Here you'll find
In the venerable university town of Siriash, a student wakes up in a strange bed. Christmas gift for da_rosas.
The Morning After
A thick, heavy blanket of mist held his consciousness captive. Sensations filtered sluggishly through it, one by one. He tasted them, turned them round in his mouth, identified them with effort. Filed them away.
It was dark. Well, of course it would be as his eyes were firmly closed, but there was only the faintest glow of light through his eyelids. So it was still dark, and slowly he became very aware that he didn't want to open his eyes. He didn't know why, he just knew it wouldn't be a good idea.
It was also warm. Not too warm in that unpleasant, sweaty, clammy way, but cozy, comfortable warm. As if his whole body were lolling in something soft and silky and caressing, only anchored there by the clearly warmer weight across his waist. Without it, he would surely float away.
That weight... something tickled his nose, he wrinkled it and screwed his eyes shut more tightly. Managed to move a hand enough to push at the weight. It felt –
He shouldn't have moved. Not even that one hand, because in an instant he was covered in cold sweat, head reeling madly. Round and round, everything whirled around him, the all-engulfing darkness swirled and there were streaks of light in it. He was falling, falling down, and a quiet whimper broke out from his throat...
"You gonna be sick?"
The weight tightened on his waist.
He wanted to shake his head but didn't dare. "No."
No, he wasn't going to puke, but this whirlpool had to stop, right now. He clung desperately to the first thing his hands met, trying to swallow the nausea and just stop the dizzying fall, grabbed the arm – at least it felt like an arm – around him, dug his face into the soft thing that he now knew to be a pillow. Tried to breathe.
"Just sleep on."
There was no way he could do that, because if he did he was certain to fall into the abyss, but his body chose otherwise. Deeper darkness fell once more, and gradually his gripping fingers slackened.
When he next floated up to the surface, it was clearly lighter but the weight was still there. Or, to be precise, it was now resting across his stomach because he'd turned to lie on his back.
He frowned, sighed, realized that the lump underneath his head was in fact his own left arm, and pulled it tentatively away. The movement jarred his head a little, but even though it felt uncomfortable there was no immediate stab of pain. That was a promising sign.
Could he open his eyes at last? Better be careful, for the taste in his mouth had a suspicious undertone of old alcohol, but for goodness' sake, he wanted to know where he was! He wasn't sure exactly why he was so certain that this wasn't his own bed; he just was. Not that he'd looked around – not too easy to do that with his eyes closed, after all – but something told him so.
He took a deep breath but didn't brave looking. Not yet. His head was heavy, with only a slight dull ache discernible, but that just might change soon. And he wanted to use the moments before that to try and sort out the situation.
No, this wasn't his apartment. For one thing, he should've bumped his elbow against the wall when he'd moved his arm just a moment ago, but instead of a solid wall there was in fact the glow of light coming from his left. For another, the place just smelled plain wrong. The difference was subtle, but there was some essential ingredient missing from the air.
Which left him with a couple of pressing questions. If he wasn't in his own den, then where? And, closely related to the first one: he was pretty sure that the weight on his stomach was an arm, but whose arm?
Well, he wasn't going to find that out without opening his eyes.
At least the person had the good grace to have settled to his right, which meant that he could turn his head away from the light – probably a window. So he did just that, then cautiously slit an eye open enough to peer through fair lashes.
A flat chest, covered by brown, curly hair. Good heavens. Hairy men so weren't his type at all.
There'd been no stabs of pain, though, and encouraged by that he opened the other eye as well.
The arm resting on his stomach was hairy, too... and, for that matter, so was altogether too much of the face. But it did look somehow familiar, which was a relief – especially the reddish color of that short and neatly trimmed beard.
A leg was touching his, and he realized that it was just as bare as his own. And, now that he came to think about it, he was completely naked. The rough edge of a crumpled blanket felt slightly uncomfortable on his crotch.
He shifted a little. No morning wood today. Was that a good sign or a bad one? What actually had happened?
Had they had sex?
And who was that guy with a head of curling, dark auburn hair and an even darker auburn beard?
He sighed and let his eyes drift closed once more. Too much to think about. But at least the blunt ache in his head hadn't increased in intensity...
"How're you feeling?"
It was definitely that same voice that had murmured to him at some point... not that he could remember the exact words, though, or the precise point in time when that murmuring had occurred. He swallowed.
"I'm not quite sure."
"Well, at least you haven't thrown up all your insides." The voice sounded just a little bit amused. "Pretty amazing, that."
The arm was pulled away, the warm body next to him moved and the bed swayed a bit. He pursed his lips together and cracked both eyes open once more, to level an 'I-am-not-amused' glare at his bed partner. It was probably way below par in effect, but nobody could expect him to be at his best right now.
