Painted Blue

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Chapter Four

The headache throbbed in time with the alarm. Dorian slapped in the general direction of the noise until it stopped.

His eyes flew open as the events of the previous night came back to him in a rush. His stomach did a flip and then promptly sank when he remembered it was Monday. He was supposed to hand Felix off to Mandy. The thought of never seeing him again did unexpected things to Dorian’s emotions.

No, he grumbled to himself. The kid had to go. This was getting too personal and too complicated.

Nevertheless, he found reasons to take his time.

Unfortunately ready, Dorian went into the living room and found Felix where he had left him, asleep on the couch. His face was lax, lips parted, pale skin absent of the flush Dorian had become used to.

He jumped when his phone suddenly rang.

“Chase,” he answered, barely above a whisper. Felix stirred.

“Good morning! This is Terrance Phillips with ’Wich World. I’m trying to get a hold of Felix Thompson regarding his job application?” Dorian had completely forgotten about letting the teen use his phone number for applications.

He was looking down at Felix when the young man gave him a bleary eyed smile.

“Hello?” The voice on the phone pulled Dorian back.

“You have the wrong number.” He hung up abruptly.

He tipped his chin at Felix. “Go back to sleep.”

“Nn,” was his only response, one of his arms flopping off of the couch as his eyes fluttered closed.

Dorian watched him for a moment longer, his pulse thrumming in his ears. It took no small amount of will power to pull on his sport coat and walk out the door alone.

The conference room table was a war zone. Someone had brought in doughnuts. Chase triumphantly made it out with a doughnut in each hand. This sadly left him without coffee, but it was a sacrifice he was willing to make.

“Alright, what’s the name?” Mandy leaned her hip on his desk as he sat down.

He looked at her obliquely. “Who?”

“Whoever it is you slept with last night.” She slid a cup of coffee toward him with a smile.

Chase paused chewing a mouthful of doughnut. “I didn’t thleep wif anyone.” He swallowed. “I went home alone last night. I have witnesses. Why the hell do you think I slept with someone?”

She crossed her arms. “You have a walk.”

“What?” He drew out the vowel. “Maybe I’m just happy? Fifteen kilos of coke makes everyone happy.”

She shook her head, short hair tumbling. “That is not your happy case walk. I see your happy case walk way more often.”

“Oh, I have a happy case walk too?” He arched a brow at her.

“Your case walk is like this.” She pulled her chest up, hips rigid as she strode from Chase’s desk to Bartlet’s. “And this is your slept with someone walk.” She loosened her hips and took wide steps back to his desk.

“There is no way I walk like that. Those both look like stages of rectal prolapse.”

“You would know,” she replied.

He dropped his forehead into his palm. “I’m never telling you secrets again.”

You didn’t. Jose Quervo told me many things.”

“Damn you, Jose,” Chase muttered.

Bartlet came around the corner into the wide hall that pretended to be an office. “Meeting is on.”

Caceda caught up to Mandy and Chase on the way. She shoved a print out at him. “This is the guy they’re trying to pin the shipment on.”

Chase took the booking sheet with a frown. Petty theft. Assault. Minor drug charge. Enough to be believable, but small game for someone hustling coke.

“Did you get laid?” Caceda asked.

Chase snatched the paper down by his side. “Oh my god, why do you people think I got laid?”

She shrugged. “You have a walk.” Mandy nodded on Chase’s other side.

“I do not have a walk!” Chase exclaimed. “This is a conspiracy. Like this.” He shook the booking paper at them. “A conspiracy!”

The meeting was the usual fare; related arrests from the previous shift, warrants, case updates. The cocaine deal inevitably came up in the form of Sergeant Cagg mostly congratulating himself.

Chase interrupted with a shake of the booking sheet. “Does anyone other than Caceda think this stinks?” She gave him a thankful look. It was no coincidence that she hit him with it before the meeting. Cagg didn’t have a sparkling history of listening to females.

“Please, Detective Chase,” Cagg gestured with both hands, “speak your mind.” Anyone who knew the Sergeant knew that was tantamount to ‘please, hang yourself’.

“A truck load of coke on a twenty-five-year-old banger? Come on, none of us are that stupid.” The eyes in the room split evenly between Hernandez and Cagg.

