Bright

Copyright August 6, 2005
by Matthew Haldeman-Time
 

I am writing about men having sex with other men.  You must be eighteen or older to read my fiction.  This site is for consenting, responsible adults only.



            Logan got ready for his date while Emmett and Emmett’s new little boyfriend, Gavin, sat on his bed and talked.  Emmett’s boyfriends always said that they were twenty-one, looked eighteen, and annoyed the crap out of Logan.

            “Let me make sure that I understand this,” Gavin said, and Logan gritted his teeth, tucking in his shirt and fixing his belt.  “You’re dating two guys at the same time.”

            Who Logan dated was none of Gavin’s business.  Gavin wouldn’t even be around a month from now.  Logan had just been through this same damned conversation two weeks earlier with Emmett’s last boyfriend.

            “And they’re brothers,” Gavin said.

            Feeling no need to participate or reply, since Gavin was doing just fine on his own, Logan stepped into the bathroom to comb his hair.

            Gavin’s next words were irritatingly scandalized.  “And they’re twins?!”

            “You can’t believe how hot they are,” Emmett said.  “They have the hottest dark eyes, so even when their mouths say ‘hello’ their eyes say ‘sex.’  Bryan’s the responsible one, he’s the one with the office job, I met him right when he got off work one day and he took off his tie and rolled up his sleeves and I just wanted Logan to get the hell out of the apartment so I could have my way with him.  Bryce is the bad boy, he works in a record store part-time and a porn shop part-time.  They both have this really thick, short black hair, but he has red splashed all through his, and I know that he has a tattoo somewhere but Logan won’t tell me what it is.”

            Gavin pretended to lower his voice, but Logan heard every damned word.  “Does he fuck them at the same time?”

            “Logan says that they don’t do that, and he says that he doesn’t want that.”  Emmett’s tone left it up to Gavin to interpret that statement however he chose.  “Apparently, Bryan and Bryce have never dated the same guy before, so this is all new territory for them.”  Logan didn’t have to look to know that Emmett’s expression indicated sly disbelief.  “But if you were dating twins who just happened to share an apartment-”

            “They live together?!” Gavin squealed, pretending to be shocked.  Logan wanted to hit him.  “He’s dating twins who live together?  What does he do, just roll out of one bed and right into the other?  Does he even notice a difference?”

            Notice a difference?  How the hell could he not - - “I have to go,” Logan said, coming out from the bathroom, grabbing his keys and his wallet.  “Emmett, I’ll see you later.  And,” he said, raising his voice as he headed for the front door, “do me a favor and break up with Gavin before I get back.”

            Walking up the two flights to Bryan and Bryce’s apartment, Logan thought back over Gavin’s words.  “Does he even notice a difference?”

            Notice a difference.  Notice a difference between Bryan and Bryce.  Between the way Bryan smiled - - open, inviting - - and the way Bryce smiled - - amused, smirking.  Between the way Bryan talked, friendly with an outward focus, more interested in other people than in himself; and the way Bryce talked in short sentences with a bitter edge.  Between the way Bryan moved with that slightly, faintly self-conscious air, like he’d been accused of being clumsy as a child, and the way Bryce moved, utterly relaxed, casually unconcerned no matter where he was.  The way Bryan dressed, button-down shirts and ties for work, jeans outside of work, casual T-shirts and shorts or sweatpants around the apartment.  The way Bryce dressed, dark clothes, jeans sagging, managing to make even brand-new T-shirts look five years old.

            The way Bryan kissed, soft, hungry.  The way Bryce kissed, demanding, aggressive.  The way Bryan made love, needy, eager to be touched, soaking up affection.  The way Bryce made love, rough, physical.

            They both wanted to be loved.  They both wanted to be accepted.  They both wanted to be recognized and appreciated as individuals.  Bryan was more quiet and subtle about it; Bryce was, by turns, demanding of it and defensive about it.

