Jul. 31st, 2008
Disclaimer: Not mine!
The post-it note with the number on it stays stuck on the side of Richard's fridge for two months.
He intends to throw it away, still offended by the implication that he needs it, and the unsolicited commentary on his personal life. The new job is as good as any other he's had, but he's starting to think that his new coworkers have no idea what the term 'professional behavior' even means.
But it stays there, right below his calendar and the picture of Olivia. Every morning, every evening, and sometimes an uncomfortable amount of times in between, Richard looks at it. He's taunted by the blocky numbers and the scrawled text under them: Just call and ask for Rodney. You could use the company.
And after two months, Richard is almost willing to concede that he could. He and Olivia had known they were going to be separated by work, each of them in possession of a driven career-mindedness that couldn't be resisted or ignored. He'll see her in another three months, when she gets back from Europe. But right now that doesn't make missing her, her company over dinner, her warmth beside him in bed, any easier to simply shrug off.
Richard eats sitting at the bar, the newspaper spread out before him. He has another long day ahead of him, one more in a series that shows no sign of ending in the foreseeable future. When he puts the milk away, the number is there, staring at him.
He is lonely.
The phone answers on the second ring. Richard finds himself holding his breath for no good reason, not sure what to expect. He gets a sleepy cough, and then a low, sleep thick, voice saying, "Hello? Is someone there?"
Richard hangs up without saying a word.
A week later, he finds himself talking to Olivia's plants as he waters them, doing his best to keep them all from dying the way they had last time she went on a trip. For a moment he stares down at the heavy green leafs, and then he sighs.
It doesn't have to be anything other than dinner. Just some conversation with someone he doesn't work with. He does so hate going out to eat alone, and he's getting tired of cooking for himself every night. And some human interaction might keep him from talking to the plants anymore.
The phone rings four times before going to an answering machine, the message short and sharp, the same male voice that had answered last time Richard called. He finds himself fiddling with the cord on the phone, pushing his glasses up the bridge of his nose and managing, "Um, hello. I was given this number by a—"
"Shit! Hello? Hello? Are you still there?" The other man sounds breathless, and Richard swallows, because he'd just about made his peace with talking to a machine. Apparently that's not to be.
Richard clears his throat, "Yes, hello, is this Rodney?"
There's a pause for a moment, he can still hear breathing over the line, and then, tone sharp and suspicious, "You don't sound like anyone I know." Richard takes that as confirmation that he does have Rodney on the line, and makes himself put the post-it down.
"Well, no, as I was saying, I was given your number by one of my co-workers. Your services came highly recommended."
Rodney's laughter is a surprise, a short, sharp snort. And then the man is saying, "Never heard it put quite like that before. Okay, what exactly are you looking for service wise, mister?"
Richard pulls into the parking lot of the restaurant five minutes before his reservation. It had come as highly recommended as Rodney, boasting an excellent wine list and a chef that managed to create masterpieces night after night. He's wanted to try it since he moved into town, and consoles himself that even if the rest of the evening is terrible, the meal should be marvelous.
It feels good to get out of the house and the office. Even with his uncertainty over his company, he can't quite stop feeling relieved. It's been too long. He buttons his suit as he gets out of the car, crossing the parking lot, scanning the small crowd gathered outside the front of the restaurant for his guest.
He doesn't know what the man looks like, really. Just that he's blond. Richard purses his lips, frowning, wondering if hookers ever stand you up, And then someone says, "Richard?" off to the side, and Richard turns to look, blinking in surprise.
The man is blond, hair slicked back, though one curl has fallen forward into his face, the curve of it resting against his cheek. He's leaning against the building, one foot braced against the brickwork, suit jacket hanging open, tie unpinned. He's got a cigarette in one hand, blowing smoke out of the side of his crooked mouth, asking, "That is you, right? You look like a Richard."
After a moment Richard manages to close his mouth. Rodney isn't what he had been expecting. He says, not quite thinking, "You're very young."
Rodney rolls his eyes, taking one last drag off the cigarette and then snuffing it out. He blows the smoke to the side, grinning and pushing away from the wall, "You're very lonely. We can probably go back and forth like this, or would you like to get to the dinner I was promised? I won't even make you pay me here in front of all these other nice people."
Richard blinks, and then shakes himself. He says, "I hear they have excellent prime rib." Rodney smiles at him, and when Richard pulls the front door open to usher him in, Rodney brushes up against him, a there and gone press that nevertheless reminds Richard that it's been months since he touched anyone
It's just dinner and though he's not holding out much hope for intelligent conversation, at least Rodney is nice to look at.
