The sound of the alarm was unfamiliar, and, for seconds, Aidan had no idea where he was or whether he was still sleeping and dreaming. Shaking his head and groaning, he eventually pushed himself up.
Or, better said, he tried. There was a heavy arm thrown over him, and Aidan was pretty much mortified when it struck him. He had slept in the same bed with Heathcliff Stone. The guy had cooked for him, and later, Aidan had given him a blowjob, and then the guy had come all over his ass ... And Aidan had made a fool of himself by blowing over the sheets, only because he had been way too aroused to control himself.
It had been quite the experience, Aidan thought, determined to be at least a bit philosophical about the whole thing. He still needed to keep things in check. Keep himself in check. Well, he wasn’t sure he could.
He wasn’t supposed to sleep with people in contractual relationships with the company he was working for. Without knowing for sure whether that was a rule set in stone in corporate law and whatnot, he felt it was wrong.
The arm squeezed him, and he sighed. Why did it have to feel so good to be with Heathcliff? At first, they hadn’t even liked each other much. They had been almost neutral. No, that wasn’t right. Aidan had liked Heathcliff even before meeting him. It was just vital that he could keep being professional.
Maybe he could wait for the guy to become bored. Yeah, that was a brilliant idea. But, right now, he needed to hurry back to his place, get into a suit, and go to work. After a night in Heathcliff’s arms, he was ready to take on the world.
The only problem was that he needed to get out of bed. With infinite care, he took Heathcliff’s arm and tried to remove it. Not a fat chance, he thought, as the arm just wrapped around him, pulling him close to the guy’s warm body. Damn, being there was so good Aidan almost felt like crying. And like he just wanted to cuddle and forget about work.
Unfortunately, that was not an option. The only option was to get out of the bed and head to his place for a change of clothes and his almost lost motivation to go to work. So he needed to disentangle himself from Heathcliff’s arms and do the right thing.
“Hey,” he said softly. “I really need to go.”
There was no response. Aidan tried to pry himself free, but Heathcliff’s body seemed to be as stubborn as its owner, always finding a way to catch him and pull him tightly. Soon enough, Aidan began to squirm. This was getting ridiculous.
“Stone, you’re not really sleeping,” he said sternly.
A small chuckle was the answer this time.
“Where’s the fire, bunny boy?” Heathcliff nuzzled the back of his neck.
Aidan shuddered. The man was too sexy, too strong, and too much to deal with first thing in the morning.
“I need to go,” he said, and his voice sounded a bit whiny.
“Do you really need to go? Is it what you want?” Heathcliff’s voice was smooth as silk.
“I have to.”
“You don’t like your job,” Heathcliff said in a tone that brooked no contradiction.
He needed to protest. “It’s not that! It’s ... something else.”
“Care to elaborate?”
Heathcliff’s hand was slowly moving, caressing his chest, brushing over his nipples. Aidan shivered.
“I need to go,” he whispered.
“Okay, bunny boy, but later, come see me. Don’t wait until it’s ten o’clock in the evening. You’re not allowed to do that to yourself.”
“I’m not allowed?” Aidan scoffed. “You’re not my real mom,” he mimicked a stupid meme, for lack of a better and more intelligent thing to say.
“No, but I could be your ...” Heathcliff let the words hang in the air for a second, “daddy!”
“Seriously,” Aidan moaned and closed his eyes. “Stone, let me get out of the bed, or it will be on you that I end up jobless. And you’re not old enough to be a daddy.”
“Are you sure you can’t stay a little longer?” Heathcliff was talking right into his ear, making the hair on his head stand on end.
Was this how being with Heathcliff in bed felt like all the time? They weren’t even fucking. No, he could not think of such dirty things this early in the morning.
“Not everyone has the luxury of sleeping in and living a free life.”
“Is that a jab at me, Sparky?” Heathcliff teased. “I should let you know I am a man who knows a thing or two about discipline.”
“I bet,” Aidan shot back. “May I go now?”
Heathcliff removed his arm, and Aidan stood up. He noticed his clothes placed neatly on a chair and hurried to get dressed.
“You offer quite a nice view from the back,” Heathcliff said.
