Ash and Ember - Chapter 11: Evolution
23 November 2018, Friday 7:32 AM
The first moment of awareness was one of warmth, comfort, and serenity.
Grant made a small, sleepy noise and he lazily blinked. The room was dark, with the drapes pulled. He swallowed, and he wet his dry lips with his tongue. He needed water.
Then the rest of his brain started to fire. A warm body pressed into his from behind, and Grant's breath caught in his throat.
Grant ran a hand down his own body. 'Naked. I'm naked.' His worry ramped up, and he gently felt behind him. His palm rubbed along a slightly hairy body that lay there. His hand slid to a stop on a boxer-covered hip.
The body behind him shifted. "Hmm."
Grant was almost afraid to look, though he was pretty sure he knew who was back there. 'Hell, what did I do? Why am I naked?'
"Good morning, Grant," Troy's gravely voice spoke. He patted Grant's bare hip. "How are you feeling?"
Grant held very still. "Uh, I'm kinda wondering why I'm naked."
Troy got up on an elbow and looked down at him. "You don't remember?"
That didn't make Grant feel any better. "No." He tried to stay calm, and he lay there. "What happened?"
Troy sighed, and he lay back down. "You were drunk, and you, ah, you wanted us to sleep naked."
Grant rolled over and faced him. He was well aware that he was nude, and he kept his hips away from Troy's pelvis. "I what?"
Troy looked a little uncomfortable. "Uh, you sort of wanted to mess around."
Grant sat up. "What?" He stared down at Troy and shook his head. "No, I wouldn't," he blinked as his memory returned in flashes.
"Come on. I know you want to." Grant pulled at Troy's shorts.
"No. You're drunk, Grant." Troy gently pried Grant's hands off of the waistband of his underwear. "Maybe if you were sober, but I'm not doing this right now."
Grant's mind returned to the present. He frowned, and he rubbed his face. He checked himself once more. "Well, how'd I get naked?"
Troy laughed. "You did that. When you couldn't get my shorts off, you took off yours." Troy looked at Grant, and he put his hands behind his head as he lay on his pillow. "You were pretty insistent, but you couldn't quite stay awake, and you passed out. When you did, I spooned you, so I'd know when you moved again."
Grant felt sick to his stomach. He remembered just enough to know that Troy told him the truth. He folded his arms around his bent knees, and he put his face down to rest his forehead on his kneecaps.
Troy sat up. "You okay?" His voice was low, quiet, and held a note of understanding that Grant wasn't sure he deserved.
"Uh," Grant laughed a little, though there was no joy in the sound. "I think, I owe you a huge apology." He felt miserable. "I, ah, I am really sorry."
Troy put a hand on Grant's back. "I'm fine, Grant." Troy looked at him, and his face held nothing but concern. "Are you okay?" he repeated.
Grant hung his head. "No. I've never done anything like this." He shook his head. "God, what is wrong with me?"
It seemed to Grant that Troy carefully chose his next words. "Well, have you ever considered that you might be gay?"
"No. I'm not." Grant rejected the possibility. "I was just drunk." He exhaled. "I, ah, I was lonely and drunk."
Troy rubbed Grant's back, and then he patted him between his shoulder blades. Despite what Grant said, he liked Troy's warm hand on his skin. "Okay, Grant. That's okay."
Grant drew in a shaky breath. "Can, can we keep this between us? Please?"
"Yeah. For sure." Troy smiled at him. "It's like you said: you were drunk and lonely." He shrugged. "No harm was done."
Troy got up, and he handed Grant his underwear that lay on the floor. The two guys got themselves dressed.
Nobody else was up, and the house was silent. Grant watched Troy write a note, and he left it on the dining room table. Then the two of them exited the house.
Grant drove home. The car was silent, as both he and Troy thought about what had happened. They arrived at the house. Troy entered, and Grant followed him inside. As Grant shut the door behind them, a thought sprang to his mind.
'If Troy hadn't stopped you, you would have had sex with him last night.'
It was quite a few hours before Grant stopped thinking about that.
23 November 2018, Friday 2:46 PM
Troy stepped back and looked at his work. He'd just finished replacing the rotten siding on the house, and he smiled at the way it blended seamlessly with the rest of the siding. Well, apart from the fact that the new section needed paint.
