Notes: Time for a long authors note, sorry! I’ve got some extra things to give you a heads-up about today. The first is, we’re heading into a rough patch with Love Letters. Because of this, and because I love this story but writing it is like pulling teeth sometimes, I’m going to be starting up a second serial on the blog. I need something light and easy to write, and for those of you who read Vignette: Transition, you know what I’m talking about. However, the new story will be from Cody’s perspective, making it YA, so don’t expect a lot of hot and heavy sex, because no. I can’t resist, though. I just can’t. I’ll be posting it on a different day than Love Letters (not sure which day yet) and will probably start next week, so I hope you all can tolerate a second story to follow. J
In other news, I have to write a novel between now and the first of October, because I want to take advantage of Riptide’s open submission period. That means about 2k a day, which I can do with this story (a fantasy, not something I’ve written in quite a while) and a few willing betas who can read super fast and give honest and constructive criticism that will bend but not break me. Just puttin’ it out there for people to think about!
On to Love Letters, which, my god, is becoming so long. It’s over 200 pages on my computer, and the end has receded instead of coming closer like I’d imagined. Anyway, some R-rated good times for you here.
Title: Love Letters
Part Twenty-Nine: Dinner and a Show
Ben managed to skip the family dinner that night. Apparently it wasn’t the formal affair that Sunday was supposed to be, with people trickling into the house in starts and stops throughout the evening. Even better, Ben managed to get Ryan away from the house with him, even if he didn’t get to keep him.
“I have to be back by ten,” Ryan sighed as Ben started up his car. “Or Joey won’t go to sleep. He stays awake until he knows he has the count right, and the one time I tried staying out before now he was completely wired the whole next day. A wired Joey is the last thing any of us wants.”
“Why were you trying to stay out?” Ben asked as he pointed the car toward The Roasting Company. It was the only restaurant in Concord he felt he could reliably find.
“Because you and I were sexting,” Ryan replied, and he grinned when he saw Ben get it. “Yeah, then. Not the kind of thing I want my nephew around for.”
“Joey really seems to rely on you,” Ben said. It was skirting around the edges of the things he really wanted to know about: how long will you be here, how much will you have to give, when will you go back to your old life, when will you come to me? He wasn’t really sure he wanted to know the answers to those questions, but he couldn’t resist poking at the issue.
“He’s doing a lot better now. It helps Joey to have a schedule, and for a while his life was complete chaos, with Brody dying and Cheryl’s issues. Mom and I hope that Cheryl and the kids will be ready to move back into their own place by the time the new school year starts.”
“After Cheryl gets some help.”
“Right.” Ryan leaned his head back against the car seat and closed his eyes. Ben took the opportunity to really look at him, to see the new lines on his face and the fatigue that settled over him like a piece of gauze. Ben could still see the Ryan he thought he knew, but that vibrant young man was weighed down with responsibility and expectation and fear. The weight of a family that didn’t work anymore, that was wounded. And Ben figured he couldn’t do anything to shift that burden other than try not to rock the boat while he was here, but damn it…it wasn’t enough.
They rode to the restaurant in comfortable silence, split a roasted chicken and some sides that were just as mouth-wateringly delicious as the last time they’d been here, and settled in to eat. Ryan kept the conversation going by telling Ben more about what he could expect tomorrow.
“About ten cousins,” he said, licking his fingers in between chicken wings. “Two aunts, two uncles, various boyfriend and girlfriends and in-laws, they change all the time so they’re hard to keep track of. Then of course my mom and Pam and her kids, and Cheryl and Molly and Joey and me.”
“I hope no one expects me to remember everyone’s names.”
“No, but…” Ryan got quiet for a moment. “So, one of my uncles is, um, he’s kind of a piece of work. He’s very old-fashioned and he was my dad’s lawyer and campaign manager while Dad was alive, and he can get a little…offensive sometimes. Especially when there’s alcohol, which, this being my family there’s definitely going to be alcohol.”
“Is this a warning to stay away from him?” Ben asked, a little amused. Ryan didn’t share his smile, though.