The guy was still lying on his side, head propped on a hand, and looked down at him. And smiled.
"Why's it so amazing?"
"Well, you obviously aren't too used to drinking shots, so I'd have thought that you'd have the mother of all hangovers."
"Shots?" He frowned deeper, but it did hurt a bit.
"Yeah, you know, hard liquor. Went out like a candle after the third round."
This time he groaned aloud.
"All things considered, I think you seem to be in surprisingly good condition," the bearded guy observed. "Do you remember anything about last night?"
A cold suspicion began to creep into his belly but he shoved it back and covered his eyes with a forearm. He swallowed. "Not much, really."
"Well, how much do you remember?"
"I was in The Carmine Arms." That much he knew with certainty. "Went there with Ossden and Chaye, and sat at the Table as usual. Had dinner, and a couple of beers."
"So far so good." The Beard nodded. "Then?"
"We were the first ones to be there, but Esdenieth and Theleian joined us soon after that... then Selar came. With you." He raised the forearm enough to peer at his bedmate, cheeks turning red. "Sorry, I can't remember your name, though. But I know I've seen you before. You're Selar's old pal, or something."
"Yeah, we've been classmates all our lives," the Beard grinned. "It's Mileath. And don't worry, no offense taken, it's not long since I moved back here."
"Mileath... but you aren't Selar's classmate any more, that much I remember. You're not in the psychology department, you study something weird."
This time Mileath laughed aloud. "Weird? It's called mathematics, kid."
"I'm no kid," he grumbled petulantly. "I'm -–"
"Cilam, art student, just barely nineteen. I know, I know. But I'll soon be twenty-four, and therefore entitled to call you 'kid', although I'm willing to stick to 'Cilam' if you insist. Or would you rather I call you 'baby' instead?"
He resisted the urge to stick out his tongue and just grunted.
"I take that as 'no'," Mileath continued, unperturbed. "So, do you want to know what happened then?"
"I think I would," Cilam admitted grudgingly. "Although I'm not sure if I want to hear if I've done anything totally ridiculous, but I guess it's best to know anyway."
"That's the spirit." Mileath nodded. "And don't worry, you haven't been banned from The Arms for dancing on tables without pants, or anything like that."
"Did somebody?" Cilam's eyes went round.
"Nope. Okay, so one of the guys suggested a round of shots. Ossden refused right away, which was just as well considering how young he is –"
"Only a year younger than me," Cilam muttered ruefully. "Why didn't anybody remind me?"
"You wouldn't hear of it," Mileath informed him calmly. "Anyway. Then we had one round, then a second, after that a third one, and that's when you started nodding off. So I told the guys that I'd walk you home, 'cause I live just a couple of blocks from your dorm, and we left. You did walk, I merely supported you a little..."
"What does that mean?" Cilam leveled a suspicious look at Mileath.
"I had an arm around your waist and you walked," the man specified. "We got as far as the dorms and you kindly told me your room number too, but then there was a little problem because you were getting real sleepy and I couldn't find your keys. Okay, I didn't search too thoroughly, because it occurred to me that if somebody saw us it might look kind of bad, me propping you against the wall outside the front door and groping you."
Cilam buried his face under both forearms. His head hurt, and also another unpleasant feeling was making itself known.
"I need to go to the bathroom," he ground out and began to hoist his body to an upright position, remembering to be grateful for the fact that the edge of the bed wasn't far away.
"Sure, it's that narrow door. Will you manage?"
His legs and head cooperated enough to let him walk to the indicated door. He leaned heavily against the wall as he emptied his bladder, then splashed himself all over with some cold water, never mind that the floor got rather wet in the process. That made him feel marginally better, and he shuffled unsteadily back to the bed and plopped down once more. The sheets were crumpled but felt heavenly under his body that seemed to be experiencing all sorts of unfamiliar aches right underneath the general numbness.
He wasn't sure if he really wanted to hear the rest but braced himself nevertheless. "So we couldn't get into the dorm – and then?"
"Well, that's when I decided to take you here. Just a couple of blocks, etcetera. You were so obliging as to stay roughly vertical all the way here and wait until we were inside the door before you finally keeled over. Then I undressed you and hauled you to bed, and here we are now." Mileath spread his arms and smiled. "All snug and cozy and rested, and not too badly under the weather, I'd say. That's all."
"Did we..." Cilam began, then found that he couldn't say it aloud. "I mean, when you... did we..."
"Have sex?" Mileath sounded way too matter-of-factly about it. "No, we did not. Told you. You were out like a lamp."
"That might not mean a thing, though," Cilam said with difficulty.
"Granted. But I much prefer sex with a partner who's both able and willing to actually participate," Mileath drawled and stretched lazily with a wide yawn. "In other words, your virtue is still safe, baby."