“Watch out, everyone. Chase doesn’t think the drug dealer is a drug dealer.” Hernandez scoffed. The goose egg on his cheek from the night before was a purple blemish on his deep orange skin.

“Man, you punched someone in the armpit, some scrutiny is warranted,” Chase returned. Hernandez worked his jaw and took visual stock of who laughed.

“I’m just saying, rolling over on this red herring is going to bite us in the ass.”

Cagg smiled tightly. “Tell you what, Chase. You can go interview the suspects. We’ll hire you a pretty translator. When you turn up something better, we’ll throw you a party. I’m sure Caceda will give you a special present for being her knight in shining armor.”

Caceda bowed her head, jaw locked, nostrils flaring. She was silent.

Chase was sorely tempted not to let it go. He may have had a chance if it were only the three of them, but the room full of detectives would come piling down on him. It didn’t matter if Cagg was out of line. Like Hernandez at the bar, when the Sergeant said jump, everyone put in both feet.

Chase seethed and said nothing.

He was three hours deep into paperwork when Shaw rapped on his desk.

“Good news for you, my man. Just got the word that Hawthorne rolled over on your MDMA supplier.”

Chase happily looked away from his monitor. “You’re shitting me?”

Shaw hooked his thumbs in his gun belt. “They gave him a deal. Shit makes me sick, but that’s the game. File should be over in a minute. Let me know if you need an escort on a shake down. Would help me sleep better if I saw someone go down for this shit.”

“You’ll be the first to know if I need someone punched in the mouth.”

Thanks to Shaw, Chase got to end his day on the happy note of building a file on the supplier. Though his stomach kept doing little unexpected flips the closer he got to going home.

Would Felix still be there? Of course he would. Where else would he go? Much less after last night. Last night . . . what was last night? He kept waiting for the pangs of regret and guilt, but they never came. What the hell did that mean? What now? He couldn’t just let the kid stay . . . could he? What would happen if he did? Maybe a whole lot of the same.

He nearly ran a red light unpacking the thought.

The house was clean. Not just the clean you can see, the clean you can smell. Light switches had been wiped down, fixtures dusted. The wood panel floors had been swept and mopped, the rugs beaten and laid down again with precision. There was no longer a cobweb in the left corner of the living room that Chase had begun to think of as part of the floor plan.

It’s not like Chase was a messy person, he just had little time or care for maintenance. The fish tank was always kept pristine, and that’s all that mattered to him. Who cared if the light bulbs were dusty? Felix did, apparently.

“What happened to Charles?” Chase asked. Felix had initially been on his way to greet him at the entryway, but stopped in confusion.

“Who?”

“Charles. Dark brown. Eight legs. Lived over there.” Chase gestured to the corner.

Felix looked and frowned. “Charles was removed from the lease.”

“Bon voyage, Charles.” Chase said wistfully, shrugging out of his coat.

He caught Felix’s eyes tracking down toward his badge. “Don’t tell me you’re a badge bunny now too,” he remarked.

The teen turned away in an attempt to hide the start of a smile. “It’s not the badge.” Chase rechecked and remembered his handcuff case snapped on between his belt and gun holster, just behind his badge.

“Ah . . . they’re really not that comfortable.”

Felix passed him into the kitchen, the start of a blush on his cheeks. “They’re not supposed to be. That’s kind of the point.”

Chase frowned as the slight boy dug around in the refrigerator. “Don’t tell me you’re into pain.”

“Not for it’s own sake,” Felix murmured as he pulled out ingredients. “But if it happens in the course of events . . .” He shrugged.

Chase eyed the miscellany on the counter. “What are you doing?”

“Making some sort of chicken and rice thing. You don’t have much else.”

“I don’t eat at home much.” He watched the lithe youth move about the kitchen with confidence. “You going to do this every day?”

The depth of the question was not lost on Felix and for a moment he looked at Dorian with a flash of giddiness. “If you want me to.”

He mussed his hair and tried to look disinterested. “Just seems like a lot of work.”

“I don’t mind. Gives me something to do. It’s incredibly boring here with no TV and your laptop has a fingerprint scanner.”

