“Stupid idiot! Son-of-a-bitch.” Grey slammed the door to his house with a resounding crack, shaking everything on the front walls. He threw his coat on the floor and tore to the bedroom. “Spilling your guts and making yourself vulnerable; showing weakness and giving him the power to use it against you. You fucking deserved exactly what you got.”
Grey yanked the closet door open and snatched his suitcase, throwing it on the bed. He unzipped the thing, cursing the stubborn zipper that he knew was actually the clumsiness of his own fumbling fingers. Wanting to rail and shout blame at Morgan for this raging hurt eating its way through him, Grey turned it all inward, knowing it was his own damn fault.
He had broken all of his own rules, and he had done it willingly, so he had no one to blame for this awful twist of anger and heartache but himself. Idiot. Idiot. Idiot. On the very first night of this bloody awakening, Grey should never have taken that step to Morgan’s door when he heard the man moaning. And he never should have kissed him that first time, let alone play with fire and start a sexual affair. He never should have stayed away from work! That was the only way to guarantee he and Morgan would never have met. He felt like King David in the bible who stayed behind in the castle while his men went off to war. Wasn’t that how David also got tempted to covet Bathsheba right after he saw her bathing naked from his rooftop? Well I saw Morgan shirtless and I coveted! Damn it to hell. Not meeting the man would have been the only way to ensure Morgan wouldn’t be suffering these ridiculous sweeps of emotion right now; ones that had him fighting the urge to run back to Morgan’s house, tear off his clothes, and sexually torment Morgan, and put his mark on him right in front of Noah; and staking his claim in the most primal of ways.
Grey stalked to the dresser and pulled a drawer right off its tracks, taking it back to the bed and upending its contents into his bag. There could be no peace in this house now, not with Morgan right across the street being all wonderful, sexy, stubborn, passionate … open, in a way Grey could never be. He had to get out and go somewhere…anywhere but here.
He couldn’t do this. He did not have the right skill-set for a relationship. Grey had forgotten his limitations for a few days, but he remembered them now.
Just look at how everything with Morgan went to fuck so quickly after just trying to share a piece of your soul. It couldn’t be a coincidence that it all went to hell only days after Grey cut open his guts and told Morgan about Cartier. Christ, Grey had become the very man that had caused him to become celibate in the first place: someone weak, clingy and needy; someone desperate for love.
Grey caught a glimpse of himself as he passed by the mirror and his heart stopped at the man reflected back at him. Gone was the put-together businessman with the piercing cool silver gaze. In his place stood something almost feral, with flushed lips; and hunted, fear-drenched eyes.
All because of one man
Unable to look at himself anymore, Grey slung a handful of ugly words at his reflection and then strode for the kitchen, needing a drink. He couldn’t stand himself in this pathetic state; no wonder Morgan let him walk away without hardly a word.
Pain tightened a band around Grey’s chest, making him stumble. Jesus Christ, he barely knew Morgan; there was no way this suffocating pain of loss could be real.
But you love him regardless; and you know the most important thing; you know his soul.
“Yeah, but he doesn’t know yours.” Grey swung open the refrigerator door and leaned his hand on it, talking back to himself. “He proved that today.”
The rafters suddenly shook with a slam of the front door that rivalled Grey’s own. “Grey!” Morgan’s voice rang right on top of the slamming door. “Where the fuck are you? We need to talk.”
Grey grasped the fridge door in his hand, squeezing it until the tips of his fingers turned pure white. His heart raced madly, but he stared at the contents inside the refrigerator, refusing to turn around, even when the air crackled and heated, and Grey knew Morgan now stood in the kitchen too.
“What is the matter with you?” Morgan’s voice reeked with combativeness. “We were talking. You don’t walk away in the middle of a discussion.”
Go away. Grey squeezed his eyes shut, and spoke through gritted teeth. “There isn’t anything else I want to say to you.”
A growl erupted from Morgan, and a screeching noise assaulted Grey’s ears, making him think Morgan had kicked a chair out of his way. “Then maybe you need to shut up for a minute and listen to me.”
