Lisa sidled up to him and it immediately put Mick on the defensive. He loved her and was willing to kill any man or woman that did her wrong but Lisa was also a brat who wouldn’t hesitate to use that same affection for her own gain. Which Mick respected but still meant he knew when to be wary around her.
“Hey, Mickey,” she said sweetly which meant whatever she wanted, Mick probably wouldn’t like it. “How’re you doing?”
He put the schematics for an alarm down- a brand new system that they’d be facing in Len’s latest heist. “Just get it over with, Lisa.”
She pouted but Mick knew better. She had a plan and small talk was just getting in the way. “Fine. Would you be willing to go on a blind date?”
“I ain’t dating one of your high school friends. Not even pretend. I’m an asshole, not a creep.”
Lisa rolled her eyes. “I have older friends way older than the high school ones.”
Mick abruptly shoved the alarm aside so he could place his elbow down and loom. “Yeah?” He growled. “And where are you making these ‘friends’?”
If Lisa hadn’t known him for almost ten years, she might have been intimidated. “None of your business. Are you going to answer my question?”
“You wanna hook someone up, try your brother.”
She rolled her eyes dramatically, as only a teenager could. “Already tried, remember?” The memory brought a grin to Mick’s face. He didn’t know what actually happened on the date but it was bad enough the siblings had such a row over it and Len gave Lisa the cold shoulder for three days until she swore never to mess with his personal life again. “You’re practically a second brother and you’ve seemed kind of lonely since,” Lisa’s voice trailed slightly and Mick braced himself, recognizing what was coming next, “since Alexa.”
He stifled a reflexive growl. The name wasn’t as much a sore spot as it had been not long ago and Mick could admit- now -it was half his fault, letting her manipulate him into doing just about anything. If it weren’t for Len’s instincts, Mick would’ve ended up dead instead of with a few new scars.
Didn’t change the fact that Lisa was kind of right. Mick missed having a relationship, even if he’d been paying more attention to his dick than anything else.
He pulled the alarm back to him, determined to ignore the bundle of mixed-up feelings remembering Alexa still brought. “Fine, whatever. Where and when?”
Lisa squealed and clapped her hands. “Great! This Friday, 8 at Mint.”
Mick wrinkled his nose. The Mint was a higher class place than Mick prefered given it was more lounge than bar, let alone a dive. “Fine. I’ll be there.”
“Awesome! I’ll give you a pin to wear on your jacket so she can recognize you. You have, like, a sports coat or a blazer, right?”
“Lise, if this pin of yours is one of those fucking flower pins…”
The pin was small- for buttonhole flowers, anyway, three mini white rose-looking things with some leaves, about a finger’s length but Mick still felt like an idiot wearing it. It wasn’t helped by the fact he had a glass of some over-priced beer he wasn’t drinking because it was one of those fancy, craft flavored beers that was disgusting. Because his only other options were even more expensive cocktails or seltzer water. He hoped his date was open to going somewhere else, otherwise it was going to be a very short night. Either way, Mick was not planning on sticking around.
“Holy fuck, please tell me it’s not you.”
Mick looked up to see an unpleasantly familiar face. “Yasmine,” he greeted with a returned grimace.
In theory, Yasmine was the kind of person Mick could easily be friends with. In practice, however, it just didn’t work. Mick chalked it up to the fact that, in all the jobs she worked with them, Yasmine made it clear she was sweet on Len and considered Mick a cockblock.
How Lisa read this so wrong, Mick had no clue.
If it weren’t for the glowering, Mick would’ve told her she dressed up nice. Maybe would’ve even made an attempt at the date thing. It was clear, however, that Yasmine wasn’t willing to do the same. “Lisa said the guy she was hooking me up with was clever and capable and fun to be around. She said he was gorgeous,” Yasmine said with a sneer. “Can’t believe she was talking about you.”
“You really think she’d call her own brother gorgeous?” True, Mick didn’t consider himself all that attractive but the most complimentary he’d ever heard Lisa get about Len’s appearance was, “He’s attractive, I guess”. “Look, obviously this ain’t gonna work so why don’t we go our separate ways and try to salvage our nights, huh?”
