Twelve Days of Heat: Day One

Twelve Days of Heat: Day One

The scent of salt fills his nose, and he breathes deep, as though he can inhale the ocean. The sea breeze is brisk, gusting across the lonely expanse of the almost-deserted beach. The gulls wheel and call overhead, their cries swallowed by the crashing of the surf. The tide will come in shortly; he knows, watching the setting sun sink toward the horizon, transforming the world into a rainbow of warmth—gold and red and orange, all the heat of the day transformed into brilliant hues that color the world around him.

The golden light reflects in Gabriel’s dark eyes when he turns to face him. He shudders, not because of the breeze, the lengthening shadows that indicate the death of the daylight, but because that intense gaze is fixed on him and him alone—there is no one else to see by the seashore. They are completely and utterly alone, and Gabriel goes on looking at him with the heat of a thousand suns, and Reese flushes, squirms under the scrutiny. He curls his toes deeper in the sand—his shoes have been lost in the dunes—and he fixes his gaze on the ground, studying swirling sand and half-covered seashells.

He wishes Gabriel would look at him like that, wishes he would take his hand—his fingertips are calloused, scratching at the inside of his wrist as he hauls him toward him, reels him in like a fish on a hook—line and sinker—

Now those callouses catching at his cheek, and he tilts into the touch, capitulating to Gabriel’s whims, his desires, like some weak-kneed romance novel heroine—

Then the alarm shrills in his ear and he groans, the dream evaporating like the last dewy rays of the sun. He drops his arm over his eyes, hoping against hope that he’ll be able to drift back to sleep, get back to that whimsical seashore, because he knows what they do next—

It’s not the first time he’s had that particular dream.

Reese is all out of luck this morning, however, because the alarm keeps screaming, and then there’s a pounding at the door. He drops his arm and stares at the unfamiliar ceiling of the hotel room, its strange whorls and swirls leading his eyes across its rough surface, drenched in the warm glow of an early morning sun.

“Pieces!” Mel bellows. “C’mon, let’s go! Breakfast is on, the shuttle’s waiting!”

Reese squints at the ceiling, then rolls over with a sigh. He grabs his phone, glares at the time—5:53. He drops the device back to the nightstand with a clunk, drops his head against the pillow.

He slept through the first alarm—which had been set for 5:30—and now he barely has time to dress and grab something from the continental breakfast downstairs. He most definitely does not have time to deal with morning wood—nor does he really have the will. He’s exhausted still; Gord worked them hard in the pool yesterday, despite the fact they’re all jetlagged from the flight between Baltimore and Istanbul, and they’re supposed to be tapering.

Or maybe it just felt hard because they’d been tapering, then spent practically two days in transit, curled up on a tiny tin can hurtling through the air across the Atlantic Ocean. Reese’s stomach churns at the mere thought; he’d spent most of the flight either sleeping or attempting not to hurl into a bag (it hadn’t worked very well). He’s still lingeringly queasy, even after having his feet on the ground for a solid twenty-four hours now.

More banging on the flimsy hotel door. “Pieces!”

“Yo, Pieces, let’s go!” That’s Brody’s annoying voice; he resists the urge to lob something at the door. Instead, he tosses off the covers, swings his feet to the floor, and heads for the bathroom. He has to do something about his erection—ignoring it hasn’t caused it to deflate any, and he doesn’t think his teammates will exactly appreciate him answering the door, heading down to breakfast while he’s pitching a tent.

He blames Gabriel entirely for this. After all, if he wasn’t so attractive, Reese wouldn’t have to have stupid sex dreams about him.

He takes a deep breath, then steps into the shower, gritting his teeth as icy water blasts away the last vestiges of sleep. His eyes open wider; gooseflesh bubbles up on his skin, and he shudders. His prick shrinks away from the freezing blast, retreating to half-mast in short order.

