This content is best enjoyed AFTER reading The Endless Road to Sunshine
“Do you think I should get contacts?” I asked, scrutinizing my face in the mirror.
For a long time, I’d thought my dark-framed glasses complimented my near-black hair, but with the sheer volume of failed dates I’d had over the last six months, I was starting to wonder if there was something about me that wasn’t… attractive.
Like the glasses.
Maverick, one of my best friends and sole roommate since Skylar had moved out the previous month, poked his head around the corner of the bathroom. “What was that?” He caught my gaze in the mirror’s reflection.
“My glasses. They make me look nerdy, don’t they? I look like one of those computer lab freaks. No wonder I can’t get a date to stick. Should I get contacts? Would I be sexier without them?”
I took them off and gave Maverick my best come hither look while puckering my lips. “What do you think? Am I more attractive with or without?”
Maverick’s face was a blur, but I didn’t need to see clearly to make out the expression he wore. He looked like I’d asked him to dance naked in a stadium full of people.
I popped my glasses back on and spun to face him. “What? Why are you making that face? It’s just a question.”
“I don’t feel comfortable judging your sex appeal.”
“Why not? Skylar always told me what was hot and what was not. He didn’t care.”
“Sky is also gay. He’s allowed to look at you like that.” Maverick shuffled and glanced at my reflection in the mirror when I turned back to study my face. “I’m not.”
“I’m not asking you if my ass looks hot in these jeans. I’m asking you if I should get contacts and ditch the nerdy look.”
Maverick’s gaze diverted to my ass and jumped back to my face the instant he caught himself. His cheeks flamed. Scrambling, he said, “I don’t know. They’re… nice?”
“With your hair.” He swallowed and wet his lips, frowning. “And your face.”
“You like my hair and my face?”
Maverick’s eyes widened. “I like your glasses with your hair and your… God, why are you putting me on the spot?”
“I just want to know if I’m attractive with glasses on or if I should ditch them.”
“And I can’t judge your level of attractiveness because I’m not gay.” With that, Maverick stomped away into the living room.
“You thought Jude was attractive. He was a guy. In fact, you did very gay things with Jude, so your assertion of your straightness is shaky. Sorry, Mav. That’s just the truth.”
“It was one night,” Maverick shouted from the other room. “God, will I ever live it down?”
I rolled my eyes and smiled at my reflection. Sky and I loved teasing Maverick about that night.
I abandoned the bathroom and met Maverick in the living room, where he’d flopped onto the couch, glowering at the TV.
“Relax. I was teasing. I know you aren’t gay. Neither am I, but I’m secure enough with my masculinity I can assess another man’s attractiveness. Like you.” I waved a hand, encompassing Maverick’s physique, his auburn hair, his tall thin frame, and his hazel eyes. “You’re super cute. Especially the freckles. Girls swoon over freckles. They give you this innocent, boyish look about you that’s just… irresistible.”
Maverick screwed up his face and stared at me like I’d just landed on earth from another planet. “Cute? Irresistible?”
“Well, I’d say you were hot, but it’s the freckles, man. They scream cute.”
He opened his mouth like he was about to say something, then shook his head like he was too baffled to come up with a response.
“So, you see. Totally not gay.” I waved a hand at myself. “Yet, I can see exactly why a guy like Jude wanted to jump your bones.” When Maverick growled, I added, “Or Rebecca Jester. Or all those girls you’ve been with. So, so many girls. All the girls want to tear the clothes off your delectably cute body and do stuff to you. Now, do me.”
Maverick blinked, his mouth hanging open. “Um, excuse me? Do you? Say what now?”
“Assess my level of sex appeal. Glasses or no glasses. What makes me hotter? Why can’t I catch a second date to save my life?”
Maverick’s mouth continued to open and close.
“God, don’t make such a big deal out of it. We lived with Sky for years. We snuggled with him on that couch. Repeatedly. It’s not gay for you to tell me I’m sexy. God, please tell me I’m sexy.”
“It was hetero snuggling,” Maverick said, eyes wide and searching. “It wasn’t gay snuggling.”
Was there really a difference?
