Joe’s crew at his new firehouse are destined to become very important to him, but the extent to which he’s more and more heart-thuddingly attracted to his handsome, well-muscled workmates worries him more than a little.
I wanted to taste it.
I stumped up the stairs to my apartment distractedly and unlocked the door without remembering having taken my keys out. As I hung up my heavy winter coat on the pegs by the door I saw that Tim Donnelly, my longtime best friend and my roommate since I’d moved out after high school graduation, was home. This distracted me a little, since I hadn’t really been expecting to see him—he hadn’t been around much lately. He was streaming something on his laptop in the otherwise darkened living room, but he set the laptop aside and rose to his feet as I came in. He looked different, somehow. It wasn’t anything obvious, but he registered as being not quite the same, though his anxious demeanor was very true to form. Maybe he’d cut his hair or something? It looked good on him, anyway. Damn good.
“Hey,” I said, dropping the gym bag I used to ferry clothes and shit between home and the firehouse so I could go through the stack of mail on the kitchen table. I hauled my long-sleeved jersey off over my head one-handed without even giving it much conscious thought, even as I reached for the mail with the other.
“Hey, Joey,” I heard him say from behind me. He’d used the diminutive nickname for so long it didn’t bother me anymore. It was just a part of our history—but he was the only person who got away with it.
There was something tentative in his voice, and I looked up to meet his gaze, tossing the bills and junk mail back on the table to deal with later. He’d moved toward me while I was sorting through the mail, and was standing only a foot or so away, blinking at me uncertainly in the harsh glow of the low-hanging light fixture over the table. He ran a hand through his loose, sandy hair. “What’s up?” I asked. My curiosity was gaining an edge of concern.
He bit his lip. “Do you—do you notice anything different about me?” he asked.
This sounded like a trick question, but I wasn’t sure what game we were playing, and my mind was totally on other things. I narrowed my eyes a little. “No,” I said. “Not really.”
He took another half-step forward. He was looking me right in the eye. He looked like he wasn’t sure whether he wanted to shake some sense into me, or kiss me silly. I’d been getting hints lately that Tim was starting to realize he was into me, which was a little out of the blue after all these years but kind of sweet. “Are you sure?” Tim persisted.
I frowned. “What’s going on, man?” I asked.
He bit his lip again. “It’s just—” He stopped, then started explaining quickly. “There was a package for you, only I was expecting a package and didn’t realize you were, and I opened it without looking. And then there was a shirt in it marked ‘free sample’—” Here he tugged at the chocolate ring color of the solid cocoa-butter-colored tee he was wearing. “—and it was in my size not yours, and I was like, ‘Huh, okay’, and so I put it on, and—Are you sure you don’t notice anything different about me?”
I sighed, exasperated. “Look, Tim, I didn’t order anything, so that probably was for you. So, no harm no foul, right?”
He reached around wordlessly to pick up something from the kitchen counter behind him, and showed me a large, thick mailer that had been carelessly ripped open. The address label was made out in my name, sure enough. Tim’s long index finger was tapping the preprinted return address, which included the logo for Metaboi dot com. I recognized the name immediately—it was the same website I’d gotten my brother’s boots and the cologne off of a few months before. Under the logo and address was another logo in the kind of letters you’d see on a Roman statue or something. It said “PERMACHANGE”, and under it in smaller type, “FOR SELECT CUSTOMERS”. This didn’t mean anything to me, but I guessed it was a new clothing line they were trying out. So it looked like they’d sent me a sample (because for some reason I was on their list of “select customers”?) and Tim had unwittingly intercepted it. Well, that was fine. It looked good on him, really good to be honest, and I had plenty of fucking tee shirts.
It seemed like a weird coincidence, the website turning up again, right after the weird thing with the cologne and Harry back at the station, but I wasn’t sure what to make of it. Something about all of this was tapping at the back of my head, like a useful idea was forming but wasn’t quite there yet.
Tim set the mailer down on the table and looked at me squarely. “It’s just—” he said again, sounding frustrated. “Joey,” he began again, “do you honestly actually remember me as being as tall as you are?”
I shook my head, grinning in confusion. “But you’re not as tall as me, dickhead,” I laughed. “I’m a full inch taller than you. No—wait! Two inches!” I amended gleefully, suddenly remembering the extra inch that gran had marked off, standing on an ottoman at Thanksgiving, which now put me even further ahead of poor 6-foot-2 Tim. I rocked up on the balls of me feet, which fortunately my beloved combat boots were flexible enough to allow. “Ha! In your face!” I mocked, pointing down at his inferior height.
Tim gaped at me and turned away, muttering something I couldn’t entirely make out. It sounded like he said something about “can’t just go from a foot shorter to two inches shorter”, and there was other stuff like “not possible” and “insanely attractive”, but I was done with this ridiculous conversation. My brain had already raced ahead. “Hey, I gotta check something online,” I said, grabbing my bag off the floor and moving past him out of the kitchen. “I think you gave me an idea.” I headed straight into my room, and when turned to I close the door behind me I saw Tim staring incredulously after me. Whatever.
