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Beyond Salvation

by Mark Peters

Chapter 21

I could see the anger in Dallas' body as we retreated inside the house; his tense shoulders, the grim expression on his face, but the most telling sign of all was his trembling hands. As I followed him through to the kitchen, I also saw him clench and unclench his fists several times. He was like a bomb, wired and ready to explode.

At the first opportunity I set the pizzas down on the kitchen bench, then placed a hand on his shoulder and spun him around, before immediately wrapping my arms around him and hugging him to me.

Nothing needed to be said. We both had the same thoughts going through our minds, so we just stood there, holding each other and breathing. After a minute or two I could feel him relax a little, his face dropping to the crook of my neck, his lips gently touching my skin.

'Thank you,' he whispered. 'I was almost ready to fly right off the handle.'

'I know,' I whispered back to him. 'It wouldn't have done any good though, would it?'

'Maybe not… but I'm sure I would have felt better,' he replied, as he cocked his head back and looked directly at me.

I smiled, then he leaned in and kissed me.

'Thanks, JJ. You always seem to know what to do.'

'Not always, but you know I'll always be here for you. How about we just go and chill for a bit? The pizzas can wait for a little while.'

'Good idea,' he answered, before taking my hand and leading me through to his bedroom. With darkness now falling, the last thing I did as we exited the kitchen was flick on the light switch.

Once we were safely in Dallas' bedroom, he hooked a finger into the towel that was wrapped around my waist and pulled, allowing it to fall to the floor, before then dropping his own towel beside mine. I sat on the edge of his bed and just wrapped my arms around his waist and held him, as he ran his hands through my hair.

'I never knew that loving someone could feel this good… or make me feel, I don't know, so whole,' he said to me.

'I feel the same way,' I replied into the dimly lit room, while feeling his cock begin to harden right next to my face. Without waiting for an invitation I moved my head and opened my mouth, before taking him inside me. I heard Dallas moan above me, his hands on both sides of my head, guiding me back and forth as I worked his manhood, which was responding perfectly.

'It's not going to take long,' he warned me.

'That's fine,' I managed to reply, after taking my mouth off him for a few moments, before diving back down. All I wanted to do was please my man and judging by the sounds coming from his mouth I seemed to be doing just that.

He came with a rush, though not entirely unexpected. I guess our earlier play in the showers after our workout had primed him for action.

After finally draining him of his juices, which seemed to just keep flowing, and then feeling his body come back down to earth, I pulled him down beside me and kissed him, the taste of his cum lingering on my lips, causing him to moan as I did so. We had both become cum lovers and the taste of it was always guaranteed to produce a reaction.

'Let's just cuddle,' I said to him, as he reached for my manhood. 'There's plenty of time for that later.'

In what was now near darkness, I saw him smile, before we both shuffled back on the bed and lay our heads on the pillows, facing each other.

'Thank you,' he said to me.

'Anytime,' I replied, while placing a hand on his cheek, letting my thumb run back and forth over his smooth skin. After that we both just seemed to drift off, content in each other's arms.

It was sometime later when I awoke, with Dallas sprawled sideways on his belly next to me, one of his legs over one of mine, his head on my shoulder and an arm over my chest. I noticed a sheet had been pulled up over our naked bodies, which I guess he must have done at some point, and for a little while I lay awake just listening to the sounds of the night; the nearby traffic, music coming from somewhere, a dog barking. I had no idea what time it was, but eventually I drifted off once more.

Later, I woke with a start, thinking that it was a sound that woke me. Looking at the doorway I could see some dim light in the hall outside the bedroom door, which was coming from the kitchen light. Moments later another light came on, illuminating the hallway itself, then Mrs P appeared at the door, silhouetted by the light behind her.

She would have been able to see us, as the light spilled over the bed and I looked up as she leaned against the door frame.

'What's with the pizza? Did something happen?' she quietly asked.

I nodded.

'I'll be in the kitchen. Come and tell me,' she said, then turned and left us.

