• Published 7th Dec 2012
  • 3,775 Views, 273 Comments

Different Strokes - Guy_Incognito



Gentle Strokes is a cynical drunk from Dodge Junction. Stormy is the proud black sheep of a wealthy Manehattan family. College is a place for 'experimenting'.

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Al's Freyed Dough and Rave-E-Ollie


Al's Freyed Dough And Rave-E-Ollie


Sitting alone at a table for two, Gentle Strokes anxiously toyed with the top button on his plain white collared shirt and wondered if he was too overdressed for tonight? Nell’s wasn’t exactly the kind of high class elegance he imagined Stormy might be used to for a first date, but, it was more than uncomfortably exotic to a pony like himself and, he felt waves of discomfort wash over him as he internalized that fact

Back home in Dodge Junction, asking a mare out and, the date that came after, didn’t exactly follow the same courting rituals it seemed that most other rural areas in Equestria did. It was much simpler: find a mare you thought was pretty, ask her to a mild west dance and, if you could keep up with her rhythm and she enjoyed the dance enough, she would take the reins and invite you to dinner at her place where you could meet her parents, then find out how and through whom in the small community, you might know each other.

Of course, Dodge Junction was a much simpler place than Camden and, he wasn’t courting a mare, either.

He was courting a colt.

It was eight-twenty now, and he’d asked Stormy to meet him for eight-thirty when they’d parted ways at Saltee’s a few hours ago. Quite honestly, Gentle Strokes had never really made it a habit of being punctual but, since this was a first date, and, he did in fact care about Stormy he’d come a whole half hour early and been nervously downing cups of ice-water with neat little sliced lemon wedges since then.

As anxiety got the better of him, he began fretting over every detail of his outfit, pondering what Stormy might think about it, and how he would look compared to him. What if Stormy showed up dressed more casually than he did? That would make him seem like he was trying too hard, right? Then again, what if he didn’t and, he showed up in a three piece suit? Would that make him look underdressed and grungy?

Ugh.

It was like he hadn’t spent the last two hours trying to fix himself up to look presentable; After a long and introspective shower where he mentally walked himself through the proceeding events of the night, he’d spent a longer time in front of his mirror; combing his mane a thousand and one ways, but, it always came out looking just the same. After that he’d tried to pick an outfit; He’d never been one to needlessly spend time on his appearance, usually he didn’t even bother wearing clothes out (And, lot’s of ponies didn’t either so it wasn’t like it was weird or anything). In fact, of the two roommates who shared the same dorm room, Au Revoir was more of that kind of pony. He could spend an hour and a half picking a beret to go with a scarf, or three hours trying to get his hair to look exactly like it had at the party the night before because some mare said it looked nice.

Au Revoir was preppy. Gentle Strokes was simple.

So, why was he so worried right now?

He sighed quietly and continued toying with the top button on his shirt. The shirt felt like it was trying to strangle him, but, if he undid the top button that would probably make his outfit look too casual, and then when Stormy showed up in his impressive three piece suit, he’d not only feel stupid but look the part too.

Trying to distract himself, he took a glance at the menu and found all the more reason for panic. Nell’s was Gryphon owned and themed, so naturally he’d expected some kind of Pony to Gryphon culture shock. What he didn’t expect was that he, apparently, had to learn an entirely different language just to understand what he was going to sound absolutely ridiculous ordering: Hor’ Dourves? Soup De Jours? Plates de Principales? He felt like he should have had Au Revoir come along with a date of his own just so he could get a proper translation of the menu.

He grumbled a groan, folded the menu and stared at the clock.

Eight-twenty-eight.

It was now only two minutes until tonight went totally wrong and his best made plans fell apart at the seams.

Terrific.

He wondered if, in the two minutes until Stormy showed up, he had enough time to cut some kind of deal with the waiter and kitchen staff to bring him a simple iron grilled bean-burger, an order of fresh cut hay fries and, a side of ketchup? Then, he wondered just how hard the staff at Nell’s would laugh at him for even suggesting ordering something so barbaric and uncultured.

Stare at the clock.

Eight-twenty-nine.

One minute until showtime.

His shirt still felt too tight, and suddenly he was wondering if the dampness in the material was his imagination, or, if he’d managed to drench his entire shirt in a terrible fear sweat.

If he rushed, like, really ran as fast as he could there and back, he could probably still make it back from dunking his head in a sink full of ice cold water to calm his nerves in time to catch the disappointed look on Stormy’s face as he walked out after he caught a glance at the sweating, stinking, poorly dressed mess that he probably was at the moment.