It doesn’t soften any further though, remaining stubbornly half-hard, and Reese glares down at it, because dammit, his own body is undermining him here. He can’t be late this morning. They have qualifiers—he has qualifiers for the 100M fly and the 200M backstroke. That’ll be followed up by semi-finals, and then his first race tomorrow.

He needs his body to work with him, not against him. Fucking stupid rebellious body. He’s twenty now, not a teenager. He should have left that rebel phase behind.

His prick defies him still, so he cranks the faucet to warm, because fuck it if he’s standing in the cold, shivering while he whacks off. He grips himself hard, squeezing hard enough that it hurts. He slides his hand down the shaft, brushes his frenelum with each upward motion, twists his wrist at the end, just to fuck with his senses. He needs to end this, fast.

Unfortunately, the end doesn’t seem to be anywhere in sight. He jacks it harder, faster, until he’s chafing, and he grits his teeth, because come. On. Body.

His teammates are still banging at the door, even as he’s rocking frantically into his own hand. He screws his eyes shut, tries to pretend it’s Gabriel’s hand on him, his callouses catching just under his head.

That does it, thank God. He stills, spills over his own hand, come hot and sticky on his skin, washed away a second later by the spray of the shower. He relaxes, bracing himself on the wall, pumps into his grip a couple more times, just to ensure he’s well and truly done.

He rinses off quickly, tosses on shorts and a tee as fast as he can. He grabs up his swim gear, pockets his phone, grimacing at the time. It’s now quarter after six, and he’ s so fucking late—the stupid white rabbit from that Alice in Wonderland show his niece is obsessed with rings through his ears: ‘I’m late, I’m late, I’m late for a very important date!’

He yanks open the door, ripping the keycard out of the electrical slot. He grins at his teammates. “You’re late,” Mel huffs.

“Sorry,” he offers.

“You sleep like the dead,” Brody surmises, and Reese shrugs, then brushes by them into the hall.

He scarcely has time to grab a muffin from the continental spread, which is a shame, because Turkey, like the rest of Europe, does continental breakfast right. America’s paltry offerings of pastry and occasionally cereals just doesn’t match breakfast across the pond.

It’s like they understand that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, or that competitive swimmers burn a lot of calories—Reese has heard something in the range of 10,000 calories, although he’s never bothered to ask anyone or actually count what he ingests in a day. He eats when he’s hungry, and that’s most of the time.

He supposes it’s not really on account of swimming he does that; swimming mostly just keeps him from weighing three hundred pounds like most of his uncles. Reese’s only consolation is that, much as his family isn’t the sleekest stock, he does have great musculature, so he looks fucking fine in his jammers.

Provided it’s peak season, not off-season, of course.

He plonks down next to Gabriel on the shuttle. The brown-eyed man glowers at him a little, then goes back to glaring out the window instead. Reese reaches over and plucks out one of his earbuds, nestling it in his ear. He fishes Gabriel’s iPod out of his pocket, begins skipping through songs, crinkling his nose at some of the other swimmer’s more esoteric choices.

Gabriel just glares at him, so he skips the song again, grinning when the first strains of that damned Spice Girls song permeate the headphones. Gabriel’s glare intensifies.

Reese wishes Gabriel would look at him with a different kind of intensity, his mind wandering back to that imagined seascape, fixating on the way Gabriel fixated on him in the dream.

He shifts a bit, adjusts his gear bag in his lap. He slouches low, crosses his legs, swinging one foot nonchalantly, and refuses to look at Gabriel. He glances about instead, hopes no one has the slightest inkling that he’s in imminent danger of springing wood. He’s taut, like a string, vibrating with the insistent tug. He bites at his lip.

He shouldn’t—not so soon, not at barely 6:30 in the morning with competition laid before him, but he’s strung, torqued, whatever you want to call it. He decides the hasty shower wank wasn’t all that satisfying, that he’d merely taken the edge off. Orgasms are like that sometimes—some are earth-shatteringly good, offering up a deep satisfaction that settles into his bones; others are a little more mediocre, and he’s soon strung up on desire again, his body back at the edge, the cloying need for just a little more.

