Chapter Nineteen – A Bit Of Trouble
Aidan was in deep, deep trouble. What was he to do about Heathcliff’s direct confession? At least, he believed it to be a confession, and it wasn’t right to think it so. For some reason, Heathcliff continued his game of driving Aidan nuts and seemed utterly oblivious to how that made his bed partner of convenience feel.
In all truth, he felt pretty damn good. Having Heathcliff tell him that he liked him was a remarkable achievement. It had to be, although Aidan wondered if that was something Heathcliff told anyone who ended between the sheets with him.
To protect himself, he had laughed it off. At least, for now, while they were having a so-called business lunch, he could focus on work. That was easier said than done. Heathcliff looked at him from across the table with all knowing eyes. Most probably, it was written all over him that he was falling for his charge fast.
He coughed and tried to bring Heathcliff around to what he needed him to hear.
“You will have to be a little more pro-active in how you promote the product,” he explained. “They want you to drink it in front of the camera, praise its qualities, you know the drill.”
Heathcliff frowned. “It would look a bit pushy, don’t you think? People understand I must earn a living, but if I try to stuff this thing down their throats --”
“Wouldn’t they think you a hypocrite if you advertised a product and you didn’t try it?” Aidan quirked an eyebrow, hoping he looked serious enough and Heathcliff wouldn’t derail him with innuendo and why not.
But it looked like Heathcliff was all business, too. He leaned back into his chair and crossed his arms over his chest. “I suppose you have a point. But I did taste the product, and I must say it tastes like any generic drink of this type. I won’t tell a blatant lie. When I tell my subscribers that my videos are sponsored, it’s one thing. But if I began blabbing about how this drink will get them ten-inch cocks or D cups, depending on what they’d like to have, that would be true hypocrisy.”
Aidan knew Heathcliff was right, but he still needed to do his job. “You’re not advertising some male enhancement product,” he said thinly. “These shakes are useful for people who work out regularly.”
“I’d rather they took their protein from fresh, clean sources, not off the shelf in the form of a generic shake,” Heathcliff replied calmly.
“Oh, sorry, Mr. I-have-plenty-of-time-to-cook-every-meal, but that’s not feasible for most people,” Aidan pointed out.
Heathcliff looked at him, a bit surprised. “That’s a pretty good argument. Okay, I’ll give it to you. You have a point. Still, you need to meet me in the middle. Everyone knows I don’t drink protein shakes. Everything about me is one hundred percent natural. No shortcuts.”
Aidan threw Heathcliff a brief look. Didn’t he know that first hand? “Your ego, too?” he said, instead of voicing how right he believed Heathcliff to be on this topic.
“Hitting below the belt, bunny boy?” Heathcliff leaned over the table and whispered while his deep blue eyes set on Aidan, making him blush. “You dragged me here, to this place, per your boss’s instructions, and told me we should keep it business-like. Don’t worry; two can play this game.”
Aidan recoiled from the accusation. Of course, Heathcliff was right. “I apologize. It was uncalled for. And you do make a strong point. Please, tell me, what would you suggest?”
“Get me the complete list of ingredients. I will break them down for the people watching, and explain why the shakes your company sells could be used as a replacement, from time to time, to healthy, complete meals. I will still insist on the importance of clean eating and cooking at home. I would present busy people with an alternative, but not any of that mumbo-jumbo with how amazing the product is. I won’t turn into an infomercial monkey. And, yes, in case you’re wondering, not even for the sake of your pretty eyes.”
“Ouch,” Aidan pursed his lips, “you do know how to hit back, don’t you?”
“Of course I do,” Heathcliff said with satisfaction. “You can ask anything of me, and by that, I mean anything that’s not work-related.”
“Really?” Aidan cocked one head to the side. “What if I want you to come with me to karaoke and make a fool of yourself in front of strangers by singing out of tune? Will you do that?”
“Is that your idea of a date? I must warn you; I’m a pretty good singer.”