Sigh.

The shirt really was trying to kill him but, if it couldn’t, he was probably going to have to finish the job himself after he walked home alone, at the end of the night.

Eight-thirty on the clock, now and there in the doorway, under the arch and pillars of the entrance, being shown his table by the Maitre D, was Stormy with a goofy sort of smile on his face.

Instant and total relief washed over Gentle Strokes as he watched Stormy being led to the table by a hostess; He wasn’t overdressed in a three-piece, nor was he underdressed in anything casual, in fact, he looked like a perfect combination of the two (Smart-casual) in a solid white dress shirt with the sleeves rolled up, a black vest over top and a tie worn loose around his neck.

Gentle Strokes took that moment to undo the top button of his shirt.

Stormy’s face light up as he approached the table and, Gentle Strokes, always the proper gentlecolt, stood up to pull his chair out for him. He wasn’t sure if that was a thing a colt did for another colt, but Stormy’s cheeks did turn a slight crimson as he took the seat offered to him, so he must have done something right.

Gentle Strokes took a pause and thanked Celestia his mother had the decency to teach him proper pony etiquette. He might not have enjoyed the countless lessons on proper sitting form (Top hooves under the table, and, when they have to come above, never to rest on the elbows) and dining policy (Start with the fork on the outside and work your way in. Always fold your cutlery into an ‘x’ when you’re done with your meal, etc, etc) but, in this moment the adorable little smile on Stormy’s face made it all worthwhile.

“You look very handsome, tonight.” Stormy grinned up at Gentle Strokes.

Gentle Strokes’ turn to feel his cheeks change hue.

“Thanks...” He mumbled.

Stormy continued to smile up at him.

The two took a quiet minute to examine the menu. Gentle Strokes propped his up on it’s side to form a makeshift fort, hiding his body so that Stormy couldn’t see him scratch his head as he tried to make sense of what he was reading.

In a whisper, he tried to sound out the syllables to the phrase ‘Linguine à la sauce aux aubergines au parmesan’--whatever that meant--and looked for a single word he could identify; Well, ‘Aubergines’ was a fancy way of saying ‘Eggplant’, so he knew it had vegetables in it, and, ‘Parmesan’ and ‘Sauce’ were pretty self explanatory: Cheesey sauce. ‘Ling-Wee-Nee’, that was a stumper, as was figuring out what the hells an; ‘Aux’, ‘La’ and, an ‘Au’ were.

He dismantled his menu/fort for a second to to take a peek at Stormy, who had already folded his menu, apparently, having been able to make much better sense of the menu than he had done, and, was now waiting patiently for Gentle Strokes to come to a decision on the menu.

Gentle Stroke nervously reassembled his fort, and stared with renewed vigour at the completely illegible text before him; for every word he understood there were three or four ‘Au’s’ ‘Le’s’ and ‘Aux’s’ in between. At this rate--and without a ‘Nell’s Restaurant’s Purposefully Confusing Menu to English’ dictionary--he could be there all night, sounding like a pre-school foal in a spelling bee while he tried to read his order to the waiter. And, he’d still probably end up with a plate of snails or frog legs.

“Are you ok, Strokes?” Stormy’s soft, concerning voice broke through his intense focus on the phrase ‘Incluse avec le repas’. "You're being awfully quiet?"

Gentle Strokes gnawed on his lower lip and again tore down his menu-fort.

“Oh, uh... yup, yup.” He faked, forcing a comfortable smile. “Just, um... havin’ a hard time deciding, is all. It... uh... all looks so good.”

Stormy smiled, that knowing smile, at him and Gentle Strokes almost swallowed his tongue when he felt a soft hoof run slowly along the fur and skin of his lower calf. In that moment, any and all stress washed away as the warm feeling of close and personal contact with Stormy washed over him.

“You know: you look really cute when you’re trying to act serious.” He heard Stormy say; He could imagine the happy-go-lucky grin he wore on his face, but, as his eyes were staring blankly at the ceiling he couldn’t actually see it. “But, you’re even more adorkable when you make that face.”

If he could have seen himself in a mirror, Gentle Strokes would have noted that, ‘that face’ was absolutely ridiculous; his eyes rolled into the back of his head, eyebrows as high up as they could go and his mouth, slackish and totally agape with his tongue hanging over the left side of his mouth.

He took a slight second to reform his face, then smiled sheepishly at Stormy, who returned it with a sly grin.

“Are you ready to order?”

Gentle Strokes took one last, quick glance at the menu, scanned it for the most ‘English’ sounding name he could find and folded it back up.