He preferred not to turn. Aidan was so sure, in the light of the new day, that he had made a big mistake coming over to Heathcliff last night. He didn’t have just a weakness or a thing for the fitness guru now. He had a crush the size of a continent, and being in such proximity to the guy only meant that he was dooming himself to failure on all fronts.
“I should,” Aidan started, but his tongue was like lead in his mouth, “um, just keep things professional with you.”
He exhaled. He had done it. He had said the one thing that he had to tell Heathcliff. Whatever they were both playing at was not okay. And if Aidan was to be the one to play by the rules, that was only normal. Of them two, Aidan was the one with more to lose, and also the one who seemed more responsible. Fucking guys and treating everything like it was just another day in the life of a social media celebrity were Heathcliff’s job, not his. Aidan’s job was to think mainly, well, of his job.
“Professional?” Heathcliff sounded amused. “Of course, that’s totally how things are between us.”
“I’m serious,” Aidan said.
Now that he had his clothes on, he felt a little more protected against Heathcliff’s charms. What was he thinking? Heathcliff was stretching lazily on the bed, like a feline ready to pounce, and the broad smile on his voice was extremely suspicious. Aidan could not look into those magnetic eyes without losing his balance.
Internal balance. Whatever. He shook his head.
“Everything is a joke with you,” he said.
It was safer if he didn’t look at Heathcliff at all.
“I think you’re the one who doesn’t treat this with all the seriosity it deserves,” Heathcliff said.
Aidan’s head shot up, and his eyes clashed with the magnetic blues he was trying so hard to avoid. “How can you say that?”
“Well, let’s look at the facts, bunny boy. First, you flaunt that gorgeous ass.”
“I don’t flaunt --”
“Hush. What? Your fuck buddies don’t care to tell you that too often? I’ll correct that, don’t worry. Second, you like it. Three, we both like it. So this game of ‘I want-I don’t want’ doesn’t make you cute.”
Despite the casual choice of words, Heathcliff’s voice sounded a bit sharp and cutting. The man was pissed.
“You’re pissed,” Aidan said with finality.
“Why should I be pissed?” Heathcliff quirked an eyebrow. “I’m just stating facts.”
“Come on,” Aidan insisted. “This, whatever it is, is just like any other day for you. I’m just another guy you would like to fuck. And while I may feel tempted to believe that I am in select company, seeing the kind of guys you usually take to bed, I have no doubts that it is also pretty numerous company.”
“Are you done?” Heathcliff sounded irritated for real now.
“Well, there’s not much else to say. I’m sorry that I can’t accommodate you and give you what you want, which probably hurts, seeing how spoiled you are, but it’s actually my job on the line, and I can’t risk it for a fuck.”
Aidan had no idea why he had gotten so worked up all of a sudden. But the truth was he was running late. And he would have liked to have this conversation with Heathcliff another time, but now was a moment as good as any, seeing how they could not continue to fool around like this. Also, for some reason, he felt defensive. He had opened up to Heathcliff the night before like he has never done it with anyone, throwing words about how his job sucked, and other personal stuff.
“Oh, please, don’t risk it,” Heathcliff said scathingly. “What do you think? That I’ll post on social media how I screwed you?”
“No. But I guess that all that publicity you enjoy from tabloids would gladly feed on your latest conquest.” Aidan knew he was unreasonable, rude, and completely unfair. “Anyways, thank you for the meal. And last night. I mean everything.”
He almost stumbled back as he tried to find his way to the door. Heathcliff was quick to catch him before he managed to exit the room. Aidan didn’t have the guts to turn, as trapped as he was between the door and Heathcliff’s muscular body.
“Listen here, bunny boy,” Heathcliff whispered into his ear. “Whatever you think you’re doing, it’s wrong. As long as you keep it a secret, what’s going on between us, I mean, I will do the same. So don’t sell me crap about tabloids and whatnot. This has nothing to do with your job. It has, however, all to do with you being a stuck-up. I must admit that I’m surprised. For someone this young, you behave like you’ve spent your entire life licking bitter lemons. You know that’s not who you are. Now go to that job you don’t like and act like someone you’re not. When you come running back to me--”
“What?” Aidan interrupted Heathcliff’s tirade. “Will you tell me ‘I told you so’? Will you be glad to show me the door? Will you laugh at me?”
