He couldn’t do this.
Sitting in the back of the limo, back pressed against the rear leather seat, suit too tight and hot, Steve knew he just could not do this. Everything he’d told himself since Clint had even mentioned this whole idea, everything he’d heard the lady at the agency say…it was out the window the moment the guy put his hand on Steve’s crotch and started rubbing.
It had seemed so simple, a lifeline when Clint had casually mentioned that he’d done it from time to time when he’d been short on funds. No big deal. He’d seemed so nonchalant about it. All high-end, Clint had said. No weird stuff, unless you were into that. You had to ok everything beforehand. All above-board, or as above-board as something like this could be.
And then the woman at the agency. She’d seemed so professional in her tailored suit and sharp heels, going over paperwork and giving him her business card, embossed with nothing more than a black spider with a red dot and a phone number beneath it. Just another day at the office.
But then there was this guy and he was touching Steve and she’d said, “Only what you are ok with. Only what you agree to beforehand,” and had he agreed to this? He couldn’t seem to remember, all rational thought having left around the time the guy he’d met twenty minutes ago started grabbing his cock and rubbing like there was a wish-granting genie on the horizon. He gripped the door handle, not sure what his plan was there, just glad to have some means of escape in his hand as panic set in.
He’d taken a cab to the guy’s place, based on the address the agency had provided. Dress nicely, they’d said. Tux. He’d had to borrow Clint’s. It was outdated and too small, but it worked. He didn’t figure on having it on long enough to matter, to be honest. And therein was the problem. He’d signed up for this. Full disclosure. He’d gone in, met with the scarily professional lady that he supposed was technically a madam, answered some questions and let her take some pictures and it had all seemed fine, a bit like he imagined modeling would be except with blood tests. And the way Clint talked…well, it had seemed like such an easy fix. Just a night, just sex. He could handle that. Wasn’t like he was afraid of anything happening that he didn’t want to happen. After all, he had a good six inches and fifty pounds of muscle on the guy. So why did he feel small, pinned in place, sitting here in the back of a limo, sweating through his borrowed, too-small suit?
“Looks like the whole package is industrial sized,” the man said with a lascivious smirk, continuing to rub up and down Steve’s cock. Steve was this close to bolting when the limo stopped and moments later, the door popped open. Air. Breath. Good God, Steve thought, sucking in a lungful. He’d been on the verge of a panic attack over a little groping. How was he supposed to get through the night? He knew what he’d signed up for, after all. He wasn’t an idiot. She’d asked very specific questions about what he was ok with and what he wasn’t. He’d blushed down to his toes, but answered them all. So, this was no surprise. He knew he could expect much more later. Later. Later, when this guy was doing a lot more than putting his hand on Steve’s dick through his suit. And Steve had said yes to this. Eagerly. Best not to forget that. He’d signed up for this, whatever it was.
The guy stepped out of the limo, and Steve was left to wonder if he was meant to follow. The guy bent back down to peer into the limo at Steve. “Well? Come on. We only have to put in an appearance. But, I paid for the whole evening, so…let’s go, hot stuff! Want to get my money’s worth,” he said, the smile that didn’t meet his eyes back on his face, leaving Steve to wonder what he considered getting his money’s worth.
“Sorry,” Steve said nervously. “I wasn’t sure if…I mean, if you wanted…” he stammered, waving his hand vaguely toward the limo door in a motion that he hoped said, I wasn’t sure if you wanted your hooker to join you at the…benefit gala…for the evening or just wait in the car like a good boy. It must have communicated just fine because the guy was laughing his odd little laugh.
“Are you kidding, gorgeous? Wait ‘til they get a look at you! I’ll be the envy of every idiot schmoozer in there. Come on,” his client replied, two-stepping to the side to give Steve room to exit the limo. As he did, he was aware of a line of paparazzi and other people, most of whom were paying him little actual attention, but the sudden influx of attention jarred him. He hadn’t been expecting that and found himself staring stupidly around, unsure what to do but follow the guy into the venue. His client was looking around, eyes perked up, scanning the crowd for something, but apparently not finding it by the frown that filled his features.
“They obviously don’t know real power when they see it, the idiots,” the guy said, waving Steve along as the crowd, to his great relief, ignored them.
Once inside, his client moved quickly to a group of acquaintances, motioning Steve to the bar to get drinks. “Vodka tonic. No ice. Don’t let them use that cheap crap either. Stoli,” he’d said, patting Steve on the chest a little too long. “Take your time. Get yourself something. Relax. Listen, I’ve got a few “work-related” people to meet,” he’d said, using his fingers to make little quote marks, “I don’t need this evening to be awkward, you know. So, no need to rush back until the party gets started. I'll let you know when you're needed, beautiful. There are some friends I'd like you to meet later.” Steve took that for the get-the-fuck-out-of-here-while-the-decent-folks-are-around that it was and headed for the bar without looking back.
He slowly made his way across the ballroom floor to the bar, noting in the mirror above the bartender’s area that his date for the evening was surrounded by various military brass, guffawing raucously over something one of them said. How could they not know that was totally fake? Steve had known the guy less than half an hour and he knew it was complete bullshit.
He braced his hands against the bar, ordering a Vodka tonic for his client, “Stoli” on the tip of his tongue before just shrugging at the bartender and taking whatever he was handed. He figured the guy wouldn’t actually be able to tell any difference. He ordered an ice water for himself. The woman at the agency had been very clear. Don’t drink alcohol while on a job. And always make sure you got your own drinks or watched them be mixed. It was rather scary that these were the protocols, as Steve could well imagine the reasons why.
