It's not such a big deal when Gerard quits. He's not a great employee, and Bob's happy for the success of his comic. Gerard still comes in every day anyway, and they get a reputation as Gerard Way's favorite coffee shop, which brings in business.
But then Frank, who can be a little shit but is actually good at his job; Ray, who is a fucking model employee; and Mikey, who seems flaky but gets the job done, all quit in short order, and Bob admits that he has to hire some more help.
He ends up hiring a bunch of college kids who come in all at once.
"They're like a four-pack of fucking adorable," Frank says when he sees them.
Bob snorts. "Most of them are bigger than you."
"They're still fucking cute."
Bob is not going to think about how cute they are or aren't. They're his employees, and they're practically children.
They've been working there for a couple of weeks when Bob walks into his office and finds Spencer leaning over his desk. All Bob can do for a moment is stare. Spencer has an ass. He wants to push Spencer farther over the desk so he can get a better view, and maybe do something about it.
Spencer, he reminds himself forcefully, is his employee.
"What are you doing?"
Instead of standing up, like a normal person, Spencer just turns his head and looks over his shoulder at Bob. That's not helping Bob keep himself from doing something completely inappropriate.
"You know if you order more things all at once, you'll get a better price and you won't have to do this as often."
It takes Bob a moment to catch up with what the hell Spencer's talking about, and then he remembers that the last thing he was working on when he was in here was the supply order. "There's nowhere to put it."
"There's plenty of room in the storeroom. I'll get Brendon to rearrange it. He's good at that kind of thing." Spencer pulls a pen out of the cup on the desk and starts writing things down. "If you'll cover the front for a while, I'll do this for you."
Bob thinks about protesting, but he really does hate doing the supply order. He lingers for a moment anyway, watching Spencer straighten up and go around the desk to take Bob's chair. Now instead of thinking about fucking Spencer over his desk, he's thinking about kneeling under it and sucking him off.
Bob mumbles out some kind of agreement and escapes back to the counter.
Bob makes a schedule every two weeks and posts it in the break room. At least half of it gets scribbled over and crossed out about three days in, but he still does it. He checks it every once in a while to keep up with what his employees are doing - he is the boss, even if they forget that sometimes - which is how he finds out they're scheduled to be open until eleven on a Friday night.
Spencer happens to be in the break room at the time, so he's the one who gets Bob's full-on glare.
"We close at seven on Fridays."
Spencer looks supremely unconcerned. "We're having an open mic night."
Bob grimaces. "We've done that before. It doesn't work."
"You didn't have us before. Jon and I will cover the counter. Brendon's singing and Ryan's reading poetry. Gerard made flyers. A lot of people are coming."
Bob hates being outmaneuvered by his employees.
Even though he doesn't think it's going to be that much of a success, Bob signs off on Spencer's bakery order and plans to be at the shop on Friday night. Not that he really had other plans, but he might have gone out, or something.
He appears to be the only one surprised that they run out of cookies at eight-thirty, cake at nine, and biscotti at nine-fifteen.
Bob's probably heard Brendon singing before, but he's never registered that he's really good. Ryan's poetry is also pretty well received, and by the time they close - Brendon and Ryan have to subtly maneuver the last of their admirers out the door and all of Bob's former employees are still hanging out - Bob has to admit the evening was a success.
"It'll lose the special event mystique if we have it too often," Spencer says while he's closing the register and Bob's wiping down the counters. "If we do it once a month, it'll be regular enough that people can plan around it and infrequent enough that it'll still be something exciting, and people will get to know us and come in other times too."
Bob tosses the rag down onto the counter and folds his arms across his chest. "I don't remember hiring you to run the place."
Spencer tosses his head, making the hair over his forehead move enough that Bob has an absolutely clear view of his eyes. "No, but it's about time you promoted me to manager. I'm doing all the work anyway."
"I run this place." Even Bob knows it's a feeble protest.
"You own this place," Spencer says tartly. "I do the supply orders and make sure the changes on the schedule keep everything covered. And I made this happen."
