Race Bannon lay on the golden sand; hands laced behind his head and watched his lover swimming in the clear green waters of the lagoon. It was their annual vacation and he could finally relax all the way. No worries, no cares, no crazies.
"So, why am I still tense?" He asked out loud. "We've got ten days of nothing but surf and sun. The island doesn't exist on the maps, can't be seen even by satellite. There's no energy signature to give us away since everything is solar powered and the cave walls shield the powered equipment. We've got supplies for six months. And ..."
He paused and closed his eyes. "And I'm talking to myself. Where's a good meditation when you need one? Okay, Race, think of something relaxing. Something fun."
Opening his eyes again, they immediately went to the red head and flashing white arms of the man swimming. His face softened and he thought back to when they first came to this island for a vacation.
He'd been planning it for weeks. Guarding a man like Benton Quest was a full time job. The more the brilliant scientist did, the more he was asked to do. This latest project for the President was stretching him to the limits. Race knew for a fact that Benton was sleeping only four hours a night and he'd lost fifteen pounds he could ill afford to lose. But he'd cracked the problem two days ago and the prototype would be on its way for testing at NASA tomorrow. Which gave him just enough time to set his plan in motion.
Jonny and Hadji were willing conspirators. They'd miss their father and mentor but even at ten, they could see the toll that long hours and constant deadlines were taking. Race made sure they would be well protected at his cousin's hunting lodge in the Rockies. Two long time associates would be on hand to watch over them. He'd stocked the island with enough supplies to last six months. The conditions would be primitive but that would be all to the good. If Benton had no communicator, computer, or calculator, he couldn't work.
Race just hoped that by the time the ten days was up, Benton would be talking to him again.
Race steered the boat away from the moorings. The robots would take care of the Quest estate until they returned. Benton slept a drugged sleep in the back of the cruiser. Race hoped the sleeping pills he'd put in the wine would keep him out until morning. Powering up, he pulled away from the dock and headed in a circuitous route for the island.
Three hours later, he'd anchored her in a secluded cove and set her security working. Carefully, he picked up the sleeping man and lowered him into the rowboat, making sure he stayed wrapped in the soft green blanket. Benton stirred and tried to move out of the cover. Race held him gently and stroked his hair slowly. The sleeper smiled and grew still. Reluctantly, Race left him to climb back to get the last minute items he'd thought of at home.
Pushing away from the cruiser, Race began the hour of rowing that would bring them to their new home away from home. In the predawn stillness, he carried Benton to the air mattress by the fire. Hopefully, he'd sleep for another couple of hours. That would give Race time to get a meal together and catch a nap. He crouched by the fire and closed his eyes for a moment. He needed a swim and about eight hours of oblivion. Not even he could go two days without sleep, running on pure adrenaline. Casting a last look at the sleeping man, he headed for the lagoon with a bar of soap and a towel.
Three hours later, Benton woke up. Race watched him from the other side of the fire. Scrambled eggs and bacon were simmering in the frying pan and there was hot water on the hob. He watched while the scientist tried to puzzle out where he was. His eyes darted above and to the side while his nose twitched at the strange and familiar smells. When the green eyes found Race, they studied him for a long moment.
His voice was husky with sleep. "So, I've been kidnapped."
"The boys were in on it. And the staff."
"Took us about four hours to get here. And we don't go back for ten days."
Benton started to say something else but changed his mind and stretched instead. Pushing the blanket off and sitting up, he combed his fingers through his hair and yawned while taking in the rest of the campsite.
Race watched each movement surreptitiously. Damn, it wasn't fair that anyone should look so good coming out of a drugged sleep. The sun glinted off the tousled red curls and he wanted to touch them so badly, it hurt. But controlling the urge as he'd done so many times before, he began dishing up breakfast.
"Sorry, there's no bread but it would have just gone bad on us. There's fresh pineapple at your side and hot water. I wasn't sure if you'd want coffee or tea." Or me, his treacherous thoughts added.
"Tea would be a nice change." Benton stretched again, the soft white t-shirt flexing over broad shoulders and pulling out of the cotton pajama bottoms, revealing the washboard firm stomach. "I don't usually wear this much to bed." He said mildly.
Race's voice was gruff and he avoided looking at the scientist while he handed over the filled plate and proceeded to make tea. "I didn't want you to catch cold."
He remembered with shocked delight the sight of a sleeping nude Benton. For long moments he'd simply stared, memorizing every angle and curve of the beloved body. Dressing him was a necessity for his own peace of mind if not for the sickness factor. He was faintly ashamed of the time he'd spent pulling on the pajama bottoms, willing himself to be impersonal and not succeeding.
Everything he'd ever wanted was stretched out in front of him and it took all his will power to simply clothe his friend and wrap him up. He didn't know when it happened but it seemed he'd loved the man forever. Sometimes, he wondered if he'd go mad with the longing or throw caution to the wind and tell him.
"You're looking grim." The warm voice interrupted his tormenting thoughts.
