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a little wool over the eyes

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Every Californian with still some sense left to them – even though they were relatively rare in Brad’s opinion – would’ve agreed that Baltimore is not necessarily an ideal destination for a vacation.

 

Still, Brad had no logical reason for obliging when Sarah had asked him to spend a week of his off time accompanying them in visiting Mark’s parents. And yet, he did. He liked to believe that it was just a friendly gesture, that his mother raised him to be nice, but the truth, that Brad had been refusing to accept for two years now, is that his ex-fiancée still had a hold on him like no one else did.

 

It is pathetic really, Brad thought, tongue in cheek as he listened to Sarah complaining about Mark’s brothers. Mark held her hand on the table, stroking her knuckles with his thumb, looking empathetic and nodding along as she laid out all her problems with the very people Mark grew up with. Brad was suddenly reminded to a time she harshly criticized his sister, and the fight he started because of that. Comparing the two made him sick at the stomach.

 

He finally looked up from his untouched Americano, needing to divert his attention elsewhere before the memories drove him crazy. Thankfully, he was seated in the small café exactly so like he could stare right ahead and through the enormous window for a wall. The streets outside were relatively empty – the neighborhood was quiet, and it was just a few dock workers in safety vests and full gear driving down the street in their shitty pickups, drunk enough to be confident in their speed but not drunk enough to not be able to keep the steering wheel steady.

 

And then, Brad noticed a familiar figure in one of those dark, unflattering alleyways. He was still too far away for Brad to tell, but the height and generally bony, scrawny build had grasped his attention. He squinted a little, trying to recognize the outfit he wore besides the long coat that was at least two sizes too big, or figure out just how long that dark hair actually is now, and then the guy glanced over his shoulder, trying to see if there’s anyone behind him and the person he was very secretively disputing with, and then it was over.

 

Brad caught a glimpse of that sharp facial structure, the dark eyes and the thick brows, and his knee jumped so hard that it bumped into the table and rattled everything on top of it.

 

He faintly registered that Sarah had stopped talking at that, and maybe even glared at him accusingly. Brad blinked, trying to keep his eyes on the dude with the oversized coat, afraid that if he’ll look away, he might disappear from his eyes.

 

‘Please excuse me, just one second.’ he breathed, just taking a quick look at Mark, who stared at him questioningly, and Sarah, who sighed in an exasperated way.

 

For once in his life, Brad couldn’t care less. He stood up from the table quickly, the chair making a harsh sound against the floor, and made his way towards the door. It’s a good thing that he at least remembered to look both ways before traipsing across the street in a fully and completely illegal manner. He figured there are more illegal mannered things going on right about now that might interest officers of the law more than a little jaywalking.

 

‘Ray!’ he called out, and the two gentlemen immediately ceased the conversation. In fact, they jumped at his voice and looked terrified when he seemed to corner both of them. ‘What the fuck is your whiskey-tango ass doing selling dope in Baltimore?’

 

‘Please, officer, I can explain-‘ The other man in the dark hoodie (although Brad would’ve liked it more to call him a kid, since that seemed to fit better) yelped, but Ray hissed at him.

 

‘Are you a cop? Show me a badge, asshat!’ he whined, and Brad was taken aback by how high-pitched his voice became.

 

‘What do you mean badge?’ Brad lifted his brows, stepping aside to let the other kid – likely a customer – run past him and into the open street.

 

‘Hey HEY WAIT! You fucker!’ Ray shrieked then. ‘I use all this with prescriptions, you know!’

 

‘Wh- tha-, how are you so impossibly, stomach-churningly, head-achingly dumb to think that even if you have prescriptions for whatever you fucking sell out here, redistributing them is still not a federal offense?’

 

‘Well what the fuck do I know? Do I look like a goddamn lawyer to you, cop-but-not-really-whats’isbadge?’

 

Brad felt a migraine coming on from the fucking Baltimore accent. Something was seriously wrong with this Ray, if he even was Ray. All of the marine training was gone from his posture, and he stood there like some lanky kid who was never shown how to straighten his back. ‘Ray, what is wrong with you?’

