Cameron’s eyes kept flicking to the door the Colonel had disappeared behind, keen for the older man to come back so he could be in his company. Although the barrier of rank was still very much between them it was nice to see John in a setting outside of work, somewhere where the front of superior and subordinate could be loosened, if even slightly.
Absentmindedly, his thoughts still very much on the older man, Cameron took a step foward and managed to collide with another party goer. His once full glass was now nearly empty, the majority of it splashed across a very expensive formal suit. The man grimaced, eyes then burning with anger as he stared at his suddenly damp attire “Do you have any idea how much this cost?”
“I'm sorry. I'm sorry.” Cameron stumbled over an apology.,“Let me...clean it off for you.” he offered, quickly grabbing a bunch of napkins from the closest table. The young man placed his hands firmly around Cameron’s wrist preventing him from continuing. “What on earth are you doing?” His eyes looked as if they were ready to pop out of their sockets.
“I—I was going to clean off your suit...” Silently, Cameron cursed himself. He was utterly out of place in a function like this. How he wished for a bar of rowdy soldiers where he could be at ease and amongst his own.
“You can't be serious?” The blond man asked. His sky blue eyes bore into Cameron and seemed to soften as if noticing the uniform for the first time. “Who are you affiliated with?” He arched his brow, waiting for a response.
Cameron placed the man in his late twenties. Handsome and with an easy confidence that bordered on arrogance. “Military,” he replied, trying not to sound overly condescending and offend the man further. Although he thought the uniform would have given it away.
The man's judgmental glare shifted, Cameron had piqued his interest. “Then how about I properly introduce myself, my name is Derek Castillo.”
“Cameron Holden, ” he replied, his hand extending for a handshake. Instead Mr. Castillo, brought his hand to his lips. Cameron retracted his hand in surprise. If nothing else, Mr Castillo was certainly forward. The other man didn’t seem phased by Cameron’s reaction.
“Well Mister Castillo it was nice to meet you, but I have to get going now.” Cameron lied. Castillo stepped in front of him, preventing him from scurrying off.
“Just one dance.” he requested, a coy smile on his lips.
What the hell, Cameron thought to himself. He was a guest and there were no rule to say he couldn’t dance at a function. He extended his hand, gesturing for Castillo to take ahold of it. “One dance, that’s all.”
Castillo gave a wink as he placed his free hand on Cameron’s hip and led him to the dancefloor.
“Who are you here with,” Cameron asked as they found a free space.
“The Malarkan delegation,” Castillo replied.
“Malarkan? Shouldn’t you be off meeting the Colonel?”
Castillo simply shrugged. Apparently he wasn’t high enough in the pecking order to merit meeting John. As they danced, Castillo moved himself closer. The man had beautiful features and Cameron took care not to get lost in his eyes. Slowly, he felt Derek’s hand on his hip slide down toward his backside. “So, who are you here with?”
From over Derek’s shoulder, Cameron saw the Colonel emerge from the side room. “My date.” He answered with a smile, enjoying the lie.
Derek turned and gave a whistle of appreciation. “Two soldier boys. I’m glad I came.”
“I should get back to him,” Cameron said.”
His dance partner sighed. “You should. I’d be worried about someone else snapping him up if he was left alone for too long.”
Cameron thanked the man for the dance and made his way to John. “You dealt with those dignitaries in record time, Colonel.”
John smiled as Cameron joined him. "Nothing to it. Just smile, nod and look handsome. I'm sorry for inconveniencing you but I hope you'll forgive me another one." His expression turned apologetic. "Something's come up and I need to stop by my office. We're going to have to cut the night shorter than expected. The embassy has been kind enough to provide us with a car that will take us there and then onto wherever we want after."
He looked Cameron over. "Could be I have a few places in mind.”
Cameron wasn’t sure what the Colonel meant but he dutifully followed as John led the way toward the exit. The car was already waiting in the parking garage, its engine idling. John held the door for his subordinate before getting in beside him. The divider between them and the driver offered them a degree of privacy. "Well then,” John said, “Alone at last. How did you enjoy your night in high society?"
“It was different, but I’m glad I got to spend it with you, Colonel” Cameron admitted, suddenly aware of how close John was getting. He couldn’t quite hide the small gasp of surprise as the older man placed his hand on his thigh. This was unusual but Cameron wasn’t about to blow his chance. ”So what do you have to do at your office, anything I can help with?” he asked, trying to play it cool.
"Unfortunately not," John replied. “Just have to scan a quick report to send it higher up the food chain." He glanced at the divider, Cameron assumed he was wary aware of saying anything more in front of the driver who could no doubt listen in to their conversation. With a lingering look, John leaned back into his seat and they made the remainder of the short journey to the base in silence.
John got the driver to park outside. "I'll be ten minutes tops," the Colonel said as he glanced at the Colonel's watch on his left wrist. Cameron watched as he flashed the ID card at the sentry and went inside. With the older man out of sight, Cameron took a steadying breath. The night had taken a sudden, unexpected turn. The Colonel’s closeness and physical intimacy was not something Cameron had seen coming. Certainly, he had never got the impression John was interested in him. So why the sudden change in demeanour?
In less than fifteen minutes John was back in the car. "210 Caliban Avenue," he said, naming his home address. When they arrived outside his house, the Colonel once again played the gentleman, holding the door for Cameron to get out of the car.
As the Colonel flicked on the light, Cameron noticed a note left on the hallway table. John lifted it but Cameron was able to make out what it said: Dad, gone to Maria's. Back in the morning. Cameron was relieved he wouldn’t have to undergo any further teasing.
"Well now," John said as he crumpled the paper. "Looks like we have the place to ourselves." He smiled as he moved over to Cameron. Grabbing him by either shoulder he pulled the younger man close as he leaned in for a kiss.
“Woah.” Cameron pushed John away as gently as he possibly could.
“What’s the matter?” John asked.
Good question, Cameron said to himself. He had been fantasizing over a moment like this since he had met John. Now it was finally here and he was getting cold feet. “I’m not complaining, it’s just, this all seems...sudden.”
“We can take it slow.” John smiled as he cupped Cameron’s face with a large hand. The Colonel’s touch was soft and warm.
Alarm klaxons began to sound loudly in Cameron’s head. He remembered the rough, callused hand from earlier in the night and their first handshake, the strong grip and tough skin. “Maybe you can show me the scar you told me about,” Cameron said, leaning in closer. The look of momentary confusion on the Colonel’s face was unmissable. “You know, the one on your left leg.”
John nodded slowly, “Off course.”
As he leaned in again Cameron shoved him hard, sending the much larger man careening across the room and over the nearest couch. “Colonel Haverson never mentioned a scar. Where is he?”
The man laughed as he pulled himself slowly to his feet. “Oh, well played,” he said as his smile turned ugly. “Now it looks like we have a problem. I can’t let you walk out of here until the job is done.”
“And what job is that?” Cameron asked before he realised. The base. They’ve stolen the Colonel’s appearance, his credentials and used them to take info from his personal terminal.
The man saw that Cameron already knew the answer. He advanced confidently. He might not be the Colonel but he was built exactly like him which meant he was much taller and much bigger than Cameron. “I’m going to have to keep you quiet.”