Thru the Storm

by Bensiamin

Chapter 1

This is a work of gay fiction. While the locations are real, all characters and situations are imaginary. This story begins a few weeks after Christmas Ships, and brings two new characters into the social circle and lives of Jerrod and Roger from the Kaiser series. While it stands alone, the characters and story line will be more complete if you've read them first.

Troy first saw Liam while he was standing in line for lunch with his sister. It was mid-January, and they were at Mt. Bachelor on a family ski vacation. It would be a short ski trip, but it was the only three days he could get off at this time of the year. His position as Chief Resident at Doernbecher Children's Hospital was not very forgiving in terms of personal time off. No Chief Resident's position was, for that matter, but he'd worked long and hard for the position and wasn't going to compromise his standing or credibility with the Medical Director by begging for more time off.

What caught his eye was the motion of four young men walking into the main door. They were snow boarders, wearing low-waisted and high-collared boarding jackets, and walking with the swagger that snowboarding boots allows, in contrast to the stiffer walk of ski boots. They were having a good day, judging from their animated conversation. As they threw back their hoods and removed their caps, he realized one of them was Liam Fitzgerald. He was certain that he hadn't been seen as the group walked directly to a table. Liam was a first-year resident and was among the small group of six residents under Troy's supervision. Troy had noticed him the first day. Easy going and quick to smile, with bright blue eyes that contrasted with his coal black hair. His eyes widened and softened when he smiled. He seemed to smile a lot, as if he was happy with life or at least with himself, Troy had observed. He'd watched Liam from afar, in what he hoped had been seen as a purely professional way, for over four months now, making sure all their interactions were cool and professional. The last thing he was going to do was get too close to one of his residents. That could be the kiss of death.

Troy watched Liam's group for a few seconds as they all looked around the cafeteria, then put their caps and gloves on the table and started across toward the food. He sensed the line he was in begin to move and turned to follow his sister, who poked him in the side with her elbow and said, "They're all cute, aren't they?"

"Geez, Cheryl." He paused and thought to himself that they were all good looking and a couple were what he considered cute, and then told himself there was no need to be difficult with his sister. He smiled at her and said, "Well, in my book a couple of them are cute."

She grinned back and replied as she picked up her tray, "They're cuter than most of the guys in my program at Stanford, that's for sure."

Troy picked up his own tray and grinned back. "You're not telling me that they only admit ugly guys into the graduate program, are you?"

"No way," she said. "Those guys just seem older and cuter, and a mature cutie is way more attractive to me."

"Well, they are older. One of them is a first-year resident in my program, so that means he's about twenty-six. That's the same age as you."

She smiled as they moved on to place their orders. "Yep, mature cutie, that's what I'm interested in. You too, right? I mean you're twenty-eight, so isn't it time you found yourself a mature cutie?"

Troy smiled tightly and tried not to wince. Cheryl went on, "You're surely over Dennis by now, aren't you? I mean that was two years ago when you were still a resident."

"It was, and since then I've become Chief Resident and that takes a lot of time and has a lot of responsibility. You know how hard it was to get just this vacation time to ski with the folks. Let's order and go eat with them. They're probably wondering what happened to us."

As they sat at their parent's table with their food, Troy watched Liam and his group order and then walk back to their table, but they were caught up in their conversation and Liam didn't see him. 'Just as well," Troy thought. The lunch conversation with Cheryl and his parents moved from the morning's skiing to the afternoon ahead. The decent weather was holding, and the afternoon produced more good skiing with his family. When the lifts closed, they all headed for the parking lot and the drive down to the lodge. They were having dinner in the dining room of the main building and Troy knew that meant his parents would want to meet for a cocktail in the large lobby bar with its roaring fireplace and rustic timber beams before they went in for dinner. If they timed it right, his parents would have time for a nap followed by a shower, while Cheryl and he got caught up on emails and then rushed through a shower.

The four of them were seated in leather armchairs around a pine slab table close to the fireplace, having a pleasant conversation and enjoying their first drink. They'd both been quizzed by their parents about the current state of their careers and life on the drive down. Their parents lived in Eugene where his father was CEO of a technology company. Cheryl had flown in from the Bay Area and he'd driven down from Portland, so the drive from Eugene had gotten the catch-up conversation out of the way. He was pleased that Cheryl had been lightly harangued about when she'd marry and bring them grandkids, but that his parents had said nothing about his relationship—or lack of it. He hoped that's where it ended. His parents had accepted, but only tolerated, the fact that he was gay, and his father had all but rubbed his face in it with a harsh 'I told you so' when he and Dennis broke up. Or rather, if he was honest with himself, when Dennis dumped him. As long as the conversation stayed on snow conditions, the weather and whether they should have the edges on their skis sharpened, then he'd be satisfied. It was, after all, very nice of his parents to organize the ski trip and very fancy accommodations. Accommodations that he certainly couldn't afford on this Chief Resident income.

His mind was wandering as he sipped his gin and tonic, when Cheryl said softly from his side, "Troy, aren't those the guys we saw at lunch?"

Troy was startled, glanced at her and then across the lobby where the same four men were walking in. They'd cleaned up, and Liam looked handsome with his damp black hair combed back. He looked downright attractive as he took his coat off and the shape of his torso became apparent in the tight cable knit sweater he was wearing. It showed his body off much better than hospital scrubs did.

