The drunker Trace gets, the more affectionate he becomes. It's kind of cute, if you go in for the whole puppy thing, which Eilerson doesn't, not generally - he likes his women impressed with his looks, his wits or (by preference) both and his men beefy and dumb.
Possibly, he thinks, sipping his third glass while Trace is gulping down his, it's the contrast.
Sober, Trace is sort of a pain. Full of himself to the point of arrogance, the kind of know-it-all Eilerson avoids working with at all costs because there's generally only enough place for one big ego on a team, and that's his. A fine pilot, no argument there, although Eilerson would prefer biting off his tongue to actually saying that out loud.
They don't really meet each other a lot; Eilerson's got a job to do and so does Trace, and it's a rare day when Trace's job brings him to Eilerson's working-station, or Eilerson's job brings him to the shuttle bay.
Sober, Trace seems just as happy to keep his distance.
Drunk, Eilerson suddenly seems to become irresistible. Honestly, Eilerson doesn't even need to encourage Trace (not that he would). It just seems to happen naturally, at some point between Trace's second and third glass of dandelion wine or Praxas beer or whatever the hell they're drinking that night.
Eilerson will still be nursing his own drink, taking it slow, enjoying the moment and bam, there's Trace, crawling into his lap, nuzzling his neck, slurring stuff about how Eilerson is beautiful and great and brilliant and okay, yeah, so that's sort of a turn-on. Any man would be turned on by that sort of thing.
The first time it happens, Eilerson figures it's just the alcohol talking.
Eilerson may be a scumbag sometimes - it's a dog-eat-dog world out there, and Eilerson's just trying to make a living here, not waging some sort of moralistic crusade. He's not the kind of scumbag who takes advantage of people while they're drunk, though.
He's quite proud of the fact that he's even managed to resist the not inconsiderable temptation to draw a mustache on Trace's face while he was drooling all over Eilerson's new shirt. That's sheer decency, that is. Proof that Eilerson's a decent guy, for anyone who cares to look.
These days, he's sort of starting to wonder if maybe Trace is just more honest when he's drunk. In vino veritas, and all that. Maybe Trace wouldn't mind all that much if Eilerson'd actually nuzzle him back, once in a while.
Maybe Eilerson wouldn't mind all that much either.
"You know what you are? You're a two-beer queer."
Trace beams at him.
"Me, I guess I'm more of a five-beer queer."
"Love you," Trace slurs.
Eilerson reaches for his fifth glass and prays he's not going to regret this in the morning.
(Or, well, regret it more than he does normally, what with the hang-over and all.)