To hide his embarrassment, Jack took another cannoli and bit into the delicious confection. He noticed a smudge of dirt on Will’s cheek and resisted the urge to reach over the table and wipe it off.
He honestly had no idea what would happen next. Were they now supposed to go upstairs and have sex? His mind recoiled at the idea, but his body was decidedly curious.
Curious. That must be what he was. He’d heard the phrase before—bi-curious. Will was watching him, the smile lingering on his face.
“You know, the game’s coming on in a minute. I was going to watch it. Do you like baseball?” Will asked.
Jack was taken aback for a moment. Mentally he chided himself, realizing he just assumed gay men wouldn’t like sports. What a bigoted idiot he was. Aloud he said, “Sure. Do you think the Mets have a chance this year?”
“You a Mets fan too?” Will snorted. “They always have a chance—and then they break our hearts.”
“Yeah,” Jack agreed, feeling suddenly a lot more comfortable.
“You can’t have cannoli and coffee with baseball.” Will laughed. “I’ll get us a couple of beers.” He took two bottles from the refrigerator and they moved into the living room, settling beside each other on the large, comfortable sofa that faced a huge flat-screen TV.
The game had just started and the Mets were at bat. They talked about the players for a while, discussing statistics and the Mets’ chance for the World Series. Jack leaned back against the cushions, feeling happy but nervous as a teenager on his first date.
He took a long pull of his beer and glanced toward Will, whose eyes were on the screen. Jack examined Will’s strong, handsome features and again wondered what in the world Will saw in him. Was it only the thrill of going after something he couldn’t get? Now that he had Jack, whatever the hell that meant, would he lose interest?
What do I want to have happen? What do I expect?
Will glanced his way and their eyes locked. Jack felt his heartbeat quicken. He clenched his beer bottle and realized he was holding it so tight it might shatter. With a shaky hand he leaned forward and set it on the table.
Will copied his action, setting his own bottle down. Slowly he reached out a hand and touched Jack’s thigh, unconsciously mimicking the gesture Luke had made so many years before.
Jack felt frozen in place. He looked down at Will’s hand, noting the long, slender fingers. His skin was lightly tanned, the soft hairs on his arms a golden brown. His touch was solid, the fingers gently gripping Jack’s thigh muscle. It felt like he was squeezing Jack’s heart muscle too. He could barely catch his breath.
“You okay?” Will asked softly. “Is this okay?”
Jack swallowed and nodded. It was okay. They were grown men who could do what they liked. He wasn’t eighteen any longer. It was time, finally, to be honest with himself.
Will moved his hand along Jack’s denim-clad thigh toward his groin. Jack’s heart threatened to burst through his rib cage. Will moved his hand back down Jack’s thigh and scooted a little closer. “Hey, Jack. It’s okay. I’m not going to rush you. Please, slow your breathing if you can. Nothing’s going to happen between us you don’t want to have happen. I promise.”
Jack met his eyes and gave a weak grin, keenly aware of the sudden shift of power between them. For the first time in his adult life he wasn’t in complete control of a situation. It felt very strange—both scary and exciting. Will’s voice was calming, his touch gentle, and Jack knew instinctively he could trust him. He took a deep breath and released it, willing his heart to slow and his muscles to relax.
“Okay,” he said quietly.
Will stroked his leg, his fingers curling down over Jack’s inner thigh. Feeling his own rising desire, unable to resist, he looked down at Will’s crotch. The bulge was unmistakable. Again his heart began a rapid tattoo, ignoring his efforts to relax.
Will leaned forward, his face nearly touching Jack’s. Jack turned away. Will kissed his cheek. “It’s okay,” he promised. He kissed Jack’s cheek again. Jack’s lips were tingling with anticipation, and before he could stop himself, he turned back toward Will.
Their lips met in a chaste press. Their eyes were open, each watching the other as they kissed. Jack could feel Will was trembling. It occurred to him Will might be as nervous as he was. Somehow this gave him courage. He closed his eyes and parted his lips.
Will’s tongue gently slid over his lower lip and slipped between his teeth. Startled, Jack pulled back, his heart thudding so loud he could hear it. Will pulled back too, his green eyes blazing, the color high in his cheeks.
Though he was scared, he couldn’t deny the desire roiling through his blood. Was he gay, was he merely curious, did it matter? He wanted to kiss Will, to taste those soft lips again. He could work through this fear—Will would keep him safe.
He closed his eyes again and leaned forward, silently offering his mouth again. Will whispered softly, “Jack,” and again their lips met. Will touched the back of his head. His own hands were frozen at his sides.
Will’s warm tongue again slid along his lips. Jack felt it enter his mouth. Will tasted like coffee and beer. He smelled wonderful, like shampoo and some kind of subtle citrusy cologne. Their tongues began to intertwine.
Oh my God, I’m kissing a man. I’m kissing a man. For a moment he tried to pull away, his fears almost getting the better of him.
Will gently but firmly pulled him closer. “It’s okay,” he whispered again. “We both want this. There’s nothing wrong with it. It’s good.”
It was good. It felt good. It felt better than any kiss he’d ever shared. He wasn’t kissing a man, he was kissing Will.
Finally Jack’s thoughts were suspended, or at least drowned out by the roar of blood in his ears. He knew he didn’t want the kiss to stop. It felt so good, so right, even better than the stolen kiss so long ago with a different man.
Back then he’d been way too young and unsure to know what he wanted or to have the courage to seize it. Now there was no reason to hold back. He wanted this. There was no longer any question or doubt.
Without realizing what he was doing, he found his arms lifting and wrapping themselves around Will. He pulled him closer, kissing him back with all the pent-up passion of years of repressed longing. He could feel Will’s heart pounding against his own.
Time seemed to suspend itself as they explored each other’s mouths. Will’s hand moved from Jack’s head to his neck, slipping beneath his shirt.
He ran his hands over Will’s back, feeling the strong, well-defined muscles through the thin cotton of his T-shirt. Finally Will moved, pulling away from Jack’s mouth, trailing his lips down his chin and throat, his tongue touching the flesh. Jack fell back against the sofa and Will flopped back beside him.
Slowly Jack focused on the TV screen. He hadn’t heard a word of the game during their extended kiss. Even now he could barely hear the announcer over the thump of his own heart.
“Well, would you look at that? The Mets just scored a grand slam.” Will turned toward him with a broad grin. “Maybe this will be our lucky year, Jack. What do you think?”