There’s always a second when you think you can’t do it, that this’ll be the time you can’t pull - this’ll be the time you pull and you miss. Then the wind dies down and everything falls away, and you tip the rifle two degrees to the left and you pull, and five hours later you’re in a bar in Lexington with Raylan and your hands won’t stop shaking.
To your left, Raylan knocks back his bourbon. You look down at your hands and consider doing the same. You decide to give it another minute. You’ve been silent a long time, and Raylan wants to ask. It’s in the line of his mouth, in the tap, tap of his ring against the glass.
“Do you want to--”
“Not particularly,” you say, because you don’t. You saw the look Art gave Raylan earlier and you’re not in any mood to indulge either of them.
You focus on steadying your hands, and manage to bring the glass to your mouth without spilling your drink. Raylan’s got his sleeves rolled up to his elbows, his hat on the bar next to him. You figure you’re about three drinks away from convincing him you’re fine -- six, and you may even sleep through the night.
You set your empty glass down and motion for another. The bartender sets it down in front of you, and you play the game again: stare at your hands, wait for Raylan to say something.
It takes him a while, but what he says is, “You don’t like me very much, do you?”
You laugh, a little bitter around the edges. “I just shot someone in the head. It’s not really about you.”
What you mean is you just shot someone in the head and now you’re in a bar, and this usually goes one of two ways, and you reckon Raylan’s not interested in either one.
“Look,” you say, “We both know you don’t want to be here. Go home, tell Art I’m fine.”
Raylan’s glass thuds loudly on the bar. “Shit, Tim, you’re not fine.”
You wait for the rest of his speech, wait for him to tell you all about shooting Boyd Crowder, Tommy Bucks -- hell, pick one, it’s a long list -- but he stays silent, and when you look over he’s staring at you like he’s waiting for an answer, like he’s worried you might not be full of shit.
So you turn to him, grinning wide, all the asshole you can be. “You’re right, I don’t like you very much.”
The corner of his mouth quirks up. “Would taking a swing at me make you feel better?”
“It might,” you shrug.
Raylan tilts his head as if he’s considering it. His fingers wrap around his glass. He has nice hands, pretty, but you’ve seen him throw a punch.
“Art wouldn’t be too pleased if you show up with a black eye tomorrow.”
“When is Art ever pleased?” you counter.
You down your drink and shrug into your jacket. Raylan looks at you like he thinks you’re crazy, but he reaches for his hat and follows you out the door anyway. You’re beginning to think you were wrong about him -- not that you’ll ever tell him.
The alley behind the bar is filthy and sparsely lit. Raylan hangs his hat from a nail in the wall and pushes his sleeves further up his arms.
“Look,” you say, pausing for effect more than anything. Raylan’s eyes glitter in the light pouring from the half-open door. “I wasn’t kidding, earlier.”
“Neither was I,” says Raylan. His grin is wide and a little manic, like he wants this, like he’s looking forward to watching you spit blood. It’d be unnerving if you weren’t looking forward to spitting blood.
“I figure there’s two ways this can go,” you say, looking him straight in the eye. You don't want to miss the moment. “Either I kiss you and you punch me in the face, I kiss you and you kiss me back, or we can just start with punching and see where we end up.”
To his credit, Raylan doesn’t flinch, doesn’t even look all that surprised, really. Maybe you’re just not that subtle. Maybe you’re drunker than you thought -- drunk enough to want to be the next in Raylan’s long line of mistakes.
“That’s three ways,” Raylan points out calmly.
“Point is, liking you doesn’t have a hell of a lot to do with it.”
Raylan takes a step forward, and another, backing you into the grimy wall. One of two things is about to happen, you think, as Raylan grabs you by the front of your jacket. You honestly don’t care which one. That should worry you more than it does. If he punches you, you go to work tomorrow with a black eye, a fat lip; Art will look at you funny but he probably won’t ask. If he kisses you--
He kisses you, all teeth and tongue, hand tightening in your jacket, and then he pulls away. Grabs you by the sleeve and drags you to the car and you follow.
You end up at the red door, the thin hotel mattress. Raylan’s hands steady on your shoulders, his mouth hard on yours. You fist a hand in his hair and tug, because he was right, earlier: you don’t like him very much, but he’s got nice hands and one of them is undoing your belt. The other wraps around your neck to tug you closer, and you nip at his lips. He makes a sound that shoots straight to your dick, so you do it again.
The wind died down, and you tipped the rifle two degrees to the left and you pulled, and now Raylan’s pushing you back onto his bed and tugging your pants down your hips. You’re both too drunk for it to really be any good, but Raylan wraps a hand around your dick and you come, biting down on his lip and tasting blood.
You sleep until 6:30 and leave without waking him, your hands steady on the doorknob.