‘I want you and I’m taking you. Simple as that.’ / ‘Surely you can’t believe that, not after..?’
Well, yes. Hadn’t Mac been there, done that, got the T-shirt?
Unless it was ‘just’…
“Unless it was just what?” Joe prompted, hoping Mac might finish at least one of the sentences he’d started.
Never had ‘be careful what you wish for’ proved so provident: “Just a shag cos you cannae last ’til we’re back in London, where you’ll have access to as many ‘distractions’ as you wish?”
That made less sense than it did before Mac finished it. Unless…he had no intention of shagging Joe there?
Never? Is that my lot? A taste of paradise Mac could dangle like a carrot on a string to lure him My Way. On My Terms. A carrot Joe might never get so much as a sniff at again, while forced to go about his business staring at the tastiest of all treats, every single second of the bloomin’ day. And tucked up in Joe’s bed at night. That was cruel. Crueller than cruel. Cruella deVil cruel.
The bad-ass even had the brass neck to sound miffy while stuffing the puppies into his sack.
Nope, wrong again. Apparently. Mac wasn’t miffy, he was ‘pissed off’, he corrected Joe. Most miffily. A pissed-off bad-ass was a fearsomely sexy sight to behold, it must be said…and so Joe did. To which he found himself informed:
“Joe, I will distract you to fucking death if you don’t shut up.”
Despite issuing this oh, so tempting threat, Mac decided on a smoke, rather than sexing Joe t’death, when he buttoned his lip, as bidden. Bummer. Being amenable was going to get very old. Very fast. About a zipped lip ago, in fact.
“Oh, thank fuck for that….” Whether Mac was referring to that first glorious post-coital lungful, or Joe’s Zippy impression might remain a mystery forevermore. It seemed best not to ask, oddly ‘nuff. Not least when Mac still hadn’t explained why he wasnae miffy and was pissy instead.
On the far more positive front? Mac didn’t plonk himself on the chair to glintily regard Joe through a swirl of smoke and fronds of fringe. Instead, he climbed back onto the bed and stretched out beside Joe, propping himself on one elbow.
“Are you tired…?” The most loaded question on Earth, ergo suggesting that a spot of carrot jiggling was afoot.
“Nope, I just woke up. Why?” Joe tried to keep his tone neutral. Allowing a tinge of hope to inflict it seemed a sure fire-way of making Mac tighten the thumb screws.
“I need to take a shower when I’ve smoked this, I feel filthy,” the scoundrel announced.
“Charmin’…I had a bath!” Joe huffed.
“I wasnae casting aspersions…” Mac insisted. “I spent hours in the car and felt grubby when I got here. Now I’m sweaty and sticky, so I sure as hell cannae be smelling too fresh. Incidentally, you might’ve sat in the bath—briefly—but you did not have a wash.”
“That wasn’t my fault, you told me to stand up, then hefted me out of it!” Joe spluttered, before realising that he might just might have interpreted Mac’s words all wrong. On accounts of being a paranoid tosspot an’ all. Duh. “Am I having a shower, too?” Joe wondered, before the spooks could talk him out of it.
“If you want one,” Mr Cool-as-Fuck shrugged.
“With…you?” Ha. Joe didn’t intend to agree, only to find himself showering all on his tod while Mac availed himself of the amenities elsewhere.
“I’m hardly likely to leave you unattended in a bathroom, am I?” The bad-ass pointed out, with a wry eye-roll, t’boot.
“That p’raps wouldn’t be wise…” Ever. “Mac, are you still cross? You seem a smidge snippy.” Joe asked. A hard-hat question if ever there was one, but worth donning if there was a chance he might discover why Mac had been miffy in the first place, by default.
“No, I…fuck. I…” Mac broke off, seemingly to scrape his fingers through his hair. Then wrinkled his nose with distaste when they got stuck mid-rake.
Joe bit the bullet; he’d rather know, than not. He p’raps had a teeny bit of a tendency to leap in trouble’s lap, rather than scarper, sharpish.
“S’okay, you can say it, whatever it is. I doubt you’ll be the first, if it’s insulting.” It was with his best c’est la vie bash at a smile that Joe bypassed ‘bravery’ on the bullet train to ‘batshit bonkers’.
“I wasnae trying to insult you,” Mac sighed. “Nor pass judgement when you’re entitled to shag anyone you wish, and vice versa. I figured you’d be inundated with distractions the minute you land in London, so…” Another shrug from Mac’s exhaustive lexicon. This one was a tricky blighter. Rueful indifference? Resignation? Suit-your-fucking-self-ness? All of them felt a lot like being peered at over Judge Judy’s slitty unrimmed specs. Mac sure as strewth wasn’t guilty of inflicting the penultimate state of affairs on Joe’s person.
“But you won’t shag me, if I do? That’s what you’re not saying isn’t it?”
“There is no ‘but’. I wasn’t issuing an ultimatum. Just stating facts: you’ll have all the distractions you desire in London, so I’ll be surplus to requirements. In that respect, at least.” Mac clarified, a tad wearily, while stubbing out his cigarette.
“I didn’t say you were issuing one,” Joe frowned, wondering where he’d lost the plot. He felt as if he’d nodded off in the middle of a movie and missed the part where it all went pear-shaped. “But what if I don’t want to?”
“What? Go to London? I’m contracted to get you there, so neither of us have a choice in the matter.“ Mac speared Joe with a glint so flinty its effect was flammable. Proof positive that Joe was plenty distracted, thank you very much, and the rest was just geography.
“No, not that. You said, I’m entitled to shag anyone I wish, but…what if I don’t want to?”
