This is for Nicki, who asked: I’d like to see Michael and Gabriel from “Santangelo” a few months into their relationship when Gabriel is more confident about making love.. Well, you asked for “more confident”. Doesn’t mean he’s Casanova all of a sudden…
A little back story for those who haven’t read Santangelo or who need a reminder: Gabriel is a doctor who no longer practices because he was fired for being HIV positive in the nineties. He has a foster daughter, severely disabled Mia, who was never supposed to live past her birth, but who miraculously did. In “Santangelo” part of the A Brush of Wings Anthology, he rescued Michael, a tough looking but soft spoken tattoo artist, from a gang of gay bashers. They start a tentative relationship when Michael points out that, like Mia, Gabriel deserves love too.
“Santangelo” was written from Mike’s POV, so this one is from Gabe’s.
“I, Gabriel Santangelo, take you, Michael Zuriel to be my lawful husband, to have and to hold, in sickness and in health….”
I startled as Mia woke up in my arms. It was her sudden movement that had woken me from my slumber, because for once she didn’t cry, as if she felt my blissful mood. I caressed her eyebrows with my finger and she closed her eyes again. It wouldn’t be for long, because it was about time for her to be fed again.
With marriage being opened up to same-sex couples in our state, Mike had asked me to marry him, but I hadn’t given him an answer yet. Not that I didn’t want to marry him. I just wanted things to progress a bit more between us before taking that big leap. Mike still had his apartment, although he spent every evening at mine. We shared parenting responsibilities, and I knew he made my life better, but I still felt insecure about the future, so I felt I couldn’t commit to him yet. I’d decided during Mia’s midday feeding that I would ask Mike to move in with me, and we would see where that would lead. I never expected I’d actually dream about the day we would make that official commitment to each other. I didn’t doubt Mike’s commitment to us, to me and Mia. He’d made that abundantly clear to me from the first day we met.
So the only thing holding us back was my fear; my irrational fear that I’d infect him, my not-so-irrational fear that I would set him up for heartache if I got sick or died, and my fear that Mia was the glue that held us together and that once she was gone, we’d find out there was nothing keeping us together anymore. Mike had told me numerous times that only time would tell how we’d fare in the future, and that if he had a crystal ball he’d make a killing in his tattoo parlor. I couldn’t help but smile at how rescuing Mike that night had changed both of our lives.
While I sat in the couch, feeding Mia through her feeding tube with a syringe, I imagined Mike coming home after closing up the shop, kissing me at the door, and then grabbing Mia from me. I never grew tired of seeing her way-too-small, emaciated body in his muscled arms and that big lug of a man, with all his piercings and tattoos, talking to her in the overly-animated voice he only used for her. She reacted to him, and it made me love him even more.
“Come on, darling, stay awake,” I told Mia as she drifted off while her stomach filled up with formula and medication. “I need you to sleep later, not now. I have a special night planned for Mike and me, and I’d appreciate an hour or two without interruption.” She opened her eyes again and I fervently hoped she’d sleep when she was meant to, and not keep us up until the early hours like she had the last few nights.
Once she was fed, I hoisted her into the sling and carried her around while I tidied up the living room and prepared the bedroom, hoping my movements would prevent her from sleeping too soundly. I turned down the bedding, fluffed up the pillows, and took out the extra-strength condoms and a new bottle of water-based lube. Then I lit the candles and turned off the lights. It looked just like I’d imagined it. When I checked the time it was 12:25. Mike would be home any moment now. Just in time I remembered the heart-shaped chocolates I’d bought earlier during the day, and as I put one on each pillow, I heard Mike’s key in the door. As usual, he was quiet, just in case Mia was asleep, and I joined him in the living room.
“Hey, gorgeous,” he said as he leaned over Mia, carefully not to crush her, to kiss me. I could tell from his lingering but chaste kiss and the way he leaned his forehead against mine, that he was dead tired. Maybe tonight wasn’t going to be the night that I’d finally let him take me all the way.
Mike pulled back and nodded. “Very large and intricate drawing for a masochist. He wanted as much done as I could in one sitting. He’s going to be sore for quite a few days.”
“Not to mention you will as well?”
“Yeah, I took breaks but I thought my arm was going to drop off after three hours straight. Want me to feed Mia?” He didn’t wait for an answer, but walked into the bedroom, only to walk out again after a few moment. “Oh hell, Gabe. You had all sorts of things planned for tonight? Why didn’t you tell me?” He popped the chocolate he’d found on his pillow in his mouth and moaned in appreciation.
