The week passed by quickly and Misha found himself having somewhat conflicting thoughts over the therapy session that waited for them. The last meeting had helped, they hadn’t argued about the Chris incident anymore and Joni seemed to have forgiven both him and his father. This session would be a whole other thing though and Misha still wasn’t sure if the woman could help them. How would she help? How could a heterosexual woman help two gay men in the field of sex? It was a puzzling thought to Misha, but perhaps he was just overly prejudiced and he would be more than happy to see his doubts proven wrong. He wanted to be able to enjoy a healthy sex life with Joni, free of the worries and nightmares of the past. If she could do that for them, Misha would forever remain grateful to her.
After Pauliina had bid farewell to another patient and let him out through another door, she opened her entrance door and, smiling, welcomed Misha and Joni. ”Hello Joni, hello Misha. Come in and sit down. Would you like something to drink? Orange juice, water, coffee?”
”Coffee.” Came the almost unison reply that made Joni chuckle and Misha smile. ”Thank you,” Joni replied before taking a seat following the blond with his eyes. Misha took a seat next to him, looking around in the room while his fingers tapped against his knee; a nervous sign that Joni could relate to. He knew that many others might have given up on him already, not many would be ready to go through this much trouble for someone and it made him appreciate Misha even more, though at the same time the small worry that it wouldn’t work kept nagging in his mind.
Pauliina filled two cups and served them to the men, taking a glass of water for herself before sitting down. ”Okay, so how did things go after last week’s session?”
Joni again glanced at Misha who was sipping his coffee. ”Better,” he nodded. ”I mean, I’ve forgiven them for the… incident.” He replied and shrugged. ”It can’t be undone either and yeah…we’ve talked about it,” Joni nodded. ”I know they did what they did, thinking it would help me.”
”Fine. You should keep talking about feelings, as hard or annoying as it can be sometimes.” She smiled. ”Today we want to tackle an even more intimate topic, your sex life. I want you to know that I won’t ask for technical details because that isn’t the problem and I most likely cannot ’teach’ you new techniques. It is more about feelings.” She smiled again. ”First, can one of you let me in on what the problem is?”
Misha looked at his boyfriend who looked just as uncomfortable as he felt. Sighing he decided to do his best to tell his view and thoughts as honestly as he could. ”Joni has nightmares still, perhaps… Sometimes we get close and I don’t know if I’m too…” Misha cleared his throat. ”Excited? If I scare you or? I wouldn’t…”
Joni shook his head. ”I know Misha wouldn’t ever consciously hurt me… I know that… So it’s not that I’m afraid of him… It’s… I can’t explain it…” Joni took a small pause to gather his thoughts. “I don’t know… I feel this… guilt when we start to… well, you know… Like I’m doing something wrong…” He sighed deeply, feeling frustrated for not knowing how to explain what he was feeling when it made little sense to himself as well.
”Okay, Misha, I’d like to concentrate first on Joni. So Joni, you’re feeling guilt? Guilt towards what or whom?”
Joni hesitated and took a sip of his coffee. ”Chris…” He replied quietly, making Misha frown.
”How can you feel guilty for that asshole?” The blond asked seemingly puzzled which made Joni feel somewhat annoyed, because it bothered him as well.
”Did you cheat on Chris when you were together?”
Joni shook his head at first. ”Well… He thought that I did and he accused me of it often… and… Well, once I did… with Misha… just before the cabin thing… Chris knew… I don’t know… Well, I do know I have the tendency to flirt or I used to have that tendency, often I might not even realise how I act and how it might seem. However, I didn’t cheat, not before Misha.”
”So, why do you feel guilty towards Chris when you did not cheat on him until those last days?”
”It’s complicated…” Joni admitted. ”But… If I’m the first he… treated that way… maybe I did something to cause it?” Joni sighed looking at the woman wanting her to make it… make sense, make it clearer. ”He wasn’t cruel before…” He tried to explain while Misha gave him a sad look wanting to shake Joni to stop him thinking that way.
”Did Chris talk to you about former lovers? Did he even have a long time relationship before you?” Pauliina asked.