Evidently this morning is one of the latter situations. Usually, that just means getting a second climax in—it’s usually better than the first, takes the edge off entirely. He’ll try for one later—although today’s schedule promises it will be much, much later before he can get any time to himself. It will be worth the wait, though—he’ll get a long, uninterrupted session.

He rolls his eyes upward, silently reciting pater noster and a couple of hail Marys for good measure, because jeez. Masturbation’s a sin—although Reese has done his fair share of it, and he knows for fact his brothers do it too. Still, they have a silent pact to pretend they don’t—and they conveniently omit that from confession.

He inhales deeply, then frowns at the lingering scent of flowers. He glances around, but says nothing—perhaps one of the girls is wearing perfume, although he knows they’re not much for it. It simply washes off in the pool, and combined with the scent of chlorine and sweat, it can be particularly noxious.

He glances sidelong at Gabriel, who simply keeps his head straight, his focus forward. His eyes are glassy, far-away—he’s focusing on some goal, maybe visualizing a race or a podium.

Reese sighs, then slides to his feet as the bus comes to a halt. They filter out into the growing morning light. Nerves bind them up, keep them silent as they stretch—Kat grabs her wrists above her head, pulls herself into a sidebend, the hint of a smirk showing on her lips; Brody swings his arms back and forth, as though he’s warming up already.

The first thing on Reese’s docket for the day is warm-ups, followed by the qualifiers for the 100M backstroke. Later in the morning, he’ll have the 100M fly, where he and Gabriel will go head-to-head. If he does well enough in either of those, he’ll go on to the semi-finals in the evening session.

They’ve got the warm-up pool booked first thing. Few other people are milling about; the Chinese team is in the main pool until eight, which will then be closed to prep for the races. A couple of the warm-up pools will still be going, and of course at least one will be open while the heats are ongoing. Gord booked them early to get them in and out, give them a bit of recovery time before they start. He also books early so that there’s fewer prying eyes around. They’ll swim until eight, then dry off. Gord will hold a half-hour conference with them; then it will be off to the races.

They shower, and Reese fixates on the wall, forcibly reminds himself not to be distracted by the bodies moving around him. He notes that he’ll need to shave again, likely tonight; the tell-tale red hairs are already poking at his skin, popping to the surface in a neat line from his navel down to his pubic bone. He sighs heavily; that makes a long day into an even longer one.

He wonders idly if he can convince Gabriel to help, that they should do each other a favor. It’s so easy to miss spots, after all.

He wriggles into his jammers, inch by inch, hates the way they pinch at his hips. The sensation will subside, he knows, but it’s always irksome, especially first thing in the morning.

He checks himself to make sure nothing is too untoward. Brody slaps him on the ass on his way by. “Lookit yu, checkin’ yourself out,” he teases, grinning broadly.

Reese sticks his tongue out in retaliation, and Brody laughs. “Yeah—I’d rather check myself out, we all know I’m better looking than the rest of you ugly mugs.”

“Ohhh, vain,” Caleb fires back.

Reese grins, then digs in his bag. He pulls out his goggles, then pauses, frowning. He tosses out an extra set of goggles, his clothes, his extra swim set, his warm-ups, his shoes—socks, underwear, ID, wallet, towel, waterbottle–everything goes flying.

He groans low, letting his head fall back in realization. Gabriel lifts a brow, works at unlocking one of the lockers. “I forgot my caps,” Reese mumbles, sinking down on one of the benches.

“Send one of the ACs back to the hotel,” Corey advises from the other side of the bank of lockers.

“That’ll take too long,” Brody counters.

“Not for the race–”

“But for warm-ups–”

Gabriel closes his locker again, holds out a black piece of plastic. “Here,” he says, avoiding eye contact with Reese. “Send one of the ACs back to the hotel—you can’t race with this, my sponsors’ll flip–”

Reese unfolds it, glowers at the little American flag and the word “Foss” emblazoned next to it. “Thanks,” he mutters.