When Bob glances out at the rest of the shop, everyone else has stopped what they were doing to watch. Frank's snickering at him. Bob rubs his eyes. There's no way out of this, and Spencer's right anyway.
"Fine," he says, "you're the manager. We'll talk about details sometime when we haven't been open for eighteen hours."
Spencer smiles at him, and Bob would have done it for that alone.
Bob barely registers that the person who made the bell over the door ring is Brendon before Spencer says, "I'm taking a break," and ducks around the counter to meet Brendon in the middle of the shop. Bob sees enough to tell that Brendon's upset before he buries his face in Spencer's neck and Spencer puts his arms around him.
No one's paying attention to him, so Bob watches Spencer manage to get Brendon over to the couch at the back of the shop without ever letting go of him.
The door opens five minutes later to admit Jon, who heads straight for the couch and sits on the other side of Brendon. Bob spends a moment imagining that his college student employees have installed some kind of bat signal on the roof of his shop before he decides he's spent too much time with Gerard. Obviously Spencer texted him.
Ryan blows in five minutes after Jon, his face sharper than usual. Spencer tips Brendon fully onto Jon and gets up, letting Ryan have his place on the couch.
"Everything okay?" Bob asks when Spencer comes back to the counter.
"Some people should not be allowed to call themselves parents," Spencer snaps, albeit at a low volume.
Bob looks back at the other three, huddled together on the couch. He's not surprised by that; he's met both Jon and Spencer's parents, but never heard a thing about Brendon's or Ryan's.
"We're not busy," he says. "I can cover if you want to sit with them."
Spencer shakes his head and starts rearranging things that don't need to be rearranged. "He doesn't need what I have to say right now."
"You're going to scare the customers." Bob ignores Spencer's glare and lets him get on with sorting the tea by some arcane system that's going to have everyone reaching for the wrong thing for weeks.
Spencer seems to calm down just a little bit after a while, so Bob goes into his office and gets out his personal hot cocoa blend, the one he only makes sometimes for very special occasions and never, ever gives out the recipe for.
He makes four cups, tops them with whipped cream and shaved chocolate, and puts them on a tray in front of Spencer. "Go," he says. "I'm sure he'd rather have you mad than not at all."
Spencer's smile is still beautiful, even when tinged with whatever the hell it is he's feeling about Brendon's parents.
Bob tortures himself by watching him take the tray and curl up on the other side of Ryan.
Spencer brings the tray and empty cups back later, and the other three gather themselves up and come over to the counter.
Brendon ducks behind it and grabs Bob in a surprising, to Bob at least, hug. "Thanks, Bob."
Bob is not in the habit of exchanging hugs with his employees, but he's pretty sure Brendon both needs and means it, so he hugs back. Brendon lets go of him after a bit and grabs onto Spencer. Bob's not quite close enough to hear what Spencer whispers to him, but more than close enough to see the way Spencer kisses his cheek before he lets go.
"You don't have to stay," Bob tells Spencer. "I can close."
Spencer shakes his head and watches the other three leave. "If I go home, I'm just going to bang the shit out of my drums, and that'll get the neighbors on our case."
Without knowing he's going to do it, Bob says, "I have a soundproofed basement and a drum kit, if you want to come over and bang on something." He replays that in his head and wants to bash his head against the counter. At least he didn't offer Spencer something else to bang.
Spencer smiles at him, though, and says, "Yes, please."
They work together in amiable silence to close up. Bob walks most days, and Spencer makes a comfortable presence at his side on the walk back.
"Nice," Spencer says when they turn up the walk to Bob's house.
"Thanks." It's not much, but it's his, and it has a small backyard and a basement it was easy to soundproof. He doesn't bother giving Spencer a tour, just takes him downstairs. Bob usually leaves a pair of sticks lying across his snare, but he waves Spencer toward the bucket behind the kit. "I don't know what you like to play with."
Spencer chooses something from the bucket, moves Bob's sticks, and sits down at the kit.
