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Written for hardtime100 flashfic challenge -- #56 Weddings
Chris was all too aware of the contradictions that made up his life.
He loved to fuck and whenever--wherever--the opportunity presented itself, he took it with an electric smile and a firm hand. He also knew sometimes it was the only currency worth its weight, so he did what he had to. He could be pragmatic to a fault. Women, men, no matter the reason, he found the space within that housed his own pleasure first and settled there. When the encounter was mutually beneficial it was all the better, but he didn't always get to dictate the rules.
He reveled in the heady thrill of it all and yet he didn't fuck nearly as much as he thought about it or others likely suspected. He wasn't as random or indiscriminate as the deliberately constructed mask he presented to the world. When he wanted someone, he wanted that person. Period. Full stop. Others might raise a flirtatious eyebrow in the process, but his dick was pretty monogamous--until it was as bored as his mind, the conquest completed, monotony setting in. Then it was time to move up and on.
He could always count on that. There always came the moment to pack it in and get out.
Wives and the occasional alleyway fuck were the notches in his belt. They told a story of futile commitment, shady intentions, a very aggressive id and the Kinsey scale tipped on its side. When it came down to it, on paper--technically speaking, if he had his choice it was all about the pussy. He loved being inside a woman, wrapped up in her heat, pushing her beyond what she ever allowed herself to think possible because societal or cultural expectations told her it was wrong.
Chris kicked those walls down with each thrust; beat those demons back with every lick; dirtied bullshit purity with raw, unapologetic sin that tasted so good it lingered for days. There was something inherently more needy in the women he fucked...and loved. He could be their world and take it away, then talk his way back in. Repeat the cycle, learn the lesson, then lather, rinse, repeat.
He did marry out of good will. It always felt right at the time and though forever was little more than an abstract term, he said it with as much honesty as he could muster. He figured they all knew the truth, but still drank the kool-aid: nothing lasts forever.
Rule #1, #2, #21, #55. There were so many, unspoken, to live by, to remain invulnerable to, to stay the course. Rules were made to be broken by him, not by some inconsequential challenge, a mark, a job, a road bump. Yet there it was, all the same.
He listened as a soft sigh escaped Toby's lips, followed by deep, laboured breathing. Chris curled closer around him; pulling Toby's back to his chest to feel the matched rise and fall of their bodies. He touched the tip of his nose to the back of Toby's head and inhaled, tickled his lips lightly against the back of Toby's neck, and exhaled. There wasn't much time--there never was--to enjoy the strange peace of this man in his arms. Any moment a hack could walk by and pour cold water on this rag-tag semblance of hope and redemption. Chris took what he could get.
Toby shifted in his arms as if he could sense the impending interruption, but more likely it was to excavate some breathing room for himself. Chris smiled at the attempt and acquiesced an inch or two. With Toby angled just right, Chris dragged his left hand down Toby's left arm, tracing the still flushed skin beneath rough fingertips, until he could clasp Toby's hand in his. Raising them slightly, Chris analyzed the mutated image of their hands locked as one. It was foreign, an anomaly, a freak mutation of nature, but he couldn't look away. Instead he caressed Toby's hand, gently rubbing the lower half of Toby's ring finger.
It had taken Toby awhile to bring up Gen in casual conversation and really talk about her and the life they'd had together without an oppressive sadness pushing down on his shoulders until he was hunched over into himself. Whether Toby realized it or not, he revealed a whole lot of himself to Chris with his choice of words, stories, subtle giveaways with body language either emphasizing or contradicting a point.
In turn, Chris gave away bits of himself, always careful about what he shared, but increasingly willing to show more of what bubbled and boiled beneath the surface. He told himself it was a means to an end--what end was never quite clear. Not that it really mattered after a certain point. Liking Toby was one thing. Loving him? God, it was so much more than that. Kitty, Angelique, Bonnie--fucking amazing Bonnie--never came close to it.
Initially he thought Beecher was just another needy bitch. Relatively straight forward, just the way Chris liked it. What a complicated mess it had turned out to be--a bloody, screwed up disaster. In retrospect it was the most perfect mistake and it haunted him from the dark corners of his mind, gnawing at the weakness eating away at his protective faade.
It was more than Toby knowing him. It was that he wanted Toby to know him. Sure he had played a similar game with Bonnie, but this was different. This was more intense. There was more to give on his part. It made the air thick, his mind sharper, his body thrum relentlessly. Bonnie made him feel loved. Toby made him feel worthy of it. It scared the ever-living shit out of him and he wisely kept that tidbit under wraps.
Doth protest too much, blah, blah, blah, he was cool and collected with a steel resolve and quicksilver tongue, pushing Toby as far out of his comfort zone as Chris increasingly felt from his own. It was Oz for Christ sake. Chris needed Toby to understand the (illogical) logic that governed everyone on the inside. If they were to survive as a they, if he was going to keep Toby as his (and, really, there was no damn alternative now that Chris had tasted the sweet drink of salvation), it was mandatory. And troubling.
Staring at Toby's unadorned ring finger, no longer a faint tan line hinting at what once was the ex-lawyer's life, Chris didn't think about marriage. He didn't fantasize about domestic bliss on the outside with Toby in a home with a white picket fence and a tire swing hanging from a big tree on the front lawn. He didn't imagine being a parent to Toby's kids, going on family trips together, organizing birthday parties or doing Sunday morning breakfast with Toby and the kids piled in a bed, laughing and getting crumbs everywhere. He didn't imagine PTA meetings, surprise anniversary dinners or being each other's plus one. He didn't think about the vows.
He did think about forever.
And it was Toby--always Toby, only Toby--there with him. It was more than "for better or for worse" or "in sickness and in health". They'd seen the darkness rooted deep in the other and lived to tell the tale. They had each given and taken, earnestly, tentatively; loved until it hurt, until they bled; stood bared and unprotected, at the mercy of the elements. Some symbolic ceremony wasn't going to make it any more real. No priest was going to sanctify what they already had, what Chris already knew to be an undisputable truth.
He had said the words before with an air of flippancy. For the first time he understood the superficiality of it all compared to the reverence he now felt in his heart.
He would die for Toby and kill for him. He would rain a fucking holy war on those who dared to pose a challenge. For Toby, to keep him, Chris would rub shoulders with a pissy God and give the Devil a blowjob. He'd lie, cheat, steal, twist the truth and make it his bitch. He'd risk retribution, whisper honest confessions that could be used against him, say the word love and actually mean it; taste the burning sting of rejection for the chance at hearing the same in return.
Lowering Toby's hand, Chris intertwined their fingers again and placed a light kiss against Toby's jaw--with a quick flip of his tongue against the salty skin. He felt the familiar stirring, once again, in his groin and finally closed his eyes.
`til death do us part.
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