“It’ll do for warm-ups,” Gabriel says sagely, and Reese tugs it on reluctantly, snapping it. He kind of hopes it breaks.

Before long, the natatorium is filled with the splashing as they take their laps. A couple of the assistant coaches are taking notes, filling out clipboards. Gord glares at him, and Ted, his second-in-command, laughs when Reese bobs up out of the water. “I totally though you were Gabriel for a minute,” he says, laughing, “and I was gonna ask why your fly was so off this morning.”

Reese glowers up at him, then hauls himself to the side of the pool, leaning into his forearms, allowing them to bite into the tiles of the pool deck as he surveys the deck, scrutinizing his teammates more closely than he usually does.

Kat hurries from one end of the pool to the other, toward the dressing room, and his gaze is drawn to the motion, to her long, muscular legs, the bounce in her gait.

She passes Mel, who is watching Caleb and Corey impassively, arms folded over her chest as she surveys their workout with a critical eye, and Reese is aware of how her folded arms lift her normally non-existent breasts, showcasing shape and form underneath her suit.

He follows her gaze, focusing on Corey and Caleb as they pull themselves through the water, the tension in their arms obvious, starkly evident in the way their muscles flex and twitch with effort.

He lifts his head to meet Gabriel’s questioning gaze, but does it slowly, dragging his vision up the other swimmer’s body, from his toes up past his knees, then his clinging jammers (he lingers a little on the impressive silhouette between the younger man’s legs; jammers and swimwear in general leave little to the imagination), and then up his long, lean torso, his abs contracted against the cold of the air, water rivuleting down him, and Reese licks his lips, then hurries on to meet Gabriel’s eyes with his own.

He is fucking horny this morning and he has no idea why. He’s exhausted, stressed, nervous, and he feels pretty much like shit, hates that he woke up alone, hates that he had that stupid dream about Gabriel and the beach again. Then he bites his lip and forces himself to think of virtually anything but the fact he and Gabriel woke up in bed together just yesterday, beside each other, alone in a hotel room oceans away from family and friends, in a foreign city where no one knows their names, and how Gabriel could fuck him six ways from Sunday and nobody would have to know a damn thing.

Very bad thoughts, and Reese doesn’t know where they came from or why, just that he’s edgy in a bad sort of way, borderline needy.

Maybe, he thinks, self-denial isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Sure, maybe he’ll have extra energy, extra aggression for the competition, but he’s not sure it’s going to help if all he can think about is getting some.

He blinks, then gives Gabriel a dopey smile, because he’s frowning and Reese has no idea what he said.

“I asked if you’re all right,” Gabriel repeats, and Reese nods.

“Never better,” he replies, then launches himself off the wall, flipping his feet and churning his arms as he backstrokes across the pool.

“Foss!” Ted shouts, then blinks, says, “Oh, fuck it, Pieces—take off that stupid cap, I keep recording your times under Gabriel’s name.”

Gabriel lifts a brow at the coach, and Reese laughs, sits up and treads water, then doggy-paddles back to the edge of the pool.

“You’re sure you’re okay?” Gabriel inquires, and Reese rolls his eyes, kicks his feet harder than he has to, just to really get the water going.

“Fine,” he says to his captain at last.

“If you say so,” Gabriel says to him when he’s stopped splashing about, and Reese hauls himself out of the water, wondering if Gabriel likes what he sees—wonders if Gabriel thinks much about him flexing and dripping water everywhere, nearly naked, so close to naked, and—

Wow, he really is horny. He needs to get his head on straight (ha, head), get his focus back.

They have competition, after all.

It’s tough, though, when they’re all in close quarters. They do almost everything together since they’re on the same schedule—they practice together, they eat together, they have free time together. Gabriel’s fixed the issue of “we’re in a room with one bed” now, and Reese isn’t sure if he’s glad or annoyed.

