This is the episode I wanted to edit the most. I finally freed some time to do just that. I'm relatively happy how it came out. I cleaned it up quite a bit (five extra pages added after editing). I suggest you do a comparison reading. I really enjoyed editing this one, and please take a moment of your time to tell me what you think of it. Thanks.
Back to Life
“Oh, Damn!” Wade pulls Noah forward, almost violently, and shoves his tongue deep inside his husband’s mouth. Noah, hurting a little from Wade’s tight grips lets him ride his orgasm out without complaint. Wade breathes heavily into Noah’s mouth, trying to catch his breath in between kisses. He lets his tongue play across Noah’s bottom lip before he lightly bites it.
“Baby,” Noah says, wincing, “you’re making a bruise.”
“Oh, sorry.” Wade loosens his grip. “Let me kiss it and make it better,” he says, smiling and planting soft kisses on his husband’s arm.
Noah smiles down at him. “That was amazing, baby,” he says, climbing off Wade. He grabs the towel he had placed at the foot of the bed and begins wiping down Wade’s chest. “Goodness, I made a mess.”
“It’s okay, baby.” Wade flips around on side, pulls Noah into his body and kisses him. “I like it messy.”
“Turn around,” says Noah, directing his eyes to Wade’s condom-sheathed sex. “Let me.” He slowly slides the condom up Wade’s not quite deflated shaft, making sure not to spill the contents. “Damn, Wade, I see you’re still as productive as ever. My goodness!”
“You know how I do, baby.”
Noah throws the towel in the hamper and the condom in the wastebasket. “I’ll start the shower,” he says.
Wade watches Noah switch into the bathroom, focusing on the deep bronze ass that he just handled. His eyes glide back to his once again at attention sex. “Uh-oh,” he shouts.
“What’s wrong?” asks Noah, peeking out the bathroom door.
Wade locks both his arms behind his head. “Come here,” he says, grinning widely.
Noah walks over to the bed. “You’ve got to be kidding me?”
“What can I say?” ask Wade, making his hard cock dance in front of Noah’s eyes. “You know I can’t control it around you.” He grabs Noah’s hand and guides it to his sex. “You do something to me.” He pulls him down on top of him. “One more ride?”
“How about,” Noah says, his voice kittenish, “you throw me up against the shower wall and have your way with me?”
“Show me the way.”
“Follow me, then,” Noah says, wrapping his hand around Wade’s bouncing hardness and guiding him to the bathroom.
Trey grabs a can of cream of chicken soup from the pantry. “Alex, baby, where are the bowls,” he calls from kitchen. He’s scared to touch anything. Everything is in immaculate order; even the food in the freezer and refrigerator is labeled and arranged alphabetically.
“In the cabinet, Trey. Damn,” Alex shouts back. After a dramatic fit of coughing and sneezing he says, “And don’t cook that nasty ol’ can of soup in the microwave. On the stove, please. And plenty of black pepper. Jesus, if I got to eat that can of cancer, at least make it the right way!”
Trey sighs. It’s been two days of this nightmare -- Alex sick with a cold. Two days of dramatic coughing, nose blowing, hourly temperature taking, and opening and closing of windows. Last night as he slept on the couch, because Alex didn’t want him catching his cold, he prayed hard, pleading with God to never let Alex get sick again.
On top of the dramatic throes of sickness, Alex had him running around Los Angeles getting various “comforts” for his makeshift sick room, their bedroom. Boxes of Kleenex, organic lemons for him to suck on, Vogue magazine, and some clay masque for his face so, as Alex told him, his skin can rejuvenate from the sickness.
And the remedies! He thought Alex had lost it for sure when he taped pennies to either side of his nose and stuck them in a thick layer of Vick’s Vapo Rub on his chest. “Old slave remedy.” Alex had informed him, and then banished him from the sick room when Trey teased him by saying, "A penny for your thoughts."
This morning, Alex declared he was starving and his body was eating his muscles for fuel. Trey knew what was coming next. Sure enough, Alex had given him permission to enter His Kitchen to do something besides eating. “Trey, you gon’ have to fix me some soup.”
