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Collecting with Interest

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Mike is green but he has never been stupid.

And he would have to be both blind and stupid before he can pretend he isn’t seeing any of this. Making sense of it is a whole other question he can’t be bothered to work through, just yet.

This is only his first week after all.

 

That night, Mike steps out of the bathroom the exact same moment Charlie and Jakes walk by.

She has her patterned bathrobe wrapped around her, miles of legs exposed and hair still dripping wet. He has a towel around his waist and nothing else.

There are two showers in Graceland and three people with wet hair.

There’s not a lot of math involved after that.

 

The chore wheel turns and Mike picks up the mail that week.

And he would have knocked on Briggs’ door if it isn’t already half opened. Stepping in, Briggs is sprawled on one side of his bed, only half awake, before he is sitting up. The motion is enough to drag the sheets with him as he lifts a hand up as a sign of a groggy good morning.

Mike would have seen, regardless of whether Johnny decides to turn over in the bed or not. But it still feels like a sucker punch to the stomach when Johnny rolls over on the other side of the bed to sling an arm into Briggs’ lap in his sleep. The tan span of his bare back a blank canvas for the sun.

“I’ll leave the mail on the kitchen counter next time.”

He doesn’t stutter and it doesn’t come out stumbling but he swallows thickly at the sight. Because his mind can supply plenty of plausible deniability but he can’t exactly pretend that he doesn’t see their clothes strewn across the floor, or smell the scent of sex tracing the air in the room.

The tips of his ears are burning when he shuts the door.

 

It is dark and Mike has fumbled halfway down the stairs when he hears the front door open.

He doesn't hold his breath but he does listen for the shuffling in the kitchen. Mike is at the bottom of the stairs when he hears voices talking softly, just enough for him (in his half asleep state) to pick up sounds, instead of the words that they are saying. He thinks it might be Briggs by the opened door upstairs and Paige by the closed door upstairs.

And his suspicions are confirmed when he turns the corner to see Paige leaning over the counter to press a kiss to Briggs’ lips.

Mike doesn’t stay for the tongues but now that he is wide awake, he can try his hardest to forget. Still, it will be a while before he can fall asleep without thinking of the softer sounds they make when she licks into his opened mouth.

 

Mike is a bright boy (graduated at the top of his class).

But he lives with the pros. They cast glances from across the room and share smiles even when they know he is looking. It's a little like trying to catch a wave coming straight at him, except eight seconds is hardly enough for him to make sense  of it all.

Still, here it comes.

 

Mike wakes up on the couch with a slight hangover, it’s not crippling but oh, can he feel it. He cracks open an eye and curses at the sun for a fraction of a second before he sees the line of empty shot glasses on the table. He groans as he eases his head back to the couch, clenching his eyes, only to hear an answering moan on his left.

“…is it morning already?”

Mike’s entire body stiffens when he feels someone shift against his right.

“This place needs curtains… I can’t keep doing this.”

He hears another low groan before silence resumes. And it is only then that he dares to open his eyes again. He sucks in a breath for courage and nearly forgets to breathe out when he sees Charlie draping herself over his right side and Johnny with an arm thrown over him. Their hands are laced, interlocking in Mike’s lap, Charlie’s thumb still rubbing steady circles across the skin of his stomach from where his shirt has hiked up in his sleep.

Mike drops his head back on the couch in resignation.

It takes a long time for him to relearn how to breathe slow steady breaths.

 

It has barely even been a week. But Mike has only walked through the front door when he smells pancakes. And he has only pulled off one ear bud to hear their overlapping voices from the kitchen. He comes back from his morning run to see Jakes throwing a fit when someone puts his milk back in the fridge, empty.

“Okay, which one of you did it?!”

He has the carton in one hand and his rasta hat in the other. He looks serious and ready to snap.

Everyone blinks, all innocence and good grace.

It takes a good twenty minutes to console him into letting go but Johnny promises to buy him more milk (he insists it’s not because he’s got a guilty conscience) and Paige ends up feeding Jakes Briggs’ home made pancakes. Mike can’t see Charlie’s eyes from behind her sunglasses but he can see her smile.

And he’s never been anything but smart.

He takes the plate Briggs offers him and nearly chokes on the first bite when Briggs flips another pancake to golden brown perfection on the pan, and says.

“Eat up, baby, we’ve got a big day ahead of us.”

 The petname doesn't go unnoticed by anyone.

 

Mike is green but he has never been stupid.

He knows a good thing when he sees it.

So when Johnny calls out to him in reflex, “kiss for good luck?”

Mike doesn’t say no.

Instead he turns back with his lips already curving halfway to a grin and says, “later, and I’m collecting with interest.”

He leaves with a wink and manages to collect from all of them when the bust goes down without a hitch.

XXX Kuro