Sometimes you didn't realize just how much someone has you wrapped around their little finger until they actually act upon that power. For instance, if anyone had asked Eric or Ryan about Calleigh's influence over them, they probably would have said "What influence?" They loved Calleigh, thought she was probably the most badass lady in the county, only beating Alexx because Calleigh could use any firearm known to man and even some not. But she was still just their friend and co-worker, not someone they considered in a position of power, like their boss.
When Calleigh had first brought up the idea, both men had refused. They had refused quite firmly, and Ryan had laughed, pretty certain that Calleigh was joking because there was no way in hell she could honestly believe he'd agree to do it. But Calleigh hadn't laughed and she had just looked at them with that classic serene look of hers, like all she had to do was wait. She hadn't brought it up again, hadn't begged them or pouted, but her eyes had followed them around the lab all week. As Halloween crept closer, both men started to feel like there was some truth to the myth that it was the time when the barriers between this world and the spirit world were at their thinnest. Calleigh's calm green gaze started to take on a supernatural strength, and without letting the other know, Ryan and Eric found themselves thinking, *What harm could it do?* and *If it'll make Calleigh happy and no one else has to know, why not?* until they found themselves actually making the preparations necessary.
Eric used Ebay to get what he needed, and Ryan relied on an old college buddy who was actually a stage manager now for a Miami theatre house. Ryan got that same friend to help him get dressed, since he had no idea what went where and how the hell anyone got into garments like these to begin with! Eric called one of his sisters and, after swearing her to secrecy and threatening her with childhood blackmail if she laughed, got her to come over to help him out with the makeup which he was completely clueless about - which he also considered to be the way he preferred it! By the time his sister was done prodding and poking him after what seemed like hours and hours of having to sit tortuously still, Eric definitely had new respect going for those who used cosmetics on a regular basis.
So without being aware that they had both caved in to Calleigh's desires, both men ended up making their way to Calleigh's place on All Hallow's Eve, completely against all their wishes and better judgment.
Eric parked his car in the underground lot of Calleigh's building and sat for a long moment, staring at his fingernails with trepidation. They were so dark a red they looked black, and only the name on the bottle had convinced Eric that it actually *was* red. He was insane to do this. He should just turn the ignition and get the hell out of there. Despite these thoughts, Eric got out of the car and made sure his trench coat was still in place. If any of Calleigh's neighbors saw his costume, he was going to toss them out of a window, Halloween or no Halloween.
Taking small steps, Eric gingerly walked to the elevator, feeling the unfamiliar and uncomfortable sensation of walking in heels. Seeing his reflection in the elevator mirrors, Eric grimaced - with these shoes on, he was like a giant! Plus he was so unthrilled at the sight of his makeup, regardless of how talented his sister might be. At least he hadn't been forced to do it himself, then he really would look pathetic. As it was, his sister had somehow managed to be fairly discreet - well, as discreet as you could be in a costume like his.
The elevator creaked its way to Calleigh's floor, and then the doors slid open, leaving Eric to wobble his way to Calleigh's door. He knocked and then waited, nervously looking around at the other doors with their various Halloween decorations. He was wondering how many kids lived in the building when he heard the door unlock from the inside. Calleigh opened the door and then smiled at Eric, who cleared his throat when she didn't move aside.
"Are you going to let me in or what? I don't exactly want to advertise my outfit."
Calleigh's smile became slightly devilish. "You don't want to help me hand out candy to the kids?" Eric shook his head vehemently and reached out one hand to impatiently tap his fingernails on the doorframe. When Calleigh caught sight of his nails, she laughed.
"Oh alright, come in," she conceded, moving back as Eric shouldered his way into her apartment. After she closed the door and locked it again, she turned and stuck out her hand. Eric stared at it, trying to figure out what she wanted. Calleigh made a noise of irritation.
"Your coat, Eric."
Eric cringed. "Do I really have to?"
"You came all this way, you might as well let me see if your costume is as good as your makeup," Calleigh said lightly but relentlessly. "Did you do that yourself?"
"My sister did it," Eric replied flatly. He fiddled with the buttons on his coat, stalling for time.
"Your costume looks nice," he said grudgingly, looking at her tidy little maid's outfit that made Calleigh look both shorter and cuter than she already was. Calleigh preened, and Eric wished he felt as good about what he was wearing. Calleigh certainly didn't look at all uncomfortable with *her* outfit. Undoing the last button, Eric sighed and slowly slid his coat off his bare shoulders, revealing his costume in all its hateful glory. Calleigh's eyebrows rose and she didn't make any movement towards taking Eric's coat from him.
After a silent minute, Eric fidgeted with the large pearl necklace he was wearing. "That bad, huh?" Calleigh blinked at his words and then broke out into a genuine smile.
"No, Eric," she said gently. "I'm just impressed you got it all so accurate!" Eric made a noise of disbelief and general discomfort, feeling very exposed. Sensing his displeasure, Calleigh moved to take his coat and put her hand on his shoulder.
"I'm really glad you decided to indulge me, Eric. And you do look great," she told him, and the way her eyes shone made Eric start to feel that maybe it wasn't that bad, if it made Calleigh this happy. He was indoors, only she was going to see him, and he had made her triple promise to not photograph him at any point. He might as well accept that he'd caved and relax a little. As Eric exhaled and straightened his posture, Calleigh smiled again and patted his arm.