“Of course you are.” Aidan shook his head. There was no way to win against this guy. He had way too many aces up his sleeves. “Okay, I will take this idea to the higher-ups, and I’ll see what they say. After that, I’ll get back to you, and then you can offer your input once again. What do you say?”
“You didn’t answer my question.”
Aidan blinked. “What question?”
“Is going to karaoke your idea of a great date? Do you like karaoke?”
“I do like karaoke, but there’s no --”
“Let’s go then.”
“What? Now?” Aidan asked, alarmed.
“No, my perfect little professional employee. Some evening. You pick the time.”
Aidan exhaled. “Okay. Now --”
“Hey, Heath, long time, no see!” Someone interrupted him mid-sentence.
The newcomer ignored Aidan entirely and looked like he was about to climb into Heathcliff’s lap. Aidan glanced at him while trying to figure out what the best course of action would be, given the circumstances.
The man looked like the usual type Heathcliff was known to take to bed. He wasn’t Matt or Heathcliff’s friend from the birthday party, but he was as drop-dead gorgeous as them. Aidan could feel his chest hurting a little as he stared at the newcomer and Heathcliff. Now that looked like the perfect picture.
Which was two gorgeous men conversing in a fancy restaurant, looking like they were about to leave together and enjoy each other, as it was normal - that was what Aidan saw. If he needed a wakeup call, it was right in front of his eyes. For now, Heathcliff liked him, but just as much he liked this guy and dozens of others. As amazing as he was as a person and a fitness trainer, Heathcliff Stone was a playboy, a player, and Aidan had no business to believe him. He looked down, finding for the time being, more interesting to stare at his fingernails than pay any attention to what was happening across from him.
“Hi,” Heathcliff said to the newcomer. “Sorry, it seems my memory is slipping ... What’s your name?”
Aidan looked up at Heathcliff over the table. He was so nonchalant in his admittance of not remembering the other man’s name. The newcomer didn’t seem to care.
“Oh, Heath, you’re such a teaser!”
That Aidan had to agree with him.
“It’s Han; how could you forget?” The guy touched Heathcliff’s forearm teasingly, just with the tips of his fingers.
“I know a lot of people. It happens,” Heathcliff said without - at least Aidan saw it that way - one ounce of remorse.
Han seemed to be pretty dense. He just laughed at Heathcliff’s dismissal and continued. “Anyways, I was so dying to see you again. How about we hang out? Unless you’re busy,” he threw over his shoulder while looking briefly at Aidan. “Sorry, you guys were in a business meeting, right? I could tell after the formal ... everything,” he gestured around, at the papers spread on the table.
Aidan made a move to pick them up. “We were just finishing here,” he said with a perfunctory smile.
Heathcliff placed one hand over the papers. “No, we weren’t.”
Aidan looked at him and instantly felt a small chill. Heathcliff’s eyes were hard, and no trace of his usual playfulness could be seen in them.
“Ah,” Han interjected, completely oblivious to the silent exchange taking place in front of his eyes. “Call me later?”
“I don’t think so,” Heathcliff replied, without taking his eyes off Aidan.
Heathcliff finally moved his eyes away, allowing Aidan to breathe. “Can’t you take a hint?”
“Wow, someone’s in a mood,” Han replied and took a small step back. “Never mind. I’m back in town. Give me a call when you’re less busy. Bye!”
Aidan had to give it to Han. He knew how to make an honorable retreat. The blue eyes returned to him, and he gulped. He had a feeling he wouldn’t like what Heathcliff wanted to say next. So he hurried to be the first to speak.
“Why did you have to be so rude with Han?” he asked.
“Why do you care? Is he a friend of yours?” Heathcliff said smoothly.
“No, he is one of yours.”
“No, he’s not.”
“Well, at least, you were acquaintances. And I thought you were nice to everyone.”
