by E.E. Grey
A chance at the Olympics has been everything Auden has always wanted, but now that it’s within his grasp, he finds himself slipping further away. Does he really want to be an Olympic gymnast when there’s so much more to life? To make things worse, he has both a major crush on his friends-with-benefits teammate, Trayce, and free-spirited musician named Shane. With Olympics trials looming on the horizon, Auden has to decide what he really wants and how much he’s willing to give up to get it. (M/M)
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Chapter 2: Punk Rock Boy
Auden breathed out at the press of Trayce’s cock in his sweatpants, hard and rocking in against him. His own jeans would soon become too tight, too confining as Trayce moved against him, hips rolling into his. His hands moved to Trayce’s waist, pushing at his shirt, sliding underneath, gliding over his toned muscles. This was why he was leaving Anya waiting downstairs. Any time he got Trayce under his hands, malleable to what he wanted, he’d take it.
Trayce licked up Auden’s neck, a hand pressed flat against the door as he ground into Auden, a slow, torturous circle with his hips that left Auden breathless and flushed. This was exactly what he needed—a distraction, a moment when he could just relax and enjoy the feeling of being with Trayce. No one was talking about trials. There was nothing outside this room.
Auden met Trayce’s mouth for a brief, mostly teeth and tongues, kiss, too busy panting for breath to do any more. He could feel Trayce’s breath against his lower lip, feel the tip of his nose pressed to his.
“Shit,” Trayce cursed as Auden pushed his hips up against him.
Auden wanted more, more than just Trayce against him. It was hot and sweaty and not enough, too much friction and not enough release, just pressure building. His boxers dragged against his throbbing cock with each twist of Trayce’s hips, and he couldn’t bite back the gasp that followed.
Trayce straddled Auden’s thighs, their heights almost identical except by a centimeter or two. Their bodies undulated together, hips moving up and back, and Auden knew they had to stop before he came in his jeans.
“Trayce,” he tried to say, but the word stuck in his throat, heat flooding his cheeks, mouth falling open to pant for breath. They usually got farther than this, but the pace was frantic now, hot breath panted against skin, pressure building in his cock with each rub, each twist.
Auden’s fingers dug into Trayce’s shoulder as he whined, muttering, “Fuck!” He wasn’t going to make it past this, not with Trayce grinding against him, hot and hard, not slowing down in the least. It felt good, the tightening under his skin, knowing Trayce felt the same. When they were together like this, Auden could swear there was something else between them. It was in the way Trayce’s hands gripped his waist and held him fast.
Trayce didn’t stop, moving even faster now, and Auden could barely gasp for breath around the pressure in his cock. He was beginning to seriously regret putting on jeans, gasping and squeezing Trayce’s shoulder.
He came before he could stop himself, overwhelmed by Trayce’s body pressed against his, Trayce’s hand grasping his side, pulling his hips in flush as they jerked and his head hit the door with a thunk.
“Shit,” he muttered, shifting awkwardly against the mess in his jeans. He’d have to change before the concert.
Trayce smiled, moving his hand from the wall to Auden’s jaw instead, tipping his chin back down. He kissed Auden without a word, slow and drawn-out, tongues sliding together as Auden kissed back, eyes closed. It was moments like this where he believed, almost believed, that this was more than just a fuck. He’d told himself enough times that he and Trayce were just friends, teammates, two guys who sometimes spent their evenings naked and sweaty together. Nothing more. And that had been fine, a few months ago, but a sense of normalcy was lacking in everything Auden did these days. Just once, he’d like to know what it felt like to be a normal twenty year old kid.
“My turn,” Trayce murmured a moment later, stepping away from Auden and tugging him towards the bed by his shirt.
“I have to go,” Auden said reluctantly, glancing at the alarm clock on Trayce’s desk. A part of him didn’t want to leave, not when there was the possibility of getting Trayce naked and on his back, vulnerable to him.
Trayce dropped his hand and shrugged. “If you have to. Or you could get over here and take your clothes off.”
