Authors: Kelly Wyre
Tags: #LGBT, #Contemporary
“And you’ll get it, man. No worries.” Dennis laughed. “We’re all doin’ what we gotta do here. I’m working, you’re fighting, and he’s drinking. Right?”
The last was addressed to Nathan, who finished off his last whiskey in a hurry.
Fury tilted his head and eased closer to Dennis. “Heard a rumor.”
“Yeah?” Dennis’s nostrils flared and chest hitched, but his eyes went flat. His bodyguard tensed, and Nathan wanted to slap a hand over Fury’s mouth and drag the man out of there. It was not a good day when Nathan’s better sense outran somebody else’s.
Fury nodded. “Heard they’re runnin’ H and whores.”
Nathan replayed Duke’s strung-out voice whispering in his ear, and Nathan’s shirt stuck to his sweat-soaked skin beneath his jacket.
“The fuck you hear that?” Dennis asked, dully.
“One of their street lackeys was harassin’ some people tonight after the fight over at Bass.”
“That part of what you gotta do, now, Dennis?”
Dennis didn’t answer, choosing instead to stay locked in a Don’t Blink contest with Fury. Finally, he broke the silence and glared at Nathan. “Where’d you two meet?”
Fury didn’t answer, and Nathan couldn’t take the pressure. “We go to the same gym.”
“Uh-huh.” Dennis made a derisive sound and sighed, stepping away from Fury with feigned, sad concern. “Fury, your friend smells like a cop.”
Nathan spluttered. “I’m not a—”
Dennis overrode Nathan. “And if his pretty face wasn’t plastered all over the goddamned town, I’d think if it smelled like roast duck, it probably was. But my new friends around here might not pay so much attention to billboards.” The illusion of a smile vanished at last. “You’ve got what I owe you for now. Get the fuck out.”
Nathan got up immediately, but Fury stayed still for ten more seconds. Nathan counted, wondering how many times it was possible to get shot in that span of time.
Fury sighed, bending closer to Dennis. “Get your shit together,” Fury said. The way he said it was almost loving, which was damned weird and set off warning bells in Nathan’s liquor-soaked brain.
“It is.” Dennis squared off with Fury long enough to make a point and then turned to go.
Fury’s shoulders slumped, but he tipped his head toward the door. Nathan didn’t look at anybody on the way out of the building, and he didn’t answer Ed’s, “Have a good one.”
By the time he got to the truck, Nathan’s buzz was wearing thin. “What the fuck was all that about?” he asked as calmly as he could when Fury had climbed inside.
“That was my thing,” Fury replied with a level look. “Told you. Don’t do drugs but got other stuff. That was it.”
“So you said,” Nathan replied, a little pissed off beneath the whiskey’s surface and not so sure why. Something about near death experiences and the object of his lust being too good at bludgeoning people.
“Then you heard me.” Fury started the truck and cranked the heater.
Nathan made a frustrated sound. “I get that the fights are your outlet. Fine, cool, whatever, but why bring me?”
“’Cause you agreed.”
“That all?” Nathan asked.
“Thought you’d like it.” Fury sounded tired.
“Yeah. Nothing quite like getting felt up in a crowd of men to do me right on a Thursday,” Nathan snarled, confused as to why he’d chosen that tidbit to share.
Fury hit the brakes at the edge of the lot. “That’s Dander.” The street was clear, but Fury didn’t go. “I’ve warned that fucker.” Fury sighed. “I need to go kick his ass?”
“No,” Nathan said too loudly. The idea of Fury defending honor that Nathan didn’t have was preposterous. “And there was more to it than that.”
Fury smirked. “To Dander feelin’ you up?”
“No, asshole,” Nathan said. His volume knob was broken at the eight. “To you taking me to that shithole.”
Fury grunted and hit the gas. He was no more ruffled by Nathan’s anger than he had been by the guns, threats, blood, or violence. Which made sense, but damn it was irritating.
It took two whole blocks driven at fifteen miles an hour for Fury to speak again. “You’re right. That was me checkin’ you out.”
“Checking… Wait, what?” Nathan was gaining a whole new appreciation for the term flabbergasted. “What are you talking about?”
“I’ve seen you at the gym. You watch me.”
Nathan froze sideways in the seat. His anger evaporated, and terrified embarrassment took the reins. Warning bells went off, but Nathan told himself jumping out of a moving vehicle was irrational, even in this situation. “Everybody fucking watches you,” Nathan pointed out. “It’s hard to
you, asshole. You’re the size of a tank.”