“But I can’t cook,” he’d said.
“It’s that or I die! Think of our son! My body is eating itself. I need strength. I'm not askin' for a full course meal!”
The only thing he knew how to make were his protein shakes. But he thought, how hard can it be to pull the tab on a can and dump the contents in a pot? He needed to get this out the way because he had to meet Anne, Oje’s breast milk hookup, to pick up today’s milk and take it over to Chance, who,thankfully, was watching Oje until Alex got better.
He thanked God for that miracle. Because last night, he had to change Oje’s cloth diapers, which perplexed him a great deal. “Alex,” he’d dared to ask, “why are we using cloth diapers?” He found out in so many words that commercial diapers contain so many unhealthy chemicals, that he’d rather lose all limbs than put his son in them. After pricking his fingers five times on the diaper pin, he finally got a hang of it. Unfortunately, it happened to be the last clean one. He had no choice but to wash them. Toting the diaper pail to the laundry room, he thought he could simply throw them in the washer. He made the mistake of telling Alex his plans.
Dramatic scream and scrambling ensued from the sick room. "NO!" Alex shouted. "They must be washed by hand, Trey!"
Alex, who stood a few inches away from him, swaddled in two terrycloth robes, a plush chenille scarf rolled around his neck, reeking of menthol, cough drops, and the metallic smell of the pennies, directed him on the exact science of laundering a cloth diaper. After all the diapers were finished, Alex directed him to the tube of L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream under the sink. “Rub that in and go’n to bed,” he’d said, before hobbling back to his sick room. Early this morning, he found himself outside Chance and Eddie’s house with Oje on his hip, a diaper bag dangling from his forearm (he couldn’t get the strap up to his biceps) and pleading eyes. Chance took the baby without a thought.
He finds a pot in one of the cabinets, and after fidgeting with stove knobs for five minutes, not realizing he has to wait for the click, he got a flame going. He didn’t know how it happened, but it did, and he wasn’t going to question it. He pulls the tab on the can and dumps the pale gelatinous blob of soup into the pot. He adds no water.
“Trey, where are my Motrins?” Alex yells. “My body aches. This better not be no flu. Jesus, I got a child in this house!”
“I put them on the nightstand,” Trey yells back. He watches the blob bubble around the edges before it all starts bubbling and steam rising. He turns off the flame and pours it into a bowl. “Oh, the black pepper.” He searches the cabinet and finds a clear pepper mill and starts shaking it over the bowl. Nothing comes out. He shakes harder. No dice. “This black pepper isn’t coming out,” he yells to Alex.
“You got to turn it, Trey!” Alex yells back. “You’ve seen me do it a thousand times! Hurry up and get out of my kitchen!”
“Oh, right,” he says, and turns the mill and the pepper finally releases. The crackling sound of the peppercorns grinding amuses him, and he becomes like a kid with a new toy. Before he realizes, the gloppy blobby soup is blanketed in black. He shrugs his shoulders. “He said plenty of black pepper.” He puts the bowl on a tray with a folded paper towel and spoon and takes it to his majesty.
“For my baby,” he says, sitting the tray over Alex’s legs. Alex looks at the soup, then back at Trey and smiles. A few seconds later, the bowl of soup paints the bedroom door, and Trey flees the sick room, with a spoon flying behind his head.
Chicken Soup for the Soul
“No, Kenya, you can’t hold him,” says Chance, bouncing baby Oje in his arms. “You’re too young.” Chance places Oje on the blanket spread out on the floor. “You can play with him and help him crawl, but you cannot pick him up.”
Eddie walks into the living room. “Noah’s in the kitchen, I just let him in.”
Chance plants a peck on Eddie’s lips. “Thanks, honey. I told Kenya she can play with Oje. But watch her. One scratch on him and Alex will have our heads.”
“Noah! You’re glowing,” Chance says, hugging his friend. He winks. “Well?”
Noah blushes and smiles. “I am.”
“I take it you and Wade are back on the good foot?”
Noah bounces up and down. “We are. I haven’t written anything since Friday morning.”
“Wow, that good, huh?”
