The roar of the ocean was deafening, the mist even stronger as the wind picked up and swept between them. It was isolated, not a soul in sight which is why Benjamin wanted to go here.
"Used to love coming here all the time," Benjamin said, lugging a picnic basket with him. They'd picked it up at Costco on the way to the beach. Jake loved how he was spontaneous like that.
"With your best friend? What was his name?"
Benjamin exhaled as if he were letting out something that had been in him a long time. "His name was Cole. It was the one place we could both go and be totally ourselves. No one could see us. We were safe here. We could say what we wanted to say, do what we wanted to do ..." He nibbled Jake on the side of the neck which would only turned Jake rock hard in two-seconds flat if he didn’t think about something else. Jake cracked a smile.
"Love that smile of yours, man," Benjamin said, sliding his fingers in between Jake's. It felt so perfect walking with him without worrying about someone seeing them, but there was also a wave of guilt.
He tried to change the subject. "What's in the basket?"
"Just a few tasty items," Benjamin said, nonchalantly.
"Like what?" he asked. He hadn't paid any attention in the store when Benjamin grabbed the items. His mind was too much on how he'd explain to him the secret that had been eating him alive for so long.
"Some olive oil, veggies ... everything we need."
"Everything we need?"
There was a hint of mischievous in his expression. "Yep ... You cool?" Benjamin asked. "Cold?"
"No, I—" Jake started to say, but it was too late. Benjamin took off his shirt and draped it over Jake's shoulders, revealing that killer body of his. As if he needed another reminder of how sexy the man was. He had to look away or he was going to get hard again, which would make what he had to do even more difficult.
"You're getting pretty swoll, you know. I can tell, your body's improving."
"Well, if those workouts you're giving me doesn't do it, I don't know what will."
"And it will only improve. With me by your side, nothing's impossible, so long as we're together."
Why did those words have to soothe his soul? Why did they have to be exactly what he needed to hear after months of feeling alone without Alberto? Yet, why did they have to feel so wrong at the same time, knowing that they were coming from his step-brother?
“You’re a natural, Jake. I’ve trained a lot of guys and you’ve got the skills. You just gotta get that fucker who did that to you out of your head. He’s fucking up your mind.”
“Easy for you to say,” Jake said.
“Not quite. I know what it’s like to be picked on and I know what it’s like to pick on someone too.”
“What do you mean?” Jake asked.
Ben sighed. “I wasn’t always such a nice guy, dude. I had a shitty upbringing, a lot of insecurities and I took them out on people. I guess helping you is my way of making amends. That’s why I say, don’t let that guy trip you up. You got something he doesn’t, a beautiful heart. And the skills to back it up.”
Jake’s face softened. He’d never had anyone believe in him that much, not even Alberto. His best friend would have laughed if he heard he was training, but Benjamin saw something in him and it warmed his heart.
“What do you want to do? I mean, in the future,” Benjamin asked.
“Like for a career? That’s why I’m in school. Trying to figure it out,” he said.
“You’re lucky, you’re smart like that. Always wanted to go to college. Too dumb, too late.”
“Too dumb? Not quite,” Jake said.
“Well, you grow up with a mom and step-dad like I did, telling you that enough times, you start to believe it. Nah. If I could do anything, I’d be an MMA coach.”
“You’d be great at that!” Jake said. He could imagine Benjamin coaching with the best of them. “You’re tough, but patient. You know your shit. I mean, look what you’ve done with me in such a short time.”
“Just dreams.” He smiled. “So long as you’ve got someone that has your back by your side, doesn’t matter what you do.”
Fuck, there he went again. Jake had to let it out, or the secret that kept them from truly gelling would break them apart.
As if reading his mind, Benjamin asked, "Oh, what was it you wanted to tell me?"
Jake sighed. Fuck, his nose stung and the sea air wasn’t making it any better. Don't fucking cry, he told himself. He breathed, hoping it would give him the strength he needed as his heart pounded in his throat. "This is really hard."
"What is it?" Benjamin asked, his frown lines deepening with concern. He squeezed Jake's hand to comfort him and Jake had to pull away.
"You know how I feel about you. You're right. You're amazing I—"
"Are you cooling it between us?" Benjamin asked. "We've just started. You're not into me?"
"No, the exact opposite. I'm very into you. I'm more into you than I've ever been into anyone. I'm so into you, I can't even see straight. I can't even sleep at night without thinking about you, that's how into you I am."
Benjamin smiled. He touched Jake's cheek with the back of his hand. "Me too. I haven't felt this way, this connected to anyone in as long as I can remember. Fuck. Whenever I think about the future, all I can see is us together. I plan my whole day thinking about how it might affect you, and I think about when I can squeeze in time to see more of you. It's fucking weird, but it just feels right. I don't know what it is, Jake. I feel like we're ... family or something."
"Oh, Jesus," Jake breathed. This was harder than he thought it would be.
"Isn't that a good thing?" Benjamin pulled him over to the side of a hill, cornering him, his eyes narrowing him. He was going to fuck him right then and there on the beach. Jake could feel it and though he knew he should stop it, he couldn't bring himself to say anything. "Isn't it?" Benjamin repeated.
"Yes, but—" Jake started to say and Benjamin moved closer to him, kissing the side of his jawline, then his neck. He placed the picnic basket down and put Jake's face in his palms, his eyes dancing, glint with possibilities.
"Ssh. Then, let's not think anymore. Let's enjoy ... the moment?"
Before Jake could respond, Benjamin's lips massaged his, slipping in and out like a kissing connoisseur. Their lips danced in perfect motion rhythmically, like the perfect tango partners. Benjamin's tongue teased Jake's. Kissing him deeply, his hands slid down the man’s back, under his pants, through his underwear, spreading his cheeks apart.