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Chapter Twenty-Eight – Experimenting To Be With You
“This is, Taz, what is called a stake out,” Carter spoke to his dog, as he sipped from his iced coffee through the straw. “You see,” he explained to his pet, “Alex is bound to make a mistake, sooner or later, and we will be able to expose the douchebag to Aron. We’re making a great team!”
Now, as he stood behind the wheel of his car, talking to his dog, he didn’t feel that convinced that he was making any progress, though. He wasn’t exactly the most skillful detective in the universe, and seeing that he was just a beginner, he probably sucked balls. And so far, he had managed to stalk Alex only to beauty salons and fancy restaurants, where probably the guy was just stuffing his face with diet foods. Not once he had managed all week to catch a glimpse of Alex together with Simon.
He had talked to Aron a few times over the phone, and some of the awkwardness of their last get-together still lingered, for some reason he could not fathom. It was like both of them had something to say, but didn’t have the guts to start speaking already.
He knew what his problem was. He needed to tell Aron his husband was cheating without sounding like a lunatic slash homophobe decided to destroy his best friend’s marriage. Aron had been generous enough to forgive him for his outburst at the wedding, but that didn’t mean he was going to believe him, without any proof.
Still busy with sorting his own thoughts, he almost missed Alex exiting the shop he had entered almost one hour ago.
“Sorry, buddy, I need to go on foot for this one,” Carter told Taz, who seemingly agreed, by the way he looked at his owner, wagging his tail. “Don’t worry, I come back if he goes too far.”
Alex was surely quick on his feet. Carter needed to speed up. Ah, damn, where did he go? Carter felt frustration growing and walked round the corner.
Only to almost bump chests with the guy he was following.
“Are you stalking me, darling?” Alex teased.
“Um, what? Stalking you? What have you been drinking?” Carter spoke quickly. “I was just happening to be here, because I needed to …”
Great way to box yourself in, Carter. You don’t even know the name of the street you’re on.
He looked around, hoping for providence to show him a sign. Ah, great, there was some kind of parlor across the street.
“I needed to go there,” he pointed at the business across from them, although he could not make its name from where he was standing.
Alex looked in the direction Carter was pointing, and his eyes turned back to the other right away.
“Really? You need to have your nails done?” Alex cooed, smiling widely.
Carter squinted and tried to read the handwritten name of the business. What the hell was it saying? Was that even English?
“Come on, straight boy, just admit it already,” Alex got closer, well up in his personal space. “You,” he poked Carter’s chest with one finger, “like me.”
Wow, he’s even more delusional than you!
“You certainly struggle a lot to get my attention,” Alex said with a small seductive smile. “Even now, following me around …”
“I told you, I just happen to be here,” Carter said, but his voice sounded as convincing as a male enhancement ad.
“Ah, then you happen to be where I happen to be quite a lot. Yesterday, two days ago, three days ago …”
“All right,” Carter raised his hands in surrender, trying to ignore Alex’s overpowering cologne. Really, too much of a good thing, even if it was some designer fragrance, was too much. “How could you tell?”
“Darling, I’ve been chased by paparazzi since I was ten. I know when I’m being followed.”
“Oh, shit,” Carter mumbled.
Now that was a bummer.
“So, Carter, how about being a little honest here? And frankly, I thought you were pissed your best friend was gay, when, all this time, you were hot for me?” Alex shook his head slowly. “So the little speech at the wedding was because of me? Ah, how touching! Yet you were rude. You could have just said you liked me, and we could have arranged something,” the guy continued. “Or you were like one of those guys who prefer to admire me from afar?”
“Wow, wow, wow,” Carter managed to cut through the guy’s speech. “I don’t like you. At all.”
“Ah. You sure?” Alex batted his eyelashes and burst into laughter. “Too bad. I was thinking about repaying you.”
“Repaying me? What for? I thought you were ready to strangle me or poison my drink!” Carter exclaimed.
Alex seemed taken aback.
“Why on Earth would I do that?” he asked.
Funny thing, the guy sounded sincere. But with someone like Alex, one could never know.
“You know,” Carter said with a small huff. “Because of the …”
He wasn’t going to talk about Aron and how they had sex. So he steered the conversation to something that was probably more important to Alex than the fact that his husband had experienced pleasure in the arms of another dude.
“Because of your Instagram kaçak iddaa account!” he said quickly.
