Saturday, May 17th, 2014
Noah hadn’t stayed long that Saturday night, as he had to work at D2, but he promised to meet up with Theo the next day. The two men ended up meeting most nights throughout the week but never touched upon the events that had taken place the previous Friday. Noah was pretending nothing had happened and Theo didn’t want to bring it up, even though curiosity was eating at him.
They hadn’t gone beyond making out and foreplay either, as there appeared to be something holding Noah back. Noah also was taking control more often, which Theo actually found appealing, as he’d been enjoying Noah’s more dominant side, but he had an inkling that it had to do with whatever had happened on Friday.
On Thursday night, when the two men were having dinner at a small noodle place close to the building where Theo lived, Noah invited Theo to have dinner with him at his place on Saturday before going to D2. He’d also invited Theo to join him at the nightclub for the first time since they’d started seeing each other. Theo had gladly accepted the invitation, relishing in the idea of finally seeing Noah perform again. He asked Noah if he could invite Alice to join them at the club so that he could have some company while Noah was working. Noah agreed to the idea, so Theo decided he would ask his housemate the next time he saw her.
As Theo showered on Friday evening after work, a thought crossed his mind. The same thought that had been on repeat in his mind for the entire week after Noah had been more dominant - the unexpected desire to bottom for Noah had emerged that night. The mere idea of relinquishing control to Noah turned Theo on in a way he hadn’t anticipated, forcing him to take care of his engorged member before finishing his shower.
Afterward, he rinsed his body before stepping out of the shower and drying his body off, still lost in thoughts, even though he’d experienced some sexual release. He went to his bedroom to put some clothes on before leaning on some pillows and mindlessly scrolling through social media on his phone. Trying to distract himself from his thoughts. And yet, Theo couldn’t help but wonder if he was really willing to bottom with Noah. Coincidentally, Noah was busy spending time with some of his friends that Friday night, so Theo had a lot of time to ruminate on his musings.
It had been years since he’d bottomed. He no longer could remember if he even liked it in the first place. He tried to think back to his past experiences with Jason and with some guys he met at the start of his Grindr sexcapades.
Looking back at the start of his relationship with Jason, when things were still going well, he recalled enjoying discovering sex with his first and only boyfriend. He was a horny teenager after all and he and Jason experienced a lot of their firsts together. He also recalled enjoying it less, when it became apparent that their relationship was falling apart.
Whenever he tried to bottom with other guys after breaking up with Jason, his mind would always go back to the darker parts of his relationship and how toxic it was at the end. And, at first, Theo refused to bottom because of that.
After having gone to therapy, he realized that even after addressing that issue he would find other excuses - most guys he was interested in happened to prefer bottoming, he preferred being in control, he hadn’t found the right person, and so on and so forth.
They were all mere excuses masking the real reason - he was simply afraid of being vulnerable again. And deep down he knew it. But he also knew that he wouldn’t find happiness again if he always played it cautiously and never took any risks.
I guess I’ll just leave it up to the moment, he decided, not wanting to commit to any decisions at that moment, just as his phone rang. It was Joel.
“Hey, Joel,” Theo said as he placed his phone against his ear.
“Hey, my man, what’s up? You’ve been MIA lately,” Joel’s voice was upbeat as he teased his friend.
“Yeah, I guess you can say I’ve been distracted lately... what’s up?”
“Work’s been super busy, but this week I finally have a couple of lighter days ahead of me. And we haven’t hung out together since that time we had lunch at Portofino.”
“Yeah, you’re right,” Theo leaned back onto the headboard, “I’m busy this weekend, but are you free after work on Monday?”
“Yes, wanna meet at Café Catedral?”
“Sure, I’ll head there after work,” Theo heard a knock against his door, “Gotta go now, but I’ll see you on Monday!”
“See you,” he heard Joel say before he hung up.
“Hey, nice to see you at home for a change, Mr. Lover Boy,” Alice said as she stepped into his room.
“How would you know? You were at Jamie’s most of the week...” Theo playfully smirked at his friend.
“Touché, but the point is... we hardly ever hang out just the two of us,” Alice pouted.
“Well, I’m staying here tonight. Are you going out tonight?”
“Actually, no. Jamie has a work dinner tonight, so she might only drop by around midnight. I can chill with you until then,” she smiled at her friend, “wanna have dinner out?”
“Sure, let me just put on some shorts,” Alice nodded before stepping back out into the living room as Theo got up to put some shorts on top of his briefs, before grabbing the things he needed and leaving his room.
Theo offered Alice a cigarette as soon as they stepped out of the building, but she rejected it. “Oh?” Theo asked as he raised an eyebrow.