He gathered his tools, and he stepped up on the side porch. He kicked his boots free of snow, and he entered.
Grant was in the living room. He was dressed in sweats and a t-shirt, and he unrolled his yoga mat.
"Yoga time?" Troy watched him.
Grant didn't look at Troy. "Yeah."
He had been very quiet since they had gotten home. Troy stood a moment longer and debated if he should say something more. He decided against it, and he headed to the garage. Troy put his tools away, and he hunted for that exterior paint.
He looked around for a few minutes, then he made a little sound of victory when he found the half-full can of paint. He got a brush, and he turned to the doorway.
Grant stood at the doorway. His eyes were down, and his whole body slumped. He looked dejected, lost and miserable.
"Can I talk to you?" Grant's voice was meek and soft.
Troy nodded. "Yeah, of course." He could tell the painting would have to wait, and he put the brush and the can down on the workbench. "Come on. Let's sit in the living room.
They walked back to the couch, and Troy watched Grant's face as they sat beside one another.
Grant rested his arms on his knees, and he kept his hands clasped. He stared ahead, at a spot a few feet away on the floor.
Troy wanted to put his hand on Grant's back, but he wasn't sure if that was the right thing. Instead, he cleared his throat. "What's going on, Grant?"
The black-haired man's eyes closed and his jaw flexed. Troy watched Grant's Adam's Apple move as he swallowed.
"I have a question. And I don't want you to read anything into it." Grant exhaled, then he shook his head. "Though I don't know how you can't."
Troy felt sad for Grant. He struggled, and Troy wanted to help him. "Okay. I promise."
Grant took a deep breath. His eyes were still closed. "How did you know you were gay?"
Troy thought this might be the question, or perhaps something very similar. "Well, I had started to notice guys. I liked how they looked, and I began to fantasize about them. I also started dreaming about them." Troy smiled. "Though, I still had my doubts."
Grant turned his head and looked at Troy. "When did you KNOW?"
Troy looked back into Grant's brown eyes. There was so much pain, uncertainty, and vulnerability there. "I knew the first time I kissed a guy." Troy laughed a little. "I had already tried with girls, and there wasn't a spark there, you know?" He raised his eyebrows. "But the very first time I kissed a guy, there were fireworks." He shrugged. "It's not the same for everybody. But that's how it worked for me."
Grant looked at him a moment longer, then he sat forward again, and stared back at that spot on the floor.
Troy took a chance, and he put his hand on Grant's back. Grant's eyes closed at the contact. "Grant?" Troy wet his lips. "If you wanted to explore things, then we could." Troy couldn't quite believe what he was saying. But part of him desired whatever he could get from Grant.
Grant frowned, and he shook his head once. "I don't, I don't know what to do."
Troy leaned forward a little. "Do you trust me? Because I know what to do." He rubbed Grant's back gently.
Grant smiled a little. "Between the two of us, you were the gentleman last night. So, yeah. I trust you."
Troy chuckled. "Okay." He stood, and Grant looked up at him. "Come on. Stand up."
After a moment of hesitation, Grant obeyed, and they stood with only a few inches between one another.
Troy smiled at him. "First thing, relax." He put his hands on Grant's shoulders, and he gripped to highlight Grant's tension.
Grant exhaled, and Troy felt his body relax a little under his palms. "Good." Troy stepped close, and his hands slid around, then down Grant's back to his waist. "Put your arms around me, wherever they're comfortable."
Grant's arms circled Troy's back. The two stood with their bodies together. Troy then leaned forward, and he hugged Grant to him.
He heard Grant's breathing increase. "Relax, Grant." Troy smiled as he held the dark-haired man.
"Ah, damn it." Grant laughed uncomfortably. "I'm getting an erection."
"Oh, I know. You're in sweats." Troy grinned. "That's okay. I'm on the way too." Troy was sure Grant could feel as his cock filled out. He could undoubtedly feel Grant's.
Grant kept breathing. Soon Troy felt his hands begin to move, and Grant rubbed Troy's back. Troy's eyes closed. "This feels nice, Grant."