“I’m not nice to people pestering me. You should know that. But let’s talk about something else that annoys me. Why are you so quick to abandon the ship? Are you my real babysitter or what? Is enough for some random dude to walk over and you’re ready to hand me over?”
“Wow.” Aidan put both his hands up. “Why are you so upset? I thought you liked handsome men.”
Heathcliff seemed to ponder over what he would say next. “Is this business lunch over?”
Aidan could not fathom what the hell had gotten into Heathcliff. The man was a sight when he was pissed, his eyes cold, yet burning, his handsome face cut in stone. Aidan could not recall ever seeing him like this. He hated to leave things in such a state of affairs and go to work earlier than estimated, but he doubted he could deal with Heathcliff at the moment. Aidan didn’t know him well enough.
“I guess,” he said with a sigh. “I’ll tell my boss about your request, and get back to you with his input in a few days, I believe. Sometimes he takes a while to decide on things he believes important. What are you doing? This business lunch goes on the company’s tab!”
He tried to wrestle Heathcliff over the bill, as while he was busy talking, the waiter had materialized next to their table. It was no surprise that Heathcliff managed to fight him off without a problem.
Heathcliff said nothing, but after sending the waiter away with his usual smile, he stood up brusquely.
Aidan hated this, whatever it was. He needed to say something and find out what the hell was going on, but he could not find the right words.
“Come. We’re going back home,” Heathcliff said shortly.
Aidan traipsed behind Heathcliff out of the restaurant, his heart beating faster, no idea why.
Heathcliff was getting a bit annoyed with Aidan. So, after being told right to his face the naked truth, bunny boy still didn’t believe him to be serious. Yes, that had happened fast, so fast actually that it had taken him by surprise, too.
But he was no confused teenager, and he knew what he wanted, which was for Aidan to understand that he was telling the truth. How hard could that be? Okay, so he had the reputation of a playboy, and it didn’t help that Aidan had seen him at work firsthand. He was honest, though, and he hadn’t ever told anyone he liked him. He had praised his bed partners for many things, and he had been courteous, but he had never said those words.
The whole thing was starting to feel a little frustrating. Was he moving too fast? It didn’t feel like that. For him, things were simple. And Aidan liked him back, and just had to say it, not flippantly, not as a joke.
Maybe he needed to move forward to the next stage and drag Aidan after him. As things were, they would not get anywhere.
Heathcliff needed more than hot sex to convince Aidan he was the real deal. That would come later, he thought, as he looked out the car window while Aidan was driving them back to his place. For now, hot sex still had to do.
Aidan was unsure whether it was a good idea to deal with Heathcliff right now. He shook his head. What was he afraid of, anyway? Heathcliff was just a spoiled fitness guru, and he needed to see that his constant teasing didn’t work. It wasn’t like Aidan to back down, so he had to set things right, once and for all.
“What exactly made you act like that at the restaurant?” he asked, without any introduction, as soon as they were inside.
Heathcliff didn’t answer. Instead, he pulled Aidan into his arms fast, locking their lips together. It wasn’t fair, Aidan thought, as he felt like eyelids fluttering and the usual response growing inside him with Heathcliff’s firm touch. One hand was in his hair, making a fist, not hurtful, but a warning, nonetheless, and the other arm was wrapped around his waist, keeping him close to the other.
If things were this simple. Aidan pulled Heathcliff closer, as it was the only thing he could think of. He barely kept a gasp, as Heathcliff hiked him up into his arms, leaving Aidan no choice but to use his legs as leverage and wrap them around the other’s midsection.
His back was against the wall, and they were dry humping, but Aidan couldn’t say he was complaining. Heathcliff’s mouth was hot on his, and it made him dizzy with desire. In short, it wasn’t fair.
He was breathing hard when Heathcliff let his mouth free.
“Aidan,” Heathcliff said, his blue eyes still burning, “is it that hard to believe that I like you and only you?”
He gulped, feeling his throat getting tighter and tighter, threatening to cut his air supply. “I … really?”
