Provocation (18+)

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9. Prove A Point

After Leila had closed the door on Russ, she watched as he got into a waiting Lyft. She didn’t know why, but having sex with Russ seemed somehow... wrong. And she had no idea why of all times to have misgivings, it would be now.

She thought, at first, that maybe it was because she had met him before, but that hadn’t bothered her previously. He was a whore for sure, but she had bedded many of them as well. It could only really be one reason.

It was Nate. He was Nate’s friend and Russ... Russ was the kind that would say something to his friend. Boast even. And she didn’t need that shit. No more grease to oil the wheels of whatever Nate already thought about her.

Snuggling up on her couch with a pint of ice cream and some Netflix, she could still smell his spicy, expensive aftershave and it left a small, almost non-existent pang in her chest at a lost opportunity for getting some.

This was Friday. Why was she at home on a Friday night? And when was the last time this had happened? Not getting laid on a Friday night was unusual for her. It was like... like the vision of a pregnant Mother Theresa. Unbelievable.

She wondered what Jare was doing and how things were going with him and Mickey. Were they on or off again? Wanting to call him, she hesitated and decided to let him have his peace. Just because she wasn’t getting any, didn’t mean she had to interrupt him if he was.

Sighing, she put her spoon into the nearly empty carton of ice cream and set it down. It was one of those lonely nights... the ones she hated the most. The one where she thought of all the things that she regretted and then chastised herself for them. For hours on end it seemed.

Maybe an action movie would distract her. Noise and destruction were tonic to her soul on nights like this.

But all throughout the movie and watching Dwayne Johnson kick some serious ass, her mind kept flashing back to Russ and Nate and the looks on their faces.

Both disappointed- but for completely different reasons.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“Thought you were going to be out late getting some,” Nate growled out when Russ came sauntering into his bedroom at the Charles estate.

“And I thought you didn’t want to hear about where my dick’s been,” Russ reminded him. “I’m leaving in a few days, so I thought I’d spend some time with you while I was here. Since I know you ain’t getting any, I figured I’d find you at home being a good little boy.”

“Fuck off,” Nate told him and stretched out on his bed. “It’s late. What the fuck are you doing here? Why aren’t you getting your dick wet as we speak?”

“Well, if I was doing that, it certainly wouldn’t be right here in front of you, asshole,” Russ told him goodnaturedly and leaned up against Nate’s old childhood dresser. Nate hadn’t thought to get new furniture yet, not now when he was in the process of looking for a place of his own. He could purchase new items when he had his own place. “Besides- who’s to say I haven’t already laid pipe and am simply coming over to gloat about it in front of you?”

Rolling his eyes, Nate exhaled and looked over at his friend. They had nothing in common except for both being the same sex and Nate wondered how they had become so close despite that fact.

“If you’re going to gloat, then get it over with,” Nate told him.

“Hush, child,” Russ crooned. “A good gloat cannot be hurried. It must be savored, cherished.”

“Dear God,” Nate grumbled.

“How’s the hunt for a decent wage, good Sir?” Russ asked him, changing the subject.

“I’ve... well, I’m interviewing on Monday at Kintech, but I’ve as good as got the job so long as Aiden says I do.”

“Outstanding. So you’re father’s passing everything down to you these days?” Russ asked, arching a brow.

“Fuck off, Russ.”

“Just sayin’, bro,” Russ said. “I know you can handle whole businesses, so being CFO of only one company should be a walk in the park for you.”

“Well, thanks, I guess.”

“Now... about that gloat,” Russ began.

“Oh, Lord...”

“I was with the lovely Leila earlier this evening,” Russ told him, eagerly awaiting his friend’s response. It didn’t disappoint him.

Nate’s body stiffened, heart rate increasing as he waited for Russ to say more. So much more. Everything he dreaded. Fuck.

“And?”

“What do you mean ‘and’?” Russ asked. “A single man hanging out with Leila only leads to one thing. Well, unless they’re gay or... you, or whatever.”

“You fucked her?” His voice came out louder than he intended and he winced at it, hoping no one in the house was in the hallway or nearby enough to hear him.

“And what if I did? Would that irritate you, my friend?”

“No.” Nate’s jaw twitched, betraying the lie. His cheeks were a flaming red to boot, as were the tips of his ears.

“She has... quite the nice body,” Russ said slowly. “Nice rosy pink nipples...”

“Russ...” Nate’s voice held a warning in it.

“Did you know she is completely shaved? Not even a strip of hair on that delectable little-”

“Shut. UP!” Nate growled out.

“I never knew one so... experienced could still be so tight. Well, maybe it’s my enormous horse cock that made her feel that snug, but-”

Russ stopped as Nate’s body knifed up from the bed and he stalked over to his friend.

