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The Third Wheel

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“I still don’t know why he has to come with us. I thought you were trying to get away from all the bullshit your family revel in?” Ian stated as he shoved the last of his clothes into his green duffel bag. They had been planning this for a week or so and never once had Mandy mentioned bringing her brother along, “And don’t you think he will become a little bit suspicious about your ‘boyfriend’ after a while?” He framed the word boyfriend with finger quotation marks

“Well if my ‘boyfriend’,” Mandy spouted, imitating Ian’s previous actions, “had been a bit fucking quieter, he would have been none the wiser to the plan and we could have slipped off into the sunset. For some reason, he wants to come and to be honest, he could come in handy. He can hotwire a car faster than anyone I know and you know that he gets five finger discounts at every store.” Ian quirked his eyebrow, unconvinced by her argument. Having to maintain the heterosexual front for the purposes of Mandy’s homophobic brother was going to be hard enough. Having to do that when he was inexplicably attracted to said person was going to be nigh on impossible. “Look, knowing Mickey, he’ll probably split on us somewhere before we reach Cali. It will be fine.”

He hauled the bag onto his shoulder and glanced around his room. It wasn’t that he had major issues with his family, he just saw an opportunity and was running with it. He was the stereotypical middle child, seen but never heard unless he had really fucked up. His parents weren’t there, raised by his not much older sister who had bigger fish to fry with his younger siblings. He wasn’t as clever as his older brother. The only thing that made him stand out was the fact that he was gay, but only a few were privy to that information. You don’t come out when you live in South Side Chicago. When Mandy had suggested that they leave Chi-Town for a while, maybe a while longer, it hadn’t taken much to be convinced by her. Gathering up the final pieces that he needed, he sighed before gently pushing Mandy out of the room.

“You can still back out?” She uttered, trying to make it sound convincing though desperately hoping he hadn’t changed his mind. She knew she would go without him, she would quite happily go alone, but it would be so much easier if he came along.

“What, and leave my girlfriend to fend for herself?”

“I’ll have Mickey.”

“We’re in this together, Mands.” He smiled before kissing the top of her head. A sense of calm filtered through her body. They left the Gallagher house and wandered over towards South Trumbull.

Mickey was waiting in the car, impatiently tapping his watch; the one he had lifted from some random guy the other night. To be honest, it was a bit bigger than he liked but it worked and it was free so he wasn’t about to complain. He held a cigarette between his fingers as he watched his sister and her boyfriend stroll to the car. As far as boyfriends went, Ian wasn’t so bad. After the whole debacle with Mandy had been sorted out, her claiming that it had all been a silly misunderstanding, he had still wanted to hate Ian. However, they had been together for a few years now. He never laid a hand on her and never made her cry as far as Mickey was aware. He would have been perfect if it were not for the lingering doubt that maybe he wasn’t her type. Or rather, she wasn’t his type. It wasn’t like Mickey had anything to go off but when you spend your life subtly making sure that someone is gay before you approach them for a hook up, Ian was definitely someone that he would maybe possibly approach for a hook up. He watched as Ian opened the door for Mandy and she slipped into the passenger seat next to him before proceeding to take the seat behind her.

“Ever the gentleman, Gallagher.” Mickey snarked from the driver’s seat, carding his hand through his jet black hair, “You ready to get this show on the road?” Both his passengers nodded and he brought the car to life. Within a few seconds, they were leaving behind the Milkovich house of horrors and heading out of Chicago.


They had been driving for about three hours when Mickey realised he needed a break and a piss. Beside him, his sister had fallen asleep as she was known to do when in a car. Something about the motion of it all sent her into a deep slumber, which she accompanied with an array of snores and grumbles. Ian was in the back flicking through a magazine. Conversation between the two had always been stifled. When Mandy was awake it was different, but now in the small confines of the station wagon, things were a little awkward. He’d had to stop himself from staring at the ginger in the back a few times. Lord knows that had the potential to get him into a lot of trouble. He knew that he had included himself in the plans to leave Chicago to escape their father, but knowing Ian was in this as well had definitely sweetened the deal. He wearily ran his hand over his face. Fuck, this could be a disaster. Mickey then tapped Mandy on the shoulder in an attempt to wake her up.

