I stare at the doorbell with my hands shoved deep in the front pockets of my jeans, my shoulders hunched up around my ears. It's mocking me, I swear it is. It's just daring me to do it, to hit the little button that will wake Ryan up in the early-early-early hours that make even the sun have second thoughts about getting up, just so I can tell him how I feel. Part of me is screaming that it's a bad idea for those exact same reasons.
And just what, exactly, are my feelings for Ryan Wolfe? Do I love him? Or do I just want him? Does he have any idea that that thing he does with his lips when he pouts, yeah, that, drives me absolutely crazy? After some internal debate, I finally decide that at the very least, standing here and staring at his doorbell isn't productive. It's the thought of some nervous neighbor calling the cops on me – and wouldn't that be ironic – that finally prompts me to square my shoulders. "Ring the bell, you coward!" I grumble to myself. "C'mon, Speedle. You'll never know for sure unless you say something."
Taking a deep fortifying breath, I reach out to press the doorbell with a finger that's shaking so hard it takes me several tries before I actually make contact. While waiting for him to answer I take the time to actually look at where he lives. His house is in a nice but run-down neighborhood. All the houses are so old they only have one car garages, a garage which Ryan isn't currently using. His car in the driveway is what tells me he's home and most likely just deeply asleep. The grass in the yard is just a little brown, except for under the tree that is planted directly in the middle of the yard. I have no idea what kind of tree it is but it's placed in such a way as to keep the house cool in the mornings. The shrubs in front of the windows are neatly hedged, and the kind that make even the most determined robber think twice. I discover that the little porch is seven steps wide and four steps deep when I begin to pace when nerves get the better of me. Just as I'm about to leave, having decided he's so deeply asleep he didn't hear the bell (a very good thing for my nerves), the door is yanked open to reveal a sleep-tousled Ryan Wolfe.
My mouth instantly goes dry at the knowledge that he was curled up under the covers just moments before and is now standing in front of me wearing nothing but a pair of boxers and an irritated scowl.
"What the frell do you want, Speedle?" he growls, his voice rough from sleep.
I swallow my heart, order my stomach to return to its natural state, and I open my mouth to softly answer, "You" and watch his eyes widen in surprise.
Ryan can get a little excitable at times, I'll admit, which is why I'm pleasantly terrified when he just stands there and blinks at me. "What?"
"I want you," I repeat, my voice just that little bit firmer and more decisive, buoyed by him not instantly slamming the door in my face.
"You…want…me…?" His brows clamp together over the bridge of his nose, his forehead crinkling in confusion. "But… you're not gay." He says it like it's a fact he's heard from someone else.
My gaze drops to the ground where I'm scuffing the toe of one shoe in a tiny patch of dirt. If Ryan knew that was there I bet his OCD would kick into overdrive. "Actually, I'm bi-sexual. I just hide the part of me that likes guys because of," I wave one hand in a vague circle, glancing at him through my lashes, "you know, being a cop, an' all."
"Really," he deadpans, making me wonder what's going through his mind.
"Really," I confirm with a decisive nod and watch as one corner of his mouth curls upward.
"Then I guess you should come in," he purrs, stepping back and motioning me in with a wave of one hand.
I hesitantly step inside. I haven't made the first move in so long I'm not sure exactly how to proceed. But I quickly discover I didn't have to worry about it when he grabs my head before sealing his mouth to mine. The fingers of one hand get tangled in my hair while the others find their way under the collar of my shirt to rub against what I'm sure is the oddest sweet spot ever; that knot of bone at the top of my spine.
Okay, I'll take this as a good sign. Wrapping my hands around his hips, I walk him backward until he gives a tiny grunt when his back hits the door. Sliding one leg between his, I begin rubbing our erections together causing him to start purring low in his throat. Eventually we both need to breathe but since neither of us wants to really stop kissing we only pull back until we're nibbling on each other's lips.
"Ryan?" the very last voice I ever thought to hear here and in the middle of the night calls from the direction of what is most likely the bedroom. My heart jumps back into my throat and my stomach descends to somewhere around my ankles as That Voice speaks again, asking, "Who was at the door?"
I pull back and step out of Ryan's arms, earning myself a growl of protest. Fuck, Speedle. How could you be so fucking blind? I open my mouth but no words come out, leaving me standing there, blinking at Ryan, watching a mischievous grin spread over his face.
"We have company," he calls back, laughter heavy in his tone.
"Oh, yeah? Who?"
I desperately start looking around for a place to hide since I don't think I can get out the door before he turns the corner and sees me, especially since Ryan's leaning back against it.
"You'll never guess." Ryan steps away from the door and starts to stalk me across the living room.
"Wolfe," I plead, still looking nervously around for a way out.
Oh, God. Please kill me now! I plead silently, squeezing my eyes shut, as if that'll make me disappear, or keep him from seeing me.
"Speed?" My name is said again, only this time the voice is right in front of me and sounds highly amused.
"OhGodohGodohGod." How can he find this even remotely funny?
"I have a feeling he never expected to find you here in the middle of the night," Ryan says, laughing out loud, seemingly ignorant of my discomfort.
"Hm, so it would appear." Is whispered against my lips just before they're captured in my second kiss of the night, only this one is not as demanding as the first. In fact this kiss is quite hesitant; almost as if he's afraid I'll reject him. Something about that hesitancy makes me snap out of it and has me jumping to show he hasn't a damn thing to worry about.
With a whimper I wrap my arms around his waist earning myself a deep chested moan just before one of his hands grabs a fistful of my hair to hold me steady so he can tilt his head and deepen the kiss. This kiss is also different from the one I shared with Ryan earlier. This kiss is him showing me that he is completely in control; that even if I say 'no' this will change nothing come Monday morning. But if I say 'yes' it will change everything. Right now, in his arms with his tongue teasing mine, I have to decide what I want. Do I want to forget everything that has happened so far? Or do I want to go forward and possibly have the most incredible sex of my life?
Slowly, as if reluctant to be parted, he pulls back and with a final rub of his nose against mine, cups my face in his hands. "C'mon, Speed," he coaxes. "Open those beautiful brown eyes for me."
Squeezing my eyes even tighter shut, I shake my head. I'm afraid if I open my eyes I'll find it's all a dream and I never showed up at Ryan's door in the middle of the night to find him already here. "What if it's all just a dream?" I whisper.
"Open your eyes and find out," he reassures me, caressing my cheeks with his thumbs.
I take a deep breath and crack open first one eye then the other, letting it out in relief when he smiles at me.
"See? You're not dreaming, partner."
He brushes a kiss to my forehead causing my eyes to slide shut in bliss and me to groan 'oh, God.'
"Maybe we should take this to the bedroom?" Ryan suggests. I can hear the smile and grumble under my breath about how he's finding this situation humorous, which of course the man in my arms hears, and he chuckles softly before turning to look at where Ryan is standing on the other side of the room.
"Yes, I suppose this would be much better in the bedroom." Horatio looks at me over his shoulder. "Speed?" He holds one hand out to me, forcing me to actually make my decision.
Swallowing hard, I flick my gaze to Ryan before locking on the blue eyes of the man I admire most in this life. Taking his hand, I nod once, sharply, and pray I haven't made the biggest mistake of my life. When he leads me past Ryan I extend my free hand and hold my breath until he grins, takes my hand, gives my fingers a squeeze and winks playfully.
