This story contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable. Readers agree that they are age 18 or older.
The first snow of winter in New York City was an unmitigated joy for Richard. There was an initial swell of happiness as the first flakes fell, cresting in near ecstasy as the city disappeared beneath a blanket of white, as, flake by flake, the snow piled upon the tree limbs in Central Park, making the dirty park benches, trash cans, and taxi cabs pristine. He loved the heavy, sometimes itchy, sensation of a well-wrapped scarf around his neck, his hands in warm leather gloves pressed deep into his pockets, and the cold wind clearing out his lungs.
The sidewalk was a mad crush of people making their way home, many of them as happy as he to be moving through the snow tumbling from the sky, and many others, all of whom Richard tried his best to ignore, who were prematurely angry, already cursing tomorrow’s traffic issues, the coming slush and sludge, and generally pissing on the beauty. Richard pushed ahead through the crowd, smiling and repressing his urge to whistle Christmas carols.
Christmas lights had already been up for some time. The first snow of the year had come rather late, just a week before the holiday, which Richard embraced whole-heartedly despite his semi-traditional Jewish upbringing. Getting presents just for managing to insinuate himself into someone’s life? That was the kind of thing that was right up his alley.
Richard loved the couples holding hands, nearly dancing in the romance of the first snow, and he loved the rush of satisfaction that came over him as he walked through the spinning flakes toward his apartment on the Upper West Side. Perhaps Matthew and Derrick, his young also-gay upstairs neighbors, would be home and willing to take an hour out of their happy homemaking to run over to the park for a snow ball fight.
Richard gathered a handful of snow from the next bench he passed. Crushing it in his gloved hand, he tested it–wet, firm, hard, compact. They’d have to be careful not to throw too hard. He frowned remembering the time a few winters ago he’d accidentally thrown a snowball a little too hard at Neil’s kid, Jill, and split her forehead. Zoe had been so pissed. The ER is packed on Christmas Day. Who knew? Richard had tried to make light of it, saying with a smile that he was glad it had happened, because the scar would mean that Jill would never forget him. Neil had shaken his head, giving him a warning glare, and Zoe had looked like she was considering leaving a scar on his face.
In fact, come to think of it, that was the last time he’d been invited to Zoe and Neil’s for Christmas. Richard hunkered his shoulders, and shrugged it off. What was the big deal? He still saw Neil a few times a year. Christmas was for family now that Neil had one. Richard understood.
Still, he was Neil’s best friend, had known him since college, had stood up for him at the wedding, and at Jill’s christening he’d been the honorary godparent. You’d think they’d forgive him one little mishap with a snowball, right? As it was, he’d had to spend the last few years with his co-worker Cathy’s family. And he didn’t even like Cathy all that much. Not that she was awful, she just didn’t give great presents like Neil always had. No video games from Cathy. Instead, she always hand-made her gift, usually something she’d knitted, like a potholder and a scarf. Last year it was a yarmulke, like he’d even worn one since his Bar Mitzvah.
It didn’t matter, though. The Secret Santa gift exchange at Macy’s more than made up for it, and as the new acting manager of the lingerie division, he had bullied and insinuated and annoyed his way into being sure that he’d get a good range of nice little trinkets from his subordinates. He’d always known that a little bit of power could go a long way, and, besides, women were so easy and eager to please. Sometimes he wished he had managed to pull off being straight. He’d have been so good at it.
He paused to gaze up at the huge, full-story, glowing menorah that someone had stuck in their tallest window as a gaudy attempt to make a statement. Richard shook his head. It was terrible, but he smiled, lifting his face to the sky, feeling the cold snow land on his cheeks and eyelids. He nearly skipped home.
Matthew and Derrick had been up for the snowball fight, and after several hours of laughter, fort-building, and recruiting random passers-by into their game, they called it a night and said goodbye at the elevator. Richard walked down the hall toward his apartment, breathing hard, pulling off his wet scarf, and shaking the melted snow from his curly hair. The figure sunk in a heap of heavy wool coat by his door was a surprise.
“Did you forget your subway pass again, you dumbass?”
Neil’s eyes met his, large and intense, and in that instant everything grew solemn. Richard’s throat closed up, and he thought immediately of Jill. Was she okay? He couldn’t even bring himself to ask.
“I need a place to stay. Zoe kicked me out.”
Richard relaxed, his fears about Jill unfounded. He reached out a hand to Neil and helped him up from the floor. “Come on. Let’s get some coffee and I’ll make up the sofa bed.” He put his hand on Neil’s shoulder and steered him into the apartment.