By the time the waiter drops off their wine, Richard has had to revise his estimation of Rodney's conversational abilities. He's clever, and appears to actually have some grasp on politics, and pretty much anything else Richard can think to bring up.
It's almost like having Olivia there, expect she would have never braced an elbow on the table, gesturing with her wine glass and arguing with him about, well, everything. Apparently just for the sake of the argument. Rodney's eyes reflect the light when he talks, and his lips shine red with the wine.
Richard finds himself talking more about his work that he probably should, but it's unexpectedly nice to have someone to discuss the office politics with. And he likes the way Rodney looks at him when he talks, half-scornful, half-interested, like he's waiting for Richard to say something stupid for him to mock.
When their food arrives, Rodney eats like a starving man. Richard watches him, eating more sedately, a chill climbing his spine when Rodney wipes a finger around the rim of his plate, licking the sauce off his skin. Rodney catches Richard staring, raising his eyebrows and crooking one side of his mouth up.
Richard clears his throat, looking down at his plate and ignoring the warmth under his collar. Perhaps he's had enough wine for the evening. Perhaps he's had too much, because he keeps catching himself looking at the flush rising in Rodney's cheeks, the slightly awkward way the suit jacket lies across the man's shoulders.
Rodney eats dessert as well. Richard has the money to pay for it, and he doesn't really want dinner to end. Besides, there's something fascinating about the way Rodney closes his eyes with each bite of the chocolate cake, and the peek of his pink tongue around the fork makes Richard's stomach feel warm and tight.
When they leave the restaurant, night has fallen, the stars bright, a little nip to the air. Rodney tilts his face up to the sky, fishing in his pocket for his pack of cigarettes, starting to wave down a cab. Richard doesn't mean to reach out to catch Rodney's wrist, but he does.
Rodney's eyebrows go up, but his expression looks more speculative than offended. Richard straightens his glasses, releasing the other man's wrist and trying to keep his tone calm and even when he says, "I wouldn't mind continuing our conversation, if you don't have somewhere else to be."
One side of Rodney's mouth is turned up, and he hasn't lit the cigarette yet. After a moment he shifts, tilting his head to the side, and it makes his neck look long. He says, "If you've got the money, I've got the time."
Richard smiles tightly, "I don't foresee a problem there. My car is this way."
Rodney keeps talking through the car ride, touching everything in the car, looking curious and then going quiet when the radio comes on. For a moment, Richard thinks the man has fallen asleep, because it's the first time he's been quiet all evening. When he looks over, Rodney is staring out the window, a small smile on his face, tapping his fingers in beat with the music.
He's still doing that when Richard pulls into his garage.
Rodney raises his eyebrows at the BMW parked on the other side of the garage, smirking when he says, "I think I might have to raise my rate. You can take it." And Richard just rolls his eyes and motions him into the house proper.
Rodney wanders in like he owns the place, shrugging his ill-fitting jacket off and tugging his tie loose around his neck. He's half-way to the living room by the time Richard manages to call, "Would you like something to drink?"
When Rodney answers, he's already disappeared into the other room, "Sure, whatever you have." Richard shakes his head, making his way to the wine cabinet and wondering what exactly the proper drink to offer the hooker you brought home to talk to is.
He settles on a merlot, pouring them both a glass as from the living room there's the soft swell of classic piano.
Richard takes a sip of his wine, leaning against the doorway to the living room and just staring. He hasn't touched the baby grand since Olivia left. He never played, though he's always loved to listen to the music she coaxed from the keys. The classical tapes she's left behind are a poor substitute.
Rodney apparently dropped his jacket over the back of the couch on his way to the piano. He has his sleeves rolled up, legs tucked under the bench as he plays. For a long moment Richard just listens, feeling himself smile automatically before he makes his way across the room.
Richard sets the glasses on the coffee table beside the piano, because he's been taught better than to bring food or drink anywhere near it over the years. After a moment Rodney finishes the piece he'd been playing, the last few notes hanging in the air. Richard finds himself reaching out, bracing his hands on Rodney's shoulders, warm against his palms.
"You play," it's a statement of the obvious, but Richard can't quite stop himself. Nor can he keep the pleased surprise out of his tone.
