On December 24, 1979, the Soviet Union deployed tanks to invade Afghanistan. President Jimmy Carter gave the Soviet Union an ultimatum on January 20, 1980 that the United States would boycott the 1980 Moscow Summer games if their troops did not withdraw within one month. They did not. The Soviet Union occupied Afghanistan until February 15, 1988.
Due to these political issues, the United States Olympic team did not attend the Moscow games along with over sixty other countries. “Happy Endings” takes place before the Soviet invasion, thus the characters are still preparing for a competition which will never happen.
I rapped gently on the door.
Knocking again, I heard stirring on the other side.
It had taken some convincing on my part to calm Coach Kozlov into not coming here to beat this door down. I could still hear his thick Russian voice reverberating in the gymnasium, ranting that Olympic hopefuls “do not miss practice!”
“Alexi,” I called. “Alexi, I know you’re in there. It’s me, Will.”
Again, no answer.
The Olympic tryouts were approaching and despite Christmas being less than a week away, this was not the time to slack off. As the lead man on rings, pommel horse, and floor exercises Alexi Morozov had dominated practice and competitions, paving the way toward the podium in Moscow next July and giving the US men’s gymnastics team a golden glint in their eye.
Alexi had come to America from the Soviet Union with his parents in late ‘74. As one of the best gymnasts on the list of Soviet hopefuls, there had been quite a media spectacle about his family’s defection. Three years ago, however, at the age of eighteen, Alexi had been granted full United States citizenship—too late to compete in Montreal but plenty of time to prepare for Moscow. This past year he’d shown his talent by taking a bronze and a silver in two International meets. The media hinted he might be chosen as captain of the men’s team and I had my own suspicions Coach Kozlov might agree.
Moscow would be Alexi’s chance to fulfill a lifelong dream of gold.
While I pitied the rest of the team as Coach took his anger out on them through a rigorous practice, my thoughts had been distracted by concern for Alexi. He’d claimed a sore hamstring, but that seemed like a shoddy excuse to me. I had just given him a therapeutic massage two days ago and I’d seen no sign of pain.
I shifted the portable table in my hands, the weight of it uncomfortable now. I’d been working with the men’s gymnastics team since ’75, traveling with them as their physical therapist. I’d been there the day Alexi received his citizenship and remembered it fondly. I’d been affected by his tears of joy and relief, taking advantage of the opportunity to embrace the beautiful Alexi along with the rest of the well-wishers. Never before had I met a happier or more driven young man.
So what had happened to keep him away from practice?
Knowing how stubborn the Soviets who surrounded me were, I figured Alexi might be covering up something. Understandably, when he had not shown up at the gym at five AM—a first for Alexi—Coach Kozlov’s fury had been explosive. Since Alexi and I had an unspoken friendship, no doubt he’d rather see me knocking on his door than Coach.
I leaned my table against the wall and pounded a little more forcefully on the door. “Look, Alexi, I can hear you in there. You told Coach your hamstring was bothering you, so he sent me. If you don’t want me to look at it, I will gladly send Coach back here and he can talk to you.”
That did the trick.
“Come in,” a thick accented voice called. Though one o’clock in the afternoon he sounded as if he had just woken up.
I turned the knob, finding it unlocked. A dark gloom filled the studio because the curtains had been drawn, blocking out the afternoon California sun. I allowed my eyes a moment to adjust then I hauled my therapy table inside. Having never been here before, I took a curious look around the place Alexi called home.
A carbon copy of all the apartments assigned to the gymnastic team while in training, the one-room apartment consisted of a main living space, a small kitchenette, a door to the side for the bathroom, and a semi-private nook for a bed. Instead of having living room furniture, the main area remained open, with tumbling mats and a balance beam on the wall—probably harkening back to Alexi’s ballet days and perfect for all forms of stretching.
A swath of light broke through the drawn curtains, illuminating Alexi.
He sat on the floor, wearing nothing but a pair of small, white briefs. He’d pulled one knee to his muscular chest while the other collapsed in defeat on the floor. His broad shoulders slumped and those gorgeous blond curls concealed a face which visited me often in my dreams.
Never in all my days had I seen someone so broken, so sad. My heart gave a pang of sympathy and I wanted to hold him close, tell him everything would be okay.
