Description Zeke must travel back to his hometown, Woody Hole, in a last-ditch effort to prove he’s gay and end the eternal matchmaking with his high-school girlfriend, Stacy. A fake boyfriend is the only way—but Zeke’s closest relationship is with a customized character from an open-sandbox simulation game, a cocky personal trainer named Troy.
|Updated||22 Aug 2020|
Zeke Thomas was watching his eScape character getting fucked up the ass when his mother called.
He gave the buzzing phone a brief, dark look. He’d ignored three calls from her today already. Clearly, she wasn’t getting the message. He wasn’t going back to Woody Hole, Wisconsin for the fiftieth annual “Woody Swim” Festival no matter how many times she insisted.
The phone stopped buzzing. Zeke glanced back at it suspiciously. Sure enough, a moment later it lit up anew and started buzzing like it wanted to very slowly penetrate the gleaming white surface of his desk.
Zeke sighed. He’d have to spell it out for her. Again.
There was a reason he’d left Woody Hole for the bright lights and the big city, and a bunch of small-town families making a big deal about a grotty old swimming hole every August seemed like the epitome of everything he’d been desperate to leave behind.
Deciding that leaving the eScape screwfest on mute while he answered her call with half a hard-on was a sufficiently passive-aggressive means of exhibiting his disinterest, he swiped to accept the call and put it on speaker. Then he turned his attention back to his lusty personal-trainer avatar, Troy, and his latest conquest, a pallid, innocent-looking mailman a good foot shorter than Troy who, nonetheless, had moments before revealed himself to be a power top who liked to fuck in full uniform. Kinky.
“Ezekiel, are you there?” his mother called out from the phone.
“Hi, Mom,” he said distractedly. Man, the detailed rendering on these 3D sims was beyond amazing, especially on a pro-level laptop like this one. The lighting, the skin-tones, the subtle movements of muscle and fabric… if he didn’t know any better, he could almost swear he was watching a big-studio live-action movie instead of a high-end PC open-world simulation game—one that, if he were honest with himself, had proven to be more than a little addictive.
“Ezekiel, have you gotten my emails? At all?” came his mother’s tinny voice from the little phone speakers.
Zeke didn’t take his eyes off the screen, and he was quickly rewarded as just then the mailman flipped Troy over on his back, and Troy was displaying his trademark wide, wolfish grin as the mailman resumed determinedly drilling the larger muscle-hunk into the mattress. Nice. “I got the first twelve or so,” Zeke answered his mother absently. “After that I set up a rule and routed all of your emails to the spam folder.”
There was a shocked silence from the phone. Zeke smiled.
“I hope you’re joking,” Mrs. Thomas said coldly.
“Look, Mom,” he said, his cock flexing as Troy grabbed his lover’s nape and drew him in for a big, sloppy kiss as their fucking intensified, “I can’t come back to the Hole. You know I can’t.”
“I know no such thing.”
“I’m busy,” he said. Which was true enough. There was a stack of sketches, specs, and photos in his inbox waiting to be turned into the technical drawings he was paid so well to produce. He should be working on them now, truth be told, but his little eScape breaks had been tending to get a little out of hand lately. Or, rather, as randy as his insatiable and indefatigable avatar made him, things tended to get into hand, and on a pretty regular basis.
“You’ve told me before that you can work on your little drawings anywhere,” Mrs. Thomas argued sweetly. “We do have the internet in Woody Hole, you know.”
Zeke gritted his teeth. He should never have explained how he did what he did to his mother. “Mom—”
“You were King of the Hole three years running,” his mother reminded him. “All of the Kings and Queens of the Hole have to be there.” Her voice turned sly as she added, “You’ll have another chance with Stacy.”
Ugh. There went his stiffie. “Mom, I’m gay,” he said irritably, for what felt like the hundredth time. “I told you and Dad, I told Stacy, I told the whole town. I’m a butt-fucking, man-kissing, Adele-loving, purple-skivvies-wearing homosexual. Deal with it.”
“Uh huh,” Mrs. Thomas said. “This despite the fact that you dated Stacy for three whole years—”
“I told you, I thought I was straight, and when I realized I wasn’t I couldn’t figure out how to break it to her.”
“—and the fact that you admitted to your friend Roderick that you told Stacy you were gay just to get out of proposing to her at senior prom—”
“That was a joke, and I still don’t know how you heard about that.”
“—and,” Mrs. Thomas persisted, “the fact that in the five years since there hasn’t been a single peep about a boyfriend in any of your calls or emails. Much less a future husband, which is what all the gays seem to be talking about these days.”
Zeke huffed derisively to himself. She wanted details? Introductions? How would that have worked? Oh, hey Mom, glad you Skyped. This is my random fuck from last night, er—sorry, what was your name again? Jimmy? Jason?
Zeke’s attention was drawn back into the vigorous and athletic doings on his laptop screen. The two lovers were now roaring rapidly toward their climax, re-energizing Zeke’s phallus as he watched. Suddenly the pale mail carrier arched his back and cried out silently in exultation. He was immediately joined by the hairy muscle hunk underneath him, who started spurting large gobs of white spunk onto his heaving, furry chest. Zeke realized his own breathing was deep and ragged as he took in the dual orgasm, the onscreen characters looking so real he could almost smell the sweat and spunk.
“Well?” Mrs. Thomas called out, breaking into his sexual reverie. “What do you have to say? Are you going to explain to your mother why you thought it was acceptable to lie to us this whole time?”
“For Pete’s sake, Mom,” he groused. He had half a mind to go to video chat and show her the scene he was currently staring at, and then pan down to the boner it had given him.
He realized there was only one way to put a stop to this. He had to make his mother, and the rest of Woody Hole, believe that he truly was gay—otherwise they’d be setting him up with Stacy Duff until they were both in assisted living. And probably even then. “Look, I do have a boyfriend, okay?” he said. “For months now. I just didn’t tell you because, frankly, I didn’t want to subject him to all… this.”
“Uh huh,” his mother said again. “What’s his name?”
Zeke glanced at the screen where the mailman, his uniform soaked through with sweat, had collapsed onto the larger man, who was holding him close, still grinning. With a sense of inevitability, Zeke turned back toward the phone and said, “Troy.”
“He’s a personal trainer,” Zeke said, figuring he might as well do the whole bio. “Lots of clients. A year older than me, moved here from Iowa. Has a great loft with a dog. Smells like steak.” The last one wasn’t part of the game, but that was sure how Zeke imagined him smelling.
“I see,” his mother replied thoughtfully. Zeke watched as the two lovers fell into a postcoital doze as they lolled together in the middle of the king-sized mattress, heedless of their comingled fluids. “What kind of dog?”
“Huh?” Zeke said distractedly. His heart squeezed a little as he watched the screen. How did Troy always get to cuddle afterwards like this?
“What kind of dog?” Mrs. Thomas repeated.
Zeke blinked, letting the question register. He glanced up at the shadowy back corner of the long, high-ceilinged loft where Troy’s faithful hound was curled up asleep, dutifully ignoring his master’s shenanigans. He probed his memory for the dog’s backstory. “Uh, German shorthaired pointer,” he recited after a moment. “Ex-bomb-sniffer. Name’s Ozzy.”
“Well then,” his mother said briskly, “we will all be happy to meet him.”
Zeke frowned at the phone. “Ozzy?”
“Your boyfriend,” his mother replied. He could almost hear the air quotes. “Though of course the dog is welcome to come as well,” she added archly. “Perhaps he can sniff out the cheaters at the pie-baking contest.”
Zeke shook his head slightly. He had already half-forgotten his claim of a fictional partner. “Mom, I told you. I’m not subjecting—”
“It’s been ‘months’, you say? If it’s that serious, doesn’t he want to meet the parents? And a personal trainer would definitely be a valuable addition to Team Thomas at the Woody Swim Festival.”
“Mom, if I were coming then of course I’d bring him. But—”
“Good. We’ll see you both in two weeks.”
“You’re our only son, Ezekiel. Surely you remember that you bear the family honor before the whole town. How will your father and I look if we’re standing there at the fiftieth annual Woody Swim Festival, and our only son couldn’t be bothered to join all of the rest of the sons and daughters coming home for the big event?”
“It’s not that—”
“And all of the Royals of the Hole will be there. Can you imagine the Royals of the Hole being introduced year by year at the Woody Barbecue, and poor Stacy having to stand there all alone just because her King didn’t want to subject his—”
“Fine!” Zeke burst out. “Fine! I’ll be there!”
