I awoke with a feeling of anticipation that rivaled any I had ever felt before. Vin and I would be moving into our home today. Our home -- what an amazing event and one that made me catch my breath in disbelief. After the hell of undercover and hospital life, I was finally going to live a normal life with the person I loved more than any other.
Who was just now coming in with a tea tray filled with all kinds of things to tempt me. I knew that my lack of appetite worried him but time would allow my stomach to rejoin the real world, the way that I had. The smell of fresh oranges made me sit up rather rapidly and I bit my lip at the small pain in my chest. Those muscles still needed waking up.
"Ezra?" Worried blue eyes met mine and Vin put the tray on my lap before reaching over to pull his pillow over to join mine behind me.
"Good morning, Vin. It's nothing but a sore muscle." I pulled him down for my wake-up kiss and he cupped my head tenderly before opening to my questing tongue. Nothing ever tasted as good as my Vin. And nothing ever would.
We separated finally and he shook his head. "I'll put more of Caine's salve on the incision in a bit."
"That will help but starting my tai chi exercises again will take care of all the sore muscles." I poured a cup of tea and breathed in the delicate aroma of chrysanthemum tea. "You're spoiling me, Vin."
He had crawled back into the other side of the bed to recline by my side. "Not possible, Ez'. I'm just taking care of my other self, besides you take care of me, too."
"We make a very good couple." I savored a segment of orange. Its strong tartness would overpower the tea but I suddenly wanted to eat some of everything on the tray. Even the toast finally looked good. I knew the doctor wanted me to start gaining back the weight I'd lost but literally nothing had tasted good except for Vin.
Vin watched me eat with a smile and I made sure that I fed him bites too. It was one of the only intimacies allowed in the hospital except for the rare kiss when someone was watching the door for us. I craved his touches, even the non-sexual ones that reminded me that I was something other than a patient. With a start, I realized that I'd finished almost everything on the tray. And Vin's grin told me how pleased he was.
"I knew you could do it, Ezra. You ready for another bath?"
"No, I think we should shower and save our bath for tonight when we can christen our brand new bathtub." I handed him the tray and slowly got out of bed while he watched me without being too obvious. "You said that it has a whirlpool?"
"Yep, Jase says that it's the best one on the market and it won't leak like some of the old ones did in the eighties." Vin walked with me, leaving the tray on the dining room table so he could join me in the bathroom.
It was still a bit of a shock to see the bathroom stripped of everything but the bare essentials. For some reason, it looked colder to me or maybe that was just a side effect of the medication that I was still on. They'd had me on several drugs to help my body adjust to what basically was open-heart surgery when they repaired the artery that one of the bullets had opened.
In time, I would be able to stop taking everything although an aspirin a day might just become a new habit. That one I could live with. Vin took the brunt of the initial chill water before letting me in with him so we could play with the soap. I felt like purring as his soap slick hands gently slid over my skin from my shoulders down to my feet. While he was there, he nuzzled my cock with his chin and I felt myself begin to harden just a little.
For a while, I'd been afraid that I'd become impotent but Caine had delicately explained that the ... connections would take time to remember what they were supposed to be doing. But now, I could feel myself begin to grow again. All the different textures were reminding my body how very good it felt to be alive and in love with the most wonderful man in the world.
"I missed this more than anything, the taste of you and your silky skin." He was worshipping my body with his hands and I leaned against the tiles, suddenly short of breath. "But this can wait until I've got you safely back in bed." He got to his feet and mock glared at me when I would have pouted.
"Missed your taste, too, my angel-Vin. And I shall be reminding you of that promise when we get dry." It was my turn to soap my hands and spread the creamy bubbles over his body. The sculpted shoulders, the deceptively soft skin and pert nipples, the rock hard abdominal muscles, all teased my fingers to touch again and again.
"I think that spot is clean, Ezra." He chuckled and took the soap away before I could do more than glove his beautiful cock. "You can have that bath toy back once you're in bed."
"Meany." I pouted a bit but gave in at his stern look. Rinsing off, we stepped out and began to dry each other. We got in each other's way but that was part of the fun. I'd never known how much pleasure could be gotten from such a simple act of loving care. Each caress told me of his love and I was surely trying to give him back all that great affection with which he showered me.
