You are on page 1of 23

This is a work of fiction.

Characters, places, and incidents are products of the
author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events,
locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. This work may not be
sold, manipulated, or reproduced in any format without express written permission
from the author.

The work contains graphic language and explicit sexual contact between two men.
Intended for adult audiences only. Not intended for anyone under the age of 18.

The Lifecycle of the North American Love Virus

© 2012 Kerry Freeman

Cover Photo © Joe Biafore, Licensed from iStockphoto


For Gina, who gave me a great prompt


Thanks to Becca and Trinity for beta-reading and listening to me talk about
my ever expanding list of plot bunnies.

Thanks to the Goodreads M/M Romance group for organizing another great
writing event in Love is Always Write.

Exposure of the Host

"I warned you, Culpepper. If you didn't pick an apprentice, I'd pick one for


Phone in hand, Oswald paced the short length of his pristine kitchen and

worried his bottom lip with his teeth. "I've never had to have one before."

The dean wasn't giving an inch. "That's because my predecessor babied you.

I'm not going to do that. We are a teaching hospital, in case you'd forgotten."

Not for the first time, Oswald wanted to strangle his old friend, the former

dean, for doing something stupid like retiring to spend time with his wife. "Fine,

but I don't want him to live with me."

Oswald scanned his small apartment. It was sterile, white, and precisely

arranged, just the way he liked it. No one could effectively maintain the space

except him, which was probably why he'd been alone for so long. He shook his

head and reminded himself that it didn't matter. He was better on his own.

"Too bad." The dean's words were becoming more clipped, his New Jersey

accent more pronounced, a sure sign he was tiring of the conversation. "We pay for

your condo, and you will house the young man until he finds his own apartment.

Unless you'd like to start paying your rent yourself."

No, Oswald didn't think he'd like that at all. "It appears I don't have a


"When will he be at the lab?"

Papers shuffled in the background. "Noon."

"That's not good for me. I've—"

"Noon, Culpepper," the dean growled. "Be there."

When the line went dead, Oswald growled and threw his iPhone against the

far wall. It exploded on impact. He immediately grabbed a dustpan and broom,

swept up the remains, and threw it all into the garbage can. He was sure another

new phone would be the least of his worries today.


The black granite countertops were shiny and spotless. Petri dishes, test

tubes, and beakers were perfectly arranged everywhere. Oswald, wearing his

pressed white lab coat, sat on his stool and wrote experiment notes in tiny, all-cap

print. He didn't look up when the door opened.

"Excuse me, Dr. Culpepper?"

Oswald continued to write. He adjusted his round glasses and failed to raise

his head or reply.

"Dr. Culpepper?"

Oswald sneered. "I heard you the first time. Can you not see I'm busy?"

A large hand with thick, long fingers plopped down on Oswald's notebook

and blocked out almost the entire page. "I can certainly see that you're rude."

Oswald finally looked up, directly into dark chocolate eyes set into a face

framed by shaggy black hair and a hood. Mesmerized, he watched as the frown on

the man's rosy full lips deepened. He wanted to lick those lips, maybe even see

them wrapped around his cock, which began to harden at the thought. "Who are


The man's gorgeous eyes rolled, and he shook his head. "Well, if you're Dr.

Culpepper, I'm your new apprentice, Aiden Pearse."

Oswald instantly knew he was fucked.


Oswald ticked off the house rules as he led Aiden to the guest room. "No

food or drink in the room. No loud music. No clothes left on the floor. No guests.


Aiden threw his duffle on the bed. "Just one question."

Oswald waved his hand. "Yes."

"Am I allowed to sleep on the bed? Or should I just curl up on the floor so as

not to muss up the sheets?"

"The bed will be perfectly fine. Just make it each morning."

Aiden chuckled. "Sure thing, Doc."

Oswald sighed, irritated at Aiden's nicknaming habit. He'd already corrected

Aiden twice that day. "Just be downstairs in thirty for dinner." He spun on his heel

and dashed for the door.

"Yes, dear," said Aiden before shutting the bedroom door.

In the kitchen, Oswald slammed one cabinet door after another. He'd

originally wanted spaghetti for dinner, but he could only imagine what kind of

mess Aiden's burly hands would make trying to eat it. Grilled chicken and

vegetables it was, then.

He was already furious, but the "Yes, dear" had just taken the cake. Aiden

was like all the rest. He saw Oswald's slight body, average stature, and delicate

features and immediately assumed he was submissive, needed taking care of.

