BLAKE banged on the penthouse door again. How long was he going to have to stand here waiting, dripping from the deluge that was just one more middle finger from the hand of God? Had Tyrone forsaken him too? Fine. But Tyrone was going to have to serve him a drink before sending Blake back into the rain. “Tyrone, this door isn’t going to answer itself. Get your fucking ass over here. I’m cold.”
In spite of Blake’s orders, Tyrone took his sweet time, and when he finally opened the door, it was just a crack. His dark eyes narrowed as he took in Blake’s state, and then the door closed. Some racket from the other side heralded the unlocking of several latches, and then the door swung inward to reveal Tyrone standing there in his inside-out boxers, dark hair rumpled and the shock of premature silver at one temple standing straight up.
“You’re all wet,” Tyrone announced, brilliant in his ability to state the obvious. He frowned, brows furrowing as he gestured Blake in, closed the door behind him, and then locked it in typical paranoid Tyrone fashion. His arms went around Blake a moment later, seemingly heedless of his clammy, dripping condition. Tyrone’s mouth pressed warm against Blake’s cheek in welcome. “Well, come on in. I was just, uh… finishing something. Sorry I took so long answering. My poor Blakey. Look at you. Let me get you a blanket or something. Towels, right? Towels would be good. Hm.”
Blake went deeper into the enormous penthouse as Tyrone poked his head into random closets in search of something warm for Blake, carrying on a one-sided conversation under his breath with whatever it was he was looking for.
Blake shrugged out of his camel trench, pulled off his fedora, and hung them in the hall closet. He dropped his bag by the door, figuring he’d deal with that later. While Tyrone searched, Blake made a beeline for the liquor cabinet and sorted out the proper brandy for such an occasion. Setting out two snifters, he shouted across the penthouse, “So I’m out. Out of my own house, and that muff diver is in. Laurel, Lauren, Laura, whatever. It’ll be over in two weeks. You know how fickle Daisy is.”
Daisy had never gone so far as to ask him to leave before, though. This move indicated a level of seriousness that Blake wasn’t ready to think about. There were serious financial implications to this turn of events, particularly since his father had taken the opportunity to disown him, which probably meant his credit cards were cancelled.
Blake was about to mention his ousting from the family fortune when a buxom blonde bounded out of Tyrone’s room, naked and equipped with the best breasts money could buy. Sighing, Blake reached for another snifter. “You could’ve mentioned we had company, Tyrone. Honestly, you can be so thoughtless sometimes.”
“Sorry, Blake!” Tyrone brought Blake a luxurious cashmere throw and draped it around his shoulders, then started fussing with Blake’s hair and collar. Tyrone didn’t even glance at the naked girl as he said, “I’ll be with you in a moment, Sherry. My Blakey’s having a bad day.”
Sherry shot Blake a venomous look before her eyes filled with tears. Blake glared back. Tyrone didn’t notice; he was busy tucking damp strands of hair behind Blake’s ears with the kind of attention a sculptor might give his art. Apparently satisfied, he gave Blake a light kiss on the lips. “Stay as long as you like. You can share my bed, if you want. Mi casa, blah blah.”
Tyrone’s eyes sparkled as he lifted a brow, lips twitching into a half-smile that was more inviting than he probably intended, given he had a naked woman currently awaiting him.
The reminder of what the bimbo was getting that Blake wasn’t made him even crankier. “I’ve always hated that name. Sherry. You know what Sherry is, right? It’s cheap wine so unfit to drink that you cook with it. Why would anyone give such a name to their precious bundle of joy, unless their goal for her future was a stripper pole? And when given such a name, why on earth would one keep it?”
Seeing her expression darken, Blake knew he’d hit his mark. He smiled and picked up the snifter of brandy, swirled it, and then took a sip as he turned to Tyrone. “Won’t your bed be awfully crowded adding me to it? No, no, Ty, I wouldn’t think of crashing your slumming party. Just set me up anywhere with a cot and I’ll find a way to deal with mending my broken heart alone, shivering and cold, while you entertain Little Miss Funbags. My life coming apart at the seams is my burden to bear.”
Blake caressed the side of Tyrone’s face. Though Blake knew he was being a brute, he was so devastated that the only thing that felt good was a dose of cruelty dealt to a convenient target. “Daisy said it’s over, Ty. She said that all we had in common was being gay and that that was no way to run a marriage. As if she has any clue how to run a marriage. This is only her first.”
“Can’t say I know what to tell you as advice; I’ve never been married at all.” Tyrone rubbed his stubbly cheek against Blake’s hand and gazed at him steadily, like Blake was the only one in the room. “I’m so sorry, dearling. Daisy’s a lunatic—bless her crazy heart, I’m fond of her—but this is beyond the pale.”
