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Landry heard Jeremy sigh and felt him move his hips so their thighs rubbed.  It was, in Landry’s mind, agonizingly good.

Their kiss was wet, hot and urgent, tongues clashing, making Landry’s head reel.  Landry clutched Jeremy’s hair so he tilted his head, giving Landry access to that smooth neck.  When he took a little bite, Jeremy moaned – the sound was music to Landry’s ears.

Landry, lie still, a woman’s voice murmured; Landry could feel a nudge.  He felt someone throw a leg across his thighs and a hand gripped his waist.  It was not Jeremy.

Slowly, Landry realized he was dreaming.  The feeling of missing something grew with each second he woke from slumber.  It wasn’t the first time Landry had woken up totally aroused from a dream about Jeremy.

He stared at the ceiling and thought about what had gone wrong since that night in Miami.  You fucked up, Landry – bigtime, he told himself.  He had been hurt and angry.  Jeremy had rejected him.  He realized later, of course, where Jeremy was coming from, but by then it was too late.  Landry suddenly found himself with a girlfriend.

Elaine and he had been exchanging Tweets for a while – messages that were flirty.  He had played along – mostly because he was flattered by the attention.   There was a tweet-and-meet at the Electric Daisy Carnival and everything avalanched from there.  He regretted not having had more control over himself. He had thought having a girlfriend was  easier at the time – easier than having a boyfriend, who was as high-profile as Jeremy.

Jeremy.   Jeremy filled his mind 24-7.

Landry eased Elaine off him, stood up and opened the terrace doors to look at the city lights dotting the Taipei skyline.  He and Jeremy were both in Taipei – but not together, Landry sighed.

***

No drama, Jeremy thought – that was David and him.  He was, of course, acutely aware of how David felt for him.  In a way, Jeremy felt a bit bad about using David as a distraction from all the stuff with Landry, but David had understood that Jeremy needed time.

David had accompanied him to Taiwan for Jeremy’s basketball camp. He had been great with the kids and had charmed them with his humor and energy despite the language barrier.  They made a great team.

 

Someone else was supposed to have been there with Jeremy, but that point was irrelevant, Jeremy thought.  Might as well concentrate on the now, Jeremy, he told himself.

David observed Jeremy and knew right away that he was preoccupied.  They were on their way to a Nike event on a yacht waiting at the Bali Yacht Wharf.  Jeremy had been informed that Landry would join them there; he was in Taipei for a couple of days as part of a series of Asian promos by their common sneaker sponsor.

“Are you worried?” David asked.

Jeremy had always liked David’s direct approach, so he smiled and answered honestly.  “Yes.”

“Don’t be,” David reassured him.  “You’ll be fine.  I can always block him or throw him overboard, if you want me to,“  David joked.  He joked, but something in his voice told Jeremy that if he needed fielding from Landry, David would be there in a heartbeat.

Jeremy grinned, “I can take care of myself.”

There were a lot of reporters at the event.  David had been observing Jeremy “at work” for the last two weeks in Taiwan and he was still amazed at how good he was at handling the media.  He answered questions politely and patiently, posed for pictures and signed autographs.  He is still Jeremy, David thought, but more confident.   It was easy to totally fall for this Jeremy – if he hadn’t already.

They made their rounds with the event organizer and greeted sponsor representatives and guests.

The sudden change in Jeremy’s demeanor came when they entered the party room where most of the other celebrity guests were gathered.  One could hardly notice it – but David knew why.  He discretely placed a hand at the small of Jeremy’s back to show him that he was there and scanned the room until he saw what had caused Jeremy’s discomfort.

Landry stood with his blond companion a few meters away.  The inevitable was about to happen. He had spotted Jeremy and David, too and had begun to walk towards them. The blond girl who stood beside him was talking with some people and was oblivious to where Landry was heading to.

“Landry,” the event organizer named Helen noticed Landry’s approach.  “Great, we can have pictures of our favorite Knicks players.”

David glanced at Jeremy who made a short nod.  He stepped away so Landry and Jeremy could have their pictures taken. When Landry raised his arm to sling it across Jeremy’s shoulders, David clenched his jaw.  He could see the discomfort in Jeremy’s eyes – and something else too – sadness.  David wanted to take that sadness away from Jeremy, but this was something Jeremy had to personally take care of.

“Are you enjoying Taipei?”  Jeremy politely asked.

Stop being so polite, Landry was screaming in his head, but he smiled and answered, “Yeah; it’s a vibrant city.”

They stood talking about something and nothing for a few minutes before Jeremy commented, “We really do have to mingle.  It was nice seeing you.” Jeremy walked towards David who stood and talked with Helen.

Landry observed Jeremy and David move their way through the room.  He barely noticed the voice behind him that said, “I wanted to meet Jeremy, Landry.”  Elaine was pouting.  “He’s busy,” was all Landry said.