I pulled my own laptop out of my back and opened it up, heading straight for the Metaboi website. Sure enough, there was a link to a company-sponsored “Secret Santa” program where you signed up your office for a gift exchange, each co-worker randomly drawing another member of the team to anonymously give an inexpensive gift to. I’d seen an email from them about it a couple weeks ago, but the utility of it hadn’t clicked until now,
Office things. Co-worker things. My crew and I desperately needed to re-establish where we’d been at before, and that meant we all had to act like we each had five crewmates and not five fucking love-of-your-life husbands, for fuck’s sake, which was where it felt like all this shit was going. It was the second half of December, just a little over a week before the Baby Jesus and a chortling, eternally fat Saint Nicholas spread peace and goodwill among men. There was one three-day tour left before then, ending on Christmas Eve, followed by another between the holidays. If I got my shit together now we could all do the whole thing online, have it all shipped to the firehouse, and we could do the Secret Santa thing together before we went off to spend Christmas with family and stuff.
I was almost manically sure this would fix things and put everything back on track. My heart was trying frantically to warn me that it was already way too late, but fuck that noise. I was pretty sure that my heart wasn’t much smarter than my balls. And my balls didn’t know shit. (My tongue was still thinking about Harry’s dick, but my tongue didn’t know shit either.)
I went to the Secret Santa page and started entering my crew’s names and email addresses, which I had already from our various meet-ups off-shift. (We texted, too, but Marv preferred email, and I kind of did too.) The next screen had account and payment information. I remembered something from before about still being able to use my discount code the next time I ordered, so I dug the card out and entered my code and hit enter. The site threw up a huge box with lights and streamers and a huge mess of wrapped and stacked presents along the bottom. “Congratulations!” it said. “Thanks to your platinum status, you’re eligible to have your program fulfilled entirely within the PermaChange line, with all costs waived during this trial period. Would you like to proceed?”
Free sounded good. There wasn’t a button that said “Fuck, yeah”, so I just clicked on “OK”.
A new window came up. “Reminder,” it said at the top, followed by some bullet points. “As you know, the effects of the PermaChange line persist until death, if any, even after the item is taken off. The effects are applied only once, so if anyone else wears the item afterward, it will be just a normal article of clothing.” I frowned hard at these “reminders”. As I know? Was it trying to tell me that if I bought a shirt, it would only look good on me and no one else? The first part was weird, too, but it must mean that … people would remember how good I’d looked even if I was wearing something else? This sure was some fucked-up ad copy. Cocky bastards.
There was one more. “And don’t forget—only the person who experiences the effect will be aware of it! The results will just seem perfectly normal for everyone else.” The hell? So … I’d know I looked good, but no one else would? What the fuck were they talking about? There was no such thing as a fucking subliminal shirt, for shit’s sake.
I shook my head, dismissing the weird warnings in my head and clicking on the “OK” button to proceed. The website now informed me that I’d be notified when everyone had opted in, and I could log back in and choose the gift for my Secret Santa recipient. I closed the laptop and, shucking the rest of my clothes, dropped naked onto my bed to send a group text, mostly to alert those members of the group who didn’t check their emails often. Stani was especially terrible about email.
“Guys,” I texted, “Check ur email for a note about Secret Santa. I think this would be”—I paused, considering what to say, then resumed: “a healthy thing for us to do.” I’d almost typed “appropriate” or even “co-workerly”, but I wasn’t ready to try to win the guys over to his sudden cold feet about their emotional trajectory.
“Healthy, huh, Sun?” Annis responded back. “Does that mean ‘sexy’?” This was followed by a wink—not an emoji, but an actual selfie of the handsome, olive-skinned godling winking. I smiled at the picture even as my restless dick twitched. His head was lying on a pillow with a rusty and peacock houndstooth pattern that somehow seemed perfect for his coloring. His bulging shoulders were obviously bare.
“I dunno about this,” Harry chipped in. “I’m looking at the options and they’re really nice and sexy as fuck. But—shirts?? I thought we were past that?!!” This was followed by a selfie of Harry, also winking. Fuck, Annis had started a fucking meme.
“Shirts can be good things,” I texted the group sternly. “Don’t hate on the shirts. Other Harry agrees with me,” I added, since we had kept up that joked-about extra Harry until it became second nature. After hitting send I decided to follow up with a selfie of my own, looking stern and shaking my finger. Once it was posted I noticed as if for the first time that I was shirtless too, and also that I was looking startlingly fine. Fuck, the cameras on phones were like magic these days. Wait—when had I even taken my shirt off? I was so used to pulling any shirt I had to wear off my body the moment it wasn’t needed anymore that I didn’t even remember. Shit, I must have done it in front of Tim, and him with his budding crush on me and all. Fuck.
“Other me doesn’t even own any shirts,” Harry shot back. Stani’s response was to post quick video of him laughing merrily. It was an old video he’d used a lot before instead of a laughing emoji, and though I knew it could be taken at face value or ironically according to one’s own tastes, in this case I guessed he was genuinely amused, especially as he followed it up with a new selfie of himself grinning. His pale, well-muscled shoulders were bare, too. There was just the round edge of something darker on the side of the picture, which at first I thought was Stani’s shirt, but then I realized it must be Annis’s thick shoulder.
“I’m in,” Marv texted. “I’m already on the site. Do I say who I got?”
I immediately responded “NO!” But the others did as well, so that a succession of “NO” bubbles all sprouted up at the same time, with the “bloop” sound effects tripping over each other as the responses all piled onto the screen. Stani posted himself laughing again. I smiled at my screen.