Liam glanced around the lobby and their eyes met. Troy hadn't looked away in time, but told himself that it wouldn't have mattered in this small space anyway. He waited, momentarily expressionless, to see what would happen. Maybe Liam wouldn't recognize him, or would let it pass. After all they were in a ski lodge, not at the hospital.

In an instant it happened. That easy smile appeared on Liam's face, his eyes widened and seemed to sparkle, and his arm came up, the hand making a small wave at waist level. Troy would have preferred it not to happen, knowing he'd hear about it from Cheryl later, but he found himself smiling back and gave a small wave in return.

He watched Liam turn to his group and obviously inform them that he recognized someone, and then sat and watched as the four men walked across the lobby toward them. Liam's smile held and his eyes seemed to widen and sparkle a little more as the light from the fireplace reflected off them. As he stood up, Troy could feel a smile on his own face and asked himself why he was allowing it. He supervised Liam, after all, and maintaining professional distance was paramount.

Liam knew it was dumb, but his heart leapt a little when he glanced across the room and recognized Troy sitting there, and then found himself looking and smiling at the Chief Resident… and he was looking back at him. Troy was motionless, holding a drink that he'd just sipped from, and sitting there expressionless. It was pretty obvious he was with his family, and he looked dashing. Clearly, he was recently showered, his sandy hair combed back and wearing an attractive leather vest over a light sweater. For an instant he wondered if Troy didn't recognize him, then he thought he saw a flash of clouding in Troy's eyes, as if he was confused… or was it pain?

Before he had time to process what was flying though his mind, Troy smiled back, and Liam's heart fluttered. Truth be known, he'd been interested in Troy since day one of his residency, but the Chief of Medicine had made a not so subtle comment during orientation about not fraternizing with the staff. He was speaking in general about fraternizing with other employees, and Liam knew full well that on top of the practical and potential legal hazards, there was the reality that hospitals were gossip machines. Then the Chief of Medicine introduced Troy to the new residents who would be under his supervision for a year, and as Liam watched and heard Troy introduce himself and describe the program, he realized that what was happening inside him was more than curiosity.

He also immediately realized that whatever it was had to be kept as a curiosity and nothing more. It would be one thing to date an administrative assistant in the Pharmacy department, but letting the Chief Resident, who was your supervisor, know you were interested seemed like mighty risky business. On top of that, he knew that all the admin assistants in the pharmacy were women, and being gay that was a non-starter. However, Troy did get his attention, and there was something about the man beyond the fact that he was damn good looking and that he didn't wear a wedding band. There was a certain savoir faire about him in spite of the fact that he maintained a professional distance. It wasn't that he was cold. On occasion he'd joke around with the residents, and he'd seen Troy grin and laugh, but it was never like he was one of the gang. He always kept that distance… like he didn't trust himself. Liam had kept his distance too, having no interest in getting into HR difficulties as much as he'd like to see what was in Troy's pants. He wasn't seeing anyone regularly, and Troy was, well, attractive. He was pretty sure he'd caught Troy looking at him a few times, in fact it appeared that he may even have been checking him out as if he was attracted to him.

Tonight it was the fact that Troy smiled back that did it. That was a first—a spontaneous smile that might mean something more than courtesy. Maybe it was the cocktail he'd been drinking, or simply being disarmed from being on vacation with his family at a ski lodge, but Liam found himself saying "Come on, guys. I know that guy," to his friends as he headed across the lobby. He kept looking at Troy, and he thought the man's smile widened as he drew near. At least the smile stayed on Troy's face, even as he saw the young lady who must be his sister look over at him, followed by the older couple that must be his parents.

'Be professional,' he told himself, and extended his arm when he was two steps away. As Troy stood up, Liam said, "It's good to see a friendly face here," and his smile turned into a grin.

Troy took his hand and he felt a warm shake as he heard Troy say, "You're not suggesting that most people here are unfriendly, are you?"

Liam paused momentarily and then replied, "Well, no. But I mean a friendly face I know." He turned away from Troy so he wouldn't be staring and pointed at the three young men who were now standing behind him and added, "These are my friends from college. We always try and take a boarding trip together at least once a winter."

Troy nodded and introduced his sister and parents, and then pointedly said, "I thought I saw you guys in the cafeteria on the mountain at lunch," because he knew Cheryl wouldn't miss the opportunity to say something about it if he didn't. He watched Liam introduce his friends and all of them engage in the type of brief and courteous chat that happens in a public situation when two groups don't know each other. Quickly they found out that both parties had dinner reservations at 7:00 o'clock, that Liam's friends were all from out of state, but they'd met while they attended University of Portland. Troy noted that Liam was the only one that had gone to medical school, but the other three had gone to good graduate programs and now appeared to be gainfully employed. The fact that his parents were engaged in the conversation with them was a good sign.

Liam found himself disengaging from the chatter even as he saw that Troy's sister and his friend, Peter, seemed to be connecting. He looked back over at Troy and smiled. To his surprise, the smile came back on Troy's face, and he said something about what the odds were of both of them not just having the same days off for vacation, but ending up at the same ski resort.

Rather than something cute about karma, Liam decided to go with a safe response. He nodded and then asked, "Who's covering for you while you're gone?" It seemed like an innocent enough question to Liam, and was about work, so that made it neutral.