Every word Morgan spoke stabbed at the open wound in Grey’s chest. At the gaping hole Morgan had created, the one Grey could never let him see. “Go tell it to Noah.”
Morgan cursed something low and foul. “What the hell is that supposed to mean?” Suddenly pure heat rode Grey’s back, and he knew Morgan stood right behind him. “Look at me, damn it.” Morgan grabbed Grey’s arm and spun him around, trapping him in the V of the open refrigerator with spread arms. Mercury emeralds burned in Morgan’s eyes, turning them to the deepest shade of maroon. “Are you trying to make something out of Noah being my friend?”
“I saw that wedding ring on his finger, but don’t for one second think I don’t know Noah is attracted to men.” Grey looked Morgan right in the eyes, meeting the depth of passion and intelligence there. “And don’t you dare try to tell me that you don’t know it either. It takes one to know one remember?”
A red flush crept up Morgan’s neck from beneath his shirt and jacket, turning his face ruddy. “I do now. He told me today.”
“He wants you.” Grey shook, fighting sickness as he flashed back to the muted longing in Noah’s eyes that evening at Starbucks, then jumped forward to the aggressive protective streak that reared its head today from the man. “For more than a quick lay too.”
Morgan looked Grey up and down, slow and lingering, making Grey feel it along his skin, like one long caress. “And you’re just going to let him have me? Is that what you want?” Smouldering heat worked its way into Morgan’s eyes, running frissons of uncertainty through Grey. He had no idea if Morgan’s gaze turned hot for him … or Noah. Morgan lifted his hand and brushed his rough fingers across Grey’s cheek, catching his thumb on Grey’s lips. “You want me to walk away,” Morgan said softly, “like you did today? You want me to stay with Noah and help him discover what it’s like to be with another man?”
A crushing wave of denial rocked through Grey, terrifying him to his core. He saw himself crawling into a hole and dying, and could not concede such power over his wellbeing to another human being; love or not. He schooled his features to his best, no-time-for-bullshit face, and looked at Morgan through dead eyes. “Do what you want.” His voice was cool but he turned around, needing to break the contact before it killed him. “It’s your life.”
Morgan moved in behind Grey and dipped his head down, putting his mouth right next to Grey’s ear. “So you want me to go home, pick up the phone, and call Noah.” Morgan’s voice sank into Grey’s very being, each word contaminating his blood. Morgan stepped even closer, not stopping until his chest seared itself to Grey’s back. Slipping his arms around Grey’s waist, Morgan tugged Grey’s shirt out of his jeans. “You want me to invite Noah over, make him dinner.” Morgan paused, licked Grey’s ear as he unbuttoned Grey’s shirt and slipped his hands up his stomach. “Take him to my bedroom and mark him.” Morgan drew Grey’s shirt off his shoulders and arms, letting the fabric hang between his chest and Grey’s upper back where their bodies were fused together. Morgan rubbed Grey’s nipples, abrading the hard points with his sandpaper fingertips. “Is that what you want?”
Grey pushed back against Morgan, grinding his ass into the man’s erection. Blind, rage-filled jealousy reared inside Grey and did battle with the need to save himself from such an all-consuming passion, rendering him mute. Christ, he wanted Morgan to be exclusively his with every fibre of his being, but the fear of being so in love with him only to have Morgan possibly reject him again choked Grey’s throat, blocking the words.
“Maybe I should undress Noah.” Morgan pushed the flat of his hands down Grey’s torso, digging one hand under the waistband of his jeans. “Like I’ve done a dozen times with you.” He worked Grey’s buckle open with his free hand. When the belt gave, Morgan’s fingers slipped farther inside Grey’s underwear, to the root of his shaft. “I could touch him,” the button of Grey’s jeans opened and his zipper slid down, “Make him hard.” Morgan took Grey’s erection in hand and stroked his rigid length with a tight, dry hand, drawing a sharp cry and shiver from Grey. “Make him moan for more.”