Tyrone harrumphed, and his frown returned. He fussed more over Blake’s hair and collar, pulling the blanket tighter around his shoulders, presumably to warm him. Apparently finding that insufficient, Tyrone wrestled the blanket around both of them and hugged Blake to him in his odd, unselfconscious way. Tyrone seemed capable of forgetting altogether that the stripper-named girl was present, that they were both grown men now, and that he was still mostly naked. Then Tyrone sighed heavily and whispered in Blake’s ear, “Is my Bitsyboo okay?”
“I didn’t even get to tell her goodbye, Ty. I was shuffled out as soon as I got home after a long, hard day of shopping. I was loaded down with packages, which I was carrying in myself. You know what a grind that can be. Then I was summarily told that I had to leave.” Blake snuggled against Tyrone. He smelled of department store perfume—likely where he’d found Sherry, working the counters. Or she was the sort of woman who wore department store perfume, which was almost worse. At least a person working there had a valid reason for their reek.
He shot Sherry a malicious grin as he pulled Tyrone closer, communicating in no uncertain terms that Tyrone was only on loan to her. Not that Blake held any illusions that Tyrone felt anything for him beyond the brotherly friendship of two boys who’d survived boarding school together. But she was new and certainly not marriage material. He couldn’t have her getting ideas.
But back to Bitsy, because Bitsy was a much more pleasant thought—his little blonde angel, bunny bundle of joy… the best thing that had come from his union with Daisy, and probably what had kept him so loyal to her. Bitsy, his baby girl, whom he adored with the radiance of a thousand suns and spoiled in every conceivable way.
“Not that Daisy will keep me from her, but I do worry about her growing up in a broken home. With two dykes at the helm, Bitsy won’t have a proper feminine influence!”
Tyrone snorted affectionately and shifted into the tightened embrace, his body warm and solid, driving away the chill of the rain. “Bitsy’ll be fine. If you want to stay here, I’ll convert a playroom for her, and she can spend as much time as she likes here. I love that little ankle-biter.”
Tyrone laughed, but it was obviously true. He spoiled Bitsy as shamelessly as Blake did and listened to every tiny detail a proud father cared to share without any sign of boredom. His sigh spoke volumes about how he felt about Bitsy growing up without both her parents in one home, and he followed the sound with another squeeze and a kiss to Blake’s hair. “I know how it affected you watching your dad go through all his… well, calling them relationships hardly seems appropriate, but you know what I mean. I hope this Laur—whatever—isn’t just a U-Haul dyke. I don’t trust Daisy has the sense to avoid a girlfriend with such a fierce urge to merge that she’d move in before they really knew each other.”
From the other side of the room, Sherry made a noise like she was about to say something, but then she thought better of it and disappeared into Tyrone’s bedroom again.
Now that that woman was out of the room, Blake tucked his face against Tyrone’s neck just as he had when he was younger, when he was scared of being in a boarding school with boys so much bigger than him who sneered and said in falsetto voices, “Come here, pretty boy.” Nothing dire came of the mocking, but it was enough to frighten Blake. Then there were those nights when he didn’t feel like he would live up to his father’s expectations. Or when a new wife appeared, and he was afraid that he would be forgotten.
Those nights, Blake would sneak into Tyrone’s bed, tuck his face against his neck, and cry. Just like he was doing now.
The worst thing about it was that he really did love his wife. He loved the life they’d built together, even if they weren’t sexually compatible. He’d found ways to deal with his urges discreetly—with pool boys and tennis instructors—like a civilized person. But Daisy… Daisy was always looking for love, for a complete match.
Blake was used to being thrown out of their bedroom. He didn’t even mind that much other than it meant he had to watch the late shows alone. Beyond the process of making Bitsy, there wasn’t anything to miss as far as bedroom activity went.
But being thrown out of his house was a rejection even Blake—with his thick armor hardened after a life of being bounced around and feeling like he was in the way—couldn’t bear. He tightened his arms around Tyrone, the tall, broad-shouldered form so familiar that its presence was enough to ground Blake.
“I’m here. I’ll take care of you, like always. I’m going to see you through this, my dearest.” Tyrone’s deep voice always sounded soft and soothing, rarely raised in anger or irritation. He kissed Blake’s earlobe and gave it a tiny tug with his teeth, as casually seductive as ever, as totally blind to what was appropriate or what feelings he might evoke. Then he smacked Blake’s ass and stepped away in the direction of the second bedroom.
