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Where the Shadows Run

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Tom stood in front of the large automat in the hotel lobby and counted the coins in his palm. His hand shook slightly.

Three quarters, two dimes, and a penny. Enough for a sandwich and slice of pie or a coffee, but not both. His stomach rumbled with hunger at the same time a crack of thunder rolled over the empty lobby. Maybe if he was lucky, he could find the kid who ran the front desk, and get change for the five dollar bill he had tucked into his inner breast pocket. But no, Tom needed that money for gas to get to… wherever it was he was headed.

Maybe the kid would be interested in buying the money clip that held the single bill itself. It was solid silver after all. Or maybe Tom’s watch? Tom let out a hoarse laugh. He had a gold watch but not enough money to buy a full meal. Wasn’t that the story of his life.

Tom picked up the quarters and slid the rest of his coins back into his pocket. Maybe two slices of pie and a coffee then? His father would be mortified that Tom would even consider such a meal, but then after the last week, what was one more black mark in his father’s books?

Out of morbid curiosity, maybe he’d come across a discarded newspaper and read out how his father was spinning everything to his own advantage, or if Tom’s failings were just another indiscretion that he paid to have swept under the rug.


Tom jerked. One of the quarters dropped from his hand and bounced across the floor. He dropped down and scrambled frantically to grab it, but was too late. He watched the quarter disappear under the automat, a quick glint of light before it disappeared out of reach. He slumped down on his knees. He’d been too lost in his misery to hear anyone come up behind him, and it had cost him half his dinner.

No. Tom straightened his shoulders, ignoring the voice in his head that sounded suspiciously like his father. This wasn’t his fault, it was the fault of whoever had snuck up behind him. The anger that had been building his entire life rose up. Thirty years of doing exactly was he was told, by his boarding school teachers, by the pompous assholes at Yale and then Harvard and then back into the hands of his father and what had it gotten him? Nothing. Just enough money to get a cup of coffee to go with his pie, and now he didn’t even have that.

How dare he cost me the one thing I had left, Tom fumed. He tugged his suit jacket into place and spun around, ready to rise and unleash his fury.. He got one foot under himself, and opened his mouth to begin his scathing rebuke, when he actually got a look at the man behind him.

Good Lord.

The man was barefoot, toes pressed down into the worn pile of the carpet, long hems of his jeans torn and ragged where they brushed against the ground. He was clearly soaked from the storm that raged outside, drops of water sliding off the arches of his feet and absorbed immediately by the carpet.

Raising his gaze, Tom took in how the wet denim clung to the man’s long, muscular legs. He was beltless and the heavy jeans rode low-- indecently low-- on his hips. Tom tried to look away, to have some damn decency, but it seemed like a power beyond his control kept him slowly raising his eyes.

Above the jeans, the man’s torso was bare and running with rivulets of water from the open collar of the western shirt he wore draped back over his shoulders like an afterthought, fabric translucent from the rain. Tom’s heartbeat thundered in his years. The man’s chest was sculpted like a figure from myth. But not like a young Apollo or a Dionysus, more like a Zeus or an Ares, some god capable of great power and destruction.

A long beaded necklace slid against the man’s chest, just barely brushing one of his nipples as he shifted his weight, cocking a hip. The movement shook Tom out of his-- wicked, perverted, disgusting-- stupor. He flicked his gaze up and looked into the face of his tormentor.

“You keep kneeling like that, I’m gonna expect a proposal,” the man smiled. His grin, quick like lightning and just as blinding, flashed across his face, framed by a moustache and short scruff of a beard. It lit up his eyes, which were shockingly blue and somehow seemed to be looking into Tom, through him rather than at him. His hair, maybe blond when it was dry, now tangled in a dark snarl around his jaw and neck.

Tom blinked slowly, all earlier anger forgotten in the presence of this man who looked like Tom’s every secret desire and hidden longing made flesh. He gaped for a moment, then flushed as the man’s words finally sunk in and jumped to his feet, feeling ungainly in his wrinkled suit and dumbstruck silence.