As quietly and as gently as I could, I extricated myself from Dallas' grip, then got up and pulled on some shorts, before making my way out to the kitchen. Mrs P was boiling the kettle and had two mugs ready on the counter.

'Cup of tea?' she asked.


'So, you got the pizza but didn't eat it,' she said. 'That could only mean two things… you were so busy fooling around…'

'No, it wasn't…' I started to say, but was quickly stopped as she held up a hand.

'It's okay, JJ. How many times do I need to tell you that. Hell, I'd be worried if you weren't fooling around… but it wasn't that, was it?'


'Well then?'

'We had a visit from Dallas' father,' I said. 'It was just before the pizzas were delivered. He knocked on the front door and I answered it, thinking it was the pizza delivery, then when I called Dallas, and he came to the door his dad tried telling D that he was making a mistake. I think his exact words were, "This is your future that is at stake here", which I took to mean that he was throwing his life away with me in it,' I said, my voice trembling as I said it.

In an instant Mrs P came to me and was wrapping her arms around me, hugging me tightly and trying to soothe me.

'We're not going to let that bastard win,' she whispered into my ear, before stepping back. 'I'll not have him ruin your life as well, honey. You got that?'

'Yes. Thank you.'

It was just at that moment that my stomach decided to make its presence known and growled. After not having had anything to eat since lunch time I was actually starving, and I guessed Dallas would be too, if he was awake.

'So, you guys didn't eat at all tonight?' I was asked.

'No. I think we lost our appetites after Mr P left.'

'How about you go and wake up Dallas, while I heat up some of this for you both?'

'Okay. Thanks.'

It had been around midnight when I had woken Dallas and we made our way back to the kitchen, then sitting ourselves down at the bench. His mother had their oven turned on -- which she insisted was the only way that pizza should be reheated -- with the whir of its fan the only sound being made. I could see a tray of pizza sitting on the rack inside it, and the smell of pizza was already beginning to permeate throughout the room.

'So, I hear you had a visitor this evening?' she asked Dallas.

'Yeah,' he replied, giving me a sideways glance as he did so. 'But I wasn't going to let him put one over on us.'

'No. You did the right thing, honey.'

Dallas reached out and took my hand. 'Why the fuck can't he see what I want… who I want to be with? Has he always been this… what's the word… controlling?'

'I guess he's always had that side to him, but never quite like this. I guess for some people having gay kids means different things…'

'But it doesn't bother you.'

'That's because I love you unconditionally. My only concern is your happiness, baby, not mine.'

'And therein lies the difference,' Dallas mused.

'Yes. That's really all it boils down to,' his mother replied, before opening the oven door and pulling the tray of sizzling pizza from it. 'I hope you're hungry,' she said, as she set the hot tray down on a wooden cutting board in front of us.

'Actually, I'm starving,' said Dallas.

'Well, eat up then, and just make sure that you clean up your mess before you go back to bed. I'll see you both in the morning,' Mrs P said, before giving us both a kiss goodnight and disappearing down the hallway to her bedroom.

When we finally made it back to the bedroom and I closed the door, we stripped down and climbed into bed. Dallas pulled a sheet up over our naked bodies again and we lay facing each other, each with just the tips of our fingers touching the cheeks of the other, ever so gently holding each other in that way, our faces, our mouths, just inches from each other.

It was the most intimate of settings and I felt safe and loved and never wanted to leave his side.

'Thank you,' he whispered into the near darkness, as I felt his fingertips continuing to gently caress my cheeks.

'For what?' I whispered in reply.

'For being here,' he answered. 'And for understanding. And for loving me. I've never shared anything like this with anyone before… never felt this way about anyone before. It's fucking amazing. You're fucking amazing.'

'Not really,' I replied. 'I'm just a guy who happens to be in love with another guy. I think it's the people around us who are amazing. My parents, your mum, our friends at school. They are all supporting us, and it's that support that is letting us be who we need to be. If it wasn't for them, we wouldn't be here right now. We wouldn't be able to be like this.'