“Let’s get you settled in, handsome. If you think my bedroom’s too high traffic, I’ll get this one all set up as you’d like it. It’s already… well. I mean, I’ve been wondering if something like this might go down someday. There’s clothes your size in the closet, and it’s a big damn closet.” Tyrone gestured at the door and then disappeared inside, a strange smile curling the corners of his lips. His voice resonated from within, “I’ll have your things sent over for you!”
Briefly, Blake was depressed that everyone saw this coming but him. But the prospect of new clothes and a large closet cheered him considerably. He followed Tyrone, pulling off his clothes as he went.
They were soggy, anyway, and he was quite ready to be rid of them. They were bad clothes that would now evoke the memory of being thrown out of his house. Completely undignified.
By the time he made it into the closet, he was down to his underpants, which he left on chastely. While he’d never seemed particularly put off by Blake’s bits, Tyrone was the straightest man Blake knew. Just because Tyrone was secure in his masculinity didn’t mean he wanted his gay friend’s genitals on display.
Inside, there were indeed clothes in his size. Suits, casual wear, glorious cashmere and tweeds, things that perhaps were more what Tyrone would dress Blake in than what Blake might be inclined to buy, but high quality and fashionable.
He found silk pajamas in the dresser and turned his back to Tyrone to shimmy out of his underpants and pull the PJs on. Finding a fuzzy robe hanging on the back of the door, he pulled that on along with some slippers. All dry. All warm. All smelling of Tyrone and, thus, home.
Now that he was feeling more human, he wiped his eyes, embarrassed by his unmanly show of emotion. All of this set up here—feeling like at least he wasn’t a burden—threatened to make him tear up again. “I promise I won’t be here too long, but Father cancelled my cards. Well, I’m pretty sure he has. It’s what he does when he disowns me.”
They’d been through this a few times before; Tyrone knew the drill. Blake sighed. “That will give us plenty to talk about at Sunday brunch. They’re always so lively after a disowning.”
Tyrone frowned and patted down his inside-out boxers like he might have a wallet in them. He held up one hand to beg patience, disappeared briefly, and was back two minutes later with an envelope in his hand. It was marked “FOR MY BLAKEY—IN CASE OF DIRENESS” in Tyrone’s distinctive scrawl: half-elegant and half-addled. Tyrone wrapped his free arm around Blake and pulled him close, lifting his head so he could tuck his chin atop Blake’s hair.
“It was in the kitchen catchall drawer. You know the one. Anything you need’ll be in there, too, and help yourself to the odds and ends. Some emergency funds in there: small bills for things like pizza or takeaways, if you’re hungry for anything. Spend it on hookers and blow if you want. I won’t mind.” Tyrone pushed the envelope into Blake’s hand. He fidgeted as he waited for him to open it.
Inside, there were keys to the apartment, a credit card with Blake’s name on it, and a note card with numbers for various services that Tyrone employed in the running of his penthouse. Looking up at Tyrone, Blake wondered how long he’d been planning this, or if Daisy had signaled to him that this was imminent. He grabbed Tyrone by the back of the neck and pulled him in to press their lips together. “I always could count on you. The only one I could depend on. I don’t care what other people say about you; you’re a gem.”
A gem. Blake frowned at the understatement. There wasn’t a word big enough for what Tyrone was.
Blake wanted to say that he wouldn’t use the card, but he knew he would. He’d have to. “I’m going to get a job this time. For real. It’s time I settled on a career and followed it through.”
They’d gone to law school together. Blake had even passed the bar. Only Tyrone had bothered joining a firm. His father’s firm. When things hadn’t gone as Blake planned, he gave up on the law idea.
He didn’t need the money. Usually. When he wasn’t disowned.
Tyrone didn’t need the money either, but he seemed to enjoy having a job.
Blake sighed. “The thing is, it’s not just that I’m cut off. Now Daisy is cut off too. And Bitsy. Well, other than the trust. I wasn’t going to let her future be as uncertain as mine. That’s locked in.”
Blake had put everything his mother had left him into that trust. Not his wisest move, but he couldn’t imagine not giving his baby girl everything he had. With that trust, she’d never have to depend on the good graces of anyone.
And she would never, ever, endure boarding school.
Tyrone grunted in irritation, probably at thinking about Blake’s father. Tyrone’s hatred of the man and his cavalier disowning practices was old news. He released Blake to flop across the luxe king-size bed, both hands folding across his flat stomach, fingers drumming against it in staccato bursts like they did when he was keyed up. “I’ll have the bedroom adjoining this one set up for Bits tomorrow. We’ll get a bed fit for my princess, and I’ll have some toys in. Hm.”
Tyrone glanced at Blake and raised a brow, stretching out more and smiling faintly. “I’ll like that, having my family here. Anything either of you need, you just let me know. I know you’d do the same for me.”