Morgan held Grey at the mercy of his slowly pumping fist, as well as the dark evolution of Grey’s imagination. “Do you think I’ll love having Noah mark me as much as I love having you mark me?” Morgan asked, his voice gravelly at Grey’s ear. “Will I want to taste every inch of his body the way I crave learning yours?” Letting go of Grey’s telescope, Morgan pushed Grey’s underwear and jeans down to his knees. “Will I think his body is as beautiful as yours?” Somehow, through the mingling haze of pain and desire, Grey processed that Morgan removed Grey’s shoes, socks, and the rest of his clothes, leaving him naked in every way.
All the while, Morgan didn’t let up his verbal and mental torture. His wicked mouth went right back to Grey’s ear. “Do you think he’ll be eager to suck me off, the way you are?” Morgan pushed two fingers into Grey’s mouth and started an abbreviated, sexual motion. “Will he take it all the way down and make me scream, the way you do?” He added a third finger and filled Grey’s mouth to the throat.
Like a starving man, Grey lapped and sucked at Morgan’s fingers. Moaning, slipping to a place of pure reaction, Grey anointed the salty flesh of Morgan’s digits, remembering the feel of blowing his thick shaft.
Morgan slipped his fingers out of Grey’s mouth, leaving him bereft. Hot breath constantly tormented Grey’s nape, never letting him forget Morgan loomed close, pulling every raw response out of Grey like a puppet on a string. Morgan’s arm forged in between their bodies, and the agonizing sweetness of his fingers on Grey’s asshole had Grey whimpering. Pressure played with Grey’s pucker, ever more insistent with every swipe of Morgan’s rough fingertips, making Grey squirm. Morgan licked at the shell of Grey’s ear and flicked his tongue into the opening.
Morgan’s voice, Spartacus-like and low, whispered, “Will Noah’s ass be hot and tight, and cling to my essence the way yours does?” Right then, Morgan shoved two fingers home, breaching Grey’s asshole in one sure thrust.
Grey jerked and his life-force spiked at the invasion, unprepared, even though he had known it was coming. He bit his lip to keep from crying out, only this time he did it because it was so damn good he almost couldn’t stand to feel it. Morgan penetrated Grey’s channel again and again with full, deep strokes, scissoring his fingers and exquisitely widening Grey’s entrance, making Grey’s legs shake as he struggled to accept every layer of sensation without coming. When Morgan forced a third finger inside and started a corkscrewing motion, Grey shuddered, his mouth falling open. He grabbed onto the open refrigerator door, clutching the width in his fingers, keening through the pleasure of what Morgan did to him.
Morgan wrapped his arm around Grey’s chest, holding him upright as he ploughed his fingers in and out of Grey’s anus. “You think Noah will respond so completely to me being inside his ass, like you’re doing right now?” Morgan’s taunting invaded Grey’s mind, consumed him and spurred his emotions as invasively as the man’s fingers did in his rectum. “You think I can make him hard and make him come without doing anything other than plugging his hole, the way I am with you right now?” Morgan shifted his fingers in Grey’s body and crooked the tips over Grey’s kill-spot, shooting direct lines of zinging joy to every corner of Grey’s being, pushing him into overdrive.
His body and mind weakened with longing and wanting. Grey felt as if he hung suspended from Morgan’s arms and fingers; his balls painfully full, and his shaft aching with the need to release. He shoved his ass back on Morgan’s embedded digits, trying to find that one extra touch that would throw him into orgasm. Grey reached, searched, almost sobbing for it, but couldn’t make himself come.
