The alarm's off.
Alec stared at the yellow square stuck high on his window. He hung there, sitting on his bowline like some cheesy ass kiddie swing, swaying in the wind. The air reeked of ozone, promising more than Seattle's usual drizzle in a few hours. The back of his neck itched in response. It could also be because the scarf could only do so much for so long; spring was only three months away.
The file Alec kept stuffed at the bottom of his backpack for a week was now tucked securely in between his body and the new (well, new to him) aviator's jacket. He'd swapped a canister of gas and a couple of gold plated candlesticks for the ratty thing. The moron in the pawn shop was too busy drooling then to realize the candlesticks' plating was as thin as the jacket Alec finally gave up for scraps. Too many slipping through barb wired fences and tight holes had shredded it.
Shrugging, Alec let the unfamiliar weight of his jacket settle more securely across his shoulders. He absently wished Eyes Only didn't go all forgetful on his downtrodden citizens. The guy had only broadcasted one good lead days ago (on Bronck, too, geez, death wish, much?) and then clamped shut; the corrupt free to run rampant.
Mr. Gold had a pair of boots there that needed filling too. But the asshole wanted cash for those. And Alec was still only risking night jobs. Cash was as rare as a hot meal these days.
Alec frowned mildly at the note taped to the inside of the window, shut this time. But with no alarm, that was pretty pointless. There was even a god damn keycard taped to the window. No code but those things were laughably easy to crack.
Behind the note, the apartment was dark, but not for Alec. He squinted, gave the place a quick scan and determined the apartment was empty as well. Dark, empty and with the alarms shut.
"Stupid, Heather," Alec muttered as he curled a fist tighter on his harness, readying to reel himself back up to the roof and scope out payday the old-fashion way since Eyes Only apparently was feeling disinclined to line his pockets this week.
Hell, if things get desperate, there were other ways to get cash. There were itches that always needed scratching.
But when the line winched up an inch, Alec paused.
That damn note on the window was practically a beacon. Anyone else climbing by the window was going to see it and hey, open house for thieves, boo-yah. Maybe climb in, steal Alec's lesbian vases, paw all over Alec's stuff (because he called dibs). And maybe, they decide to hide in the bedroom, in the dark, waiting for Logan to come home, watch him ease into bed and then they'll—
Alec didn't realize he was in the apartment until his rigging jerked him back because he forgot to release his harness.
With a snick and a scowl at himself, Alec tugged the lines free and let them pool on the carpet. He snatched note and keycard off the window. He turned on the alarm like it should have been in the first place.
Alec eyed the perimeter. When it didn't look like anyone was lunging out at him to stake a claim on the loot, Alec crept forward another step.
It wasn't the first time Alec entered this place when it was empty, but damn if he knew why his stomach writhed uncomfortably at the sense of intrusion because—hello?—breaking in, although that was Logan's fault with the alarm and all. He toed the sofa's legs, nudged the coffee table and thought about how funny his breathing sounded in the void.
Alec moved easily in the dark. He scanned the computer area, the dining table (holy shit, the stacks of folders on it have bred and multiplied) and studied the shut bedroom door. He took a peek inside the room. Same boring ass decor, navy fleece blanket folded up neatly by the pillow.
Laptop was missing. The gray sweatshirt was gone. A toiletry bag was missing as well. There was a gap in the bottom of the closet he vaguely recalled a duffle bag once sat.
Alec stood in the center of the bedroom. He took a deep breath. Coffee and the faint musky odor mixed with ink and paper still lingered but it was faint. A few days then. He shifted from foot to foot as the trace scent stirred heat deep in his gut.
Abruptly, Alec pivoted on his heels and left the room. Even though no one was here to see him, he forced himself not to run out of there.
Four steps through the living room (because he didn't just blaze out of Logan's bedroom, damn it), Alec approached the kitchen. It looked strange cloaked in the darkness. The overhead sconces hung dark. They swayed when Alec turned on one.
Alec fidgeted. He unwound the scarf around his neck and squeezed the folds of wool in his hands as he considered the gleam of chrome and slick glow of wood. The bowl that held apples before now sat full of glossy skinned oranges and—whoa—pears on the counter.