Naturally, I ignored this instinct.
I rested my table against a small dinette table. On its surface sat a glass, an empty bottle of vodka, and a shoe box full of letters. Several were opened and strewn about carelessly. One quick glance showed they were in Russian. Though I had picked up plenty of Russian from Coach Kozlov—mostly curses, orders, and gymnastic terms—I could not read the language. But I did note the return address said Moscow. From someone back home then.
“Alexi,” I whispered, inching forward as one might approach an animal in the wild, fearing it would bolt.
Alexi, however, remained motionless, as still as a statue in that one patch of light, a snapshot of a broken man, burned into my mind for eternity as the epitome of sadness.
I swallowed back the lump in my throat, blinking to stave off tears. I knelt beside him, knowing better than to touch. “Are you okay?”
A bitter sniff answered my question. “не,” he said “no” in Russian.
“Do you want to talk about it?”
“Do you want me to leave?”
This question took him longer to answer. “I don’t know.”
Well, that was progress.
I took a fortifying nasal breath, and placed my hands on my thighs. “Coach said your hamstring was bothering you. Can I take a look at it?”
Finally, the man raised his head. I had to catch my breath when I saw those deep green eyes, the ones I had imagined opening beside me in bed so many times, but now ringed with redness. He’d been crying and not just a little. His puffy face and lips were the victims of serious grief.
“I am fine,” he replied.
“You don’t look fine,” I countered.
That got a half chuckle out of him, offering a hint of the happy-go-lucky man I adored.
“That is because I am not fine, as you say, Will.”
I suppressed a shiver, loving the way his accent always made my name sound like “Vill.” Living in the States six years, Alexi had embraced the music, fashion, and culture but his accent remained thick since he spoke primarily Russian at home and with Coach.
“So why didn’t you come to practice?” I asked, hoping he would tell me. I had no right to pry, but I cared about him as a friend and I wanted to help. “Did you hurt something?”
He sniffed again, and raised his other leg up, resting his muscular arms on both knees much the way a child would. I wisely kept my attention adverted from the ample bulge between his thighs. As the massage therapist, I had seen him naked a hundred times, worked the kinks out of his groin muscles and even glimpsing his erection as I did my job, all the while ignoring my own thoughts and desires which grew the more time I spent with the younger man.
“I have not hurt myself,” Alexi replied.
The emphasis he put on the word “I” made me think of the letters on the table and the vodka. “Who hurt you?”
“You are…how do they say it?” He searched his Russian mind for the English word, a habit I found endearing. “Very intuitive, Will.”
I smiled and shrugged off the compliment. “It’s a gift.”
We were silent for a while and I could feel the tension in my knees from sitting on them and the tingle in my feet. I couldn’t stay in this position much longer, but with Alexi hurting I would be damned if I got up and left him. He might not admit it, but he needed me, I knew it in my bones.
“You don’t have to tell me who it is,” I eventually offered. “But I brought my table. Might as well have me work on you a bit. Maybe then you’ll feel better.”
Though almost eight years my junior and a violation of all my ethical and professional vows, I thoroughly enjoyed rubbing down Alexi and hoped he would agree to a session. I longed to touch his splendid male body, too thick for the ballet he had been first assigned to in the Soviet Union as a little boy. He’d been gifted with a stocky, muscular build, well suited for the gymnastics he’d taken up at the age of ten. When he competed, he had the power of a gymnast with the fluid grace of a dancer. He was magic tumbling on the mats in floor exercise, truly mesmerizing.
Always one of my favorites on the team, Alexi was not only gentle and kind in nature, but he responded to touch unlike any other patient I’d ever treated. He would purr, almost cat-like, arching into my hands. Only when I worked deep, causing pain, did he flinch or hiss. But he never complained. Something about his sensuality lured me into spending a few minutes longer with him, soothing his muscles after I put him through the ringer. He always seemed to be revived afterward, the natural effect of a well done massage.
At the therapist, I, too, walked away feeling some of his goodness and happiness within me. That was the beauty of shared touch, both parties benefitted. If only Alexi knew how badly I had come to crave his own unique touch.
Alexi contemplated this, perhaps tempted by my offer.
“No deep tissue,” I said, sweetening the pot.
