A Bear's Contentment
by Hairy 1
The shower is an eye opening experience for Daniel as well. Instead of being a sexual romp, it is a time to relax, explore, and enjoy each other without pressure. In the hot steaming shower, Miles gently shampooed his hair, massaging his scalp as he stood in front of him, pressed together, pulling his face down for a long slow kiss after the suds had been rinsed out while the water ran over their bodies; taking the soap and slowly lathering his entire body, taking the time to appreciate every bit of it, going down on his knees to washes legs and then feet. No part was left untouched. Then it was Daniel's turn, and he slowly did the same for Miles, his fingers luxuriating in the long soft hair as he shampooed and rinsed, caressing arms and chest and buttocks and legs as he lathered. Seeing everything that before was but a blur during their intense sexual experience, realizing how truly attractive they find each other's body. Sated from their previous endeavors, neither felt a need or urgency for more, finding the comfort and intimacy satisfying and fulfilling. After turning off the water, they gently towel each other, enjoying the wet fur and then smoothing it down to dry it, kissing whenever face to face.
Daniel finally retrieved Miles' clothes from the drier, and they sat in the living room and watched as the plows finished clearing the snow over tea and snacks. They traded more of their lives' stories, discovering how much more there was to learn about each other despite their time discussing books, how different they were yet how alike they were as well. It was not a fast process, as each was intensely interested in the other and asked questions throughout. Before they knew it, it began to darken outside as the earlier winter twilight set in.
"Daniel, I hate to say it, but I really should get going. I can still catch the bus."
Daniel laughed. "Oh no, we aren't doing that again. I hate to see you go, though I understand. But, you will let me drive you home."
"Daniel, we've been over this before..."
"You'd better believe I'll pin you down before you walk out that door to the bus, Miles. I won't take no for an answer."
"Daniel ..." Miles said, ready to dig in his heals.
"Please, Miles, I've had such a great time, but if you take the bus, I will worry and I will feel bad. I really want to be able to just drive you home and know you are there safe. Please."
Miles sighs. "OK, but you don't need to feel that way."
"I can't stop how I feel. Please."
Miles laughs. "I said OK, but damn you are cute when you ask like that!"
Daniel fakes a growl, and then wraps Miles in a big bear hug. After several peaceful moments, they separate and get their coats on. They scrape the frost off the windows of the car as it warms up, and talk during the short uneventful ride to Miles' apartment, Miles' hand resting on Daniel's thigh the entire time.
"Would you like to come up and make sure I'm in OK?" Miles says with a wink.
"No no, I won't overdo it. But thanks."
"Thank you, Daniel, for everything."
Miles leans over for a quick kiss, then opens the car door and heads up to his apartment. As the building door closes, Daniel turns the car around and heads back home in silence.
Sunday dawns, crisp and clear. Daniel stretches in bed, a creature of habit, waking up at his normal time. Laying there, he realized how his routine is not as consistent any more, how he even neglected his Saturday library visit, and finds he doesn't mind. Still in bed, he thinks back over the previous day, smiling, happy.
As the day goes on, Daniel falls into his usual Sunday schedule. He further considers these new developments, and eventually his smile fades. It occurs to him then and there that he is alone, that his solitude is not all there is, and finds that at this moment he is not content with that. But this is outside his experience, and he is unsure how to proceed.
"How has sex confused me so? Come on Daniel, get over it," he thinks. But this is unlike anything he has felt before. With a start, realization strikes him, that for him, what he has done is make love rather than having sex, a sharing of himself with someone he cares for.
"But, Miles can't feel the same; he has lots of friends and things to do. This can't be anything but my imagination, and I won't risk our friendship with something so silly," Daniel tells himself firmly, convinced that this must be like the encounters he has had before. He focuses again on his routine life, doing his laundry, but suddenly smelling Miles in the sheets. He prepares meals ahead for the week that need to simmer or stew, and while making soup thinks of Miles with a spoon in hand enjoying the aroma of the savory broth. Vacuuming, he sees the footprints left by Miles' wet feet as he came in dripping on Friday night. That night, when he finally falls asleep, it is while hugging a pillow to his chest, feeling it warm against himself, and dreams of Miles spooning up against him.
