In The Mirror

Ceasar stands naked in front of the mirror, arms outstretched. “I’m starting to sag everywhere,” he says, frowning. “I should start going to a gym or something.”

“You’re too hard on yourself.” Ice stands behind him, arms crossed. “You don’t look a day over thirty.”

“Such a liar.” A smile tugs at Ceasar’s lips as he turns in the mirror, pinching at the skin around his waistline. “You scandalized those other parents at the graduation ceremony, you know. They all think I’m a cradle robber now.”

“They’re just jealous that a young punk like me snagged someone like you.” Ice rests his chin on Ceasar’s shoulder, holds him from behind. “I saw the way those divorced moms were looking at you,” he says, their eyes meeting in the mirror, “they’re like vultures. It’s a good thing I went with you or I’d never have got you back. I’m surprised you made it out of all those PTA meetings without them jumping you.”

Ceasar grins full now and puts his hands over Ice’s. “You overestimate me,” he says. “I mean, look at those crows feet when I smile. That’s not attractive. They’d rather have someone like you, all young and energetic.”

“You underestimate yourself.” Ice kisses along Ceasar’s shoulder, up his neck, his lips coming to rest just below Ceasar’s jaw. “You keep saying you’re getting old,” he murmurs, “but look at yourself. Your heart still beats so fast when I touch you like this.” He laughs and pulls Ceasar into a tight embrace. “Mine too. Can you feel it?”

Ceasar closes his eyes. “Yeah,” he says, “Same as mine.”

“Even though I’m young,” Ice points out, “and you’re old.”

“I know, you don’t have to tell me.” Ceasar opens his eyes again and smiles into the mirror. “Even though I’m old and you’re young, you get excited, too.”

Ice makes a face. “Stop turning my words around like that,” he says. His hands slide down Ceasar’s stomach. “What do I have to do to prove it to you?” he whispers, his voice thick and low. “How bad do I have to want it? How many times? It’s still all I think about, you know. Even just seeing you standing here like you were was driving me crazy.”

Ceasar gasps as Ice takes him in his hand. “Me too,” he says, “It’s all I think about, too.” He can’t take his eyes off the mirror. A tremor runs through him and he sees his knees buckle beneath him. His Adam’s apple bobs up and down when he moans, and his knuckles are white where he grips Ice’s arm. It’s revolting and fascinating. Ceasar remembers Ice pushing him into the bathroom once, pulling off his towel and pressing him against the sink. Ceasar’s knuckles had been white in the mirror then, too.

“You’re the only one who’s ever excited me this much, you know,” Ice says. Ceasar can feel him, hard at his back. “It’s never enough with you. Even if I tied you down and did this over and over it wouldn’t be enough.” Ice licks up Ceasar’s neck and along the edge of his ear, losing himself. “Would you hate me if I locked you up until I was satisfied?”

Ceasar shakes his head. “I’m—” he chokes.

“I know.” Ice’s eyes never leave Ceasar’s in the mirror. He speeds his strokes and Ceasar comes with a strangled cry in his hand. Ice can see Ceasar’s whole body tremble in his arms. He kisses his neck and shoulders over and over again as Ceasar slumps against him, and while Ceasar breathes hard and ragged Ice picks him up and carries him to the bed, lies him soft above the covers.

Ceasar stares up. “I’m sorry I ran back then,” he says. “I was scared.”

“I know, you don’t have to tell me.” Ice brushes the hair off Ceasar’s forehead, shorter and greyer than it was back then. “Just don’t do it again, okay? You promised you wouldn’t.”

Ceasar smiles and wraps his arms around Ice’s neck, pulls him down to kiss him full on the mouth. The first time they did this they’d lain facing each other for what seemed like hours afterward, whispering in the dark. He can’t remember what they talked about, but he remembers Ice’s eyes glinting blue in the light from the window, and he remembers the goosebumps on his skin where the blankets didn’t cover, and he remembers figuring out what love meant.

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