 

‘No, dude, what is wrong with YOU. Even if you’re not a cop and you just wanna buy, there’s no reason to scare off my fucking client you dipshit. And what even is this Ray bullshit? Do I know you?’

 

‘I’m not here to buy your fucking dope.’ Brad sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose to fight down his incoming headache. ‘I must’ve confused you with someone I know.’ Shit, they really did look familiar. Brad wondered why it made him feel so crappy: like stomach-doing-backflips, feeling ill all over crappy. ‘Sorry about your client though. I’ve had a bad day.’

 

‘Yeah, stand in the goddamn line.’ Not-Ray-Ray barked, and then relaxed seeing how worn Brad had looked. He bit his lip and stood on his tiptoes, swinging back and forth on the soles of his feel a little. ‘Hey, uh. If you ever wanna meet again or whatever, you can just come to Dolores’ and hit me up. I hang out there all the time. You just gotta ask for Ziggy.’

 

‘Ziggy, like the David Bowie Ziggy?’ Brad asked, still a little numb but at least slightly intrigued now. Ray, who was actually Ziggy, flashed him a huge, bright smile. Even his crooked teeth were the same.

 

‘Yeah, man! Like the Bowie Ziggy.’ he laughed, shrugging his shoulders and making the enormous coat flap around him. He looked ridiculous – Brad had no idea why he couldn’t tear his eyes off of him. ‘I gotta run now, Big Guy, but uh. See you then?’

 

‘Perhaps.’ Brad nodded, backing out of the alley with him. ‘I apologize once more.’

 

‘Yeah yeah, don’t talk like such a pussy, you might get your ass kicked around here.’ Ziggy laughed once again, waving his last goodbye.

 

Brad stared at him until he felt awkward doing so. And then he wondered why he felt his heart aching the way he did.

 

 

The conversation he had with Sarah back at the motel was not an easy one.

 

She at first came at him for making Mark pay for his coffee that he did not drink at all. Brad knew better than to argue and tell her that he didn’t make Mark pay for anything, that idiot just ordered for him before he could get to the barista himself. That was fine. He could take that in silence.

 

But then she started screaming at him for talking to a drug dealer. Sarah immediately took it that Brad was purchasing drugs from Ziggy – which was appalling in itself – and tried to educate him, a US marine who obviously knew better than to poison his body made for war, on substance abuse.

 

‘If you want to try something, look, California has legalized so much stuff, Brad! You can get it at safe places at home, you know?’ Sarah pointed out, swaying side to side in the middle of the room with his arms crossed. And then, she huffed, and had the audacity to say: ‘I care about you, you know?’

 

And that finally snapped something in Brad.

 

‘So now you care about me.’ he said, flatly. ‘You don’t give a shit when I’m overseas. You definitely didn’t give a shit when you left me for my best friend. You don’t give a shit that I give up a major part of my off time just because your racist ass needs some emotional support in a black-dominated city when you find that your husband is too much of a pussy to protect you.’ he went on, standing in front of her now, voice still calm and cold. ‘And you’re right. Mark is a fucking pussy, but that’s because he still puts up with your whiny-ass, disrespectful, feelings-all-over-the-place shit. I, myself, have had enough now, Sarah.’

 

He walked over to get his discarded leather jacket from the coat hanger. He then faintly registered the soft sounds Sarah made as she was fighting down her tears. He found that he couldn’t care.

 

‘Where are you going?’ she asked, voice trembling but still firm, like she had some more fight to her. Brad could bet that she did, but he wasn’t going to be the one to deal with it. Not anymore.

 

‘That’s none of your business, sweetheart.’ Brad shot back. He really wanted to slam the door behind him as forcefully as he could, but instead he settled for softly pulling it shut. He knew Sarah flinched at that all the same.

 

 

By the time he found Dolores’ bar, it had been way past sundown.

 

At every turn that seemingly led him even further from his destination, he cursed himself for not asking for directions – even though he was too struck by the similarity of his best friend and this young, cocky stranger to think straight, but still. At least Ziggy could’ve known better than to send him on a treasure hunt like this, interviewing every intimidating Baltimorean on the streets until finally, a bunch of drunk dock workers have pointed him in the direction of the run-down pub near the docks.