"Go on into the living room, I'll get the refreshments and snacks."
Eric moved in the direction she had pointed, his heels making no sound on the pale carpet. Eric was glad it wasn't a plush carpet, otherwise he probably would have tripped on it somehow and plowed into the floor. He was already worried about the state of his feet after tonight, not to mention the compression bruises he'd probably end up with. The makeup and clothing were removable but he wasn't so sure about the physical evidence.
As he passed through the doorway, he caught sight of someone out of the corner of his eye, reading a magazine in a stuffed chair. Eric froze in shock, wondering who else would be here, as the person lowered the magazine to look in his direction. Once the magazine was out of the way, Eric stared at the made-up face in front of him and then gulped as it belatedly dawned on him who it was.
At first, he had thought it was Valera or even Natalia, as he caught sight of a long pair of crossed legs in black fishnets and black, heeled shoes covered in sparkles. But as his gaze traveled upward, the hips in the black shorts with rainbow sequin stripes were too narrow and the chest in the rainbow-sequined corset top too flat to be any girl. Add to that the definitely-male shoulders and arms in the gold-sequined coat and the Adam's apple visible just above the red-sequined bow-tie, and Eric was already feeling trepidation as he peered at the face partly hidden under a gold-sequined top hat.
Sure enough, under the red lipstick, black cat-eyes makeup, and maroon-tinted hair was the face of Ryan Wolfe staring at him with very wide green eyes. Ryan was dressed like Columbia from Rocky Horror Picture Show.
"Holy shit," Eric breathed.
Ryan distantly heard Eric's exclamation, but it didn't stop him from staring at the Eric standing before him. The Cuban seemed to fill the room, his already considerable height exaggerated by the pair of impossibly high-heeled black shoes he was wearing. Eric seemed a bit unsteady on them, but he was much better than Ryan felt on his own shorter heels.
Ryan's eyes moved of their own volition upwards, following the line of the thigh-high fishnets held in place by black and silver garters with the silvery, lacy garter belt partly covering what looked like a black satin Speedo that left nothing to the imagination. Swallowing with difficulty, Ryan took in the rest: the iridescent-dark silver sequined corset top that was laced halfway closed, the curve of the shoulder straps that accented Eric's muscled shoulders, the dark silver fingerless gloves that went up to Eric's elbows, and that necklace with its ludicrously-huge pearls resting just below Eric's Adam's apple. And Eric's makeup, while not as outrageous as the movie, was definitely in the same vein.
Ryan had watched "Rocky Horror Picture Show" to get an idea what his costume was supposed to look like, since his OCD tendencies made it hard to not want to get it right despite his reluctance, and Ryan had mixed feelings about how Tim Curry had looked as Frank-n-furter. The idea of an obviously masculine guy in drag seemed ridiculous, and Ryan had decided that Tim Curry had pulled it off simply due to his acting and sheer brass balls about the whole thing.
But the way Eric looked as Frank-n-furter just looked so *different* from your average cross-dressing. Ryan would never have believed it was possible to wear so many feminine things and still look so male without it looking conflicted and wrong. Yet there was Eric, pulling it off despite the tense, slightly self-conscious stoop of his shoulders. Ryan found himself envious of the way Eric's muscled thighs balanced out the graceful curves of his calves as they were tilted by his high heels. Maybe there was something to the movie after all. Feeling himself move onto mentally dangerous ground, Ryan finally tore his gaze away from Eric just in time to see Calleigh enter the room with a tray in her hands.
"Who wants some witch's brew?" she said cheerfully, seemingly oblivious of their tension. While it had originally been Ryan's intention to avoid any drinking, he quickly nodded and grabbed himself a glass of something green with what looked like a gummy worm floating in it. He downed the drink without a pause, feeling the slippery candy slide down his throat.
"What is this exactly?" Eric asked, after sipping his drink rather than gulping it. Calleigh put down the tray on the coffee table and gave him a pert grin.
"That's for me to know, and I don't think you'll ever figure it out," was her reply, and Eric rolled his eyes good-naturedly.
"Be careful how you sip that, Eric. You don't want to wreck your lipstick," Calleigh cautioned as Eric lifted his glass to his lips again. Following Calleigh's gaze, Ryan looked at Eric's crimson lips, now shiny with moisture, and resisted the urge to bite his own lip. Eric's lips were a part of him that made it easy to understand the concept of "man-pretty," given how lush and full they were and-
Ryan quashed that thought before it could go any further and grabbed another of Calleigh's mysterious brew. He didn't care what was in it, as long as it muffled these disturbing new thoughts in his head. If Calleigh noticed anything odd about his abrupt consumption, she didn't say anything, and Eric didn't appear to notice at all. He was too busy making a face at Calleigh in regards to her comments.
"Like I'm all concerned about wrecking it. I can't wait to take it off," he grumbled.
"After all that hard work your sister did? That's some way of thanking her," Calliegh teased, and Eric made another face.