I find myself laughing softly at the picture we must make; three grown men walking down the hall holding hands like we're children. When we enter the bedroom Ryan presses up close against my back while sucking on my sweet spot, his erection poking me in the ass. They both remove my jacket, then Horatio's hands find their way up under my t-shirt to play with my nipples. Just when I think I can't take much more, Ryan's hands join Horatio's and they both proceed to drive me crazy. Soon I'm gasping for air, my head resting on Horatio's shoulder because Ryan is still sucking on that knot of bone.
Both Ryan and I make noises of protest when Horatio pulls my shirt off over my head, dislodging Ryan's mouth from that spot and my head from Horatio's shoulder. As soon as my shirt clears my shoulders, Ryan's mouth returns only this time he's nibbling.
"H," I whimper, a shiver skating down my spine. "Please."
Horatio seems to know what I'm asking. "Ryan," Horatio orders the younger man at my back with a slight push to his forehead. Ryan releases me with a soft growl and an extra hard nip. "Ryan," Horatio warns when I wince at the feel of his teeth.
I can't really see Ryan's face but I'm pretty sure he's pouting if the raised eyebrow on Horatio's face is any indication, along with the put-upon sigh Ryan gives when he rests his chin on my shoulder. Ryan wraps his arms around my waist and begins fiddling with my belt without actually unbuckling it.
Nerves suddenly kick in, it's been over a year since I've been with a guy, and I've never had a threesome, and I find myself putting my hands on Ryan's to make him stop.
"What's wrong, Speed?" he asks, lips next to my ear, warm breath making goosebumps break out all over. Words fail me, so I just shake my head.
"Ryan. Bed." Horatio once again proves he's a mind reader and makes Ryan leave me alone.
Ryan humphs but does as he's told and makes his way to the bed, which draws my attention to it for the first time since I entered the room. It's a very masculine bed made out of dark wood and is exactly the kind of bed I expect someone like Ryan to own. He drops his boxers with a wiggle of his hips then climbs onto the mattress with a slinkiness that I find very seductive.
A hand on my cheek has me turning my gaze and attention from where Ryan is lazily stroking himself to where Horatio is looking like he wants to eat me. "How long has it been, Tim?"
"Just over a year," I answer, sneaking a peek at Ryan from the corner of my eye.
Horatio follows my gaze and sighs, 'Behave, Mr. Wolfe,' before turning back to stare into my eyes. "So, right before this?" he picks our conversation back up, his hand lightly tracing down my cheek to rub against the bullet scar on my left shoulder; a wound that should have killed me. Swallowing hard, I nod my head, blinking back tears that well up at the memory of the day I almost died in Horatio's arms. "It's okay," he croons, wiping a stray tear from my cheek. "Which of us do you want first?"
His change of subject has my head spinning, which is why it takes me several seconds to get my mouth to work enough to ask, "To fuck? Or to fuck me?"
One brow disappears into Horatio's hairline, and one corner of his mouth quirks up in a half smile. "Both?"
"Um," I falter, my gaze once again drawn to where Ryan's still playing with himself.
"If it helps, Ryan's already prepared."
"He… what?" I ask with a groan. Good going, Speedle. No wonder the man was pissed when he answered the door. "Why the hell did you answer the door?" I demand, glaring at the man on the bed. A shrug is my only answer.
"Does it matter?" Is purred into my ear, just as a hand unbuckles my belt with a flick of the wrist before nimble fingers open my fly.
"No?" My voice did not just squeak.
Horatio chuckles. "Good. Now, which of us would you like first?"
"Well, I…uh…" I duck my head trying to hide the blush I can feel creeping up my face.
"When was the last time?"
I don't even pretend to not know what Horatio is asking and answer honestly. "Over ten years."
"So, before you moved here." Again words fail me, so I just nod my answer. "Want to talk about it?"
"Not really. He was…rougher…than one should be with a virgin."
"Is he why you left New York?" Ryan interjects from where he's still teasing us on the bed.
"No, I was already on my way out of the state. But he is why I left when I did."
Horatio regains my attention by slipping his hand into my pants. "No more of that. I usually top Ryan but I'm willing to bottom to you. If you want."
"You're a top but you're willing to bottom?" I'm touched by Horatio's offer.
"Actually, he's a switch but I prefer to bottom," Ryan informs me.
"Tim? If we're to get this evening going you need to make a decision."
I lick suddenly dry lips, glancing between Horatio and Ryan. Which do I want? To fuck Horatio or Ryan? Or to be fucked by one of them? Ryan winks at me, and suddenly I know what I want. "I want you both."
"Come again?" Ryan demands, propping himself up on his hands.
"I want H to fuck me while I fuck you," I clarify.
"I like the way you think, Speedle," Ryan agrees with a snicker, flopping back down with his hands folded behind his head.
Horatio's chuckle is dark and just seductive enough to pull my attention from the feast for the senses that is Ryan Wolfe playing with himself. Staring into Horatio's eyes I finally admit to myself that despite the fact that I came here with every intention of fucking Ryan stupid, it's Horatio I really want. Horatio whom I've always wanted but never thought I could have. He has always been my one unattainable dream.
An unattainable dream that is now standing before me naked, and I haven't even looked. He's been naked this whole time… Something of my thoughts must show on my face because Horatio laughs out loud and takes a step back.
Spreading his arms wide he tells me. "Go ahead. Look."
I slowly lower my gaze, taking in the broad shoulders, the well-defined chest sparsely covered in russet colored curls, the slim hips, muscular thighs. And right there in the middle of all that pale flesh, nestled in a bed of curls a couple of shades darker than the hair on his head, is his dick. It's a respectable seven or eight inches in length, about three of my fingers across and there on the tip is a pearlescent drop of pre-cum. My mouth begins to water as I stare at that drop of fluid and I have to fight the desire to drop to my knees, the urge to taste, to lick, to suck all of him is so fucking strong.
While I love receiving blowjobs, I've never really cared to give them. Well, not after how Zack treated me and forced me to give them. But here, now, I find I want Horatio to fuck my mouth until it hurts to swallow, and I have to swallow his come or choke.
"Maybe we should talk about this, first." Despite wanting this with every fiber of my being, I can't help but stall. I want this but am very afraid I'll fuck it up somehow.
"Talk is cheap," Ryan mutters from the bed, drawing my attention once more.
I just about swallow my tongue when I turn my head and see him flat on his back, knees raised and spread, fingers up his ass, stroking himself lazily.
Tugging on the waistband of my jeans has me looking down to see Horatio pulling my belt free. "Ryan has a point." The smile he gives me has me toeing off my shoes and licking my lips in anticipation. Horatio doesn't leave me waiting either. As soon as my belt clears the last belt loop he pushes my pants and briefs down.
Pulling my socks off as I step out of my pants, I stumble to the bed and crawl up on it to kneel between Ryan's legs. Pushing his hands aside, I take my first real look. His shoulders are as wide as Horatio's, his chest just as defined; only he has no chest hair. His dick is a couple of inches longer than Horatio's and a full finger thicker. As I stare down at the plum shaped head that is actually touching his belly button, I realize that the urge to taste, to lick, to suck that hit me when I saw Horatio is just as strong here. In fact the urge is so strong I find myself leaning down to run my tongue up the vein on the underside if his dick, sucking the tip into my mouth. I flick my tongue against that spot just under the crown and dip it into the slit; doing everything I like in the hopes he'll like it too.
Just as I start to really get into the weight of him in my mouth, Ryan tugs on my hair until I release it. Taking a deep breath I force myself to meet his eyes, and the heat in them has my dick giving a very interested twitch. "Time enough for that later," he all but growls at me, pulling me down so he can go on a search of my tonsils.