 

The first thing that he was presented with was the overpowering stink of stale beer and cigarette smoke so prominent that he instantly felt closer to lung cancer on the very first breath he took inside. The very next thing he noticed was the shift in the atmosphere as he walked into the bar, alone and foreign – everyone who wasn’t too busy partying, telling stories or being too drunk to notice anything about their environment, seemed to turn their heads just to glare daggers at him.

 

It’s a good thing Brad wasn’t easy to intimidate. He walked in a straight line over to the bar, and sat down in front of the wide woman, supposedly in her late fourties-early fifties behind the counter. She was observing him suspiciously.

 

‘I take it you’re Dolores herself?’ he asked, slightly raising his voice to be heard over the loud chattering around them.

 

‘Yessir I am.’ she nodded, releasing the counter she was leaning on. ‘What can I ge’cha?’

 

‘Beer and three fingers of scotch.’ Brad waited until she stepped over to the tap. ‘Is Ziggy around tonight?’

 

‘Oh hon, Ziggy is around all nights. He’s pissin’ in the back, but he should come around soon.’

 

Brad nodded his understanding, muttered a ‘Thank you, darling’, and chugged most of his beer as the stevedores were still watching him intently. He has never been one to second-guess his decisions, but he started to get the sinking feeling that he hadn’t made the right call. Maybe coming to see Ziggy will result him in getting his ass kicked by a bunch of Slavic-looking dock workers and the next thing he knows is that Sarah will hover over him again with a look of concern and a mortifying ‘I told you’.

 

Just as his brain had painted the picture of a possible aftermath, a door swung open in the back, and a stray Ziggy appeared from behind it, already yelling something in the direction of the crowd as he was still zipping up his fly and doing his belt. It was the most unpleasant thing Brad had seen in a while. Most likely since he stopped doing tours with Ray.

 

‘Hey hey hey, it is the Big Guy!’ Ziggy shrieked, closer now so whichever Big Guy he was referring to, he got Brad’s attention all the same. Especially as he slapped his shoulder with the strength of someone who had more confidence than muscle. ‘I can’t believe you fucking came down here. Dolores, whatever he’s drinking, it’s all on me.’

 

‘Take your filthy, piss-covered, druggie hands off me.’ Brad grunted, but then let the guy cling onto his shoulders.

 

‘So the marine boy’s with you?’ Dolores asked him, and Ziggy slightly backed off from where he was pressed against Brad’s side.

 

‘You didn’t tell me you were a marine, man!’ he shouted, and Brad wondered just how much experience Dolores had with people who served. ‘Goddamn! You didn’t even tell me your name.’

 

‘If I do, will you stop calling me Big Guy and touching me like a drunk teenage girl on prom night?’ Brad shrugged his shoulders, to which Ziggy immediately retreated, and then laughed like an idiot. He fished around in his pockets, trying to light a cigarette as he waited for an answer.

 

‘Brad Colbert.’ he finally said, after taking a swig of his scotch. He couldn’t help but notice how the entire pub seemed to relax about how he was a stranger to them since Ziggy started talking to him. ‘I was First Recon in Iraq.’

 

‘Wow. I don’t have any idea what that means.’ Ziggy laughed, flicking ash into a small tray that Brad guessed was once used to store peanuts or pretzels. Something a normal pub would have at the bar counter if it wasn’t inhabited by barbarians. ‘Your guy, he serve with you?’

 

Brad looked over his shoulder to see him now. He noticed an angry bruise on his temple, harsh reddening and swelling on his mouth from a split lip. He also wasn’t wearing the oversized, expensive-looking coat he saw earlier in the day. ‘What the fuck happened to you?’ he blurted out.

 

Ziggy smiled a little sadly, his fingers hovering above the shot of tequila Dolores poured for him. ‘It’s Ray, isn’t it?’

 

‘It is.’ Brad couldn’t take his eyes off of his bruised face. He felt rage pooling in his stomach, low and boiling. ‘And he did. He was my,’ he had no idea why he wanted to say ‘partner’ first, but he stopped himself. ‘driver.’

 

‘Driving in a war must be fucking rad, dude.’ Ziggy laughed again. Brad was thinking that maybe this was his defense mechanism against everything. ‘What do you say we get another round?’ he asked, waving his empty shot glass.