Grant didn't respond. Troy rubbed up and down Grant's back, then he let his hands slip below the waistband of Grant's sweats. Grant breathed heavily, as Troy lightly stroked his firm rear. "Tell me if I go too far," Troy whispered in his ear.
They continued to softly touch, and hold one another. Finally, Troy pulled back a bit, and he looked at Grant's face.
The man opened his eyes. They stared at one another. Grant swallowed. "You, you have streaks of hazel in your eyes." His voice was almost reverent as he looked at Troy.
Troy smiled. Then he reached up. His hand went behind Grant's neck. Troy gripped him gently, then he leaned in.
Both of their eyes closed, and Troy kissed Grant. It was lingering, very soft, and Troy felt his mind light up with a mad confusion of emotion and sensation.
At first, Grant seemed to melt into him. Then Troy felt Grant grip him tight, and he returned the kiss. Grant's tongue slipped into Troy's mouth, and almost on cue, they both moaned.
Grant pulled away, and Troy thought it was over. But instead, Grant put his lips on Troy's neck. Troy swallowed as Grant kissed the skin there. "Mmmm." Troy's eyes rolled in his head, and electricity shot from Grant's lips through Troy's skin.
Troy intended to ease Grant into things. But it appeared Grant had other ideas. While his lips kissed Troy's neck, Grant's hand rubbed down Troy's front. The tall man gasped as Grant's hand gripped his hard shaft through his pants. Troy licked his lips. "Grant. Ah, god." Troy felt as if he should slow things down, but there was a part of him that desperately needed what was happening.
Grant pulled back a moment, and he took off his shirt. His eyes burned with desire. Troy had missed that look in another man's eyes more than he knew was possible. He couldn't deny himself this, and he unbuckled his pants. He stripped, while Grant took off his sweats.
They were both naked, and Troy pulled Grant back to him. Their hands were everywhere, and they kissed, rubbed, and ground against one another.
The scent of precome hit Troy’s nose, and the slick, sticky, fluid began to coat Troy's dick as it leaked from him. Grant's penis felt virile and wonderful against Troy's groin, and he gazed down to get a good look.
"Oh, that's a great cock." Troy couldn't help but say out loud. Grant was perhaps a touch over average. And, to Troy's mind, it was beautifully proportioned - the circumcised head flared slightly wider than the shaft, and the width matched the length to create a pleasing proportion. It fit his body perfectly. Troy wrapped his hand around the shaft. It felt hard and yielding all at once. Grant's head went back as Troy's hand closed on him.
Troy shifted his hips until his member lay along Grant's. And he gripped both of them together in his hand. He was an inch longer than Grant, but they were both about the same in thickness. He stroked the both of them, and their precome mixed to create a slippery mess. It smoothed the way, and his hand slid easily up and down.
He watched Grant's face. His brown eyes rolled back, and Grant's mouth opened. His head moved around as he writhed under the ministrations of Troy. Grant's hands gripped Troy's shoulders hard, and his legs began to shake.
'God damn, he's a sexy guy.' Troy stared at him as Grant twitched and moaned. Troy grunted as he felt his orgasm get closer. "Unnnn, ah, god. I'm gonna come, Grant."
Grant didn't answer, and he stopped breathing for a moment, his abdominal muscles locked up and stood out in sharp relief. Then he and Troy released their loads, almost simultaneously. Semen from both of them shot all over one another's groins and on Troy's hand.
Troy breathed heavily, and he kept stroking. Grant groaned. Then they both finished with a shudder.
Troy looked at Grant. The black-haired man lay his head on Troy's shoulder. It seemed as if Grant's legs tried to give out on him, and he wobbled as he leaned against the tall man.
Troy held on to Grant. "You all right?" He put both arms around Grant's waist. Grant had his forehead against Troy's neck, and he breathed, his face down toward the floor. His hands rested on Troy's slim hips.
Grant didn't reply, and Troy frowned a little with worry. He pushed back and looked at Grant's face. "Hey." The man wore a shocked expression, and his eyes shifted around. "Hey, Grant, come on, sit down."
Troy led Grant back to the couch, and he helped him sit. Troy began to stress. "Hey, Grant?" He put an arm around his shoulders. "Dude, talk to me."
