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Depth Perception

"Depth Perception"

This was a free story, part of the Dreamspinner Press Halloween Howl. It is classified as a "Bittersweet Dream," and you can read more about it here.

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Depth Perception


Depth Perception

Micah Jenson stood along the wall, nursing a drink at the gang's Halloween party. He smiled whenever someone looked at him, but otherwise did not join in any of the myriad conversations that swirled around him. The objective was to be seen, show that he wasn't pining away at home, but to leave as soon as it was decently possible. He tried his hardest to ignore the glances cast his way, the whispering behind raised hands.

Everyone knew that Shane O'Reilly had unceremoniously dumped Micah on the very day they were to have moved in together. Micah had only confided the truth to his closest friends, but apparently Shane had told anyone who asked, and the news had spread like wildfire. As Micah stood nursing his drink he knew that the gossip mill was in full swing, but he stood stoically doing his best to remain oblivious to it.

With a sigh, Micah took another sip of his gin and tonic. He had to make his escape before Shane arrived, because he knew Shane was invited. Sure, he was over it, he told himself that every single day, but the pain had not fully subsided. The ice cubes clinked against the side of the glass, and smacked against his upper lip burning him with the cold.

In the aftermath of their breakup, Micah had found that he really didn't have a lot of friends. He and Shane ran in the same circle, and everyone knew Shane's reputation. Getting involved with him was like playing with fire. Some could stand the heat, but Micah's sensitive soul could not. Although they would never say it to his face, Micah suspected many at the party would tell him, "I told you so."

The drink done, he felt he could successfully depart without being noticed. He set the glass down on a table, and turned to leave. A confrontation in front of all of these people would not go well, that much Micah knew.

Too late, the boisterous greetings signaled that Shane had arrived.

Micah clenched his hands into fists, his nails cutting deeply into his palms, and he stared. Shane looked good. Grey shirt, muted blue necktie, black wool trousers, and his hair tousled and wild. He had the same easy smile he'd always had, the same infectious laugh. When he turned to accept a drink, the light bathed his face, appearing to light him from the inside. People flocked to Shane like moths to a flame.

A lump formed in Micah's throat. As unobtrusively as he could, he sunk down into a hard chair, scooting into the shadows, hoping to avoid notice. All the ugly thoughts roiled around inside him, and he gave in to the pain. Even though he told himself he was over it, the reality was that he wasn't. Memories assailed when he least expected it.

"And I'm getting a puppy!" Micah's face shone with happiness.

"Where are you going to keep a puppy?" Shane asked, his face set in a scowl.

"Here silly," Micah said, spinning through the empty living room of the apartment. "There's plenty of place for a puppy to run in here."

"We're not getting a dog Micah," Shane said softly. He shoved his hands deep into his pockets and walked to the window, gazing down at the street below.

"Oh come on," Micah enthused. He sidled up behind Shane and twined his arms around his waist. "They allow pets, and I've always wanted one, and there's plenty of room, and I'll take care of him…."

Shane turned, and pressed himself tightly against Micah's body, pinning his arms to his sides. "Read my lips Micah, no dog."

Micah tipped his head back and looked at Shane. With an impish grin, he whispered, "I can think of things I'd rather do with your lips then read them."

Shane arched a brow, "Oh really?"

Micah smiled warmly and moved closer. He wormed his arms free from Shane's and wrapped them around him. "Really." Keeping his eyes locked on Shane, he moved forward, touching their mouths together.

"Mmm," Shane murmured.

Although the apartment was essentially empty, Shane maneuvered them to the bedroom where a small day bed remained from the previous occupant. Micah tumbled back against it, a dreamy half smile on his face.

Standing over him, Shane's fierce expression softened slightly, and he smiled. He sank down to his knees and whispered, "Take off your clothes baby, and let me make you forget all about having a dog."

As Micah complied, he realized that Shane had done it again, had shaken him off the scent of something he really wanted. Shane's vivid blue eyes danced as Micah shed the last of his clothing. Goosebumps raised along Micah's flesh, and he scooted back to watch as Shane gracefully shed his own clothing.

"Sexy baby," Shane whispered as he reached down and caressed Micah's knee, then urged it up, spreading him wide.

Micah's eyes slipped closed under the intensity of Shane's gaze. His body responded eagerly to the familiar touch, the long accustomed dance between them. Shane's gentle fingers and soft lips were always a contradiction to the fierceness of joining. Once Micah mewled in acquiescence Shane pulled back, his cock hard and insistent, ready. The sound of their bodies slamming together, the multitude of colors that flashed across closed eyelids, the cacophony of noise as climax neared and then was met. The cool breeze through the open window after, sloughing across sweat dampened skin.