Dorian almost shot back a comment about getting a job, but decided not to. The thought of the dark haired boy sticking around set a comfortable warmth in his belly. He tried not to analyze that too much. Besides, the money he would save on take-out would more than cover Felix’s upkeep.

“So,” Felix started. “What do you actually do all day?”

Dorian grunted. “Paperwork. Some times it’s digital!”

“You don’t do under cover drug deals and speed around in a black Ferrari?”

Dorian scoffed. “I haven’t done anything ‘under cover’ in a year. And I don’t own a single white linen suit. I also doubt my Fiat is going to be speeding around anywhere. Aren’t you a little young for that reference, anyway?”

I actually had a TV at home.”

“I don’t have time for TV,” Dorian muttered. “I save lives!”

“I thought you did paperwork?” Felix smiled.

“Never underestimate the power of paperwork.”

Dorian and Felix ate at the coffee table, watching the fish tank. Neither of them brought up the night before, as if it were a fragile thing that could be shattered with a whisper.

“Do you ever take that thing off?” Felix tipped his head at the red leather shoulder rig.

Dorian pushed away his empty plate and shrugged. “Usually not until I take the shirt off. Why?”

“It’s distracting,” Felix said around his last fork-full.

“Because of the handcuffs?”

“And the leather,” Felix added, making a point to fixate on his plate. “And it looks ridiculously good on you.” Dorian laughed. The teen glanced at the gun. “Isn’t it dangerous, anyway?”

“The sig? No. It’s locked in the holster and the trigger is shielded.”

A crease formed between Felix’s eyebrows. “What if it falls out?”

“It won’t,” Dorian answered simply. “Even if it could, it’s a DAO trigger, so it’s drop safe. But it won’t because it’s a double retention holster. It’s locked in there. Someone wouldn’t even be able to get it from me without a lot of trouble.” The younger man eyed the device with interest. “Here.” Dorian made a point of blocking Felix’s view of the action as he pulled the fire arm out of the holster. He dropped the clip and cleared the chamber before returning it to the holster. “Try to get it.”

Felix eyed him warily. “You’re not going to go all police brutality on me, right?” Dorian merely gestured to the gun as a challenge and leaned back on the couch. “OK,” Felix said, rubbing his hands together.

He stood in front of Dorian and eyed the holster for a moment. The strap securing the hammer was obvious, though the snap for it was close to Dorian’s ribs. Seemingly satisfied with whatever method he thought would work, he closed his hand on the grip of the gun. It took him a second to unsnap the strap and the rest was just useless tugging.

“You glued it in there.” Felix frowned.

Dorian laughed. “Look.” He re-snapped the strap. “I draw right handed.” He reached across his torso, gripping the butt of the gun. “Unsnap with my thumb, then I have to lift and angle it this way.” The gun smoothly came free.

“That doesn’t take too long? I mean, if people are shooting at you or something.”

“Nope.” Dorian returned the gun to the holster, re-snapped and then drew it smoothly in a fraction of a second. “You train enough and it becomes instinct. But it’s designed to be easy for me and a pain in the ass for anyone else. Try again, now that you know how it works.”

Felix grinned smugly. It took him two whole seconds to unsnap and lift against the first lock. He was attempting the twist when Dorian trapped his hand with his arm.

“That’s not fair,” Felix complained.

“You think I’m just going to sit here while someone tries to get my gun? I gave you three seconds.”

“Someone could still hit you.” Felix made a show of waving with his free hand.

“And I could break their arm.” Dorian tapped Felix’s elbow that was locked against his palm. He pressed, straightening the arm in demonstration and Felix’s eyes widened as he went up on his toes. Dorian suppressed a grin.

“Or I could do this.” He reached forward with his free arm, hooked his hand behind Felix’s left knee and pulled. The teen gasped as he stumbled into the older man’s lap.

Felix stared at him for a moment, a slow burn building in his face. “I don’t think this would be a good idea with a criminal,” he muttered.

“Well,” Dorian began, dragging Felix closer by the backs of both knees, “good thing you’re not a criminal.”

It was the first time Dorian had kissed him in earnest, and he made it count. There was softness and wet heat. Lips and tongue gliding, teeth grazing, breath mingling. Fingers trailing down the boy’s spine.

