Moving on Is an Uphill Battle

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They could make me go out, but I’d be damned if they could make me have fun.

I sulked in a shadowed corner, nursing a whiskey and soda. Medicine for a broken heart, but it would take a few more doses before it really kicked in. Hard to tell whether I’d be a lot more fun or a crying mess at that point, but I wasn’t planning on thinking that far ahead.

Julia sidled up to me, taking me in with a concerned look.

She opened her mouth, but I shushed her. “I’m out. I left my house. At night. To go to a party. Your party. You are not allowed to yell at me.”

Her look softened. “I’m just worried about you. I’ve barely seen you since y’all broke up.”

“I’ll be fine.” I sipped my drink instead of looking at her. “I just need time.”

She looked unconvinced but melted back into the party without saying anything else. I knew she’d be back, probably with snacks or water. Julia was a grade-A mom friend. I continued to stand in the corner, people-watching. It was an art scene party, so there were plenty of interesting fashion choices to observe. One girl had a porcupine quill through her septum piercing. I got a chuckle out of that.

Julia reappeared, dragging a tall, dark-haired guy behind her. Mark, could you do me a huge favor?” she asked. Without pausing for a response, she continued: “I was supposed to give Isaac here a tour of the city tomorrow, but I forgot I have work stuff going on. Since you’re both into biking, I thought maybe you could give him a bike tour? Would you be down for that?”

I hesitated. I very much did not want to. For starters, I wanted to spend my Saturday nursing a hangover and being annoyed with my roommates. I also had a nagging feeling that this was a poorly disguised attempt to set me up with this Isaac. This was the last thing I wanted. I had made it abundantly clear after her first two attempts (one girl, one guy) that now was not the time for me to start dating again, but she hadn’t stopped. She’d just gotten sneakier.

However, it would be rude for me to say any of this in front of Isaac, and I didn’t have the energy to lie. Maybe he wasn’t even gay, or wasn’t looking for a relationship. Maybe it would be good for me to get out of the house. “Sure,” I said, less than cheerfully.

Julia stayed while we set up a time and place, making sure I would go through with it, then disappeared back into the crowd. Isaac and I exchanged numbers and stood around awkwardly chatting for a while, until I decided I was done with the party and went home.


The next day, we met up at St. Paul’s Cathedral. It was immediately obvious that we were going to have trouble keeping pace with each other. Isaac’s bike was a rusty steel-framed mountain bike; the brakes screeched as he halted next to me. This was no big deal. Not everyone can afford a high-end road bike (myself included, though my secondhand ride was considerably less rusty and zippier). It just irked me I’d gotten the wrong impression, that he was a more serious cyclist, when we’d set up this little bike tour. If I’d known what his ride was, I would have planned something shorter and with less hills.

I appraised Isaac as he got off his bike. He was tall, lean with some muscle. Not a gym bro, but in shape. Maybe he’d be able to manage on his junker bike. He had a nice butt, too, but that was not relevant to the task at hand. I decided it was worth a try. I could always revise the route on the fly if I had to.

“So, I have a route planned out,” I started. “Kind of a loop of the city, ending up at a park down by the river. I planned it with my own level of comfort in mind, so it might be a bit much if you’re not as used to the hills here as I am. Just let me know if they get to be too rough and I’ll get us on a flatter route.”

Isaac shook his head vigorously. “Nah, I’ll be fine. Buncha hills never killed anyone.”

“Sounds good,” I said, not entirely convinced. I mounted my bike and turned uphill, away from the city, checking behind me to make sure Isaac was following. As we crested the hill, I slowed to fall back next to him. “I we’d check out the Capitol and some places downtown, and then to the trail down by the river. Some of my favorite parts of the city.”

He nodded, and I pulled back in front of him. I led us through side streets and alleys, which were quiet enough that I could fall back alongside him and chat.

“What made you decide to move here?” I asked, my default question for anyone who was new to Minnesota. Answers were usually interesting.

He hesitated. “I dunno. Just wanted to get out of Arizona, I guess.”

“Why’s that?” I asked, and immediately wished I hadn’t. Too prying a question for someone I didn’t know.

“Pretty homophobic place. Hard to be myself, you know?” he said, flashing me a glance.

“I feel ya. I grew up bi in a small town.” There was an awkward pause.

I saw Isaac smile out of the corner of my eye, and I sped up to pull ahead of him.


It was nearing sunset by the time we got down to the end of the tour. It was a spot along the bike path, on top of the bluffs, with the trees trimmed back to show the river far below. We dismounted and walked our bikes to the lookout point. My eyes were drawn to Isaac’s butt again. I sped up to walk ahead of him.

We stood in silence, watching the sunset and the river far below us. I felt content, not compelled to fill the silence between us, even though I was keenly aware of Isaac’s presence next to me. I could sense every little shift and sigh, though I kept my eyes trained on the trees across the river. His hand rested near mine on the railing. I could feel its heat. He shifted and reached out his little finger to touch my hand.

