Spencer woke-up in Aaron’s arms early the next morning. His heart was heavy, but the warmth and comfort of the body wrapped around him let something ease in his heart.
“I love you, Aaron.” Spencer smiled to himself and was beginning to learn what it was to feel contentment.
“I love you too Spencer.” Aaron rubbed circles on Spencer’s back letting him know he was feeling the same. Neither of them had to be anywhere that day as it was a Sunday. They spent some time lounging in bed making love. It was slow and lazy and to Spencer it was perfect. They still hadn’t had penetrative sex, but Spencer was getting closer to wanting more, but he wanted to wait until everything was truly finalized with Maeve, until he knew for sure that the divorce was final and she was beginning to move on.
They finally made it out of bed and Spencer grabbed the suitcase he had dropped the evening before. He put away the clothes he brought with him as Aaron had made room in his closet and gave him a drawer in the dresser. When that was all done, he kept his photography equipment packed but pulled out the money that was stuffed on the inside of the case.
“I need to deposit this, but I don’t want to raise any alarm bells.”
Aaron sat down and stared at the amount of cash sitting on his battered coffee table.
“Spencer, just how much is there?”
“Um, about 200,000 dollars,” he whispered as his cheeks burned in embarrassment.
“Where’d you get all that money?”
“I had a separate account from Maeve and our joint account. I would split the profits from my art shows and print sales between my private account and our joint account. Seventy percent would go in our joint account and thirty in my private. It built up over the years and I carefully invested. I left Maeve with a substantial bank account. It is enough to take care of her for the rest of her life if she wanted.”
“You are incredibly generous Dr. Reid.” Aaron pulled Spencer in and kissed him.
“I want to get this to the bank as soon as possible. Don’t’ want to have it lying around.” Spencer stared at it for a while as he contemplated what to tell the bank in case he was asked why he had so much cash. He also wanted to bring-up living arrangements but didn’t want to spook Aaron.
“Aaron, some of this we could buy an apartment in upper Manhattan. We can buy it outright and probably even furnish it.”
“Spencer, I can’t let you do that.”
“I want to. We can find something for about 60,000 and then take about 10,000 to fully furnish it.”
Aaron stood up and paced back and forth. He was thinking about his own money and how he had wanted to talk to Spencer about buying something new. He knew they needed something bigger and his frugal spending left his accounts to accrue significant interest through careful investments.
“Only if I can pay half. I can’t let you spend all of your money.”
“Our money?” Aaron frowned at Spencer as he stopped pacing to stared at him.
“Of course. I’m in this for the long-haul Aaron. I want us and we both need something bigger. You’ll need an office and I’ll need a darkroom and we need a bedroom. I’ve already got one showing lined up and another gallery saw the pre-show and wants me to do something for them. I already negotiated print prices with the first gallery and the pre-show already has a lot of pre-orders. I know what I want Aaron and I’m not afraid of the work.”
Aaron closed his eyes as he pulled Spencer into his arms and held him close.
“Okay, our money.” Aaron chuckled as he held his lover in his arms. “We’ll go to the bank and I’ll rework my accounts. We should still each have a separate account for incidentals”
“Alright.” Spencer would concede on this for Aaron.
The next few days were busy with Aaron finishing his semester out. He only had a couple of classes to go and he would be ready to graduate. He planned on taking all the classes he needed to finish in his last semester. He knew it would be a stretch, but he was determined to get his bar associations’ card before the next summer. Spencer was going to continue to court galleries, but he also wanted to investigate teaching.
Since Spencer wasn’t working, he found a real-estate agent and they checked out several apartments until he found one that not only fit their needs and budget but was in the heart of the city, something they had both wanted. He asked the agent to hold the apartment until Aaron could come see it and they would make the decision together. The next day Aaron went with him and he fell in love with the place. They placed a cash offer that was just below the asking price and two days later they were told it was theirs.
Spencer was excited. He had loved living in the city before he married Maeve, but she had wanted something quieter. Just because he was an introvert it didn’t mean that he didn’t like the city, in fact he preferred it. He had stayed up late with Aaron telling him how much he had missed easy access to libraries, bookstores, small café’s, and just the general culture that the city had to offer. Aaron was just happy wherever Spencer wanted to be.
They spent many happy hours furnishing their new home. They both were frugal men and set a budget but didn’t compromise on style. The only places they were truly extravagant was Aaron’s study where Spencer insisted on a large but understated mahogany desk and bookshelves. He talked Aaron into them by telling him that the pieces would last for generations. Spencer also spared no expense on his darkroom. He was able to obtain the equipment he wanted and keep within the budget he set out for himself. He knew he’d have to brush-up on some of the low-tech versions of those familiar pieces he had in his old life.