Sherry wailed for Tyrone from the other room, and Tyrone rolled his eyes. “Honestly, it’s like some people have never heard of bros before hos.” He patted the bed next to him and gazed at Blake intently. “Get comfy here. Make whatever changes you want. Redecorate the room. Get clothes you like for your job interviews. I want to see you succeed. You don’t need your father. You have me.”
Blake pounced on the bed next to Tyrone, making it bounce a little more, as if he was a big kid who thought there was nothing better than to jump on a bed. He made another bounce, flopped atop Tyrone, and grinned, pinning his shoulders down. His blond hair cascaded into his face, making Tyrone’s expression impossible to see.
“Rawr!” Blake attacked Tyrone with his fingers at his sides, tickling him like he had when they were kids. “She can have you when I’m done with you. Muhaha!”
Tyrone fought to remain stoic, holding back the giggles as long as he could before they burst from him in decidedly unmanly gasps. He thrashed and writhed, eyes open wide for seconds at a time before closing tight as he tried to breathe through the laughter. “Oh my God, Blake, stop it! Ack!”
Tyrone’s muscles tensed at the first sign of Blake’s letting up, and he flipped them over, coming up on top of Blake and grinning down at him as he returned the tickles. “Uh oh, Blakey! Whatcha gonna do, big man? How’re you gonna stop me, buddy? C’mon!”
Blake squealed. It lacked the manly attitude that he usually tried to maintain, but this was Tyrone, and if he couldn’t squeal and shriek with Tyrone, then he couldn’t squeal or shriek anywhere. His face was flushed at the prodding of Tyrone’s fingers, his body convulsing.
It felt so good to laugh and feel like someone cared about him and looked out for his well-being. He playfully punched Tyrone’s face and was about to call him an asshole when Sherry cleared her throat.
“What, are you two fags?”
Blake cocked a brow. “No, just me. But it’s okay. It’s only gay if you bottom, so Tyrone here? Not a fag.”
“I’d be a fag for Blakey.” Tyrone leaned close to bite him and gave him well-practiced bedroom eyes before looking back to Sherry. “But he’s my best friend. We grew up together. I’m pretty sure I demonstrated already that I’m plenty straight, sweetheart, but if you want more….”
Tyrone leered, and she seemed about to respond, but then he looked back to Blake before she got a word in. His hand curved around the back of Blake’s neck, warm and familiar, drawing their heads together. “Unless you wanted more? You get priority service. See previously cited case of ‘Bros v. Hos’.”
“Mm, stay right where you are, lover.” Blake grinned and grabbed Tyrone’s hips, lifting him slightly so Blake could slam his pelvis against Tyrone’s backside a few times. “Oh, yeah, right there, that’s it! Be my bitch. Yes! Oh, I love being a fag with you, Ty!”
The girl rolled her eyes. “Aren’t you like, married or something?”
At that, Blake’s joviality diminished. He sighed as he let Tyrone down. “Well, that’s a situation in flux at present.”
She grinned and eyed them both. “So you both like girls?”
Blake frowned, seeing where this was going and not really interested or ready. Seeing Tyrone in action might be interesting, though.
If the thought of Tyrone with someone else didn’t make him feel sick.
“You’re not my type.”
She squinted. “You mean I’m not a man.”
Blake rolled his eyes. “I mean you’re not my wife.”
Sherry put her hand on Tyrone’s back. “Aww, a man loyal to his wife! How sweet.”
Blake snorted. “I can safely say that there is no other woman for me.”
“Blake is one of a kind.” Tyrone seemed displeased when just moments ago he’d been so excited and silly. “He’s a good man, a better one than I am, and he’s going through a rough time. I just want to be here for him, all right?”
Tyrone appeared uncomfortable with the topic. He was hard, though, so he couldn’t be that uncomfortable. Tyrone’s boxers didn’t hide much.
Blake liked feeling Tyrone hard against him. Not that he was going to perv on his friend—that would be wrong—but he couldn’t help admiring an attractive cock when it poked him.
Sherry knelt by the bed and reached out to smooth Blake’s hair back. “I could be here for him too. We both could.”
Blake shot Tyrone an accusatory look. “Of all the bimbos in all the world, you bring this one into our home. We’re going to have to talk about your taste level, Ty.”
Tyrone reached for Sherry’s hand where it touched Blake’s hair. His fingers closed around her wrist. She looked hopeful for a moment, as if she thought he might put her hand somewhere exciting, but he just dragged it back to her side and released it. His gaze had gone cold and sharp. When he did speak, it was to say, “Blake isn’t interested.”