“No.” Heathcliff was now closer, his lips brushing by Aidan’s ear. “I’ll wait for you with open arms. And a hard cock, of course.”
Aidan bit his bottom lip. Of course. Even when he was pissed, the guy was still a joker.
“No, it’s not a joke,” Heathcliff added as if he knew what Aidan was thinking. “Now, shoo. Don’t let your job wait for you. It will only be there for the next 50 years or so.”
Heathcliff moved and, for a second, Aidan feared that the guy was going to embrace him and he wasn’t going to be able to keep himself from responding in kind. But Heathcliff simply opened the door, giving him enough room to slip through and get out of the room.
To say that his head was a storm of thoughts as he climbed into his car to run away would have been an understatement.
It was not the first time that bunny boy was riling him up good. Heathcliff wanted to slam his hands against the door in frustration, but that wasn’t him. He wasn’t the kind to get worked up over guys, no matter how cute or tempting. If men he liked weren’t willing to play with him, he didn’t care for them. It was that simple.
Only that nothing was one bit simple when it came to Aidan Spark. What the hell was wrong with him? Heathcliff thought, feeling his annoyance rising. Aidan was definitely not as handsome as any of the guys he took to bed. Could it be that it was only because Aidan was pushing him away, he suddenly felt his hunter instincts waking to life?
But that would not have been fair. Whenever Heathcliff was interested in a guy, it was completely genuine. There was no lie, no make-believe, and especially no hurt feelings. Yes, it was true that he rarely got rejected, but still.
Damn, what the hell was he going to do? He could say ‘fuck it’ and see about business as usual. The thing was he liked Aidan. Even all that over-zealousness about his job was making him interesting. Most people of Aidan’s age Heathcliff knew were interested in other things, such as having fun and dreaming about becoming successful in life by nothing but sheer luck.
Bunny boy, on the other hand, was a hard worker. Heathcliff could appreciate that in a guy because he was the same. He had never realized before that the men he usually took to bed were nothing like that. Yes, they were handsome. Yes, they were great in the sack. But that was about where all their expertise stopped while Aidan’s qualities began.
The young man was made of some good stuff, the idea suddenly struck Heathcliff. He was well behaved, had not one ounce of bad intentions in him, and even the fact that he was rejecting Heathcliff was part of him trying to be a decent human being.
How many guys would have said ‘no’ to the opportunity to jump between the sheets with him, and skip work at the same time? Heathcliff’s usual acquaintances were nothing like Aidan. Or, better said, Aidan was nothing like them.
So, he thought with a deep sigh, the bunny was worth the effort. What Heathcliff needed was a strategy. And if his hunter instincts were finally awakened, they had to be put to good use, which meant that Aidan was not going to escape that easily.
Without waiting, and counting on his newly acquired personal insight on the matter, Heathcliff grabbed his phone.
“Yes?” Aidan’s voice came through.
Bunny boy was trying to be brave. Heathcliff could sense the small tremble in the other’s voice, even through the speakers.
“This weekend, I’m planning to go a little wild. I thought about giving you the heads-up so that you prepare for a sleepless night. I suppose you are going to come to babysit me.”
There was a short silence at the other end.
“What do you have in mind?” Aidan asked.
“I’m in the mood to hit the clubs.”
“Clubs? More than one?”
“Depending on my mood, that could be a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’. Make sure to take a stack of NDAs with you.”
“I gave you like one hundred of those,” Aidan protested.
“And do you expect me to keep them where while I go dancing? I plan on wearing tight-fitting clothes. Very tight-fitting clothes. Even revealing.”
It was a bit hard to keep a straight voice while talking to Aidan like that.
“I see,” Aidan sighed. “Well, I will have everything ready.”
“Are you planning to come along dressed in a suit and take your briefcase with you, too?”
“How else am I going to bring the papers over?”
“That’s your job to figure out.”
After a short moment, Aidan said. “I have a solution. Anything else?”
“Yes. We’re going to hit the clubs together. Wear something appropriate and don’t give me lip.”
“Okay,” came the short reply.
“Good. I’m glad how professional things are between us,” Heathcliff said.
“Look, I know you must be upset and I--”
“No one’s upset, Spark,” Heathcliff interrupted Aidan. “I’m only asking you to do your job. You can do that, right?”