'I noticed you left somebody off that list,' he said, which was followed by a quiet chuckle.

'Yeah, well, there's always that one whose purpose is to do everything they can to spoil the party.'

When I said that Dallas rolled onto his back and stared up at the ceiling. For what seemed an eternity he said nothing, so I leaned over closer to him and rested my head on his shoulder.

'I'm sorry that your dad is being like this,' I quietly said to him.

'Don't be. It's not your fault.'

'And it's not your fault either,' I replied.

'I know. And I also know that I shouldn't say this… but I fucking hate him.'

'Hate is quite a strong word,' I replied.

'And you don't think it's warranted?'

I was convinced that Dallas' father hated me, but hating someone back wasn't something that I found easy to do. At least, not unless they had specifically done something to harm me, and right at this moment the only person who was in that category was Timmy Baker.

'Well?' Dallas asked.

'I can see why you feel that way, but just at the moment there's really only one person that falls into the "hate" category for me…'

'Let me guess. Timmy Baker?'

'Got it in one. I will say this though… I was shattered today when your father said those things. He probably hates me, because he thinks I'm taking his son away from him and he won't be able to control everything you do any more.'

'Well, he'll only have himself to blame when that does happen. And while you might not hate him, I still do. I'm not going to let him tell me how I'm going to live my life, no matter what he says. And if I want to spend my life with you, then that's what I'm going to do.'

'Fresh air, sunshine and love?' I said, remembering a conversation we'd had not so long ago.

'What? Oh, yeah… it sounds so perfect, even if there are some practicalities that would need to be ironed out.'

'All in good time, babe,' I replied, before snuggling in close to my boyfriend.

I dreamed of many things that night, most of which I wouldn't have liked to have had to share with my mother. At one stage I dreamed that something had wrapped itself around me, but I couldn't make out what it was. Were they tentacles, trying to suffocate me, or suck the life out of me? I felt myself trying to squirm, but I wasn't trying to escape. I was writhing in pleasure as the feeling of something warm and moist caressed me.

A moan or some deep sound filled my head, then I realised that it had come from me. I also realised something else. I was hard. As hard as I could ever remember being. And I liked it. I also liked the feel of whatever it was that was making me hard, so I reached down to touch whatever it was, and soon found my fingers entangled in thick, curly hair.

Suddenly my eyes opened. The room was dark, but not so dark that I couldn't make out my surroundings when I looked down. I was being sucked by an expert mouth, belonging to someone with a dark head of hair.

'Good morning,' Dallas said to me, while taking his mouth from my cock for just a few moments, before diving back down on my manhood even before I could respond.

Deep within I could feel the pressure starting to build. His fingers were working their magic on my balls, rolling them over, pulling at them, while his tongue was rolling around the head of my cock, then teasing the slit, before running around the rim once more.

'G-get-ting c-close,' I said through gritted teeth, as my hands grabbed at the sheets either side of me, scrunching them tightly. Dallas mumbled something indecipherable, but it was cut short as I felt the lava start to flow, shooting from my balls, straight up my shaft and then erupting in his warm and welcoming mouth.

He sucked for all he was worth, not letting a single drop escape, as shot after shot of cum left my body, milking me of every ounce of my sweet seed.

When I was done, he sat back and looked up at me, a massive grin on his face. I looked down at him and smiled.

'Now that was a great wake up call,' I said to him as he scrambled back up beside me. 'Who the hell taught you how to suck like that?'

'I got taught be a pro,' he replied. 'Did you like that? I figured I owed you that one after last night.'

'I couldn't think of a better way to be woken up… even if we've only had a couple of hours sleep.'

I wasn't quite sure what time it had been when we did crawl into bed, but I knew that it was in the very early hours of the morning. It was all coming back to me now. The evening had been heavy, and we had crashed without eating, only to be woken later by Dallas' mother when she returned from her party. She didn't take the news well about his dad trying his standover tactics and I felt sure that he would be enduring her wrath very soon.

