The first time that they kissed was terrible.
Johnny had come into the wire store while they were setting up, desperately trying to calm himself after the meeting with Lonnegan and his encounter with the hit men..
Although he hadn't wanted Henry to know it, he was nervous when Lonnegan insisted on taking him home. He'd feared maybe the mobster might just have been pretending interest in Johnny's plan to take his "boss" down. Maybe the real plan was to send a message to Henry (or Shaw, the name Henry was known as by Lonnegan) by killing his boy.
The ride had gone well, although he'd been sandwiched between Lonnegan and one of his henchmen- a man with a distressing lack of emotion on his face.
Hooker gave the breakdown of the plan Henry had laid out and it seemed Lonnegan had taken the bait. Johnny had started to relax a little when he got up to his room.
That's when he saw the marker he'd left in the crook of his door to tell him if someone had broken in .
It was on the floor.
The two hit men heard him outside the door and chased him out onto the street. Luckily a street sweeper was going by and he hitched himself on the side of it and got away.
He instinctively went to see Henry.
He knew he couldn't tell Henry what had happened; Henry had flat out told him they'd fold the con if there was any sign of Lonnegan's men.
He couldn't let this end, not when they had barely gotten started.
Hooker knew he'd have to calm himself when he got to the store. So he'd immediately gone to the bar and downed a double scotch.
When Henry asked him how things had gone he'd given him the "everything is jake" line, and said there were no signs of trouble. Henry obviously didn't believe him so he admitted that Lonnegan had threatened to kill him at one point. He made light of it though, as did Henry. He said '"Hell, kid. They don't do that you know you're not getting to them."
Johnny had nodded and had another double, his hands still shaking.
He followed Henry into the office.
"What's wrong, kid? You look pale all of a sudden," Henry's face took on a softness it sometimes did when he was concerned or worried.
Johnny had discovered that look was reserved for him.
Tonight it had a strange effect on him.
Tonight it made him grab Henry up against the filing cabinets and kiss him.
It was awkward and sloppy and fueled by Hooker's pent up anxiety and adrenaline.
Henry put his hands on Johnny's face and gently disengaged himself.
"What are you doing, kid?" he asked, bewildered.
Mortified, Hooker just mumbled something about being drunk and nervous and ran out of the store.
The next day when he saw Henry neither one of them mentioned it, but the sexual tension between them from the start increased imperceptibly.
The first time they have sex it is amazing.
It's fueled by adrenaline and excitement and even fear of what the next day will bring.
The day when the play is completed and Lonnegan is taken down.
A million things could go wrong and they know it.
Henry is calmer than Johnny. He's had much more experience and knows how to handle the unexpected. But he's still worried.
He has that look on his face again as he sees how tightly wound Johnny is.
So they have a few drinks and Henry tells Johnny some stories about other cons he's pulled. Tales of when his crew went after other people as well connected and tough as Lonnegan and won.
Hooker suspects Henry is embellishing these stories to calm him down and it touches him.
He never really had anyone care about him other than Luther.
And Luther never made him feel- whatever this feeling was that he got around Henry.
When Johnny gets up as if to leave Henry stops him.
"You should stay here tonight,"he tells Johnny.
"I can't-I feel like I'm gonna explode I'm so "- he can't even think of a word to adequately express his feelings.
"Take it easy kid. You're not gonna lose him now. You had him ten years ago, when he decided to be somebody," Henry says in a sardonic tone of voice.
Henry goes to the closet and takes his suitcase down, preparing to leave the next day. He tells Johnny he expects to be a hot item again after tomorrow.
Hooker feels a pang of guilt as he opens the door to leave.
"You know," he says softly, "I wouldn't be asking you to do this if it wasn't for Luther."
"Nothing's gonna make up for Luther," Henry replies matter of factly. "Revenge is for suckers. I've been grifting thirty years and I never got any."
"Then why are you doing it?" Johnny wonders.
Henry looks at him for a long moment before answering. His blue eyes looking directly into Johnny's.
"I'm doing it for you," he says.
"What do you mean, for me?" Johnny asked. "What, do you think I'm so incompetent that I couldn't do it on my own? That I'd go off 'half cocked' as you put it, and fuck everything up?"
Henry's eyes twinkle mischievously and he smiles. "Kid, I'll say what I said to you the first time we met. You're a real horse's ass."
Johnny stares at him as the real meaning of what Henry said hits him.
"I'm doing it for you."
What Henry is really saying is:"I'm willing to give up stability, my freedom, and possibly my life to help you."
Johnny shuts the door and goes toward Henry.
"I'm doing it for you." Because he knows how much it means to Johnny, and he knows Johnny can't do it alone.
And Hooker was emotional from the start about this mark, which left room for mistakes.
"I'm doing it for you."
Johnny takes off his coat with Henry's help, and within a couple of minutes of frantically pulling, tearing and tugging off each other's clothes they are naked and have crashed on to the bed.
There is so much heat in their touch, so much hunger. Fueled by passion, adrenaline and something that felt like love they writhe against each other. Hooker licks the light line of hair down to Henry's cock, burying his face in him, tasting and touching and devouring.
Sucking and biting the inside of Henry's thigh.
Teasing him until Henry begs for Johnny to take him.
Johnny takes Henry all the way in his mouth while Henry pushes his hips up and gives him more. Johnny suckis on Henry's balls as he's fingering his hole.
Making him scream Johnny's name when he comes.
Then Henry's crushing Johnny underneath him. The desire to taste, kiss, know every part of him all consuming. Licking his nipples, trailing a line of saliva down Johnny's stomach. Kissing and biting on Johnny's hip, caressing his ass as Henry takes Johnny deep into his mouth,
Johnny's face when he comes with Henry's name on his lips.
Afterwards there is no awkwardness, and the two of them stay tangled around each other until they fall asleep.
This time when they kiss it is not terrible.
It is deep,passionate and loving.
This time it's perfect.