Sherry looked hurt, but Tyrone didn’t stop at that. His jaw tightened. “He doesn’t need you. He needs me. Don’t force ungentlemanliness upon me. You won’t enjoy it as much as you think.”
When it came to Blake, sometimes Tyrone snapped. It didn’t bother Blake as much as make him worry someone would get hurt. Blake decided to lighten the mood. He took Tyrone’s hand and threaded his fingers with it. “It’s true. All I need is my Ty Ty. He’s made it better already.”
Sherry rubbed her wrist. Blake felt bad for her until she said, “You two are weird.”
At that, Blake had to laugh. “You have no idea.”
Blake eyed Tyrone’s impressive erection. It would be a shame for that thing to go to waste. The likelihood of Tyrone letting Blake play with it was slim, so he had to man up and do the adult thing. “Really, Ty. It’s okay. I can put myself to bed.” He forced a smile. “I love you, honey. Don’t stay up too late with your ho.”
“You, too, B. You know where I am if you need me.” Tyrone kissed Blake’s lips gently, and then he stood and rested a hand on Sherry’s shoulder. She rose and looked confused—an expression she often wore, no doubt. Tyrone stared her down until she tiptoed and gave him a quick kiss as if she could erase Blake’s touch with her own. Without another word, Tyrone guided her out of the room ahead of him, glancing back at Blake with a lost look before closing the door behind him.
BLAKE wasn’t going to sleep. He’d known that even when he told Tyrone that he could go.
And that look. That lost look. Blake couldn’t get it out of his head. He felt like he’d somehow done Tyrone a wrong when he was trying to do a right. That was Blake’s curse—no matter what his intentions, everything came out wrong.
After tossing and turning for a good thirty minutes—after which time he figured things would be over—Blake headed to the living room to watch television. Blake was addicted to late night comedy.
Tomorrow, he’d get a television put into his new room.
He took his cashmere blankie, settled on a buttery soft leather couch, and turned on the TV.
There was still something going on in the bedroom. He heard grunts and the wet sound of sweaty flesh colliding. Blake sighed wistfully as he tuned into his favorite comedy news show.
Halfway through the episode, the noise died down, and Blake mumbled, “Good boy.”
He sighed, feeling strangely sad, not that Tyrone was having more fun than he was—it was just sex—but that it was one more experience Tyrone was having without him. Blake wrinkled his nose at the thought. Tyrone had lots of experiences without him. With a lot of people. A lot of women. And it wasn’t like Blake was a saint; neither of them were.
Mostly, he wished Tyrone were on the couch with him, snuggling and watching the television. And maybe—No, that wasn’t worth considering. Much as Tyrone loved him, he wasn’t gay.
He remembered one night when they’d been drunk enough that Tyrone asked Blake what it was like having sex with men. Blake gave him far too much information, thinking that Tyrone was game. He’d hoped Tyrone might ask Blake to blow him; he wouldn’t have been the first straight guy to get drunk and do that.
But no. Typical Tyrone. Honorable. And that was good in the long run. It kept their friendship safe when Blake would have been too weak to hold back.
The couch was very comfortable, and as that show switched to the next, Blake rested his head on the arm of the couch. This would do for a place to sleep.
The opening of Tyrone’s bedroom door startled Blake enough to sit up. Following the click of the door came feminine sniffling. Sherry was still half-naked, struggling into her shoes and buttoning her blouse. Her hair was a wild tangled halo around her head, matted for reasons best not speculated on, and her cheek was red with a distinctively shaped mark one only got from a certain sex act—being slapped across the face with a cock, aka, a mushroom stamp.
As soon as she spotted Blake, she beelined for him.
Perching on the arm of the couch, she said, “Tyrone is a bastard. How can you put up with that? He thinks he’s God’s gift.” Her expression was self-righteous—surprisingly dignified—and it lasted all of five seconds. Then it melted like a wax mask, and she sobbed again.
Blake sighed. No rest for the wicked. He was wicked enough to be sleep deprived for the foreseeable future. He patted her back. “There, there.”
She collapsed onto the couch and buried her face against his chest, her hair matted against his chin.
He finger combed her hair back if for no other reason than to get it out of his face. Well, and he did have an ounce of humanity in him. Just an ounce. One. Enough to see a woman crying and feel for her, anyway. “It’s okay. Let it all out.”
If Daisy saw him now, she’d probably have a fit at his placation. But he knew that sometimes a woman just needed to cry a while and get it out. She’d feel better afterward. “I don’t think he’s a bastard, um….” Shit, what was her name? Cheap wine no one wouldn’t want to drink. Right. “…Sherry. He’s just not really into human relationships. I think he might have Asperger’s syndrome. You know, autistic.”