“Whoa, hey,” the man said softly, reaching out and grabbing Tom’s arm to steady him. Tom froze. He swore he could feel the heat of the man’s touch through his damp clothing. He was rewarded with another one of those quicksilver smiles.

“I didn’t mean to startle you before. The right thing to do would be to apologize, wouldn’t it? Yeah. That would be the right thing.”

Tom nodded, not entirely easy with the way the man said the last part, but too distracted by the hand still on his arm to care. The man stood still for a long moment, those blue eyes searching for something in Tom’s. He nodded slowly to himself before saying in a voice almost too low for Tom to hear, “I’m not real big on the whole ‘right or wrong’ thing, myself.”

He stepped back, and Tom immediately felt cold all over. The clamminess of the rain he'd been drenched in running from his motel room to the lobby finally seeming to sink in. He shuddered.

The man hummed. “I’ll get you a drink though,” he said decisively. “What’s your poison, gorgeous?”

“Coffee is twenty-five cents.” Tom winced as he parroted the kid who’d checked him into the hotel that afternoon, and whom Tom hadn’t seen a sign of since. Nor anyone else for that matter. No maids or other guests, aside from this man. He brushed that off and straightened. What is wrong with you? You let some hippie throw you like that? Pathetic. He can’t speak to you that way! Tom cleared his throat and added, “And you cannot speak to me like that.”

“He speaks!” The man laughed. He turned away from Tom and began walking over towards the empty bar. “And sure I can. But if you’ve got something else you’d prefer, I’m flexible.”

Tom hesitated, his last name was far too recognizable, even this far west. If his father was actually looking for him, even his first name might be too much of a giveaway. But fuck it. He’d thrown away his entire life. One more little risk couldn’t hurt.

“I’m Tom.”

“Tom,” the smiled over his shoulder, rolling the short name in his mouth. He reached the bar and leaned back against it. “Took you long enough. Did you have to think about it? You can call me…”

He paused, and tapped a finger against his pursed lips in an exaggerated  parody of someone deep in thought. “...Chris.”

“Is that really your name?” Tom couldn’t help but ask.

“Sure,” Chris winked. “Why not.”

Chris then slid his body up and over the top of the bar in one serpentine motion. “Well, Tom , coffee may be twenty-five cents, but there's a five-finger discount for unattended bottles of whiskey.” He wiggled his fingers, then disappeared behind the bar, rummaging for a minute before  coming back up with a partially empty bottle in each hand. He gestured with one towards Tom, making the amber liquid splash inside. “You want?”

Yes. Yes, Tom did want. Very much so. He jerked in surprise, not at the realization but at his willingness to admit it to himself. It seemed like his entire life had been spent wanting things he couldn’t have because of who he was, what his future was supposed to be. He looked down at the remaining two quarters, still clutched tightly in his hand.

“Would you like some pie?” At Chris’s look, Tom continued.“I still have enough for two.”

“I’d love some,” grinned Chris.

The thing is,” Tom chose his words carefully. His voice came out more sure than he had expected, and it gave him the courage to go on. “The thing is, I was thinking of taking mine back to my room. I have a table there.”

“A table, huh?” Chris looked pointedly around the lobby. He raised an eyebrow at the empty hotel bar and restaurant. He smirked at Tom, eyes flashing with mirth and something darker as he slowly sauntered across the room. His hips swayed with every step, and his bare feet made no noise at all on the carpet. Tom was put in mind of some great cat stalking its prey. He stopped just inches away, and Tom almost couldn’t hear what he said next, over the thundering of his own heart.

“Yeah,” Chris breathed. “A table sounds really good. I bet you have all kinds of furniture even.”

“Only one way to find out.”


Tom swore as he tried to unlock his motel room door without dropping either slice of pie. Chris had teased him for actually buying the pie, but Tom was a man of his word. And if it gave him a few more minutes to gather his nerve for what he thought was about to happen, then all the better. He struggled with the lock again, blinking the torrential rain out of his eyes. Suddenly, he was engulfed in an embrace from behind, nearly dropped the keys as Chris wrapped his arms around him and hooked his chin over Tom’s shoulder.

“C’mon,” Chris laughed in Tom’s ear. “I’m drowning out here.”