On the hand, it will be way less awkward to whack off tonight—he’s already decided he absolutely needs it; there’s no way he can go on with the self-denial thing. On the other hand, being alone in a hotel room makes it much more difficult to get some friction between his thighs.

He’s a bit surprised to realize that’s what he’s really after, and he stops dead on his way into the locker room, so suddenly Gabriel runs right into the back of him. Of course the floor is slick, and of course Gabriel is a big guy—taller than Reese, for sure—but Reese is pretty solid, so it’s a bit surprising that he slips under impact, his feet sliding right out from under him, and he goes down hard, hands scrabbling for something to hang on to.

He clutches at Gabriel, of course, and he crashes down on top of him. They’re a tangle of limbs, and the world spins around Reese, darkening at the edges.

“Jesus Christ!” Ted barks at them, and Gord’s hovering over them, peeling them apart.

Reese closes his eyes, bites his lip as he sits up, pretends it’s pain making him groan, not Gabriel’s warmth, not the weight of his body, not the sudden shock of being under him and thinking about all the different ways he wants to be under him.

“You hit your head?” The sight of Gord allows all of those thoughts to evaporate.

“Uh, yeah.” He winces; he did actually hit his head on the deck with a fair amount of force. He pulls the cap off gingerly, hands it to Gabriel.

“How many fingers am I holding up?” Ted asks, shoving his hand in Reese’s face.

“That’s not how you check for concussion,” Gabriel mutters darkly, and Gord glares up at him. He shrugs, says, “What? One of us is a med student …”

Reese picks himself up slowly, cautiously. He’s a little woozy; the world is very keen on letting him know exactly how fast they’re rotating around its axis, and apparently they’re wobbling a bit too.

Gord steers him toward the locker room, gets him onto one of the benches. Ted resumes his concussion examination, and Reese glowers at him, says, “I’m fine, I’m fine,” over and over, until he’s not even sure those are words anymore.

Maybe he is concussed.

They send him over to medical, where a cute nurse checks him over (he kind of wishes she’d check him out, watches her chest heave under her uniform as she breathes during the examination and, damn.) and gives him a clean bill of health, clearance to return to competition.

Backstroke is up first, and he barely has time to collect his cap from the assistant coach who retrieved it, then get down to the warm-up pool. They’ll be called in shortly. He splashes about for ten minutes, warming up again, then crawls out of the pool when they call them. Other swimmers are already in the pool, warming up for their heats. He tugs on his warm-ups—he really hates the stuff they sent them in this year, navy blue washes him out so bad and the red is a garish, almost pinkish tone that clashes with his hair—then waits in the ready room until they call him to the blocks.

Lane eight. Not good; he’s on the outside. The middle two lanes are coveted, since wake ripples out from the center; lanes one and eight end up getting buffeted about a bit because of the displacement by all other competitors in lanes two through six.

Not much to do about it, he thinks.

Gabriel isn’t a backstroker, so he’s out of this heat. He does all right at it, but his specialty really is butterfly, followed by freestyle. Reese is decent enough at butterfly, generally sucks at freestyle, but does well enough to get him by in medley. They’re both shitty breaststrokers. Reese just can’t stand it—it’s so fucking slow.

He bobs in the water, glancing up at the clock. They’re already in the hands of the starter, who is counting them down. He tenses his grip on the wall. Caleb’s three lanes over, a look of concentration plastered across his face.

The tone sounds—an inconsequential little digital plonk, so quiet you could miss it—but they’re all waiting for it, the room so quiet you could hear a pin drop. They don’t want to miss it; they don’t.

Reese shoves off the wall, arms spiraling backward, and he focuses on that—long, steady strokes, perfect form, his arms windmilling through his vision over and over again as he propels himself backward through the water, eyes pinned to the ceiling, counting out the meters in his head.

His fingertips brush the wall. He flips, starts his way back. The pool isn’t Olympic distance, just 25 meters in length. That means four lengths; he’s on his second lap now.