'So, we've got a big day ahead,' Dallas said to me as he held me tight.

'Yeah, but first, I want to know how you are doing?' I asked him. 'Especially after last night.'

'I'm fine,' he replied. 'I'm not going to let my old man spoil this day. It means too much to me now.'


'Yeah, really. I'm not even going to think about my old man today… we have too much to do, starting with a visit to see your mate, Justin.'

'And after that?'

'I want to check out the shops for some new threads for tonight.'

'You're going all out then?'

'And you, too. If we're going to make a statement, how do you feel about matching shirts?'


'I'm thinking Hawaiian, surfer-style shirts, both the same. I want us to be seen. And I especially want us to be seen by Timmy Baker. '

'You don't think that's going over the top just slightly?'

'That's exactly what it is.'

'Okay, let's not rush into things. How about we check out the store after we see Justin and see what they have. Then we can decide what we're going to do.'

'Just tell me that you'll at least think about it.'

'Okay, I'll at least think about it, but I'm not making any hasty promises at this hour of the morning. Deal?'

'Okay. Deal,' he replied, before wrapping his arms around me and kissing me with lips that tasted of something very familiar.

I had recently brought some of my own clothes over to leave at Dallas' house for when I stayed over, so that I wouldn't always be borrowing Dallas' clothes, and that was what I had changed into after showering. When we finally emerged from Dallas' bedroom and we made it to the kitchen it was already after eight. Dallas' mother appeared to still be in bed, but arrived in the kitchen shortly afterwards, once we had started making a little noise.

'Good morning to you both,' she said to us as she joined us. 'Everything alright after last night?'

'Yeah, we're fine,' Dallas replied. 'What about with you?'

'Nothing a few Aspirin and some coffee won't fix,' his mother replied.

'Try some pizza,' Dallas urged after retrieving the box with last night's leftovers from the refrigerator. His mother and I just looked at him as he pulled a cold slice of ham and pineapple from the box and started eating it.

'You can't be serious!' I said to him.

'What's wrong with you? It's the best way to have it!'

I glanced at his mother and saw her smiling my way.

'Obviously you still have a few things to learn about D,' she said to me. 'People do change over time.'

'Obviously,' I replied.

Picking up the kettle I filled it from the tap and switched it on, then found some coffee mugs and set them out on the bench. After spooning some instant coffee into each mug I asked them, 'How do you have it?'

'Black and two,' Dallas replied.

'White and two for me please, honey,' his mother responded.

I added the necessary ingredients to each cup, then once the kettle had boiled, I poured the hot water into each of the mugs, before adding milk to two of them and pushing the mugs across the bench towards Dallas and his mother.

'So, what are your plans for today?' asked Mrs P as she picked up her mug.

'Heading downtown to the shops this morning,' Dallas replied. 'I want to buy a cool shirt for tonight.'

'Then this afternoon we're heading to our class party, though I do want us to head over and see my folks before we go,' I added, sending a questioning glance Dallas' way as I did so. He gave a nod in reply.

We were careful that no mention was made of any other reason for going downtown this morning. The thought of our parents finding out we were wanting tattoos might be enough to put the skids on our newfound freedoms.

'Oh, right… how could I forget that? Are you looking forward to it?'

'Actually, yes. I definitely am now, though I was a bit hesitant at first… at least until the big guy here talked me around. I think it'll be the first time I'll be able to totally be myself, at least in a social situation, so while it's kind of scary, it's also kind of exciting.'

'Well, I hope you boys have a great day, and a great night.'

'Thanks, ma,' Dallas answered, before giving her a quick kiss on the cheek.

Saturday mornings downtown are usually busy, and when we pulled into the shopping centre car park an hour or so later, we found that today was no exception. Finding a parking space proved difficult and when I finally managed to pull into one it was in the row that was farthest from where we needed to be. I didn't want to make Dallas walk that distance, but at least he didn't complain about having to hobble the full length of the car park.

What he did complain about a few minutes later, however, and rather loudly, was the 'Closed' sign inside the door to Justin's business: SORRY! CLOSED DUE TO ILLNESS.