The kid had no sense of pacing. He was already grinding his hips down against Dorian. His movements were erratic, unskilled and impatient.

Dorian was surprised at his lack of annoyance. Instead, he found himself rather excited about the prospect of being able to teach the teen exactly what he wanted out of him.

Training starts now, Dorian decided.

He broke from the kiss and trailed lips and teeth down Felix’s jaw line, hands slipping under his shirt, fingers raking down his back. When his hands reached Felix’s pants, he gripped the boy’s belt, pushing down and back. The action stilled Felix’s hips with a whimper.

Dorian began bucking softly up against him, using his leverage on his belt to rock him with the motion. It only took a few seconds for the teen to start rolling with the rhythm independently. The angle caused the strain in their pants to drag against each other with each movement.

Felix’s head dropped forward, his eyes closed. Dorian mouthed the curve of his throat, the boy’s quiet moans a deep vibration against his lips. It was only a few moments of this before Felix wanted more and started peeling his shirt off.

The older man waited until Felix’s arms were over his head, his shirt hitched up to his shoulders before he took hold of his arms and stopped him. Only his chin and mouth were visible, the rest of his head was lost in the folds of his shirt. He was panting. The older man smiled to himself, leaned forward and brushed his lips against Felix’s. The teen immediately ducked in to deepen the kiss, but Dorian had already pulled back. He had only begun a mewl of disappointment when the sudden crush of the larger man’s mouth molded it into a moan.

Satisfied that his point was made, Dorian pulled the shirt the rest of the way over Felix’s head and was met with needy eyes, framed with dark lashes. The resistance had long gone out of the boy’s limbs and he easily shifted them behind his back. He pulled the teen’s shirt down the length of his arms, but stopped at his wrists. All it took was grabbing the fabric between his wrists and twisting to trap his hands.

Felix squirmed, obviously not too interested in wrenching free.

“Is this what you want?” Dorian whispered into his ear.

A breathy, shuddering “yes” was his only reply.

“Mm,” Dorian hummed, his mouth trailing down from Felix’s collar bone.

When he reached one of the small, pert nipples, Felix tried to press into the sensation. Dorian decided that was a bit brazen, given the circumstances and pressed down with the hand tangled in his shirt, forcing him to arch his back. From this position, he was denied the same delicious friction Dorian was treated to when he started rolling his hips upwards again.

Felix’s chest heaved. Ribs stretching obscenely with each breath. Tendons taught. Lean muscles a network of cable under his skin. Dorian watched him writhe, desperate for sensation until denying him became too painful.

He loosened his grip on the shirt and kissed him, the fever from the teen’s face heating his own skin.

“You’ll do whatever I want?” Dorian breathed the question into the younger boy’s mouth.

“Yes,” Felix answered immediately, anticipation boiling in his voice.

A slow grin stretched Dorian’s lips. “Yes, what?”

“Yes, sir,” Felix purred.

“In my room,” Dorian began, mouthing Felix’s jaw between words. “In the table by the bed.” He nipped the boy’s ear. “Left side.” He released him and gave his butt a light slap. Felix stumbled to his feet and hurried off.

He returned a few moments later, peering at the condom in his hand. “Um.” He held it out to Dorian, hand and voice shaking. “It’s expired.”

Dorian took hold of his wrist and nudged it back towards Felix. “Doesn’t matter. Put it on.”

Felix only stared at him, every part of that statement met with disapproval.

Dorian snatched him by the belt buckle and dragged him forward, eyes serious. “Put it on.

Felix swallowed thickly, unsteady hands descending to comply. Dorian only leaned back and watched.

The younger man managed to drop the condom twice while undressing. Definitely a virgin, then. Dorian tried to avoid them under normal circumstances. His disapproval was slammed into the back of his mind the moment Felix peeled his trunks down.

A shock of thick, black, curly hair rimmed the base of his erection. The shaft was pale and lean like the rest of him, supple foreskin pulling back from the dark pink glans. Dorian swallowed and licked his lips, watching the boy hold back the prepuce and roll the condom down his length.