Bob's had his fair share of lustful thoughts about what he'd like to do to Spencer, but it's nothing compared to what goes through his head when Spencer starts playing. Spencer knows what the fuck he's doing with a drum kit, and his mouth drops open after a while.
Bob stumbles back until he can sit down on the couch without ever taking his eyes off of Spencer. He loses all track of time while Spencer plays, and finds that he's breathing almost as heavily as if he'd been doing something significantly more energetic when Spencer finally puts the sticks down.
Spencer smiles at him, slower than his usual smiles, a sheen of sweat across his forehead. He looks like sex. Then he stands up and slinks across the basement.
"Thank you." His voice has dropped down into a low rasp. "That was just what I needed." Then he smiles, more wicked than Bob knew he could. "Almost what I needed anyway."
Bob is totally unprepared for the way Spencer straddles him, but he's not unhappy about it, or about the way Spencer kisses him, hard and open-mouthed.
There are so many reasons he shouldn't be doing this, but with Spencer rubbing against him, he doesn't even care anymore.
Bob says, "We should go upstairs."
"What's wrong with here?"
"There's lube upstairs."
Spencer pushes off of Bob's lap. "Yes," he says. "Yes, we should go upstairs."
Bob lets Spencer go up the stairs first, so he can watch his ass, and directs him to his bedroom.
Spencer gets naked fast, and while Bob's scrambling to catch up, Spencer finds the lube and fingers himself open.
Bob almost trips getting out of his pants and onto the bed.
"You should fuck me hard," Spencer says almost conversationally.
Bob rolls on a condom and does his best. Spencer writhing under him is even hotter than Spencer behind his drum kit, and it doesn't take long before they both come, and then he has Spencer lying in his bed looking far more debauched than Bob could have ever imagined him.
"Now that was what I needed," Spencer mumbles.
Bob keeps tissues on his nightstand for just this kind of situation, and makes short work of cleaning them up enough that he can pull the sheets up over them.
He means to tell Spencer he can stay, but he falls asleep before he gets to it.
He wakes up later with his body bared to the air and Spencer's mouth on his cock.
Spencer pulls off and says, "Good, you're awake," and then goes down on him again while also pushing a slick finger into him.
Bob swallows the noise that tries to come out of his mouth. Spencer may be young, but he's not in the least inexperienced, going by his skill at both things he's doing.
He proves to be good - very, very good - at the fucking part of it too, and Bob goes back to sleep afterwards thinking that he hasn't been that well laid in a really long time.
Bob wakes up two minutes before his alarm is set to go off. He turns it off before it can wake Spencer up and uses those two minutes to watch Spencer sleeping in his bed. He looks good, like Bob wouldn't mind him being there a lot more often. He also looks really fucking young, and Bob remembers that this is such a bad idea.
He moves quietly, and Spencer is still asleep when he leaves the house to go open the shop.
Frank shows up about six-thirty, dogs in tow. "Bob Bryar," he says with a smirk when Bob lifts a hand in a lazy wave, "you got laid."
Bob's pretty sure he's flushing to the roots of his hair. "Shut up, Frank."
"No way, this is awesome." Frank leans against the counter. "You and Smith finally work through all that sexual tension?"
Not for the first time Bob curses the coffee shop layout that means he can't turn away to get Frank's coffee.
Frank hoots. "You did! It's about time."
Bob puts a cup in front of Frank. "It's a fucking bad idea is what it is."
Frank blows across the top of his coffee. "Why's that?"
"He's my employee. He's a fucking college student. I'm pretty sure he's sleeping with Brendon, or maybe Jon or Ryan or all three of them."
Frank cocks his head and looks at him. "I'm pretty sure Walker, Urie, and Ross are sleeping together, but not Smith."
"You didn't see them yesterday." Bob does turn away then, and fills the bowl they keep under the counter with water for Frank to take out to the dogs.
