“Fuck!” Mac cursed, dodging away from the guitar winging towards his head from the back seat.
“You didn’t need to duck, y’daftie. I wasn’t going to clobber you with it.”
“The trajectory of its arc would have clipped my left ear. Fact,” Mac stated.
“Fact? How can you sound so sure? It was nowhere near you when you flinched!” Joe protested. “You’re hellish sexy when you’re spitting bullets, though. Just sayin.”
“Experience.” Mac stated, ignoring the latter to address the former. “I would’ve sat tight—not took preventative action—had there been no need. Anticipating an attack is the best form of defence.”
“Are we talking war…or wits?” Joe asked, that insatiable curiosity piqued.
“There is no distinction in clash of will terms. The victor still triumphs over the vanquished.” Mac shrugged, knowing damn well that his words wouldnae sate it.
“How many men have you…vanquished, Mac?” Joe obliged…and then some. As Mac should have anticipated. The appetite glittering in bottomless black was far too greedy for its own good. It would be the death of Joe. A cause and effect as consequential as: trajectory on impact point.
Eradicating that threat was impossible. A client cannae be killed to save their life. Nor a territory bombed to preserve it. His efforts to keep Joe alive would likely finish them both off. Bring it on, Fitzgerald. I’ll save you if it fucking kills us, Mac vowed to…himself. Just as well, when there seemed to be a wee flaw in his formerly impeccable logic. Well, so be it, but—in the meantime—he’d just have to do his damnedest to ensure Joe’s safety. That was a given; it was Mac’s job. Job? That had bugger all to do with it, as well he knew. He’d be willing to do that for free, but they’d sure as shit have to pay Mac to put up with the press and Joe’s…entourage. Particularly those who purported to work on his behalf. Mac’s employers. A cinch, then.
“I refer you to my previous reply…” Mac snorted, yanking sharply on the steering wheel to swerve around the shadow that scuttled from the hedgerow, straight into their path.
He focussed on the road for a few miles, thoughts never drifting far from the silk clad tangle of limbs crammed into his passenger seat. What was Joe scheming…dreaming…in that baffling, bewitching, brain? His reverie was interrupted by a trickle of notes that saturated their silence. Left lingering in the air like scent when Joe paused to tweak a tuning knob, before repeating the same sliver of melody. A low murmur accompanied the flutter of Joe’s fingers, Mac could only make out fragments… ‘Wits or war…’ Words he recognised, followed by a stream of several he hadnae seen, or heard, before.
“He came, he saw…he conquered. Veni, vidi, vici…Victor victory. Walk the walk…Richard of York…gave battle in vain…somewhere over the rainbow…the show, must go…on.” Sung in a murmur like a whisper on the wind. Aching sweetness, weaving its way around notes fingerpicked at breakneck speed in a spine-tingling clash of contrasts.
Mere stream of consciousness? All rhyme no reason? Another tweak, the pluck of a single string, then Joe nodded in satisfaction and shifted in his seat, settled the guitar more comfortably.
“A Minor…C…Fmaj7, duh…better…” Joe tutted to himself, then played a melody Mac couldnae discern from the first.
The ferocity of focus Joe had summoned from fuck knows where was staggering. Mac had become (he instantly realised) far too accustomed to random flights of fancy and flurries of movement like light refracting off curved glass. This was laser focus, trained with pin point intensity on a single ‘target’, catching Mac off guard. A sensation uncannily akin to the ‘dramatic gun cock’ in a movie. Fuck. He needed to stay sharp. Being spat out…wasnae an option. Mac was starting to fear he was all out of those…
“’Kay…” Joe raised his head and blinked, several times. “Sorry…I got…” He scratched at his temple, leaving a tufty sprig of hair standing proud, translucent in the light from the dash.