Joni thought about it for moment and then shook his head. ”He didn’t like to talk about his past much… He hadn’t lived with anyone before and… Well, I met one man a few years ago; they had some kind of past between them… Sex, I think.” Joni spoke quietly. Most he knew of Chris’ past, he had heard from Adam… Chris had wanted to know everything about him but kept himself in check.
”I see. And did you meet his family? Friends?”
”He didn’t want me to meet is family… They didn’t know he was gay. And his friends… His best friend is married to my cousin, I was once in Canada and met some other people, but … they didn’t seem close and I didn’t think much of it then.” Again Joni shrugged and glanced at Misha who listened carefully.
”To me it sounds like he didn’t let anyone very close to him, especially not romantically. You were the first and he got more and more possessive of you, something we talked about in our single sessions.” She nodded. ”So most likely it was nothing you did to make him that aggressive and brutal. He always was but had it under control because he had let no-one close. So it is not your fault, the only sad thing is that your affection and love toward him made him think you are his possession, an object he can treat as he sees fit.”
Joni took a deep breath and nodded, feeling sadness about the past and Chris. Misha took his hand carefully, stroking his palm gently with his thumb and Joni again glanced at him. ”You heard her, none of it was your fault.”
”Joni, more important is that you realize deep down, that normal people, normal men don’t act like Chris did. He was also your first long time relationship, right?” When Joni nodded she continued. ”A normal relationship doesn’t define itself over control and punishment. Misha, what is important for you in your relationship with Joni?”
Misha glanced at the woman and then at Joni. ”The closeness,” he started. ”Just… to be able to share things with him, friendship is part of it but of course there is more,” Misha didn’t feel like he was great with words and he took some time to think about what he wanted to express. ”Joni is important to me and his happiness and his well being… I don’t know how to say it otherwise?” He glanced at the woman again, wondering if what he said sounded right.
Pauliina nodded. ”See Joni, there is no word of possession, reproach or mistrust. Your well-being, closeness, friendship, sharing. That is what Misha likes about you two. What do you feel when you hear it?”
Joni smiled slightly and shrugged. He glanced at Misha. ”It feels… nice.” He nodded. ”Misha is… caring… sometimes he can overdo it though…”He snickered at this and Misha cocked his brow.
Pauliina chuckled. ”Yes, and does it feel different to what you had with Chris?”
Joni got serious for a moment and nodded. ”Yes… it feels like I can be myself, I don’t have to watch what I do or say so much… And I don’t know why being intimate makes me feel so nervous.”
”Because your body and your mind remember what Chris did to you. For instance, you, Misha, and Chris have a similar statue, you’re taller than Joni, more built, muscled. And if you sometimes behave overprotectively, then it can feel to Joni like the possessiveness of Chris. Joni’s mind knows the difference, he sees the different eyes, hair and all and knows you won’t ever do anything to him like Chris did, but his sub-conscious, which in very emotional moments, such as during sex, influences the behaviour greatly, sees and feels similarities.”
Misha nodded carefully, noticing Joni’s somewhat embarrassed look though there was no reason for it. ”Well, what could I do to make him feel relaxed with me?” He decided to ask since he was honestly running out of ideas himself.
”That needs time – but also… well, I’ll call it exercise. First, sex is always about you two. Not only Joni needs to relax and feel good, but you Misha need that, too. When you’re worried he is scared or not comfortable, it won’t do you any good. So, I’d like to give you some homework.” She chuckled at Joni’s and Misha’s look. ”I’ll define some conditions and some actions you have to do. This week, I want you to cuddle. Not just laying together in a bed, but active cuddling. You should wear comfortable clothes, but legs and torso have to be clothed.
I want you to touch each other, kiss if you want, but keep your hands above the waist line and over the shirt, not under. The room should be very well lit, so that you can see each other well the whole time. So that Joni can see Misha and Misha can see Joni. I also want you to hear each other. Talk. Or sing. Smell each other. All five senses should be used, to make your bodies remember the other. If arousal should raise, and I guess it will, let it raise and enjoy it but don’t act on it. You can masturbate afterwards, but in private, okay? I want you to keep it slow and when you both know what is allowed and going to happen, there won’t be frustration or fear or panic.”