“Of course,” Aidan replied. “We still have something to do before the weekend. You will have to start mentioning our brand during your videos.”
“And you’re telling me this only now?” Heathcliff pretended to be taken by surprise.
“I’m sorry,” Aidan said, and Heathcliff could tell he meant it. “We will discuss the details as soon as I have them.”
“Okay. So will you come with me this weekend?”
“Of course. It is my job,” Aidan said, sounding a bit affronted. “I’ll call you.”
“Do that,” Heathcliff said shortly.
He smiled as he cut off the conversation. Aidan was adamant about his job and whatever it entailed. Heathcliff could use that to drive the bunny crazy and profit from that.
Great. He was stuck in traffic. And, on top of everything, he had just gotten a phone call from Heathcliff. There hadn’t been more than twenty minutes since Aidan had left Heathcliff’s house, and the guy had called. Aidan had been expecting to deal with a miffed fitness guru slash social media celebrity for at least a couple of days.
If anything, Heathcliff was quick to rebound from their little quarrel from earlier. Aidan could still hear the man’s words ringing in his ears. They had sounded like a promise. Well, Aidan had a promise to keep to himself, too. And it was great that Heathcliff considered that getting back in the saddle was the best course of action, regardless of what he had told Aidan just earlier.
Why was he deluding himself with thoughts of Heathcliff considering some relationship with him? The guy just wanted to have fun. Whether he was going to do that with Aidan or someone else didn’t matter.
He blinked a few times, waiting for the light to change. What was he thinking? That he could entertain the idea of Heathcliff going - what? - exclusive with him? They barely knew each other. Plus, Aidan had tried not to be easy.
Right, he snorted. He had been easy like Sunday morning. It was enough for Heathcliff to snap his fingers and he felt the need to run to him, lolling tongue and wagging tail included.
That was how he had ended up sucking the guy’s dick, eating his food, and even sleeping with him in the same bed.
“Heathcliff Stone is off limits,” Aidan shouted.
Not even to himself that sounded convincing. It was not even about his job, or not only. Aidan knew when a guy was out of his league. Heathcliff was playing pro at the sex Olympics while Aidan was a virgin - almost! - if he were sincere.
He was going round in circles. It was good that Heathcliff wanted to hook up. It was good that he was calling Aidan to see that with his own eyes. Aidan could see about his job and, at the same time, he could witness how little Heathcliff thought of him.
Aidan could have profited and gotten more from the famous fitness trainer. But it would not have been right. Heathcliff had proven a decent person and had been upfront about what he wanted. Aidan had said ‘no’, and this was happening.
So, all in all, it was fine. Why did he dread Saturday to come?
“These are all for you. Make sure to follow the classification to the letter,” his co-worker said with an insincere smile.
Aidan felt like he wanted to pull out a few of his hairs, if not all of it. The stacks of papers on his desk were growing higher and higher.
“Why the hell do we need all these?” he mumbled, mostly to himself.
“These are the minutiae of all the meetings from last month. These are copies of the minutiae. And these are the ones you will have to send to the archive,” the woman explained as she pressed down on the stacks, looking pretty much like a strange bird on top of a giant nest made from corporate paperwork.
From her vantage point, Aidan most likely looked like a delicious worm if the perfectly rouged smile she had plastered all over her face was any indication.
“And why do I have to go through all of them?” Aidan asked.
The woman’s eyes glinted as she had just been served the best occasion to climb the career ladder taking three steps at a time.
“Sometimes,” she explained, “one clerk makes a mistake, and then that mistake is corrected, but,” she prolonged the words as if she wanted to keep Aidan in suspense, “the first copies are already sent to the archive. So that is why we have the second copies, which contain the mistakes that were corrected.”
“Wait,” Aidan asked, “so if the first copies are already archived, how come there’s a third stack on my desk?”
Again, the woman smiled as if Aidan was just a silly little thing that needed everything explained.
“The first copies are not directly archived. They wait to be archived. But if word gets that some corrections have been made, they’re not archived. And they are returned,” the woman added, victoriously.
Aidan pressed his fingers against his temples, hard. “You still haven’t told me why we have the third stack.”