Oswald didn't even question that Aiden was gay. Oswald was never wrong about


He heard heavy steps approaching as he plated dinner. Turning with food-

laden china in hand, Oswald was again mesmerized by the bottomless eyes staring

at him. Aiden's tongue swept across his lips, and Oswald momentarily wondered

what it would taste like.

"Wow, that smells delicious!" Aiden smiled and patted his stomach. "I'm

starving. Haven't eaten since I got to the airport this morning."

Oswald tried not to be happy that his efforts were appreciated. He placed the

food on the small breakfast nook table and took a seat across from Aiden. Aiden

saw the full tea glass next to his plate and took a huge swig. Oswald watched

Aiden's prominent Adam's apple bob up and down as he swallowed.

"Oh, that is good." Aiden smiled. "There's no substitute for good sweet tea.

One of the best things about being back in the South."

"You didn't like San Francisco?"

"I loved it. Nothing like being able to walk down the street and be yourself,

you know?"

Oswald didn't know. He'd never been to San Francisco. Come to think of it,

he wasn't sure he'd been anywhere he'd felt comfortable being himself. "So why

did you leave?"

Aiden stabbed his chicken with his fork and cut off a hefty chunk. "I missed

my family. My sister is getting ready to have twins, our family's first

grandchildren. I didn't want to miss them growing up."

Picking at his food, Oswald thought back to his own family. An only child

raised by older parents who were both scientists, he'd had no living grandparents as

a child, and both his parents had long since passed away. At forty-five, Oswald

was completely alone in the world.

"Hey, Doc," Aiden muttered with a mouth full of chicken. "You gonna eat?"

Oswald looked down at his plate and his perfectly cooked and impeccably

arranged food. He wished he'd made the spaghetti.


"Come here little flu virus. You talkin' to me? Yeah, I'm talkin' to you. You

talkin' to me? Yeah, I'm talkin' to you."

Oswald bowed his head over his notes and tried not to laugh at the crazy

giant working next to him. Over the last several weeks, Aiden had proved to be a

talented student and eager worker. His huge paws were surprisingly gentle with the

equipment, and he was certainly entertaining. Aiden made coming to work fun, not

that Oswald would ever admit it in a million years.

"Oh, what do I see there?" Aiden pinched Oswald's cheek. "Is that a smile?

Is the dour, sour Oswald Culpepper M.D. PhD MS BS PITA actually smiling?"

Oswald turned his head away and buried his burning face into his shoulder.

"Leave me alone. I'm trying to work."

Aiden simply danced around Oswald. "I've finally done it. I've infected you

with my silliness!"

Oswald covered his mouth with his hand, muffling his laugh. "A scientist in

an infectious disease laboratory should never joke about infection."

"A smile and a laugh. This is a great day indeed!"

Aiden grabbed Oswald's stool and easily spun it around until they were face

to face. There they were again, those big chocolate eyes. They were Oswald's

kryptonite, and their effects were growing stronger every day. A chill travelled

Oswald's spine, and the shiver that followed was impossible to suppress.

Aiden pulled back as a look of shock flashed on his face. His ever-present

smile quickly returned. "So, I never did get to take you out to dinner to thank you

for letting me crash at your place."

Oswald shrugged. "It was no problem. It also wasn't exactly my choice."

That the condo seemed unearthly quiet now was another thing Oswald wasn't about

to admit.

"Still, you were very hospitable, and I'd like to show you my appreciation."

Turning back to his notes, Oswald scribbled away for several seconds.

"Fine," he mumbled.

Aiden returned to his station, humming happily. Oswald wanted to slap

some sense into himself. Ever since Aiden entered his life, Oswald wasn't the

same. He still liked having time to himself, but he often wished for company. Not

just any company. Tall, brown-eyed, shaggy-haired company. His condo was too

still, his bed too big, his body too untouched.

Oswald shook his head. He was being stupid. Someone like Aiden --

towering, strong, outgoing -- would never give Oswald the control he needed and

craved. And Oswald knew how ridiculous the relationship would look. He was

middle aged, a respected researcher. Aiden was his twenty-four year-old

apprentice, for Christ's sake. Could it be any more gauche?

In his peripheral vision, Oswald could see Aiden staring at him. He was

becoming a cliché, and he didn't know how to prevent it. He could only hope to

maintain his dignity as he fell.

"Is tomorrow night okay?"

Oswald scribbled faster. "Hmm?"

"Dinner," Aiden replied. "Since it'll be Saturday, we wouldn't feel rushed."

Oswald waved him off. "Fine, whatever. Get back to work."


Dinner had been wonderful, and Oswald had liberally imbibed, leaving him

a bit unsteady. He was grateful to have Aiden guide him up the stairs and into the

condo. After they entered, Aiden helped Oswald shed his heavy woolen coat.