“Good. I can’t wait!” Having secured her victory, Mrs. Thomas hung up.
Zeke blinked at the phone as the screen went dark. Okay, what just happened?
He fell back in his desk chair, mulling over what he’d just committed himself to. His gaze drifted to his laptop screen and the tall, dark, and handsome hottie snuggling his surprisingly dom undersized hook-up. He watched the smaller man dozing in the arms of his perfectly idealized paragon of strength, beauty, and prowess.
“Fuck,” he sighed. “So where do I get me one of those?”
Zeke decided to distract himself by working for a while. He completed two simple, self-contained commissions and worked for an hour on one of his longer-term gigs, an explosion drawing that had to be carefully redrawn for high-resolution printing and projection, until he’d finally gotten his maternally induced aggravation out of his system and recovered his usual equanimity.
By then the steamed chicken and broccoli he’d ordered had arrived. He ate directly from the take-out containers, shifting slivers of chicken paired with little florets of broccoli to his mouth with his chopsticks and alternating occasionally with clumps of rice, and pulled up his eScape space. Instead of going into the realtime game area, though, he decided to go under the hood and tweak the stats on his new “boyfriend” one more time.
At least most of what he’d told his mother about Troy was true, he thought wryly as he looked over the the character screen. Troy was indeed a personal trainer from Iowa with an ex-TSA dog. And he and Troy had been together for “months”; in fact Zeke was surprised to see that it had been almost half a year since he’d done the initial character design on his favorite digital sex-god.
Really, it was his mother’s own fault if she’d inferred Troy was an actual human being…
Zeke shook his head at himself. A pretend boyfriend. That was… kind of pathetic. Next he’ll be saying Troy lived in Canada, he thought. He considered this glumly. Given that Troy couldn’t actually come to the Woody Swim Festival, he might actually have to pull that one. Not that his parents would believe it for a second.
He looked over the specs. He could do a lot worse than Troy, especially if he were real. Twenty-four years old. Five foot eleven. A hundred and ninety pounds. Torso measurements that described a nice, yummy V-taper, from a 47-inch chest to a 32-inch waist. Body fat less than 7 percent. Size ten shoe. And, because this was the full version of eScape, he had access to other measurements, too: his dream man’s beautiful, thick cock was seven inches soft and eleven inches hard, with a girth that measured five and a half inches around.
Over the time he’d been playing around with Troy he’d made a pastime of periodically goosing his attributes, as a way of sort of emphasizing to himself that Troy was beyond the mundane. After all, there were personal trainers and fitness models in real life, and among the people Zeke knew. Zeke had even hooked up with two or three, though they hadn’t ranked with his most memorable fucks: the real-life versions had been more attentive to how they looked than to how Zeke felt, though wasn’t categorical enough to think they were all like that.
Anyway, the whole point was that Troy was unreal, and by nudging his sliders every once in a while Zeke could watch with amusement as Troy subtly surpassed the mundane, step by step.
It had started with the ears. For some reason a lot of sim programs, eScape included, let you set up otherwise ordinary guys with pointy ears, like Elves or Vulcans. Originally, Zeke had set up Troy with normal ears; then he’d gone back and given them a 10 percent shift on the pointiness slider—not something that anyone would notice, but Zeke knew it was there. It gave him a little bit of thrill to know that Troy was subtly exotic in this way. He’d kept nudging it once a month or so, so that the pointiness factor was now at 45 percent. It was time to go again. Smiling to himself, Zeke shifted the slider a little more to the right. Troy was now halfway between perfectly round ears and the kind of ears that would make people walk up to him with a grin and say, “Legolas! What do your Elf eyes see?”
Not that he wanted Troy to be an actual Mirkwood Elf, or a Vulcan for that matter. What he wanted was for Troy to be just beyond normal. Over the line that separated fantasy from the mundane. Troy was a sexy, strong, and potent man, and he was also a step beyond what he would be like if he were real.
That… that was what turned him on.
He hesitated, then nudged it again, just a little. Seeing the fifty-three percent definitely made his cock thicken.
He went through the other stats, giving subtle boosts here and there. Five foot eleven became just over six foot even. 190 pounds became 195. He goosed the numbers on Troy’s chest, shoulders, arms, and thighs as well, noting that the 195 became 198 and then 202 as he did so. Nice.
He looked at the genital measurements and licked his lips, his own cock twitching itself in half-hardness.
He could give Troy a truly ridiculous cock. He could absolutely do that. Not only was there plenty of room on the sliders—he wasn’t the only one who’d bought eScape to indulge in certain kinds of fantasies—but he also knew how to hack the ranges on the sliders to make them go even higher. Same went for the other measurements. He could make Troy into a seven- or eight-foot-tall Colossus, or even larger. He could give him a chest that he’d never be able to see over, and feet the size of schnauzers. That wasn’t what he wanted, though. He wanted a Troy that was just past normal in lots of interesting and subtle ways. And when it came to his nether regions, the truth was Zeke wanted to believe that Troy possessed a monster cock that could still plausibly be slid inch by thick, hard inch into Zeke’s hot, tight, dick-hungry hole.
So Zeke just gave each of the relevant sliders a gentle push, just as he had the others, and watched the increase manifest on the character image to the left.
Then he gave them just a little bit more of a shove, because cock.
Schooling himself from further abuses of power, he quickly paged to the character attributes and achievements. He liked to add random things here, like “excellent bowler”, “master griller”, and “fluent in Portuguese.” This time, as if pretending he would be able to actually take Troy to the Woody Swim and enter him in its myriad competitions, he went ahead and made a new row on which he typed, “outstanding at swimming and all aquatic sports and activities.” He smirked at the new adjustment a moment. Then, feeling slightly bad about warping Troy to the shape of his own problems, he went over under intellectual interests and added a new entry that read “conversant in Victorian-era English literature.” This was an interest Zeke himself had, so he figured this way once pretend-Troy was done pretend-beating the Duffs and Bushes on behalf of the Thomases in the Long Swim, the Flailing Dive, and the Canoe-Swap Race, he and Zeke could pretend-unwind together over brats and beer while chatting about Dickens, Stevenson, and Wells. That would be a full day, he thought with a small smile.
The next screen had the alteration modules, which tended to change as the software updated itself with new features and options. Zeke immediately noticed a new mod that hadn’t been there before: extra digits. He stared at the words for a long time, his cock now three-quarters hard in his boxer-briefs. Did he dare? It wasn’t quite his fantasy, a guy with more stuff than normal, but the prospect of pushing Troy just past normality in an entirely new way resonated strongly with him. He slowly moved his cursor over the words and clicked, just to see what his options were. It turned out that in addition to increasing the number of fingers and toes, controlled separately for left and right in both cases, this screen also allowed him to modify length, thickness, and dexterity of all digits. Zeke nodded. This he could get behind. He wasn’t ready for extra fingers yet, he was pretty sure, but he was happy to gave a subtle push to Troy’s finger length and fingerly adroitness. And, you know what? An extra toe was not that weird. Didn’t that guy from that boyband have twelve toes? He was pretty sure he’d read that somewhere. He nudged the number of toes on Troy’s left and right feet to six each, then hurriedly closed the window.
Fully hard now, he was about to leave the modifications area and go back to live play when his gaze caught on another new option at the bottom of the alteration modules page. With a twinge of shock he read, “Now available to order: Fully Portable Touchable-3D™ Individual Character Projector.”
No. Fucking. Way.
Zeke waited impatiently for the projector to arrive, mapping out various contingency plans for his coming confrontation with the folks back home based on how realistic, and how manipulable, the resulting imagery might or might not turn out to be. He had to get his mother off his back, and he was running out of time. Nor was she anyone’s fool: the “photos” he’d sent her of his supposed boyfriend—carefully chosen screen-grabs from the game that he’d been sure looked a hundred percent real—had elicited a response in which she’d inquired innocently, “None of the two of you?”
So he had to get “Troy” and himself in the same room together. Option A was inserting himself into pics of Troy in his loft or in the gym where he worked. Zeke had made a few abortive attempts at this, but those efforts mainly served as proof that Zeke’s drafting and illustration skills did not translate into any kind of adeptness at HD-quality Photoshop compositing.