“Yes, really. I know what you’re thinking. That any moment, I’ll kick you at the curb, and there will be another guy in my bed, like usual.”
“You’re right,” Aidan admitted. “But you can’t blame me for it. I mean, it’s part of who you are, right? This playboy persona.”
Heathcliff rocked his hips slowly, making their crotches rub together. Aidan licked his lips and closed his eyes for a second. “It’s just sex, isn’t it?”
“You’re asking me this like you’re about to cry,” Heathcliff replied.
Aidan’s eyes snapped open. “Screw you, Stone. No one’s crying.”
“I know,” Heathcliff said with a small smile. “I’m just teasing you. But I need you to look at me and understand.”
“If you want that, put me down, and stop teasing me. How will I go to work with this raging boner?”
Heathcliff chuckled. “I believe that’s no challenge for you. I know you to be perfect in every way,” he whispered the last words into Aidan’s ear, making him shiver.
“Seriously, Stone. How can I believe you when you’re like this all the time?”
“Like this how?” Heathcliff pulled back only a fraction so that they could stare into each other’s eyes.
“You’re overwhelming,” Aidan stated. “I’m a complete noob, okay, I admit it, and you’re playing in the big league. It’s enough for you to touch me and I … just completely come undone.”
“Wow, I didn’t know you were this easy,” Heathcliff said with a smirk.
“Apparently I am,” Aidan replied and frowned.
He was getting a bit weary with Heathcliff’s taunts.
“Elaborate,” Heathcliff demanded directly.
“You’re you.” Aidan sighed. “Handsome, no, gorgeous, okay? Famous. Dozens of conquests under your belt. And I’m me. Normal. Ordinary. Maybe adequate. And also someone who’s never been in this sort of situation. How do you think this feels for me?”
Heathcliff wasn’t smiling anymore. He slowly put Aidan down and moved away. Aidan looked after him, feeling all helpless and vulnerable. If Heathcliff sent him out the door that very instant, he would go. And with all the due regrets, it would be the right thing.
“What would you like me to do?” Heathcliff asked.
Aidan blinked and stared at the other for a while. “What do you mean?” he barely managed to say.
“I understand where you’re coming from. And that’s why I suggest something else. Let’s play by your rules.”
“My rules? I’m not sure I have any.”
“So make them as we go. I do like you, Aidan, and I want you to see it. So, what would make you happy right now?”
Could he really believe Heathcliff? He wasn’t smiling or joking anymore. So, maybe he was serious. But Aidan was not some fool to think that Heathcliff Stone was in the mood to change for him and suddenly become all monogamous.
“I think I should go back to work,” he said stiffly.
Heathcliff didn’t look at him. He just made a gesture, pointing the door to Aidan with the open palm, inviting him to leave. It felt wrong to walk away like this, but Aidan knew that it had to be the right thing. It was like two parts of him were pulling him apart, each one in the opposite direction. Something stupid, like a verse from a song telling that the heart always told the truth, came to mind. He shook it off.
So, it had come to an end, after all. He would not cry over spilled milk. Slowly, he moved and walked through the door, without a word. Out of the house, he looked up, in a small effort to clear his head. The bright summer sky seemed to mock him.
He was a complete mess on the inside. The last thing he needed was for his boss to give him a lecture. Apparently, he was in for one, anyway.
“Spark, can’t you just control this man?”
“He does have a point, sir,” he replied, feeling tired and in no mood to take his boss’s bullshit, too. “His followers and subscribers believe in him because he’s always honest.”
“He was fussy about accepting our offer. He’s a money grabber like anyone else,” his boss replied sharply.
Aidan knew that wasn’t fair. Heathcliff’s agent hadn’t negotiated some impossible deal. It looked like his boss found it very convenient to overlook the fact that Heathcliff advertising their product saved them big money in marketing spending.