Yasmine nodded tersely. “Yeah. And tell Lisa next time she needs a blind date for someone, I’m not doing it.”
After his retelling of the ‘date’, Lisa sat back with an incredulous look. “Really? I thought for sure… But that’s so weird!”
“What is?” Len asked, coming in through the front door. He had a couple bags of groceries and Mick could see a box of Ho-Hos peeking out of the top. Definitely wasn’t on the list Mick left for him but, really, he wasn’t going to complain.
“Lisa tried to set me up with Yasmine.”
“Yasmine? The woman who we get for the complicated electronics?” When Mick nodded, Len scoffed. “Why? She basically hates you for whatever reason.”
“‘Cause she wants in your pants.”
“Not going to happen,” Len said, beginning to unpack his groceries. “Love me, love my partner.”
“Ugh,” Lisa flopped in her seat. “Okay, sorry. I don’t know how I messed that one up so bad. Next one, though,” she pointed at Mick. “Next one’s going to go better. For starters, I’ll actually make sure they want to date you first.” She paused. “Do you have a preference? Girl or guy?”
He shrugged. “Dick, breasts, both- I don’t care.”
“Lisa,” Len said, pausing in his unpacking, “why are you setting Mick up on a date?”
She retorted, with teenage superiority, “Because it’s not like you’re going to.”
2. Age Gap
The next one was at Dirty Trix and Mick’s date- a guy this time -would have on a black collar with a silver heart on it. Not Mick’s style of accessory but it wasn’t like he’d be wearing it, so whatever. He got himself a drink and got himself a seat when someone tentatively said, “Hey, Mick.”
He turned to the newcomer and broke into a smile. “Carlito!” The smile faltered when he noticed the collar. “Uh, are you my date tonight?”
Carlos nodded and took a seat by Mick, perched like he was ready to take flight at any moment. “Yeah, I guess I am.” He smiled, sweet and shy, and it made Mick’s skin prickle.
It wasn’t that he had a problem with Carlos- he was a good kid and that was half the problem. Three years older than Lisa put him squarely in college age, sure, but he still wasn’t even old enough to drink (legally). The other half of the problem was that Mick couldn’t shake the feeling Carlos’s infatuation with Mick was mostly due to Mick putting the kid under his protection in the pen. Eighteen and in for some bullshit charge, Mick took care of him because Carlos had reminded him of a younger Len in some ways. Protecting him also netted Mick- he found out after the fact -a permanent alliance with Luis, a well connected lifer who was also Carlos’s cousin.
Point was Mick didn’t want to be part of some Bodyguard fantasy with someone ten years his junior. Besides, he had enough hang-ups with the last asshole he saved.
“It’s just a date,” Carlos said. He was fiddling with a glass of something bright blue and Mick realized he’d zoned out. He cursed to himself- he hadn’t meant to make Carlos feel awkward. “If it doesn’t work out, then whatever.” He peered up at Mick through his lashes. “We’re just giving it a shot, right?”
“Sure,” Mick agreed, knocking his drink back. “Let’s give it a shot.”
It was… datish. For all that Mick knew how they were supposed to go. The only way he’d ever been able to distinguish a ‘date’ from ‘hanging out’ was sex at the end. And, no matter how often Carlos pressed against him, gave him sweetly sinful smiles or draped himself in enticing positions, Mick still couldn’t shake the image of some skinny teen, laying in Mick’s bunk half dressed like he owed it for Mick’s protection. It was nice having a cheerleader while he worked a pool table, though, passing him his beer and singing his praise after every round.
At the end of the night, when Mick couldn’t pretend he was trying to put it off any longer, he escorted Carlos home. They stood at the bottom of the steps for a while until Carlos asked, biting his lip, “You wanna come up?” Mick could see Carlos bracing himself for rejection.
“Nah.” Mick shoved his hands into his pockets. “Probably best not to.”
“Just one night,” Carlos said, desperation in his expression. “One night can’t hurt.”
Mick reached out a hand, cupping Carlos’s jaw lightly, just enough to tilt his head back. Mick kissed him, testing, and it was too soft, too tentative and Mick couldn’t feel any stirring to make it anything more. He pulled back and Carlos’s shoulders slumped, disappointed. “I’ll see you around, Carlito,” he said before heading off with a wave.