“Jamie doesn’t really like the smell of tobacco, so trying to quit. She doesn’t mind if I smoke the herb as much, but I guess I’ll have to roll them pure,” Alice shrugged her shoulders, “where do you wanna eat?”
Theo lit his cigarette up as he thought of an idea. “Wanna have dinner at Santos? We haven’t been there in ages.”
“Sure, sounds good.”
As the two friends started making their way to the restaurant, Theo asked, “So, you’re quitting smoking?”
“Yeah, it was about time I did,” Alice said before adding, “though seeing you smoke makes me crave a cigarette.”
“Sorry. I’m also thinking of quitting at some point... Also, you and Jamie...that seems to be getting pretty serious.”
“Yeah,” Alice had a serene smile on her face. The face of someone who had recently fallen in love, “and what about you and that dancer guy? Noah, was it? When do I get to meet him?”
“Actually, he invited me to D2 tomorrow night. He’s performing. Wanna go with me? You can bring Jamie.”
“Ooo sounds like a plan! I’ll have to ask her though. Should we invite Ivy, Yoyo and Eric? Ivy texted me the other asking about you. She was like, ‘that boy never answers his phone now that he has a boyfriend’,” Alice tried to imitate Ivy’s voice and mannerisms, making Theo laugh.
“Number one: he’s not my boyfriend,” Alice raised her eyebrows skeptically, “Not really sure where we stand, but I’m willing to wait and be patient. And number two: No. I don’t really wanna overwhelm him by introducing him to all of you at once, but we should do something together one of these days. I haven’t seen them in a while.”
“Okay. And I can text them later on to see when they’re free to hang out. And you should be honest with Noah about where you’d like to stand with him. You’re totally whipped,” Theo rolled his eyes at his friend, even though he knew she was right.
“Yeah, yeah, I’ll think about that.”
The two friends talked a bit more about some things that had happened at work that were particularly noteworthy as they made their way to the restaurant, like some strange questions Alice heard from her students during class and Theo having found a staff member in the smoking area with a weird first name - Shampoo.
As they ate dinner, Alice told Theo that she was thinking of heading to the States for the summer to visit her family. She tried to visit once a year for a couple of weeks. Although she missed her family very much, she preferred living in Macau.
“How about you, when do you plan on visiting the States again? It’s been a while since you’ve been there and we could totally do a road trip if we go around the same time!” Alice’s eyes glimmered with the idea.
“I don’t know yet... I mean, I thought of going there at some point this year to visit my grandparents, but... it’s so far and so expensive... And I can always just travel to Thailand or Japan,” Alice rolled her eyes.
“Theodore Edwards, you better go to Colorado soon so I can visit you and show you around Arizona or-”
“Or what?” Theo challenged his friend with a smug grin on his face.
“Well, I don’t wanna spoil the surprise, now do I?” Alice smirked at her friend, “Just wait and see.”
“Well, in any case, I’m probably going there next year anyway as Katie is getting married,” Theo answered a little bit more seriously.
“Oh yeah! I’d forgotten about that! When’s the wedding again?”
“It’s next June. She’s having an outdoor wedding.”
“Is it with that guy who came along with her the last time she visited?” Alice’s memory wasn’t her greatest asset. She would occasionally forget dates and people’s names.
“Yeah, Shawn,” Theo reminded his friend.
“Yeah, him! She sent me an invitation as well but I’ll have to check my school calendar first to see if I can make it. Keep forgetting to do that. Please remind me to do that.”
“Sure,” Alice looked relieved, but it was short-lived, “If I don’t forget to remind you.”
“You suck,” Alice pouted at her friend.
“I do. And apparently, I’m good at it too,” Theo couldn’t resist teasing his friend.
“Seriously? Like, TMI, I don’t want to hear that while I’m eating,” a chuckle escaped Theo’s lips.
The two friends soon finished and paid for their meals before heading home. They sat on the balcony having some beers and sharing a joint before Jamie arrived and Alice retreated to her room. As soon as he stepped into his room to get ready to sleep, he noticed he had received a couple of messages - two from Noah and one from Liam.
He checked Noah’s messages first.
FRI AT 11:50 PM
Noah sent a photo.
Look where I’m drinking
The photo showed Noah drinking on the rooftop of a building. It had been taken by one of his friends, as Noah was caught with a natural smile on his face. Theo stared at the photo for a bit, wanting to be beside the subject of the photo, before he replied.
FRI AT 11:59 PM
The place looks cool
But I’m more interested in the model
Theo noticed the three dots, notifying him that Noah was typing a reply.