Then I finally got what I had been missing since I’d walked into the apartment.
A smile. One which revealed the slight twist of his left front tooth overlapping the other. The imperfection gave his smile character, illuminating his entire face.
Of course, he did not smile big now, but the faint gesture was the first real glimmer of hope I’d seen from him.
“да,” he answered in the affirmative. “I would like that.”
As I set up my table, Alexi stood, shedding his briefs. My eyes shifted to his magnificent bare form, heat flashing under my skin. I quickly averted my face but not before Alexi caught me staring. His posture straightened, not the slightest bit uncomfortable with another man checking him out. Were my own desires misinterpreting his ease with me gawking or was he telling me something? Maybe years of showering in locker rooms, having therapists massage your groin and walking around in tight uniforms just gave him a confidence I would never possess.
Whatever it was, I never tired of admiring him, and I was glad he didn’t seem to mind me ogling.
Sometimes I had a hint he might find me attractive. I was decent enough, tall, and in fair shape, with dark hair and pleasing features. Or so I had been told. Either Alexi wasn’t attracted to men, afraid to be, or just plain afraid of being exposed and watching his Olympic dreams go up in flames, but he never gave me any indication of interest.
So everything remained in my fantasies.
Once the table had been set up, I turned back to him and gasped. He stood in front of the dinette, the sinewy curve of his spine, the musculature of his legs, and the solid pertness of his perfect ass highlighted by the lone light from the curtains, creating shadows of definition on his perfectly carved body. His mop of blond curls came to the center of my chest when he stood in front of me, but all those muscles kept him from seeming small or frail.
My cock throbbed in my shorts, inching down my leg without permission. I swallowed back the saliva pooling in my mouth. While I knew—as did my cock—within moments my hands would be all over his body, I longed for it be with both of us naked, tangled up in the throes of passion, erections battling when our skin collided and our mouths sought one another.
I cleared my throat and Alexi turned, one of the letters clutched tightly in his hand.
Our eyes locked, and I counted my heartbeats. One…two…three…four….
When I reached ten Alexi smiled, the tension in his shoulders easing as he broke the intense stare he’d pinned on me.
I let out a rush of breath, not surprised to find my pulse racing.
“The one I love has told me they are marrying another,” Alexi said, startling me.
“Oh, I’m sorry.”
“As am I,” he agreed, dropping the letter.
We both watched the paper drift to the floor like a leaf in the wind, me standing awkwardly by my therapy table and Alexi, the epitome of masculine beauty, nude and immobile before me.
I felt like I should say something. I, too, had been the victim of a lost love before. “You may not believe me now, but you will find someone to love you the way you deserve, Alexi. I can promise you that.”
Then Alexi gave me the saddest, most defeated expression I had ever seen from another human being. I had to resist the urge to hug and reassure him.
“I fear that may not be true for a man like me, Will.”
I tipped my head to the side, curious why he would say something like that. “What was her name?”
Those piercing green eyes, ringed with the redness of grief captured mine, stealing my breath away. He did not reply, rather, he studied me, much the way I had seen him scrutinizing the mats in the gym, the rings, and the pommel horse. As if he were laying out possible outcomes, falls, injuries, or mistakes. Going over routines in his head, preparing for both victory and defeat. It was this single minded intensity, coupled with a jovial man out of the gym which had always drawn me to him. He had a sort of magnetism one could not learn.
Finally, he answered. “Viktor.”
His gaze did not waver when my brows shot up, the weight of his full confession like a cold bucket of water in the face followed by a burst of exhilarating awareness.
However excited I suddenly felt, I kept my composure, not wanting to react in any way which he might misconstrue. I steeled my face, keeping the shock and happiness at bay. “Yeah, I had the same thing happen to me once upon a time. His name was David.”
And then, just like that, every unspoken tension dissolved, every egg shell either of us had ever been forced to walk on, every fear or misconception we had faced…gone. Our secret was the same and we had no more reasons to pretend.
Alexi smiled, showing a hint of that crooked tooth I wanted to feel under my tongue. “At the games next summer he was supposed to leave with me and come to America so we could finally be together.”
I nodded in understanding. So many Soviets, especially athletes, defected to the United States or Canada due to the harsh way of life in their homeland. Naturally, Alexi would assume his former lover would wish to do the same.