Grant blinked, and he looked at Troy. He stared for a moment. "I," he swallowed, "I ah," he nodded, his expression still one of incomprehension, "I really liked that."
Troy smiled at him. "Well, that's good. Now you kno …" he cut off as Grant's face fell.
"I LIKED it," Grant repeated as if he needed to in order to believe it.
Troy watched as Grant hung his head, and started to cry.
Troy put his arms around Grant, and he held the upset man. It was only thing Troy could think to do.
23 November 2018, Friday 6:13 PM
Grant sat on his bed in his bedroom. He was cleaned up, and his mind had run furiously in circles for the last few hours.
Troy wanted to talk to him after Grant showered. But Grant couldn't. Instead, he apologized, and he retreated.
He sat there. He kept going over what happened in his mind. He kept thinking about how Troy looked. How his skin felt under Grant's hands. How he smelled. How he tasted.
"Damn it." Grant had a hardon. "Damn it." He shook his head.
He put his face in his hands.
A quiet knock at his bedroom door startled him.
"Hey, Grant?" Troy's voice was worried. "Will you talk to me? Please?"
Grant knew Troy didn't deserve this silent treatment. He sighed. "Come in, Troy."
The door opened. Troy's concerned eyes met Grant's confused ones. "Hey." Troy stepped in. He came to the bedside, and he sat on the edge of the bed. He never took his eyes off of Grant. "Are you okay?"
Grant took a deep breath. "I don't know." He bit his lip, and he shook his head. "I don't know what happened down there." He rubbed his face.
Troy observed him. He cleared his throat. "Well, I'm sorry." Troy exhaled. "I shouldn't have pressured you into …"
"You didn't do anything wrong, Troy." Grant set his jaw, and he made himself say his next words. "I liked what we did. I could have stopped it, but I didn't."
Troy watched him. "Is that a bad thing?" He shrugged. "I don't usually do stuff like this with, well, with anybody anymore. But, it just felt," he flinched as he searched for the right word, "it felt natural."
Grant nodded. "Yeah. That's a good word. It really did." Grant blew out a breath. His hands were in his lap, and he rubbed them together. His face looked miserable.
Troy hesitated, then he reached and gently put a hand on Grant's back. "It's okay if you're gay, Grant." He smiled a little. "Or, bi, or even straight-but-lonely." He patted Grant. "I don't want you to feel weird around me." He kept his eyes locked on Grant. "If you want then I'll never try anything like this again with you."
Grant felt an immediate sense of loss when he thought about never touching Troy again. He chuckled. "Well, 'never' is a really long time." And that's when it hit Grant. 'You're gay. That's why it didn't work with Rebecca. You've been gay from the start.' He processed this on the fly. Though, he knew he'd have more to think through later.
Troy smiled at him, and his hand was warm and comforting on Grant's back. "Yeah, it is."
Grant straightened up a little. Troy copied his motion, and now they both sat up and looked one another in the eye. Grant wet his lips. "You want to do this again?"
Troy raised his eyebrows and shrugged. "Maybe." He grimaced. "I, ah, I've not done anything with anybody. For over a year now." Troy bit his lip. "Look, you know what it is that I lost. And I'm still dealing with it." He swallowed. "I'm not exactly sure what I'm ready to do." He shook his head. "I just don't want to jerk you around."
Grant snorted. "Nice word choice." He tried to find the humor in the situation.
Troy blinked, then he rolled his eyes. "Oh my god. I'm trying to be all supportive and help you get through stuff, and you go juvenile on me!"
Grant waved his hands. "Jerk you around?" He made a suggestive motion. "What happened down there?" He cocked his head and held up his hands. "You don't think that was perfect?"
Troy narrowed his eyes at Grant. Then he jumped on the smaller man.
"Ahhh!" Grant yelled, and then he laughed. The lanky man pinned Grant on the bed.
Troy grinned down at him. Then he seemed to become aware that his rump rested on Grant's groin. He licked his lips. "Ah, sorry, I'll get off of you." He started to get up.
"You're fine, right there." Grant looked up at him.