Sing? Misha wondered, having the urge to snort at the thought, but he managed to stop himself. He thought about what the woman said, no doubt it was literally going to be hard, but… he could manage. He glanced at Joni who was looking back at him. ”Okay, sounds like a nice homework to do, but don’t expect me to sing,” at this Joni relaxed slightly, chuckled and nodded.
”Okay, it would probably spoil the mood anyway,” the younger man grinned.
”I thought you might like it. I’d like to talk about how it felt same time next week? Depending on that we will define a new homework.”
Misha nodded. ”Next week is fine,” he said wondering if they could try the homework that same evening, although keeping his hands in check might prove to be some kind of a struggle.
”I guess I better spend some time at your place then,” Joni wondered aloud with a somewhat coy grin over his features.
”Okay guys, before you start trying your homework on my couch, you better get going.” Pauliina chuckled and stood up, shaking both men’s hands. ”See you next week!”
Misha smiled and nodded. ”Next week,” he agreed, before leading Joni out of the office. Well, it hadn’t been as bad as he had feared. ”Should we pick up some of your things from your home?” He wondered while walking out with Joni.
“Yeah, a toothbrush and change of clothes would be nice…”
“I think we should buy you a spare toothbrush for our place and… you could also leave some of your clothes in my room, it would make things easier, don’t you think?” Misha asked and Joni looked up to him smiling.
“Yeah, good idea,” he agreed leaning slightly towards the blond. “We have, after all, lots of homework to do.”
“True,” Misha smiled feeling more positive towards the future now.
They had the whole house to themselves since Ivo was again at Jami’s place. Joni had gone to the shower and Misha was setting up some peaceful music in his room after a change of clothes into comfortable sweatpants and a white t-shirt that was hugging his torso. He decided to light some candles as well while waiting for his lover. Sighing Misha sat on his bed and glanced at the clock that was past nine, he listened to the running water from the nearby bathroom and finally lay down to wait when hearing the taps being closed. Five minutes later Joni entered the room. The brunet glanced around and sniggered.
“So romantic…” He grinned, slowly stepping closer. Misha grinned back and sat up slowly.
“A fresh start,” he said smiling. Joni was wearing grey sweatpants and a black tank top, his hair was still moist after the shower. Misha could read a certain amount of insecurity behind Joni’s eyes and smile. “Come here,” Misha asked softly tapping the spot next to him. “Just cuddling, remember.”
“I feel strange…” Joni whispered, sitting on his knees next to Misha, who moved his hand along his neck to his damp hair.
“Yeah?” Misha whispered and grinned leaning closer to kiss Joni’s neck and chin. “Me too, but not bad, right?”
“No,” again Joni released a soft burst of laughter. “Tickles…” He whispered when Misha ran his fingertips on his side. He himself felt a little lost with his own hands, hesitantly lowering his left on Misha’s strong shoulder, while the other rested against his arm. Another kiss, soft and brief, Misha was observing him with a grin on his face. ”Relax…Nothing bad happens here.” The blond whispered, running his finger softly on Joni’s cheekbone.
“I know… I just feel… silly,” again Joni sniggered to hide away his nervousness, not knowing why he felt so nervous when he knew that they were just going to cuddle.
“Why?” Misha asked calmly, continuing the gentle caresses.
“Candles and music and… you… and I… it’s… strange,” Joni grinned and to silence another bout of laughter Misha kissed him.
“Just relax and enjoy…” He whispered, gently lowering his finger on Joni’s lips. The younger man smiled slightly and nodded, pursing his lips to kiss Misha’s fingertip. Again a quiet snigger and Misha responded by grinning and leaning closer for another kiss. The kiss remained slow but longer this time and Joni seemed to relax into it.
The smaller man brought his hand into the soft blond hair, continuing the gentle kiss and slowly moving down to lay side by side with Misha. “Is this comfortable clothing?” Joni asked with a whisper and grinned while his hand moved down on Misha’s chest to feel the muscles beneath the tight shirt.
“Like a second skin, yes, it feels comfortable,” Misha grinned back resisting the urge to slip his hand beneath Joni’s shirt to feel his skin, instead he moved his hand along his flat stomach to his chest and neck, continuing to run his finger along Joni’s spine stopping at the curve of his lower back before continuing back up.