"Mmm….Shane," Micah whispered against his solid chest, lips teasing at a hard nipple. "So good…."

Shane grunted, and traced a lazy pattern on Micah's back.

The shadows lengthened in the small room, and at last Shane slipped from Micah's side and moved to sit on the edge of the narrow bed. He bent forward, groping for his boxers.

"So," Micah said, making no move to get up, watching the flexing muscles of Shane's back, "When do we move in?"

Shane looked back over his shoulder, "I move in on the fifteenth."

Micah's lips lifted in a half smile, "You?"

Shane nodded. "Me." He took a deep breath. "You won't be living here Micah."

The gasp nearly choked him, and Micah was frozen at first, then he slowly said, "Good one Shane, you scared me."

"I'm serious Micah," Shane said with a shrug. He turned and began sorting through the pile of clothes on the floor, taking his jeans, socks, t-shirt. "This is goodbye."

"No," Micah's voice was small and pathetic. His mouth was suddenly dry, and he could feel his cheeks begin to tremble.

Shane completed the task of dressing and then stood. He turned to look down at Micah coldly. "Get up and get dressed."

"Shane," Micah whispered softly. "Not like this…."

Hands on hips, Shane said, "Then how? I told you in the beginning that this wouldn't last forever, that the day would come when we'd move on. This is that day."

Micah covered his face with his hands, suddenly vulnerable under the cold scrutiny.

"Did you want me to sugar coat it? 'It's not you Micah, it's me,'" Shane said in a mincing voice, "'I need space, I'm all screwed up inside, I don't want to bring you down with me.' Fuck Micah, I'm not about that and you know it. It's over, plain and simple. Now get up and get dressed, or you can stay here and let the super find you this way for all I care."

Micah curled on his side, his face still covered with his hands. "I thought," he said softly, "that things would be different. I thought maybe you cared for me."

"You knew my reputation," Shane said, stepping into his shoes, bending to tie the laces. "This isn't the first time I've sent a lover packing."

Micah remained miserably silent. It was true, he'd known the risk when the relationship started, but he hoped he had the power to change Shane. He realized now that his depth perception had been way off.

Shoes tied, Shane stood up. "You have good qualities Micah; you'll make some man a fine mate. You're good in the sack, you can cook, and you know your place."

For some reason, those words cut deeper than any other Shane had spoken, and Micah began to cry quietly. "Just go Shane," he said brokenly.
"Look Micah," Shane began.

"Leave me the fuck alone," Micah said with uncharacteristic fierceness.

Shane stared down at him for a moment, then said softly, "Suit yourself."

Turning he walked from the room, the soft click of the front door a nail in Micah's heart.


The party was in full swing when Shane arrived. He planned it that way, knowing that Micah would likely not be there. Their friends had derisively insinuated that Micah was a coward, and that he would be gone long before Shane made his appearance.

Although the flippant words had angered him, he knew they were true. Micah was many things, brave wasn't one of them. Shane started on his second bourbon, beginning to relax a bit, pleased to be amongst old friends. He would never let on to any of them that Micah filled his thoughts nearly every day. Hell, he realized that even if Micah had been there he wouldn't even let him know.

What did he want? Even Shane didn't know the answer for that. Sometimes you don't know how much you'll miss something until it's gone? Something like that anyway.

A movement, a shadow in the corner caught his eyes. Slowly Shane turned, and the breath left him as surely as if someone had punched him in the gut. Micah looked small sitting by himself along the side of the room, but his eyes were haunting. Shane couldn't tell if he was hiding, sulking, or if he was unaware that Shane was even there.

The words that had chased themselves around inside his head came to the fore; he felt his hands begin to shake. You fucked up Shane, letting him go. You. Fucked. Up. There, that was the truth.

Of their own accord, his feet found their way surely across the room until he stood right in front of Micah. One word that would be all it would take. One word from Micah, and Shane would relent, open his arms and pull him back into his world. Although he wouldn't admit it to anyone, least of all himself, he wanted that innocence that Micah had brought to their relationship.

Not daring to swallow, let alone breathe, Shane watched as Micah stood. Their eyes met, yet the expression on Micah's face never changed. Without a word, he stepped past Shane, and walked away across the room, not turning back, not saying a word to anyone.

He disappeared through the front door, leaving a trail of his cologne in his wake.

Highly aware he was being watched; Shane took a breath, curled his hand into a fist, then turned with a smirk and called for another drink. He masked his feelings just like he always did and the party swirled around him once again.