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robbing the cradle

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Mike remained outside by the car while Vicki went inside the café to speak with her confidential informant. It grated to be left behind, but Vicki had been right when she said her CI would be more likely to open up if it was just her. She’d actually said ‘if Mike wasn’t looming over him’, but Mike was paraphrasing. Given that they’d found another body early that morning Mike would’ve been willing to rattle Old Joe’s cage, but Vicki had insisted that they’d get more with honey than with vinegar, which had made Mike laugh because Vicki was the definition of vinegar.

They’d chosen the café for the meet because Vicki paid Old Joe for his information with coffee and a sandwich. Maybe a piece of homemade pie if it was really good. Mike leaned against the car parked at the curb with his arms crossed as he watched Vicki’s back through the plate glass window. His cell phone rang and Mike absently pulled it out of his pocket. He checked the caller ID and sighed.

Mike accepted the call, then returned his gaze to Vicki. “Hey, mom.”

“Hello, Michael,” Mike’s mom said loudly. She insisted that she wasn’t losing her hearing, but Mike wondered.

“What’s up?” Mike pulled the phone away from his ear as his mom continued speaking.

“Where are you right now?”

“Working,” Mike said. He watched Vicki get up from the table and give him a little wave through the window.

“Well, sit down,” his mom said.

“I’m sitting,” Mike lied.

“Your brother Stephen called to announce that they’re pregnant,” his mom said portentously.

“Wow,” Mike said. Stephen and Valerie had been dating for eight years now, but they’d both sworn off kids. “Are they both happy about that?”

“That’s not the point, Michael,” his mom said.

Mike frowned as Vicki exited the café, but was stopped by a young man with wavy brown hair that nearly reached his shoulder. Blue eyes, Mike thought, but at this distance it was difficult to be sure. White button-down open at the throat, Mike’s cop instincts noted. A leather cord around his neck, whatever hung on it hidden beneath the shirt, blue jeans, black boots. He was taller than Vicki, but not by much, so 5'9", maybe 5'10", about a hundred and eighty pounds.

“What is the point, mom?” Mike said into the phone.

“They’re not married, Michael,” his mom said.

Mike bit back a sigh. “I don’t think they need to be married to have a baby.”

Vicki laughed at something the young man said. She shook her head no, but took the business card when he offered it to her.

“If they won’t get married because it’s the proper thing to do, they should do it because of the baby,” Mike’s mom stated.

“I hope you didn’t say that to Stephen,” Mike said, squirming when both Vicki and the young man looked at him while they spoke.

“Of course not,” his mom said. “I want you to call him and drop it into the conversation.”

Mike imagined the scenario where he just casually brought up Stephen’s marital status. That would fly like a lead balloon. “I’ve got to go, mom,” Mike said as Vicki left the young man behind and approached the unmarked car. “Why don’t you just concentrate on the good news that you’re going to be a grandmother for now?”

Mike disconnected the call before his mom could respond. Vicki was still grinning at Mike, and when he glanced behind her the young man was still staring at him. Their eyes met and the young man smiled. He raised his hand and gave Mike a little finger wave before turning and reentering the café.

Mike slipped into the driver’s seat. “What was that all about?” he said when Vicki rounded the car and got in the passenger side. “You robbing the cradle now?”

Vicki gave Mike a look as she buckled her seat belt. “No. He’s a graphic artist,” she said as Mike pulled away from the curb. “He said he’d like to use me as a model for one of his graphic novels.”

Mike snorted. “And you believed that line?”

“Are you saying that I’m not good enough for him to draw?” Vicki said, her voice going dangerously level.

“That’s not what I’m saying at all,” Mike said. They weren’t sleeping together any longer, but he still didn’t want to be in the doghouse with Vicki. “I’m saying it sounds like a pick-up line.”

“Don’t be jealous, Mike,” Vicki said. “Henry said he’d like to draw you, too.”

