Written as part of the Super Special Awesome Spring Slash Lover's Prompt for Simply-Cath :)
For the second time that night Chris collapsed against damp and heated skin, pressing his forehead against the expanse of skin at the back of John's neck and kissing gently, his tongue swirling patterns and picking up the salty tang of sweat. He closed his eyes tightly and wrapped his arms around the smaller man beneath him, the strength in the toned muscles bearing most of his weight. After a moment he shuffled backwards and slowly disentangled himself from the clumsy and overheated intimate embrace, kissing all the way down John's spine as he moved away. Once clear he sat himself on the edge of the bed but John remained in the same place. On closer examination he looked back up the bed and saw John's head dipped deeply and the dripping of crystal clear tears from the end of the small nose.
Immediately Chris stood and walked to the head of the bed, squatting at the side of John and gently pushing the long dark hair behind his lover's ear, exposing the puffy and tear stained features it had hidden so well.
"John, what's wrong? Did I hurt you? Are you hurt?"
Chris' words didn't seem to register and he began to grow concerned. John's eyes were screwed shut tightly and the tears still fell steadily, falling onto the bedsheets and wetting a perfectly circular pattern as the moisture began to seep further into the cotton.
"Baby, what's wrong? Please John, talk to me, tell me what's wrong...."
His cellphone began to ring and Chris grabbed it from the nightstand and silenced the call. The display flashed with his wife's name and he knew he couldn't face talking to her. He sent the call to voicemail, knowing she'd probably assume he was either asleep or a bar somewhere and then idly tossed the phone onto the nearby dresser.
Reaching a hand to the strong shoulder Chris pressed his fingers gently into the taut muscle, halfheartedly in reassurance but more to see if he could break the mists with a firmer touch. Slowly John's eyes began to unfurl and more tears dripped off the end of his long dark eyelashes.
"Chris...we...we just can't... this can't carry on. I love you, but there's...I feel so bad, so empty every time. I can't stand hurting people like this...."
Suddenly it made sense. The half conversation they'd had on arriving back at the hotel had been brought to an abrupt end when Chris had stripped off to go in the shower and on his return put his best moves on his younger lover. Brushing aside anything John had to say Chris began his flow of carefully spoken words about how attractive and alluring John was; comforting platitudes about how they'd be together one day, how everything would be alright had all slipped off Chris' tongue so easily. Even at the time he'd not known who he was trying to convince more. Hundreds of days a year the two men spent time together. They were truly connected in every way, much more than Chris and his wife could ever be. And that was where the conversation started.
John had never pressured Chris to walk away from his wife and family, in fact he was the one that had always said what a bad idea it would be at this stage of their careers. Nobody wanted openly gay wrestlers, not even TNA. If they went public then it would all hit the fan and everything they'd worked for would be lost. Instead there was a pact to wait for each other till a time when either attitudes changed or at least one of them retired. As a result, and to the full knowledge of their colleagues, their trysts continued as they roomed, travelled and ate together inseparably. As long as their secret was safe nothing had to change.
That was until now. John had tried to bring up the moral issues of what they were doing many times recently but Chris had always shelved it, seeing it as his problem to be concerned with. After all, he was the married man. Over time he'd taken every vow he'd said and torn them all up one by one every time he lay panting on top of John calling his lovers name and, ironically, that of the Almighty before whom his vows had been made.
Last Christmas Chris had invited John to stay with him and his family, knowing full well that John wouldn't refuse the chance to spend a week with him away from the hassle of travelling and working. He'd seen John wince when Carrie, Chris' wife and the mother of the heir and heiresses to his legacy, had almost bear hugged the life out of John, such was her good nature and kindness to the many waifs and strays Chris had brought home over the years.
He knew she'd never once thought anything of it, mainly because Chris had very firm religious views on homosexuality that he wasn't afraid to share with anyone. His late nights when he did get time at home were allegedly spent playing poker or in the games room shooting some pool. She happily left the 'boys' to it having heard every anecdote of Chris' at least ten times already. As soon as he was satisfied she was down for the night he would be stripping his lover against the nearest wall or laid open legged on the sofa inviting his latest conquest to come settle between them as the fire roared in the hearth.
During John's stay with them it had emerged that he had a lot in common with Chris' wife. They read the same books, had interests in the same artwork and even spent an afternoon together visiting galleries while Chris had some 'Dad' time with the kids. That night John had pushed Chris away, finding it hard to cope with what he was doing to the family who had welcomed him so readily into their home. He'd not been able to get Chris to listen to him when he'd tried to talk to him about the issue because although he admitted it begrudgingly, even John had agreed with the snarled comment about knowing what he was getting himself into.
He'd known there were commitments, a marriage and children beyond the stolen moments in fancy hotel rooms and nights of frantically made love. It was just something he'd managed to box off and not think about until faced with those people in reality. Seeing the kids sat at the breakfast table the following morning eagerly awaiting their usual cereal just because it was being served to them by their dad shattered what was left of John's fragile heart.
