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Description Another artifact of the universe makes an appearance, this time at a loft party to celebrate the pilot Henry scripted, Ice City, going to series. If only Henry were having as much success figuring out his feelings for his sweet but ordinary-looking roommate, Gavin.

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AddedOctober 2017
Updated27 Oct 2017
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I’d been avoiding Gavin all night, and he was starting to notice. Our enormous but still cheap warehouse loft in a forgotten corner of industrial Brooklyn was packed with dozens of mostly hot guys, so it was easy enough to hide; but over the last half hour I’d found myself making eye contact with him every few minutes through the shifting gaps of nicely dressed men, and he looked pensive and worried as he sipped his pale-blue-tinted banana daiquiri.

Frozen drinks were a theme of the party, a tip of the hat to the high concept of the pilot we’d just sold, and the banana daiquiris were proving especially popular for some reason. Maybe because the faint blue tint made them seem exotic—though the one I’d had already was delicious enough I’d be grabbing another at the first opportunity no matter what color it was. Later I’d have to ask my buddy Desmond, who’d agreed to cater this shindig, if he’d gotten a special kind of bananas or something.

“So I guess the pressure’s on you now,” Dmitri Novikov was saying over the low-key but vibrant electronica playing on our killer speaker set-up. I tore my gaze away from another chance sighting of Gavin’s troubled mien and looked up at Dmitri. See, why couldn’t Gavin look as hot as this guy? Impressively tall (a good four inches taller than my 5’11”) and even more impressively handsome, Dmitri was nicely tanned, had longish dirty blond hair down to his broad shoulders, and was pimped out with hot muscle. You could tell looking at him he was the kind of guy who spent all his time primping in front of mirrors, shopping for thin, tight, chocolate-brown sweaters and tailored slacks that hugged his ass as lovingly as the ones he was wearing now, and posing shirtless on Instagram grinning in front of waterfalls or rubbing noses with puppies borrowed especially for the shoot. I wanted that—the looks, the effortless allure, the delectable dimples and hundred-watt smile. Sure, Dmitri himself was clueless. And kind of a jerk, unlike my sweet, always humble and considerate roommate-with-benefits. But… I shook my head at my own shallowness and tried to focus on the conversation I was ostensibly having, only to realize I’d lost the thread of it. A gust of air-conditioning seemed to brush my cheek. It was a cool, rainy June evening outside, but the air around you still starts to feel a little heady when you’ve got a hundred humans moving around in a single, enclosed space, and I was glad for the industrial-capacity a/c that my brother-in-law had installed and souped up for us not long after I’d moved in.

“Sorry, D,” I said. “What were you saying?”

Dmitri was standing just slightly too close, which was another of those off-putting habits of his that he thought were both endearing and useful for networking. I had an impulse to move away, but the dining table we’d backed against one of the walls was directly behind me, and if I backed up more than an inch I’d end up sitting on it. “I was saying,” he said with his patented phony smile, “that now that we’ve sold the pilot for Ice City, you must be under the gun to deliver scripts.”

My stomach wanted to tighten at this reminder of looming deadlines to come. But you can’t be a budding TV writer without developing a few techniques for caging that stress-monster that takes up permanent residence in your gut the moment you commit yourself to making a living writing words for other people to mangle, misconstrue, discard, and replace on a daily basis. “That gun is pointed at Jude,” I said, and boy, was I thankful for that. I still thought it was brilliant that my writers’ circle friend Jude Delavan, who’d already made a name for himself with a best-selling string of slightly supernatural gay romances while he was still in his twenties, had also turned out to be aces at script-editing for a slightly supernatural gay drama now that he was in his thirties. He was pretty wild, always ready to try new things, but buttoned-down and goal oriented when he was on the clock, and he was an excellent motivator. I trusted him, and more importantly, I took seriously his trust in me. With him in charge the writing would get done, no matter how much my own feet wanted to drag. “Anyway, you’re the one that’s going to have to be kissing guys on camera every week,” I added with a wink.

“I don’t mind,” Dmitri said easily, taking a sip of his whisky. I liked to tease him about this, because it seemed almost perverse to me for a straight guy to relentlessly pursue one of the leading roles in our obscure, underfunded gay drama’s sprawling cast of hotties, in this case playing the taciturn but secretly passionate bio-geologist and ex-Navy Seal Llewellyn Malachite. But the fact that he’d be spending an awful lot of time over the next few months flirting with guys, making out with guys, slow-dancing with guys, pretending to have sex with guys, and generally being a part of a simmering, sultry guy-fest didn’t seem to bother him one little bit. Dmitri had gotten what he wanted—to be appreciated for what he brought to the table, and to get paid for it. Our show was set in a New York City that had suddenly and inexplicably become snowbound and sleet-battered all year round, even when everything beyond a rough fifty-mile radius was baking in brutal summer heat, or doused with sweet spring rains; and Dmitri had been cast in our little permawinter wonderland for three reasons: he was a competent actor; he looked good in a parka; and he looked good taking off a parka to reveal he was wearing nothing underneath it. If he ever won a statue for anything, his personal trainer deserved to be up there with him.

“Why are you avoiding me?” said Gavin in my ear suddenly.

I started, just barely avoiding sloshing my drink onto my dark, summer-weight henley. Gavin was standing right next to me, looking friendly except for stormy dark brown eyes. I looked over at Dmitri, who’d turned his big, white, meeting-people smile on Gavin. “Hey there,” he began, but faltered momentarily before deftly finishing, “…Henry’s roommate.”

“Gavin,” my roommate reminded him, proffering a hand politely. “Good to meet you again, Dmitri.”

Dmitri shook his hand and opened his mouth to reply, but before he could say anything else Gavin had turned back to me. “So, why are you avoiding me?” he asked again pleasantly. He finished his daiquiri and set it the empty dining table behind me, eyes boring into me the whole time.