“S’okay. I enjoyed…listening, as it unfolded. Like watching a timelapse clip of a plant growing. If that makes sense…”
“It sure beats the ‘back of a cross-stitch pattern’ I’d been convinced it resembled?” A response that almost seemed…abashed. No…surely not?
It had been one helluva weekend. Mac had lost his mind.
“‘Kay…sorry, here y’go…It’s real rough though, don’t expect much…” A ripple of notes negated the need for a reply, so Mac just nodded, forcing himself to focus on the road ahead.
Joe bent his ever-tousled head over the guitar and began to play with more purpose. His fingers were more fluid, his voice more certain when he began to croon ‘Mac’s’ song. A thought that stirred the dark heat pooled in the pit of his guts as words flowed from those overripe, ever ready lips. As readily as if they’d been sitting on the tip of Joe’s tongue all this time.
“O those eyes of tourmaline green
That flinty glint, agleam with mean
Glimmering with a lethal sheen
Dangerous with dark desire
Tempered rage and deadly ire,
Ablaze with lust and bad-ass fire…”
Another ripple of notes started tripping off Joe’s strings like a stone skimming the surface of a lake. The melody quickening, as he began to pluck more purposefully. When Joe resumed singing, his rolling vowels now accompanied clipped consonants, enunciated with a click of tongue as the lyrics rang crisp and clear. Words he’d murmured but a few minutes ago…
“Wits or war? He came, he saw.
He conquered...and more.
Veni, vidi, vici.
Victor in victory.
My way au paradis
Un fait accompli…”
Fragments of conversation, snatched up and unleashed like a kite taking flight. Mac made a mental note, catalogued it with the slew of observations accrued over the last two days. Reality reflected through those incredible eyes took on a new truth, Joe’s truth. Given authority by the beauty of the words he weaved…and cast into stone by the purity of his conviction.
Fuck… Mac clamped his mouth shut, and kept his eyes fixed on the tarmac snaking ahead, abruptly conscious of being unable to recall driving the last few miles.
“Oouch, that needs work…sorry…” Joe flinched, but his fingers didnae falter as he segued straight into the next verse. The similar pattern of the first line lulled Mac into a false sense of security, until Joe dropped his voice to sing the second. Gone were the couplets, replaced by more complex rhyme…and recognizable phrases that clashed like bodies on a battlefield.
“He walks the walk, talks the talk.
With diamond-tipped will,
Like The Hawk in the Rain
Swooping in for the kill
While vile Richard Of York.
Died Battling In Vain…”
Joe took it down a notch, slowing to a shiver of notes, repeated as a haunting refrain.
“Lest we forget. The green
Reigns supreme. I dare to dream…
And somewhere over the rainbow…
The show, oh the show, must go…”
A line left lingering in the air for several bars…then a single word. As final as the slap of Joe’s palm onto the strings—silencing all sound—in its wake:
“Huh?” Mac blinked, as startled from a trance. Fucknows how they hadnae wound up wrapped around a signpost. “Crap? Are you off your rocker?” Mac demanded, glancing to his left. At Joe, entirely present; sitting up straight, scanning the darkness like a sniper rifle.
“According to most…but I said: crap I’m crippled. Are we nearly there yet, Mac?”
“Nearly there? It’s a Jag, not Chitty-Chitty bloody Bang-Bang. We haven’t even reached Reading.”
“Pffft. Can we stop for a bit, then?”
“I just told ya,” Joe grinned. Eyes and teeth glinting like starlight.
“You want to stop. For a bit.” Mac repeated. Gobsmacked by the segue from lyricism to lust.
“Yup. Maaac…” he whimpered. “Pleeease…”
“We. Are on the M4,” Mac informed him. For all the world as if that would matter a toss.
“Just park up on the hard shoulder,” Joe insisted, with an impatient huff.
“I am not shagging you on the hard shoulder,” Mac hissed.
“That sentence was just cruel. Sadist. I don’t recall mentioning shagging. I do remember the part where you promised to keep me safe.”