Coffee was something Richard did very well. He wasn’t sure what it was about him and the coffee machine, but it was like a love affair that brought out the best in both of them. He’d measure the coffee, lovingly stroke the machine, whisper a few words of love to it, and the machine would whir to live, pouring out gorgeous streams of delicious heavenly coffee.
Neil, sitting at Richard’s tiny kitchen table, lifted his mug and sighed deeply. “Thank you. I know it’s a pain, but I won’t be in your hair for long. I promise.”
Richard sat down next to him and shrugged. “How long do you think it will be? Two days? A week before she comes to her senses again?”
“I think it’s for real this time,” Neil muttered, standing up to cross to the window. He stared down into the street for a long time and Richard let him have his silence. Finally, he went on, his voice steady, but hard and almost crackling with anger. “She’s seeing another guy–a real estate broker. He sold us our fucking house. Can you believe that shit?”
“Wow,” Richard said, not sure what else to say. He’d never really cared for Zoe, but he’d always chalked it up to the fact that she’d never really cared for him, either.
Now, though, hearing that she was having an affair, it was all he could do to not lay into her for everything she’d ever done that pissed him off, starting with the time she’d called him a faggot after she’d had too much wine–Neil had apologized for that, but Zoe had never really said she was sorry–and ending with the whole snowball-to-Jill’s-forehead incident. But he was glad that he was socially adept enough to know that now as not the time, and he just sat in silence, pretending to contemplate his coffee, but really making a list of every nasty thing that he would eventually say to her when he next saw her face-to-face.
Neil sat down in the chair next to Richard again, sipping his coffee, and looking lost. “I came home from work today and she had all my shit packed into suitcases. Everything. Every fucking thing that I own. She told me about Scott–”
“The real estate guy?”
“Yeah, and, God, Richard, I felt like…fuck. I can’t even tell you what it felt like.” Neil rubbed his face. “It felt like she’d fucking run a sword through me, you know?”
Richard remembered the day that Neil had told him that he was getting married, the day that Richard had finally acknowledged that they really were just friends, and that Neil was truly straight. He’d felt gutted, choked, and like his soul had been ripped from his body. He knew just how Neil felt.
Minutes passed in silence, as Neil finished his coffee and stared into space. His expressions ranged from rage to grief, but no further words passed through his clenched lips.
“What about Jill?” Richard asked, regretting it as soon as he asked.
“She says she’s not interested in trying to keep Jill from me. I can see her on the weekends until we get divorced, and then we’ll have to work out a custody arrangement.”
“Divorced? She’s that serious about this?”
“Yeah. She’s already got a lawyer. Ellen Murphy.”
“Fuck. Ellen Murphy’s a shark.”
Neil put his elbows on his knees and leaned forward, covering his face with his hands. Richard sat for a long time, pretending that he didn’t know that Neil was crying. He gazed at the snow piling on the window sill, making small drifts against the glass of the windows, white and blank, insulating them from the outside world. Finally, he couldn’t take it anymore, and he leaned forward to pull Neil into his arms, hugging him, and stroking his hair, relieved that Neil didn’t pull away or resist.
By the time Richard woke the next morning, the snow was no longer pristine. The sludge that had been the dread of the downers on his walk home the prior night had come to pass, and he could hear horns blaring, and wheels hushing through the slush.
Richard knew that Neil hadn’t slept well the night before having heard him moving around in the living room of the small apartment until four or five in the morning, but he was asleep now. Richard stood by the sofa bed and noted that, in sleep at least, Neil was no beauty. His skin oily, his hair a mess, drool hung out of the side of his mouth. Richard studied him, fighting the urge to smooth the hair down, or to adjust the blankets, to give a simple touch. Instead, he left a hurried note for Neil to help himself to anything in the kitchen and dropped an extra key on top as a paperweight.
The walk to work was nothing like the walk home the night before. People rushed madly around him, trying to avoid slick spots on the sidewalk, or the splash of dirty melted snow as cars careened past. Richard took his time, measuring his steps with equally measured thoughts.
Neil had eventually pulled away from his embrace the night before, wiped his face with the back of a hand, and appeared decidedly embarrassed. “That’s the good thing about having a queer for my best friend, right? Manly hugs with none of the macho straight guy back-clapping.”
Richard said nothing and Neil shifted uncomfortably, running a hand through his hair. “I guess I just did the verbal equivalent, huh?”
Richard had turned away, and gone into the living room to finish making up the sofa bed. He heard Neil come into the room behind him, but he didn’t turn around, not certain if he even had a right to feel slighted by the comment.