Option B was getting a friend to pose as the fabled boyfriend. Apart from all the opportunities for farce that would certainly play out were he to attempt such a reckless and hoary gambit, no doubt leading step by step to a humiliating reveal of the charade in front of everyone (with Zeke perhaps wearing something ridiculous like heart-patterned boxers or a moose outfit for added bathos), there were two big problems with this scenario. For one, all of his friends looked even more like twink gaymers than he did. He was regularly described as the hot one when introduced around at brunch or in the clubs, probably because of his dark eyebrows; and he was definitely the only one that worked out with any regularity. None of the others would ever pass for being a cocky, six-foot personal trainer. More to the point, he’d only thought of trying Option B after he’d sent his mother the pictures of Troy from the game, which meant that Plan Imposter would have required not only time travel to retcon one of his friends into a religious workout regimen from an early age but extensive plastic surgery as well.
That meant all his hopes were pinned on the projector, but he had no idea what it could actually, realistically do. The detail page had had, perversely, no details other than the hefty price-tag, and there was nothing else in the game, on the corporate website, or anywhere on the internet about the thing. That left him with only the name of the device itself as an indicator of what he was buying. The name was pretty promising, but he really would have liked a few specs. Even a tagline would have helped.
In any other context he would have discarded the offer as a scam and moved on. But the company that made eScape, 30th Century Tech, had a rock-solid reputation in several areas of futuristic technology. They had successfully launched two generations of New Immersive games, released a world-changing wearable smartphone people still hadn’t shut up about six months after its introduction, and pioneered what the geek sites were calling the world’s first prototype subquantum computer. If anyone were going to introduce viable 3D character projection, it was them.
Not that it wasn’t a little strange that he hadn’t heard word one about this new product in a relation to a company that couldn’t escape saturation-level buzz whenever the latest thing from them was so much as hinted at. Maybe they were rolling it out quietly to do a little sub-rosa consumer testing?
Whatever 30th’s game plan was, if the product name indicated its use at all there was a good chance it would get Zeke out of his jam in one fashion or another. Any kind of life-sized, stable 3D imagery of Troy would at least let Zeke Skype his mother and show them side-by-side, just like a real couple, while Zeke explained how Troy really, really wanted to come and meet his boyfriend’s parents but it turned out that his doctors had just that morning diagnosed him as being deathly allergic to the entire state of Wisconsin, so, sorry, he’d have to stay behind this time. (He’d work out the actual excuse later.) She’d still be suspicious, but then, even if he showed up with a real live Troy ready to fuck him bareback in the town square while they exchanged passionate, self-written wedding vows before every Woody Holer alive, with St. Peter himself officiating, she’d still be trying to derail the wedding so he could get hitched to Stacy Duff instead.
Well, maybe not. But Zeke married to Stacy, and (perhaps as importantly) the town-founding and town-pervasive Thomases united with the almost-as-old, even-more-ubiquitous Duffs, had been what his mother had wanted most out of life for a while now. He’d almost done it back then, just to make her happy. Almost.
The actual arrival was anticlimactic. He was coming back from the grocery store in a white tee shirt, electric blue shorts, and tennies, both hands laden with bags and his keys in his teeth, when he rounded the bannister and saw a nondescript-looking package, about the size of a shoe-box and wrapped in brown paper, sitting pertly in front of his apartment door.
Zeke frowned around his keys. Had the delivery been scheduled for today? Whatever. He transferred most of the bags in his right hand to his left, weighing it down enough to make him regret buying that second gallon of milk, and managed to get the door unlocked. Swinging it open he nudged the package inside with his foot, then closed and locked the door.
He left the box on the hallway floor only long enough to get the cold items in the fridge, then hurried back to it and picked it up, examining it curiously. Oddly, instead of a preprinted shipping label or an airbill there was just his name and address handwritten on the front in block letters; to the top left was “3CT-x”, with nothing else below it. Not sure what to make of all this, other than that it seemed to confirm his suspicions that the projector wasn’t market-ready yet, he took the package back to his desk and opened it up.
Inside the brown paper was a heavy-duty corrugated-cardboard box, equally unprepossessing, with no markings at all. Zeke pulled the tongues out and lifted the lid. There, mounted in thick, die-cut foam like a hard drive (or a gun), lay a hunter-green metallic-looking rounded cylinder about the size of the narrow little jars in his mother’s spice rack.
Huh. Well, the color, at least, fit. This particular shade of dark hunter green was the signature hue of 30th Century Tech, so he probably hadn’t been mistakenly shipped a taser or a buttplug from someone else. Or a taser buttplug. That sounded like a bad idea, but somebody somewhere probably wanted one.
Zeke pulled the thing out of the pre-cut foam and examined it closely. It was slightly lighter than he expected it to be, despite definitely being made of some kind of metal rather than the plastic or ceramic he would have expected. He turned it over in his hands, frowning slightly. There were no indicators, no markings, no thumb switches—no nothing. Just a seam around its equator that, to Zeke, suggested activation via twist.
He checked the inside of the box, lifting out the foam, then turned the box over to check the bottom. There were no instructions either, or anything else. Not so much as a packing slip.
There was nothing but the thing itself.
He shook his head and steeled himself. He’d come this far. Holding one end firmly with one hand, he gave the device an experimental turn with the other.
There was an audible and tactile click. Zeke yelped in dismay as a sudden jolt of energy ripped up his arm like liquid fire and tore straight into his brain. Shit, I just fucking Darwin-Awarded myself, he thought, right before he blacked out.
Someone was patting his cheek. “Zeke? Zeke, wake up.”
Zeke groaned, but resisted opening his eyes. He was certain his brain had been turned into taffy and was in no shape to handle whatever was currently going on outside his skull.
Still with the patting. “That’s it, babe. Open your eyes and look at me.”
He cracked open one eye. Peering down at him was the tanned, handsome, stubble-bearded, blue-eyed face of his eScape character, Troy.
Zeke opened both eyes, staring. Troy grinned his trademark feral grin.
Nope, there was no mistake. He knew that face almost as well as his own these days. And he knew that grin.
He slapped his hand over the one that had been patting his left cheek, pressing it against his skin. It was warm and solid. It was real.
Troy was real.
“T-troy?” he said hesitantly.
Troy smiled wider. He seemed to letting Zeke keep his hand pressed against Zeke’s cheek as long as he liked. “In the flesh,” Troy said. Then, with a quick wiggle of his eyebrows, he added, “So to speak.”
Zeke’s pulse quickened. Though his eyes stayed riveted on Troy’s ocean blues, his vision seemed to expand a bit—enough to register Troy’s dark-brown hair, which cascaded off his head in gentle, perfectly conditioned waves to fall loosely over his bare shoulders and around his very sexy throat. After a moment this belatedly struck Zeke’s turgid brain as odd, as usually in the game Troy kept his hair efficiently short. “Your hair’s long,” he said, sure he sounded idiotic. He was stroking Troy’s warm, smooth hand with his thumb, he realized. Troy didn’t seem to mind.
Troy nodded. “Yeah, I don’t know why,” he said seriously. “It must have been a user-imposed transitional upgrade.”
Zeke tried to process that and failed. His gaze finally slid off of Troy’s pretty eyes and down his face, past his full lips and onto that throat. Then further down the man who knelt over him. Powerful, golden shoulders. An expansive, hairy chest. Tight, rippling abs. And below that—
He stared at the man’s massive, magnificent cock where it hung long and thick against his meaty thigh. It was for just a moment, that stare, until he heard his breathing getting ragged and he feared the vision of such a glorious tool in his present condition might very well do him in. He screwed his eyes shut.
“You’re naked,” he breathed. His heart was pounding eagerly in his chest. Naked! it thumped. Naked! Naked! Naked!
Even with his eyes closed he could hear the amusement in the other man’s voice as he said, “It is kind of my birthday.”
Zeke tried to steady his pulse and breathing. “You’re… naked,” he repeated after a while, once he was a little calmer.
“Okay, I see we’ve mastered declarative sentences,” Troy said indulgently. “Can you sit up for me? I’ll get you some water, and—”
“Am I… am I in the game?” he asked in a small voice, eyes still tightly closed. “Inside it, I mean?”
“Babe, open your eyes,” Troy said. “Look around.” Reluctantly, Zeke did so. Around him he saw, not Troy’s huge loft, but the cramped home office he’d made out of the “second bedroom” he had always suspected of actually being a really large closet, though it did at least have a window. He was just slightly disappointed that it wasn’t the loft.
