Christopher, Craig & Co.
Part 49: Chris & Scott.
Scott looked at me, a mixture of surprise and shock on his face. “Old boyfriend?” he asked.
Wade was standing next to him looking grim.
I realized I had to explain my actions. “That, gentlemen, was my first serious boyfriend. And if any of you ever sees him again stay as far away as possible.” I looked seriously at each of them. “Richard is a very dangerous man.”
“Do you think you’re overreacting a little bit, Chris?” Andrew asked.
I shook my head. “Richard is involved in things that are not safe. Please just trust me. If anything happened to any of you because of him I couldn’t live with myself.”
I realized I was still holding the empty soda glass. I set it on the bar.
“I can’t believe you threw your drink in his face,” Wade said. He poured me a fresh one and set it in front of me.
Truth be told, I was surprised at myself. But I began to grin. “I’ve always wanted to do that.”
“What?” Scott asked, obviously not sure he’d heard me correctly.
“You know how we all have things we want to do before we die? Throwing a drink in someone’s face has always been on my list. It’s just such a soap opera moment.” I laughed.
“Richard wasn’t laughing,” Andrew pointed out.
“True. And he isn’t an enemy I really want to deal with. But if he insists on staying around here I’ll do what I have to in order to keep us all safe.”
Andrew and I spent an enjoyable evening together. Despite a few initial misgivings, I liked that he and Wade had hit it off. I was going to tweak his personality a little bit more soon, however. Eventually it was time for Scott and Wade to get off work. They straightened up the bar and disappeared into the office for their coats.
Scott managed to accomplish the impossible at dinner that night. He completely took my mind off Richard with his mix of smart repartee and gentle teasing. As the four of us strolled to the parking lot to retrieve our cars Scott slowed his pace.
I turned toward him and he took my hand in his. The weather was cold, but his hands were warm.
“I had a really good time tonight,” he said with a smile.
He reached for my face and gently stroked my bruised cheek. “I hope you know, Chris, that I, um,” he faltered for a moment, then seemed to decide to continue. “I really care a lot about you and, um,” he grinned nervously, “I hope you feel something, too…”
“I do,” I blurted. God, I was acting like a nervous schoolboy. I hadn’t realized just how much I was falling for Scott until that moment.
Scott looked like he was hoping I’d say more.
I took a breath. My side ached terribly from all the activity today. “My life has been kind of a mess lately,” I said. “But the one good thing in it has been you. You’re a good man, Scott Wilson, and it’s a silly cliché, but a good man is hard to find.”
“What?” I asked.
“Just reminded me of an old joke. ‘A hard man is good to find’.” He shook his head. “Stupid. What were you saying?”
“Well, I know we haven’t known each other that long, and I know I’m a bit older than you—”
“Not that much,” he piped in.
“But I am,” I admitted. “And I know with all the distractions and the ex-boyfriends and the beating, and the interruptions that you probably think my life is one big drama, but it’s not always like this.”
“I don’t think that.”
I looked down at the sliver of ground between our feet and then into his eyes. “I think I’m falling in love with you, Scott.”
His eyes lit up. He leaned in and covered my mouth with his, wrapping me in his arms as he kissed me deeply. His tongue explored my mouth as his hands stroked my back.
At some point I stopped feeling the cold wind blowing through the parking lot and the ache in my side and the nervous flutter in my stomach and kissed him back with passionate. Scott was an amazing kisser.
He broke the kiss, leaning his forehead against mine, staring into my eyes. “I am so glad you said that,” he said, flashing his most dazzling smile.
“Listen,” I said, “I have to be totally honest with you. I would like nothing more than to invite you back to the house, but—”
His face fell.
“Scott, I just don’t think I’m in any condition tonight to be able to make love to you.”
“Oh,” he said. “But we don’t have to do anything.”
“Really?” I asked in surprise.
“It’s okay. I wasn’t thinking. You haven’t completely healed yet. I can understand that. As long as you know how much I want to be with you. It’s not going to be forever, right?”
I smiled. “No, definitely not forever.”
“Great!” He took my hand and started again toward the cars.
I heard the scrape of a shoe on the pavement and whirled around, suddenly feeling anxious.
Scott squeezed my hand. “Don’t worry. I’m not leaving until you’re in your car and ready to go.”
And I could pinpoint that moment as the one where I no longer wondered if I was falling for Scott. I was sure I loved this incredible, compassionate, sexy, sweet man.
Scott walked me to my car, opened and closed the door for me, then got in his own car and followed me out of the parking lot and home.
Wade and Andrew were in the den when we walked in the front door. The television was on and Wade was snuggled up next to Andrew on the couch. They both turned at our entrance. Wade smirked and turned back toward the TV.
I hung Scott’s and my coats up and then we headed upstairs. I was a little nervous about undressing. My side was still a horrific array of shades of purple and green. I led the way to the bedroom. “Here we are,” I announced needlessly.
He looked around. I wondered what he thought of my inner sanctum, as it were. He glanced at the bed, then around the room.
I began to slowly tug off my sweater.