Whatever it was Felix had been expecting, it wasn’t being pressed down on his knees. Dorian wrapped his legs around Felix, locking his feet against the crease of younger man’s inner knees. Using this leverage, he pulled him forward into another kiss. For the first time, the boy’s lips were uncertain, his body tense. His hands were pressed into the leather couch cushions on either side of Dorian’s knees, ready to push himself away.

So he wouldn’t do whatever Dorian wanted, the older man noted.

“Do you trust me?” Dorian asked.

Felix met his gaze and swallowed. “No.”

The larger man let out a short bark of laughter. “Smart.” And then he tangled his fingers in the boy’s hair, pulling his head back as he stole his mouth. Felix arched with the action, hands shifting to grip Dorian’s shirt.

He dropped his mouth to the boy’s neck. Every time he thought he nipped a little too hard, Felix pushed closer, his breathing heavy. It wasn’t until teeth closed on the meat of his shoulder that he yelped, but even that came out as more of a moan. Dorian settled on the range of pressure that made Felix eventually melt into an involuntary swaying of his hips. With his ankles pressing against the boys thighs, he dragged the boy closer until his pelvis was flush with the couch, firmly trapped between Dorian’s knees.

Fingers smoothed down Felix’s back, gripping the flesh of his buttocks, guiding him into a slow grind against the couch. He murmured into the stubble of Dorian’s jaw, hands finding the smooth leather of the holster. He sucked in a sharp breath as Dorian’s hand snaked between them, forefinger and thumb closing on Felix’s length. The contact was minimal and the teen mewled with need, his hips bucking. Dorian held the base of the condom securely and, using Felix’s thrusts to his advantage, angled his erection directly between two leather couch cushions.

He had expected some level of surprise. Hesitation. Maybe even him trying to pull away. Instead Felix only let out a shuddering breath against his ear. It almost seemed like relief. Dorian grinned and guided the boy’s thrusts with the legs wrapped around him and the hands on his rear. He shifted closer, weight increasing the pressure between the couch cushions and Felix outright moaned, hips jerking with abandon.

Dorian brought a hand up to grip the boy’s chin. He tipped his head back and watched his face closely. Color had bloomed all the way to his ears. His lips were a pressed line of focus. Eyes closed tightly. Brows furrowed.

“Jesus,” Dorian breathed. “You’re filthier than I expected.”

Felix’s eyes flew open, dark, black discs surrounded by dull green. His forehead dropped to Dorian’s shoulder as his last few thrusts lost all semblance of rhythm, his rich voice filling the room as the throws of orgasm gripped him.

He panted against Dorian, his fingers slowly loosening their hold on his holster, thighs twitching.

“Well,” he rasped. “The condom makes sense now.”

Dorian laughed. “They’re seriously all expired?” Felix nodded, still leaning against the larger man limply. “Damn.” He disentangled from Felix and stood, heading down the hall.

“Um,” the teen called from behind him. “What about you?”

“You haven’t earned it,” Dorian replied, dragging the bathroom door closed behind him.


He was self conscious about his walk all the way to his desk the next morning. The last thing he wanted was Mandy somehow catching on to the fact that he had an eighteen year old on retainer squirreled away in his house.

He had only just shrugged out of his coat when Sergeant Cagg poked his head out of his office.

“Chase. You’re on the follow-up interview for the Hawthorne case. Mind your ass and don’t piss off his lawyer. Spenser is your shadow for the day.”

Spenser looked up suddenly from his temporary desk against the wall. Chase and he exchanged looks. He wasn’t sure what Spenser had done to deserve it, but he knew what he had done the day before.

Chase sighed and pulled his jacket back on. “Lets go, FNG.”

Chase hated follow-up interviews after suspects made deals. It was a charade of niceties that served no other purpose than inflating the DA’s ego. The fact that Hawthorne had bank to blow on lawyers wasn’t going to help matters.

Hawthorne was waiting in a public conference room as if he weren’t a complete scumbag. He and his lawyer stood as Chase and Spenser stepped in the room.

“Detective Chase.” Smiley Maverick only nodded his head in Chase’s direction. Speaking of scumbags. No decent person was born named Smiley Maverick and decided to keep the name.

Chase hooked a thumb at Spenser. “This is Junior Detective David Spenser. I have his leash today.”

Spenser and Smiley awkwardly shook hands.