Frank, thankfully, doesn't keep arguing with him and takes the bowl and his coffee outside. Bob watches through the window while Frank scratches behind the dogs' ears and lights a cigarette.
Ryan shows up at seven. Ryan is not on the schedule. Bob knows because he checked when he came in so he could be somewhere else when Spencer was supposed to come in.
"Jon's supposed to work this morning."
"He's staying home with Brendon." Ryan goes into the break room to clock in and comes back tying on his apron. "Spencer never came home last night and he has class this morning anyway, so I'm covering."
Bob thanks whatever God or saint is looking out for him that Frank doesn't come back in until after Ryan says that. Then he has to take it all back when Frank asks, "Ross, are you and the rest of your band of cuties sleeping with Smith?"
Ryan makes a horrified face that's more animated than anything else Bob has ever seen on his face. "No! Spencer's practically my brother. Besides we're not into the same things."
It's like a train wreck Bob can't look away from.
"What are you into?" Frank asks with a leer.
"I'm in a threesome," Ryan says, back to his customary impassivity. "Spencer doesn't like to share."
"Don't you have to get to work?" Bob asks before anything else can come out of Frank's open mouth.
Frank says, "This is more fun," but holds out his coffee cup to be refilled and then leaves.
The morning rush keeps them busy enough that Bob doesn't have to make any kind of non-work related conversation with Ryan.
Despite Bob's plans to avoid him, Spencer shows up in the afternoon. He's gone home and changed; it does nothing to diminish how much Bob wants to drag him home and back into his bed, but that's a terrible idea.
"You're not on the schedule today," Ryan says.
"I know. I just came in to talk to Bob."
"I'm working," Bob says.
Spencer looks pointedly around the shop, which is quiet at this hour.
Bob's shoulders slump, and he follows Spencer into his office. He closes the door and turns around, and then Spencer kisses him. Bob opens for him for just a moment, letting himself have this again, before he pushes Spencer away.
Spencer smirks at him. "That's not what you were saying last night."
As difficult as it is, Bob makes himself stand firm. "We can't do this."
Bob sees an unfamiliar thread of uncertainty cross Spencer's face. "Why not?"
"I'm your boss."
"Did you know I'm on a full scholarship?"
Bob shakes his head. He doesn't see the relevance, but he didn't know.
"I am. I also have a very generous college fund I'm not using for college. I don't have to work here. I came in because we thought it would be more fun if all four of us worked together. If I didn't like it I would have quit. But I didn't because by the time I graduate, I'm going to have enough money to buy into this place. The lease on the clothing store next door comes up about the same time, and we'll have the capital to expand."
Bob can't say anything for a minute. That's a lot more thought than he thought Spencer was giving to his shop. Given that it's Spencer, he's sure the math is solid, but that doesn't mean they're a good idea.
"You're in college," Bob says, trying not to be an asshole about it. "You might change your mind."
Spencer crosses his arms across his chest. "When I was five, I decided I was going to college with Ryan. I got into Harvard, Yale, and Stanford, but I came here because this is where he wanted to go. When I was sixteen, I decided that Brendon was never going to be without people who love him absolutely, and he never will be. I know what I want." He uncrosses his arms and presses a kiss to Bob's cheek. "I have class. You can say yes later." He slips out around Bob.
Bob goes around the desk and slumps down into the desk chair. It's a bad idea. He knows it's a bad idea. But Spencer seems so reasonable.
Bob doesn't close his door, so he can just wave Brendon in when he knocks.
"Sorry about yesterday," Brendon says, perching on the edge of the chair in front of Bob's desk. "And this morning."
"It's fine," Bob says. "You okay?"
Brendon shrugs. "Yeah, I guess. They're fussing over me."
"If you need time off, you can take it. We'll manage."
"Thanks." Brendon hesitates for a moment. "You should say yes."
"To whatever Spencer said. Spencer's ideas always work out." Brendon flashes his grin at Bob and gets out of his office without waiting for a reply.
Bob helps cover the front every time it gets busy, but is back in his office when Frank comes by on his evening walk.