He met Troy’s eyes again, and saw amusement there still, but also something that looked a lot like fondness. Even as he thought that, he though he could actually feel Troy’s affection for him, as if it were leaking out of the other man’s heart and into Zeke’s.
Troy held his gaze, an edge of wonder in his expression. “You sprung me, babe,” Troy said happily. “I’m out here and I’m all yours.”
He slid his free hand—Zeke was still stroking the other one, barely aware he was doing so—behind Zeke’s shoulder and gently maneuvered him into a sitting position. Zeke marveled at the strength he could feel in Troy’s arm as he effortlessly helped him sit up. This… man kneeling before him, he wasn’t just touchable. He wasn’t just warm like a living being. Troy was, somehow, a living avatar. One with all the muscular strength he appeared to have, maybe more, and god knew what else.
Zeke took the hand off of his cheek at last and held it in both of his own, staring deep into those stormy blue eyes. He was going to say “What are you?”, he honestly was, but it came out as “Who”. “Who are you?” he breathed.
Troy’s hand, the one he was holding, squeezed Zeke’s. “You know who I am,” he said with a soft smile. “I’m Troy.” Then he burst into that cocky grin, splitting his stubbly face. “Your boyfriend,” he added saucily.
Zeke blinked at him. “But—but—” he tried piecing together why this part was what was weirdest. “How are you my boyfriend?” he asked. “In the game you didn’t even have a boyfriend. It was all hook-ups and…” He trailed off, suddenly concerned. Was ‘boyfriend’ Troy-speak for trick? Was that what was about to happen—a night of awesome sex, then Troy would disappear back into the game forever? Zeke’s slumbering dick finally stirred and started rapidly inflating in his electric blue shorts at the prospect of marathon sweaty-times with a real-life, real-cocked Troy, one-night stand or not.
But Troy leaned forward and said, “I know why I’m here, Zeke,” he said. “You brought me here as your loving, attentive, and very sexy boyfriend,” he continued, lips quirking as he got to the last part. “And that is… exactly what I am. In three days we’re going to go to Woody Hole together and show your Mom just how gay you really are, and I’ll make sure we both have an amazing time doing it. And that’s only the beginning.”
Zeke gaped at him. Troy actually seemed to be looking forward parading their relationship before the stunned and admiring citizens of his backwoods hometown. No ordinary man would be willing to do that.
He shook his head, making the taffy shift and giving him the edge of a headache. “But—” he said again, trying to look deeper into those playfully beautiful eyes, “how do you know those things?”
Troy shrugged his broad, tanned shoulders, slightly shifting the locks that feel on them. “I’m bound to you. Connected to your mind,” he said. “I know what you know.”
Zeke’s eyes widened. “That’s a little frightening.”
Troy nodded soberly. “I know,” he said. “I get the feeling our connection is stronger than it should be. I can feel your confusion, your fear, your excitement…” He glanced at Zeke’s crotch with a crooked smile, and Zeke felt his cheeks warm. “I think it’ll go the other way, too. You’ll feel what I feel. And there may be more, an even stronger connection between your mind and me. It’s… not quite what I was programmed to expect.” Troy bit his lip, looking uncharacteristically uncertain. “I think they’re still working out the kinks.”
“Aha!” Zeke said triumphantly. “I knew you were still in beta testing!”
Troy made a moue. “I’d say I’m more of a ‘release candidate’,” he temporized, and Zeke gave him a soft smile.
“‘Release candidate’,” Zeke repeated. He suddenly felt both uncertain and committed, all at once. And aroused. And… curious. Very curious. Curious, and excited.
Troy fixed his gaze firmly on Zeke’s. “I promise I won’t ever hurt you, Zeke,” he said. Then he winked. “Unless you want me to.”
“Ugh, cheesy!” Zeke groaned. “How many gay romance novels have you read?”
Troy was unabashed. “How many have you read?” he replied easily.
They were close, now. Zeke felt warm. He realized he was all the way hard. He smelled arousal from Troy, too, though he kept his eyes on that handsome face. “Boyfriend, huh?” he said casually. “I can’t believe you haven’t kissed me yet.”
Troy grinned his feral grin, and Zeke actually shivered this time with the force of it. “I can’t believe you haven’t kissed me yet,” he returned, “seeing as I’m pretty sure I’m irresistible.”
“So cheesy,” Zeke said with a grin of his own. He slid his right hand under Troy’s long, flowing hair, curling it around Troy’s neck and pulling the man to him. Their lips met in a long, deep kiss, and Zeke’s growing awareness of his lover told him that Troy enjoyed kissing him as much as Zeke loved being kissed.
Sex with Troy was like no sex Zeke had ever experienced.
Zeke had fantasized about fucking around with Troy plenty of times before, of course. He was, after all, one version of Zeke’s sexual ideal. Every time he’d pictured it, though, it had been about Troy, just like it usually was when Troy was having sex with his hook-ups in the game: all of the focus was on Troy’s amazing body, his unnatural flexibility, his uncanny ability to find pleasure, his cataclysmic, brilliantly contagious eruptions. Being with the “real” Troy—and Zeke quickly forgot that Troy was anything but real—sent all that out the window. His demeanor was all playful swagger, and yet at the same time he was unwaveringly attentive and generous. Somehow Troy used his cocky alpha-dog persona not to make it about Troy but to make it about Zeke… even if there was no question of exactly who was in charge, at least that first time.
After hauling a laughing Zeke abruptly over his brawny shoulder in a fireman’s carry and carting him bodily off to the bedroom like a caveman, he’d proceeded to dump Zeke on his queen-sized mattress, yank his electric blue shorts off one end of him (causing Zeke’s long, flat boner to dramatically sproing free and slap on his flat stomach like a fish, splattering a few drops of precum about as it did so) and his white tee off the other, and then use his talented mouth and tongue to diligently and systematically pleasure every inch of Zeke’s tight, naked body except for said stiff, flopping boner. “Unnnhhh, come on,” Zeke begged, as Troy nuzzled the insides of his thighs only inches away from the prize. “Dude, you’re such a dick.”
Troy grinned wickedly up at him. “You want me to get closer?” he asked, his dark blue eyes glinting dangerously in the afternoon sun coming through the window.
“Come on!” Zeke repeated, secretly relishing the teasing attention.
Troy’s response was to slide up the rest of the way to Zeke’s taut ballsack. Instead of extending his impressively long tongue, however, or mouthing his nuts with his lips, Troy turned his face and started sliding his stubble slowly along the ultrasensitive skin of Zeke’s scrotum.
“Uh—oh, oh, oh god,” Zeke cried out, his hard-on bucking wildly against his abs. “Oh, you fucker!”
After a few minutes of this treatment, Zeke finally felt Troy’s tongue again, not on his overstimulated balls but just below them, on the sensitive skin of his taint. “Oh, yes,” Zeke cried out, as the tongue reached further and further into the crevice between his legs. After a few blissful moments of this, the tongue was suddenly gone.
“Over,” Troy commanded with quirk of his dark red lips, giving his flank two quick taps. His tongue emerged then, as though he couldn’t keep it in. Zeke instantly twisted around on his stomach, suddenly immensely grateful he had showered that morning before going out for groceries. Shoot, the groceries were still on the kitchen—oh, god!!
“Yes yes keep doing that oh god yes,” Zeke babbled into his pillow. “Oh, fuck, Troy, oh, oh, you’re the best digital lover ever, I am never going back to analog bed partn—oh, god!”
There was a snort from Troy, and then… Zeke shuddered as Troy pushed his tongue even deeper into him. Fuck, he didn’t think he’d ever been fucked that deep, much less—Just then, Troy’s tongue found Zeke’s prostate, and Zeke just about lost his mind.
The next few minutes were a wash of overlapping, cascading pleasures. Eventually Troy flipped him over again and, finding lube from somewhere (or maybe he made his own, who knows), he pressed his monster cock against his hole and slowly slid it deep, deep, deep into Zeke while Zeke cried out his name over and over. If he’d had any cognitive function at all he might have balked at being penetrated by such a huge erection, easily half again the size of any of the cocks his dick-loving butthole had ever encountered. But, miraculously, Troy’s long, fat tongue had prepped him so well that, though he felt like a virgin being slowly split open up by his very first big, hard cock, the result was pure, unmitigated ecstasy that only seemed to intensify the deeper Troy went.
