Days pass. And then weeks. Life, indeed, goes on without the mysterious Mr. Eddie Thawne sending Barry expensive gifts, or showing up as if from nowhere when Barry least expects it.
Life, in fact, goes on exactly as it had before Eddie invited himself into Barry's life... It's only Barry that's different.
He thinks about Eddie every second.
When he wakes up every morning, Barry remembers how it had felt to wake up bedside someone for once, beside Eddie; how beautiful Eddie had looked, face relaxed in sleep, hair mussed against his pillow. When he crawls into bed at night, Barry remembers Eddie pushing him down onto his back, stretching his arms above his head. "Don't move unless I tell you." The sexy gravel of Eddie's voice raises goosebumps on Barry's flesh, even in memory.
Breakfast makes Barry think of Eddie - sucking pancake syrup from Barry's fingers.
Bathing makes Barry think of Eddie, in the tub - guiding Barry's hand; teaching Barry how Eddie likes to be touched.
Pretty much everything makes Barry think of Eddie, but Barry - Barry himself - is the biggest reminder of all. Every time Barry looks at his own body - his naked torso in the bathroom mirror, his legs as he steps into the shower... his fingers as he grips a pencil - Barry remembers how Eddie had made him feel like so much more than just the sum of his parts.
Whenever Eddie had touched him anywhere... Barry had felt it everywhere.
He's taken actual anatomy classes - he knows this shouldn't come as a shock.
But Barry can't get over it. He can't get over Eddie. And not just because of the sex stuff. Barry's eyes land on the first edition, autographed comic books Eddie sent him as an "apology" - what feels like a lifetime ago - and his stomach drops. He pictures Eddie's lips quirking up in one corner, the way they do when Eddie's teasing, and Barry's heart thumps.
There's so much more going on between them than just sex... at least for Barry. Ridiculously more, considering they've only known one another for a few months. But then, that's Barry's ultimate problem.
Eddie's contract sits in Barry's messenger bag - dog-eared from all the times that Barry has flipped through it, and then flipped through it again. Eddie undoubtedly believes that Barry won't sign it because he's afraid of what it would allow Eddie to do to Barry.
But that's not Barry's problem at all...
Barry can't help feeling like, if he signs over control of his body to Eddie now, he'll be signing away any hope he has of getting more than just Eddie's body in return.
Exactly four months from the day Eddie handed Barry the oh-so-innocent-looking envelope that has kept Barry up at night ever since, Eddie texts Barry - as he's taken to doing once a week.
'Any progress?' says Eddie's text. And the next says, 'I've been patient.'
Without thinking, Barry replies, 'yes you have'.
Then, pulse rabitting in his throat, Barry makes a decision. 'and it's paid off,' he types.
It's a disappointment when Eddie doesn't immediately text back, even though Barry is so wracked by nerves, he's half afraid that anything Eddie might text will spike his blood pressure until he passes out.
A moment passes. And then another. Barry begins, with dread, to consider what the hesitation might mean and then-
His phone rings.
Barry answers it as soon as his fingers stop shaking too badly to operate the touchscreen.
"Does that mean what I think it means?" Eddie asks, no 'hello'; no question as to what's taken Barry so long, whether he's certain.
"It- It means... I want to talk about the terms some more. Before I sign," Barry tells him.
"But you will sign?" Eddie presses.
'What the hell are you doing, Barry?' Barry's inner voice asks him. It sounds a lot like his sorta-dad, Joe. Or his best friend, Iris. Or himself... four months ago: a guy who'd never done more than kiss another guy.
Can he seriously promise Eddie to sign his contract? Making Barry Eddie's sex slave - whatever Eddie wants to call it.
"Yes," Barry breathes, feeling like all the oxygen in his chest follows the word out.
Eddie's response is just that - just Barry's name, said deep and low. Eddie sounds kind of breathless himself, and the thought that Barry's answer means that much to him makes Barry's mouth go dry.
"I'm very happy to hear that," Eddie says a beat later, having obviously collected himself. Barry smiles at the serious tone of Eddie's voice.
At least until Eddie says, "I can have Taylor pick you up at seven."
Eddie chuckles. But there's less humor in his tone than there is something hot, sure and expectant. "I have waited to get my hands on you again for four months, Barry Allen... I don't want to wait any longer than I have to."
Barry shivers - the good kind of shivers, he thinks.
"Good boy," Eddie says smoothly. Even with the phone line and many miles between them, Barry has to bite his lip not to gasp at the unexpected sensation the words send through him.
And so it begins.