“Should I walk away from you right now and invite Noah into my bed?” Morgan said, slipping the words into Grey’s soul. “Leave you unfulfilled and go make love to him instead, in a way you haven’t let me do to you?” His fingers started to slide from Grey’s ass, and Grey had never felt so frightened and alone in his life. The final inch of Morgan’s fingers left Grey’s body, left him, and Grey’s entire world went hazy red. “Tell me to leave you–”
Rage and loss tore through Grey, leaving him ragged and raw. He spun around and grabbed Morgan by the neck, yanking him in until mere inches separated their faces. His bare chest brushed inches against Morgan’s jacket with every heavy breath they shared. “You are mine,” Grey uttered, his voice so gruttal he didn’t recognize it as his own. “I don’t care that you are angry at me, or what you think I tried to do to you today; you are mine.” His throat clogged, and he barely scratched out the words. “I wasn’t trying to change you or hurt you.” He crushed his mouth on Morgan’s, clinging in desperation. His fingers brushed through the hair at Morgan’s nape, and he somehow pulled the man even closer, whispering against his mouth between kisses. “I swear I wasn’t”
“I know.” His eyes unnaturally bright, Morgan held Grey’s head in a bruising hold, angling his mouth for a deeper kiss. Tongues swirled and fused together, bringing light back into the brief darkness of Grey’s world. “Now.” Morgan scraped his lips against Grey’s. “I know now.”
Grey dug his fingers into Morgan’s coat, possessive fire scorching a trail right through his core. “You’d better have told Noah to get the hell out.” He pulled on the bigger man, stumbling them both into the counter. “He better never try to shield you from me again.”
“Noah understands how I feel about you now,” Morgan said in-between kisses. He tilted Grey’s head back and nuzzled into his neck, sucking the sensitive flesh there. “He knows the score.”
Hardness coated a shell around Grey’s fear, making his voice harsh, “You belong to me.” Insecurity smothered the softness his soul ached to give Morgan. “He can’t have you.”
“You know,” Morgan began softly, “I genuinely thought we could have amazing guilt-free sex, and not give a rat’s ass about who you were as a person. Other people do it, and you are so damned good-looking you have to know I wanted you like hell from the moment I saw you. All of that made me think I could participate in this kind of non-committed “agreement”. But I’ve discovered I can’t. I need more. I want to be yours.” Morgan slipped his lips all over Grey’s face, leaving not an inch of it untouched. “Just yours. I don’t want anyone else.”
A crack in the foundation of Grey’s resolve to stay strong weakened his knees, but he fought to stay upright. “I just let you inside me…inside my ass with your fingers.” Roughness filled his voice and his throat was tight, hurting like hell, but he couldn’t shut up. “That better mean something to you.”
“It does.” Morgan broke the savage depth of their kiss and pulled back, putting a small distance between them. His chest rose and feel in visible waves, breathless, but his eyes were clear and focused, and trained right on Grey. He lifted his hand and swept his knuckles softly over Grey’s cheek. With a catch in his voice, Morgan said, “It means everything to me.” He held Grey’s gaze, keeping him prisoner with just his eyes. “You mean everything to me.”
Grey’s head fell back against the cabinet,; he exhaled. Good God! Grey wanted to tell Morgan he loved him but there was still the Noah matter. He just had to know if there was anything he needed to forgive Morgan for before he went any further.
“That was mean as hell of you,” Grey eventually said, his voice still unnaturally scratchy. “Taunting me with threats of going to Noah.”
“Never a chance of it happening,” Morgan murmured. “Deep down, you knew that.” He rubbed his fingers over his own skin, his heart constricting at the pain his taunts had caused Grey, no matter how temporary…or deserved. “You needed to see it though, in your mind, to know how much it would bother you if I ended up with another man.”
Grey snorted, and Morgan could have sworn Grey rolled his eyes. “I didn’t need the extra visual, thank you very much.” He shifted his legs, grunting as he pushed himself into a sitting position butt-naked on the cabinet. Morgan couldn’t help but swallow the man whole with his eyes as the chocolate perfection in front of him made himself comfortable. Grey was confident and comfortable in his skin. Morgan could bet the clothes on his back that only a select few had ever seen Grey get emotional, and he had finally become one of those few. Morgan felt like his chest was going to explode from the mad joy in his soul. I am good for Grey after all.
Unaware of his effect on Morgan, Grey continued “It bothered me plenty enough to see Noah in your studio, protecting you like that … from me, Goddamnit.” Fire erupted in Grey’s voice again, exciting the hell out of Morgan. This was his Grey. The real one beneath the cool facade. “He dared to protect you from me. I wanted to kill him.”