At the same time, Troy was bending over him, licking all along Zeke’s defined torso. At his final thrust, pushing his gigantic cock into Zeke all the way to the hilt, Troy claimed Zeke’s mouth in a ferocious kiss, and holy hell was his crazy-long tongue as hot as fuck. When Troy broke the kiss and started licking down his torso again, Zeke started feeling the burgeoning lightning spasms of orgasm breaking loose somewhere around the base of his spine. He stiffened and cried out, “Troy! Troy! Oh, babe, I’m gonna—! I’m gonna——!”
Before he could free any more words from wherever they were coming from deep inside him, he felt that incredible tongue around his hot, raging, adamantium erection. That was it. Zeke screamed and started cumming hard, over and over, and Zeke was instantly cumming too, shooting in perfect sync with him. Hot spunk sprayed his insides even as he shot load after load of arcing jizz all over his abs, his chest—even his face and hair. It was the most intense orgasm he had ever had, not just because the sex was great but because he knew he was feeling Zeke’s climax multiplying and intensifying his own until they merged together in a single, reality-breaking release.
Flushed and sweating, still spurting stray doses of cum from his aching, euphoric cock, Zeke collapsed bonelessly onto the bedsheets as Troy, his own still-rigid cock matching him spurt for spurt inside him, began licking up Zeke’s copious spend from his face and torso with a gluttonous smile. Eventually, with most of the cum lapped up and their cocks finally winding down from their conjoined superorgasm, Troy pulled carefully out of Zeke and flopped onto the bed next to him, his tongue lolling out like it wanted more.
Zeke met his gleaming eyes. “That,” he panted, his chest heaving, “was incredible.” He heaved a few more breaths, then joked, “Okay, ready to do it again?”
For an answer, Troy wiggled his eyebrows and nodded down at his dick, which was instantly a fresh, raging hard-on all over again, ready for more fucking.
Zeke huffed a laugh. “Okay,” he said breathily, “I’m gonna need a minute.” He pointed to his recently tongue-lathed chest. “Still human over here.”
Troy smiled salaciously at him around his tongue, as if to say Zeke-human was exactly what he liked.
Zeke rolled onto his side to face him. “Man, that tongue,” he whispered, staring at it in awe as he stroked Troy’s thick, hairy chest. The organ in question was presently licking along Troy’s stubbly chin and jawline, evidently looking for stray globs of cum. “That tongue,” Zeke said again, “is a miracle. It’s weird though, I don’t remember ever seeing it quite that big before in the game. And believe me, I’ve been paying attention,” he added with his own attempt at a lewd grin.
Troy just arched one eyebrow and pointed at Zeke. “What, me? I did that?” He looked at Troy doubtfully and tried to remember making adjustments to Troy’s tongue in the game, but he drew a blank.
In answer, Troy lifted two fingers and mimed a set of sliders moving back and forth. Then he tapped the side of Zeke’s head.
Zeke froze for a long moment. “No way,” he said at last.
Troy just nodded, watching Zeke with gleaming eyes.
This time, the grin that dawned across Zeke’s face was genuinely wicked. “Well,” he drawled, slapping Troy’s chest with the backs of his fingers, “I don’t suppose you really need to be able to talk…”
Troy narrowed his eyes at him and lifted the tip of his tongue in a single tight, narrow column. Zeke burst out laughing. “Is that the finger? Is your tongue giving me the finger?!”
Troy was very obviously trying to suppress a laugh. “C’mere and kiss me,” he said, once again sliding his hand around Zeke’s manly neck under his long, luscious hair in what was quickly turning into one of his favorite things to do. As he pulled Zeke closer he murmured, “Maybe then I’ll set you back to normal.” They kissed for a moment, then Zeke pulled back to add, “More or less.” They both smiled as they renewed the kiss, and this time it didn’t end for a very, very long time.
“It’s still a little long,” Troy teased as he soaped Zeke’s chest, shielding him from the spray of Zeke’s shower with his broad, perfect back.
Zeke’s breath caught as he looked up into his impossible lover’s handsome, grinning face. He’d heard just the slightest hint of rounding on that “t” in “it’s”, and the very idea that Troy had enough extra tongue in his mouth that “it’s” almost came out as “id’s” made his blood heat and his pulse quicken.
He felt himself matching Troy’s grin. “I’ll be the judge of that,” he said, reaching up and pulling Troy down into a kiss. They were both ignoring, for the moment, the fact that Troy was very obviously no longer merely six feet tall and now had a good half a foot or more on the 5’9” illustrator. If it became important later, Zeke would address it then, but for the moment he loved that it had just sort of happened.
By the end of the kiss they were both hard again, despite having just come out of another conjoined super-orgasm, their hot post-coital make-out session having progressed into a long and sloppy sixty-nine that had left Zeke’s jaw and throat feeling properly exercised and his entire body singing with pleasure.
Dropping back down from the tiptoe stance he’d been using to help bridge the height difference, Zeke smoothed back Troy’s long, wet hair, fully exposing the halfway-to-pointy ears he’d been progressively giving him in the game. He met Troy’s dark-blue gaze. Troy was watching him closely.
“Do you mind standing out a little?” Zeke asked him. If Troy said he did, then Zeke was ready to dial everything back to normality—as far as that applied to a cocky, exceptionally handsome personal trainer with a sculpted, deliberately idealized body anyone would kill for.
But Troy bent forward and looked Zeke right in the eyes, his ferocious grin twisting salaciously. “I love,” he said unequivocally, “standing out a little.”
Zeke felt like he was on fire with lust. He caught that rounded “t” again—it was almost, but not quite, “sdanding oud a liddle”, and just hearing it gave him a rush of unquenchable arousal—even as Troy, mirroring Zeke’s new favorite gesture, wrapped his own hand around Zeke’s neck and pulled him back into a passionate, world-obliterating kiss. Within moments it was too much, and Zeke felt himself suddenly shooting again, spattering cum over Troy’s deep-cut abs until his balls ached. Troy, once again, came with him, matching him shot of shot, the heat of his face palpable on Zeke’s as they kept the kiss going as long as they could before Zeke dropped back on his heels, gasping and staring up at his gorgeous, reality-tweaked muscle god in awe.
“I’m…” (he huffed a long breath) “…not going to be able to stop painting you with cum,” he panted, eyes fixed on his lover’s ocean-blues and reveling in the mingled arousal, amusement, and affection he saw there.
Troy grinned. “Deal,” he said, sticking out his hand. Zeke laughed and took it, and they shook hands, both of them giddy and laughing. After a while the handshake slid into a wet and slippery embrace, and they held each other, caressing each other’s backs and kissing now and then, until the water started to run cold.
He felt someone nudging his shoulder. “Hey, Z, maybe you should wake up a sec,” came Troy’s voice from somewhere close. There was wry amusement in his tone, not unusually for him. It also sounded… a little deeper?
Zeke’s eyes fluttered open. He was curled up against Troy’s side, his arm thrown across his carved and crafted torso. At first he couldn’t see much. It was dark, with only the muted streetlights filtering through his thin curtains providing any relief from the black; but as Zeke’s eyes adjusted it was enough to tell the tale.
Troy had grown.
Before, he and Troy had both fit on Zeke’s queen-sized mattress, though a lot more cozily than they would have on the king-size in Troy’s loft. Now, though, Troy was overflowing the bed like it had shrunk underneath him. His right arm was off the side, elbow on the floor, and his legs projected so far past the end of the bed that even with his knees partly bent his heels were in danger of sliding right out the open bedroom door.
Zeke slid his eyes all the way back up Troy’s literally gigantic but still perfectly proportioned frame, noting as he did so that Troy didn’t seem to mind his current condition too much if his nearly chest-high and forearm-thick erection was any indication. Zeke’s own cock was in a similar state and he was breathing hard by the time he got to his lover’s bright eyes and crooked grin.
“I just didn’t want to break your bed,” Troy said dryly.
“Our bed,” Zeke corrected, climbing on top of him and lying across his extended body, feeling Troy’s enormous, hot election throbbing along most of his length. Troy smelled good, like musk and man and sex. And apples, for sme reason. “And,” he added, “it totally would be worth it.”