For whatever reason, Nathan’s protests made Fury smile, and Jesus wept, but it was stunning. “You watch more than most.”
“No, I don’t,” Nathan denied.
“How do you know?”
“Because I…” Nathan wanted to smack himself. Fuck it all. Damn Hellabeth, damn Jack Daniels, and damn himself.
“Then you show up at the fight tonight,” Fury continued. “Then you’re out back with Duke.” Fury paused as if that was explanation enough.
“And?” Nathan barked.
“And I wanted to see what you were about.” Fury turned, heading toward the Bass building. He even used his signal. Nathan hated that the man was so together when Nathan was flying apart.
“And that means what exactly?” Nathan asked.
“Hellabeth says you ain’t a cop.”
Nathan cackled. “Oh Christ, no.”
Fury glanced sidelong at Nathan. “Yeah. Well, she’d know. And Dennis didn’t know you. Neither did Ed. So…” Fury swung his truck into the space right next to Nathan’s.
“So?” Nathan echoed. He blamed slower brain function on the way Fury settled in the seat with the truck in Park and the engine running. Nathan could see the bulge of Fury’s balls and cock under his jeans and against his inner thigh.
Fury seemed fascinated by something or somebody beyond the windshield. “So, I wanted to know more about you. You in that alley with Duke…” Fury rubbed the steering wheel, and Nathan gazed longingly at the finger play. Nathan so needed to get out of there.
“I know Duke,” Fury said. “I know what he is and who he works for, and I had to see if you were workin’ that shit with him or if you were just a guy who needs a fix from time to time.”
“Why?” Nathan asked, and he didn’t much like how it came out a croaked whisper.
“’Cause if you were the first, then I didn’t want nothin’ to do with you. But if you were the second…” Fury shrugged. “Dunno. Don’t mind that so much. Don’t like the drug shit, but I know a thing or two about fixes and gettin’ them scratched.”
The world was vibrating in time to Nathan’s heartbeat. “No.” His mouth was dry. “Why did you want to know more about me?”
Fury’s eyebrows rose and fell. His cheek had a clotted cut on it in the center of the swelling. He looked in Nathan’s direction without meeting Nathan’s eyes. “Because I’ve seen you.”
Nathan had been wrong. Running into Duke hadn’t been the universe fucking with him; it was this conversation. He hadn’t the faintest idea what to say. Nothing made sense, the whole night was categorically insane, and Fury could not possibly be insinuating that he was even remotely interested in Nathan. That might, in theory, mean Fury not only enjoyed cock, but that Fury had noticed that Nathan had leanings in that direction too. Nathan couldn’t be that obvious. He just
“You’ve seen me,” Nathan repeated under his breath. “S-so you find me and drag me through that warehouse so you can make sure I’m…legitimately fucked up in ways you don’t mind?”
“I guess,” Fury said. “Wasn’t thinkin’ too clear when I saw you, but it made sense at the time.”
Nathan laughed. “That’s fuckin’ nuts, man.”
“Then why’d you come with me?” Fury had returned to window gazing.
“I don’t know,” Nathan mumbled, and he grabbed the door handle. He didn’t pull it, though.
“Didn’t see you puttin’ down any cash back there.”
“I don’t gamble,” Nathan muttered. He leaned his head against the cab’s rear window. “Not with money anyway.”
Fury got quiet. There was a trick that Nathan had read about in some intro to psychology class in college. Shrinks often used silence to get people to talk. Go without words long enough, and the person with something to say would spill it eventually. Until this chat with Fury, Nathan would have said he’d never fall for that shit. Then again, Nathan was usually wrong when it came to knowing or predicting himself.
“I don’t know,” Nathan said when he couldn’t stand it any longer. “You’re right, okay? I was… I needed… I was looking for something but didn’t want Duke’s version of something, you know? I’m getting tired of where that leads. But shit’s kind of…complicated. Right now.” Nathan shook himself. “Who was that guy?”
“He owns that building and those fights.”
“And you work for him?”
Fury chuckled, a rich, thick, throaty sound. “I work around him. Fight for his pay sometimes.”
“But you two know each other.” Nathan told himself that he didn’t sound like a jealous lover with that accusation.
Fury hummed to the affirmative. “Dennis and I go way back.”
“You fuckin’ must,” Nathan blurted.
“What you mean?”
Nathan clenched both fists. “What you said to him in front of me… I mean, even just that little… You’d have to trust… You act like know me, and you don’t, but you’re acting like you trust… Not me. You couldn’t trust—”
“I could trust you,” Fury said, nice and easy as though suggesting a stroll on the beach.
