When glass artist Marco Ravél is commissioned to create a piece for a rich recluse, he’s thrilled for the opportunity to stretch his creative muscle. He doesn’t expect to fall for the man hiring him. For Henrik Schweitzer, the relationship blossoming between himself and Marco shakes his world to its foundation. He wants to keep what the two of them have together, but after eight years of near-complete solitude he doesn’t know if he has what it takes to change. Marco and Henrik both know they can have something special, if they can conquer the mountain of fears in their path.
© Copyright 2012 Ally Blue
“Okay, that’s it.” Climbing down from the stepladder Rik had helpfully provided, Marco put his hands on his hips and peered up at the new fixture with pride. “What d’you think?”
Rik stared, wide-eyed. “It’s gorgeous. Wow.” He turned to Marco with excitement practically shooting off him in visible sparks. “I have to go turn the electricity back on so we can see. Be right back.” He swooped in to plant a hard, swift kiss on Marco’s mouth, then set off for the basement at a dead run before Marco could move a muscle.
Chuckling, Marco walked over to the table—off center now, since he and Rik had moved it to hang the light—and leaned against it. He’d never met anyone as charming and absolutely guileless as Henrik. Which sort of scared him, when he thought about the two of them having sex.
A sharp thrill raised gooseflesh on Marco’s arms. The things he and Rik had said to each other on the phone…God. You’d never know Rik was a virgin. But he was. He’d only ever seen those acts on porn sites online, only ever heard Marco tell him what it would feel like in real life. Marco’s own life history had taught him that words and video could only prepare you so much. The reality of it—the true extent of the pleasure, and sometimes the discomfort—couldn’t be explained. It could only be experienced.
Part of him didn’t want to be the one to take Rik’s innocence, because he wasn’t sure he was worthy. But another, darker part of him ached to do it, to make Rik dream about it for the rest of his life.
The fact that Rik wanted him to be the one meant that his baser urges would be satisfied. No matter how hard he looked, he couldn’t find any part of himself that honestly regretted it.
Henrik bounced back into the room carrying a bottle of champagne and two glasses, startling Marco out of his thoughts. “Okay, the electricity’s back on.” Rik held out one hand. “Hang on, I’m opening the champagne.”
A close look at the label told Marco it was real champagne, from the right region of France. He raised his eyebrows. “Awesome.”
Grinning, Henrik peeled off the foil, untwisted the wire and eased the cork out. He had an expert’s touch. The cork came free with a soft hiss. He poured golden liquid into the two glasses, then recorked the bottle and took it back into the kitchen. When he returned, he picked up his glass and nodded at Marco to take his.
Once they both had champagne in hand, Rik stood beside the light switch with an air of palpable excitement. “Ready?”
Marco forced back the urge to laugh and nodded. “Ready.”
“All right.” Teeth digging into his lower lip, Henrik flipped the switch.
Even Marco was surprised by how pretty the new fixture looked, the light sparkling through the glass beads and forming glittering pinpoints on the walls. The overall impression was exactly what he’d envisioned—fragile, delicate, ethereal, like a tiny rainstorm reflecting sunlight through the room.
He laughed out loud. “Just what I wanted.” Turning to Rik, he lifted his glass. “What about it, Rik?”
Henrik gazed at the light for another few seconds, enchantment written all over his face. Blinking, he swiveled to face Marco and smiled. “It’s perfect. Just perfect.” Raising his glass, he clinked it against Marco’s. “Cheers.”
Marco echoed Rik, and the chime of crystal against crystal faded as they drank. Rik licked his lips when he lowered his glass, and that was all Marco could stand. He leaned in and kissed Rik.
Rik’s lips opened on a low sigh, his tongue coming out to slide against Marco’s. The tartness of the champagne tasted wonderfully different when taken from Rik’s mouth. Marco dug his free hand into Rik’s silky hair and tilted his head to kiss him deeper, the better to seek out all of his flavors.
After long, perfect ages of nothing but the heat of Rik’s mouth, his sweet little pleasure noises and the press of his body against Marco’s, Rik broke the kiss and pushed Marco back by the shoulder. “Wait. Stop.”
Confused, Marco stared at Rik’s flushed face and red, swollen lips. “Huh?”
To his shock, Rik flashed a purely evil grin. “I’m not losing my virginity in the dining room.” He clamped a hand around Marco’s wrist. “We’re going to my bedroom. Come on.”
“Oh. Yeah. Hang on a sec.” Easing his arm from Rik’s grip, Marco went to retrieve the box of condoms from the bag the light had been in, then hurried back to Rik’s side. He pretended not to notice the way Rik’s eyes went wide at the sight of the box with its picture of a foil-wrapped prophylactic flanked by two grinning would-be lovers. “Should we get the champagne bottle?”
“Sure.” Rik gave him a nervous smile. “I have a freezer, ice and an ice bucket in my suite, so it’ll keep.”