***

Jeremy made his way down the stairs; Helen said he could use the toilet in one of the yacht’s cabins.  Except for the run-in with Landry, he was enjoying himself.   Enough with the wine, Jeremy he told himself.  The drinks had gotten straight to his nearly-empty stomach, so he was feeling lightheaded.

He admired the luxury of the yacht as he washed his hands.

When he heard someone come into the cabin, he thought it was another guest who wanted to use the toilet.  “I’ll be out shortly,” Jeremy informed the person.

When he got out, he saw Landry standing with his back to the cabin door.  “Oh.  I’m done,” Jeremy said.

He was suddenly conscious of the fact that they hadn’t been alone in a room together since Miami. When Jeremy looked at Landry, he knew – Landry had his thoughts on that same night.

“We need to talk, Jer,” Landry said.

“There’s nothing to talk about,” Jeremy said and started towards the door, hoping to slip by Landry.  They now stood face-to-face.

“We’ve both gotten too much to drink, Lan,” Jeremy said.  The smell of Landry’s cologne was making him dizzy and putting all sorts of images in his head.

You make me drunk Jeremy – being in the same room with you, the sight of you,” Landry whispered, as he stood his ground by the door.

“Have I lost you to David?” Landry suddenly asked.

The question angered Jeremy.  He thought of Landry’s date out there and could not stop himself from saying “Whether I am dating David or not is no longer your business.”

Landry looked up at the hard tone in Jeremy’s voice.  He had never heard Jeremy be angry.

“I love you, so that makes it my business to know,”Landry countered.“Do you know how it felt seeing pictures of you and him – having candlelight dinners?  Seeing your pictures posted on his Instagram?”

“You sure do know how to show that you love me.  How do you think I felt when I heard you were dating – a girl?”  Jeremy said in a hard voice.  “It was a slap in my face – like we were nothing.” Jeremy still stood in front of Landry, his fists clenched against Landry’s breast.

Landry took hold of Jeremy’s fists and pounded them against his chest.  “Be angry, Jer.  Hit me.  Do anything, just don’t walk away from me,” he begged.

Jeremy looked up.  Landry looked so sad – so miserable.

He gripped Landry’s collar and gave in to his feelings.  Landry shook as their lips met.  This was no romantic, sweet liplock.  Jeremy took without hesitation. This kiss was fueled with anger, frustration and passion.   Their tongues fought, lips were bitten and pulled at.  When they abruptly broke apart to take a breath, Landry saw how swollen Jeremy’s lips were and felt the warmth of his own.

They stared at each other without uttering a single word.  Jackets were pulled off and dropped to the floor.  When they moved towards the bed, Jeremy pushed Landry down on it.  He feasted on Landry’s lush lips.  Part of him felt joy in being able to drive Landry to the edge.  The other part just wanted to enjoy the sensations of being this close to him again.

Landry moved so Jeremy was suddenly the one underneath.  They laughed, remembering better times. Landry was sucking at his neck.  “I never got to give you that hickie,” he said thickly, as he ravaged Jeremy’s neck.

When Landry pressed his body against Jeremy’s , it felt so good – so right.  He now knew that he was destined to love one man – just one man – his Jeremy.

Landry had begun to unbutton Jeremy’s shirt when a phone buzzed and vibrated between them.

“Don’t answer,” Landry murmured.

“I have to,” Jeremy sighed, fishing his Blackberry out.

Do I need to call the Coast Guard?  D.

The humorous message woke Jeremy up.  David was upstairs, probably worried about where Jeremy went.  It is such a mess, Jeremy thought.  He might not love David like he did Landry, but David deserved respect.  He looked at Landry who was waiting on the bed.  He was smiling- expecting Jeremy and him to continue what they had been doing.  What about the girlfriend?

Jeremy started buttoning his shirt, fixed his hair and picked up his jacket.

“Wait, Jer, what are you doing?” Landry asked, surprise in his voice.

“I have to go,” Jeremy said, avoiding Landry’s gaze, afraid that he would not be able to resist Landry if he looked into those eyes again.

He walked out of the cabin.  A glass panel along the hall showed his reflection- flushed face, red swollen lips and a mark on his neck that will surely be a deeper color the following day.  David will take one look at him and know.

And because David had always been a good friend, Jeremy decided that he needed to hear the truth – that was what he deserved.

***

Landry came out of the cabin much later than Jeremy.  He needed to compose himself and to gather his thoughts.  Landry wanted to understand why Jeremy just left him.  While he was trying to get over the arousal caused by the episode, he thought about what he needed to do.

It has always been and will always be Jeremy, he admitted. He can’t keep on lying to neither Elaine nor himself.

She was talking with some people, obviously enjoying herself.  Landry scanned the room – neither Jeremy nor David were there.  He walked up to the deck.  It’s a cool evening, so most of the guests were downstairs.

He found David and Jeremy standing by the railings.  They stood close, deep in conversation.  When Jeremy gave David a hug, Landry’s heart dropped.  There was an intimacy between Jeremy and David that cut right to his heart.

It was too late, he thought, as he quietly moved away.

Jump to Chapter 16: The glue that binds