He tried again that night to get his point across, not knowing whether he was seeking reassurance or essentially looking for Chris to call it off because for all his morals pricked away at his conscience, he seemed incapable of breaking away himself. Again he was silenced with kisses and sex, falling asleep hating himself for being so weak for the first time in years.
The week had soon passed and they'd gone back on the road. Nothing had changed, they were still sleeping together and forging some kind of quasi-relationship. The only difference was that as the months passed the memory of Chris' blissfully ignorant wife didn't fade away. Sometimes John would sleepily answer Chris' phone off the nightstand or out of the tray in the car as they drove together and it would be her. She would always enquire after his health, how had his matches been going, was he eating right, would he be visiting again soon. Her friendly chatter made it all the harder to rationalise that last night, and just about every other night on the road, her husband had been slamming his hips against the tanned flesh of his ass, pulling his long dark hair and burning his skin with the heat of his release.
Chris grabbed a handful of tissues from the nightstand and gently dabbed at John's cheeks, drying the remnants of the tears before pressing them to John's hand in the hope he would take them and stop the tears falling. He watched as finally John shifted his position, sitting then swinging his legs over the edge of the bed and holding both hands to his face, inadvertently drying some of the tears as he pressed the heels of his hands into his eye sockets.
Unsure what to do Chris merely sat beside his distressed lover, not sure what to say or even if he should say anything at all. It was not often Chris found himself in that position but when it came to emotions they were his true Achilles heel. He saw his phone begin to flash and vibrate again on the dresser across the room but it didn't seem appropriate to go and answer it. Instead he put his arm around John's shoulders, only to have it shrugged away moments later.
Something was clearly wrong but this wasn't the John he knew, in fact the John he'd known only minutes before who'd been on his knees panting and groaning through another climax.
"John, what in the hell is wrong? I can't sort this out if you're not going to tell me what I've done."
Slowly John pulled his hands into his lap and then stood, walking over to where his t-shirt and boxers lay discarded on the floor. Wordlessly he slipped them back on and headed towards the bathroom where, once he had entered, he let the door slam shut behind him.
Unable to do anything else Chris merely sat and waited for John to come back, aware his tone had been a little sharp but nothing that was massively out of character for him. Rubbing his hands over his arms he tried to push the goosebumps back through his skin but was unsuccessful. He hated the silent treatment more than anything; in fact he'd prefer an all out fist fight rather than being ignored. As he waited the idea crossed his mind to go and barge straight into the bathroom and demand a reason or at least an answer.
Having finally dismissed such stupidity as an option he heard the door click open and saw John emerging and noticed that he had scraped his hair back into a ponytail. The telltale sparkles on the sides of his face gave away that he'd tried to wash the tears off his skin. Chris got up and started towards him but was stopped in his tracks by John's arms outstretched, palms facing out, clearly indicating that he didn't want to be touched. With a deep sigh the arms were lowered and John rested his hands on his hips, staring straight ahead and in a vacant looking state. As Chris pondered what to do or say John's mouth began to move but it was a further second before the sounds arrived at Chris' ears.
"Chris we've got to talk. I've tried talking to you but you keep putting me off or screwing me just to make me leave it be. I can't go on like this."
"I don't see why we need to have this conversation. You agreed you knew what the deal was, right? You knew...know that I'm married. Nothing has changed John, nothing."
Chris tone was the same unrepentant one he used whenever and whoever challenged him about this glitch in his morals. It ended most conversations on the topic but it wasn't working this time. John had already said his name, started to protest loudly again that they needed to talk when Chris' cellphone rang again. He grabbed it from the dresser and looked at the flashing display.
"John, just shut the hell up and give me a minute. I've got to answer this, its Carrie. She's called three times, one of the kids might be sick, anything..."
Holding his hand up to gesture to John that he wanted him to be quiet he flipped the phone open and pressed it to his ear. John carried on talking and Chris walked away towards the French doors that led to the balcony to try and escape both the noise and the desperate sounding sentiment of whatever it was John had to say.
"Hey Carrie, sweetheart, what's up? I was just...in... the... shower when you called...."
Moments later his phone hit the ground, the back breaking from it cleanly. The stereo of the noise in both his ears was too much. The game was over, time was up. In that split second the familiar melodic lilt a thousand miles away and the loud, tearful cry three feet away harmonised perversely and perfectly.
"Chris, listen to me. There's someone else...."
A/N: So, this is not quite what I had in mind when I picked this prompt but its a bit of a departure for me, pairing and storywise. I hope the prompter likes it :) All reads and reviews appreciated :)
The title is taken from the following quote : Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter ~ Oscar Wilde. Make of that what you will but if we apply that to writing, its probably pretty close to the truth!