“He thought you were trying to hurt me,” Morgan explained. “When you shoved me up on my worktable, my head banged into the surface pretty damn hard.”
“I’m sorry.” Grey said, true remorse filling his eyes. “I didn’t mean to do that. I was about one second away from crawling on top of you, tearing off your clothes and making love to you. I was so angry at your accusation I could barely speak, but I was strung too tight with too many emotions to turn around and walk away.” His jaw clenching, and his eyes narrowing , Grey started to look a bit like a trapped animal. “At least until Noah showed up and played a damned effective knight in shining armour. You were right behind him, as if you were hiding from me, and then when you put your hand on him… Well, it looked to me like that’s where you wanted to be.”
“You never have to worry about that.” Morgan walked over to Grey and caressed face, trying to soothe away the hardness still living there. “I promise. Noah didn’t know the full scope of what went down between us, and he reacted to the final piece he witnessed with his own eyes. There wasn’t anything more to it than that.”
“That man has feelings for you.” Grey said. Certainty sharpened his gaze. “Trust me when I say there was a little more to his quick jump to help you, than simply lending a fellow citizen a hand.”
“That man is struggling to find a place where he can admit to his family and friends that he’s bisexual.” Morgan closed his eyes, remembering the short conversation he’d shared with Noah, and the sheer volume of emotions Noah had radiated during those few minutes. When Morgan pulled himself together, he faced Grey again. “Noah got married to a woman because it was what was expected of him…from his parents, family, and the society. Everyone in his life are extremely homophobic, and have not hesitated to hate on gay and bi-sexual people and activities. He has lived most of his life in fear, depression, and hopelessness. All he ever craved was love and acceptance from people around him. He wanted them to accept him…every part of him…the good and the bad; but their behaviour every time the subject of homosexuality and ‘playing for both teams’ came up, was judgemental, hatred, revulsion. You must know what that’s like…I’m sure you’ve faced it like most gay/bi individuals have.” Morgan exhaled, “It’s a tough world out there and he’s not happy or confident in his own body. He married his wife because he loved her…still does; but he would never have married her if he wasn’t pressured to it. The people that pushed him into marriage have now stepped back and he has to face the music on his own. Everyone his age were getting married and having kids and he wanted the same. He knew he loved his wife but he also loved how a man made him feel. He really didn’t want marriage but he really wanted kids so he caved in when the pressure threatened to overtake him. His wife finally found out about him recently and now hates his guts…and rightly so. If your sister, Isys, got married to Vimal, her fiancé, only to find out he’s cheating on her with other men; or so much as craves the touch of other men, how would you feel?” Grey inhaled sharply and a pint of deadly venom entered his eyes. Morgan gave a sad smile and continued “You are bisexual but you’d want to break Vimal’s skull if that was the case; even if you’d understand and can sympathise with what he must be going though. It’s the same with Noah. He has children, and he’s been married for a long time. He’s lost practically everything he holds dear because people that were meant to be supportive weren’t. People forgot that we are all human and no one should judge another person just because they sin differently than they do. The sad thing is, there are many more people like Noah in today’s world that are succumbing to marriage despite their sexuality for fear of being found out. It’s a harsh cycle of not being able to be yourself for fear of not being accepted, but it is what it is; and I doubt it will end anytime soon. It’s ultimately what a being gay or bisexual individual has become…living two lives to preserve your core. Noah is in his forties, and he’s just now facing who he is. Try to imagine that, and tell me you don’t have sympathy for how mixed up his feelings and life must be right now.”
“I didn’t say I don’t have any sympathy for him.” Grey bit off each word, and tension filled his body once more. “Again, don’t put words in my mouth. That’s what pissed me off so much earlier.”
Morgan immediately put his forehead to Grey’s, kissing away the hard line of his lips. “Okay, Okay, I’m sorry,” he whispered. “You are right, I did do that. Both times.”
Grey pulled back, but he linked his hand over Morgan’s. “What I said was that Noah has feelings for you. At the very least, he has a crush, if not more.” Grey still looked a little surly, and Morgan had to bite down a laugh. His man was a little jealous, and it was sweet to see.
