The two of us stared at the bed. The one bed.
"You've got to be fucking kidding me."
"I'll call down to the desk." Gavin dropped his bags and sat on the bed, picked up the beige room phone.
I stared at the bed. I didn't put my down my bags. We were not staying here. We couldn't.
"Yes, hello? This is room 319. Yeah, uh... we were supposed to have two beds. Is there any way we can switch- oh. Uh-huh." Gavin looked up at me, biting his lip a little. The humming in my blood at the sight of that lip bite… this was the exact reason we couldn't share a bed. I was not going to ruin our friendship."Right. Okay, thank you."
One look at his face and I sighed. "We're not changing rooms, are we?"
Gavin shook his head and grinned. "Come on, Michael. It'll be fun! Like a sleepover!"
"Shut the fuck up."
"We can cuddle!"
He leaned over, grabbed a pillow and threw it at me, smacking me hard in the face. "Pillow fight!"
"GAVIN!" I dropped my bags and lunged at him, knocking him nearly off the other side of the bed. Half his body was hanging off.
"Michael! Michael I'm gonna fall!"
"There will be no cuddling. No sleepover. No-"
His shirt was riding up and I could smell his cologne all over me, see his adam's apple amidst the stubble on his throat. With a frustrated growl, I shoved him the rest of the way. He slid off the bed, feet going up over his head as he laughed and whined at the same time.
"No cuddling." I said again, and went to put my things away.
We were so busy that first day, and so exhausted by our traveling, that when we got back to the room we hardly had enough energy to speak to each other. I was relieved. Maybe all that worrying was for nothing. I ducked into the bathroom to brush my teeth and change, and when I came back into the room, Gavin was asleep. He hadn't even taken his shoes off, or gotten under the covers. He was snoring lightly with an arm thrown over his eyes to shield them from the light.
I was smiling so hard it hurt.
"You idiot," I said under my breath as I slipped his shoes off his feet, careful not to wake him. I set them quietly down at the foot of the bed, then went to take his cell phone out of his hand.
"Michael," he muttered in his sleep. "Are you holding my hand?"
"No you moron."
I slipped his phone away from his fingers, trying to ignore the way my breath caught when our hands touched. The charger was already in the outlet, so I plugged his phone in and set it where he could find it. I pulled the top layer of blankets away from the bed and tossed it over his sleeping body, careful not to touch him.
With a lazy, sleepy smile, he asked, "Michael... are you tucking me in?"
"See if I'm ever nice to you again." I slipped under the remaining blankets and sheets and clicked off the lamp. "I hate you."
"No." He nestled his face into the pillow, hair a mess, and said softly, "You love me."
My muscles tensed. My face burned hot. I couldn't breathe. There's no way he- he didn't know. He couldn't.
"What?" I manage to croak out, but he didn't say anything. "Gavin?"
I looked over at him, at the steady rise and fall of his breath, and heard a soft snore.
I tried not to smile at his sleeping face.
There's no way he knows.
The next day, I woke up in the middle of the night to Gavin pressed right up against my body. My nose was nestling the back of his neck, my arm wrapped tight around him. My breath hitched in my throat.
"Don't move," Gavin's voice was low, and calm. "Michael, don't pull away."
I was spooning Gavin.
I was spooning Gavin.
I was spooning Gavin.
"Jesus Christ, Gav, what-"
"I woke up, we were like this."
I tried to wiggle away from him but he grabbed my hand in his and tugged it closer.
"What the fuck are you doing?"
"Michael." How was he so calm? How was he not telling me to back off? Why wasn't he making fun of me right now? What- "It's okay."
"What's okay?" I pushed away from him again. "Let go of me. Bodies seek heat in the night. It's totally normal. Doesn't mean anything."
He held on. "Michael, I mean, it's okay. Please don't pull away."
My heart was thudding in my chest so hard, so fast, the world was spinning even though I was laying still.
"Just stay. Please." Was I imagining the quaver in his voice?
I forced my body to relax, forced myself to ease back into the pillow. His t-shirt was so soft against my arm, and the smell of his shampoo was so perfect. I pressed my face a little closer into the nape of his neck, hoping he wouldn't notice, but he did, and he responded by sliding his entire body into mine. We were really, really holding each other now. Our feet were tangling at the ankles. His fingers laced through mine.
"Just stay, Michael. I won't say anything tomorrow. Just stay."
So I stayed. I held him close to me, felt him breathe as I breathed, felt his heartbeat beneath my hand. He was so solid, and so soft at the same time. God.
I love him, I thought, as emotions ran through me like sunlight, like fire, like sweetness and poison all at the same time.
I have no idea how I fell asleep, but eventually, I did.