SAT AT 12:00 AM
Can’t wait to see you tomorrow
Theo smiled as he read the reply before he typed in a quick reply for Noah and switched to the message he received from Liam.
"Hey, are you free on Wednesday after work? :-)"
Theo thought about whether he’d made plans for that day, but he couldn’t think of anything and he knew Noah worked that day, so he responded with, ”Sure, I’m free."
Liam was apparently still up and quickly replied, ”Cool, I’ll text you the details on Wednesday morning. Is that okay?"
Theo’s reply was also quick, ”Sounds like a plan. I’ll see you on Wednesday!"
The lack of sleep from having stayed up late with Noah several days of the week finally got to Theo and he fell asleep early, shortly after replying to Liam.
On Saturday, he took care of his laundry and cleaned the house with Alice all before lunchtime. Afterward, he spent the afternoon relaxing before getting ready to go to Noah’s place. Noah had sent him a message earlier in the day telling Theo to be at his place around eight-thirty.
On his way to Noah’s place, he stopped in at a supermarket to buy a bottle of wine to bring to Noah’s. Theo thought of buying beer, but he knew Noah would already have some bottles at home, so wine seemed like a better option.
He arrived at the entrance of Noah’s building right on time and sent Noah a text letting him know he was downstairs. Noah buzzed him in and Theo quickly climbed up the stairs. Noah’s door was already open when he arrived, so he simply stepped in.
“Hello?” He said as he closed the door behind him.
Noah shouted from the kitchen, “Hey! I’m in the kitchen. My hands are busy but I’m almost done!”
Theo went into the kitchen and saw Noah cooking something on his wok, a spicy aroma wafting throughout the apartment. Noah’s hair was damp and he was wearing some shorts and a T-shirt, so Theo guessed that Noah had taken a shower after he’d arrived from work. For some reason, Theo thought Noah looked even more attractive as he expertly tossed the food in the wok with a look of concentration on his face, “Hey there, it smells good in here! What’re you making?”
"Pad kra pao,” Noah answered leaving Theo just as clueless. Noah noticed the puzzled look on the other man’s face and added, “Stir-fried pork, Thai holy basil, and chilies basically.”
“Ooo sounds delicious,” Theo leaned against the doorframe before showing Noah the bottle he’d bought, “Got us a little something as well.”
Noah glanced away from what he was cooking for a second and looked at the item Theo was showing him, “Oh nice! I love wine!”
“I’m glad. I wasn’t sure if you liked wine and I was sure you’d have beer at home,” Theo smiled at his date before adding, “Also, you look sexy while you’re cooking.”
“Well,” Noah looked Theo up and down before saying with a flirty grin, “You also look pretty hot tonight.”
Theo chuckled as Noah tossed the wok two more times, feeling satisfied with how it looked, “Dinner’s ready.”
Noah washed his hands and dried them off on a kitchen towel, before placing his hands on Theo’s cheeks, bringing his face down slightly and crashing his lips against Theo’s, catching him slightly off-guard. After making out for a couple of seconds, he backed away and said in a raspy voice, “With you looking at me like that, I just couldn’t resist.”
Theo tried to go in for another kiss, but Noah held his hand against Theo’s chest and said, “We can have some fun after work tonight, but let’s have dinner first so that the food doesn’t get cold.” Theo groaned in impatience, but his stomach also grumbled at the thought of eating, so he conceded.
They decided to save the wine for after dinner. Instead, Theo grabbed and opened two bottles of beer from the fridge, while Noah served up a serving bowl with a generous helping of freshly cooked rice from the rice cooker and plated the pad kra pao on a large serving plate. There were already some cutlery, dishes, and glasses on the small dining table. They placed the two dishes and the bottles of beer on the table before taking a seat in front of each other.
"Hau rein,” Noah said as he served Theo some rice and pad kra pao. Theo guessed he meant to dig in, but decided to confirm anyway.
“Does that mean dig in?”
“Yeah, you’re getting the hang of understanding some German,” Noah smiled at Theo, who grinned back at him.
It was Theo’s first time trying food cooked by Noah. Before that, they’d been eating dinner out more often, so Theo was excited to taste Noah’s cooking. He picked up a forkful of the rice and stir fry and placed it into his mouth, allowing an explosion of flavor to coat his mouth. At first, Theo just silently savored the food, almost moaning at the taste. It was much better than the food they’d eaten at the restaurant. “Wow, this is amazing! You cook really well.”
“I’m glad you like it,” Noah gave Theo a small smile, before eating a bit of the stir fry as well, “I met up with my mom for breakfast today before work and she gave me some fresh chilies and holy basil.”