Race looked down at his eggs. "I think I forgot the salt."
Benton took another bite and shook his head. "Tastes all right to me. We're going to be here for ten days? Doing what?"
"Relaxing. Swimming, exploring, sleeping, eating." Race locked away the rest of what he wanted to say.
"I see." Benton's voice was noncommittal. He reached for the tea and poured himself a cup. "Have I been that bad to be around?"
"You've been working yourself to death. Even the boys noticed. This last project had you tied up in knots." Race was suddenly tired. Too much stress had strained him to the limit as well. He wanted nothing so much as to simply lie down and sleep for a week.
"I'm not the only one, Race. I've watched you get more and more tense since the London fiasco." Those eyes seemed locked on his, saying something his confused mind couldn't quite understand. "This is a good idea. I'm not angry at how you went about it. If you had asked, I probably would have told you there wasn't time right now."
Race nodded. He'd been afraid the man would lose that famous temper of his. He didn't do it often but when he did it was spectacular.
"I'm guessing you didn't get much sleep the last few nights. And since whatever you gave me worked well, I think you should take a nap while I go get cleaned up. Breakfast was great."
"I'll show you the safe lagoon. The reef keeps out the big fish and the predators." Race found he'd cleaned his plate mechanically. It took the last of his energy to gather up the soap and towels and lead Benton to the small cove surrounded by palm trees and coconut trees. Laying down in the shade of one of the trees, his last sight before sleep was Benton stripping off his clothes and striding into the surf like some Norse god out of legend. Finally, Race let his control go and sank into a deep sleep.
Two days later, Race was ready to call the whole vacation off. They'd both slept and eaten their fill. The lines around Benton's mouth had smoothed away and he seemed relaxed and content. But Race could feel himself wind tighter and tighter until he was afraid he'd explode. Having Benton all to himself, instead of being a dream come true was fast turning into a nightmare. Being with him 24 hours a day was sweet torture. Swimming, exploring, watching him without being able to touch and hold him was pure masochism. He'd had to steal away in the night to wade out into the lagoon and masturbate away the seemingly never-ending erection that just being with Benton had aroused.
But the cold comfort of his hand wasn't what he wanted and for the first time in ten years, he seriously contemplated giving up and leaving his position of head of Quest Lab security. Only the knowledge that being with Benton as friend and bodyguard was better than worrying whether someone else was protecting him as well, kept him where he was. But he was beginning to doubt if he was doing a good enough job. What if he got distracted at a critical moment? What if he started slowing down as he got older?
What if, what if, what if?
His thoughts moved back and forth between despair and desire. Trying to sublimate the desire made him double up on his training workouts. The despair led him to try and do a move he hadn't tried since he was a young man. The pain in his back stopped him with a groan. He tried easing out of the movement but the flare of a muscle spasm locked him in mid-movement.
"That doesn't look good, Race." Benton was at his side instantly. "Where is the pain? Here?" He laid his hand gently on the tortured
muscle and Race gave a tight nod. "Okay. Hold on and I'll get
something hot to ease it."
He was back quickly and the feeling of hot moist heat radiated through his skin, deep into sinew and bone. The spasm eased and Race slowly straightened, only then becoming aware of how close Benton was standing to him. The clean musk scent that was so uniquely him, overlaid with saltwater and sweat. He was only wearing a bathing suit and the sight was more than Race could stand.
"Thanks." He tried moving away but Benton followed him, keeping up the pressure on the sore spot. His other hand was warm on his shoulder. He shivered with the need to turn into those arms and bury himself in his embrace.
"I think you'd better lay down and let me take a look at those muscles. What I can feel so far is a mass of knots." Benton urged him down into the sand and Race allowed it to hide his burgeoning erection.
"Arms at your sides. Turn to the left a little. How does that feel?" Benton knelt beside him and tucked a towel under his head.
"Fine. I'll be okay in a minute." Race lied through his teeth. Everything ached.
Benton snorted. "I don't think so. Lay still and I'll see if I can't work out a little of this tension."
Race forced himself to relax while Benton began to smooth suntan oil in long even strokes down his back. Coming back up to his shoulders, he worked to soothe the muscles out of spasm. First with light strokes then moving in with a deeper massage that separated and unkinked the overworked tendons. Soon, Race found himself a puddle of bone and tissue, incapable of moving.
"There." Benton's voice was low and soothing. "Rest. Nothing needs to be done. We're safe." He lay down beside him, a warm prescence that radiated security to the drowsy bodyguard. "Take a nap. Everything will be better when you wake up."
Race's last thought was a sigh of wistful yearning.
He awoke on his back to smooth skin and warm caresses. Dreaming ... I must be dreaming.
"Stop me if I'm wrong." Benton's whisper and the brush of his beard along his throat sent a current of desire tingling along his nerve endings.
"Don't stop." Race sighed and tilted his head back, inviting another caress.