“I’m… going to go refresh this,” Dmitri said, raising his tumbler, which still had an inch of whisky.

As soon as he was gone I leaned closer to Gavin. “I’m not avoiding you,” I said, keeping my voice low.

Gavin grimaced. I held back a sigh. I really liked Gavin, and we were incredibly compatible. He was totally boyfriend material, and we actually had a lot of fun in bed now that we’d started doing that in a casual, “we’re both horny young guys” kind of way. I just wished I could be more attracted to him. Don’t get me wrong—he’s totally okay looking, even cute in a dimply, reliable, best-friend kind of way. He’s got a great grin—it’s kind of intoxicating, all by itself. Those cocoa-brown eyes were sweet and kind, with a faint spray of freckles splashed just under them across his cheeks and nose. He looked really nice tonight, too, in the crimson shirt and chinos, and he’d recently ruthlessly hacked back his fast-growing inky curls. But… I had a type. And my type hewed less to the average-height, average looks, overlooked-in-a-crowd guy and more toward… well, the guy you could spot in a crowd because he was tall, hunky, and a step or three up from ordinary joes, like me and Gavin.

I looked hard at my friend, roommate, fuckbuddy… whatever he was to me. What the heck was wrong with me? I’d been telling myself for weeks that it wasn’t my fault, “you’re attracted to who you’re attracted to”, all that shit; but the truth of it is, the attraction was there, for both of us. I had feelings for Gavin. And I was pretty sure, if I was really honest with myself, that he was falling for me big-time. Which only made me feel incredibly guilty, because I had this stupid, ridiculous hang-up about how he didn’t look like—well, like the guy who was currently being trailed by four guys in tight shirts and even tighter jeans trying to chat him up on the way to the top-flight open bar Des had set up on the other side of the loft.

I looked back at Gavin, momentarily trapped by those warm, brown eyes and their dark, flicking lashes. “Is it about the show?” he asked. “Writing deadlines, that kind of thing? I know you, Hank. I know how distracting that stuff can be.” He said it with genuine commiseration, which only made me feel guiltier. He seemed to look at me more closely, more intimately. “I want to help you. Whatever I can do. Whatever you need from me.”

“I know, Gav,” I said. “The show—don’t worry. I’ve got that handled.” Which was true. The stress in my life wasn’t coming from the scripts for Ice City. Not yet anyway.

But my uncertainty, which unbeknownst to him was all about what I was feeling about Gavin, must have bled though my words, because he stepped closer and said, “I mean it, Hank,” he said. He’d arbitrarily started calling me Hank the moment he’d met me, six months back when I’d first come to look at a room in a loft that was recently vacated by an especially assholish barista who’d skipped out on the rent, and Gavin was assuring me that him being a music teacher at a high-end private school and part-time songwriter and club performer didn’t mean I’d be having to deal with him wailing on electric guitars like Eddie Van Halen or whatever at all hours of the night. Since no one called me Hank it felt strangely endearing and connecting, like a pet name—not that I had ever shared that piece of information with him. Later I found out his boyhood Chesapeake retriever was called Hank, which led to a very aggressive tickle-fight and, once we’d recovered from that, a night of pizza, beer, and every Indiana Jones movie except the last one.

Gavin moved his head toward me, an inch closer still. “I am here for you,” he said earnestly. “What you need me to be.” He bit his lip. “What you want me to be.”

I was suddenly conscious both of being alone with him and, at the same time, surrounded by a hundred laughing, chatting, slightly sozzled friends, coworkers, and extensions from same. This was too serious. I tried to make a joke, because that’s what I do when I’m backed in a corner. “If that were true, you’d be half a foot taller,” I blurted, and then I felt my grin freeze right there on my face. Fuck, why the hell had I said that? I was the biggest dick in the fucking universe.

And then, even as my brain scrambled to come up with some way of taking my cruel taunt back, I managed to register something very strange, which was that I was no longer looking at Gavin’s eyes.

I was looking at his throat.

Suddenly my heart was battering against my chest. Like that guy in a thriller who’s just felt blood drip on his face, I slowly tipped my head up, until I saw Gavin staring wide-eyed down at me. The music seemed to slow, and everything else became indistinct. We stood there, agape, as reality stepped up and slapped us in the face.

“Fuck a big ol’ dog in the butt,” Gavin whispered finally, voice full of awe, and the sheer incongruity of Gavin’s silly, trademark “what-the-hell” expletive with… whatever had just happened made me snort out a laugh. God, fucking Gavin. My heart calmed, and my insides relaxed.

“You don’t have a dog,” I said with a grin. It was what I always said.

Gavin stared down at me round-eyed for another second, then his face broke out into a huge grin of his own. “Guess I’ll have to go out and get one,” he responded, like always. There was still some shocked disorientation in there, but this, us, sharing that ridiculous dialog again, put us both at ease.

“I’m back,” Dmitri said, breaking the spell, and we both snapped our heads around to stare at him with the sudden dismay of conspirators discovered. We, Gavin and I, we could deal with this, whatever it was. But for the last sixty seconds or so I’d really actually forgotten we were standing in the middle of a bustling party full of friends, strangers, and TV producers. In fact it had slipped my mind that there were any other people in the universe besides me and my suddenly taller roomie, so it was pretty jarring to have Dmitri right there again in our personal space, grinning inanely at us and cradling not one but three drinks from the bar. “I know!” he said, beaming, misreading our shocked expressions. “I thought it would take forever at the bar with how many people showed up for this thing, but to tell you the truth,” he confided to me with a wink, “I think your boy Desmond has a crush on me. Here, this is for you,” he added, handing me one of the pale blue daiquiris. I took it automatically. Dmitri dealt the other daiquiri to Gavin, retaining the replenished whisky for himself.