Cupping the sides of Ryan's head with my hands, I map every inch of his mouth with my tongue. I totally lose myself in his taste and end up missing Horatio climbing onto the bed behind me. Until one lube-slick finger begins to circle my hole, that is. Despite wanting to look over my shoulder to see what Horatio is doing, I can't because of Ryan sucking on my tongue and showing no signs of letting it go. The need to breathe is fast becoming urgent, so I tighten my hands in his hair until he allows me to pull back.
I drag in lungfuls of air but still can't see over my shoulder because of his hand in my hair. "Any reason you don't want me to see what H is doing, Wolfe?"
"Just wanna look you in the eyes," he purrs. "I have this thing for brown-eyed boys."
"Really." I throw his word back at him in a sing-song voice before leaning down and resuming my exploration of his mouth. The sensation of Ryan's tongue rubbing against mine allows Horatio to startle me by pushing two fingers in deep. "Whoa, H," I growl, turning to look over my shoulder at my boss and new lover. His expression is one of pure innocence but I'm not buying it. "Ease into it next time, huh?"
"Problems?" he questions in a deceptively casual voice.
"Why ever would you think that? Because I haven't had anything up my ass bigger than one of my doctor's fingers in over ten years and here ya are shoving two of 'em in without so much as a by your leave?" I snark back totally ignoring Ryan chewing on my earlobe, and Zack's voice trying to reassert itself. "Nope, not a single problem here."
Ryan's fingers find my sweet spot and his tongue discovers another behind my left ear. The combination of these has my arms giving out and for the first time in over a year I'm pressed shoulder to hips with another man. We both groan as our naked flesh comes into contact for the first time.
"Time to move this along," he mutters reaching under his pillow for a condom packet.
Before he can even attempt to open it, Horatio takes it from him and says, "Let me."
Ryan narrows his eyes, tightening his grip on the little foil packet. "Why do you get to put it on him?"
"Because he gets to be in you. Just… let me, please, Ryan." Is Horatio actually begging? Are they actually fighting over me?
"Okay." The smile that crosses his face predicts dire consequences for Horatio at a later date.
"Know that you are loved," Horatio whispers, leaning over my shoulder to give Ryan a kiss.
Horatio then buries his nose behind my right ear and coaxes me back to my knees so he can roll the sheath of latex down my length. A pillow is shoved under Ryan's ass, and they both start guiding me to his entrance.
"I can get it from here, guys, thanks."
Ryan's hands immediately return to playing with my hair, and Horatio returns to stretching me. Slowly I push forward into Ryan, my breath catching in my throat at how tight, how hot he is. Once fully seated I pause, bracing myself over him with my head hanging, trying to catch my breath while resting my forehead on his shoulder, giving us both a moment to adjust. My point of focus has narrowed down to where Horatio's just slipped a third finger into my ass. A rather hard nudge to my shoulder has the world returning in a rush; the sound of my blood rushing through my veins is overly loud after the completely silent world the movement of Horatio's fingers took me to. After several heartbeats, I lower myself until I'm once again lying flush on top of Ryan, then fist the fingers of my right hand in the hair on top of his head and bury my face against his, my teeth latched onto the corner of his jaw while trying to wrap my brain around the fact that Horatio's fingers are in my ass.
Ryan's hands move from my hair to my back, getting in the way of Horatio's lips and tongue, which is drawing random patterns all over, before settling on my ass cheeks, spreading them to give Horatio's fingers even more room, as if his heels hooked behind my knees doesn't have me open far enough.
Despite not wanting to finish before Horatio has even entered me, I can't seem to keep my hips still, but I do manage to keep the undulations slow, yet deep enough. When Horatio turns his hand over I can't bite back the gasp nor keep my hips from jerking a bit deeper into Ryan, not that Ryan seems to mind based on the groan that escapes and the way his eyes flutter closed.
"Hello, Mr. Prostate," Horatio chuckles, rubbing against that spot again.
"Fuck, H," I moan. "Please…" I lose all ability to think much less talk with Horatio intent on driving me outta my mind by playing with my prostate.
Shifting to my knees, effectively dislodging Ryan's heels from where they're hooked behind them, I can't fight the urge to fuck myself on Horatio's fingers. Ryan cracks his eyelids open halfway and begins to squeeze his muscles around me as I rock back and forth between his tight heat and where Horatio is still playing with my prostate.
When Horatio returns to twisting and scissoring his fingers, I try to distract myself by chewing on Ryan's jaw. Ryan begins whispering nonsense into my ear, to keep me grounded I'm sure, and runs his nails up and down my back. All this keeps me distracted enough that I don't notice Horatio removing his fingers and pushing his way inside. In fact I'm so distracted that I'm only brought back to Horatio's presence in the room by his chest pressing against my back.
After several seconds where I silently freak out over this turn of events, the sounds of sloppy kissing reach me. Lifting my head, I see Ryan and Horatio kissing like porn stars complete with flashes of tongue. A low whimper has them breaking apart and turning to look at me. Horatio smirks before wrapping one hand around the back of my head to pull me in for a three-way kiss.
While a three-way kiss looks hot on film, it's not so easy in real life. In fact it's downright awkward, especially with my right hand still fisted in Ryan's hair. With a low growl of frustration, I pull back and bury my face in Ryan's neck.
Someone whines, and Horatio takes that as some kind of cue to begin moving in and out so slowly as to border on pain.
A soft keening sound reaches my ears just as Horatio latches onto my sweet spot, suckling gently, while a soft rumbling vibrates from his chest through me. I can't seem to catch my breath as Horatio and Ryan both begin to move slightly faster. My grip moves from Ryan's hair to the sheets, and I fist my hands even tighter until I swear I can hear my knuckles creaking. Slowly, oh so slowly, the three of us find a rhythm, and our pace steadily increases until the bed is banging against the wall, the springs squeaking loudly in protest, the wet sound of our bodies slapping together punctuated only by our harsh breathing.
Someone groans, someone else moans, there are grunts of pleasure and the occasional 'fuck!' as someone gets too close to the edge of climax. Time seems to stand still as the three of us build up a good sweat, our bodies sliding sensually against each other.
Just when I think we're going to go forever, I feel Ryan's knuckles brush against my lower belly and I almost come just from the knowledge that he's stroking himself in counterpoint to our movements. Seconds later Horatio shifts and stars explode behind my eyelids as I empty myself into the condom.
I must've blacked out for a couple of seconds because the next thing I know I'm sitting on Horatio's lap, both my hands behind his head and held in place by one of his while the other is busy pinching my nipples and running all over my chest and abdomen like a blind man reading Braille.
Despite the new position though, Horatio is far from still. His hips are rolling ever so slightly but this position makes even the slightest movement beyond incredible.
"You about done, Mr. Wolfe?" Horatio growls in my ear, the deep rumble chasing a shiver down my spine and vibrating in my chest just like the bass at a rock concert.
It takes a second or two for me to wonder why Horatio wants to know if Ryan's done, done with what?, with my head on Horatio's shoulder I can't see what Ryan's doing nor do I seem to have the energy to try lifting it so I can, much as I really want to see those pouty lips wrapped around my length, but I am aware of him licking my softening cock clean, it gives several interested twitches but doesn't harden.
Before I can get my mouth to obey my orders and ask why Horatio wants to know if Ryan's done, Horatio shifts his legs further apart causing me to become impaled just that much more on his dick while Ryan reaches up and presses one finger against the patch of skin between my hole and my balls. I'm not fast enough to bite back the small cry of pain as they pull a dry orgasm from me.
