Replacing Memories

Rupert’s Legacy 2
MLR Press
M/M Contemporary

A broken snow globe, Paris, and love combine to bring Hal and Tavis even closer together.

Hal Sims and Tavis Komen have been together for three months, and it’s time for them to take their relationship a step farther. While moving in, one of Tavis’s rare snow globes is broken. When Hal realizes what the globe means to Tavis, he’ll do whatever he must to replace it. While Hal searches for a rare snow globe, he begins to see just how irreplaceable Tavis has become in his life. He decides to take the next step and make their love permanent by asking Tavis to marry him.

Chapter One

Hal Sims watched the movers carry in the last of the boxes from Tavis’s apartment. He’d been discretely admiring the muscular men as they went between the house and the moving van. He jumped when an arm encircled his waist, and he found himself pulled back against a familiar chest.

“See anything you like?” Tavis murmured in Hal’s ear.

“Purely admiring the scenery.” He spoke softly so the men couldn’t hear them. “I have all I could ever need or want right here, but I’m still breathing, and I’m going to look. I just don’t want to touch.”

Tavis chuckled. “Thank you for the loving endorsement, Hal. I was teasing because I did some looking at the apartment.”

There would have been a time right after they’d met when Tavis’s confession would have bothered Hal. He would have been self-conscious of his less than perfect body. Now, three months later, Hal took Tavis’s teasing in stride.

Hell, Tavis was the one who’d brought up moving in together, and while Hal wasn’t entirely sure they weren’t moving too fast, he was willing to try.

“What are all these boxes?” he asked as the movers set the last ones down in the front living room.

Tavis paid the men and escorted them out. Hal leaned against the doorframe, counting boxes.

“Thirty boxes? I thought you’d already moved all your clothes and stuff over last weekend.”

He turned to watch Tavis stride across the foyer, and Hal’s breath caught in his chest. Hal was still amazed Tavis Komen, tabloid golden child, loved him enough to move in with him. It humbled him to see the desire for him burning in Tavis’s blue eyes.

Hal grabbed Tavis and kissed him, putting all his love, happiness, and need into it. Tavis wound his arms around Hal’s shoulders, opening to him without hesitation.

Their tongues stroked and teased, playing while their hands followed familiar paths. By the time Hal’s lungs burned from lack of oxygen and he eased away, his shirt was unbuttoned and hanging from his elbows. Tavis’s T-shirt was pushed up, and Hal slid his hands down the back of Tavis’s jeans. Hal rested his forehead on Tavis’s, trying to catch his breath.

“I think we should move this upstairs so we don’t scare Mari, in case she wanders by,” he suggested.

“Great idea. We can deal with all this later.” Tavis motioned in the direction of the boxes.

Hal took Tavis’s hand, and they stumbled up the stairs. He laughed as Tavis squeezed his ass cheek. After shutting the bedroom door, Hal dragged Tavis over to the bed and pushed his lover onto the comforter. Tavis had stripped off his shirt at some point during their moving to the bedroom.

“In a hurry, love?” Tavis teased as Hal fumbled with the button at Tavis’s waistband.

He tugged and stripped Tavis’s pants off, taking his underwear with them. Hal threw them over his shoulder, not caring where they landed. He zeroed in on Tavis’s erection, standing proudly from Tavis’s groin.

“Get naked before we get too distracted to get your pants off,” Tavis ordered.

Hal grabbed the lube out of the nightstand and tossed it at Tavis. “Why don’t you get yourself ready while I finish getting undressed?”

Tavis caught the bottle and gave Hal a wink as he popped open the top. “Yes, sir. I love it when you get bossy.”

Hal blushed, even though he should be used to Tavis’s teasing. He smacked Tavis on the thigh with a slight grin before taking his own clothes off.

“Stop it. Come on, honey. It’s been a week since we’ve been together. I want to bury myself as deep as I can inside you.”

He didn’t care if it sounded like he was begging. Both he and Tavis had traveled during the week for business, but it was to different states. Talking on the phone wasn’t the same as sharing a bed every night with Tavis.

His throat went dry as Tavis dragged his leg up and to the side. Hal eyed Tavis’s exposed hole as Tavis sank two fingers in without hesitation.

“Maybe you should take it a little slower. I don’t want you to hurt yourself.”

Tavis smiled at him. “Don’t worry. I did a little stretching at the apartment before the moving guys got there. I didn’t want to waste any more time than it took to get naked.”

Hal edged closer to the bed, watching as Tavis continued to play with his ass. Finally, he couldn’t take it anymore. He crawled onto the mattress and settled between Tavis’s legs.

He removed Tavis’s fingers and positioned his cock at Tavis’s opening. Their eyes met and held as Hal pressed in, not stopping until he was as deep as he could be. He braced his hands on either side of Tavis’s head. Leaning down, he brought their lips together, swallowing Tavis’s gasp as he began to move.