Joni leaned forward for another kiss, this time a little more intense causing Misha to moan, pulling the other slightly closer, his hands grabbing Joni’s t-shirt almost desperately. Misha could feel the blood already rushing down, desire burning strong and it was difficult to control his hands, to keep them above the waist and not moving under clothes. Joni seemed to sense the change in him which caused him to still his own movements to some extent. Misha broke the kiss and kissed Joni’s forehead and the tip of his nose, running his hand through the soft dark hair. He then remembered Pauliina’s words and started sniffing his boyfriend with a playful smile over his features. Joni laughed at his actions, the hands that travelled along his stomach and back, the sound that Misha made while smelling him all over.
“You’re tickling me!” He burst out and Misha chuckled, locking eyes with his and planted another kiss over his lips.
“Your smell is intoxicating… Fresh, clean, Joni…” The blond whispered and Joni grinned.
“You smell pretty good yourself too,” He whispered back and Misha leaned closer so that their noses brushed gently against each other.
“Need a moment to calm down…” Misha whispered smiling and Joni nodded moving his finger along Misha’s torso, his eyes following the movement.
“I’m drawing a map of you in my mind…” Joni grinned looking up to his lover’s curious blue eyes. Joni’s grin grew wider as he very gently pinched Misha’s nipple through his t-shirt. “When I have the needed information and roads marked it’s easier to navigate without getting lost from the right path.”
“Oh?” Misha gave him an amused look, still feeling very much aroused but doing his best to control it.
“Yes, now I’m scratching the surface, staying in the familiar and safe roads, next time I might dare to venture further…” Joni started to play with the hem of Misha’s t-shirt. “One is terribly curious to venture further, but hesitant too…”
“There is time, so no need to run…” Misha smiled. “This feels good, feels good to be close to you.” They shared another slow kiss, Misha stroked Joni’s ear between his fingers which made the brunet moan out loud. “Oh… you like this?” He grinned and Joni nodded, his eyes half closed sighing contently when Misha started to massage his ear gently. “Like a little cat… no… a fox,” The blond chuckled and leaned closer to kiss Joni’s earlobe. “Foxy…”He whispered curious to find the other spots that would bring pleasure to Joni. “Does your other ear feel neglected now?”
“Yeah, it needs attention too,” Joni grinned back and turned to lie on his back, tilting his head to the side to give better access. Misha moved closer, careful not to lean too much on top of Joni. He started massaging the other ear and kissed softly at the side while moving closer to Joni’s mouth. The small moans from the brunet’s lips made Misha snigger. “You make the cutest sounds…” Joni frowned and looked up to him. “It’s a compliment, silly.” Misha grinned and planted a kiss on the warm lips. “You are dear to me…”
Misha and Joni sat opposite Pauliina, each with a cup of coffee in his hands. ”Okay, you two. Did you finish your homework?”
Joni grinned, glancing at Misha who was grinning back at him. ”More than once,” Misha replied then.
”I’d say every night,” Joni added then seemingly pleased of how much he had been able to enjoy the whole process, actually starting to feel anxious for more the last evenings which had surprised himself as well.
”Good. I’d like Joni to start and tell me how it was for him. Remember, you don’t need to reveal ’technical’ details you don’t want to. I am more interested in feelings.”
”Well,” Joni started. ”I think the first time I was a little more…reserved in the beginning?” He suggested glancing at his boyfriend who nodded calmly and smiled. ”But then… second time I started to relax more and thought it was nice and then I think I was waiting for it more… The last times I found it difficult to remember we should keep the touches controlled… I felt like… I really wanted more, I haven’t felt like that in a long time… so relaxed, I guess, and normal… like before…When I was a teenager…”
Pauliina made a few notes and nodded. ”And you Misha, how was it for you?”
Misha cleared his throat. ”Fun,” he said then and ’hard’ he almost added, but decided it might sound improper. He glanced at Joni who was grinning at him. ”Joni has been clearly relaxing and much more responding the last times which has felt really encouraging to see.” It had started to feel like making out with an eager first timer who hesitated over whether or not they were ready for the real thing, wanting it but still perhaps afraid of it.
”Well, I want to know YOUR feelings. And fun is a bit… too little.”
