The Only One
Holden rummaged in his bag but couldn't find his keys. Then he remembered. He was late this morning and rushed out of the house without thinking of them. "Perfect ending for this day." he grumbled.
"Please Sean, be at home!"
He rang the doorbell. Nothing. Dammit. He was about to go around the house, hoping that maybe Sean had left the terrace open. But then he heard someone at the front door.
Coming back Holden raised his eyebrows and had an instinctive look at the name plate beside the door. Yes, he was at the right house, but who the heck was this woman? She wore leisure sweat pants and a shirt, so no chance she was a lady of Sean's management or something. And well, according to the spatula in her hand, she was… cooking? At their house?
"Hi! You must be Holden." At least she was friendly.
"Hey! And you would be…?"
"Come in. I think, Sean wants to tell you."
Holden slowly passed the pretty brunette without taking his eyes from her. He couldn't tell what confused him more. The fact that she acted like being at home, or the fact that Sean obviously had something to say about this woman. Then his partner came in from the terrace.
"Holden, let me explain."
"Ok, can't wait to hear that." He sat down at the table, Sean and the woman shared an uneasy look with each other and took the chairs opposite him. 'What the hell is going on here?'
"That's Rebecca. She… ehm… she is my… ex-wife."
Sean sighed deeply and looked at Holden, trying to analyze his reaction. After two seconds of paralysis Holden burst into an almost insane laughter. He focused Sean, then Rebecca. They were both serious, frighteningly serious. Holden's laughter died.
"You're kiddin' me! What?"
"Holden, I always wanted to tell you, but…"
"You were married? To a woman? Sean, don't you think, that is a fact worth telling me? Being in a four year relationship!" Holden shook his head with a disbelieving expression on his face.
The woman looked down on the table, then got up and pretended having something to do in the kitchen. Holden's eyes followed her but instantly returned to Sean.
Who now tried another explanation. "Then I thought, you might know it anyway and just didn't ask me about it. It's on the internet and… well.."
"Oh sorry, I didn't know I have to google my partner's vita! I was naïve enough to think he would tell me the important facts. You know everything about me, Sean! And I thought I know everything about you…"
"Holden. Bear. Come on. Let's eat first, she cooked. And then we talk about how we manage this. You know, she is staying here for some time..."
Holden's jaw dropped down. This was overwhelming, and definitely not in a positive way.
"Am I living in this house too? Am I involved in any decision? So your ex-wife is moving in here! Oh wait, that's nice. I could invite some of my ex-boyfriends to join us. What do you think?" He sounded snippy, but didn't care.
"Holden, don't you think you're overreacting a bit?"
"Oh do I? I do overreact, right! I've had one of the shittiest days of my life in the office and then I come home and you…" He paused and frowned. With his eyes on her now he continued. "You know what… I'm not hungry. Going to bed." He kissed Sean on the forehead, nodded to Rebecca and went upstairs. "Night."
Sean gave him some time to calm down and then followed him. Holden rarely was upset at all. Most of the time he was a cool and endearing person that could handle any situation and people of all sorts with a smile on his beautiful face. He was nothing but a wonderful man to be around. But today… whew. Okay, the news with Rebecca moving in weren't the best, but… he sighed. 'Sean, be honest to yourself, you were a coward! And today you fucked it up!' He reached the upper floor and warily knocked at the door.
"Holden, can I come in?"
"It's your bedroom too."
Sean entered the room and sat down on his side of the bed. Without taking his eyes from Holden he leaned against the headboard. Having a closer look he tilted his head. Were his partner's eyes red? Had he been crying? Okay, that was way too much reaction on Rebecca. But what did he say earlier?
"What happened at work today?"
Holden played with the button of his pillow. "I'm sorry. I didn't want to flip out."
Sean slid down a bit and dragged his partner's arm over his own body to make him lean against his chest. Holden embraced him tightly and pulled himself as close as possible to Sean who started to caress his cheek. "No, it was my fault. I should have called you before or something. This was the most stupid way to let you know. But anyway, what happened in the office?"
Holden looked up to him and now Sean could actually see how worn out he was.
"You remember Leo?"
"McIntyre? Yeah of course, you went to college together and he's one of your best agents. And we've been at his birthday party last month."
"He's dead." Holden's eyes filled with tears again. Sean's lips formed a 'wh..', but he didn't say anything. Holden needed a moment to continue. "He collapsed during the conference today and… the doctor said, it was a heart attack."
"Oh my God, Holden. I'm so sorry. This is… I don't know what to say. He was hardly older than us. And you were there? Whew."
He fondly tousled Holden's hair and held him tight. Now everything made sense. He came home with the weight of his friend's death on his shoulders and…
"God, and then I come at you with Rebecca. Sorry, love. I didn't mean to."
"No, you couldn't know. It only came all at once, was a bit too much for the moment. I'm ok. Sooo, why is she here?"
