In Dreams He Came
A PAIR of firm lips descended toward him. Gabriel Mason’s breath hitched in that fraction of a second before they touched. A soft tongue slid across the seam of Gabe’s lips. He opened, welcoming the now familiar taste of his soon-to-be lover. The kisses they’d shared were the best in Gabe’s experience. Soft or hard, explosive or tender, each and every one of them made Gabe’s toes curl.
Gabe’s heart beat rapidly in his chest, the tips of his fingers tingled with desire to touch the warm resilient skin hidden beneath the elegant clothes. His lover’s tongue slid inside slowly and tangoed with Gabe’s. Spicy flavors from their dinner mixed with the natural musk of man. Gabe moaned as his pulse increased, and his cock thickened behind the barrier of his jeans. One large hand cupped the back of Gabe’s head and the other slowly slid down his back, heading for Gabe’s ass. The intimate touch sent Gabe’s blood pressure skyrocketing. He clenched, his body aching to experience his lover’s complete possession ―
“Earth to Gabe!”
Gabe shook his head to break away from the daydream. It had been so real this time. The firm hands that had caressed his body, and pressure from the most perfect pair of lips against his. Most importantly, Gabe had believed in the unspoken love about to be consummated.
He looked to his left and saw his best friend Phil Alcorn watching him with a disgruntled expression. “What?”
Phil rolled his eyes. “Okay, where were you this time? The beaches of Capri? Ski lodge in the Swiss Alps? Watching a sunset in Sedona?”
Gabe slammed the locker door in front of him. Phil’s teasing firmly destroyed any vestige of the fantasy still lingering in his mind. “What are you going on about?”
“You had that look again. That dreamy “I’m with the most magnificent man in the world, and we’re riding off into the sunset together look.”
Gabe crossed his arms and stared down at his best friend. “There’s nothing wrong with hoping there’s somebody special out there.”
“I guess, but why are you always waiting for that someday moment? What about today? Life is not one of your Shakespearian plays, Gabe. Perfect men do not exist. There’s no such thing as a knight in shining armor who will come sweep you off your feet. You are such a dreamer. Stop searching for Mr. Right, and find a Mr. Right Now. A few hot sessions between the sheets are never a bad idea. All you need is a good come to clear those clouds from your brain.”
“I don’t want a Mr. Right Now. I don’t want meaningless sex in dark hallways. Call me old-fashioned. I don’t care. But when I sleep with someone, I want it to be special.” Gabe slung his laptop messenger bag over his head. “And not that it’s any of your business, but I can come just fine.”
Gabe was glad there was nobody left in the locker room after practice. Not that he hid the fact that he preferred men over women, but that didn’t mean he wanted his sexual business reverberating off the locker room walls. Voices carried too well for his taste in that room. Gabe pushed at the heavy wooden doors to the pavilion and jogged down the steps. The lowering sun was bright over his left shoulder, and Gabe dug his shades out of his bag. He took a deep breath. Despite the shower, the lingering scent of chlorine clung to his skin. At this point, the chemical was probably bonded to the structure of every cell in his body. His times in the pool today weren’t bad, but not fast enough to be on target to reach his goal for the season.
His performance at their first meet against Nevada was disappointing, and their second meet against Cal Poly was in a couple of weeks. He needed to step up his game if he was going to secure the backstroke spot on the two hundred- and four-hundred-meter relay teams this year. A top eight placement in the two-hundred-yard freestyle and backstroke at the NCAA championships would be icing on the cake.
“Hey watch out!”
Gabe spun as he nearly walked right into a group of students. “Sorry! My brain checked out for a second.”
He didn’t get a response as the group kept walking, laughter ringing out. At him, or at whatever they were talking about before he nearly ploughed into them? Who knows, and quite frankly Gabe didn’t really care. They looked like they were out for some fun though.
He sighed, “A night out would be nice. Or just a chill night in too.”
A night spent lazing around the apartment sounded like heaven, but with taking twelve credit hours this fall, and practices and meets, his schedule was jam-packed. As with the tangible objects he often desired but his meagre bank account refused to support, free time was a luxury Gabe couldn’t afford. He needed to visit the library and do some research for his paper in the Medieval England course he was taking this semester. As he took one step forward, his stomach rumbled loudly. Maybe some dinner first would be a good idea. He almost always stopped in the ProShop after practice to grab a bite, but Phil had gotten him so flustered in the locker room Gabe had stomped off in a huff, forgetting to grab his usual meal.
Gabe spun around and slowly trudged back up the steps. As he passed through the massive concrete portico of the building, Gabe paused with his hand on the handle to the door. Phil was still inside, and Gabe would most likely run into him. He didn’t relish having another one of their debates on Gabe’s lack of social life, but it was probably better to get it over with now versus waiting till tonight when he got back to their place. At least this way Gabe could concentrate on studying, and not fret over his friendship with his much more outgoing and charismatic room and teammate.