“I think it would convince plenty of people that what we’re selling is of good quality. Having someone like Heathcliff Stone explain the benefits of our shakes is ideal. It would not be just an exaggerated ad. People don’t believe in such things nowadays, anyway.”
His boss was staring at him over the tent made by his hands. “Are you questioning advertising methods that have been working for years, Spark?”
Aidan squared his shoulders. “Yes, I am, sir. With all due respect.”
“Let’s make it interesting then.” His boss stood up and rummaged through a folder case. “I want to see these numbers by the end of the quarter.”
Aidan looked at the graphs and frowned. At first glance, the task seemed impossible. But he had faith in Heathcliff and his ability to convince people. The guy’s honesty was one of his biggest perks.
“Get me this, and next year, that creative position will be yours.”
“And if I don’t?” Aidan looked up, staring his boss into his eyes.
“Then you will toil for greatness from the position you presently occupy for a couple more years.”
“No moment like the present, Spark,” his boss interrupted his thoughts. “What will it be? Do you have it in you to put our advertising asset, aka Heathcliff Stone, to work? Or do you think you still have more to learn and it would serve you to be the office’s workhorse for a while?”
“I would like that list of ingredients, sir,” Aidan said instead of a direct reply.
His boss slammed the desk in satisfaction. “That’s the attitude, Spark! You’ll have it by the end of the day! Dismissed!”
Aidan had a mind to ask how come they didn’t have the list of ingredients somewhere around. Maybe he could just glean over it by getting one of those shakers. Funny thing, no one in the office drank them.
“What are you dallying for?” his boss asked, seeing how he remained unmoved.
“Don’t we have the list of ingredients here, at the headquarters?”
“We’re doing this by the book, Spark!” the man barked. “We’ll have the list that is certified by our research lab, not just the fine print from the product.”
“Why? Isn’t that complete?”
“It’s not official enough, Spark. How long have you been with us? Aren’t you familiar with our protocols already?”
Protocols. Sort of the most significant thing the big kahuna cared about. Aidan nodded quickly. There was no need to enrage his boss with his hesitations.
“I understand, sir,” he said while standing up and catching his hand right in time before he ended up saluting like a soldier.
Now the only problem was to interact with Heathcliff. There was nothing left between them of whatever had been until then, but they could maintain a professional relationship. At least, he hoped so.
“What’s happening?” Michael questioned him. “I only do house calls like this when there’s a serious situation,” he added jokingly.
Heathcliff wasn’t in the mood to laugh, no matter how much he appreciated his friend’s sense of humor. “Aidan is driving me nuts. He doesn’t believe me! Can you believe it?” he said, throwing his arms in defeat.
“Actually, I do,” Michael said matter-of-factly.
“Not you, too.” Heathcliff groaned and covered his eyes.
“Hey, if you didn’t think so too, you wouldn’t have called me.”
Heathcliff sighed deeply. “Yeah, that’s right. You’re the romantic, Michael. How do you do it? I mean, do your boyfriends believe you when you tell them that you like them?”
“I tell them I love them, which is a different thing,” Michael replied.
“Love.” Heathcliff snorted. “It’s too strong a word. It would sound phony, and I don’t love Aidan. I just like him very, very much. It’s not like me to lie.”
“You may not love Aidan yet,” Michael pointed out, “but you’re obviously falling for him.”
“We’re not fifteen,” Heathcliff groaned, “no one’s falling for anyone.”
“Really? Then what’s with the rush? Why don’t you just have fun with Aidan while it lasts?”
“I want more than just have fun! I want him to believe him when I tell him that I like him!” Heathcliff gestured with his hands.
“Hey, take a chill pill, will you?” Michael leaned into his chair. “Let’s say Aidan believes you. What do you expect to happen next?”
“For him to tell me the same.”
“He did tell you the same.”
Heathcliff pursed his lips while looking at his friend. “Yeah, he did. But it’s not enough.”
“All right, back to the previous question. What would you like to happen next? So you two like each other … let’s take it from there.”