"How you got me here like this, I'll never figure out. And how *you* agreed as well," Eric said, pointing at Ryan. "Did she brainwash us when we weren't looking? Slip something into the coffee?"
"Uh, search me, man. The bigger question might be why haven't we left yet, since we did what she wanted," Ryan replied weakly, sitting back down in his chair and crossing his legs self-consciously. The drinks were starting to warm the knots in his stomach, so he didn't flinch when Eric walked up and sat down on the couch beside his chair.
"It's Halloween, guys! You two need to relax and unwind, get your mind off work. You should be grateful that I came up with such a distracting way of doing so," Calleigh declared. When both men stared at her, she dropped her serene look and pouted a little.
"OK, so I have a little love-affair with Rocky Horror, and you two are the only ones who have actually seen the movie and who I thought could actually pull it off," she confessed. "But now that you are both here, I know I was right. I am really impressed, guys; you didn't let me down."
Ryan didn't like the smug and slightly predatory look on her face. He snuck a look at Eric, only to find Eric looking at him, and Ryan felt his cheeks warm. He wasn't sure what bothered him more, Calleigh's assessment or his own opinion of his outfit. Ryan knew he was wearing an actual girl-character's outfit, as opposed to a male character in drag, and it was embarrassing to think about why she had done so. He knew he was skinny, but it wasn't until he had put the whole outfit on that he realized he could look so androgynous. His theatre friend had been a little *too* skilled with the makeup and lipstick. Trying not to squirm under Eric's gaze, Ryan wondered just how unmanly he really looked.
Seeing Ryan's obviously uncomfortable expression, Eric felt a surge of sympathy for his coworker. Calleigh's frank appreciation of their get-up was disconcerting, especially coming from someone he would have considered fairly "vanilla" in her tastes. Ryan looked like he disagreed with Calleigh's evaluation of his appearance, but he didn't actually speak up to refute her; instead, he sat silently and adjusted the brim of his sparkly top hat.
Eric was a little surprised that Calleigh had picked Columbia for Ryan instead of Brad or Eddie. Or even Rocky Horror, Eric thought with a slight smile at the idea of a completely golden and blond Ryan in just shorts. But it must be Calleigh's occasionally wicked sense of humour coming into play. Regardless of the reasons, Eric was also impressed at how good Ryan's costume was. Ryan must have found someone even more talented than his sister to help him out. Eric thought Columbia's exotic look flattered Ryan in an odd way; the red streaks along his jaw accented his cheekbones and the slanted darkness outlining his eyes made his grey-green eyes really stand out, like real cat eyes. He actually looked kind of foxy in his colourful shorts, corset, and gold jacket, twinkling with every movement in the lamplight. Eric paused at that thought, trying to figure out where the word "foxy" had come from. It was not a word he had ever associated with Ryan before. But Eric couldn't bring himself to take it back, watching the crooked curve of Ryan's red lips.
Reaching blindly towards the candy bowl to cover up his embarrassment over his inappropriate thoughts, Eric popped a few of the bean-shaped chocolates into his mouth. It was only after he had crushed them that he realized they weren't solid chocolate, feeling a familiar but hard-to-place taste flood his mouth.
"Caw-wey?" He asked around a mouthful of chocolate. As she turned her attention from the sucker she'd put in her mouth, idly perched on the arm of the other armchair in the room, he swallowed the mass and tried again.
"Calleigh, what kind of chocolate is that?" he asked, pointing towards the bowl.
"Oh, those? Brandy beans," Calleigh replied, looking innocent.
"Calleigh Duquesne, are you trying to get us drunk?" Eric said with mock-censure, raising an ironic eyebrow in her direction.
"How else am I supposed to get you guys to relax?" Calleigh exclaimed, placing a hand over her heart. Eric gave her a look but couldn't really argue with her logic. Plus, he had already done this much for her, might as well admit they were at her command and go with the flow.
"You know what? Fine. I'll get drunk, just for you, but that means you have to find a place for me to crash since I drove here." Eric shook his finger at her and then looked over at Ryan. Seeing the new glass between Ryan's bright-red nails, Eric added, "And somewhere for Ryan too, since he already looks past the legal limit."
Ryan scowled at him but again didn't speak up to protest. His silence was a little weird, but the whole night was turning out pretty weird, and Eric had firmly decided it wasn't worth getting worried about. What was the worst that could happen? Calleigh was devious, but she wasn't really *evil* or anything.
"No problem," Calleigh said with a small smile on her face that almost made Eric revise his previous assessment. No wonder they did what she wanted when she looked like that. Then Eric just chuckled and reached for another glass for himself. Whatever she put in that green liquid, he had to admit it tasted pretty good.
And after a few more glasses, Eric felt better about the whole thing, and even Ryan seemed more at ease, relaxing his crossed arms and letting himself slouch in his chair with his legs stretching out to cross at the ankles instead. They started talking about their favourite memories of previous Halloweens and some of the pranks they'd been involved in while out in costume. Calleigh, having indulged in the punch as well, started to get really giggly as she told them about the time she'd convinced the local theatre back in Texas to do a midnight showing of Rocky Horror and the letters of outrage in the local paper the next day.
"Calleigh, I had no idea you were such a deviant," Eric teased. Calleigh stuck her tongue out at him and then went back to sucking on a gummy worm.