Aiden brushed his fingers down Oswald's arm, and Oswald retreated from the

touch. He flopped down on the couch, and Aiden sat close at his side.

"Why did you pull away from me?"

Playing dumb wasn't his forte, but Oswald didn't know what else to do. "I

have no idea what you mean."

"Sure you don't." Aiden sighed. "You think I haven't seen the way you look

at me? And how do I know? Because I stare at you a thousand times a day."

Oswald shook his head. "Doesn't matter. Nothing is going to happen."

"Why?" Aiden pressed his lips against Oswald's ear and laughed when

Oswald shivered. "Don't use work as an excuse. You do anything you want in that

lab, and you don't give a fuck what the dean or anyone else thinks."

Goddamn, it had been so long since someone wanted him, and Oswald

wanted Aiden in return. He had since the beginning. But he couldn't be anyone's

bottom; he just wasn't made that way. Big, burly Aiden would never—

"Don't think so hard, Ozzie. Just tell me what to do."

It wasn't just the words that changed Oswald's mind. It was Aiden's soft

voice, the way he let his head fall forward. For someone who prided himself on his

keen observational skills, Oswald had, until this moment, been wrong about what

Aiden wanted. And Oswald hated being wrong.

Oswald patted his lap. "Come here."

Aiden jumped up and quickly straddled Oswald. Oswald raised his hand and

gently stroked Aiden's cheek. Aiden turned into the touch with a contented, catlike

nuzzle. Oswald pulled Aiden closer and sealed their mouths with a wet kiss.

Pulling Aiden closer, Oswald explored with his tongue and hands.

Undressing Aiden was a feast of sensation. His skin was soft and stretched tightly

over the topography of muscle. Oswald pinched Aiden's hard nipples and was

delighted to hear Aiden moan. And the scent of Aiden, which was a musky mix of

leather and spice, made Oswald want to devour and consume.

"Up," Oswald commanded.

Now the unsteady one was Aiden, and he wobbled on his feet. Oswald made

quick work of stripping Aiden until he stood naked, his dick shining with precome.

Suppressing the urge to taste, Oswald unbelted and unzipped his slacks and pulled

out his hard, aching cock. He groaned as he readied himself, enjoying Aiden's look

of pure lust. He held out his hand, and Aiden clasped it tightly as he climbed back

onto the couch and resumed his position over Oswald's lap.

Oswald rested his hands on Aiden's hips. "Relax and take your time."

The slow torture of waiting for Aiden's body to accept him by inches tested

Oswald's patience. For a big guy, Aiden made the sweetest noises. His hisses were

always followed by shuddering sighs or guttural groans. He dug his fingers into

Oswald's shoulders, and there were sure to be deep purple bruises by morning.

When he finally completely enveloped Oswald, Aiden ground down onto

Oswald's lap. "Damn, Ozzie, you are so much bigger than I thought you'd be."

Oswald kissed the corner of Aiden's smile. "Is that a good thing?"

"It's a very fucking good thing." Aiden began to ride Oswald in earnest. "I

feel completely debauched sitting naked in your lap." He toyed with Oswald's tie.

"Like a rent boy."

Oswald grabbed a handful of Aiden's dark hair and tugged. "Not a rent boy.

A lab boy."

Aiden laughed. "You just remember how good my ass feels the next time

you pretend to write notes while I pretend to look in the microscope."

"You talk too much, lab boy." Oswald wrapped his hand around Aiden's

cock and wondered if, maybe, someday he'd want to feel it inside him. "This
should get your attention."

Oswald vigorously jerked off Aiden, enjoying how Aiden's ass tightened in

tandem with his heavy balls. What Aiden lost in rhythm he gained in force, and he

drove Oswald deep inside him as they both came, moaning and shouting.

Afterwards, Aiden slumped against Oswald, who caressed and whispered

instead of ignored and snapped. Unsure if he'd ever been with someone more his

equal and his match, Oswald kissed Aiden's forehead again and again and hoped

they hadn't just fucked everything up.


The bed shifted, waking Oswald from a wonderful dream of slow, sweet sex

on the lab floor. He managed to open his eyes and saw Aiden pulling on his


Oswald pulled off the ruffled covers and sat up. "Where do you think you're


"I wasn't sure…" Aiden cleared his throat. "I'm going home."

Oswald held out his hand. "Come back to bed. I want you again."

Aiden blushed a lovely pale pink. "Yeah?"


Aiden threaded his fingers through Oswald's, and Oswald pulled until their

arms were wrapped around each other again.