“I want him to fall for me.”
“Okay, stop it right there. Where did ‘no one’s falling for anyone’ go? Your words, not mine.”
“I was talking about me,” Heathcliff said curtly.
“OMFG,” Michael started laughing, “you’re afraid you will end up more in love with him than he in love with you! Okay, excuse me while I do a little victory dance.”
Heathcliff looked at his friend with murderous eyes as Michael stood up from his chair and dabbed or something like that. “Are you finished with your antics? And what kind of victory dance is that?”
“A short version,” Michael said promptly while sitting back into his chair. “I knew you wouldn’t appreciate it.”
“I don’t,” Heathcliff replied. “Now could we return to my current predicament?”
“There’s no predicament. You’re just a bit of a selfish ass. But I’ll help you since you’re my best friend and I would really like to be your best man at the wedding. I have a feeling that role would suit me.”
“Again, with that.” Heathcliff sighed and looked up like he needed to beg the heavens to give him the patience to deal with Michael. “No one gets married, don’t worry. I need Aidan to like me back.”
“I thought you wanted him to love you. Big difference and not only of semantics, Heath,” Michael said.
“Okay,” he admitted, his irritation growing. “Will you help me or not? We didn’t part today on best terms, and I have a feeling I’m losing him.”
“Did you two have a fight? Over what?”
“Over him not believing me. That’s the only thing we don’t seem to agree on. He would throw me to the first guy that came to me, can you even imagine that?”
Michael shook his head with mirth. “I have the perfect advice for you. Let your bunny breathe a little. Everything happens a bit fast; don’t you think?”
“Fast? I had to stop you from going on one knee on three different occasions. And I was right.”
“You were,” Michael admitted with a big sigh. “None of them was the one for me. The question is: is Aidan the one for you?”
Heathcliff nodded shortly. “As we speak, yes.”
“Okay, then here’s my take. Aidan must feel overwhelmed, having someone famous and well known for his sexcapades all over him, telling him how much he likes him.”
“Are you psychic?” Heathcliff stared at his friend in disbelief. “That’s about what he told me.”
“I’m not psychic; I just have an ounce of common sense.”
Heathcliff grimaced. “All right. Go on.”
“So stop overwhelming him. Show him that you enjoy his company outside the bedroom.”
“We did go out for ice cream.”
It was Michael’s turn to look up at the sky, praying without words.
“Show a bit of restraint, Heath. Don’t mention anything about how much you like him for a while. Let things happen naturally. He’ll come around. You’ll see. In the meantime, show him why you deserve to be looked at as more than just some playboy with the sole agenda of fucking as many guys as possible within the shortest time. Think of this as a marathon, not a sprint.”
“Okay,” Heathcliff admitted. “So I should stop telling him that I like him.”
“And pressuring him into responding to that. C’mon, Heath. It should be easy for you. Just have fun, the two of you.”
“Outside the bedroom.”
“And inside it. No one says that you two should be like monks or something. Just tone it down. You’re scaring the boy.”
“Okay, that sounds like good advice. But what if he believes that I’m not serious about him?”
“What he believes tells you what you need to do. Make him believe that you’re serious. You must do the whole enchilada. Friends, family, long talks about the virtues of decaffeinated coffee --”
“No one drinks coffee in this house.”
“You know what I mean. Talk to him. About everything. Make him part of your life, for real. Then he will see his place in it.”
“That should be tough since he’s always caught up in that demanding job of his.”
“Quantity is not everything. Spend quality time with him.”
“You sound like a glossy magazine, Mikey,” Heathcliff said, with a smile.
“Maybe I do. But that’s the whole point.”
“How come you’re not in a relationship, the kind you want to be in, Mikey?” Heathcliff asked, now feeling a little better.
Michael sighed. “I don’t seem capable of finding the right guy.”
“Do you really have to ask? You’re the one who saved me from three marital suicide attempts.”
