Sugar on top (manxman)

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2-Cherry tart

Friday came around and Callan had managed to get through his first entire week without his parents' money. Of course he had some money saved up, in case of an emergency. And so far there were no immediate emergencies. But with the end of the week came the time to restock. And as fate would have it, it was Callan's turn for groceries. Which meant a trip to the store; and that meant gas.

Callan at least had the money for that. He wasn't drowning in debt quite yet. That, he was positive.

He didn't want to count how much money he had to his name. Not while he was engaged in his latest painting. He decided he would worry about his money later. His homework was finished and he was off from work. He had just enough time to sit with his painting he loved so dearly and he didn't want his money troubles to burden him.

He splashed more green onto the painted trees before working on the sunset's rays, dipping his brush into the orange on his palette. He sat out on the small apartment terrace, overlooking the pool. He didn't bother to wave back to the girls waving up to him and calling his name. As far as he knew, they weren't there.

It was just him and his painting.


He heard Angela call from inside and he stuck his head through the sliding door.


There was some shuffling and a moment later Angela walked up to the door. She leaned against it, a concerned smile on her face.

"I was calling you for ten minutes."

Callan rubbed his nose with the back of his hand and sat back to better face his sister. He smiled and shrugged his shoulders.

"Sorry刖uess匈 was really out of it?"

Angela laughed and shook her head. "How are you?"

"I'm surviving," Callan laughed. He gestured to his painting with the tip of his brush. "What do you think?"

Angela looked carefully at the picture; one of a man standing on the edge of a wall, overlooking a vast forest. His cloak was a deep green, contrasting the way the painted sun's oranges and reds covered the background.


"Hm?" Callan hummed back.

"I feel like the person in the picture needs something," she said. "Maybe something on his coat? Or something in his hands?"

"I was thinking that, too," Callan said, stretching. His back popped and cracked; after being in the same position for the last few hours that was expected. "Not sure what. I'll ask Melvin when he gets back though. Other than that, you like it?"

"I love it. It's gorgeous! We should hang it up."

"Ew, no," Callan laughed. "After a week it'll look ugly to me."

"Then why are you going to enter it into that art show contest?"

"Validation that I'm not a shitty painter," Callan bitterly replied. Angela ruffled his hair. "And I'm not even sure if I'll get to do it. My professor hasn't gotten back to me, yet."

"You're too hard on yourself," she said, walking back inside. Callan sighed, picking up his brush to flick more color into the sun's rays.

It was more than confirmation he wasn't a shitty painter. Callan didn't want to miss an opportunity to prove he wasn't such a disappointment. To his father. To himself

"Hey, by the way," Angela called, "Jake wanted to know if you would be interested in going out for drinks later. He's going with Kyle, Jean, Kevin and Luca. It's all guys."

"That doesn't sound too bad," Callan said. " know匈 better not. I have to get groceries this week."

"Go on and go," Angela said as she came close again. "I got paid today so I can get groceries this week. And I know you get paid next week so it'll work out fine. Plus you deserve it. You've been so stressed out this week. I can tell because you've been eating plain cottage cheese, right out of the tub, again. Go and have some fun."

"Shit, Angela, you're never like this," Callan said in disbelief. "You're usually on me to stay home and study."

She smiled faintly again. "Yeah but匈 know this week has been especially rough. You need some time away. But you have to come home. I'm telling Kyle to keep an eye on you."

Callan stuck his tongue out. "Yeah, whatever."

"I'm serious, Cal! Be a little cautious while you're out. And don't get too drunk either."

"Sure thing, Ange-mom."

Angela thumped him on the head and walked back inside, sliding the glass door closed.

Melvin had to stay later at the hospital than he had planned. He told Callan to go on ahead and meet up with the other guys at the bar. There was no need for both of them to miss out and drinking was never Melvin's favorite pastime.