"So how long have you had this drag fetish?" Eric continued with a grin. "Is that why you broke up with John? Because he looked bad in mascara?"
"Eric!" Calleigh yelled, throwing the remaining bit of her worm at him and missing. Ryan snickered quietly, watching their interaction from under the brim of his hat. Calleigh made a face at him as well and then stood up with exaggerated aplomb.
"We are out of beverages, I am going to go get more," she announced loudly and took the tray with its empty glasses into the kitchen.
Ryan idly watched Calleigh walk out of the room, admiring the way her Magenta costume made her look more buxom and girly. In his blurred state, Ryan decided that it was good for Calleigh to relax herself once in a while too, and her ass wasn't too bad either. At Eric's surprised chuckle, Ryan wondered whether he'd said any of this out loud.
"How you doing, man?" Eric asked, his dark eyes shining as he raised an elegantly-upswept eyebrow at Ryan. After staring at Eric's awesome eye makeup for a moment, Ryan realized he'd never answered the question.
"Me? M'good, great, fantastic!" he replied, pleased that his words only slurred infrequently. And it was true; he felt ten times better now that he'd managed to unwind a bit and stop worrying about his looks. He was with friends, with the two people he admired most, drinking and eating so much delicious candy, how could he feel anything other than good?
"Yeah me too, actually," Eric said, with some reluctance but also a smile. "Damn her, but Calleigh has once again proven that she can run circles around us whenever she wants."
"S'good, I think I'm actually glad she did this," Ryan said while inspecting a chip in one of his red nails. Eric's chuckled softly again and shifted closer to Ryan, who had migrated from the chair to share the couch with Eric, and Ryan didn't think to move away even when their knees touched.
"You like being in drag, do you?" Eric grinned. Ryan shook his head, too drunk to feel offended.
"Nah, just... It's good for me to do stuff I norm'lly wouldn't. Otherwise, I'll just become a walking stereotype. In these heels, at least I can dance instead." He smiled crookedly at Eric's thoughtful face. He didn't normally like talking about his OCD, but it seemed positively normal compared to wearing fishnets and lipstick.
"Of all the things you are, a stereotype is the last thing I'd think of," Eric said with unexpected kindness, putting his hand briefly on Ryan's web-covered knee. Ryan blinked, looking at Eric, taking in the contradiction of the extraordinary heightened sensuality Eric's makeup brought to his face compared to his familiar warm brown eyes. For a moment, his head swam, and he wondered if he had been a bit too quick knocking back that punch.
Calleigh returned to the room with more drinks and candy, and both men groaned at the sight.
"Cal, we are ready to freely admit you own us, you don't have to drink us under the table as well!" Eric pleaded, reaching for more Skittles with a sort of desperate air. Calleigh tsked and picked up a glass for herself, sipping it like she hadn't a care in the world.
"I'm not making you guys drink, you can stop at any time. And stop looking at me like that!" She scolded them as they stared at her for the umpteenth time. Then she smirked, "Move over Eric, I want a spot on the couch."
When Eric started to make room between himself and Ryan, Calleigh scolded him again and started issuing directions like a drill sergeant. Somehow, Eric and Ryan found themselves shuffled and reshuffled until Eric was stuck in the middle between Calleigh, who was sitting partly on her knees, and Ryan, who found himself slumped against Eric's collarbone, his hat somewhere on the floor. Eric had his arm awkwardly raised above Ryan, and after what seemed like a minute's indecision, he hesitantly put his arm around Ryan's shoulder.
Even through his sequined jacket, Ryan could feel the warmth of Eric's bare upper arms, and it actually felt kind of nice. Before he could really think about what had just happened, Calleigh started chattering again, and Ryan struggled to keep up with her as she flitted from topic to topic in a sugar-fueled torrent.
"If you think this is bad," Eric whispered in his ear, at which Ryan tried not to jump. "You should have seen her the time she accidentally inhaled speed while on a case. She was worse than a deranged hummingbird." Eric's low voice was rich with amusement, and Ryan tried to muffle a laugh at the mental picture. Ryan turned his attention back to Calleigh just in time to see her handing him another green glass, and he sighed in defeat, taking a long sip before offering some to Eric. As Ryan's eyes fastened with exaggerated care on Eric sipping from the glass that he himself was carefully tilting, neither he nor Eric noticed the gleam in Calleigh's eyes as she watched them.
Eric wasn't sure how exactly he'd gotten in this position, or rather how Ryan had gotten in this position and why he couldn't be bothered to change it. In the back of his mind, he was pretty sure it was inappropriate to have a coworker rest their head on your thigh, especially if that coworker was male, but that thought was dim and easily lost in the warm sloshy feeling of his inebriation. And his hand seemed intent on playing with Ryan's short, magenta hair anyway, so he figured he might as well let it do what it wanted. Ryan didn't seem to mind, though he seemed very intent on trying to tie a gummy worm into a knot and had so far failed three times. Calleigh was now sitting on the floor, peering up at them and giggling intermittently for no reason Eric could see.