Below it was a mobile phone number and another note saying to call in order to reschedule appointments. I pulled out my phone and dialled the number. Justin picked up on the fifth ring.

'Hey, Justin. It's JJ. Hope you're okay?' I said to him.

'Hi, JJ. Sorry I've had to cancel. I've come down with bloody Covid again. I'm fine, but obviously I won't be able to re-open until I have the all clear.'

'We understand,' I replied.

I had the phone on speaker, and I was watching Dallas as I was listening to Justin. He was not a happy camper.

'It'll be a week on Wednesday since I tested positive, so if I have the all clear by then, that's when I'll be back on deck,' Justin added. 'So, assuming I'll be okay by next weekend, do you want to shift your appointments to next Saturday?'

'Sounds perfect,' I said, with Dallas nodding beside me.

'Okay, you're in the book. I'll see you guys then.'

When I disconnected, I looked at Dallas and simply shrugged.

'Sorry,' I said to him.

'Nobody's fault really. Fucking disappointing though.'

'Yeah. So what now?' I asked.

'Coffee. Then we shop,' he replied, with a face lit up with his gorgeous grin. I couldn't help but love this new, open and out Dallas. This was such an improvement on the old and brooding version.

Around us the street was buzzing, which I soon realised must have been due to Christmas being so close, when I noticed the decorations in nearby shop windows. We spotted an empty table at the same sidewalk coffee shop we had visited last week, when we had received that text from Timmy, and while Dallas grabbed the table I went to the counter and placed our order. Cappuccinos and a large slice of cake to share between us seemed like a good idea, which Dallas agreed with when I joined him at the table.

'Sure seems busier than last time we were here,' Dallas said as he looked around us.

'Christmas,' I replied. For a moment he looked slightly confused, but then when he looked around and noticed the decorations nearby it seemed to dawn on him.

'Of course,' he said.

With the mention of last week and the thought of Timmy and his text message in my mind, I suddenly had an idea.

'What do you think about us thanking Timmy?' I asked Dallas.

'What the fuck?'

'Just hear me out… it was when we were here last week and we got that text message from him… that started the ball rolling for everything that has happened since then. Our coming out. Alex and Zack. All our friends being on board. We should thank him for letting us live our best lives.'

'You're fucking crazy. Do you know that?'

Just then a waitress brought our coffees and our cake, a large triangle of banana cake with thick frosting, along with two forks, just like I had asked for.

'Let's send him a selfie from right here and tell him thanks,' I said, once she had left us. 'He'll love it, I'm sure. And we can send it to our friends as well. They'll love it even more.'

'Like I said,' Dallas responded. 'You're fucking crazy… and it sounds totally over the top, but let's do it! Should we see if we can get someone to take a photo of us?'

I was adding some sugar to my coffee when he responded and for a moment I had to stop and think. Just what should we do with the photo?

'Yeah,' I replied. 'How about you move onto the seat beside me for a minute?'

As he did that, I spotted the waitress walking past and I caught her attention. 'Excuse me. Would you mind taking a photo of us please?' I asked.

She looked down at us and smiled. 'Of course.'

Quickly I opened the camera on my phone, before handing it to her, then put my arm around Dallas' shoulder. With the coffee and cake in front of us, and some Christmas decorations behind us, I thought this might just look okay.

'Say cheese!' the waitress said to us, then just as she clicked the button on the camera Dallas quickly turned his head and kissed me on the cheek.

Now who was going over the top!

'You better do one more please, if that's okay. This time goofball here will smile and look at the camera,' I asked.

With a nod and a gracious smile our waitress took a second shot, then handled the phone back to me.

'Thank you so much,' I said to her.

'You're more than welcome.'

As she left us I opened the file manager and then opened the last photo. It was a good one, which captured the moment nicely. When I scrolled to the first one, with the kiss, it proved to be even better. I had expected it to be blurred, given Dallas' movement, but it was perfect. I held it up to show it to him.

