Painted Blue

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Chapter Three

The clock read seven a.m. when Dorian rolled over, blinking at it and rubbing his eyes. He yawned and stretched. His brain decided to remind him by way of sudden pulse jump that Felix was out on his couch. In his house. He made sure he had sweats and a tank top on before leaving the room.

It was Saturday. Never skip leg day.

When he went into the living room to turn on the aquarium light the couch was empty. The blanket was folded with the pillow on top of it, as if they had never moved. Felix was no where in sight. There was an unexpected hollow feeling in the pit of his stomach.

The hall bathroom door suddenly opened and he turned to see Felix step out. He was shirtless. His pants were hanging low on his hips, showing his bright blue trunks. His long, thin torso was wet and pale. He was drying his hair with a towel and had no idea he was being ogled.

“Morning,” Dorian said, voice headier than he wanted.

Felix pulled the towel off of his head, his sleek black hair a mess of wet locks. He blinked. “Morning.”

“I’m going to work out and shower, then we’ll head out.”

Felix snorted. “I think you’re done.” His eyes swept casually over Dorian’s functional muscle.

Dorian shook his head. “It takes maintenance when you’re older, kid. Will be about an hour.” He waved a dismissive hand. “Do whatever it is teenagers do these days.”

Felix arched a brow. “Touch myself?”

Chase stepped past him to the basement door. “I assume that’s what the shower was for.”

“Yea but that was like ten whole minutes ago.”

Chase rolled his eyes and descended the stairs.

He poured sexual frustration into his sets until he was drenched with sweat, his muscles spasming. He hoped the rigor would drain him enough to keep his mind off of things.

All pretense of curbing the sexual tension was out the window when Chase came up to get a protein drink.

Felix was on the couch, panting audibly, his shirt hitched up, left hand roaming freely over his chest. He couldn’t see the teen’s right arm from his angle, but he could imagine what it was doing. The fact that the whole scene was obviously fake didn’t stop him from imagining.

Dorian pressed as much indifference as he could muster into his voice as he walked by. “Don’t get cum on my couch.”

Felix stopped the farce with a frown, yanking his shirt down. “You are a cold man, Dorian.”

Dorian shook the can of vanilla protein drink. “Are you done embarrassing yourself or should I walk by again?”

Felix stuck his tongue out and went back to the book in his lap.

“Why do you carry all those books around anyway?” Chase asked.

“I’m studying,” said Felix. “I want to go to college.”

The older man paused drinking. “Really? For what.”


Dorian snorted. “You’re that desperate for a good bone?”

Felix slowly rolled his eyes toward him, his expression flat. “That was beneath you.”

“There has been more than that beneath me,” he quipped.

Felix looked off into the distance. “I am the most mature person in this room right now.” Chase had been about to speak, but Felix cut him off; “Shh . . . I’m basking in the moment.”

Chase dropped the empty can in the trash. “I’m taking a shower. We leave in fifteen.”

Felix was one of those people that most just genuinely liked. Most places were happy to let him fill out and turn in an application on the spot. The older women thought he was adorable. The older men saw a clean-cut, all-American kid. The girls flirted with him, though he was oblivious. He seemed to only have radar for men over twenty five. It was awkward to watch. Perhaps it was a result of never really having friends his own age.

“I just don’t see why we have to eat in the car,” Felix complained, shoving an errant pickle back in his sandwich.

“You just applied for a job there. It wouldn’t be professional to then sit there and stuff your face. Don’t get sauce on my seats.” Chase frowned.

“How is it unprofessional to eat at a sandwich place? I’d be eating there if I worked there anyway. Is there something wrong with how I eat?” The teen crunched loudly on a chip, maintaining pointed eye contact.

The older man sighed. “You want them to remember you for how you asked for and returned the application. Not for the kid who sat there filling his face for thirty minutes.”

“Whatever,” Felix replied between bites. “There’s no way they’ll hire me anyway.”

Chase wadded up his empty sandwich paper, stuffing it back into the bag. “I don’t know why you have this image of yourself as unemployable, kid. People obviously like you.”

Felix groped at his hands with a napkin. “That’s before they actually start talking to me. You said so yourself, I’m a creepy stalker who blows people for sandwiches.” He rolled his head toward Chase and batted his eyes. “Thanks for the sandwich, by the way.”

Chase grimaced. “Keep the change.”