The evil green brew was finally gone, which was good because Eric was very convinced that if he had one more glass, he'd be officially pickled in it. Eric had no idea what time it was, but it was still dark out, and he didn't feel tired at all. He glanced again at Ryan, still absently yet gently tugging his fingers through Ryan's hair, and blearily studied his face.
"How come yer makeup still looks so good?" he asked. Ryan paused and looked up at Eric with slightly bloodshot eyes.
"Fixative," he answered cryptically.
"Whut?" Eric wrinkled his brow.
"This stuff, s'called fixative. Dennis sprayed it on me when he was done. Said it would keep me from smearin' it by ax-serdent," Ryan explained, and Calleigh giggled again at Ryan's mangling of the last word.
"Ooooo smart. Yer a smart guy, Ryan," Eric said, impressed. Calleigh took one look at him and nearly rolled onto the floor.
"Whut?" Eric asked again, looking at her, puzzled.
When she didn't reply, he shrugged and turned his attention back to Ryan, who had given up on the gummy worm and had started eating it instead. Watching Ryan innocently suck the green and orange candy past his still-red lips made Eric's stomach do an unexpected flip-flop and he quickly turned his attention towards the candy bowl. There wasn't much left in it either, but Eric still grabbed a few black and orange jellybeans and tilted his head back to toss them in his mouth. He couldn't remember the last time he'd drunk this much, let alone eaten this much candy. He had a feeling he was going to feel particularly wretched tomorrow.
But the alcohol seemed only good at the moment; he no longer felt the constriction of the corset or the strain of the heels on his feet. He had a hundred times more respect for women who wore shoes anything like this on a regular basis; it was a whole workout in itself.
They'd moved into the sort of late-night trance where it was possible to go without talking for minutes at a time, but the silence never felt awkward. In fact, Eric felt so comfortable that the thought of moving seemed completely alien. Ryan also seemed finally at ease, and Eric was actually enjoying the fact that Ryan was warming to them both in a way he hadn't seemed to warm to anyone else, not even Natalia.
Eric found himself liking the side of Ryan that Ryan didn't normally share, thought it explained a lot of things that Eric had just dismissed as weird. Some of them were still weird, but Eric liked what he put together almost as much as what he saw.
And damn it, he *did* like what he saw; Eric finally admitting to himself that there was something appealing about the leanness and tone of Ryan, currently emphasized by his androgynous appearance and hard to miss with his shorts rucked up even further to show off his legs and the corset starting to slip down his finely-muscled chest. Maybe he was just channeling Frank-n-furter a little too much, but Eric was starting to understand some of the character's motivation. Eric was surrounded by fine examples of both genders, it would be unfair not to feel even *somewhat* appreciative.
And what was gender anyway? Skin was skin, eyes were eyes; all the basics were there except for a few details. Looking between Ryan and Calleigh, all Eric could see were two sets of skillfully-slanted green eyes looking back at him. He should probably be more worried about what Calleigh's expression might mean, but it was Ryan's glazed stare that actually kept Eric captive for a few minutes. What a strangely trusting look Ryan had on his face. This time, Eric felt a warm tightening in his gut rather than a flipflop, as his hand lightly rested on the crown of Ryan's skull.
"'m sorry to have to tell you this, Ryan," Eric said solemnly. "But I'mma 'fraid you don't make a very good woman."
Ryan looked blank for a moment as he processed what Eric had said, but he didn't seem insulted. In fact, after he'd registered the words, a smile broke out on his pale face. Calleigh hiccupped with a suspicious amount of glee. Eric turned to glare at her.
"Are you gonna be OK?" he asked. She waved at him from her spot on the floor, her eyes merry. Out of the corner of his eye, Eric saw Ryan yawn.
"Gettin' tired, huh?" Eric said softly. Ryan nodded, absently scratching his forehead and patting Eric's hand when he accidentally brushed against it.
"Calleigh, where are those sleeping spots you promised us?" Eric turned his attention back to Calleigh's direction.
Ryan watched Calleigh tilt her head at Eric from his low vantage point.
"You both giving up for the night?" She seemed both disappointed and pleased at the same time. Ryan had long given up trying to figure out what exactly she was getting such a thrill from. Women were frequently this mysterious to him. No wonder he gave up on them from time to time.
"Yeah, I think we've indulged you long enough," Eric quipped.
"Oh, alright," Calleigh relented. "I'll show you the guestroom, but first, you have to let me get a photograph of you two before you remove your makeup."
"Ohhhh noo," Eric was quick to deny, and Ryan shook his head too vigorously, feeling the room spin for a moment. That was a really bad idea, no more doing *that*.
"Pleeeease, you guys? Just one? I promise it will just be for my eyes only, as a memory of the event," Calleigh pleaded, her voice coaxing. She looked beseechingly at them both, her hands clasped in front of her. Eric looked down at Ryan, and they wordlessly conferred; after a moment, Ryan shrugged.
"OK, just one. And if you EVER let it be seen by anyone else, you have to come to work in that costume," Eric spoke for the both of them, his voice steely. Calleigh quickly nodded and made a sketchy salute.
"Scout's honour," she replied with sincerity, then bounced out of the room to find her camera.