Sean started to explain, that Rebecca had moved to Boston with her new partner after they got divorced and that he had kicked her out overnight after a 5 year relationship. She wanted to resettle in L.A., but everything had happened so quick, that she couldn't find an apartment and asked Sean to let her live there for a while.
"Just until she finds an apartment or something. You're good with that, aren't you? We're still friends. I couldn't say no."
"Of course not. It's just… I think I just have to digest all this." He smiled at Sean, but his partner could still see the sadness in his eyes, or was it confusion? He couldn't tell.
Then Holden cleared his throat. "I could help her find something. If she wants me to be her agent."
"You're so sweet, thanks. Soooo… are you sure you're not hungry?" Sean gently smiled at him.
"Actually I'm starving." Holden moved up and kissed him. "Let's see if she's a good cook."
It was the weekend, so Holden couldn't start searching for a new home for Rebecca. It felt kind of odd living together with his gay partner and that guy's ex-wife. That made no sense, didn't feel real. Somehow.
But Holden always tried to get along with everyone. He had to suffer from people's prejudices for a very long time and didn't want to be one of them, judging a person without knowing him or her. So he set up a smile, nestled into the couch and started a new book. Sean made himself comfortable by his side and flipped through some magazines. The only one not knowing what to do was Rebecca.
"I'm bored. Can't we do something? What about… we could go sailing!"
"You know what? That sounds like fun!" Sean obviously loved that idea, he already got up. But Holden stared at his partner. He couldn't believe it. What was going on here?
"You always told me we couldn't do that, because you hate it and get seasick. I begged you to come with me."
Sean thought about an answer. "I said that? Naaahhh…"
"But… you did." Holden tried to remember the actual wording, but wasn't sure anymore. "Ehm… maybe I got that wrong. Ok then, let's go. As you said, it sounds like fun!"
He reluctantly put his book away and got up too.
Having changed their clothes the three of them were on the way out. Hearing Rebecca's giggle Holden turned around and saw Sean having his hand on her back. The feeling of jealousy clasped his heart. He tried to shake it off and opened the door for them. 'He's just guiding her… for whatever reason.'
When Sean passed him, he kissed Holden and winked at him with a grin. Holden sighed deeply. So whatever his imagination was trying to put in his mind here, it was nothing. Nothing.
During the next two weeks Holden showed Rebecca several houses and apartments in all price categories. But either she was the most selective client he ever had or she wasn't interested in finding a home. There was always 'something' in every property.
'What is it with that woman? She wants a new home, right? Can't live with us forever! Unless she wants something else. Stay at our home long enough to win Sean back? She's creeping around him the whole day, admiring everything he does or says. And he? He likes it. These sparkles in his eyes when she… God Holden, where is your fantasy going… she's a woman… Sean is gay! He…'
"No, I don't like it." She interrupted his thoughts. "Do you have another apartment closer to the city? But not too close, I don't like it loud."
Holden breathed deeply and tried not to roll his eyes.
'Maybe I can find some log cabin in the Angeles National Forest, might be quiet enough there.' Holden startled and hoped he hadn't said that aloud. But Rebecca continued checking her makeup so that comment probably just had popped up in his mind. He sighed. Why was he so mean? Where did those feelings come from? There was something about her he didn't like. And well, he knew exactly what it was. She was way too close with Sean. 'But again. She is a woman and Sean outed himself… sooo… calm down Holden, as soon as she's out of the house everything will be how it's supposed to be. So, act nice and give her the apartment that she wants. That's your job.'
He turned to her. "Sure. I'll do my best to make you happy."
She smiled at him. It looked honest, and he instantly felt bad for his thoughts.
"I'll drop you off at home and return to the office." He opened the door and without thinking put his hand on her back - to guide her. When he realized it, he thought about being jealous when Sean did the exact same thing and started chuckling. Well maybe that's what men instinctively do with women – even gay men.
Holden came home from work and wanted nothing but a shower and something to eat. Sean's car wasn't there so he and Rebecca probably were at the store to get the stuff for the barbecue they had planned with some friends this evening.
So no one was at home. Hmm…
Holden mentally cancelled the shower and put a hot bath instead. He went upstairs with a satisfied smile. While the tub slowly filled with the tempting steaming water he went into the dressing room to get rid of the suit, at least for this weekend. His smile widened. Since being by Sean's side his partner got him to dress more casual. He still loved his suits, they made him feel confident and were inevitable at work. But at home he now preferred the sloppy look.
Just in his boxer briefs and with fresh sweatpants and T-shirt under his arm he headed back into the bathroom. 'Bit too much foam... ah, to hell with it.' He got naked and slowly stepped into the tub. It took him another minute to completely sit down, damn this was hot. But once he was in, he enjoyed it. Lying there with his eyes closed he could feel his muscles relax. His thoughts wandered to the upcoming barbecue. He hadn't seen most of their guests for quite a while and was looking forward to it. Another reason for being happy about having them was Rebecca. Having her around still made him feel uncomfortable, as much as he tried not to feel like that. Tonight he hoped for a bit distraction for himself.