Mike cursed his fair skin when his cheeks went hot. Vicki noticed and chuckled.

“What did Old Joe have to say?” Mike said, changing the subject.

Vicki let him, but pointedly stuck the business card into a slot in the console. Old Joe didn’t have much to say, as it turned out, but Vicki had still bought him a piece of pie.

“Who was on the phone?” Vicki said.

“My mother,” Mike said unhappily.

“What did Martha want?” Vicki said. Mike’s mom hated it when Vicki called her Martha.

“Stephen and Valerie are going to have a baby,” Mike told her.

“Wow. I didn’t see that coming.”

“I’m not sure they saw it coming,” Mike said, making Vicki laugh.

“Your mother must be ecstatic.”

The first time his mom had met Vicki, she’d not-so-subtly hinted that she wasn’t getting any younger and she was still waiting for her first grandchild.

“You’d think,” Mike said. “The fact that they’re not married yet has taken precedence, apparently.”

“How’d Stephen take that?”

“She claims she didn’t say anything to him. She wants me to do it.”

Vicki laughed so hard she had to cross her legs so she didn’t pee her pants.

They headed back to the precinct to run the name that Old Joe had given Vicki and to go over the files one more time to look for any connection between the victims. A revised criminal profile from the forensic psychologist with the details from that morning’s crime scene taken into account was sitting in the middle of Mike’s desk when they returned to Homicide Squad. Mike read the updated report while Vicki swore at the computer.

“Any luck?” Mike said when he put down the report. Vicki had been suspiciously silent for the last few minutes, so she’d either found something or she’d broken the computer.

“Yes, actually,” Vicki said, sounding as surprised as Mike felt. “George Pullman isn’t the name of a man . . . well, it was the name of a man, but he’s been dead for some time now, but it was also the name of a building downtown.”

“Let’s go check it out,” Mike said.

“There was a fire,” Vicki went on before Mike rose too far out of his chair, “and the building was later demolished. But guess what’s there now.”

Mike threw his hands up, but he knew better than to not answer because Vicki liked her little games. “I don’t know, a park?”

Vicki gestured for Mike to come look, so he got up and walked around their desks, which were bunked up against one another. He braced his hands on the edge of Vicki’s desk and looked at her computer screen. Mike sucked in a breath. “Toronto Youth Center,” he said angrily.

“Yep,” Vicki said. “You check with the families of the other victims and see if they ever went there. I’ll see what I can find out about the employees.”

Mike hated the idea of bothering the families again, but it was a necessary evil, and if Vicki was going to offer to use the computer he wasn’t going to argue.

~*~*~*~

Three days later Mike was at a coffee shop near the precinct to get a shot of caffeine that didn’t taste like the sludge at the office. The hair on the back of his neck stood up when he felt eyes on him. Mike finished ordering, then casually looked around the shop as he moved down to the pick-up counter.

The man Mike had seen with Vicki the other day, Henry, sat at a table near the front window. His hair was pulled back and a curly wisp had pulled out of the elastic and hung down by his face. There was an open pad of paper on the table in front of him, but Henry was leaning back in his chair, one denim-clad ankle crossed over the other knee, one arm (covered by a blue button-down this time, cuffs rolled up), thrown over the back of the chair as he studied Mike. Henry smiled when Mike’s gaze met his, unselfconscious of the fact that he’d been caught staring.

Mike nodded to acknowledge Henry’s presence, then turned back to the counter to wait for his coffee and pondered what he should do. He could just leave without speaking to Henry, but that might seem rude. He could give Henry a friendly but casual wave and then leave. Mike thanked the barista and took his coffee. Henry had probably returned to his drawing pad, or whatever it was, and would be paying zero attention to Mike, which would allow Mike to leave without feeling a strange obligation to go over to him.