Spencer dotted the apartment with a combination of his art prints and interesting pieces they found while shopping. Some of the photos were of Aaron from that first session and they were ones he knew he didn’t want shown in a gallery; they were for them. He had others that were abstracts and photos from around SoHo. He also put up a few of James.
Spencer was hanging up one of his favorites of James when he stopped to look at the picture. Even though his heart ached he wanted something of his son and if this was all he could ever have then he wanted them around his home. Spencer felt Aaron wrapping his arms around him as he stood there looking at the photo of a laughing little blond boy who was playing in the Ocean for the first time.
“He was beautiful,” Aaron said softly in Spencer’s ear and he held him tight when he felt the quiet sobs begin.
“I miss him every day Aaron. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about him. I’ll never quite get over his loss.” He laid his head on Aaron’s shoulder and let himself cry. He pressed in closer and when he felt a hand slip into his hair, and he held onto Aaron even tighter.
“And there is no reason you should Spencer. When you feel ready, I’ll always listen when or if you want to talk about him. I don’t ever want you to feel like you can’t talk to me about your son. He was an important part of your life Spencer.”
Spencer pulled back and cupped Aaron’s face with his hands as he settled his emotions.
“You don’t know how much that means to me.” He kissed Aaron and slowly deepened the kiss. There was an air of desperation as he held Aaron close to him kissing him with almost hard bruising kisses. He started to fumble at Aaron’s shirt trying to get it open his fingers shaking with the desperate feeling that had come over him. Aaron grabbed his hands and held them against his heart.
“Slow down love, tell me what you want.” Aaron cupped his chin and lifted Spencer’s head.
“I want you Aaron. I want to feel you, need to feel you in me, please.” The plea still held that desperate note to his voice.
“You’re sure Spencer?”
“Yes, please Aaron, please.” Spencer looked up into his face and Aaron was lost in the soft brown eyes that held a mixture of emotions. Spencer was rewarded when Aaron pressed his lips to his and pulled him into his arms. Breaking apart he led Spencer to the bedroom where he was slowly and lovingly undressed. Spencer felt himself being cared for and loved with every touch and every kiss from his lover. He wanted to beg and plead but Aaron stopped him by his kisses. The tongue that invaded his mouth made him groan in the back of his throat. The lips sealed on his made him gradually melt into the mattress. The desperation he felt was slowly being cooled by the loving and gentle way in which Aaron was making love to him. When his legs were lifted, and he felt the first slick finger slide into him Spencer thought he could come right then and there. A hand pressed to his abdomen slowed him down made him stop thinking as he opened his eyes to see Aaron tenderly smiling at him, whispering to him how much he was loved. And Spencer felt loved and cherished like he hadn’t ever before.
Spencer’s eyes rolled back in his head when Aaron started to slide his hard cock inside him with gentle movements. The thrusts from his lover were long and even paced, Aaron didn’t fuck him, he took his time and made love to him and this was still something that Spencer was getting used to. There was no hurry to get it over with, Aaron was drawing out the pleasure with each slow thrust into him. Spencer wrapped his legs around his lover to pull him in close as he also wrapped his hands around Aaron’s waist and gripped tightly as the pace gradually increased. Aaron was caressing his thighs, touching him everywhere he could and the love he felt from Aaron almost shattered him. Spencer was swimming in a sea of emotions as his lover made love to him. He was bent almost in half when he felt warm lips on his, kissing him and telling him he was beautiful. He couldn’t help the tears that fell as his heart filled with his love for the man above him. When a warm hand wrapped around his cock and started to pull, he arched up off the bed and couldn’t stop the orgasm that made him cry out as he came. Aaron thrust into him through his orgasm then stilled as he spilled his warm seed inside Spencer.
Spencer was breathing hard when Aaron carefully pulled form his body and collapsed next to him. When he was wrapped in those strong arms he fell apart. Spencer’s sense of self had eroded away so much over the almost eighteen months since James’ passing that the smallest things could have broken him. Since meeting Aaron every time he fell apart, let himself break Aaron was there to build him back up.
Aaron held him close as Spencer purged himself. He ran his hand up and down Spencer’s back trying to soothe him. Finally, when Spencer was spent, he was able to talk.
“I’m sorry, it’s just no one cared for me like that, like you do. You show me how much you love me every time you touch me and sometimes I-“ He stopped talking when a finger was pressed across his lips.
“You don’t have to explain to me Spencer. I love you; I love you so much that all I want to do is cherish you.”
Spencer didn’t know what to say as he buried his face in Aaron’s neck.
“Even though we have to hide what we are to each other when we leave this apartment? Doesn’t it hurt you that we can’t do something as simple as hold hands?”
