere?”
Jonah’s lips thinned. “My boy’s a natural. Couldn’t keep him healthy on board a ship, not with all the places we stopped. He needs a real home, some place he can have a real life. I heard about Olympus’ call for colonists and signed on as a pilot.”
“Oh.” That made sense. Still… “It must have hurt to leave your family behind.” Drifter clans stayed tight for generations, the entire extended family living on a ship that added on more space as more children were born.
“Nothing’s more important than Cody.”
Why did that sound so…final? Garrett decided to let go of his irritation and lighten the mood. “I still owe you a cup of coffee, you know.”
“You don’t owe me a damn thing.”
Garrett frowned. “Why so vehement?”
“Because I know where you’re headed, and the answer’s no.”
Well, fuck. Way to cut through the small talk. “No, you won’t have coffee with me, or no we won’t be sleeping together again?”
“Both,” Jonah said firmly. “Don’t get me wrong, that night was damn fine and you’re more than just easy on the eyes, but I’m not gonna be bringin’ someone home for a casual thing, and I won’t be passing my son’s care off to other people just so I can go and get some action on the side. It’s just me and Cody now and he’s my priority.”
“Cody likes me,” Garrett pointed out.
“’Course he does, you were sweet to him and you’re a nice guy,” Jonah said with an easy shrug. “Thanks for helping him out when I couldn’t be here.”
“My pleasure,” Garrett muttered. “I still don’t understand why you don’t want to see me again, though. What we did was really, really…” fucking amazing incredible wonderful perfect, “nice.”
“I know. But that’s not the point.” Jonah shook his head. “I’m not looking for a relationship right now, ‘specially not with someone who isn’t going to settle on Pandora. I shouldn’t even have had that one night, really, but it had been a long time for me and you, well, you’re pretty irresistible.” He smiled a familiar half smile, and Garrett’s stomach clenched again.
“Why not get together for something we could all do?” Garrett shocked himself by asking. Holy shit, was he really this desperate? “Dinner in one of the restaurants, or we could go to the gravity gymnasium.”
Jonah’s jaw seemed to tighten. “Damn it Garrett, I don’t want Cody liking you any more than he already does.”
“You’re bound to see me around. This ship is big, but it’s not that big.”
“Managed to miss you until now,” Jonah countered. “And no, no dates. No coffee, no dinner, no—”
“Are you coming over for dinner?” Cody asked, appearing as if by magic at Garrett’s side. The boy grabbed onto one of Garrett’s long-fingered hands with both of his own. “We’re having macaroni and cheese. It’s my favorite. Do you like it?”
“I do like it, but your daddy doesn’t want me to come to dinner,” Garrett said a little spitefully. He saw Cody’s face crumple with confusion and Jonah’s eyes go pleading and sighed. “Besides, I have other plans for tonight. Maybe another time.”
“Don’t pester the man, Cody,” Jonah said, getting up off the cot. His long body unfolded to its full length, and just looking at it vividly reminded Garrett of how it had felt to have all of that pressed against him, weighing him down, pushing inside of him…
“I have to go,” Garrett said suddenly. “It was nice to see you again, Cody. And you, Jonah…?” He knew but he wanted to hear it from Jonah's lips.
“Helms,” he said softly. “Jonah and Cody Helms. Nice to see you too, Doctor Caractacus.”
“You got it on the first try,” Garrett said, a little bemused. He shook his head slightly to clear it, then gently detached himself from Cody. “Have a nice evening.” He then turned on his heel and left the infirmary, his mind whirling with so many emotions that he had no idea how to sort through them all. Mechanically, his feet took him back towards his quarters, where he would be alone, with no friends to eat dinner with and no lover to have sex with and no child to be chatty with. When his com rang in the elevator it was almost a palpable relief. “This is Garrett.”
“Good evening, Garrett.” Jezria’s smooth voice penetrated the fog of his emotions. “Would you mind joining me in my quarters? An issue has been raised concerning your work and I’d like to discuss it with you.”
“Concerning my work?” Anger, one of the many swirling things he’d been feeling, suddenly took the fore. “Who’s been talking to you about my work?”
“I’d rather discuss it in person,” Jezria said. “May I expect you soon?”