The pear felt heavy in his palm. It was cool, round, and the scent left on his hand was grassy and crisp. Alec poked at the pile in the bowl. He caught an orange he accidentally dislodged before it could bruise on the floor. He hefted the orange in his other hand. He wanted to bring both fruits to his nose and take a good whiff.
Alec's upper lip curled.
What the hell was he doing here? Sniffing fruit? Seriously?
Alec flipped the scarf back around his neck as he steered for the window.
The note attached to the refrigerator caught his eye.
Out for a few days. Help yourself (to my food, not my things). Fridge no longer sad.
Alec quirked an eyebrow at the note. He reached out for it, hesitated before completing the move to pluck the note off the slick surface. Alec snorted as he reread the concise handwriting. He pulled the door open to take a peek inside and the snort became a scoff out loud when he saw a half dozen peanut butter jars sitting on the top shelf lined up with two jugs of goat milk and a loaf of bread.
Something wiggled in Alec's gut as he stared at the fridge's containers. A tiny voice that suspiciously sounded like Lydecker warned him not to touch it. His knees ached, remembering how once his platoon was forced to go hungry for five days before they broke into the commissary and ate the food in there.
Only it had all been poisoned.
Alec and his platoon spent a day throwing up because they were all too stupid and desperate to remember the first cardinal rule. Alec still remembered that bastard staring at the back of their bowed heads, disappointment heavy in his voice as he told them they should have known better.
The orange and pear were reluctantly returned to the bowl. Alec leaned against the counter as he contemplated the computer area and the dining table before him. He looked at the note again, but it offered no new answers even when he squinted at it. He threw a puzzled frown at the fridge, his fingers idly rubbing the note between the fingers. He wandered over to the table and compared it to the folders. The handwriting was a match.
The folder with Ben's name, picture, serial number and all the crap Alec read over and over, looked out of place when he set it on top of the stack on the dining table. Alec rubbed at the folders discolored with random notes and coffee cup rings. Ben's folder was new, clean manila and still sharp-edged.
"All right," muttered Alec. "What's the story here?" The file folder appeared to have been replaced, not just yanked out from the piles. And where the hell did these other folders came from?
The folders made a muffled fhpp noise when he ran a finger down the corners. He felt weird thumbing through the files on the desk even though he's done this before: mining bits of data in the cloak of darkness, time running down in his head by seconds, not minutes. Besides, Logan did say 'feel free' and he did turn over Ben's file and—
Before Alec could make any decision, the phone in the living room rang.
The phone clicked, Logan's even yet raspy voice told the caller to leave a message at his or her own risk and fell silent.
There was a beep.
A throat cleared.
"Hey." Alec found himself speaking into the phone before he could tell himself it was a bad idea.
"Oh." Logan sounded surprised. "You're there."
Alec rolled his eyes before he remembered Logan couldn't see it. "No. This is your answering service. Thought I return that file. Plus, you left a gaping security breach by your window." He smirked. "I hocked all your stuff, by the way, but left you a couple of g-strings."
"Thank you." Logan's reply was as dry as Alec's mouth suddenly went; the unbidden image of Alec's underwear of choice on Logan wrung out whatever moisture he had in his mouth.
Cradling the phone against his shoulder, Alec strolled to the computer area; Logan's note still pinned between two fingers. "Seriously. No alarms? Bad move. What if you have a break-in?"
"That's never occurred to me," Logan deadpanned. Alec could imagine the crooked smile that would have paired off with it.
"Shut up," Alec shot back as he ran a finger across one of the keyboards and noted it hasn't been long enough to gather dust. "I'm not breaking in. You invited me and left me food." Alec flattened a palm on his chest. "Honey, you shouldn't have."
The rumbled chuckle by his ear sent heat rushing down to pool in his belly.
"I probably shouldn't. You've been critical of my fridge contents lately."
"Hard to be critical when there's nothing in there." Alec sat on the edge of the computer desk. It felt weird to hear Logan without his usual click-clack keyboard clatter. He smirked as he glanced around, his eyes happening to pass over the drawers, the one where Logan kept his bullets left slightly ajar and—
"Where are you?" Alec said sharply as soon as the empty drawer registered. He yanked it out further with two fingers to double-check.