“I was just talking to him about these frozen thingies,” Dmitri continued, glancing politely between me and Gavin—you know, the Gavin who was now taller than him—as he rattled on. “He was talking about how he’d found this weird blue banana in with the consignment he’d ordered, and there was something about how he’d tasted it, and it tasted really good, and how he wished he had a whole bunch of those blue ones. And it turned out he did have a bunch of blue ones in the box after all, or maybe he found some other blue ones somewhere—?” Dmitri was losing track of the story he was relaying, but he waved it away with a smile. “Anyway, I’ll stick to Wild Turkey, thank you very much,” he concluded, with an air of someone who wanted to make a joke about “fruity” drinks but thought it ill-judged to do so in a roomful of gay men. “So what were you guys talking about?” he asked brightly, looking between us.

All through Dmitri’s wandering monologue I’d been staring at him with my stomach twisting in tighter and tight knots, waiting for him to suddenly notice that Gavin was looming over him instead of the other way around and freak out, screaming infinitely into oblivion, like a kid from a 1950s sitcom coming in for dinner only to find his parents fucking like chimpanzees on the dining room table. But it was slowly dawning on me that Dmitri had noticed exactly nothing—which was just as baffling as what had happened to Gavin. Was he that oblivious? I didn’t think so, and anyway that didn’t seem to be a sufficient answer. Was there something bigger going on? Something that was different for me and Gavin than it was for everyone else?

Someone once told me—I think it was an exasperated English professor—that I was that kind of person who, on coming across a bear snoozing in the woods, would look around for a branch to poke it with, just to see what would happen. Right then, I felt well up in me, potent and uncontrollable, a giddy need to poke the bear.

Dmitri was still looking at me, his well-groomed eyebrows raised slightly, and so was Gavin, his eyes starting to widen again as the ramifications of Dmitri having not noticed anything had changed about him started to hit home for him as they had for me. As I glanced over at Gavin I caught sight of his shirt sleeves, and paused. Gavin was taller now, but the crimson shirt cuffs were still resting where they should be, just past his wrist bone. I frowned and looked down at his ankles. Sure enough, the cuffs on his chinos hadn’t ridden up, either. That confused me, but it also gave me ideas.

The conversation was still on pause, so I took the initiative. “We were talking about Gavin’s workout regimen,” I said slowly, lifting my gaze to meet Gavin’s. He had looked pretty normal at his previous height, but now, post-tallification, he looked closer to skinny, which was what had got me thinking in that direction. Gavin was watching me intensely, and now I could almost feel the excitement brewing in him just under the surface. He wanted me to say it—he wanted me to do it. To see if it would work. To see what things would be like if it did work.

My heart was in my throat, and I’ll bet Gavin’s was too, but I pressed on, affecting nonchalance so Dmitri wouldn’t catch on that something weird was afoot. “How he’s been working out an hour or two a day the last few months, putting on muscle in all the right places. Quicker than he thought he would,” I added. Already with those words Gavin had started swelling with a modest increase in muscle mass, so that his crimson short was now pleasantly snug across the shoulders, chest, and upper arms, and his chinos were showing a hint of thickening in the thighs, too.

I poked the bear a little more, glancing up to meet his eyes. “You must have gained, what, thirty pounds?” I said to him, as if confirming with him a fairly secure visual estimate.

Between one blink and the next Gavin’s muscles bulged, thickening like crazy. Gavin gasped, glancing down at himself and then at me. “I don’t think it was that much!” he said, sounding alarmed.

“You’re right, you’re right,” I said smoothly. “It was only twenty pounds,” I assured Dmitri, and glanced back quickly and watched in wonder as Gavin’s muscles retracted a bit to become only twenty pounds’ worth more of improvement on his hitherto defined but unmuscled frame.

Dmitri was considering Gavin with the shrewd eye of someone for whom working out and developing toned, photogenic muscle was all part of the job description. “Thirty pounds would have been incredible,” he agreed. “But twenty is still pretty remarkable for a few months’ work. Where do you work out?”

Gavin and I exchanged glances. I think we both sensed how awkward it would be if Dmitri or one of his extended crew of actor buddies turned out to be a member of whatever gym Gavin or I were to randomly name as the place Gavin had supposedly spent all this time sweating to build all this muscle. An idea occurred to me, and I looked quickly across the loft to make sure the door to the third bedroom was shut tight. Fortunately, I was able to get a brief line of sight through the crowd. Closed, thankfully. I turned back to Dmitri. “We… have a weight room set up in the other bedroom,” I fibbed, gesturing in that direction with a tilt of my head. In truth that room contained only a couple of boxes of stuff I hadn’t needed to unpack yet, a couple of Gavin’s old guitars, and a trunk of linens and blankets from Gavin’s grandmother’s house, most of it tucked into the room’s narrow closet so the room’s use could be left open in case we decided to do something with it. Which, it seemed, we just had. “It’s great,” I added to Dmitri, compulsively overselling the lie. “State of the art stuff. You should try it sometime.” I winced inwardly at that last one. The chances were slim he’d actually take me up on it, but still—

Then it occurred to me with an uneasy twinge that, in this moment where I was saying things like Gavin was six inches taller and kitted out with 20 pounds of grade-A muscle and those things had come true, it was just conceivable that if I looked in that bedroom right now I’d find a gym-rat’s dream gym, or whatever portion of one would fit easily in a 12x15 sectioned-off, high-ceilinged sleep-space.

“Oh yeah?” Dmitri said, with an interested look at the closed door to the third bedroom. He looked back at Gavin, appraising him up and down again. “Those are remarkable results for an in-home set-up. Do you have a trainer?” It sounded like he was angling for the job out of habit, though whether for himself or a buddy I couldn’t be sure.