            They watched different TV shows and listened to different music.  Bryan liked movies, any movies, all movies; Bryce liked videogames and porn.  But they had a lot of basic similarities.  They were identical twins, a perfect genetic match.  They liked all of the same food, they ate with the same mannerisms, they slept curled in the same positions, and they had the same bad driving habits.  They both had the same sexy little shudder when Logan kissed their nipples.  They both liked to have their napes stroked while they gave head.  They both muttered random words while they slept.  Sometimes his name, sometimes work-related words (in Bryan’s case, “copier” and “memo,” in Bryce’s case, “VCR” and “dildo”).  Sometimes each other’s names.



            When Logan knocked, Bryan opened the door and gave him a bright, welcoming smile.  Bryan was always happy to see him, which made Logan feel like a minor celebrity.  “Hi,” Bryan said, giving him a warm squeeze and pulling him inside the apartment.  “Dinner will be ready in a couple minutes.  How was work?”

            “Work was just fine,” Logan said.  He smelled chicken.  Bryan cooked actual meals; Bryce either made something simple like grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup, or called for pizza.  “I met Emmett’s new boyfriend.”

            “Gavin?” Bryan asked, setting the table.  “What’s he like?”

            “He’s just like Emmett’s last twenty-seven boyfriends,” Logan said, getting the flatware.

            “So he’s cute?” Bryan asked with a smile, checking on the food.

            “Cute,” Logan said.  “Immature.  Irresponsible.  Vapid.”

            “The four of us won’t be going on a double date any time soon?” Bryan guessed, turning off the oven.

            “Maybe we can double date when Emmett finally goes on a date with a real person, and not a well-trained facsimile,” Logan said.  “That smells great.”

            “Thanks.”  Bryan flashed him a grin, spooning peas.  “Would you believe I’m trading recipes with middle-aged women at work?”

            “Ruby and Donna?” Logan asked.  “You’re not giving away your secret walnut pecan chicken recipe, are you?”

            “Of course not,” Bryan said, setting plates on the table.  “That one is between God, the chicken, and me.”



            After dinner, Bryan and Logan cleaned up the kitchen, then settled onto the sofa.  Logan kicked off his shoes while Bryan turned on the TV and flipped through the movie channels.  “This one?”

            “I’d like to request something with fewer emotional breakdowns,” Logan said, snaking an arm around Bryan’s waist.

            “How’s…”  Bryan changed the channel a few times.  “This?”

            A car exploded onscreen.  Logan smiled.  “Looks good so far.”

            Bryan laughed, tucking his feet up and leaning into Logan, one hand on Logan’s thigh.  “You have terrible taste.”

            “I spent all of last weekend watching a marathon of classic romances with you,” Logan said.  “Twenty black-and-white movies in a row are hazardous to my health.  I need the healing power of car chases and loud explosions and machine-gun fire.”

            “You find machine guns soothing?” Bryan asked.

            “Rejuvenating,” Logan said.

            “I worry about you,” Bryan said, resting his head on Logan’s shoulder.

            Onscreen, three men pointed guns at each other, threatening, arguing.

            Logan stroked Bryan’s hair.



            Logan had met Bryan and Bryce Bright over a year earlier.  He’d been in the mall, picking up a gift for Emmett’s birthday, and he’d stopped in a record store.  Actual vintage albums.  He didn’t even have a record player, and in retrospect he couldn’t remember why he’d gone in, but mysterious forces had tugged him into the store.

            He’d roamed around for a few minutes, wondering if he should pick up something for his parents.

            “Looking for anything specific?”

            In the middle of searching aimlessly through a bin, Logan had straightened and looked into gorgeous, long-lashed, dark brown eyes.  He’d mumbled something inane like “Uh, I don’t know,” and just stared.  The eyes belonged to a gorgeous face with a sexy smirk; a guy with red-streaked black hair was leaning over from the other side of the display, arms crossed on top between signs labeled “Classical” and “Jazz.”

            “I’m supposed to work on providing better customer service.”  That smirk again; Logan felt himself growing hot as his cheeks turned pink.  “You’re the only customer here.  How can I service you?”

            Wow.  The vivid sexual images flashing through Logan’s brain included positions he’d never even tried.  “I’m, uh...”

            “You like classical?”

