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Almost A Promise – Janice Jarrell
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Almost A Promise – Janice Jarrell
Colin pulled him close and kissed him, his wet tongue sliding against the seam between Joshua’s soft, full lips, claiming entry, taking possession.
For the ten-thousandth Joshua wished he was stronger, wished he knew how to fight off Colin’s overwhelming allure. But the mere scent of his skin, spicy and clean like a whiff of raw ginger, was enough to take Joshua’s breath away. There was no question of pulling away when Colin got this close. He was only lucky they weren’t in a public place, though he doubted it would make much difference. The only way to avoid Colin was to avoid Colin. Once he was within touching distance, the big Irishman had him, and they both knew it.
“What’s the matter, baby?” Colin asked, grinning his cocky grin, flashing his dimples.
“Oh, like you don’t know,” Joshua murmured, leaning back slightly from Colin’s embrace.
Colin snickered and slid his tongue along Joshua’s jaw and down his neck. Kissing changed to licking, changed to sucking, changed to biting, and Joshua moaned as Colin’s mouth did what Colin’s mouth always did, drove him half mad with desire.
“Dammit, Colin!” Joshua gasped, his arms locking tight around Colin’s neck, pulling him hard against his skin. Not wanting to let go, not ever wanting to let go. But that was the problem wasn’t it. He had to let go. There wasn’t any other way to stay in Colin’s life except to let Colin go. Colin wouldn’t tolerate anything else. Don’t try to hang on to Colin or you’ll never see him again. He’d put up with anything except the slightest hint of intimacy or real connection.
But intimacy and real connection was exactly what Joshua craved. As good as their lovemaking was, as wonderful as it felt, as much as Colin’s presence filled his heart, Joshua was still empty when it was over. Left with a hollowness that he couldn’t shake off, a hollowness that only Colin’s love could fill.
He bit his lower lip and carded his fingers through Colin’s sandy hair. His head arched, giving Colin complete access to his neck and throat. “So sweet,” he whispered, his fingers clenching and unclenching in the thick waves. “So perfect.”
Colin’s hand found the back of his neck and drew his head forward until their eyes met. “Not perfect,” he said, his voice rasping. “I’ve never seen perfection and I’m sure as fuck a far, far cry from perfect myself.” He tilted his head and for a moment the honeyed-green eyes that stared into Joshua’s narrowed as if pondering some unfathomable mystery. “You come close though,” he said at last. “You come damned close, Josh.”
Joshua smiled, letting his mind drift. What does he mean? he wondered. Moments like those were dangerous. They lifted a shade and scattered the darkness, giving him just the tiniest glimpse into the world he longed for, the world that would be, if only Colin could open his heart.
Then Colin grinned and his eyes dropped. The hand on the back of Joshua’s head tugged hard and Colin’s teeth gripped the sweet juncture where Joshua’s neck and shoulder met. “Oh, God!” Joshua cried out, then instantly wished he hadn’t. Not only could you not take too much if you wanted to keep Colin close, you didn’t dare give too much either.
He’d pull away and look at you with the wary, reproving glance that he seemed to reserve for those moments when Joshua let too much emotion show, too much need.
Colin wouldn’t be needed. Need was a request. Need asked for a reciprocal give-and-take that Colin refused to permit. “No promises,” he’d said on the first night they’d kissed. “No promises to anyone. Ever.”
You could need Colin all you wanted. You could need him as the very air you breathed. But you couldn’t ever let him see it, because if he did…
Colin’s fingers yanked at the collar of Joshua’s shirt, almost tearing the cloth as his lips moved lower, seeking the skin of Joshua’s chest. When the cloth held, he grunted out a frustrated breath and leaned back. “Let’s get the hell out of these clothes,” he muttered. “C’mon, Josh. Let’s take this upstairs.”
What would he do if I said ‘no’, Joshua wondered. It had never happened, of course, and probably never would. But if he did… would Colin’s green eyes widen with surprise? Would his beautiful mouth twist in a frown? Or would he merely smirk and shrug, indifferent to rejection because what Joshua didn’t want, someone else certainly would.
He held Joshua’s hand as they climbed the stairs and Joshua could hear that Colin’s breathing was ragged and uneven. He wants me, Joshua thought. I’ve got that at least.
In the bedroom, Colin turned Joshua to face him and began to unbutton Joshua’s shirt. His face was soft and open and his smile was touched with tenderness. It was always that way when they made love. It was the only time Colin allowed real emotion to show and Joshua often wondered if that same tenderness was present when Colin took other men to bed. He wanted to believe it was there only for him, but that kind of wishful thinking was risky and could lead to the kind of self-delusion that would quickly drive Colin away.
He peeled Joshua’s shirt away and tossed it to the floor then began to strip off his own clothes. Joshua finished undressing his clothes falling to the floor at his feet, his eyes fixed on the man who stood so close. He never got enough of the sight of Colin’s body. The sculpted muscles of his chest made Joshua’s mouth water and his hands shook with the desire to stroke that smooth skin. Colin’s shoulders bunched with muscle and his legs were long and powerful. He was a lean, powerfully built animal, sizzling with sexual promise and Joshua ached to feel that magnificent body pressed against his own.