"Dr. Burgoyne. He's a really good person, and is even willing to stoop to cover for the Chief Resident."

Liam's eyebrows went up. "Really. That says something great about both of you."

"You think?"

"Well, yeah. That he must not think he's some high and mighty doc type even though he's our senior attending physician, and that you must both either be good friends or know and respect each other for him to cover for you."

Liam could see Troy pause before he answered, choosing his words carefully. "It's both. We've gotten to know and respect each other over the years, and because we're a small residency program at a relatively small children's hospital, staff covering for each other is pretty much a necessity. He was in our residency program years ago. In fact, when he was in college, he was one of the handlers in our dog therapy program."

"Are you serious? He's been involved at the hospital that long?"

"He sure has. Dog handler during college and into medical school. He and his partner had two dogs and they both saw patients until the dogs aged out. Then after he graduated from OHSU he did his internship and residency at Doernbecher and stayed on. He's totally committed to pediatrics."

Liam felt Troy had made him part of the conversation, but the new information was surprising him. Not just that Dr. Burgoyne had been a therapy dog handler, but that he had a 'partner.' Did that mean he was gay? And he and Troy knew and respected each other. Did that mean they were close? This was new information about a subject he'd studiously avoided at the hospital. He was about to say something in response when the hostess called out "Whiteside, please. Party of four." He watched Troy's family disengage from his friends and saw Troy turn to follow, so he said, "Enjoy your dinner. We should be right behind you."

Troy's mother smiled widely and said something about how pleasant it had been to meet such engaging young people and suggested they could all meet back in the lobby bar later for an after-dinner drink. "We are all on vacation, after all, are we not?" She smiled disarmingly as her husband stepped toward the dining room and then it seemed everyone agreed that was a splendid suggestion. He noticed that Peter and Troy's sister were chatting quietly and seemed to agree. What was her name? Cheryl?

Troy watched Liam's group be seated a few minutes after his family, and then they were focused on their dinner and conversation. The food was good and Troy enjoyed his prime rib and was looking at the dessert menu when Cheryl leaned over and asked, "What do you know about Peter?"

Troy gave her the eye and replied, quietly, "Nothing. I just met him, too." He paused and with raised eyebrows added, "So, he qualifies as an approved mature cutie?"

Cheryl gave him an intense stare, one that said, 'I love you, but stand down,' and then said, "Looks to me like Liam qualifies as well. Am I right?"

Troy looked at the menu and then replied, "I told you he was cute."

"Well, there you go. Let's skip desert. The folks are watching their weight, and we can get back out to the lobby and get a table… or whatever." She smiled conspiratorially.

After their father paid the bill, Cheryl and Troy followed their parents out of the restaurant. Both of them gave Peter and Liam the nod and let them know they'd be in the lobby. When they arrived, Troy's parents were both sipping snifters of brandy, while Cheryl sipped a luscious looking red wine from a large wine glass and Troy was enjoying a glass of white wine. Liam and his friends pulled straight back chairs over to place them next to the armchairs, and Cheryl waved the waiter over to take the new arrivals orders. The conversation was lively about the dinner menu, the expected weather forecast for the next day, and where Peter, Liam and his friends were from. Peter and Liam were both born and raised in Portland, while their two friends were from Idaho and Montana.

Liam had sat next to Troy and as the main conversation quieted, they found themselves talking about growing up in Portland versus Eugene. Troy could see that Cheryl and Peter were equally chatting each other up, and his parents were talking about life on the east side of the Rockies with his other friends. It was no surprise that by the time the first round of drinks was finished, the parents were making noises about calling it an evening. Liam and Peter's friends appeared to take the hint and claimed they wanted an early night, and soon just the two couples were left at the table next to the fireplace. They all ordered another round, and Troy was pleased, but cautious when Liam slid his chair closer to his. Their arms rubbed together as Liam kind of shared the arm on Troy's armchair with him.

He was enjoying this. It was fun, there was no pressure, and it was kind of romantic. It reminded Troy of med school when he'd been able to go to a party and meet someone new and interesting that occasionally led somewhere with little or no risk. He wasn't surprised when Cheryl announced that she and Peter were going to take a walk to help digest their dinner.

Liam gave him the raised eyebrow, but waited till they'd said goodnight and were walking across the lobby before saying, "That was fast. Peter isn't usually out on the prowl."

Troy looked directly at him and said, "Looks to me like they both are." He paused, then asked, "Are you?"

Liam was surprised to hear Troy be so bold, but took it in a humorous way. When he looked up at him, he saw the flash of fear in Troy's eyes and then heard him say, "I'm sorry. That was crass and it's none of my business. I shouldn't have made a remark like that."

Liam kept watching Troy, not letting his eyes move away as he saw the little blush of embarrassment diminish on his face. Troy didn't try to break eye contact and after a few moments, Liam let a smile form on his face. They kept looking at each other, and Troy saw Liam's smile grow and his eyes widen the way it always seemed to work on his face, but this time with flashes of amber light from the fireplace glinting off those blue eyes.

Troy seemed to be trying to control a smile that was breaking out on his face, and finally said, "What?"

Liam held him in his gaze and then replied, "What indeed? As I remember seeing on a Tik Tok video, 'is that a banana in your pocket, or are you glad to see me?' Or, more specifically, are you glad we're alone now?"