After thirty minutes the water got too chilly to be enjoyable anymore. He also heard voices from the kitchen downstairs, they were back. Just as Holden got himself up and was about to step out of the bathtub, the door flew open and Rebecca rushed in. The doorknob still in her hand she stopped and stared at him. Holden's brain didn't have the time to make up a plan for this embarrassing situation. After two seconds of shock the pure instinct made him try to get to the towel. Unfortunately he had overrated his stability, he slipped and fell back into the tub. The water splashed all over the bathroom when Holden landed right on his rump and left elbow. Also knocked his head on the ceramic. It hurt like a bitch and he saw stars, but at least he and his private parts had disappeared under the foam.
Rebecca woke up from her paralysis and hurried to him.
"What..." Holden was still coughing because of the water he had swallowed. "Aren't people knocking on closed doors where you're from?"
"I'm so sorry."
Holden tried to collect as much foam as possible to cover his manhood. When she got on her knees to check his head he finally freaked out. "What the fuck! Would you please get out!"
"Sorry, I just wanted..."
She still stared at him. He was sure she hadn't stopped doing so since she came in. When she finally had left with a last futile attempt to apologize, Holden crawled out of the bathtub, breathing heavily.
"Ouch, dammit!" He barely could stand upright. But nothing seemed to be broken. This could have end a lot worse. Apart from the embarrassment of course!
He came out of the bathroom 10 minutes later, dressed now and halfway recovered from shock and pain. He didn't see Rebecca anywhere, but she must have told Sean, since he rushed to Holden with a concerned look.
"Are you ok, love? Rebecca told me before she left for the Coke we forgot to buy. Is your head ok? She said you knocked it pretty hard." He examined Holden's head with quick but soft moves.
"Yeah, because of her!"
"It was an accident. You think she meant to...?"
"She should have knocked!"
"I don't knock on the bathroom door either."
"Sean, you live here with me! And you… you've seen me like that before… I mean… naked."
"Baby," Sean said with a cheering grin, "you've got nothing to be ashamed of. You're one hell of a hunk!"
Holden rolled his eyes, but couldn't hold back a little smile at the same time. "That's not the point. I don't wanna have that."
"I'm sure she will remember it the next time. Unless she liked what she saw."
"Sean!" Holden punched his partner in the side and for a few seconds the grin on his face was accompanied by a whimper.
"You better focus on making that delicious steak sauce of yours before knocking me out, champ." Sean stepped behind Holden, wrapped his arms around his waist and slowly directed him into the kitchen. When they had arrived, Sean pressed him to the bar and buried his face in his partner's neck. "God, you smell fantastic, I could eat you alive." He let the tip of his tongue trail from Holden's ear to the collar of his T-Shirt, tugged it down to set the shoulder free and continued soaking up his lover's flavour. Holden leaned against Sean's muscled frame and offered the other side. He moaned with pleasure when Sean gently bit his neck and started sucking in the bruised skin. The evaporating moist on his skin gave Holden chills.
And that effect exploded when he felt Sean's half hard-on against his butt.
"Take me!" he murmured.
Sean's lips let go of his neck. "What?" He slightly parted from Holden. "Rebecca will be back soon. Imagine how she would feel, if she'd catch us… I mean..."
All romantic feelings rushed out of Holden's body. 'Oh sure, I forgot. She mustn't feel bad! That's our ultimate ambition!' He sneaked out of Sean's grip and started preparing the steak sauce. "Ok. Go, set the table. Guests coming in two hours."
Sean looked at him. "What have I done?"
Holden slightly smiled at him. "Nothing baby. You're right. Set the table. It's ok."
His partner frowned and continued staring at Holden, who was more than focused on mixing ketchup, mustard, Tabasco and the other ingredients. After a few moments he realized, that Holden wouldn't explain the sudden change in his behavior now. He sighed and sorted the flatware.
Holden felt relieved when Sean's confused gaze no longer burned on his skin. He bit his lower lip while stirring. Of course he regretted having been so harsh. But even her name… He wanted his feelings from five minutes ago back. Wanted to feel Sean's body again, his hands, his lips. Wanted to be loved by the man he cherished more than anything else in this world. But he couldn't make the first step toward Sean, couldn't just go over and embrace him as long as this woman was seemingly more important to Sean than himself. He looked over to his partner and whispered the one thing he recently missed the most coming from Sean's mouth. "I love you."
But Sean didn't respond. He was too busy to get the plates out of the cabinet and on the terrace.
'Well done man, you're a genius!' Holden sighed.
Four days later Holden got dressed for work. Adjusting his tie he thought about the barbecue on Friday. After that discomforting moment with Sean it was a pleasure to have some friends around he could concentrate on. Fortunately Rebecca had avoided him since the bathroom incident. And Sean… he was too busy to make her feel good to notice that he and Holden didn't share one single word through the whole evening.
Sure, after their guests had gone and they finally fell into bed they kissed goodnight and Sean snuggled up to him, but it was… different.