Hal had become addicted to the way Tavis felt around his cock and the rhythm of their lovemaking. Yet it was how Tavis made him feel outside of bed that brought him back every time he left for work. Also, the way Tavis yelled his name each time Hal nailed his gland excited Hal as much as the gorgeous, muscular body writhing under him.

They rocked together, relearning their personal pace until Hal’s climax exploded through his body and he flooded Tavis with his cum.

“Holy Christ!” Tavis shouted as he came a few seconds after Hal did, coating his stomach.

Hal’s brain worked just enough for him to slip out and fall to one side, making sure he didn’t collapse on Tavis. He rested his hand on Tavis’s chest and felt Tavis’s heart race.

“When I have control over my body again, I’ll get a towel to clean us off,” he muttered.

Tavis reached over the side and snagged a T-shirt out of his open suitcase on the floor. “No need.”

They wiped up and climbed under the blankets. Tavis laid his head on Hal’s chest while entwining their fingers.

“I missed you,” Tavis confessed.

“Probably just as much as I missed you. What got me through the week, aside from our phone conversations, was knowing you were going to be officially moved in this weekend.”

“I’m glad we got tested. I love feeling you skin to skin in every way.” Tavis pressed a kiss to Hal’s shoulder.

Hal smiled. “Me too.”

It had been at the two-month mark when Tavis suggested they get tested, so they could forgo the condoms. Hal had never gone without protection, not even in his really wild days, and especially not after his older brother contracted HIV. Losing someone to AIDS tended to make a person cautious, and Hal was no exception. Yet he’d fallen in love with Tavis and wanted the additional intimacy; plus, he trusted the younger man would never cheat on him.

A knock sounded on the door. Hal grunted as he climbed out of bed and pulled on some sweats before going to answer the door. Mari stood on the other side.

“I’m heading home, Halloren. There’s food in the refrigerator. You just have to throw it in the stove to heat up.” She peeked around the edge of the door. “Good to see you, Tavis. I guess you’ll still be here on Monday when I come back.”

“Yes, ma’am. I’m living here permanently now, so you’ll have another man to take care of around here.” Tavis flapped his hand at her from the bed.

“Good news. I’m glad you’re here, Tavis.” She pushed up on her toes and kissed Hal’s cheek. “I’ll see you on Monday. Make sure those boxes in the front living room are taken care of before I get back.”

“We will,” Hal promised.

He watched her stroll down the hallway to the stairs. She’d make sure the doors were locked when she left, so he didn’t need to follow her. He stripped out of his sweats and climbed back in bed with Tavis, who promptly curled into his arms.

“I’ve never had anyone to miss when I went on trips,” Hal confessed. “Well, at least not once Rupert died.”

“I traveled a lot, whether with my parents or, once I was old enough, by myself. There was really only one place I missed, and that was my grandparents’ vacation home in the south of France. It was right on the Mediterranean and so beautiful.”

Hal laughed. “I took Rupert there during the last year he was alive. We spent a month on the Sea of Cortez, and he seemed better from soaking up the sun.”

He eased back to look down at Tavis. His lover’s eyes were half-opened, and Hal felt bad for keeping him awake. Tavis had gone over to London to talk about the possibility of opening a Legacy House in England. They would talk about business when they went into the office on Monday.

Working together could make it easy to get bored with each other or only talk about business. He didn’t want their relationship to become stale. Of course, they’d been dating for only three months, so they were still excited to be together.

When he agreed to let Tavis move in with him, he’d set up the rule of no discussing business on the weekend. He knew Tavis would go up to the hospice to check on the residents, and Hal would go along with him. The residents at Legacy House were friends and not just patients.

“Hey, where did you put Joey’s stuff?”

Hal and Tavis had cleaned out Joey’s suite, but Hal had gotten busy with work before he could put the boxes away.

“It’s up in the attic here.” Tavis looked at him. “Why?”

“Oh, Sandy took a call from an old friend of Joey’s. He’s getting out of the army and wanted to stop by to talk to us. I thought if he was a friend, maybe he’d like to go through Joey’s things to see if he wanted anything.”

Tavis seemed to be thinking, so Hal settled back down beside him and spooned up behind Tavis. He draped his arm over Tavis’s waist to rest his hand on his lover’s stomach.

“I guess we could do that. Joey’s family isn’t interested in any of it. I called them after the funeral, and they told me to throw it all out. I couldn’t do it, which is why it’s boxed and in our attic.”

Hal liked how “our attic” sounded coming from Tavis. He pressed a kiss on Tavis’s shoulder. “Good. He didn’t say when he was coming. Probably not for a while, anyway. He’s still in the military and won’t be back in the States for a couple of months.”

“Okay,” Tavis murmured, sleep heavy in his voice.

Even though all those boxes waited to be unpacked, Hal decided napping in his lover’s arms was more important at the moment. They had all weekend to take care of those.