“Whatever Noah has for me will pass, and it’s not reciprocated.” Morgan said. As much as Morgan was committed to Grey, he didn’t feel it was right to discuss the feelings Noah admitted to having for him. Noah knew his relationship with Morgan couldn’t go anywhere beyond friendship and he spoke very clearly about intending to work past his feelings for Morgan, and not let them interfere in their growing friendship. Morgan believed him. “Mainly, Noah wanted to apologise to me for speaking to you at Starbucks the other day” Morgan arched a brow. Grey had certainly not told him anything about that conversation, although it did make the certainty of Grey’s reads on Noah so much clearer. “He realised he overstepped his bounds, and he was afraid he might have hurt something you and I were trying to build.”
“And then he saw me attacking you and probably wished he’d interfered some more.” The grumble stayed in Grey’s voice for a moment, but then his eyes softened. “I feel his pain though. I have friends dealing with his exact situation and it’s not pleasant. People have killed themselves…like literally killed themselves, because they wanted acceptance but got none from the people that mattered the most to them…parents, siblings, the church! People talk Christianity but fail to practice it. Hypocrites spew bible passages about loving one’s neighbour as they love themselves, and “Judge not, so that ye may not be judged”; yet they turn their backs to the people that need that love the most simply because those people aren’t the way they want them to be. You would think that they would know better!”
Grey’s nose flared obstinately as he continued “My guess is eventually, some people that call themselves Christians will still go to hell because they won’t ever stop judging gays and bisexual people. Salvation is a personal battle. People need to just accept other people for who and what they are and love them anyway. They need to stop taking panadol/paracetamol for another person’s headache. They need to remember to let go, and let God have his way. He’s the one with the power of life and death and the fact that gays and bisexuals are still alive is because it pleases God to keep them alive. A lot of people involved in it are actual Christians that find themselves stuck in it. They don’t need condescending statements from other Christians. In a bid to try to help people “pray-the-gay-away”, they hurt the people more because eventually they go around sharing secrets told in confidence, unknowingly damage reputations by gossiping and backbiting. Those are sins that give them free tickets on a fast train to hell as well.” Grey snorted, “Yet they still feel they are candidates for Heaven because in their minds, they are still running the heavenly race.”
Grey’s skin flamed up underneath Morgan’s hands, and Morgan knew that Grey was getting just as emotional and passionate as every other gay/bisexual person would when discussing such a sensitive and controversial matter. Grey continued, “Some Christians deceive themselves that they aren’t judgemental; but their actions, words, and body language speak the opposite. He sighed “I just wish people would finally grasp the concept behind Christianity and remove the speck in their own eyes before judging others. Grey exhaled shakily, needing to breathe after letting out his frustration about the matter.
Morgan smiled a warm smile and touched Grey’s nose lightly with his index finger “Hmmmmm, have you suddenly become a pastor?”
Grey smiled and his shoulders visibly relaxed. “No. I’m not a pastor…” He leaned into Morgan’s space and licked the shell of Morgan’s ear just as Morgan had done to him earlier on “but my parents are.”
Judging by his bodily reaction, Morgan was evidently shocked. “So all this time, I have been sucking face with the son of a pastor? Now why do I find that extremely hot?” Morgan gave Grey a breezy smile, and continued with gleaming eyes “I have always wanted to suck face with a pastor, but I guess the son of a pastor will just have to do. Not only have I sucked face with him but he’s sitting in my arms butt naked. It doesn’t get any better than this…not even with a pastor.”
Grey punched Morgan playfully and let his eyes soften again. “I am so sorry I cracked your head against the table like that.” He said, referring to his earlier outburst at Morgan’s shed. He wrapped his arm around Morgan’s throat and tried to reach around to the back of his head. “Are you okay?”
Grey’s fingers probed at the back of Morgan’s skull, but Morgan grabbed his hand and pushed it down to his side, trapping it there. “I’m fine.” Morgan said. He figured he would have a little bump and maybe a headache later, but nothing more than that. “My head is as hard as it looks.”