He watched Troy's eyes widen in surprise and then look down at his crotch, then back up at him.

"You fucker."

"Caught you, didn't I?" Liam was grinning now. He turned sideways on the straight back chair, so he was facing Troy.

"Don't worry, I'm not going to tell anyone your secret."

"What secret?"

"Troy, come on. I'm gay and I've been out since junior high. I'm pretty sure you know it. I know I'm jumping to conclusions, and if I'm wrong, I apologize in advance, but I'm pretty sure you're gay too. So, we need to decide if we're just going to get that fact out of the way and continue to enjoy our evening."

Liam's eyes were sparkling, and the same friendly smile was on his face. There was no sign that he was gloating or that he felt like he'd scored points. He could see the clouds in Troy's eyes and the smile leaving his face, so he leaned forward and placed his hand over the back of Troy's and added, "There's no wedding band, I've seen no sign of you dating in the four months I've been in the program, and you have gay friends like Dr. Burgoyne and his partner." He paused, watching Troy's eyes and then added, "I've been attracted to you since orientation, and you seem to be enjoying our time together this evening."

Troy blinked twice, and to Liam it almost seemed like they accompanied an inner decision.

"I… yeah, I am. It's just that I'm not out to the world. Dr. Burgoyne is the only person at the hospital that knows. It's sensitive, you know, with my position and the hospital and everything."

"Troy, that's totally cool. We're over here in Sun River, not at the hospital. What happens here happens here."

Liam watched Troy smile wryly and reply, "You mean like what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas?"

"It you want to put it that way. I'm just telling you what I am and that I like you and that we're here, and want to know if you want this evening to go any farther than finishing this glass of wine by the fireplace?"

He watched Troy swallow, but noticed the wry smile soften and seem to turn to one of pleasure, and then he felt Troy turn his hand over and interlace their fingers. "Yeah, I would. My parents set this trip up and Cheryl and I both have individual rooms." He flashed a grin, "I'm guessing that sooner or later Peter will end up in Cheryl's." He paused again making a final decision and said, "Let's get out of here and go back to my room."

Troy settled the bill at the bar, and they walked across the lobby and out the main doors. Troy turned them to the wing his room was in, and as soon as they were out of the lights at the main entrance, Liam reached for his hand, interlacing their fingers once again. "Is that okay?"

He saw Troy nod and then say, "Yeah, it's just fine."

The room was halfway down on the ground floor, and Troy used the key card to open the door for Liam. He stepped through and stopped, turning to look directly at Troy as he turned from closing the door. There was hunger in Troy's eyes, and he stepped forward, slipping his arms around Liam's shoulders and pulling him close and into a kiss. It started dry, then he felt Liam's arms go around him and Liam's tongue push against his lips for entry. In a few seconds they were in the throes of a passionate kiss, tongues dueling for control .

After a minute, Troy pulled back and said, "Let's ditch these coats. I'm getting hot already."

Liam grinned and replied, "You're not the only one."

After hanging up their coats, Troy took Liam's hand and led him down the little hall, past the bathroom on the right and into a large room that had a queen size bed, a couch and armchair in front of a gas fireplace and a desk next to a sliding door onto a deck. The moonlight reflected off the snow on the deck. Liam glanced around and said, "Nice digs. Way better than the budget rooms we're staying in."

In front of the fireplace, Troy stopped, and they looked at each other as he pulled Liam to him. Liam tipped his head back, mouth open to resume the kiss, which picked up where they'd just left off. Liam understood immediately that Troy knew how to kiss, but that for him it wasn't a lively and animated dance of passion like Liam desired. He decided he needed to let Troy find out what that could be like. As their lips mashed and tongues dueled, he sensuously stroked Troy's shoulders, down his back and then pulled the back of his sweater out of his pants, slipping his hands onto Troy's low back, and stroking his skin.

He heard Troy gasp slightly, and as he went to slide his hands up Troy's back he ran into the back of the leather vest. He pulled off Troy's lips and said softly, "You look hot in this vest, but it's in the way."

Troy leaned forward and brought their lips together again as he unbuttoned the vest and tossed it onto the bed. "Perfect," Liam breathed into Troy's mouth, followed by his tongue, and then slid his hands up and then over Troy's shoulder blades, circling around and then stroking up and down his spine. He felt Troy shudder, and was thrilled to feel his own sweater being pulled out of his pants and warm hands sliding up his back.

Their entwining was sensuous, like they had both gone too long without passion of this sort, which was true. Liam felt Troy's hands move from under his sweater and come up to his neck and then his fingers slide up into his hair, softly stroking his scalp as his head was pulled closer to Troy's. Then he heard Troy say softly, "Let's take off these sweaters."

They broke long enough to pull their sweaters off and toss them onto the bed with the vest, and when they turned back together Liam said softly, "Are you okay with this."

"Well, yeah. Why wouldn't I be."

"You seemed a little hesitant earlier. Like you weren't sure." He paused and then added, "I want you to be sure."

A little smile appeared on Troy's lips, and he said, "I'm sure." The smile turned into a grin, and he said, "You kiss like no one I've ever been with. Where does all that passion come from?"

Liam grinned back and put a hand over his heart and said softly, "From in here. You know that adage about following your passion, right? Passion is an important part of happiness."