 

Brad looked at the glasses in front of him, and wondered just when did he drink three fingers of scotch. ‘I say I’m in.’

 

 

He couldn’t exactly say he had any recollection of how he ended up outside alone with Ziggy, both of them leaning against the piss and graffiti-covered wall outside of Dolores’. Ziggy was telling him stories about the dock workers, about how they prank each other every day, sometimes even to the point of being harmed some way – to Brad, it seemed like those kind of jokes always targeted Ziggy –, he told him about his father, the chief of the stevedores and the leader of the community, and Brad wondered just how old he must be. He seemed old enough to be legally drinking, but not old enough to be a full-time dock worker and a part-time drug dealer.

 

And then Brad also wondered, burning cigarette in his hand (when exactly did that happen?), if the cut on Ziggy’s lip still tasted metallic and heavy like blood.

 

‘You still there, army-man?’ Ziggy asked, snapping him out of his daydreams, laughing as he inhaled from his own cigarette, and quickly flicked the ash away. Most of it landed on his skinny jeans and working boots. His movements were erratic, nervous now.

 

‘Marine’s not army.’ Brad mumbled, holding his cigarette up against his mouth to fight the urge to reach out and grab Ziggy’s face. He desperately wanted to imagine the scenario further, he wanted to know what he would do once he had a hold on him and could easily pull him close, but his brain had blocked every other coherent thought from that on.

 

Meanwhile, Ziggy looked up at him, his deer-like, dark eyes shining in the pale orange streetlights – he looked so much like Ray that it made his heart ache – and batted his eyelashes exactly like he knew whatever Brad was too chickenshit to even imagine.

 

‘You like him.’ he said then, matter-of-factly. He threw the butt of his cigarette away, towards the garbage bins by the corner. ‘That Ray guy. You’re into him.’

 

Brad wanted to protest, but then Ziggy’s hand was on him, sneaking up under the hem of his shirt and pressing against the sharp edge of his hipbone. It got him speechless, unable to think or move. It felt so much like Ray’s hand on him, the size and the calluses just the same as whenever their hands brushed.

 

‘ ‘swhy you like me, too.’ Ziggy smiled at him, stepping closer into his space. Brad took a quick drag of his cigarette to distract himself. ‘Even though I’m just a stinkin’ asshole.’

 

‘You’re not.’ Brad croaked, his voice too hoarse and weak even to his own ears. Ziggy pressed up against him, stroking up along his abs, tipping his head up to press a kiss to his jaw. Even on his tiptoes, he could barely reach him and had to brace himself on Brad’s chest to not lose his balance – Brad had no idea why it was such a turn on.

 

‘I’m not what?’ Ziggy whispered, his breath hot on Brad’s neck. It made him lose it a little.

 

Or a lot, because the next thing he knew was that he grabbed him by the shoulders, pushed him against the wall and kissed him with such fervor that their teeth clinked. Brad trapped him between his own body and the wall, but Ziggy did not seem like he was looking for a way to escape. In fact, he was scrambling to grab a hold of the leather jacket on his shoulder, trying to pull him even further into him, trying to kiss him back and moaning deep in his throat when he could not keep up with him.

 

Finally, as Brad licked behind Ziggy’s teeth and reduced him into a trembling mess, he pulled away and pushed his fingers into his thick, dark, soft hair to maintain his ability to tip his head up whenever, forcing Ziggy to look at him when he was ready to open his eyes.

 

‘I know what you want, kid.’ Brad said, barely above a whisper. Ziggy shuddered in his hold, blinking his eyes open, dazed. ‘You think you can use me to fuck your depressed, self-loathing ass open and senseless until you forget about all those things that make you want to drown yourself in alcohol and cry your pillow into a wet sponge. You think I will do it, that I’m desperate enough to fall in your bed because I’m a closeted homosexual who’s fully gay for my best friend who, coincidentally, looks exactly like your twink ass.’

 

Ziggy gulped at that, his Adam’s apple bobbing enticingly. Brad wanted to bite it. ‘Am I wrong, though?’ he finally said with all the self-confidence of a man who is used to being beaten up in dark alleyways.