This was in no way true.
Well, maybe in some ways he could see it, but it wasn’t that Tyrone didn’t recognize emotions as much as he didn’t understand why he should care. Women could spend weeks in what they thought was a relationship with him only to have Tyrone staring blankly at them when they tried breaking up with him.
Breaking up? He didn’t even know they were dating.
“But he’s so smart!” Sherry sniffed harder, the sound of forcibly inhaled snot enough to make the toughest stomach churn. She burrowed into Blake’s neck and clung, trembling and reeking of sex even above the lingering scent of her mid-range perfume. “He’s so charming, and he took me out, and we had the most amazing time, and I thought we clicked, you know? No one’s ever made me feel so special, and he was so mysterious, and he has this…. But he just… he said… he said he’d puke if he had to spend the night with me. Who says that?”
Sherry weakly beat Blake’s chest with her fists in a show of frustration at the injustice inherent in Tyrone’s difficult blend of worthwhile human being and, well, lawyer. Tyrone was his father’s son. Whatever sensitive, sweet boyishness he possessed stayed locked away deep enough that no one-night-stand was ever going to see it.
Then Sherry relented and gazed into Blake’s eyes. “You wouldn’t say something like that to a woman who just gave you everything you asked for, would you? You’re the marrying kind. You’re a comforter. I can tell.”
Blake smiled and patted her cheek lightly, eyeing the welt there. He could totally fuck her right now; he knew that as much as he knew anything. He could probably do anything he wanted to her, including flipping her over and pretending she was someone else. Then he could toss her away, because she was the kind of girl that men did that to. Because she let them.
Any other night, he may have—no, he wouldn’t. He preferred the convivial encounters where no one expected anything but a happy ending. Besides, she was just a vulnerable kid. Perhaps he could provide her with some guidance.
“The secret is, never give anyone everything they ask for. Always leave them wanting.” He frowned. Maybe if he’d exercised that advice with Daisy, he wouldn’t be here. “And never put out right away. You don’t have to be prude, but men like to conquer. If you make it too easy….” Blake gestured to the door and then pressed her cheek. “This is what you get.”
He’d die of shock if she took his advice. “Anyway, I am a nice guy. I’m too nice to make things worse for you tonight. Tell me what store you work at, and I’ll be there tomorrow, charge up a nice commission for you on his account. How’s that?”
“How did you know I work in a store?” Sherry sat up straight and looked at him in confusion. Poor girl clearly didn’t realize that Tyrone often shopped for a fuck in the same place he shopped for new underwear.
“I’m unusually perceptive.”
Her bloodshot eyes widened. “Oh, like a psychic?”
Blake tilted his head indulgently. “Sure.”
“I work at Saks, in cosmetics.” Another sob, but she seemed to be winding down. “He wanted me to recommend new shaving cream that would smell good with his usual scent. He let me sniff his neck, and he smelled so heavenly, and he was talking about how he uses a straight razor like his father. I thought it was so charming he was so old-fashioned. He seems so traditional and honorable, so polite.” She scoffed at herself, as if realizing just how naive it was to assume he’d be that way in bed too.
Then her jaw set, and she neatened her clothes. That done, she reached out to cup his cheek, giving him a stray puppy look that begged him to keep her. “Will you really come visit me tomorrow?”
Blake met her eyes to let her know he was serious. He was a flake in a lot of ways, but if he promised something, he’d do it. “Yes, I’ll come visit you. Maybe you can recommend me some cosmetics that will get my wife to let me back in the house.”
She deflated at the mention of his wife.
This conversation was going nowhere, and he’d had a long day already. He stood and offered his hand to see her out, hoping she’d take the hint. “I’m the marrying kind. The kind that stays loyal even after she tosses him out.”
Sherry took his hand and stood with him. “All the good ones are gay or taken.”
Or both. He lifted her chin with his finger. “Chin up. I’m sure you’ll find a nice guy who will treat you well. We’ll just get a little financial revenge on this one, yeah?”
She nodded. “I’ll go before I make any more of a jerk of myself.” She gave Blake a quick kiss before he could dodge it and then left.
Blake reset the alarm.
A few seconds later, Tyrone’s bedroom door swung open. He stood there in the doorway, naked, with a disbelieving expression on his face. He started toward Blake, gaze roving over him as if taking in every detail. When he spoke, his voice came out wrong, flat and strained. “What took her so long to leave? Did you nail her?”
“What, you weren’t done with her? I’m sure she’s not far.” Blake gestured over his shoulder.
Tyrone kept staring at him with a look of horror, his cock hanging there limp. His thighs were still red from repeated impacts.