Alex looked at him, his eyes going a bit unfocused, like the guy was trying to compute, but wasn’t managing to get to the end result.
“What about my Instagram account? Are you following me on Insta?” the guy asked, visibly pleased with this conclusion.
“No, I’m not following you on Insta,” Carter replied, now annoyed with the guy’s deflections. “Why would I do that?”
“To stare at pictures of me wearing nothing but underwear?” Alex asked, this time smiling and back to his flirty mode.
“Oh,” Carter said slowly.
Something was amiss all right. Like the guy had suddenly no recollection of the body swap.
“You don’t remember anything about the …”
Ah, that was definitely it. He was not allowed to say the words out loud. That meant … that meant …
“So you chose to remember the accident instead?” he exclaimed.
Alex frowned, and now he was watching Carter a bit warily.
“All right. I have no idea how Aron puts up with you. You’re really, and I mean really strange,” Alex said, taking a small step back. “And what do you mean I chose? Wait, you don’t remember the accident?”
“No, I don’t,” Carter said. “Ah, but you do, so how about you tell me all about it?”
Alex seemed to ponder for a bit.
“I thought it was a ruse. That you’re just pretending you don’t remember about what happened. That you don’t want Aron to … you know,” Alex said, pursing his lips.
“No, I don’t know,” Carter glared. “But I didn’t push you,” he added quickly.
Alex took another step back, and now he was looking at Carter with a mix of pity and disdain in his beautiful green eyes.
“You don’t have a lot of money, do you?”
“What’s that have to do with anything?”
Alex sighed, and then he smiled, but this time it was clear that the smile was directed at himself.
“Then it’s all for the best,” he grinned. “Stop stalking me, you creep,” he added cheerfully, but without the edge needed for that to be an insult.
“Wait, tell me about the accident,” Carter tried to prevent Alex from walking away.
“Nope. Not telling,” Alex said with satisfaction. “Ah, if you only had money,” he said with a bit of regret, as he touched Carter’s chest in passing. “You’re passably cute. But sorry, I have standards,” he shrugged.
“Come on, you have to tell me,” Carter began walking side by side with Alex.
“No, I don’t,” Alex said. “As far as everyone knows, I don’t remember squat either. Oh, I love me some attention,” the guy added. “It’s just so good to be back in the saddle. So no detours for me, darling, sorry about that.”
“You keep saying sorry, but you’re clearly not sorry,” Carter said through his teeth.
“Of course I’m not,” Alex shrugged. “Life’s too short to spend it being sorry. And really, stop walking next to me. Someone might snap a picture and seriously, the 90s called, they need their clothes back. Or do you still have them since that time? Passed on to you by your papa, or something?”
“My clothes are new … enough,” Carter said slowly, unsure of how a t-shirt and jeans could be considered as belonging to a different century.
“Whatever, now shoo where you have to be, and somewhere that I’m not. I’m not in the mood for charity cases, and you’re way too difficult to deal with.”
“I really have no idea what the hell you are talking about,” Carter insisted. “And you say I’m the creepy one.”
“Seriously, Carter, stop following me. I don’t want to become unfashionable by association. And if you don’t, I’m telling Aron you’re bothering me,” Alex said, now looking a bit annoyed and distressed.
Okay, the guy knew how to play his hand. Carter had to give it to him. So he needed to stay put for now.
“All right, don’t get your panties in a twist,” he mumbled.
Alex sped up and looked over his shoulder one more time at Carter before waving for a cab, like he was still trying to make sense of something. The look the guy gave him was giving him the shivers a bit. Now what the hell had happened during that accident?
And he had no means to stalk Alex without being seen. The guy had many talents, apparently, and that is why he was probably not so easy to get caught with his lover’s dick in his ass. Carter needed to rethink his strategy.
What was Alex playing at? Carter stared confused at the TV screen for a while, even after turning off the device. The last interview the guy gave had been quite a shock, and not only for the audience, but also for Carter who could not give a damn about celebrities’ latest gossip. He had caught that by complete accident, as he was browsing through the channels for lack of something better to do.
“We decided to separate for a little while,” Alex said, somewhat with self-pity, while the host was staring at him a bit surprised.
“Just a few weeks ago, you stood here, on this very spot,” the host insisted, “and told me how much kaçak bahis in love you are with your husband. What could go wrong so badly in such a short time?”
Carter remembered the host well, from the show he had attended that time. He also remembered what he had said. And how true the words had sounded.