“Ay, douchebags, I need to piss. We’ll stop at the next gas station. You two go grab some supplies.” Ian looked up from his magazine and nodded.

“Assface, where we sleeping tonight?” Mandy questioned, pissed off that he had woken her up even though they weren’t yet at their destination, “I ain’t sleeping in this heap of shit. My neck’s killing me already.” Mickey rolled his eyes but internally agreed with her. There was no way the car would comfortably sleep three of them. Maybe if money ever got tight and they couldn’t afford a motel for the night it would suffice, but whilst they had cash in their pockets they would be using it to make sure they didn’t need a chiropractor before they all turned 20.

“Look, let me just empty my tank, fill this tank and then we can come up with a plan on where we can sleep tonight.” Mickey stated as he pulled into the gas station. He let the other two go grab the supplies as he filled up the tank of the car. Paying scant regard to the warning signs, he lit another cigarette, his 15th of the road trip so far. As he was finishing off, Ian wandered up behind him and lifted the smoke from his mouth,

“You shouldn’t do that. Blow yourself up, that’s fine, but I actually quite like my life.” Ian stubbed out the end carefully so as to not waste it before pocketing it in his jacket. The way Ian was looking at him sent an involuntary shudder through Mickey’s body, which he covered by shaking off the gas pump and placing it back in its holder.

“Be right back. Don’t fucking leave without me.”

As he slammed the bathroom door behind him, he let out a pained sigh. Fuck, this was a bad idea. A few moments alone with Ian and he was an absolute wreck. He was desperately trying to ignore the effect that it had had on his dick. Mickey locked the door and went to pee, which was easier said than done when his dick was wanting to be elsewhere. As he washed his hands, he stared at himself in the grotty looking mirror and despaired at the reflection in front of him. Pull yourself together, Milkovich. He returned to the car and noticed that the passengers had switched. Mandy was already curled up in the back, her hand wedged inside a bag of chips; Ian was sitting shotgun. Mickey grimaced at the turn of events. This was absolutely not the scenario he wanted to find himself in.

A few hours later Mickey was pulling into the parking lot of a small motel. It didn’t look as seedy as the three they had passed previously, though appearances could be deceiving. He told Ian to sit tight while he checked that they had two rooms free.

“Two?” Ian questioned, quirking his brow, “Surely we should be saving money?”

“I ain’t sharing a room with you and my nympho sister. We’re getting two and preferably as far apart as possible.” It struck him as he said it that he’d never actually heard the two of them have sex. Sure Ian would sleep over every now and then, and Mandy would go to the Gallagher household, but he’d never heard them fucking. He shook his head before thanking the Gods for that. The last thing he wanted to hear was the red head moaning in pleasure. Except, that wasn’t quite true. Straightening up, he darted to the reception before those thoughts manifested.               

Once he was out of earshot, Ian woke Mandy. She grumbled at the intrusion on her sleep before realising the chips had fallen off her lap and were now scattered haphazardly on to the floor. She grumbled again at the mess.

“So I don’t think we need to worry about your brother figuring out you’re my beard. Boy is woefully ignorant.”

“Told ya. Fuck me, this car is horrible. Seriously, Mickey needs to hook us up with something decent.” She moaned, scrunching up her face as she slowly sat up on the back seat. She tried to stretch but her hands quickly hit the roof.

“Incognito Mandy, don’t want to alert suspicions. It’s a good choice to be honest. Blends in perfectly.” He could tell by her face that she wasn’t convinced in the slightest. She pushed the door open and stood, stretching upwards with more success, her stomach becoming exposed to the elements. Ian climbed out as well before wrapping his arms around her, “Just maintaining the tangled web we have weaved. Just saying though, sex is off the table.”

“What if I use a strap on?” Mandy questioned, her eyes lighting up, suddenly seeing a solution to their problem. Ian was less convinced.