Troy took both of Liam's hands, beginning to pull him close. "Is that why you seem so happy all the time?"

"I do?" Liam seemed a little surprised.

"Yeah. You almost always have a smile on your face. And then there's those twinkling blue eyes."

"What? You noticed? I thought it was just me checking you out, not you checking me out."

Troy's grin reappeared. "Truth? I guess it was both." With that he pulled Liam to him, their lips meeting and Troy's hands sliding under his arms and making swirling motions on his back. The kissing was intense again, and Troy found himself thinking how new and different it was. Kissing usually was just a preamble to having sex, but with Liam it almost seemed like it was enough in itself. He felt Liam's fingers slide up his belly and across his chest, then stroke outwards and lightly pinch his nipples. He shuddered and heard or felt Liam say something like "you like," and when he groaned, Liam did it again. A minute later Liam pulled away from his mouth and bent over to kiss and then nip both nipples. It felt electric.

He realized that Liam was spending time making him feel good and he reveled in the novelty of that experience. A minute later he pulled Liam's face back to his and moved his right hand to rub Liam's chest, stroking around both of his pecs, feeling the moderate amount of hair between them, and then lightly tweaking his nipples. He followed the line of that hair down Liam's abdomen to his navel, where it broadened into a triangle that ran down toward his hips. The hair was soft and not thick and the feel of it was exciting. Troy's fingertips met Liam's jeans and briefs. He paused, intensifying the kiss, and he felt Liam take a breath and pull in his abdomen. Taking that as a yes, he slid his left hand around to Liam's lower back and pulled him forward while sliding his right hand past the waistband of his briefs, so his fingertips could stroke Liam's pubes. He softened the kiss and looked at Liam who opened his eyes.

For his part, Liam had been responding to Troy's exploration of his chest, and was anticipating where his fingers were going when he'd pulled in his belly. Being pulled forward and mashed between Troy's hands was hot, and he made a note to himself that this was a guy who liked to drive.

Troy saw the look of pleasure on Liam's face, and continued moving his fingers below his waistband, enjoying the feel of the light hair he now knew covered Liam's belly. Then he reached Liam's pubes and let his fingertips softly stroke, loving the feeling of softness and registering the corresponding change in breathing and intensified kissing by the man he was holding.

He slid further down and felt his fingertips reach the base of Liam's cock. It was semi-hard and he could feel the heat. He made small strokes along the base and felt Liam's hands moving across his back, and it felt so sensuous, so sexy.

That's when he felt Liam pull slightly away, turn his head to the side and say softly into his ear, "What are you into."

"What do you mean?"

"I mean sexually. What are you into? What do you like?"

Troy paused, then said, "Well, I guess all of… I mean I usually… on top... but what do you mean?"

"You've never been asked?"

Troy shook his head. Liam smiled and said, "So, it's always been assumed? I'm guessing you're always the in-charge guy, right? This is our first time together and the point is simply that we need to be able to tell each other what we like and what we want."

He saw Troy look at him like it was a kind of foreign concept. "Troy, it's just communication. We could just fuck and be done with it, but I don't think you want just that, right?"

"Well, I do, but…"

"Troy, are you telling me that you want me to just lay down and give you my ass to fuck?"

Liam was softly kissing the side of Troy's face as he spoke, and he heard him reply, "No, I mean I want to, but this is nice. You make it seem like kissing and stroking is just as good."

Troy almost felt embarrassed as he heard the words come out of his mouth. Liam was right, he was usually in charge, usually setting the pace which quickly meant he was on top fucking his lover. He was struggling to reconcile his feelings when he realized that what Liam was offering was something different than a hook up.

He heard Liam softly say, "Cool. There's lots of ways to feel good. We can go slow and explore the options. Let's not make this complicated, and let's go slow. Is that okay with you?"

He watched Troy nod and could see in his eyes that it was as if he was processing something new, so he added, "This should be about more than just getting your rocks off. It's about making each other feel good and happy. Now, let's get out of these pants." He stepped back and toed off his shoes, dropped his pants and briefs and stepped out of them. The smile on Liam's face widened as his cock hardened and stood away from his body. He watched Troy do the same and smiled at the nicely shaped cock that now stood up from the light brown bush of pubic hair.

They stood two feet apart in front of the fireplace and looked each other over appraisingly, both fully hard. "You're a good-looking guy, Troy," Liam said softly as he pulled him back against his chest. Their cocks rubbed against each other and then slid up into the close space between their bellies. Without even thinking about it, they were grinding against each other.

Liam kissed Troy passionately again, and for a second, he sensed that Troy didn't know where to take this. Maybe he didn't know how to make love, but he seemed flummoxed by simply sharing this type of sensuousness and passion.

He broke their kiss, leaving his lips close to Troy's, and whispered, "I think I know what we should do, since this is our first time and we're going to go slow?"

"What's that?" He heard the words as a whisper made into his mouth.

Liam pushed them a little apart and reached down and took both of their cocks in his hand, holding them horizontal, and slowly stroked them together. He could feel the heat of Troy's cock against his, and that made him even harder.