Blake tore his eyes away. “Ty, I have a wife at home I’m not nailing. No, I didn’t nail her.”
“Of course you didn’t.” Tyrone staggered over to the couch and sank onto it, his hands coming up to cover his face. “I’m just glad she’s gone. I don’t know how I get myself into these situations.”
Blake’s shirt was rumpled and smudged with mascara. A reminder of Sherry was the last thing Tyrone needed right now, so Blake pulled off his shirt and tossed it away as he went to sit with Tyrone.
This must be the couch of misery. Already two people had had breakdowns on it. Blake just found it comfy. “I believe you went to her counter at Saks and asked her about shaving cream. Honestly, if I can’t even trust you to acquire shaving cream without cheating on me, I’m not sure this relationship’s going to work.” Blake grinned and hit Tyrone’s shoulder with his own.
Tyrone gave Blake a searching look before bumping his shoulder back into his. “I just don’t like being lonely. It seemed like a good idea at the time.”
Tyrone settled his arm around Blake’s shoulders and pulled him closer. Tyrone’s breath gusted against Blake’s neck as that dark head leaned on his shoulder and nuzzled in against him. “If you stay a little while, maybe you can keep me company like you used to. If Bitsy’s going to spend time here, then I won’t be bringing people home with me anyway.”
“What, my presence doesn’t warrant that kind of consideration? That woman practically raped me after she left you.”
“She did what?” Tyrone started to move but then froze as he seemed to realize moving would involve his bare lap coming into more intimate contact with Blake.
“Calm down, big boy. She didn’t do anything but cry on me and hope I’d marry her. I swear, she might as well have been Daisy.” Blake rolled his eyes. “Anyway, it’s not like I’ve got anywhere else to be. I can keep you company, but I’m not going to let you mushroom stamp my pretty face.”
Tyrone cursed under his breath and then exhaled slowly. “I wouldn’t—that isn’t—” He cursed again and sighed. “I missed you.”
Tyrone was clearly uncomfortable. Sensitive to Tyrone’s needs, but not so sensitive as to sacrifice his own, Blake sat up, placed a blanket over Tyrone’s lap, and then rested his head on the blanket. “Pet my hair if you missed me so much. I must’ve been gone for far too long if you don’t remember the simple things like that my hair requires stroking when we chat.”
Tyrone immediately began to stroke Blake’s hair as if he’d just been awaiting the permission to do so. His hands were shaky at first, but they steadied quickly and moved through the strands without pulling once, careful and perfect. “You were gone much, much too long.”
After a brief pause, Tyrone spoke again, the words coming out in a quiet rush. “If you won’t sleep in my bed, can I sleep in yours? Just… just tonight?”
“Hm. Well I guess since your bed is no longer a high traffic area, I could be persuaded to sleep there, if you clean the sheets. My room is less trouble, though.” Blake closed his eyes, feeling his grin grow so wide it felt like it would crack his face. He really had missed this.
It wasn’t as if he didn’t see Tyrone. They lunched or dinnered now and then, though never as much as either liked. After school, there wasn’t a legitimate reason for him to continue living with Tyrone, so he’d had to make his own way.
Now he had a legitimate reason. He wished he’d come up with an excuse sooner. Things really had been nice with Daisy, but how could she compete with someone he’d loved and lived with since he was a child?
“I’ll have to work out with Daisy when Bitsy can be here, but having a room will likely give us overnight privileges.” Blake really loved seeing Tyrone with Bitsy. It was like she opened up a soft part of him that no one else really saw. No one other than Blake himself, and even then, less so now than when they were younger. “Anyway, to your point, it’s your home; I would suppose you can sleep in any bed you choose.”
“You make an excellent argument, Counselor.” Tyrone reached for Blake, his hands closing over flesh indiscriminately and tugging until he had Blake gathered into his lap. He pressed kisses to Blake’s cheek, his brow, and the corner of his mouth, then pulled him in protectively against his chest despite Blake being a grown man and more than big enough for it to be awkward.
Tyrone seemed to be struggling to be as close to Blake as he could get. When he was satisfied, he stilled, and it was obvious he was aroused again beneath the blanket Blake had spread over him. Tyrone didn’t say anything about it, though, or make any move to indicate he cared. He just made a little noise of contentment as he’d used to do in his sleep when Blake joined him in his bed, a little noise that meant that he’d reached out and found exactly what he’d hoped to.
Still, the arousal hadn’t gone unnoticed on Blake’s end, and he hadn’t been bothering the pool boy, hadn’t had a tennis lesson in weeks, and had otherwise been celibate. It was almost as if he’d seen this family disturbance coming. Daisy had been out nearly every night, and though there were other people to tend to Bitsy, Blake had been sitting with his daughter himself, reading to her and playing with dolls.