Cilam grunted indistinctly and hid his face still a little more thoroughly under the arms. He decided to take Mileath's word for it that nothing really had happened.
Not that he'd basically have anything against it. In principle. After all, it hadn't been totally without hidden motives that he'd joined the Table, that informal and yet highly distinctive society of openly gay intellectuals that had its meeting place in The Carmine Arms. And yet, even if he was still a novice in that company, he definitely didn't want to get a reputation as someone to get totally drunk and then have sex with just anyone. No, definitely not.
Even less did he want anyone else to know exactly how little experience he had in the actual, physical reality of what being gay might mean. His cheeks went aflame at the thought. That would be a real humiliation, and that was why nobody was to know. Well, of course Ossden knew but he didn't really count, because however weird he might be in so many ways, still he was someone to rely on.
Ossden would never tell anyone that it had been Cilam's very first time, last spring when they'd somehow ended up in the same bed together. Ossden wouldn't tell anyone that Cilam hadn't known very much about what to do and how, and had been almost freaked by how knowledgeable Ossden was about it all.
No, Ossden hadn't laughed at him, and still he had to swallow when the picture of Ossden's slim, pale body flashed again before his eyes. Good heavens how Ossden had enjoyed it... and that was when he'd finally believed it. That Ossden, never mind that the wunderkind had been hardly seventeen when he'd come to study in Siriash, hadn't been merely holding hands with the architecture student with whom he'd lived for that half a year before the guy had graduated and moved away. Ossden had definitely known what they were doing, and –
"I guess you're beginning to feel better."
The voice startled Cilam, and the memory that had crept upon him in the lingering fog of sleep fluttered hastily away. He turned to look questioningly at Mileath who was still leaning on an elbow and lying beside him.
"At least that's how it seems to me," Mileath added.
His meaningful smirk and arching of an eyebrow made Cilam blush even more furiously than a moment ago, and he quickly pulled one knee up to disguise the fact that something seemed to be making a tent of the bedclothes suspiciously close to his crotch. He turned his back to the other man.
"I'm thirsty," he grumbled, just to say something.
"So am I," Mileath conceded, and Cilam felt him crawl out of bed. He swallowed but couldn't quite stop himself from looking pretty closely as the man stretched with a yawn and then padded towards a small door, apparently the kitchen or something, barefoot and completely nude.
Cilam was ashamed for not remembering the name before. All right, so Mileath had only arrived in Siriash about a month ago, just in time to start the new term, but he was an old friend of Selar's and they'd seen each other numerous times at the Table during the past month. Now that his head was clearing a little, he could remember that he'd sometimes paid attention to what a nice hair color Mileath had – a warm brown with a distinct reddish hue. He had also sometimes thought how completely unfair it was that someone with so clearly red hair didn't seem to have a single freckle whereas he himself, blond and brown-eyed, should be completely covered in them. Cilam hated his freckles, because on his upright nose they somehow managed to make him look far too young for his own liking.
He sighed and flexed his limbs experimentally. No immediate wave of nausea followed the exercise, so maybe he'd still manage to get out of this bed before evening? To his dismay the erection didn't seem to be waning, though, and he bundled some more of the sheets to cover it, taking care not to rub it. It was begging to be touched, of course, and the occasional glimpses of the naked man in the kitchen didn't exactly help either. Mileath had a nice body, that much had to be said, but he was too bulky and way too hairy for Cilam. Not at all his type – not that he really knew so exactly what his type was, but anyway.
Mileath emerged from the small kitchen with a large tankard and grinned at Cilam.
"Found some juice," he said raising the rough clay vessel. "Want some?"
Cilam sat up and drank greedily. The juice tasted of apples, thick and sweet and acidic at the same time, it wasn't too sugary and he had to close his eyes to properly savor it on his tongue. It was just what he needed, liquid and fresh and just filling enough.
"Want more?" Mileath took the tankard and finished off what was still left inside it.
"No... better not." Cilam settled once more on the bed and took a deep breath. He hadn't been hung over very many times in his life, but every time he'd been puking until his whole body hurt. Now he didn't feel really sick, just tired and heavy-limbed and headachy. Not to mention increasingly horny, but he was going to ignore that and hope it would just go away. "I don't want to throw up."
"Okay." Mileath crawled to bed as well and thoughtfully pulled one corner of the sheets over his midsection. "If you want to sleep some more, go right ahead. It's Sunday, remember? No lessons today."
"Goody," Cilam muttered. "Not that I'd be able to get up now, even if there were."
"You really aren't much used to drinking," Mileath observed in a conversational tone. "Didn't you ever have any secret parties in your prep school, kiddo?"