Auden couldn’t suppress his smile as he shook his head. “Fuck you.” He’d deal with Anya’s annoyance at his lateness later. Right now, he had a smug Trayce to take care of. Stepping forward, he shoved Trayce’s chest and Trayce fell backward onto the bed.
Trayce wasted no time, shedding his pants, kicking them away, and Auden climbed over him, straddling his legs and pausing as he looked down. Trayce pulled off his shirt, revealing his perfect gymnast body, meeting Auden’s eyes, a grin playing at his mouth. As much as Auden saw the same muscles and expanses of bare skin every day, it was always better when it was Trayce, when they were alone.
“Good choice,” Trayce murmured as Auden’s hand slid down his chest.
It had been months since they’d started this and not much had changed. Trayce was just as adamant now as he was then about this arrangement only concerning sex. What was the point of romance? he had asked.
Their lips met for a short kiss, hardly anything, but Auden went back for another, biting at Trayce’s bottom lip, sucking until Trayce’s hand slid to the back of his neck, stroking the short hair. Auden felt Trayce’s cock pressed against his, completely hard.
“Mmm,” Trayce hummed into the kiss as Auden straddled him on the bed, hips pressing down. Anything was worth it to get Trayce like this, his breath coming shorter when Auden pulled back, lips sliding down his chest.
He made sure to take his time, tongue sliding over Trayce’s skin, down his sternum, licking and sucking. He left marks despite Trayce’s sharp breath, a wordless reminder to be careful. Anything they had to explain to the coaches wasn’t welcome. He’d never left a visible mark above Trayce’s collar, though he’d considered it once or twice. He thought about it now, but Trayce’s hand was in his hair, urging him down, past his hip bones to where his cock stood ready and eager.
He glanced up as he reached Trayce’s prick, hard and hot, heavy in his hand as he slid it down, gripping the base and pulling gently. He loved the idea that he could make Trayce bite his lip and strain against him, that Trayce wanted this as much as he did.
Trayce let out a slow breath as Auden slid his tongue past Trayce’s hip bone, teeth scraping against the skin. He shifted on his knees, pressing kisses down Trayce’s stomach until he reached his cock, then licking up the length.
This was what normal kids did, Auden thought as he stroked Trayce’s prick, weighing the heaviness against his palm. They slept around. They fucked in bathrooms of sleazy bars they were too young to get into. This was as close to normal as Auden was going to get. Still, there were other kinds of normal, like relationships and dinners and waking up next to each other.
Trayce never said a word, only huffing out a breath every once in a while, his hand carding through Auden’s hair as Auden leaned down and took him in.
Sucking cock wasn’t something Auden had ever thought he would pride himself on, but the way Trayce’s breathing increased, the way he pushed his cock up into his mouth, was proof enough of his skill.
He used his hand to jerk Trayce off along with each slide of his mouth, each flick of his tongue when he pulled back, licking the head and listening for the change in breath that usually accompanied it. Moving back in, he sucked harder, more determined to get Trayce off, to make it as good as possible. He wanted Trayce to want it as badly as he did, to admit it wasn’t just fucking.
“Come on,” Trayce muttered, impatient, but he stretched back as Auden licked the length of his cock, hand working with his mouth.
Auden didn’t need the sharp gasp to warn him, seconds before Trayce came. He didn’t need the hand tightening in his hair as he pulled back, stroking out Trayce’s release, come decorating the comforter. He pulled his sticky hand away and reached for Trayce’s discarded boxers on the floor, wiping away the mess.
“Ah, fuck,” Trayce breathed finally, spread out on the bed. Auden sat beside him. He shifted against the uncomfortable wetness in his jeans. “That was good.”
Auden glanced over but Trayce had his arms thrown over his face. If Trayce asked him to stay, to skip the concert, he would.
Just as he thought it, his phone vibrated in his pocket. He knew without even looking that it was Anya. Trayce must have heard it because he made a noise. “Your girlfriend is waiting.”
Auden pulled out the phone and sent a quick response to her impatient message.
“Maybe because I’m late,” he pointed out, rolling off the bed.