The Biker was a bar not too far away from the university campus. It was lined up with every other bar meant to draw out college students on the weekends. There were a few scattered restaurants, a hookah bar, a Condom Sense, and several convenience stores smashed onto the same strip. All within walking distance.

Parking was hell but Callan managed to find a decent spot a few bars down. He followed the red rose design of the Biker bar sign and pulled on the doors.

The bar had become the chosen favorite among Callan and his friends. The drinks were fair priced and the music was always enjoyable.

Callan sank down with his group and Reiner slapped him on the shoulder.

"Fuck, Jake, I think you broke my arm," Callan laughed as Jake shook him around.

"I'm excited you're finally here," Jake boomed. "Now we can officially have a drink!"

"You could have started without me," Callan said. He rubbed his shoulder, still feeling the imprint of Jake's massive hand.

"Hey! You know it's the group rule. No drinking until everyone is here," Jake said, pointing a firm finger in Callan's face.

"What about Melvin?" Kyle asked. Callan shook his head.

"He can't come," Callan explained. "He has to stay late at the hospital tonight."

"Aww damn," Luca groaned. "Now we have to depend on Kevin for supervision!"

Callan looked up to see Levin blushing rather bright at Luca's statement. He smiled nervously, rubbing the back of his neck, as Jean slipped a hand around his waist. Callan swallowed with difficulty, laughing along with everyone else, ignoring the sudden tightness in his chest. He avoided Jean's gaze as best as he could, but when he did catch his eyes, guilt filled Callan's stomach. And he wondered if Jean felt the same unrelenting guilt.

Judging by the bold confidence on his face, Jean wasn't feeling an ounce of anything other than pride.

"Please don't depend on me," Kevin said softly. "I'm just as bad as all of you. We should depend on Kyle."

"Like hell we're depending on Kyle," Jake said with a wink. Kyle went bright red and buried his face into Callan's shoulder, trying to escape Jake's wandering hands.

"We'll figure this out as we go," Callan said, waving a hand to the group. "Let's just get started. This week has been fucking hell."

The suggestion settled well with everyone and after a few minutes, they were all downing their first round of shots. It loosened up Callan's nerves, just enough. He really didn't want to get drunk. Mainly because he didn't know what he would say or do.

Given any other day, he gladly would have drunk himself unconscious to forget the week. But with Kevin and Jean so close, he couldn't risk it. He could mutter something he'd regret the next day.

"Callan, you're not drinking much tonight," Luca teased, sipping on his third beer. "Angela give you a warning?"

"I'm just being cautious," Callan said, poking at his empty bottle. "I don't want to get so shitfaced I'm sick in the morning."

"That's a first," Jean laughed. Callan rolled his eyes. Those were the first direct words Jean dared to speak to him all evening.

"Go grab another drink, Cal," Kyle said, nudging Callan's shoulder. "It's weird not having you drink with us. It's the end of the week."

Callan was briefly torn. It was only one more drink. And he really was sick of staring at Jean's smug face. Callan bitterly smiled, passing it off as playful, and hurried off to the bar to order another.

He inhaled deep as he rested his hands on the cold bar. He looked at the bottles that lined the wall, his chest tight with jealousy and guilt and worry. How could he feel so many awful emotions at once? He was jealous of how happy Kevin was. He was guilty because of what he did with Jean every other weekend. He was worried because he was still a failure to his father. No matter how much he drank or how fast he could forget, those were still things that bothered him.

Callan clasped a hand over his mouth, distraught at how disgusted he was with himself, and he finally exhaled.

"Oi, you look fucking sick, brat. If you're going to throw up, don't do it on my fucking suit." said a deep voice next to Callan that caused him to involuntarily shiver.

Callan shook himself from his thoughts and looked to the man talking to him. He was well-dressed for someone at a bar; a nice pair of slacks with a sleek button-up shirt peeking out from under his suit jacket. Callan looked over the man's black hair and the odd undercut he sported. Under the mess of black fringe, Callan saw steely grey eyes, dark shadows under them with a fair amount of deep creases at the corners.