He strode to where Colin stood waiting and threw his arms around his neck gasping at their bodies made contact, moaning as Colin clutched him close and twisted, throwing both of them to the bed.
“Now then,” Colin murmured, his lips once again pressed to Joshua’s throat. “Mmmm,” he moaned. “God, yes, Josh, that’s so good.” Their lips met pressing together again and again, tongues meeting… caressing. Their kisses, slow and soft at first, soon became devastatingly passionate. Colin’s mouth reclaimed his again and again, kissing him as though he could never get enough, as though he longed to absorb Joshua’s very essence into himself. Their bodies pressed close as they lay face to face writhing against each other as they kissed, both men sucking in air in sharp gasps between intoxicating kisses.
Joshua’s moans grew more intense, a guttural admission of desperate need, his cock aching, throbbing with desire. Eyes closed, he threw his head back. “God, Colin, please!” he moaned, then clenched his teeth to stifle the cry when Colin’s big hand dropped and grasped the hard pulse of his erection. While Joshua whimpered, Colin slid his own throbbing hardness against Joshua’s grasping both their cocks, still devouring Joshua’s lips with long, hungry kisses.
Joshua’s body stiffened, overwhelmed by desire so sharp and demanding that he was past caring that Colin might see this signal of Joshua’s deeper need. Again and again he thrust frantically into Colin’s hand, feeling the big Irishman’s body bucking against his, trembling, shaking all over, as consumed with need as Joshua.
Joshua’s moan became a wailing cry as his orgasm struck with the power of a lightning strike. His body convulsed against Colin’s, lost in a molten ecstasy that flamed through every cell. He felt Colin’s cock pulse again and again and heard his deep, throaty cry as he spasmed in release, his body shuddering against Joshua’s skin.
For a long time afterward they lay together, still clutched in each other’s arms, their breaths harsh and uneven, their bodies still convulsed with after-jolts of bliss. Finally, Colin stirred. He pressed his lips to Joshua’s, his touch gentle, almost tentative, then turned to his back, his breathing still erratic.
“Wow,” he half-gasped. “Wow, Josh.”
“Yeah,” Joshua replied, stretching out his trembling hand to touch Colin’s chest, feeling the sweat-damp muscles bunch beneath his fingers. “That was…,” he hesitated, afraid to say too much, unsure of how his lover would react.
“Amazing,” Colin whispered.
Joshua lifted himself on one elbow and gazed at him. “Amazing doesn’t begin to describe it,” he whispered.
Colin didn’t turn to look at him. His gaze was unfocused and his beautiful mouth was a taut line. Did I show too much? Joshua wondered.
Colin’s head turned and their eyes met. His brow was lightly furrowed in an expression more perplexed than angry. This was not the wary, warning glance that Joshua had received in the past. Colin’s gaze conveyed curiosity, even confusion. As though he was unsure who Joshua was or of his place in Colin’s life.
“What are you thinking?” Joshua whispered, his voice tentative.
For a long moment the look on Colin’s face held, and his eyes burned into Joshua’s as if asking a question he was incapable of articulating. He doesn’t know how to say it! Joshua realized, his mind suddenly filled with wonder. He’s feeling something he doesn’t even recognize! His breath caught in his throat but he forced himself to remain silent. He knew he didn’t dare voice the wild, insane hope that flared in his chest. He knew that if it existed at all, voicing that hope would quickly extinguish it.
He smiled at Colin and reached to caress his cheek, hoping that the love in his touch wouldn’t cause Colin to startle and withdraw. But Colin received his caress with a smile. He shook his head and huffed out a short breath, as if shaking off an absurd idea, surprised it had even occurred to him.
His eyes, again, met Joshua’s and this time Joshua saw the anger. He knew it wasn’t directed at him. Colin’s anger was for himself. He’d allowed a moment of weakness. He’d given Joshua a tiny glimpse into what it would be like if Colin actually needed him. That was Colin’s confusion. That was the emotion he had to struggle to identify.
“Gotta go,” Colin blurted. He sprang to the side of the bed and reached for his clothes. “I’ll see ya tomorrow, right? Don’t we have a meeting?”
Joshua nodded, grateful that he, at least, had this. His role as a University of Virginia Title IX Consultant required him to work with the university’s campus police force where Colin was ‘Sargent in Charge of the Special Assault Unit’. It’s how they met. It’s what kept Colin a fixture in his life. He protected that professional partnership with fierce strength, never uttering one word in the course of their work together that reflected his personal feelings. It’s how he kept Colin close and he would never allow his feelings for the big Irishman to threaten that connection.
“Yeah,” he replied. “We’re meeting about the O’Malley case.” Then, with a quiet sigh, he laid a tentative hand on Colin’s shoulder. “Shower before you go?”
He knew his request would be seen for exactly what it was, a naked plea for just a few more minutes with the man who was his whole world. But right now he didn’t care. Such an admission was allowed after they’d made love, a singular concession to closeness that Colin permitted only at that moment.
“Better not,” Colin replied, but he softened his refusal by covering Joshua’s hand with his own then leaned forward to kiss him. He hesitated and Joshua heard him puff out a quick exhale. “We’ll do this again,” he murmured.
It was almost a promise. Almost.
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