When Mac finally managed to heave himself off Joe—a feat made possible only by the fact he really did feel rank—it left his skin as scorched and thirsty as desert sand.
“There’s a cubicle in the biggest bathroom, that’d be best…for two,” Joe beamed up at him before springing up to bound off the bed. The monster scarcely ate or slept and mainlined a drug that induced drowsiness and depressed the respiratory system. What the hell had Joe been like before his veins had been shot to shit with smack? It was a mind-boggling thought.
Was it any wonder he’d sought oblivion, not least from the devouring demands of fame? The relentless press pack had pursued him from the minute they realised what a prize had landed in their laps. Vince hadnae been wrong when he’d compared Joe to Amy Winehouse; the media had hounded them both in an ominously similar manner. Thank fuck Joe didnae have a fella draining him dry and fuelling the flames of every fatal flaw.
Mac might be a bastard, but at least he wasnae a blood sucking leech. That was sure to prove a consoling thought for Mrs Fitzgerald in the dead of night. Unable to sleep, dreading the call that would destroy her life and shatter her heart. It would never come, if Mac had his way. All he must do…was make sure he did.
Piece of cake, that. He could polish it off while taking tea with Mary Bloody Poppins. On Uncle Albert’s ceiling.
After following Joe to the bathroom last used on Mac’s ill-fated trip to the loo, he stood at the door of the shower cubicle, waiting while Joe turned it on and adjusted the temperature. Riveted to the lavish interplay of lean muscle and bone that gave Joe the gawky grace of a newborn gazelle. Christ, those legs…unaccountably elegant for limbs so lanky. An extravagance from top to toe. Mac had scarce stepped into the shower before snaking an arm around Joe’s waist, melding their bodies beneath the spray. Cocooned in a capsule of steam-filled air, saturated with sultry heat, as heavy as the immense press coiled in the pit of Mac’s guts. Need so raw, relentless, it was impossible to repress. He was cleaved to Joe’s back, fitted to its contours, cock nestled in its (now reserved) parking spot. Mac might’ve been standing as tall as possible, and Joe had widened his stance, but it worked, and they fit, without need for words.
As they stood, enveloped in silence and steam, Joe let his head fall back to rest on Mac’s shoulder, raising his face into the spray. The water droplets glistened like diamonds scattered across his pearly skin, sluicing his hair back, white-blond and alabaster pale. A marble masterpiece, unearthly beautiful. Unbearably fragile. All mine. For now, at least. Too improbable to believe…had that been a mere rouse to get his own way? Or had Joe meant it?
As he’d said it? Perhaps, yes. He’d likely agreed to many, many things to get the bastards off his back or buy himself some time. Promises born from a sheer desperation to be left alone with his faithless friend and a few stolen moments of flawless peace…as pristine as freshly fallen snow. Freed from the constraints of fame, contract obligations, record companies, managers, lawyers, fans… The clutch of fingers, outstretched hands, pleading for a piece of Joe’s shattered self. Pasted-back together with a smile too beguiling to believe the worst…and too enchanting to care if it was.
Mac understood addiction, knew all too well how seductive the lure of oblivion was. His drug of choice had been all-but inherent. A well-trod path so familiar to Scotsmen, its moniker proclaimed their creed. It’s true name? Translated from Scottish Gaelic—Uisge-Beatha na h-Alba—was The Water of Life. Apt indeed, when resisting its potent warmth was a wee bit similar to weaning yourself off water.
Standing now, enclosed in the steam-soused embrace of that life-giving force—every bit as capable of snatching it away—Mac didnae intend to embark upon a war he couldn’t win. That would be as futile as attempting to turn back the tide; he couldnae deny himself Joe. Nor did he want to.
That aside, Mac had managed to drag himself back from the brink of being drowned by his own demons. So, he’d just have to do his damnedest to haul Joe to shore. If he failed? Then it sure as hell wouldnae be for the want of trying…
“I thought you might have gone akip.”
“No…just knackered. I scarce slept a wink,” he mumbled into Joe’s neck.
“I’m sorry, t’was my fault…Here…” Joe swivelled around in Mac’s arms before edging him back until hot skin met cool tile, pretty much propping him against the cubicle wall. He may have drunk a wee dram too many. “Let me wash you…” Joe murmured, dipping his head to press a soft, moist kiss to Mac’s mouth. “…you’ll be all clean and then you can have a snooze.”
“I cannae…” Mac groaned.
“Why? We don’t need to go anywhere til tomorrow…” Joe assured him, lips curving in a serene smile as he smoothed rogue strands of sopping fringe away from Mac’s face.
“I know…but I’m sure you could think of somewhere, if I was stupid enough to shut my eyes for a few minutes.” Mac’s smirk was too smudged for snark, his tone too…fond. He was fucked. Even though he hadnae been. Semantics.
“I don’t want to go anywhere, y’daftie. I’d rather stay here,” Joe breezed, reaching for a bottle of shower gel from the tier of chrome corner shelves to Mac’s left.
“I take it your stash will sustain you until we’re in London?”
“Yup…but even if it wouldn’t, I could be sorted with a phone call. That’s beside the point and you haven’t had your wash. So stop cussing for a mo and let me do looking after you.”
“Oh gawd, go on then, if you must,” Mac sighed, rolling his eyes. As if to suggest he was humouring Joe to shut him up.
Joe’s answering grin confirmed he wasn’t fooled for a second but couldnae care less when he’d got his own way. My way? F’fucksakes, it was all going to hell in a handcart. Full-throttle.
Mac didnae have the energy to slam the brakes on. His uncustomary fretting had left him teetering on the edge of unease, which felt strangely more draining than the lack of sleep. Drenched in bone-deep exhaustion, his mind as misty as the swirls of steam. Foggy musings that melted away when soapy hands started sweeping slow circles around Mac’s shoulders, down his arms…
“Ahh,” he sighed, lulled by the far-too sensual slide of Joe’s hands. Featherlight fingers, stroking across his skin, smoothing away the knots of tension. A glide so hypnotic, it was hard to tell if he was fully conscious, or adrift in a halfway world, till Joe skimmed Mac’s nipples and a shaft of lust shot straight to his groin.
“Hmm…” It was with a purr of sound that Joe bent to lap up the water droplets and flick his tongue across a pebbled nub. Tender-sharp teeth enclosed it in a tugging tease that relented only for Joe to pounce upon its twin and torture that, too.
“Mac…” His name was a breeze of cool breath blown across sensitive skin after Joe tongued it free. Then fused their lips to mete out much the same treatment on Mac’s mouth. Joe was a wall of heat pressing him against cool tile, their cocks crushed together as he continued his heady plunder. When he tore himself away, Mac was left bereft and blinking into the spotlights, disorientated and half-deranged with desire.
“Mac…d’you want me to finish washing you?” Joe asked, squirting a dollop of shower gel onto his palm, midnight eyes glittering with mischief. Aglint with the truth of Joe’s request.
“Yeah…” Mac heard himself sigh, as if from far away. Way too far gone to resist when he’d ensured that Joe hadnae even laid a finger on his cock. Let alone that oh, so clever mouth.
Yup…Mac was well and truly buggered. Even though he hadnae been. Unwashed and Somewhat Slightly Dazed he might be, but Mac was far too canny to be fooled by the ‘yet’ sniggering away in a dark recess of his reptilian brain.
My way. On my terms. Sorted.