“So? How’d it go?”
Mick scowled as Lisa’s beaming face. “I told you I didn’t want to be a creep dating a kid.”
Lisa drew back, hands on her hips and expression insulted. “I know that! Carlos isn’t a kid- you met him in jail!”
“You can go to jail at 17 if the crime’s severe enough.”
Lisa blinked. “Is he really that young?”
“Oh.” Disappointed by the turn of events, Lisa flopped on the couch. “I thought he was like Lenny and just looked young.”
Len paused in his planning and looked up. “Wait- that Carlos? The one that followed you around like a lovestruck puppy?”
Mick made a face. “Yeah.”
He gave a huff of laughter. “Just as well it didn’t work out. Luis would’ve killed you when he found out you were schtupping his baby cousin.”
Mick blinked in revelation. “Oh shit, he would’ve.” Luis was the kind of progressive who was supportive unless it was family and was a firm believer of ‘prison doesn’t count’.
“But Carlos is such a sweet guy!” Lisa whined. “If he weren’t so gay, I would’ve gone for him!”
Len paused to give his sister a surprised look. “Even with his being gay, that might be the best dating choice you’ve ever made.”
She threw a cushion at him. “Shut up. Also, the next one will be better.”
3. Sugar Baby
Ruby Skye was not the kind of place Mick spent time in. Firstly because it was a club, one of the kinds that considered itself- and thus its clientele -’trendy’ at that, and secondly because it was close to a college campus and thus mostly full of college students.
And yet there he was. Standing outside of it like an idiot because of Lisa and her stupid blind date plan.
To make things worse, Mick had been standing there for twenty minutes looking for someone with a cabaret-style hairclip with a skull and colorful feathers pinned to their hair.
At least it wasn’t a busy night so there wasn’t a line at the door. He made small talk with the bouncer for a bit, but eventually wandered closer to the street as time stretched on. If whoever it was didn’t show up within the half hour, Mick was gone. And Lisa could whine and berate him all she wanted but really, she was lucky Mick hadn’t left after ten minutes.
A woman walked up to him. “You got a light?”
Mick dug into his pocket for his lighter, holding it up to the woman’s cigarette until the end caught. She exhaled a breath and it smelled like cloves.
“You been waiting long, sugar?” She was older, wrinkles lining her face and she was dark all over save for a handful of gray curls in her hair. It was too short for her to clip anything in.
“Longer than I normally would,” Mick admitted. “Supposed to be a blind date.”
“Shame about your date. Hopefully it’ll work out in my favor, though.”
He looked at the woman, somewhat thrown. Sure, he’d been propositioned before but usually there was some kind of lead-in. “This a prank?” It didn’t feel like one which just made it all the more confusing. The woman wasn’t overly well-dressed but definitely had the look of someone not used to dressing down to Ruby Skye level, let alone Mick’s.
“Honey, I’ve got means and all I need is someone to keep me company. ‘Stead of your date being a bust, how ‘bout you let me take care of you tonight? I’ll take care of your needs and you,” she looked Mick up and down very deliberately, “can take care of mine.”
Mick stared, confused. “Is one of us supposed to be a hooker?”
She laughed, “Oh, heavens no! You can consider it a business arrangement if you want, but I just turned fifty and feel I am overdue a mid-life crisis. Even if I only plan it to be one night. And I’ve always been partial to beefcake. So whaddya say, handsome?” Her lips were quirked and glossy even in the street light. “I supply the hotel room, you supply that booty?”
Mick looked out into the street but there was no one matching his blind date’s description. “What the hell, never been a sugar baby before.” He put on his best, rakish grin and held his arm out to the woman. She took it readily, shamelessly feeling the muscles there. “I’m yours for the night.”
He didn’t make it back to the apartment until close to noon the next morning and Lisa didn’t get to grill him about it until she got back from school. “Well?” Lisa asked the moment she walked through the door. She paused and wrinkled her nose. “What are you wearing?”
Mick was spread out on the couch, pleased as punch in a brand new, black and deep red silk robe he’d been given the night before over a t-shirt and boxers. “It was a gift.”