"Sure we did," Cilam snorted. "But we never had strong spirits, only wine. Or beer."
"Wow. In other words, this is the first time you've tried more potent stuff. I think you handle it pretty well." Mileath yawned and scratched his belly. "If we disregard the fact that it went to your head really quick, that is."
"Yeah, yeah, I got that part already!" Cilam shot back and resisted the urge to squirm on the bed. It was getting increasingly obvious that he had to get up and go to the bathroom once more to take care of matters. His cock was throbbing insistently and he knew nothing short of proper jerking off would ease it now. Too bad, though, that he probably couldn't prevent Mileath from seeing, and - "Uh, what?"
"I said..." Mileath smiled and turned once more to his side, leaning on one elbow, "how about letting me take care of that?"
Cilam turned crimson, he just knew it from the heat rushing to his face in a blink. Ashamed and confused, he convulsively crunched the sheets more tightly on his crotch – so tightly, in fact, that he couldn't quite bite back a whimper. Mileath shook his head.
"No reason to look like that, baby," he said. "You're gay, you wake up nude next to a nude guy, you have a hard-on. I wouldn't call that exactly surprising. Now the question is, do you want to go on being uncomfortable or will you take me up on my offer? I promise to be nice."
Cilam swallowed, not quite able to keep his hips from bucking a little when a broad, warm hand gently pushed aside the sheets. His own hands that still clutched them seemed to have gone temporarily numb. Mileath smiled, rolled closer, massaged softly Cilam's hip and then let his hand glide to the buttocks.
"Just relax." His voice was low and soothing. "I promise to make you feel real good."
Cilam knew he was trembling but just couldn't stop. He leaned back and closed his eyes, concentrated on breathing and feeling. This was so different from that time with Ossden, and he was terribly nervous. About what, he wasn't sure. Mileath had such warm hands and they were so sure as they kneaded his thighs, his hips, ghosted up to his chest and then down again.
The beard tickled as the man nuzzled his belly, kissed a birthmark on his hip, then all of a sudden blew on his cock so that every fiber in his body tensed up once more.
"Shhh, baby, relax!" Mileath hummed. "Just lay back and let me take care of you, okay?"
"What're you doing?" Cilam panted peering suspiciously down into a pair of twinkling brown eyes.
"You've never had a blowjob before?"
Cilam could only shake his head, breath coming in gasps. Mileath smiled a little.
"This'll feel good. Trust me."
The first nudge of a tongue on the exposed head of Cilam's dick made his eyes roll back. Almighty gods what it felt like, the lips and the wetness and especially the tongue... Nothing could possibly feel like this, nothing should feel this good, the thought hammered inside his head and he knew that he should push Mileath away but the fact was that he just couldn't. His hands clawed the sheets, and then Mileath slowly took the cock in his mouth, so slowly, oh gods...
Sensations flooded over him in waves, each one more intoxicating as the one before it. Mileath's tongue rasped gently along the underside of his cock, from the base to the tip, and he shuddered, hips bucking up no matter how he tried to stay in place. It was just too much. He couldn't take it much longer, the way Mileath was sucking him, tongue swirling and pumping him in rhythm with the hands that massaged the soft inside of his thighs. Knowing fingers were playing with his balls and that was so good too, oh hot damn he was going to –
"Stop," he gasped, sank his fingers into curling, reddish hair and tried to force the man to stop, except that his hands didn't want to do as he told them and just clutched Mileath closer instead. "I'm going to, oh, Mileath, I'll –"
He thought incoherently that he'd definitely faint when Mileath merely hummed in the back of his throat. The vibration shot through Cilam's cock and up to his lower belly and entire body, and then he just couldn't hold it back any more because everything was just too much and too intense and far too good. He arched up and came with a low groan, shot his load into Mileath's mouth and nearly sobbed, trembling with the force of the release.
He was in heaven. Or floating. Or something.
It took a while before the waves subsided enough and he realized that Mileath had crawled to lie next to him, one arm possessively over his stomach. He slit his eyes enough to peer at the man, feeling the flush on his face, still too much out of breath to say anything.
"Whoa," he breathed, for lack of better words.
"I guess you liked it?" Smiling, Mileath pushed aside sweaty bangs that had caught to Cilam's lashes.
Cilam opened and closed his mouth a couple of times before any words agreed to come out. "It – I mean, you – it was -"
"Okay, I get it!" Mileath grinned. "Want to taste?"
"Huh?" Cilam blinked a few times, then comprehension dawned and he blushed still a bit more, turning his face away. "Don't be gross!"
"Nothing gross about it, babe," Mileath murmured and Cilam felt a kiss on his ear. "No need to be ashamed. I know how good it feels, I like what it tastes, and I like doing it. Especially to someone as cute as you."