“I’ve been helping him,” I jumped in. Dmitri eyed me skeptically, and no wonder. I wasn’t any more muscled than Gavin had been a minute ago, and Dmitri must have doubted whether I really thought myself qualified. “What about you, D?” I hurried on. “You must have been hitting the weights pretty hard yourself. You look good. Fuck, you must’ve gained an inch or two in the pecs just since we wrapped on the pilot last month.”

Dmitri smiled, looking down at the well-developed pecs in question, which were highlighted very nicely by that skin-tight chocolate sweater he was wearing. “Actually, I haven’t really had time to—” he started to demur, but then his smile faltered as he stared hard at a piece of personal real estate that Dmitri, I realized, must know every square centimeter of better than a numismatist knows all the different ways a human nose can be represented on an inch-wide disc of pressed metal. As Dmitri frowned down at himself I belatedly took a long sip of my second daiquiri and exchanged a look with Gavin. He was staring at me like he was watching someone juggling loaded pistols, but his lips were also quirked in a tiny smile.

“So what is your secret, D?” I asked guilelessly. Dmitri looked up at me in confusion, so I indicated his just-slightly-bigger pecs with look and a tilt of my chin.

“Oh,” Dmitri said uncertainly. “Well, you know. Lots of hard work. Sumi!” he called abruptly, and one of the producers, a very handsome, square-jawed fellow not much older than us who looked to me more like the mechanic you take your car to and then unexpectedly have weirdly pleasant dreams about, paused in passing.

“Oh, hello, Dmitri,” Sumitoro said genially, sipping from his own almost-depleted daiquiri. They both shifted their drinks so they could shake hands. “Nice work on the pilot. Keep that up and we’ll have the guys streaming us in droves.” He turned to me. “Henry! Brilliant work!” I still had my daiquiri in my right hand, so he slapped my shoulder. “That was easily the best gay sci-fi script I’ve ever read,” he enthused. “Congratulations.”

When I was a little greener in the business I would have tried figuring out whether that was actually a compliment, however narrow, but I had enough mileage now to know that Sumi probably had read more than his share of really, really terrible gay sci-fi screenplays. I’d also learned that producers seldom meant what they said and could generally be discounted—at least, when they were being nice. I liked Sumi, though, and I gave him a genuine smile. “Please,” I said, turning to what was becoming my standard response. “I made it great, but Jude made it brilliant.”

“Ah yes, but you are much better looking than Jude,” Sumi said, wiggling an eyebrow.

“Cripes, how many of those have you had, Sumi?” I laughed. The need to poke the bear resurfaced, and I couldn’t resist pushing things still further. “Anyway, Gavin’s definitely the cute one in this group,” I added with fake bonhomie, nodding toward my roommate beside me.

“Thanks a lot!” Dmitri groused amiably.

I glanced toward Gavin with a playful smile, then took in a breath. Gavin was still… Gavin, but now he was cute Gavin, cuter-than-me-or-Sumi-or-Dmitri Gavin. It was like all this time I’d been seeing him at just the wrong moment or in bad lighting or something, so that his cuteness had been obscured and somehow hidden from me. His eyes shone, his skin was smooth, his face was perfect, and something swelled in me just to look at him. But the really odd thing was that Gavin wasn’t flabbergasted or scoffing dismissively at the idea of someone who’d always been average-looking like him being called cute. No, he was blushing slightly, as if he were used to his comeliness being remarked on but was far too unassuming to easily accept the compliment.

Sumi cocked his head and gave Gavin a strange look. He’d met Gavin many times, of course. Before the ironically named Summergate Studios had gotten its own space not far from our ex-warehouse, the writers and producers had had more than a few pizza-and-beer-infused writing and planning sessions for what would become Ice City in the spacious digs of our loft. “I guess I hadn’t really noticed,” he mused, frowning slightly. “And you’ve certainly put on some muscle since we first met—that I definitely had noticed. Very impressive. Tell me, Gavin have you ever considered modeling? Acting?”

Dmitri, who had been listening to this praise for my adorably pink-cheeked roommate with steadily draining good humor, was now almost aghast, though he hid it with a laugh. “Sumi, are you trying to put me out of a job?” he asked, making forced effort to sound like he was teasing.

Sumi winked at me, and I realized with some relief that the producer was winding the poor guy up. I ducked my head to hide a smirk as Sumi said philosophically, “Eeeeveryone’s replaceable, Dmitri,” before wandering off. Dmitri frowned after him, realizing too late that his goat had been gotten.

I let out a snicker. “Don’t you start,” Dmitri grumbled.

“I dunno, D,” I said, unable to keep back a shit-eating grin. “Suddenly I feel inspired to write in a part for a tall, good-looking young guitar player.” I turned to Gavin and wiggled my brows. “You game?”

“I’ll… leave the acting to the professionals,” Gavin said judiciously, still blushing.

He had meant “professionals” as a compliment, I was sure, but Dmitri seemed to take it as snark. “You guys suck,” he said, his phony smile now looking intentionally phony for once, and trudged off into the crowd to find a more appreciative audience.

“Yes,” I said after him, “yes we do,” and Gavin laughed outright.

“You’re something else,” Gavin said, shaking his head and grinning as I turned back to him.

I stepped closer to him. “Oh yeah?” I asked, flushed with energy and mounting desire. “What am I?”

Gavin gulped, but he held my gaze. “You’re my boyfriend,” he said, suddenly serious. The affection in his eyes was so obvious, he’d never need to actually say the words.

It was my turn to feel my cheeks warming up a bit. “Yeah?” I said, serious too, but still smiling. “Is that what you want?”