It was then that the lock finally turned, and they both stumbled into the room together. Tom staggered away, breaking Chris’s hold. He crossed the room, trying to take a moment to collect himself. If he was that affected by a hug, then how was he going to react if he and Chris did… more? Better question, how was he going to last?

Tom set the two slices of pie down on the low dresser against the back wall. The china of the plates only clattered a little. Behind the dresser was a large mirror that ran half the length of the wall. Tom stared at his reflection in the glass. His hair, usually perfectly combed and Brylcreemed and trimmed every other week, was soaked to his scalp and starting to curl. He hadn’t wasted the time or money to shave on his weeklong drive, and the stubble made him look like a different man all together. Not the perfect golden child and political protege he’d been raised as, but someone more unkempt, unplanned, maybe even a little wild. Maybe like someone that could actually be with a person like Chris.

He heard a thump from behind him and flicked his eyes over, watching in reflection as Chris leaned back against the door, slamming it shut with his body weight.

“That is a nice table,” Chris drawlled as set one of the whiskey bottles down on it. “Would’ve been a shame to have missed it.” He uncorked the other bottle and took a drink. Tom took in the sight of Chris’s long, powerfully body. His head was tilted back as he drank showing the full stretch of him, shoulders pressed against the doorframe and hips canted out. Drops of water beaded and ran down his bare chest. He was obscene . Tom’s breathing sped up.

Chris wiped his mouth with the back of his hand and gave Tom a slow perusal. Finally, he broke the silence.

“Running from something, huh?” Chris nodded to himself and continued, “Running all your life, I can see it.”

He walked over to Tom, and reached around him to set the bottle down. He put his hands on top of Tom’s where they were braced against the dresser and pressed them down. Again he hooked his chin over Tom’s shoulder and beared the full weight of his body against his back.

Tom couldn’t suppress the shiver that ran through him. It was one thing to feel that warmth for a moment and know it was Chris, but to actually see it, to know , was overwhelming. His eyes locked with Chris’s in the mirror, and he was transfixed by the power and avarice he saw there. He struggled, instinctively trying to push Chris away as he had done before. This time Chris pushed back, gripping Tom’s wrists tightly as he held him in place.

“Shh, I can see you,” Chris murmured, fixing Tom in place with his body and his gaze. “Don’t run from me, gorgeous, I’ve got you.”

Tom gasped as Chris leaned in and started to pepper the side of his throat with small kisses. His lashes fluttered shut as the kisses slowly turned into bites. Never enough to break the skin, the sharp pricks of pain stole Tom’s breath from his lungs and all reason from his mind. When he felt the hot wetness of Chris’s tongue trace the shell of his ear, he couldn’t hold back a moan, and was glad of the strong body behind him as his knees start to buckle.

“Hey now,” Chris placed a quick kiss at Tom’s nape, then covered it with a bite. “I’m only just getting started with you.”

Chris released his hold on Tom’s wrists and ran his hands along his arms as he stepped back. Tom turned and opened his eyes in time to see Chris shimmy the shirt off his shoulders. He kept his eyes on Tom as he unfastened his fly. He was wearing nothing underneath the jeans and Tom groaned again, just from the knowledge that he had been only a layer of wet denim away from that this whole time. Chris’s cock was half hard and as perfectly formed as the rest of him. He slid his jeans off in a lazy, nonchalant movement, like he stripped down in front of men had had just met everyday and sat heavily on the bed.

As Tom watched, Chris spread his legs wide and starting to slowly stroke himself. He still wore his necklace, the beads falling in such a way as to frame one dusky pink nipple, pebbled up from the cold and the rain. Tom felt the overwhelming urge to bite. Chris grinned, as if he could read Tom’s mind.

“Go on then,” he said, never stopping the steady movements of his hand. “Let me see all of you.”

Tom had to look away as he pulled off his sodden suit jacket and folded it carefully before laying it on the dresser. He took his time removing his cufflinks, making sure they weren’t going to roll away before mechanically starting on the buttons of his shirt. He couldn’t think about what he was doing, what he was about to do, or he would lose all courage to continue. Shirt, undershirt, watch, shoes, and socks all went the same way. As he lay his suit pants on top of the pile, brushing a bit of mud from the hem, he had to stop. All that was left was his underwear and even though he was shaking from how much he wanted this, wanted Chris, he couldn’t shut out the voices in his mind screaming at him how wrong it was.

