In high school, Alex, Matt, and Gavin had been an inseparable trio, but all that changed when Matt and Alex started dating, and Gavin turned his back on both of them. Now in their late twenties, Alex and Matt are still together, but years of routine have worn their relationship into a rut.
When Alex unexpectedly runs into Gavin during a boys-night-out for the first time since high school, he's shocked to realize just how hot the other man has become. Alex loves Matt, but he can't deny his attraction to Gavin. And the more the three friends reconnect, the more Alex starts to suspect that the unrequited crush that drove Gavin away isn't quite a thing of the past that they thought it was.
And that crush might not have been as unrequited as it originally seemed, either. In fact, Gavin might be just the breath of fresh air that Alex and Matt need to breathe new life into their struggling relationship...if their hearts can survive it...
Genres: Gay / Contemporary / Ménage (M/M/M) / Group Sex
Heat Level: 3
Length: Extended Amber Kiss (16k words))
...The sound of the bedroom door latching shut behind Matt and Gavin made Alex’s shoulders twitch as though it had been a gunshot. He turned, halfway into the room, nerves crawling through his stomach.
Gavin kept his gaze turned somewhere halfway between the two of them, angled more or less at the floor. He had his hands shoved deep in the pockets of his jeans, curled into tight fists. Behind him, Matt looked just as at a loss. He moved away from the door slowly, his steps quiet on the carpet, as though a loud sound might cause any one of them to bolt.
Alex wasn’t entirely sure that he was wrong about that, either. Matt mostly looked uncertain, but Gavin’s gaze was tense, roving, the restlessness of an animal trapped in a cage.
“I’m sorry,” he said abruptly, making Matt and Alex both jump.
For a sinking moment, Alex thought he’d been even more right than he knew, that Gavin had decided he wasn’t up for this after all and was about to run.
“I’m not…” Gavin pulled his hands out of his pockets and made a helpless gesture. “I do this all the time,” he muttered, frowning. “It shouldn’t be a big deal. I don’t know why I’m being so weird about it.”
Matt startled at the reminder of Gavin’s job. Alex pressed the pad of his thumb against the center of his brow and tried to just keep breathing evenly. “It’s not just you,” he muttered. Gavin shot him a look like Alex had just thrown him a lifeline. “But maybe we’d better not get into your work experience just now.”
Color washed across Gavin’s face. It was endearing. Combined with his too-loose jeans and his There’s no place like 127.0.0.1 tee, he looked much more like the Gavin Alex remembered from high school, shy and awkward and fiercely defensive of his geekiness. Alex wasn’t sure if that made doing this easier, or harder.
Matt let out a heavy sigh that made them both jump. “All right,” he muttered. “First step is the hardest, right?” He grabbed the collar of his shirt and dragged it off over his head, then wadded it up into a ball and tossed it at the laundry hamper.
Relief washed across Gavin’s face. Alex waggled his brows at Matt, whistled and catcalled to break the tension. Matt laughed and gave his hips a little wiggle.
Gavin took his shirt off next. He folded it and laid it neatly on a chair as though Alex or Matt might scold him for making a mess of their room. But then he went for his belt, and Alex froze. Matt flinched a little bit as color burned across his cheeks. “Oh. I didn’t mean—”
Gavin glanced up at both of them and stilled with jeans halfway down his hips. Color washed across his cheeks, burned fierce and bright as his expression fell. “Fuck,” he muttered, scrubbing a hand across his face. “Fuck me. I thought— I thought we were just going to jump straight into the deep end, get it over with.”
Matt cleared his throat carefully. “I had been thinking more along the lines of dipping our toes into the water.”
“I’m sorry.” Gavin turned blindly, took two short steps back to the chair and reached with unsteady hands for the clothes he’d just shed. “I’m just making a royal mess of this, aren’t I? Maybe I should—”
Alex moved toward him, caught his hands, fingers circling his wrists and stilling him. He took the shirt out of Gavin’s hands and tossed it over the back of the chair. “You should stay.” He put a firmness into his voice he wasn’t sure he felt.
Gavin hesitated, then dropped his gaze down to the ground. “I’m really not sure I should,” he whispered.
There was hesitancy in him now, an uncertainty to his movements, as though he doubted every gesture. His fingers curled into half-formed fists, then straightened out again. He cast a sidelong glance past Alex, toward his shirt. He moved his hand as though to reach for it, then stilled and lowered it haltingly back to his side.
Fuck. The painful uncertainty in him hit Alex like a blow to the gut. It was wrong. He’d been so strong at the club, powerful and sure of himself, immune to any shock or scorn anyone might have thrown his way. Now he was here, and if Alex hadn’t known better, he might have thought Gavin had never taken his clothes off in front of another guy before in his life.
Yes, well, of course he’s uncertain, Einstein...