A rush of warmth in my chest, then anxiety. I stretched, trying to get away from the contact. The movement gave me a momentary sense of loss. Probably just because the last time I’d held someone’s hand it was my ex’s.

“So… did you move here to get away from homophobic bigots, too? You said you grew up in a small town,” he asked, a bit abruptly.

I shook myself to get rid of lingering warm feelings. “Nah, nothing like that. Moved here for work, fresh out of college. Also, to be with my girlfriend.” A moment’s pause. “Ex-girlfriend, now,” I clarified, immediately regretting it. Those were the words of someone open to something more than friendship.

“Oof. Sorry, buddy, that sounds rough,” he said, nodding.

“It was. Is, I guess. Happened just a few months ago.” I kept my eyes on the river as the familiar pain welled up in my chest. “It’s for the best. I was the breadwinner for us – she wouldn’t get a job – and she cheated on me anyway. But I still miss her.” We lapsed back into silence.

“I’ve been thinking about moving,” I said abruptly, surprising myself. “Going… just going somewhere different. Making new memories.”

The words settled for a moment. “I hope you don’t,” Isaac said quietly. “I’d like to get to know you better.”

“Me too. I’d like to hang out again,” I said, then clarified, “as friends.”

“As friends,” he repeated. “It’d make sense, you not being ready for anything else.”

“Yeah,” I muttered, turning away. “It’s starting to get dark. We should start heading back.”

I wrestled with my feelings in silence as I led Isaac up the steep hills to the quiet city streets. My chest ached from the breakup, from missing my ex, but also with a deep loneliness. I’d enjoyed this ride, enjoyed his company. I didn’t want to go back home and sit in the dark by myself and miss her. But I didn’t want to invite someone new new into my life. I didn’t want to get entangled again.

We stopped at a red light. I glanced at Isaac. His eyes glinted, unreadable in the light from the streetlights.

Without thinking, I blurted, “Do you want to come back to my place? Just chill and have a beer.”

“Sure,” he said, after a pause. “Let’s do that.”

The apartment was dark when we got there. I flipped on the lights and rushed to tidy the living room, removing the empty bottles from the coffee table while Isaac took off his boots. “My roommates aren’t here, so we should be good to do whatever,” I said over my shoulder, then winced at my suggestive phrasing.

I grabbed a couple bottles and joined Isaac on the couch. The opposite side of the couch.

We sipped our beers in silence for a minute. The distance between us seemed to stir something in me, a lens magnifying my loneliness.

“What do you think,” I said slowly. “What do you think of platonic cuddling?”

Isaac seemed to perk up a little, glancing over at me. “I’m a fan of all kinds of cuddling. Haven’t cuddled anyone in a good long while.”

“Me either,” I said, trying to shove memories of Her back deep down. “Do you want to…?”

In response, Isaac scooted closer to me. I tentatively put an arm around his shoulders. He rested his head against mine. After a minute, it grew uncomfortable; he was taller than me, so the arm I had around him was at an awkward angle. I shifted, pulling my arm away, not sure what to do. In response, he snaked an arm around my waist and pulled me in. I blinked, feeling my heart pounding in my throat. I settled into him, resting my head on his shoulder.

We sat like that for a good long time, just chatting quietly about all kinds of things, both casual and deep. Eventually, he shifted, pulling away from me. “It’s pretty late…” he started.

“Do you want to stay here tonight?” I said, the words coming out before I could think better of them. “You can sleep on the couch. But – you’re pretty tall. It might not be that comfortable.”

“I was hoping you’d ask that,” Isaac said. “I am very tired from all those hills. I’m okay with the couch.”

“Okay. Alternatively you could sleep in my bed? And I can take the couch. Or,” I hesitated. “We could share my bed. If you’re okay with that. I’ve been enjoying the platonic cuddling.”

He smiled. “I would like that.”

When I got done brushing my teeth and changing in the bathroom, Isaac was already in my bed, wearing a borrowed pair of basketball shorts and a t-shirt that had always been too big for me.

“Do you want the wall side or the outer side?” he asked sleepily. “I should have asked before I got in.”

“I’m good with outer side.” I turned out the lights and got into bed. We lay awkwardly for a minute, flat on our backs, holding ourselves carefully away from each other. Then Isaac turned onto his side and reached out an arm across me. My body relaxed, but my heart rate seemed to pick up. I felt his body heat all along my side, though we weren’t touching.

Fitfully, I turned on my side, away from him. This was the first time I’d slept with someone since my ex left. It felt good, but it made my heart ache at the same time. “Spoon me,” I demanded. It came out a little more vehemently than I intended.

“Yes, sir!” Isaac said jokingly, pulling me closer but holding but holding me gently, not tightly against his body. As we shifted, I felt something hard brush my butt. My pulse, already on a hair trigger, sped up. I lay there, frozen, silent, my good sense battling with my actual desires. I shifted again, casually, moving my ass to get a better sense of what was brushing against it. It felt big. My pulse started to race, and I could feel my own dick getting hard, tight against my underwear.