The gun was missing too.
"What?" Startled, Logan stammered out his answer. "Cape Haven."
Alec leaned back to the edge of the desk. In his head, he pulled up the maps Manticore made them memorize. Cape Haven. Low population. Near water but not a major waterway. No strategic value whatsoever to the former fishing town that seen a couple of riots right after the Pulse.
"Cape Haven? What's in Cape Haven?" Alec eyed the drawer. "And why would you need a gun for it?"
"I'm working and thought it might be better if I have my gun with me."
Alec tamped down the urge to ask why the hell Logan didn't ask him along. "Why the gun?" he pressed but Logan was being a stubborn ass and said nothing. Then, Alec remembered the fleece blanket on Logan's pillow. He thought about the frost that had collected on the rigging he leaves up on the roof. "Did you pack anything else or were you going for the uber-minimalist post Pulse vacation?"
"I did pack lots of clean socks." Logan sounded bemused. "And it's not a vacation. I'm—"
"Working, got it." Alec scowled at nothing in general. Clean socks and a gun. Great. Alec narrowed his eyes. "Doing what? Planning on roaming around alleyways again past curfew ergo 'maybe I should pack a gun'?"
"Cape Haven doesn't have alleys."
Alec gnashed his teeth. "You—"
"There's something I need to do."
Alec pressed his mouth thin. "And it has to be in Cape Haven?"
The terse silence was answer enough.
Heaving a sigh, Alec said wanly "Shooting porn on location, Heather?"
Logan gave him a strained laugh that was more relief than humor.
"Because there's nothing more exotic than Cape Haven."
"Hey, porn doesn't have to be exotic, just erotic!"
Logan scoffed. Alec imagined him peering at Alec over the top of his spectacles.
Alec poked the bottom of the drawer. "Didn't know you were leaving town." He stiffened. "Not that you needed to tell me or anything." He glanced around the room.
"A heads up would have been nice though. Gives me time to find a van to haul out all your stuff."
"Sorry." Weirdly enough, Logan did sound sorry. "The phone call I was waiting for last time? It was for a Class 1 sector pass." Logan paused. "How's everything?"
Alec shrugged as he flitted another survey of the apartment. "Looks good. Despite your poor sense of security, no one broke into your place, and your food hasn't gone bad—"
"Actually," Logan fumbled. "I was talking about you."
Alec's mouth snapped shut. "Oh." He straightened up. Now it was his turn to clear his throat. "Good. Been quiet. Business has been slow though." He laughed. It sounded strange in his ears. "People been locking their doors and windows so..."
"So..." Logan echoed. "Uh...any headaches lately?"
"Yea, border cops been hassling the tattoo parlors this week so I had to cancel my facial," quipped Alec. At the lengthy silence on the line, he sobered. "Nah. I got enough pills for a while." He scuffed his heel on the floor. He wondered why the reminder didn't piss him off this time.
Alec strained his hearing; he thought maybe he could hear Logan fidgeting. He rubbed a hand to the back of his neck.
"Ah...how long are you away on your porn shoot?"
"I don't know."
"You don't know?" Alec repeated skeptically. Logan didn't look like he was a spontaneous kind of guy; just a guy with bad security habits.
Logan sounded distracted. Paper rustled. Teeny keystrokes chittered by Alec's ear. "I didn't think I would get the sector pass. I was preparing to find other ways."
"Other ways?" Alec parroted. "Sounds kinky."
Logan gave a weak laugh but at least the typing stopped. "I was looking for someone here but he's not..." He sighed heavily. "He wasn't the man I thought he was."
Alec frowned at the dejected tone. "Not the right size?" he asked innocently. He grinned when Logan sputtered. "Hey, there are things to help with that and with the right angle..."
"I'm hanging up now," Logan said firmly but there was an edge of laughter in his voice now. There was a pause, long enough Alec thought Logan did.
"Uh...are you going to be there later?"
"Are you asking me to squat at your place?" Alec picked at his teeth as he eyed the kitchen from his perch. "I might eat all your food."
"Might as well." The shrug was audible. "Keep an eye on the place for me. Make sure no one steals my things."