He sighed in defeat. “But now he has chosen to marry a woman. He claims what we had was mistake. A sin. He is wrong.” Alexi bunched a fist at his side, trying to convince himself or Viktor, I wasn’t really sure. “But he forgot what we had. Perhaps because it has been so long since….”
His voice trailed off and his cheeks reddened. I could imagine what he’d intended to say after hearing the longing and the grief in his words, seeing it in his posture. Alexi had not been to the Soviet Union since an international meet two years ago. Could that have been the last time he saw this Viktor? Had Alexi been alone, untouched, and unloved all this time?
Just imagining Alexi lonely hurt me to my very soul.
Awkward due to the sudden overwhelming desire to be the salve to mend Alexi’s broken heart, I didn’t know what to say. I yearned to embrace him, kiss him, and tell him everything would be all right. But it was not my place. Instead, I offered him the one thing I could. I gestured toward the table, surprised to find my hand shaking a bit. My nerves were not from my usual anticipation of touching him. Now that all my suspicions had been confirmed, I couldn’t stop my mind from dreaming that someday something might happen between us.
Dare I hope?
Without making eye contact, Alexi climbed onto the table and lay face down. Perhaps he felt he had confessed too much. Then again, maybe I was reading into it.
I tossed the sheet over his delectable ass, more acutely aware of the masculine scent of his sweat than ever before. He must have consumed a lot of alcohol after receiving the letter from his lover, because his skin glistened with sweat as his body expunged the toxins.
Oiling my hands, I focused my energy into my work, starting with his feet. Slowly, I kneaded the arches, the balls, and heels. Each toe I worked on elicited a soft little groan of pleasure from Alexi, so faint I would have missed it if I had not been waiting for it, listening intently. A gymnast used every part of their body, and I devoted my talents to each and every toe, stretching them, removing the kinks.
Being a much larger man than Alexi, my hands could wrap almost all the way around his muscular calves. I slid my thumbs slowly up his legs, getting into every tendon, each muscle receiving diligent care. His alabaster skin, shaved smooth of all hair, felt like silk against my palms.
When I went to work on his hamstrings, Alexi moaned, arching his ass up ever so slightly, like a kitten being petted. He’d suffered a hamstring pull once, and I knew how much he loved the special attention to the vital muscle group. I could also not deny how much I adored standing above him, trailing my oiled palms up his inner thighs and the innocent way the back of my hands brushed his sack as I drove my thumbs into the fascia where the hamstring met his groin.
Alexi sighed with pleasure, widening his thighs to grant me better access to his sore muscles. I had to bite my lower lip to contain a longing groan.
As my hands moved upward, so did the sheet. I let out a shaky breath when the wrinkled skin of his sack came into view. My cock burned in my shorts, knowing he was like me. That he, too, relished the intimate touch of another man. Even if he had expressed no interest specifically in me, to know he had trusted me and that in some world there might be a chance for us, I could not stop my hard-on from throbbing.
Trying my damndest to keep my focus on the task at hand, I shifted my attention to the sides of his thighs, working the large muscles with deep massage and effleurage. But as soon as I placed my hands on his glutes, my breathing became labored—and not from the exertion of my work. I massaged the globes of his ass, kneading them like two balls of dough, careful not to allow my fingers to slide into his valley of dark pleasure I longed to explore. I focused on the connective tissue, the hip flexors, and the pressure points which needed to be kept limber for gymnastics. His skin glistened with the oil, a beacon calling me to caress him forever. I struggled to ignore the faint dust of hair in his crack and the way his muscular ass just begged to be parted and laved clean of sweat by my tongue.
But the harder I tried to remain professional with my hands, my mind was just as determined to conjure illicit scenarios. Ones of me climbing onto the table, spreading his cheeks and lubing his pucker with my spit then driving my aching cock home into that tight, gymnast ass.
My God, I had never wanted him more!
Was it just his recent show of vulnerability which drew me to him, made me want to protect him, and make sweet love to him until he forgot all about this old lover? Or perhaps it was that same fantasy which played often in my head. The one of Alexi stretching in the gym, his legs spread wide in a side split, face flat on the ground before him. Such flexibility could afford two men countless positions in which to find relief.