 

Brad studied him for a moment. ‘Yes.’ he said, releasing him. Ziggy’s shoulders sagged immediately. ‘It’s your place, not mine.’

 

‘Huh?’

 

‘Take me to your place. I’m not taking you back to the motel.’

 

 

Ziggy smiled the exact same stupid, dimply, toothy way the entire time they walked to his house in the suburban area. It made Brad fluttery inside in all the wrong ways, so he dealt with it the only way he knew how: by lifting him up when they were finally behind closed doors, and knocking a few posters off the walls as he pushed him against them. As much as Brad was still able to comprehend, they were all of women exhibiting several levels of nudity. He thought it was classy and very much like Ray.

 

His thought process about his RTO was cut short when Ziggy finally managed to get his legs around his waist, pulling him close, pushing their crotches together through several layers of clothing and moaned brokenly into his mouth. It was the hottest thing Brad’s ever seen.

 

‘Condoms. Lube.’ he breathed against his neck, harshly biting into the skin under his jaw until Ziggy whined. Brad softly pried his legs off of him, lowering him back on the ground but not pulling away, not yet. Instead, he quickly undid Ziggy’s belt and palmed his forming erection through his boxer shorts. ‘You’re a fucking dream, sweetheart.’

 

‘Holy shit.’ Ziggy said, laughing, a little overwhelmed as he bucked his hips against Brad’s rough hand. ‘I have them, I have, fuck,’ he gasped, grabbing Brad’s arms as he slipped his fingers under the waistband, and whining again as he felt his muscles under the leather jacket. ‘Bedside drawer, bedside….drawer.’

 

‘Thank you’ Brad grinned, crowding him once more against the wall behind him, and biting the tip of his ear as he gave his dick one firm squeeze between gentle strokes. He savored the way Ziggy’s entire body convulsed, shocked from the sensation.

 

‘I won’t dig around your fish-smelling socks and cum-stained boxers until I find your expired condoms.’ he said calmly, backing up until he could take a seat on the edge of the unmade bed. Brad thought he saw a few pieces of dirty laundry all over the sheets. But Brad, on second thought, was also too drunk and horny to give a fuck. He discarded his leather jacket instead, tossing it on the other side of the mattress. ‘Fetch them for me, kid.’ he then ordered, his eyes intently stuck to Ziggy’s nervous figure. ‘And drop your pants on the way.’

 

Ziggy looked like he wanted to do something, but instead stood there gaping for a second or two, before the promise of getting thoroughly fucked by someone who ordered him around had finally set him into motion. He plunged at the bedside drawer like his life depended on it, one hand trying to push his jeans over his ass. He looked so ridiculous that Brad immediately had to press his hand to the front of his own pants to be able to contain himself.

 

He could never really identify a type. Now he was fairly sure it was scrawny morons who looked like Ray.

 

‘Good.’ Brad hummed in a raspy voice, turned on by the way Ziggy stood before him, a box of condoms and a bottle of lube in hand, like a virgin unsure how to beg for it, or if he was allowed to. His dick painfully throbbed at the thought of Ziggy on his knees, needing his permission to even ask for it. Before he knew it, he grabbed the back of his slim, white thighs and pulled him into his lap, fascinated by the way his breath picked up the second he touched his naked skin.

 

‘You’ve done this before?’ Brad asked, sliding his palms up and down his thighs, stroking the soft hairs, enjoying the slight curve of the muscles.

 

‘No. Yeah! Fuck.’ Ziggy babbled, incoherent with how Brad had leaned in to suck at the skin of his collarbone. Ziggy’s hands dropped whatever he was still holding onto, raising them to Brad’s head and raking his fingers through the short hairs on the back of his skull.

 

‘Yes, no, or fuck, Ziggy?’ Brad pulled away, being able to look at his flushed face. A few stray strands of hair fell into Ziggy’s eyes, and he gently brushed them back behind his ears, so much love in his touches that Ziggy felt like crying now. But above all that, he wanted to get railed. ‘Have you, or have you not been with a man before?’

 

‘No.’ Ziggy admitted, suddenly self-conscious. ‘But I’ve thought about it!’