“Almost since I met you,” he admitted. Very deliberately, he set down his drink on the table behind me, drawing slightly closer to me as he did so.

I bit my lips together. I was starting to feel warm all over, not just my cheeks. I set my drink next to his, then moved toward him, looking up at his sweet, loving face. “So what does that make you?” I asked huskily.

There were people all around us. I could smell the alcohol, daiquiris, beer, spirits, cocktails all mixing with colognes and after-shaves warmed by a few hours in an enclosed space, even one as big and as efficiently climate-controlled as this one. The music was thumping low and unobtrusive, like it was winding around our feet. The air was filled with mixed-up, unintelligible conversation and other sounds of human interaction. Outside the rain was soaking the sidewalks and filing the air with charged particles. And yet, once again the world had receded to just us, a universe of blurred sights and sounds around a single clear space that contained me, and Gavin, and everything that we were or could be to each other.

“What does that make me?” he repeated my question, his glinting brown eyes boring into mine. “I’m what you want me to be.”

“You already—” I started to say, but he touched a finger to my lips.

“I want more,” he insisted. “I want you to push. I want you to go further. I want you to go too far.” His eyes seemed to deepen as I stared into them, darkening with the intensity of what he was feeling—what he was yearning for. “I want to be your sex dream,” he said, low and rough. “I want to be your deepest, most carnal fantasy.”

We stood close for several heartbeats, not moving, only breathing. We both knew we had only this one chance, this one moment. I was rock hard, and close to panting, my breathing kept steady only by an effort of will. I could have fucked him, right then and right there against the pushed-aside dining table. I could have made love to him in that moment, and it would never have ended. But this—this, here, now, was more important. I felt the need to remake him into my dreams like a physical urgency.

I licked my lips. “If you were my fantasy,” I said, my voice sounding reedy and uncertain in my ears, and then I faltered. These were the kinds of words I had never said aloud. I knew people who shared my fetishes who loved to do voice role-play, but I’d never had the nerve. It was only the steady certainty of Gavin’s eyes that made it even conceivable now. I shivered and forced myself to speak the words, brutal syllables stripped of anything but frank declaration. “If you were my fantasy,” I repeated hoarsely, lips twisted as if I were spitting insults at him, though my voice was pitched so that even Gavin could not have heard me were he not standing so close I could feel his warm breath on my cheek, “your cocks would both be twice as big as mine.” I kept my gaze on his, not letting myself look anywhere but in his eyes. The aftershocks—that was later. This was the earthquake. This was the moment of deep, revelatory convulsion.

Gavin’s eyes were dark, full of lust, and far more than list. “Yours are… really big, though,” he admonished, and I felt… cripes. I felt both of my hard, aching cocks shift in my black jeans, in between heartbeats, from average to way bigger than average, shoving straight out along my hip like thick, swole sex-crazed twins who did everything together. But I didn’t want to pay attention to those feelings, not now. Later, yeah. Fuck yeah. But now——I ruthlessly shoved away the uncanny sensations of weight, and heft, and sensitivity of flesh in my own crotch. This was about Gavin. My man. My willing fantasy.

“Twice. As big. As mine,” I insisted, and Gavin sucked in a long breath between his teeth.

He nodded, once. “Keep going,” he pressed.

I our gazes were melded together. “Yeah?” I said, wanting to make sure. He couldn’t know how fucked up my fantasies could get. Could he?

But I could see it in his eyes. He did know. He knew me. “Keep going,” he commanded, almost gruffly.

My skin suddenly seemed to heat to boiling point at that, and my heart battered against my chest. I was so turned on by him ordering me to change him that I very nearly got swept into a huge orgasm right there, and the knowledge that I had, that he had—that we both would be feeling our eruptions from two amazing cocks made my climax almost impossible to suppress. Somehow I managed, but it was a struggle, and my tsunami would not be held back for long.

We were on the clock now. There was very little time for me. No, for both of us. We were both close, driven to the edge, clinging to control. I had to do this now. “If you were my fantasy,” I said almost through gritted teeth, repeating the words like a talisman whether I needed to or not, “you’d have… thirty more pounds of muscle.”

In my peripheral vision I could sense Gavin swell bigger, thickly muscled but still “aesthetic”, but still within the realms of an athletic guy of his newly delicious height rather than a massive bodybuilder. Huge could be fun, but this was my fantasy.

Yes,” Gavin panted. “Keep going, Hank. Push it further. Push me further.”

“You’d have ten-pack abdominals,” I said, the words coming easier now.

Gavin’s eyes lit, and I could really see it. Shoving past normality was what he craved. “Yes,” he said. “Please.”

I still had to force the next words. This was the big one. We both knew it. And we both had to have it. I was holding back a double orgasm so huge I was sure I was going to lose myself falling backwards into a black abyss and leave the world for a time, and I could sense with absolute certainty that Gavin was worse off than I was.

I gritted out the words, one at a time. “Four… arms,” I said, and Gavin’s mouth opened as if he were going to explode with climax right in that moment.

He was going to cry out his Yes!, so I pushed up, grabbing the back of his neck at the same time, and pulled him into a hard kiss. His arms—all four of them, red-wrapped and hard-muscled—wrapped instantly around me and held me tight against him. I could feel his muscles, I could feel his cocks, his arms, everything I had given him. It was a rush greater than anything I had ever known, not for of any feeling of power but because I had given those things to someone who wanted to have them more than anything else on earth, because he wanted, he needed to be my fantasy.

He broke the kiss, still holding me close, and we pressed our cheeks together, the faint stubble of his jawline rubbing pleasantly against mine. He breathing was hard and ragged into my ear.

“Keep… going,” he growled.

I was so shocked my heart skipped a beat. “Gav—” I whispered urgently.