In the kitchen, Rik fetched the champagne from the fridge and carried it to his suite. Marco strode beside him, the hand holding the condom box slung over Rik’s shoulder. The rubbers practically in his face seemed to make Rik a little uncomfortable, but at the same time he was clearly happy to have Marco’s arm around him, so Marco was glad he’d done it.
Once they reached Rik’s rooms, Marco didn’t even have to pretend to be impressed with the surroundings while Rik put the champagne on ice and composed himself. “Wow. This is something else.”
“It used to be a guest suite when my grandparents first built this place. I took these rooms after they retired and moved to Europe. Gus and I never really have overnight guests. Except for the corporate retreats, but that’s only once a year, and we have rooms upstairs for that. And Gus’s Lances, but they stay with her.” Rik switched off the lights, other than a couple of low-wattage lamps beside his private bar. They gave off a warm golden glow. Rik paced over to stand in front of Marco, set their glasses on the coffee table and took his hands. “We both know why we’re here, Marco. Please don’t make me wait any longer.”
Marco’s heart stopped, thudded back to life and raced fast enough to make him breathless. He slipped his arms around Rik’s waist. “Where’s the bed?”
Rik swallowed, the sound louder than a gunshot in Marco’s ears. One hand gripping the waistband of Marco’s jeans, Rik led him through a pocket door on the other side of the living area into a large, airy space with three floor-to-ceiling windows taking up one wall and a huge bed situated where a person could wake up and look straight outside upon waking.
It made sense. Rik, who loved the outdoors but feared crowds of people, would need such a place for his private sanctuary.
Something pulled tight around Marco’s chest. Drawing Rik close, he dipped his head to kiss Rik’s neck. He nibbled along the big tendon and basked in the resulting shivers running through Rik’s body. “Let me undress you.”
It seemed a safe enough request, since Rik had been naked in front of Marco before. Still, Rik tensed and shuddered in Marco’s arms. “Okay.” His voice emerged in a shaky whisper.
Gentle. Everything slow and gentle.
Marco tossed the box of condoms onto the bed. Rik watched it arc, fall and bounce onto the mattress before snapping his attention back to Marco. He gazed into Marco’s eyes as if Marco held his life in his hands. Moving with as much care as if each slip of his finger indeed carried Rik’s fate, Marco undid Rik’s shirt, one button at a time, then slid it off his shoulders. It fell to the floor without a sound. Rik stared at Marco with wide eyes full of equal parts fear and heat. Marco let his gaze slide down Rik’s bare chest and belly, admiring every inch on the way. When his eyes locked with Rik’s again, most of the fear had bled away.
His throat tight for reasons he couldn’t explain, even to himself, Marco tilted his head to capture Rik’s mouth in a slow, deep kiss. He spread his hands across Rik’s chest, rubbing his thumbs over Rik’s nipples until they hardened. Rik moaned, both hands kneading Marco’s ass through his jeans.
Without breaking the kiss, Marco ran his palms down Rik’s sides, traced his fingers around the front of Rik’s pants and undid the button on his jeans. He waited a few seconds, tugged down the zipper and eased the pants over Rik’s hips. Rik let out a tiny, distressed sound, but used one hand to help shove his jeans and underwear down and kicked them off.
Breathing a silent thanks to whatever deity watched over gay men deflowering their virgin lovers, Marco gathered Rik close, kissing him and stroking his back until his body relaxed in Marco’s embrace. Getting naked for a cock up your ass was completely different from going around naked just because you like the feel of bare skin, or even for getting your first blow job. Marco understood that, even if he’d never experienced it quite that way himself. Maybe it didn’t make much logical sense, but nothing about sex counted as logical anyway. Marco intended to give Rik all the time he needed to feel comfortable with this. Provided he hadn’t changed his mind.
When Marco felt Rik flip open the button on his jeans and yank down the zipper, he smiled against Rik’s lips. “Want to go to the bed now?”
“Take these off first.” Pulling back enough to look Marco in the eye, Rik grabbed a handful of Marco’s jeans and underwear and tugged them down to mid-thigh. His gaze dipped downward, then back up, heavy with desire. “Take them off, Marco. Take them off.”
The lump lurking in Marco’s throat all night swelled a little larger. Unsure what it meant, he ignored it and wriggled out of his pants and underwear. Together, he and Rik pulled his shirt off and tossed it on the floor with the other discarded clothes, and they stood naked in each other’s arms.
Rik stared into his eyes with a kind of horrified wonder, both hands gripping Marco’s shoulders with bruising force. Rik didn’t say anything, but the look on his face said it all. His heartbeat thudded against Marco’s chest, and his cock dug hot and hard into Marco’s.
God, Marco would give anything to melt away the last of Rik’s fear and turn him into a bundle of raw sensation. Make him shake and whimper with pleasure, forget everything else but how good sex could make him feel.