Set in the middle of Chapter 7, Garrett's point of view when he brings Carver over to the Pavus-Rutherford household to pick a puppy.
The doorbell rang. “I’ll get it,” Dorian said. “Leave you boys to bond over your dogs.”
One of the pups was more interested in Carver than the others, returning to nibble his knuckles in between romping with her littermates. Garrett smiled, caught Cullen’s eye and nodded at the puppy.
“Well well looked who stopped by,” Dorian said, apparently not even trying to be subtle.
Felix stepped into the room. “Dori, you texted me.”
Garrett winced internally. If Carver thought that Dorian was trying to play matchmaker, he’d get mulish about the whole thing.
“Imagine that, what a coincidence,” Dorian said, as if Felix hadn’t spoken.
Seeing Carver’s jaw twitch, Garrett quickly asked, “Do you like dogs, Felix?”
Felix looked at him with wide eyes. After a moment, he said, “I like Missy,” gesturing to Cullen’s dog. “Not many dogs in where I come from,” he explained with an apologetic shrug. Garrett smiled encouragingly at him.
Felix looked down at Carver and the puppy in his lap. “That one seems to like you, though,” he said with a small smile.
“I think she’s a keeper,” Carver said. “Though they say that the Mabari picks the owner, not the other way around.”
Felix smiled and crouched down. “This one must have good taste, then.”
Ooh, very smooth. If Carver had the wit to see that Felix was actually flirting with him, it might even work.
Say something, Carver. Say something.
Cullen raised his eyebrows at Garrett and gestured upstairs. He could already hear Dorian’s footsteps. But he couldn’t leave on this awkward silence. Maker, idiot, say something! he thought hard at his brother.
“Would you like to hold her?” Carver clumsily shoved the puppy at Felix, who didn’t quite recoil but who also looked a bit alarmed at being given a puppy.
Well, it was better than nothing at all. Garrett followed Cullen upstairs. When they closed the bedroom door behind them, Dorian was almost bouncing on his feet. “Well?” he asked, sounding very pleased with himself.
“About as subtle as a brick through a window, dearest,” Cullen deadpanned, kissing his cheek.
“Yes, well, we can’t all be as suave and sensitive to nuance and clever innuendo as I am.”
Cullen snorted. “‘Sensitive to clever innuendo’, my arse. Who was it who, on our second date, didn’t realize I was offering to--”
“Cullen, no!” Dorian rushed to cover Cullen’s smirking mouth with his hand, but stumbled into the corner of the bed, fell onto it and accidentally shoved Cullen to the floor.
Garrett burst out laughing, both at the comical thump and Cullen’s expression. He softened the blow by walking over and giving Cullen a hand up. Once he was upright, Garrett looked back at the door.
“What are you thinking?” Cullen asked.
Garrett sighed. “I’m wondering how likely it is that my idiot brother will just sit there in awkward silence instead of pursuing things with Felix.”
“Felix might just pick up a book to keep him quiet company,” Dorian mused, “all the while wishing he had the courage to say something. We need to get them out of the house together.”
“And how do you propose we do that?”
Dorian answered with a devious smile. Kneeling on the bed, he braced himself forwards on his hands and then shoved his weight backwards as if he was--well. The headboard thumped into the wall.
“Maker, Dorian!” exclaimed Cullen.
Garrett thought it was brilliant. He grabbed hold of the footboard and pushed it against the wall hard enough to knock Dorian off balance on their very springy mattress. “That’s the spirit!” Dorian approved. After a third and fourth ‘thrust’, Dorian moaned loudly.
“His little brother,” Cullen pointed at Garrett, “ is right downstairs!” As scandalized as he sounded, Cullen was smiling broadly.
Dorian moaned again and said more quietly, “Yes, that’s why I didn’t suggest actual fucking. Now, are either of you going to make any noise, or will it sound like I’m doing everything myself?” He raised his voice again to say, ”Oh, Garrett, yes!”
“Oooohhhhh!” Garrett obliged. He and Dorian made the appropriate sounds together while Cullen recovered from his giggles.
“I don’t see what’s so funny,” Dorian said. “This is hard work!”
“It’s just,” Cullen said through a grin, leaning over beside Garrett to shove at the bed, “I never realized how odd sex noises sound when there isn’t any actual sex happening!”
After a few minutes Garrett looked out the window. “They’re outside with the dogs. Should we stop?”
“Ooohhhh don’t stop, don’t stop!” Dorian shouted. He pointed to the foot of the bed. “Faster, fuck me faster!”
“I don’t remember us making this much noise last night,” Cullen complained good-naturedly, following the jibe with an ecstatic wail that sent Dorian and Garrett into fits of laughter. The next moan Dorian made was more of a warble, which Cullen followed with an enthusiastic howl, and that was the end of the charade for Garrett. He lay back on the floor beside the bed, gasping with laughter, holding his aching sides.
“Oh stop,” he begged. “It hurts!”
Cullen crawled over and lay down beside him. “Just think of it as breathplay, gorgeous.”
Dorian popped his head over the side of the bed. “That’s one hell of a way to bring up kink, darling.”
Garrett waved a hand. “I saw the contents of your upper drawer when you got more lube last night. I’m not shocked.”
“That’s a relief,” Cullen said, brushing Garrett’s slightly sweaty hair back from his brow. “Dorian, are they still outside?”
“It looks like our clueless friends are parting ways, and I think I hear your dogs,” he emphasized, “inside, which means they need supervision.”
“Well, then!” exclaimed Cullen, rising and pulling Garrett to his feet. “”Then we’ll go downstairs, supervise the dogs, and talk about how the contents of the upper drawer did make Garrett feel.”