He pressed his lips to my cheek. “Do it,” he whispered, and this time it sounded more like begging than a command.

I pulled back to look him in the eyes, then, seeing what I needed to, I grinned and kissed him again. I kept the grin as I spoke the words, and they came out not harsh, not brutal, but gentle, even loving. “Two heads,” I said softly, staring straight into his eyes.

He grinned back at me. It was amazing, seeing two of his sweet, intoxicating grins at once. I’d always liked those grins.

Then—and I don’t know quite what came over me—I added mischievously, as if ordering off a menu, “And, let’s say… one-quarter Latino.” He burst out laughing, and I joined him, deliriously content for maybe the first time ever.

We held each other for a while, making out sweetly as I shifted my attentions from one head to the other and back. Slowly, our awareness expanded again, as the sights and sounds of the party unblurred around us. We were still achingly aroused, but it seemed we had passed our crisis, and it was enough just to enjoy each other. I caught the smiles and winks of a few groups of people around us, and gathered that we’d been very publicly having a moment together, and the crowd of friends, colleagues and miscellaneous folks populating this get-together found it endearing as fuck.

“I was wondering when you guys would get your shit together,” said a friendly voice. We looked over to see the show’s wunderkind executive producer, Adrian Powell, beaming at us, with Sumi and Dmitri and a lot of other cast members and professionals gathered around and beside him.

Gavin was more relaxed than I had ever seen him. “He needed a little coaxing,” he allowed, indulging in his new ability to talk and kiss me behind the ear at the same time.

“Afraid of too much smooching at once, Henry?” Sumi teased, and there was a ripple of laughter. The electronica playlist shifted from something ambient to a fusion house number, and I felt an impulse to take my guy into the center of our loft and dance, even if no one else would—though I figured if we took the lead others would follow.

As I was distracting myself with this pleasant thought, my sexy, now slightly darker boyfriend stepped in and answered. “Naw,” he said. “He’s just skittish about dating. Too many guys just want him for his millions,” he added casually, reaching behind him to retrieve his mostly untouched second daiquiri and taking a long, innocent sip from it—while still smooching my neck.

I gaped up at him, suddenly aware of the family fortune stuffing my various bank accounts with more lucre than I could possibly know what to do with. Momentarily dumbfounded, I stole a look around. I realized not much had changed in our loft—I lived pretty simply, and so did Gav. Though the sound system had gotten an upgrade, and I was fairly sure those top-of-the-line guitars and keyboards tucked away by the back wall were gifts I’d given him.

I eyed my lover, silently communicating that he was playing a dangerous game. “And Gavin,” I said, turning to the crowd,is too used to groupies who only want him because he’s such an amazingly talented singer and song-writer and guitar god and—” Gavin stopped me by bending and kissing me, hard and dirty, on the mouth and neck, to the whistles and cat-calls of our audience.

Gavin broke the kiss (at least with one mouth) long enough to say, “You’re something else.” I just grinned, then I kissed him back.

Once we’d recovered from that I called out to everyone that it was time to kick up our heels and dance, pulling my guy out into the center of the loft’s expansive, well-polished hardwood floor. Someone turned up the music and dimmed some of the lights, and for a while we had our own hopping little club right in our own home (in a building that, I realized, I now owned). I heard people around us saying things like “You’re a great dancer!” and “So are you!”, and I would look over and see that, wow, they really were amazing dancers. And then… then, finally, it all fell together.

Desmond had had that one blue banana, and after he’d tasted it he’d off-handedly wished for more, and behold! there were more. And he put it into the frozen daiquiris we were making to celebrate our snowbound pilot selling and going to series. And because of that stupid party theme, we’d all shared in some of whatever it was in that blue banana that made words and desires come true. Well, all of us but Dmitri. I remembered him smugly affirming his loyalty to Wild Turkey and barked out a laugh.

Gavin bent toward me as he danced, smiling his heart-breaking sexy double smile. “What’s funny?” he asked.

I looked to where Dmitri was dancing nearby with his co-star, Emmett Hughes, who played the dour and reclusive but kinky crypto-meteorologist Symon Mallowburne. Emmett was looking very, very handsome, I noticed, and things being what they were I now couldn’t help but wonder if that was because one of my fellow blue banana daiquiri imbibers had told him he looked very handsome, or if it was because he’d always been that good looking. And I realized that I, not having been a part of the exchange, had no idea and would never know, I guessed. The only thing I could be sure of was that it hadn’t been the whisky-drinking Dmitri that said it, though I did notice that he was looking at Emmett like he was trying to hide how smitten he was. No, I added to myself as I watched them enjoying the music together, there were two things I could be sure of—the second was that clearly no one had told Dmitri that he was a great dancer.

“I’ll tell you later,” I told Gavin, smiling back up at him.

He’d followed my gaze and guessed we were talking about Dmitri. “Should we do something nice for him?” he asked in my ear. “He kind of helped bring us together.”

That seemed to be a bit of an overstatement. Nonetheless, I considered his suggestion. “Something like, ‘he’s not as much of an asshole as I thought he was’?” I suggested cattily.

Gavin made a face, then nodded over at Dmitri and Emmett. “What about them?” he asked.

I shrugged. “They’re both single,” I agreed. “You want to do it together?”

Gavin nodded both heads, and together, with three voices, we said, “Dmitri and Emmett… will make… a great couple.