“I’m not a slut, for the record,” Felix muttered to the remains of his sandwich.

“Look, kid. What you do with who is your business.”

“I’m not!” he shot back, brows furrowed. “I never did anything like that before.” He turned his gaze out the window.

“Bullshit!” Chase barked. “You didn’t get that technique from a PBS special.”

Felix looked back at him with wide eyes, his cheeks flushing crimson. “I,” his voice cracked, “don’t know if that was an insult or a compliment.” He looked away again. “There was one time . . . outside a club, but it wasn’t . . .” He shifted slightly. “Like that.”

Chase narrowed his eyes. “You trying to tell me that you lived with the creep we just arrested for child trafficking and he never touched you?”

Felix shrugged. “He wanted to. He tried to a couple times. I think he was afraid I would snitch if he pushed.”

“And you did,” Chase added.

The teen smiled. “Guess he was right, then.” He crumpled up the sandwich remains, shoving them into the bag.

“I just don’t want you to have this image of me as some sort of harlot,” he said simply. Dorian made an effort not to fixate on how he wrapped his lips around his straw.

“The hell do you care what I think?” Dorian grumbled. “I’m just some guy.”

Felix’s cheeks were slightly pink as he kept his eyes on the dashboard, but he said nothing.

“I forgot to feed my fish,” Dorian announced suddenly, as if it were an emergency. “You came out all wet and sassy and I fucking forgot.”

Felix put his seat belt on as Dorian started the car. “Wait, what? ‘Wet and sassy’?”

“Gonzo better not eat anyone because of you.”

Gonzo had, thankfully, not eaten anyone.

Chase fed the fish, checked the gauges and removed detritus as Felix watched.

“You’re kind of crazy about the fish, dude.”

Chase didn’t look up from the tank. “At least my fish don’t spank me,dude.”

“Have you asked?” Felix taunted. “I’ve seen how Carl looks at you.”

Chase eyed the catfish suspiciously. “I knew he was gay.”

“That is one limp-wristed fish, sir.” Dorian arched a brow at the teen who was already turning red from the slip. “Habit,” Felix mumbled, looking away.

“There are worse habits to have,” Chase started, his attention back on the aquarium. “Like flirting with men twice your age.”

Felix scoffed. “You’re not twice my age. You’re like thirty or something.”

“Or something,” Chase replied. “Point stands, kid, you’re barking up the wrong tree.”

“Then why do you flirt back?” Felix’s voice was soft and sincere. The same tone that had set Dorian on him in the hotel room. Dorian couldn’t decide if that was intentional or not, but it spoke to his reptilian brain all the same.

He set his jaw for a moment before replying. “Guess we all have bad habits. Speaking of,” He pointed accusingly at the crumpled towel tossed over the back of the couch. “There ain’t no maid service here.”

Felix scrabbled to pick it up. “Sorry.” He came back from hanging up the towel, wringing his hands. “I can clean, if you want.” Dorian paused in picking up dishes and eyed him suspiciously. “For letting me stay here, I mean.”

“Pfft.” Dorian shoved the dishes into the teens arms. “Onward, gift horse.”

Felix scuttled away as Dorian’s phone rang.

“Chase,” he answered.

Detective Barlet’s voice came through. “You won’t believe how much cocaine I’m looking at right now.”

“A metric fuckton?” Chase asked.

“Close. We stopped a stolen truck with a false bed headed into the metro. Packed to the rim, brazen as you like. Know what he got stopped for?”

“Road head?”

Bartlet hesitated. “No, but I like yours better. Tail light was out. We just pulled fifteen kilos of cocaine on a busted tail light. Meeting in an hour, conference to follow. Put on your big boy pants and come party.”

Chase let out a low whistle. “Give me fifteen.” He hung up and shoved his phone back in his pocket.

Felix gave him a curious look. “Road head?”

Chase chuckled. “Gotta go, kid. Duty calls.” He pulled his holster on over his t-shirt and checked the clip on his SIG Sauer P226. “No idea when I’ll be back. Big case just hit. Don’t steal anything.” He clipped his badge onto his belt.

“Dude, you just put on a gun. You don’t have to tell me not to steal from you.”

Chase pulled his sport coat on. “All the same. If I’m not back by ten, feed the fish.”

“Yes, sir.”

Chase gave him a look, but Felix only smiled in return.

Once in the car, Chase slipped in his ear bud and rang the investigations desk.

