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Tide Comes In

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April 19th, 2017 07:32

 

From the blissful black of dreamless sleep to the soft light of morning, Jordi snapped awake completely, gone one moment and here the next. It took him a couple seconds longer to actually open his eyes, squinting at the crack in the curtains where one of them hadn’t pulled them completely shut. Sloppy work.

At least Aiden would take the bullet before he did. He was tucked into the curve of Jordi’s body, warm muscle and scars, his face set in that faintly unhappy expression he always wore when he slept—which wasn’t often. It was rare for Jordi to be up before him too, but even with the sleeping pills Aiden pretended he didn’t steal, he never slept for long. He’d have maybe an hour at most before Aiden woke up, less if he took a shower and the sound woke him up.

Jordi trailed a finger over the dark ring of bruises around Aiden’s neck, then carefully rolled out of bed, tucking the blankets back over Aiden’s shoulder before too much of the warm could escape.

They were running low on clean clothes; he’d brought more than Aiden had, but they needed to do laundry anyways. Ought to send his suits out to be properly dry cleaned, but Aiden’s other clothes were plenty easy to toss into a washing machine. He’d call down later, have his shit picked up by the maids, maybe send down Aiden’s shit at the same time. See if they could patch up some of the holes in his sweaters

Good on food though. Jordi pulled out the half-full carton of eggs and remaining package of bacon, setting both on the counter. Might need more for breakfast, but those donuts had lasted them long enough that he felt alright picking up another dozen for the rest of the week. Almost as an afterthought, he started the coffee machine, still debating whether he wanted fried or scrambled eggs for breakfast.

If he did a cream sauce for their pasta tonight, he’d want the milk for it. That decided him, and Jordi started up the bacon in the pan, rubbing a hand over the stubbly line of his jaw.

There was a persistent ache in his left knee, worse in the mornings like always. He’d have to get that checked out next time he was in a city with one of his doctors, maybe see if there was a specialist around willing to treat him under the table.  Still had a sleep study he needed to follow up on, but that center had shut down by the time he’d made his way back to it, and it was always hell moving his files after something like that. Technically he had the money to erase himself from any medical database he wanted, but dirty doctors were more likely to make it easy on him, and it saved him some grief when they went and did shit like that.

Should probably cut back on the sugar while he was at it. Jordi reconsidered his donut plan, then shook his head and dismissed it, pouring himself a cup of coffee. It was a fucking vacation. He could cheat on his own goddamn vacation

And… that’s where his thoughts derailed, like they always did, because Jordi Chin didn’t take vacations. He liked to be busy, liked having something to do, and he really liked being paid for it—especially if the people paying him footed his travel expenses too. He’d amassed a small fortune at this point just because he’d never stopped. Never had a reason to take a break in the first place.

It was Aiden’s fault, of course. The jackass.

Except it wasn’t his fault completely, not quite. At least half the blame could be laid at the feet of his therapist, who’d been prodding him to take a break for a couple years now. Good guy. Had a wife and two kids, house with a pool, moderately-priced sedan, and a healthy sense of self-preservation. Jordi liked him, which was a bit concerning.

He had friends. He had friends all over the fucking place, at least two in every city, because Jordi liked to have a network of people he could rely on. Fixers who knew how to get a job done, doctors that worked with him for stacks of cash, his tailor and his therapist, the woman that ran his favorite hotel in New York. If someone counted wealth in terms of personal connections, Jordi would still be one of the richest motherfuckers on earth.

But two years ago, this wouldn’t have been a vacation. It would have been Michel in his bed, a hotel room without any goddamn sight lines, and he wouldn’t have picked up the donuts in the first place. It would have been a job, and a job he did well, and he would have been gone again after the next contract as soon as it was over.

He flipped the bacon out onto a plate, then cracked two eggs into the grease. Needed to talk to his guy about that, come to think of it. Phone appointments made him antsy, but it wasn’t like he was going to be back in Chicago any time soon. Jordi was pretty sure this was going to be a great milestone or something, but the intimacy was stifling, threatening to suffocate him and tear away all the shit he’d worked for.

Being soft like this was unsettling. Upsetting. Should have called it quits when he’d spotted Aiden blazing his way down I-4 on the television in his hotel lobby, even if the contract had come through thirty minutes later. He’d liked Aiden even then, because it took balls to throw him over the railings of that lighthouse, and he should have known better than to feed into that.

If the dumb bastard stuck in one place at a time, maybe it wouldn’t have fed into that horrible soft thing that was nestled in his chest. It was one of the ways he’d avoided getting so attached to his other friends, leaving them behind as soon as he was done in a city and only ever stopping by when he had a job. But fucking Pearce had to be hightailing it all over the goddamn country, avoiding airports and borders like the plague as he carried out his weird crusade.

It was too easy to match up their schedules, and then it was too easy to keep matching, and the next thing he knew, he was setting up this stupid holiday. Setting up all these stupid dates, buying toys he wanted to play with because he hadn’t been this excited about a sub in years.

God, he was whipped. He’d have to send a glitter bomb to his therapist, because the man’s wife would get a kick out of it but he’d know a threat when he saw one.

Whipped, and whipped for the only man on the planet more emotionally stunted than he was. Jordi had a fucking diagnosis—what was Aiden’s excuse? Didn’t realize they were dating, when Jordi had been jumping through all the hoops for him but not saying it because he was trying to be sensitive. Displaying empathy towards others and all that shit, because god forbid someone ding Pearce’s fragile masculinity.

But that was the kicker, wasn’t it? He’d be mad as hell at some irritating bit of stupidity Aiden got up to, and then he’d get… something. That quirk of a half-smile or tight grin, the only way he smiled anymore. The poleaxed look on his face when Jordi said something he hadn’t been expecting. That blissed out expression Aiden only wore when he was so deep in subspace Jordi wondered if he’d even remember what his safeword was supposed to be. He’d get that tiny little something and he’d be whipped all over again, and it was stupid as hell every time.

He was going to call his therapist about this, and if that man told him it was ‘love’ or something equally sappy, Jordi was mailing him a box of dogshit along with the glitter.

With a shake of his head at his own maudlin thoughts, Jordi slid the eggs onto a plate of their own, setting both plates in the oven on warm for the moment. Toast next, and the coffee was still warm, so while the toaster got to work, he headed back into the bedroom.

Aiden was on his back now, stiff as a corpse, knuckles white where he clenched at the sheets. His face was doing the twitching thing it sometimes did, which meant he was probably out of REM by now—hell, Aiden ought to do a sleep study too, come to think of it. Jordi pressed the back of his hand to Aiden’s cheek, feeling another twitch jerk through him before he went still.

With none of the abruptness that he usually woke up with, Aiden shifted under his hand, turning his face into Jordi’s palm with a soft groan. That soft thing in his chest grew softer, and Jordi hated him a little for it—but didn’t hate him so much that he pulled away.

“There’s coffee,” he said quietly, watching Aiden’s muscles flex as he stretched himself awake.

And Aiden fucking Pearce—idiotic, suicidal, dickheaded Aiden fucking Pearce—opened those gorgeous green eyes of his and smiled.