But I was once again tired and any hardness I might have had disappeared along with my strength. Vin was watching though and with an arm around my waist, he walked me back into the bedroom. This time he laid me on his side of the bed. "I'm going to get out those real comfortable sweats of yours and feed my foot fetish by making you wear some of my favorite socks."
I chuckled and acquiesced. "Oh, indeed, get out the white socks. When are the others coming?"
"It's almost 10:30 so they should be showing up about eleven." He laid out the wine colored sweats that he swore made me look even more sexy than usual. "God, Ezra, you have the sexiest feet."
And he proceeded to kiss them each into ecstasy. I was the luckiest man in the world to have a lover with such an interesting fetish. All too soon he finished pulling on the socks and my sweatpants. Then the top and I was ready for company while he was still naked. I'd never known that it was so much fun to dress someone rather than undress him but then, I was learning a lot from my sweet love.
He let me pick out his shirt and I chose the blue chambray that turned his eyes even more blue than normal. From the bottom up, I buttoned each button with a kiss to his stomach, chest and throat. Poor Vin seemed to be having trouble zipping his jeans so I sat on the edge of the bed and took him deep into my relaxed throat. He still tasted of ambrosia to me and he'd been on edge most of the morning so his release was quick and copious.
Just the way I like it.
Zipping him up, I patted the slight budge to the left of his zipper. "There, Vin, that should take care of you for a couple of hours. Then I plan on making you scream."
He chuckled and kissed me thoroughly, scouring my mouth of any stray seed. Finally, we had to breathe and he rested his forehead against mine. "I can hardly wait, Ezra."
The doorbell broke us apart and he finger combed my hair tenderly. "You ready to move?"
"Yes, to our first real home together." I knew I was smiling and his smile matched mine.
"Yeah, together. Come on, big guy, we've got some people to boss around." He pulled me up and we went to answer the bell.
Our team has never worked so well together. They all brought boxes and several magic markers for labeling. Josiah and Nathan took the kitchen. Buck and J.D. took the study. Chris boxed up the books and CDs in the living room while Vin and I packed clothes. Within two hours we were finished with the entire apartment since Vin had already done the bathroom and linen closet.
It's amazing what a good team can do. We took two boxes from the kitchen, which held cups, plates, glasses and silverware along with the coffee maker and teakettle. All the boxes from the bathroom and linen closet were next. They took apart the bed and dresser, leaving the clothes in the drawers and carrying them down to Vin's new truck. Then the six suitcases packed with our clothes along with the boxes of the rest of my wardrobe were carried out and dispersed among our vehicles.
The only thing they would let me carry was Vin's sampler from over our bed. I will admit to being a little tired and ready for a nap but mostly I just felt greatly cherished by the men I can truthfully call friends. Leaning my head against the back of the seat, I closed my eyes and thought about the big, beautiful space that Vin had created for us.
"Tired, Ez?" Vin's warm hand stroked mine where it lay atop the towel wrapped sampler. "Soon as we get home, you need to take a little nap on the guest bed. Buck is calling for pizza from Mario's and it won't take long to get the trucks emptied of stuff. The freight elevator will be a lot better to use than that dinky thing in the old place."
I chuckled at the memory of the surprised look on Buck's face when he tried to get the headboard of my sleigh bed in the elevator after J.D. patiently told him twice that it wouldn't fit. That pairing was progressing quite nicely while they worked out the new dynamics of their relationship. Buck still flirted with the ladies and he probably always would but J.D. had such a hold on his heart that I could see it plainly written in his eyes.
J.D. was more sure of himself now and spoke quietly but firmly to the other members of the team. He was coming into his own and I was hoping that in the mentoring our team would be doing, he would finally receive the respect that he deserved for his knowledge of the technical world.
My thoughts were interrupted by our arrival at our new home. The door opener would be extremely handy in bad weather. We let J.D. go in first with the Jag and I watched him park Pegasus with a sigh of relief, one less thing to worry about. Vin parked in the stall next to him followed by Chris' truck, Josiah's van and Buck's SUV. Opening the door and stepping out of Bella, I nodded with satisfaction. We still had plenty of room to maneuver.
