By the morning, the events of the previous day had been gladly shoved back into the seedy corners of memory. So it was no small amount of alarm that Chase felt when Mandy announced “Felix Thompson is here to see you” the moment he walked in the door.
“You talk to him,” he blurted.
She put her hands up. “He flat out will not talk to me, Dorian.” She started to walk away.
Chase tailed her. “No, you don’t understand, he can’t be here.”
She turned and searched his face for a moment before throwing up her hands. “Jesus Christ, Dorian!” He shushed her, looking around for who might be in ear shot.
She pointed a finger in his face. “He’s your problem now, cowboy. Maybe it’ll teach you to stop giving out free samples.” He stared agape as she bustled away.
“It wasn’t free!” he protested.
“Clearly!” she called back without slowing.
He grumbled and eyed the desk clerk until he went back to his papers.
Felix had been made to wait in the public conference room. Chase had no idea how long he’d been waiting. It was only eight AM, but the kid had his head lolled back, dead asleep. He made a point of slamming the door. The teen jumped and nearly fell out of the chair.
Chase hooked a thumb in the direction behind him. “You need to leave.”
Felix blinked, bleary eyed as he took in his surroundings. “What? Why?”
“You can’t be stalking me at work, kid.”
“I’m not stalking you,” Felix snarled.
“How did you even get here?” The hotel Chase had put him up in was a good five miles away with little in the way of public transportation in between.
Chase crossed his arms. “And you’re not stalking me?”
There was a shadow of betrayal in the young man’s pale features. “I just thought . . .” He shook his head and looked away. “Never mind. You don’t owe me an explanation.” He grabbed his backpack limply.
Chase sighed. “Look, things got out of hand. I’m sorry. It was unprofessional and unethical. I like you, you’re a nice kid. But I can’t have you hanging around my work. If you want Mandy to help you out with some of those resources I’ll get her for you.”
Felix shook his head and swallowed. He opened his mouth as if to say something, but closed his eyes, shook his head again and fell silent. He shouldered his backpack and walked out the door.
And Dorian felt like shit.
He managed to push Felix out of his mind most days. It was nights that were a bitch. It was becoming some sort of Pavlovian association. He’d get home, unzip his pants and that image would hit him like a ton of bricks. Felix on his knees, mouth wrapped firmly around rigid flesh. It was a routine. Work. Come home. Feed fish. Unzip. Jerk off to Felix’s memory. Fall asleep guilty.
It wasn’t even truly Felix’s memory anymore. It took on a life of its own. He was a character in a fantasy out of control. Sucking. Fucking. Bondage. Humiliation. Things he never thought about before. Trying to distract himself with BDSM porn was an incredibly bad idea. It just gave him more to imagine.
Another week came to a close with the sun throwing ribbons of peach and fire across the sparse clouds in the sky. Chase was flipping through his mail on the way to his front door.
A sudden unexpected voice in the direction of his front door made him jerk and reach for his firearm. It was half way out of the holster when he realized.
“Sweet fucking Jesus, Felix!” He threw his mail violently at the boy on his doorstep. “Don’t sneak up on someone with a gun!”
Felix flinched and started picking up mail. “I didn’t ‘sneak up’. I was just sitting here.”
Startled adrenaline rolled straight into anger and amplified it. “What the fuck are you doing on my doorstep, Felix?”
The young man held out the collected mail, stammering; “I-I didn’t know where else to go. You said not to bother you at work.”
Chase snatched the envelopes from him and shoved them in his jacket pocket, still half convinced that drawing his gun was a good idea. “How did you find out where I live?” He stepped forward, cornering him on the small patio. He had hoped to intimidate him into succinct answers, but the scene threatened to play out in his head like a cheap porn flick.
Felix swallowed, his back to the wall. “I watched your car. I mean . . . I narrowed it down.” Chase’s expression darkened and Felix talked faster. “I saw which direction you car went after work and if I lost track I’d just wait where I last saw it the next day.”
Tense silence fell as Chase processed.
“That is some serious stalker shit, Felix. Turn around.”