“I’m sorry. I did what I thought to be best for you.”
“Don’t be sorry. You were right on all three occasions. The first was cheating on me, the second had a serious drug problem, and the third … well, I guess he thought it would be a good scheme to marry me for money. So, all in all, I have you to thank, despite whatever unpleasant words I had in store for you while being all caught up in rosy dreams of marital bliss.”
“So who’s now on the chopping block?” Heathcliff joked, to lighten the atmosphere for a bit.
He hated it when Michael went all gloomy. There were drawbacks to being a hopeless romantic. Michael didn’t want to see the bad in people when he liked them. Otherwise, he was a relatively good judge of character. But when he was love-struck, he tended to behave like nothing could go wrong in his relationship. Heathcliff had had a tough time with him on a few occasions.
“No one. And I think I’ll just have fun for a while.”
“Are you just going to hook up? You?” Heathcliff grinned. “I’ve never thought I’d live to see the day.”
“I don’t need to cruise dating apps, you ass,” Michael said playfully. “There’s a new dancer. Don’t smile like that. He didn’t sleep with me to get the job. He did it after.”
“So, how come you’re not rushing on one knee?”
“I don’t feel the need. This guy is good in the sack, but otherwise, we have nothing in common. Actually, we’re a bit at odds. He’s a stubborn and quite opinionated prick.”
“And how come you two ended up doing the horizontal cha-cha?”
“I wish I had a good explanation for that. But one moment, we were arguing over something, that people could hear us through the door, and the next, I was taking him over the desk.”
“You did it in your office? Kinky.” Heathcliff smirked.
“Yeah. And the next one, we were back to arguing.”
“So what’s the deal with him?”
“He did ballet. I try to explain to him we’re in a different vein of entertainment. He’s so full of himself, I want to strangle him a little.”
“I suppose he’s hot.”
Michael smiled. “That he is. But don’t worry. This is one relationship that you won’t have to save me from.”
“So, was it a one-time thing or more?” Heathcliff questioned.
“Funny thing, from Saturday until today, we fucked three times. We’re still arguing over how we should do things. If it’s someone to cure me of my hopeless romanticism, he should be the one.”
“Whatever works for you, my friend. But wait, didn’t you go on a date yesterday?”
“Don’t remind me. It was just a disaster and a failed attempt. I was expecting that, though. For now, screwing my employee, as bad as that sounds, will have to do.”
Heathcliff chuckled. “It sounds like you’re already in a relationship with this guy.”
“It’s nothing of the kind. And I shouldn’t even say this. I might have screwed him, but he’s the one screwing with my head. Or, at least, trying to. So, if you don’t need me, I need to meet him again and go over his routine. If he continues to bug me, he won’t spend a lot of time as my employee.”
“Make sure to fuck his brains out until you give him notice then.”
“Now that sounds like good advice, too,” Michael replied with a small smile.
It felt right to hear Michael talk like that. When it came to relationships, Michael was just too intense. A little fun couldn’t hurt him. In the meantime, he needed to play his cards right with Aidan because somewhere, somehow, he had failed.
“I do have the list for you,” Aidan said after a short greeting. “When should I give it to you?”
“Aren’t you coming home tonight? Just bring it with you,” Heathcliff replied.
Aidan hoped a short conversation over the phone wouldn’t feel too hurtful. The moment he heard Heathcliff’s voice, a mix of feelings began roiling up his gut. He had protected himself for nothing.
“Um, I thought we were like … done?” he said in a meek voice.
“We’re not done.”
Aidan clasped the wheel hard. He understood why driving and talking on the phone shouldn’t mix.
“Is it what you want, Aidan? To be done with me?” Heathcliff’s voice seemed serious, and a tiny bit sad.
“No,” he admitted, cursing himself for it.
“Then come home. We have much to talk about.”
He should have felt that it was wrong as he turned the car. But no, it felt good. Actually, it felt awesome, and his heart was beating fast.