Mike turned and sought out Henry, who had only moved to pick up his own cup and take a sip. Braided pieces of cloth in several colors hung around Henry’s wrist. Mike walked towards Henry’s table as if in the grip of a compulsion. Henry smiled behind his cup at Mike’s approach, which made Mike consider stopping in his tracks and leaving. Instead he ground his teeth together and continued towards Henry’s table.

“Henry,” Mike said in greeting.

Henry dropped his foot to the floor and stood, held out his hand. “We haven’t been formally introduced,” Henry said, looking up at Mike who stood nearly four inches taller. “Henry Fitzroy, graphic artist.”

Mike slipped his hand into Henry’s. “Detective Mike Celluci,” Mike said.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Detective,” Henry said, biting back a smile at Mike’s formality.

Mike’s hand tingled where Henry held it, so he sought for something to change the subject. “You appear to have an affinity for coffee shops.”

“I do,” Henry said, allowing Mike to draw his hand back. “Especially when I’ve got a block. The sights, the sounds, the smells, the bustle . . . something about a coffee shop helps me unblock.” Henry gestured towards the seat across the table. “Would you care to join me?”

Mike’s gaze jerked up from where it had fallen to look at what he could see of Henry’s drawing pad. “I’m afraid I can’t,” Mike said. He was surprised by how much he really did regret it. “I need to get back to the precinct, we’re closing up a case and I . . .” Mike suddenly felt sick to his stomach.

“I read in the paper that the police had made an arrest,” Henry said. “That was you?”

“And my partner, Vicki.”

“Congratulations on closing the case,” Henry said.

“It’s not going to do the victims any good,” Mike said wearily.

“No,” Henry agreed, his voice low, “but you got them off the street so that they won’t be able to hurt another child, and that’s all you can do.”

Vicki had been saying the same thing, though neither one believed it. It felt different coming from Henry. Instead of blowing up, Mike said, “Sometimes it doesn’t feel like enough.” Mike got flustered when he realized he’d been staring at Henry. “I should get going.”

“Of course,” Henry said.

Mike hesitated a moment, then took a step back.

“Detective,” Henry said, stopping Mike in his tracks. “Did your partner pass on my offer?”

Mike’s cheeks went hot.

“To use you as a model,” Henry said.

“She did,” Mike said. “I thought she was joking.”

“Not at all,” Henry said, then paused.

Mike realized that Henry was waiting for a response. “I don’t think so,” Mike said.

“Well.” Henry appeared to draw a business card out of thin air. “Call me if you change your mind.”

“I won’t,” Mike said, but he took the card anyway, even though the card Henry had given to Vicki was still in their car. “How old are you, anyway?”

Henry grinned. “How old do you think I am?”

“You barely look eighteen,” Mike said.

Henry’s grin widened. “Flattery will get you everywhere, Detective.”

“I wasn’t . . .” Mike bit off the denial and said, “Are you going to answer me?”

“I’m well above the age of consent,” Henry said. His face was serious, but his eyes were twinkling. “If that’s your concern.”

“It wasn’t,” Mike said sharply.

Henry gave a disappointed hum. “Well, I suppose I should get back to my drawing, and you should get back to work.”

Henry turned to reseat himself and Mike realized that his hair wasn’t pulled back in a ponytail, but wrapped into a bun with the stub of a pencil stuck through it. Mike dropped his gaze and his stomach did a somersault at the sight of Henry’s fingers curled around the pencil he picked up from the table. “Yes,” Mike said belatedly.

He turned to leave, glancing back when he reached the door to see if the sense of Henry’s eyes on him was merely his imagination. Henry waggled his fingers at Mike just as he’d done the first time they’d seen each other. Mike gave a curt nod and stepped out of the shop. Mike took a deep breath and let it settle him. He hated being off balance, and that’s how he’d felt with Henry just now.

As he walked back to the precinct, sipping coffee already going lukewarm, Mike noted that he’d been right about Henry’s eyes; they were blue.

