Relevant to Your Interests
Oliver was snooping. He freely admitted it to himself. And Kyle didn’t seem to care, as he continued dragging his eyes over the huge medical text on his desk with nary a complaint.
Besides, snooping was part of his job. Kyle wasn’t the only one who needed to study his practice.
"Having fun in the closet, Oliver? Thought you’d be sick of those by now."
"Funny," he deadpanned. "I thought you didn’t need to study tonight. Otherwise I wouldn’t have planned this surprise visit."
There was a pause. "Well, I lied."
Oliver continued poking through Kyle’s stuff. His foot crunched against a lump on the floor—a large brown paper bag stuffed unceremoniously into the corner of the cramped space.
Suspicious, Oliver thought. Better investigate. Keep those cop skills honed.
What he found shocked him. He backed slowly out of the closet, clutching the findings in both hands, his mouth flapping without making noise, completely nonplussed.
Lifting up the cowboy hat, bandana, and breakaway chaps, he looked at Kyle expectantly and cleared his throat.
Kyle glanced up. His eyes seemed to grow three sizes in half an instant.
Oliver proffered the confiscated materials. "Should I even ask?"
Kyle frowned. "Not if you don't want to know." He waved his hand dismissively. "Trust me, it's not something you want to hear."
The light and easy rapport they had been building for the past few weeks wanted to dry up under Kyle’s dark tone. But Oliver wasn’t going to let that happen. Not this time. He had just uncoiled those heavy chains from his soul and no one was going to make him give up the feeling of flight that consumed him whenever he was with Kyle. He leaned his head to the side and scrunched up the right side of his face.
"Seriously? Because there's nothing you can tell me that's going to bring me down right now."
"You say that, and you probably mean it, but still..."
"Oh, come on."
"Drop it, okay?" Kyle turned his attention back to his book, sucking in his lower lip and furrowing his brow.
Oliver remained steadfast. He wasn’t going to give up. He’d been doing that far too often in the past for either of their goods. He considered his options.
"What if I promise to give you some kind of... recompense for the truth?"
Kyle swung his head around, eyebrows reaching for his hairline. "Recompense?"
A sly smile peeked out. "Yep," Oliver said. "Something like this..." He leaned down and pecked Kyle on the cheek. "One of those for each little secret." The next swoop brought their lips together chastely. "One of these for each medium secret..."
Kyle closed his eyes and swallowed. "And for big ones?"
Oliver shrugged. "I’m sure we can work something out."
"Fine." Kyle sighed. His hands gripped the edge of his textbook. "But pucker up. It's a long story."
"I'm ready." Oliver perched himself on the side of the desk.
"Okay." Kyle inhaled as if he were about to dive under water. "A few months ago, I was at Ultra Violet—" He paused, squinting his eyes. "Actually, it was the night you arrested me, but earlier." His gaze was distant, his mind trapped in the past. "So, yes, I was blackmailing Natalie and Jared Banks, you already know that, and then, well, they were stalling and I was tired of waiting. So I crashed Natalie’s bachelorette party, paid off the stripper, for his clothes and his time, and then I, well, you know—" Kyle waived his hand noncommittally at the gear sitting on Oliver’s lap. "I stripped."
Oliver stared at him, trying to keep his emotions under the surface.
Kyle fidgeted. "I mean, just to let her know that I was serious. About the blackmailing."
Oliver couldn’t hold back the waters any longer; the dam burst open and laughter poured out of him uncontrollably.
"You think this is funny?" Kyle crossed his arms and pouted, the perfect picture of petulance.
"Yes. Very." Oliver slapped him on the shoulder. "And that wasn't actually a long story, you know." He shook his head and tut-tutted. "Someone didn't fulfill his promise..."
Kyle leaned back in his chair, regarding Oliver with creased brows. "You are taking this better than I expected."
"Like I said, I'm in a good mood."
Kyle finally grinned. "How long is that going to last?"
"As long as I'm with you."
The grin bloomed into a bright, face-cracking smile.