There were warm hands on his hips, turning him around.

“Easy there,” Chris said, running his thumbs over Tom’s hip bones. Tom hadn’t heard him move again, but he was starting to get used to that with Chris.

“What did I say, Tom? I’ve got you.”

Chris crooked a finger under Tom’s chin, and lifted it up until he had no choice but to look at Chris. “There you are. Absolutely gorgeous. Don’t worry. I take care of what’s mine, right? Let me take care of you.”

Then he was kissing Tom.

Chin still held gently but firmly, Tom couldn’t help but succumb. Chris kissed like a force of nature, like a king laying claim to all he surveyed and daring anyone to stand in his way. He nipped Tom’s lower lip, then bit harder, taking advantage of Tom’s pained gasp to snake his tongue into Tom’s mouth.

Tom reached up and gripped his shoulders for support, moaning at the solid muscle, before pulling him in, trying to get as much of his body against Chris’s as possible, like he would die of there was a single inch of him that Chris didn’t touch.

He barely noticed as Chris slid his underwear down, but he definitely noticed when he wrapped his hand around Tom, stroking him the slow, sure way he had stroked himself. It felt so good, better than anything Tom had ever had before. He cried out and then immediately tried to bite it back.

His wasn’t the only room at the motel. He hadn’t seen anyone else, but that didn’t mean there wasn’t someone in the neighboring room or walking by outside the door. If they heard his voice would they know what was going on? Would they realize that it wasn’t a woman he was in there with, but a man? A feral, perfect beast of man who even now was running his thumb over the head of Tom’s cock and drawing another cry from him?

Fuck it .

It felt good just to think the words. Fuck it. Fuck who knew, fuck who cared. Fuck a lifetime of shame and fear and guilt. He had Chris and Chris had him and fuck everything else.

Chris kissed him again, deep and overpowering. Tom felt like he could come, just from this, just from Chris’s hand and his kisses. He whimpered when they broke apart for air.

“Fuck,” Chris said, pressing his forehead against Tom’s. “How are you so perfect for me?”

“I’m not though,” Tom said, when he could breathe again. His cheeks heated with embarrassment. “I mean, it’s just, how could I be any good? I’ve never…” He trailed off.

“Never?” Chris asked. Tom opened his eyes, but Chris didn’t look shocked, if anything he looked hungr y.

“With a woman, sure, a few times,” said Tom. “But not… anything else.”

“Fuck,” Chris said again emphatically. “So perfect for me. That’s it, I’m just gonna have to taste you.”

Before Tom could even process his words, Chris was dropping to his knees and engulfed Tom’s cock in a single swallow. Tom cried out, hands white knuckled on the edge of the dresser and head banging back against the mirror. He shook as Chris pulled back to lick and suck, his lips and tongue doing delicious, wicked, indescribable things before swallowing all of Tom again. The scratch of his beard against Tom’s inner thighs grounded his pleasure, making it feel more real, more visceral, and even more completely overwhelming.

“I’m gonna, I’m gonna,” Tom tried to warn him.

Chris pulled off with an obscene, wet pop.

“Give it to me,” he growled, before taking Tom back in. His cheeks hollowed as he sucked even harder. When he ran his tongue down the sensitive vein along the underside of Tom’s cock at the same time, that was it. Tom climaxed with a shout, the world whiting out as Chris continued to suck him through his orgasm. He only pulled off just at the precise moment his continued ministrations crossed the border from pleasure into pain.

Tom collapsed, sinking down to the floor. He wasn’t surprised at all when Chris caught him. He held Tom tight against his chest, running his fingers through Tom’s hair and murmuring soothing nonsense as the aftershocks wracked him. Even after he’d recovered, Tom was content to lie there, curled in Chris’s lap, soaking in the warmth and feeling of being cherished, even treasured.

Chris eventually broke the stillness. “You think you’re up for more?”