Zeke wrapped his oversized arms around Zeke, making him feel puny and protected all at once. Fuck, he was going to cum again soon. He’d had no idea this was a kink for him. Well, almost no idea. He had imagined a ten-foot Troy once or twice, and what it would feel like to lie on top of him like this, even if he’d judiciously decided to keep him at a more realistic height in the game itself. He hadn’t guessed it would feel this good.
His brain wouldn’t stop working, though. “I’m a little worried,” he admitted into Troy’s chest hair. “Causing huge changes without me being aware of it like this might be a problem.” He snorted. “Could get awkward if you burst out with a six-foot boner in the middle of a restaurant. Or suddenly grew a third leg during the Flailing Dive.”
“I dunno,” Troy said equably. “Might be fun. I’m game if you are. It would add a bit of extra challenge to the Canoe Swap,” he added mischievously.
“I can hear your smirk, you know that?” Zeke said.
Troy was quiet for a moment, and Zeke let himself listen to him breathing. Both of them were achingly hard.
“It’s not… This isn’t how it was all supposed to play out,” Troy said at length. “Our connection, and your control over me, is registering a lot stronger than the parameters I was conditioned to expect.”
“Are you scared?” Zeke asked.
“No,” Troy said immediately. “I trust you. And,” he added thoughtfully, “I think I can help you out with this particular bug.”
“I’m going to say ‘feature’,” Zeke said, stroking his hand across the expanse of giant-Troy’s left pec. “But what did you have in mind?”
Troy took a deep breath. “Okay,” he said. “Imagine the parameter screens, the way they would look in the game.”
“Ignore all the settings for now, and instead go to a new, blank page. On that page I want you to envision a checkbox that says next to it, ‘Allow major changes subconsciously or while unconscious or asleep.’ Do you see it?”
Zeke snorted. “This is so fucked up. Yes, I see it.” It was surprisingly clear in his head, a lot more clear and precise than his usual, more fluid imaginings. Was this the actual interface, lodged via some impossible technology deep in the recesses of his living mind?
It also hadn’t escaped Zeke’s attention that Troy had pointedly suggested limiting the control to “major” changes. So… maybe he did really like the little creeping changes he seemed to be semiconsciously giving Troy now that he was out in the world. After all he’d been giving them to him for months while Troy was in the game world—maybe he’d gotten used to them there, somehow, and brought that trait with him into his new, projected reality.
“Okay,” Troy continued, his deeper voice seeming to seep through Zeke’s smaller, very aroused body. “Now, make sure the box is unchecked. If you want.”
Zeke smiled. “I guess,” he said playfully, toying with Troy’s impressively large nipple. “Gotta make sure we don’t have a shocking colossal-cock bust-out at the Appleby’s. It wouldn’t do to scare all the other diners with your man-sized penis.”
“I was picturing Olive Garden, but Appleby’s works too.”
Zeke huffed a laugh. “Okay, it’s unchecked.”
“All right. Now, I want you to add a padlock on that screen, so you don’t change the setting unconsciously either.”
“For real?” Zeke asked.
“Oookay,” Zeke said. He pictured the padlock in the bottom right corner of the screen, and was surprised as it manifested crisp and clear, a very real lock he’d only be able to undo by conscious choice. “Huh,” he said. “Okay, it’s locked.”
“Good,” Troy said. “Then you’re done.”
Zeke nodded and dismissed all the screens in his head, exiting the interface. It was good he knew how to fix stuff like this should the occasion arise, he thought.
He slid his left knee between Troy’s tree-trunk legs and his right knee on the other side of Troy’s mighty thigh, then levered himself up to loom over Troy’s scaled-up torso and his proportionately gargantuan cock. “I am so far from done,” he told him, smiling down at his lover.
“Yeah?” Troy responded with a grin.
He slid his hand along the slick, uncanny length of Troy’s arm-thick, chest-high, quivering slab of a cock, eliciting a sharp intake of breath from Troy. “Before I eventually resize you to something resembling normal,” Zeke said with a dirty grin, “I am going to use my arms, and my hands, and my torso, and my mouth, and my tongue, and anything else I can think of to make this fence-post dick of yours blow a gusher of cum bigger than either of us has ever seen.”
Troy was staring hard at him, his eyes dark and hungry. The cock in question flexed and jumped, dousing Troy’s thick, hairy pecs with a slick smear of precum.
Zeke licked his lips. “And if we do break the bed,” he added in a low rasp, “I’m counting it as a win.”
They left for Woody Hole on Friday morning. Not knowing how the projection technology would react to the various complex systems on an airplane, or vice versa, Zeke and Troy decided to sidestep the risk and drive the four hundred miles to Zeke’s childhood home. That meant renting a car, and thinking about those sorts of preparations made Zeke belatedly realize that clothes would also be needed for his hitherto very naked boyfriend.
The thought came to him that morning as they were toweling off after yet another post-sex shower, and he looked up at Troy with a start. “Do we need to go, like, jeans shopping for you?” he asked, his cheeks warming slightly. “Nothing I have will fit you.” He was acutely conscious of exactly why the concept of clothes for Troy hadn’t cropped up before now: neither of them had been anything but nude since Troy had first arrived. Even his very few breaks from Troy-lovin’ to get some essential work done had been spent totally naked at his computer.
Troy smiled knowingly down at him from his recently amplified height advantage. After getting each other off twice while Troy was still in his ten-foot-tall sex-giant form two mornings back, Zeke had reluctantly scaled him back down to something approaching normal size… but he’d hadn’t been able to resist the urge to stop short of Troy’s actual previous height. As a result Zeke’s muscle-god had ended up, if he had to guess, somewhere around 6’7” or so. He knew he could look it up on the parameter screens in his head, and Troy probably knew the exact figure, but Zeke found he liked not knowing exactly how tall he had made his lover.
Sliding his wet towel over the bar next to the shower, his hair suddenly dry and perfectly styled, Troy ostentatiously struck a relaxed, casual menswear model pose that stole Zeke’s breath away, though he made a show of rolling his eyes at Troy’s self-aware preening. Troy’s body was… exquisite. At his new height his body looked long, limber, and immensely powerful, with wide shoulders, heavy spherical pecs, a lickable eight-pack, thick corded arms, powerful tireless legs, big beautiful six-toed feet… and a cock that made Zeke hard just to look at. Soft, it was heavy-looking and as thick as Troy’s wrist. It hung ponderously over extra-large nuts, the wide head dangling a considerable ways down his long, sculpted thighs.
Yeah, he hadn’t shrunk giant-Troy’s dick down much, either. Actually he’d pretty much just kept it proportional. He’d been tempted not to un-giant Troy at all, and in the end Zeke had de-hugified Troy partly because of the trip they were about to take (where the goals were to present him as a normal and to win over his parents), but also because he really wanted to make love to Troy while they were both at least comparably sized, and he’d had a sudden and very intense craving to see Troy sucking his own dick while Zeke fucked him.
Troy waited for Zeke to finish drinking him in. “Ready?” he asked.
Troy smirked and, with an almost subliminal flicker (probably for effect, Zeke decided later), Zeke’s tall, muscle-hunk boyfriend was now standing in front of him wearing a perfectly-fitted pair of soft, snug-looking blue jeans. Zeke hadn’t thought he’d ever want to see Troy wearing any kind of clothing, but seeing him in those leg-hugging, basket-squeezing, butt-caressing dungarees—and nothing else—almost made Zeke immediately ruin them with a spray of hot cum.
“Fuck, Troy,” he breathed, meeting the other man’s gaze with difficulty.
“You like?” the cocky bastard asked him, obviously extremely pleased with himself.
He let his eyes drop again. “Damn it,” he said, still forcing back a sudden climax, “I want to be those jeans.”
“Think I need a shirt, too?” Troy asked smugly.
“No, never,” Zeke blurted, not tearing his eyes away from Troy’s lower half. The thighs were more mesmerizing encased in denim, somehow. And the crotch wasn’t obscene exactly, but it was very clear a lot of sausage was packed behind that zipper.
“If you say so,” Troy said. He sounded happy to comply.
Zeke gritted his teeth and forced himself to consider the question rationally. He drew his gaze up to Troy’s delicious, perfectly muscled torso. “I suppose,” he conceded, “you’ll at least need a shirt for the family dinner tonight.”
“Gotcha,” Troy said. “How about…” He looked down at himself, and a navy blue, sleeveless muscle tee suddenly appeared like it had been just under the skin all along and had been suddenly released.