“Criminal investigations, how may I direct your call?”

“Talk to me, Steve.”

There was a shuffle of paperwork. “Two Hispanic males driving a blue Ford F-150. Stopped on traffic at eleven fifteen AM for a broken tail light. Suspects both fled on foot.”

“They always do,” Chase remarked.

“Suspects were apprehended and taken into custody. Upon search of the vehicle, a false panel was revealed to contain what was suspected to be cocaine. During impound, the panel was dismantled and fifteen parcels, each weighing approximate one kilogram, were retrieved.”

“That’s a shitton of coke, Steve.”

“I believe that is the technical term, Detective Chase. Lab confirmed parcels contained ben-benzoylmethl . . . ecgonine.”

Chase grinned. “I’m going to have to ask you to repeat that, I didn’t catch it.”

“I’m afraid I have to ask you to bite me, Detective.”

“Ten minutes,” Chase quipped.

“My heart is aflutter.” Steve hung up.

The investigations room was chaos. The chief had been called in for the impending press conference and was being briefed while detectives and arresting officers chatted.

“That is a shitton of coke,” Chase repeated, watching two officers arrange the bricks on the table of the press room.

“Mm,” Bartlet hummed.

“Someone is coming up short this month,” Chase mused. “Think it was MS-13?”

“Guess we’ll know if we start turning up a bunch of dead bangers.”

Chase grunted in agreement. The Salvadoran gang didn’t take well to intercepted loads. It wasn’t unusual for there to be a trail of bodies following a dead shipment.

“Who’s interviewing the mules?” Chase glanced back into the CID room to see who was unaccounted for.

Bartlet tipped his head. “Caceda and Hernandez.”

Chase scoffed. “Hernandez couldn’t interview a taco truck. I need to learn Spanish. That’s where all the fun is at.”

Hernandez and Caceda both generally worked homicide, but given that they were the only two native Spanish speakers in CID, they ended up supplementing a lot of cases.

“Caceda and her twins will have them talking.” Bartlet gestured in front of his chest.

“You’re a dirty man, Harry.”

Bartlet’s dark eyes gleamed. “Everyone knows it.” He nudged Chase with his elbow. “You tagged Smith yet?”

Chase shot him a look of horror. “Mandy? God, no. What the hell, man.”

Bartlet huffed, rubbing his knuckle under his ruddy nose. “Everyone thinks you’re an item.” They watched the conference room begin to fill.

“We’re friends. You know it’s possible to be friends with women, right?”

“Sure. If you’re gay.” He barked with laughter and clapped Chase on the shoulder with a massive paw.

“That’s me,” Chase said flatly. “Big ol’ queer.” Bartlet only laughed harder.

The press conference had been the usual circus of blame and bravado. No, this isn’t indicative of a sudden crime wave. Yes, our best and brightest are on the case. Yes, of course this is a big win for the “war on drugs”. What do you mean it’s an ineffective waste of tax money?

Bartlet was the face of CID for the cameras. The portly detective worked robberies for the most part, but Chase did his best to stay out of press conferences. You didn’t want your face out there if you were vice.

Aside from meetings and conferences, paperwork was still the biggest time sink in law enforcement. And you need a lot of paperwork for fifteen kilos of cocaine. It was after midnight when Chase finally got home.

Felix was asleep on the couch and didn’t stir when Chase came in. Shadows of fish passed over his face as street light shone through the tank from the window. His lips were parted, his hands curled under his chin like a child. Wisps of black hair trembled against his forehead, stirred by the ceiling fan.

Dorian watched him for too long. He pulled his eyes away and shuffled to bed.

A glare pierced through the blinds. It was that incredibly annoying mark of mid-morning that the sun was in just the right position to shoot a precise beam through the blinds and straight across Dorian’s pillow.

He groaned and squinted at the clock. 8 am. He groaned again and slid out of bed. He was half way to the kitchen when he remembered Felix was there. And that he was in nothing but flannel pajama bottoms.

“Hi.” The teen leaned out from the kitchen as he heard him coming. He stared long enough for Chase to shuffle the rest of the way to the kitchen. “I m—”

Chase made the hand gesture of a mouth closing. “Shhh . . . coffee.”

“—made coffee,” Felix finished. “And pancakes!”

Chase narrowed his eyes with suspicion and sniffed in the direction of the coffee pot. “What coffee did you use?”