"Anyway," Kyle drawled, jumping to his feet and grabbing the stripper gear off Oliver’s lap. "Can we move on now? I need to get back studying."
"I don't know." Oliver pursed his lips. "I just found out about my boyfriend's seedy secret life as a stripper. I think I need to investigate further."
"Meaning I need more evidence if I'm going believe you."
"Can you recreate the scene? It'll give me a better understanding."
Kyle's eyebrows shot up. "You want me to... strip for you?"
Oliver kept his expression flat. "For evidential purposes."
Oliver lowered himself into Kyle’s vacated chair. Grinning, he leaned back and crossed his hands behind his head. He aimed a curt nod in Kyle’s direction. "I’m waiting."
Kyle’s sudden burst of laughter seemed to shake the tension out of his shoulders that had been mounting since Oliver had made his little discovery. "All right. You asked for it. But remember: I didn't actually make any money doing this."
“Yeah, I think you actually lost money.”
Kyle glared at him, though the corners of his lips twitched upward. "Do you want your 'evidence' or not?"
"I’ll shut up," he said quickly.
Kyle wandered to other end of the small room and began his preparations. He set his play list to Phoenix, and as music filled the room he placed the cowboy hat on his head, tipping it forward to obscure his eyes.
Keeping his back turned, he moved his hips in time with the music. His hands went up, Oliver assumed, to fuss with his shirt buttons. When he had freed the shirt enough, he slowly dragged the fabric over one shoulder. Then the other. Oliver gulped at the sight of that familiar pale skin, then couldn't suppress a laugh as Kyle's head, graced with his best "Blue Steel" face, snapped over his right shoulder.
"Yeah. Uh huh. You like it. Yeah," Kyle intoned in an artificially deep voice, barely keeping his smile in check.
He spun around, working the buttons at the bottom of his shirt, slowly, purposefully, his fingers practically caressing the small discs. Suddenly the shirt flew open and parachuted to the ground, exposing Kyle's toned stomach.
Oliver shifted in his seat. What had started as a silly joke was becoming... a situation. One that would have to be dealt with, sooner rather than later. His whole body twitched with anticipation.
Kyle's fingers went to work on the belt buckle, unfastening it inelegantly. It seemed like his own patience was thinning; the disrobing process was definitely speeding up. He whipped the belt out of the loops and swung it around his head like a lasso—perhaps a little too enthusiastically; the belt flew out of his grasp and clanked against the wall just above the bureau, knocking a few unlit candles to the carpeted floor.
The giggle that escaped Oliver's lips did so without his express permission.
Kyle's glower clearly conveyed the unspoken message: "Silence. Maestro at work."
Biting his lip, Kyle moved his left hand down to his button-fly. Oliver cursed Kyle's wardrobe choice for the evening. What was so wrong with a pair of zip-ups anyway?
One button flicked open. Then the next. And down his hand went, lower, right on down to the promised land. All right, Oliver thought impatiently. That's all five buttons. Let's get this show on the road.
But no. Kyle's patience had apparently returned. Or he was punishing Oliver for all the disturbances. He slowly wiggled his hips, inching the jeans ever so slowly down, keeping each tiny movement in time with the music. When Kyle started shimmying, Oliver couldn't contain his excitement anymore. He bounded off the chair and took a quick step forward.
Kyle let the jeans fall to his ankles, smiling triumphantly. Oliver's eyes languidly roamed down Kyle's body, soaking it all in. Then he noticed a slight snag.
Clearing his throat, he pointed down and said, "Shoes."
Kyle glanced down and seemed to realize his mistake; his jeans had bunched at the tops of his still boot-clad ankles. Laughing, he hopped toward Oliver, still trying to shimmy his shoulders. Just as he started to lurch forward, Oliver met him half way and caught him in his arms. They swung together toward the bed, landing on it with an ungraceful whump! Oliver found Kyle’s warm skin with his mouth and lavished his neck with kisses.
"Hey, that'll cost you extra, buddy," Kyle said in between gasps.