Putting on his jacket he pushed away those thoughts. But when he came down, Sean and Rebecca were harmonically sitting at the table having breakfast.
"Does this sweet little restaurant still exist?" Rebecca asked the football player. "You know, the one where we…?" She started giggling.
"Yeah, it does."
"Let's have lunch there today! For the old time's sake."
Sean grinned at her. "Sure."
There it was again. That little itchy sting in Holden's heart. He never could have imagined that he would be jealous of a woman. But they were just so familiar with each other. 'Yeah well, they've been married. You surely are familiar then.' He wanted to swallow his feelings down, but before his brain could send out this order his mouth opened.
"Sean, we wanted to… mh forget it. I'm off to work. Have fun." He tried a smile, but was sure it didn't come out as one.
Sean turned to him and seemed to remember that he and Holden had planned to meet for lunch today, like they did every week. He got up and headed to his partner.
"Oh sorry love, I forgot. It's Tuesday. Rebecca and I cancel that lunch and I'm picking you up at 1, ok?"
"No no, you can go to that sweet little restaurant. It's… fine." Holden felt uncomfortable. In all those years of their relationship there hasn't been an awkward tension like this between him and Sean.
The sad thing was, Sean didn't even notice it. He nudged Holden with his elbow and smiled at him like this whole situation was right how it should be. "No bear, I'll pick you up. And now go to work." He kissed Holden on the cheek and returned to Rebecca to continue their chat.
Holden felt like being on an island. So he was the compulsory exercise now. And Sean had to cancel an endearing lunch with her at this sweet litt-. He had to talk to Sean, but not now.
He looked at Rebecca. She must have been staring at him, because she startled and averted her eyes quickly. 'So at least she feels a bit uncomfortable too. Good! Or was she just eying up the poor guy that lost to her…'
He shook his head, turned around and left. He would talk to Sean at lunch, when she wasn't around.
When Holden was gone, Sean looked at Rebecca. "Holden is strange these days, don't you think? I mean, you don't know him as well as I do, but still. Hm. Maybe it's the stress at work. Or still the thing with Leo…"
Rebecca kept stirring her cereals. "He doesn't like me. You saw his look?"
Sean snorted. "What do you mean? Holden likes anybody! I mean, okay, you saw him naked, he really didn't enjoy that!"
"Sean, seriously! That didn't just start on Friday."
"Yeah, sorry. Just don't worry. I think, it's the work. He has to manage a lot of things right now, the agency is expanding sharply. I told him a thousand times that he can talk to me about the stress and stuff. But he keeps withdrawing into himself and tries to fight his way through it alone. That's just Holden being Holden."
"I think he sees me as competitor."
"I have given up the try to change -… Wait what? Competitor? You? Come on! That's bullshit. He knows that I only love him! I mean, even the thought of you and me…!"
She raised her eyebrows and made a face. "Oh thank you!"
"Aaah, you know what I mean!"
"Yes, I do, but tell him!"
"He knows it!"
"But he doesn't look like knowing it! This has nothing to do with his work. From the first day we met he acts different when I'm in the room. When was the last time you saw him smile? And I'm talking about a real smile, not the fake ones he tries to put on."
Sean leaned back and thought about it. She was right, Holden had been very serious these days, only gave him some rare smiles here and there. Not to mention his loud hearty laughs that Sean loved more than anything, hadn't heard them for quite a while. Sean had blamed it to the work. Could it be that Holden was jealous?
'But... He must know that he's the one! I tell him every day that I love him. Well nearly every day… ok, nowadays I didn't… Dammit! How can an amazing guy like him be sooo self-conscious? Unbelievable. I have to talk to him and get that out of his head. Me and her… sheesh… baby, what are you thinking!'
Holden leaned against Kathy's desk and checked her telephone notes for him, when the door to the office opened. He smiled when he saw Sean. But right behind him was Rebecca. Holden's smile fell off his face and he breathed deeply, staring at the two.
Kathy looked at him with a mixture of concern and curiosity. Within a split second she seemed to register that something was wrong here and it had to do with that brunette woman arriving with her boss's partner. She was very good at reading Holden's face and he loved her for this – Kathy knew when he needed her help and her advice -mostly for private stuff- and she knew when it was the best to stay out of focus. And she obviously decided that this was a 'stay-out-of-focus-moment' since she grabbed some paperwork and headed to the archive.
"Hey bear, ready for lunch?" Sean bent over to kiss him, but Holden averted his face and grabbed his arm instead. He didn't even look at Rebecca, just said: "Excuse us for a moment." He tugged Sean into the conference room and closed the door.
"Holden? What is it?"
"Why did you bring her with you? This lunch was supposed to be a thing between the two of us."
"I know, but I didn't want to let her alone in the house. It's just lunch. What is it with you these days? She's a nice person." Sean apparently didn't understand what he was trying to say.