 

‘Do you want this?’ Brad raised an eyebrow, voice low and serious now. His thumb caressed small circles into the skin at the top of Ziggy’s thigh. ‘You’re drunk, you barely know me, and you know I’m not here to stay.’

 

‘Man,’ Ziggy sighed, high and whiny and a little nasal, his lisp evident. ‘my dick’s been into you since you cornered my dope-selling ass in the alley. I fucking want you, alright?’ he said, grabbing Brad’s face to make sure he can look directly into his eyes. His focus was a little off, but it warmed Brad’s Iceman heart all the same. ‘And it’s like therapy for you, right? So quit being a pussy about it, and just do me while I’m still hard.’

 

That was all the coercion Brad needed to spin them around and throw Ziggy down onto the mattress.

 

‘There are two things you’ve got wrong about me.’ he said quietly but threatening, creeping up on his body like an actual predator. He bent down, sucking a mark into the junction between Ziggy’s neck and shoulder as he slowly pushed his shirt up from his stomach. ‘One, I’m not a fucking pussy.’ Brad whispered sweetly into his ear, stroking along the soft skin above the waistband of Ziggy’s boxers with his fingertips. He was being a fucking tease, and Ziggy couldn’t help the moan that escaped his mouth once again. ‘Tell me if your brain was able to comprehend that information.’

 

And then he was suddenly sliding lower on his body, bracing himself as he kissed along Ziggy’s exposed side – so much more skinny than Ray, all sharp edges and soft, pale skin that was so easy to mark up – and used his free hand to touch his chest, thumbing at one nipple. Ziggy arched his back off the bed, gasping for air, gathering up any and all coherency left to him to answer.

 

‘I- Yes, yeah, understood, I’m-‘

 

‘Good.’ Brad hummed, sitting up and pulling the shirt off of Ziggy impatiently. Even their fucking tattoos matched, how even- ‘I want to know that you’re listening to me right now. Listen to me very carefully, Ziggy.’

 

‘I’m listening, Brad, fuck, please-‘ Ziggy whined, yelling out as Brad bit down on the sensitive skin of his abdomen, right by the soft hairs trailing down into his boxers, and rolled his nipples between his fingers at the same time. It was amazing just how far up he could reach with his long arms and big hands, Ziggy was overwhelmed by it. He was so fucking huge, he could wreck him and not break a sweat.

 

‘Fucking you is not therapy for me.’ Brad said, low and breathy as he palmed Ziggy’s stiff cock through his boxers. He pressed his lips against the apparent bulge, positioning his forearms to hold down both of his thighs and prevent him from bucking up again. ‘When I fuck you, I fuck you. I’m going to take you hard and hot, and I’m going to make you want to fuck more dudes in the future. But I’ll do it thinking about you and all the things that set you apart from my Ray.’

 

And then, he was pulling the boxers down Ziggy’s thighs and took him into his mouth, relaxing his throat, savoring the taste of him, hot and heavy and leaking on his tongue. All Ziggy could do was sob and take it, hands scrambling to get a hold of his arms, shoulders, and the nape of his neck.

 

 

Brad had two fingers poking softly below his perineum, prodding and teasing but not breaching through the muscles, not yet at least. He first basked in the sweet noises Ziggy made above him, the gasps and the moans and the wrecked little whines, enjoyed the way he trashed against his hold across his stomach.  As he bobbed his head, sliding down his entire shaft and taking him deep into his throat, Ziggy sobbed helplessly. Brad caught the mix of saliva and precum dripping down his balls, and massaged it into the soft skin of his hole.

 

‘Talk to me, baby.’ he whispered, pulling off to press a wet kiss onto the base of his dick. He rubbed soothing circles into his hole with the pad of his thumb. ‘You ready to move on?’

 

Seeing how incoherent Ziggy was, he felt like a jerk demanding a response right now. So naturally, he bent down once more to take just a head of his dick inside his mouth, sucking with his cheeks hollowed just to tease him a bit more.

 

‘Fuck!’ Ziggy yelled sharply, grabbing at his arm and shoulders, trying to push him away. Brad was no stranger to overstimulation, and he could easily guess what the sudden flood of precum possibly meant for the both of them.

