When I wake in the middle of the night Tanim’s back is pressed to mine, a solid warmth in the darkness I’d never have guessed I would find so comforting. We’re still shy and hesitant with our affections during the day but Tanim seems to gravitate toward me when he’s asleep. No matter what positions we begin in, I always wake to find my companion curled against my side, a possessive arm often thrown over my chest or back. Moments like this offer a brief glimpse into the lonely, needy part of Tanim he tries so hard not to show. He told me once that he only wanted from me what I was willing to give and it’s touching how careful he is not to cross that line. He would never pressure me to take our relationship any further yet I know he longs to submit himself to me. It’s the ultimate expression of love, he says, but he never asks me outright to take part in such an intimate act. I doubt he even considers it a possibility for us, guarded and damaged as I am. But could it be? Could I be that person for him?
Tanim stirs in his sleep at my side, burying his face in the pillow as a dreamy smile curls the corners of his mouth. His blissful expression makes my heart flutter and my stomach clench. While I brush a lock of hair from his forehead I wonder what I’m willing to give this man who has already promised so much of himself to me. Am I ready to both give and take, I who have never wanted anything from anyone? I imagine what it would be like to undress Tanim, to run my fingers over his warm skin and touch him in places I’ve never even allowed myself to think about before. Could I do this? Could I take him in my arms and make him mine? Could I sacrifice my own privacy to give Tanim the opportunity to open himself to me?
My hand drifts down to Tanim’s hip and he curls closer as if my caress translates to some pleasant occurrence in his dream. And it probably does; he’s not such a skilled liar that I don’t know he dreams of us together, has fantasized about the very act I’m currently struggling to accept. Even this small step makes my cheeks burn, though it’s hard to tell whether they flush out of nervousness or desire or something else entirely. It feels good to touch him like this. A little strange, but good. Right. It feels like my hand has always belonged here.
Just a few weeks ago – fuck, a few days ago – that thought would have disturbed me. I’m starting to think I’m not the same man I was when I met Tanim. After all, I’m not one to give or take willingly, but with Tanim none of the old rules seem to apply. I think I can do this. Moreover, I want to do this. I want to give Tanim the love and safety and acceptance he needs to be completely vulnerable, to in turn offer as much of himself as he can. I want him to be mine in every sense of the word.
I’m not quite bold enough to act on my decision just yet, though. Instead of letting my hand drift down to touch more private regions of my companion’s body, I loop my arm around his waist and draw him close. He wakes enough to return the embrace, nuzzling his face into my chest and muttering my name, but otherwise Tanim remains in contented slumber. And this, too, feels right. Tanim belongs here in my arms. He belongs with me. To me. And soon I’ll prove that to him.