He was definitely older and hot, Callan was sure of it.

"Sorry," Callan said. "I'm not sick though. Just stressed. I'm not going to puke on your suit."

"Glad to fucking hear," the man said, looking over a menu.

Callan's eyes widened at the sight of it and he leaned closer to try and peer over the man's shoulder. Even sitting down, Callan could hardly see over the man's head and he wondered just how tall the stranger was.

The man slid the menu over, so Callan could get a better look.


"Mn. Do you come here a lot? What's good?"

"I usually stick with beer or shots."

"You fucking kids with your iron stomachs."

"Jealous, old man?" Callan teased. The man raised an eyebrow and a smirk replaced the frown on his lips for a brief second. Callan grinned and looked back at the menu. "I want something sweet. I think I'll have the strawberry-pomegranate vodka mix."

The man raised a hand, flashing a shiny watch on his wrist. He waved down the bartender on his first, half-glance.


"Two strawberry-pomegranates with vodka, extra cherries," he said, handing the menu back. The bartender nodded and started on the drinks. Callan watched curiously as the man sat back in his chair. "You never answered my question, brat."


"Do you come here a lot?"

"You're persistent, old man," Callan said. "But yeah, I come here often. Well, with my friends."

The man glanced over his shoulder as Callan gestured to his group. He was silent and turned back to the bar as the bartender set down the drinks and the bill. Callan reached into his back pocket, fishing for his wallet.

"Hang on!" Callan called to the bartender. "They're separate"

"Don't worry about it," the black-haired man said. He pulled cherries out of his drink and dropped them into Callan's. "I got it. Go enjoy your party, brat."

"No, no, I can get mine."

"Oi, I said go," the man said again. "It's on me."

Callan was hesitant. He didn't know the man's name or anything. But he took his drink with cautious hands. He knew to never accept a drink directly from the hands of a stranger but he had watched the bartender the entire time. And the only thing the man put in Callan's drink were more cherries. Which came directly from the bartender. There was really no way the man could have drugged him.


"No problem, brat."

Callan turned and walked back across the bar to where everyone stood. He chewed on a cherry as he walked and threw the stem onto their table.

"You got enough cherries over there, Robinson?" Jean snorted.

"Oh, shut up you ass," Callan snapped, eating another cherry. He threw the stem at Jean this time and took a drink.

Everyone laughed, save for Jean, and kept drinking. Drinking and venting about their classes and professors. Kevin suddenly ran around the small table, leaning down to Callan's ear.

"Callan, I don't mean to be weird but that intimidating guy at the bar has looked over in your direction about ten times in the last three minutes," Kevin whispered. "Just thought I should let you know." He finished, playfully grabbing a cherry from Callan's drink and hurried back to Jean's side.

Callan took a final drink and glanced over his shoulder. The handsome man from earlier wasn't looking in his immediate direction, but he was definitely partially turned in his seat. Callan spun around, biting his lip.

"I'm going to grab another drink."

"Hell yeah you are!" Jake shouted, shaking Callan by the shoulder again. Callan held on to the table as he was thrown around. "Go, hurry up!"

Callan rubbed his shoulder as he sank away to the bar again. This time, however, he walked up to a different spot. He flagged down the bartender and ordered a simple beer. As he pulled out his wallet to pay, the bartender shook his head.

"It's already paid for."


"Yeah, that guy over there bought it," the bartender said.

Callan shook his head. "Wait, what?"

"He told me that anything the 'skinny brat in the ripped jeans and Metallica t-shirt' buys is on him." The bartender shrugged, turning and walking away to tend to his customers. Callan took a sip of his beer and walked down the bar, his eyes locked on the well-dressed stranger.

"So," Callan said, "I'm a skinny brat?"

The man leaned back in his chair and raised an eyebrow. "You look like it to me. But you are, in fact, a brat."

Callan set his beer on the counter, leaning against the hard surface, and pressed his other hand to his waist.