"I don't…," Holden looked down. Should he say what he was feeling? Dammit. He wasn't good at this, reproaching somebody without making it sound like a reproach. But hey – letting him know about his thoughts helped Sean coming out over a year ago and it probably will help now either. 'Fuck, why can't that guy read subtle hints?'
"Sean, I don't wanna share you. Not only today, I mean in general. I had to fight for you so hard and… I don't wanna lose you now."
Sean looked not as taken aback as Holden thought he would. The footballer tried to take his partner in his arms, but he refused it. "Share? Damn, she was right. You don't have to share me! And you're definitely not losing me! She's my ex and we're still friends. That's all."
"You already told me that. And I thought I could handle it. But I can't."
"So what are we gonna do now? Should I throw her out of the house?"
Holden shook his head. "No, but if you… if you just could stop flirting with her?" He was surprised by his own voice, he literally was pleading. This was more weakness than he had intended to show.
His partner squinted his eyes. "What do you mean? Holden, please! I'm not…"
"You are, Sean! You hug her and look at her with… I don't know. The only thing I haven't seen so far is both of you kissing."
He mentally kicked himself for saying that. He knew he sounded like a jealous bastard, trying to bind Sean to himself with making him feel guilty. That wasn't him, sooo not him. But he couldn't control it anymore. Rebecca was a 'rival' Holden couldn't grasp. He never had to compete with a woman. If it would have been a former male partner he would know what to do, but this was an impossible task.
"Holden! Are you listening to yourself? I love you, and only you! Plus she's a woman. I'm gay and I decided to make it official last year. And that decision included a life with you. I swore that nothing will ever stand between us again. And I mean it! You are the only one for me!"
He cupped Holden's face with his hands and forced him to look into his eyes.
"I love you, man!"
Holden sighed. "Ok."
"Ok? That's all?" Sean raised an eyebrow and put up a big smile. He studied Holden's face. Then his eyes alternated between his partner's light blue eyes and his delicate mouth.
Holden's heart started beating faster and he smiled bashfully. "I love you too." With that Sean slowly leaned in. Holden scanned his eyes. They were full of love. Good. Sean softly pressed him against the wall and finally their lips met. Holden closed his eyes and forgot the world around them enjoying every bit of that passionate yet tender kiss. While exploring Sean's mouth with his tongue he ran his hands through his partner's beautiful short curls. Then they were making their way over his shoulders and eventually came to rest on the small of his back, pulling the man closer. Sean chuckled and moaned at the same time. Always a good sign. Somewhere in the back of his head a little voice reminded Holden that Rebecca was still waiting outside, but playing with Sean's skilful tongue silenced it again.
Anyway, Sean's inner voice obviously won since he ended the kiss after a few more seconds and let go of Holden's hips. He looked at the door and back at him. "I think we can't stay in here forever." He bowed his head down, but kept the eye contact. "Soo, are we good?"
Holden smiled at him and placed a final sappy kiss on his partner's lips. "We are. But – and don't get me wrong – she has to leave!"
Sean's smile grew into a grin. "She will."
They came out of the room hand in hand. Rebecca still stood at the place where they had left her, waiting patiently. She could see that they obviously had worked something out. Holden smiled from ear to ear, and oh what a beautiful smile it was. When she first saw him and Sean on the cover of this magazine - she had forgotten the name… some random tabloid - she recognized the beauty of his face. But when she saw him in person for the very first time she was blown away. Sean really had an excellent taste in men. Even though Holden had been confused and quiet and… well… not very friendly toward her, she had a hard time not to stare at him.
Then that moment in the bathroom crept into her mind once again. She smiled while picturing it. Yes, it was awkward. But a double-yes to how beautiful he was. The cute blue puppy dog eyes - though widened in shock -, broad shoulders, marked chest, slender waist… she felt the rising heat on her face. 'Why do you blush? You barely saw anything from the waist down, he fell way too quick.' Rebecca cleared her throat and breathed deeply. 'Be honest to yourself, you saw more than enough to not be able holding the eye contact for more than two seconds without thinking about it. Dammit! Why is it that those kinds of guys are either married or gay? Look there! I stare again! God, is this weird? Having those kinds of thoughts of my ex-husband's new partner can't be healthy. Now I'm around two gay guys that I like. One is my ex and the other one I wanna…'
She cleared her throat again and smiled at the couple. For the first time she felt like the fifth wheel. The guys radiated so much love right now, it was intimidating but fascinating at the same time.
'It's time to leave. You've been standing between them long enough.'
There was just one thing she still had to do.
The next morning Sean had left early for a game. Holden chuckled. 'Hope, he won't fall asleep on the field!' They had talked about the situation all night, Holden lying on his back on his side of the bed, Sean transverse with his head on his partner's stomach. This and their intertwined hands had been the only physical contact, but still it was one of the most romantic and intense nights Holden ever had with his partner.
Around 6 Sean got picked up to the airport and when Holden was having breakfast around 8 he probably was in the air already, most likely sleeping.