As I slowly return to Earth for the second time, I hear Ryan say 'yeah, I'm done' before he leans over my shoulder. If the hissed curse Horatio utters and the way he stiffens against my back is anything to go by, I'd say Ryan just bit into Horatio's earlobe pushing him over the edge.
When the hell did he put on a fucking condom? I wonder. I can feel his length throbbing inside me but I don't feel anything splashing against my guts. He's buried so deep I feel like his come would be coming out of my mouth if he wasn't wearing one.
I manage to hide my grimace of pain at Horatio pulling out when Ryan and I collapse in a heap. We lie there panting for breath, me with my head pillowed on his belly, him playing with my hair while Horatio pads to the bathroom. "Can we keep him, H?" Ryan asks when Horatio returns with two wet cloths, one he hands to Ryan and the other he uses on me.
"He's not some puppy that followed you home, Ryan," Horatio scolds. "Did I hurt you?" he leans down to whisper in my ear when I wince at the rough cloth rubbing against me.
I'm still trying to catch my breath so I just shake my head in answer.
"You know what I meant, H," Ryan grouses, fingers tangling in my hair.
"Yes, I do, but does he?"
If I didn't know better I'd think they want me to join them, not just for some fun between the sheets every now and again but for as long as the three of us want, in other words a committed threesome. They can't possibly…? Could they? Nah, there's no way. Although from the things that have been said tonight, like the mini argument about who would put the condom on me, they just might.
Question is, do I want to join them. I know I'm in love with Horatio but Ryan… I still haven't figured out what my feelings for him are. But is it necessary for all three of us to be in love with each other? Or do we only need to be in love with one? And what happens if we fall out of love with one of the others…? I roughly push these thoughts aside before the impending migraine they're causing can increase.
"Tim?" Horatio's soft voice has me cracking one eye open half-way but the look in his eyes has both of mine opening wide in confusion.
There's no way I'm reading that look right.
"It's all up to you, Speed," Ryan whispers, his voice so soft I don't think I'd've heard the words if my ear wasn't currently pressed to his belly.
"Before I decide," I say, sitting up, much to Ryan's displeasure. "I need some answers."
"Such as?" Horatio asks, nudging Ryan to sit up so he can slip onto the bed behind him.
Looking at the two of them my heart falls, and all thought leaves my head. They are so obviously in love and I know I'll never have anyone feel for me the way they feel for each other. Here in the safe privacy of Ryan's home they're free to express their feelings for each other. Right now Ryan's sitting between Horatio's legs, his shoulders pillowed on Horatio's mid chest and Horatio has both arms wrapped loosely around Ryan, his chin resting on Ryan's head.
"This won't work," I blurt out before I can stop myself.
Ryan's brows snap together over his nose in a frown of confused anger. "What won't work? And how the hell would you know since you haven't even talked to us?"
I open my mouth but before I can even speak, Ryan leans forward to capture my lips in a heated kiss.
"Tell me that don't work for you," he orders settling back again in Horatio's arms leaving me breathless, a look of smug satisfaction firmly in place on his face.
Taking a deep breath I prepare to bare my soul to them. "The two of you are obviously in love. I can't – I won't – come between that." There. I've expressed my greatest fear. Sort of.
My greatest fear is actually that they only offered to let me join them because they think I'm lonely and they don't really want anything other than casual. Of course if casual is all they want from me, I'll take it. Casual sex is better than no sex in my book. In fact what I said earlier about it being over a year since I've been with a guy was only half true. The whole truth is that it's been well over a year since I had sex with anyone other than my right hand.
Ryan twists his head around to look at Horatio over his shoulder. "Maybe we should tell him how we got together, H," Ryan suggests, his tone uncertain.
While Horatio considers that, I decide to take the final leap and ask "What about you, H? Do you want me to join you?"
The smile that crosses Horatio's face is gentle and loving, the perfect companion to the look in his eyes from earlier. "Of course I do, Tim," he reassures me. "And I think Mr. Wolfe is correct. We should tell you how he and I got together."
They share a look that has me worried. "I'm not gonna like this, am I?" I can't help asking, chewing my lower lip.
Ryan just shrugs, settling more firmly against Horatio. "That depends," he tells me cryptically.
"On?" I prompt, one brow raised in query.
Ryan opens his mouth to answer but Horatio talks over him. "Just hear what we have to say before you react. Please."
"Okay," I relent, stretching the word in my confusion. "Tell me your story."
"Do you remember the first time we saw each other?" Horatio surprises me by asking.
"Um," I hum my brows crinkled in thought. "I seem to remember it was at a crime scene. I was still being trained by Megan."
"Yes, it was at a crime scene; almost ten years ago."
"You were still with the bomb squad. We responded to the same scene." I pick up the story and earn myself a huge grin for my effort.
"That's right. I'm surprised you remember so much."
I give a huff of laughter. "How could I forget? You were so forceful, so confident in your command of those men. Hell, even Megan listened to you, and you weren't her boss." I pause to take a deep breath before continuing, "You starred in many a fantasy after that."
"Did I now?" Horatio seems amused, and…flattered?, by my admission.
A blush stains my cheeks, and I duck my head, nodding my answer since my tongue seems to be glued to the roof of my mouth.
"It's okay, Tim. You've been the star of quite a few of my favorite fantasies as well."
My head snaps up at his words, my eyes wide in disbelief. "Really?" I ask in a hushed whisper.
"So where does Wolfe come in?"
"Do you remember the first time we met?" Ryan pipes up.
"Sure. About five years ago I gave a lecture to your academy class."
"Yep. Remember anything else?"
"I seem to remember this one cadet in particular who kept squirming in his seat and who was the very last to leave the room." I can't help the grin that crosses my face at the memory.
"Yeah, I was so hard it was embarrassing. Luckily thinking of my other instructors helped. Some," Ryan says with a wry twist of his lips that has me fighting the urge to lean forward and taste that mouth of his again.
I lick my lips, trying to see the connection and failing. "I don't see how that has anything to do with the two of you hooking up."
"Well…" Ryan hedges, earning himself a poke in the side from Horatio. "Four years ago the three of us ended up at the same crime scene. You were shot at by the suspect and, if I remember correctly, a bullet grazed your upper arm."
"It did," I confirm my brows lowering as I jump to a conclusion that makes no sense to me.
"I was worried about you and feeling the need to reaffirm I was still alive in the most basic way that night, and I ended up at a bar famous for its anonymous hook-ups but didn't see anyone that peaked my interest. Until I noticed H sitting at the end of the bar nursing a scotch."
Horatio picks up where Ryan leaves off. "He sat his scrawny ass down next to me and ordered what I was having. I don't remember who spoke first but eventually the topic under discussion was you."
"And before I knew it, I was bent over a sink in the men's room with H's dick pounding away in my ass."
"You…you first…because…me?" I can't get my brain around what I just heard. They started fucking each other because I was injured that day? It doesn't seem possible. And yet, here we are.
Having trouble coming to terms with what I was just told, I sit there, totally oblivious to the fact that we're all still naked, gaping at them, blinking stupidly while my brain screams at me to move, to flee, to just do something other than sit here staring at them. Then finally – finally! – my body obeys my brain's orders, and I fling myself off the bed only to realize I'm on the wrong side. I stumble around the foot of the bed, mumbling under my breath about how this is the cruelest, not to mention the stupidest, joke I've ever seen.