Daniel's Monday at work goes by as always, steady and smooth. He is still busy, his co-workers are friendly and they still chat about life's happenings – but Daniel feels removed, reluctant to share his weekend, merely smiling pleasantly and nodding as they talk about snowball fights with their kids and eventual holiday travel plans.
His ride home is silent, and he stops by the library to drop off his stack of books and pick up those on hold. He has a pleasant conversation with Joy, who is glad to see he is well. Finally arriving home, he finds a box at his front door.
"This is odd; I didn't order anything that I can think of."
Opening it at the kitchen counter, he discovers that it is a box of homemade cookies, with a note which brings both a large smile and then a single tear running down his cheek.
"Thank you for rescuing me, my handsome Saint Bear-nard! Not just from the snow and cold, but from being lonely and not even realizing it. Call and let me know if you are free to meet before book club on Saturday."
Having to hold himself back from rushing to the phone, Daniel takes a deep breath and then calls, and soon finds himself in a relaxed yet delightful conversation. Miles suggests that bowling that Wednesday would be a good idea. At first Daniel shies away as this is something he hadn't done since he was a child.
"I'm no good at bowling."
"This isn't professional, it's just for fun."
"I don't know."
"Oh, come on."
"No, really, I'm sure I'm no good."
"Maybe I could just keep score."
"It's automatic scoring. Trust me, you'll have fun."
Arriving at the same time at the bowling alley, Miles is waving at people he knows, and Daniel smiles. They get shoes and bowling balls, and head to a lane. Then, they laugh together when Daniel gutters on his first ball. Daniel is surprised, because instead of cringing inside because he didn't do well and feeling defensive, he just goes with the flow as he is enjoying the company. This laughter isn't the teasing he learned to defend against before, but a mutual response, laughing with each other instead of being laughed at. Then, Miles comes up behind him and helps him hold the ball right and shows him how to throw it properly, and Daniel feels warm inside as Miles further encourages and praises him with each attempt. The warmth isn't fireworks; those come later, but something just as good – companionship and caring, suggestions without criticism, someone else proud of his improvement.
The weeks go by as they always do, and they find numerous activities both in and out of the bedroom, always building on their friendship and affection. The ebb and flow of Daniel's life has changed, but it becomes as steady and smooth as before, the current sometimes flowing around new experiences but consistent in his joy at being with Miles. He begins to understand that having a partner doesn't take away from what he was, but enhances it and adds new aspects.
It has been almost a year since they met, and Daniel and Miles are sitting by the river on Saturday afternoon, dangling their feet in the water. If flows over their toes, first one's foot then the other, cool and refreshing. The sound of the water is quiet and soothing, and they speak in low voices, relaxed.
"Miles, can I ask you something?"
"Promise not to be offended, even if it is a silly idea."
"I promise Daniel," say Miles, rolling his eyes "but it won't be silly."
"Well, I know you like to be independent. But, well, I know your lease is up, and well, I was thinking maybe you, uh, well, maybe you'd think about moving in to my place instead of renewing it?"
"Daniel, I can take care of myself ..."
"I know, I know, it is just a silly idea ..."
"Let me finish" says Miles, holding a finger to Daniel's lips. "I was going to say, I can take care of myself, but with you, I don't feel I always have to. To be honest, I was thinking the same thing, but wasn't sure you'd want to give up your alone time."
"When I'm alone, I think of you. You give me my space even when we are together. I love you, Miles."
"I love you too, Daniel" whispers Miles, leaning in and kissing him.
They discuss the matter further, and both agree that it seems natural for Miles to move in.
When the time for the move finally arrives, they unpack, with the library giving way to a combination library and music room, Daniel watching as things are rearranged and settled in new places. The room becomes full, as has his heart. For Daniel, life is good. He is content, and complete.