Feelings, why did women always want to discuss feelings? Misha shifted on his seat uncomfortably trying to think what to say, how to describe what he felt. ”Well, I did enjoy it, very much and at times I did have to struggle with myself not to touch under clothes and remind myself of the situation. At times it felt difficult, but nicely difficult, if that makes sense? I want Joni to be able to enjoy and it pleased me very much to see progress within few days.”
”That’s what I meant.” Pauliina smiled. ”Joni needs to trust you and he already does, which is a big deal but hearing that you had to struggle but still kept your hands at bay will make this trust grow just another bit. Before we talk about next week’s homework, I’d like to get to know you a bit better, Misha. Did you have a long time relationship before Joni?”
”The longest has been around 10 months,” Misha confessed. ”I’ve never lived with someone I’ve been involved with and Joni is… Well…” Misha sighed. ”I’ve never loved someone before,” he said quietly, feeling somewhat embarrassed to say that word because he really wasn’t the type of person to speak of love often. ”…before Joni.” He decided to add.
Pauliina smiled and was silent for a moment. ”I see. Can I ask how you were in these previous relationships? You strike me as a more dominant person, someone who likes to be in control.”
Misha frowned and Joni grinned at him, knowing how right Pauliina was. Misha shrugged. ”I’m not controlling, I mean… Joni or the guys I was previously with are allowed to live their own lives and stuff; I don’t make rules to follow.” He replied with slightly upset tone thinking she was comparing him to the likes of Chris,
”Relax. I am not judging you or anything. Some people are more dominant and some people like it better when they have such a partner. And I am not talking about extreme relationships like what Chris did or the Master-Slave scene, just ’normal’ relationships.”
Misha nodded, relaxing in his chair. ”Well… I guess I can say that I’m the dominant person in relationships,” He sighed finally and glanced at Joni who was still grinning at him before looking at Pauliina.
”Yes he is, he likes to be in control,” Joni said and took more serious expression. ”Not the way Chris did though.”
”What about you Joni. Have you had a relationship before Chris?”
”Not ones that I could count,” Joni sighed. ”Some fooling around when I was younger and Misha was my first… There was one in between, but it was so short and odd and yeah… I can’t count that either.”
Pauliina nodded. ”Okay, that brings me to a topic we should think about. What does Joni want in a relationship? From what I know, you’re a very independent man, proud and self-confident, when you’re in the right surroundings. But you never could find yourself in a healthy relationship. Now, your relationship with Misha starts to be a normal, healthy relationship, but still your past affects you and Misha.”
Joni glanced at Misha and then back at Pauliina nodding. ”I do want to go back to leading a normal life; I know that I can never ignore what happened with Chris though… But… ” He took a pause, there were some things he wondered about but had never found a correct way to address and even now…. He felt unsure.
”But what? Joni, now is the time and place to discuss what think about. I can help you and Misha is here to listen and help, too.”
”Well… It’s difficult to say,” again he hesitated and glanced at Misha, perhaps this wasn’t the place?
”Go on, I want you to say what you’re thinking and I can’t read your mind.” Misha encouraged.
”Well, sometimes I wonder about roles or such… And… I don’t know if I’m seen this… certain way? And it’s okay… I mean… I….” Joni began to plug the fabric of his jeans nervously.
”Do you want to talk about it only with me first?” Pauliina asked.
Misha sighed. ”I won’t get mad or anything if you worry about that, Joni.” Misha said softly. ”It can’t be bad, right? I would like to hear, but it’s up to you.” Joni again glanced at Misha.
”Well it’s intimate… I do want to go back to… you know… but sometimes I wonder if we could ever try it the other way….” Joni blushed slightly and Misha knew what he meant, blushing slightly as well.
”Oh…” He coughed slightly. ”Might I get some water?” He asked hoarsely then.
Now Pauliina was surprised, she poured the blond a glass of water and gave it to him. ”It is about who penetrates and who is penetrated?” She looked at Misha, her brows furrowed and then it clicked. ”Can I ask you Joni, have you ever topped a man?”
Joni was quiet for a moment and shook his head, feeling both embarrassed and worried if Misha would indeed be mad that he had said it here. With Chris it had never been an option, though Joni had only realised later how set Chris really was on the certain roles that they played. Deep down this was important to him though, he wanted a long term relationship with Misha, but at the same time the idea that he would never be given the chance to even try topping didn’t sit well with him.