Noah sits down at the kitchen island. “Let’s just say, no place in the house is safe from a black light.”
Chance grabs a green apron from the pantry. “Eww. Too much information.” He grabs a frying pan and saucepan from the shelf over the stove. “Noah, look in the fridge and get me that bowl of veggies on the top shelf.”
Noah hands Chance the bowl. “Did Trey bring the baby over?”
Chance nods. “Yesterday morning.”
“Aww, I’ll have to play with him before I leave.”
“He’s a great baby. Not fussy at all.” Chance pours extra virgin olive oil into the frying pan, and then adds chopped onions, celery, and carrots. “The work is keeping Kenya from trying to hold him.”
“Alex called me this morning,” says Noah. “He went on and on about how Trey is letting him die. He’s so dramatic, Chance.”
“Trey looked dead tired yesterday. Alex must be running him ragged.
“He told me if the sickness doesn’t kill him, Trey’s cooking will,”
“The man lived on protein shakes for the first half of his life. Suddenly you want him to be Wolfgang Puck? Alex needs to cut him some slack.”
“Yeah, but even I know to add water to condensed soup, and I can’t even boil water without the LAFD stopping by.”
“Please. Alex doesn’t play when it comes to his kitchen. I’m surprised Trey even knew how to turn on the stove.”
He told me, “Bitch, go pick up my soup from Chance.’”
“Yeah? He told me, ‘Bitch, make some soup.”
“He’s such a sweetheart, isn’t he?”
Chance grabs the egg noodles from the pantry. “He told me about Ricky.”
Noah drops his head. “Did he?”
“He said his eye was blackened, and he was drunk.”
“He left Saturday morning without saying a word,” says Noah.
Chance fills a pot with water and sets it on the stove. “I’ve tried calling him, but all I get is his voicemail.” He grabs a wooden spoon and gives the sautéing veggies a stir.
“He’s probably upset we didn’t baby him.”
Chance stops sautéing the veggies. “Ricky has been acting strange lately, don’t you think?
Noah drops his head. “Chance?”
Chance starts back stirring the veggies. “Yes?”
Noah inhales deeply. “Ricky’s…Ricky’s…in love with me.”
A long moment passes before Chance says, “I know.”
“You do? What? How long?”
“I’ve known for a long time, Noah. I’ve never said anything because it’s not my place, but I’ve known.”
“How come I never even had a clue?”
“You mean you never had inkling that Ricky may have feelings for you?”
Noah looks at Chance, surprised. “No! I mean, he was touchy with me, but I never felt any of it was inappropriate.”
“Maybe you had to be on the outside to notice. But I’d pick up things here and there.”
“Oh. My. God. I-I-I don’t know what to do, Chance.”
Chance pops open a few cans of chicken broth and pours it into the sauté pan. He turns the flame on low and lets the veggies simmer before he adds the chicken. He walks over to a tearing up Noah and gives him a warm hug. “I know. I know. It’s hard.”
“So hard. Why do things have to be so complicated?”
“It wouldn’t be life without complications. It makes us stronger, Noah.”
“Chance, this is such a mess. Wade hates Ricky. He doesn’t say it, but I can feel it. He threw a fit when he found Ricky sleeping on the couch Saturday.”
“Noah, if I knew Ricky loved you, don’t you think your husband knows? He knows Ricky loves you.”
Noah’s shakes his head. “No. If Wade thought that, he’d try to kill Ricky.”
“I’m telling you he knows.”
“I just want things to go back to the way they were. I want to wake up and none of this ever happened.”
“No you don’t, Noah. You can’t run from this.”
Noah buries his face into Chance’s shoulder. “Help?”
“Nuh-uh, brother. I’m not getting involved.”
Noah sucks his teeth and pushes him away. “Thanks.”
Chance walks back over to the stove and checks the pan. “Seriously, this is between you and Ricky. Don’t ask us innocents to become involved.”
Noah quickly swivels around in his stool. “Does Alex know?”
“Who the hell do you think told me?”
Noah swivels back around, groans, and bangs his head against the island counter.