Annis posted a video, too, but his beautiful face was more serious. His “I miss you guys” fell out of my phone’s speakers and seemed to fill the small, cozy but empty room. Stani, Harry, and Marv followed suit with their own quick videos saying the same thing, and a second later came Knox, who so far had stayed out of it, with one of his own. I shook my head, shocked that there was actually a pricking in my eyes. I hit record. “I don’t miss any of you dickheads even one little bit,” I said, and posted it. Some of the others posted smiling emojis, mocking my transparently false sentiment. Then Marv, making fun of his own occasional head-in-the-clouds cluelessness, posted a selfie of himself with a ridiculous pouty face.
I texted, “Okay, I give, I miss you guys too.” After all, it was true.
We all said good night to each other, like we did most nights we were off shift and in our own beds, separated from each other by the lives we lived outside the firehouse. I was thinking about all my guys and how they were in different rooms scattered around the city, lying there thinking about each other. I was about to set my phone aside to charge when a private text came in from Knox. “Thank you for this,” it said.
Surprised, I texted back, “No problem.”
After a moment, Knox sent back, “I’m not sure you realize how much things have changed since you got here. Our team wasn’t meshing. We were fighting, grinding gears. You changed that.”
I stared at the screen. Those guys not getting along, not working together as smoothly as a well-oiled machine, was pretty much unimaginable to me. Inconceivable.
Before I could even begin to think of how to reply to that, Knox texted, “We were missing something. It turned out to be yogurt.”
I burst out laughing. “Yogurt??” I texted back.
“*you,” Knox replied. “Fucking autocorrect.”
I was still giggling. “I’m glad I could be your yogurt,” I replied. I wanted very much to hug Knox in that moment, and it wasn’t even because of what we’d been talking about. I wanted to hug him just because.
“Good night, Sun,” Knox texted back. “See you in three days.”
I texted back a “good night” and then plugged in my phone and switched off the light. I was still turned on. Fuck, it felt like everything in me was shivering with arousal. My head swam as I thought about the guys, naked in their beds, all riled up and shit just like I was. My dick was stiff as fuck and aching like I had never known before. It tapped against my belly, leaving little momentary trails of precum between my abs and the tip. I sighed and curled my left hand around my meat, feeling it surge as my mind drifted back to the kiss with Harry outside the showers, this time, for spice, imagining that joked-about second Harry pressing against around me from behind, stroking my long muscley arms and mouthing my shoulders and neck while proper Harry and I kissed like fucking demons in heat.
It occurred to me for the first time as I stroked that our sudden, spontaneous eruption of physical and emotional intensity might not have been the only one to have taken place in our group. This thought turned me on even more, and I started imagining secret encounters between the others, each thinking they were the first ones kissing out of all of us. I pictured Knox and Annis first. Knox in his uniform, meeting a sleepy Annis in the hall in his snug boxers outside the bunks after Annis had gotten a few hours’ rack time, being surprised by a sudden embrace and Annis’s impulsive, dream-fed sloppy kiss, before Annis, grinning widely, let him go and wandered off in search of coffee, both of them ignoring Annis’s fat hardon pointing the way, exposed to the cool air of the hallway through the gaping fly of Annis’s shorts. The scene shifted in my imagination and I saw Marv and Stani in a quiet corner, holding an entire hour-long conversation while unself-consciously holding each other, their arms wrapped around each other’s strong, naked torsos, their groins pressed firmly together, talking animatedly about Star Wars or how Marv’s parents met, not really noticing that their faces are getting closer together as they talk, and then they’re just kissing, as if the liplock were a natural evolution of their conversation. They break the kiss and Marv drops his head shyly, but Stani kisses his cheek and smiles at him, and Marv smiles back and kisses him again on Stani’s very kissable lips, and then they start talking quietly again, this time barely able to suppress their grins, holding each other tighter than ever …
Imagining that kind of stuff got me close to the edge before I’d even gotten into a rhythm, and when I came back to the scene outside the showers, only we were all there, all naked and hard and beautiful, and they were all kissing me, Harry shifting into Annis into Stani into Marv into Knox, all of them making love to my fucking mouth while we held desperately onto each other, that was when I shot what felt like a hundred loads all over myself, cumming so hard and so much cum was spattering my mouth, my cheeks, my hair, cumming until I was fucking spent. I had been worried it would be tough to get to sleep with all my anxieties, but after that torrential orgasm I drifted off into a ragged sleep without even cleaning up, I was so fucking sated. Waking up with dried cum clinging to my skin all over, and having to get it out of the soft blond fuzz of my happy trail in the shower the next morning was worth it.
My Secret Santa gift recipient was Harry. I found this out when I sat down naked at my laptop, still damp and flushed from the shower and the quick jerk-off I’d had in there. My seemingly inexhaustible dick was already hard as a rock again and slapping against my abs as sat down in the warm, still half-dark room, thinking about my men. I checked my email, ignoring everything else in favor of the notification, posted the night before, that my crew was successfully registered and I could proceed with my own adventure in being a Secret Santa. I logged in, and the site told me my randomly chosen crewmate was the very guy I’d introduced kisses to us with—assuming other secret encounters like the ones I’d imagined hadn’t actually happened. My tall, rigid dick twitched at the memory of those scenarios. Ignoring it was a bitch, but I wanted to do right by my Harry.