When I reach my pile of clothes, I pick my jeans up off the floor and pluck my briefs out of them, I'm too frazzled to attempt tucking myself back into them, then somehow manage to step into my jeans without falling over. When I pull them up over my hips, I realize that the room's gone quiet. Too quiet.
I glance at them over my shoulder and find Ryan on his knees in the middle of the bed a hurt look on his pretty face. Leaning slightly to the side I see that Horatio's face is blank. Maybe too blank.
Bile rises up the back of my throat, and I bolt for the bathroom, slamming the door shut and throwing the lock before slowly sliding down to sit on the floor. Giving a couple of thunks of my head against the smooth wood at my back, I swallow thickly and squeeze my eyes shut while willing my heart to return to a normal pace.
After a few minutes, sounds from the other room filter into the bathroom and have the blood rushing in my ears again along with the edges of my vision graying out. I roll to my hands and knees and drop my head to rest it against the cool tile of the floor while breathing heavily through my nose in an attempt to not hyperventilate.
Eventually the world rights itself, and I slowly stand to stare at myself in the mirror over the sink. A crush I can understand, hell I have one on each of them, but hooking up because…because… My mind shies away from the thought of the two of them locked together in passion because of me.
I can feel another panic attack coming so I quickly turn on the faucet to splash cold water on my face and dribble some over the back of my neck. A soft knock on the door has me making a grab for the edge of the sink when my knees give out.
"Tim?" Horatio calls, concern heavy in his voice. "Tim, are you all right?"
Good question, that. Am I all right? Can I survive this with my dignity intact? Dignity? What the hell does dignity have to do with anything? Not a damn thing that I can see. And yet the question won't leave me alone.
Next question. Do I want to join them? They probably think of me while fucking each other, and they now have memories of this evening to use as fodder for future fantasies.
"Tim?" Horatio's voice is laced with even more anxiety. "Can I come in, partner?"
'Partner' has a whole new meaning coming from him now.
"He's chanting again." Ryan's amused, yet worried, voice alerts me to the fact that I was muttering out loud.
"So I hear, Mr. Wolfe. Tim? Please let me in."
The thought of facing Horatio again has my body going limp, causing me to fall to the floor with a thump.
"Just kick it in, H," Ryan says his voice almost frantic now.
"I don't want to damage your door, Ryan."
"Who cares about the damn door?" Ryan snaps. "Fine. Pick it then," he gives a frustrated sigh. "It's really simple. All you need is…" The rest of the sentence is lost as he moves away from the door. "Here." I hear just before a small pop that signals the lock giving way to whatever tool Horatio used to force it.
"Tim!" Horatio exclaims his voice now heavy with fear.
Curling up into the fetal position, I wrap my arms over my head in an attempt to hide from a voice I haven't heard in over ten years. There's no way this could work, there's no way they truly want you, it taunts me, evil laughter ringing in my ears.
"Not good enough… Sorry piece of trash… Not worth the effort…" I murmur, not totally aware of my surroundings.
"Tim?" Horatio's voice in my ear tells me that Zack is not here and that I'm safe but my mind is trapped in the past.
What makes you think he truly loves you? Zack's voice continues to taunt. Because he said so? Please. I said it too but that was just to get you to put out. I certainly would never have stayed if that pretty little mouth of yours didn't look so perfect wrapped around my dick. Along with those words is the image that's burned into my mind. The pure hatred and disgust that was on his face when he said them; right before he raped me.
Horatio's loving was so different that I'm having a difficult time remembering the actual rape. I can, however, still remember the pain, the shame; the feelings of it somehow being my fault, as if I deserved it for being such a cock tease.
"Tim, listen to me." Horatio's voice drops to a soothing timbre. "You're safe here. Ryan and I would never hurt you. We love you."
No they don't, Zack's voice drowns out Horatio's. They just want a piece of that ass of yours. Although I can't figure out why. You were the worst lay of my life.
"H?" Ryan's worried tones manage to make Zack's angry ones cease speaking. "What's wrong?"
"Looks like he's having a flashback."
"Oh, God," Ryan breathes. "Did we push him over the edge?"
"Most likely. But it was unintentional."
"Does that really matter?"
"Does to me."
"What can I do?" Ryan's voice is much closer, telling me that he's dropped to his knees beside Horatio.
"Just keep telling him you love him. I'm going to wet a cloth for the back of his neck." Horatio groans as he stands up, his knees protesting loudly.
"Tim?" The first time I ever hear my name from his lips, and it's because of a damn panic attack. "Tim, I love you. H is right. You're safe here. We'd never hurt you, or let anyone else hurt you."
What makes them think they can keep you safe? Zack's voice is back and angrier than ever. You've been injured how many times while at a scene with one of them? And let's not forget the jewelry store from last year. Horatio was there. He was your back up and what happened? You were shot. Almost died. In fact you did die on the operating table. Twice. So tell me how can they promise to keep you safe when they've done such a bang up job already?
"Shut up! Just shut the fuck up!" I scream, rolling to my hands and knees so I can bang my head against the floor.
"Tim!" Horatio and Ryan both try to restrain me. "Tim. Stop. Stop," Horatio coos in my ear. "You are loved. You're safe." His words become a mantra in my head. I am loved. I'm safe. Zack isn't here, and he can never hurt me again.
Eventually the coolness of the wet washcloth combined with Horatio and Ryan's soothing words and touches calms me enough that I collapse in their embrace, sobbing uncontrollably.
"Shhh," Ryan murmurs, both of them rocking me gently.
Slowly my sobs turn to hiccupping gasps. I haven't cried like that since Stephen, my best friend and confidant, died. Stephen was the only one who knew about how Zack treated me. He was always trying to get me to leave him but Zack's dominance was too strong. I truly believed no one else would have me; that I was not worth the time and effort to be loved. Zack even had me believing my parents and brother hated me.
"I'm sorry," I mutter, trying to pull away from them. "Please," I beg when they refuse to let go.
"No. You have nothing to be sorry for." Ryan's voice has taken on a hard edge similar to Zack's whenever I pissed him off by breaking a rule.
Told you, Zack's voice sing-songs.
"And I told you to shut. The. Fuck. Up!" I snarl, jumping to my feet so quickly I manage to break their hold on me. I pace a few feet away from where they're still kneeling before whirling to face them again, my fists pressed tight to my forehead. "Shut up! Shut up!" I demand the voice in my head.
"Tim?" Horatio's concerned voice has me lowering my hands to watch him warily approach me. "What's wrong?"
My gaze flicks to Ryan and I'm relieved to see that his eyes are not angry. In fact they're sad and full of hurt. Licking my lips I meet Horatio's eyes and find the same look in his.
"Sorry," I mumble again. "I didn't mean to freak out on you."
"It's okay. Everyone's entitled to 'freak out' every now and again." Horatio gives a humorless chuckle.
"Wanna talk about it?" Ryan offers, standing slowly as if he's afraid I'll freak again if he moves too fast. Nine years ago I would have bolted like a skittish colt but Pam taught me that not everyone is going to hurt me if they move too fast in my direction.
Taking a deep breath, I try to gather my thoughts. What I have to say just might make them run for the hills. Is Ryan's love for me, mine for Horatio, Horatio's for me and theirs for each other, enough? Biting the bullet I open my mouth and say the words I haven't said in ten years. "His name is Zack."
"Tell me he's dead," Horatio orders his eyes shooting blue fire.
"If he's not, he soon will be." Ryan's tone is just as hard as Horatio's.