"I'm not a brat."

"You're a young brat."

"I am not! Now, why are you buying me drinks?"

The man shrugged. "You're cute. It's my money. I'm allowed to do that."

Callan went silent. He really had no way of arguing the man's logic. It was his money

"I'm not宇rying to take advantage or anything," Callan said. "You shouldn't"

"I know you're not taking advantage," the man said with a casual shrug. "And I'm not trying to make you uncomfortable. Go hang out with your friends and order whatever you want to drink. Have a good time. You're young, cute and apparently angry as fuck. Go have fun."

Callan couldn't fathom what he was hearing. He leaned against the bar still, taking more of a drink than a sip of his beer. The man watched himnot with an ounce of lust in his eyes or pity for the now-poor college student, but rather out of pure interest. Lazy interest.

"What's your name, Mr. Benefactor?" Callan asked.

"Hm. I think I like the way Mr. Benefactor sounds, actually."

Callan slapped his arm playfully. "C'mon. At least tell me that. I'm not asking for your number. I'm Callan."

"Well, Callan, I'm Zachary."

"Zachary," Callan mused. "Do you buy every hot young piece of ass you meet in bars a drink?"

"Only the ones that meet my high standards," Zachary replied. "So no."

"I'm honored that I meet your high standards." Callan punctuated his sentence with a little arch to his back, properly resting his elbows against the bar. Zachary raised his eyebrow, his sharp eyes wandering down Callan's body.

Callan grinned and pushed away from the bar, drinking down his beer. He slinked away and this time he looked over his shoulder. He caught Zachary boldly watching him, without trying to be discreet about it either.

And he stopped walking, staring at Zachary. He looked back to his friends and then back to Zachary. The black haired man was turned away again, quietly sipping on his drink. Callan chewed on his bottom lip, thinking it over. He could go stand with his friends and feel like was being silently judged by Jean. Or he could stand with Zachary; where there was no guilt, no worries and nothing hanging above him to make him sick and cringe.

Callan hurried back to the bar, slapping his hands against the hard counter. Zachary stared at him curiously.

"On second thought, I think I'll stay over here," he said. "If you don't mind the company."

"If you want another drink, just get one. I'm not going to make you stay over here when you have a group of friends over there."

"I know," Callan said bitterly. He smiled, however, to ease his own nerves. To pretend like he was at ease and to get Zachary to feel the same. "But I can see them anytime. We're all fucking neighbors. So let's get to know each other tonight."

It was an invitation Zachary took and Callan was glad to give away. Barely an hour later, Callan had given up his promise of not getting drunk in favor of letting loose. Of course he had been worse, where he couldn't even stand, but he was drunk enough to shamelessly slide up on Zachary's lap and be aware of what he was doing. And the man had no problem pressing a hand to Callan's waist to keep him in place.

Callan held his mouth open, waiting for another sweet strawberry to be placed on his tongue. Zachary picked the strawberry from his drink and held it up to Callan's wet lips. The brunet bit into it, ignoring the way the juices trickled down his chin. Zachary wiped up his mouth, setting the fruit down.

"You're already fucking spoiled, look at you," Zachary said. "Filthy brat."

"Your fault," Callan slurred. He nuzzled Zachary's head rather affectionately. The black haired man didn't return the affection, but he chuckled, adjusting his hand to better hold Callan on his lap. He held up the strawberry again.


Callan opened his mouth and slurped on the fruit as he bit it, making a deliberant mess. A deliberant show for Zachary. He pulled away from the red fruit, licking his lips and catching Zachary's gaze.

"How incredibly drunk are you?"

Callan shrugged and leaned in close. He bit Zachary's ear, smearing strawberry juice all over Zachary's hair and skin.

"Not as drunk as you'd think," Callan purred, letting his hand fall to tug at Zachary's pants. His fingers trailed over the belt he found, brushing dangerously light against the hardening bulge between Zachary's legs. "I know I'd like to see what your dick looks like tonight."