“This,” his co-worker rapped against the third stack, “is supposed to be the final version, but,” she put up one finger to draw Aidan’s attention, “you need to compare all the notes from version one and version two, to see if all the corrections have been made. Is it all clear now?”
“Crystal,” Aidan said dryly and reached for the first stack. “Now remind me why we don’t do this directly, using a computer, like normal people?” It was a rhetorical question. Together with his colleague, he recited in synch. “Because here, at The Healthy Shakers, we do things the old fashioned way.”
It was going to be a long, dull day, and if he wasn’t going to become mad by the end of the week, it was going to be okay.
Maybe he was going to learn something from all those minutiae. Who was he kidding? There was never anything interesting in there.
“We will go first for something light,” Aidan explained, linking his hands over the papers scattered in front of him.
He was glad he could get away from classifying papers so that he could meet up with Heathcliff at his place. It was like a breath of fresh air even though Aidan was sincerely afraid of facing the guy after he had spouted all that bullshit the last time.
One look at Heathcliff and he knew he was in hell. Heathcliff was so handsome it hurt. It was a good thing he was so spoiled and annoying, after all. It helped Aidan keep a clear head.
“I don’t like the idea of mentioning the same product three times in the same video,” Heathcliff said frankly. “It is excessive, not light.”
Aidan nodded. “Two times then? At the end and the beginning?”
“Are you trying to play me, bunny boy?” Heathcliff smiled. “You knew I was going to say ‘no’, so you’re now offering a so-called sweeter deal.”
Aidan sighed. He had already told his boss Heathcliff was not brain dead, and trying a thing like that wasn’t going to work. His boss had told him, in turn, to do his best for the company. Aidan didn’t feel particularly thrilled to follow suit with that advice slash order. With his boss, one could never know.
“So one time, at the end of the video,” Heathcliff concluded.
Aidan nodded. “Okay.”
He was in no shape to fight Heathcliff over something like this. After a couple of days of filing and filing and filing all kinds on nonsense papers that served no apparent purpose, he felt empty on the inside.
“Why so gloomy? It looks like you’ve lost weight.”
Aidan looked at Heathcliff. “That’s not possible. We saw each other two days ago. Even if I lost weight, you would not be able to tell.”
“Then maybe it’s only your spirit that’s down. Come on, you can tell me. What is it?”
Aidan opened his mouth to speak, and then reconsidered. If he fell into the same trap of spilling his guts to Heathcliff, it would not work well. The same thing was bound to repeat. He had no close friends to complain about his job, not with everyone ‘living the life’ and ‘enjoying the job of their dreams’. But that didn’t mean he could use Heathcliff to vent off. It wasn’t fair, for the simple fact that he could not offer anything of equal value in return.
“Well?” Heathcliff interrupted his train of thought.
“It’s nothing.” He shook his head in sorrow.
“Are you seriously going to sit there and lie to me like this?”
Aidan could not risk looking at Heathcliff right now. He felt guilty over not saying anything, but the point was, Heathcliff was a stranger.
“Fine. As you wish. What are you going to wear on Saturday?”
“I haven’t thought about it,” Aidan said cautiously, a bit surprised with the change of topic.
“Think about it now,” Heathcliff said curtly.
“There’s still time. And what does it matter what I wear? You’re the one who’s going to hook up, not me. Of course, no matter what you’ll wear, there’ll be no shortage of partners for you ...” Aidan trailed off, realizing too late what he was doing.
“Thank you for the compliment.” Heathcliff’s smile was sweet, but his eyes were glinting with mischief.
“I wasn’t complimenting you. I was stating some facts.” Aidan wanted to turn this in a way that could not hurt him, but it was not that easy.
“Either way, I’ll take it. Now, look at me,” Heathcliff said.
Aidan looked at the other and cursed himself internally. Staring Heathcliff into his amazing blue eyes was like watching at a sign that read ‘welcome to the house of temptations’ or something like that.
“What’s wrong with your eyes?” Aidan blurted out.
“Excuse me?” Heathcliff asked, taken aback.
“You told me, that time, that you can’t drive because --”
“That’s not a very interesting topic of conversation.”
Aidan eased back into the rattan chair. It was good that at least something was working to disrupt Heathcliff’s magical charm. Talking to the guy about his imperfections was his kryptonite. It was good that he had a weak spot after all.