“W-what?” Felix’s eyes widened.
Chase spun a finger in the air. “Turn around. I search all my stalkers. Hands on the wall.” He tried not to be swayed by how compliant the kid was. Even when he kicked his feet into a sprawl. “You have anything I need to know about?”
“No,” the teen replied, his voice small with an edge of panic.
Chase dug in his pockets and found his wallet, change and a burger coupon. “Stay right like that.” He reached for the blue back pack. Books. Clothes. Razor. Toothbrush. Shoes. He reached into the side pocket and froze when he felt the collar. He didn’t take it out. Just feeling it was enough to make him dizzy. It was suddenly too hot outside in a suit jacket.
He unlocked the door. “Get inside.” He shoved Felix roughly by the shoulder and stepped in behind him, dropping the backpack just inside the door.
“Why are you here.” Felix was looking around, somewhat dazed. “Hey!” Chase snapped his fingers in his face. “I am all out of charity, kid. I’m looking for a compelling reason not to file for a protective order.”
Felix frowned. “I’m not dangerous.”
“That’s what all the psychos say.”
“Dude, you’re like twice my size and have a gun. What am I going to do? Show tunes?”
Chase put his hands firmly on his hips, being sure aforementioned gun was visible. “Why.Are.You.Here.”
“My dad . . .” Felix started. The memory of the contempt on Mr. Thompson’s face set Chase’s hand into a fist. “I tried to go back. Home, I mean. I didn’t have anywhere else.” He wrapped his arms around himself and shook his head. “He said if he sees me again, he’ll have me committed. Says I’m crazy. That I need counseling.” His pale eyes searched Chase’s face. “Can he do that?”
Dorian sighed and eased out of his jacket. “Maybe . . . yea. In your situation. If you had a job or something . . .” He hung up the jacket and dropped his arms to his sides. “You’re homeless. He can make an argument for erratic behavior.” He shrugged. “I don’t know. It’s not really my area, kid. I do drug crimes.”
Felix stumbled to lean on the wall, his legs suddenly weak. “I’m fucked.” Tears suddenly welled in his eyes. “He’d rather I was dead than gay.”
Chase pulled him away from the wall. “Come sit down.” The teen slumped down onto the teal couch. “You hungry?”
Felix looked up, eyes wide, moist and thankful. “Yes.”
Dorian shook his head, passing through the entryway and into the kitchen. “You don’t look like you can miss many meals, kid.”
“Limited options in a parking lot,” Felix muttered.
“I’m tired and wasn’t expecting stalker company, chicken pot pie OK with you?”
“I decided to be a vegetarian.” Chase met his eyes in silent dismay. The teen smiled broadly. “I’m kidding. Yea. Whatever. I’d eat shoe leather at this point.”
Dorian did not just picture the pale teen in a leather gag, for the record. Never crossed his mind. He preheated the oven and took a deep breath.
“Alright, here’s what’s going to happen. You can stay here for the weekend.” Felix’s eyes lit up. “But, first thing tomorrow and Sunday you’re pounding the pavement looking for a job. First thing Monday you’re going to talk to Mandy about housing services. Deal?” Felix nodded. “Do anything creepy and you’ll spend the weekend hogtied in the bath tub.”
Felix’s eyes narrowed. “Is that a punishment or a reward?”
Dorian fought down a wave of interest and shook a finger at the teen. “You see, that? That’s creepy.”
“That is not clarifying things for me.”
Chase sighed. It would be a long weekend.
“You like fish?” Felix tipped his head at the tank.
Chase set the timer for the pies he had just put in the oven and came into the living room. “Weird hobby, I know.”
Felix smiled, shaking his head. “Nah. I’ve never seen a tank like this though.”
Dorian settled on the couch. “It’s aquascaping. You try to make the tank look like a natural landscape, just under water.”
“You did this?” He seemed genuinely interested.
Dorian smiled proudly. “Yea. You see what looks like an old tree? That’s manzanita drift wood. The grass is moss. The path between those two cliffs is gravel.”