Ryan belatedly realized this meant he would have to get up, unless he wanted the picture to be of his head nearly in Eric's lap. As much as he had been enjoying his position, he wasn't sure he wanted photographic evidence of it. He slowly lifted his head and felt Eric place a steadying hand on the back of his neck and assist him in sitting up. Once he was upright, Eric didn't seem eager to remove his hand, and Ryan liked the warm sensation against his bare skin. Eric's fingerless gloves were made of something very smooth, and the gentle weight of his hand was soothing. But when Ryan leaned forward to recover his hat, Eric let him go and stood up from the couch with Ryan following suit moments after.
"Hey guys, come into the kitchen where the light is better," Calleigh called from out of sight and they ambled slowly towards the sound of her voice. Sure enough, the kitchen was quite bright, and both men squinted for a moment until their eyes adjusted. Calleigh was standing by the counter with a point and shoot camera in hand, fiddling with the zoom.
"OK, by that wall over there." She vaguely pointed in the right direction, and the men shuffled over until they stood before the bare white wall. They looked at each other, unsure of how to stand, when Calleigh slipped back into drill sergeant mode:
"Get closer, you two! No, closer! You'll never fit into the shot if you don't! Ryan, move a little forward - OK that's enough! Eric, put your arm around Ryan's shoulder! Don't make a face at me, you two are supposed to be from Rocky Horror! And Ryan, put your arm around Eric's waist! Don't just stand there staring at me, do it!"
Ryan kept staring at her and then he looked at Eric a little nervously. But Eric just smiled at him encouragingly.
"Just do what she says, then it'll be over quicker," he murmured, and Ryan carefully slipped his hand around Eric's back to rest on his hip. Eric shifted his weight and then their hips were touching, with Eric's arm casually draped around his shoulder.
"Okkk..." Calleigh peered through the viewfinder. "Now look at the camera suggestively. Eric, that's not suggestive, don't make me come over there!"
Ryan snorted, and Eric resisted rolling his eyes, then they both stared at the camera until Calleigh seemed satisfied:
"-Yes, like that! Now HOLD IT!"
The flash of the camera seemed to blind Ryan, and then he breathed in relief as he took off his hat. He was getting warm in this room, must be the lights.
"Oh, oh, one more without your hat or jacket, Ryan!" Calleigh's excited exclamation startled the both of them.
"You said just one picture!" Ryan replied accusingly.
"Please, please, please, just to show off the rest of your costume and your hair! Your hair really looks great!" Calleigh shamelessly pleaded, and Ryan grudgingly relented. He slipped out of his jacket and hat and put them on the kitchen table, while Eric watched with amusement.
"Last photo," Ryan said flatly. Calleigh nodded and then motioned for him to move back into place.
Ryan stepped back beside Eric and slipped his arm back around Eric's waist. This time, he could feel the soft lace of Eric's garter belt against the sensitive skin of his inner arm and the satin slide of Eric's gloves along his bare shoulder. The warmth of Eric seemed so much more pervasive, and Ryan snuck a look at Eric, wondering if he noticed anything. Eric didn't seem bothered, but he did notice Ryan looking at him, turning his head to regard Ryan curiously. Ryan could feel the slight jut of Eric's hipbone against his own, and there was a subtle aura of hair gel and a faintly sweet candy smell about him that Ryan decided he liked.
Without realizing he was doing so, he moved even closer and Eric seemed to instinctively tighten his grip on Ryan's shoulder, even as Ryan curled his hand closer towards Eric's exposed navel. Their faces inches apart, both men stared at each other with a fascination fueled by alcohol and something else, something that made Ryan's pulse start to pick up ever so slightly. He was so engrossed in this intriguing sensory overload that he didn't even flinch when a sudden flash of light interrupted them. But it did break his dreamy little trance, and he abashedly turned his head away from Eric, glaring at Calleigh who did not look the slightest bit guilty at her sneaky photography.
Ryan's reaction to the flash and to their position was so cute that Eric just wanted to eat him up. While Ryan looked disconcerted by their intense moment, Eric only felt invigorated by it, the heat in his blood silencing any doubts he'd had about Ryan's desirability. He wanted Ryan, and it was starting to look very clear that Ryan might want him as well. Eric was so fixated on Ryan's vulnerable expression and the way he hugged himself that he didn't heard Calleigh inform them that she only had one spare bed in the guestroom, so it was up to them to sort out the sleeping arrangements. Calleigh then told them to turn the lights off after they were done cleaning up and escaped to her room like she'd been conjured there.
Finally alone, Eric watched Ryan finally work up the nerve to look in his direction again.
"You OK?" Eric asked very gently, not wanting to scare Ryan off. Ryan nodded quickly and grabbed his hat and coat, clutching them convulsively.
"Let's go see this guestroom, K?" Eric continued in that soothing tone, and Ryan skittered his way towards the guestroom door, his heels clicking on the kitchen tile before they were silenced by the hallway carpet. Eric followed behind him, admiring the view from the back with a smile on his face.
They reached the open door that Calleigh had pointed towards, and Ryan walked towards the small table with a lamp already turned on and tossed his jacket and hat under it. Then they both examined the room and realized that there was, in fact, only one bed. Eric watched Ryan's wide-eyed stare at the pale green bedspread, and for a moment, he was worried that Ryan would just bolt out of the apartment itself.