Next to him, Len starting snickering. Mick had told Len the story earlier along with the fact that, on their way to a hotel they made a stop at an adult store first where Gladys had bought him the robe as well as sheer black boxer briefs to go with it.
Sensing something not quite right with the story, Lisa asked carefully, “So it went well?”
“Date never showed up. Got picked up by Gladys.”
“Older lady. Loaded as hell. Wanted a boy toy for the night.”
Lisa’s jaw dropped. “You ditched your date to play Pretty Woman for some lady?”
“I waited half an hour for them to show up! You wanna be pissed at someone ‘cause the night didn’t work out how you wanted, be pissed at them!”
Lisa was still obviously pissed but, given there was really nothing she could argue about on Mick’s side, she stomped off to her room, dragging her bag on the ground behind her. “Ugh, you’re impossible!”
The two men sat calmly, both chuckling as Lisa’s door slamming shut. Len rolled his head back, warm where it was resting against Mick’s arm. “So how much do you like this Gladys?”
“We ain’t gonna rob her, Lenny.”
4. Job Interview
The next date was at The Shack which was a sports bar. It was also happy hour which meant half-off wings. Given Lisa said his blind date was the one that requested the time and location, Mick had to say the night was off to a good start. He was five wings and half a glass of beer in, a boxing match on one of the televisions, when someone sat down opposite him. It was a guy with sallow skin, knobby nose and a perpetually nervous grin.
“Holy, shit! Stan!” Mick held up a gnawed-on wing as a salute in lieu of reaching for a handshake. “Didn’t know you were out!”
Stan laughed, a glass of something light-gold in his hand. “Just got released. Uh, three days ago?”
Mick narrowed his eyes. Stan was wearing a Hawaiian shirt which- Mick would assume was not a coincidence -Lisa had said his date would be wearing. “That’s a pretty quick turnaround to be dating again.”
“Oh, what? No- well, sort of. It’s not- it’s more like an excuse?” Mick flicked his bucket- a big plastic basket but advertised as a bucket -of wings at Stan in silent encouragement. Stan picked one up and twirled it in his fingers as he said, “I’m not in a great place financially speaking. I’m staying with my ma but, y’know- old as she’s getting, I don’t wanna burden her.”
“Sure,” said Mick, not having actually met a parent whose children liked them.
“So I was out looking for some, uh, work, and I heard you were looking for someone? I mean, I know it’s for a date for some reason but I thought… hey- why not see if you got anything lined up? Snart’s always got something planned and you and me are buddies, right?”
“So maybe you’d put in a good word for me?” He grinned a kind of hangdog grin. “If you need a wheelman?”
Mick took a long drink, eyes flickering to the television. There really wasn’t a need for Mick to put in a good word with Len. They both worked with Stan a couple times before, there really wasn’t a better driver around, certainly not one that could improvise routes on the fly while maintaining a calm demeanor or able to drive damn near anything with wheels. “I’ll let him know you’re looking.” Hell, Len might not know Stan’s out, either.
“Awesome! Thanks, Mick!” Stan finally took a bite out of his wing. “Damn, still surprised how good real food is.”
Mick laughed and waved one of the servers over, requesting they put on whatever motor racing was on one of the other screens. Stan didn’t care about sports unless it had vehicles in it.
They sat together, eating wings, drinking and cheering whenever something spectacular happened in their chosen sport. After a while, when a commercial break came on, Stan asked, “This, uh, this isn’t going to be a problem, right? This date?”
Mick’s brow creased. “This actually a date? You’re the straightest fucker I know.” Even six months into his sentence, with no one around him but men, Stan hadn’t been able to keep it up long enough to get off. Mick had witness Stan’s frustration enough to know it wasn’t for lack of trying.
“Well no but,” Stan fidgeted slightly, “this isn’t gonna hurt my standing with Snart, will it? Even if it’s not a date?”
“Why would it?”
“Not that kind!” Mick’s mouth twisted slightly. He certainly wouldn’t object if they were. Nor could he blame Stan for thinking that- he and Len had cultivated the image on occasion for various reasons. Mainly to deter certain types of attention in prison.
Stan studied him for a moment before turning back to the television. “Sure, whatever you say.”