Troy, for his part, felt a wave of sheer pleasure flow from his cock into his belly. He looked down and couldn't believe how hot it was to see both of their cocks lined up together, and then he felt his hips respond as he thrust along Liam's cock and into his hand. He heard a whispered voice say, "you like?" He nodded his head as he gasped and leaned forward with his forehead against Liam's. Liam stroked them for a minute, and then Troy felt their cocks separate and then watched as Liam pulled his hips back and using both hands took their cocks and rubbed the heads together, as if he was introducing them to each other. Then he circled the fully engorged heads around each other. The intensity of the sensation shocked him, and it must have been the same for Liam because he could see precum oozing from both of their cocks.

Liam said, "There's some lube from our precum, but we need more." He slid their cocks back together, stroking and spreading the precum and then said softly, "Drizzle some spit down onto our cocks." Troy felt unsure, but did as he was asked, and then was amazed at how excited he felt as he watched the string of spit land on their joined cocks and then how Liam slowly spread the warm fluid with his strokes.

Liam stroked a few times, mixing Troy's spit in with their precum. Then, with his forehead still leaning against Troy's, he stopped stroking again and drizzled his own spit down onto both of their cocks. Then he began stroking again, slowly, and said, "That's better. Nice and slick, and now we're both mixed in this together."

Troy groaned and felt Liam give him a soft and sensuous kiss before rejoining their foreheads. Troy looked down across Liam's chest and abdomen, luxuriating in the light covering of black hair that led down to this cock now joined against his, and wondered at the sensuous feelings he was experiencing. Usually in his experience it was over by now and they both were resting in the afterglow.

Liam wasn't having any of that. He appreciated that Troy had a light patch of sandy hair on his chest, then very little until a thick treasure trail appeared and led to an equally thick bush of sandy pubic hair out of which stood an attractive cock about the same size as his. His sense was that most of Troy's prior sex experiences were kind of rushed, and he was determined to make this different. He slowly stroked both of their cocks, hearing Troy's breathing speed up, and after a minute feeling his cock swell further in his hand.

"Look at them. Do you see how beautiful this is? Do you feel how beautiful this is?" Troy couldn't believe he was hearing Liam ask those questions, but as he watched Liam's hand stroke their cocks together, he found himself agreeing and that his body was involuntarily agreeing as well, as his hips began to thrust in time with Liam's rhythm.

Liam felt Troy place both hands on his shoulders as and heard him gasp and then say, "Oh, my god, Liam, this feels unbelievable…" Then he felt Troy's cock buck in his hand and watched as he shot his cum across the top of Liam's cock and onto his abdomen. He felt the hot splashes at the same time as he heard Troy's gasps, and that's all it took to set him off, and he came, splashing his own cum onto Troy's cock and belly.

Liam slowed his stroking as the sensations became more and more intense, and then stopped, simply letting their two cocks rest and begin to soften in his hand. They both caught their breath, and then he released their cocks and pulled them together for another deep kiss. Troy responded in kind, and Liam purposefully ground their bodies together, mixing their cum together on their bellies.

After a minute he stilled the kiss and said, "We're totally mixed together now." He paused and then added, "We should probably take a quick shower."

Troy nodded and led him to the bathroom and they both stepped in after the water warmed. Liam attempted to soap Troy and make it pleasurable, but Troy busied himself with the soap, leaving Liam to wonder why. When they stepped out of the shower, Troy handed Liam a towel, and after they'd dried themselves off, he walked out into the room. When Liam followed him a few seconds later, Troy was putting his Levi's back on.

Liam stood watching for a few seconds, and then Troy looked up at him. "We've got a full day of skiing tomorrow. We should get a good night's sleep."

As he walked back to his room, a part of Liam wasn't surprised by how it had ended. But he admitted to himself that it had caught him off guard. Troy had seemed to go with the sensuousness of their time together, even if it seemed like it wasn't the usual way for him to be with another guy. In other words, more like a hook up. That was the exact opposite of what Liam had wanted to happen, but… oh well.

They'd had a great time together, and after all, even if they were on vacation, they'd be back at work together in a few days, so he might as well get ready for that. Maybe it was for the best if it ended the way it did. When he got back to his room, he slipped in quietly in case Peter was there, brushed his teeth and went to bed.

The weather the following day was quite good even if there were high clouds. The ride up the quad lift meant plenty of chatter with his friends, and that kept his mind off Troy. At mid-day Liam and his friends came into the cafeteria, and while they were in line, he noticed Peter looking around, then a grin break out on his face as he pointed to where Troy and his family were having lunch. On the way to a table with their food, they followed Peter and stopped to say hello. Liam tried to act as if everything was normal, but he and Troy shared looks a couple of times. As they left to go their table, Troy's mother said, "We have 7:00 PM dinner reservations. Meet us in the lobby beforehand for a drink if you get back in time."

Everyone smiled and nodded, and Liam followed Peter and his other friends to the table. The conversation was equally split between the quality of the morning's skiing and whether Peter had spent the night with Cheryl. Fortunately for him, Peter and he shared a room so only he knew that Peter didn't make it back until about seven o'clock. No one was learning that from him though.

They were getting ready to return their lunch trays when they saw Troy and Cheryl following their parents out the door. Cheryl waved at Peter, and Liam saw Troy look at him. His eyes seemed clouded, or was it fear again? The main door closed as they went out, and then only seconds later Troy hurried back in and rushed over to his table. Retrieving what he was after he looked around, saw Liam, waved and walked over. Liam stayed behind as his friends walked out and suddenly it was him and Troy.