Ryan turned his head slowly towards Eric as the Cuban cautiously edged forward, but the calming words he was preparing in his mind to stop Ryan's flight were scattered as Ryan suddenly closed the remaining distance between them and fused his lips to Eric's in hungry desperation. Eric was equally unprepared for the way that Ryan molded his body against Eric, with only thin layers of sparkly cloth, fishnet, and lace between them.
Ryan's hands made their way to the nape of Eric's neck, tangling in his gel-hardened hair. Eric tasted the lipstick on Ryan's lips, and all his memories of kissing women were contrasted with the much harsher and raw quality of Ryan's kiss so that Eric's eyes fluttered closed, and he moaned quietly. At the sound, Ryan's tongue demanded entrance to Eric's mouth as his hands moved to clutch Eric's bare shoulders until Eric could feel nails digging into his flushed skin.
Eric's own hands moved from their position at Ryan's hips around to cup his ass through his shorts, feeling the stripes of sequins move past his palms. Given how Ryan kept pushing himself closer to Eric, it seemed only natural to increase his grip on Ryan's backside and hitch him upwards, and the way Ryan clenched his legs around Eric's torso seemed to indicate he agreed with Eric's instincts.
As Eric staggered slightly under Ryan's lesser but still considerable weight, he could feel Ryan's growing erection trapped tight against Eric's stomach, and Ryan moved his oral assault to Eric's neck with continued ferocity. The sensation of teeth and tongue ravaging along Eric's pulse added to his dizzy arousal, and the world tilted sharply as he accidentally toppled backwards onto the bed, bringing Ryan with him and sending sparkles flying in every direction.
Ryan quickly took advantage of his upper hand and let his hands roam along Eric's corset, teasingly playing with the laces. The sight of Ryan's predatory eyes mixed with his carelessly smeared lipstick was so fascinating that Eric brought his hand up to cup Ryan's cheek before pulling him in for another devouring kiss. After a long moment, the need for air became impossible to ignore, and they broke the kiss, panting with only inches between them.
"Dunno if ...the costume ..or the drink, " Ryan mumbled, that wild look still in his eyes. "But you are so fucking hot, Delko."
Eric chuckled, and then his quiet laughter turned into a groan as Ryan ground his hips into Eric's hips with reckless abandon. He was glad his black Speedo had so much elastic give; otherwise, he would have been in pain by now, considering how hard Ryan's actions were making him. Maybe Calleigh had put something more than hard liquor in his brew, given that Eric felt like every nerve ending was crackling with lust, and Ryan seemed to be almost frenzied in his need to provoke Eric and touch every part of Eric's body that he could get his hands on. Even as Eric noticed this, he felt Ryan sneak his hand between their bodies and rub his hand along the slick material covering his erection.
"Have you ...done this before?" Eric asked with a little bewilderment, feeling dazed and shuddering at Ryan's touch. Ryan just smiled at him and totally distracted Eric by sneaking a kiss to suck wantonly on Eric's tongue.
Somewhere under the roar of Ryan's desire and his remaining alcoholic haze, he was amused at Eric's plaintive question. What a silly thing to ask; Ryan just knew what felt good, and he was pretty sure he could figure out which things were universal to men and which things were just particular to Eric. In fact, he was very much enjoying discovering just where Eric was more sensitive, while at the same time, appreciating the sheer maleness of Eric's body. It should have felt foreign, given Ryan's previous experiences with exclusively women, but instead, all the muscle and warm skin just felt right.
In fact, Ryan felt there wasn't enough bare skin for him to enjoy, so he set out trying to undo the lacing of Eric's top. Eric seemed content to let Ryan take control of their situation, his head lolling back and his hair mussed, as his hands caressed Ryan's lower back. Ryan wasn't sure exactly when or how he'd decided to act on his growing awareness of Eric; all he knew was that he had been so hot and tight in his costume that his skin had been tingling almost painfully.
Ryan had to admit that Eric's own outfit had totally revised his opinions about the particulars of drag; the clothing no longer like women's clothing to him, hugging Eric's body like a darkly glittering second skin, it just seemed like the perfect invitation for decadent deeds. Ryan coyly fingered the garters that were keeping Eric's fishnets so high up his muscular thighs before returning his attention to pulling undone the bow on Eric's corset. Impatiently pulling the laces from the eyelets one after another, the dark cord slipped free like a snake, and then Ryan tossed it aside. Grinning in anticipation, Ryan then pushed aside the now-loose corset and let his tongue explore the smooth expanse of Eric's chest, tasting the salty tang of Eric's skin.
Eric's chest expanded as he drew in a deep breath, his fingers in Ryan's hair, carding their way through before gripping the back of his neck. As Ryan swirled his tongue around one of Eric's pebbled nipples, his hands tugged Eric's garter belt downwards, sliding his hands around Eric's firm ass to pull it down from the back. Eric lifted his hips to help Ryan, and both men gasped as their hard-ons moved against each other with delicious friction. Then Eric tilted his head to look at Ryan and frowned.