Alec barked out a laugh. "You're asking me to make sure no one takes your stuff?"
"Didn't you already call dibs?" Logan teased. Abruptly, he silenced.
Alec peered into the phone. "Hello?"
"I ah...got all that food in the fridge before I knew about the sector pass." Logan sounded hesitant. "It's all going to go bad while I'm gone."
Alec nodded. "Yeah, sure. Guess I could stick around." Might as well, business was sparse, and he didn't really want to go back to his alley anyway. His fan club could go screw themselves. Literally. A knot loosened on his lower back at the idea.
"Actually, that does sound pretty good. Thanks." Alec's eyebrow arched at the silence. Was Logan having second thoughts? "So ah...maybe later?"
"You know. Call me. Here? Since I'm squatting here, eating you out of house and home."
Logan's chuckle reminded Alec of far away thunder with the way the sound skimmed over his skin. Absently, Alec wondered how it would feel wrapped around his co—
Alec shook his head violently and nearly dropped the phone.
"Nothing," Alec managed. "Talk to you later?"
"Sure." Logan sounded a bit...stunned? Uncertain? "I'll call later if...if you want."
"Whatever." Alec brushed a hand down his jeans. He fidgeted; he suspected Logan was doing the same. The silence hung long, growing heavier by the second. Alec squared his shoulders.
"If I find it, can I read your diary?"
There was a cute little snort.
"Good night, Alec."
"Night," Alec snickered to the dial tone before he hung up. He was still grinning as he wandered back into the kitchen to make a sandwich.
Alec's smile faded when he checked behind the peanut butter.
A tightly sealed container of roasted chicken sat in the back along with a second container of pork chops with beets.
For a rich guy's place, it was pretty boring.
Alec slept in the guest room, boots on, his knife under the pillow. To his surprise, he woke up late, late enough the sun already retreated into a rare blue sky. He sat up on the bed, blinking blearily until he remembered why he wasn't sleeping on the floor.
The exercise room was distracting for a few hours. He did enough reps to get a good sweat going before taking a shower. And just for the hell of it, he went into Logan's shower.
Not surprisingly, the shower was equipped with a pull down bench, grab bars and fixtures for Logan to safely transfer over. But Alec could tell they were later additions; there was still a fixed shower head too high for Logan to reach and a soap dish screwed in at four feet high. The shower was wide, as big as the tub installed across from it; the bench hinges looked new, silver screws still shaped and untarnished despite the constant punishment of moisture.
Alec rubbed a thumb across the metal fittings: old and new in one space, back when Logan used the shower much more differently.
It bothered him. More than it should.
Alec grabbed a shower in the guest room instead.
Television held his interest...for about seven minutes, thirty-one seconds. He had more fun listening to Mrs. Moreno upstairs while he ate a peanut butter sandwich with jelly, real grape jelly he found new and unopened in the fridge.
Alec sat by an open window, basking under the warm beam of the sun. He chuckled as Mrs. Moreno displayed a surprisingly extensive derogatory vocabulary. She watched the Greek Jets versus the Korean Raiders as they fought for a slot in the Super Bowl in Belgrade. Guess Mrs. Moreno can't watch hockey all the time.
Peanut butter stuck to the roof of Alec's mouth, jelly sweet on his tongue. He sat on the carpet; legs crossed, head cocked towards the window as the half time show began with the Chinese People's Republic Anthem.
Alec listened until his skin itched from being out in open view for too long. He reluctantly pulled away from the window as he wiped his mouth clean with his sleeve. He debated going out to see if the police were still playing diligent officers, maybe pick up some cash playing billiards, when the phone rang.
"Heather's House of Pleasure," Alec chirped as soon as he picked up the phone.
Alec grinned. "Good timing. I was about to head out."
"You couldn't have hocked all my stuff already."
"Nope, your lesbian orgy vases are safe for now. Not rainy day enough." Alec eyed the window. The sun hasn't set yet. He wondered if the streets were busy.
"Just a tad bored." Alec shrugged. "Thought I hit the bars."
"Thought you can't get drunk."
"But others can," Alec quipped. His smile faded when he heard himself. "I mean...pool. A lot of drunk people play pool." He rubbed a hand over his neck. His eyes drifted to the carpet. Crap, he dropped a couple of crumbs.