Trayce shrugged. “This is better than going out. Besides, early practice tomorrow. Dorian will murder you if you’re not in tip-top shape.”
“I should go,” Auden said simply. He didn’t want to think about practice or what Dorian would do if he showed up tired tomorrow.
“Enjoy your concert,” Trayce said, waving him away from the bed. “Maybe you’ll meet someone nice.” It was laced with sarcasm and amusement. “Someone who’ll bring you flowers and light candles during sex.”
“Fuck you,” Auden muttered, reaching for the doorknob. Just because Trayce would never do that didn’t mean there weren’t people who would. Just because Trayce never asked him to stay, it didn’t mean someone else wouldn’t.
“Aw, don’t leave mad,” Trayce said, pushing himself up and grinning at Auden. “You know what they say—you’re never supposed to go to bed angry.”
Auden yanked open the door. “You’re a jerk.”
“Let’s not get sentimental,” Trayce drawled, but Auden left before he could go on. Shutting the door with a snap behind him, he headed back to his room to change. It wasn’t that he didn’t know full well what Trayce was like; he simply hoped, sometimes, that he’d prove him wrong.
“I know, I know,” Auden said at Anya’s crossed arms and impatient look as he slid into her piece of junk car, a 2015 Ford Focus—once white but now a rusty brown—with a missing side mirror. Auden wasn’t sure it should even run considering how old it was. Anya stared at Auden as he buckled his seatbelt, and he turned to her, frowning at her gaze. “I’m sorry, okay?”
“I guess Trayce isn’t coming?” she said, less of a question and more of a disapproving huff.
“No.” He sighed. They really needed to get going. The sun had already set, leaving the desert landscape of Phoenix glowing orange from streetlamps instead. Auden really didn’t need a jacket considering the high temperature had been ninety-two and it was barely seventy-eight now that the sun had gone down, but it was his only excuse to wear something other than tank tops and sweatpants.
“So you just let me wait while you fuck your pseudo-boyfriend?” Anya tossed him a displeased look as they pulled away from the Center. The parking lot was meticulously landscaped with Joshua trees and a flowering Palo Verde in the center divider. The flowers had already begun to fall, the typical spring shower of yellow petals that covered the dark pavement.
Auden frowned out the window. “I didn’t mean to. It’s just, when we’re alone, it’s like he’s… Never mind.” It was stupid, but when it was just him and Trayce, he couldn’t help himself. He wanted to touch him, to kiss him, and Trayce wanted it too. Trayce may have said it was just getting off, a way to take the edge off, but Trayce had never turned him down.
Wishful thinking, that’s what that was, Auden told himself firmly.
The Center was fairly new to the valley, only about eight years old. Following the example of the World Olympics Gymnastic Academy in Texas, the directors had gone after former Olympians for coaches, including Dorian Stuart, one of the best coaches in the country. Auden knew he was lucky to be coached by Dorian, a former Olympic gold medalist. Gymnasts would kill for Dorian’s experience. As it was, though, Auden wasn’t sure it even mattered at this point.
The Center was set-up as much like any university Auden had ever seen, with buildings separated by winding cement paths, cacti sprouting up between tan-colored buildings. Though the sky was dark now, the lights of Phoenix blocking out any stars, during the day, it was perpetually blue with hardly a cloud to be seen.
Anya shook her head as she pulled out of the large parking lot and onto the street. The Center was a large area just outside of Ahwatukee in the shadow of the mountain, though Auden would have said it was more of a large hill. As far as he’d seen, there were no real mountains in Arizona. His dad had called it a pile of dirt when he’d come down to see the Center two years ago.
Most of the area around the Center was new construction: clean, painted cement to match the desert sand and carefully landscaped cacti and mesquite trees. Showers of tiny yellow flowers skittered across the windshield of the car as they drove.
“I know what you want to happen with Trayce,” Anya said as they merged onto the freeway, and she cut off a truck in the process. “But fucking around isn’t going to help.”
Auden pressed his forehead against the window. “I’m really not in the mood for this lecture.