“Eeyup.”

Their waiter, a gryphon, approached having either spotted the closed menus, or, alternatively, eavesdropping on the two.

“What can I start you gentlecolts off with?”

Stormy, thankfully, took the opportunity to order first, saving Gentle Strokes the embarrassment of having to decide whether he should risk ordering for him or not.

“I’d like to start off with the soupe à l'ouest d'arachide Canterlot.” The foreign words seemed to spring to life off of Stormy’s tongue. His accent was impeccable and almost mirrored Au Revoir’s. “With the Vinaigrette Salade de haricots, and a glass of your house red.”

Culture, class and sophistication seemed to exhume off of Stormy as he finished placing his order. Who would have ever guessed that the same pony who could drink a colt like Gentle Strokes under the table, and who had shot back doubles of Gut-Rot-Moonshine like they were water could be so... charmingly sophisticated?

Suddenly, he felt pressure build up as the hawk-like eyes of the waiter -- and the gentler, more sparrow-like vision of Stormy -- were turned to him. He took a brief second to break down, into tiny itty-bitty syllables the one thing off the menu he’d decided on ordering, repeated them in his head about two dozen times, then decided to speak.

“I’ll just have the... erm... ” Sound it out. “The, uh... Wahl-dorf’s salad... thingy?”

The waiter starred unimpressed and, Gentle Strokes felt his spirits sink. He’d tried, at least. But, those words were like something out of a stupid Egghead’s Masochist Encyclopedia! He didn’t even want to see how embarrassed Stormy must have looked; His first chance to really impress him and he totally blew it trying to order a salad made by some stupid Griffon named Wahl-dorf!

He managed to peel his eyes off the floor and, with an inner strength, glanced up at Stormy, who was ear-to-ear with a goofy smile. Sensing something was troubling Gentle Strokes, he reached a hoof across the table and gave one of Gentle Stroke’s trembling hooves a reassuring squeeze.

“Strokes... ” He began. “I just want you to know that, that was the cutest thing I’ve ever heard a pony say in my entire life.”

Gentle Strokes suddenly felt very confident the date was off to a good start.

***

It was a little after their meals had come, now and both Stormy and Gentle Strokes had been locked in conversation since the time the waiter had trotted away from the table. Over the course of their conversation they had come to a few mutual conclusions, among them; the idea that playwright: O’Scar Wild’s best script-to-play adaption was not his wildly popular ‘It’s Important To Be Earnest’, but instead an earlier, and often overlooked piece of fiction, ‘The Diary of Dorian Grey-Hooves’. They had also decided that the latest album by Canterlot’s DJ-Pon3 was rubbish (And was probably rushed as the final album in a seven album contract she’d signed with her now former record label) but that her upcoming collaboration with another famous Canterlot musician named Octavia was probably more likely to showcase her musical talents (And, also the rumor that the two musicians were in fact dating.) and, after careful examination of the evidence, that both Jagged Horn and Au Revoir were probably the two worst roommates either Pony had ever had in their entire lives.

After a quiet chuckle about the fact, it felt like a good time to take a pause and return to their meals (Which neither had really touched, yet.)

Staring down at a neat assortment of sliced apples, mandarin oranges, grapes, lettuce and pecans, Gentle Strokes stabbed a fork into his Waldorf’s Salad, (Which luckily, also came with a side of garlic toast and some kind of creamy noodle dish that Stormy had called ‘Al’s Frayed-Dough and Rave-E-Ollie’ or something like that.)

A full grape, half a pecan and a mandarin orange slice impaled on his fork, he placed them in his mouth and prepared for the worst... and was pleasantly surprised to find that Waldorf’s salad wasn’t even that bad. In fact, it was actually quite good. It didn’t taste much like any kind of salad he’d ever had -- usually they were plain old lettuce and spinach mashed together, or, when his mother made them, lettuce and spinach mashed together and floating in a sea of ranch dressing -- but this was really good. He took a few more bites of his salad and then moved onto his Al’s Frayed-Dough dish. He hadn’t really ever been much on pastas to begin with, (Usually, back home any ‘pasta’ he’d eat would be of the ‘Macaroni and Cheese’ variety) but, he knew enough to know to spool a small amount on his fork, to avoid the risk of slurping up any wayward noodles and looking silly while doing it.

Al really did know how to make a good ‘Frayed-Dough’: These noodles, they were a tad too thin, but all the same, simply delicious, and, the creamy pasta sauce they were coated in was great! How word of Waldorf’ or Al’s cooking had never reached Dodge Junction was beyond him, but he was certainly regretting having lived his entire life without ever tasting their amazing cooking.