Russ, for his part, didn’t flinch when Nate got in his face, left eyelid twitching and a definite angry tremble to his body.

“I didn’t fucking touch her,” Russ told him, smirking.

He watched as Nate looked first confused then... relieved. And his whole body relaxed significantly.

Russ’ mouth turned up with a small smile and his eyes gleamed in the dim light of the room.

“Why? Why the fuck would you do that?” Nate asked, voice low but deadly sounding.

“To see if my hypothesis was right,” Russ answered blithely.

“What hypothesis, Pythagoras?”

“The one where I prove that you’ve got it bad for her. Always have,” Russ said simply, waiting for Nate’s predictable denial.

“No,” Nate simply said, his eyes narrowing to slits, the twitch still there.

“Oh... but, yes,” his friend disagreed. “And I know for a fact that at one point she had a thing for you too. Maybe still does...”

“What? When?”

“Ages ago when she was in her teens,” Russ told him, waving his question away. “She said that you got too big for your britches and started to act like the prick you are now. Doesn’t surprise me. Pretty is as pretty does, my friend.”

“Yeah, well she probably hates me now,” Nate told him, irritated more at himself than anything. It was his fault, after all.

“Oh... I dunno,” Russ told him. “Maybe she still holds a little spark of her old feeling towards you. Why else would she decline when I offered to fuck her into next Tuesday?”

That stopped Nate from his methodical pacing on the carpet of his room.

“You tried to fuck her?”

“Not really,” Russ said. “I really put the offer out there only to see what she would say. If I truly intended to fuck her, I would still be in her bed with her moaning my name and writhing underneath me.”

Nate closed his eyes, trying to pry the vision of Leila in bed with Russ from his mind. His friend was a royal asshole sometimes.

“I fucking hate you,” Nate told the man.

“You’re gonna love me pretty soon,” Russ retorted.

“Not possible,” Nate said.

“Just you wait and see, buddy.”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

“It’s yours if you want it,” Aiden told him, putting his hand out to the young man.

“You’re not saying this because of D- Harry, are you?” Nate asked, looking a bit dubiously at Kintech’s CEO.

“Nathan, I have had four other candidates come in alone today with three times the experience you’ve put in and only one of them with half the skills you have. The others...” Aiden released some air from his mouth. “The others I wouldn’t allow to petsit my goldfish, much less handle the money that keeps my family fed.”

Thinking again on those words, Aiden frowned. He wouldn’t want any of them watching a goldfish either, for that matter. They seemed all numbers and no substance. He needed someone who could think outside the box, not just within it.

“And you’re sure about this?” Nate asked, still waiting for the other shoe to drop.

“Absolutely,” Aiden told him with a wide smile. “Do you want to think about it for a few days? Harry’s here ’til the end of the month at the latest. I can give you a week to think about it if you like.”

Nate let out a slow exhale. Did he need to think about it? Not really. His father had managed businesses abroad and working for Kintech at the same time. He was sure he could do it as well.

“No, I don’t need any time,” Nate told him, holding out his hand. “I’ll take it. Thank you.”

Aiden gave him a week before he had to start and Nate would be working alongside his father at first to get into the swing of how things worked at Kintech. Business abroad was different from the U.S. in several ways, to say the least.

In the meantime, Nate settled on steering clear of any talk of the upcoming wedding for his sister and her fiancee. He liked Carl well enough, but flower arrangements and seating charts were not his things.

In all honesty, if working with his Dad kept him from having to help decide whether the linens should be 500 thread or Egyptian cotton, he would take work any day.

All in all, he was irritated with Russ calling him out the week before. He had seen him off at the airport as a good friend should, but the man’s knowing smile and cocky demeanor irritated the shit out of him. He acted like he knew something Nate didn’t.

And he didn’t.

Leila may have had a fleeting crush on him when she was younger, but that was neither here nor there and Nate was only angry because... because...

He couldn’t come up with a very good reason why he was angry. Maybe because he felt women should have a bit more decorum. Maybe because she was best friends with Violet.

Or maybe because somewhere, deep inside, Russ was right and he had never gotten over his feelings toward Leila.

All Nate knew was that it irritated him to the depths of his soul that Leila was so free with her kisses and caresses and... so much more with the male population of the Bay.

And why that rankled him... he didn’t want to think about any further than he wanted to talk about tuxes for the wedding and shiny dress shoes that would reflect the asshole in the mirror back at him.

Author’s note:

To read ahead and get chapters 10: No Pity and 11: Straight And Narrow, subscribe to my Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/RKKnightlybooks. All my stories are updated there first about 1-2 weeks ahead of here.

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