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hooked on your tongue

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“Alright, up you get,” Molly sighs, flicking a beckon at Beauregard’s moody human friend. His ginger brows quirk up in the center. Molly wheels his wrist again, a demonstrative sweep upward. “Come on,” he says, patient. “We’re going to dance.”

“Yeah, loosen up man,” Beau says before her friend has a chance to refuse, which it’s pretty clear he meant to do. Her hand comes down on his shoulder — heavily, judging by the way he bows forward with the impact.

“Don’t worry. I do bite, but I usually ask first.” Molly grins, showing his canines, testing the waters. The waters don’t seem amused, but they don’t seem all that concerned, either. The waters are a pretty shade of blue, Molly will give him that much. “What was your name again?” he asks, slinging an arm around slim shoulders, not quite a collar. He’s also not quite frog-marching the man onto the dance floor, but it’s a close thing.

“Caleb,” says Caleb.

“Lovely. Now, Caleb, forgive me for saying so but you strike me as the sort of man who dances like he fucks, which is to say not at all.” Molly wins a sharp look for that, equal parts surprise and...annoyance? Interesting.

“Did Beau put you up to this?” he asks. It’s the most he’s spoken within Molly’s hearing yet, and his voice has a lovely accented burr to it that feels like a good scratch at the base of one's skull. Molly smiles to hear it, which only makes Caleb’s frown deepen.

“No, dear, but you were bringing down the mood of the whole table,” Molly says. He leans in a little to be heard. The bar is doing middling business tonight, and while the dance floor isn’t the hot, orgiastic press of a dance club, it’s still milling with a good number of folk. Jester’s laughing in Caduceus’s arms, standing on his feet and head thrown back as he slowly twirls them. Fjord is trying to keep up with whatever synchronized number Nott and Yasha have thrown together, and Beau appears to be taking a quick break for alcohol. Caleb’s eyes track their group with him, and he doesn’t point out there hadn’t been much of a table left to bring down.

Molly steps close, into Caleb’s space, enjoying the way his pretty eyes go a touch wider at the proximity. “You don’t have to stay, you know,” Molly murmurs, still smiling. “I don’t know and don’t care what your deal is. But Yasha is home, and Beau is over the moon, so do you think you could find it in yourself to unbend a bit before you flee? For her sake.”

Caleb’s gaze turns inward for a moment, quiet. Then he blinks, settling himself in a way that reminds Molly distinctly of a cat. “Given the right partner, I can manage a creditable waltz or tarantelle,” he says, bored.

“I’m afraid I left those at home tonight,” Molly says, just as light. “Why don’t you try showing me what you’ve got?” He offers with open arms, letting the syncopated hip-hop beat bumping from the sound system crawl subtly through his shoulders.

Caleb eyes him askance but, gamely, begins to shuffle his feet and move his arms. Molly can see the problem almost immediately. It’s not as bad as he would’ve guessed, judging only by the sheer depth of the stick up Caleb’s ass; the man does appear to have a clear sense of rhythm. Probably from marching in place while he brushes his teeth every morning, Molly thinks.

No, the problem is he’s stiff, telegraphing discomfort, eyes flicking around nervously as if his lackluster two-step is something anybody would want to stop and stare at. Molly can’t even tempt Caleb to just watch him, and Molly knows what he looks like when he’s dancing. That won’t do at all.

The song changes over into something much slower, a plucked guitar melody that puts Molly in mind of sunset and tequila. Caleb immediately stops moving. He actually looks alarmed when Molly takes his hand and draws him close.

“It’s a slow song,” Caleb protests. Every bit of him that’s capable of leaning away from physical contact is.

“Yes I know, it’s perfect,” Molly says, turning him around. “Are you planning on leaving?”

“What? No,” Caleb says, glancing over his shoulder.

“Good,” Molly says, helping himself to Caleb’s hips and drawing their bodies flush against each other. “Try letting your weight settle lower,” he says, running a hand down Caleb’s flank, pausing significantly at ass and thigh. Caleb jolts but doesn’t pull away, one hand dropping to Molly’s wrist. “Jumpy, are we?”

“A little forewarning next time, maybe,” Caleb mutters, and Molly laughs.

“Where’s the fun in that? Come on now, find the rhythm,” he says, beginning to sway. After a hesitation Caleb moves along, but there’s nothing easy in it. Molly brings up his tail, slinging it around Caleb’s waist and freeing one hand to press in the center of Caleb’s ribs, the other passing over his eyes.

“No one is looking at us,” Molly fibs. Beau is the most obvious of their small audience, waving enthusiastic thumbs up their way. Molly shoots her back a wink over Caleb’s shoulder.

“Well, you are pretty inconspicuous,” Caleb says. Such a dry wit, Beau’s friend. Molly leans in to his ear.

“If you can’t stop thinking, focus smaller. The beat here,” he says, tapping it out over Caleb’s chest. “Or here,” he adds, sliding his other hand down the flat plane of Caleb’s stomach, low enough to be daring. He uses the splay of his fingers to keep them pressed together, the position undeniably sexual. Caleb’s breath clips on a short inhale, but he doesn’t pull away. If anything, his movement improves with his eyes closed, leaning back more readily into Molly’s embrace.

The music rolls through them, shared like hands dragging slowly down Molly’s chest, through the lift and curve of his hips, into Caleb’s body and back up again. Something seems to finally unlock in Caleb’s spine; he melts into the rhythm, a grazing counterpoint where they’re connected from neck to mid-thigh. Molly isn’t expecting the tingle of interest it sparks — he’s only been pawing at the man for the past ten minutes, but hello, there it is.

Maybe the distraction is why he doesn’t notice Caleb reaching for his hand until he’s being spun out and then reeled back in, an exhilarating rush right in the middle of the song’s bridge. Just like that Caleb is leading, Molly drawn up against him in a close hold, their thighs slotted together.

“Uh,” he says in response to this development, brilliantly.

“Something on your mind?” Caleb asks, looking up through his strawberry blond lashes. Molly is unreasonably annoyed.

“That was neatly done,” he says, acknowledging the point scored.

“Mm.” Caleb nods thoughtfully, tilting his face closer so their cheeks almost brush. “Perhaps it is because I dance like I fuck — which is to say, infrequently but with some skill.”

He steps back while Molly weathers the sudden relocation of blood from his extremities to his cock, just as the song ends. Then, of all intolerable things, Caleb bows slightly over Molly’s hand and brushes a kiss across his knuckles.

“Wow, fuck you,” Molly breathes. Caleb just gives him a sliver of a grin, turning to make his rounds to the party, saying his goodbyes.

Beau joins Molly at the table later, conspicuously sipping her beer.

“You pulled that shit on purpose,” he accuses, after he can’t hold off anymore. Approximately thirty seconds, in total.

“I just can’t believe you really thought the grinding lesson was going to work. I told you he’s too smart for your bullshit.” Beau smirks, accepting a sweaty, dance-flushed Yasha against her side without looking away.

“Yeah, well,” Molly says, chewing a cocktail straw. “I hadn’t met him yet.”

“Who, Caleb?” Yasha asks, blowing a loose tendril of hair out of her eyes. “He’s nice. I liked him.”

“Welp,” Beau says, grin splitting wider even as Molly strongly considers using his blood maledict to curse her with mutual suffering, “guess you’ve got the approval of your moms, buddy. What are you waiting for?”

“You think I won’t foul your bed again, Lionett?” he says, though he’s already getting up.

“Go get ‘em, tiger!” Yasha says encouragingly through a mouthful of what looks like bacon Beau has been storing in her pocket.

Molly flips them both off over his shoulders as he heads for the door.