"I forgot my gloves."

"Not a good thing when you're skiing."

"True. Actually, I came back to talk to you. I'm sorry about last night. How it ended. I was a prick. I didn't mean to be one, to be so cold. It's sometimes that… it feels like I have to be a certain way."

"So, you're telling me that you're conflicted? Is that because you always have to be in charge?"

"If that's what it's called. Fuck, I don't know. Last night was wonderful. I want you to know that. I hope I can see you tonight, but most importantly I needed to apologize for being a prick."

Liam was silent, just looking straight at him. Troy seemed genuinely contrite. "Liam, I thought a lot about it this morning, and I mean every word I said. I'm sorry, okay?"

A small smile broke on Liam's face. "I won't say I understand it, but I accept it. I thought last night was wonderful too. I didn't like the way it ended."

"I didn't either, now that I think back on it. I hated it as soon as I got into bed." He paused. "Listen, I've got to go. The family is waiting. Will you and your friends be there for a drink before dinner?"

"I'll have to talk to them and think about what you've said. Probably."

"Okay, if so, see you then." Troy made the slightest pucker with his lips and Liam could see the hint of a glimmer in his eyes.

"Don't push your luck." Liam said softly as he watched Troy turn and hurry out the main door.

They met in the lobby, and it was much like the evening before except there was more time. Peter sat next to Cheryl, and they were chatting up a storm. Liam and Troy were likewise sitting next to each other, talking and occasionally being part of the larger conversation between Liam's friends and Troy's parents about snowboarding versus skiing. They went to dinner in separate groups as their tables were called, and reconvened in the lobby. After their drinks, Troy's parents begged off and it didn't take Liam and Peter's friends long to follow. Peter and Cheryl were making eyes at each other and shortly bid them good night.

Troy raised his empty wine glass and asked if he should order another round. Liam nodded and after Troy let the waiter know, he said, "I'm glad you and your friends joined us tonight."

"Peter insisted," Liam replied.

"You know that for a fact? I can tell you Cheryl was pretty insistent too."

"And how about you?"

"I wanted it as much as she did." He paused and slowly reached out his hand. "Maybe more."

Liam put his hand over Troy's, letting the weight rest on his fingertips. "Then tell me what happened last night and why?"

"Like I said, it just seems that sometimes I've got to act a certain way, do things a certain way. I didn't mean to be cold and harsh."

"So, just to clear the air, on top of being an in-control type of guy, you're also very traditional and locked into rigid role models? Is that what you're telling me?"

The waitress returned and set down two fresh glasses of wine. Liam watched Troy nod his thanks, lift his glass and take a sip, and then swallow before he looked over at him.

"Well, I guess I'm kind of a control freak. Cheryl always told me that, and Dennis did… well, anyway, yeah, I guess I am, kind of. Part of it goes with the responsibility, like being Chief Resident. I mean, you know, there are not just rules and regs, but ways things have to be done 'cause we have the wellbeing of our patients to consider. Anyway, what do you mean about the rigid role models? I don't think I buy that."

"Yeah, I get the by the book part, Troy. And, for the record, you're a very smart and competent person and you're a very good Chief Resident. You know more than all of us residents put together and you do a good job… even if you are standoffish and in control all the time." Liam smiled at Troy, and went on before he could reply. "But still. It was like a switch flipped or something last night. Totally weird. About the role models? Now that I've met your parents, even though I don't know them, it seems like your dad is a pretty rigid and controlling kind of man. Am I right?"

Troy nodded. "Please, please, don't tell me I'm like him."

"Hey, I went to Catholic school when I was a kid. Remember the 'sins of the fathers are visited on the sons' quote?"

"Yeah, I do. I did the whole Sunday School thing. My parents are Mormon. Well, jack Mormon's, you saw them drinking. But dad's the head of the family and when you're raised in a patriarchal religious setting like that you learn the order of things.

Liam interrupted him. "What's a jack Mormon?"

Troy grinned and said, "Someone who still believes the church doctrine and the whole religious program but doesn't keep the rules. You know, like the ones about no alcohol."

Liam grinned and nodded his head and then Troy went on, "So, the patriarchal stuff is on top of the whole modesty thing that teaches women to stay covered up to keep young men from having immoral sexual thoughts, and you never talk about sex. You're always policing yourself and I guess I absorbed a lot of how he behaves. But I don't think I'm like him. I mean, not exactly like him. What about you and your father?"

"My dad died when I was thirteen, and my mom raised me after that. They were progressive Catholics to start with, which is why I only had a few years in Catholic schools. She made clear it was my responsibility to figure out who I was and be my own person. For a few years I even decided I was queer."

Troy's brow furrowed. "So? What's the issue? You're gay."

Liam grinned and stroked his fingers on the back of Troy's hand. "You apparently don't know that most people that self-designate as queer are saying they're rejecting the rigid and conventional role models. Most of them aren't gay or lesbian. They're just different or want to be."

"I didn't know that. I guess I should, though. So, do you forgive me for being a prick last night?"

"I'm still deciding. I'm almost there because I figured out this afternoon, after you apologized at lunch, that you didn't make a conscious decision to do it. It just kind of happened. Like autopilot or something." He paused, and then as he looked directly at Troy he added, "That's scary in its own way, though, you know?"