Felix was fixated, light from the aquarium playing over his skin. “What are the fish?”
The older man pulled his attention back to the aquarium, clearing his throat. “Well, uh...the tiny quick iridescent ones are neon tetra. The black ones with the red caudal fins are red tail sharks.”
Felix blinked. “Those tiny things are sharks?”
“Well, yes, but not like the sharks you think of. Two different groups. These are more closely related to goldfish than great whites.” Felix nodded. “The three orange ones with black fins are platies. The bright blue one with the orange fins is a loach. The silver spotted catfish down there is a pictus. His name is Carl.”
“You named a catfish Carl?”
“Don’t hate on Carl. Carl got shit to do. He’s a bottom feeder, so he helps keep the tank tidy. That big blue bastard back there with the large anal fin is Gonzo the gourami.”
“Tell me you did not just say ‘large anal fin’.”
Chase huffed. “I can’t help that’s what its called. That group of iridescent spotted fish with the orange fins are danios. And those two striped fish in the ceramic pot are convict cichlids.”
The teen snorted. “Convict cichlids? You’re a cop with convicted fish?”
Chase held a finger up. “I’m a detective. It’s like a cop, but better. And they’re called convicts because of the striping.”
“Detective. Uh-huh. What are their names?”
Chase scowled. “You’ll laugh.”
“Probably.” He was already smiling.
“Bonnie and Clyde.” The laughter was loud and unabashed.
Chase stood up as the timer went off. “You keep giving my fish shit and I’ll put you in with Gonzo. He keeps eating his friends.”
Felix pursed his lips for a moment. “All your fish are black, white, blue or orange.”
“So is my living room.”
The teen blinked and looked around. Teal blue sofa. Orange rug. Black coffee table.
“Dude, you matched your fish to your furniture? That is incredibly gay.”
“Are we still using ‘gay’ as a pejorative these days?” Chase grumbled, walking over with the two plates.
Felix took a plate gratefully. “Only when it applies.”
The older man sat on the floor, his back to the couch, a beer for him, a soda for Felix. The teen had already started devouring the pot pie.
“Seriously though, kid. How do you not have a single friend to stay with? You seem decent enough. Besides the whole stalker part.”
Felix gave him a look, his mouth full. “I’m naw a sthalker.” He swallowed. “I was home schooled. Parents didn’t think there was ‘enough god in classrooms’. Only people I ever knew were from church or the home school group.” He picked at his food somberly.
The detective shook his head in disbelief. “You’re a pervert’s wet dream.”
Felix nudged his knee. “Don’t be so hard on yourself, dude.” The look Chase gave him was not amused.
He started pealing off the edge crust. “Do fish like bread?”
“Do you like poison?” Dorian replied.
Felix shifted his gaze away, then back. “Do wine coolers count?”
Dorian’s nose curled. “Now that is gay. I do need to feed the fish, though.”
“Ooh, can I do it?”
Chase shrugged. “Sure. It’s that bag over there. It has a scoop in it. Just sprinkle a full scoop over the top.”
“They all eat the same food?” Felix got up and peered into the bag.
“No. It’s a mix I made, but I’m going to have to adjust it if Gonzo keeps eating his friends.”
A quiet moment fell while Felix carefully sprinkled the food in the water. His back was to Dorian, who took the opportunity to slowly sweep his eyes over the lithe teen. He started thinking this arrangement could be a very bad idea.
He didn’t notice he was biting his lip. He also didn’t notice Felix was watching him over his shoulder. Not until his eyes took a slow sweep back upward. He looked away immediately, nursing his beer with a frown.
“What’s your first name?” The quiet question broke through the sounds of the burbling aquarium.
Felix shrugged. “I only know you as ‘Detective Chase’. And that much I had to get from Mandy.”
He cleared his throat. “Dorian.”
The boy considered this for a moment, then wrinkled his nose. “Doesn’t suit you.”
Dorian laughed. “Oh? What does?”
“Chip.” He nearly spit his beer.
“Chip?? Chip Chase?! No more porn for you.”
Felix rolled a shoulder. “Don’t watch any.”