“I’ll be there immediately,” Garrett snapped, then disconnected and rerouted the elevator. It took him five minutes to get to Jezria’s spacious quarters, and in that amount of time he’d managed to work himself into a satisfyingly indignant lather. Jezria buzzed him in and he got right to the point, despite the fact that several of her aides were with her.
“Who’s complaining about my work?”
“Please sit down, Garrett.”
“I feel like standing,” he gritted. “Who. Is. It.”
“Doctor Sims expressed some concern today over your work ethic. She feels you undermine her authority and don’t fully dedicate yourself to the time you have in the lab.”
“Doctor Sims is an idiot.”
“I have to take this complaint seriously, Garrett, and so should you,” Jezria reproved him. “She said you spent over an hour watching simulations this morning, and then you took the afternoon off to do a first aid class.”
“The class was rescheduled and beyond my control, and as for the simulations, well, I need to see them in order to be able to evaluate my work.” Garrett began pacing, trying to describe something he found very difficult to articulate. “Martina is a structural engineer, she works with numbers and equations and concrete designs. Climatology is chaotic, it’s fluid, it’s changeable. The environment won’t conform to an equation no matter how many hundreds or thousands of data points we have to go off of, and to be honest the data collection that’s been done so far on Pandora has been pretty shoddy with regards to weather patterns. I can’t get a good idea of the magnitude of the potential errors in our assumptions unless I can get a feel for what’s happening, and for that I need to design and review simulations. I’m a scientist, but I’m not a mathematician or an engineer. I need visual cues to facilitate my understanding.
“I’ve done everything Martina has asked of me in good time, when it makes sense for me to pursue it. Do I have a handle on the weather patterns on Pandora for the next hundred years? No. Am I getting there? Yes. But I can’t work miracles, and frankly no one working for Doctor Martina Sims will ever be able to work miracles the way she second guesses and double checks every bit of work we produce.” Running abruptly out of steam, Garrett flopped down on the couch across from Jezria, who looked at him concernedly.
“Are you all right?”
The temptation to shout, “Do I fucking look all right?” was almost overwhelming, but he managed to restrain himself. “No,” he said simply. “But I can handle it.”
“Very well. I’ll add my opinion of the formal complaint to the file before it goes into admin, and so you know, my opinion is that her objections are unfounded and that no further notice should be made of it. But you’ll have to deal with Doctor Sims on a daily basis, so please try not to overly antagonize her.”
“If you had any concept of the amount of control I use on a daily basis with her grand high misanthropic majesty, you wouldn’t be cautioning me, you’d be praising my godlike restraint,” Garrett sighed.
“I’m sure I would, dear. How is your father?”
“Busy,” Garrett replied. “I haven’t spoken to him for a while. I did talk with Claudia the other day, though. Things are kind of riled up in the capitol. He might have to institute a curfew.”
“That won’t be popular.”
“Well, I know I hated it as a teenager.”
Jezria smiled and smoothly shifted gears. “Thank you for addressing this matter so promptly, Garrett. I think you’re doing very good work.”
“From your lips to God’s ear.” Or whatever the saying was. “Mind if I go now? I have a hot date with my hand that’s not to be missed.”
“Crass,” Jezria chided him.
“Honest,” Garrett said, standing up and straightening his suit.
“Go, then. And Steven,” she turned to one of her aides, “I’m done with the food security information for now as well. Thank you for collecting it all for me. Go and have a nice evening.”
“Thank you,” Seven said, also standing. He looked at Garrett and smiled slightly, then motioned towards the door. Garrett took the hint and led the way out. Once they were both in the hall Steven’s smile got wider and more sympathetic. “Bad day, huh?”
“You could say that,” Garrett replied, rolling his neck in a circle before focusing on the aide. Steven Miyakawa, the first person to welcome him aboard the Neptune and, by all accounts, a very rewarding lay. Garrett remembered flirting with him, that first day, making the other man blush, and he thought, Fuck it. Jonah got his engine revving and then didn’t want him? He’d play with somebody else. “Want to go out for a drink?”
“I don’t drink,” Steven said with a faint smile. “I’m an ascetic.”
“Really?” Garrett was instantly intrigued. “Are you a sexual ascetic as well?”