"I can only control what I can control," Troy said apologetically.

Liam laughed softly, "Says the guy who wants to be in control."

"Now wait. I pretty much let you be in control last night."

"You did, and that was very nice of you. Have you thought any more about the question I asked you, about what you want sexually?"

"Yeah, quite a few times today. I've always been in control, like you said, and always been on top. I guess that's what I know so that's what I want. I've been trying to figure out why it seems strange that you're asking me questions about what I'm into and what I want and how I feel. Why does it sound strange to say that?"

"Probably because you're not clear on what you want and aren't aware of all the possibilities and don't talk openly about sex much. And by the way, if I sound like Dan Savage, it's because I've read his column for years."

Troy's forehead wrinkled. "Who's he?"

"Only the most popular and together sex columnist for like the last twenty years. He's gay, so he gets it in a completely different way." He paused, intensifying the stroking on the back of Troy's hand as he said, "I won't ask what rock you've been under, but it sounds like what you want is to be the fucker, not the fuckee?"

"Well, that's putting it a little harshly, don't you think?" Troy grinned. "Fuckee is a new term for me."

"Like I said, it's about communicating," Liam replied. "A lot of that is getting beyond the social hangups and all the cultural baggage so two people can just talk about what makes them happy."

Troy looked at Liam, noting the sparkle in his eye. "What makes you happy? What are you into?"

Liam smiled at him devilishly. "I've been out since I was thirteen, so I've got more experience than you. I've had a few longer-term relationships, but they didn't last. I'm into it all, as long as no one's hurt and everyone's' happy."

"Meaning what?"

"What if I told you I was a side?" The devilish smile was still on his face.

"What's that?"

"Ahh, the things you have yet to learn! A side is a gay guy who doesn't like anal, so he's neither a top or a bottom. He's a side."

Troy rolled his eyes, and Liam continued. "But that's not what you asked. You asked what makes me happy. In terms of fucking, I'm versatile. I like to fuck, and with the right person I like to be fucked." He stopped, looking directly at Troy.

"Like I said, I've only ever topped. And I never came out. I mean not really. I was too worried about what that meant. You've met my father. I mean, for a long time I told myself I wasn't gay, but that I just wasn't into women and liked to have sex with men."

Liam grinned at him. "Ahh, you were one of those non-gay MSM's?"

"Well, yeah, till Cheryl told me I was full of shit and that if I was claiming to be a 'man who has sex with men,' and I didn't like women then I was gay."

"How hard was that to take?"

"Not that hard. We were in college my parents were riding me about no girlfriends and wanting me to get married and provide grandkids. But I just put my head down and focused on getting into med school and then being top of the class. I didn't get real about accepting it till my last year in med school when I was with a guy for a year."

"That was Dennis?"

"Yeah. It didn't end well."

"I'm told that lots of relationships don't end well," Liam said.

"You too, huh?" Troy paused and then said, "If you've accepted my apology for what happened last night, and we're back on the same wavelength, then what say instead of continuing this therapy session here in the lobby, we go back to my room and pick up where we left off last night. I mean before the shower."

"You're sure about this?"

"I am. I felt things last night I hadn't felt before. It was wonderful holding you and being held and… well, who knew that cumming the way we did could have been so monumental."

"I'm glad you thought it was monumental." Liam realized that their hands had come together for the last few minutes and decided that was a subliminal message that they were back on the same page. Troy settled the bar bill and they walked out of the lobby, then Troy took Liam's hand as they walked toward his room.

They stripped naked in front of the fireplace, and then embraced, the passion evident in their kissing, as if there hadn't been an interlude with a problem to be worked out. Running their hands over each other followed, and it wasn't long before they were stroking each other's cocks.

Liam pulled off the kiss and said, "We should slow down a little." He rested his forehead on Troy's, both of them looking down each other's belly to their fully hard cocks held in each other's hand.

Troy said softly, "What we did last night was a little kinky, wasn't it?"

"Not the way I think about it. For me kinky is sexual acts or fantasies for heightened intimacy and pleasure between partners. Did we do anything to meet that definition?"

"God, yeah!"

"Well, there you go. You're now officially kinky!" Liam laughed softly and he heard Troy chuckle.

Troy put his free hand on Liam's flank, stroking it and said softly, "You spent all of last night and so far, tonight making me feel good. Thinking about me. No one's ever really done that before."


"And, I meant what I said about it being monumental. You get me so fired up, so horny…"

"Troy, we're looking at each other each other's hard cocks. It works both ways."

"Liam, I want you so bad!"

"Meaning you want to fuck me?"


"I want you to. I told you I'm versatile. So, I'm doing this out of choice, I'm giving you my ass. You're not taking it, okay. This is not a conquest. What we're doing is the exchange of pleasure. I know you haven't been fucked and you're not ready for that." Liam's hand went around Troy's cock and he said softly, "I like you a lot. I wondered what was in the scrubs the first time I saw you at orientation. I like the feel of this and want it inside me. Have you got condoms and lube?"

Troy was smiling softly as he kissed the side of Liam's face. "Yeah, I put it in the bedside table earlier."

Liam kissed him back. "I got clean before we met for dinner."

"You didn't! You were planning this all along?"

"No, I wasn't planning it, but I was open to it if things went well between us tonight. And they have so let's do a little love making."

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