“This seat taken?”
Matt ignored the speaker at first because… well, the bar was nearly empty this early so as pick up lines went it was so improbable it was ludicrous, and if it was then the speaker was obviously under the added delusion that Matt had money and was about to pay some twink to be able to fuck him.
Then he remembered he did have money. It was such a new and fresh occurrence he forgot. It wasn’t like he would need it for anything else ever again.
“So strong and silent, hmm?”
The voice purred in his ear and Matt blew a long tired breath out and turned in resignation. The words “fuck off” were on the tip of his tongue but taking his bad mood out on some poor kid just trying to make a buck in what might be the only way he knew how wasn’t fair. Of all people he should know that.
“You’re—” wasting your time was what he was actually going to say but the vision in front of him made every word fly out of his mind. Full pink lips pursed together and then his tongue came out to slide along them as if they needed the moisture. The longest lashes he’d ever seen framed luminous hazel eyes that dipped and then swept back up at Matt as if Matt was every fantasy the guy had ever dreamed of. He could feel his jeans tightening at the not-so-innocent action and pure lust speeding through his veins reminding him of the alcohol fix he still craved and mourned sometimes what seemed like every fucking second of every fucking day.
Some more than others.
He pushed his untouched neat vodka further away from him as if the temptation to do any other than look at it might come back. He nearly snorted—come back—days like today it had never gone away.
“I’m just killing time until the bus goes.” There. He would move on to another hopeful conquest. He turned his gaze to the TV and the game. Not that he was especially interested. It didn’t seem like much interested him at all these days.
“You a Hawks fan?” the guy gestured to the basketball game. Matt shrugged noncommittally. “You want that freshening up?” the guy asked after a second obviously noticing Matt’s still full glass and still seeming undaunted at Matt’s lack of interest. Must be desperate. And suddenly Matt was tired of fighting, tired of struggling. He had no intention of drinking anything but he had money in his pocket because the one person he ever gave it to didn’t need it anymore.
“I don’t drink, but I can pay for a motel room.” Blunt—no frills. If you said up front what you wanted there would be no misunderstanding.
The hazel eyes widened a little in shock and Matt nearly smiled. He’d obviously expected to have to work harder at seduction. “You can?” Pink Lips voice rose a little as if mildly panicked and Matt stared in confusion. Had he got this wrong? Matt took in the tight tank top and the artfully ripped jeans. There was no reason to approach Matt for any other reason. What the fuck was he expecting? A grand seduction scene?
“Well I’m not fucking in some alleyway,” Matt responded and threw a twenty on the bar standing up.
“Okay,” came the tight answer and Pink Lips turned to leave the bar. Matt followed.
Matt headed for the no frills motel in Atlanta because it was cheap, near to the airport, and when he returned from Denver he always needed a day before he caught the bus back to Tampa and then Sanibel. This time he hadn’t stayed overnight in Denver—there had been no point—so he could catch the earlier bus and not have to book a room. He could have flown into Fort Myers or Tampa but the bus ride gave him the chance to let go of his anger, his humiliation, and the loss. He wasn’t sure what was worse—that his annual punishment trip was over, or that he would never need to make it again.
His motel was practically four doors away from Henry’s bar and just down the street from the large gay nightclub he’d never ventured in. Henry’s was the quiet no frills alternative where guys could sit and nurse the same drink for hours if they wanted to or shoot some pool and generally get left alone. The other benefit was that the bus station was within walking distance.
He was about to ask the man what his name was but then realized he simply didn’t care. Yes you do. And he did. He might never be going to see the man ever again but he wasn’t such a bastard he didn’t want some connection—even a temporary one.
He sensed the once over he was being given and decided to get the basics out of the way. “How much?” He glanced over when he didn’t get an immediate reply.
Matt nodded. Cheap in some places. Steep in others; but he could live with it. Wouldn’t be the first time he’d had to pay for it and he doubted it would be the last. Ex-con alcoholics weren’t usually top tier boyfriend material.
He walked into the lobby and quickly paid for the room. The old guy behind the desk barely looked up as he handed over the cash. Pink lips was silent as they both ignored the elevator and jogged up the single flight of stairs. He unlocked the door and stepped in, turning to flick on the light and seeing the yawn that seemed to take Pink Lips by surprise.