            A question he could answer!  “Yes.  I mean, no.  I mean,” he was absolutely flailing, “it’s for my parents.  The record.  If I buy one.”  Logan could have sworn that at one point in his life, he’d considered himself smooth.  Now he wasn’t even coherent.

            “Parents.”  His pale skin was flawless.  His lips looked soft, full, more red than pink.  He had three black studs in his each earlobe, and a silver hoop through the top of his left ear.  “Any particular reason?  Anniversary?”  Stepping back, he began to walk, and Logan realized that he was coming around to the other side of the display.  They were about to be face-to-face with nothing between them but air.

            “No real reason.”  The guy wore a black T-shirt emblazoned with the name of a rock group, black jeans, and black sneakers.  His clothes were a few sizes too big, and he walked with a comfortable stroll.

            “They like Tchaikovsky?  Beethoven?  Vivaldi?”

            “Tchaikovsky.”

            “Good taste.”  He flipped through the bins with nimble fingers, clearly familiar with the inventory.  “What about Mussorgsky?”

            “Mussorgsky?” Logan repeated.  This guy was not only gorgeous but good at his job?

            “You know, ‘Pictures at an Exhibition,’ ‘A Night on the Bare Mountain.’”  He hummed, handing over the album.  “Good shit.”

            Logan smiled, oddly charmed by the incongruity of a cursing punk guy liking classical music.  “Thanks.  I’m sure they’ll like it.”  Oh, thank god, natural speech functions had resumed.  “I’m Logan.”

            “Bryce.”  An amused smirk appeared on his face, sexual invitation in his eyes.  “You doing anything later?”

            “It’s my friend’s birthday, we’re going out.”  He wished that he could invite Bryce, but Emmett would be pissed at him.

            “Have a good time.”  Bryce’s gaze flickered past him.  “I have to go provide more excellent customer service.  You can give your money to Kelly at the front.”

            “I,” shit, Logan didn’t want to walk away just like that.  “Thanks for your help.”

            “Come back sometime and I’ll service you again,” Bryce said with a grin, and walked off to help the people who’d just entered the store.

            After paying, Logan walked through the mall, album in hand, replaying those too-brief moments with Bryce.  Rewriting them in his head, creating different outcomes.  What if he manufactured a reason to go back?  He didn’t even own a record player, but so what?  Bryce didn’t know that.

            Dazed and horny, he wandered into a bookstore.  Emmett’s current boyfriend was a photographer, so Emmett was suddenly interested in photographs, and had asked for “artsy coffee table photo books” for his birthday.  Logan walked down the main aisle, looking for the “artsy coffee table” section.  Passing the humor section, he looked past travel and…

            Logan stopped walking.

            He backed up and peered around travel.

            It wasn’t Bryce.  There were no red streaks in the hair, and no earrings, and he had on completely different clothes, shirtsleeves rolled up.  He had on a watch and a tie.

            But he looked like Bryce.  He looked like he was Bryce.  He had to be Bryce, only he couldn’t possibly be Bryce, which meant that…

            There were two of them?

            Maybe Logan’s eyes were playing tricks on him.  Except he’d just stared at Bryce, he’d memorized every feature, and this guy had the same smoothly curving jaw, the same red mouth, the same-

            Whoa, definitely the same eyes.  Those long-lashed depths were unmistakable.

            “I’m sorry, am I in your way?”

            Logan knew that it sounded like a ridiculous pick-up line, but he had to ask.  “Do you have a twin brother?”

            Not-Bryce laughed.  “That’s Bryce.  I’m Bryan.”

            “Bryan,” Logan repeated.  Wow.  There really were two of them.  The first one must have come out so gorgeous, the universe had fallen in love and made another.  “I’m Logan.”

            “Nice to meet you.”  Bryan shook his hand.  Definitely the responsible twin.  “What’d he talk you into buying?”  The question was asked with curiosity and a trace of pride.

            Logan realized that the record store bag in his hand was a dead giveaway.  “Mussorgsky.  For my parents.”