Tom groaned and felt Chris’s chest move under him as he laughed.

“It’s okay if you’re not. It’d be nice to move this to a bed though, either way.”

“No,” said Tom. He looked up at Chris, at those fierce, mesmerizing eyes in the most beautiful face he’d ever seen. He whispered, “I want everything with you.”

“Yeah,” said Chris, eyes hot and dark. “I want everything too.”

Between the two of them, they got Tom up on the bed. He laid back against the sheets, kicking the comforter down as Chris went to rummage through his jeans. He finally emerged triumphant, waving a small tin in his hand.

“Petroleum jelly?” Tom asked.

“Keeps my hands soft,” Chris winked. “Good for other things too.”

This time, when he kissed Tom, it wasn’t the forceful conquering of before. It was slow, almost worshipful as he alternated between soft, teasing pecks that left Tom arching and begging for more, and deep, penetrating kisses. He ran his tongue along the roof of Tom’s mouth and left him shivering uncontrollably, before gently guiding Tom’s tongue into his own and sucking hard.

Tom ran his hands over as much of Chris as he could reach. His hair felt like silk between Tom’s fingers when he ran his fingers through it. The broad planes of his back seemed like an endless land that Tom wanted to explore forever. When he finally dared to grab Chris’s ass, he was rewarded by Chris trailing his lips over his cheek before ducking down to suck on the pulse point at the corner of jaw.

The surge of pleasure made Tom dig his nails in and Chris grunted, but before he could apologize, Chris bit down hard. Tom gasped breathlessly. He scratched deep red lines across Chris’s back and ass as his entire body contracted, his entire body focused on where Chris marked him.

It was almost an afterthought when Tom felt Chris’s slick finger slide behind his balls and rub gently at the sensitive skin above his entrance. He groaned, and spread his legs wider to give Chris more room. Chris took the opportunity to rise up on his knees, opening them to stretch Tom’s legs even further apart and trail kisses slowly down Tom’s chest.

“Look at you,” he said, his finger tracing slow, maddening circles around Tom’s hole. “So perfect for me. It’s like you’re made for me, isn’t it? You’re mine, aren’t you? You want it so bad. Tell me how much you want me, gorgeous.”

“Please,” Tom begged. “Please, Chris. I want you, I need you so much.”

“That’s right,” Chris said. He bent down to bite one of Tom’s nipples, and slid his finger in at the same time. Tom whimpered at the warring sensations, both new and strange but so good. After a few minutes of gently moving his finger in and out, Chris pulled back to watch Tom as he carefully slipped a second finger in alongside the first. Tom hissed at the twinge as he got used to the stretch, and dug his fingers into Chris’s biceps. A jolt of lust shot through him when Chris didn’t move at all under his pull. Tom tried to distract himself by running his hands over Chris’s chest, exploring. When Chris added a third finger without warning, Tom howled and tweaked Chris’s nipples hard.

Chris groaned and dropped his head. He froze completely. He hadn’t reacted as strongly to anything Tom had done before, so Tom did it again, this time scraping the edge of his fingernails across the nipples for good measure. Chris groaned again, and when he looked up at Tom, he was panting, his pupils gone huge with lust.

“Oh it’s like that, is it?” He grinned, sharp and wild, before pressing deeper into Tom than he had before. His fingers brushed something that made Tom see stars.

“There it is,” Chris said as Tom gasped and writhed. He used his free hand to pin Tom’s hips down while the other fucked him relentlessly.

Tom felt as if he’d gone mad, like he’d fallen into a strange new land where pleasure was pain and there was no up or down, no right or wrong. He realized he was babbling when Chris chuckled. He stilled his hand, but kept just barely stroking that same spot with the pads of his fingers.

“No right or wrong, huh? You sure about that, those ideas seemed kind of important to you a few hours ago.”

Tom moaned, unable to respond under the torturous pleasure. He moaned again when Chris withdrew completely, leaving him bereft.

“You see it now, don’t you? Of course you do, my gorgeous, smart, perfect Tom. You see now none of that matters, it’s just a distraction. A way to keep you from getting what you really need.” Chris reached up, pulling a pillow from under Tom’s head and propping it under his hips.

