Short Circuit (Riders of Tyr #7)

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Acting

Nathan

I can’t tear my eyes off Stig as he is working on his laptop and there are a million reasons that I don’t. He is looking for info, forming a plan, getting all the details we need to make this work. At the same time, he is setting Anthony’s family, teaching the kid some shit I do not even attempt to understand. And he does by pulling on his lip ring all the fucking time. And as is his usual thing form what I gather, he is doing that without a tee on, barechested, the garden of his tattoed body on display.

“Hm,” I cough to get his attention but he doesn’t even blink.

I shake my head. Stig is in the zone. I have seen Ava go in the zone too while doing some magic on her own laptop but Stig is taking it to the next level. He barely blinks, he never averts his gaze from the screen and is capable of monitoring different shit running at the same time without even breaking a sweat. His fingers move on the keyboard so fast, I can barely see them.

“Fuck!” he gets up and rubs his neck.

“What’s wrong?”

“I need more time with this shit. We shouldn’t have had-”

He stops abruptly and looks at me. He doesn’t say it but he blames himself ever since we found out what was going down. That we lost time when we... spent the night together.

“We couldn’t have known,” I get close and whisper in his ear. “We thought this was an underground feud. The father was sure it was an inside job. We couldn’t have known.”

“It was a fucking mistake,” he hisses low so that Anthony doesn’t hear us.

I take a step back. Of all the bad things he has ever said to me the little time I have known him, this was the worst of them all.

“Don’t give me that look, Nathan, you know it was. All we had to do was come in and do our fucking job instead of just fucking. Fan!"

I bite down my jaw.

“Is this how you feel?”

“It fucking is!”

Ouch...

“And now...” He points at his computer. “I need more time. This isn’t a fucking movie. This shit takes time. I got nothing in place for this. And even if the Riders could be here in time, I am not sure going guns blazing is the right path to take with a kid in the middle. Fan! Fan!"

I swallow hard ignoring the bitter taste that goes down my throat as I do. I knew I had to let go of Stig at some point but I thought it would be somewhere between the lines of “nice fucking with you” and “it was great to spend time with you”. Didn’t see “I fucking regret it” coming.

I search his face but his mind is somewhere else as if he is calculating possibilities. I doubt he even realizes what he just said. Somewhere in the back of my mind, there is a voice that tells me that it’s his anxiety talking, the fact that he has almost overdosed on power drinks and the joint he lit to calm his nerves at the same time. That he doesn’t mean it.

He is right. This was supposed to be a partnership for a very specific reason. I should have never gone after this. I dug my own grave to laugh at his expense and look who’s laughing now. This is it then.

“What do you need?” I ask coldly.

“I need direct access to the mainframe.”

“How?”

“USB, email. But that takes time. Plant the USB, phish for the right email,” he grunts.

“So, you need a USB plugged into the right computer, right?”

He shakes his head.

“Right?”

“Right! I need my klubba on a computer, directly connected to the airport’s mainframe to control shit. Especially security footage. First to cover Anthony’s ass that he has taken care of this and then to actually be safe when we walk in.”

"Klubba?” I raise my eyebrows.

Stig chuckles and my whole body relaxes. I can’t stay mad at him for long when his face lights up like that. Fuck me but I will miss him...

“It means lollipop in Swedish. It’s a virus I designed.”

“Lollipop, huh?” I pull closer.

His eyebrow shoots up when he hears my voice drop a few octaves and getting hoarse as I instantly get hard. Just like that. Seconds ago I was writing him off and now I am this close to sucking him off.

His pierced tongue comes out to lick his lips and suddenly the idea of him sucking me off sounds even better. I try to keep it clean seeing we got a kid in the room but my look drops on the body he has on display. When my eyes meet his again, I see the same hunger taking over me. He sways to me slightly and I am ready to catch him and damn everything, scarring the kid and all.

“Hey, man, how do I-?” Anthony asks. “Everything cool?”

If somebody dropped a physical ice bucket on Stig he wouldn’t go cold so fast as he does now. He is Scandinavian after all. Cold is in his blood.

“Yeah, kid.” Stig steps away from me and sits on his spot.

Anthony goes from me to Stig a few times and purses his lips. He turns to his laptop but then pushes his chair away.

“You know,” the kid says and swallows, “if you two are... you know?”

My eyes widen. I look at Stig that freezes on the spot, unmoving.

“What, kid?” I am the first to snap out of it.

From my experience, what you are guilty of is the first thing that comes in your mind and it’s usually what gives you away. Half the time, the other person doesn’t even get close to what you are actually hiding so playing it cool is the best strategy.

“You know... If you are... Listen,” Anthony sighs, “my cousin... He was... He...”

Fuck...

“He,” Anthony takes a deep breath. “He has a boyfriend.”

And fuck again. I do not move a muscle. This is not my thing to say. If it was I would be as forthcoming as I am all my life. “Yes, kid, I am gay”. But Stig?

“All I am saying is that if you are together, I am cool. I,” he bites his jaw down. “I was cool with Sebastian as well. But I did nothing when they came for him.”

I stiffen.

“I mean, I was 11 but still...”

Stig finally moves. He turns to Anthony and studies him. Then he looks at me. The emotions I see flashing in his eyes got me spinning. From fear to hurt to determination, then to sorrow and guilt. And underneath it all, something else, something clear, strong.

“I appreciate it, kid,” Stig says.

“But you got it all wrong” I am expecting Stig to add.

“Though I wouldn’t call Nat here my boyfriend,” he chuckles.

What? What the fuck did just happen? I am stunned. Did Stig just admit to another living, breathing soul that he is gay? Anthony turns to me to confirm. I nod with a smile.

“Phew!” Anthony smiles. “For a moment there I thought I was imagining the tension. I am enough paranoid as it is. Now, I got in but how do I...?”

The two of them talk over their laptops and I am left there standing. This has been the weirdest, most intense minutes of my life and I have been backstabbed almost to death. I went from forlorn when Stig dismissed what we shared, then angry at him, then horny as fuck, then scared shitless, then surprised in the blink of an eye. And now?

Now I am fussing over that “I wouldn’t call Nat my boyfriend” thing. Sure, I am not his boyfriend that much I knew. We just fucked for a night, we do this then he is back to being a Rider, pretend amongst his brothers. Then why it stings so bad?

I shake my head. This is fucked up. I am a loner, always have been, my Dad taught me better than that. People are a liability. And Stig? Stig is a Rider to the core though I don’t get how he can feel accepted and at home when he is hiding that big a part of him.

“So, that drive.” I decide to focus on the mission. The sooner it’s done, the sooner he will be gone and I can go back to my normal life. “I can try to get it in.”

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