There were a lot of clothes in this PermaChange line that would certainly look good on Harry, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on anything. My first thought was to get him a shirt, just to underline our group talk the night before—and I was half convinced that we needed to go back to shirts in order to cool things down and avoid the impossibility of where we all seemed to be headed. Ignoring the descriptions, since all that talk was always lies and shit, I tried to imagine Harry in the nice, silky dark blue dress shirt, or this tee or that hoodie. None of it quite clicked, though I knew any of them would make Harry look like a million bucks. None of them were shown being worn by models, though I eventually noticed there was a button at the bottom you could click to “show the effect”. I didn’t click it yet—I liked imagining how they looked on Harry for myself. I grunted, not having noticed I was stroking myself with my free hand. “Go on, do your thing,” I told it, and returned my attention to the site.
Giving up on the shirts for the moment I was going to check out the jeans, but I saw a link for a jewelry section and clicked into out of curiosity. There were rings, bracelets, and a lot of other stuff. My eye caught on a small stylized silver pendant of two male bodies intertwined, on a thick silver chain. Clicking on it, I was surprised to feel an instant reaction in my pounding heart and my impatient dick, and my balls gave a churn too. I realized I was imagining the two figures both as Harry and me, Harry and any one of us, and also our running gag of two Harrys. I activated the control at the bottom that allowed the depiction of the items with a model and gasped. The big image taking up two thirds of the page shifted from a static image of the pendant and chain lying on a white background, to it being worn by a model, shown from the chest up, with tanned skin and big, perfect muscles. And thick, jet-black hair. And an easy, crooked grin. Somehow, some way, this fucked-up site had made its virtual model look exactly like the guy the gift was for. And then I realized that there were strong hands resting on those muscle-thick, sculpted shoulders. I shifted my glance to the man standing behind Harry, half-expecting to see me, like the site knew about our encounter outside the showers or some shit. But the guy behind Harry in the picture … was also Harry, also naked and beautiful and wearing the pendant and chain. He kissed the first Harry’s neck, then looked up and met my gaze. And winked.
Fuck. I came, hard, once again orgasming so violently that I shot my first load all over my face. More shot onto my thick chest as I pumped by rigid dick with both hands and tried to jack all my cum out of me, and yet there seemed to be no end to it. I came again, onto my chin and neck, while I licked my lips, lapping up what I could reach from around my mouth, and again onto my thick chest. I spared my right hand from my dick, still cumming, and pressed the button that told the fucking site that this was what I wanted for Harry.
Everyone took care of their Secret Santa gifts in record time. In fact, the others had done theirs the night before, and I was actually the last to do it. As a result, the site was able to have the gifts all delivered to the station overnight, and one of the guys working the alternate shift from us let me know, since my name was on the boxes as facilitator, that the stuff had arrived. I group texted my suggestion that we meet up the night before our tour started, so there was no risk that we’d be called out in the middle, and they all agreed. Knox volunteered his place, since it was the obvious choice—he had a small old row-house near the station he’d bought cheap and fixed up in his spare time, until it was now practically in showroom condition (if you ignored the missing fixtures in the downstairs bath, which the distributor had lost, mis-shipped, or otherwise fucked up three times already over the last six months). Annis and Stani volunteered to take care of booze, and Harry texted that he’d cook. I promised to bring snacks and desserts, which, after I’d sent the text, got me thinking about us all covering a naked Marv with whipped cream, and him carrying on reading some book, pretending not to notice even as we concentrated our cream-spreading attentions on his unavoidable erection. I grabbed my junk through my jeans, wondering if I could jerk off a fifth time that day. Unfortunately, it had momentarily slipped my mind that I was in the living room watching TV with Tim. I knew I was already teasing him with my now-constant shirtlessness, and when I heard him suck in a breath and mutter a drawn out “fuuuck” I glanced over sheepishly to where he sat, only a foot away from me, on the couch. He was shirtless too, as if to get back at me, and his long pale torso was, to my surprise, sporting very well-defined swimmer’s pecs and shoulders, and nicely sculpted abs that, in the dim light of the TV, looked almost like a ten-pack.
He met my eyes almost pleadingly. His hand was in his lap, too, and although it was dark in the room and he was wearing navy sweats over his long, nicely shaped legs it was pretty clear he was grabbing his own boner, hard, as if to stop it from running amuck and causing trouble.
“Sorry,” I said. I took my hand away from my own crotch—which, since it fully exposed the state of my rampant erection in my snug jeans, probably didn’t help.
“Please let me blow you,” he burst out, all of a sudden. He looked like he was going to say more, maybe try to convince me, but he shut his mouth and just let the entreaty hang there.
My heart went out to my tall, sexy old friend, and my balls even considered it for a moment. I was horny as fuck now, pretty much all day every day, with our little Christmas party looming only one night away. But I shook my head. “Sorry, man,” I said, and I truly was sorry. I tried to figure out how to explain, but all I came up with was, “I’m kinda seeing someone.” Five someones, actually, but that would be harder to explain. My thick boner shifted and flexed in my jeans as I thought about them.
Tim seemed to accept this, though it must have been a little painful. Then he said, “Can I watch you jack off? Please?”
I gaped at him. The way he said it, more playful than begging, like it would totally be just for getting rocks off and wasn’t at all about him crushing on me bad, got in under my defenses somehow. I knew it was probably not a good idea, but I decided to throw him a bone, as it were.
“Fine,” I said, rolling my eyes. “But just this once, okay? This is a one time only thing. And you’re doing all the laundry for two weeks.”
“Done,” Tim said eagerly. He muted the wall-mounted flat-screen and climbed down off the couch onto the cheap rug we had put down in here. He turned on his knees to face me, watching expectantly. His eyes were wide and his hands were already reaching for the waistband of his sweats.