“Hey, man, I’m sorry. I’m just–I’m not feeling like myself tonight.”
“It’s fine,” Richard said, and dumped two more pillows onto the sofa bed. “Okay, everything’s ready for you. I’m going to take a shower. I’ll see you in the morning.”
Richard could feel Neil’s eyes on him as he left the room, but he didn’t turn around. Hugging Neil for that long had been a bad idea, not just because it made Neil uncomfortable in the end, but because it reminded Richard of what it felt like to hold Neil next to his body, and then he’d remembered everything he’d promised himself he’d forget.
It had only happened once. Senior year, the night Elsie Hanover had dumped Neil for the third and last time, and Richard had attempted to cure Neil’s broken heart by making appletinis in their dorm room.
“Do you know how queer this is?” Neil had asked, sipping from the thirty-cent martini glass Richard had picked up at Goodwill. “I mean, fuck, I just got dumped. The straight man handbook states that I should be screaming obscenities out the dorm window and drinking Beam straight from the bottle.”
“The door’s locked,” Richard had replied. “No one’s going to know that your gay roommate has you drunk on girly drinks.” He was working part time at a new gay bar and had found that he liked appletinis almost as much as he liked sucking cock.
“Girly drinks,” Neil snorted, laughing and choking a little. “Girl-y drink-s.”
Richard chuckled, too, after all he was working on his fourth appletini, and it seemed pretty damn funny. “Boy-y drinks,” Richard said under his breath. “Boy-boy-boy-y drinks.”
Suddenly, Neil started to tear up, running his hand over his face, he stood up, and said, “I fucking loved her man. I loved her.”
“Yeah, I know.”
Neil muttered, “I think I need some air.”
“Open the window.”
Neil pulled the window up, his shirt riding up and showing the indentions by his hips. Richard licked his lips and vowed not to imagine licking Neil’s hipbones, unbuttoning Neil’s jeans, and kissing the trail of hair between Neil’s belly button down to his–
“I FUCKING LOVED YOU, YOU FUCKING BITCH!” Neil screamed out the window.
“Clearly, Beam is unnecessary,” Richard commented, relieved to be distracted from his fantasy.
Neil yelled incoherently out the window for several minutes. Other windows banged open above and below, and voices joined Neil’s in the night air. “Shut the fuck up, man! Some of us are trying to sleep!”
Richard stood up and tried to pull Neil away from the window. “”You need to lay down, you’re drunk, and you’re making a scene.”
Neil fought him for a few seconds, but then gagged, and grew very still. “I think I’m going to throw up.”
“Deep breaths,” Richard said, waving some cool air in through the window.
“Shut up, you fucker!” someone else yelled from upstairs. “Yeah, shut up!” another voice chorused.
“Assholes,” Neil muttered, slamming the window shut. “Fucking hell. I loved her.”
Richard helped Neil sit down on his bed. After a few moments, Neil’s face was less green and Richard said, “She didn’t deserve you. All she ever talked about was her daddy’s BMW and her mother’s trust fund. What did you love about her anyway?”
“She gave great head,” Neil mumbled, rubbing his eyes. “She gave the best head ever.”
“I seriously doubt that,” Richard replied, adjusting the pillow on Neil’s bed, and pushing on his shoulders until he lay down.
“No one could give better head than Elsie Hanover, Richard. She did this thing with her tongue. She flicked the underside, you know, right at the head of my cock–and, God–”
“Neil, anyone who can give even decent head does that. You need to get more blowjobs.” Richard started pulling the blankets up over Neil’s jeans, and fluffed the pillow behind his head.”
“And she’d stick her finger in my ass. Most girls won’t do that.”
Richard paused. “You like a finger in your ass?”
“Fuck yeah. It’s hot.”
Richard sat there, one hand on the blanket and one hand on the pillow, leaning over Neil. In the space of a few seconds his cock was urgently and breathtakingly hard.
“Do you like that, too?” Neil asked, his voice soft and curious.
“Yeah,” Richard breathed.
“It’s hot,” Neil repeated.
“I’m hard,” Neil said, sounding surprised.
“No one will ever stick their finger in my ass again, will they, Richard? No one. Girls don’t like that. They think it’s dirty.”
Richard swallowed hard and didn’t move. Every time Neil spoke, Richard could feel soft puffs of air across his face. Neil’s hand moved down, rubbing at the bulge in his own jeans. Richard watched, unable to breath. Soft noises came from Neil’s throat and then a long deep groan of frustration. “God, Richard! I really need her, you know? I need that.”
