David pulled a couple of twenties from his jeans and laid them on the bar. “I’ll need a couple more at least, Sam.”
The beefy bartender eyed him, pity flickering in his blue-black gaze. David silently dared him to say something, knowing full well the man wouldn’t. He was itching for a fight, anything to take his mind off the crushing sadness.
After spending more nights in this place than he had at home, he felt like he’d earned the right to drink without being asked any questions. Never mind that he wanted to spill his guts like a fucking girl.
“Tap this time or bottle?” Obviously Sam understood better than he realized.
He turned away from the man’s knowing stare toward the tv screen above him. Disappointment, frustration, and something else primal knotted his stomach. Time to himself, time without Kyle was doing something to him. He felt tense and unsettled, but wouldn’t go to him. He hadn’t seen his best friend in weeks and it made his chest and gut hurt.
Worse was the moment he crawled into bed. His bare skin against the flannel sheets reminded him of the scrape of Kyle’s stubble over his body. His cock would surge, and he’d jack off just to get control. He subsisted on shitty sleep to get through work, and other thoughts to keep the lust at bay. David was strung out and uncomfortable.
He missed his best friend.
That’s why he’d gone to Meg’s tonight. He wanted something, a reprieve from the guilt and tension riding him, if only for a little while. All he wanted was to apologize for fucking things up, for ruining her relationship with Kyle, to confess and maybe find some relief. But then his cock conspired against him, and all he could think about was tasting her mouth. His mind had focused on taking her there on the couch like some horny teen.
Her brown eyes turning liquid, her mouth going soft had tempted him in ways he hadn’t been since figuring out he had feelings for Kyle. It had been wrong to kiss her, but he couldn’t have stopped himself if he tried. If she hadn’t pulled back, he would’ve pushed her down on the couch and satisfied them both. Plunging his cock into the wet warmth of her body would’ve given them that satisfaction.
It was more than that though. It was the familiar pain and longing in her eyes that fired his need. Like they understood each other, were drawn together. David couldn’t help responding to that. God, the memory of her lips were a permanent brand on his skin. Soft and plump, yielding as he tasted the sweetness of her mouth. That single kiss inflamed him.
He needed to get shit-faced tonight. Anything to rid himself of the renewed ache he felt, this time centered on another person he knew he shouldn’t want.
“You avoiding me, Dave?”
The grain of the wood blurred for a moment as Kyle’s voice washed over him. David didn’t want to look at him, didn’t want to acknowledge how his dick jumped knowing how close he was, and Kyle was close. The heat and smell of him seemed to sink into David, rendering him stupid for one long moment. No amount of time apart dimmed the strength of his reaction. He still fucking wanted Kyle.
David took a long swig of his beer before glancing to his right. The sight of Kyle looking so intense, dark eyes smoldering, hit him square in the gut. Looking away, he answered in a husky voice. “I’m not avoiding you. Just letting things settle.”
The scrape of the stool on the wood floor rubbed his raw nerves, but he focused on his breathing to achieve some calm. He felt the brush of fabric along his arm, a leg against his own and squeezed his eyes shut as lust rocked him hard.
“Bullshit.” Kyle hissed the word into his ear, his breath fanning over David’s skin, making it that much harder to breathe. There was no avoiding contact as Kyle pressed closer so more of them touched. “I know you, man. You’re a terrible fucking liar so tell the truth.”
Desperation clawed at him. “What do you want me to say?” He said it from between clenched teeth. The music and voice kept their conversation from being heard, but David didn’t want to draw attention to them.
A hand landed high on his thigh and he jerked at the contact. “Just tell me why you’re avoiding me?”
The anguish in Kyle’s voice reached through the sadness gripping him. David looked over, let himself really look at his friend. Bruised smudges lingered beneath his tired eyes and lines of tension creased his face. Something softened in him and he relaxed.
“We fucked up, Kyle. We shouldn’t have let it happen, no matter how much either of us wanted it. Megan…” He swallowed as a fresh wave of guilt hit him. He knew he should say something about meeting Megan, but the words stuck in his throat.
He felt the hand on his thigh squeeze and his dick twitched. They stared at each other, shadows dancing in their eyes as they tried to sort out the things waging in each of their hearts. Kyle leaned away, resignation turning his expression grime.
“I’ll say it again. I don’t regret it.” Kyle nodded to the bartender who set a beer down in front of him. He sighed before taking a long swig. “I can’t, man. I can’t regret it because that means I wanted to change something. I don’t. What we did wasn’t wrong, it was just how it went down.”
Hearing that, knowing that in spite of how fucked up things were Kyle didn’t blame him for the mess they were in, loosened the hold of some of the guilt. He knew deep down that he didn’t regret it either. David didn’t know who he was still, but this was enough.
“Things can’t go back to how they were.” David looked away then. “It’s impossible.”
That sad sigh floated to him again. “I know. It’s okay, just, I need you… I need you around.”
David hated that Kyle sounded so defeated. His cocksure best friend sounded so lost, so unlike himself that it hurt. He knew no matter how painful being around him was, he couldn’t go on without seeing Kyle. He’d ignore the attraction he felt because their friendship meant too much to burn over this.
Laying a hand on Kyle’s shoulder, David tried to comfort them both. Offering some of the same words his friend had offered to him before. “We’ll figure it out.”