“You are going to wear an outfit I will pick for you.” Heathcliff’s eyes set on him. “My treat.”
“What?! But you don’t even know my measurements!”
“I’ve held plenty of men in my arms to know what clothes fit.”
“You must be kidding me! Are you doubling as a seamstress in your spare time?” Aidan expressed his bewilderment.
Heathcliff looked pretty smug over where he was sitting. The guy liked walking around the house in nothing but a pair of shorts. Besides his magnetic eyes, Aidan had had to look at his impressive looking muscles all the time.
If this wasn’t hell, he had no idea what it was. Well, at least it was different from the corporate hell that was claiming bits of his soul with every day that passed.
“What can I say? Some people are just gifted.” Heathcliff shrugged. “Don’t worry. You’ll like the clothes I choose for you. And if you don’t, look at the bright side. You’ll only need to wear them once.”
“I will send them back cleaned and pressed,” Aidan promised.
“I expect nothing less of you.” Heathcliff’s smile was broader now.
Aidan shifted in his chair. He could not exactly say ‘no’. He didn’t have money to splurge on new clothes. The suits had been a solid investment, but, otherwise, Aidan needed to budget properly for everything, from rent to food and gas. Clothes to wear at some posh club were not high on that list. And he supposed the usual stuff he wore when hanging out with friends at some student dive bar could not be considered up to snuff for such an occasion.
“Are you planning to get showered in champagne again?” Aidan asked, without thinking.
Heathcliff threw him a dumbfounded look. Then, it seemed as if realization was finally dawning on him.
“Ah, that.” He smiled fondly as if that was a good memory. “It wasn’t exactly a shower. And the downside was that I got sticky everywhere. And I do mean it, everywhere,” he added with a wink.
Aidan blushed. Only the thought of bubbly liquid finding its way down through the fantastic shape of Heathcliff’s beautiful muscles was making his knees wobbly. It was a good thing he was sitting.
“Of course, I didn’t do the cleaning,” Heatchliff added.
“What do you mean?” Aidan gulped.
“My friends were keen on doing that. With their tongues.”
Aidan was sure he was making a face right now, but he couldn’t help it.
Heathcliff burst into laughter. “You’re so easy, Spark. I just took a normal shower. And both my friends and I agreed that it was the kind of thing that sounded better as a fantasy.”
“So no licking?” Aidan asked.
“Don’t be so disappointed. If that’s something you’d like to try, I can arrange something.”
“I don’t really like champagne.”
It was official. His tongue had a mind of its own. It was like he could not help it.
“What would you like to lick from my body, then?” Heathcliff’s voice was curling around the still rational part of his brain like a snake.
Aidan shook his head.
“Sorry. It was just some curiosity. Frankly, I thought it would have been a little too much. I mean, how much champagne could they use to give you a proper shower? Plus, it would have made everything slippery, right? And you could not have danced on a wet table without risking to break your neck, right?”
“Spark,” Heathcliff stopped him. “Breathe a little. You look a bit flushed over there. Come on, hypothetically, what would lick from another man’s body?”
“I don’t know.” Aidan began to squirm.
“You’re not leaving until you tell me. It’s clear as day there’s a kink here you don’t want to admit.”
“You can’t keep me here!” Aidan protested.
“Do you want to try me?” Heathcliff looked at him like he truly meant it.
“I guess not.” Aidan closed his eyes. “Fine. Body shots. Can I go now?”
“Yes. Just don’t forget about what I told you. Your clothes will get by your place by Saturday afternoon. And if you’re not here, at 9 pm sharp, I’m going alone, and you can hunt down the numerous men I intend to have sex with to your heart’s content afterward. How does that sound?”
Aidan shrugged, trying to rein in a pang of jealousy upon hearing those words. “Like I got the short end of the stick, but whatever.”
“Cheer up, Spark.” Heathcliff grinned. “You’re going to party with me. I promise it will be a night to remember.”
“I’m sure of it,” Aidan admitted with a long sigh.
So the hell he was living in presently was getting more complicated. What else was new?
I know this must have felt like a frustrating chapter. I assume full responsibility! Things will get better, though, and that's a promise
I hope you're not mad at me, but if you are, feel free to throw only fluffy things at me. I don't think I can handle anything else!
Until next time,
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