“Kind of. I have sex, I just don’t allow myself to orgasm,” the other man explained. He took in Garrett’s expression and laughed. “I know, it sounds like a punishment, but self denial really works for me, and I love bringing other people to orgasm.”
“What do you get out of self denial?”
“A sense of personal power and control,” Steven said. “Asceticism as my clan follows it is about not being ruled by your desires. Sex can be pleasurable for reasons other than coming.”
“So you never have orgasms?”
“Well…almost never.” He shrugged slightly. “Sometimes it happens, but not often.”
“I bet you’d have one with me.”
Steven arched one eyebrow. “Really? You’re that confident in yourself?”
Steven stared at Garrett for a long moment, then asked, “Do you want to test the theory?”
“Absolutely.” Just get me out of my head for a while. “Your place?”
“That’s fine with me.”
Steven’s place ended up being just one level down from Jezria’s. It was far smaller than hers and very sparsely decorated, but there was a shower and a bed and at the moment that was enough for Garrett. He was tired of being alone. He was tired of not being touched; he missed the comforting everyday physical contact that being with his family and friends had provided him, not to mention the feel of a warm, willing body against his own. He had never had sex with an ascetic before, but given the amount of time it had been since he’d been laid, Garrett had no doubt that he’d be able to bring Steven off eventually. That was what he wanted, exhaustive, mind-numbing sex without emotional entanglements.
They took a shower together, and Garrett took his time bathing Steven, rubbing his slender body down with a plain white washcloth and not letting the other man distract him with caresses. Garrett was a man on a mission. Steven was almost too skinny, but it looked good on him, and he seemed to enjoy being explored. He had an erection the whole time, but no matter how Garrett stroked and fondled him, he didn’t tense up or begin to leak. The gauntlet was thrown down.
Garrett had never minded exerting himself for his partner’s sake and he loved a challenge, so once they were out of the shower he pressed Steven back until he leaned against the bedroom wall, then sank to his knees in front of him. “I want to blow you,” he murmured.
“Whatever you want,” Steven replied, threading thin fingers into Garrett’s hair. Garrett leaned forward and took the warm, hard velvet into his mouth, moaning at the sensations that flooded through him. God, he missed this. He missed doing this for someone, missed being the reason for their pleasure. Admittedly, now he was doing it to a man who made a lifestyle out of denying himself pleasure, but it was as much for Garrett’s sake as it was for Steven’s. He licked every inch of his cock, then suckled insistently on the head while his hands manipulated Steven’s sack. Then he drew back and plunged down and stroked around the base for a while, and pulled off and did it all over again. Garrett went down on Steven until his jaw was aching and his lover finally, finally, was flowing with precome.
“Will you come if I fuck you?” he asked, removing his mouth from Steven’s cock with a slick pop.
“No,” Steven panted.
“Will you come if you fuck me?”
“Oh, you tease,” Garrett grinned. He stood up off the floor just long enough to tug Steven back onto the bed with him, more of a pallet really, then arranged them to his liking. Garrett laid Steven out flat on his back, stroking his dick firmly with one hand while he prepped himself with his fingers and oil with the other. Steven avidly watched every move he made and so Garrett made it a show, whimpering and groaning as he opened himself up in preparation to take Steven’s cock. He wasn’t really feeling it, but under the circumstances pretending was half the fun. He didn’t want genuine emotions right now, he wanted to fuck with no strings attached. No more falling in lust with one night stands. The old ways were the best ways.
Garrett sinuously straddled his lover’s slender hips, holding his cock in place and pressing against it, just enough to barely breech himself, before pulling off again. He allowed Steven to penetrate him by millimeters, just a little deeper every time, and he tensed and relaxed in a regular rhythm as he took Steen deeper inside. By the time he was finally down all the way his thighs were burning with exertion and his cock was aching with need.
“Can you keep going if you come now?” Steven whispered, splaying his long fingers over the tops of Garrett’s thighs.