“People change,” Alex replied, shaking his head apologetically. “Sometimes, you know, even too much love can be a bad thing. You can feel, you know, suffocated.”
“Was Aron suffocating you?” the host didn’t let go.
An untrained eye could have sworn Alex was a victim in all this. It was like the guy was one moment away from bursting into very emotional tears.
And now Carter had no idea what to do. Was Aron alone? Was he upset? Pissed? Angry? Desperate? Sad? He needed to find out. Where was the damn phone?
The ringtone signaled that the phone was right there, on the coffee table. Carter grabbed it, decided to finish fast the conversation with whoever was at the other end so he could call Aron.
“Can I come around?” Aron’s voice came through, a bit muffled by what seemed to be the sound of a busy street.
“Sure thing,” Carter agreed, taking a quick look around, to see if the house was clean enough.
Taz was already fed and asleep, and supposedly, there was nothing that could interrupt them.
No other words were needed. He knew Aron in distress. The guy wasn’t exactly a man of many words. And now he needed Carter, his best friend.
But what the hell was he going to say? How was he going to stave off all that hurt, hurt that he was going to read in Aron’s deep dark eyes, the moment the guy was going to walk through that door?
He had no idea how, but it was sure as hell that he wanted to do everything he could and couldn’t so that he would give his best friend what he needed in such dire times.
“So, I suppose you saw it,” Aron spoke gloomily, while fiddling with the glass Carter had filled to the brim with the strongest booze he could find around the house.
“Yeah,” Carter swallowed hard. “What … what happened? You two seemed … happy.”
It was hard to speak. It hurt to speak. But now was not the moment to focus on his own feelings. Aron was hurting much more.
“Ah, for so long,” Aron sighed, “I’ve just felt like living with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Apparently, the bad guy is winning. For now. And only a few weeks back, we seemed to be well on the mend.”
“What did you two fight about?” Carter continued, carefully.
“What didn’t we fight about?” Aron said, his voice edging on sorrow. “Can you believe that we haven’t even had proper sex for weeks now? Ever since you woke up from that coma … Ah, I thought I’d never be able to say I’m sick of oral, but … Sorry, I’m not supposed to get into so much detail with my straight best friend.”
Carter could feel his heart clenching painfully in his chest and he touched Aron’s hand slowly.
“I’m … trying, you know?” his friend spoke again. “To be a good husband. But I guess that, somehow, I’m still doing something wrong. Alex has, sometimes, the most extravagant requests and I try …”
“Like expensive cars?” Carter could not help it.
“If only. He’s … very challenging, emotionally speaking. He needs to be loved, but he doesn’t want to be hugged. He wants to be called cute nicknames, but he doesn’t want to walk hand in hand in the park. He …” Aron stopped with a small huff. “And I’m just … trying to make sense of everything. And I know that, somehow, it’s still my fault.”
Carter could not stand this. Not seeing his best friend beating himself up over some fashion addict with a penchant for torturing every living soul in his path.
“It’s not your fault,” he said with determination, his hands curling into fists, pressed against his thighs.
“Thanks, buddy,” Aron took a sip of the strong drink and grimaced, but in a way that told Carter he was actually enjoying the burn in his throat. “I appreciate it. But that still doesn’t change anything. And I know that it must be my fault. Most of the time, he seems … just the guy I fell in love with, but then …”
“Stop it,” Carter said, his voice abrasive and on the point of breaking.
“I’ve always been perfect to you, haven’t I?” Aron chuckled. “You used to tell me that. I did feel flattered. Who doesn’t want to hear that? But being the perfect friend does not equal being the perfect husband. And I have a lot of work to do for that.”
“No,” Carter said, more sharply this time. “It’s not you.”
It’s Alex. Aka the douchebag.
You can’t tell him that. He’ll only shut down on you.
“You are perfect,” he added.
Aron exhaled and smiled fondly.
“Eh, I suppose I can let you tell me that a few more times. I definitely need the encouragement. And I need to find a way to get Alex back and …”
No, no, no, no, no! Do something! Now!
What the hell should I do?
Do it! Stop dallying! He’s going to say next that he needs to beg that asshole illegal bahis to take him back! Don’t allow that! Shut him up!
“Ah, um, ah,” he barely managed.