“What?” Nathan faltered. “Why?”
Fury chuckled again. “I don’t know. Maybe ’cause I want to.”
It was like falling down a deep, dark well, talking to Fury. The dumbest part was that Nathan wanted to believe him, accept his word at face value. Nathan attempted to clear his head of fog. “How the fuck did you know my name and my car?”
“I asked around, and I’ve seen you get in it.”
Such a simple explanation, and Nathan couldn’t think of anything to ask or to add. They both got quiet. Nathan’s trembling was getting better. Another hour, and the night would feel like any other bad trip, sans vomiting. That was a perk.
“’Sup with the religious billboards?” Fury asked.
“That stupid fucking deal, I swear to God.” Nathan rubbed his eyes. “I work at this marketing firm, and the boss offered me… Know what? Doesn’t matter. They needed a face. I gave ’em mine.”
“That’s it?” Fury asked.
Fury lapsed into another one of those long, aggravating silences. This time, the tension ratcheted, and after a few minutes, Nathan couldn’t deal. “I gotta get going.” He twisted, working the handle and then trying to figure out how the door unlocked when it didn’t open.
He paused, not facing Fury. The way Fury had said his name in that rasp-grit voice sent feverish heat through Nathan. “Yeah?”
“You said you were lookin’ for somethin’ tonight, right?”
“Yeah?” Nathan repeated. His palm slipped on the metal.
“You weren’t lookin’ for me, were you?”
“Wha…?” Nathan twisted around on the bench. Fury had slid closer, one elbow on the steering wheel and the other arm resting on the back of the seat. One massive boot was planted on the floorboard between them, and Nathan was awestruck at how big Fury was. Nathan wasn’t small, but Fury took up all the available space. His braid touched the cab’s ceiling, his chest blocked the view of the window behind him, and his heavy thigh was caught under the wheel. And his eyes… Nathan swallowed.
Fury’s gaze was direct and attentive, the brown color darkened to black in the dim. What caused reality to flicker, though, was how Nathan could clearly read curiosity, heat, and maybe a hint of fear in Fury’s eyes. Perhaps it was caution. Of that, Nathan couldn’t be sure. What he did know was that he couldn’t hold that stare, because it was way too honest.
But when he had to look away, Nathan looked directly at Fury’s groin. Nathan actually heard his own breath catch, and he stood beside himself, horrified by his lack of control. Normally, he would let his eyes slip away, make a joke, and attempt a graceful exit, or at least one that didn’t resemble a dead run.
Nathan tried. He turned his head, but his gaze was locked onto the seam of Fury’s fly. Something brushed his bare neck, and Nathan jerked. He slapped a hand on the dash, and Fury touched Nathan again. Fury’s thumb and fingers were warm, and they stroked Nathan’s nape with a gentle caress that seemed completely at odds with the force Nathan knew Fury could wield. Too stunned to react, Nathan stayed stock-still, and Fury took that as an invitation to continue. Fury’s fingers found their way into Nathan’s hair, digging with enough pressure that Nathan had to chew on his cheek to stifle a moan. The contact was so real, so sincere. It wasn’t coming from a faceless trick in a forgotten club, but from a man facing Nathan head-on. His breath hitched.
“C’mere,” Fury said softly, putting pressure into the hand cupping Nathan’s head. Nathan gave in to it, and oh God, he wanted to do what Fury asked. He wanted to bury his face in Fury’s neck, underarms, crotch. Lick, smell, taste, suck…dive into Fury and not come up for air for days. Maybe weeks. Ten thousand fantasies involving men and the freedom to do what Nathan wanted to do, and none of them were as good as this touch, this lean, this almost embrace.
Nathan caught movement out of the corner of his eye, saw himself gasping in the rearview mirror, and the spell was broken. Nathan thought he might have cried out like he was in pain, and he reached for his door like there was a bomb in the seat. The summation of everything reckless Nathan had ever done didn’t feel as dangerous as Fury being tender.
Nathan got the lock undone, and he knew beyond a doubt that he was being an asshole. He scrambled out of the truck, nearly falling, and thought he was acting like a child. He heard Fury’s indignant shout, and true agonized panic gripped him. He didn’t remember getting into his own vehicle or getting the key into the ignition, but he churned gravel peeling out of the parking space. It took effort to find his side of the yellow lines, and he kept frantically looking back, terrified and also crazily hopeful that Fury was hot on his tail.