"Unfair. You're wearin' too much, gorgeous. Off with it." His voice was husky in a way that sent shivers down Ryan's spine. Reluctantly taking his mouth and hips away from Eric, Ryan moved to sit beside Eric on the bed and twisted to present his back to Eric, unaware of the serpentine grace of his pose. After a pause, he heard Eric lean forward and felt fingertips slide up along the boning in the back of his own rainbow-sequined corset. Ryan could feel subtle decreases in pressure as Eric fumbled open the tiny hooks that kept the corset closed.
"This is ten times worse than any bra," Eric grumbled, and Ryan smiled. After what seemed like a really long time, the last hook came away, and Ryan watched the corset tumble off the bed onto the floor. Then he yelped as Eric's strong, now-de-gloved arms came around him and pulled him back onto Eric's chest. Ryan squirmed around to face Eric, delighting in the slide of bare skin against bare skin as he settled chest-to-chest with the taller Cuban. Eric's lipstick was mostly gone rather than smeared, a fact which Ryan felt smug about for a few seconds before Eric expertly flipped him on his back and began his own thorough investigation using his fingers, tongue and lips. And ohhh, those lips were so soft, and that hot breath against the wet trail Eric's tongue left pushed a hitched moan past the breath Ryan had been holding.
Ryan pushed his hips demandingly upward while he grabbed Eric's hands and shoved them over the fly of his shorts. Eric took the unsubtle hint and thumbed the top button open before pulling the zipper down and slipping his hand inside. Soft cotton met his curious fingertips and a quick glance down told Eric that Ryan's briefs were just as black as his own, and then he couldn't resist cupping the warm fullness of Ryan's erection. Ryan made a noise suspiciously like a whine, his mouth falling open and his eyes tightly shut.
"Oh God, oh God, oh God," he chanted in a breathless whisper. "More, more, more..."
Abruptly, Ryan reached up and unceremoniously yanked down Eric's Speedo and exposed his erect member to the relatively cool air. Almost before Eric had registered the cool, Ryan's fingers raked along his shaft before thumbing the tip, and then Ryan moaned as Eric reflexively squeezed Ryan's cock in his shock at the heady sensation.
"Fuck, that feels so good," Eric muttered, closing his eyes and trying really hard not to lose it right then and there, as Ryan closed his hand around him and started to pump. This time, Eric was the one to fall on Ryan with a desperate and hungry air, teeth clashing and tongues nearly stretching far enough to swallow, as he returned the favour and freed Ryan's own cock.
Rubbing against each other's blush-tinted cheeks and thrusting their hips together so hard it occasionally hurt, Eric and Ryan laid together amongst a pile of shimmering clothing and a completely tangled bedspread. The fact that they still had on their shoes and that their thigh-high fishnets had rolled down to their knees was completely lost on them, nor did they really register the various crimson marks, both cosmetic and pressure-created, that they had left on each other's skin. All that mattered was the intense pleasure they were sharing and the overwhelming electricity of their combined desires that pushed them closer towards the edge with each stroke.
Eric had never felt aroused quite like this before, moving in tandem with a partner who could give exactly as he got, where Eric could let go of his worries and just lose himself in the moment. As the beginning of a truly mind-blowing orgasm began to pool like sweet syrup at the base of Eric's spine, he distantly heard Ryan's voice spiral upward and then cut off unexpectedly. In the sudden silence, their laboured breathing and the sharp retort of slick skin hitting slick skin seemed impossibly loud.
Sparks brighter than Ryan's outfit filled Eric's gaze, and he struggled to keep hold of Ryan's desperately fast-paced cock as it pulsed between his fingers with hot liquid release. Eric surrendered without pause to his own needs, and then the world became very surreal, and there seemed to be colours and lights flooding out of his body.
When the world righted itself again, Eric didn't know if he would be able to work his body ever again. He almost felt like his physical gratification had been too intense to be believable, and as he managed to slip beside Ryan while still keeping an arm around his waist, his lean friend seemed equally dazed. But then Ryan's eyes, now grey like old silver and still lined with sweat-streaked kohl, locked with Eric's. As an impossibly-sweet smile graced his features, Ryan whispered a single, vaguely familiar sentence to Eric before they succumbed to insidious slumber:
*** Epilogue ***
Both men slept on, oblivious to the bright sunlight flooding the room, and they hadn't moved at the slight creak of the door opening just a crack. Thankfully, one of them had managed to grab the duvet in their sleep, and so they were mostly covered where it counted, for their sakes, though it was amusing to note that Eric still had his shoes on for some reason.
They had no idea what a wonderfully decadent scene they painted, with various bits of crumpled clothing strewn around them and various colours of loose sequins scattered on the bed and also on their bare skin. The duvet itself was so smeared with red and black and who knew what else that the only sensible thing to do would be to wash it thoroughly, but she knew that instead, she'd put it away in a box untouched. That way, she could find the box whenever she wanted, open it to take a peek at its contents and then laugh until tears streamed down her face.
She knew she'd been very bad, had taken advantage of them, and she should probably beg for their forgiveness when they woke up. But watching how closely they held each other, the way that Ryan had curled up under Eric's chin, she didn't think they'd be too angry in the end. Plus, in a way, none of it was her fault since she'd stopped putting vodka in the punch after the second round, she thought with a grin.
And they tell you it's not natural.