“I think so too,” someone said nearby over the music, and we turned to see Jude dancing beside us, dressed in formalwear and looking amazingly buff even through his jacket, vest, and slacks. He and I watched Dmitri and Emmett together for a while, and it looked as though their dynamic had shifted, like two people moving step by step toward something more with each other—a little like me and Gavin, I thought with a little smile. Then Jude moved closer, looking like he wanted to confide something. “You know, the strangest thing just happened,” he told me. He had a strong voice, so I didn’t have any trouble hearing him even with the music turned up, though I didn’t think anyone else could. “So, right before the dancing started I ran into one of the directors—you know, Roy Something-German?” I nodded, it being the appropriate time in the story to do so, and Jude went on, “Anyway, I hadn’t seen him in ages, and he looked me over and said something like, ‘Hey, Jude, you look great. You been working out?’ And I figured he was razzing me so I said, ‘Oh sure, Roy, I’m pumping iron like crazy!’ because sarcasm is a writer’s defense mechanism, right? Only it turned out he was right, and I had been pumping iron like crazy, even though I hate working out, except I don’t anymore because it’s just one of the things I do now, you know? And then I looked down and I was as buff as a rich bitch’s boy toy! And then he gave me a funny look and skittered away.”

All I could do was nod, though I apparently wasn’t as successful at holding back a grin as I thought I was. “Uh huh, you know something, I can tell! What did you put in the drinks?” At that I could only bark out a laugh. Of course, that only confirmed my complicity. “I knew it!” he said, sounding less outraged at the thought of having been slipped something than at not having been able to figure out what it was. “Well, whatever I’m tripping on, it better not give me a hangover.”

“Relax,” I said, still grinning. “It’ll wear off soon enough. And don’t worry, it’s not just you seeing weird things.” Inspiration hit me. “All the guys at this party are happy, handsome, hunky, healthy, and hung,” I told him. “And all that’s not going to wear off.”

Jude looked at me dubiously. “Is that right?” I wanted to look around and see how much more “handsome and hunky” everyone had gotten, though I could see it in Jude’s suddenly very handsome face, and I knew he could see it in mine, not to mention the ripped and bulging body I now possessed that only Jude and I knew I hadn’t had a few minutes ago.

Jude was still frowning at me, like he was trying to work out what I could have slipped into the cocktails. “Go have fun, Jude,” I reassured him. “We both know Ice City is going to be a hit, so leave the stress for later and go find someone to love!”

“Too bad you’re taken,” he said unexpectedly, letting his gaze linger on mine a moment, and I caught a real whiff of regret in his voice. I froze, suddenly terrified he would undo everything Gavin and I had with a few well-chosen words. “That was why I brought you on, you know,” he confided. “Before I knew you were the most talented scriptwriter I’d ever worked with.” Then he smiled wanly, kissed me on the cheek, and then turned and cried out to the frolicking crowd of fellow hunks, “All right, who wants some dance-lovin’?” His question was met with delighted cheers, and soon Jude had a small crowd of men around him, dancing like chorus boys at an after-party.

Eventually—and I mean eventually—everyone went home. The car service Summergate used made a small mint, as most people were too inebriated even to negotiate the subways, much less drive (for those few that had cars, that is). We left most of the cleaning up for later, though several friends and co-workers had stayed a little longer just to help bag trash and so on. When it was finally just us we locked up tight, turned out the lights in the main room, and headed for the bedrooms in the back. We were a little unsteady—we’d switched to beer after the daiquiris, but there had been plenty of beer. Each of us needed a pit-stop, so we headed into the bathroom and peed together for what felt like hours. “You’d think with two it would go faster,” I complained.

“I know, right?” Gavin said dully, looking down at his still-draining, knee-length wonder-dicks. “Ugh, and I’m going to have to wring these things out like a Sham-wow.” I burst into helpless giggles at that, and though they tapered off after a moment or two they never really went away. Even now, every once in a while I’ll remember Gavin saying that in a long-suffering, put-upon voice, and I’ll be overcome with a fresh fit of giggles all over again.

We poked our heads in the third bedroom first. Sure enough, it was occupied by a very nice set of workout machines and free-weights, judiciously chosen to fit the smallish space with maximum efficiency. “Hmph,” I said.

“I guess it worked,” Gavin said with a crooked grin, making a quadruple biceps at me. The sleeves of his crimson shirt strained across the peaks, and my alcohol-dry mouth actually watered a bit at the sight. I was buffer now, too, thanks to my blanket statement about all the guys at the party, but for both size and definition Gav’s sculpted muscle-bod had me beat and then some. And I only had the two arms to show off, though I had a feeling I’d be doing that a lot more often from now on. I was seeing a lot of sleeveless tees in both our futures.

“Nice,” I said, impressed. “You going to keep it up?”

Gavin nodded thoughtfully—both heads, again—as he surveyed the equipment with a knowledgeable eye. “I think so,” he said. “I think I got bit by the iron bug without even knowing it.”

Pondering that we headed for my bedroom, the middle one, because it was closest, intending to fall into bed together and sleep-cuddle-fuck away the next week or so; only when we opened the door to my bedroom we found Emmett and Dmitri curled up together in my bed, naked, boned, and snoring. Their faces were almost mashed together, like they’d fallen asleep right in the middle of a serious make-out session.

“Wow,” Gavin said. “We should take pictures.”

Meanwhile, my eye was drawn to their raging stiffies, each wide, and fat, and easily a foot long. Either these two had been big to start with, or I’d been a lot more generous with my gift of “hung” to all the guys at the party than I’d realized. Of course, it was pretty tough for me to believe that Dmitri had been anything but underendowed before tonight, so I assured myself it had to be the rampant generosity thing. Which… was cool.

“Let’s save that for morning wakey-wakeys,” I said, in answer to Gavin’s suggestion. He nodded, lips quirking, and we stumbled into his bedroom, struggling clumsily out of our clothes until we were at last naked and could throw ourselves onto Gavin’s nice, big, comfy bed.