Cheddar-cheese bean burgers and golden hay fries had just been usurped from their spot on the top of his list of favorite foods.

He reached a hoof towards his glass of ‘Cabinet Saving-On’ wine. He wasn’t about to get blackout drunk on a bottle of wine (He wasn’t fifteen, and this wine didn’t seem like the fortified type, either.) so, it wasn’t like he was failing his newfound sobriety, but, Stormy had ordered a glass with his meal and Gentle Strokes felt like it was rude not to do so himself. Besides, it wasn’t even like the wine tasted all that good; most wine’s, and this one in particular, tasted like strong cider that someone had left out in the sun for way too long, (Then bottled and sold it at quadruple the price.).

“So, Strokes.” Stormy began as Gentle Strokes swallowed a dainty enough sip of his wine that he didn’t have to pretend not to enjoy it. “What’s Dodge Junction, like?”

“Oh... well, uh....”

He was stumped. No one had ever asked him about home before and, he didn’t really know what to say about it; it was flat and dusty; the houses were charmingly rustic; and, everypony knew everypony else by name. There was more, but those three bits of information were the first to come to his mind.

“It’s nice.” He said as a faraway look built up in his eyes. “Everypony looks out for everypony. It’s a little quiet and, it’s not really all too much to look at, but, I like it.”

“It sounds nice.” Stormy smiled. “Have you lived there your whole life?”

“Yup. Me and about ten generations of my family before me.” He offered with a proud grin. “What about you? Do you like living in Manehattan?”

“Yeah." Stormy replied confidently, a gleam in his eyes and as a small semi-smile played across his face. "I mean, it does get all kinds of crazy sometimes, though.”

“Oh?”

“Yeah, dude. The streets are just filled with ponies. Every day and every night. And, they're always in a hurry. Everypony is always in a hurry. Plus, there’s always something happening you know?”

City life.” Gentle Strokes offered.

“Oh, you don’t know the half of it. We get all these tourists who come from places like Cloudsdale, or Canterlot to see The Sights, and, there’s always like a stupid flash mob doing some kind of improv show in the middle of the street or something.”

“Flash mob?”

“Yeah, these like, wanna be actors, who couldn’t get into Camden, will get together in huge groups and go around with boom boxes doing synchronized dances, or faking marriage proposals and stuff.”

“Really?" Gentle Strokes clung to every word Stormy that was bemoaning in his sentence. It was all so fascinating and exciting. At least, more so to Gentle Strokes than Stormy, it seemed. "That kind of stuff happens in Manehattan?”

“Oh yeah, all the time.” Stormy paused and took a sip of wine. “You can’t buy a pack of cigarettes and a carton of milk without something stupid and crazy happening to you in that town.”

“Sounds a lot more interestin’ than Dodge Junction.” Gentle Strokes began, pausing to also take another teeny-tiny sip of his wine. “Heck, you could watch your dog run away for three days, ‘cause it’s so flat, and folks would probably call that entertainment.”

Stormy chuckled softly.

“That doesn’t sound too bad.” He said, interrupting his chuckle “It actually sounds kind of homely.”

“Oh, if that’s your idea of homely, then, you’d probably love it.” Gentle Strokes grinned. “You should come visit sometime. We’d love to show a Big City pony like yourself some Southern hospitality. ”

Stormy gave a gentle laugh then flashed a smile at Gentle Strokes.

“Who knows;” he began “Maybe I’ll come visit sometime?”

Both ponies shared a friendly laugh.

“How about your family?” Gentle Strokes asked, steering the conversation to slightly more serious grounds based in a standing curiosity he’d developed for the younger colt over the night. “Are they all in Manehattan too?”

“Yep, my dad and my brother.” Stormy paused. “My dad’s like, about to retire I think, but, my brother’s some Walls Street hot shot; He works for this really high class firm; P.&P. It’s the place all the ponies who go to Coltlumbia instead of Camden want to end up.”

“And, your mom?

Stormy took a pause. An unclear and despondent look built up on his face, and Gentle Strokes felt like that might have been the wrong kind of question to ask.

“She... well, she was from Canterlot, actually.” He swallowed back an emotion that was unidentifiable to Gentle Strokes, then continued on with his story “Most of my family lives out there, and I used to visit every summer for a while when I was a kid. Then, I dunno, things just kind of fell apart. My older cousin joined the Royal Guards, he’s like a captain now or something, and then my other cousin, she became Princess Celestia’s protege, if you can believe that?”