He made his way through the halls of the sports complex. When he reached the ProShop, Phil was standing next to the juice cooler with a furrow in his brow.
“What took you so long? I’ve been waiting here for five minutes.” “I was on my way to the library when―”
“Your stomach reminded you that we spent the last two hours slogging through the water and demanded sustenance?”
Gabe ran his hand over the back of his still-damp hair. “Maybe.” He walked over to the row of glass door chillers. “Move over, will you? I want a―”
“Peach mango V8 Fusion?”
A low growl rumbled in Gabe’s chest. “That’s really annoying.”
Gabe shoved Phil to the side and picked out the juice bottle. He almost went for the pomegranate blueberry just to show Phil he wasn’t that predictable, but in the end wasting meal plan credits on a disgusting drink wasn’t worth making a point.
“What can I say? I know you, Gabe. After practice you always have a V8 and chicken Caesar salad, hold the Caesar of course.”
Gabe took his items up to the counter and had the attendant swipe his Cal Card. Phil stood next to him, fiddling with the energy bars sitting next to the register.
“Tell me, why do they make energy bars with names like double fudge brownie and nutty butter crisp? Isn’t the whole point supposed to be that you are eating healthy? Not snacks full of saturated fats, sugars, and chemical preservatives I wouldn’t even use on my canvases.”
Gabe’s lips twitched, but he didn’t allow the smile to blossom completely. He was still annoyed with Phil. “Maybe even health- conscious people like to think they’re indulging every now and then.”
“I guess, but I still think they taste like processed chalk.”
Phil dropped the offending colorfully wrapped piece of chalk back into the display box. Gabe retraced his path toward the entrance, Phil walking beside him in silence. Gabe pushed open the doors for a second time and slid his sunglasses down from the top of his head. Phil casually walked beside him, hands shoved loosely in his cargo shorts and flip-flops flopping on the pathway.
“So, are you going to give me the silent treatment all night?”
“Are you made at me?”
“Where are we going?”
“I’m going to the library. You know that place that holds all the books?”
“Hey, I’ve been there once or twice in the last three years. My life hasn’t been all about pretty colors and arts and crafts playtime you know.”
Gabe laughed. He couldn’t hold it in any longer. He never could stay mad at Phil. They’d been best friends since the cosmos, or more likely the Cal algorithms, had paired them up as dormmates freshman year. They were opposites in many ways, but Phil was his brother. Sometimes he was that annoying younger brother you wanted to strangle, but Gabe would lay his life on the line for Phil anytime. The man was a genius with a paintbrush, and his sculptures were undeniably mesmerizing. The first time he’d seen one of Phil’s bronze sculptures, his breath had gotten lodged in his chest. The two-foot high idol had depicted a man in the throes of an orgasm. Phil had told him the inspiration for the piece had been a memory from the night of his high school graduation. And that was when Gabe had discovered that he and Phil shared more in common than their love of competitive swimming. His friend could frequently be found working alone in the studio till the witching hour, but Gabe still loved to give him trouble for his seemingly lackadaisical schedule.
“Name one class you’re taking this semester that requires you to actually crack a text book.”
“I’ll have you know that I’m taking American Art 1800-present.”
“Fine. Meanwhile I’m cramming together a course on the Ottoman Empire, a research seminar, a medieval England course, and History of the US: World War II to the Vietnam Era.”
Phil skipped ahead a few steps and spun around so he was walking backward, facing Gabe. He pointed at Gabe. “You are the one who wants to be a smarty-farty history professor. I, on the other hand, dream of a world filled with the feel of cool clay beneath my fingertips and endless splatters of paint staining my skin till I become a living rainbow.”
Gabe could point out that very few artists were successful enough to support themselves with their art alone and ended up getting real-life jobs, but for some reason he had faith Phil would be one of the lucky ones. They were approaching the main building of the library system, and Gabe noticed that Phil was about to run into one of the stone balustrades that surrounded the classical revival structure.
“Hey Michelangelo, turn around.”
Phil spun around and ended up ass over teakettle as he flipped over the wide railing. He burst out into laughter when Phil’s head popped up over the railing as if he were a prairie dog and looked around to see who had witnessed his elegant tumble. Gabe’s stomach hurt he laughed so hard, and tears tracked down his cheeks from beneath his shades. He clutched the plastic container holding his dinner, but his bottle of juice landed on the walkway and rolled several feet.
After he caught his breath, Gabe retrieved his juice and stepped up to the banister. Peering over the edge, he asked, “You okay?”
Phil looked up at Gabe from where he sat on the stone courtyard. “I suppose you think I deserved that for earlier?”
Gabe smiled and held out a hand to help Phil up. “Maybe a little.”