"Well, should we keep wasting time here or find somewhere quiet?"

"I think that sounds like a very good idea," Callan hummed, biting his lip. Zachary patted Callan on his butt, a silent gesture for him to get to his feet. Callan held on to the bar as he stood, to test his ability to stand. To his surprise, he was more stable than he thought. He laughed to himself, pleased that he could stand on his own, and waited for Zachary to finish paying.

The man rested his hand to the small of Callan's back, proudly guiding him through the bar.

"Callan! What the fuck?"

Callan looked around and caught sight of Jean pushing his way through the other bar patrons, until he was able to catch up to the pair. He grabbed Callan around the arm and jerked him back.

"Where the fuck are you going?"

"Out," Callan snapped. "More out."

Jean pointed to Zachary. "With this old bastard?"

Zachary snorted, rolling his eyes. Jean looked around, pulling Callan close and speaking in a tone only Callan could hear.

"You can't go fuck other people."

"Excuse me," Callan spat, pushing Jean back, "we're not dating. I can do whatever I want. So go talk shit somewhere else."

Callan turned away, grabbing on to Zachary's arm and practically dragging the man out of the bar. He didn't have to put up with Jean. He didn't owe him any answers. They weren't dating, after all. Just fuck buddies completely in the wrong.

But Callan didn't want to think about Jean or the others. All he wanted was the man at his side.

The moment the door closed, Callan was pressed against the wall. He wasn't sure if he had pulled Zachary to him, or if the man had shoved him. But he had his legs wrapped firmly around Zachary's waist and his arms gripping the man's broad shoulders for support.

For a man of his height, Zachary was as strong as Callan had suspected, if not stronger. His build, from what Callan could feel through his clothes, was spectacular.

Callan lolled his head to the side, letting Zachary attack the sensitive skin of his neck, eliciting a long moan with each bite. He kneaded Callan's ass through his jeans but the lack of skin-on-skin contact was driving Callan crazy.

"Fuck, Zachary," Callan panted, grinding his hips up. "Fuck, come on already, I don't want to wait all night. You might keel over and die before you even get off."

"You're such a cheeky little shit," Zachary laughed, biting Callan's collarbone. He pulled away from the wall, Callan still in his arms.

Callan quickly adjusted his grip, hugging closer to Zachary's neck and tightly wrapping his legs around Zachary's broad waist. Zachary carried him through the house and through his hazy lust, Callan took everything in. The beautiful paintings, the well-kept furniture, the way the marble counters reflected the overhead lights.

He closed his eyes and rutted his hips against Zachary's body, trying his hardest to gain some friction. Zachary bit him on the collarbone again, kicking a door open. He pulled Callan's hand from his neck and dropped him onto the bed. Callan bounced on the soft surface, sitting up to reach Zachary. The black haired man tugged at Callan's shirt and Callan gave, letting Zachary toss the t-shirt across the room. Callan flopped back with a shudder, sprawling his hands around his head and staring up at Zachary. He watched the man removed his jacket, fold it with meticulous care, and place it neatly on top of the dresser.

Callan licked his lips, watching Zachary shed his shirt next and revealing a muscular back with a huge black and white angel-wings tattoo spread across it. An accidental moan escaped Callan's mouth as he eyed the pale flesh he so desperately wanted to mark. He let his eyes drop lower, admiring the curve of Zachary's back. He eyed the tattoo on Zachary's side as he turneda pair of over-crossed swords (that form an X) in black and white. Callan grabbed at the bed and bit his lip as Zachary walked to the bed.

Callan got up and sat back on his knees, running his hands over Zachary's toned chest, amazed by the dips and curves of the muscles at his fingertips. He leaned forward, flicking his tongue at a pert nipple, his hands still wandering over Zachary's hard stomach. Callan gazed up at him, feeling a gentle hand in his hair, and he arched his back, giving Zachary a show.