            Bryan laughed.  Apparently, they were both easily tickled; Bryan chose to laugh out loud, Bryce chose to smirk with silent, cynical amusement.  “He must be thrilled.  He loves selling classical music.”

            That made no sense to Logan, but he wanted it to.  “Why?”

            “He hates the golden oldies.  He won’t even talk to customers who touch those sections.  The classical, the jazz, the comedy albums, anything else, he likes.  The golden oldies fans, he calls them the ’45 flippers, people who come in looking for Beach Boys recordings and ask him if there are any more Smokey Robinson albums tucked in the back room somewhere.”

            Bryan’s smile was charming.  Logan filed away the information on Bryce and asked, “What about you, do you like classical?”

            Bryan’s smile widened.  “I like the Beach Boys and Smokey Robinson.”



            Logan made a few more visits to the record store.  He made up excuses to go to the mall, and while he was there, he just happened to be gripped by a sudden and urgent desire for a record.

            On his third visit, Bryan was there, too.  It turned out that Logan and Bryan got off work about the same time, and sometimes Bryan came to the mall to eat dinner with Bryce while he was on break.

            Logan ate with them a few times.

            He bought a record player.

            The three of them went out to the clubs.  They went to the movies.  Soon he saw them more often than he saw Emmett.

            When Bryce was busy at work, Logan and Bryan went to the movies together.

            When Bryan wasn’t around, Logan stayed for hours at the record store, talking to Bryce, alphabetizing the albums in the bins, listening to music.

            The record store dropped Bryce’s hours down to part-time.  He got a second job, at a porn store.  According to Bryce, it was better than flipping burgers.  He used his employee discount, bought some videos, and showed up at Logan’s apartment with them.

            That was the first time that Logan kissed one of the twins.  It was also the first time that he had steaming hot, intense, loud sex with one of the twins.

            The next morning, as the hormonal surge waned, Logan asked Bryce what was happening.  Were they lovers now?  What about Bryan?

            Bryce said that he had no intention of taking Logan away from Bryan.  He also had no intention of giving up Logan for Bryan.

            Logan met Bryan that night outside the movie theater.  They sat in Logan’s car and talked.  Bryan said that he and Bryce had talked about it, argued about it, fought about it, and come to an agreement.  If Logan was willing, they’d both date him.  He could split his time between them as he chose.  It would be awkward, but it was the best compromise they’d come up with.

            That was the first night that Logan kissed Bryan.  The first night that they made love.

            Bryan’s schedule was steady.  Bryce’s work schedule was anything but.  Logan tried to divide his time up evenly between them.  At first, he’d spent most of his time with them at his apartment or out in public, but then Emmett had moved in with him, so now he spent a lot of time with them in their apartment.



            As the movie ended and the credits rolled, Logan slid his hands up the backs of Bryan’s thighs and under his shorts, squeezing his ass, kissing his mouth.  “Did they save the little girl?”

            “Mm, I don’t, ah, know,” Bryan said, kissing him back, hands stroking up his chest under his shirt.  “I think so.  They blew up the bank.”

            Logan didn’t even remember there being a bank, but he’d spent the last half hour making out.  Bryan had seen the movie before, so he’d trust Bryan’s memory.  “You smell so good,” he murmured, groaning softly as Bryan’s hand slid down between his thighs.  “Oh, god…  Bryan…”

            “It’s new, ah, cologne,” Bryan said, squeezing gently and shuddering.  “God, fuck me.”

            A bump at the front door.

            “Shit,” Bryan whispered, snatching his hand away.

            A key scraped in the lock.

            “Stay here, say hi,” Bryan whispered, climbing off of him.

            “You don’t have to-”

            “He had a really bad day, he’d love to come home and see you,” Bryan insisted, and disappeared into the bathroom.

            The door opened.

            Bryce entered the apartment.  He moved with his usual casual stroll, but his expression was dark.  Giving his hard-on extra time to cool down, Logan turned off the TV and watched Bryce glare bitterly into the refrigerator as though it had committed some personal offense.

            “Hi,” Logan said.  “It’s good to see you.”

            “It always is.”  The refrigerator door slammed shut and Bryce turned away, facing the sink, curling his hands over the edge.  “I’m popular as hell.”