It was late when Mick got back but not late enough to pretend anything of interest happened. If someone’s interest was sticking their nose in other people’s sex lives. Len tutted from his place at the table, “Lisa will be so disappointed.”
“Pretty sure she’s getting used to it.” Mick shrugged off his jacket and tossed it across the back of the couch. He went to the table and picked up the mostly empty coffee pot and lukewarm mug, ignoring Len’s grumble as he went to toss their contents down the sink. It might not have been terribly late but definitely late enough that certain hyper-focusing perfectionists didn’t need help staying up. “Date was Stan.”
Len paused. “Stan? As in the driver?” Mick nodded, making his way back to the table. “Didn’t know he was out. Also I’m pretty sure he’s straight.”
“The fucking straightest. He was hoping I could get him a job.”
Len pressed his lips together, obviously calculating. Eventually he stood back, “We could use a wheelman. It’d free you up and it’s starting to look like I’d need an extra body to cover the back.”
“Nice. I’ll let him know tomorrow.” He took Len by the arm and muscled him away from the table. Thankfully Len hadn’t been in the middle of any fiddly part of the plan and didn’t put up more than a cursory struggle. “C’mon, bed.”
Mick shoved him forward with a scowl. “Ass.”
5. For Fun
The moment Lisa said the next date would be at Cocktails and that he’d know when he saw them, Mick had a pretty good idea who to expect. When he walked in and heard his name called out, Mick just grinned and enveloped his date in a hug.
“Mickey! It’s been too long, I haven’t even seen you at my shows!” Charleen pulled back, lips pouting at him. “You tell Snart not to work you so hard.”
Mick laughed, letting himself be pulled to a table. “Not Snart’s fault this time. Well, not Len. His sister’s been making me go on blind dates.
“You mean I’m not the first one she called?” Charleen gasped in mock outrage. “I’ll be giving her a talking to later.”
Mick relaxed into one of the more private booths, the ones reserved for the dancers and their guests. A server brought them their drinks without waiting for an order. Mick had been there often enough they knew his preferences.
“How’ve things been with you, doll?”
“Ugh, Kevin finally broke up with me. Not that I wanted him to but it was so obvious he wanted to I nearly did it for him!”
“What a piece of shit,” Mick said, amicably and honestly. “You deserve better.”
“That’s what I love most about you, Mickey. You always speak the truth.”
They snickered at the joke, catching each other up on their lives. Mick had a soft spot for Charleen. Between her pre-transition period and Len’s general existence, they helped Mick realize he wasn’t straight as he thought he was.
“Seriously though, you want me to kneecap the asshole, I will.”
“Oh, Mick.” Though she was still cheerful, Charleen’s took on a less teasing note. “You say things like that and I just can’t believe why you haven’t had any luck on these dates.” She paused. “I mean I do but I think there’s plenty of people out there that would think you’re worth the risk.”
Mick sat there, brain momentarily unable to comprehend the sentence. “What?”
“C’mon, Mick.” When he kept sitting there blankly, Charleen sat up straighter. “You can’t possibly... Your partner, Mickey.”
“What about him?”
“He’s the reason Lise is having a hard time finding dates for you.”
Mick bristled, “What’s wrong with Len?”
She laughed loudly. “Great God Almighty- you two are made for each other! Bet you didn’t notice how much he wanted to rip apart that Alexa bitch you were ass over teakettle for.”
“Yeah- I mean, she shot me.” You got revenge when someone wronged your partner like that, that was obvious.
“Before all that happened.” At Mick’s responding silence, Charleen gave a huff of laughter and squeezed Mick’s thigh. “Forget it, I need a distraction from Kevin. Let’s just enjoy the night, no strings attached.”
Mind still trying to decypher Charleen’s words, Mick said, “Sure.”
Mick didn’t make it back to the apartment until close to dawn, crashing out on the sofa. He was rudely woken up by a backpack being dropped on the small of his back. “What the fuck?” He mumbled into the cushion. Lisa stood over him, beaming proudly, Len behind her with a weird twist to his smile. Len must be getting ready to take Lisa to school, Mick realized blearily.
“Had a good night, I see,” Len teased, reaching over to snap the elastic band peeking up from under the waist of Mick’s jeans. It was lace and pastel. “Fairly certain this isn’t your usual style.”