“Um. The black tin in the freezer?”

Chase deepened his glare for a moment. “You may live.”

It wasn’t until he had poured a cup of coffee with sugar that he realized how clean the kitchen was. He looked around in confusion and turned in a circle.

“Is this my kitchen? It looks kind of like my kitchen. But my kitchen smells funny and doesn’t have pancakes.”

Felix set a plate of said pancakes on the breakfast bar with a fork. “The smell was a three-year-old beer can that popped in the cabinet.”

Chase tipped his head back in sudden realization. “Ahh.” He considered the pancakes with a frown. “I don’t have pancake mix.”

Felix laughed. “You had flour, baking powder, milk and eggs. That’s all you really need.”

“You cook and clean, too? Goddammit.” Dorian sighed.

The young man beamed. “Maybe you should keep me.”

Dorian drenched the pancakes in syrup. “My lease doesn’t allow pets.”

“They’ll never know. I’m hypoallergenic.”

Dorian gestured through a mouth-full of pancake. “Landlady lives next door.”

Felix blinked. “Well, that must be awkward when you bring dates home.”

“Luckily, she’s deaf.”

Felix’s eyes widened. “Dude. You could have so much wild sex up in here.”

The older man scoffed, downing another fork full of pancake. “I doubt this place has seen wild sex since the Clinton administration.”

Felix splayed his hand across his chest. “Please tell me you just moved in. You are not going to sit there shirtless and say that to me.”

Chase glanced down. “I could put on a shirt?”

Felix tossed the hand towel he was holding in exasperation.

“I hate to break it to you, kid, but when you grow up you have to go to work and pay bills. You don’t have time to stalk people twice your age.”

“Oh.My.God. You are not twice my age.”

“Only three years short,” Chase muttered.

“Oh, no! You’re thirty-three! Call the police!” Felix flailed his hands.

“You’re less tolerable when I’m less clothed.” Chase pushed away the empty plate and stood.

“Then we’re clearly doing it wrong.”

Chase snorted. “Get ready to leave.”

Round two of job applications wasn’t going well. Felix had some sort of excuse for half the places they went and subsequently refused to leave the car.

“This is your last night at my place whether you find a job or not, kid.”

“Why?” Felix asked with a pout.

Chase sighed. “Because I said so, and my word is law, young man.” He shook his finger at him.

“I can dig role play if that’s your thing,” Felix responded.

Dorian let his forehead drop on the steering wheel, rolling his head side to side in disapproving frustration. “A lesser man would have crippled you by now, kid.”

“See?” Felix grinned. “I told you you had self-control.”

There was a sudden silent tension in Chase, his eyes fixed at a point out the windshield. Felix followed his gaze to two men in their early twenties, standing close on the side of the convenience store.

Chase nodded his head in their direction. “Just as well you didn’t apply here. The one in the red hat just bought a dime bag.”

“Uh,” Felix looked between Chase and the apparent drug deal. “Are you going to tackle them or something?”

“Nope.” Chase replied, pulling his radio out of his cup holder. “625, be advised, I have a 1031 hand off at 2405 East Terrant and Winding Way.” He proceeded to describe the two males to dispatch.

“10-4, 625, 831 en route.” Chase clicked off the radio and started his car.

“You’re just going to leave?” Felix asked.

“Yup. 831 is Shaw’s badge number. I really don’t need him seeing you with me. Pretty sure he suspects I’m gay.”

Felix stared at him as he pulled away from the convenience store. “You’re . . . not out?”

“Hell no,” Chase said. “In what world do you see that going well? I had to do my time as a beat cop, just like everyone else.”

“What does that matter?” Felix scowled.

“You have to be able to trust everyone you work with in this job. Guys can’t be worried about me checking out their ass while we’re chasing a suspect, no matter how stupid that sounds. Cops can’t have their minds on anything but the job. The day they think I’m eyeing them in the locker room is the day my backup takes just a little too long and I end up in a bag.”

“That’s insane.”

Chase wrung the steering wheel. It wasn’t something he let himself think about often. “It’s how it is.”

“They’d just let you die?” Felix’s expression was that fleeting look of social betrayal. Most people only get a few of those looks before it’s not a surprise anymore.

Chase shrugged uncomfortably. “I don’t know now. In the beginning, yea. Fresh out of the academy, some of them would have put a bullet in me themselves. It’s not just me. Everyone has secrets, kid. Cops just know theirs could get people killed, so we keep them to ourselves.”