“Let me help you with that, Chris.”
“I can—” I protested feebly. The truth was I wasn’t sure I could. I had been feeling better the past couple of days, but I had overdone it today and then getting elbowed hadn’t helped. Staying out this late wasn’t my wisest decision to date either, but I figured I could pay the price tomorrow.
“Don’t be silly. You’ve been in pain since that kid hit you at the bar.” He lifted the sweater carefully, and slipped it over my head.
“It was an accident.”
“He was careless.”
“All right, I’ll give you that.”
He reached for the top button of my shirt, but I covered his hands with mine.
His eyes flickered up to mine. “You don’t want me to see you.”
“It looks worse than it is.”
“Okay, so let’s get seeing it out of the way and then we can climb into that big bed of yours.” His smile was devilish.
I unbuttoned my shirt and slipped out of it.
Scott hissed in a breath of air. “Wow. Chris, I had no idea. I knew you were obviously in pain, but it looks like they were trying to kill you.”
“I don’t think they would have. At least I hope they wouldn’t have.” I had given that a lot of thought over the past few days. The idea that I could have been killed for simply kissing Scott in a public parking lot was doing a number on my psyche.
“Thank heaven they were interrupted.” He lightly trailed a finger down my chest. “But I can see why you’re not up for a night of mad, passionate mind-blowing sex.”
“You are such a tease,” I said.
He shrugged and turned away.
I pulled on a T-shirt and kicked off my shoes.
Scott sat on the edge of the bed and untied his shoes. White socks. He stepped out of them and then pulled his shirt off over his head, revealing a white tank top. Damn, he was a sexy man.
“What do you sleep in?” I asked, then stopped short.
Scott laughed. “Not usually something I worry about on sleepover dates.”
I am sure my face was bright red.
“I’m fine,” he said, reaching out to me.
I walked over and sat beside him. Scott proved again what an excellent kisser he is. After awhile he suggested, “Why don’t we get in bed?”
We both shucked off our pants and climbed under the covers. Scott wore black boxer-briefs—a fact I noted as I admired his ass.
He sat up against the headboard. I propped my head on his chest, enveloped in his arms.
“You know,” I said, “I’m looking forward to hearing you sing. Any idea what song you want to do?”
He sighed. “I have a couple of ideas. I just hope I don’t get up there and freeze up. That’s my nightmare.”
“I know you’re going to be fine. But I did email you…” I turned a little to look at his face, but it strained my side, so I gave up. “I don’t want to hypnotize you, Scott. It would complicate things and I’d rather we were on equal footing, if that makes any sense.”
“I’m glad to hear you say that, cause I didn’t really want to try it but I didn’t want to tell you no.” I could hear the relief in his voice.
“Scott, you can tell me anything anytime you want.”
I felt him lean over and kiss the top of my head. “You know, I just thought of something.”
“Wade is going to be out of control tomorrow because I spent the night.”
I laughed. “Yes, I suppose you’re right.”
“He really wanted us to like each other.” Scott was playing with my hair.
“Well, for my part, he got his way.”
Between hearing the steady beat of Scott’s heart and the feel of his fingers in my hair, I was having a hard time keeping my eyes open. The last thing I remember was saying, “I love you, Scotty.”
To be continued in Part 50…
Christopher, Craig & Co.
Part 50: Secret Identity.
Waking up in Scott’s arms was a wonderful way to start a new day. I lie there a few moments, listening to him breathe, then attempted to extricate myself from his arms.
He blinked his eyes open. “Mornin’.” He rolled onto his side and propped his cheek on his hand. His black hair stuck out at odd angles.
I grinned at him. “I was trying not to wake you.” I rolled over and winced. My side felt like all the skin had become too tight for my body and my ribs ached. And then I noticed the time on my alarm clock. 9:54 AM.
Mental headslap. Why, oh, why had I told Marty to show up here at ten? And, better question, how was I going to explain his presence to Scott without spilling the whole sordid tale? Or lying to him? I didn’t really want to lie to Scott if I could help it.
“Would you like to shower first?” Not smooth, Chris.
He shrugged. “Sure, thanks.”
But effective. “I’ll just go down and start coffee.”
Scott reached for me as I swung my legs off the bed. “What’s your hurry?”
I frowned. “No hurry. I just want to see if Wade is—”
“Ohhhh,” he said. “I wondered if this was going to be a little weird.”
“No! It’s not weird. It’s just, well…” It’s just what? Awkward because the boy I’ve hypnotized into becoming a leatherman is probably pulling into the driveway? “It’s a little awkward because I want you to feel welcome here.”
Scott raised his eyebrows. “Not a problem.” He climbed out of the bed and padded toward the bathroom.
“Clean towels are in the closet,” I called. “There are a couple new toothbrushes under the sink. Just use whatever you need.” I grabbed my robe, shrugged into it as quickly and painlessly as possible, and then hurried out of the bedroom, down the hall, and down the stairs. I paused in front of the mirror in the foyer.
The doorbell rang.