"Uh, you play pool?" Alec said hurriedly as he collected the evidence of his breakfast, lunch and his in-between.
"Used to." Logan said quietly after a pause. "Used to be pretty good."
"Oh yeah?" Alec thought about Logan, the cue rolling gently to balance between knuckles, his fingers caressing the length of the cue, gliding up and down—
"We should play," Alec blurted out. He tugged at his jeans and squirmed. "You and me. I mean, in a bar. For money. Pool! Playing money for pool. There are a couple of good places we could go to. Uh...Rigor, no, Black Hol—actually, they threw me out of that one. Uh, Diamon—wait, there's a he-she there, long story, ah...Crash? You ever been to Crash?"
The line went quiet.
Alec frowned. "Hello?"
"I've been there." Logan's voice was so quiet, Alec had to strain to hear.
"Yeah, been there once or twice. Guys there aren't sore losers like other bars. Beer's cheap. Probably the only place that'll still give you free peanuts." Alec remembered sitting there, nursing a beer, watching a group around his age (if his age was what he guessed it was), laughing it up, bikes spinning one wheeled on the bar counter.
"It's a good place."
Alec wanted to take back about four point two minutes of the conversation because Logan suddenly sounded tired, the faint amusement in his tone all but vanished.
"So...how's work?" Alec said awkwardly. He dropped into the sofa.
"For a writer, you're pretty deficient on your descriptions," Alec complained. He dropped his head back and studied the ceiling as he balanced the phone between his ear and shoulder. "Found a better guy?"
"Same guy." Logan sighed heavily. "Just as helpful. I needed information from him. But he's not talking. Keeps saying I got the wrong guy."
Alec frowned. "What kind of information?"
"Information." As if realizing how succinct it sounded, Logan added, "But he isn't sharing."
"I know a few things." Alec made sure Logan could hear the leer in his voice. As expected, Logan choked out a chuckle.
"Not that kind of information."
Alec scoffed. "Your loss, Heather."
"Why don't you just take the guy out for a couple of beers, shoot some pool and loosen him up." Alec paused. Wait, his idea of loosening up—
"Or grab a coffee somewhere and talk." Preferably from a few tables apart.
"Cape Haven isn't known for their coffee houses, but there is a local bar here," Logan murmured almost to himself. "At the very least the locals might have something interesting to say."
The skin on the back of his hands prickled. "You and I both know you're not really doing porn there. What kind of information you're looking for in Cape Haven?" When Logan didn't reply, Alec sat up. "Hey."
"It's...I don't want you involved."
"That didn't sound ominous at all," Alec said tightly. He set his jaw. "I could be there in five hours."
"Not without a Class 1 sector pass."
"The perimeter's not solid all around."
"Alec. Don't," Logan said firmly. "You haven't removed that tattoo yet. There's no way you can get past them. There's nothing you can do I haven't already done."
"Look, off the seventh sector, their shifts have a three minute gap—"
"I don't want you here, all right?" Logan snapped.
"No biggie," Alec said brightly. He loosened his white-knuckled grip he now realized dug into the armrest. Pale lines scarred the fabric. He heard Logan suck in his breath. "Tell me how it goes tomorrow."
"Later." With a jab of a thumb, Alec ended the call.
"Son of a bitch!" Alec yelped.
The cut on the corner of his mouth reopened after the first sting of juice touched it. His craving for juice gone, Alec set the glass down before he spilled it onto Logan's carpet. Of course, even if he did, it would serve the bastard right.
Alec dabbed his thumb at the tiny wound, now bleeding again because the Steelhead last night had reinforced his knuckles with steel plates.
Four against one was normally a bit of a pain, but punching out a guy who augmented his shins and bio-dyed his eyeballs bloodshot red was better than using those same fists on Logan's place. That would be immature.
So when one Steelhead this morning blocked the shortcut alley Alec took to avoid hoverdrones, he just quipped, "What kept you?"
