Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Pulling Away by Shawn Lane


Noah and Charlie grew up in the same neighborhood. They’d always been friends, though never close. When Charlie is left alone after the death of his family, however, Noah is the only friend that sticks around after Charlie practically becomes a hermit.
Determined to get through to Charlie, Noah invents a fake identity on the computer to talk with him. And while Charlie still keeps Noah at arm's length, he opens up to his new computer buddy.
Finally, Noah's dream comes true when his friendship with Charlie changes to include sex, but each time they are together, Charlie pulls away afterward. Every time Noah tries to get through to him, Charlie grows even more distant. Then Charlie tells Noah's disguised internet persona that he doesn't have a boyfriend, merely a neighbor with whom he has sex.
Crushed, and in order to protect himself from further heartache, Noah begins to live a life separate from Charlie. But Charlie realizes soon enough that he misses Noah in his life, that he must get past his grief and go after the man he has come to love.
But is it already too late?

...Charlie knew Sly Cat had a day job because he never came on until evening. But usually he showed up eventually. Not so tonight and Charlie felt the loss.
He could continue to be stupid and go to his empty bed with his hand, or he could walk across the street and tell Noah he changed his mind and wanted sex. He didn’t even need to get into his car. How difficult would it be?
Charlie tossed his now-empty soda can into the recycle bin and went to his hall closet to take out a windbreaker. Did Noah have condoms and lube? They’d always had sex at his house, so he didn’t know for sure. If Noah was into sex toys it was likely, but there was no point taking any chances. He walked to his bathroom, opened a cabinet and scooped up the supplies.
A short time later, when he stood in front of Noah’s house, he paused. The house looked dark, which was unusual for Noah. Charlie glanced at his watch. 8:30. Surely Noah wasn’t already in bed? He rang the bell.
Charlie heard footsteps approach, then Noah pulled back the front curtains and peered out the window.
“It’s just Charlie,” he called.
Charlie heard the lock being flung back, then the door opened. A toothbrush stuck out of Noah’s foaming mouth.
“Charlie?” Noah asked around the toothpaste.
“Yeah. Can I come in?” Without waiting for Noah to respond, Charlie pushed passed him and entered the house. “I thought maybe you’d gone to bed. It’s pretty dark in here for you.”
Noah stared at him, his hand frozen, clutching the toothbrush.
“Why don’t you go take care of that?” Charlie suggested with a grin.
The other man disappeared down the hall and Charlie glanced around the front hall. As usual, the house looked spotless. Noah was a near freakish housekeeper. Unlike himself.
Noah returned sans toothbrush, but he still looked perplexed.
“Listen, I changed my mind. Sorry about before. I guess I was a little grumpy. Is it too late?”
Geez, Noah was going to make him spell it out?
Charlie held up the condoms and lube he’d been holding. “What do you suppose?”
“Oh.” Noah blinked behind his glasses, then grinned. “Oh.”
Charlie laughed. “Yeah. So, is it too late?”
Noah seized the condoms and lube and simply walked down the hallway. Charlie guessed that meant it was not too late. He pulled off his T-shirt as he followed Noah to the bedroom.
He watched Noah pull the quilt, blanket, and sheet off his sleigh bed in one swift motion. Charlie kicked off his deck shoes, all the while noticing Noah had tugged off his jeans. He licked his lips, waiting for Noah to remove his snowy white briefs. Noah made short work of it. Last, but quickly disposed of, was Noah’s shirt. Though it was true Noah wasn’t all rippled muscles, he had nicely defined pecs. Charlie’s mouth went dry.
Noah ripped open a condom package and glanced at Charlie. “Aren’t you going to finish undressing?”
Charlie nodded and removed the remainder of his clothes, a strange warmth filling him when he saw the clear admiration in Noah’s gaze. He stepped closer to Noah, reached out and took off the man’s glasses, then set them on a nearby nightstand. Noah really did have pretty eyes...

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