I opened the door to our hotel room cautiously, peering inside before entering. I'd expected to find Chris still at the desk, on his computer, but instead he was lying flat on his back on the bed, staring at the ceiling.
"You're back," he said, not turning his head.
I was surprised; I'd hardly even made any noise, I didn't even think he knew anyone was here, let alone that it was me. Then again, if he'd been the one to come to the door, I think I would have had a pretty good sense that it was him, too.
"I can leave again," I offered quietly, letting the question hang in the air between us and not entering fully until it was answered.
"No," he said finally. "Don't go. I've been thinking."
"Anything you want to talk about?" I asked, stepping just inside the door and closing it behind me.
"Um...yeah," he said, suddenly swinging his legs over the side of the bed to sit up and look at me. "Joey...do you think any less of me because I like to take it up the ass?"
I just about choked, and ended up gaping at him for a moment. "What? You're kidding, right?"
"No," he said, shaking his head. "No, I'm not kidding. Do you?"
"Fuck no," I said, wondering if I should go over and sit next to him, and wondering if it would be better if I kept my distance. "You're not the only guy in this relationship," I reminded him. "You're not the only one who likes this kind of stuff..."
"Yeah," he said, "but...can I be blunt here?" He didn't wait for an answer before going on. "No, nevermind, I'm already being blunt. Most of the time, Joey, it's you in me and not the other way around."
"Chris, if you weren't happy you should have--" I began, but he cut me off.
"I am happy," he insisted. "I love the way it feels, Joey. I like it when you fuck me. But then Justin started saying that stuff, and..."
I waved my hand to cut him off. "Justin's a kid," I told him. "He doesn't know shit, he just thinks he does." This! This is what had been sparking in the back of my mind when I was talking to Lance. "We're equals, Chris. It doesn't matter what goes where, as long as we both come out of it feeling pretty damn good. And you do, right?"
"God yes," he said, finally giving me a smile. I took that as my cue to get closer, sitting down next to him and stroking his arm soothingly with my fingertips. "I just hadn't really thought about it before that," he admitted. "We just...did what we did and came and and smiled and felt nice and that was that."
"Which is how it should be, don't you think?" I asked him. He looked up at me without answering, just catching my eyes and searching them. "What do top and bottom mean anyway?"
"Well, bottom would mean that I'm getting fucked and top would me that you're fucking me," said Chris, shrugging. He was still obsessing about this, I could tell, but I didn't know if he was going to say it flat out again.
"Okay," I said. "So what if...say...I'm on top of you, and your dick's in my ass, and I'm riding you...who's the top then? Or if it the other way around, and you mount me and start riding me...am I still the top?" He looked a bit confused. "See? It's not as simple as all that."
"Yeah, I know," admitted Chris. "It just made me feel...like I was your woman or something. God, I sound like an idiot. But you know what I mean."
"Yeah, I know what you mean. Justin says things without thinking sometimes," I assured him. But this wasn't all Justin, that much I knew for sure. "And...maybe you read a little more into it than he was saying?"
He shrugged. "I didn't spend time thinking about it when we first got together, Joe. I was worried about getting you and keeping you, not what roles we were going to play. And now...I'm remembering how long it's been since I've been with a guy, and how I've spent the last few years just sticking my dick in things, and wondering what the hell it makes me that I like it the other way 'round, too."
"It makes you Chris," I said simply. "Do you need to be anything other than that." If it hadn't been for my relationship with David those years ago I might have been in the same place as Chris, struggling to figure out how I'd changed, but it was my particular neurosis to do that about being in a relationship, not about having sex. Though we both clearly had our issues about how we were perceived.
"No," he said. "That's all I've ever wanted to be."
I nodded and wondered if now was the time to veer the subject aside for a moment. "I was talking to Lance before I came in here," I said. "He was asking about us." Okay, so it wasn't much of a topic change. I tried.
Chris sighed. "Is he making assumptions, too?"
"No," I said. "He's asking, Chris. He wants to understand."
"How much did you tell him?"
"As much as he asked me for," I said honestly. "It's not like I went into detail about our sex life or anything. And if you're worried about those kinda of assumptions," I added, "just remember that the time he saw us was when you were fucking me over the side of the couch. Not much chance of mistaking who was on the bottom that time."