            Logan studied the tension in Bryce’s back, rising from the sofa and walking in that direction.  “How have your twenty-four hours been?” he asked carefully.  That was the question that Bryce frequently greeted him with.

            “Fine.”

            There was too much tension and anger in Bryce’s voice.  Work couldn’t have made him this upset.

            Logan put his hand on Bryce’s back.  Slowly rubbed up between Bryce’s shoulders, then down.

            Water ran in the bathroom.  The shower.  Bryan didn’t shower at night; Bryan showered in the morning.  He was giving them time together.

            “I’m not going to talk about it.”

            “That’s okay.”  Logan rubbed Bryce’s back with slow, firm strokes.  Bryce almost never talked about his mother’s phone calls, but they always left him tense.  Tonight was worse than usual, but not the worst that Logan had seen.  “We can talk about something else.”

            Maybe Bryce relaxed incrementally; maybe Logan imagined it.  “How were your twenty-four hours?”

            “Just fine,” Logan said.  “I met Emmett’s new boyfriend.”

            “Gavin,” Bryce said.  “I bet he’s a self-centered son-of-a-bitch.”

            “He is,” Logan said.

            “Every single one of Emmett’s boyfriends who’s met me, has hit on me.  Do I have a sign on my back that says ‘I’ll cheat on my boyfriend with you if you’ll cheat on yours with me?’”

            “No, no signs back here.”  Logan tugged him around until they were facing, and gently rubbed his chest.  “None here, either.”

            With a bitter sigh, Bryce leaned back against the sink.  Logan leaned against him, and Bryce’s arm rested around Logan’s waist.

            “Half of them think that I have a tattoo.”

            “I know.  Emmett keeps telling them it’s in a scandalous place.”  Bryce didn’t have a tattoo anywhere.  Bryan had one, but Logan preferred not to confuse Emmett with the truth.

            Bryce rubbed Logan’s back.

            Logan wrapped his arms around Bryce more completely.  Bryce smelled just like Bryan tonight.  “I love this cologne.”

            “Free samples in the mail.”  Bryce’s hand idly caressed Logan’s spine.

            Logan smiled to himself.  Bryan never used too many complete sentences in a row.  “Did you have dinner?”

            “No.”  When Bryce was upset, he skipped meals.

            “There’s chicken in the fridge.”  He let the idea marinate.  “It was good.”

            “Hmm.”  Bryce left a gentle kiss on his neck.  “Corn?”

            “Peas.”  Logan rubbed Bryce’s lower back.  “I can warm some up for you.”

            “Okay.”  Bryce kissed his cheek and separated their bodies.  “I’ll go make sure he’s not drowning.”

            Logan smiled, turning to the refrigerator as Bryce went into the bathroom.  He heated the chicken, peas, and a roll in the microwave as the shower stopped.

            The bathroom door remained shut.

            He scooped out ice cream, giving himself something to do.  He found himself oddly tense; he didn’t want the constant conflict between Bryce and his mother to infect Bryce and Bryan’s relationship.

            Bryce’s mother had certain expectations for her sons.  She made comparisons between her expectations and their realities; she made comparisons between Bryce and Bryan.  Inevitably, she found Bryce lacking.  Bryan had a “real” job, an office job, a job with a desk and a phone and a computer.  Bryce worked two part-time retail gigs, one in an adult video store.  Bryan dressed like an adult; Bryce dressed like a college drop-out.  Bryan made decent money, could support himself, drove a comfortable car.  Bryce didn’t have health insurance and drove an old, rusty, two-door.  Why couldn’t Bryce be responsible, like Bryan?  Why couldn’t Bryce be mature, like Bryan?  When would Bryce grow up, like Bryan?  Bryan had always been so smart, so well-liked, so friendly, so much better than Bryce.

            Everyone thought that Bryan was the better twin.  Their mother did.  Their father did.  Bryce did.  Two people didn’t.  One of those two was Logan; he didn’t think that either one was better.  They were different, and they had their own strengths and weaknesses, but neither one of them was innately better than the other.