Loading up the elevator with the bed and dresser first, we moved upward towards home. I was almost as excited as the day before when I saw it all for the first time. Home. I finally had a home. Vin's arm was around my waist and I leaned into him with a sigh. But more importantly, I had the man who owned my heart. That was such a blessing to me and worth any amount of pain. Surrounded by friends, I felt an emotion rise up that I hadn't felt in a very long time.
But my sigh had alarmed Vin and he propelled me straight into the guest bedroom, taking off my shoes and tucking me under the bright quilt. Kissing me gently, he held my hand while I dozed off. When I awoke, there was silence everywhere and I wondered where everyone was. The sun must have been directly overhead because the east windows no longer cast bright patches of sun into the room. The door opened silently and Vin peeked in to check on me.
"I'm awake, angel. This is a very good mattress." I held out my hand and he swooped to my side, kissing me instantly. I closed my eyes and savored the spices of the pizza he'd eaten.
Breaking the kiss, he licked his lips. "You taste good, Ez'. Are you hungry? Josiah brought the boxes with all the refrigerator stuff so you don't have to eat pizza if something else sounds better."
"I think some of the black bean soup from Miss Daisy would hit the spot." I slowly sat up with his help and waited for the room to stop spinning. He could tell something was wrong but he waited patiently until I could let go of his arms. "I'm dizzy, that's all, Vin. I'm getting better every day and living here will be just the medicine I need to recover completely."
"Love you, Ez'. Tell me when you need to rest or sit down or if you just need a hug." He kissed me sweetly again and I smiled at his soft nips to my lower lip. That was a sensitive spot for me and he loved teasing me there. "Now, let's go out and see if you like where we put everything."
I let him help me out of bed and I walked out in my stocking feet while he whispered that his white sock fetish had returned and I should be prepared to have my toes nibbled as soon as he got me alone. I could hardly wait. But the team members were sitting on the barstools on the living room side of the kitchen median listening to the radio commentary of some soccer match. I got a couple of waves but Vin just kept me moving towards our bedroom.
Opening the door, I stepped inside our own small bit of Paradise. The bed entered on the east wall beneath the high windows. It was dressed with the deep green sheets and the silk duvet with at least six colorful pillows of varied shapes and sizes scattered over our sleeping pillows. The green chair had a cushion placed right where it would fit the hollow of a sore back.
But Vin was sliding open the mirrored door to the walk-in closet and I followed his bright smile into a room that held all of our clothes with even some room to spare. The plastic boxes that held my undercover clothes sat neatly arranged on the high shelves that circled the closet. Our shoes had their own rack beneath the hanging poles while his everyday boots sat to one side. That reminded me that he needed a new pair of boots for special occasions. His black pair had burned with his apartment.
Coming back out into the room, I saw how well the dresser fit between the door and the bathroom wall with the large mirror tilted ever so slightly towards the bed. But I had to keep going to the bathroom. Evergreen towels hung on the oak dowels while our toothbrushes hung in the cup holder on the wall above the sinks. A basket on the counter held dried magnolia potpourri that filled the air with its delicate scent and my eyes spotted the bottle of bath oil on the broad lip of the oval tub.
"All right?" Vin was watching me like the hawk to which I'd compared him.
"Paradise, my Vin, you've created a paradise for the two of us." I leaned into his arms and felt them come up around me instantly. "I think I need to thank everyone so we can send them home."
He started to laugh, hugging me close and rubbing his hands over my back down to my ass. "I think ... that's the ... best idea you've had today."
I smiled into his neck and licked a small patch of skin for his salty taste. He hiccuped and stopped laughing with a little moan. He pulled a little away and the spark in his eyes lit an answering fire in mine. We both breathed in the other before breaking apart to go out and thank our friends for all they'd done.
But when we got to the kitchen, they were gone along with the empty pizza boxes. A note was taped to the faucet, fluttering a little under the slowly moving ceiling fans.
Time for us to go. Call if you need us.
Otherwise, we'll see you a week from
today for the hockey game.
Chris, Josiah, Nathan, Buck and J.D.
They'd all signed it and Vin smiled at the little squiggle under Buck's name. "We have very good friends. I'm glad that I gave one of the garage door openers to Buck."
"We need to talk to the two of them about the third floor." I said while pulling Vin back towards the bedroom. "Later, much . . . much later."