Unable to contain myself, I twined my feet with his and ground my ass against his cock. I could hear his breath growing heavy. He pushed me away for a moment, and my heart sank in disappointment. Then I felt his hands under my shirt as he tugged it off me. The feeling of his skin against mine, his hairy chest against my bare back, lit my nerves on fire. He continued grinding his cock against my ass, rhythmically, the feeling making my breath grow ragged in my chest. I pulled off my pajama pants. He rubbed his cock against my underwear, goading me into taking them off.

Finally, I kicked off my underwear. The feeling of his cock, rock-hard against my bare ass, was overwhelming. He reached across my torso, his hand searching until he had my cock firmly in his grasp. He gave it a few experimental tugs before settling into a rhythm, making me moan quietly.

“You,” he whispered into my neck. “Have a really fucking nice cock.” He pulled away for a moment, moving back and down my body. He licked my cock from base to tip, all over, then wrapped his lips around it. They were soft and wet and made me moan louder. He moved up and down the shaft rhythmically, going a little deeper on each stroke until he was swallowing my whole cock in his tight throat. My toes curled and I was moaning, saying I don’t even know what. I could feel I was close, so close, and I didn’t want this to end just yet. I pushed him off my dick and passed him the lube bottle from my side table.

It took him a moment to understand what I was asking for. I pushed myself up to my elbows and knees. He put two and two together. He rubbed my butt, then slicked some lube onto my asshole. Tentatively, he inserted a finger and, when I moaned, inserted another.

“Mm,” he said. “You really like that, huh? I bet you want something bigger in there.”

“God yes. Fuck yes. I want your cock in my ass.”

Carefully, he placed his cock on my ass. He rubbed up and down, along my cheeks, teasingly. “You want it there? Is that where you want it?”

“No – fuck. Put it in my ass.”

His cock was suddenly wet, slick with cold lube. “You want it like that? You want it wet on that ass?”

“Fuck. Fuck you. Put it in my fucking ass.”

“Like this?” he said, pushing it between my cheeks and inside. It was thick, stretching my asshole and then stretching it some more. I gasped as it went in. After an inch or two, he stopped. “Is that what you want?”

“All the way. Put it in all the way.” I could barely get the words out.

He grasped my hips and started fucking me, thrusting a little deeper with each stroke until his cock was buried in my tight ass. I wanted more, faster. I ground my ass up against his cock, getting it as deep into me as possible. This seemed to snap something inside him. Moaning deep in his chest, almost growling, he started pounding me faster and harder, making me cry out incoherently as the force of his thrusts pushed me down into the bed. I was gone, overwhelmed, consumed by the thick cock pounding the life out of me. My cock rubbed against the bedsheets as my body moved with his, and I felt like I might come from that alone.

Something, somewhere, made it through to me, giving me a sense of anxiety. It was hard to think. What was it? What was happening? A noise, that’s what it was. The front door opening.


I reached behind me, grabbing his hand. When he didn’t stop, I grabbed it and pulled it off my hip. He froze, looking down at me in the dark. “What’s up?” he asked.

“My fucking roommates are home. We need to be quiet. Otherwise…” I made a vague gesture with the hand that wasn’t holding me up. “Just be quiet.”

“I’ll try,” he said, and started fucking me again. I started to moan but cut myself off. As he drilled down into me, I bit the pillow to keep from crying out. A small noise escaped. He pushed me down into the pillow and leaned over to whisper in my ear. “Quiet, now.”

My spine tingled as he pushed himself back up, grabbed my hips hard, and started fucking me with a force even greater than before. My eyes watered as I struggled not to howl with the overwhelming feeling of being fucked that deep and that hard. I heard his breath grow more ragged and he whispered “I’m gonna come.” He froze against me, his cock as deep as it would go, and I felt my ass flood with his hot cum. My cock ached as his pulsed inside me.

He pulled out slowly and flopped down on the bed beside me. Not done yet, I straddled his torso and started stroking my cock, which was rock-hard and absolutely throbbing by this point. “Mm… no,” he said, raising himself up on his elbows. He rearranged himself on the bed and wrapped his lips around my cock once again. No more teasing. He took my cock down his throat in long, deep strokes. It felt like heaven, and it was too much for my cock. I started to come after just a few strokes. He pulled back and took it on his face and chest, lifting some of it to his lips to taste.

I flopped down on the bed, and Isaac flopped next to me. We lay there, panting and sweaty, legs tangled up together.

“Fuck. That was fun,” he said after a few minutes. “Will it bother your roommates if I take a shower?”

“Nah. They’re just bothered by loud sex.”

“Cool.” He paused. With a hopeful note in his voice, he asked, “Do you want to join me?”

I hesitated. Sex was one thing. It didn’t have to mean anything. Showering together was more romantic to me, and I wasn’t sure I was ready for that.

However, showering together was really, really hot. And I hadn’t felt this happy in a long time.

I made my decision. “Yes,” I said, getting up and throwing on a bathrobe. “As long as you promise to make sure I get nice and clean.”

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