Now that everything had crashed in on him and Tyrone’s erection was pressing against him through a cashmere blanket, he wondered if celibacy was the strategy he should have employed.
There had even been an offer of a handjob in the bathroom at Prada, and he’d turned it down. Maybe had he taken it, he wouldn’t be feeling this level of anxiety over his penile interest in Tyrone’s penile interest.
Blake considered saying, For fuck’s sake, you just came, you animal!
Instead, he remained still, hoping that things wouldn’t get awkward.
Not that this was the first inconvenient boner he’d had around Tyrone. With all of the snuggling and touching, these things happened. But the fact that Tyrone’s was happening so soon after coming was remarkable.
I’m thinking entirely too much about Tyrone’s erection.
Blake needed to calm down. Be himself. Tyrone wasn’t going to suddenly decide he wasn’t worth having around over his cock getting hard. He hoped. “Been a long time since we’ve done this. I’d wondered if it had become a relic of our storied past.” Blake relaxed into the embrace. “I really missed you. Missed this. Those restaurants really should have a snuggle room. I’d leave a big tip.”
Bigger than usual, as he was known to give waitstaff his tip now and then.
Tyrone kissed the shell of Blake’s ear and gave him a squeeze that slid Blake noticeably against Tyrone’s cashmere-covered cock. Then Tyrone’s hands returned to Blake’s hair and stroked it, fingertips caressing down his face and neck. It wasn’t the same as when they were boys, but Tyrone still seemed just as willing to stop the world and make these moments last. Nuzzling against Blake’s throat and giving him a little bite, he asked, “What restaurants?”
“The ones we go to. So I can snuggle you after lunch. Not that you have time for that. You’re always so busy. Work, work, work. Honestly, you are your father’s son,” Blake babbled, trying not to think about them shifting like that. It was going to lead to more trouble the more he thought about Tyrone’s cock. “But I guess I’ll be here when you get home. I could attempt cooking again.”
The last time he’d attempted cooking was at their apartment when they were in college. The waffles had somehow caught fire. Blake blamed faulty wiring, because there was really nothing flammable about waffles. In any case, it had destroyed part of the kitchen, and Blake’s father had been required to pay for the remodel and the new apartment they had to move into. Blake was disowned for three months over that. “No waffles this time. I think I’d like to try my hand at baking chicken. Doesn’t that sound nice? Baked chicken. What could go wrong?”
Tyrone was obviously trying not to look insultingly alarmed, but no one who knew him as well as Blake did could miss the widening of his eyes or the anxious set of his lips. “Uh, Kitchzilla, you know I love you, but….”
Tyrone raised a dark brow and laughed. He brought his hands to cradle either side of Blake’s face and shook his head playfully, mussing his hair. “Let’s try not to wreck my penthouse, okay? Now c’mon. Let’s get in bed. Yours, because I’m too tired to change the sheets tonight. Take advantage of the fact that I can’t work in my sleep.”
Blake pouted, but stood anyway. “Okay, well, I can order dinner, I guess. But that’s far less fun for me. Are you sure you want to deprive me of fun?”
He took Tyrone’s hand and led him to his bedroom, then hopped into bed, holding the covers open for him. “Maybe I could start small, with microwave meals? Though, I hate microwave meals. You know, one time our microwave exploded. Apparently, you can’t put metal into them. But it was hardly that much metal. Just a spoon. Honestly, you’d think they could fix those things.”
Tyrone discarded the blanket he’d had wrapped around him and slid under the covers beside Blake. His expression was almost unreadable, but his eyes glinted with something he seemed to be holding back. Shifting close, he slid an arm beneath Blake\’s head and settled in. “I would never deprive you of anything, B. You’re much too dangerous with appliances. I’d simply never know when you might kill me with a routine toaster mishap.”
Blake tilted his head, distressed that he couldn’t read Tyrone’s expression. He was so used to knowing the man like he knew himself. Perhaps he was just that worried for his kitchen. He scooted closer to Tyrone and snuggled in against him as he had when they were children. “I won’t kill you. I’ll be on my best behavior. I’ll even respect the honor of your toaster and other such breakfast processing products. They will be safe with me.”
Tyrone still reeked of perfume and sex, but he was warm and close and familiar, and soon enough he’d smell like himself again. It was late for someone who had to work in the morning, so Blake switched off the lamp next to his bed and snuggled in. “Goodnight, Ty.”
Tyrone tensed for a few moments, then exhaled slowly, his way when he was keyed up. He’d always been an excitable boy. Tyrone began playing with Blake’s hair, and within moments, he seemed to relax. “Good night, my dear.”