“And what about the other thing you got mad at me for?” Grey glanced away, and when he came back, his eyes were shadowed. “Are you fine with me introducing you to Sally? Or do you still believe I had ugly motives for what I did?”
“I don’t… No…” Morgan let go of Grey’s hand and ground his knuckles into the cabinet. Banked hurt lived in Grey’s silver eyes, and it cut Morgan up inside that he had put it there. “Let me see if I can make sense of this to you.” God, please let Grey understand me. “I see now that you genuinely thought you were doing something good for me. You did it your way, the way you understand and know how to, which is to team someone up with a person who can hopefully make them commercially successful and wealthy. That’s what you do; it’s how your brain operates. I’m not judging it or saying it’s a bad thing, believe me. I’ve seen you incredibly focused when you’re working on something, and it is totally sexy. I just got so damn angry because I thought you were ignoring everything I tried to tell you about my art and where I place it in my life. Creating art is something I love to do on the side, and it seemed like you were trying to push me into a place I have no interest in going so that I was a more … I don’t know, respectable person in your world. I was angry and I got insecure, and all I could think was that you wanted me to sell to Sally because you didn’t think I was special enough just as I am. Once I got past my initial flash of anger, I saw that you truly didn’t understand my position and thought you were doing something really nice because you care about me and thought it would make me happy.”
Grey pursed his lips, and his eyes became very focused on a the calendar across the kitchen. It looked like he chewed on his cheek, and his fingers drummed a one-two-three beat on the back on Morgan’s hand. Trying a different approach, Grey diverted his eyes back to face Morgan. “Don’t get defensive.” he started. “I’m just asking a question, not trying to nudge you away from your position. But can I ask you why you’re so opposed to making a leap into a more commercial market with your art? Do you think it’s selling out, or that you’ll lose creative control; or something along those lines?”
Grey clamped his hand on Morgan’s mouth. “I’m not trying to change your mind; I just want to understand where you’re coming from. Your view is leaps and bounds away from the world I function in on a daily basis, and I guess for that reason, I cannot wrap my brain around it. All right,” he took his hand away. “you can answer now.”
“Gee, thanks,” Morgan said dryly, but pecked a quick kiss on Grey’s lips. He rubbed his thumb back and forth on Grey’s jaw while searching his mind for words that Grey’s way of thinking could understand. “Painting, sculpting, drawing, carving; they are all such wonderful outlets and releases for me. I get to go into my shed and just let myself go, not ever having to think or worry about anything other than what I’m doing right in that moment. I don’t ever want to stop loving what I do in there or have something practical infect it. I don’t want my art to become a job that I have to do to earn a living. I don’t want to resent something that has given me peace and joy all the way back to when I was a kid.
“I also don’t want to ever feel like I can’t attempt something completely new and fail at it miserably because I can’t afford to give it a try.” Passion infused Morgan’s voice, making it sharp and strong. “I don’t want my income and livelihood to depend on art.” He focused on Grey, his vision for his future clear. “Some people take professional photography as a career while others do it for the love and joy of it. People that do it for the love of it can attempt new tricks and fail but learn from those mistakes with optimism, and continue growing in what they love. It’s the same with writers, comedians, graphic designers; and it’s the same with me” Morgan gave Grey a quick smile, “That’s what my art is to me, not a business.”
Grey nodded, but the eyes of a hawk still studied Morgan. Grey didn’t blink, but his voice was conversational, not instructive. Grey shifted his weight on his butt cheeks from the left to the right and back to the left, to allow for blood flow but the act sent Morgan into a conscious awareness that Grey was still very much naked and in his arms. He forced his eyes back to Grey’s and tried his damndest to keep listening. “This is what I do, and you are right in a lot of ways, I can’t turn it off. For you, there is the option of giving Sally two or three pieces a year, if that’s all you’re comfortable creating for high-end sales. If you’re firm about your position with Sally, and you tell her you’re not interested in putting yourself in the middle of a big showdown or meeting clients, then just say so. She is a businesswoman with a good eye and she is not going to risk pushing you away by demanding more. You can give Sally–or someone else– the occasional piece to sell.” Certainty and confidence lived in Grey’s eyes, and Morgan knew this was the Grey that thrived in business. “There is middle ground, Morgan. it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. You can be financially successful with your art and still continue to be you, on your own terms.”
