Ben and Joey: Melting
Ben woke up in an empty bed. Frowning, he struggled out of the confining bedding, staring at the piled up comforter in disgust. He wasn't sure they'd ever use it again. The temperatures had been unbearable and the fans only swirled the hot air around helplessly.
He stumbled out of the bedroom and into the bathroom, disappointed not to find Joey in there. After relieving himself and splashing some cold water on his face and neck, he went off in search of his lover.
On autopilot he walked into the kitchen where he almost stumbled over Joey. He caught himself just in time and crouched down. The small black spaniel puppy slept, sprawled on his belly. Cautiously, Ben reached out and scratched the soft skin behind Joey's ears.
“Sweetheart? Time to wake up,” Ben said softly.
The pup's dark eyes blinked open slowly, his gaze unfocused at first. When he saw Ben, he wagged his tail, stretched his limbs, and yawned widely.
Ben lifted the puppy into his arms to kiss his nose. Joey whined and struggled immediately.
Put me down!
Surprised, and also a bit hurt, Ben held the puppy in front of him. “Sweetheart? What's going on here? This is the third morning in a row I find you sleeping in the kitchen instead of our bed.”
Put me dooooown!
Instead of obliging, Ben cradled the panting puppy close to his chest. “Don't you dare scratch me.”
I won't. But pleeeease let me down.
“I want you to shift when I let go of you. Will you do that?”
Still irritated, Ben carried Joey into the living room before he put him on the floor. Joey shifted swiftly but instantly took two steps backward. A crease appeared between Ben's eyes while he willed himself to stay calm. Joey's rejecting behavior began to worry him more and more.
He sat down on the sofa and patted the seat next to him. Reluctantly, Joey followed the invitation but kept a safe distance from his lover.
“Joey, would you like to explain to me why you have suddenly developed such a fetish for sleeping on the floor in the kitchen? Or why you don't want me to touch you anymore?” Ben asked, concern and frustration obvious in his voice.
Joey squirmed but kept his eyes averted.
Joey's bursting into tears came completely out of the blue for Ben. Instinctively, he scooted closer to the younger man and lifted him on his lap. Joey's sobs increased in volume and he struggled against Ben's hold. Nothing Ben said calmed Joey down. On the contrary, Joey became more and more agitated.
Eventually, Ben brought his hand down sharply on one of Joey's ass cheeks, eliciting a loud yelp.
“Stop that and talk to me! Whatever it is, we will find a solution.” Inwardly, Ben applauded himself for how confident he sounded when he felt anything but it. Joey's behavior was so completely atypical that it frightened him.
“You won't understaaaand!”
“I can't sleep next to you at the moment.”
Ben breathed through the sharp pain in his chest, tightening his grip on his lover. “Why?”
“It's so hot and you're like an octopus in your sleep. You keep spooning behind me or dragging me closer to you and it's too hot to cuddle but you keep draping yourself all over me,” Joey babbled.
“Um,” Ben stammered.
“It's too hot to touch, Ben, and you keep pulling me into your arms and I'm meeeelting.”
Ben couldn't help it—he laughed. In a strangled voice he said, “Damn Joey, I thought something was serious amiss with us.”
“Amiss? I don't understand. Wait! Before we talk some more, can I please get off your lap?”
Chuckling, Ben lifted Joey off his lap. “Sweetheart, I thought you might have had enough of me. Your rejections hurt. Why didn't you just tell me?”
“W-Wait! You were... you did... seriously? I'm sorry, Ben! I just... I can't think clearly in this heat,” Joey replied, pushing sweat-soaked curls from his forehead. Hesitantly, he added, “You're not going to spank me for not talking to you, are you? I mean, that would involve a lot of body contact and it's too hot for that!”
“Not to mention how hot your backside would feel afterward,” Ben said, smiling. He held out his hand for Joey, who took it with a defeated sigh. Ben pulled him up from the sofa and toward the bathroom.
Confused, Joey asked, “What are we doing?”
“Taking a bath.”
“What?” Joey cried out, outraged. “Do you want to kill me?”
“We'll take a bath in very tepid water. It'll be like in a pool. It'll kill two birds with one stone.”
Ben opened the taps, and checked the water temperature, all the time keeping a firm hold on Joey's hand.
“What do you mean?”
Ben straightened up, trailed his thumb over Joey's right cheekbone and smiled. “You will be able to cool down and I will be able to touch you. Win-win for both of us.”
Joey's features softened. “That sounds great. You're... are you mad at me?”
“Sweetheart, it's too hot to stay mad at you.”
Grinning, both men stepped into the tub and enjoyed the cool water as well as the possibility to touch and be close to each other.