“Are you okay, buddy?” Aron asked, taken aback by his friend’s distress. “So sorry. I shouldn’t burden you with my problems, I should just head back and …”
Carter knew what he had to do, with so much clarity that for a split of a second, he wondered how come he hadn’t thought about it. He moved fast, closing the distance between them, grabbing Aron by the shoulders and …
Aron’s mouth tasted of home. Of strong booze, too, but most than anything, of home. He angled his head, brushing his lips against the other’s, sticking out his tongue and licking the beautiful full lips gently.
And that was only meant to make him thirstier, because it was the only right thing right now that he could do, so he pressed more, wanting Aron to open his mouth and kiss him back.
But Aron pulled away. Not brusquely, not in shock, but gently and firmly.
“You’re trying to comfort me, right?” he said slowly, putting one hand on Carter’s shoulder.
“I’m trying to kiss you,” Carter shook his head and leaned in for another kiss.
“Wait,” Aron mumbled, the squeeze on Carter’s shoulder increasing.
“No,” Carter said stubbornly and pressed his lips against Aron’s once again.
I’m so done waiting.
Aron’s mouth was hesitant, and opened slowly, allowing the kiss, yet still not an active participant. Carter moved to straddle Aron’s lap, trying hard not to break the connection. He must have looked silly, struggling to put one leg over Aron’s thighs.
But it was Aron who helped him get into position, so to speak, and soon, two strong hands were on his back, and one very determined tongue, this time around, was in his mouth.
Ah, damn, he loved Aron’s kisses. But if you could still recall, when he had worn Alex’s fashion model body, Aron had been more restrained, maybe trying to be a bit gentler, probably so that he didn’t spook his husband with his unhinged desire.
There was nothing of that restraint left, it seemed, and this time around, Aron’s want was honest to the core.
Carter loved it. Aron was strong, and Carter could feel that strength by the way the man made aggressive love to his mouth, reaching inside deep, making sure Carter was opening his mouth wide to take him in.
He had to admit that he had never thought about why kissing was sometimes called ‘sucking faces’. Now he knew. Because it was like the two of them were having oral sex, with no dick involved, and it was fucking heaven.
Aron was the first to stop, drawing just a fraction of an inch back, and trying to look into Carter’s eyes.
“Oh god,” he murmured. “What’s this? I mean, it’s not like I’m complaining …”
“Hush,” Carter put his hand over Aron’s mouth gently. “It’s … it’s … um, just me experimenting.”
Experimenting to be with you.
Aron’s eyes grew wide. Slowly, he put one hand over Carter’s wrist and pulled it down, to release his mouth.
“Exploring … my sexuality,” Carter said slowly, measuring every word, like he was quoting some magazine.
Are you trying to kill the mood here? Just tell him.
No, no, no, I can’t. He won’t believe me, he …
“Should I be glad to be of help here?” Aron chuckled, as his hands moved lower and grabbed hard Carter’s ass. “Fuck,” he whispered.
“Yeah, be glad,” Carter whispered and pulled Aron in for another kiss.
But the guy moved his head enough to avoid him.
“Wait, wait, I mean, Carter, this is …”
“Just sex,” Carter interrupted. “It’s just sex, nothing else. You need it. I need …”
“I’ve never cheated on my husband until now,” Aron spoke, his voice low and strained. “And maybe I’ve been tempted, yes. But no one has managed to tempt me like this before. Do you have any idea …” the man’s voice choked.
“I do,” Carter said. “I frigging do.”
Now wasn’t the time for words. Yet Aron had this weird idea that they should talk.
“Carter, I … You do realize that I might just take everything you offer right now. I am selfish enough to do it.”
“So do it,” Carter whispered, his lips hovering close to Aron’s.
“But what is it? What are you offering?” Aron insisted, his hands totally disjointed from his hesitant voice, groping Carter’s ass like they were trying to rip the jeans and get inside.
“Everything you want,” Carter cut him off and this time, ground his crotch hard against Aron’s taut body.
“Are you sure?” Aron’s voice became a tad urgent and heavy. “I … This moment, right now, I …”
“Fuck me,” Carter voiced what Aron didn’t have the strength to say. “Fuck me like there’s no one else.”
That seemed to trigger something inside Aron, because the guy flipped Carter quickly, pushing him into the sofa. Now they weren’t just sucking faces, their bodies were trying to weld together.
And Carter could feel himself tumbling down, but he knew he wasn’t going to fall. Because Aron’s strong hands were holding him, and, if that was the case, then he was safe.
“Wait,” it was Carter’s turn to stop.
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