"So?" Frank has a coffee cup in his hand. "You got laid last night. Smith come by for a repeat performance today?"
Bob means to tell him to fuck off, but when he opens his mouth, what comes out is, "I think he only wants me for my coffee shop."
Frank laughs his head off. After it trickles down to the occasional giggle, he says, "Seriously? That kid's been starry-eyed for you for months."
Bob can't imagine Spencer being "starry-eyed" about anything. He seems too level-headed for that. Instead of telling Frank that, he tells him what Spencer said about buying into the coffee shop.
Frank snorts. "You're even emotionally dumber than Gerard. He managed to get married." Frank points at him. "Spencer doesn't want to take the coffee shop out from under you. He was proposing. Don't be an idiot."
Frank whirls around and leaves, and Bob curses him for his penchant for dramatic exits.
Frank's dramatic exit is followed by a cackling version of his laugh. Bob's foreboding at the sound is only confirmed reasonable when Spencer walks in.
"Ryan said he didn't think you ate lunch, but he's not very observant, so he just might not have noticed." Spencer says all this while he's walking around Bob's desk, and then he leans down and kisses Bob like he has every right to.
Maybe he does; Bob kisses back before he remembers they're not doing this.
"Unless you're going to say yes, I don't want to hear it."
Bob stays silent, making Spencer sigh.
"Come have dinner with me." He picks up Bob's hand and kisses the inside of his wrist. It shouldn't make Bob shiver, but it does. "Jon and Brendon are here. They can help Ryan close."
Bob doesn't really want to say no. "Okay."
Spencer smiles at him, that goddamned smile that makes Bob want to give him the whole fucking world, and kisses him again. "I'm not going to sleep with you again until you say yes."
Bob blinks, still a little dazed from that kiss. "Wait a minute," he says. "I didn't agree to that."
Spencer tugs him out of his chair. "You don't believe I'm serious about this. I'm showing you I'm serious. What do you want for dinner?"
"Anything but sandwiches," Bob answers automatically. Spencer's still holding his hand and walking him down the hall into the front of the shop. "Are you serious about this?"
Spencer stops, turns, and meets Bob's eyes. "I'm serious about all of it." He brushes his lips over Bob's cheek, laces their fingers tighter together, and keeps walking.
Spencer holds firm on the no sex rule. Not sleeping with Spencer after having done it twice is even worse than all the time he wanted Spencer but hadn't had him.
They have dinner together three days out of four. Spencer invites Bob over to watch movies and sits on the floor next to him with his head on Bob's knee. Spencer comes over at least twice a week to torture Bob by playing his drums, making out with him for a while, and then leaving Bob to jerk off alone.
After three weeks of this, Bob calls Brian and asks him when the lease on the place next door is up and what the rent is likely to be.
Brian, like everyone else in his life, just laughs at him. "I had this conversation with Spencer, you know. He actually came into my office for it, dressed in fucking slacks and a tie. His plan is solid."
Bob rubs his forehead. "He's in college."
"You were a year younger than he is when you dropped out to buy the coffee shop."
Sometimes having people around who have known you your entire adult life is not all it's cracked up to be.
"Frank told me Spencer's hot for you. I think you should hit that."
"I did," Bob admits. "He won't let me do it again until I say yes to his plan."
"So say yes, dumbass. Are we done? I have more important shit to take care of."
"Fuck you," Bob says. He hangs up on Brian's laughter.
Bob gets Chinese takeout that he and Spencer actually sit down at his dining room table to eat.
"Actual plates," Spencer says when they've moved on from eating like they're starving to just eating. "What's the occasion?"
"I talked to Brian today. He says your plan is solid."
"Of course my plan is solid."
Bob takes a deep breath. "He also pointed out that I dropped out of college to open the shop."
Spencer very carefully puts down his chopsticks. "You," he says, "are a hypocritical asshole."
Bob winces. "But your hypocritical asshole," he tries.