“You don’t want any of that do you? Always being told what’s wrong, what’s right, do this, do that. You don’t want that at all.”

“No-o,” Tom almost sobbed. How could his man, this almost stranger, know him so well.

He felt the head of Chris’s cock brush against his entrance.

“This is what you want, isn’t it?”

“Yes!” Tom didn’t even hesitate.

“And you’d do anything for it, wouldn’t you?” Chris moved his hips just enough for the head of his cock to catch on Tom’s rim just for a moment before sliding away. He did it again and again.

“Yes, please, Chris! Anything, I swear, it’s yours, please, just fuck me!”

“That’s my boy.”

Chris dove in and kissed Tom, pushing in slowly, unstoppably. Filling Tom from both ends. In him, over him, around him. Nothing existed but Chris, and Tom didn’t need anything else, not even air or his own pleasure. He would do anything for just this, nothing could possibly be better.

Then Chris started to thrust. Tom’s last coherent thought was he’d been mistaken, before he was reduced to a whimpering, gasping heap of pure pleasure in Chris’s hands. Chris’s necklace hung low and swung against Tom with each thrust. The unpredictable brushes maddening across his over-sensitized skin. Just when Tom thought he was going to go mad or die, Chris leaned back, and pulled Tom up across his thighs. He used the new angle to pound in, deeper, harder. Each thrust hitting the spot that made Tom cry out. He stared up, wide-eyed, lost in feeling.

“You belong to me, don’t you? So tight, so hot. Fuck, you’re even gorgeous on the inside too, aren’t you? Gonna make you mine, Tom. Fuck. All mine.”

Tom barely had the energy to whisper, “Yours.”

Chris groaned and wrapped a hand around Tom’s cock. Tom screamed, his entire body tensing as he came and came endlessly. His come splashed across his belly and up his chest, almost to his chin. After an eternity of pleasure he floated, vaguely aware of Chris releasing him, with a last stroke that made Tom shiver in ecstasy.  He instead gripped both hands on Tom’s hips and changed his pace from controlling to bruising.

Tom gazed up at Chris, and licked his lips before saying it again.


Chris thrust twice more and howled. Tom felt his climax inside of him, wet bursts filling him up so perfectly  he almost came again from that alone. Then Chris collapsed down on him, almost bending Tom in half. His necklace dug painfully into Tom’s chest, pressed hard between their sweating, gasping bodies. It would be getting filthy in the mess of Tom’s own come, but Tom was too blissed out to care. He ran his hands through Chris’s hair and over his back, just the way Chris had done for him, and glowed with the feeling of belonging.


Eventually Chris came back to himself enough to pull out, peppering Tom with small kisses as he did. He then strode unselfconsciously naked to the bathroom. A few minutes later he came back with a warm washcloth and began cleaning Tom up.

“Mmm, where have you been all my life?” asked Tom as Chris dropped the washcloth on the floor and laid down beside him. He curled against Chris’s side, threw a leg over his thighs and was pleased when Chris laughed at the cheesy line.

“All over,” Chris said. “California lately though.”

“I’ve never been. Well,” Tom waved a hand. “I guess the automat is technically on the California side of the lobby, but that’s as far west as I’ve ever gone.” He dropped his hand onto Chris’s chest and started to play with his necklace, weaving it between his fingers and rolling the beads one by one. It was still wet and slick, and Tom revelled in the dirtiness of the feeling.

“It’s beautiful. There’s sunshine every day, fields full of wildflowers, even in the desert. If you close your eyes, you can always hear the ocean.”

Chris wrapped an arm around Tom’s shoulders. “The people too, so open to new ideas. Not tied down to the same tired dogma. My group--the people I live with, they come from all over the country, all over the world, just to find a place like that to belong.”

Tom laughed, uncomfortable. It sounded so much like the kind of place he’d dreamed of living his whole life that it couldn’t possibly be real.

“You make it sound like a hippie commune," he teased. “You’re not in a cult, are you?”

Chris reached over, covering Tom’s throat with his palm and holding his head so he was forced to meet Chris’s eyes.