Under his hands, Rodney shrugs, and then tilts his head back, his curls pressing against Richard's suit. The angle makes his eyes look huge, blue and rimmed by dark lashes. Rodney sighs, shrugging again, "I used to. A long time ago," there's a wistful, almost sad, tone to his voice. After a moment he shakes himself and smirks, gesturing to the keys, "What about you?"
Richard shakes his head, realizes that he's rubbing his hands back and forth across Rodney's shoulders and makes himself take a little step back. He clears his throat, reaching for his wine to give his hands something to do, saying, "I'm afraid I'm functionally tone deaf. My wife does."
Rodney raises an eyebrow, turning on the bench so that he's facing Richard. When he speaks, he's smirking again, "Does your wife know that you're in the habit of letting whores play her piano?"
"Once hardly makes it a habit." He drains his glass, swallowing heavily. Rodney's eyes are dark, and he's leaning forward, enough to be in Richard's space, a thrum of closeness that makes Richard's skin tingle. He shivers.
Rodney hums, reaching up to take Richard's glass out of his hand, setting it down on the floor. Rodney has his head cocked to the side, looking up, grinning when he says, knowing and so sure, "You know you didn't invite me back here just to listen to me play the piano."
Richard stares down at him, heart thumping hard up against his ribs, and manages to say, "I know."
Rodney reaches up without even a trace of hesitation, hooking his finger over the bottom button of Richard's jacket. The tug of pressure pulls Richard a half step forward, close enough that all he can feel is the warmth of Rodney's body.
When Rodney pulls the button loose, Richard exhales heavily. Rodney's hand slides under the jacket, flattens Richard's shirt against his stomach, and Richard can feel the muscles there jump. Rodney moves his hand up, touch searing like fire, opening the second button, then the third, letting Richard's jacket hang open.
Rodney is already reaching for Richard's belt, and Richard finds himself blurting, "There are clean sheets on the bed."
That gets a surprised look from Rodney, and then another smile. When he stands, he ends up right in Richard's space, pressed chest to chest, body warm and tempting. Richard lets the man nudge his head to the side, shivering a little at the brush of hot, moist breath against his neck, "Well, we shouldn't let that go to waste."
Richard manages, "I—" not sure where he's going with it.
Rodney's grin becomes a smirk, he says, "Yeah," and places one hand against the center of Richard's chest, pushing with just enough force to make Richard step back. And then he drags his finger in a zigzag down Richard's stomach, continuing, "So, you gonna show me this bed or what?" And, after another pause, "You should bring that wine."
"That's a big bed," Rodney looks, and sounds, impressed. He leaves Richard in the doorway of the bedroom, crossing the room and then crawling up onto the bed, stretching out onto his stomach in one long, languid movement and then rolling onto his back, propping himself up onto his elbows.
It is a big bed, and empty it's even bigger. Rodney looks good in it, messing up the blankets that Richard had carefully made that morning, one leg drawn up. Richard turns the light on, not even thinking about it, because he wants to be able to see.
Rodney shifts up a little more, extending a hand towards Richard, saying, voice softer now that they're in the bedroom, "Come here." Richard is drawn forward automatically, setting the bottle of wine on the bedside table, his hands finding their way to Rodney's knees without conscious effort on his part.
Rodney stretches, back bowing, and Richard bites his bottom lip, staring. Then the man is sitting up, winding his arms around Richard's neck, and his legs around Richard's waist, pulling them flush, and even through the layers of their clothes it's enough to make Richard gasp.
"You okay?" Rodney sounds amused, smug, kissing down Richard's neck, his hands sliding, grabbing at Richard's lapels. Pulling Richard's jacket off his shoulders and down his arms requires a slow slide of their bodies together. He doesn't even worry about dropping the jacket to the floor.
"I'm fine. How are you?" The politeness is engrained beyond the place where he could hope to ignore it. Rodney laughs softly against his neck, running his hands up Richard's chest, and then wrapping his long fingers around Richard's tie.
Rodney leans back, dragging Richard down, squirming back across the sheets, pulling Richard onto the bed, between his thighs, over him. Richard grinds down against him, biting the inside of his cheeks, feeling like he's operating on a tripwire, ready to go off any second. He grinds out, "Oh, wow."
That gets a real laugh from Rodney, loud. And a half second later they're rolling, Rodney pinning him to the bed, grinning when he says, "If that gets a 'wow', the rest might kill you." Richard can only stare up at him, breathing fast and shallow when Rodney shifts back just far enough to pull Richard's shirt out of his pants.