Cilam swallowed, if possible feeling even more embarrassed – by himself, what had just transpired, and most of all by Mileath's tone of voice. He couldn't look at the man, no way, though he wasn't sure what exactly was so different now. He'd had sex with Ossden, and although he'd been blushing rather too easily for a while afterwards, he'd had no trouble seeing Ossden daily ever since. This, though... the way he'd ended up here, and the fact that Mileath was – well, okay, not exactly his type, but there was no denying that Mileath was very nice. And felt good there, next to him, so warm and masculine and -–
Very masculine, in fact. Cilam swallowed again when Mileath shifted just a little and he felt the man's very full erection against his hip. He wanted to touch it but was mortified all of a sudden, afraid to reveal the inexperience and confusion hiding right underneath his cheeky, brash exterior. Mileath was a man, perhaps not that many years older but so much more experienced. Mileath knew what he was doing and what he wanted. So what did Mileath want? Did he expect Cilam to do the same he'd done? Cilam licked his lips; he wasn't at all sure he wanted to do that.
And yet his hands were itching to ghost closer, to touch the thick shaft pressed into his thigh, hard but not demanding. It felt snug and comfortable there. Cilam moved his leg experimentally, Mileath hummed and rocked closer. Encouraged, Cilam rubbed their bodies together, listening to the smile in Mileath's voice, feeling how the cock twitched and the hands caressing his body in lazy circles became more urgent.
He held his breath in anticipation, dreading what Mileath would say, waiting for him to say something. Hot breath on his ear made his whole body tingle, then a hand cupped his cheek and turned his head. He opened his eyes and looked at Mileath. The man's eyes were in half-mast, glittering with lust and good humor.
"Cilam, baby," Mileath murmured and kissed him, nibbled on his lower lip, teased his mouth open with his tongue. "Touch me, please."
It felt good and right to take Mileath in his hand, and even better when Mileath moaned into his mouth and kissed him deeper. Mileath tasted strange, for a while Cilam wondered at it and tried to decide whether he liked it or not – but then he remembered and nearly pulled away, except that Mileath's fingers were entangled in his straight blond hair and the man thrust into his fist with increasing urgency, kissing him like there was no tomorrow.
So Cilam just clutched Mileath harder. His own cock had hurried to leap up once more, eager to join the fun, and he cautiously ground his hips against the man. It felt good, too, letting their slick erections touch and nuzzle and glide together, Cilam felt a laughter bubble up through the haze of lust as Mileath grabbed his ass and rocked them both in the same rhythm.
"Baby," Mileath panted, "Cilam baby... yeah, that's right... that's it..."
Mileath tasted of sweat and juice and something else too embarrassing to think about, and his kiss made hot arrows shoot through Cilam's body, the way his tongue cajoled and thrust alternately. Cilam stroked him, felt the throbbing on his palm and knew Mileath was almost there. On the edge. And then over it, fingers digging deep, choking on a moan, pressing his forehead into Cilam's shoulder and shooting hot spurts between their already slicked bodies. That did it for Cilam, he felt the tingle and the tension and then he was coming again, breath hissing between his lips that were clamped tight somewhere below Mileath's ear.
This time he didn't black out, not like the first time. His heart was beating like mad, he listened to their ragged breathing and the little shivers that passed through them both, felt how Mileath almost reluctantly forced his hands to loosen their bruising hold and shifted a little, searching for a comfortable position.
Cilam looked into the bearded face. Mileath was smiling, a smile that was just contagious. He felt how the corners of his own mouth pulled up, irresistibly, and saw Mileath's eyes crease with laughter.
"That was good," Mileath said. "Real good."
"Yeah," Cilam agreed under his breath. He was still savoring the new experience, and decided that he liked this.
Mileath was so totally different from Ossden, his so far only bed partner. Instead of Ossden's loose-limbed, adolescent charm he was now held by someone just a few years older than himself, but those years meant a world of difference. Mileath was a man, compact, muscular in a way that suggested he might have other interests in addition to studying and frequenting The Carmine Arms, with a low voice and hairy chest and a thick cock that was right now snuggling softly with his own between their relaxed bodies. No, this didn't feel at all bad. It felt especially good to be lolling on this bed in post-coital bliss, feeling those determined arms around him, and listening to Mileath's steady breathing.
Cilam let his eyes flutter closed. He was sweaty and hot and thirsty, and he only now noticed that the blanket had been crushed into a tight lump that felt somewhat uncomfortable underneath his butt. Still, those were just minor things. This was good, too good to move right now.
Mileath grunted and fumbled for a corner of the sheet to wipe the sweat and come from those parts of their bodies that he could reach. It tickled a bit.
Cilam squeaked at the kiss on his ear and his eyes flew open. "I – I guess."