“Detectives,” James Hawthorne extended a hand with a smile. His watch hung limply from his wrist, likely solid gold and worth more than Chase’s car. Chase only regarded the outstretched hand for a moment and then sat down.

Spenser was king of the awkward hand shakes.

Smiley cleared his throat as everyone sat. “My client has agreed to cooperate fully with the investigation in exchange for judicial leniency. He has—of his own volition—agreed to supply the Mesquite police department with any and all details regarding the procurement of MDMA on the evening of April twenty-fourth.” He slid paperwork across the table to Chase and Spenser.

Chase clicked his pen, leaning over his note pad. “I want a name.”

Hawthorne glanced at his lawyer who gave a curt nod of approval. “Jason Mink.” Hawthorne supplied. “We met through an . . . acquaintance.”

Chase looked up at his use of the word, watching his face. “Acquaintance?” A smile and a shoulder twitch were the old man’s only response. Chase had the sudden urge to grab him by his stupid pink polo and slam his balding head into the table. He clicked his pen instead. “Who is this acquaintance?”

“Irrelevant to my client’s cooperation.” Smiley interceded. Chase gave him a look as Hawthorne continued.

“Jason is a partner at Pink Pansies. Everyone knows to ask for him,” the old man shrugged, palms up.

“Everyone?” Chase asked.

Hawthorne cleared his throat uneasily, glancing once again at his lawyer. “People who might be looking for that sort of thing.”

“What sort of thing?” Chase pressed.

Hawthorne’s jaw skewed and he shifted in his chair. “Ecstasy, detective.”

“So,” Chase pursed his lips and frowned, nostrils flaring. “Just sidle on down to the queer bar, ask for the hook-up on some candy for little boys?”

A flash of annoyance crossed Hawthorne’s face and he had opened his mouth to speak, but Smiley’s hand on his arm silenced him. “The allegations of indecency with a minor are not open for discussion, Detective Chase, and my client will not be tolerating slurs regarding his lifestyle.”

Chase tore his attention away from Hawthorne, fixing it squarely on Smiley. “It’s not a slur, you idiot. It is literally a queer bar. And it’s not a lifestyle, it’s an orientation. If I were remarking on his lifestyle I’d accuse him of ephebophilia.”

“OK,” Spenser cut in, patting Chase’s shoulder. “Do you have any other identifying information about Jason Mink that might help, Mr. Hawthorne?”

Hawthorne shifted uneasily and turned to address Spenser. “He’s around forty. Dark hair. Mustache. Tattoo of a sailor on his arm.”

Chase made sure he wasn’t the one to break eye contact with Smiley. Score one for the home team.

“Thank you for your cooperation, Mr. Hawthorne.” Spenser played the game well.

Chase rapped his knuckles on the table and stood. “We’ll be in touch.” He and Spenser were half way to the door when Chase abruptly turned and pointed at Smiley. “Oh, by the way, you should make sure your client knows that angry fathers in prison don’t care much about plea bargains. Ta!”

Spenser wiped sweat from his brow, keeping stride with Chase down the hall. “Did you have to ride his ass like that?”

Chase grimaced. “I wasn’t riding his ass. He would have liked it if I was anyway. It was pertinent investigative technique,” he gestured vaguely. “Did you see how he rolled his shoulder and swallowed when I asked about the acquaintance? Dollars to donuts that’s his hook up on the kids. And when I called them little boys he was genuinely insulted.”

“OK,” Spenser said, nodding as he took it all in. “What were you trying to get out of the lawyer?”

“Oh, Smiley? Nothing, he’s just a dick.” They rounded the corner into the hall office.

He handed the junior detective his note pad. “Write up everything he gave us and add it to the Hawthorne file. I’m gonna ask dad if I can go out this weekend.”

Sergeant Cagg was not keen on the idea. He was rarely keen on any of Chase’s ideas.

“We’re not going to get shit on him with a casual arrest,” Chase complained. “He’s dealing out of a goddamn club. He’s not going to be holding, it’s not going to be at his residence and there’s no way we’re getting a warrant for the club. We need to set up a deal.”

“It’s an uncontrolled environment, Chase!” Cagg rocked in his chair, squeezing the life out of a stress ball. “We’ll have no surveillance, a crowd of civilians and a cornered drug dealer. Are you out of your goddamned mind?”