‘Oh, you won’t be able to stay away from him. He eviscerates everyone at these things. It’s nothing personal, but just don’t get into a fight with him, okay? Especially if he’s talking about me. He’s been talking about me for years and I don’t really care anymore, but arguing with him just leads to problems.”
Well, fuck, that didn’t sound okay to Ben at all. “Why do you guys let him talk to you like that?”
“It’s complicated,” Ryan hedged. He saw Ben’s skeptical look and chuckled dryly. “No, really, it’s just awkward family shit that I don’t want to drag you into.”
“What am I doing here, Ryan?” Oh, shit, Ben hadn’t meant to let that out of his mouth. Never mind that he’d been thinking it all day and really kind of wanted to know, now Ryan was looking at him with wide eyes and a twist to his mouth that Ben really didn’t want to see. “It’s not that I didn’t—don’t’—want to see you,” Ben clarified hastily. “Of course I wanted to see you, I wish I could see you all the time.”
“You know I’m going to be here for—”
“Yeah, I know,” Ben cut in. “You have family obligations and I get that, I do. But Maydays seems to be something that you don’t actually enjoy, and it bothers me to see you take shit from your family and not be able to do anything about it.”
“It’s not Maydays, really,” Ryan said, twisting his straw in his hands. He’d foregone a beer tonight in favor of a ginger ale. “Usually it’s pretty fun, or at least…when Brody was around, he made it fun. Uncle Bill actually liked Brody, I think he’s the only one Bill liked. Brody could tell him to back off and he’d do it.”
Which you certainly can’t do, Ben told himself, not for the first time wondering if Ryan’s issues with his older brother were the real reason that Ben was here. Ben wasn’t Brody, he wasn’t even Brody-lite. Ryan didn’t seem to want his help, which was good, because at this point Ben had no idea how to give it.
“Bill’s been coming around more since Brody died, and it’s been more difficult dealing with him, but it’ll get better once Cheryl and the kids are back on track,” Ryan continued. “He helps mom with some things, and…we can’t exactly tell him to leave.” He sighed. “You don’t have a big family, so it’s not surprising that you don’t understand how complicated it can be sometimes.”
True. Right now Ben didn’t have any family to speak of, since he didn’t talk to his father and everyone else was a distant cousin. But while he was inclined to be reserved and keep his opinions to himself, that didn’t mean he wouldn’t speak up if someone started going off the rails at him. Which was going to happen, and apparently his role in this was supposed to be…just letting it happen. And that was bullshit, but Ryan was looking at him nervously and for all the strangeness of their situation, for all that they’d spent less than two weeks physically together in the five months they’d known each other, Ben had let himself get invested in Ryan to a ridiculous degree. So he’d try to be nice.
“When I asked you to come, I did it because I wanted to see you and I wanted us to have fun together, not to torture you,” Ryan added. “And then things went to shit, but I still wanted you to come here because I love you. So. There you have it.”
That was the crux of it, Ben knew. Love was worth a certain amount of sacrifice, it had to be, otherwise people wouldn’t do it. He had handled obnoxious roommates, he could handle an obnoxious uncle for a single afternoon. “There you have it,” Ben agreed. “What time is it?”
“Um.” Ryan checked his watch. “Nine-thirty. We’re going to have to head back soon, I guess.”
“We have plenty of time for what I’ve got in mind.” Ben put down enough cash to cover their meal and stood up. He took Ryan’s hand and tugged him out of the booth, then out of the restaurant and over to their car. They’d parked in the far corner of the lot, well away from the few other cars in the lot, and Ben unlocked the doors with the key fob, then pushed Ryan into the backseat.
“What is this?” Ryan asked, bemused but more interested by the second.
“This is me giving you a blowjob in the backseat of my rental car,” Ben said matter-of-factly, dropping his jacket to the floor and pushing up his sleeves. “You’re gonna have to scoot back or I’m not going to fit, and I don’t think we want my legs sticking out the side of the car.”
“Blowjob. Me, you.” Ben wiggled his fingers back and forth between them. “And while the local cops might give Cheryl a pass for being a nuisance, they probably won’t feel the same about me going down on you in a public parking lot if we’re caught, so scoot.”