            The other person who didn’t think that Bryan was the better twin, was Bryan.  He thought that Bryce was the better twin.  He’d always loved and admired Bryce’s independent spirit, Bryce’s calm determination to be himself.  Where others saw attitude and laziness, Bryan saw someone refusing to be what everyone else wanted him to be and finding his own path.  Bryan saw strength.

            Logan loved Bryan and Bryce, because they loved each other more than they loved anyone else.

            It even spilled over into his relationship with them.  Bryan worried about Bryce, especially after their mother’s calls, and sometimes encouraged Logan to spend more time with him, claiming to be suddenly busy; Bryce didn’t want Bryan to worry about him, and always refused Bryan’s efforts.  It was part of their dynamic for Bryan to find new ways to look out for Bryce, and for Bryce to politely but insistently refuse Bryan’s help.

            A quick burst of Bryan’s laughter, and Logan relaxed at the brightening of the mood, smiling at the reassuring, familiar sound.  The door opened; Bryce came out, followed by a clothed, damp-haired Bryan.

            They ate, and they talked about Logan’s boss and Bryan’s coworkers and Bryce’s customers, and they found another action movie on TV.

            As the movie neared its end, Bryce stood, ruffling Bryan’s hair and leaning across Bryan to kiss Logan.  “Good night.”

            “Good night,” Logan said.  He watched Bryce stroll into the bathroom, all tension gone.

            “I’m really tired,” Bryan said.  “I had a long day.”

            “Trading recipes?” Logan asked.

            “Maybe you should…”  Bryan twisted his fingers through Logan’s and looked down at their hands.  “He needs you more than I do tonight,” he said quietly, lifting his gaze.

            “Did he tell you that?”

            “No,” Bryan admitted.  A smile quirked his lips.  “He said that it was very nice of me to offer you to him, but he could wait until tomorrow night to get laid.”  The smile faded.  “But it’s not about sex, he needs…comfort, he needs you there, he needs to feel loved.”

            The bathroom door opened; Bryce had a toothbrush in one hand.  “Logan, do you love me?”

            “Yes,” Logan said, smiling.

            “Bryan, you love me?” Bryce asked.

            “Yes, but-”

            “Great, good night,” Bryce said, and closed the door again.

            Bryan met Logan’s eyes, then gave in and laughed.  “Okay.  I guess you can sleep with me tonight.”

            “If you’re too tired, I can go home,” Logan said.  “I’d hate to bother you with my presence after your long, hard day.”

            With a happy chuckle, Bryan stood, pulling Logan up after him.  “I’ll suffer through sex, for your sake.”

            “That’s generous of you,” Logan said, following him into the bedroom.  “I’ll try to be quick about it.”

            “That’s not necessary,” Bryan said, drawing him towards the bed.  “I’m very resilient.  You take as long as you want.”



            Logan got ready for his date while Emmett and Emmett’s new little boyfriend, Hayden, sat on his bed and talked.  He and Bryce were going to grab a quick dinner and then go to a concert.

            “Are you kidding me?” Hayden asked in a shocked stage whisper while Logan was in the bathroom fixing his hair.  “He’s dating twins?  Identical twins?”

            “Identical from head to toe, including sexy, sexy dark eyes,” Emmett said.  “Except for the red streaks in Bryce’s hair.  And his earrings.  And his tattoo.  I haven’t seen it, but it’s there somewhere, I just know it.”

            Logan stepped out of the bathroom, fastening his watch.  “Actually, Bryce doesn’t have a tattoo.”  He smiled.  “Bryan does.”

            “Bryan?” Emmett repeated, wide-eyed.  “What is it?  Where?!”

            “He put it in a private place, so the whole world wouldn’t see it.”

            “What is it?” Hayden asked, dramatically breathless.

            “It’s just one word,” Logan said, checking his pockets, picking up his keys, his wallet.

            “I can’t believe you never told me this!” Emmett scolded.  “What word?”

            Ready to go, Logan headed for the door.  As he left, he called back over one shoulder, “Bryce.”



matthew@matthewhaldemantime.com
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