“Sorry.” The guy flushed and covered his mouth. Matt looked at him assessingly. He wasn’t as young as Matt had originally thought, maybe mid twenties but he looked exhausted to be honest. Not that that was any of his business, nor how he chose to earn a buck, or the hours it took him to do it.
He wasn’t here to be sociable.
Matt grimaced. Josh would have sat the guy down, fed him, and probably gotten his entire life story. Matt picked at his button down he wore to cover his arms and make him less noticeable with a faint sense of guilt. He just wasn’t sure he was ready for anyone else’s story today. He was having too much trouble dealing with his own.
“What’s your name?” Matt expected him to lie but it was something to say.
“Ray,” the man replied automatically and scanned the room. “Bathroom?” he asked and opened the only other door in the place which made it a bit of a dumb question. He disappeared in it and Matt sighed, disappointed for some insane reason that he hadn’t cared to ask Matt what his name was and pulled out his wallet, took out the fifty dollars and laid the cash prominently on the side table next to the bed. He switched on the TV aimlessly for something to fill the quiet of the room, although the noise from the road was quite loud. Ray—if that was his name—came out of the bathroom after a minute, smiled shyly, and sat on the bed. Matt slid his wallet carefully back in his pants and decided to go use the bathroom himself.
He stepped in, took in the peeling paint and the broken tiles. What am I doing? He didn’t want to be here, he wanted to be home on Rainbow Key. The little slice of paradise that was his and he glanced at his watch. Josh would be in the kitchen serving dinner. Angie would be fussing over them all. He could have quiet evening with Ben and Zach, maybe play some cards or take Kai for a walk. You never heard any traffic on Rainbow Key. Motor vehicles were banned from the island and the loudest noise you ever had to contend with was the sound of the ocean. They had just finished Thanksgiving madness and there would be a short lul before Christmas. He knew he didn’t deserve the second chance he had gotten and vowed never ever to mess it up. He glanced at the cracked bath tub and longed for a shower but…
Enthusiasm flagged along with his cock. Even the memory of the hazel eyes was fading under the harsh strip light of the bathroom. He sighed; he was stalling. He could pay the man and tell him to get lost.
Matt opened the bathroom door glanced over to the bed and nearly swallowed his tongue. Ray was in bed. The sheet pooled around his hips showing off his completely naked chest and enough of his belly to drag Matt’s eyes lower. His arm casually shielded his eyes because the light in the bedroom was just as unforgiving as the one in the bathroom.
Matt opened his mouth to tell the guy he’d changed his mind when the man made a soft noise and moved his arm away from his firmly closed eyes and shuffled onto his side a little. Fuck. The word was uttered silently and with certain humor. Matt had been such a compelling prospect; the guy had fallen asleep. He couldn’t help the smile that tugged his lips and checked his watch again. He still had three hours to kill before he had to get the bus and he’d paid for the room. He could grab a shower and let the guy sleep for a while. He looked like he needed it.
Matt woke up slowly wondering why the sunlight was shining into his room. Shit. He bolted upright. What time was it? He glanced at the clock on the nightstand and swore again. He’d missed the late bus and had less than thirty minutes to get his stuff together and haul his ass to get the morning one. Then a memory slammed through his brain.
Pink Lips. Ray. Fuck. Every hair stood up on the back of his neck and he dived for his jeans and his wallet. He cursed again. His bank card and cash were gone. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. You stupid ass. Ray had cleaned him out while he had been asleep.
Matt swore again and went to the bathroom to brush his teeth and hurriedly gulp some water. When had he ever been so fucking dumb? He almost deserved it. He remembered coming out of the bathroom and getting dressed again. He’d sat down for five fucking minutes intending to wake the guy up and tell him he had to go.
He had another god awful thought but when he looked his phone was still on the dresser. At least he had that so he could call Daniel and get him to buy the bus ticket. And isn’t that going to be a fun conversation?
If he ever got his hands on Pink fucking Lips ever again he’d regret every second of making a fool out of him.