Maverick bounced a knee and shifted his gaze around the room. “Do you think Jude thought I was cute?”
“Dude, I hate to burst your straight little bubble, but you two did the nasty, and Sky and I listened to the whole thing. The walls in this apartment aren’t soundproof. So, yes, Jude thought you were cute. Jude thought you were hot. Jude couldn’t wait to tear your clothes off and ride your cock. But you’re avoiding my question. Answer me. I’m getting a complex, and I’m going to start thinking you’re ignoring me because I’m homely or something. That’s why girls never call me back, isn’t it? I’m homely.”
Maverick bit his lip and looked everywhere but at me. “So, I can say Jude was hot without you thinking I’m… into him, right?”
“I’m getting contacts. This is a clear sign.”
I was about to retreat to my room, my ego sufficiently bruised when Maverick bounced off the couch. “No. Wait. It’s just… you said you could call me cute and it didn’t, like, affect your masculinity. So… That’s all I’m saying.”
“Jude can be hot, and you can still be straight. Yes. I promise. I like cuddling. With Sky. Who’s a dude.” I shrugged. “I’m still straight. I’d cuddle with you too.
“Sure. I’m not afraid to touch another guy. It doesn’t weird me out. I’m confident with who I am.”
Maverick studied me, his face flush. “Then how come you’ve never tried to cuddle with me?”
“Because you get weird. And, I’m sorry, what?”
“I don’t get weird.”
“Dude, you’re being weird now. You can’t even tell me if I look hotter with or without glasses on. You can’t admit that maybe, just maybe, you enjoyed what happened with Jude. Some guys just aren’t as secure in their masculinity as me.” I shrugged. “What can you do? It’s fine. I’m going to go wallow in my room now because I can’t get a date on a Friday night, and my roommate thinks I’m ugly.”
As I retreated, Maverick called out. “Wait.”
I spun back, and Maverick crossed the room, wiping his palms on his jeans.
“I am too secure in my masculinity.”
“Awesome. Me too. Now, I’m going to my room, and I’m changing my course selections for next year. I’m joining the clergy.”
Before I could walk away, Maverick snagged my hand and dragged me to the couch, shoving me down. He followed, landing behind me, his long body wedged between me and the back of the couch. Then he wrapped his arms around me and pulled me tight against him. Unlike when Skylar insisted on cuddles when we watched TV, I’d fallen facing Maverick, so when he tugged me close, we were face to face. He hooked a leg over mine and buried his face in my neck.
“See. Totally fine with snuggling with you. This isn’t weird at all.”
It was ten kinds of weird.
We were both statue-still. The heat of his body leached through him into me. Maverick inhaled against my neck. Deeply.
“Did… Did you just sniff me?”
“What are you wearing?” he mumbled.
“Um. New body wash. It’s good?”
“It’s nice. I like it.” He inhaled again and hummed, the vibration sending a rippling shiver down my spine.
I didn’t move. Maverick’s mouth was close enough when he talked his lips brushed my skin. My blood raced and burned through my veins.
“Have I proven my masculinity yet?”
“Um.” My pulse pounded, and my thoughts scattered.
Maverick squirmed closer, wiggling and weaving his leg between mine, squeezing me in his arms. Again, he inhaled, burying his nose in the crease of my neck. “Seriously, though. You smell incredible.”
“Mav?” I tapped his shoulder. “Masculinity proven. We’re good.”
“Am I making you uncomfortable?”
“No,” I snapped a little too fast.
“Five minutes ago, you were boasting about how secure you are and how this doesn’t bother you.”
Maverick lifted his face. His hazel eyes bore into me from less than an inch away. We were so close our noses brushed. But it was the intensity behind the stare that glued me in place and arrested my ability to move away.
Maverick’s face was emotionally naked like I’d never seen before. Worry lines creased his forehead, and dread filled his eyes.
“I have to tell you something,” he whispered.
Why did it feel like someone had drained the room of oxygen? Why did my skin feel two sizes too small?
“You know how I always say I was too drunk to know better that night with Jude?”
A long pause before, “I lied.”
Maverick’s gaze slipped to my mouth.
“What… What do you mean?”