'That's awesome!'

'How about I add some text to it? "Living our best life! Thanks, Timmy!"' I said.

'He'll lose his shit over that.'

'Exactly,' I replied.

It only took me a minute or two to edit the photo and re-save it on the phone, using an app that I had used a few times before, then once I had finished, I showed Dallas.

'Send it!' he said, with a shit-eating grin. So I did just that. Then I shared it with Pete and Merry, and also Alex and Zack. If Timmy can get away with sending shit, then why the hell shouldn't we send something positive?

After finishing our coffee and cake, while also attracting a few odd expressions from people around us, and not caring what they thought, we headed for the shops. There was a department store in the shopping centre, which had a menswear department, along with several smaller clothing stores, so we took our time strolling along the sidewalk and browsing.

At one point Dallas placed his hand in mine and just as I looked at him and smiled, my phone pinged in my pocket, while at almost the same time Dallas' phone pinged as well. We both pulled out our phones to check them, then turned to each other and grinned.

Both messages read: < Sick fuckers! >

'Yep, he's losing his shit,' Dallas said with a laugh.

My phone pinged again.

< Awesome! So going to share this! >

I typed a quick reply: < Thanks Merry! Please do that! See you tonight! >

A few more similar messages followed from our friends and as we entered one of the smaller clothing stores, I was really feeling good about the day; for what had happened so far and for what still lay ahead of us.

For the next half hour or so we continued strolling along the street and browsing through some of the stores, before eventually coming to the main department store in the shopping centre.

'I think I need to pee,' Dallas said to me before we entered the store.

I pointed in the direction of the toilets for him, but I had no desire to go there.

'You coming?' he asked.

'Nah, I'll just wander around here. Last time I went there I ran into Timmy Baker… remember!'

'Oh… right. I'll just be a few minutes.'

'Take your time… but not too much time, if you know what I mean.'

He laughed and headed off down the corridor that led to the toilets.

When I looked around at the shops nearby, I noticed there was a shop selling low-end jewellery and knick-knacks, amongst other things, so I wandered in to take a look. There were counters and stands and display cases filled with all sorts of pretty and shiny things, and it wasn't long before I found myself looking at a stand filled with all manner of necklaces, from stones on chains or leather thongs, heavy stainless steel or pewter chains, pendants and medallions and everything in between.

As I looked at them I came across a number of different styles of the Yin and Yang symbol, with two joined pendants, each with its own chain or leather thong. Some of these were stainless steel, while others were metal with coloured enamel faces, mostly one black and one white, while others were stone. As I was looking at them a shop assistant came up to me.

'They're lovely, aren't they,' the girl, who wasn't much older than I was, said to me.

'Yes, they are.'

'They break apart. One for each person in the relationship. That's why they all have two chains.'

'Oh, right.'

I looked at a few of them and also touched a couple, then as I picked through them I found one that I thought looked interesting. It was black stone, with a Chinese symbol on each piece, and with attached leather thongs. There were also a few beads directly above the pendant, with the leather then coming out of these, a fancy knot tied above them, before the leather went and formed a large adjustable loop for hanging around the wearer's neck.

I picked it up for a closer look.

'That's Black Obsidian,' the shop assistance said. 'It has many beneficial properties, including protecting the wearer from dark energy, as well as for healing and clearing negativity, toxins and disease from the body.'

'It's very striking,' I replied, as I looked at the price tag, which seemed reasonable. I could see Dallas and me wearing these. Two parts of one whole. I simply had to buy them.

'I'm sure your friend would love it,' the assistant said to me, causing me to look sharply her way. 'I saw you holding hands outside earlier,' she quickly added.

I smiled and then handed her the necklace. 'I'll take it… or them… or whatever it is,' I said. 'Are you able to wrap it or something?'

'They come with a leather pouch with a drawstring attached. Is that okay? Or would you like some gift wrapping?'

'No, the pouch will be fine. Thank you.'