Too late to worry about it now. I sighed and swung open the door.
Lee Phillips stood looking wide-awake and refreshed. I could look like that in about an hour.
Lee’s somewhat graying hair and penchant for sportcoats always managed to make him look distinguished. His craggy face lit up in a smile. “Hey, mate. Am I early?”
“No, but I’m running late.” I ushered Lee into the den. “Marty should be here any minute. Please don’t think me rude for not offering you coffee, but I have a guest upstairs who doesn’t know about my—uh, sideline.”
“Not to worry, Christopher, I’ll be in and out. I’m on a tight schedule today anyway. This boy is trained for the program, yes?”
“About that,” I said as I pasted on a smile. “There’s been a slight change of plans. Really so small a detail that it isn’t even worth mentioning.”
Lee set his jaw. “What seems to be the problem?”
“The boy you were going to get didn’t really work out.”
I could hear a car pulling into the driveway. “It’s not a problem,” I quickly assured him. “I’ve got a replacement who will go from everyday frat boy to leatherman. I’m sure it will work out just fine.”
“Christopher, this isn’t what we agreed upon.”
I hurried to the door before Marty rang the bell. He pulled an overnight bag and a garment bag from the backseat of his car then strolled up to the door.
“Frat boy, come in,” I said to him.
The subtle shift in Marty’s demeanor would go unnoticed by Lee. Marty walked in the door and began to remove his boots.
“Leave them on, Marty. You won’t be staying long.”
Lee took one look at Marty’s dark hair, long legs, tight jeans, and prominently displayed package and nodded with approval. “You’re correct, Christopher. He’ll do.”
“I thought so.” I turned to Marty. “Okay, frat boy. Remember all of your instructions. You will go with Lee and do as he tells you. Cooperate with the people from the television show. And don’t forget all of your leather gear. Do you understand?”
“Good. 1...2…3. Marty, meet Lee Phillips.”
Lee extended his hand and nodded approvingly at Marty’s firm grip.
“Lee’s here to take you to the television show.”
Marty nodded. “I’m looking forward to it.”
“Great. Now, I don’t mean to rush you two, but I wouldn’t want you to be late.”
Lee rolled his eyes heavenward. “I can take a hint. I’ll call you later and let you know what the producers think.” Lee gestured toward the door and Marty stepped outside. Lee paused directly in front of me. “You do seem to have a knack for finding these boys, don’t you?”
“It’s a curse,” I deadpanned.
“Good day,” Lee said, and pulled the door shut behind himself.
I sighed. One problem down. I started up the stairs. Damn. Coffee. I turned around and headed into the kitchen. I turned on the coffeemaker and made my way back upstairs.
And the doorbell rang.
“For God’s sake,” I muttered. I hurried down the stairs again to see who was at the door.
Damn! It was Nick. He was holding a small shopping bag and rocking back and forth on his heels.
I swung open the door.
“Hi, Christopher.” He pointed over his shoulder. “Is that Marty’s car?”
I wondered if the sound of my racing heartbeat in my ears meant I was going to drop dead of a stroke having only ever slept with Scott Wilson.
“Christopher?” Nick repeated.
I shook my head. “Beach boy, get in here, quickly.”
Nick lapsed into a trance, hurried inside, and kicked off his sneakers.
I stooped over and gathered them up. “Follow me, boy.” I hurried down the hall to the kitchen, with Nick padding behind me in his socks. I opened the cellar door and pitched his sneakers down the stairs. “Nick, you are to go downstairs, sit down, and not make a sound. You will remain downstairs until I come for you. Do you understand?”
Once Nick was on the staircase I shut the door and turned the lock.
“Coffee almost ready?”
I swiveled so fast I lost my balance and had to catch myself against the door.
Scott held up his hands. Even though he was in same clothes as yesterday he looked damn good. “Sorry; didn’t mean to scare you.”
I sighed. “You didn’t.”
“You okay, Chris?”
“Of course!” I ran a hand through my hair. “I just need some coffee.”
“Why don’t you go on upstairs and shower and I’ll see if I can’t whip up some breakfast for us.”
I sagged against the cellar door. “You cook, too?”
He shrugged. “A little.”
“Okay,” I said. “I won’t be long. Plates are in that cabinet.” I pointed. “And the silver is in that drawer.”
“I’ll find what I need,” he said.
I hurried upstairs and into the bathroom. I rushed through my routine at about twice normal speed and finished in half the usual time. When I returned downstairs, the smell of coffee and bacon permeated the air.
Scott looked up from the stove and smiled. “Eggs are just about ready. I hope you like omelettes.”
I met him at the stove and kissed him.
He laughed. “What brought that on?”
“Just checking to make sure you’re real.”
“I am,” he said, turning back to the eggs. “Can you pour the coffee?”
I slipped my arms around his waist from behind and rested my chin on his shoulder. I was in love with a man who had no idea that I was hypnotizing other men for often erotic purposes. And one of those boys was sitting in the darkened basement while we went about what passed for a normal morning around here.
Now I knew what it felt like to be Clark Kent.