“I remember it all. Vividly. And, I… liked it. When I realized how much I liked it, it freaked me out, so I… pretended it was a stupid drunken mistake.”
My skin was on fire, and with Maverick’s attention riveted to my lips, I couldn’t help licking them. “Oh. That… That’s cool, man. You know I don’t care about stuff like that. Sky obviously wouldn’t. Maybe you’re just… bi-curious? Or maybe—”
“I think your glasses are sexy as fuck. And… you have a really nice ass.”
A coil of heat bloomed in my belly as Maverick’s panting breaths ghosted across my lips.
“Oh.” I gulped. “So, no contacts, huh?”
Maverick shook his head and swallowed, his throat rising and falling.
“Good fucking god, just do it before I freak out.”
I knew what I was asking, and although I’d never done anything with a guy before, it wasn’t like I hadn’t thought about it a million times. We’d lived with hands-on Skylar for years. Skylar, who was gay and not shy about it. Skylar, who was touchy-feely. I’d been to the gay nightclub with him and Maverick several times. I’d listened to his heavy make-out sessions and sex through the thin walls more times than I cared to think about.
And I’d been a tiny little bit bi-curious too. More than I’d ever admitted out loud.
There was a pause where I thought Maverick would chicken out. Then his lips connected with mine.
My first kiss with a guy. Not just any guy. My best friend.
And holy shit, I was kissing Maverick.
Maverick’s tongue pried my lips apart and plunged inside my mouth.
Based on the surge of adrenaline and warmth that exploded in my chest and zinged to my cock, I didn’t hate this new development one bit.
Maverick groaned and drew his hand up my back, taking a firm hold of my hair, keeping me in place as he kissed me senseless.
It was hot and heady and fucking erotic as all hell.
My cock responded, swelling and pressing against Maverick. Well, this wasn’t exactly where I’d expected my Friday night to go, and maybe it would cause tension in our friendship later when it was all over, but I would worry about it then.
I was too lost in the euphoria to push Maverick away. Buzzing too hard from all the ways he owned my mouth.
We made out for a long time, nothing more than brutal kisses and groping hands. Maverick was hard too, and every now and again, he rocked his hips forward, grinding against me. So, I ground back, rutting and dragging my cock against his.
We might have been fully clothed, but the newness and unexpectedness of the whole moment eclipsed our barriers. Every nerve ending in my body was electrified.
Maverick grunted and groaned, moving faster, humping my leg. At one point, he slid his hand over my ass, kneading and squeezing and encouraging me to move against him.
Lips bruised, glasses knocked askew, breaths mingling and panting, we dry-humped ourselves right to the edge of delirium. I couldn’t believe this was happening.
Maverick’s hands roamed up my shirt, tearing it over my head. I almost lost my glasses, but he caught them and helped me put them back on, a dangerous smile on his face. I got his shirt half off before we were kissing frantically again.
“Hunter?” His voice crackled, raspy and raw with his need. “Fuck… Fuck… I’m…”
He made an achingly sweet noise in his throat and buried his face in the crook of my neck. We were lost in the moment. The world disappeared. And we rode each other through to our orgasms, Maverick crying out and digging his nails into my flesh a moment before I followed, a hot wet warmth filling my underwear like I was a teenager.
Panting and tangled together, our hearts racing, we lay in each other’s arms, soaring on a high. I was certain Maverick’s thoughts reflected my own, but we both remained quiet. The moment was fragile. Precious.
Someone clearing their throat at the front door sent us flailing. I fell off the couch, losing my glasses, and Maverick crab-walked back in a panic until he fell off the end of the couch.
Wide-eyed with shock, we both stared at the grinning face of our ex-roommate.
Skylar’s smile lit up the room as he shifted his attention from me to Maverick. “For the record, I knocked. I guess you were too busy to hear me.” He dangled a key on his extended finger. “I forgot to give you guys back my apartment key. How about I just leave it here?” He placed it on the little table by the door. Another glance between us before he hitched a thumb over his shoulder. “I’m gonna go. You two seem… busy.” He winked and backed out the door.
Maverick, still panting and out of breath, stared at the closed door in shock. I stared at Maverick.
So… that just happened.