~*~*~*~

Mike was tired and all he wanted to do was go home, take a hot shower, and fall into bed for a week. Instead he pushed his way through the crowd at the bar because he’d promised Vicki he’d meet her for a drink.

“Mike!” Vicki called over the noise of the busy bar, raising her hand and waving it to get Mike’s attention.

Mike waved back and was almost to Vicki when he spotted the man sitting next to her. He was wearing a maroon button-down and black slacks, his hair burnished copper in the light of the bar.

“Look who I ran into!” Vicki said.

Butterflies set up house in Mike’s stomach. He should’ve known that something was up when Vicki offered to buy. Mike accepted the bottle Vicki handed him, then leaned down to kiss her cheek. He took a sip before acknowledging Henry. Because he was thirsty (very, very thirsty) and not because he needed the fortification.

“Henry,” Mike drawled, extending his hand.

Henry slipped his hand into Mike’s. “Detective.”

Vicki nearly spit out her drink. “What? No! It’s Mike.”

Henry glanced at Mike.

“Yes, please call me Mike,” Mike said.

“Very well, Michael,” Henry said. “Since you asked so nicely.”

Mike averted his gaze so that Henry couldn’t see what the sound of his name on Henry’s tongue had done to him. His gaze landed on the bottle Henry held. “You old enough to be drinking that?” Mike said.

Henry laughed.

“What’s the joke?” Vicki said, and Mike suddenly realized what a bad idea it was to open up that subject.

“Michael thinks I’m jail bait,” Henry said with a smirk.

“That is not what I said,” Mike denied.

“No?”

“Wait,” Vicki said. “You think Henry is younger than nineteen?”

“I still don’t know that he’s not,” Mike said.

Vicki chuckled and took a sip of beer, then she seemed to realize something. “When did the two of you have this conversation?”

“A couple days ago,” Henry said casually. “I ran into Michael while he was getting coffee.”

“Really?” Vicki said. “Mike didn’t mention it.” There was an edge to her voice that said Mike would pay for that later.

“Oh, look,” Mike said. “Dave’s here.”

“Coward,” Vicki muttered.

Mike ignored her and waved over Dave and Kate. In the confusion of getting drinks for them the topic of Mike having run into Henry was dropped, if not forgotten. In the course of their conversation about hockey and why it seemed like the crime rate wasn’t really shrinking like the numbers said, it came out that Henry was a graphic artist.

“You doing a graphic novel about cops?” Dave said. “Is that why you’re hanging out with these two reprobates?”

“Something like that,” Henry said with a secretive smile.

“You should talk to me and Kate to get a different perspective,” Dave said.

Kate gave Dave a look at that comment, but she didn’t dispute it.

Henry smiled. “I’ll keep that in mind.”

Mike had a second beer when Dave bought a round, which was a mistake. He’d been tired already from a long week of work putting two murderers behind bars and then doing the paperwork after, and now he was dragging. Mike drained the bottle and grimaced at the taste of beer he’d let go warm.

“I’m gonna head out,” Mike announced. “It’s been a . . . a week,” he finished.

Vicki surprised Mike by giving him a kiss on the cheek instead of urging him to have just one more because he needed to relax after the week they’d had. “I saw Rajani come in,” she said. “I’m gonna go find her. You can give Henry a ride home for me.”

Mike opened his mouth to say . . . something, but Vicki leaned in and whispered, “You don’t want someone as pretty as Henry taking public transportation this late at night, do you?”

Vicki slipped away through the crowd before Mike’s brain could stop thinking about Henry being pretty and formulate a reply. He glanced at Henry, who was watching him through lowered lids. Mike ignored the pull in his gut.

“Are you ready to leave?” Mike said, half hoping that Henry would want to remain. Instead Henry pushed off the bar where he’d been leaning and brushed against Mike as he passed him.

“I should get going. I’ve got some ideas I want to get down before I lose them,” Henry said.

Mike said his goodbyes to Dave and Kate, waved across the bar to Vicki and Rajani, then followed Henry through the crowd to the door. On the sidewalk Henry stopped and turned to Mike.