"What do you want?" Zachary asked, his voice low and sultry, sending a jolt straight to Callan's groin.

Callan grinned, biting on the man's nipple as he pulled back. He looped a finger through Zachary's belt, giving it a little tug.

"I want a taste," Callan purred. "Please."

"You're a good boy," Zachary said, unbuckling his belt and pants. He shrugged them around his hips and Callan waited patiently for the sight he wanted so much.

Zachary popped his cock from his boxers, already hard enough to curve and stand on its own. Callan's own cocked jumped and he lowered his head, opening his mouth. He looked back up at Zachary, a teasing grin on his face.

"Don't have a heart attack," Callan whispered, letting the tip of Zachary's cock brush against his lips. He looked at the girth before him, letting the head brush against his cheek. Two piercings adorned with barbells, Callan counted, one right under the head and the second resting at the base, right above the balls on proud display.

Callan shuddered.

He flicked his tongue and Zachary's hand shot to his mess of brown hair. Callan moved closer, opening his mouth wider to take in Zachary's full length. He gave a few generous slurps until he knew Zachary was completely hard. Then he started to suck, working his neck and tongue against Zachary's entire hard cock. Zachary rocked his hips slowly, light grunts escaping his throat as he pushed in deeper.

Callan hollowed his cheeks and relaxed his jaw, deep throating Zachary's length. He felt the first piercing slide down his throat and then the second against his lips. Saliva pooled over onto his chin, dripping onto his bare chest and bed. He pulled back and gasped for air, his lips a glistening, wet mess. Zachary ran his thumb over Callan's soft lips and Callan quickly flicked his tongue out, tasting Zachary's fingers. He grabbed Zachary's hand and greedily brought the long digits into his mouth, sucking on them and moaning lewdly.

Zachary jerked his hand back and pushed Callan onto his back. Callan laughed as he bounced against the bed, shamelessly spreading his legs to Zachary as he climbed on the bed. He started to work on Callan's pants, unbuttoning them and pulling them down. Callan arched his hips for Zachary to slide off his pants and underwear in one swift, fluid motion. Zachary discarded the clothes, letting them fall on the side of the bed, and pushed his hips into Callan's.

"Oh fuck, Zachary," Callan sighed, closing his eyes and relishing in the initial wet contact. Zachary rolled his hips slowachingly slowand Callan threw his up, his body already shaking. "Fuck, Zack, stop fucking teasing me. Fuck me, already."

Zachary chuckled, biting on Callan's nipples. He pulled away and Callan whimpered, watching Zachary reach into the nightstand. He tossed a bottle of lube at Callan and reached back inside, digging around again.

Callan picked up the bottle and poured lube onto his fingers. He flipped over and onto his stomach, pushing his ass into the air and slipping his slicked fingers behind him. He quickly pushed his middle finger into himself, wincing at the initial tight pain, but he worked fast, managing a second finger by the time Zachary had opened and pulled on a condom.

"You're too fucking impatient," Zachary said, watching Callan finger-fuck himself, listening to the throaty moans he made. Zachary sat behind him, massaging hard circles with his thumbs into Callan's hips, letting the brunet work himself open. Zachary stroked himself lazily, rubbing more lube onto his cock as he watched the show being put on before him.

But even he grew impatient and pulled Callan's hand away. Callan's legs shook in anticipation and he braced himself against the pillows, feeling Zachary's slicked up dick pressing against his hole. Zachary went slow, careful not to hurt Callan. He pushed in the tip, feeling himself being sucked right in to that tight heat. Callan arched his back, pushing against Zachary's groin to take in more.

He made a noise between a yelp and a moan.

"Don't hurt yourself. We have all night," Zachary said, sliding in deeper and rubbing reassuring circles onto Callan's hips again. But Callan shook his head.

"I want to be fucked. Just fuck me. Make me feel good with that cock."