I sighed and went for the fly of my jeans, letting thoughts of my men drive up my arousal. I’d decided to give him a show. My nips were as hard as my dick as I pulled it out, with some difficulty, through my fly, and I kind of wanted to tweak them just to add to the production; but both hands were already on my cock, like they tended to be when I was jerking myself off lately, and they weren’t going anywhere until I’d blown another huge, messy load all over my face, pecs, and abs. As I started stroking, thinking about my crew naked and hard and all making out with each other like it was what we were put on this fucking earth for, something in the back of my head told me this would not be the only time I let Tim see what he wanted to see.
Marv and Harry arrived together while Annis and I were making out, and so we shifted into the process of greeting them as well. Everyone who wasn’t greeting Marv and Harry paired off, holding each other in a tight hug as we watched the new arrivals, cheeks resting against cheeks so we could feel the other’s smiles. This felt like a new normal, always holding each other, and in the thick, raw emotional pleasure of being with them all again I forgot my misgivings and decided that that was pretty amazing.
We decided to do the gifts first, and then do dinner and hang out. The end of the evening was kind of unspecified, and I realized that I was hoping that there would be more than kissing later. I was spinning this around in my head, considering the prospect to be all at once exciting, alarming, and, more than anything, absolutely necessary, so I was distracted as we moved to sit down in the comfortably small living room, made quietly festive by a tree in one corner decorated with dark red and pure white ornaments of various sizes, and small twinkling lights that were, unusually, a warm amber instead of white or multicolored. There were even Christmas stockings hanging from pegs mounted in the mantelpiece over the fireplace, bedecked with each of our names and obviously filled to their fuzzy brims, though with what I had no idea. I was staring at them, immersed in my own confusions, so I missed the first part of Harry’s suggestion as we gathered together on couches and love seats around a low, sturdy coffee table.
“—should get completely naked,” Harry was saying.
I glanced up at him, surprised. The others were smiling or nodding. “What?” I said.
Harry looked at me, grinning. “It’s all clothes and stuff, right? I feel like we should celebrate our little moment together by showing off just the gift we got.”
“What if someone got you something crappy?” Stani asked laughing.
“Then you take it off,” Harry said reasonably. “We’ll probably take them off afterwards anyway. … Just to keep them safe, you know. These are special gifts,” he added, winking.
“Fuck, it’s just Secret Santa,” I said, standing to shuck my jeans. The others followed suit, shucking jeans and chinos and whatever, and then sat back down, our eyes roving all over each other’s bodies—dark or light, big or defined, hairy or smooth, grinning wide and eager or smiling small and hopeful. We were all totally boned, of course, but that was pretty normal these days, for us. I wondered about our dripping cocks leaking on Knox’s inexpensive but very nice furniture, but he was already ahead of me and was handing around towels to put between us and his upholstery.
“I did wash my ass before coming here, you know,” I joked, realizing too late that the way I’d said it made it sound a little like I’d been prepping myself to be the group’s butt boy. Sure enough, a few snickers went around the group.
“I’m not worried about your dirty ass,” Knox said, handing the last towel to Marv, who seemed both intrigued and embarrassed by the topic of conversation. “I’m thinking about that leaky pipe of yours.”
“Yeah, Sun, call a fucking plumber!” Harry put in. Then we all looked at Annis, who’d worked as a plumber before joining up with the fire department. The normally imperturbable Annis actually blushed, his olive skin taking on a ruddy hue over his cheeks. He looked at me, making his eyes go wide, and the others all burst out laughing at us.
I grinned at them. “I think we’re all going to be laying down pipe before too long,” I said, and they laughed a little more—some, like Knox, smiling knowingly, others—notably Harry—with greedy grins, and the rest, like Marv and, surprisingly, Stani, with cautious smiles. It occurred to me that maybe were weren’t even close to all being at the same level of experience. But I dismissed the thought. It was us, and we took care of each other.
Still, despite our level of mutual comfort and the emotional connections between us that had mounted to a stage beyond anything I could have imagined, it was still kind of strange to be sitting there, all of us buck naked, hard, and flushed with arousal. Stani spoke up unexpectedly. “I think we should also all not say who we got even after the gifts are handed out,” he said.
“Why not?” I asked, perplexed, but almost immediately the answer came to me, before Stani even said, “Because that way it’s like every gift is from all of us.” I nodded enthusiastically, and the motion seemed to carry unanimously.
Knox “played Santa”, handing out the presents from under the tree. They were all professionally wrapped in charcoal paper decked with thin, dark silver ribbon. He handed the first one to Marv, maybe because he was at the end of the long sofa and closest to the tree—I expected the orderly and methodical Knox to go clockwise around the room. That meant that, since I was sitting by the fireplace on the other side of the tree, on the other couch with Harry, I’d be last, and whatever I got would be the final note of the proceedings. I pushed down another flicker of nerves as Marv took the box eagerly, and I couldn’t help thinking his warm, caramel skin looked delicious in the shifting light, his darker, red-tinged, torpedo-shaped uncut tool twitching feverishly against the hair-dusted skin above his crotch, leaving a curved smear of pre across his long lower abdominals just below his navel.
Marv tore the wrapping open a little more ferociously than I expected, and reached in to lift up, holding it from both corners … a single pair of raspberry-red boxer briefs. We all laughed. Now that was a Secret Santa gift—simple, not to grand, but totally apt.