No one knows?” Felix implored earnestly.

Chase chewed his cheek. “Mandy.”

Felix winced. “Does she ask you for shoe advice and take you on spa dates?”

“No,” Dorian laughed. “Mostly just makes concerned looks at me. And tells me to stay away from people like you.”

“People like me?” Felix flattened his hand on his chest questioningly.

“Yea. The young, vulnerable, good-looking male kind.”

Felix flushed and looked away, the corners of his mouth betraying a smile.

Chase parked in front of a coffee shop. “She’d probably punch me square in the dick if she knew I was doing this.” He shoved the slight teen by the shoulder. “Go get a job, you hippy.”

Three stops later, hunger called a close to the hunt.

“One of these days, you’re going to treat me to a proper meal.” Felix unwrapped the burger in his lap. “One with chairs.”

Chase stuffed fries in his mouth and watched people traverse the parking lot. “You are incredibly high maintenance. Next you’ll be asking for respect or something.”

“Heaven forfend!” Felix gasped.

“So,” Chase started. “Do you need anything? Before you’re out of my hair for good, I mean.” Felix gave him a puzzled look and the older man shrugged. “It didn’t seem like you had much for clothes. You need to make a good impression at interviews.”

Felix’s eyes softened and he smiled gently. “You’re a nice guy, Dorian.”

Chase scoffed and shifted in his seat, looking out the window.

Felix’s expression turned solemn and he shook his head. “I know you didn’t need to do any of this. And that you think I’m weird.”

Dorian sighed. “I don’t think you’re weird. I think you’re . . . confused.”

Felix’s nostrils flared. “I’m not confused. I spent most of my life confused, I know what it feels like. For the first time, I’m not.”

“I hate to sound like a goddamn cliché,” Chase began, “but none of this will matter to you in five years. You’ll look back and just cringe at the shit you did. Unless you keep doing this stupid shit you’re doing, then you may not be around to cringe in hindsight. Or you’ll be too fucked up to care. I don’t think you’re weird. Hell, I even like you. I’m just trying to make sure you have the chance to regret being a dumb teenager.”

Felix rolled his eyes. “You make it sound like I’m snorting crack off of gay bears in bath houses.”

Dorian rubbed his sinuses. “You smoke crack. You snort coke. And this is what I mean. You’re smart, but you know just enough about the world to get into some serious trouble. Do you have any idea the kind of people who look for kids like you? They make James Hawthorne look like Hugh Hefner. You’ll spend years locked in a basement, drugged out of your mind while faceless creeps run a never ending train on you. And when they’ve completely wrecked your body and you cost more to feed than you make sucking off strangers, they’ll leave you half starved in a ditch and you’ll live out the rest of your days incoherent, shitting in diapers.”

Felix set his jaw and kept his eyes fixed out the car window. Chase shook his head and drove home.

It was early evening when Hernandez called him out to the bar. They had gotten a name out of the coke mules, which was nearly unprecedented. CID was celebrating.

Chase did a once over in the hall mirror. The jeans hugged all the right places. The black button-up was slim enough to be fashionable without edging into awkwardly sexual. His dark blonde hair was combed back neatly. He pretended not to notice that Felix’s book had lost his attention.

“Feet off the table.” Chase pointed at him. “I’ll be back later. Feed the fish by ten.”

Felix frowned. “How do they eat when I’m not here?”

Chase slipped on his shoes. “They are fine missing a meal or two, but you are here, so feed them. And get to sleep at a reasonable hour. I’m dropping you off with Mandy in the morning.”

A genuine pout settled into the young man’s features. “Will I see you again?”

Dorian sighed. “I’ll be back later.” He was out the door before those puppy eyes could pile on any more guilt.

The celebration went how it always did. Mostly Chase sat at the bar with a scotch, watching with detached amusement. It was a bunch of overworked law enforcement, drunk, riled up and with too much to prove. Hernandez had already tried to pick a fight with some jock and the unspoken rule was when one of your boys jumped, you all jumped. Didn’t matter if he was wrong. That’s just how it was. The jock’s friends were keen enough to see badges and drag him out the door.

Meanwhile, the only way the new fish could have been trying harder to get into Caceda’s pants is if he had brought the jaws of life. He’d probably get there, eventually. He wasn’t a bad looking guy, and he wasn’t the first. It’s not like she was Criminal Investigations’ communal bicycle or anything. She just wasn’t squeamish about getting involved when the mood hit.