So, this was a problem. He wasn’t an idiot. He knew what he’d signed up for tonight. It had all seemed so clear earlier in the week, sitting there across from the red-headed woman discussing how this all worked. Totally professional. They had a handbook, for crying out loud. And Clint? Clint seemed ok with it. Granted, Clint seemed ok with most anything, but still. He’d never said anything about how your insides felt like jelly and you wanted to sink into the floor. Damn it. What the hell was he going to do? It wasn’t like this was his first choice, but…well, it turned out there wasn’t much of a job market for art-school drop-outs. Extra shifts at the construction site, the night security job at the warehouse…it wasn’t enough. It wasn’t going to be enough and that was just all there was to it. Lie back and think of round-the-clock nursing care, he thought, somewhat hysterically.
He drank his ice water, throat suddenly parched, and turned to go. He would have spilled his client’s drink on the dark-haired man behind him if not for reflexes honed from years of dealing with Bucky’s shenanigans.
“Oh! Sorry!” Steve said in a startled voice, trying to tuck the drink back towards him so it wouldn’t spill on the stranger. “I’m…are you…did I? Sorry. Did I just cut in front of you?” he stammered, suddenly feeling twelve years old, trying to control a body that no longer fit.
The man put out a quick hand to his elbow to steady him, but let go almost as soon as he’d touched. “No problem. Plenty to go around,” he responded, smiling. “Scotch, good sir, and make it quick,” the man told the bartender with practiced ease.
Looking Steve up and down with appraising eyes, the man continued, “It’s an open bar, you know?” and he nodded at Steve’s drink.
“Yeah, um…yeah, well, I…I’m…” Steve stumbled on, not really sure how to answer that one. Why hadn’t he thought this through more? It had seemed so simple as he buttoned his cufflinks and tied his tie tonight. “working. I’m working. So, um, excuse me. So sorry, really, I hope I didn’t get anything on you?” Steve finished, glancing down at the man’s suit to look for signs of stains and instead catching onto the fact that the guy was dressed impeccably, in what must have been a custom tailored suit. Damn. Figures it would be one of the big-wigs he’d literally run into.
The man’s gaze snapped up to him at that, and then swept down over him again. And great. Just great. He’d practically ruined the guy’s suit and introduced himself as a…as a…well, what he was, all in one breath. Never let it be said that he did things in half measures. The guy was probably going to call security and get him thrown out. Steve tried not to feel relief at the prospect.
“Working, huh?” the guy said, brown eyes frank now, and Steve wasn’t blind enough to fail to see the interest there. Oh. Okay. Well. He blinked, unsure what to do, still holding his client’s cheap vodka tonic in his hand.
“Are you…did you come with someone tonight?” the man asked, his voice sounding somewhat strained, but it could just be trying to hear him over the din of the band playing and hum of conversation.
“Um, yeah. Yes. I mean, yes, I did, I am,” Steve managed to get out, and God, Rogers, just freaking deal, would you?
“Who?” the man asked with seemingly mild curiosity.
Steve wasn’t sure of all the particulars of this arrangement, but he was pretty sure that outing your client was bad form. “Ah…I don’t…” he attempted, searching for the combination of words that would get him out of this, but his eyes darted to his client, where he had an arm wrapped around some military higher-up, laughing too brightly to be authentic. You can call me, 'Mr. Hammer,' he'd said. Steve actually couldn't imagine doing that, to be honest.
“Huh,” the man said. “You could do better. A lot better, in fact.” Steve looked down at him and felt a blush cover his cheeks. This man knew. He knew what Steve was doing here tonight and what he’d be doing later tonight. Somehow, that made everything more real than it had been since he’d stepped out of the cab at the address the agency had provided. He swallowed heavily, throat suddenly dry. He needed to get out of here. This wasn’t going to work. He could see it clearly now. His client was going to want, no expect, to touch him and do things and Steve was probably going to vomit all over his very expensive rug and get thrown out. This was so not a good idea. But what other options were there? Not like he hadn’t explored other possibilities, but the list of jobs that paid this well for someone with his skills generally consisted of 1) escort or 2) porn. With porn, he figured there would be a record of it and that would be worse somehow. Now, he wasn’t so sure that was actually a line of demarcation.
The man continued to stare at him for a moment longer, then nodded, and looked down as the bartender delivered his drink. Steve assumed that was the end of it, so started to walk…well, somewhere. His client was still surrounded by various partygoers, and Steve had no idea if these were the friends Hammer actually wanted him to meet or not.
He started to walk away anyway, heading aimlessly toward the direction of the balcony, thinking air would probably be a good thing about now, when the man reached out and touched his jacket sleeve lightly, stopping him. “Whatever he’s paying you, I’ll double it. Hell, triple it. I don't think I'd regret it,” he said, not quite managing to meet Steve’s eyes, but not letting go of his jacket either.
Well, that was unexpected.
Steve took a moment to wrap his head around what the man was saying, not sure how this evening had suddenly gotten so topsy-turvy. He blinked down at his client’s drink, felt a schism of distaste roll through him at the recollection of his client’s hand cupping him in the limo, the off-hand mention of meeting some friends, thought about the stack of bills at home and words like Glasgow Coma Scale and Neuropsychologist. He could do this, he thought, but he needed to do this under his own terms, feel like he had some control, however ephemeral it was. Even if it was all an illusion.
He looked down at the sharply dressed man with the dark eyes and impeccably trimmed goatee.