Marv was grinning at us as he held up the briefs. “You guys just can’t get your mind off my junk, can you?” Quickly, to various replies of “Nope” and “Fuck no” (that was me), he jumped up and hauled the raspberry briefs on, making me think, mm, raspberry and caramel as I joined the others in enthusiastic applause. Shit, I was hungry. I wondered if I could sneak away to pilfer some of the cookies I’d made. Meanwhile Marv was standing there, frozen and gaping down at himself, as we all applauded his beauty and the role his mighty tool played in enhancing it.
“Nice,” Harry said, clapping, and the rest of us murmured agreement. Sure, the shorts were kind of ridiculous, since they had no hope of containing the towering erection that was still jumping excitedly against his torso, painting swaths of precum in a sticky arc just under his nicely developed pecs. Hesitantly he reached for it, moving first one curled hand, then the other, obviously intending to grasp his mighty tool right there in front of us; but Knox, still standing by the tree, grabbed both of Marv’s wrists before he could.
“Save it for later, sequoia-dick,” Knox chided him with a smile. “You can put on a show if you like, but let’s get through the presents first!” Marv, staring dazedly at him, just nodded mutely. Knox let his wrists go, and Marv sank back down onto the couch, staring at his huge pole as it rode up a few inches onto his chest now that he was sitting, leaving more of a leaky trail. He was staring at it as if he’d never seen it before, which was pretty funny—it must have been right there in his field of vision since puberty.
Knox was shaking his head. “That was the dumbest gift ever,” he mock scolded us. “Who got Marv underwear? That’s like buying snowshoes for your trip to Fiji. Or shirts for Sunshine here,” he added, winking at me.
“Fuck off,” I said amiably. “The shorts look great, Marv.” Marv nodded dumbly, not looking up from his oversized equipment. I had to admit, I had trouble looking away from it myself; but then, that was normal for us. Perfectly normal.
Something niggled in the back of my head, but it slipped away as Knox handed Stani his gift, and I started thinking about cream to top the raspberries and caramel. Then I grinned at myself as I imaged my creamy, gymnast-physiqued Stani, well, topping the nicely buff, caramel-skinned Marv. I shook my head even as my rigid, leaking dick jumped eagerly at the image. Well, the reverse would be … a challenge. Though my anus twitched at that—that crazy fucker seemed willing to give it a try. I was still shaking my head at my careening, sex-mad thoughts as Stani pulled on his gift, a long-sleeved, cobalt-blue stretchy compression top. As he yanked it the rest of the way down to his waist it was obvious how perfectly it set off his massive, bodybuilder-huge pecs, shoulders, and upper arms, and we all broke into spontaneous applause, howls, and wolf-whistles. Knox pulled him to his feet, and Stani, the fair, wild-haired Greek, stood staring back at us as we cheered his rock-carved, hugely built upper body. After a beat or two of staring down at his jutting pecs while being buffeted by our applause and cheers, Stani broke into a huge, incandescent grin and raised his mighty arms for a world-beating, mountainous double-bi, his long, thick cock twitching animatedly against the fabric covering his long, ten-pack abs. I clapped hard and whistled, aware I was a little jealous of the double-bi—though I knew my arms were just as well appreciated by the guys.
“All right, that’s enough adulation, Hercules,” Knox said, waving Stani back down into his seat.
“Herakles,” Annis corrected him.
“I swear I heard the seams screaming when he flexed like that,” Harry joked to me from the other end of our couch.
“I know, right?” I said.
Annis was next, and his gift was heavier—which turned out to be because it was a nice paid of black denim jeans. He started pulling them on, but stopped as soon as all three of his big, hair-dusted feet had popped out of the cuffs. “Go on,” Knox encouraged him. “Pull up the rest of the way on so you can model for us like everyone else.”
I was staring at Annis’s sexy feet, and not for the first time, but as Knox spoke I looked up in time to catch Annis’s startled stare. He looked almost alarmed, and I wondered what was wrong. Instinctively his eyes met his brother’s. Stani smiled and gave him an encouraging nod, but then he stilled, as if something unexpected had occurred to him. He nodded to Annis again, this time more seriously. Somehow, this made Annis make a connection of his own. Annis’s eyes dropped briefly to Stani’s massive, perfectly carved chest with the dark blue compression shirt hugging every plane and curve, then he met Stani’s eyes again. His brother nodded again, this time in affirmation rather than encouragement, and his lips curved as he said quietly, “Go on. Pull ‘em up.”
“Pull – them – up!” Harry started cheering, and we all picked up the chant. “Pull – them – up! Pull – them – up!” Even Stani joined in. Annis, giving his brother a smile that carried a heartbreaking amount of love and gratitude, turned his smile on us, and this time it was a showman’s smile. He climbed to his feet, pulling up the black jeans as he did so, and we all clasped and whooped ridiculously. He fastened the jeans around his narrow waist and spread his arms to let us appreciate how great the jeans looked—not least because of the way his cocks looked as they thrust irrepressibly past the waistband on either side of his navel.
“Turn around!” I called over the shouts and applause, and Annis, looking proud and abashed at the same time, turned to let us admire his amazing, god-muscled triple glutes, which the pants seemed made to flatter in the most shameless, flesh-gripping fashion possible. I rose to my feet, proud to proclaim my long-held belief that if any ass deserved as standing ovation, it was Ioannis Stephanidis. Annis turned back around. He was grinning broadly, and favored us all with an appreciative bow.