“How is that fun for me? I mean for one,” He pointed to her boobs that were struggling to stay contained under her shirt, “and two, I do the fucking. Mandy, if I were wired that way, you would be the first person I’d call, you know that.”

“Your loss, Ian, your loss.” They were lost in their conversation, not noticing Mickey had strolled back to them carrying one set of keys and a pissed off expression.

“So, they had one fucking room left. I did consider driving a bit further but m’fucking tired. So you two enjoy the room, I’ll sleep in the car.” He declared, holding the keys up in front of Ian’s face. When he didn’t take them right away, Mickey jangled them obnoxiously in front of him. Ian batted them away, “I ain’t sharing.”

“Just come look at the room. The bed might be bigger than you expect. There could be a couch. You don’t know. You can’t sleep in the car, Mick.” The name jarred against him. It was somehow too familiar. Reluctantly, he followed the other two towards the motel rooms, quietly hoping that he wouldn’t have to sleep in the car.

Ian and Mandy marvelled at the swimming pool in the courtyard, to which Mickey rolled his eyes to the heavens before making a snarky comment about them and pool sex. It was Ian’s turn to roll his eyes, knowing that Mickey wouldn’t be able to see him as he reluctantly trudged behind them. As they ascended the stairs, Mickey was struck by how quiet it was. Chicago had always been a cacophony of various sounds of trouble; barking dogs, raging neighbours, gun shots. Admittedly the latter was usually due to some member of his family. This quietness was slightly unnerving though. To quell any worries, it was soon broken by Mandy’s dulcet tones.

“No fucking way! Fuck Mickey, you came up good with this one.” The room was big, bigger than any of them could have anticipated. There were two double beds in the room, a bathroom to the rear. There was even a microwave on the cabinet next to the TV. Sure the TV looked like it had been bought in the 50s, but for the length of time they would be here, it would do. Mandy dived on to the bed before jumping up and down gleefully. She fell down with a thump before darting to the bathroom, “It has a fucking tub as well! I call dibs on the bath tonight.”

“So I guess you’ll be sleeping here tonight,” Ian remarked with a grin. Mickey could have sworn there was something behind the way he was staring at him. He really needed to get his head on straight. Constantly inventing scenarios where every word Ian spoke was some hidden come on was not good for anyone or anything, “Help me grab the bags.”

The night was still young once they had eaten but it was clear that Mandy was ready to just sleep. She had ordered them to go out and get to know each other better, given that they would be spending a lot of time together now. Ian was initially reluctant, not really savouring the prospect of spending time with Mickey alone. He knew that his attraction to Mickey was a dead end. However, any slight inclination that he got that Ian was even remotely interested, and Ian could kiss his dick goodbye, quite possibly his life as well. Mandy had tried to reassure him that Mickey wasn’t nearly as bad as her dad and because he knew Ian, and who he was to Mandy, he wouldn’t come to any kind of gay conclusion. Finally, after Mandy had practically thrown them both out of the room so she could have some Mandy time, the two men stood outside the door and stared at each other. Without really saying anything, they began to amble to the bar they had seen a short way from the motel.

“You are out of your goddamn mind. Have you seen that fucking pony tail? S’a powerful ponytail man, that’s bullshit. Seagal could totally kick Van Damme’s ass.”

“Oh oh, unless it’s Double Impact Van Damme, cos that’s some Van double Damme!” Ian retorted, accompanying his last words with some body movement that made Mickey’s dick twitch. He shifted uncomfortably in his seat. Between the movement and Ian’s laugh, he knew he would have to sort himself out before he shared the room with Ian and his sister later on.

“Fuck Van Damme.” He said as he took a swig of his beer. He failed to notice the full body examination Ian was giving him. Ian was internally chastising himself. It was only day one and he was seriously struggling to keep his body and feelings in check. There was no way he could let Mickey know that he was into guys, much less that he was into him. However, just watching the bottle sit on Mickey’s lips as he drank had Ian feeling some ridiculous pang of jealousy that it wasn’t him in that position. Their laughter subsided a little and Ian took it as an opportunity to order another round.