“I could–” Richard couldn’t even believe he was talking, much less what he was actually saying. “I could do it. I mean, I know how. I’d–like to, even.”
Neil’s hand stopped moving, and he opened his eyes a little, mere slits glowing in the darkened room. Richard’s chest was tight, and he felt like he was going to pass out if he didn’t take a breath. Neil said nothing, but he opened the top button of his jeans and moved his hand to cover Richard’s, pressing a little in invitation.
Richard sucked in a breath, trembling, and feeling suddenly sober, even though he couldn’t seem to keep the sensation of the world spinning out of control from overwhelming his emotions. His hands shook as he unzipped Neil’s jeans and tugged them off with only a hip-lift from Neil to help him along.
Neil’s boxers were tented and a spot of wetness caused the fabric to cling to the head of his dick. Richard hesitated, fear rushing through him. He knew this was the point of no return, and he truly felt that he would die if he did and he would die if he didn’t. He ran a hand down Neil’s leg, stalling for time, and then he looked up, met Neil’s glazed eyes, and tugged the boxers down.
Neil’s dick bobbed up and slapped his stomach. Neil spread his thighs a little, and let his head fall back completely, closing his eyes. Richard lowered his face to Neil’s pubic hair, running his nose through it, and taking the warm, musky scent in as deeply as he could. Neil’s hands wound into Richard’s curls and pulled him toward his cock. Richard didn’t have any more time for admiration of Neil’s body, opening his mouth and sucking the head in, pressing his tongue to the underside, and feeling the rush of blood under the skin.
He concentrated on the head, swirling and flicking his tongue, thrilled when Neil writhed under him. He slid down and took Neil in as far as he could, until he gagged and had to back off a little. He flicked his tongue on the up-stroke and went deep on the down. Neil shuddered under him, gripping Richard’s hair, and tossing his own head back and forth, moaning.
It seemed like forever that he was going down on Neil and he never wanted it to end. His mouth felt perfect around Neil’s cock, and he was so aroused that just the movement of bobbing up and down was about to make Richard come.
“Please do it,” Neil murmured. “Please, Richard–your finger–”
Richard pulled off with a sloppy wet noise, and shoved his own finger in his mouth, sucking the salty sweat off, and getting it good and wet. He spread Neil’s thighs wider, knelt between them, and sighted the little brown hole, already quivering in anticipation. Richard opened his mouth wide, and simultaneously sucked Neil’s cock in deep while pressing his finger into Neil’s tight ass.
“Oh!” Neil cried, bucking up.
Richard slowly fucked Neil’s ass with his finger, feeling the grip and pull of the tight muscle. He held onto Neil’s trembling thigh with his other hand, trying to hold him still.
“Richard, oh, God, yeah,” Neil mumbled, taking over and fucking Richard’s mouth and fucking himself on Richard’s finger. Spit rolled down over Neil’s cock, and over his balls, wetting his crack and asshole, and Richard worked a second finger in, as Neil ecstatically crooned and writhed.
“I’m gonna come,” Neil announced, gripping Richard’s hair even harder
Richard carefully crooked his fingers and stroked Neil’s prostate. Neil went completely still, and then, his body spasming, load after load of come filled Richard’s mouth.
When it was over, Richard slowly pulled his fingers out and pulled off Neil’s cock. He wiped his fingers on the bed sheet and sat in silence, still hard and alarmingly aroused. He didn’t look at Neil’s face, his heart aching at the thought of seeing anything other than love there.
Just as he was getting ready to stand up and move to his own bed, Neil reached out and grabbed his wrist, whispering, “Lay here with me.”
Richard took a shuddering breath and stretched out in the curve of Neil’s arm, pressing his hard-on into Neil’s hip. “Yeah, do it like that,” Neil said, sleepily.
Richard wrapped his arms around Neil’s body and pressed his cock against Neil’s hip over and over, burying his face in Neil’s sweaty neck, and coming quickly with a groan.
Neil stroked his hair and muttered. “You should blow me more often.”
“Any time, all the time,” Richard had answered, stunned, and burning with joy.
The next morning Richard woke up alone, and later that day Neil made a big point of flirting with Beth, the resident advisor, right in front of Richard. Then he started fucking her a few days later. He’d broken Richard’s heart when he told him that she gave the second best head he’d ever had. Other than that, they never spoke of it again.
— First in a planned (but possibly abandoned) series of shorts about Richard and Neil. Copyright 2013. Written by Leta Blake and entitled Keep This Moment.
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