“You’re kidding?”

“I wish.” He said with a half-hearted chuckle. “She sure makes me look like one Hells of a black sheep, by comparison.”

“I think you’re doing just fine, Stormy.” Gentle Strokes offered encouragingly. He took pause to stare reassuringly into Stormy’s soft eyes, and smiled. Stormy met his gaze and returned it.

“Thanks, Strokes.”

The two sat in silence for a few minutes, idly picking at their meals and stealing glances at the other. It was nice, Gentle Strokes thought, getting away from the humdrum wonder of Camden life, finding a nice quiet little place and sharing it with somepony he thoroughly enjoyed spending time with. Hopefully, Stormy felt the same way, but everything about the night so far hadn’t persuaded him otherwise.

“So, Jag told me your major’s in poetry?” Gentle Strokes questioned. Stormy stared up from his meal, made a face like he’d just licked the bottom side of a cart’s tire; eyes squeezed near to shut, mouth a little crooked, then spoke.

“Well, kind of; I’m more undeclared at the moment, really.” He admitted, paused for a brief second, then continued “But I do kind of enjoy it. I dunno, poetry is kind of sissy, though.”

“Nah, I don’t reckon so.”

“Hmm?”

“Lot’s of folk wouldn’t really consider me the ‘artistically cultured’ type, but I’ve read a few poems by Poe, some by Blake; ‘Tyger Tyger’ being my personal favorite actually. I think poetry sounds mighty sweet when an author can get it right.”

Stormy looked delightfully astonished, he opened his mouth to say something, closed it then gave a gentle ‘humm’ as he stared dreamily into Gentle Strokes’ eyes.

“You really are a pony who never ceases to amaze, Strokes.” He said after a short time of staring at him. Humbled, Gentle Strokes smiled politely and felt himself run a hoof through his mane.

“Thank you kindly.”

“What do you major in?”

This time it was his turn to take a prolonged pause. He didn’t rightfully like to explain his major, because, well, truthfully it was widely private and personal; painting, his artwork, the private dance he shared with his brush, easel, paints and his imagination. They were always between him, and them, alone.

But, he felt like he should share with Stormy.

“Um... painting, actually.”

Stormy’s eyes light up and a sarcastic little grin built up on his face.

“And I thought they called you 'Gentle Strokes' for an entirely different reason.” He teased.

Gentle Strokes felt his cheeks brighten as he caught on to the implication. Gentle Strokes: Phallic objects and stroking. How had he never heard anypony make that connections before?

“Do you have any pieces in the gallery?” Stormy asked, bringing Gentle Strokes out of his embarrassed blush.

“Er... well, actually.....”

“Because... I don’t want to be intrusive, but, I’d love to see one.”

He stared at Stormy; his eyes were wide and inviting and he looked genuinely interested. It had been a long time since Gentle Strokes had shown anypony other than one of his professors a piece of his work. The last time was.....well.....he didn’t really want to think about her right now, but it had been a long time.

“I reckon I could show you one or two.”

***

The gallery was like a home away from home for him. When he was here, with his art, he didn’t have to think about Camden. He didn’t have to think about stupid self obsessed ponies who hated him. He didn’t have to think about his roommate. He didn’t have to think about anything but the image in his mind that he was trying to breath life into on his easel; and, they were usually images from home, anyway. In a way, being in the gallery and creating works of art was his escape from Camden and his mental regression back to home. It was comfortable. He liked it and he liked his art.

Evidently, so did Stormy.

“Strokes... this one is so... I mean... it’s just...”

He was staring now at one of Gentle Strokes’ latest pieces; a simple scene: a farmhouse, two stories tall with those crooked wind torn rafters, that tall old oak tree with the tire swing behind it and a sea of desert nothingness surrounding the place. The sun, Celestia’s sun, half set in the backdrop casting a golden/red glow around the house. The sky was dull, and hypothetical, a few simple clouds basking in the glow of the sun. It was honestly nothing spectacular.

Home captured imperfectly in an unfinished piece.

Stormy stared intently at the image before him and a soft smile built on his face, Gentle Strokes couldn’t be too sure, but, it seemed that from the form his smile had taken, he might just understand a little too much about the scene captured in his artwork.

“It’s beautiful.”

Stormy turned to Gentle Strokes, their eyes met and although Gentle Strokes had, had his reservations about showing Stormy his unfinished pieces, he felt totally relieved by the look Stormy was giving him; his eyes so soft and gentle, his smile just right.