“All right, all right,” Knox said. “Enough showing off.” Annis sat down and shared a long look with Stani, but Knox was already moving on to the next target, which shortly realized, after a glance at the empty spot where he’d been sitting on the other side of Harry from me, was himself. Still standing by the tree Knox opened his own box, and then his brows drew together.
“What is it?” Stani asked.
Knox set the box down and held up a sheaf of thin, translucent papers, each with a design on it. “Tattoos,” he said, clearly uncertain how to proceed.
“Looks like there are six of them,” I mused aloud. After a second Knox nodded in agreement and lowered the fan of papers to me, like he was a magician asking me to pick a card. I saw they were all the same—a six-pointed star maybe four inches across, each with a solid circle replacing one of the points. They were all slightly different colors and all of them had the stars with a thick outline and empty on the inside, except one, which was a solid star in hunter green, though it still had a circle on only one of its points. I knew instinctively that this was Knox’s star and picked the outlined star that was a kind of golden brown, matching my hair and, I admitted with a certain resignation, my attitude, however tough I tried to act.
Knox was smiling at me, but he paused before moving on to Harry. “You know this is all down to you,” he said quietly to me. “Maybe you should take the solid one.”
I smiled up at him. “It’s your gift, boss,” I said. “And anyway, we all know you’re the center.” I had no doubt that the solid star represented, as Knox must also have intuited, the one that held us together. That could only be wise, organized, endlessly compassionate Knox.
“And you’re also one of us,” Harry agreed, tapping the small circle on the point of the solid star, which was just like the other circles that adorned one point of each of the other stars. One of six, one of us, yet the center connecting us, too.
Knox shrugged, conceding the point. He shifted to his left slightly and offered the array of tattoos to Harry, who picked the blue-outlined star, and then around the circle. Knox, left with the solid star, read the small-print instructions at the bottom of the sheet. The rest of us just watched him ready to do as he did. Knox then pressed the sheet firmly to the middle of his chest with his whole hand, counted one, two, three under his breath, then pulled the sheet away. It was now completely blank, and there was a solid, dark green six-pointed star right in the center of his chest, diving down into his shallow cleavage. It looked exactly like a professionally inked tattoo. New, but after the swelling had subsided.
“Nice,” I said. I immediately took up my own sheet, and it didn’t take me long to figure out the Joey Sunshine-appropriate place to put it. I slapped the sheet against the side of my right upper arm and held it there, pressed hard and held it for three heartbeats. I took away the sheet, checking that it was blank. Sure enough, it was, and there was a golden brown six-pointed star tattoo on the lightly tanned skin of my highly appreciated, exceptionally well sculpted, muscle-thick upper arms. I was kind of hoping my gift would show off my favorite assets at least as well as Annis’s did his amazing legs and ass, or Stani his Herculean muscles (Heraklean muscles?), or Marv his uncanny monster cock; but just having this tattoo here would be enough, I realized. It looked awesome there, and I watched it bunch and stretch as I moved and straightened my arm.
As soon as it took hold, I felt something totally unexpected, though—a surge of emotion that connected me almost physically to Knox. I could feel what Knox was feeling, and he could share my feelings, too. I looked up at Knox in surprise, because what I was feeling from him was potent, unadulterated love. Erotic love, sure, and there was a current underneath it of a towering carnal need; but romantic love, true love, lifelong love. It was the tidal wave of emotion that came with feeling that separation was pain to be endured and to be severed from the object of your love was death. He felt it for me because he felt it for all of us, because all of us felt that exact thing for every single member of this group, and I knew, heart pounding, that I could no longer hide from myself that I was just as madly, helplessly in love in Knox, and Marv and Stani and Annis and Harry, as they were with me and with every other man among us. I gazed into Knox’s eyes, amazed, feeling tears stinging, ready to fall, while at the same time our dicks throbbed together, not far from tipping over the edge themselves. Knox smiled unsteadily at me, and I knew that he loved us all, but his affection for me included the way my simple presence had somehow brought them together, leading to this moment.
“Fuck,” I breathed. Knox’s smile widened knowingly, and we both knew that fucking would, indeed, happen. I bit my lip and winked at him, dislodging one of those tears, and I felt Knox’s amusement and his attraction for me. I wanted to stand up and hold him, to kiss him, to start our collective lovemaking now, this minute. But … it was not yet the moment.
Suddenly there was a new connection—a new link to Knox and, through him, back to me. I turned to see Harry pulling an empty sheet away from his shoulder. Interestingly he’d chosen to apply the tattoo at the crevice where his nice, round delts met the significant but not massive bulge of his traps. I wondered at this, but then I felt from him the warm, strong pressure of my own hands on his shoulders, remembering that encounter by the sinks, when I’d caught him using my cologne and had towered over him, acceding to his demand that I take a whiff and tell him what I thought. He grinned broadly at me, eyes wide in wonder as our emotions flooded through him and his were shared with us, and I grinned back. I put my hand on his shoulder, over the very spot, and felt his impatience too. We turned expectantly toward the others, my hand not moving from its place on Harry’s shoulder.