“The hell would you know, you never do laundry.” Mick rolled onto his back and pulled his shirt down to cover up his waist. He wasn’t embarrassed- Mick was only marginally aware of what ‘shame’ was -it just felt kind of weird, the way Len was looking at him. “‘S Charleen’s.”
Len froze, just for a split second. “Oh?”
Lisa, having rescued her bag from Mick, beamed even bigger. “I knew you two would work out! You always looked happy whenever you talked about when you were together before and since she broke up with that asshole she was dating, I figured you two should get together again!”
“She really is something,” Len agreed though it was more of a murmur.
“Yeah, she is. She’d be better with someone else, though.”
The two stopped and stared at Mick. “What?”
“’S why we broke up in the first place,” he said, yawning hugely. “Couldn’t seem to get serious about each other, decided it was more fun when we were just flings.”
“But…” At an utter loss from yet another failure, Lisa flung her arms out wide and wailed, “Why?”
“I dunno. Too much alike, I think.” His eyes flickered, for the briefest moment to Len. “Need someone to challenge me.”
Lisa stared at him, a hard, considering look on her face and Mick could practically see her flipping through a mental rolodex for her to wrangle into a date next. She headed towards the door, still deep in thought and Len, after shooting an indecipherable look at Mick, followed after.
Alone, Mick flung an arm over his eyes and slowly drifted back to sleep.
“C’mon, Mickey! Pleeeeeease?”
“No! Those dates I went on were, frankly, shit.” Mick held his hands up, washing them of the entire ordeal. “Half of ‘em didn’t even end up being actual dates!”
“This one’s different! I swear!”
Mick stood and glared, arms crossed and absolutely set to out-stubborn her this time around.
From his sprawl on the couch, flipping through a newspaper, Len said, “Just go, Mick. One last date and if it doesn’t work out, Lisa will give up.”
He considered it for a moment before turning to Lisa. She caved quickly. “Fine! If this one doesn’t work out, I’ll leave you alone.”
Mick scowled but nodded. “Deal. We’re meeting at Saints- they don’t like it, they don’t have to come.”
Lisa wrinkled her nose. “Whatever. He said he’ll be wearing a yellow kerchief.”
“The fuck’s a kerchief?”
“It’s like a bandana or scarf,” Len said, still not looking up from the newspaper.
“Great. Awesome.” Mick scowled. “Let’s get this over with.”
Mick walked in and looked around, trying to spot a yellow kerchief anywhere in the low lights and bustle of bodies. Instead his eyes landed on a familiar figure alone at a table. There was another seat open at it, despite the crowd, and a frosted glass still dripping foam down the side sat opposite Len’s own. Mick’s heart clenched- if Len was on a date with someone, there was no way in hell Mick would be able to stick around without punching someone’s teeth in.
Then, because Mick was a fucking masochist, he went over. “Hey, Len.” He stood behind the empty chair, hands on the back, trying not to imagine them around the neck of whoever was with his partner. “Didn’t expect to see you here.” He swallowed something painful. “You on a date?”
“I would be,” Len drawled, lips upturned in that small little smirk that haunted Mick’s dreams, “if he’d show up.”
His fingers clenched harder. It was one thing knowing some jackass was on a date with Len, but it was something else entirely that they would disrespect him enough to make him wait. “You need me to drag the bastard here?”
“No need.” Len’s eyes flashed with amusement. “It’s you.”
There was a long pause as the words wriggled passed the thrumming music and angry fog, into Mick’s head. Then another as his brain processed them. “Me? Wait- are you my blind date?”
The amusement grew into a full-on smirk and Mick finally noticed the yellow kerchief around Len’s neck. “Yeah.” If Mick didn’t know Len as well as he did, Mick wouldn’t have seen the lurking fear in his eyes or heard the timidness in his voice. “You okay with that?”
“Okay with it?” Mick pulled out the chair and sat. “Shit, Lenny- only reason I didn’t ask is ‘cause I thought you wouldn’t want me.”
An eyebrow rose. “Why wouldn’t I want you?”