They had fallen into conversation surprisingly easy, comparing war stories from their childhoods, doing a tally of whose parents were the more fucked up. Mickey’s had won thanks to the joys that Terry brought into his life. Ian was absentmindedly pulling at the label on his beer bottle, listening to Mickey talk but getting distracted on the thoughts of what they were doing out here.

“You know apparently that’s a sign of sexual frustration.” Mickey quipped as he took another swig from his glass, his eyes focussing on Ian, watching as his face blanched, “What, my sister not doing it for you?”

“I haven’t fucked your sister!” Ian blurted out, not realising his mistake until it was too late. He tried desperately to back track, “I mean, for a while. She’s on the rag.”

“Cut the bullshit, Gallagher.” Ian was panic stricken. Did Mickey know? How could he? He wanted to run out of the bar as fast as his legs could carry him. ROTC had seen him build up some stamina, he could get quite far. His legs were longer than Mickey’s too, “What’s going on with you and my sister?”

“I…I don’t know what you mean?” Mickey stared at him, his eyebrows raised to the point that they were almost part of his hairline. Christ, did he have to look so goddamn hot right now?, Ian lamented knowing now wasn’t the time to be getting all hot and bothered about this particular Milkovich sibling.

“Gallagher, come on. What is it? You can talk to me. You got some issues downstairs? Your Johnson not working properly?”

“Fuck you, my dick works just fine.” Ian snapped, again not letting his brain compute what Mickey was saying.

“Well, what the fuck is wrong with my sister then that you can’t shove it in her?” Ian got up and pushed back on the chair, causing it to fall to the floor. He stormed off to the men’s room and fumed the entire way. Mickey just laughed at how easy it was to wind him up. However, those doubts that he’d had about Ian previously, were slowly beginning to manifest.
Ian was pacing the bathroom floor, walking a trench down the centre of the room. He didn’t know how to answer Mickey with anything but the truth, but the truth would likely get him killed. He knew that the Milkovich’s weren’t the most hospitable crowd. Mandy has seemingly managed to escape the indoctrination from their father but she had already warned Ian about her brother’s. He failed to notice when the door opened until he was face to face with one such brother.

“What’s your problem?” Mickey questioned, noticing the fear and frustration lining Ian’s face.

“You! You’re my problem.” Ian spat back, a little too forcefully as Mickey wiped his face with the back of his hand. “You think that I have a problem because I HAVEN’T fucked your sister.” Fuck, Gallagher, Ian chastised himself. “In a while. I haven’t fucked your sister, in a while. I’m sorry if I actually care enough to not just ‘shove it in her’.”

“Two years, not heard you once.” Mickey stated, staring Ian straight in his eyes. He knew it was risky, staring intently at the man who was getting increasingly sexier by the moment. Pissed off Gallagher was a wonder to behold.

“Fucking perve. I’m quiet.”

“My sister isn’t. She’s like a fucking banshee. So, you’re not making her come? She would have got rid of you by now. Why is she keeping you close when you are obviously not a couple?” Ian was struggling for words. He felt like he was 5 years old, in the deep end of the pool, unable to swim and someone had just taken a pin to his armbands. He was desperately trying to keep his head above water. He could feel himself being walked backwards toward the wall. The shorter guy in front of him was no longer looking up at him but rather looking down. He was staring at his belt, fuck he was staring at his dick.

“Because you want to shove it in me, eh Gallagher?” Mickey mumbled, his voice heavy but tinged with nerves. Ian let a moan escape as his back finally hit the wall. If he did nothing, he was going to get a knee to the groin. If he pushed back, he would probably end up brushing up against Mickey and that would only make things worse. He closed his eyes and waited for his fate. A moment later, he opened his left eyelid. Standing in front of him, he watched as Mickey held his bottom lip between his teeth, his eyes flicking over his face before lingering on his mouth. The door opened once more and an older guy wandered in. He studied the scene for a moment before making his way to the urinal. Mickey glanced back at him before taking it as a cue to leave. Ian exhaled heavily as he watched the retreating Milkovich leave the bathroom. He adjusted himself and followed a few moments later. When he walked back into the bar, he couldn’t see Mickey anywhere.