“Wire me!” Chase exclaimed, arms open. “You know I can do this, Cagg. We can have this fuck arraigned by Monday.”

Cagg gripped the stress ball and chewed his cheek. “Put in the paperwork and I’ll think about it.”

“I could kiss you, Leroy.”

The Sergeant grimaced. “I said I’d think about it. Get out of my office.” Chase slid out the door nonchalantly.

He was in the break room, grabbing a cup of coffee before paperwork claimed the rest of his day when Officer Perry wheeled in, closing the door behind him.

“Let’s say my friend has gotten involved with a woman,” he began.

“This should be good,” Chase remarked.

“And this woman left heroine at his house and he found it.” Perry’s blue eyes were wide with panic. “And my friend wants to do the right thing, but he really likes this woman.”

Chase sipped his coffee. “Is this friend worried about how this would affect his job?”

“Very,” the middle aged cop replied.

Chase leaned against the counter thoughtfully. “Does your friend have a trash can?

Perry blinked. “Er . . . yes?”

“Then he throws away the smack. Every time. He gives her resources for getting clean, but beyond that,” he shrugged. “You can’t save someone who doesn’t want saving and eventually you just abandon a sinking ship.”

“You mean my friend,” Perry stressed.

“Right . . . your friend.” He sighed. “Look, Perry, you’re not a Mandatory Reporter for someone shooting up. Make sure she keeps it out of your house, don’t cover her ass and you’re fine.”

“What would you do?” Perry asked, looking slightly defeated.

“Doesn’t matter what I would do. We’re talking about your friend. Besides, I don’t date people blonder than me.”

Perry’s eyes widened in absolute horror. “How did you know she’s blonde?”

Chase stepped forward and pulled a long pale strand of hair from Perry’s uniform. The young officer only stared at it as Chase left the room.

A light rain was falling on the warm pavement; Chase’s car was wreathed in a fine mist, windows fogging. He sat in the driveway, his head back and eyes closed, listening to the quiet patter, smelling the clean earth.

The transition from work and home was as physical as it was mental. On the days where things got too personal, the ritual was the only thing that kept nightmares at bay. The only thing that kept him from coming back the next day with a mantle of vengeance. And today, the only thing that kept him from seeing Hawthorne’s face every time he thought of Felix.

When he finally stepped inside, he could hear Felix in the kitchen.

“What’s cookin’, good lookin’?” He stepped out of the entryway and froze.

Felix was standing at the breakfast counter inside the kitchen, giving Dorian a wary look. Seated at one of the stools in front of him was Mrs. Fairfax. She noted the young man’s expression and turned, smiling broadly at Dorian.

“There you are!” she exclaimed.

“Mrs. Fairfax,” Dorian began, shooting Felix a quizzical look. The teen only shrugged, looking at a loss. “Is there something wrong?”

“No, no,” she waved delicately, dark eyes creasing with a smile. “I baked you a pie, you see, but it seems I lost all track of the day. I thought it was Saturday! Your darling cousin was good enough to answer the door anyway.” She gave Felix a fond look. “He was simply indulging me for a spell, but I ought to be getting home.”

Dorian moved to help her down from the stool, his face only visible to Felix. “Cousin?”

The teen threw his hands up. “I didn’t know what to tell her!”

Dorian lead the small woman to the door, waving with a smile. He shut the door abruptly and turned on his heel.

“Diabolical!”

Felix frowned. “What? She seemed nice.”

“That’s what she wants you to think.” Dorian peered at her through the blinds as she shuffled across the driveway. “She must have seen you when we came back on Sunday and just waited for the right moment to pounce.”

“I don’t think she’s the pouncing sort,” Felix interjected.

Dorian spun suddenly. “The pie!” He pointed at the foil pie tin on the breakfast counter. “That woman is an arthritic mess, she didn’t bake me a pie.” He strode forward and lifted the tin, peering at the bottom. “Aha!” He ripped the price tag off and held it out to Felix. “Diabolical!”

Felix only stared for a moment, eyes tracking between the price tag on Dorian’s thumb and his accusatory expression. He laughed. “I don’t know which is worse; the fact that she devised this scheme or that you knew.”