Oswald padded through the condo barefooted. He filled the dishwasher with

last night's pans and dishes and started it. He'd forgotten to program the

coffeemaker, so he quickly ground some beans and put them on to brew. Just as he

headed for the living room to pick up the clothes they'd shed so quickly the night

before, strong arms wrapped around his waist and pulled him back into the kitchen.

Aiden kissed Oswald's neck. "I thought it was my turn to straighten up."

"It was." Oswald relaxed into Aiden's embrace. "But I wanted to spoil you a

little this morning."

"Was I that good last night?"

Oswald chuckled. "You're always that good. I'm just not always that


The real reason for Oswald's generosity was never far from his mind. The

past few months had been dreamlike. He'd never known how much he needed love

until he touched Aiden. Waking up every morning in Aiden's arms was something

he never wanted to give up. But today was the last day of the apprenticeship, and

Aiden still hadn't found a new position. The hospital wasn't hiring junior

researchers, nor was any lab within 100 miles.

"It will be okay, Ozzie. We'll figure something out." Aiden cupped Oswald's
cock. "We don't need to be at the lab for an hour. Come back to bed and make love

to me."

Just as Aiden led Oswald to the bedroom, the phone rang.

"Get ready for me baby," Oswald whispered. "I'll be right there."

It was odd for a call to come to the landline. Oswald warily greeted the

caller and spoke in awed tones once he realized who was on the other end. When

the call ended, he held the receiver and stared at it. It was a couple of minutes

before he gathered his thoughts enough to return to the bedroom.

Those few thoughts flew out of his brain the instant he saw Aiden, spread

out and naked, fucking himself with two thick fingers. In a flash, Oswald was

naked and pounced on Aiden, who responded by raising his knees and presenting

his ass. Oswald slid his fingers inside, loving how it made Aiden shiver and moan.

"Oh," Aiden cried. "It's so much better when you do it."

"Love the way it feels when you clamp down on my fingers. Love to think

about it when I can't touch you." Oswald leaned down and gently kissed Aiden. "I

love you."

"Fuck, Ozzie, I love you, too."

Oswald thrust his fingers into Aiden and made sure every retreat passed over

Aiden's prostate. "Prove it, baby. Come for me."
It was simple cause and effect. Oswald knew if he finger-fucked Aiden hard

and fast enough, Aiden would come in spectacular fashion. Aiden swore he'd never

met anyone who could turn him inside out so easily and so fast, and Oswald was

positive he'd never met anyone so open and responsive. How had he ever thought

being alone was better than this?

One well-placed, well-timed flick of the wrist sent Aiden flying, and come

shot over his stomach and onto his chest. Oswald watched, mesmerized once again

by the beautiful young man in his bed.

Aiden opened sleepy eyes. "You never told me who it was on the phone."

"The CDC." Oswald handed Aiden a tissue and lay down beside him.

"Oh, yeah? What did they want?"

"They want me to head up a new lab." Oswald ignored the bed shifting next

to him. "Wanted to know if I had any techs I wanted to bring with me."

Aiden's shocked face appeared over him. "And you said?"

"I asked what their fraternization policy was."


Oswald walked through the empty condo. It was plain, boring white, just as

it was the day he'd moved in. Their Atlanta bungalow was homey and warm. He

was sure he'd get used to it eventually.

"I told the guy to be careful with the bookcase, but I don't think he listened."

Aiden stopped in the doorway and smiled. "You ready to get to our shiny new


God, he was ready. "Don't you mean my shiny new lab? If I recall correctly,

you work for me."

Aiden walked across the room, swaying his hips the entire way, and came to

a stop directly in front of Oswald. "Yes, I'm your lab boy."

Oswald reached up and pulled Aiden down by his hair so he could give

Aiden a hard kiss. "And don't you forget it."

About the Author

Born and raised in the Southern US, Kerry Freeman was the quintessential

tomboy who’d rather play war with the neighborhood boys than get near a doll.

She discovered a love of words early, reading everything in sight.

Kerry writes contemporary gay romance/Boys’ Love novels, and her dream

is to have her books translated for the Asian market. Many of her stories, including

“One Last Road Trip” in the Rainbow Award-winning Playing Ball, are about

baseball players. As Jamie in What We Deserve would say, you have to love the

guys in those tight baseball pants.

Loves: Oxford Comma, baseball, reading non-fiction

Hates: Bananas, underwire bras, stories without a happy ending

Kerry lives in the Southern US with her husband and spoiled rotten


Other Works by Kerry Freeman

What We Deserve

Pine Tar & Sweet Tea

“One Last Road Trip,” Playing Ball anthology

“Keep Me,”