Rebecca came in from the terrace. And that well-known awkward tension filled the house. He tried a smile again. And failed – again. Since yesterday he knew she wasn't threatening his relationship, but still…
'How can it be that she's probably the only person on the planet that I can't handle? I don't want to be that cold toward her. Oh no please, it's too early for pretending a casual talk.'
Rebecca went over to Holden and since he obviously just had started eating he had no logical reason to get up and leave. He sighed when she sat down.
"Holden, I know you try to be kind and keep your thoughts away from me. But I know that you don't want me here."
"What? No…. I mean…" Holden figured that it was probably the best to have a clearing conversation with her. Fair and square. "It's not that I don't like you, it's just weird to see your harmony. Ehm…"
"Holden, let me start. Sean and I were just good friends back then. I don't know why he proposed to me. Maybe he married me to show the public that picture of him they wanted to see… you know better than I do that he was great in hiding that little secret of his. I didn't know it until we got divorced."
"Why did you marry him? Did you love him?"
"I think so, yeah. But you know, it was always different with him than with my other partners. There were two Seans, the public one and the one at home. In the public he 'acted' like the caring husband, was always around me. But at home… don't get me wrong, he was always kind and sweet, but he was sooooo shy and insecure when we were alone. Especially… well… in the bedroom. He couldn't…" Rebecca looked like being surprised of her own words. "I mean…" She giggled.
Holden couldn't hold back the chuckle. He wasn't sure if he wanted to discuss Sean's mating habits with his ex-wife.
"Actually, he isn't shy!" Holden blushed and looked down on his coffee cup. 'Did I just say that? God. Awwkward!'
She laughed, but got serious again. "See, that's what I mean. He always had to hide. Even at home. That's why our marriage didn't work out. You can't hide who you are. And sure enough you can't do that your whole life. I was so happy for him when he came out last year. And then I saw some pictures of you two in the magazines. I mean, come on. You are the most beautiful gay couple I have ever seen in my life. You are meant for each other."
Holden blushed an even deeper red and felt so bad. He rubbed his neck.
"I'm sorry for being so rude over the last couple of days. I was such an idiot."
"No, it's totally understandable. I guess we talked about the good old times a bit too often."
He smiled. "It's good to have good old times! Anyway, I'm sorry. Oh before I forget it, I have another apartment for you. Would you like to have a look with me?"
"Yep. I'd love to. I just have to change clothes."
She got up and left. Being already at the door she paused, turned and came back to him. Before he knew what was happening she wrapped her arms around him and gave him a warm hug. He was a bit confused but hesitantly returned the gesture. When she let go of him after a few seconds she placed a peck on his cheek and finally left the room.
'Okayyy… So I think, we're good.' Holden smiled, but was still surprised by the turn of this whole situation. He should have talked to them way earlier. "Well, better late than never!" He took a good bite out of his sandwich before clearing the table.
By the time he was done, Rebecca came down the stairs. "Ehm, Holden? I'm sorry, if I was a bit to offensive. You know with the kiss and so."
For the first time since they met he smiled at her and actually meant it, which felt pretty good. "No, it's all good. Let's go."
Sean leaned at the dining table and had a look at the invitation again. 'So finally Holden found an apartment for Rebecca. He almost went nuts while searching something for her.' He chuckled. 'That poor guy. Thought, me and her… I still can't believe it. Thank God, we got that out of the way.' He had a look at his watch. 'Come on bear, we gotta go.'
Holden just had returned from a 3-day-business trip. The same day Rebecca moved out, he had to fly to New York. He literally returned just minutes ago. But though he must have been very tired he wanted to accompany Sean tonight.
Then Holden came down in one of his beloved three-piece suits, his hair still wet from the quick shower he insisted in having after the flight.
Sean instantly felt an army of butterflies dancing in his stomach, crossed his arms and blatantly stared at Holden. 'God, he is so gorgeous. Who in the world would leave him for… well for anyone else?'
"As fantastic as you look in this suit, what about an outfit a wee bit more casual? It's just a house-warming party with Rebecca's new neighbors and some friends."
Holden slouched his shoulders. "You think I'm overdressed? I would feel more comfortable in a suit, you know that." Sean just shrugged his shoulders.
"Sooo – jeans." Holden pouted and took the jacket off.
Sean laughed and put on a mischievous grin. "You want me to assist in changing your clothes?" He bit his lower lip looking down on Holden's body, in his mind he already unbuttoned his lover's shirt.
Holden smirked at him. "No honey, I'm a big boy. I can do that on my own. And if you would help me, we probably would be late for the party… or miss it at all."
Sean pretended thinking about that, but his sparkling eyes told Holden that he was 100% right. So he went upstairs and returned a few minutes later, in tight dark blue jeans, a matching shirt and a gray cashmere pullover.
"Mmmm, you should wear jeans more often, love. You've got a fabulous ass in those."
"Thank you! Very eloquent, Mr Jackson." Holden took Sean's hands in his and pulled him closer. Sean could already smell the fresh peppermint flavour in his breath and was about to kiss him, when his partner put a finger on Sean's lips and slightly shook his head.