He agreed, steering me around the bed and straight into the bathroom. "Later."
We slowly undressed each other, leaving our clothes on the floor while the tub began to fill. The handles and faucet were centered in the middle of the oval so both of us could have a slanted back to rest against. Vin poured in some oil and I took a deep breath from the side of the tub before sliding on in. With a little splash, he joined me while the water rose higher and higher, past the jets on the side. I could also feel one at the small of my back and I could hardly wait for the water to get high enough.
"Ready?" He said with a grin and I nodded. He turned off the water then pressed three switches in quick succession. The water began slowly to churn around us, bubbles breaking the surface while fizzing over my skin like a champagne bath.
"Oh, Lord, I've died and gone to heaven." I could feel my muscles quiver with each pulse of jet propelled water against my back.
"No dying allowed, Ezra." Vin's hands ran up my legs while he moved between them.
"Of course not, my angel. I'll never leave you if I have any say in the matter." I told him quite truthfully. I was the most committed man I knew of in the world.
"Good." He nodded once then began to rub the soap between his hands with a lusty look.
"I doubt that I got dirty carrying your sampler up in the elevator." I teased him.
"Probably not, Ez' but I think I'll just make real sure." He assured me before working his soapy hands over my chest. Very, very gently, he stroked the scar above my heart, his gaze intent on the ugly thing. After rinsing it, he leaned in and kissed it tenderly, taking the ugliness away with his love.
"My Vin, how very lucky I am that you love me." I stroked his cheek and he leaned into my palm with a sigh.
"I'm the lucky one, Ezra. You stayed with me when it would have been easier to leave." His eyes shimmered with tears, turning them a deep shade of blue like the summer sky. "Everyone I loved always left me, Ez'. You're the only one who stayed."
"Oh, Vin, I could never leave you." I pulled him in the rest of the way so he partially lay against my chest with his head on my shoulder. "You have my heart, remember?"
He sniffed and smiled a rather watery smile. "Oh yeah, I forgot. And you have mine so we'll both have to be careful."
"Indeed we will." I closed my eyes and rested my cheek on his silky hair. "For the next week, we will forget the rest of the world exists." What a lovely thought. "Except for the movers. And Jase and Lee. And my checkup at the clinic."
Vin snickered. "And dinner with the guys at Miss Daisy's on Wednesday ... and the consultation with the landscapers on Thursday ...and the Friday afternoon class with Vin's wrecking crew on the second floor."
I had a smile on my face by now as well. "Well, with a few exceptions, I plan on taking you to bed and not getting out for anything but a very good reason."
"Right!" His chuckled vibrated very nicely against my throat. Then he was kissing up to that hot spot behind my ear while I shivered in his arms. "Five more minutes, Ez', then we're getting out so you can have that soup that I forgot about."
"Oh, good. A picnic in bed would be very nice." I idly ran a soapy hand down his arm. "I'll just have to make sure that you're all clean before I let you into our bed."
He was snickering again but obligingly moved so I could reach his back before turning so I could slide my hands all over his satin smooth chest. His nipples peaked for me and I pinched them gently, making him groan. His cock bobbed in the heated water, pointing straight at me and I couldn't forbear a quick slide of fingers over him.
"Ezra, no teasing." He pouted at my abandoning his shaft in favor of his inner thighs.
"I don't believe that I know that rule, Vin. Is there something you're not telling me?" I came back to his chest, rinsing away the suds so I could lean in to taste his beautiful nipples. The muscles in my chest caught and I had to catch my breath at the sudden pain.
"That's it, Ezra, too much movement." He told me sternly. "I'm going to get out first then I'll help you out."
"I'm fine, Vin." But I did as he asked and felt the muscle spasm ease in the liquid heat.
"That's what I intend to make very sure of, my Ezra, for the rest of our lives." His kiss was tender and I basked in his love.
Five minutes later, we were out of the tub and slowly drying ourselves off. The water had made me sleepy again and I crawled into bed gratefully while Vin went to get the soup. I just hoped that I'd be able to stay awake long enough to eat. Needing to sleep all the time was getting to be frustrating. But the next time I woke up, I was going to nail Vin to the bed or know the reason why.
His humming from the kitchen followed me into sleep.
End part twenty-three