“How about I lecture you on punctuality?”
Auden felt a twinge of guilt in his stomach. “I’m sorry I was late.”
“Was it at least worth it?”
“Well, the sex was good, if that’s what you mean.”
Anya rolled her eyes. “Better have been to stand me up. And Trayce is still refusing to admit you’re boyfriends?”
“Trayce and I are just friends,” Auden said simply. Boyfriends was a word that would probably make Trayce grimace.
“Friends, yes, I’ve heard that before,” she said, shooting him a look. “Friends with benefits. Have you never watched a movie or reality television? It never works out. Besides, Olympics trials are two months away.”
“So?” He was starting to get really tired of hearing about them.
She frowned at him and veered across two lanes of traffic for the exit to Tempe. “So the last thing you want now is a distraction.”
“Trayce is not a distraction. He’s just…”
“Something to do?”
Auden couldn’t explain Trayce to Anya. She’d just argue that he was using Trayce as an excuse not to find someone else who actually liked him. In a way, she was right. Trayce was something to do, something that shouldn’t distract him from training, from Olympic trials. It was an easy out. Of course, that didn’t account for the way Auden felt when Trayce smiled at him sometimes, like he might actually care.
Sitting back in his seat, Auden sighed. “You’ve got it so easy,” he said instead. “You don’t even have to worry about trials.”
Anya laughed shortly, pausing at a stop light. They were already downtown, surrounded by bright shop lights, bars and clubs. College students filled the sidewalks, and Auden gazed out at them. They were people with no concerns. They spent all their nights drinking and partying and not thinking about their futures, not like Auden did every single day.
“Yeah, I don’t have to worry about trials because I tore my rotator cuff which means all my training goes to shit and I miss an Olympic year and now I have to wait four more years before I’ll even have another chance.” She sighed bitterly. “I’m so lucky.”
Auden didn’t reply. Every time anyone mentioned the trials, which was every day, he began to feel more and more dread. He wasn’t sure why—he should have been excited. He should have been fantasizing about making the Olympic team and traveling to France. Instead, he’d rather not think about it at all.
In all the time he’d been training as a gymnast, the Olympics had always been there, somewhere in the future. Unreachable. Fifteen years of scrapes and bruises, pulled muscles and painful falls, of his dad counting every penny that went into training, he couldn’t just let whatever feeling of dread that came up every time he so much as heard the word “trials” run him out of something he’d worked so hard for.
Anya glanced at him as they passed under an orange streetlamp. “You’re not going to let Trayce get in the way of the Olympics, right? Because I’m counting on you. You have to make it for all the rest of us.”
The last thing to get in the way of the Olympics would be a guy, Auden admitted. She was right, though. There were people counting on him; her, Dorian, his parents. His future depended on how he performed in the next few months.
As they drove, Auden swallowed back his reluctance and shook his head at Anya. “Of course not. I’m gonna make the team.” He needed to put whatever this was, this unease, behind him. He’d come too far to give up now.
“You’re definitely gonna make it.” Anya smiled back and they pulled into a dim parking lot a minute later.
She was right. His whole childhood had been dedicated to one thing, and giving up now would be throwing away everything he’d worked for. He’d just have to work harder. And he would.
“Why do we have to park so far away?” Auden asked as they got out. The lot was dark except for a sole lamp at the far end. Auden was fairly sure this was where people went to get mugged.
“Because I’m not paying ten bucks to park on the same piece of cement five blocks from here.”
Sometimes it was difficult to believe they lived in the desert when all Auden could see was buildings, freeways, and shopping centers. The only things close to nature were the transplanted Saguaro cacti, the palm trees in boxes, prickly shrubs on the side of the road. It wasn’t like San Diego where his parents and younger sister lived. There, everything was green and lush, fed with constant sprinkler systems.
The place they were going was less of a concert venue and more of a bar that sometimes featured local artists. The doorman barely even glanced at their fake IDs as they entered. Auden only had one to get in to see the bands. Drinking was strictly forbidden when it came to training. Dorian was all about the nutrition rules.