Dorian’s eyes were pulled toward a splash of color. His expression dropped when he saw the line of bright red and purple bite marks all the way down the teen’s pale neck. A jolt went through him that was a confusing mix of concern and pride.

“I didn’t bite you that hard.”

Felix’s hand flew up to his neck and he looked away. “I bruise easily.”

The older man frowned, concern winning out. “Sorry. I’m sure Mrs. Fairfax gave you an earful.”

The teen shook his head. “She didn’t. I mean, she obviously saw them but didn’t say anything. And don’t be sorry, I . . .” he ventured a glance at Dorian, cheeks brightening, “. . . like them.”

Dorian arched a brow. “You like bruises?”

“I like remembering,” Felix muttered. Dorian swallowed. “Like this one.” The younger man hooked his fingers in the collar of his shirt, pulling it aside to show an angry purple splotch on his shoulder, its edges ragged and stark on pale flesh.

Dorian remembered that one.

Generally, he found hickeys and bite marks to be distasteful. They were a hallmark of sloppy teenage make-out sessions, evoking imagery of oily faces and gangling limbs, groping inexpertly. But on Felix . . . all he saw was echos of abandon, flesh marked and claimed. The boy’s body bore evidence of his yielding to the older man. And it drove him wild.

He came around the counter swiftly, grabbing Felix by the wrist and pulling, their mouths meeting partway through the motion. He gripped the teen’s buttocks through his jeans, enamored with how they were both soft and firm. Dissatisfied with a handful of denim, Dorian wedged a hand into Felix pants and was rewarded with supple flesh against his palm. He wasn’t wearing underwear. He moaned into Dorian’s mouth, rising up on his toes and arching his back into the touch. And all at once it wasn’t enough.

Dorian pulled away from the kiss, a heady growl on the edge of his voice. “You’re mine.” Felix’s eyes widened and he yelped with surprise as Dorian whipped his belt off.

The fabric belt relied on a double D-ring closure that was particularly useful when Dorian cinched it around the teen’s wrists. He had only begun to process that much when Dorian hooked his hands behind his thighs and lifted him straight off the floor.

His sudden panicked writhing made it clear he had never been handled in such a way before. His flushed cheeks and large pupils suggested he wasn’t wholly uncomfortable with the notion. His back was suddenly pressed against the countertop, his hips off the edge. His arms were above his head and Dorian pinned his bound wrists with one hand. From his tenuous position, he had to rely on Dorian’s hips to keep him on the counter. He wasn’t going anywhere.

Dorian leaned over the slight teen, free hand working slowly down his body as he watched him. “I could do this all day,” he mused.

Felix shuddered, tongue appearing to pull his bottom lip between his teeth. His brow furrowed and he tried to arch into the hand that was drifting lightly over his crotch, but he lacked leverage. Dorian repeated a pattern of feather light touches down the outline of the strained denim.

“Do you want more?” Felix mewled in response, hands wringing against the belt. “Use your words,” Dorian taunted.

“Yes,” Felix hissed. “Please.”

Dorian tapped a finger against the damp stain in the fabric, as if bored. “Yes, what?”

Yes, sir,” Felix whimpered.

Mollified, Dorian popped the button on the jeans and slipped his hand inside. Felix sucked in a breath, his head falling back, lost in sensation. His skin was smooth velveteen under Dorian’s rough fingers, Cowper’s fluid pooling in the flat of his hip. The older man’s thumb worked light, slick circles against the sensitive frenulum, glans cupped against his flexing palm, fingers pinning back pliant foreskin.

Felix turned his head, nonsense bubbling from his lips, breathing into the crook of his arm, desperate for intensity. And Dorian watched him with fascination. The way his thick, dark eyebrows tented and twitched. The way his eyelashes jutted sharply from tightly closed lids. The way his lips formed unspoken words. His cheek bones. His jaw. The sharp lines of tendon and muscle down his neck.

The pressure and pace increased slowly, Felix’s hips making every desperate motion he could manage from his position. The crest of sensation came over him gradually and crashed down all at once with blinding intensity. Orgasm seized his limbs, bound hands scrabbling for purchase as he cried out.

And the pie came crashing to the floor.

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