Chase had pegged the new fish, David Spenser, as a closet case. He sniffed around anything with tits. Anyone who tried that hard didn’t really have their heart in it. It didn’t stop him from sleeping with whatever woman would have him, but it apparently left him unfulfilled and he was right back at it as soon as possible. Chase had seriously considered some light poking at the rookie’s sexuality. Just to send him into a tail spin, but it wasn’t worth the risk. Last thing he needed was some pumped up newbie with something to prove finding out he was gay.

It was the third song when Caceda decided she had enough of Spenser’s brazen hands and cut off the dance.

She flopped down at the bar next to Chase and gave him an exasperated look. “Didn’t feel like rescuing me?”

Chase glanced over at Spenser across the room. “Nah, you can take him.”

Her deep red lips revealed gleaming white teeth in a wolfish grin. “I think that’s what he has in mind.”

She combed her fingers through her rich chocolate tresses. “What’s your drink?”

He tipped the nearly drained tumbler of amber liquid. “Scotch.”

She flagged down the bartender and ordered two.

“This isn’t a celebration, you know.” She sipped the drink, large dark eyes peering over the rim.

“Oh?” Chase asked, tipping back his glass.

“Hernandez got a name out of one of the guys, but it’s complete bullshit.” Her petite nose curled as she took another drink.

“How so?” Chase turned toward her with interest.

She squinted into the distance, shaking her head slightly. “It was too clean, you know? Neither of them had any tattoos. No records. And they just drop the name of some minor MS pusher.”

“They’ve used clean runners before,” Chase remarked.

“Not like this. As soon as they transfer them to county, they’re dead, Chase. Then we’ll actually start looking. And it won’t matter.”

She drained the glass, grabbed his arm then pulled. “Dance with me.”

“That is an incredibly bad idea. Have you seen me dance?”

She pulled him onto the small dance floor. “I’m not keeping score. I’m just tired of Spenser’s hands on my ass.” She pressed close and pulled his arm around her. “And we’ve never danced.”

“You’ll have to settle for hands on your waist, then.” They began stepping in tune, muscle memory drifting them across the floor.

“No one likes a gentleman, Chase.” She settled her head against his chest, fruity scented shampoo tickling his nose. “Should I be offended that we’ve never danced?”

Chase swallowed thickly. “No. You’re just . . . not really my type.”

He felt her cheek tighten into a smile. “Only date white girls?”

“Nah,” he replied. “I just don’t like knowing you can kick my ass. I saw how you put down Bartlet in defensive tactics.”

Her laughter was rich as she leaned away from his chest, her dark eyes gleaming. “Some guys like a challenge.”

“I’m afraid I’m just not enough man for you, Caceda,” he sighed.

She grinned and leaned to kiss his cheek chastely as the song ended. “I won’t tell anyone.”

It was only midnight when Hernandez made good on his attempts to start a fist fight. The very short lived brawl ended with them all various degrees of drunk on the curb. The others, determined to party on, shuffled down the street to another bar as Chase called a cab home.

Felix was still awake when he came through the door.

Chase frowned, pointing as he kicked off his shoes. “You’re supposed to be asleep.”

Felix closed his book. “Couldn’t sleep. Have fun?”

Chase unbuttoned his shirt down to a white tank top. “Hernandez punched a guy in the armpit.” He squinted at the teen. “The armpit. Who does that?”

Felix arched a brow with a slight smile. “Are you drunk?”

“I invoke my fifth amendment rights and decline to answer that question without my lawyer present.”

He held up a finger. “But! I think Caceda was right. I think this case is going to be a goat screw.”

“Caceda?” Felix asked.

Chase flapped his hand dismissively. “The lady with the legs. Doesn’t matter.” He flopped down on the couch next to him. “Point is, she’s right. No way MS ran fifteen kilos of coke on the rep of a nobody. They’re too careful ever since the Latin Kings tried taking them out.” His eyes widened and he stared into space. “What if it was the Colombians?”

Felix only watched him for a moment. “You are really talkative when you’re drunk.”

He turned and pressed his finger to the tip of Felix’s nose. “I’m not drunk. You can tell because I’m not slurring or having gross motor impairment. I’m just buzzed.”