Afterwards, with his head heavy, limping and a couple of thousand richer (turned out Steelheads did illegal chop shop surgeries on future Steelheads), Alec splurged on a chipped jug of fresh orange juice a little dirty-faced girl was trying to sell all morning. He deemed it safe after watching the kid gulped down two tall glasses of that juice herself. He paid her, plus a hundred extra because she had the balls (figuratively) to sell the juice around the corner where two johns were panting and groaning. It was a buzzkill; special effects that echoed over to his normal place of business, so Alec walked past his spot. He ignored the one guy with the beer gut and fancy suit standing furtively there with a thick roll of money.
Dusk painted the sky from a murky gray to a blood red streaked horizon that made Alec flinch. As he licked his wounds, he spent the rest of the evening making a list of what Alec could hock. Everything but what was in Logan's bedroom. Alec hasn't stepped foot back in there since day one of his laughable house sitting gig. There was nothing in there anyway. Nothing but a big empty bed and fancy furniture and a bathroom the size of a squatter's whole apartment. Nothing he could just carry out.
By the time Alec tallied up everything (the mother lode was the computer area), the numbers were impressive. He lay across the couch, feet on the armrest, ankles crossed as he thumbed through pages of handwritten notes with an arched eyebrow. There was a surprising amount of artwork hanging on the hallways. He idly sketched out the layout where everything was, the wiring, the blind spots, best entries, exits.
It would serve Logan right if Alec stripped the place down to its studs, maybe leave him his stupid files and his stupid flatscreen and his stupid...his stupid everything.
Okay, so maybe Alec won't rip the guy off. Not yet anyway. But he should; let Logan Cale return from stupid Cape Haven to an empty apartment.
It was only because his stomach grumbled for the third time, Alec looked up. His eyes snapped towards the phone. He shot up to his feet; his list absently jammed between the cushions as he checked out the windows. Sure enough, it was nightfall. Seattle sparkled in sparse clusters of light.
Alec stared hard at the dark sky. His jaw set and he about-faced towards the kitchen. He was hungry and hell, there was a stash of free food, after all.
The chicken was good even cold. Alec grabbed a jug of the goat's milk because there was a throbbing in the back of his head that wouldn't go away. He ate by the kitchen counter, drank leaning on the dining table. He crunched on a juicy pear while he balanced on the couch's arm rest on the balls of his feet.
Alec caught himself glaring at the phone twice, but he stopped short from picking it up to check if it was working. Of course, it was working. Rich people's phone lines weren't as crappy as the slimy, grime coated payphones that dotted the streets. But he made out the phone line easily in the dim lighting and tracked it all the way to its modular on the wall. Just to confirm. The line was intact. It was also 0100 hours. Past curfew. Bedtime for most, idiotic secretive porn writers included.
Rocking precariously on the armrest, Alec considered the phone as he gnawed the pear down to its core, stopping only when the bitterness of its fibrous center registered against his teeth. He chewed absently on his thumbnail as he stared at the phone. His brow twitched. His toes flexed.
Alec didn't realize he's made a decision until he was shrugging into his jacket. By the time he reached the door, the schematics of what he needed were already tagged and noted in his head.
Alec gave the apartment one last check before slipping out.
The call was picked up after the fourth ring.
The tired rasp rumbling in Alec's ear uncoiled a taut wire around his chest. He found himself slumping into the couch, his exposed toes outstretched and soaking in the morning sun's warmth. He tilted his head back, resting it on the back of the couch. Looks like the tryptophan finally kicked in this morning. The throbbing was gone; he felt lightheaded, almost drunk (if he was to guess what inebriation feels like).
Alec started, realizing he hasn't said anything, just breathed on the phone like one of those creepy prank callers. He cleared his throat.
There was a pause but then Logan spoke again, voice pitched slightly higher.
"How did you get this number?"
Alec scoffed. "I have my ways." He stared ruefully at his empty boots under the window. Stupid barbed wire at the station wrecked the leather. At the silence, he offered a chuckle.
"You know unregistered numbers are just a myth."
"Hell, even if you live like a hermit, there was still a surprising number of callers to back trace and cross refer—"
"No. I meant why did you get my number?"
Alec studied his feet. "It's not like I had anything better to do. You have a boring apartment. You don't even have any naked magazines."
"So I guess you didn't find my diary?"
Alec smirked. "Did you write about me in it? You draw any naked pictures?"