Ricky Doesn’t Live Here Anymore
Ricky slashes opens the box of Ginch Gonch underwear that arrived that morning and hangs them on the display by the window. Normally, his assistant would be doing this, but he’d called Demarcus last night and told him not to bother. He didn’t want to be around anyone on a first name basis. He just wanted to get through the day with minimal human interaction as possible.
“Excuse me,” asks a young, built caramel brother with ever sexy muscle flexed, “where is your bathroom?” On any other day, Ricky would escort him there himself – of course, with a detour to the backroom for a ten minute fuck out of this world – but it was a Monday afternoon, he was depressed, and sex is nothing but trouble.
“Around that corner,” Ricky says, pointing. He turns back to his display. He hangs the last of the underwear. A vivid yellow pair with red fire trucks swimming on them catches his eye. “Junito,” he whispers. He remembers pulling them off Junito one heated August night and laughing so hard, they couldn’t even have sex. He rips the plastic case from the display. Being reminded of Junito was the last thing he needed today. After going to Junito’s house in Westwood, and being told Junito was in Venice with Travis, on their honeymoon, the feeling of being all alone was crushing. He wanted to call Alex and cuss him out for not telling him about Junito. But he resolved himself to go home and eat and not deal.
The night before, he lied on his sofa, eating Panda Express, watching reruns of The Sopranos, and if he’d for one second thought in reality, he probably would have slit his wrist to the bone. On his coffee table lay his Fuck Book, brimming with hundreds of names, all willing to drop everything and give up the onion just like that. Yeah, he had it like that, but having it like that did nothing for him anymore. Nothing did anything for him anymore. He blamed it. It had started with Junito, but he’d suppressed it, fought it even. Now it was living with him; waking up with him; sitting down to eat with him; waking him up in the middle of night. Love. He hated that motherfucker—that intrusive little word was screwing up everything. The fucked up part was he loved his best friend. Off all the men in his life, why did it have to be Noah? What was about him that no other man could do to him? He clenched his jaw to try to stop the memory in its track. It flooded in, still.
The night he fell in love with him, they’d been out partying, and Noah, never one to hold his liquor, got quite lubricated and every guy at the party couldn’t keep their hands off the petite Adonis. Of course Noah couldn’t handle himself, so Ricky made sure to stay sober to keep an eye on his friend. He should have felt like a big brother making sure his little brother didn’t get in any trouble. Instead, he held him close to his body. He’d never felt so emotional in his life. He’d gone to the bathroom, and when he returned he found Noah in an embrace with another guy. The guy got a fist to the jaw, and an oblivious Noah found himself being violently pulled out of a good time. That night he watched his best friend sleep off his drunkenness on his bed. He looked so beautiful, so innocent. He vowed then to always protect him -- this innocent angel. He ran his hand through his soft curls and traced the outline of his full lips. With all his strength, he resisted kissing him. He fell asleep on the side of the bed, lulled to sleep by Noah’s breathing.
“Can you ring me up?” the built caramel brother asks, snapping Ricky out of his reminiscence. Ricky shakes off the memory. “What?”
“Can you ring me up?”
“Sure,” Ricky says, going behind the register. “Sorry.”
The brother places two pairs of jeans, several colorful pairs of underwear, and a belt on the counter, and hands Ricky his credit card. His index finger traces a line on Ricky’s palm. “So…uh…how does one get in touch with you?” he asks.
Ricky pulls his hand back and swipes the card. “I’m always here.”
Built caramel brother leans into the counter, drops his voice a notch. “I mean, outside of here.” He winks.
Ricky hands the credit card back to the brother. “Oh, I see,” Ricky says, smiling. “Like I said, I’m always here.” He hands the brother his bag of purchases. “Thanks for shopping at Trade Analysis.”
I Love You, Boy
“I’ll do the dishes,” says Noah.
Wades grabs his husband around the waist, snatching the salad bowl from Noah’s hand. “Leave ‘em until the morning.”
Noah leans into Wade’s embrace. “Okay, Papo.” Noah nuzzles Wade’s neck, playfully biting little bits of flesh.