Inside, it was already crowded. The stage was empty, though. Whoever had been on before had already packed up. Auden couldn’t care less about opening acts. He was there to see Barefoot Matador, a punk band from Tucson. They weren’t exactly famous, but Auden liked their music. It was a nice change from the Center where the lights went out at ten on the nose every night and any music played after that had to be done through headphones. Anyone he played Matador’s music to usually asked why he liked punk.
He couldn’t always explain it, but it was such a change from what he’d grown up with—there was an especially traumatic memory of middle school dances and being laughed at by all the popular girls as Uptown Funk played in the background. He’d decided right then that pop music was not his scene.
The same group of girls who seemed to follow the band around was already grouped around the stage. Most of the rest of the people in the bar were busy drinking and standing around for the show.
“You want something to drink?” Auden asked over the piped in music playing above them.
“Water,” she said and moved away to stake out a spot close enough to the stage to get a good view but no so close they’d be stuck in a mosh. Explaining strange bruises to coaches was not an easy thing to do and Auden figured it was best to avoid questions.
At the bar, Auden waited for the bartender to finish with a group at the other end.
“Buy you a beer?”
Auden was surprised at the offer, and he answered before he even glanced over. “I don’t drink.” He almost changed his mind, though, when he turned to the guy who had slid up next to him. He was a little taller than him with shaggy black hair, dark stubble on his jaw, and though he wasn’t particularly well-muscled, he wasn’t a stick.
“Soda then?” the guy asked, a smile curving the corner of his mouth.
Auden wasn’t used to being hit on in bars, especially by guys who were ten times hotter than anyone he knew, except perhaps Trayce.
“I can’t have caffeine,” he said, though, cursing the diet charts pinned up all around the gym.
“Aren’t you going for godliness,” the guy said, grinning. “Water, then. You can’t say no to that.” Auden smiled slightly as the guy gestured for the bartender. “Bottle of water for my friend.”
“Sure, Shane,” the bartender replied.
Auden paused. “You must come here a lot.” The guy arched an eyebrow and Auden nodded at the bartender. “Bartender knows your name.”
Shane nodded. “This place is like my second home. They give me stage time and I give them money for beer.”
“You’re a musician?” There wasn’t anything about him to suggest it aside from his unkempt hair and the calluses on his fingers that Auden noticed as Shane took the beer the bartender brought him along with the bottle of water.
“I take it you missed my set.” Shane took a drink and smiled as Auden paused. “It’s cool. I’m not the main attraction. Yet.” He paused, taking in Auden. “You’ve got some guns on you.”
“They’re not as big as—I mean, thanks,” he said, stopping himself halfway through saying they weren’t as big as some of the guys’ on his team. As far as gymnast bodies went, his was fairly average in muscle size.
“Is that why you don’t drink? A workout addict?”
Auden laughed. If only that was it. If he just liked working out, he wouldn’t feel so pressured all the time.
“I wish,” he said before he could stop himself then bit his tongue. “I mean, I’m a gymnast.”
“That’s cool. I do a lot of hiking, rock climbing. I bet you’d really like it. It can definitely get your blood pumping.” He grinned at Auden but a sound from the stage caught his attention. The band had finished setting up and was taking their places. Shane glanced at Auden and then grabbed a napkin. He took a pen out of his pocket and scribbled something down. “Show’s starting. You should call me some time.”
Auden took the napkin he handed over and didn’t say anything for a second, not until Shane’s back was turned.
“I don’t really have time for anything but gymnastics.”
Shane glanced back, eyes grazing down his body. “What’s your name?”
“Well, Auden, you might say that, but you’re here, aren’t you?” He smirked and disappeared into the crowd.
Standing at the bar, Auden stared at the number. It was the first one anyone had ever given him. Shaking himself, he stuffed it into his pocket and pushed his way through the crowd to where Anya waited.
“What took you so long?” she asked as he handed over the water.
Auden shook his head but didn’t answer her, turning to watch the band. His mind lingered over Shane, though, and he couldn’t say he paid much attention to the show that night.
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