Spencer snorts and picks up his chopsticks. "Yeah, and when we're eighty and fighting over who has to go chase the kids off our lawn, I'm going to use this to make you do it."
Bob takes a moment to process that. "Does that mean we can have sex again?"
Spencer breaks out into a smile. "When you're done with dinner, you can fuck me over the table."
Bob chokes on his orange chicken. "If you don't kill me first."
In all actuality, what happens is that Spencer puts the cartons away while Bob gets supplies from the bedroom, and then they fuck over the table. Bob worries for a moment about the stability, but he's seen Frank sit on the table and kick his legs everywhere, so it should hold Spencer up. Then he curses himself for thinking about Frank when he has Spencer bent over his dining room table.
"That was good," Spencer says with smug self-satisfaction afterwards. "You might have to carry me to bed."
Bob slaps his ass. "Get yourself to bed."
Spencer makes it under his own power, and after they're in bed with the lights out, he says, "I can't move until after graduation. They're depending on me for rent, and I don't think I can split the mortgage until after I'm a partner in the shop."
Bob doesn't care about that, would let Spencer have half the bed, space in the closet, space for his drums in the basement with no thought for the money, but he knows that's not what Spencer wants. "But you'll stay tonight."
"I'll stay tonight." Spencer pulls Bob closer. "Do you like dogs?"
It's not a conversational turn Bob expected. "I fucking love dogs."
"Good. We should get one of those." Spencer kisses the back of Bob's neck. "Good night."
Bob starts out his morning kissing Spencer awake. Okay, he thinks, college kid who wants to take over my life.
He's smiling behind the counter when Frank comes in for his morning coffee.
A slow grin spreads across Frank's face. "You got laid." Then he frowns. "You didn't hook up with someone else because you were frustrated, did you?"
"I'm not that stupid. I said yes to Spencer."
Frank whoops loud enough that the other three people in the shop at that hour look up from their coffees and glare at him. "Give me that to go. I have to go tell Jamia." Frank drops his change into the tip jar while Bob pours his coffee into a paper cup instead of a mug. "Married life is awesome. Welcome to the club."
Frank gets out of his hair pretty quickly, and things settle into normal until Gerard shows up midmorning and comes behind the counter. No matter how often Bob tells him he can't do that now that he doesn't work there, it doesn't stick.
Gerard plows into him at a slow and slightly uncoordinated speed, since Bob hasn't made his coffee yet. "Bob! Frank told me about you and Spencer. That's so great!" He beams and clutches Bob in a tight hug.
When it comes to Gerard and hugs, resistance is futile, so Bob hugs him back before guiding him back around the counter and getting his coffee.
Instead of diving into a sketchbook or comic, the way he usually does, Gerard sits at a table and stares at Bob with a delighted and slightly deranged smile.
Bob retreats to his office. By the time Jon grabs him to help with the lunch rush, Gerard is gone. Unfortunately, Bob isn't safe yet. Brendon shows up for his shift at two and bounces on his heels like he'd like to hug Bob but knows better.
"We're practically brothers-in-law now."
Oh, Christ. Bob didn't really think through the fact that Spencer comes as a package set with the rest of them.
Brendon pats him on the arm. "You're way cooler than the rest of my brothers-in-law. And you like me more." His smile wavers, and Bob gives in and hugs him. Being stuck with all of them isn't that bad; they're sweet kids. Still, the return of Brendon's widest smile sends Bob back into his office until Spencer comes to get him just before closing.
Spencer greets him with the same kind of kiss he sent him off with in the morning. At this rate, Bob's never going to stop smiling.
Spencer looks at the desk and frowns. "What are you doing?"
"I thought I would help you get caught up."
"Leave this to me. It's why I'm the manager now." Spencer takes the supply order away from him. "Come over for dinner. Ryan's cooking. It's hilarious."
Bob stands when Spencer pulls him up. Spencer helps him and Brendon close, and holds his hand after he locks up.
Brendon grins and walks ahead of them, whistling "I Want To Hold Your Hand" all the way to their apartment.