While Harry and I had been interacting, the others had stood and started shucking their gifted garments. At first I was unclear why, but all was revealed as each of them placed their star tattoos in significant placed that just happened to have been covered by their only articles of apparel. Arris applied his olive-green tattoo directly to his left ass-cheek, earning a hoot and a wolf-whistle from me. Stani installed his reddish-purple star right in the middle of his massive right pec, and then spent a few seconds popping his pecs just to watch them dance. Marv held his russet-red tattoo indecisively over the surface of his monster erection.
“Hey! Cocky!” I called to him. He looked up, frowning at the transparently ironic nickname. I shook my head somberly. “Don’t tattoo your dick, man,” I admonished. Marv nodded fervently in agreement, and ended up applying his tattoo behind his massive tool, on the smooth surface of his lower abdomen. As each of the others connected with Knox and through him with the rest of us, I felt an almost overwhelming flood of love and need. All of them loved me, endlessly, totally. More than that, we all shared the same love, the same need for each other—shockingly emotional, fiercely protective, and ferociously carnal. I shivered with the earth-shaking passion of our shared connection. More than that, this gift meant we were all linked, and we would all know where we all were, even if we weren’t together. It meant—and this really did make me choke up a little—it meant that we would all never, ever be apart from each other again.
“Fuck, you guys,” I said, brushing away another tear.
Knox leaned toward me from where he stood by the tree and, cupping his hand by his mouth, loudly stage-whispered, “Later!” We all laughed.
Knox handed Harry’s gift to him next. This time I knew it was from me, and I felt a quiver of unease flutter through my stomach. But Harry looked up and grinned at me. “I’m sure I’ll love it.”
“Shit,” I pretend-groused. “I guess we won’t have many secrets from each other now.” For an answer Harry leaned in for a quick kiss before turning his attention back to his box. He opened it up and admired the pendant for a second, before looking expectantly at me. “Stand up,” I said, figuring it would be easier to do the clasp if I was directly behind him. We stood and he turned his back to me, holding the ends of the chain up on either side of his neck, but I took a moment to admire his nicely defined bod and his kick-ass ass.
“Come on,” Stani said. “We want to see Sun’s gift!”
“And that’s not all we want to see,” Annis added. I stuck my tongue out at both of them and attached the clasp.
I felt Harry’s heart-rate start to spike as he and his other body stared at each other. I frowned down at them, unable to get a grip on the emotions flooding out of Harry. It was like he had never even seen his other body before. What the fuck—?
And then certain things started to click in my head. Marv’s amazement at his cock, which, I could sense from through our weird new linked-up feelings, was still roiling through him. Stani’s shock over his muscles, even though they were perfectly normal. And then Annis had had the same reaction to his legs and ass… even though there was nothing about his legs and ass that weren’t …
And don’t forget, the chirpy warning on the website had gone, only the person who experiences the effect will be aware of it! The results will just seem perfectly normal for everyone else.
“The effect.” I’d wondered what that had meant. Obviously it was about more than how awesome it looked once you had it on. And now that we were all connected, our boundaries were blurred, and we could sense collectively things that otherwise had been only meant for one of us to be aware of. The effect …
My brain was buzzing, but I realized I was looking down at Harry moving to embrace himself, moving his two bodies together, wanting to feel that touch. “Oh, no you don’t,” I said, moving between them. “You don’t get to hug until we all get to hug.”
So they hugged me instead, the Harry-body in front of me grinning up at me shamelessly as they held me tight before resting his head snugly against my pecs. I sighed, looking up to see that Knox was suppressing laughter, one last box in his hand. “Give me that,” I said.
I opened the box as well as I could, feeling excitement ripple through the group, but especially from Stani—I guessed he was my Secret Santa, thought it was hard to be sure just from emotional reactions. Maybe he just guessed what “the effect” would be. I was almost giddy with anticipation myself. Tossing the box aside, I held up—a sleeveless muscle tee. It was brick red, great for my golden-sunshine coloring, and it looked comfortable as fuck.
“What did I say,” Knox play-scolded the others. “Shirts for Sun? Really?”
“But they show off his arms!” Stani shot back.
I grinned around at all of them. My dick was shaking with imminent need. “Back off, Gemini Boy,” I told Harry. “I gotta try this on.”
Harry dutifully moved both his bodies a step back, and I pulled the muscle tee over my head. By the time I was pulling it down the rest of the way to my waist, I was doing so with four strong hands instead of two.
I wasn’t even surprised. What I did feel was a tsunami of arousal and need for physical contact that could not be held at bay a second more.
I turned to the others, the two Harry-bodies on either side, grinning at me. I spread my four awesome arms wide in unapologetic exhibition. “These are for you guys,” I said. “Always for you.” I swallowed, looking them each in their sex-dark eyes.
“Come and get ‘em,” I said.
And sure as fuck, they did.
And, dear reader, what shall I tell you of all that followed, of heart-wrenching kisses and earth-shifting fucks and all the rest of the unbearably sweet lovemaking that seemed to last for days, all of us feeling the incredible stimulations were sharing with each other six times over, cumming all together in a single, world-exploding orgasm, before we began again, subsiding only after hours of long-awaited lovemaking into sleepy, sweet kisses and embraces of two or three or four, holding each other, loving each other, until rosy dawn finally stole into the sky, starting our new day, our new connected life? What shall I say about how we came together as one, and moved into Knox’s house, and started a shared life together, or of how we discovered we were not the only men in our little fire station to find love and connection unlooked-for, inexplicable, and wholly unstoppable? There’s much I could tell you, but that, I’m afraid, is all a story for another holiday eve.