“That’s exactly what I’m doing…from the press. And being arrested,” Mac snarled.
“I don’t give a monkey’s nuts about the press. Mine, however, are another matter. Three seconds, Mac. Then I pounce…Oooone…Twoooo…”
Shit...Mac glanced in the rear view mirror, then swerved sharply across two lanes of motorway. Never. Ever. Would he drive Joe anywhere in broad daylight. Or busy traffic. Absolutely not. No way.
“Thank you muchly, dear sir.” Joe beamed. Having stopped counting the second the car veered left, victory secured. Demon.
“Joe. I am not—what the fuck are you do—!?” The guitar was jettisoned out of the car window about a sharp intake of breath before Mac found himself engulfed in limbs and lips. As insistent, hot, hungry as the hand that clamped to his crotch. “Joe…”
“No…need, I can’t—”
Mac’s button gave as that far-too talented tongue darted between his teeth to duel with his own. “Can’t what!? Jooe, stoohhgod…” Mac groaned, when his zip gave way with a rasp like his shredded resistance.
“Stand more craving. Mm, so harrd…” A burning palm branded Mac’s cock; enclosed it in a sure fist.
“Gnnrr…f’fucksakes. Do it…” Demanded the degenerate idiot—supposedly—in the driver’s seat.
“Do what? This…?” As Joe began a torturously slow glide.
“No…” Mac grunted, head slamming against the headrest.
There was a brief caress of cool air, about a bitten-off cry before Mac’s cock was enveloped in velvet heat. “Aaaah…” The noises ensuing from his own crotch were obscene, deafening in the darkness. Christ, that bloody tongue. “Joe…please…” Mac groaned, bowing his back, hips straining off the seat. “Aaargh..”
“Hmm…” The hum vibrated around his shaft, sparking along his spine, thrilling through his veins.
“Fuck…don’t stop, never stop…” A plea Mac would’ve sworn he didnae utter, until a cool whisper wafted across scorched flesh.
“Oh, I don’t intend to..”
God no…he had. Oh, whatever… Mac couldnae quite…care, when Joe—who had bobbed up briefly to respond to his own unutterable sentence—damn near swallowed him whole.
“Oh..I..ah…” Blow job? It was like being feasted on by hungry bloody hoover. Back and forth that mind-boggling mouth swept, obliterating all but…He. “Gnh..aah…” Fuck no…the head of Mac’s cock hit the back of Joe’s throat and Mac sucked a sharp breath through clenched teeth, fighting to hold on. A battle doomed before it began. “Joooe!” he hollered when Joe swallowed around him, alongside possibly the most obscene purr of sound Mac had ever heard. The impossible pressure exploded in riot of bliss, blitzing his body with…far too much for…Mac’s last remaining marbles. Guzzled, far too greedily for…anyone but who the fuck is Joe Fitzgerald.
“Mmm…” An appetite that apparently wouldnae be satisfied till Joe had licked the bloody platter clean.
Mac’s lids had no sooner flickered open than slammed shut when his eyeballs were stabbed by the blazing trail of light snaking along the central reservation. “Oh fuck…”
“Oh, if only…” his miscreant sighed. With all the limpid sorrow of le poète. “I suppose we’d better be off though, before someone snaffles my stash in exchange for some overnight accommodation y’cannae refuse.”
“Oh, fuck…” Mac groaned. Again.
“That said, I’m not sure my sterling intentions can outlast a third verbal ejaculation along those lines.” Joe snickered. “D’you want me to drive?”
“NO.” Mac blew out a fulsome breath and scraped a hand through his tangled snarls of fringe. Then…fumbled for the seatbelt he…somehow hadnae noticed being undone. If there could possibly be a more uncanny summation of his plight? Mac sure as hell didnae want to hear it.
Or an offer of bed and board somewhere far less ‘posh’ than planned, if you don’t get your raddled ass, and the Jag, into gear…