Each button being undone makes Richard shiver. He watches, not even trying to stop himself, his hips rocking up with each incidental brush of Rodney's fingers against his skin. When Rodney reaches Richard's collar, he pulls the tie loose, dropping it to the bed beside them and finishing with the last two buttons, tight and pinching against Richard's throat.
Rodney pushes the shirt aside, running his hands down Richard's chest, rocking their hips together. The touch, after so long with no touch at all, feels so good that it almost crosses the line to pain. Richard pushes up into it, grabbing Rodney's wrists to hold them in place.
The man stares down at him curiously, head tilting to the side, and Richard tries to find some way to explain. It's hard, and he swallows heavily, feeling himself flush when he finally manages to shape the words, "I want, um, skin. Please." As much skin as possible, pressed together, another person close enough to him to matter.
Rodney's smile looks gentler, not so cocky or smug. Even his voice has changed, just enough to be noticeable when he says, "You're paying me, remember? You don't have to say please," And then he's gently pulling his wrists out of Richard's grip, making fast work of his own buttons, shrugging the shirt off.
Richard reaches out to touch immediately. Rodney's skin is hot, feels good, the two rings through his nipples make Richard arch one eyebrow. They're warm from his skin, the main contrast the hardness of the metal in relation to the softness of his skin.
There's no protest when he lets his hands wander, when he traces his thumbs out to the edge of Rodney's shoulders, down over the lines of his ribs, rubbing his fingertips in order over the man's bellybutton. Richard finds himself tracing up the line of Rodney's neck, burying his fingers in the soft curls of his hair, rocking their hips together.
The air feels close and tight now, smells like sweat and sex and wine. Richard groans, running his palms up Rodney's back, feeling the muscles there shifting as he shifts and squirms around. And then Rodney is shifting back, grabbing Richard by two handfuls of his shirt and pulling him up to mostly sitting.
Richard starts, "What are—" and by then Rodney already has his shirt off his shoulders, pushing it down his arms. Just like that Richard is on his back again, Rodney shifting up to his knees, hands working quickly and efficiently at Richard's belt, button, and zipper.
Richard helps kick his pants off, staring at the line of Rodney's spine when he twists around to take off both of their shoes. There's a bruise right below Rodney's hairline, dark and purple and shaped like a mouth. It makes Richard push up onto his elbows, staring.
And then Rodney is turning, and the bruise falls out of his memory because the man is pushing his slacks down his thighs. Rodney reaches into the pocket before tossing the pants over the side of the bed, and crawling back up Richard's body.
Richard starts to reach for him, but Rodney squirms around. They end up tangled close, Rodney sprawled half across Richard's chest, his head resting on Richard's shoulder, one of his thighs between Richard's legs, his hand sliding down Richard's stomach.
They're pressed skin to skin, and Richard groans, curling over just a little when Rodney wraps slick fingers around his cock. Richard gets one arm up, curled over Rodney's shoulders. He manages to get his legs to work after a moment as well, twisting far enough over to hook an ankle over Rodney's leg, pulling him closer, holding on.
Rodney's breath is moist and hot against Richard's neck, his skin warm and starting to get slick with sweat from their exertion. His grip around Richard's cock is teasing, long fingers sliding slick across overheated skin, the press of his palm against the head a there and gone touch that has Richard's hips twitching.
Rodney is murmuring, soft and rough, "Come on, it's okay, it's okay," and firming up the pressure of his hand. And Richard gasps, his cock jerking, release that feels more to do with touch than the stimulation of his cock.
It's been a while, even since he's had time to jerk off in the shower. He comes messy and sloppy and long, holding onto Rodney through it, until his body feels wrung out and exhausted, and he sinks back down to the mattress.
Still, when Rodney starts to shift away, Richard can't help but protesting, words slightly slurred from the force of his orgasm, "Stay. Stay until morning. I don't care how much it costs."
For a long moment there's no response, and then Rodney bends over him, taking Richard's glasses off and folding them up. He says, "Okay. But I'm going to go wash my hand off first." And this time when he shifts out of the bed, Richard lets him go.
Rodney comes back five minutes later with a warm, damp rag. Cleaning up feels good. His come had already been starting to go cool and sticky, and Richard makes a face when he tosses the rag away, making himself shift up, crawl under the blankets.
When he falls asleep, it is with the warm press of another body against his.
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