The soft tickle of chest hair moving against his own hairless breast brought a sizzle of need so strong he couldn't keep back a low groan. His hands clutched at the broad back that hovered over him and the feel of a long leg between his own was enough to send him over the edge. His swim trunks contained the spill of semen and for the first time in three days, he totally relaxed.
Benton held him close and rested his head on his shoulder. "I think you needed that. How long have you wanted me?"
Race opened his eyes and pulled him up to eye level. "I fell in love with you the day we met. But you were married and happy. You didn't need a muscle-bound bodyguard declaring his undying devotion. After she died, you threw yourself into your work. I tried not to get in your way, to help with Jonny and take care of what I could. I'm sorry."
"Don't be." Benton's eyes were tender and they burned into his. "I'm afraid I didn't notice until about five years ago that I couldn't imagine life without you. When you got hurt during one of Dr. Zin's attacks, I wanted to bundle you up and keep you safe from all pain. Instead, I sent you off for a vacation with Jade and tried not to be jealous."
"You were jealous?" Race was incredulous.
"Insanely." Benton's mouth came down to his in a first kiss that flamed into instant lust. Tongues dueled while hands stripped off swim trunks. They came together in a blaze of heat and light. Touching and holding, they came together, skin to skin.
Race held the limp figure to him, sliding a bare foot idly up a calf then down again. Benton was a welcome weight that kept him from floating away on a tide of euphoria. He wants me.
He smoothed the long muscles of the back with one hand while the other toyed with the red hair on the nape of Benton's neck.
A low groan came from his shoulder. "We don't have to make up for lost time all at once, Race. I'm not as young as I used to be."
"Not to worry. I just need to touch you. Make this real instead of another dream."
Benton raised his head and kissed him, a brief hard kiss. "No more lonely dreaming. Not for either of us. From now on, we're partners in every aspect of our lives."
"Okay." Race pulled him down into another hug and rolled them over to assume the top position. Raining a series of small kisses over the beloved face, he moved the caresses down to the hairy chest and the small nipples that beckoned. Nipping the right one, he followed with a series of licks that soon had Benton panting. A stirring near his groin sent him down even lower.
Resting between Benton's legs, he contemplated the twitching penis nestled in the cluster of curls as red as his head. A tentative lick at the smooth crown brought a groan from his new lover. Grinning, Race ducked his head and began a serious assault on the hardening flesh. A series of nibbles and some long slow licks brought Benton fully erect. Taking time to gently tongue wash the small round balls, Race listened to the panting groans of a begging lover.
Taking pity on him, he moved back up to the long column and slowly deep throated his friend. It took all his strength to keep Benton's hips down as the uncontrollable urge to thrust overcame him. Setting a fast rhythm of slides up and down, he adding some gentle suction that soon had Benton moaning his name, over and over. Reaching up, he tweaked a hardened nipple and that stimulus was enough to begin the convulsions that sent the salty fluid into his mouth. Tenderly, he sucked him dry and swallowed the precious offering.
Moving back up Benton's body, he cradled the other man to his chest and spoke into his curls. "You're not getting older, you're maturing like a fine wine. Delicious."
Benton opened his dazed eyes and blushed. Race was charmed at the gesture and gave him a chaste closed mouth kiss, unsure whether Benton would want to taste himself. But his tongue darted out to lick at his lips and Race parted immediately to share the essences he'd imbibed. The kiss was long and luscious.
"Hm-m-m. I don't taste too bad."
"Ambrosia of the Gods, love."
Benton blushed again. Race was beginning to be addicted to those blushes. "How about we take a swim? I've got sand in places I don't think I've ever had sand before."
Laughing, they rolled apart and raced each other to the water.
Race came back to the present with a start, when a shower of water poured over him. Benton laughingly threatened to pour the other shell worth of water but Race grabbed an ankle and sent him toppling onto the sand before attacking him with a mock growl. They tussled until they were both aroused and panting.
"You were far away, love." Benton tugged at a nearby earlobe before laving it with a rough tongue.
"Did I have a silly smile on my face?" Race countered with a nip at the tender skin of his throat. "I was just thinking about the first time we came here."
"Ah-h-h, yes." Benton's hands slipped lower to grip the bronzed ass. "Best idea you ever had. Even if I did have to seduce you."
Race smiled before suckling his favorite nipple - the one over Benton's heart.
"Race!" Benton quivered and pulled harder, grinding their erections together.
Race raised his head and gentled the other man. "Not here, love. Remember the last time? Let's head back to the water or to camp. Sand-burn is worse than rug-burn."
"Oh, yeah." Benton grimaced in remembrance of an over enthusiastic loving in which the sand had been the hands down winner. "Camp. And a shower to wash away all the salt water. And sand."
"Okay!" Race rolled to his feet and reached down a hand to Benton, who used it to lever himself off the ground and into a hug.
Amiably, they set off for camp and what Race was sure would be another memorable night of love. But then all the nights were memorable since Benton had opened his heart and taken him in. And he still enjoyed seeing him blush.
End part two