The turns are dizzying; he feels vaguely nauseous, but he chokes it down, forces his arms faster, dragging himself through the water. Faster, faster—

He can’t even hear anything going on; he doesn’t have a good sense of where anyone else is in the pool either. There’s announcing, but it’s muffled by the water in his ears, and the crowd—what little collection of avid swim fans have amassed for preliminary heats at this hour–is dampened by the water.

Another turn; now he’s heading back toward the blocks, his final lap. He inhales deeply through his nose, pushes harder. He’s burning up—his arms are on fire, his muscles screaming with it, and he’s tired, so tired—

Up and over, up and over—

His ankles feel like they’re going to snap; his calves want to cramp—he can feel them twitching with the threat, and it’s only a few more meters—

Fingers on the wall. He flips up, grabs the lane line, draping himself across it. He cranes his neck to see the leaderboard, searching for the results.

Third. Not bad—not great. But enough to maybe get him to the semifinals.

He shakes hands with the guy in the lane next to him—Xavier Derrault, part of the French team. He makes his way to the side of the pool, clambers out. Xavier’s behind him.

Now it’s the familiar post-race ritual—ice, food, nap on the massage table. Then it will be back for round two, and if he’s lucky, he’ll be back in the water at seven in the evening.

“Good job!” Mel says to him on her way out to her first heat of the day. Kat smiles at him.

He claps hands with Brody, who pats him on the back, and Caleb nods to him. “Where’d you finish?” he asks.

Caleb frowns. “Sixth,” he says with a grimace, shakes his head.

Reese winces. “Ouch.”

Caleb just shakes his head. “Not a good showing,” he says, “not my best effort.”

“Save it up for the 400m free,” Brody says with a sage nod. “That’s where you’re a star, man.”

“Huh, if he can get around Flossy,” Corey says, and Gabriel lifts a brow, pulls out his headphones.

Reese leans over him. “Hi, yes, we’re talking about you!”

Gabriel glowers at him. Reese bites the inside of his cheek. “You’re so vain,” he teases, “you hear your name, you pop those headphones out right fast—it’s a wonder you don’t stop mid-race when the announcers start shouting about you being in the lead.”

“Tch,” Gabriel says, puts his earbuds back in.

Reese is whisked into a pool full of ice (terrible), allowed to soak beside Caleb for probably twenty minutes. Then they change, make their way to the mess. Then it will be back to the pool. Quarter-finals. Rinse, repeat.

The assistant coaches shuffle them through their days, and they meet up in the warm-up pool, pass their teammates by in the hallways—someone on the way back to the pool, someone on their way to mess—maybe catch twenty minutes of gossip or shit-talking in the soak, in between scarfing down obscene amounts of food—fuel, rather. Reese always keeps that in the back of his head. Food is eaten slowly, enjoyed, savored. He eats food on his offtime. In training, in competition, he fuels. He doesn’t even taste it, just ingests it to keep his body functioning where he needs it to.

He meets up with Gabriel prior to the start of the qualifiers for the 100M fly. Gabriel’s been busy with the 200M freestyle. He looks about as worn as Reese feels, and they don’t talk. Reese isn’t sure what to say, and Gabriel just glares at him, as though daring him to talk. He looks like he might murder the AC who tries it, so Reese, for once in his life, holds his tongue.

They’re in different heats to start; Gabriel’s in the fastest group. He sets the pace, and everyone knows he’s the man to beat.

Reese wins his own heat, but it doesn’t count. He’s essentially the fourth-fastest swimmer in the competition; one-two-three in heat 1 all swam faster than he did.

Nonetheless, he gets to quarter-finals without much trouble, finishes third in his heat, which is enough to get him in, thank God.

Reese doesn’t swim the freestyle relay; Brody, Caleb, Corey, and Gabriel are the team for that. They have to wait for the girls to finish up, and then they’re whisked back to the hotel for a couple of hours. They have races this evening—Gabriel’s going for gold in the 200M freestyle, and then they’ll compete for medals in the relay. Kat has her 200M butterfly final, and Mel is in the women’s 400M freestyle.