See? They do care, I tell Zack's voice. They do love me.
You have got to be kidding me! They're just saying that because they're cops, is his response, followed by a snort of derision. How stupid can you be?
"I have no idea if he's dead or not. Nor do I particularly care."
"I do," Horatio says through gritted teeth.
"Leave it, H. It was a long time ago."
"Obviously not long enough," Ryan huffs.
"I swear it was nothing you two did tonight."
"So it was what we said?" Horatio's voice is full of bewilderment.
Closing my eyes to keep the fresh tears from spilling, I sigh deeply and nod. "I met Zack when I was fifteen. I had always had low self-esteem, and he latched onto that and exploited it to his advantage." I pause to take a deep breath. "He was my first everything. My first non-celebrity male crush, my first kiss, my first love."
"He was older." Horatio makes it a statement, not a question but I nod my answer anyway. "How much?"
"Mid-twenties." My voice sounds small even to my own ears as I make that admission. I know how Horatio feels about adults who target children for sex. Matter of fact, Horatio always seems to take it personally. Before I can let that train of thought wander around too far, I'm interrupted by him giving a low growl, one that causes me to jump in surprise and nervously crack my eyes open. The naked fury on his face is something he rarely lets people see, and the fact that it just happens to be aimed in my general direction makes me swallow reflexively.
"Bastard should have left you alone," Horatio rumbles, as much to vent his own anger as to probably reassure me that it's not me he's aiming his pent-up wrath at.
"You should have reported him." Now Ryan's jumping in, and I'm surprised and oddly touched that his voice holds just as much anger as Horatio's.
Very old habits kick in and have me jumping to defend Zack. "We started out as just friends," I say quickly, before I realize that it's just Zack's conditioning and I should remember by now that I don't owe that son of a bitch anything. "By the time he first hit me I thought I deserved it."
It's almost scary to see how much Horatio's let his guard down because I've never seen him look like that whenever someone mentions physical abuse. I've never seen Horatio twitch like that. "No one…" Horatio begins, voice low with frightening amounts of malice.
"I know that now, H!" I growl back. I'm aware that my hands are still shaking and I can't get them to stop, and it's starting to make me jumpy again. "You know how abusers are. They target someone who'll be grateful for the attention and slowly make them dependant or submissive. My parents were so busy with Brad that Zack was able to get away with more than if I'd been an only child. I never heard one word from my parents about my bruises."
"Brad?" Ryan interrupts, his brows lowered in a frown of puzzlement that matches the look that has thankfully come to mask the unnerving rage on Horatio's face.
Grateful that the anger's at least back in its cage, I speak without thinking about it. "My younger brother. He's Autistic. Low functioning, on top of that."
I suddenly realize that I've let out one secret too many and while neither Horatio nor Ryan have moved I suddenly feel like they're crowding me, like the room is shrinking and there's not enough air. Panic starts to well up again, and I elbow my way past both of them so I'm back in the bedroom, where I have to stop and put my hands on my knees so I can gasp desperately and try to convince my body that there's plenty of air. My hands are shaking again. God, Horatio and Ryan have gotten so close to me in the last few minutes, closer than anyone's come in a long time. I'm not used to letting people get that close to me. I need my emotional space, my personal space. I need room, God, I need air...
I am loved. I'm safe. Zack can't hurt me anymore.
"Tim?" I'm getting tired of hearing my name said in that tone, like they're afraid I'll break or I'll snap. Like they're afraid I'll run away and won't let them comfort me.
"Sorry," I pant, glancing over my shoulder at where they're standing in the doorway to the bathroom. I blink when I notice for the first time that they're both wearing boxer shorts.
"Is there a problem?" Horatio asks when I just continue to stare at him.
With a shake of my head I straighten up. "Um, no," I reply, drawing each word out. The evening's been an emotional rollercoaster, and I'm starting to feel the aftereffects of a major psychological breakthrough. Or breakdown. "Just now noticed that you put on shorts, is all," I finish with a wave of one hand in their general direction.
Ryan gives a little nod. "H thought you'd feel better if all of us were dressed," he informs me neutrally. I incline my head in an 'ah' motion to show I understand and am grateful for the consideration.
The room falls silent. I know they want to know everything, well not everything, but definitely most of it, but I'm not sure I'm up for it, emotionally speaking. I haven't thought of Zack and what he did to me in years, and it seems a bit cruel to make me go through that again, now, with them.
Naturally Horatio is the first one to bite. "We need to talk." He says in that gentle-sounding tone that I know means there's going to be no arguments.
"You mean I need to talk, and you two need to listen," I correct him.
Horatio tilts his head. "If you wish."
Not really but… I flop down on the bed and can't quite hide the wince as my very happily-abused muscles protest. "You didn't hurt me, H," I say quickly, before he has a chance to scowl again. "Trust me. This," I point at my ass, "is nothing compared to how Zack left me." I take a deep and just slightly shaking breath. "Guess I should start at the beginning, huh?" I don't want to tell this story but know I must.
"Sure," they both reply, sitting on each side of me.
"Before I begin," I start glancing at each of them in turn. "Don't interrupt me, please. You can't make any comments about how Zack should have known better or he should've left me alone or that he needs to die. This is hard enough as it is."
As soon as I get a grudging nod of agreement from them I give a sharp nod of my own and stand up to begin pacing in front of where they're sitting on the bed. When I turn to look at them I'm touched to see they didn't immediately move closer to each other. Instead they left the spot where I'd been sitting open, waiting for me to sit back down between them.
I take a deep breath and launch into my sordid history. "I met Zack when my history teacher went on maternity leave." A soft growl from Horatio has me eyeing him. "You promised, H," I remind him.
"I didn't actually," he tries to renege.
"H." I somehow manage to put every bit of frustration I'm currently feeling into the one syllable.
"Fine," he concedes, and I have the strange notion that he's trying not to roll his eyes.
"It started out as harmless. I swear and no, I'm not just saying that. I know I don't owe that lousy son of a bitch a fucking thing.
"The first day I saw him I barely made it through class. He just looked so… hot." I briefly consider giving a description except for the fact that memory has made his face into something as appropriately ugly as his behavior, and also to prevent Horatio and Ryan from taking the description and running with it. The looks on their faces are familiar crime-busting determination and that somehow makes it easier to distance myself from the memory, like we're at the lab and I'm laying out the case of some other fifteen-year-old. "Luckily it was my last class of the day so I was able to go home and 'take care of business'. The next day there was a note on my desk. It was unsigned and the wording was that of a high school boy. I know," I cut Horatio off, again, with an upraised hand, "that that's how pedophiles work but I didn't think it could possibly be from him. I also wasn't sure it was for me. It wasn't addressed to anyone and the boy who sits in that desk during the class before mine was one of the more popular boys and had been absent that day. It just said 'I think you're hot. I jerked off to thoughts of you last night.' What fifteen-year-old boy wouldn't be flattered by that?"
As I get into the story I begin pacing more, my steps jerky and disjointed almost as if my legs refuse to obey my brain's commands, even though my brain's still laying it all out calmly and clinically. "Several days later I needed assistance with the homework he assigned so I stayed after. We spent the next thirty minutes actually studying. As I was leaving he asked about the note. I wasn't sure how to respond so I just stuttered some excuse about wrestling practice and fled."
"You were on the wrestling team?" Ryan asks, intrigued. I can almost see the fantasy building in his head of seducing the star athlete. I'm not really used to getting that look so I decide to tolerate the interruption.