In a daze, he watched Stormy glide towards him--transfixed by that silly little smile on his face--until he was directly before him, smiling up and staring into his eyes. A delicate hoof ran through his mane, and, like some kind of cat, he felt himself become completely submissive to Stormy’s touch; his shoulders slacked, his neck followed and he gave a contented sigh as Stormy brushed him.

That very same sigh was silenced when he felt his head pulled towards Stormy's, and a pair of lips hungrily press against his own.

Now, he’d had a few marefriends back home in Dodge Junction, not quite as many as the next pony, but enough and, Stormy’s kiss was nothing like kissing any of them. His lips weren’t as soft or feminine, and there was no lingering taste of value-brand lipstick that came attached with it. In fact, Stormy’s kiss was rougher, more forceful and had a subtle Cabinet Saving-On wine -- as well as his after dinner Port -- taste to it; somewhat fruity and a little bit more than that intoxicating.

Gentle Strokes' first (sober) kiss with a colt and he liked it enough to go back for more. He brushed his right hoof through Stormy’s mane -- earning a soft moan that he could feel against his lips -- and with the other pulled Stormy tight against his body. Stormy’s body, smaller and more lithe than his own felt just right pressed up against his own. The feel of the well groomed fur on his chest, as Stormy ground his body, lustfully, against Gentle Strokes was utterly delightful.

This must be what Cloud Nine felt like.

Stormy's hooves met together in a mutual goal; massaging, in opposing directions, their way through Gentle Stroke's mane; one upwards and, the other downwards and, Gentle Strokes suddenly felt quite greedy that he was recieving as much pleasure as he was, and Stormy was not. Suddenly, he wanted to make it up to Stormy. He gently ran his right hoof from it's very comfortable place -- holding Stormy's body -- down towards a much more risky area on Stormy's body. His hoof gingerly brushed against the soft supple flesh and fur of the right cheek of Stormy's flank, and, when he was sure that he hadn't gone too far (Stormy didn't show any signs of wanting to stop him) he gave Stormy's sexy little plot a playful *Pinch*

Stormy's mouth opened in an attempted moan, but Gentle Strokes silenced it with a lustful vengeance; he rolled his tongue atop Stormy's waiting one and, in a move that even shocked even himself, his brave tongue did battle with Stormy's.

They were making out now.

If anyone had been in The Gallery at that time of night, that’s certainly what they would have called it. Watching these two colts standing beside Gentle Stroke's unfinished masterpiece which had inspired this little 'love session', both upright with their hooves busy exploring each other’s body. Their mouthes affectionately melded together as they shared a subtle passion that neither had felt in what seemed like eons. There was more to this than just lust or desire. This was something else. Something from the heart. Something genuine and real. At least, that was the idea that each colt wished was going through the other's mind.

Two colts, making out and maybe in love?

If it had been almost a month ago, and, if he’d been less sober and more cynical, Gentle Strokes would have totally shied away from all of this; the passion, the ‘love’, the gentle embrace, but here, with Stormy in his hooves and their deep kisses growing more passionate and lustful by the second, he could only thank the heavens that he wasn’t the colt he’d been not more than a month ago.

It felt right.

It felt right and, Stormy must have felt so too because he widened his exploring horizons, his hooves, which had dropped down from his mane and began fondling every inch of Gentle Strokes strong and muscular shoulders, his back and neck, suddenly dipped even lower as he began exploring further south. His left hoof began tracing Gentle Strokes' belly and, finally reached down there. Just as it did, Stormy pulled away and smiled, cockily, up at him.

“Jag’s out for the night.” He moaned with his sexy little self-confident grin. “And, I’ve got the whole place all to myself.”

Gentle Strokes bit his lower lip as hard as he could and gently bowed a head when he felt the hoof that had gently been spiraling his special place, dip even lower and begin fondling things. He gave a low, primitive growl that surprised even himself, then a smile.

“Eeyup!”

***

Back in Stormy’s dorm room.

It was kind of nice to be there in more sobering terms, laying patiently in bed, the covers draped over his frame while he watched a drunk-on-passion (and maybe a few too many glasses of wine) Stormy fool around with the record player. He’d grab an album from the milkcrate containing his collection, stare at it for a short second, then shake his head and place it in the back. He did this for about ten to twelve different albums until he found one, which Gentle Strokes couldn’t see, that fit his fancy. He placed it on the record player, turned it to a respectable volume and dimmed the lights on the lamp that gave the room it’s light.

The soft melody of smooth jazz: something by John Colt-Train, maybe? (Though, more probably a Felonious Monk record), hummed out of the record player as Stormy slowly, and gracefully, made his way towards the bed; his hips swayed, slowly and sensually to the gentle beat of the album and a contented smile built up on his face when he reached the foot of the bed.