He smiled sharply. “I like to think of us as more of a family. What a family should be. I take care of my family. I’d do anything for them, and they’d do anything for me.”

He stared at Tom, as if waiting for some kind of response, but Tom wasn’t sure exactly what he wanted Tom to say. He nodded slowly.

Chris’s grin turned blinding, and he leaned in to press a quick peck to the end of Tom’s nose before starting to run his fingers over Tom’s jaw and neck, pressing down occasionally. By the dull throbs each time he did so, Tom realized Chris was pressing on all the bruises and marks he had made. There were a lot of them.

“You should check it out sometime.”

“Yeah, maybe,” Tom said, distracted.

“What about you?” Chris asked. His arm that had been wrapped around Tom’s shoulders dropped down, caressing up and down Tom’s side, leaving a maddening tingle in its wake. “I know you’re running, gorgeous, but I can’t figure out what from.”

Tom tried to figure out a way to deflect his response, but just as he opened his mouth to reply, Chris skimmed his fingers across Tom’s ass and sunk two of them into his tender hole.

“Oh fuck. From N-New... New York.”

Chris hummed and pressed his fingers deeper, fingers barely brushing that perfect spot, just enough to tantalize, but not take the edge off of Tom’s discomfort as Chris’s fingers filled Tom’s abused body.


“An-and I grew up in--in boarding school. England. My father wanted the best for me. He’s in politics. You’d recognize him. He wanted the same. For me. But I didn’t, didn’t want--”  Tom cried out as Chris finally pushed deeper, sending sparks shooting down his spine.

“Please, Chris. Please,” Tom pleaded, scrabbling against his chest. It had been so easy to forget everything earlier, but now he felt like the outside world was pressing in again. He didn’t have to worry about the outside world when Chris was protecting him. Surrounding him. His everything. “I don’t want to run anymore.”

Faster than Tom could think, Chris pulled his fingers out and rolled over on top of him, pinning Tom’s hands above his head, and forcing his shins down hard across Tom’s to hold him in place. Tom felt caged in, trapped. Completely in Chris’s power. He let out a sob of relief.

Chris leaned in close enough that his long hair, almost dry now, brushed against Tom’s face, and Tom could feel the heat from his lips, just a breath away from his own.

“Then let’s find something better to do.”


The next morning, Tom woke to an empty bed.

He panicked, looking around wildly for Chris. He winced as he sat up, every part of his body protesting the night’s abuse, even as each ache made him flush at the memory of how he got it. He pulled himself over to the bathroom, but Chris wasn’t there. He looked around, but Chris’s shirt, jeans, even his tin of petroleum jelly were gone.

Tom slowed his breathing, and forced himself to look around. The pie had been eaten and both whiskey bottles were gone. His heart dropped as he started to go through his clothing. Sure enough, his watch and money clip were gone, but at least Chris had had the decency to leave the five dollars that had been in it, and Tom’s few remaining coins. His car keys were also gone.

Tom slumped down on the floor in the same spot where Chris had held him the night before, and started to cry.

Eventually, he pulled himself together enough to take a shower. He went through the motions of redressing in his wrinkled, musty clothes, staring at himself in the mirror the entire time. He took one last look around the room, leaving the room key on the table. He had no idea what he would do now, or where he could go, but he didn’t have enough money left for another night. Maybe he could use the payphone, call his father, beg to come home.

It felt wrong though, like it would be betraying Chris somehow. Chris, who had just used him and stolen his only things of value. Who even now was probably driving Tom’s car off under the California sun.

Tom stepped outside, squinting as he looked around for the payphone, then stopped. His car was still there.

He walked over cautiously. Not daring to hope. His keys were hanging out of the driver’s side door. He opened the door and sat gingerly in the driver’s seat. His eyes flicked up, and he smiled.

Looped around the rearview mirror was Chris’s necklace. There was a piece of paper folded over the bottom of it. Tom set it on the passenger’s seat before unwrapping the necklace and lifting it over his head. He safely tucked under his shirt, then unfolded the paper with shaking hands.

On it was scrawled the name of a town Tom didn’t know, in a state he’d just stepped foot in yesterday, and three words.

Run to me.