There’s a difference between sex and love; Brad has always known this for a fact. Hell, he spent most of his adult life paying for the former and avoiding the latter at all costs. He never considered himself the jealous type, either — sex is sex and if you’re a marine that only means that sex is a commodity, a luxury, and that you take what you can get.
Brad never imagined that he’d find someone (after Julie, that is) who’d make him want to never see another whore, anyone but that person. Nate’s managed to insinuate himself, to sneak past all of Brad’s defenses and to settle in, make himself at home right the fuck in Brad’s heart. So much for the rumor that he doesn’t have one.
And seriously, Brad can keep the physical and the emotional well enough apart.
Fame and touring with a band brings some things with it: groupies, for one. And Brad doesn’t think Nate’s going to fuck one of them. Nate’s a better person than that. Nate isn’t Julie.
He can’t help but wonder, though.
If Nate notices that Brad’s glowering in the background, he doesn’t let on — though he must have noticed that Brad’s angry. Nate’s always been observant, it’s one of the first things Brad noticed about him, and Brad knows that he’s currently far from the Iceman, he’s probably broadcasting his fucking emotions across the board: clenched jaw, back straight and feet apart, not quite to attention, chin up.
Nate doesn’t say anything, just keeps signing autographs and smiling at the girls, sunglasses slipping down his nose. Brad wants to lick that smile off of his face, replace it with the dazed, fucked-out expression of lust that Nate wears in bed sometimes. He wants to leave his marks all over Nate to make sure that there can be no doubt as to who Nate belongs to.
Brad’s disgusted by himself, he used to have better emotional control than this. He used to be less of an animal, too. Nate brings out the best and the worst in him, makes him feel so much.
“Seriously, Brad? What is your problem?” Nate gets in his face the moment that the door closes behind them. Brad doesn’t give an inch. The anger’s still itching under his skin, and he knows it isn’t really directed at Nate so much as his own demons and those fucking fans who don’t even know Nate but want to get their grubby hands on him, but it doesn’t change a thing.
“My problem? My problem’s that all these girls want is to get in your pants and you’re there smiling and encouraging them.” My problem is that at one point you might realize any one of them could make you happier than I do, he doesn’t say. “My problem’s that you’re acting like you don’t mind that they’re all one second away from getting on their knees and blowing you. Christ, they’re probably wet just thinking about all the things they could do to you, Nate, and you’re smiling like you’d fucking let them.”
Nate’s eyes flash; Brad hasn’t seen him this pissed off in a while. “You fucking—” Nate starts, and they both startle when Ray stretches, getting up from where he’s been lounging on the couch. Once again, Nate’s very existence proves to be hell on Brad’s situational awareness, because he should have clocked Ray the second they entered the room.
“Mexican stand-off?” Ray suggests, and if this were any other situation, Brad might point out that a Mexican stand-off traditionally involved three parties in a certain formation and that right now it’s just him and Nate because Ray does not fucking count when it comes to their relationship, no matter what he might imagine in his dirtier fantasies, but it isn’t any other situation. “Get the fuck out, Ray,” he grinds out, and something in his voice or maybe face must have convinced Ray that this is not one of those times he can push it.
“All right, all right, homes, no need to get your panties in a twist.” Ray throws his hands up and grabs his guitar, muttering under his breath about self-sacrificing assholes and destructive behavior. Brad has no idea what he’s talking about.
Nate, apparently, has some idea — his furious expression’s dropped into a thoughtful one, eyes still hard but far less angry. “You’ve got to stop this, Brad,” he’s saying now, serious. “I don’t want any of them. I want you. Get it through your thick skull.”
How the fuck is Brad supposed to stay angry when Nate says shit like that?
Fortunately, Nate doesn’t seem to expect any kind of answer, at least not a verbal one. He’s crowding in on Brad again, kissing him, hard and insistent like Brad could ever deny him this. He feels the tension bleed out of him, letting Nate press him against the wall. Nate’s hand finds his wrist, thumb pressing over his pulse point. Brad almost wishes Nate would leave a bruise and knows they can’t.
He lets Nate dominate the kiss, keeping his lips soft under Nate’s insistence, a silent apology, waiting until Nate sighs and rests his forehead against Brad’s, only possible because Brad’s no longer standing up straight.
“You’re such a dumbass,” Nate breathes against Brad’s lips; it comes out affectionate and fond rather than insulting. They both know what Nate’s really saying.
Brad shrugs. “Yeah, maybe.”
The next day, there’s speculation in the magazines about Brad’s presence at the signing. A few of them claim he’s the band’s new bodyguard. Ray doesn’t stop laughing for a long time.