Reese has no finals, only semifinals tonight. Tomorrow will be much more difficult.

They take dinner together, at Gord’s insistence. They scarcely talk; they’re all tired already, but hopped up on adrenaline, the rush of competition getting to them. They force themselves through food, knowing they need it. They don’t need conversation.

Reese thinks more and more about getting upstairs, maybe taking a nap—or maybe …

The bill is paid and they head back to their rooms. If they’re lucky, they can nap for an hour.

No sooner do they split up after dinner than Reese’s mother calls. He grits his teeth and stares at the phone. He really wants to get back to his room, lock the door, kick off his pants, and spend some time working himself over. The long day at the pool hadn’t helped him at all; he’s still taut in all the wrong ways, strung up, strung out on adrenaline, on desire.

He kicks the door shut and answers the call. There’s no way to get around answering the call; he has no doubts that his mother knows exactly what time it is, and she’ll just keep calling back until he picks up.

“Hey, Mama,” he sighs, flopping onto the bed, then rolling onto his back.

“Hey Marita,” she replies brightly, “how are you? How was the flight? Are you sleeping? How was competition? Did you train today, or are you running races?”

He sighs again, rolling his eyes. “Flight was okay, yeah, jetlag sucks, I’m okay though, slept pretty well. Tired now, training yesterday, qualifiers today, race tomorrow.”

He lets his eyes slip shut, rests his free hand over his stomach, not daring to let his touch slide any lower.

He’s horny as fuck, but he’s not about to whack off while he’s on the phone with his mother, of all people.

Her voice is probably the only thing keeping him from getting hard; he’s so ready for it. He woke up on edge, got no relief in his icy shower this morning, then spent all day looking at incredibly fit bodies in next to nothing, trying to focus on his race, his performance, but he kept getting distracted by bulges and boobs, asses—both male and female—clad in nothing but a thin layer of spandex, and fuck, he is horny, he can’t even believe.

He wonders if there’s anything to that old myth about just letting it build during competition, saving that tension, that energy for the race instead.

“Marita, are you listening to me?”

“Huh? Wha?”

Mama sighs heavily. “Marita, you zoned out … I asked if your sister had texted you.”

He frowns. “Which sister?”

“Riri,” she answers instantly, and he hears it in her voice—pride. Happiness.

“Uh, no. Haven’t heard from her.” He hasn’t heard from any of his siblings, actually.

“She has exciting news,” Mama beams, and Reese blinks, pauses his hand; he’s been fiddling with his waistband absently.

“Oh yeah?” he inquires, plucking at the drawstring of his sweats. If he just gets Mama to spill the beans, maybe she’ll end the call …

“I’ll let her tell you,” Mama says, trying to play coy.

“Mama,” he sighs, “just tell me—I don’t wanna be distracted during the competition …”

There’s a shuffling pause, then giggling, and then Mama all but yells, “I’m going to be a grandmother!” and Reese coughs and splutters, sits right up, his hand falling away.

“What?” he spits.

“Siiii,” Mama says; she sounds like the cat that got the mouse. “Your sister is pregnant, you’ll be an uncle in June! A little nino, I am so happy.”

She would be, Reese thinks, then purses his lips and glowers at the wall. He bends his legs, presses his feet together. “That’s, uh, great,” he says. He glances at the clock, wondering what excuse he can make up to get out of this.

There’s a knock on the door, and he blinks, then slides to open it. Gabriel glares at him, and his heart leaps into his throat, because yes

“Reese,” the captain says, “did you forget we have to get back to the pool–”

“Marita?” Mama asks.

“Uh,” Reese says.

“Semis,” Gabriel hisses, and Reese flushes because, oh yeah. He glances at the clock again.