"We gotta go!"
"Come on. I haven't seen you for three days now. Just one kiss."
"Sean, you know as well as I do where this would end. Upstairs." Sean was about to argue, but Holden cut him off with a grin. "You remember that wedding of one of your teammates this spring - that we missed because of 'just one kiss'?"
Sean seemed to remember with pleasure since he started giggling. "Yeah, but that was something completely different."
"Yes, it was… I mean… … okay, let's go."
Holden's grin turned into a hearty laugh. He took the car keys and when he passed Sean, he gave him a loving smack on the butt. "We have the whole weekend, honey."
Arriving at the party Holden was glad that he had listened to Sean. He would have been way overdressed in the suit.
Sean obviously read his thoughts. "Wanna thank me?" he asked with a knowing grin.
Holden leaned over and kissed him on the cheek. "Later."
They smiled at each other and then were spotted by Rebecca. She hugged both of them tightly. "Hey guys, so cool you could manage to stop by. Let me show you around and introduce you to the people. If that's necessary at all, it seems you're L.A.'s favourite boys."
And they really didn't come very far. After five steps they were surrounded by a group of young women, begging Sean for autographs and photos with them. Holden remembered that there was a college nearby so they were probably students and shared an apartment here. He signalled Sean that he would get them something to drink, sneaked out of the female mass and headed to the small bar.
Rebecca apparently hadn't ordered someone off to be the 'barkeeper', so Holden slipped behind it and knelt down to the fridge hoping for some beer for Sean and water for himself since he was the driver today. When he got back up, an older woman stood in front of the bar and smiled at him. Her almost white hair made her look like the classic charming granny.
"I'd like another soda, please."
Holden tilted his head. "Actually I'm not… ah so what. A soda ma'am? Here you go." He poured the drink into her glass. "Are you living in this house too?"
"Yes. I'm Mrs Montgomery. We met each other the other day, do you remember me? You showed Rebecca this apartment when I walked the dog."
Holden had to bend over the bar a bit to understand her, the room was quite noisy. "Oh yeah I remember, the small one, what is it… a pinscher, right?"
"Yes, my little Chester. He means the world to me. He is so cute you can't imagine. You know, when my husband was still with us, Chester would always sleep on his lap, so sweet! Now he has the armchair for himself. Pinschers are very intelligent, you knew that?"
Holden shook his head and wondered where this conversation would end. He smiled at her, but tried to find Sean in the crowd at the same time.
"Oh sorry. A handsome young man certainly doesn't wanna hear an old lady's story about her dog. But do you mind if I ask you something, something personal?"
He looked at her with a now insecure smile. "Ehm… no."
"I don't wanna be nosy or something, but that football player… what's his name…"
Holden helped her out.
"Yeah right, Jackson. Oh, my Henry was a real fan of that sport. He would have known him right away." She seemed to drift into the memory of her life with late Henry but then focused on Holden again. "I saw you two. You came in arm in arm… ehm… are you a couple? Sorry, it's confusing for an old woman like me. Maybe it's become normal for the younger generations… What is it like being together with a man… as a man?"
Holden chuckled and thought about whether he should answer or not. Normally he wouldn't tell anybody things that were this private and certainly he wouldn't tell a complete stranger, but she was sooo sweet in her way. "Well ma'am, it's normal for me, I only know this kind of relationship. I've never had a girlfriend."
She was astonished. "Really? Never? Not even kissed a girl?"
Her face was hilarious, Holden had to fight back a loud laugh. "No."
"But Rebecca told me, she was married to him, ehm Sean. So he was with a woman before."
"That's right, ma'am."
"Hm, very confusing."
Now Holden laughed, "Yes it is, right?"
From the corner of his eye Holden saw Sean heading for them. Nodding to Mrs Montgomery with a "Ma'am" he leaned over to Holden. "Hey love, those girls want some photos with you too."
Sean popped some pretzels into his mouth and grinned at Holden. "Yeah, I don't know. I told them that I'm the famous guy from the two of us, not you. But they said they don't care."
"You're a jerk!" With a quick look over to the older lady he excused himself.
Sean grabbed Holden's hand, took his beer with the other and they were heading back for the group of girls. Holden still wasn't used to 'having fans'. And when Sean tugged him closer for the photos and the girls started squeaking how cute they were, Holden did what he did best – he blushed. Which made them squeak even more. The kiss from his partner didn't help at all. But finally he regained his normal complexion. When the photos were taken they actually had a nice talk with the girls, who indeed were students.
The rest of the evening passed by without any blushing, at least for Holden.
It was late and there were just five of them left. Holden and Sean, then of course Rebecca and two other close friends, Hank and Susan. They had made themselves comfortable on the sofa with their drinks and were just chatting. When Hank brought up the sailing, Rebecca got all excited.
"Uh uh uh… I have a sweet story for you!" she said with a mischievous grin to Sean. Holden could tell that she was a bit more than tipsy by now, but he couldn't wait to hear it.