"How about a bath first? Then we could take another nap, if you like."
Cilam eyed Mileath with a sudden frown of concern. "You don't need to go anywhere today?"
"On a Sunday? No, no." Mileath squeezed him a little closer. "I tell you what – let's have a bath now, and then we'll raid the kitchen. I'm betting that we can find enough edibles there so we won't need to go out for dinner, unless you absolutely want to. Oh, and just to make sure: yeah, I am inviting you to stay. At least the evening, and the night too if you've got nothing against it. How's that sound?"
The smile was warm, and so were the eyes. Cilam found himself holding his breath as he looked at Mileath and blinked, trying to comprehend what he'd just heard. To stay the night here, in this bed, with this guy? The guy whose arms were around him, holding him so comfortably, one hand softly rubbing his lower back. Well...
Only, it was Sunday and tomorrow would be school day again. But on Mondays he only had lessons from midday onwards, so there'd be plenty of time to go to the dorm and change and get his things. He'd even made sure to finish his assignment yesterday before going to The Arms.
"C'mon, baby, you'll stay the night, won't you?" Mileath's lips were grazing on his neck. "I promise there'll be no molesting unless you want me to."
"Then why –" Cilam began, then bit his tongue hard. So he'd put his foot in it again... for the cool, self-confident, experienced person he wanted to project to the outside world, he sure did let slip! Mileath, however, didn't bat an eye, just continued to nip and lick his collarbone in a most distracting fashion.
"Really, it's your call," Mileath murmured. "I've sure got nothing against just cuddling with a cute blond tonight. What do you say?"
Cilam closed his eyes and just listened. To Mileath's breath on his skin, to the warmth flowing between their touching bodies, to the hum of satisfaction inside him.
"It sounds real good," he sighed.
"Great." Mileath hugged him tighter and scrambled up. "I'll go and run the bath then."
Cilam inhaled deep, crossed his wrists behind his neck, stretched lazily on the bed. He heard the slapping of bare feet, then the bathroom door creaked faintly and the water pipes began to squeal when the faucets were opened.
He smiled at the ceiling. This was the weirdest thing that had ever happened to him, but he decided not to worry for once. He felt tired, slightly hung over, sated, more than a little embarrassed, smugly pleased... no, sorry was not among the things he felt. Here he was, in the apartment – and bed – of a guy he hardly knew, but he wasn't in the least sorry for it.
Cilam crawled up as well, sat for a while on the edge of the bed and yawned. Now that he thought about it, food didn't actually sound like such a bad idea after all...
When he padded to the bathroom door and peeked in, Mileath flashed a broad grin from his perch on the side of the tub. The he cocked his head and frowned at some particular echo in the plumbing.
"Sounds like people have been using a lot of hot water today," he said disapprovingly. "I think we'd better go sparingly and plunge in together, if you don't mind?"
Cilam shook his head and climbed into the tub, then held his breath as Mileath turned the faucets shut and slipped in as well so that Cilam was sitting between his legs. They were slick in the warm water and they squeezed Cilam's thighs a little, then he felt how Mileath scooped water with both hands and let it run down his back.
"I like these."
Cilam's eyebrows climbed to the hairline as he tried to peer over his shoulder. "Like what?"
"These." Mileath nibbled on the back of his neck and shoulders. "Your freckles. They're cute."
"Come on!" Cilam tried to squirm away but the short tub prevented too long escapades. "I sure don't agree!"
"Too bad," Mileath said. He'd fished a sponge from somewhere and began to wash Cilam's back. "I like them, anyway. Will you pass me that scoop, please?"
They managed to wash themselves without getting too many limbs entangled too badly, and even got out of the tub without slipping. The little closet on the bathroom wall proved to contain exactly one clean towel, which Mileath handed to Cilam and simply wrapped his own used towel around his hips.
Cilam followed him into the other room, which upon closer inspection seemed to make up just about all of the apartment, and grinned broadly.
"What's so funny?" Mileath looked at him, raking fingers through his moist hair.
"You," Cilam said. "You're all curly."
Mileath glanced at himself and chuckled. "Yeah, that's what water does to me, babe."
"Didn't I tell you not to call me that?" Cilam growled distractedly, trying to figure out where his clothes might be. Come to think of it, he had no idea – because Mileath had undressed him some time during the night. Right.
"I don't think I've called you anything but," Mileath pointed out and plopped down into the single armchair in sight. "Your underpants are here, baby, just in case you want to wear something."
Cilam caught the tossed bundle and made a snarly face, then bowed his head to hide his blush when Mileath just winked. The guy sure knew how to make him lose the little cool he still had left... He glanced up and noticed that Mileath had pulled on a pair of well-worn slacks and was already on his way into the tiny kitchen.