Shaking my head to clear away such inopportune thoughts, I dedicated myself to his back, tracing the ridges of his perfectly defined latissimuss dorsi, and digging my thumbs into his trapezius before caressing his solid deltoids. Something about focusing solely on the technical treatment of the muscles beneath my expert hands helped me regain part of my composure.
Alexi groaned loudly when I repeated the circuit of massage on his back, starting this time lower, by his hips. At his indication of pain, instantly, the therapist in me took over. “Hips bothering you?”
“Just tight,” he responded, voice choked.
My wayward gaze drifted over the top of his ass cheeks peeking out from the sheet. Not the only thing tight on you I’d wager.
“Roll onto your side.” I raised the sheet so he could maintain a measure of decency while he assumed the proper position, on his side with his upper leg bent. I didn’t this as much for him as myself. I couldn’t handle seeing his cock in my current state of turmoil.
I exposed just his ass and dutifully treated his hip, massaging and breaking up any lactic acids which might cause him strain during a routine. Once finished and so in tune with my medical task that my arousal had subsided somewhat, I instructed him to flip over so I could take care of his other hip.
Still discombobulated by everything, I forgot to hold up the sheet. Before I could walk to the other side of the table I was faced with the one thing my fragile composure could not handle.
I choked back a whimper. Alexi had rolled onto his side, eyes still closed and cock jutting out with a partial erection. In my business, such an involuntary reaction to massage was not unusual, but after his confession to me, I fixated on it. The length was not much, but overall his cock was thick like the man, with a bulbous head tucked neatly into a pink foreskin. I had the notion if I were to give his veiny length one smooth stroke, the head might pop out of its protective home to say hello. I smiled, thinking of how he might taste or feel in my hand or mouth.
Before my imagination got too carried away, I hastily moved to the other side, where an equally distracting view of his ass awaited me. I completed the necessary massage on his second hip, trying unsuccessfully to ignore his moans of pleasure.
“Ok,” I said, clearing my throat. “Lay flat on your back.”
Like a sleepy cat, Alexi raised his arms over his head and pointed his toes, arching his back as he rolled toward me. The contentment on his face as he stretched his entire body, the sway of his muscle, and the seductive movement of his limbs froze me in place. I watched in awe as he shifted, the motion completely catching the blanket under his ass. His cock, still at half-mast, drooped to the side. My eyes did not know how to obey any longer. They roamed all over him, soaking in his beauty much the way a starving man took in a buffet. From the softness of his relaxed face and those rumpled blond curls, to his sweat slicked chest with wrinkle marks from the sheet and down to those solid muscular legs, finally stopping at the dark blond thatch surrounding his beautiful, uncut cock.
My jaw dropped, the need for oxygen too great to continue breathing through my nose.
Then Alexi opened his sleepy eyes and smiled at me. The same content smile I’d fantasized seeing every morning when I rolled over in my lonely bed and saw the empty pillow beside me.
I stood beside him, oiled hands helpless at my side, studying his face, the pleasure and serenity he wore. Rendered mute and immobile, my body flushed as arousal swept over me in full force.
Swallowing hard, I just kept staring. I could not have looked away for anything. Recalling the loneliness in his voice when he’d spoken about Viktor flooded me with the desire to ease any pains he might carry. So intent on the man on my table, I had not realized how hot the tiny studio apartment had become and sweat trickled down my spine.
Alexi’s gaze dropped, taking in the sizable tent in my shorts I could not hide. His smile changed then and I shivered despite the heat.
Beefy chest rising and falling, Alexi regarded my face again, desire coloring his expression now. He lowered one arm to his side, the other across his bare stomach, lying still with one knee raised to remove the pressure from his lower back.
My professional mind told me to take the sheet and cover him but I couldn’t bring myself to hide one inch of his perfect body. Boldly, I swept him with my gaze, taking him in and memorizing his perfection. When his erection started to rise, I stared at it, transfixed. My blood pounded in my ears and I waited with bated breath as that moist head slowly emerged from its protective sheath.