The answering laugh sounded strained.
Alec rubbed a hand up and down his thigh. "Look, I know you don't want company and you can be badass all by yourself. I'm not trying to cut in on whatever action you got going on but—"
Alec's mouth dropped open. "Huh?"
A sigh was barely audible in his ear.
"The other day...I could have said it better. Look, it's just too risky for you to try to leave without a pass. I had found out the reason why there's been so much police activity lately. They received orders to tighten the sectors. Lydecker's in town."
His legs twitched. Alec pulled them in and crossed them.
"Fuck," Alec managed.
"Yeah," Logan agreed soberly. "Just sit tight." He hesitated. "I am sorry about before."
"S'okay," Alec mumbled. His throat worked. His head spun with the possible scenarios of what could have happened when he was out before to get Logan's number last night. He mentally backtracked his steps. No. Nothing could be traced back to him.
Alec took a deep breath. His knee began jittering. "I'm here."
"Whatever he's looking for doesn't sound like it has anything to do with you. I heard he'll be moving on soon but don't take any chances. Stay put until he leaves."
"Sure. Okay." Alec finger combed his hair. It felt like he needed another shower; his skin suddenly felt tacky. "When are you coming back?" Immediately, Alec wished he could take it back. "Uh, because we're running out of food."
Alec could feel his face heating up. "Yeah. Well..."
Logan sighed. "I'm fine here."
"Uh huh." Alec exhaled, kicked the carpet and thumped the couch cushion. "I wasn't worried or anything." He lowered his voice to a whine. "You sure you don't want company though? I'm bored."
"There's my television."
"You could use the exercise room."
"Use the kitchen—"
Logan sighed, but the smile was audible. "Or you can keep my number and call me when you're bored again."
Alec almost dropped the phone. "Really?"
"You're such a bad host," Alec complained.
"How can I be a host over the phone?" Logan countered, amused.
"Wait, I know!" Alec wiggled deeper into the couch. "I know the perfect thing!"
"What?" Logan asked warily.
"Phone sex!" Alec said gleefully.
Logan managed to laugh and sound horrified at the same time. "What? No!"
"Come on," wheedled Alec. "Just a little dirty talk. You're a writer; you got the vocabulary. Don't you know any naughty adjectives?"
"I'm ready to go here! Got my hand down my—"
It was too much; Logan's voice cracked comically in his freak out. So much for Heather and his porn. Alec cackled.
"Relax. Yeesh. I'm not going to stain your pristine digs."
"Thank you," sighed Logan.
"I'll jerk off in the shower. This phone is waterproof, right?"
"I'm hanging up, Alec."
"You're no fun," Alec grumbled.
"Well, I'm not having fun."
Alec sobered. "So leave."
"It's not that simple." Logan exhaled, the humor gone. "I need this man's help but he's afraid. He's not talking."
"About what?" Alec made a face at the silence. "Look, I get it. You want to keep whatever it is to yourself. Big whoop. I'm just saying: whatever this guy's afraid of, maybe you can use that. See why he's afraid, maybe get your answers from that or play the sympathy card."
"Worth a shot," Logan murmured.
"Come on, blink those baby greens at him and I'm pretty sure he'll spill."
"My baby greens?"
Alec smirked against the receiver. "Whatever. I'm pretty sure you can convince him somehow."
"Sure. I'll channel those apparent baby greens of mine." Logan chuckled. "Thanks."
"See?" Alec grinned. "Aren't you glad I called?"
"To sexually harass me? No. The other stuff?" Logan's voice warmed; it was a pleasant thrum in Alec's ear. "Yes. Thanks."
"Great. What are pals for?" Alec cleared his throat. "I'm still bored, you know."
"There are some books in my bedroom you're welcome to read."
Alec perked up. "Are they dirty?"
"Then what's the point of wasting ink and paper?" Alec sighed loudly. "Where the hell did you hid your porn, Heather?"
"I took it with me," Logan said wryly.
"I knew it!" Alec grinned. "Guess I'll have to make my own porn then."
"Wait. What do you mean? Alec, what—"
"Night!" Alec singsonged over Logan's sputtering. He hung up on the tinny "Alec!"