She rang my purchase up and I paid for it, then she explained how to break the two halves apart, before placing it in the leather pouch. I thanked her, then with my purchase safely tucked away in my pocket I headed back outside, just in time to see Dallas coming my way.

'All good?' he asked.

'Yeah, how about you?'

'Not a sign of Timmy anywhere,' he replied with a grin.


As he took my hand once more, we headed into the department store, then once inside we made a beeline for the menswear department, mingling with the crowds and doing our best to dodge mothers and prams and shopping trolleys being pushed left, right and centre.

Being early summer there were plenty of summer clothes on offer, with shirts, shorts, t-shirts and singlets in every shape, size and colour. We separated and I started browsing through a rack of colourful summer shorts. Moments later I heard Dallas say, 'Bingo!' and looked up to see he had found an entire rack of colourful Hawaiian style shirts.

'How about this one?' he said to me, while holding up a gaudy, coloured shirt with an Hawaiian beach scene on it. I screwed my nose up and shook my head, before walking over to him.

The next one he showed me wasn't much better, with massive blue and yellow and pink flowers covering it.

'A bit bright, don't you think?'

'We've got to stand out though, don't we?'

Just then my eyes spotted a shirt that was predominantly pale pink, but had a dark grey band around the midriff, which was adorned with a series of hibiscus and other flowers, in a pattern that made them look like they were a part of a thick vine.

I held one up for Dallas and he looked at it for a moment, then smiled.

'Yeah, I think I like that,' he said. 'Still flowery, but not as bright. Damn boy, you've got some good taste.'

'And I taste pretty good too, don't I?'

'Fuck yeah,' he said quietly as he came up close and took the shirt from my hand, then held it up against himself. 'What do you reckon?'

'Definitely doable. Nice shirt too,' I replied. It took him a moment, but then he laughed. 'Will that one fit you?'

'Yeah,' he said, when he looked at the size on the label.

'Is there another one that'll fit you?'

I flicked through the ones that were left and soon found one that was the right size, then held it up against myself.

'Hot,' he said. 'Both you and the shirt.'

'Okay, do you have any shorts at home that'll go with it? Maybe blue or grey?'

'Not too sure.'

'There are some over here,' I said, as I started towards the rack I'd been checking out earlier.

Flicking through what was on display there I soon found some grey shorts that had a discreet floral pattern in them, in a different shade of grey. I quickly found a pair my size, then held the shirt and shorts together. I liked the look of it all, and so did Dallas.

He had a look through the clothes on the rack and soon found some shorts his size.

'Geez, this shopping lark is easy,' he said, as we started for the checkouts.

'Babe, I think we just got lucky this time.' I replied.

After picking up some lunch at McDonald's we arrived back at Dallas' to find the house empty. His mother had left a note saying she was out with friends, and if she didn't see us before we left for the party, she hoped we had a good time and were careful.

'So what do we do now?' I asked. 'We've still got a few hours before we need to get ready.'

'I want to save my energy for later,' he said to me, with a smirk etched across his face. 'But I wouldn't say no to some cuddles.'

'Just cuddles? Seriously?' I said, as I walked in close to him and placed my hands on his hips, then leaned in so our bodies were touching. 'You're not feeling sick again, are you?'

'No, babe. I'm just saving myself for later,' he said, as he draped his arms over my shoulders, then whispered, 'You are going to be fucked up so bad later tonight.'

'I can hardly wait,' I answered, before leaning forward and kissing him.

Our clothes hit the floor almost as soon as we entered Dallas' bedroom and we fell across his bed wrapped in each other's arms. Despite that, there was nothing frantic about our embraces, about our kisses, about our touching. They were all long and gentle as we loved each other, without either of us going for the other's cock, and while we were both hard, not an ounce of cum was spilled, unless you count the droplets of pre-cum we both oozed and scooped up on our fingers to feed to each other.

Eventually we drifted off into a light sleep, still holding each other, until we were woken by the ringing of Dallas' phone. Dallas sat up and then scrambled for his pants, before pulling the noisy contraption from the pocket.