“I appreciate the offer,” Henry said, “but I’m perfectly capable of getting myself home.”

“I don’t mind,” Mike said. He kicked himself for the breathless quality of his voice, but he couldn’t deny that the words were true.

“Well,” Henry said in a tone that probably wasn’t supposed to sound quite so sultry, “if you don’t mind.”

Mike led the way to his car and Henry gave Mike directions to his apartment. Mike pulled up in front of the building and Henry thanked him for the ride before reaching for the door handle.

“Would you like to come up?” Henry said.

Mike’s heart started beating double time.

“I could show you some of my drawings.”

“Is that like asking me up to see your etchings?” Mike drawled, his voice even despite the way his body had reacted to the question.

“It could be,” Henry said, “or it could just be to show you some of my drawings. I’m still hoping you’ll accept my offer.”

“To be a model for one of your graphic novels?” Mike said.

“What else?” Henry said with a smirk that Mike wanted to kiss off his face.

Wipe off his face, Mike mentally amended. “I’ll need to park . . .” Mike said, wondering where the words were coming from.

Henry directed Mike to a parking lot, and they walked back to Henry’s apartment building together. Henry unlocked the front door and they walked up three flights of stairs.

“It’s not much,” Henry said as he slid the key into the lock on the door to his apartment. “But it’s better than my first apartment.” Henry opened the door and stepped into the apartment ahead of Mike so he could turn on a light. “At least this one has a separate bedroom, although that means the living room also serves as my office. Maybe when I publish my second graphic novel I’ll be able to afford an apartment with a second bedroom I can use as a dedicated work space.”

Mike heard Henry’s words, which sounded inexplicably like a nervous babble, but only indistinctly because he’d already been captured by the various drawings that were clipped to a string that hung across one wall. Some were just outlines, others quite detailed sketches, and still others had been colored in.

“These are . . . really good,” Mike said.

“Thank you,” Henry said, sounding genuinely pleased at Mike’s comment.

“You said something about publishing a second graphic novel, does that mean you’ve already published your first?” Mike said.

“I have,” Henry said, delighted.

“I’ll have to order a copy,” Mike said, interested even though he’d never read a graphic novel in his life.

“I can do better than that,” Henry said. He walked over to the corner and dug around in a box stored behind his easel before triumphantly holding up what Mike presumed was a copy of his graphic novel. “I’ll even sign it,” Henry said with a wink that made Mike’s slacks feel suddenly tighter.

Henry cleared a space on a small desk and picked up a pen that he tested on a corner of a random scrap of paper. Mike watched Henry’s fingers grip the pen, turn open the front cover of the book. He had to glance away when Henry narrated as he wrote, “To Michael.”

Michael wanted to tell Henry to stop saying his name like that, but then Henry would know what saying his name like that did to Mike and he’d have even more ammunition to use against him. Henry had stopped narrating what he was he was writing and Mike wondered what that meant.

Finally Henry closed the book and set the pen down. He stood and carried the book over to Mike, held it out. Mike was almost afraid to take it, and when he did he held the book as if it was a viper.

It won’t bite,” Henry said, almost mockingly, somehow implying that he very well might, given the opportunity.

“Can I read it now?” Mike said, although he wondered if the better course would be to wait until he was alone.

“Of course,” Henry said.

Henry seemed to sense Mike’s hesitancy. He turned away to give Mike some privacy to read what he’d written. Mike gingerly opened the cover.

To Michael, In hope that I might persuade you to accept my offer. H

The ‘H’ was signed with a flourish that was so Henry it made Mike smile.

“What offer is that?” Mike said, carefully closing the book.

“Were there more than one?” Henry said.

Mike felt pinned in place by the intensity of Henry’s gaze. Henry took a step closer to Mike, then another. He took the book from Mike’s numb fingers and set it on the nearest horizontal surface. Henry brushed his fingers along the fingers of the hand Mike still had raised up as if it yet held Henry’s graphic novel, then along his palm, the inside of his wrist.