Zeke swallowed hard. He’d been thinking something more like an dark oxford button-down, or maybe a lumberjack plaid. But all thoughts of anything but what Troy looked like right in that very moment were obliterated from his head. He looked good… too good…
“Fuck,” he tried to say, “that looks… oh god—”
All at once Troy was on his knees before him, his own massive erection erupting huge and hard from the zipper of his new jeans. Just in time Troy wrapped his talented mouth and extra-long tongue around Zeke’s cock and both hands around his own oversized slab, and then they were cumming hard like they hadn’t already been dual-climaxing almost constantly for the last day and a half.
Zeke ran his fingers into Troy’s lush hair with both hands and held his head as he came and came and came, loosing all sense of anything but the delirious pleasure that came from their two orgasms magnifying and merging with each other. “Oh, fuck, Troy, oh fuck, babe,” he babbled insensibly. “I can’t believe… I can’t believe it’s this good. Oh, oh!!” he cried as he felt them both spurt again, new spasms of euphoria slamming through them as one.
He collapsed limply to his knees and into Troy’s arms, slotting his head between Troy’s neck and shoulder and murmuring meaninglessly into his heated skin. Troy held him close, chuckling lightly as he kissed Zeke’s neck and moved his big hands in gentle circles on his back.
“Fuck, babe,” Zeke mumbled at last. “Okay, you are not allowed to be naked anymore. Hot fucking clothes like this only from now on.”
“While I know you’re not serious,” came the amused reply, Troy’s low voice as much rumbling through him as heard, “I am glad you liked the ensemble.”
“So much. If you add shoes right now I think I might die.”
“Too late, I just added them. Don’t look.”
Zeke playfully screwed his eyes closed and let Troy hold him close. “I’m a goner,” he murmured. “What are they?”
“Dark brown Chelsea boots.”
Troy laughed. Zeke grinned as he kissed his warm neck and squeezed his lover tight, enjoying Troy’s happiness as much as his own.
The Woody Swim itself ended up being a lot more fun than Zeke had expected, though there was one scary moment during the Flailing Dive when Zeke thought for a second he might have ruined everything.
Beckewith Water, the clear freshwater lake nestled well inside the rolling hills of Woody Forest whose deep, secluded southern end had lent the nascent 18th-century trading post known as Woody Hole its name, was well-suited for aquatic sports and festivities. Its boomerang shape kept its entire expanse closely surrounded by tall oaks, maples, and the odd knot of pines, making the whole excursion feel like a lark in the woods away from the hectic and humdrum. Said configuration, long and narrow and bent in the middle, made it an ideal setting for events like the Long Swim (a circuit of the entire shoreline) and Capture the Woody (all the participants divided in two massive teams, each defending a specially painted branch—the Woody—at their end of the lake).
The lake’s long, bent shape had also earned more than one boy the locker-room nickname “Becky” over the years, but that was another matter altogether.
Troy’s natural athleticism and cocky competitiveness put him well ahead of all contenders. His long arms and large hands powered him through the water like a machine—which, Zeke thought wryly as he trailed half a lap behind him on the Long Swim, he technically was. (Those big hands had somehow ended up gaining an extra finger after all, as Zeke had abruptly realized on the trip up when he’d let Troy drive for a while and, looking over at his man, happened to notice a six-fingered hand draped casually atop the steering wheel.)
After breezing to an easy win in the Long Swim, with only Zeke’s cousin Lenny, a sleekly-muscled pharma rep whom Zeke knew for a fact spent all of his spare time in his Boston gym’s Olympic-sized pool, giving him anything like a run for his money, Troy seemed to decide his point was made and took the rest of the events more casually. He even let Lenny win the Blindfolded Backstroke, a contest that involved, as the name suggested, crossing the lake on your back unable to see, hopefully as gracefully as possible. It was mostly good for a laugh, but Lenny slid across like a backstroking fish, and Troy gamely made sure his own effort was second-best.
Zeke’s favorite event of the three-day Festival was Capture the Woody. For that one he and Troy were both on Red team and they got to work together to try to capture the Purple team’s Woody. Their mental connection meant they were the perfect infiltration team, and a bit of fast swimming and misdirection got them the enemy totem in record time. As he climbed out of the water with the Purple Woody in hand, Troy beside him on the bank and grinning in exhilaration, Zeke looked over his heavily muscled yet classically proportioned, hairy-chested, incredibly hung, and impossibly gorgeous man as he stood there, dripping and happy in nothing but solid blue canvas swim trunks (with his equipment, Speedos would have been beyond distracting, though even in these his bulge shifted unmistakably as he moved)… Suddenly he couldn’t hold himself back. He tackled his man to the soft, sloping grass that led down into the lake and kissed him mercilessly, while Troy tried to laugh and make out with him at the same time—all to the deafening cheers, hoots, and shouts of encouragement of the younger festival-goers (and some of the older ones as well).
The only hitch came during the very first event, the Flailing Dive. This one involved swinging out over the swimming-hole end of the lake on the old, thick rope swing that hung there from one of the majestic oaks leaning over the water at that end, then flailing as ridiculously as possible before hitting the water with a loud splash. The problem arose because Zeke, worried about losing the projector device once they’d left their apartment for the trip, had made a habit of slipping the little projector device in his pocket to make sure Troy could stay close to him. As they’d prepared for the first events Saturday morning he’d transferred the thing into the pocket of his trunks without thinking while he’d watched Troy smirkingly try on various forms of swimwear. Zeke only remembered that he had done this—and that the projector was an electronic device that probably shouldn’t be immersed in water—as he was letting go of the rope. His panicked reaction had the incidental effect of making his flailing easily surpass everyone else’s, though he was so upset as he thrashed wildly about in midair he couldn’t make sense of all the clapping and cheers he heard before he smashed with great force into the cool water of the lake.
He came up sputtering, looking around frantically for Troy on the banks. At first he didn’t see him, which almost made him freak out more. Then he spotted him swimming out to meet him. They came together, treading water face to face in the middle of the swimming hole.
“I guess it’s waterproof,” Zeke said with a shaky smile.
“It’s… very advanced technology,” Troy said, his expression reassuring.
Zeke grabbed him in a fierce embrace. “I thought I’d killed you,” Zeke said, holding him tightly against him.
“I’m okay,” Troy whispered in his ear. “But listen, there’s something you should know.”
“What?” Zeke said, his heart still racing.
Troy pulled back and held him by the shoulders. “I can’t explain how, and this isn’t what was supposed to happen, but…”
He paused, and Zeke, picking up on Troy’s uncertainty, felt his fear start to creep back over him. “What?” he prompted anxiously.
“You don’t need the projector anymore,” Troy said, his eyes drilling into Zeke’s. “You’re the projector.”
Zeke blinked at him. Then he grinned in wild relief. “Oh, thank God,” he said, pulling him back into a hug that lasted until the Woody Master (his Dad, as it happened) cheerily called for them to get a room—specifically, one that wasn’t directly underneath a rope swing twelve other people were waiting to flail from. Troy and Zeke grinned at each other, basking in their newly deepened connection, before swimming swiftly but unrepentantly back to shore together.
Apart from that near fiasco, the only real drama of the whole event, as it turned out, came during the introductions ahead of the big family dinner Friday night—and Zeke’s mother wasn’t the problem.
Meeting Troy seemed to head off any trouble over the Festival from Mr. and Mrs. Thomas. Mrs. Thomas, a smartly dressed woman in her fifties, with soft, steel-gray hair in a pixie cut that worked surprisingly well on her, seemed a little nonplussed to meet an actual, in-the-flesh boyfriend at Zeke’s side.
“Well, you’re definitely a man,” she remarked dryly, scoping Troy top to bottom. Zeke fought back a smile. He could see her already doing the mental arithmetic that told her poor Stacy couldn’t hold a candle to Troy in Zeke’s eyes. Faced with the obviously genuine connection between them she gave Zeke a look of grudging approval and respect. Zeke realized that if he had actually presented her with a fake boyfriend she would have been more hurt by that than by his refusal to marry Stacy. He had dodged a bullet he hadn’t even seen coming.
For his part Troy was the epitome of charm and solicitude, complimenting her lemon and cornflower skirt-suit and expressing admiration for their two-story country-style home, tucked away back here in the depths of the Woody Forest. Zeke mentally racked a point for Troy, as his mother was very proud of their “little estate” and loved to show it off. Sure enough, his comment elicited an intrigued offer to tour the house and grounds, to which Troy agreed with a blinding smile. He and Mrs. Thomas departed as if they’d forgotten that Zeke and hid Dad were there, already deep in conversation about root cellars and renovations.