'Hey. What's up?' he said, then putting his hand over the phone he turned to me and said, 'It's Alex.'

I sat up beside him on the bed and leaned against him. It just felt so right.

'Just hang on and I'll ask JJ,' I heard him say, then turning to me he said, 'Would it be okay with you if we picked them up?'

'Sure thing.'

'Yep, that's all good,' Dallas replied to Alex. 'Just text me the address… What? Oh yeah, we were buying some new threads for tonight. Got to make a good impression you know!… No, sorry we didn't see you guys. We could have had lunch together or something… Yeah, okay, we'll see you then. Bye.'

When he disconnected, he looked at me and said, 'They saw us shopping.'

'Apparently,' I replied.

'And they had the same idea as us.'

'What do you mean?'

'They wanted to look sharp!'

'Well, they better not look sharper than us!' I proclaimed.

'No chance of that, lover boy. Anyway, isn't it about time we made a move? You said you wanted to see your folks before we go to the party, didn't you?'

'Yeah. That'd be good,' I said, as I stood up and held my hand out for him. 'Let's hit the shower.'

We crossed through to the bathroom, still holding each other's hands and Dallas turned on the water and set the temperature to being warm, then we stepped in. After applying shower gel to each other we built up a healthy lather of suds as we rubbed and massaged each other, taking our time and applying liberal amounts of kisses as we went.

These sessions with Dallas, when we were being gentle and attentive, were amongst my favourite times and just proved to me that relationships needed so many layers in order to thrive. Even though we were being intimate here, relationships weren't all about sex, we needed to love and understand our partners and sometimes just hold them, and the more I simply held Dallas, the more in love with him I felt.

After rinsing off the suds and washing our hair, we turned off the water and stepped out of the shower. Dallas picked up a towel from the rack and much to my surprise started to dry me off. I hadn't had anyone do this for me since I was a small boy, and as odd as it had initially felt, I was soon loving his firm touch, quickly finding myself growing hard.

'Down boy,' Dallas said with a chuckle. He was leaning over now and drying my legs, so I reached out and picked up another towel, then started drying his back, which was the part of his body most exposed to me, allowing my hands to work the towel over his broad shoulders and rippling muscles, all the way down to his firm buttocks. When he stood and faced me, I started on his front, working on his shoulders and biceps, then his pecs and down to his defined six-pack.

He did the same for me, and as our eyes met they locked onto each other. Not a word was said. Nothing needed to be said. We were two halves of a whole… just like the necklace I had purchased earlier.

I leaned in and kissed him, then said, 'I have something for you.'

'I thought we were going to save…' he started to say, but then stopped as I stepped back and took hold of his hand and led him back to his bedroom.

When I leaned over and picked up the pants I had been wearing earlier he said nothing, nor did he say anything when I pulled out the small leather pouch, though he did frown.

Pulling the pouch open at the top I dipped my fingers inside and then retrieved the necklace and pendant.

'I bought this earlier today,' I said to him, as I held the pendant out flat on my hand towards him. 'It's a Yin and Yang pendant. It breaks apart into two separate pendants, symbolising two parts of a whole. Like us… two people, two hearts, but one whole being.'

When I glanced up at Dallas' face I could see he was clearly surprised.

'This one is made from Black Obsidian. The girl at the shop told me that it had beneficial properties, including protecting the wearer from dark energy, and also for healing and clearing negativity, toxins and disease from the body.'

Taking the pendant in both hands I snapped it in half, breaking the fine line of resin that was holding the two pieces together, then took hold of the leather string of one of the pieces, adjusting it almost to its maximum length, and then placed it over Dallas' head, allowing the stone to settle in the centre of his chest. Taking the remaining piece I made to place it over my own head, but that was when Dallas reached out and stopped me, taking it from my hands, but then reaching up and placing it over my head and around my neck.

Still nothing was said, he simply wiped his eyes with the back of his hand and hugged me close. It was only then that he whispered, 'God I love you, Joel Jackson!'

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