“Do you like Sammy Hayvis, Jr.?”

Sammy Hayvis, Flank Sinatra, Deano Martini and a motley crew of others who made up the Rat Pack were part of his parent’s era of music; big bang tunes with lyrics sang in a soothing, velvety voice by alcoholic crooners. They were part of an era of music, glitz and glamor, that had long passed in Equestria, but, their music stood the test of time. The mention of anything Rat Pack, Big Band and pre New-Wave era music conjured up memories of simpler times for him; On the few days of down time he’d ever shared with his father back home in Dodge Junction, his father would put on a Rat Pack album, pour himself a glass of bourbon and just sort of mellow. Sometimes, when the twins were out on a playdate, his sister was busy studying and he himself should have also been preoccupied, his father and mother would share an old fashioned dance to a full length Flank Sinatra album.

To put it nicely, that about neatly summed up his length of experience with Sammy Hayvis, Jr. Still, the gentle ensemble and, watching Stormy’s body move along to the accompanying music, he found a new-found interest in it.

“Sure do.”

Stormy smiled up at Gentle Strokes, he lifted his body onto the bed and crawled, slowly, towards Gentle Strokes until he hovered a few inches over his body, staring down at him with a fully realized craving in his eyes.

“Are you sure you wanna do this?” He asked as he leaned his head down to take a gentle bite at Gentle Strokes’s ear. His teeth gently nibbled the flesh of his ear, before Gentle Strokes felt the warm moistness of his tongue teasingly taste the flesh of his inner ear. Gentle Strokes fought back a shudder as a chill crawled up his spine. This was replaced with a relieved sigh as he felt Stormy's hoof run under the covers and return to it's most comfortable place of the night; that place. The one just below his naval and between his legs.

The things Stormy could do with his hooves.

For a second -- in-between the moments of bliss, when he could do nothing else but take complete and absolute pleasure in what Stormy's skillfull hoof was doing to him between the sheets -- he thought about what Stormy was asking; it was certainly unconventional to go to bed with somepony you'd only had a first date with. Then again, nothing about their relationship was exactly conventional to begin with. They’d met in a bar: That sort of followed convention. They’d hooked up at a party: That was also somewhat conventional...ish. They were two colts dating: That was unconventional (And highly frowned upon in several areas in Equestria, as well.) They were two colts dating after they’d had an awkward drunken one night stand; that was also extremely unconventional.

Despite all this, the idea of sleeping with Stormy that night seemed far more conventional now that he was lying in Stormy's bed, with Stormy's off and on licking his ear and nibbling at his neck, and his left hoof giving Gentle Stroke's own hooves a good run for the position of 'Best Practical Concubine.'

“Well, we’ve already come this far...” He grinned up at Stormy, who returned it. He leaned his head upwards and pressed his lips against Stormy’s neck, taking a dainty little bite while he was there. A moment later, he began moving his gentle nips from his neck, to up his throat, then stopped -- teasingly below Stormy's lips -- on his chin.

“You’re such a dork.” Stormy teased.

“Yeah, but ain't that what you like about me?”

Stormy went silent for a second, then made a little pouty face.

“...shaddup, Strokes.”

Gentle Strokes couldn’t resist the opportunity to lean up and kiss Stormy.

“You talk too much, Stormy.”

***

Stormy, with his body curled up in the warm embrace of Gentle Strokes muscular hooves, was the first one to wake up that morning. After a quiet yawn, a smile built up on his face as he tilted his head back to get a good look at Gentle Strokes.

He felt relief wash over him as he realized that, sometimes, a pony did get his cake and, got to eat it too.

Mental introspection time; last night had been a blur, but, unlike their first time, a good and sober blur. It wasn’t necessarily the best sex of his entire life (And it had also been a very, very long time since he’d let himself be ‘the girl’ between the sheets, too), but it was also far from the worst. In bed, Gentle Strokes had certainly lived up to his namesake. He was gentle and delicate. Stormy liked rough and turbulent. Though, the only 'virgin' mistake he'd made the entire night was coming unprepared to do the deed (Fortunately, Stormy was always prepared. There was little cigar box hidden under a pile of socks in his dresser which was filled with the proper ‘application liquids’ and ‘sheathing devices’.) Gentle Strokes reminded him of vanilla; not everypony's first choice at the Ice Cream Shop, but, available, dependent and with a well earned reputation that kept it popular.

Personally, Stormy had always liked rocky road.