Cilam raised an eyebrow when he saw the collection of jars and bundles that had appeared on the side table during the few moments that he'd needed to get into his shirt and pants. Mileath was crouched on the floor, rummaging around in the cupboards, peering in, digging out things, and directed a questioning look at Cilam.
"Is there anything you absolutely cannot eat?"
"I hate celery," Cilam stated. "But I don't think you've got it here anyway."
"Never underestimate the depths of my depravity!" Mileath grimaced. "Though, to be quite honest, there's no celery in the house. So you're safe, baby."
Cilam mock-kicked him but pulled the leg quickly back when Mileath made to grab it. "What's this here – not a leg of pork, methinks..."
"Yeah," Mileath agreed readily. "I've heard that before. But do you know what else I've heard?"
"Huh?" Cilam's eyes narrowed in suspicion as he looked down at the man.
"I've been told that I'm not a bad cook." Mileath stood up and preened shamelessly. "So let's see what we've got here and what we might make out of all this."
Cilam inched inside the small room as well and leaned against the doorjamb, watching with interest as his host took inventory of the findings. A small bowl of eggs brought a broad smile on the bearded face, and a large chopping knife appeared as if from nowhere.
"Omelet," Mileath announced cheerfully. "We'll have omelet, with fillings, if that's all right with you?"
"I love omelets..."
Cilam watched like a hawk as Mileath set to work, lit a fire in the oven, greased a pan and set it to warm up. Sure fingers cooped a dollop from this jar and a handful from that one, broke the eggs, added herbs, whisked and stirred, until heavenly smells began to waft in the air.
Cilam's stomach growled loudly and Mileath glanced at him with a smile. "Hungry?"
"Sure!" Cilam looked at the pale yellow, foamy mass on the pan with awed eyes. It was sizzling quietly, soft and succulent, its surface still almost liquid, and Mileath quickly spread the filling on top. "How can you make something like that? I thought only cooks know how to do that!"
"My big sister taught me," Mileath said, eyes never turning from the pan and its contents. "Mom died when I was little, and my sister ran the house while dad was working. He was always working. She's years older than me and told me that I need to be able to look after myself when she moves out of the house." He paused to flip the omelet over. "Always was a good cook herself."
"Where's she now?" Cilam asked under his breath. The other side of the omelet was streaked with darker brown, and now that the fillings were against the hot pan, a different but no less mouth-watering aroma was rising from it.
"Oh, she's married. Doesn't live here any more. Hey, will you take some plates from the shelves over here and bring them to the table? This'll soon be ready."
Cilam forced himself away from the entrancing sight, found the necessary things and carried them to the other room. Mileath informed him that there were no glasses, so two sturdy mugs were made to play the role of drinking vessels. Some little herb jars were added to the austere setting, and the two settled at the table.
"Here you go!" Mileath slid one half of the omelet on Cilam's plate and took the rest for himself. "Now just wait a moment, I'll be back in a sec."
"What're you doing?"
"Trying to see if we have anything to drink. Don't burn your tongue!"
Cilam decided to stay put and concentrate on drooling over the portion in front of him. He cut off a piece with his fork and lifted it up. It was golden and fluffy, a thin curl of steam rising from it, and he just couldn't help it. He had to taste it. It was hot but not scorching, and practically melted on his tongue...
"Greedy boy!" Mileath reappeared from the kitchen with two large pitchers, and shook his head. "Don't blame me if you burn your mouth... there's only this apple juice, sorry that I didn't come to think of it earlier so that I could've gone to get beer or wine from a pub. But now I'm afraid it'll be water or juice, the omelet won't keep –"
"Oh, never mind!" Cilam waved a dismissive hand. "The juice'll be perfect, I'm not sure that I could drink anything with alcohol right now. And this is just -– just divine! What did you put in it?"
"Glad you like it," Mileath said with a pleased smile and sat down as well. He poured them both some juice and added water to fill up the mugs. "There, that should make it a little less strong... now, what did I put in? Hmm, let's see!"
He picked up his own fork and began to poke at the filling. "Okay, we find here olives, chopped." A piece of something black was presented to Cilam. "Then some dried tomato, and mushrooms." Other pieces, of different colors, were lifted up to display. "Garlic. Some herbs, oh, and the long forgotten remains of some hard cheese as well..."
"Is this one of your sister's recipes?" Cilam asked somewhat indistinctly, mouth full of omelet. Mileath shook his head.
"Nope -– this is my own. Called 'sweep off the crumbs'. A very exciting one, you never know what it'll taste like, though I have to say that this turned out really well."
Cilam blinked, then laughed. "Well, I'm not complaining!"
Mileath smiled, maybe somewhat smugly but that was something Cilam sure didn't begrudge him at all.