Mike sucked in a breath. “Henry.”

Henry twined his fingers with Mike’s and took the final step that brought their bodies together.

Mike groaned. “Henry, please,” he pleaded. “How the hell old are you?”

“Is it so important to you?”

Henry’s breath feathering across Mike’s lips was the only indication to Mike that he’d lowered his own head as Henry raised his face to him. “Yes,” Mike said. “I’m a cop, Henry . . .”

“A fact of which I’m fully aware,” Henry said, bringing his other hand up and touching the side of Mike’s neck. “I’m twenty-three. Detective.”

Mike groaned again. Twenty-three was better than the eighteen he’d been thinking, but there were still twelve years between them, and sometimes Mike felt every one of his thirty-five years. “I feel like I’m robbing the damned cradle,” Mike said against Henry’s lips.

Henry pulled back just far enough so he could see Mike’s face. “Would it help if I called you ‘daddy’?”

Mike shuddered in horror. “No, it would not help!”

Henry laughed. “I’m sorry, but, you should’ve seen your face.”

Mike glared at Henry, which didn’t stop the chuckles.

“So, how old are you?” Henry said when he could speak without a chuckle interrupting him.

“Thirty-five,” Mike said snappishly.

“Oh my,” Henry said, his eyes going wide. “Can you even still get it up at your advanced age?”

“Fuck you, Henry,” Mike said.

“I’m really hoping so,” Henry said, his eyes going dark with desire, then filling with mirth. “You won’t suffer a heart attack, will you?”

Mike kissed Henry because it was the only way he could think of to shut him up. Henry moaned into the kiss when Mike claimed his lips. The first few seconds of the kiss were voracious, as if it had been building from the first moment Mike had seen Henry speaking with Vicki. Mike tried to gentle the kiss, but Henry slid his hand around to the back of Mike’s head and urged him to deepen it instead.

If Mike thought that Henry would fight him for control of the kiss he’d been wrong. Instead, Henry invited Mike in like the spider to Mike’s fly, until he was so deep into the kiss he couldn’t remember why he’d thought this might be a bad idea. Mike pressed his hand flat against the middle of Henry’s back, dragged it down to his ass and tugged him forward. Mike hoped that Henry’s groan as their hips came together drowned out his own.

They moved against one another until Mike’s knees threatened to buckle. Mike broke the kiss and raised his head. Against his better judgment, if his brain was engaged at all at this point, Mike found himself saying, “You said something about a bedroom?”

Henry smirked and started backing up towards one of the two closed doors in the small apartment. Mike kissed the smile off Henry’s face as he’d been wanting to do. Henry’s back hit the door and he released Mike’s hand to reach for the door knob. The door swung open, but instead of walking through Mike turned them so that Henry’s back was against the door frame.

Mike pressed their bodies together, took Henry’s soft moans into his mouth. Mike broke the kiss to breathe, dragged his lips along Henry’s jaw, down his throat. Henry made a sound as he tipped his head back to expose the long line of his throat, then another when Mike closed his teeth over the tendon in his neck.

Mike slid his hand around Henry’s hip and palmed him through his slacks. Henry gasped out Mike’s name, breathless and needy.

“I like the way you say my name,” Mike admitted, his lips brushing the curve of Henry’s ear. He raised his free hand and buried it in Henry’s long hair. Mike tugged even though Henry’s head was already tipped back because he liked the sound Henry made when he did it.

Mike reclaimed Henry’s mouth and kissed him deeply as his fingers worked to unfasten Henry’s slacks. Henry whined when Mike’s hand found him, swollen and aching, and stroked. Mike continued to kiss Henry as he sought to get Henry off with his hand. Henry’s mouth went slack as he drew closer to release, and even still Mike kept his lips on the corner of Henry’s when all Henry could do was clutch at Mike’s back and breathe through the pleasure-pain of his orgasm.

