Two college basketball players on a team bound for the championships carry on an affair after hours. Neither talks about the time they spend in each other's arms. They kid themselves and pretend it's just sex. They think no one else knows.
They're wrong on both accounts. But it isn't until a fellow teammate interferes that they're willing to admit how much they care for each other.
He’s asleep when you knock on his door. Quietly, so the rest of us don’t hear. You wait one minute, two, almost three before you knock again. A little louder this time. Let me in.
The door opens and he blinks at you from the darkness of his hotel room. “Joaquim?” As if he isn’t sure and has to ask. He squints up at you, the light falling around your shoulders. He can’t see your face.
You push past him into the room. This isn’t the first time. Despite the girl sleeping back in your own bed, you know it won’t be the last. You need this. You tell yourself that you both need it, you need each other, and that’s why he never turns you away.
When he closes the door behind you, trapping you, your hands find his body in the dark. They know every inch of his skin. You don’t need light, or words, or anything but the breathy kisses and the rasp of your flesh along his. Your fingers ease beneath his shirt, push it up and tug it off and throw it aside. Your palms savor the feel of his chest against them. Your lips remember the taste of his.
Warm tongues lick secret flesh, greedy lips and hungry hands, quickening breaths. He sighs your name when he comes in your mouth and you ease two fingers into him, testing how far it’ll go this time. He lets you in, his hands fisting into the sheets, his body arching into your hands. He’s yours in this instant. You love that.
A few lingering kisses, his hand on you in places it aches to think about during the day. You lean above him and he takes you in, his mouth hot and damp and soft around your hardness. He lets you thrust into him, over and over again, your legs splayed on either side of his chest, your hands curled into his thick hair. This time when you come, you almost say his name. Almost.
As the sweat cools and your hearts stop racing, you lie together on the bed. His leg is pressed against yours, his fingers curled around your wrist, that’s it. You don’t touch him. If you did, you know you would crawl into his arms and burrow deep into him and never come out again. You’re scared of that. You think you both are.
Before you get up, he kisses your stubbled cheek, a tender, friendly peck. “Joaquim,” he sighs. That’s the only word either of you have said since you came in, your name. When you start to sit up, his fingers close over your wrist and for a frightening moment you think he’s going to hold on, he’s not going to let you go. You imagine that it might be a wonderful, heady rush if he kept you here. Then you could tell him all the words you can’t bring yourself to say and then we all would know what it is you two do in his room, at night, together.
You think we don’t know.
But he lets you go, like he always does. You dress in the dark, like you always do. You don’t say a word as you bend down and kiss his forehead, still damp. He runs a hand down your arm and kisses your chin and doesn’t speak as you leave.
Quietly, so no one else will wake up, you close his door behind you. Blink in the sudden light. Hurry back to your room and your girl and your empty side of the bed.
You can still smell him on you in the morning, when she wakes you with a light kiss. She lets you believe she doesn’t recognize his cologne on your skin, but she does. She knows. We all do.