Still, despite all these facts Gentle Strokes had one thing that set him apart from all the others potential vanillas in Equestria; his heart. He was eager, never too eager, and also with just the right amount of adorably humbled bravado to ask Stormy if he was doing something wrong. Or right (Which, most times he certainly had been.). That gave Strokes more than just brownie points in his books. In fact, listening to Gentle Strokes moan his way through the phrase “I'm not hurting you am I?” as he bit the back of Stormy's mane and slapped a hoof against his flank was probably the highlight of the night.

Well, except for the sex of course.

Stormy chuckled as he pushed his body deeper into the embrace. Sleepily, Gentle Strokes tightened his grip around Stormy's chest -- pulling him in tight -- and nuzzled his mouth into the back of Stormy’s mane.

The machine gun fire of a camera’s shutter flashing open, close, open, close for about an entire roll of film’s worth of time, and the fireworks display of a brighter than Celestia's sun flash going off like a private lightning storm above their heads startled both sleeping bodies instantly awake.

Standing beside them, with an outdated camera worn around his neck, like the goddamn paparazzi was Jagged Horn, grinning ear to ear as he screamed “Work it baby!” and “Oh yeah! You’re a tiger, Stormy! You’re an animal!”

"Jag, what the shit?” Stormy, livid, screamed as he bounded up in bed. Jag just continued grinning and snapping photos of the two.

Where the hells did he even get a camera?

“Oh dude, this is total spank bank material if I ever saw it." Jag laughed. "You guyths look thoo cute!” He played up a lisp in his voice. “I should sell these to PlayMare, dude! They can run an entire feature on you two, make it the 'Opposites Attract' issue or something."

“What the hells is your problem?”

“My problem? MY PROBLEM?" Jag screeched. "I came home from an all night salt binge ‘cause my brain’s all twisted up like I’m half retarded or something, and all I wanted to do was take an eighteen to twenty hour cat nap. But, I gotta come home to find you guys just bucked. Again. Or whatever this is.”

He might have been mad, or he might have been kidding about being mad. It was always hard to tell with Jag.

“You guys didn’t even tie a sock on the door. How the Hells was I supposed to know?”

Jag feigned an innocent smile then set the camera down on the coffee table and hopped onto the foot of the bed with them. He started bouncing at their feet, like a foal the morning before he went away to Flight School, and then, after a short minute of this annoying display of lunacy, he fell onto his back at the foot of the bed and spoke again.

“So, you guys wanna turn this into a threesome?" He stifled a laugh, then stared at them inquisitively "We can make this all kinds of weird.”

With his two lower hooves, Stormy gave Jag’s body a kick that could rival any Donkey’s. Jag flew off the bed and crashed onto the floor. A short second later he got up, straightened himself out and was back in his groove. Grinning at them.

“Relax, Stormy. I was kidding.” He groaned. He climbed into his own bed and pulled the covers tight over his body, turning away from them. “I’ve done enough experimenting at college without having to sleep with another colt, anyway."

As Jag settled himself in for his usual post-substance abuse hibernation, he left behind an air of awkward silence that spread quickly throughout the room.

That was until Gentle Strokes broke it, as best as he could.

“Never a dull moment, eh?” Gentle Strokes joked in an innocent and earnest attempt at lightening the mood.

Stormy would have been a lot more upset in that moment if Gentle Strokes massaging hooves hadn’t found that exact spot on his back; The one that gave his mood a complete and total 180 degree turn around. Instant and total pleasure pulsed through his body as he gave out a low-guttural purr.

“I reckon I’m just gonna have to get used to all this craziness?” Gentle Strokes hummed, continuing to pleasurably re-sculpt his way through knots and seams in Stormy’s back with hooves that could earn their place in any massage parlor in Equestria. “You know; Seeing as how it’s part of the ‘Dating Stormy’ package and all.”

Stormy was too busy purring like a fat house cat to bother with a response. He did manage to achieve a few higher octaves in his purr when those Celestia-blessed hooves found his core, though.

“I’ll just take that as a ‘I’d be delighted to be your coltfriend, Strokes.’?” Gentle Strokes laughed.

If he could have, Stormy would have gave back an enthusiastic ‘Yes! I’d really enjoy that.’, but instead he just continued his pleasure-purr. If this was a shape of things to come, Stormy could probably stand to continue seeing Gentle Strokes every day for... well, probably the rest of forever.

For the time being, what he had with Strokes was probably the best thing to happen to him in a very long time and he had every intention of making it, whatever 'it' was that they had, last as long as he could.