Falling into bed with Jules had been completely unexpected on Lares’ part. But not unpleasant, he thought as he lay, sated, in bed with the medic.
Lares had never thought of himself as a lover of men. Indeed, on Voco the idea was far less popular than it was in Athering, and to be thought of as such was, at best, a scandal. With Jules, the phrase didn’t seem to apply. This was not to say that Jules was not a man — he definitely was that — nor that they were not lovers — there was no other term for what they’d shared. Being lovers for one night, however, did not make Lares a lover of men in general. It was what it was. He and Jules were very close friends. Very close friends who occasionally slept with each other.
Or just once. Whether it happened again or not did not matter — Lares did not expect it to affect their friendship negatively in any way, and they would never be more than friends, anyway. It was obvious to Lares and anyone with half a mind that Jules was besotted with Healer Ghia, and Lares would not stand between the two as-of-yet-unrealised lovers.
As for himself, Ghia was right. He needed to heal his heart before he could truly give himself to another. With Hope gone, I do not see that happening anytime soon. He did love Jules, on some level, but he was not ready to commit to anything, while Jules and Ghia were obviously destined to be together. Sex was a good release for two men harrowed by the stresses of what their particular lives held — and so he and Jules would never be more than friends. Friends who occasionally slept with each other.
I’m strangely alright with that. He did think it strange, for it was certainly not usual — especially not in Voco and apparently not in Athering. He doubted that Aro and Anala would be satisfied with being friends with certain benefits — nor would Yarrow and Caelum, from the looks of it.
“Pence for your thoughts?” asked Jules suddenly and Lares jumped.
“I was just wondering how long Yarrow and Caelum have been in love with each other.”
Jules snorted and adjusted position, curving his arm over Lares’ side more comfortably. “A long time. Five years at least.”
“And they’re only now doing something about it?”
There was a pause during which Lares could clearly hear a moan from the next room.
“It appears so,” Jules said wryly.
Lares snorted with laughter and they fell into a comfortable silence punctuated occasionally with the sounds of Yarrow and Caelum’s lovemaking.
“Pence for yours?” he asked after a few moments.
There was a pause, then: “Wondering when I’ll stop being such a coward and just ask her.”
“Ghia, you mean.”
A snort. “Who else? In such a short time that girl has become everything to me.” He sighed, a wistful sound. “I’ve known her for a long time, but…” he laughed breathily. “I could make a career out of emotional blindness.”
“I’ll go into business with you, then,” he said, and the two men shared a chuckle. “You’ll be a very lucky man, when she says yes. Ghia is an extraordinary young lady.”
“Understatement of the year.”
“Do you think she feels the same for me?” Jules asked in a small voice.
“No doubt in my mind,” Lares said immediately.
“She loves you more than life itself, Jules.”
Jules sighed. “I hope you’re right.”
“I am right,” Lares said, turning to face his friend. There was a moan and a thump from next door. “Now if that continues, we’re not going to get any sleep. Suggestions?”
“Get dressed and rejoin the party downstairs?”
“Or continue doing what we were doing before,” Jules said, grinning wickedly.
Lares returned the smile. “I like that one more.”
Before either man could say anything more, Jules kissed Lares passionately, and no words were said the rest of the night.