Ryan grinned and moved back enough for Ben to wedge himself into the backseat and get the car door shut. It was cramped and awkward, but that was part of the fun of car sex. The air felt warmer already, muggier inside than outside the car. A drop of sweat slipped down the side of Ryan’s face and Ben leaned in against him and licked it away, then kissed Ryan hard. Ryan opened under him like he’d been dying for a touch, eager and soft and making noises that sent Ben from “interested” to “intrigued and aching” in seconds. They kissed again and again and Ben tried not to let it distract him from getting Ryan’s pants open, but fuck it, kissing Ryan was really fucking distracting, especially coming off a sexual drought. Hot, slender hands swept over Ben’s shoulders and back, lingered against his waist and then succeeded in completely distracting him when they trawled down his chest and beneath his waistband.
“Nuh-uh,” Ben said, tearing his mouth away from Ryan’s. Ryan whined with displeasure and Ben dipped back in, kissed him again and finally, finally got the man’s pants open. Fucking buttons, mother of god. Ben pulled and Ryan lifted his hips obligingly, let him pull his pants and extremely tight underwear down until Ryan’s ass was bare against the leather seat and his cock was freed, springing out of its cloth prison with a little “whap” as it hit Ryan’s stomach.
“Oh god,” Ryan breathed, trying to pull Ben down so that their bodies were flush. “Oh god, please, just, come on—”
“You,” Ben began, pulling away and sliding down Ryan’s body as best he could—Audis were nice, but this backseat really was a tight fit, “are going home to a house full of people. The less evidence, the better, right?”
“Yeah, but—Ben!” Ben was through discussing this; he didn’t wait, didn’t start slow, just opened his mouth and sucked Ryan inside. Holy shit, it had been way too long. Ben had been craving this sensation, velvet-smooth skin against his tongue, the hot, heavy weight of Ryan’s cock filling his mouth. Ryan tried to raise his hips and, okay, that was a little too much when Ben didn’t have a hand free to grip the base of Ryan’s dick and hold him steady, but he took it and pressed Ryan’s hips flat with his forearm as he sucked from base to tip.
It was a fast, sloppy blowjob, partly because of the location and partly because they were both so desperate for it there was no way to make it last. The smell of Ryan, sweet sweat and musk and heat, filled the air like perfume, the perfect aphrodisiac. Ryan’s thighs bracketed Ben’s shoulders, twitching and squeezing and relaxing in no discernible rhythm, and his hands moved restlessly in Ben’s hair as he panted and moaned, forgetting the need to stay quiet since they were in a public parking lot, and Ben wasn’t about to pull off and remind him. He just worked harder, taking Ryan as deep as he could before pulling back, savoring the slick strands of precome that clung to the head of Ryan’s cock as he got closer and closer to coming.
Soon close turned into now and Ryan gasped out a “Fuck” as he came, and Ben didn’t miss a beat, just swallowed as fast as he could before crawling up Ryan’s body and finally, finally getting the pressure he needed to get off. It hardly took anything, just his mouth against Ryan’s, Ryan’s tongue darting inside him and tasting his own release and the firm press of their groins against each other. Ben came like a teenager in his pants, completely without shame because that was what he wanted, the stickiness, the reminder that would force him to be thorough when he showered tonight, to relive every moment of this. He could think of worse ways to spend the evening if he had to spend it alone.
Ryan giggled, light and relaxed. It was a sound Ben hadn’t heard much this past month, and it was music to his ears. “You…are crazy.”
“Mm, you make me crazy,” Ben agreed. Ryan stroked his hair away from his face and Ben turned and kissed Ryan’s palm.
“Wish we could stay like this,” Ryan said, then modified it. “Well, not exactly like this, because I think I’ve lost feeling in my right leg, but together.”
“Me too,” Ben said. He pulled away and helped put Ryan back together. “Ready to head back home?”
“Yeah, I guess so.” Ryan darted forward and kissed Ben again before he opened the door. “Thank you. It means a lot to me that you’re here, and you’re putting up with all my family’s crap.”
“I’m doing my best.” Ben hoped his best would be enough to last him through the rest of the weekend.