"Yeah. My parents believe that every child should play a sport on top of maintaining As and Bs. I didn't wrestle in just one class, though. The coach was forever having me switch from featherweight to heavyweight to lightweight to middleweight and back. It was hell on my body and my self-esteem. I felt like even more of an outsider than usual whenever I had to try and make weight in a new class.
"Anyway," I drawl, getting back to the topic at hand. "Zack kept everything above board for the most part. There were the occasional touches but nothing that couldn't be explained to everyone's satisfaction. He gave me a beeper when his stint as my sub was over. He'd call and leave an agreed upon code. I'd do the same back. Eventually we started talking on the phone several times a week. Mom and Dad were so distracted by Brad that Zack could have fucked me in front of them and they wouldn't have noticed so I was over the moon with his attention. And I've since come to realize that he was most likely masturbating while we talked."
"That's just gross." Ryan expresses my exact feelings, his nose crinkled in disgust.
"Exactly. On top of talking on the phone he started showing up after my wrestling practices. We'd go somewhere where no one knew us. He even came to several matches. He was the first man, other than my coach, to tell me I did good even when I lost. The only match Dad ever attended was when we went to State my senior year.
"He gave me my first kiss on my 16th birthday. We had the party at a local park, Brad loves to be outside, and since he'd just gotten over a very nasty cold my parents thought he'd like going to the park. Zack showed up, since it was a public place no one could say anything, and asked me to sneak away for a surprise. After that he couldn't seem to keep his hands off me. A few times we got naked but he never touched my dick or ass. He did, however, encourage me to masturbate for him. Said he wanted to know what I like.
"He hit me for the first time two years to the day after we met. At the time my folks didn't know I'm bi, I figured they had more than enough to worry about with Brad.
"I decided to do some of the after school things and chose Homecoming and Senior Prom. I took a female friend named Leslie to the Homecoming Dance. I never once thought Zack would think Leslie was a guy."
"Leslie isn't that popular a guy's name," Horatio interrupts.
"True but he's a huge Leslie Nielsen fan."
"Who?" Ryan pipes up earning incredulous looks from Horatio and myself. I'm amused to see Horatio reach over and pat Ryan on the knee in an almost patronizing gesture.
"It's okay. You're young," I say before getting back into my tale. "My parents were out of town for the weekend. It was their first vacation since Brad's diagnosis. They left him with his Autism tutor. Zack knew this and decided to surprise me. Since I was seventeen, he thought I'd be ready to give it up. Unfortunately he arrived just in time to see Leslie and I share our first kiss with someone of the opposite gender. It was nice and chaste. But that didn't matter to Zack. He saw it as me cheating on him. What Zack didn't know then is that Leslie's gay. She went to the dance with me just to make sure of her preference. She came out a few weeks later.
"I didn't know Zack was there until after Leslie left. He came up to me, asked if I had enjoyed myself. I thought he meant at the dance so I said I did. He hauled off and backhanded me so hard he turned my head. I still had just enough independence to slap him back. That was the first time he broke my nose." I have to pause to breathe through another impending panic attack. I have to stop letting it get personal, I have to pretend it wasn't me. Yeah, that's it, it's somebody else's case. "Unlike most abusers he wasn't instantly sorry. He just looked down at his scraped and bloodied knuckles and said 'now look what you went and made me do, slut'.
"To this day I have no idea why he took me to the hospital but he did. In fact, each time he broke a bone or injured me with more than a bruise, he made sure I got proper medical care. I'm not sure how he managed to keep them from thinking he was abusing me but none of them ever talked to me about leaving.
"I wish I had listened to Stephen when he told me to report Zack after Homecoming. Maybe if I had and Zack had gone to prison, Stephen'd still be alive." I choke on the last word. My heart aches for my friend whose only crime was loving me enough to stand up to Zack.
"Are you saying Zack killed Stephen and you didn't report it?" Horatio is stunned by the thought.
"I have no proof. Just my gut and something Zack said after Stephen's funeral.
"See Stephen and I had been best friends since grade school. We told each other everything. Stephen was the first person to know of my attraction to other boys. He was also the shoulder I cried on after each 'episode' with Zack. Even though Zack knew I was telling Stephen he was secure enough in his dominance of me that he didn't think Stephen was a threat.
"Our senior trip was a week in Vermont skiing. Unfortunately it hadn't snowed enough to make skiing worthwhile but there was enough for snowmobiles.
"Zack showed up at the lodge and that pissed Stephen off. He was hoping to talk me into leaving Zack. They had words, and Stephen stalked off pissed beyond belief when I stood beside Zack and defended him even when he struck Stephen.
"The official report says that the brakes failed but I think Zack tampered with them or rather had someone tamper with them. He made a cryptic phone call right after Stephen left.
"Stephen survived but was paralyzed from the neck down. Broke his neck in the same place as Christopher Reeves.
"I went to Columbia and was, for the most part, free of Zack. He had a full time teaching gig back in Syracuse, and so couldn't make the trip to the city to 'keep an eye' on me very often. I started flaunting my newfound independence and had my first sexual experience. Well, my first with a girl.
"Eventually he started making more frequent trips to the city. I was almost finished with my second year when Stephen died of complications from surgery to replace his feeding tube. Three weeks later Zack showed up at my dorm and said it was time I gave it up.
"The visit started out just like all the others. He was loving and attentive like he hadn't been for over a year. He brought me to the edge repeatedly. Our clothes quickly came off and before I knew it he had me pinned to the bed. We'd played around with bondage before but nothing like this. He had me on my stomach and…" I have to stop yet again, only this time I barely make it to the toilet before I lose the contents of my stomach.
Once done puking up my toenails I sink to the floor and lean back against the side of the tub, its coolness feels good against the heated skin of my back. Horatio is there with a wet cloth for my face. "Thanks," I mumble, letting him take care of me.
Not to be outdone by our older lover in the Take Care of Tim department, Ryan thrusts a half-full glass of water at me. I take a couple of mouthfuls to swish out the nasty taste of bile before taking a full drink.
"Thanks, Wolfe." I hand the glass back horrified to see my hand shaking.
"You don't have to continue," he tells me crouching down near my feet and placing one hand on my ankle under my jeans. The warmth of his palm against my bare skin feels great and reassures me that I'm not alone anymore.
"Yes, I do. You need to know."
"We don't need the details," Horatio says, stroking my hair.
"Wasn't gonna give details." I can't help but lean into Horatio's touch then pull myself shakily up to sit on the edge of the tub.
Horatio sits next to me, continuing to run his fingers gently through my hair. Ryan moves to sit on the closed toilet lid and places one hand on my knee, absently rubbing his thumb in tiny circles that are somehow very reassuring.
"There's more to the story. Other things you need to know." I lean forward to rest my elbows on my knees, taking Ryan's hand in both of mine and twining our fingers together.
"What kinds of things?" Ryan asks giving my fingers a quick squeeze.
"Things like what happened the next morning, right, Tim?" Horatio answers for me.
I nod and take a deep breath, it feels like I've done nothing but take deep breathes since this 'conversation' began, before getting to my feet and pacing the tiny bathroom. You'd think after everything else I've told them that this part would be easy but for whatever reason it seems to be the hardest to say. Maybe because it was the hardest thing I ever did; walking out on Zack after his final show of dominance. Facing the wall I take up the tale again. "He fell asleep shortly after he was finished and once I was sure he wouldn't wake, I got out of bed, got dressed, packed a bag and walked out of my dorm, not once looking back.