Troy's face shifted to a smile. He raised up, and let go of Grant's wrists. Grant put his hands at Troy's waist. And he looked up at the brown-haired man.
The two sat that way for a time. Grant had an erection pretty early on, and it stayed at attention the whole while. Grant could see that Troy had one too. But they ignored them.
Troy blew out a breath. "So, what now?" He seemed pretty comfortable as he sat on top of Grant. His hands rested on Grant's chest, and he was relaxed as he looked down.
"Well, first, I'm hungry. We should fix something to eat." Grant made a thoughtful face. "Then, if it's not too much to ask, I think I'd like to keep possibilities between us open." He stared up at Troy. "I'd like to get to know you better, Troy."
"Yeah? I'd like that too." He swung his leg over and stood up beside the bed. He reached down for Grant. "Come on."
Grant smiled at him, reached, and gripped Troy's hand.
23 November 2018, Friday 9:49 PM
Troy lay in his bed. He stared up at the ceiling, his hands behind his head with his fingers laced together.
'Man, what a day.' He blinked as he thought. He wasn't sure what was next. But things between himself and Grant had shifted fundamentally.
He honestly hadn't planned on what happened in the living room. He'd planned on giving Grant a gentle, sweet kiss. And then he wanted to allow the man to figure out if he liked that or not. But what happened instead was his own desire pushed him to get off with Grant.
Troy didn't know how he felt. He liked Grant. He liked him a lot. But he also knew Grant would need time to adjust and to process how he felt.
He blew out a breath.
A soft knock came at his door, and Troy sat up. "Come in."
Grant peeked inside. "Hey." He smiled, a little shyly at Troy.
"Hey." Troy smiled back at him. "I know I've asked this a lot today, but, how are you?"
Grant nodded. "I think I'm good. I appreciate you asking." He stepped inside. He wore a pair of briefs and looked ready for bed. He stood by the bed, and he bit his lip. "Ah, I wondered, if maybe you'd be okay, with me sleeping with you." Grant's face was hopeful, and a little embarrassed at the same time.
Troy smiled. "Yeah." He scooted back and made room for Grant. The dark-haired man happily climbed into bed.
"Roll over." Troy patted Grant's shoulder, and Grant did. Now his back was to Troy's front.
Troy slid up behind him, and he put his arm around Grant's middle. "This alright?" He murmured softly in Grant's ear.
They lay there. Troy felt butterflies as they fluttered around in his belly. He smelled the back of Grant's neck, and chill bumps rose on Grant's skin.
Grant shivered, and he giggled.
Troy smiled. "Sorry."
"It's fine. I like it." Grant blew out a breath. "I really do like it."
Troy could tell this was a gigantic step in Grant's process of acceptance. He went through the very same thing as a teenager. Grant just happened to be about twelve years later in his evolution than Troy.
Troy rubbed his lightly stubbled face against Grant. "If I do anything you don't like, or something you're not ready for, then you tell me. Okay?"
Grant nodded, and he shifted so that they pressed more firmly together. "I will." He took big, deep breaths, and Troy rubbed his chest reassuringly. Grant smiled. "Thanks. For letting me sleep in here."
"You're welcome. I like having you here." Troy lay with his forehead against the nape of Grant's neck.
Troy lay awake. And he felt Grant slowly fall to sleep. It happened in stages, as Grant's body relaxed, his breathing slowed, and he made small sleepy sounds until at last, he was silent - apart from his breaths.
Troy breathed in the warmth and scent of Grant's skin. He couldn't help but feel guilty. He felt the memory of John, there in his mind and in his heart. He expected to hear his voice - maybe, admonishing him for what happened, or with anger at how much he enjoyed the feel of Grant against his body. But there was silence. He didn't feel as if there was an absence, where that voice used to be. But, for some reason, there was no objection.
Troy closed his eyes. Though he somehow avoided John's disapproval, the regular toll of sleep awaited him, he was sure of it. That same, horrible memory, so crisp and clear of the officer's voice as he delivered the terrible news about his John.
While he did, while he dreaded the arrival of that incredibly lucid memory, instead, he slid into a warm, and comfortable sleep.
Author's Note: Please let me know your thoughts about the chapter at the following email address link. Wayne Gray
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