Sean now got excited too, but apparently for another reason. He looked like remembering. "Becca, no. Please!"
Holden tugged him back into his arms, holding him tight. He nodded at her with an encouraging grin, "Tell us!" Sean's head fell on Holden's shoulder, he obviously had given up the hope to escape from this.
"You know, we went sailing that one day. Moons ago. And Sean…" she giggled. "I swear he wasn't drunk. But somehow he got entangled in one of the ropes." She almost had tears in her eyes. "He fell headlong over the railing and the rope got stuck. So he hung there, head two feet above the water… screaming like a maniac!" She couldn't bring out any more words, just tried to survive. And her laugh was very infectious.
Sean instantly blushed and buried his face in his hands. "God, Rebecca! Was that necessary?"
Holden looked down on Sean and tried to catch his breath. "Yes it was! That's so gorgeous!"
Almost nothing embarrassing ever happened to Sean. Through the years of their relationship all those situations seemed to steer clear of him and made their way right to Holden. So since he always was the 'victim' Holden found it very refreshing that for once it wasn't him. He chuckled even more. "Do you have a picture of that?"
"Somewhere, yeah. I'll copy it for you." Rebecca grinned.
Finally Sean joined in the laughing. He turned to Holden. "Don't you dare showing it to somebody!" Holden smiled back at him with the most innocent and angelic face he could put on.
Sean closed the distance between them and kissed Holden. When they parted he shook his head, knowing that at least his parents and cousin Diane plus her family would see it. He nestled back into Holden's arms and stayed there until they went home.
Holden stood in front of the mirror in the bathroom, just wearing his sweat pants. He brushed his teeth while chuckling about Sean being really affectionate and touchy-feely in the car on their way home. Sure, part of that clearly was due to the alcohol. But since Rebecca had 'moved in', they had considered it somewhat inappropriate to get romantic when she was in the adjoining room. This was about three weeks ago. Then Holden had to take this trip… more days of not being together. So this was actually the first night on their own. He rinsed out his mouth and left the bathroom.
Sean was already in bed. Covered in the white sheets he looked like an angel.
An angel with his eyes closed. Holden had to admit that he was disappointed. He switched the light off. The moon was bright enough to illuminate the elegant bedroom and create a more romantic atmosphere than all the lamps in the world. He crawled into bed and rested his head on Sean's heaving chest. His partner's warmth made him splendidly sleepy. But though it was almost 2 o'clock in the morning and he had practically been up for 24 hours now he didn't want to sleep. And he didn't want Sean to sleep either.
He placed a soft kiss on the other guy's chest. Sean obviously wasn't sleeping at all, since he instantly put his hand on the back of Holden's head, demanding him to continue. He didn't need any more invitation. His mouth made its way up. God he loved those strong shoulders. When he started licking Sean's neck, the footballer couldn't hold back the moan any longer and tightened the grip on his partner.
"You like that, huh?" he breathed into Sean's ear.
"Mhm. Don't stop…"
"Ok. Let's see if you like this too." Holden slowly moved back down spreading kisses on chest, abs and bellybutton, then stopped at the waistband of the boxer briefs. He could almost hear Sean's heart hum. Gently stroking the almost fully hard cock through the fabric he grinned at his aroused lover.
"Go on." It was more a plea than a command. Holden loved Sean being this vulnerable and completely at his mercy.
"You sure? Sure you don't wanna sleep?" He barely could control his own arousal, but teasing Sean was too much fun.
"Hey, don't play games with me. Not at a moment like this. Come on!"
'Uhh, he tries to be bossy now.' Without losing the eye contact Holden mounted Sean and settled himself on his crotch.
"God… please…Holden!" The football player threw his head back into the pillow.
'There he is again. Pleading Sean.' With a satisfied smile Holden bent down. Still framing Sean's body with his legs he kissed him passionately, tongues fighting for dominance. Sean wrapped his arms around him and tugged him down to deepen the kiss, his hips starting to move in that wonderful familiar rhythm.
Holden groaned into the kiss and finally gave in. The want was stronger now than the enjoyment of teasing his partner.
"God, I love you."
"Mhm. Show me how much."
Holden woke up and his sleepy eyes tried to focus the clock. It was 4.13 a.m. and still dark. He sighed and crawled back to Sean. They had fallen asleep just an hour ago, after highly enjoying their regained togetherness.
Feeling him on his back Sean woke up and turned around. He took him in his arms and kissed him. "Again? We should always have some ex-partners around now and then, not that we would need that! But four times in… what time is it?"
Holden raised an eyebrow. He wriggled himself out of Sean's arms. "Flip over. I just wanted to nestle up to you. No need to be too excited."
They both giggled. Holden spooned Sean and when they had reached the perfect position kissed his neck. With his arms wrapped around his partner's body and a smile on his face he slowly fell asleep.
The last thought he had before dozing off was about one sentence Sean said to him the other day. 'You are the only one for me!'
'Same here honey, same here.'