Our third and last night in the hotel, I made sure I was in bed before Gavin. I wanted to sleep - clamp my eyes shut, and ignore him. Things would be so much easier once we were back home, when we didn't have to sleep together every night. I lay on my back and closed my eyes, pretending I was alone.
I felt the bed shift as he crawled in beside me. The lights clicked off.
I tried not to move.
Minutes passed as I listened to Gavin's breathing. He wasn't sleeping.
"Michael?" His voice was tentative and questioning.
"We go home tomorrow."
"Do you think, I mean... What happens on the trip stays on the trip, yeah?"
"That's Vegas, moron. It doesn't apply to just any trip."
Another long pause, and he tried again.
"I thought we weren't talking about that."
"No, I know! I did a really good job of not talking about it, didn't I? So, if something like that were to happen again, you know I wouldn't talk about it either."
"What the fuck are you trying to say?"
I felt Gavin's hand as it brushed my shoulder, slid across my collarbone. I felt his hips collide with mine, our feet tangle in the sheets, his forehead rest against my cheek. I was melting. Why is he doing this? I was so frustrated with him. If he had any idea how hard it was for me to keep my feelings in check-
"Please, Michael." His voice was quiet and soft, right in my ear. "Just for tonight. Let me hold you."
I swallowed hard. I didn't trust my voice.
Gavin kissed my cheek, his lips soft and his chin scratching my jaw. I felt like I was going to cry. This was almost worse, having him so close but knowing tomorrow we were just going to not talk about it.
"Why the hell are you doing this?" I whispered fiercely.
"I..." He pulled away from me. I could see the outline of his profile against the red lights of the alarm clock's numbers. "I thought you knew. I told you, remember? Three months ago. At that party."
I had no idea what he was talking about. "Told me what?"
His voice – Gavin's voice – was so full of emotion as he said, "I love you, Michael."
"You..." My thoughts were churning. My heart was in shock. "What?" A memory came to the surface then. Gavin, drunk and laughing in the backseat of a taxi. Me trying to talk him out of crawling out the window. I pulled him back and he fell against my chest, looked up at me. I love you, Michael. "But you were drunk."
"Yeah, but I meant it."
"You say a lot of shit when you're drunk, Gav."
"But I meant it."
I was reeling.
Gavin rushed on. "And I get it, I know. You don't feel the same way. We're friends. Good friends. And I don't want to ruin that. But it's been so hard to lay next to you and not touch you, and yesterday... yesterday you held me and I-" his voice was breaking.
I was breaking.
"It's okay, Michael. Tomorrow... we don't ever have to talk about this. I just wanted one more night to hold you and-"
I fumbled in the dark. I couldn't see. I grabbed a fistful of his shirt, tried to grab for his head and got his pillow instead. I found my way to his body and I pressed myself against him, finding his jaw with my hands so that when I kissed him, our lips... our lips. I had kissed guys before, but it had never really meant anything. Not like this. This meant everything.
His body melted under my touch, his arms wrapping around me. My soul was singing. This is really happening, was all I could think, along with Gavin. Gavin. Gavin.
"Michael." Gavin breathed my name like it was the solution to a mystery.
"I'm the one with the feelings. I'm the one who doesn't want to fuck this up." I was suddenly shouting. "I have been trying so hard not to touch you. Ilove you, Gavin."
I could practically hear him grinning. "You love me?"
"Yes, you dickhead. I love you. And it's been driving me crazy."
He kissed me, our teeth and lips and hands all mashing together until he started giggling uncontrollably. For a second I thought he had been playing a joke on me, until he pressed his forehead to mine and said, "All this time, and we were both thinking the same thing."
So we had our last night of holding each other, of kissing each other, of assuring each other that we weren't imagining things and yes, we really had said those things, and really did mean them.
And we had a lot more nights after that.
"Your emotions ran through you like sweetness and poison, eh?" Gavin said as I entered the room.
"Gavin, don't read that!" I dove for the laptop, slamming the lid shut on his hands.
"What are you doing on my computer? How did you guess the password!"
He wrenched his fingers away and was sucking on them. "Sorry, if I had known you were writing smutty stories about us, I wouldn't've looked."
"It's not smutty." My cheeks were flaming.
"Is it your diary?" Gavin's grin was turning me on and pissing me off all at the same time.
"Just... fuck off, Gav. Don't go reading my personal files." I hugged my laptop to my chest and tried to leave, but he grabbed me by the hips and tugged me into a hug, pressing his face against the back of my neck.
"That's the sweetest thing I've ever read, Michael. You captured those nights perfectly."
"I said fuck off."
"I didn't know you had that in you. It was practically poetry."
"Fuck off!" I shoved backwards and ran out of the room.
I heard Gavin's laughter following my down the hall as he said, "I love you, Michael. You're absolutely perfect."