A quick peek at his face revealed a desperation which stole the air from my lungs. His lips were swollen, no longer with grief, but with hunger. They were parted and his breaths came deep and shallow. I stared, disbelieving, as his hand inched toward one brown nipple, thumbing it. A blush colored his beautiful pale skin and his hooded expression pleaded with me. Then he uttered one simple word.
Attention held total prisoner by Alexi, I took hold of his shaft, a giddy sense of surreal delight washing over me when I felt its heat. My hand was liberally oiled and when I twisted his shaft upward the skin glided beneath my grip with ease, his foreskin encasing his head once more. Playing with an uncircumcised man was new for me and terribly erotic.
Alexi hissed, hips twitching and reminding me of something feline, fluid and sensual. I massaged his cock, devoting as much care and attention to that muscle as I had all the rest. On the downward stroke I delighted in watching his moist, dark head pop out of its protective home. Mouth watering, I stared at his cock, so different, so unfamiliar to a circumcised man like me. Suddenly, all the men I had been with—not that there had been a lot—were rendered boring and unexciting in light of the new plaything in my hands. Touching Alexi’s perfect unadulterated penis felt like the first time I’d ever touched another man’s cock.
I pumped him, relishing the way the foreskin slid back and forth across his head and knowing by the way he writhed beneath me it had to feel extremely good for him. Up and down I jerked him, twisting my hand as I did so. Alexi played with his nipple, pinching and pulling, then every now and again squeezing the other one. He grunted a bit, body trembling. As intoxicating as the sight of his cock in my hand was, his face was even more enticing. Contorted in passion, he watched me, lips swollen and parted with lust.
I moved closer, only touching him with the one hand. I smiled when he clutched at the sheet by his side, fighting for control or desperate to let go, I couldn’t be sure. Still he kept his determined gaze on my face.
“Will,” he gasped, thrusting his hot, rock hard cock deeper into my grip.
“It’s ok,” I heard myself whisper though the voice did not sound like my own. “Just let go. I’ll take care of you, I promise. You don’t have to worry anymore.”
Then his entire body gave in, a dam breaking. I stroked him faster, caught up in a fever and needing to give him this. He threw his head back with a strangled cry and his cock pulsed beneath my palm. I looked back just in time to see glorious ropes of cum spew from between my fingers.
“Alexi,” I murmured, my own body trembling now.
He whimpered, thrashing a bit on the table as he continued to come.
Witnessing his release sent a shock wave through me and my back convulsed. Without even touching the erection hidden in my shorts, the cum rose within me then burst free.
“Oh, God!” I cried, shaking hard.
As I rode out my own pleasure, I never stopped stroking his cock, imagining his hand was on me doing the same. I wavered on my feet and gripped the table with my free hand, the sweet blackness of orgasm crashing over me in surges of heat.
Head spinning, I slowly peeled my eyes open when I finished. Alexi’s entire body had melted into the table, his expression glazed over with sated happiness. My hand still held his cock, massaging on its own though he had softened, the head disappearing under the foreskin. I couldn’t help be reminded of a turtle hiding away in its shell and I managed a weak smile. I braced my weight on the table as the weakness after coming consumed me.
Not releasing his cock, I studied his face. At a loss as what to say, I simply stared, embarrassed, happy, and unsure. I had crossed a line professionally, but at his behest. My first instinct was to apologize but he had needed this as badly as I had.
While I gazed into the green depths of his eyes, I understood it would take time for him to heal, to mend his broken heart. I did not know what this moment meant to him or meant for us, but it would always be incredibly special to me. I offered him a faint smile, one of assurance, affection, and appreciation. I had promised during the heat of the moment to take care of him, and it surprised me how much I really meant those words.
Suddenly, the warmth of his hand covered mine, halting my gentle caress on his cock. I withdrew, imagining he might be overstimulated after coming.
But Alexi did not let me go. He took hold of my hand and gave me a squeeze, ignoring the wetness of his cum smearing between our palms.
When he smiled back at me, his face lighting up as he flashed that adorable crooked tooth, all uncertainty about the future faded away.
Alexi and I had made a connection today, bonding us irrevocably. Whether or not we would have a real happy ending remained to be seen. But I planned to give it one helluva a shot, and helping him heal along the way.
If the sparkle in his green eyes were any indicator, Alexi wanted the same thing, too.
Copyright © 2012 Deanna Wadsworth