He laughed quietly, and I figured I finally said something to cheer him up. "Was it good, that time?" he asked me.
"God, yes," I said, letting out a slow, controlled breath to help keep the memories of that moment from exciting me at an inappropriate time. "It was great."
"Would you mind if we did that again some time?"
"Mind?" I repeated. "What's this 'mind' stuff? Chris, that was the stuff wet dreams are made of. Mind? Hell, no."
Chris nodded. "Okay," he said finally, a smile on his face. "I...I guess I'm used to feeling in control. When you're...when you're on me and inside me, I'm out of control. It's so good at the time...and then afterwards I realize that in that moment I belonged to you. Which was fine, until something make me start thinking about it."
"Okay," I said, nodding at him. "But the only--and I mean only--important question is, do you enjoy it? Because if that answer is yes, and you've already said that it is, then you've got to stop worrying less about what other people, who know nothing about our relationship, think about it and more about what's right for us. Okay?"
Chris sighed, mostly in resignation, then laughed. "You know I like it. You'd better know I like it, or I'm doing something very, very wrong." He reached out to me, then--finally!-- and wrapped his arms around me. "I like you."
I smiled. "Well, that's good 'cause I think I kinda like you, too." It felt good to be wrapped up in Chris, especially right now, when I was a bit on edge about how he thought of us and our relationship. "Chris?"
"Did you really think that I saw us that way? With you as the woman and me as the man, or whatever shit that is?" I was really, really hoping that he was going to say no. I was even crossing my fingers where he couldn't see them.
"Well...I'm smaller that you--"
"Chris!" I interrupted him, swearing inwardly, knowing exactly where he was going with that. "You're not serious."
He shrugged and buried his face in my neck. "Sorry," he whispered. "I'm allowed to be insecure, once in a while."
I sighed. "Yeah, you are. But not about that, not anymore, okay? That's just...I don't know. I don't know about all this stereotype stuff. Neither one of us is exactly an expert on, uh, gay relationships, right? So we'll just wing it. As far as I'm concerned, there's nothing that we're supposed to be, and fuck everyone else."
"Or each other. Which was the point in the first place." Chris grinned at me, and I knew right then that it was okay again between us. I turned his head towards me and couldn't help but kiss him, deeply. And I didn't give a single thought to what the fact that we were kissing said about us. Well, maybe a single thought...but a tiny one.
"Next time something's up, just tell me, okay?" I looked him in the eye and tried to show that I really, really meant it. "I mean, I'm not Mr. Sensitive...but I'm your boyfriend, I guess, and that's kinda what I'm here for. Don't let this stuff eat you up."
Chris smirked at me. "You guess?"
"You know what I mean."
"Yeah." He's smiling again. Sincerely. And I hoped we'd heard the last of this, even though I doubted it. Nothing was quite that simple...but at least next time he wouldn't take for-fucking-ever to tell me. "What else did you and Lance talk about?"
I shrugged a bit, not wanted to get into too much detail. Lance had said flat out that he had intentionally not been having the conversation with the both of us. "He just had questions about how we got together and stuff. About sex."
"You actually talked to Lance about sex?"
"He's curious, Chris," I shrugged it off again. "I mean, can you blame him? And it's not like Justin is gonna take his questions seriously...if he even got up the guts to ask him in the first place."
"Yeah, but JC--"
"Maybe he asked JC, too. I don't know. This was more...he wanted to understand what was going on between us." Chris laughed, and I grinned knowingly. "I know. We're still figuring that out."
He pulled me down so that we were lying next to one another on the bed, and it was infinitely more comfortable. "Thanks for...understanding?" he said finally. "It was really getting to me."
"I noticed," I said, kissing his temple. "Just don't listen to anyone but us, k?"
"And the next time Justin decides to bring up this particular topic of conversation?" he asked, his fingers playing idly with my hair.
"Tell him it's none of his fucking business," I said. "Or, better yet, ask him how much he liked having that chick's fingers up his ass. That'll shut him up."
I laughed. "You need to talk to Dani on the phone less. You miss all the interesting conversations."