Aaron was quiet for so long that Spencer thought he had fallen asleep.
“I think what we have is worth whatever price we have to pay. Yes, I would love to hold your hand, kiss you, put a ring on your finger and declare you mine but the world hasn’t woken-up yet Spencer. If all we have is freedom in our home, I can live with that, can you?”
Spencer smiled to himself and knew that he could.
“You make me happier than I ever thought possible Aaron and yes it’s all worth it.”
Spencer got a teaching position at City University of New York in the photography department teaching beginning photography and was loving it. Three months had passed and Spencer knew that he needed to go back to 2011once more to make sure that the papers were filed and to say whatever final goodbye’s that he needed to. Asking for the amulet was hard to do because he knew Aaron was going to be reluctant in giving it to him.
“Aaron.” Spencer stood in the doorway to Aaron’s study and waited for his lover to acknowledge him.
“Penny? What’s wrong?”
“Aaron, I need the amulet.”
Aaron was trying to stay calm as he sat back in his chair and Spencer could tell he was trying his hardest not to glare at him.
“I won’t be gone more than a day, I promise. I need to make sure the divorce papers were filed correctly, and confirmation came through. I need to say goodbye.” Spencer looked down at his feet as he swallowed hard, “To James.”
Aaron got up from his desk and came around hugging Spencer close to try to settle his own emotions. He didn’t want to let Spencer go.
“Part of me has been so tempted to destroy that thing, to never let you go back there again but I realize how selfish that is and I know I can’t do that.” Aaron kissed his forehead then walked to a wall safe behind his desk and opened it. He pulled the amulet out and reluctantly held it out for Spencer.
“Aaron, I promise a day or two at the most and I’ll be back and you can hide this from me wherever you want to. This is where I want to be, with you.”
“Okay.” Spencer noticed the way Aaron was dressed. He had one of his nicer suits on and it alerted something in him. His eyes flicked to the calendar on Aaron’s desk and he realized what day it was. The protest that Uncle Rob told him about, the one that got Aaron killed was that very day.
“Aaron, please don’t go to the protest. Stay home today.”
“Spencer, you know I can’t do that. The tenant board is expecting me to be there.”
“Aaron, please don’t go.”
“Penny,” the anxiety in Spencer’s voice seemed to alert Aaron that something was wrong. “Do you know something Spencer?”
“It’s just something my Uncle Rob told me in the future. I thought all this, us moving, you beginning your internship, even us getting together would change things but you still got involved in the tenants’ rights group. Please Aaron, please don’t show up. Make-up an excuse, stay home. I can’t…I can’t lose you Aaron. I don’t think I’d come back from that.” Spencer couldn’t help the way his eyes filled but he held back his tears. He needed to get through to Aaron.
“Love, how are you going to lose me?” Aaron’s smile made Spencer’s heart ache. It was the smile that had made Spencer fall in love in the first place.
“Aaron, the Iceman shows up and you’re his target.” Spencer grabbed him in a tight hold. “Please take this seriously Aaron.”
“The Iceman is a story Spencer-“
“No! he’s not. His name is Richard Kuklinski and he works for the DeCavalcante family as a contract killer. They want that block you and the rights group is protesting the gentrification of. Please Aaron stay home.”
“If you know this why haven’t you told the police?”
“And how would that conversation go? ‘Hey, I’m from the future and The Iceman is going to murder my male lover’. Yeah first they’d want to know how I got my information and second, they’d throw me in Bellevue. I can’t very well tell them, now can I?” Spencer closed his eyes and took a deep breath as he tried to stay calm.
Aaron watched as Spencer’s expression was filled with fear. Aaron cupped Spencer’s cheek and wrapped an arm around his waist and felt his body shaking.
“You really are scared aren’t you Penny?”
“Yes dammit, I’m terrified that I’ll go back to 2011, then come home to hear that you’re dead. I can’t lose you, I just can’t.” The fear and desperation surrounding Spencer made Aaron pause. It was several minutes before Aaron finally said anything.
“Okay, I won’t go. I’ll see if one of the other interns can go. And I’ll try to give them warning, okay?”
Spencer sagged against Aaron in relief, but he still couldn’t get the shaking under control.
“Hey, I’ll be okay.” Aaron tried to calm Spencer down and when he felt the shaking stop, he curled his fingers around Spencer’s shoulders and made him look at him. “Everything will be fine Spencer.”
Spencer nodded his head and tried to settle the feeling of dread he had in his stomach. He decided to put it out of his mind as he said his goodbye and set the amulet to 2011 and concentrated on his Uncle’s house. A few minutes later he was standing in the middle of Uncle Rob’s living room.