”And you Misha, have you ever been topped?”
Did they really have to talk about this with her? Misha wondered to himself, trying to remain calm while crossing his hands over his lap, tapping his index fingers together. ”No…” He finally murmured in a low voice trying to process the whole idea in his head.
”Hmmm, I feel you both are very uncomfortable with this topic here and now. But it is good that Joni said it out loud. I think we have quite some time until this question becomes really important, but obviously Misha needs some time to think about it.”
”Yeah,” Misha nodded. It wasn’t the first time someone had suggested it to him, one of his exes had been really keen to try which had resulted into Misha breaking up with him and Ivo had laughed when hearing his reason. Now, when he glanced at Joni clearly seeing how worried the younger man was he sighed and reached for his hand. He wouldn’t break up with Joni because he wanted to try something new, he just needed time to think about it himself. ”You don’t need to be nervous, okay?” He asked and Joni nodded still silently worried if he had said it at the wrong time. ”I want you to talk about everything that’s on your mind,” Misha added as if reading his thoughts.
”Yes, it is important. And people need time to get accustomed to new ideas.” She nodded. ”Joni, did you talk to your father about the prison story?”
Joni sighed relaxing slightly once more. ”I did, I said I don’t approve of it….” He shrugged. ”Right now I try to think positive again about it, but still… I worry, it’s difficult not to stress out.”
”It is good. I thought that maybe we should have a session together with him. Just one, but it may help him and you.”
”Maybe… ” Joni wondered. ”Dad is stressing too and that is stressing me. I’m 20, I’m supposed to be an adult but right now it’s difficult to feel that way, dad keeps wanting to know where I am and if he can’t reach me he gets all worried and shit…” Joni glanced at Misha who had a somewhat guilty expression because he knew he was acting the same way.
”Okay, talk with him about it and then we can find an appointment.” She nodded. ”Then we also have to decide on the next homework.”
Misha smiled slightly now, keen to know what it would be, deciding not to think for now about the possibility of switching roles from time to time, it was definitely something that he would need time to progress properly. Part of him was surprised that he wasn’t freaking out about the idea more like he usually would have been; perhaps love really did change people? Anyway, right then Misha rather wanted to focus on the hope of getting some skin contact with Joni.
”Yes, new homework,” He nodded eyeing the woman and Joni chuckled rolling his eyes, but getting back into the lighter mood that he had been in at the beginning of the session.
”You both seem to have enjoyed the first homework and there doesn’t seem to be real discomfort. So I need your help to assign you a new homework. Would shirtless be okay?”
Joni nodded at first while Misha was checking his reaction. ”Maybe if… I can touch Misha… just knowing it can only be that for now?” He suggested carefully.
”What exactly do you mean? Touch his chest? Or touch him completely, masturbating him?”
Joni blushed. ”Uhm… the latter…. But… I rather if… not me, yet…” Misha wasn’t sure how to respond to that, of course the idea was appealing but at the same time he knew he would want to touch Joni that way as well and…
”You don’t need to push yourself,” Misha said quietly.
”I’m not,” Joni denied. ”I think it would help if … I could do that and know it could be just that, on my terms… for now….”
Pauliina clapped her hands. ”Then it is decided. Joni is allowed to touch Misha wherever he and Misha wants. Misha’s hands are bound above the waistline, therefore his mouth is allowed till the tummy while Joni’s is only allowed at Misha’s face.” She looked first at Joni, then at Misha. ”Agreed?”
Misha nodded and this time Joni was giving him an expectant look. ”Sure, if it is what Joni wants, then of course,” he smiled at the brunet who smiled back at him.
”Okay. Don’t overdo it boys.” She laughed and got up. ”We’ll see each other next week, same time, okay?”
Joni nodded and got up with Misha actually looking forward to the intimate time with Misha. ”Sure next week,” Misha agreed, grinning at Joni who now seemed eager to leave and his mood brighter once more. He was glad that the woman was indeed starting to prove his prejudices wrong.
A/N: Please review , either on shout box or the questbook where the review link leads to, it won’t take much of your time, but would mean a great deal to me! Reviews are the fuel to writing 🙂
Web published: November 8th, 2011.
My Secret Shore