“Holy basil? Is it very different from regular basil?”
“Yeah, basil is on the sweeter side. Holy basil is a bit more peppery. Very different taste.”
“Oh, I had no idea. I guess it’s obvious that I’m not much of a cook.”
“No problem, I can teach you,” Noah offered.
“Or you can just cook for me and I’ll do the dishes,” Theo made a counter offer.
“I like the way you think,” Theo chuckled.
The two men ate the rest of the food on the table, talking a little bit about Noah’s outing with his friends the previous night. Noah mentioned he’d gone to his friend’s house. She lived on the top floor of the building so they had access to the rooftop, which was where Noah had taken the photo. Theo enjoyed hearing Noah’s stories about his friends and wondered if he’d ever get to meet them. They seemed like a rowdy bunch from Noah’s stories.
Once their plates were empty and their bellies full, Theo headed into the kitchen to help with the dishes, while Noah got ready for work. Once Theo was done, he asked Noah where the bottle opener and the glasses were, before opening the bottle and preparing two glasses of wine for him and Noah. He walked over to Noah’s bedroom, holding a glass in each hand.
Noah was putting on a button-up short-sleeved shirt. His abs were still partially exposed and Theo’s gaze couldn’t help but linger on them for a couple of seconds, before noticing Noah’s smirk.
“Still feeling hungry?” Noah teased.
“You’re fine as fuck, so I can’t help it,” Theo winked back at Noah, making him blush slightly, before extending one of the glasses out to the other man, “Wine?”
“Thank you. I’m almost done really, just going to put some makeup on,” he grabbed some cosmetic items from his desk and started using some concealer to hide some imperfections before lining his eyes with some eyeliner and eyeshadow. In the past, whenever his lovers wore makeup to their hookup dates, it had been a bit of a turn off to Theo, but he had to admit that Noah was still attractive to him even when he had makeup for his performance on.
“Do you wanna listen to some music while we drink the wine? I have a Bluetooth speaker. We can use your phone or mine,” Noah said, as he finished styling his hair.
“Sure, I can use mine,” he turned on the Bluetooth on his phone and instantly found Noah’s device before showing it to the other man, “Is it this one?”
“Yeah,” Noah took a sip of the wine, “Oh, this is good.”
“Right? I had some at my parents’ a week or two ago and I really liked it. Speaking of which, I really should drop by at their place one of these days.”
“Oh? You don’t visit them often?”
“Well... not in the last few weeks. I’ve been a bit... distracted,” Theo gave Noah a flirty grin.
“I try to meet up with my parents once a week. My mom doesn’t work too far from the book shop so we sometimes have lunch together.”
“That’s cool. My parents travel a lot during school breaks. Sometimes I don’t see them for a month or two.”
“Oh wow. That’s pretty cool though. My parents don’t travel that often. They visit Germany at least once a year and spend some time in Thailand as well to visit family, but that’s about it. My mom told me she’s had her adventurous phase and now she prefers a calmer lifestyle.”
“Yeah, your mom did travel around Europe on her own. That was pretty badass!”
“For sure. She’s told me some of her crazy stories.”
“Guess it runs in the family. You’ve also had your fair share of adventures from what you’ve told me,” Noah chuckled at Theo’s comment, “Anyway, what do you wanna hear?”
“Do you know Charli XCX?”
“I think I’ve heard one of her songs before... Isn’t it that girl who sang ‘Boom Clap’?”
“Yeah, her. Search ‘Take My Hand’. My friend showed it to me last night and it’s been stuck in my head all day. It’s a good pre-drinking song.”
Theo clicked on the YouTube video and listened to the pop beat coming out of the small Bluetooth speaker. Noah started moving to the beat as he took a sip of the wine. It wasn’t the type of music Theo normally listened to, but he had to admit - it was pretty catchy. He soon followed Noah’s lead, dancing to the beat of the song as Noah sang along with Charli XCX. Noah grabbed Theo’s hands, placing them on his hips as he sang slightly off-key:
C’mon baby, put your hands on my hips
Get lost with your lips to my lips
Wanna taste your heart, don’t interfere
And into the night, we’ll disappear
After hearing Noah sing that part, Theo couldn’t resist - he brought his lips to Noah’s and got lost in the kiss, indulging in the other man’s plump luscious lips as their tongues, feeling consumed by the scent of Noah’s cologne. Hints of mandarin orange, intermingling with a splash of coriander and an undertone of cedarwood.
Just like in the song, he got a taste of Noah’s heart.
And any lingering fears both men felt at that moment in their lives - into the night they’d disappear.
If only for an ephemeral moment.