“Sorry,” he says, “I’ll grab my gear.” He shuffles the phone to his other ear. “Hey girl, sorry, gonna have t’ let you go–”

He peers up at Gabriel, watches his face twist in some sort of gruesome disgust. He drops his head again, grins to himself. “Yeah, semis shortly, gotta get back to the pool—El Capitain is here, telling me I need to get my ass in gear …”

He straightens up, grins at Gabriel. “Cool. Awesome. All right. Love ya, talk soon.” He hits the call end button and laughs hysterically. “Your face!”

“What?” Gabriel huffs, and Reese’s jaw almost pops, he’s grinning that hard.

“I was talking to my mother,” he says, tossing his bag over his shoulder and strutting past Gabriel.

They’re back in the pool in short order. Reese make the backstroke no problem, barely squeaks into the fly.

Gabriel, of course, medals in both the 200 free and the relay. He beams while he’s on the podium, and Reese relishes it, drinks it all in.

Later, when he’s flopped into bed, exhausted and aching, bone-tired and knowing he has to get up and do it all over again tomorrow, that tomorrow will be more difficult because he’s already sore, already tired, and he has more races to run—finals even—he grabs his cock and jacks off, biting his lip as he fucks up into his own hand, his eyes screwed shut so he can pretend it’s someone else’s touch.

He rolls onto his back, thrusting up against his palm, a wayward groan escaping him before he bites down hard enough to break skin, tastes blood as he pokes at his lip. Fuck, he needs this. He opens his eyes, stares at the ceiling, squeezes himself harder.

And harder and harder, until he peels off, panting and frustrated because it’s not enough.

He’s keenly aware of the heat sitting low in his belly, the fluttery sensation that tells him he’s close, so close—

He needs something more though, so he turns over and ruts against the mattress, hopes that will be enough friction to get off.

He slows his hips when it becomes apparent he’s not going to come that way either. He grits his teeth. He can scarcely breathe, and he chalks it up to leftover adrenaline still flooding through his system, but he trembles, nervousness wracking through him, suddenly competing for space in his contracting core.

He slides a hand over his ass, spreads his legs a little wider. He shivers when he runs a finger down his crack, bites his lip—whether to keep from crying out or puking, he’s not sure.

He’s never done anything like this before. He’s never thought about it, even, but something compels him tonight. He pushes a finger against himself, drops his head against the mattress. He pushes in deeper, wincing around tight resistance—like his body’s telling him no, that doesn’t belong here—

But he tenses and shudders with pleasure. His cock twitches, and he rubs against the mattress, grimacing at the feel of his finger inside himself, and he tries to think about how filthy it is, how—bad—sinful, probably, maybe he should ask his priest about it—

But it feels so fucking good, and he sinks into the mattress a little more, rocks his hips and squeezes around his finger. He shuts his eyes, wriggles a second finger inside, shuddering around that too, almost there, so so close—

He turns his head, exhales, imagines it’s not his fingers, maybe Gabriel’s—Gabriel had huge hands, he’d probably just get one finger inside, it would probably feel like this: burning, stretching, the familiar ache of being over-extended, an overworked muscle, and he clenches up tight, cries out because he can’t help himself.

He pulls back experimentally, thrusts in. His free hand clutches at the sheets, and he presses his face to the mattress again, his exhales shuddering.

Maybe, maybe it’s not Gabby’s fingers, it’s his dick, maybe—

He groans, forces himself flush against the mattress, comes hard, harder than he has in a while, and he’s embarrassed about it, like he’s got two fingers up his own ass and is thinking about Gabriel ramming his cock up there instead, and that fucking gets him off.

He withdraws his fingers, rolls away from the sticky spot he’s left on the mattress, lands on his back.

That was a better orgasm than this morning, he thinks wearily as he stares up at the ceiling. Much more satisfying. He can feel the release; it’s deeper, sinking into his bones, relaxing sinew he didn’t even know was tense.

He lets his eyes fall shut, lays perfectly still. He thinks about maybe moving, maybe cleaning up, but he’s tired and boneless; he doesn’t want to.

So he doesn’t, yawns instead, and lets sleep overtake him.

There’s more to these two’s story – grab Going Under to read the rest.

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