Chase paused, the neck of his beer against his chin. “Uh-huh. Just decided on your own you wanted a leather daddy?”
The teen’s eyes slid toward him. “Yes. I’ve always . . .” He looked back at the fish tank, color blooming in his cheeks. “I just didn’t know what to call it. Or that there were other people like that. I just thought there was something wrong with me.” He swallowed. “Sometimes I thought maybe that’s just what being gay did to people.”
Chase silently considered the kid’s situation. Growing up gay alone. No one to talk to. Being constantly told that it’s a perversion. Then throw in the kink. Wanting to be bound and fucked by a man probably wouldn’t go over well at Sunday service.
He raised his beer ceremoniously. “You will be happy to know it’s not just a gay thing. I have never had the desire to put on a collar and call someone ‘master’.”
Felix sat next to him. “Well, duh. You’re a dom, not a sub.”
Dorian eyed him sideways. “Am I, now?”
Felix swallowed, his tongue appearing to wet his lips. “Yea.”
He hummed in response, draining his beer. His heart jumped when he felt Felix’s hand on his thigh and he snatched it by the wrist. There was a moment of internal struggle where he seriously deliberated between pushing it away or pulling it higher.
“Don’t,” he breathed.
Felix was absolutely still, his arm limp in Dorian’s hold. “Why not?”
“That’s not why I’m letting you stay here.” He shoved the hand away.
“It could be,” Felix replied.
Dorian stood, creating distance before he did something stupid. Again.
“You don’t even know me, kid.”
Felix leveled a look at him. “I’m not asking for a ring.” He met the larger man’s eyes squarely. “I . . .” He swallowed. “I need you.” There was an awkward heartbeat of silence. “I mean . . . someone like you.”
“You need someone your age,” Chase replied, tired.
“Is someone my age going to have handcuffs and self control?”
“What makes you think I do?” Felix raised a brow and lowered his eyes to Chase’s badge and cuffs. “I meant self control,” he clarified.
Felix twitched a shoulder. “You haven’t fucked me yet.”
Chase rolled his eyes. “You’ve been here for two hours. How did you even know I was gay?”
“Your cock in my mouth was a clue.”
Dorian rubbed his sinuses with a sigh. “I meant before that.”
“I didn’t. I just . . .” His nervous shrug made an appearance. “Hoped.”
“Kid, don’t take this the wrong way,” he paused in consideration. “Actually, no, take it however the fuck you want. You clearly have terrible judgment. A month ago you were throwing yourself at a sixty year old man with a dungeon, a bucket of Ecstasy and a personal collection of nubile young boys. Now you’re just latching on to literally the first guy who gave you a sandwich. Even if I were interested in the complicated bullshit you’re selling, I’d like to think it would take more than a sandwich to buy it.”
Felix only stared at him for a moment, his brows tented and eyes searching. When he looked away, his jaw was trembling.
Chase sighed and left the room for a moment, coming back with a blanket and pillow. He dropped them on the couch and flipped off the aquarium light.
“Get some sleep.”
He didn’t let himself jerk off that night, even though he desperately wanted to. It would have been too much knowing Felix was in the next room, all but begging to be touched. He wouldn’t be able to resist plowing him into the couch cushions. The kid was absolutely unhinged and riddled with baggage, but damned if Dorian didn’t want him anyway. Somehow, that made it worse. No matter what he leveled at him, the kid kept coming back.
Would it be so bad to indulge? It’s not like he was looking for something serious. He said so himself. He wanted someone to tie him down and fuck his brains out. Sure, that kind of arrangement came with its own drama and there was a level of responsibility on either side, but it was no more complicated than what most people called relationships.
No. It would be terrible to indulge. He was a fresh out of home school horny kid. Naïve, irresponsible and frankly kind of creepy with his persistence. A few quality fucks might cost him his job. And might set the dumb kid on a downward spiral. Not to mention his parents were trying to get him locked up. Dorian had been an idiot and gone to their house. They would recognize him. He told them he was gay. Stupid. Stupid.
He chastised himself to sleep.