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Retainer Agreement

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Even after an hour in the hotel gym and a run all the way to the Washington Monument and back, Jared was still overfull with energy. He’d spent the afternoon playing whack-a-mole on the latest deal with that old coot Johnson—the guy had stepped up his game, or at least hired better lawyers this time around—and after that kind of mental workout he needed something deeply physical to match.

After a quick shower, he fired up his browser and looked for clubs. There were three that looked plausible. He picked Glitter because it had the silliest name, then walked there so that he wouldn’t be arriving too early.

The music was tolerable and there were plenty of cute young things around, but nothing really turned his dial.

Nothing, that was, until him. Jared could’ve sworn that someone hit the mute button, and whether by accident or design he was standing directly under a light like a Broadway star about to bust into his solo. Worn, touchable jeans, tight black T-shirt revealing a chest solid enough that Jared wouldn’t worry about squashing him—but more than that, the mouth on him, full and shiny, lower lip pouting like it was in desperate need of something to fill it up, framed by just enough stubble that he’d be soft and rough all at once. Dark lashes, long and thick, and a scattering of freckles across his face visible even through the harsh strobing of the club lights. Hair short and gelled into spikes, the kind that would eventually sweat into softness after you’d spent a couple of hours working at it.

Jared watched, pretty much stunned into immobility, while the man gently discouraged several admirers, including two good-looking enough that Jared would have rated his own chances at pulling them at only about seventy percent (okay, eighty). They’d yell in his ear, and he’d say something back, and then they’d leave, disappointed. He kept looking around, eyes never alighting on any one person, seeming uncomfortable despite being dressed up like he was just waiting for the right guy to push him to his knees.

With an almost physical shock, Jared figured it out: he was trade. Maybe he was facing a month-end funds shortage or maybe his story was entirely different, but he wasn’t here to pick the prettiest face, that was for sure.

Well, okay. Jared would’ve preferred a cheaper date, but he pretty much had to have that mouth.

Jared fought his way across the floor. The guy (Jared was thinking of calling him the Mouth) looked up as he approached, and Jared had the satisfaction of getting an appreciative once-over. Okay, so he wasn’t just gay for pay, that was a major plus.

He leaned down a couple of inches to yell in the guy’s ear. “I’ll pay you twice your regular rate if you leave now!” He had the fleeting thought that if he’d made a mistake about the level of professionalism at work here he was either going to get punched or blown right there; he liked the thrill of the gamble.

The guy’s eyes (glass-bottle green, Jared could see up close) widened in something like shock. The ambient noise washed out the tone of his shouted reply, but Jared didn’t care, because it wasn’t “no,” and he could afford six hundred an hour. He wasn’t going to pass up the chance to see what that mouth looked like all open and panting on his sheets.

Sure, he thought as he pulled the guy out of the club, it’d be nice if he could find someone who could keep up with him in every part of his life. But, failing that, there was plenty of fun to be had in the world, and six foot one of it was trailing him back to his hotel.