Morgan chuckled, his heart feeling truly light for the first time since starting this fling with Grey. “Yeah, but you’re an all or nothing kind of guy, Grey, so when you brought Sally to my shed I thought you were trying to turn me into a career artist. Someone you can brag about to your friends.” It was amazing to Morgan that he could hear a laugh in his voice even though he spoke about such a sensitive subject. His heart kicked into overdrive with a skitter of nervous racing, just thinking about searching for a middle ground with his art.
Just as quickly, Morgan shivered beneath his layers of clothing as his mind slipped back to the flaring tempers of a short while ago in his shed. “I’m sorry I snapped at you earlier, and I apologise for shouting over your attempts to explain yourself. You eventually got this cold look in your eyes, and you scared the shit out of me when you coolly walked away. I honestly wasn’t sure what you’d do after walking away like that”
Grey dropped his head back against the counter. He looked weary, and Morgan’s chest ached for Grey’s struggle to open himself to another human being. Grey’s eyelids fell to half-mast and his Adam’s apple worked overtime. “Christ, I’ve never felt so much for one person before, and I never hurt in the way I did when you accused me of not thinking you were good enough for me.” He turned his head and looked right into Morgan’s eyes, no longer hiding the brightness shining in his. “Nothing could be further from the truth. But when you thought I did…” Grey exhaled shakily. “I just wanted to get the hell away from you and everything you were making me feel.”
Cupping Grey’s cheek, Morgan’s hand trembled. “I had to follow you.” His body shook with wanting, but his voice remained rock steady. “I had to chase you down and demand that you talk to me. I am not Cartier.” He kissed the protest out of Grey before it left his lips, and then curled his hand around the man’s neck. “I would not have let you slip away without a fight.” They touched foreheads, their gazes holding one another. “Maybe not even then.”
Grey wound his arm around Morgan’s neck, and closed the small distance between them with a desperate, tasting, clinging kiss. Their upper bodies contorted to somehow face one another, while their cores remained connected through the unyielding grasp of Morgan’s arm around Grey’s waist. Grey dug his fingers into Morgan’s jaw and forced his mouth open, deepening the kiss with the rough thrust of his tongue. Mutual moans of pleasure escaped Morgan and their kiss turned hot, wet, and messy; aggressive with shared need for more.
Suddenly, Grey pushed his hand between their mouths, breaking the kiss as fast as he’d started it. “Wait, wait.” He panted heavily , fanning quick breaths of warm air over Morgan’s face. “I need to tell you something.”
“Anything” Morgan murmured seductively on Grey’s skin, laping his tongue on the man’s jaw and working his way down Grey’s neck in a bid to give him a hickie
Breathing in, Grey finally said those three words… “I love you.” Grey Mangled the words with the depth of his emotions, and he shook all over. “I–love–you.” Complete vulnerability rocked through him, and he turned away, terrified to let Morgan see such need in his eyes. the words just kept on spilling out, though, ones he had never spoken to anyone in this way before, “I love you.”
Forcing confidence into his voice and heart, Grey decided to put himself on the line one more time for the man he loved and he finally said the words that had hunted him since their very first sexual encounter.”Take me to bed Morgan.” Grey’s voice scratched like hell, but he finally said it out loud. “I love you like a sickness and its cure together. You don’t have to love me back. I just want you to know that I love you and I want you to make love you me.” Breathing a little easier after his final confession, Grey added “Mark me, Morgan.”
Oh Christ. I did it. Grey buzzed inside and he felt unsteady. I really asked Morgan to fuck me.”
Morgan stumbled to a halt and grabbed Grey by the neck, forcing his face up. The little-boy-lost look disappeared from Morgan’s eyes, and wide clear shock took its place. “What did you just say?”
To be Continued…
Soundtrack for Given to Grey: Who You Are… WHO YOU ARE by Jessie J