The teen reached up and pulled Chase’s hand down. “You’re talkative when you’re buzzed, then. ‘The lady with the legs’?”

Chase sighed, rolling his head back. “We just danced. But it’s OK, because she thinks I only like white girls.”

“Danced?” Felix asked, a hint of accusation in his voice. “Isn’t that kind of . . . intimate?”

Dorian glanced over to gauge whether or not he was serious. When he determined he was, he laughed. “It’s just dancing.”

“I’ve never danced with anyone,” Felix muttered. “It just looks . . .” He shrugged.

Dorian scoffed and stood up, half dragging Felix with him. “I’ll show you.” He pulled him into the space in the hall. “We’re pretending you’re the woman because it’s funnier that way.” He flopped the teen’s hand on his shoulder. “Other hand over here. And now we shuffle around and act like this is fun. Left, right.”

Felix looked down at their feet, concentrating. “This is it? Why do people do this?”

Dorian shrugged. “Hetero mating ritual. People get closer, or use fancier moves, but this is basically it.”

“How do you not just step all over each other closer?” The younger man gasped softly as Dorian shifted his palm to the flat of his back and pulled him in.

“Like this.” They continued the slow circle, stomach to stomach. “Same thing, just smaller steps.”

Felix couldn’t quite rest his chin on the taller man’s shoulder, so he pressed his forehead there instead, presumably watching their feet. His hair smelled like spring and Dorian found himself turning his face toward him and breathing deeply.

The dance stopped abruptly when he felt Felix’s finger tips skirting the outside of his thigh.

“Felix.” His voice was a low, leonine warning.

He felt the boy’s breath against his chest shorten. The fingertips inched inward. He put his hand flat against the teen’s chest, shoving him away and into the wall behind him. There was a hitch in his breath, but his hand never moved.

“What are you doing.”

He felt Felix’s heart quicken under his palm. The boy’s face was bright with color, the flush spreading through his neck and pale collar bones.

“Whatever you want.” His thumb brushed against Dorian’s crotch. “Sir.”

Dorian caught him by the wrist, dragging both his arms above his head and pinning them against the wall with one hand. Felix positively mewled with the action, his body a tight arc toward the larger man. Dorian stilled his hips with his free hand, pushing them back against the wall.

Please,” Felix whispered.

The slight teen’s eyes were dark and shining. His chest rising in ragged, heavy breaths. His shirt was hitched up, hip bones jutting starkly between its hem and the top of his underwear. Dark, soft hairs formed a line down from his belly button, thickening until they disappeared into his trunks. The outline of his erection strained against thick fabric, a dark stain of anticipation soaking through the crotch of his jeans.

“Jesus Christ,” Dorian muttered, drinking in the sight. “We’re both going to regret this.”

Felix’s eyes widened.

“Turn around.” Dorian’s voice was firm and the teen tripped over himself to comply.

Dorian nudged his feet into a splay and pushed him forward by the shoulders. Lack of balance forced Felix to put his palms flat on the wall. The familiar terry-frisk position sent a bolt of excitement through Dorian. He gripped the boy’s hips and pressed his body into the teen’s back. Felix shuddered in response, rolling his hips back and panting.

“Touch yourself,” Dorian whispered into the younger man’s ear.

Felix immediately pulled a hand from the wall and begun fumbling with his belt.

Dorian grabbed his wrist. “No.” He nudged the hand downward. “Through your jeans. I don’t want your spunk on my wall.”

The older man figured it would be some time due to the caveat, but the teen’s breath was ragged and broken within a couple minutes, his exhales melting into quiet moans. Dorian waited until Felix took a sharp breath and then abruptly snatched his hand away. A moan turned into a frustrated whimper as he rocked out what had to have been an incredibly disappointing orgasm.

Dorian waited until his quivers subsided and leaned back to Felix’s ear. “I didn’t tell you to cum.”

He stuttered on what might have been an attempt at an apology, but Dorian had already released him and walked away.

He let himself casually slump onto the couch, knowing Felix was watching him. He slid his hips forward and unzipped his pants. The Pavlovian image played in his head, but he didn’t need it.

“Care to make it up to me?” He looked at Felix over his shoulder.

And then he was there. And it was real. Felix on his knees on the floor, his mouth working Dorian’s length with desperation. His head rolled back, fingers tangled in thick black hair, an orchestra of Felix’s muffled moans and the bubbling aquarium playing in his ears.

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