“Have you decided to go cold turkey too, while you’re stretching credulity?” Mac smirked.
“Mac…you know damn well what I’m asking. You’re being deliberately obtuse.” Joe p’raps pouted, a bit, but blimey, it was like trying to grind granite with a cheese grater.
“Perhaps I want to hear it drip from unlikely lips…” Uttered with a dry-as-a-dust-devil shrug.
“Ooh. Humph. Fine. I don’t give a stuff where we are, it’s irrelevant. I want you—just you—to distract me to death, as promised earlier. There. Happy?”
“That was no promise, it was a threat,” Mac remarked with a rakish glower. He knew damn well what he was doing. Bodge Bodge. Joe was convinced of it.
“Not when you’re issuing it. Whatever it was, d’you intend to honour it?”
“My way. On my terms?” The green glittered like stained glass in sunlight. Scoundrel.
“Yeeess…” Joe sighed. Loudly. How very daring. He’d be braving blowjobs sans knee pads, next.
“’Kay. Shower?” A new shrug. Indecipherable. Possibly French though; it had a certain je ne sais quoi.
Joe’s jaw almost hit the floor; he’d expected a truckload of caveats and qualifications. A daft quip seemed his best bet as opposed to letting on, perchance that prompted a few. Thousand. “Strewth, I’ll start squeaking soon. You’re going to ruin my reputation y’know,” Joe informed him with a squinty side-eye.
“Think yourself lucky, Fitzgerald. Mine was buggered the moment I walked through the door.”
Mac had to suppress a grin when Joe flat-out pouted while accusing him of being ‘deliberately obtuse’. Perhaps he was guilty as charged, but in his own defence? Mac hadnae heard or read a damn thing about Joe Fitzgerald that suggested he’d be willing to limit himself in any way, least of all (smack aside) to one lover. That he might volunteer to do just that? Mac could barely believe his own ears, which made him suspect some skullduggery afoot.
“Ooh…Fine. I don’t give a stuff where we are, it’s irrelevant. I want you—just you—to distract me to death, as promised earlier. There. Happy?” Joe didn’t quite fold his arms and harumph, but it was a close run thing.
Happy? Mac was bloody gobsmacked.
Just you. Why? It didnae make sense. Not from those lips.
Unless…had Joe felt it too? The indefinable whatever-the-fuck-it-was that had roared to life with such force, it had shaken Mac to his core. That even now, in the aftermath, was smouldering like the embers of a fire in the sliver of space between them.
Embers that could ignite at the merest provocation and blaze out of control, devouring every lie Mac had enshrined as fact. Fallacies established for so long, with such fervent conviction, he wasnae sure there’d be a lot left if the façade went up in flames. Certainly nothing worth having…let alone valuing. Particularly for someone like Joe. A magpie who cherished rare and precious finds and stashed them away in his sanctuary from the world.
The hardbacks scattered asunder were likely first or special editions, covetable to collectors. Or…beloved by book lovers with an eye for a twinkly treasure, lured by the beauty of their binding. Trophies embossed with gold gilt lettering and bound in tooled leather by the hands of a master craftsman. Rather than pulp fiction paperbacks knocked out for the masses to read once, and toss aside. A metaphor as vainglorious as it was valid. Mac knew his professional worth…he sure as monkey shit wasnae paid peanuts. His value as a man? Was negligible. At best. Mac wouldnae buy himself from a car boot sale at clearing-out time.
All this would no doubt prove as devastating as forces of nature are wont to. Twice as terrifying. Joe was wildfire personified. Uncontrollable. As consuming as the—chemistry? Passion? Alchemy—whateverthefuck made it impossible that Mac might be ‘done with him’. After…that. It hadnae felt like ‘just’ anything. The fury of those flames was so intense Mac should flee as if the hounds of hell were after him.
“My way. On my terms?”
As if. Five words akin to a plaster slapped on a fault line.
“Yeeess…” Joe agreed with a fulsome sigh, rolling impossible eyes Mac’s way. Blinding him with white.
Joe’s mouth dropped open to echo those huge orbs. Oh Christ. He couldnae even serve up ‘gormless’ without pulling off ‘imp up to mischief’ instead.
“Strewth, I’ll start squeaking soon. You’re going to ruin my reputation y’know,” he rallied enough to note, lest Mac fool himself into believing that Joe intended to go quietly. Ever.
Ruin it? Mac didn’t intend to grant it such laxity. He was going to raze it to bloody ashes.
“Think yourself lucky, Fitzgerald. Mine was buggered the moment I walked through the door.” And yet, Mac had still done it. Why?
Why walk, knowingly, into something that jeopardized everything he’d grafted for? It was akin to stepping on a steel-jaw trap. Or shoving something rather more specific between its teeth.
“Mac…?” Joe blinked at him with huge pools of drowning darkness. Good grief, Mac had never stood a chance. Those eyes could drag a far better man than he to his doom.
Mac sure as hell had no memory of moving, but his mouth appeared to be melded to Joe’s, so he must have. Mac wasnae flat on his back on the bed, for a start. Did it matter? No…nothing did, not in that moment. Nor for some time…there was only the body beneath his own, and lips every bit as giving as they were greedy. Kisses so fierce they might be the first after a lifetime of longing, or the last before leaving for war. Ludicrous flights of fancy that would’ve made Mac smirk a few hours and forever ago. He was unravelling at such a rate, he’d be fit for fuck-all by the time they left for London.
Joe couldnae have planned it better. Unless…of course, he had.
Glass half-empty? Check.
Perhaps there were a few pips left in the old cherry, yet. It looked like Mac would just have to ensure that who the fuck is Joe Fitzgerald was kept far too distracted to spit them out…