"I had no idea where I was going. Stephen was dead, my parents were in Syracuse and I didn't have many friends. My chem partner, Jason, found me wandering the Quad and, noticing something was wrong, took me to his frat house. He never once asked me who hurt me, for which I am beyond grateful because I'm not sure I would have been able to lie convincingly. All he knew was that someone had hurt me, and I was terrified of him. Luckily he and most of his frat brothers are also bi-sexual so I never had to worry about what they thought.
"It was several days before Zack tried to call me on the cell he gave me. I didn't answer and that just pissed him off further. He threatened to kill me and make sure there was nothing left to bury. Jason heard it and insisted that I never be alone. Jason also had me throw the cell away. I never saw Zack again but I certainly felt his presence almost everywhere I went so once my last class was finished for the term, I left the state.
"I wandered the country for about a year just to make sure Zack couldn't find me. Eventually I landed here on Stephen's uncle Mark's doorstep. He works in the motor pool, and I started following him to work. I met Megan, and she convinced me to return to school to finish my B.S."
"Wait," Horatio interrupts. "You got your degree from Columbia."
Turning to face them again, I keep my head bowed and peek at them from under my lashes. "Yeah, I did. Jason and his frat brothers were still there, they were seniors by this time, and they insisted I move into their house. We had the same deal as before only this time I had to actually join the fraternity.
"I was so determined that Zack not find me that I doubled up on my course load and finished my undergrad in one year. Came back here, and met you two."
"And now maybe you'll answer our question," Horatio brings us back to what set off my first panic attack.
"But Zack," I begin only to have both of them step all over that argument.
"Isn't here." From Horatio. "We aren't him." From Ryan.
Leaning back against the wall, I let out a weary sigh. "I know. Pam's always telling me that I've gotten to the point where I would most likely be able to resist him."
"You still talk with an ex-girlfriend about Zack?" Horatio is understandably confused.
Grinning widely I inform them that "Pam's my shrink. Mark insisted I start seeing one after one too many nightmares."
"But," Horatio starts again, clearly not liking the fact that he had some of his facts wrong.
A laugh escapes at the look on both their faces. "Pam has an office in her house and since she lives in The Keys I have an open appointment. If I'm too emotionally drained after a session, or it runs too late, I crash in her spare room. After you called me on wearing the same clothes two days in a row, I took several spare changes to her place. Sorry for letting you think she was my girlfriend. The fact of the matter is that I haven't been in a relationship since Zack. I became the slut Zack always accused me of."
"You are not a slut," Horatio growls, as though he is offended on my behalf. It's oddly touching.
The way he almost automatically defends me has one corner of my mouth turning up in a small smile. "Oh, but I am. At least where the two of you are concerned." And boy, I can think of half a dozen ways that that statement might be taken.
"Meaning?" Ryan prompts when I don't continue right away.
"Well, since meeting the two of you women don't seem to do to for me anymore, and I actually have to picture one or the both of you to get off. And even now all I seem to be able to think of is getting back in that bed."
"That can be arranged," Horatio purrs, standing up and stepping into my personal space. "All you have to do is answer our question."
This is it. The Question. Do I think I can ever love Ryan? I've always had a difficult time keeping my thoughts and emotions off my face where these two men are concerned and now isn't any different.
"What is it, Tim?" Horatio inquires, reaching up to cup one cheek.
"I don't know how to say it without hurting someone's feelings."
"You mean my feelings, don't you?" Ryan peeks over Horatio's shoulder.
"Yeah." I drop my chin to my chest and cross my arms over my chest in an attempt to put some distance between us. I sense more than see them back up a few steps. I glance up and shoot them a grateful look. Standing up straight, I step up to them and wrap my arms around the both of them, pressing my forehead against Horatio's.
Horatio brushes his lips across mine then pulls back. "I think you need to brush your teeth."
We all laugh. "Yeah I do but I don't have a toothbrush."
"Here," Ryan says, pushing on Horatio until he can stand next to me at the sink. He reaches into a drawer and pulls out a brand new toothbrush which he hands to me.
"Let me guess," I snicker. "You were a boy scout."
"Of course not. Do you know they have to sleep outside?" he demands, indignation heavy in his tone.
"That mean you're not up for some camping?" I can't help but tease.
"Please," he responds with a roll of his eyes. "Brush your teeth so I can suck on your tongue again, Speedle."
"Yes, sir." I reach around him to wet the toothbrush and brush my teeth like I have an appointment with my dentist. Or rather I try to. It's difficult to scrub at my teeth with both Ryan and Horatio draped around me, chewing and sucking on my neck and surrounding body parts.
As soon as I spit the toothpaste from my mouth, Ryan grabs my head and sucks on my tongue just like he said he wanted to.
A chuckle from behind me reminds me that we have an audience. "Let him breathe, Mr. Wolfe."
"Breathing's overrated," I pant when Ryan releases my tongue in favor of nibbling his way down my neck.
"I'll be sure to remind you of that when you suffocate," Horatio rumbles in my ear before making a snack of the lobe.
When they start to walk us back to the bed I remember that I haven't had my concerns addressed. "Wait!" When they stop I pull away from their embrace earning myself two identical growls of protest. "It's not that I don't want this, 'cause God knows I do. I want this with every fiber of my being but…" I stammer to a halt.
"You don't feel for me the way I do for you," Ryan finishes for me.
I give a dejected nod. "I do care for you. And hell you know that I'm extremely attracted to you but…as far as love is concerned…" I give a one shouldered shrug.
"It doesn't matter," Ryan reassures me, stepping close again and wrapping me in his arms.
"Of course it does," I counter.
"No, Tim it doesn't." Horatio adds his opinion to the mix as well as wrapping his arms around me from behind. They seem to know that I feel safest with them both wrapped around me.
"H," I start to protest and am silenced by Ryan's lips on mine.
"Give us six months, Tim. If you still think it's not fair to Ryan then we'll talk again." Horatio's voice in my ear has a shiver chasing its way down my spine.
"Wolfe?" I need to know if it really doesn't bother him that I don't love him.
"It's okay. I'm sure that H and I love you enough for all three of us. We'll take whatever it is you're willing and/or are able to give us."
"Ryan's right," Horatio adds his argument to Ryan's. "We don't want to remind you in any way shape or form of the fucking asshole that hurt you."
"I think if we all take this one step at a time that won't happen again." I've made my decision but am still hesitant. What if Ryan decides it's not enough?
"How about we make a deal?" Horatio is once again showing his mind reading abilities. "If one of us starts having doubts, we all sit down and talk about them. No keeping anything inside." He glances at me and Ryan until we both nod. "Good. Now, I don't know about you but I'm exhausted. How about we get some sleep and finish this discussion in the morning?"
A huge yawn takes me by surprise and has us all laughing again. "I'll take that as a yes from you, Tim," Horatio says, stroking his thumb down my cheek. "Ryan?"
"Sounds good to me, H," Ryan replies, taking my hand and leading me to the bed.
We climb under the covers, and Ryan pulls me close. I rest my head on his shoulder and with a world-weary sigh close my eyes as I feel all tension leave my body. It's very telling of how far the three of us have come that I don't even flinch when Horatio settles against my back, one leg and one arm thrown over me so that all three of us are touching.
As I drift off to sleep I hear 'I love you' whispered against my skin by both Ryan and Horatio and I finally allow myself to believe that I deserve to be loved; that I am indeed worth the time and effort to be loved. After all, would these two men have spent the past several hours talking me down if they didn't feel the same?