As we echoed the pose in the other room, curling up against each other and developing our own raging stiffies (rather larger than our guests’, especially Gavin’s), I explained my revelation about the blue banana daiquiris to Gavin between long bouts of kissing. I told him about Dmitri snidely sticking to whisky, too, which made Gavin chuckle.

“So how come no one else at the party ended up with four arms and two heads and so on?” Gavin wondered after a while, as I kissed him languidly.

I pulled back and looked him in the eyes (and then looked over and looked him in the eyes again, prompting a small double smile from him). “No one had the courage to say things like that aloud,” I told him. “Not even me. You had to make me—and you had to want to make me. I’m still not sure how it came together, exactly, but I do know one thing—we are made for each other. Like no one was ever made each other before.”

Gavin said nothing for a moment, just watching me with bright eyes. “Do you think it’s gone yet?” he asked. “I kinda feel like it’s gone, but…”

“Let’s check,” I said. “Okay—you have… bright green nipples.”

Gavin’s eyes bugged, which looked pretty wild on two faces at once. “Hey!” he said, looking down at himself just to make sure, then slapping me playfully in the chest. “What if that had worked?”

“I would have changed you back!” I protested. “Anyway, there must be an ‘undo’ around here somewhere,” I added, looking around us on the bed as if the undo button might be coiled into the sheets with us.

Gavin smiled at me fondly, then said, “So, it’s gone, you think?”

“Definitely,” I affirmed.

“Good,” Gavin said. “Because—I love you, Hank.” He took a deep breath and let it out, like he’d been waiting to be able to say it all night, or maybe a lot longer. “I wanted to say it so bad, but I needed you to know—”

“—That it was real,” I finished. “Me too. I love you, Gav.”

We grinned at each other, then, just like Dmitri and Emmett, we fell asleep all boned up and making out like kissing was all we did, like it was breathing. Which, from that point on at least, wasn’t so far from the truth.

The next morning we spared our actor lovers the photo shoot, and I made us all pancakes instead. As I cooked, Gavin rooted around the somewhat disheveled kitchen space for something to put on them, while a very hung-over Dmitri and Emmett leaned blearily against each other on a nearby sofa, shirtless and scruffy and totally adorable.

Looking underneath a few cloth bags on one of the prep counters, Gavin let out a surprised “Oh-ho!”

“What?” I asked. Gavin reached under the bags and pulled out, much to my amazement, one last, untouched, twelve-inch-long blue banana.

We stared at the pale blue fruit and each other for a while, a little nonplussed. “What do we do with it?” I said at last.

“We don’t need it,” Gavin said, eyeing it with two sets of knitted brows. “Throw it away?”

I bit my lips together. “I have a better idea,” I said. And so it was that later that day, after we’d put our pair of hunky, hung, healthy, handsome, happy, well-fed, and slightly abashed guests into a car, we headed to the post office and mailed a nondescript brown package with no return address to a random guy I’d picked from the volunteer list at the LGBT Center by closing my eyes and pointing.

“All yours, universe,” I said as we left the building, gesturing at the sky.

“Let’s hope it treats someone else as well as it treated us,” Gavin agreed.

“Not possible,” I said saccharinely, and Gavin rolled his eyes and did that kissing me on the mouth and neck at the same time thing I was fast becoming dangerously addicted to.


A few days later, in a fifth-floor shoebox apartment somewhere in Manhattan, a grad student named Leo tossed the wet package he’d had to retrieve from the fucking post office in the fucking rain on the way home from his fucking job at the one fucking Starbucks that somehow attracted the absolute stupidest fucking customers on Earth onto his kitchen table and yanked his wet jacket off in frustration. Ever since some fucker had identity-thefted him and he’d had to skip out on that awesome loft in Brooklyn because he’d had no fucking money and it was too fucking embarrassing to tell his nice-guy roommate he couldn’t fucking make rent, his life had been going more and more into the shitter. Boyfriends ditching him. Professors declaring their disappointment in him. The Center wanting more time he didn’t have. His boss at Starbuck’s liking him (not that way) and giving him more shifts on rush, so his stupid-customer quotient was through the roof.

Now this. A package. A fucking anonymous package. It was probably ricin, with his luck. Or a bomb. A Unabomber for the new millennium, bent on wiping grad student baristas off the face of the earth. Well, good luck to him. Leo hadn’t even eaten today, thanks to his lunch falling out of the bottom of the bag and all over the sidewalk almost the minute he’d walked out of McDonald’s. So far, this was the worst day ever.

He grabbed a kitchen knife and hesitated, pondering for a moment just stabbing the damp, brown-paper-wrapped box with it like some sort of rain-soaked Hamlet laying into Polonius. Instead he used it to slice a gash in the paper; setting the knife aside, he tore the paper off in a bout of pleasingly cathartic violence. The box was for some kind of guitar-related equipment he didn’t recognize, but it was clearly re-used, the markings on the exterior no longer indicating its current contents. Sighing, he used the knife again to slit the tape holding it closed, then opened the flaps wide and scattered white packing peanuts heedlessly out of the box onto his table and kitchen floor until the contents they protected were at last revealed.

Then he stood there, dripping and incredulous, as he stared at the box’s sole, solitary occupant: a single, large, blue-tinted banana.

“What the fuck are you?” he asked it, struggling with how much disbelief he was experiencing. “Seriously, what the fuck are you? A banana? Are you kidding me?” He lifted up his face and cried out to the heavens, “What the fuuuuuck?

His answer was silence, broken only by distant horns and sirens, a yappy dog barking somewhere downstairs, and the growling of his tired, hungry belly.

Description Another artifact of the universe makes an appearance, this time at a loft party to celebrate the pilot Henry scripted, Ice City, going to series. If only Henry were having as much success figuring out his feelings for his sweet but ordinary-looking roommate, Gavin.

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