“Then come.” He wrapped those long fingers over Garrett’s cock and stroked firmly, and it was all he needed to fall over the edge. His orgasm swelled and burst and he came with a drawn-out groan of pleasure. It felt good, very good. It was the pure physical release he was looking for, not less than he had hoped, not disappointing in any way. It wasn’t Jonah, but apparently he didn’t get to fucking have fucking Jonah, so…
Garrett caught his breath, and then he began to move again on Steven, longer strokes this time, rising and falling and fucking himself slow and steady, then fast and hard. He came again before he finally drew an orgasm out of his lover, and it lasted so long and was so satisfying to watch that Garrett didn’t even feel his own discomfort any more. After a few quiet minutes, they cleaned up, then went to sleep. They didn’t touch each other during the night, and waking in the morning wasn’t uncomfortable, but it wasn’t emotional either.
“Tea?” Steven offered, pulling a few cups from a cabinet.
“There’s no coffee?”
“I don’t drink coffee, but I could order you some from the kitchen.”
“Tea is fine,” Garrett said. They drank a cup of pale green tea together, more grassy than caffeine-imbued, and then Garrett leaned in and kissed Steven’s cheek. It was the first kiss that had passed between them all night. “Thank you. That was fun.”
“It was. I really didn’t think you’d be able to make me come.”
“Are you kidding? Darling, all you demanded was patience and stamina. We didn’t even get into pain play, or domination and submission, or nerve fetishes—”
“No, we didn’t,” Steven said, his cheeks faintly pink. “And we won’t be.”
“I know.” They both knew that they wouldn’t be doing this again. It had been a good night, but there hadn’t been any real connection between them. “Give Jezria hell today.”
“She has you for that.” Steven walked Garrett over to the door, clasped his arm, and said, “Enjoy your day off.”
“How do you know my schedule better than I do?” Garrett huffed. “Yeah, I will.” I’ll have lots of fun sitting in my apartment alone doing, huh, let me think, nothing! Sounds great. Garrett left Steven’s apartment and drifted slowly back to his own, physically wrung out and satiated but not really there mentally. He should have been there. He should have been basking in the afterglow and the feeling of a job well done, but instead he felt untethered, like he’d been reaching for something and just when he thought he’d grabbed it, it turned out to be further away than ever.
He reached his floor and his quarters, and absently let himself in. There was a message light blinking next to the door, indicating that someone had stopped by and found him gone. He ignored it and headed back into his bedroom for a long shower. He washed himself from head to foot with rich, expensive body wash and rubbed honey-scented cleanser into his hair. Luxuries…they made life worth living. Didn’t they?
He dried off, shrugged on a azure silk robe, ambled back into his kitchen and ordered a cup of coffee worthy of Wyl. It was dark enough to make him wince, and so he immediately adulterated it with milk and sugar until it was palatable. He drank it and ate a small breakfast, checked to make sure no one had tried to call him while he’d been out—and no one had—then pressed the button to receive the message that someone, probably a crew member of some sort, had left outside his door.
“Hey, Garrett.” It was Jonah, and he sounded a little sheepish. All the energy that had abandoned Garrett this morning shot like lightning back into his limbs. “Cody and I came by this mornin’ to ask if you wanted to have breakfast, but you weren’t in.” There was absolutely no inflection in his voice as he said this part. “We’re going to a movie in the big theater later on today though, and Cody wants you to know you’re invited to join us.” Garrett heard a high voice say something kind of muffled, then Jonah picked up again. “It’s Space Rangers versus the Meteor of Death, which apparently is not to be missed. The show starts at eleven. It’d be nice to see you there. I’m sorry I left things kind of…well…look, I’m just sorry. I didn’t mean to be an ass.” There was more muffled speech, and Garrett heard Jonah say, “No, you can’t say that word, it’s a grown up word. Look,” his voice was louder again, “we’ve gotta go. Hope to see you later.” The message ended.
Garrett sat completely still at the counter, letting the offer seep in. Jonah Helms, his one night stand, the father of a bouncing little natural and a man who seemed antipathetic towards relationships in general and relationships with someone like Garrett in particular, was inviting him to a movie. With his son. All together. Undoubtedly there would be zero chance for sex, but Garrett considered the offer as the olive branch that Jonah was probably intending it to be and gave in. He’d wanted something to do with his day, and now he had something. Space Rangers. Oh boy.
It was already ten-thirty, and he still had to get dressed and style his hair and get to the entertainment complex…Garrett grinned and jumped off the stool. If he hurried, he could make it.