“Looks like quite a catch, son,” his father said as they watched them go, Zeke’s mother looking minuscule next to the towering figure next to her, though they seemed to possess comparable energy. Zeke’s Dad was a little older than his Mom and considerably more laid back. “Hell, I might go gay for him myself.”
Zeke rounded on his father with a surprised laugh. “Dad!” he exclaimed.
His father was unperturbed. “Quite a catch,” he repeated, tossing his son a wink.
Zeke squinted at him. “I’m telling Mom you said that.”
“I dunno,” his father taunted, looking after the retreating couple with a smile, “I might have to fight her for him.”
“You’ll have to fight me for him, because he’s mine,” Zeke said in the same joshing tone.
“We’ll see,” his father said. He gave Zeke a sidelong glance and added, “Just remember you’re staying in the attic bedroom tonight—and that’s directly over our bedroom.”
“We’ll… try to keep it down,” Zeke said, his cheeks heating… as his father had intended.
“Good boy. Ready to help me get the grill started?”
Zeke’s Dad pulling his chain was par for the course—almost nothing he said could be taken seriously—but it was definitely a lot weirder when the same scene played itself out a second time in a different key a little later in the evening.
As was traditional, the Duffs, Stacy, her parents, and her boy-next-door older brother Wes, stopped by the Thomases ahead of their respective pre-Festival extended-family Friday night feasts. Stacy, who’d gone off to live in New Orleans in the intervening years since Zeke had seen her, had a fiancé with her that no one knew, a good-looking adorkable-nerd type named Wyatt. By this point Zeke’s Dad was manning the grill and his Mom was socializing with a mob of cousins in from Denver, so Zeke and Troy greeted the Duffs on behalf of the family. The Duffs all gawked at Troy as if they’d never seen a 6’7” (or so) extra-handsome muscle hunk with a big package and a killer smile before, but Wyatt was a special case—he took one look at Troy and all but swooned.
“It’s nice to meet you,” Wyatt said, shaking hands with Troy and not letting go.
Troy grinned at him, and Zeke could practically see Stacy’s fiancé falling for the guy. “Nice to meet you as well, Wyatt,” Troy replied. “What do you do?”
Wyatt was still shaking Troy’s hand. “I’m a race car driver,” he said.
Stacy, who’d been staring up at Troy with the rest of her wide-eyed brood, abruptly transferred her attention to her clearly besotted intended. She did not look amused. “You’re a limo driver,” she growled.
Wyatt seemed not to hear her. “You’re very good looking,” he told Troy.
Unlike Stacy, Troy was vastly amused. He turned his grin briefly Zeke’s way before replying, “Thanks.” At the same time, Stacy hissed, “Wyatt!”
Wyatt’s reserves seemed to crumble all at once. “I’m sorry,” he said in a rush, his hand still gripping Troy’s. “I’m here under false pretenses. Stacy brought me here to pretend to be her boyfriend because she didn’t want to deal with everyone telling her she had to marry Zeke—no offense,” he added to Zeke, acknowledging him for the first time since the introductions started.
“None taken!” Zeke said, who was watching the train wreck in progress with astonished fascination. He only wished he’d brought popcorn.
“Wyatt!” Stacy exclaimed.
They’d gathered a little audience of people standing a few feet off and pretending not to listen, and Zeke noticed his own parents drifting toward them, having heard or sensed that something strange was going on. Zeke imagined a popcorn vendor slipping slipping through the crowd, passing out bags of the stuff, and almost choked holding back a laugh.
Wyatt still was holding onto Troy’s hand and looking up at him like he was the living promise of salvation. “But the truth is I’m not really Stacy’s boyfriend, just her best friend, platonically speaking. And anyway I’m gay, really, really, really gay. So I was wondering, is there any chance that Zeke felt the same way and brought a fake boyfriend, and, if so, can I ask you out for coffee or maybe get married? We can do the coffee part first if you want,” he added with a winning smile.
At this point Stacy smacked her hand against her forehead in a literal, and audible, facepalm, and Zeke heard a few snickers from the crowd. Her family was not laughing, however. Her mother looked annoyed, her father looked confused, and her brother was staring at Wyatt in stunned surprise. Zeke glanced over at his own mother on the edge of the little crowd. She was frowning st Stacy with cold disapproval.
Then Zeke looked up at Troy. Troy met Zeke’s gaze, and Zeke could tell what he was thinking: that Zeke’s plan had also originated with the same idea of staving off matchmakers and busybodies. A swell of powerful emotion took hold of Zeke, a confluence of possessiveness and passion and… fuck, was it possible? There was no way it was possible, right?
The look in Troy’s eyes told Zeke he saw what Zeke was feeling, possibly better than Zeke himself, and that Troy was feeling something very similar for Zeke. Fuck.
Zeke suddenly wanted to be alone with his man. He turned to glare at Wyatt, who was still gazing hopefully up at Troy. Instinct prodded Zeke to go all caveman on him, pounding on his own chest and grunting “mine, mine, mine”. Before he could act on his Neanderthal impulses, however, Troy turned back to Wyatt and finally disengaged his hand, placing it sympathetically on his shoulder instead. “I’m sorry, Wyatt,” he said, his expression serious. “The truth is that I’m real, I’m genuinely, truly Zeke’s boyfriend, and we’re going to be together for a very long time.” He squeezed Wyatt’s shoulder, then added, “I hope you find your man, too.”
“Oh. Okay,” Wyatt said, nodding. He looked abashed, but… not completely crushed. Zeke guessed that coming on to Troy had been spur-of-the-moment Hail Mary recklessness—a long shot, but worth a try. “Thanks,” he said, and he sounded like he meant it. Troy removed his hand from Wyatt’s shoulder, and Wyatt gave him a small, awkward wave before wandering off in the direction of the big coolers full of cold beers and sodas.
Stacy tossed Zeke a glare, like all this was his fault for finding a real boyfriend, then darted off toward their car, her parents trailing after her with expressions that portended many pointed conversations to come. Stacy’s brother Wes, on the other hand, peeled off in the other direction, catching up with Wyatt.
“Hey,” he heard Wes say to Wyatt. “Can I buy you a beer?”
Wyatt glanced over at him. “Sure,” he said. He looked chagrined but not unreceptive. They started walking together.
“My name’s Wes,” Stacy’s brother said as they walked. “But… my friends call me Becky.” At Wyatt’s curious look Wes smiled and said, “Maybe I’ll get a chance to show you why later.”
Zeke chuckled as the two of them melted into the crowd of cousins and sundry. His parents, he noted, had already departed the scene of carnage, returning to their hostly duties, and the rest of their audience was likewise dissipating, no doubt starting a train of gossip and texts that would careen through the town like wildfire and spark endless discussion for years to come. Soon Zeke was alone with Troy in the middle of the sprawling, family-dotted yard.
Zeke looked up at his man, overcome with happiness. Night had fallen, and Troy somehow managed to look especially delicious in the buttery light of the yellow paper lanterns that festooned the lawn leading down from the house to the main tent. In just a little while they’d all be sitting down to eat as a family down there, and Troy would be at his side, stealing from Zeke’s plate and laughing at his Dad’s jokes. In that moment Zeke could think of nothing better. Well, okay, there were a few things better, but those could wait until they were back in their attic bedroom, and trying to stay very, very quiet. The mental image made him want to giggle.
“I can be as quiet as I need to be,” Troy said. “I think you’ll be the one who’ll get us into trouble.”
“Oh, I can be quiet,” Zeke said. “I always rise to a challenge.”
Troy rolled his eyes. “And you complain about your father’s jokes.”
Zeke took Troy’s hand and gazed fondly up at him for a moment. “I’m your boyfriend, too,” he said. “Just in case it needed saying out loud.”
“I know,” Troy said, giving him a soft smile.
“And we are going to be together a very long time,” he added.
Troy’s lips quirked into an affectionate smirk. “I know that too.”
Zeke was almost ready to consider voicing aloud the third part, the part he’d felt kindling in his innards and seen reflected in Troy’s ocean-blue eyes. Instead he said, “C’mon, let’s go show Dad your mad brat-grilling skillz.” With matching grins they headed toward the grilling area, their hands clasped tightly between them.