 

So he let go of Ziggy’s torso, relaxed his throat, and let Ziggy fuck his mouth, bucking up once. twice before he cried out, pushing Brad’s head down and holding it there until he rode out his orgasm in violent full-body shudders.

 

As he swallowed, Brad thought it wasn’t so bad.

 

‘Fuck. Fuck. Dude.’ Ziggy then rasped, sounding panicked as Brad slid his softening cock out of his mouth and sat up to wipe at his lips, though his efforts seemed useless. ‘I’m sorry, I’m usually- I didn’t mean to, y’know, fuck, I-‘

 

‘Give me the lube.’ Brad said, voice low. He spoke like someone who was done fucking around – when in fact, he was just so hard he couldn’t take it anymore. He needed to fuck him right now, but he needed to make this good for him. ‘Thank you. Roll over. Hands and knees.’

 

Ziggy moved to prop himself up on the bed, but his limbs seemed to give up on him. His arms trembled and he fell back to the mattress, expression lax, breathing still erratic. Obviously, Brad needed a new plan.

 

He climbed over Ziggy once again, leaning down to press a soft kiss to his cheek, nuzzling into the dimples that appeared when Ziggy giggled at the sensation. Suddenly everything was soft and warm around them, even more so as Ziggy threw his weak arms around Brad’s neck, not really holding him, but still touching him somehow.

 

‘Can I kiss you?’ Brad whispered, brushing the hair out of Ziggy’s face.

 

‘Man, you just gave me the best head of my entire life.’ Ziggy grinned. ‘Of course you can fucking kiss me.’

 

So he did. And then, he did it again. He did it a third time, licking into his mouth, biting at his lips, eliciting a soft moan out of him. He did it over and over again, losing himself in the taste, the slick, wet heat of his mouth, the slide of his tongue, he did it until Ziggy grabbed into his shoulders, moving to lift himself closer to him, gasping when Brad lowered himself to press their bodies together, pinning Ziggy into the bed.

 

‘Would you fuck me?’ Ziggy breathed into his ear. He sounded desperate and his breath hitched as Brad bit down on the tender skin below his jaw. ‘I really want you to fuck me.’

 

‘It doesn’t work like this.’ Brad whispered and he felt his erection throb painfully against Ziggy’s thigh. Just as if it was some sort of cue, the guy angled his knee to rub against his crotch, moving his leg between Brad’s thighs. Brad let out a shocked gasp.

 

Okay, maybe they could make it work like this. Brad sat up, tangled between Ziggy’s legs, grinding down on his flexed thigh muscles as he yanked his shirt over his head and threw it in the direction of the floor. He then reached out for the lube, never once halting in humping his leg.

 

‘Spread.’ he ordered curtly, finally stopping in the continuous roll of his hips to brace himself over Ziggy, and slip his lube-coated fingers against his entrance. He buried his face in Ziggy’s neck, inhaling his musk as Ziggy gasped above him at the sudden intrusion. He smelled like sex, cigarettes, alcohol and sweat, mingled with some kind of artificial odor Brad attributed to a type of male’s perfume. ‘I got you.’ he whispered, his lashes fluttering at the feeling of Ziggy’s hot, tight hole sucking his finger in deeper. It was almost overwhelming. Brad pressed a kiss against his tense neck, coaxing him through it. ‘I got you, Ziggy.’

 

 

When Brad finally eased just the tip of his dick inside of him, it was overwhelming for real now. Ziggy closed up like a vice around him, despite his best efforts at preparation and three fingers he used to stretch him with, and they both moaned when the head was fully in. Brad sat up straight between his legs, his two hands roaming Ziggy’s torso, following the curve of it as he arched his back, gasping and trembling.

 

‘You good?’ Brad asked breathlessly. He stroked down Ziggy’s sides, hoping to comfort him enough to keep going.

 

‘ ‘the fuck are you so big for?’ Ziggy whined brokenly. Brad grinned at that.

 

‘Thank you.’ he chuckled, hitching up one of Ziggy’s legs to slide into him easier. ‘It’s to fuck your brains out. Ziggy, fuck, breathe and relax, okay? I’m afraid I’m gonna hurt you.’