“‘Cause I’m…” Mick waved his hand vaguely, unable to put into specifics just how ‘Mick’ he was. He awkwardly settled for, “Didn’t think you’d want to mix business and pleasure.”
Len shrugged, shoulders relaxing. “You know I’ve never cared much for rules. Especially if they get in the way of what I want.”
Mick couldn’t help flushing at that. He felt clumsy and giddy. He took a gulp of his drink- because apparently Len got it for him and it’s one of his preferred beers because of course Len paid attention to that sort of thing. Mick opened his mouth a couple times before closing it, every attempt at starting a conversation suddenly making him feel foolish. He just… he couldn’t wrap his head around the idea that a guy as amazing as Len would want to date a meathead like Mick.
“Is something wrong?” Len asked. He leaned back in his seat like a lounging cat, but Mick could see the tension was slowly creeping back up on him.
“Nah. I’m just being dumb.”
“You’re not dumb, Mick. Just tell me.”
He shrugged, tracing aimless designs in the condensation that fell onto the table. “I, uh… I’ve wanted something like this for so long it… just doesn’t feel real is all.”
The silence between them stretched and when Mick looked up, Len was leaning forward with an expression and intensity Mick hadn’t seen in him before. “How long?” Len’s voice sounded almost strangled and Mick strained to hear it over the music.
“I dunno. Always, I guess? Even in juvie, I thought I hated people touching you ‘cause you were so tiny and didn’t really know how to fight. Then I realized I was kinda always obsessed with you and I told myself there was no way you’d go for it so I made myself back down ‘cause you needed to do your thing and didn’t need me getting in the way.”
Suddenly Len was there, a hand against Mick’s neck and jaw, anchoring him in place and Len’s lips were on his. It was a fleeting kiss, chaste save for the intensity and it took Mick’s breath away because it was Len and Len didn’t do PDA. The pressure on Mick’s lips lingered, just the barest brush of tongue, and Mick realized he wasn’t the only one that had been wanting this.
Len pulled back, still close enough that Mick could feel his breath over his face. “How attached are you to your beer?”
Mick swallowed hard, throat dry as he got lost in Len’s eyes, pupils swallowing up the blue until it was a pale, barely visible ring. “I can get another one whenever.”
“Good.” And, with a strength belied by his lean frame, Len dragged Mick from his chair and out the door.
The next morning, when Mick finally managed to pull himself out of bed, Lisa was already at the table with some coffee and a Jimmy Dean biscuit sandwich. She took one look at Mick’s satisfied expression and grinned, happy and smug. “Well!” Lisa leaned forward eagerly. “I take it last night went well?”
“Yeah, it did.” Very well. Extremely well. Not that Lisa would be getting any details. Mick liked her too much to traumatize her like that.
Len yawned, big and loud, as he shuffled in. “Still coffee?” He asked, blearily making his way over. He was never very functional so soon after waking up. The night before- or, rather, earlier that day -couldn’t have helped much.
He was also wearing one of Mick’s shirts. Which wasn’t new- Len had snagged a number of them over the years because, to him, laundry was a thing that happened to other people -but this time it made Mick want to ravish him until Len was flushed and begging. All the more because now Mick knew this was something he could do.
“You know,” Mick said to Lisa, even as his eyes followed her brother, “you didn’t have to go through all that.”
“Go through what?”
“All the secrecy and stuff. If you asked me to go on a date with Len, I would’ve agreed in a heartbeat.”
Lisa’s brow creased- almost like confusion -and she turned to look at Len who simply raised an eyebrow back. When she turned back to Mick, Lisa’s smile was a bit on the plastered-on side. “Where’s the fun in that? Everyone went home satisfied in the end, right?”
“Yes,” Len drawled, taking his own seat at the table, maybe scooting his chair to be marginally closer to Mick. “I made sure of that.” Mick felt like he missed something in the exchange.
“Good.” Her smile turned into something more genuine. “You two suit each other. I’m glad this worked out.”
Mick turned to his partner and could practically feel the warmth and fondness radiating out of himself. He could see a flush creeping up Len’s neck as he pretended he wasn’t hiding a pleased smile behind his coffee. “Yeah,” Mick said, shifting his leg over so his knee pressed against Len’s thigh. “Me, too.”