It didn't take long before they'd polished off their meal, and Cilam let out a deep sigh.
"You want more?"
"No, no, you eat yours!"
Cilam poured some more juice into his mug and sipped from it. The strong, almost tangy taste of the juice was of course at odds with the main course, but the water diluted it enough so that it didn't completely drown the taste of the food, and the tiny pieces of fruit floating in it felt nice and crisp on his tongue. He closed his eyes and just savored it, held it in his mouth, let the sharpness of fruit mingle with the eggs and oil and vegetables. He felt good.
"You up to some dessert?"
"Dessert?" Cilam opened his eyes and Mileath tilted his head in askance. "Do you always make dessert as well?"
"No, but this is a special occasion. Besides, those eggs won't keep many more days. Better use them now."
Cilam nodded, and Mileath stood up picking the plates from the table. "Okay, you just sit back and wait a moment."
He did what he was told, and listened to the sounds from the kitchen – eggshells breaking, the clatter of an egg whisk, grease crackling on a hot frying pan – and looked around. The room, not very large in fact, was sparsely but functionally furnished with a narrow bookshelf, one well-worn armchair, a wide bed, and the table at which he was sitting. Obviously the table also doubled as a desk when needed... He smiled. Simple and uncluttered; just what he liked.
Steps from the kitchen made him turn to look. Mileath was carrying another pair of plates, once more with something golden and steaming and artfully folded on them, and grinning.
"And here's the dessert!" he announced proudly. "A sweet omelet. Forgot to ask if you like sour cherries before I ladled the rest of the jam on top, though."
"No need to ask," Cilam interrupted. "I love sour cherries, just so you know. And now give that to me, please, before I drool a pond on your floor!"
"Here you are, baby!" Mileath placed the plate in front of him with an exaggerated flourish. "Enjoy!"
Cilam ignored the pet name – hadn't he already noticed that protests had no effect? – and gleefully did as he was told. The first mouthful of the second omelet silenced him completely anyway. It was even fluffier than the first one, and combined with the thick, sweet jam into something too good for words. He savored every bite and could barely stop himself from licking the plate clean.
"Here." Mileath held up the last piece of the omelet in his own fork. "Open your mouth."
"No buts, baby. I want you to take it."
Cilam relented, took the yellow morsel slowly in his mouth and closed his lips around it. Mileath was looking at him so intently that he felt his cheeks warming – well, of course he'd blush, when didn't he? He swallowed and raised his chin in challenge. "What?"
"Just wanted to look at you," Mileath sighed and leaned back in his chair.
"What about me?"
"Did you know that you've got an absolutely kissable mouth?"
To his own surprise, Cilam did not turn a flashy red. Well, okay, maybe he did blush a little bit more, but so slightly that it didn't really count.
"Do I?" he asked, voice just a little hoarse.
"Yeah." Mileath looked him straight in the eye. "You do."
Cilam took a deep breath and bit the inside of his cheek. The question 'are you going to do something about it?' was on the tip of his tongue, but when he opened his mouth to say it, a huge yawn took him completely by surprise. Mileath burst into laughter.
"C'mon, babe," he said and pushed his chair back. "Let's get ourselves back to bed. These dishes can wait until later."
He swept the plates and mugs from the table before Cilam had time to even get up. For a moment Cilam just stood there, trying to decide what to do, then another yawn stretched his jaw and his gaze fell on the unmade bed.
Good heavens but it looked inviting.
He didn't even think twice before shedding his shirt and trousers on the armchair and lying down.
"Hey, don't you think we need to change the sheets – aren't there any wet spots?" Mileath asked as he reappeared from the small kitchen, eyebrows rising.
"No," Cilam said truthfully. "It's had time to dry. Come here."
"Now that's a command I gladly obey..."
Mileath peeled off his slacks and crawled under the corner of the blanket that Cilam was obligingly holding up for him. Their bodies spooned together, an arm wrapping loosely around a waist, cheek pressing into the bed of a neck.
Cilam blinked sleepily. Funny how his eyes irresistibly wanted to close, all of a sudden... "Thanks," he mumbled.
"For what?" Mileath's voice was mellow, too, and drawled a bit.
"For looking after me last night."
Cilam tried to keep the words from slurring together, but it was getting difficult. The pillow was so cool and soft, Mileath so warm, the room so quiet. He felt how a nose insistently nuzzled his face, turned his head in response and heard Mileath's pleased grunt when their lips met in a wet, soft, lingering kiss that tasted faintly of sour cherries.
"Any time, baby."
Cilam smiled into the kiss when that beard tickled his face. Hairy guys so weren't his type. Not at all. But he might make exceptions if given a good enough reason.
He closed his eyes and gave in.