“Wouldn’t have been much of a surprise, right?”
I could see him thinking. “Was it our anniversary or something?”
“Or something,” I replied with a smile. “Six months ago I picked you up in that alley and sewed up your eyebrow. And the rest, as they say, is history.”
Mike touched the scar that had now almost completely faded. “Best night of my life.” He walked over to me and enveloped both Mia and me in his strong arms. Mia whimpered just a little. “What’s wrong, sweetheart? I’m just showing your daddy some love.” He picked her out of the sling and took her into his arms. “Let’s get you to bed so I can show him exactly what he means to me.” He looked at me while kissing the top of her head. “How much time do we have?”
“I fed her about half an hour ago.”
“Good.” Michael’s smile was full of promise as he disappeared into her room.
I’d long ago stopped following him in there. This was their time together, and I trusted Michael to position her right in her cot, so she wouldn’t choke or suffocate. Children like Mia took somewhat different care than most infants, but Michael had been an eager student, and I knew he cared for her deeply. Keeping busy to quell my nerves until Michael joined me in the bedroom, I started undressing and put on the short, black silk kimono I’d laid out earlier. I knew how much Michael liked me in it, so that was a no-brainer.
“Don’t tie it up yet,” Michael whispered in my ear as he put his arms around me and instantly made me feel safe. He inserted his hand underneath it and caressed my chest while his other hand rested on my stomach as he kissed me behind my ear. “I love the contrast of your skin and the silk. I love running my hands over it.”
“I love your soft hands on me. Although I’m not adverse to callouses either,” I replied, a low moan creeping in somewhere mid-sentence as Michael brushed his fingers over my nipple.
“I noticed extra-strength condoms on the nightstand.”
“Mmmh,” I nodded. “I thought it was about time.”
“I thought you no longer wanted to. You know I’m okay with what we’re doing now.”
I turned around inside Mike’s embrace and wrapped my arms around him, holding him close like he was holding me. “I’ve wanted this for a long time, from the beginning in fact, but I was always too scared. I think I’m ready now, if you still want to. You run a bigger risk than me, so it’s up to you.”
Mike pulled back a little, without letting go of me. “We’ve been through this before, Gabe. As long as your viral load stays zero, the chance you’ll infect me is next to none. And we’ll be safe. That’s what the condoms are for.”
I nodded. “But if you’re too tired….”
Mike squeezed me tight. “Not too tired for this.” We kissed for a while, and I slowly coaxed Mike to the bed. He was still fully dressed, but he was already fumbling to unbutton his jeans without breaking the kiss while I pulled up his sweater. When we finally let go of each other, I pulled it over his head, and he slipped out of his jeans and boxers in one go. He was about half-mast, but I knew from experience that it wouldn’t take much for him to get ready for action.
I didn’t slip out of the kimono, but let it hang open so he could see most of me too. I loved the way he looked at me when he was turned on, and I was no longer self-conscious about my slim body, because he never stopped telling me how much he liked my “runner’s bod.”
“But you wanted—”
I stopped him talking by pushing him down on the bed. “I want you inside me, but that doesn’t mean you need to go all caveman on me. You had a long day. Let me do the work.”
“You took care of Mia all day. I know how much that takes out of you. Especially since she hasn’t been sleeping much and—”
This time I stopped him with a kiss as I straddled him. It felt good to rub myself against his hairy belly while I massaged his shoulders. It made him moan, which in turn made me smile. After years of living in a sexual desert, Mike had tapped into an oasis and had given me the confidence and love I never knew was missing from my life. I was finally ready to give something back, for not entirely unselfish reasons. I admit I’d been quite the slut in my younger years, but all that had changed when I was given the deadly diagnosis. My “do no harm” doctor’s vow had kicked in with a vengeance, and I’d retreated into my own shell, denying myself even the slightest intimacy.
Mike’s relentless but patient insistence easily pierced my armor, and six months later, I couldn’t imagine my life without him anymore. Still, he’d been patient and careful, letting me get to where we were now at my own pace. In turn, I had planned this evening carefully, preparing myself for him, so we wouldn’t need too much time opening me up.
“Fucking put one of your condoms on me, Gabe.”