“Mmm...You feel that?” Wade asks, thrusting his hips forward into Noah’s hips.
Noah smiles. “Do you feel this?” Noah lines up his erection with Wade’s erection.
Wade laughs. “Oh, yes, that’s what’s up. Coin toss tonight?”
Noah sucks the tender flesh of Wade’s neck. “No. You can get it.”
“You aren’t sore?”
“Getting there, but I like being sore from my man.”
“You know just what to say to me, baby.” Wade turns Noah around, so that his chest presses firmly against Noah’s back. He runs his tongue up and down his man’s neck, taking in Noah’s cologne. “You got me so turned on.” He pulls off his wife beater. He grips the edges of Noah’s tee and pulls it up over his head. He presses him hard against his chest and runs his hands all over Noah’s hard, quivering body. Wade unbuttons his jeans and frees his throbbing sex. He yanks Noah’s shorts down, and rubs it against his bare cheeks.
Noah tenses up. “Damn, Papo, let me go get ready,” he says.
Wade’s grip tightens around his waist. His breathing is heavy and slow. “Baby, I don’t give a fuck, give it to me right now.” He reaches around and grabs Noah’s hardness. “Turn around and face me,” he commands. Noah obeys. Wade drags his soft, wet tongue from Noah’s lips to the tip of his engorged sex. He takes him in his mouth.
The pleasure is intense and instant. Noah’s head back rolls back, and his eyes flutter. He relaxes and lets the pleasure take over him, and in no time he is moaning loudly, grabbing Wade’s head with both hands, helping him to achieve the pace he likes. His orgasm starts in the center of his back, then spreads down to his thighs, creating a warm and delicious aching and an urge to cry out his love for Wade. It’s so violent, he nearly falls over Wade’s head. Wade holds him tight by his quivering thighs. He was so caught up in the moment that he hadn’t noticed Wade was still attached to his shooting sex. He looks down in horror. He tries to pull his hips back, and pushes at Wade’s forehead. But Wade holds tight. “Stop, Wade.” He grips the dining chair as a wave of pleasure knocks him nearly off his feet. He almost collapses backward. Wade rises and plants a sloppy kiss on his lips. Noah pushes Wade away. “That’s nasty.” The look in Wade’s eyes scares him a little. No other adjectives availed themselves to him except animalistic to describe the wild look in Wade’s glossy eyes.
Wade grunts and turns Noah around, bends him over the dining table, and in few movements he has him lubed up with saliva. He aims his raging hardness at Noah’s opening.
Realizing what Wade is about to do, Noah shouts, “Condoms!” It’s too late; the first few inches are in. “No, Wade. Wait!” Noah reaches back and tries to push Wade away.
Wade can’t hear—he is too horny to care about caution. He yanks Noah’s curls, pulling him hard against his thrusting hips. He is only brought back to earth by the hard elbow directed to his stomach. It knocks the air from him. He staggers back. “What the hell?” he asks, confused.
“Have you lost your mind?”
“What?” Wade asks, still looking confused.
“We don’t do that. You were fucking me raw.”
“So. We’re married.”
Noah could still see the glossy animalistic glimmer in Wade’s eyes. “We’re not ready for that yet. We haven’t even talked about it fully yet.”
Wade sighs at his diminishing penis. “I’m sorry. I don’t know what came over me.”
“I’m not ready for bareback.”
“The way you say that is like you don’t trust me. I would never hurt you, Noah.”
“Wade, I know. But…”
“I love you, boy.”
“I love you, too. It’s just—“
Wade hugs Noah. “I’m sorry. You don’t have to explain. When you’re ready, then it will happen. No pressure.”
Noah stares into his husband’s eyes. “It’s a big step. We can’t let our horniness make us careless.”
“Look,” Wade says, directing Noah’s head to their hands.
Noah looks down and sees Wade is holding his hand. “Oh, Papo.”
“Whenever you’re ready, Noah. I’m here.”
“Now you work on this.” Noah gives Wade a little tug. “And I”ll go get the condoms. Deal?”
Wade licks his lips. “Deal.”
(noahsarchfanfiction [at] gmail.com)