Mike was hard and pressing against the zipper of his own slacks, but he held Henry close and eased him through his climax. Mike raised his head and looked at Henry’s face, liking how open and unguarded he was in that moment. Henry’s eyelashes fluttered and he opened his eyes. The pupils were still blown, and the thin ring of blue looked black.

“Do you think you can walk over to the bed?” Mike said, unable to keep the self-satisfaction out of his tone.

“I guess experience has it’s benefits,” Henry said with only a hint of his usual mocking tone.

“I’ll show you what else it has,” Mike said. “Hold on.”

“What . . . ?” Henry said, then bit off a squeak when Mike grabbed the back of his thighs and lifted.

Henry moaned softly when his sensitive groin came into contact with Mike’s body, but he wrapped both arms around Mike’s neck and held on as Mike carried him the few steps to the bed and lowered him onto it. Henry released Mike and let his arms fall out to the sides. He got them beneath him and raised his torso when Mike stepped back and tugged at the knot of his tie.

Henry watched avidly as Mike removed suit jacket and tie, unbuttoned his white button-down, removed his undershirt. Henry licked his lips when Mike’s upper body was bared. “You’re very strong,” Henry said, his gaze like a caress as it moved across Mike’s chest and arms.

“I have to be,” Mike said easily, as if the way Henry was looking at him wasn’t going straight to the bulge pushing at his slacks.

Henry stretched, the front of his untucked shirt riding up and exposing more of his stomach. “I like it,” Henry said, giving Mike a heated look.

Mike stumbled as he toed off his shoes and kicked out of his slacks, Henry’s gaze and his own desire distracting him. Henry eyed Mike hungrily when he was naked, absently reaching out to pat the mattress beside his head.

“Come here, Michael,” Henry said. “I’m going to suck you off, and then you’re going to fuck me.”

Mike’s cock jumped at the image of Henry’s lips wrapped around it that flashed through Mike’s mind. “I think you’re greatly over-estimating my refractory period,” he said in a self-deprecating tone as he slipped onto the mattress and sat where Henry had instructed, his back against the pillows piled in front of the headboard.

Henry kicked off his own shoes, then rolled to his knees and pulled the button-down off over his head. “We’ll see.” Henry raised his arms and pushed his hair back, giving Mike a chance to fully take in the beauty of him. Henry lowered his arms and, dressed just in slacks open at the waist, knelt between Mike’s legs.

Henry settled himself onto his stomach, his head over Mike’s groin, then raised his face to look at Mike. “I like it when you pull my hair,” he said, then lowered his head and took Mike into his mouth.

Mike struggled against the urge to thrust up into the tight, wet heat of Henry’s mouth. Henry moved up and down the length of Mike, his tongue a firm pressure. On one of his circuits, Henry stopped at the top, his tongue teasing the tip. He gave Mike a look that reminded Mike of Henry’s earlier comment.

Mike shoved his fingers into Henry’s hair to the roots and gave a gentle tug. Henry’s eyelids slipped shut and he slid his mouth back down Mike’s length. Mike blamed the fact that they’d been engaging in foreplay all night, the sounds Henry had made when he came in Mike’s hand, and Henry’s talented tongue, which was good for more than banter at Mike’s expense, for the fact that he came embarrassingly quickly.

Henry, who kissed Mike with the taste of his come still on his tongue, and then collapsed on top of him, didn’t appear to mind.

~*~*~*~

The morning sun was high in the sky when Mike left Henry’s place the next morning. His muscles ached pleasantly and he found himself smiling at absolutely nothing.

At his apartment Mike took the graphic novel out of the bag Henry had placed it in so he could carry it into the bedroom. He’d set it on his bedside table so he could read it later. Folded inside the graphic novel was a flier for a book signing Henry had mentioned before Mike left. Mike smiled at the thought of seeing Henry again as he unfolded the flier and read it, making note of the place and time.