If Mike was swearing, I had him exactly where I wanted him. Reluctantly I pulled away from him, shaking the unease that the mixing of our bodily fluids still caused in me, and grabbed a condom and the lube from the night stand. My hands were shaking, so Mike took the condom and put it on himself without too much ceremony. “Gimme that too,” he said, pointing at the lube in my hand.
“Nope. Got it,” I replied, squirting some on my hand and reaching behind. Despite the fact that it had been years since anyone fucked me, the buttplug I’d used earlier in the day had given me the confidence to know Mike would fit inside me.
I could see Mike’s lustful look, but also his impatience and maybe a little envy, like he wanted to do what I was doing. “Don’t look at me like that. We’ve done this. I just wanted to get a move on.” Mike smiled and I melted, leaning down to kiss him. I knew I was as ready as I was going to be, so I broke the kiss and wiped the excess lube over his condom-clad cock before raising myself just enough to sit down over him. It still burned so I took it slow, but when Mike mimicked what was obviously my expression, I smiled at him.
“Try to enjoy it, Mikey,” I said, not without effort.
“I can’t if you hurt that much.”
“You could have fooled me.”
“It’s you, Mike. You couldn’t hurt me if you tried.”
Carefully, Mike raised himself, and I couldn’t prevent my eyes traveling from his face to his rippling abs. He wrapped one arm around me and squeezed my butt cheek.
“Need more lube, I think,” he said.
I still wasn’t fully seated, but I grabbed the tube and handed it to him. When he squeezed some into his hand and started rubbing it on the part of his cock that wasn’t inside me yet, it felt cool and soothing, so I started rocking back and forth.
“Take your own advice then?”
I threw him a questioning look.
“Could’ve fooled me.”
I wiped whatever stickiness was left on my hand on his ribs and took his face in my hands. “I love you. I couldn’t not enjoy it.” Slowly, this started to become true. Mike was holding me with one arm, urging me on to move while he leaned on his other arm. My cock was hardening again as it was stimulated by the soft hairs on his belly, and the burn was starting to ebb. I could feel him filling me up, making all the nerve-endings inside me catch fire.
“Now we’re talking,” Mike mumbled as he tried to meet me half-way.
I was still wearing the kimono and it slipped down my shoulders, but I barely noticed. The silk was cool against my skin, which was just as well, since my skin was on fire. Mike kissed me again, although I noticed it took more effort than before, and he was moaning. “You okay, sport?”
He nodded. “You’re tight. And hot. God, I love this. Not going to last.” He grabbed me tighter as he upped the tempo of his fast and shallow thrusts. We couldn’t kiss anymore, and I desperately wanted to come with him inside me. How had I survived all these years without this?
Mike let go of me, and I thought he was going to come, but instead he took my cock in his hand. I was leaking steadily, and his hand on me gave me a sudden rush. At the same time it changed the angle of his thrusts, and I could feel the tightness in my balls just before I coated his hand and belly with my release. Mike followed closely behind as he pulled me to him and convulsed underneath me.
Mike fell back on the bed and took me with him. I could barely move since I was entangled in the kimono.
And then Mike started shaking. For a moment I was worried, but then I could see that he was laughing. Despite the fact that we were desperately out of breath, he grabbed my head and pulled me into a crushing kiss. It didn’t last long and when we pulled apart, we were both laughing, although for the life of me I don’t know why.
“You know, my angel,” Mike said as soon as he managed enough breath. “I didn’t really miss it before tonight. I liked how we made love. Now I don’t know why we didn’t do it before.”
“I know,” I replied, still giggling like a child. “I never missed this either, not really. Now, well….”
“Will you fuck me next time?”
I pulled back a little to see whether he was kidding.
“So what? I’m not allowed to bottom?”
I smiled. How could I deny this man anything? Although we’d sure make a weird sight. Me: tall, skinny, lily-white skin, and few muscles. Mike: big, buff, muscles in all the right places, and tattoos in some of the not-so-right places covering olive skin. But then, nobody would be watching.
A soft crying sound started emanating from the next room, plucking us right out of our blissful slumber.
“I’ll get her,” Mike said, ripping off the condom and tying it up before he discarded it. “Need to clean up anyway.” He returned with our daughter in her blanket and a wash cloth for me, before going to the kitchen to mix up her formula.
“Thanks for giving me the time with Mike, Mia,” I whispered against her dark hair. She looked up at me with her large, black eyes, and I could have sworn she smiled.