It didn't take a second plea for Zachary to oblige. He pulled almost completely out, drawing a long, low groan from Callan's throat, and shoved back in. He set the pace, slipping in and out, slapping against Callan's legs with each thrust.

Callan lost himself in the vulgar feeling. It was nothing newhe was no virginbut Zachary was practically a stranger. A handsome stranger with a big, pierced dick and a penchant for spending money on cute bar patrons. The attention was addicting. There were no emotions, no hurt, nothing binding them together.

"AhhFuck Zachary!"

The man had angled his hips differently, assaulting Callan's prostrate over and over. Callan rolled his eyes and dropped his mouth open, moaning shamelessly into the heated air. Zachary threaded his fingers through Callan's hair just as Callan's body tightened. He tightened around Zachary's cock and came onto the bed, screaming Zachary's name repeatedly.

The sudden tightness around Zachary's cock and Callan's breathy pants were enough to send Zachary over the edge. He leaned forward, his hand still in Callan's hair, and turned Callan to face him. He grabbed Callan's lips with own, pounding into the tight ass under him.

Callan's watery eyes widened at the kiss. He tried to pull back, out of reflex, but Zachary's grip on his hair was strong. He leaned into the kiss, giving Zachary what he wanted, and watched the man's face twist in pleasure. He was muffling a hard moan with the kiss; Callan could tell by the desperate way he breathed, by the soft vibrations he felt from Zachary's throat. The older man's body shook, sweat clinging to his black hair and smearing onto Callan's forehead.

They rode out their orgasms, both dizzy and weak. They collapsed on the bed, their hard, sharp breaths the only sound filling the room. Callan's own heartbeat throbbed in his ears as he watched Zachary. The man was watching him back, wearing the same dazed expression.

Callan swallowed nervous, his body still shaking. "I匈 can leave"

His voice was dry and small. A slight feeling of shame washed over him and Callan turned his eyes to the bed under him, avoiding Zachary's gaze. Callan was vaguely familiar with how these things worked. They got what they wanted. There was no need for him to overstay his welcome.

Zachary pushed himself up, running a hand through his hair. He placed a kissanother kissto Callan's shoulder and crawled off the bed without a word. Callan watched him walk away and disappear into the bathroom. The light flicked on, water ran; he could hear the sound of a trash can being moved.

Zachary reappeared, a towel in his hand. He threw it on the bed and it landed on Callan's back. Slowly, Callan sat up, peeling the warm, wet towel off his skin. It left a cool spot where it had been.

"Clean up," Zachary said, pulling at the comforter. "And give me this. I need to go wash it."

Callan nodded and shifted around so Zachary could take the heavy blanket. He disappeared again and Callan cleaned himself off. He eyed his clothes on the floor, too weak to even stand to get them. His legs were still gooey and sore.

Zachary returned and Callan swallowed hard. "Should I leave?" He repeated the question after clearing his throat and this time made sure he was louder.

Zachary pulled back the sheets, shaking his head. "Just lie down. You can leave in the morning. Get some rest."

Callan nodded and snuggled under the sheets with him. He fell against the pillows and actually took in their fresh scent. He rolled onto his side, facing away from Zachary. That was his normal reaction. It was always like that with Jean, with his exes, with nameless others; and Zachary was no different.

Except that Zachary had thrown a lazy arm over Callan's shoulders. And Callan's eyes were wide open.

"I don't奸ike to cuddle after sex," Callan whispered. There was no immediate reply. Just Zachary slipping his arm away to flop on the bed. Callan swallowed. "Sorry"

"Mn. You looked like a cuddler. Was being polite. Go to sleep."

Callan laughed and closed his eyes. He pulled the sheet tight around his shoulders and he curled into a ball. It was the first time, in a long time, that he didn't toss and turn in someone else's bed. He didn't feel guilty. He wasn't unsettled. He was content, for once. And he was pleased someone actually tried to cuddle with him for once.

But really, he was just tired and ready to sleep. It took him no time at all before he was out.
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