There were depressions in the paper, and Mike could make out a hint of dark lines through it, as if someone had written on the back. Mike turned it over, expecting to see Henry’s grocery list, or something just as ordinary. Instead he found a sketch of himself lying in Henry’s bed from earlier that morning. The lines on his face disappeared in sleep, or Henry saw Mike quite differently than Mike did when he looked in the mirror.

Mike recalled how Henry had set aside whatever he was drawing when Mike blinked his eyes open. How he’d uncrossed his legs and crawled up Mike’s body from where he’d been sitting at the foot of the bed. “I’ve been waiting for you to wake up,” Henry said softly, his voice still rough from sleep.

“Have I overstayed my welcome?” Mike said, only half teasing.

“On the contrary, Michael,” Henry said, nimble fingers pulling the sheet down and baring Mike to his gaze.

Mike’s cock was already stiffening, and it swelled even more when Henry gave it hungry look. “You gave me a lovely ride last night.”

“Lovely?” Mike said.

“Mmm,” Henry hummed in remembrance. “Quite lovely. It’s my turn this morning.”

“You want to fuck me?” Mike said, his cock jerking as he imagined what it would feel like to be stretched around Henry’s cock.

“Hmm, maybe another time,” Henry said, his fingers finding Mike’s balls and gently squeezing them, then running them up the length of him. “No, this morning I want to ride you.”

“Are you sure?” Mike said. “I don’t want you to hurt yourself,” he explained at Henry’s look.

“Not to worry, Michael.” Henry straddled Mike’s lap. “I’ve had a very productive morning.” Henry gave Mike a look, then picked up Mike’s arm and guided Mike’s hand to his ass.

Mike slid his hand around the perfect swell of Henry’s ass cheek and probed the cleft between them. His finger encountered slick that he followed to the entrance to Henry’s body. Henry’s eyes closed as Mike’s fingers teased the rim of his hole. Mike earned a soft groan when he pushed in with two fingers, Henry’s body, still pliant from their activities last night, opening easily for him.

Henry blindly reached for the condom he’d laid out. Eyes closed as he rode Mike’s fingers, Henry tore a corner of the foil packet with his teeth. He opened his eyes to make sure he was rolling the condom on correctly, then pulled off Mike’s fingers and positioned himself over Mike’s cock. Henry reached between his legs to hold Mike steady, than sank down on him until Mike was fully sheathed within his body. They both groaned, then again when Henry raised up . . .

Mike’s phone rang just then, pulling him out of his memories. He glanced at the screen. It was Vicki, and Mike only briefly considered not answering. It would be much better for him if he got this call over quickly.

“Good morning, Vicki,” Mike said.

“Wow,” Vicki said. “You sound . . . happy.”

“It’s amazing what a good night’s sleep will do for you,” Mike said.

“Yeah,” Vicki said, then fished. “Did Henry get home alright?”

“Of course,” Mike said. “If you thought I wasn’t in any shape to drive you shouldn’t have suggested I take him.”

“That’s not . . . Never mind. So, the two of you . . .”

“The two of us what?” Mike said. Before Vicki could answer, Mike continued. “Listen, I’m going to do some grocery shopping this morning. Wanna meet for lunch?”

“I would love to,” Vicki said, “but I’ve already got plans.”

“Oh, that’s right,” Mike said, inserting just enough regret into his tone. “You’ve got that thing. We’ll talk later, then. I’ve got to take a shower before I go out.”

“You haven’t showered yet?” Vicki said.

“No,” Mike said. “I had a nice lie in.” A flush crawled up Mike’s chest at the phantom memory of Henry riding his cock that morning. “Enjoy your lunch, Vic,” Mike said before ending the call.

Mike set the phone in the charger, then headed for the bathroom to start the shower. He did need to do some grocery shopping, and then he had a book signing to attend.

The End