 

‘Ain’t nothing you can do to hurt me.’ Ziggy said, a little out of it, twitching as Brad planted a huge palm in the middle of his chest to help him get his breathing under check. The pressure was just enough to lead, but also enough to pin him down, and the feeling of being used, controlled like this made his dick twitch where it laid on his skin.

 

‘Glad you feel that way.’ Brad murmured, stroking down his thighs as he started to roll his hips softly and slowly into him. It was still painful to Ziggy, but the rhythm of it made it easy to take, easy to just let go and lose himself in it.

 

At one point, Brad bottomed out in him and it made Ziggy shout with unmasked pleasure. He winded his arms around Brad’s shoulders, yanking him down to hold him close, blunt nails scraping against his skin as Brad started to fuck him for good, chasing his own pleasure while still trying to make it good for Ziggy.

 

Their breaths mingled, sounds of sweet pleasure filling the room as they moved together. For the first time in a long time for the both of them, sex felt intimate, filled to the brim with real feelings – Brad would have even dared to use the word lovemaking.

 

 

Some stray pieces of ash fell on his bare chest as Ziggy kept reaching across him to flick his cigarette above the ashtray positioned on the other side of Brad’s torso. He had Ziggy’s head resting on his shoulder, smoking lazily as he buried his hand in his messy hair, softly massaging his scalp with his fingertips. The moment was warm, and they were sated and soft, pliant. Brad could’ve easily slipped into sleep, but he had plans he wanted to get to once he was done here.

 

And he wasn’t yet done.

 

‘You got a pen?’ he asked, bending his head down to press a kiss to Ziggy’s hairline. Ziggy hummed softly, nuzzling into Brad’s arm as he put out his cigarette in the ashtray. He rolled around a little to reach the bedside drawer, fumbling and knocking down some things in the way until he could grab a ballpoint pen with the logo of a local bank. Brad took it, and then took one of Ziggy’s wrists in his hand, holding it out in front of him.

 

‘What’ya doin’?’ Ziggy mumbled lazily as he started scribbling on his skin.

 

‘My phone number and address in California.’ Brad explained, pulling his hand down to him when he was finished. He pressed a soft kiss into the center of his palm and then turned to look down at him. ‘Whenever you feel like giving up this shit, selling dope and working dock, you just come to me. I don’t care if you turn up on my doorstep like a stray kitten, I will take you in.’

 

‘Now you wanna adopt me?’

 

‘After all this, that would be a little fucked up.’ Brad admitted as Ziggy grinned at him. ‘But I care about you. You’re a good kid. A smart kid. You deserve a better chance than what-the-fuck-ever this city has to offer you.’

 

Ziggy pursed his lips, dimples visible as he glanced down with slight embarrassment. Then he took a deep breath and planted a kiss on Brad’s chest affectionately. ‘You gonna go get your boy?’ he asked, pressing his cheek against his skin. Brad’s hand slipped out from his hair to stroke at the nape of his neck.

 

‘Maybe.’ he said then. ‘You jealous?’ Ziggy snorted.

 

‘I’d be stupid to not be.’

 

They got quiet all of a sudden. The only noise in the room was the faint rustling of the strands of Ziggy’s hair under Brad’s thumb, and their combined breathing.

 

Brad took his face in his hands, lifting him up to look directly into his eyes. They were a little sad, despite the small smile splayed on his lips.

 

‘I will take care of you, if you let me.’ he told him truthfully. Ziggy’s mouth trembled, trying to fight his tears.

 

‘Don’t look at me like that, Big Guy.’ Ziggy laughed a little hysterically. He quickly wiped at his eyes, and Brad flexed his hands against his jaw to remind him that he’s there. ‘I’ll see ya soon, I swear.’

 

‘Pinky promise?’

 

‘You’re too nerdy for a marine.’

 

‘Promise me.’ Brad’s expression fell just a bit. He waited for Ziggy to bite his lip and shake his head a little.

 

‘Yeah, I promise.’ he slid his hand against the back of Brad’s, turning his head to kiss his palm like he did to him just minutes ago. Brad felt something tug inside his chest again, the same feeling he got whenever Ziggy reminded him of Ray. Except, he didn’t have Ray in mind right now. ‘Do your dude a favor, and shower ‘fore you get goin’. You’re gonna stink all the way.’