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It's a Damn Right, Hold You Tight, Baby I'm Gonna

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*translations are in parentheses *

 

It had been a long three weeks for Joshua Faraday.

Three weeks without seeing Rafe's stupidly handsome face and hearing his loud raucous laughter. Three weeks without cheap double entendres and hot, messy kisses. They had texted, of course, and Skyped a few times, but that wasn't the same. For one, you can't kiss a computer screen. Well, you CAN, but it's not nearly as much fun as the real thing.

It didn't help that Maria had been moping around the apartment for days. Not even a constant supply of puppy-treats made her happy anymore. Faraday didn't know what Rafe had done to break his dog, but she only got excited now if she heard his tinny, accented voice through the computer speakers.

Actually, Faraday could relate to that.

But today, all that was coming to an end. Rafe had wrapped up his photo assignment in Jelly. . . ahhh YELLOWstone Park, and was coming home. With Emma's help, Faraday had managed to skip out of work early so he could meet Rafe's plane—which explained why he was currently standing in a large crowd at LAX's Arrivals Gate, waiting impatiently for his favourite Mexican to step through the door.

It seemed to take forever, as wave after wave of people wandered out of the tunnel to the delight of friends and families, before Faraday finally caught a glimpse of a familiar figure in an Oakland A's hoodie towering over the other passengers. Looks like someone forgot his razor, Faraday thought, taking in the full, dark beard now covering Rafe's face, so unlike his usual stylish scruff. And judging from the bushy head of curls he now sported, apparently a visit to the barber hadn't been part of his agenda, either.

Faraday was still trying to decide whether he liked this new look or not when Rafe called out an enthusiastic, “Hola!” and started rushing towards him as fast as his luggage would allow. Faraday's first instinct was to grab the man and give him a big welcome home kiss, but they were in public, and he wasn't sure what Rafe's reaction to that would be. As he quickly mulled over his options, Rafe solved his dilemma by pulling him into a hug and planting a kiss on each cheek.

Oh, yeah, MUCH better than Skype.

“Mijo! (hon) I didn't expect to see you here!” Rafe exclaimed excitedly, earning Faraday some dirty looks from a couple of young women who were obviously upset the tall drink of tequila was taken. Good.

“Figured you'd need a ride. Didn't know I'd be picking up Grizzly Adams.”

“Who?”

“Nothing,” Faraday replied as he clasped Rafe's elbow and led him to a quiet spot out of the flow of people. “So how was the trip?”

Rafe's whole face lit up, as it always did when talking about one of his passions. “It was fantastic! I've wanted to go there for so long, and it was better than I ever dreamed! I saw so many amazing things, I'll probably bore you talking about them all. And I managed to get the most beautiful shot of a double rainbow over Union Falls. My editor was beside himself.”

Faraday doubted this man could ever bore him, and while the picture sounded wonderful, there was no way it was more beautiful than Rafe was at that moment. Ugh! That sounded like something out of one of his mom's bad Harlequin Romance novels. Not that he ever read them or anything like that. “Sounds great. Can't wait to see it.”

“Well, I really have Luke to thank for it,” Rafe commented offhandedly, as he rested his camera bag on the floor by his feet.

“Luke?” Faraday repeated, and no, that wasn't jealousy in his voice.

“My tour guide. He's knew the best vantage point to set up the shot.” Rafe looked at Faraday with big eyes and asked, innocently, “Didn't I tell you about Luke?”

“No, you failed to mention him.” Okay, maybe a little bit of jealousy.

“I met him at a little bar. An actual cowboy! He's lived in the area his whole life. I told him why I was there and he offered to assist me.”

“I thought I told you not to speak to any strange cowboys.” Make that a lot of jealousy.

“He wasn't strange, he was nice,” Rafe corrected. “And very helpful. He really knew the lay of the land.”

Faraday was sure that wasn't the only laying on Luke's mind. “How fortunate for you,” he replied, dryly.

“I stayed with him at his cabin for a few nights. He showed me many things.”

“Did he?” Faraday had a feeling his green eyes were now several shades greener.

“Si. Mostly photos of his four grandkids.”

Faraday knew he should have been upset at getting played, but mostly he was just relieved. And seeing that Rafe was in a playful mood, he figured he'd go along with it. “Grandkids, huh? Didn't know you were into older guys.”

“His wife, Betty, was a lovely woman, and an incredible cook. Her beef stew, ahhhhh. . .” Rafe trailed off with a happy sigh.

“And threesomes, apparently.”

“I made you jealous, yes?” Rafe teased, his eyes twinkling impishly.

“Not in the least,” Faraday replied with a dismissive wave of his hand. “I don't have a jealous bone in my body.”

Rafe chuckled at the obvious lie. “Oh, cariño (darling), you have nothing to worry about. You're the only cowboy for me. Even if you can't ride a horse.”

Faraday glared at him. “Not funny.”

“It was a little funny.” Pointing at Faraday's now cast-less leg, Rafe asked, “Ankle all healed?”

“So far, so good. Doc told me not to run any marathons for a while. No worries there.”

“And how's Mimi?”

“She's okay. I think she misses you.” But not as much as I did, Faraday thought but didn't say.

Rafe's face softened with affection. “Awww, I missed her, too. Such a perro dulce (sweet dog). I picked up some treats for her.”

“Of course you did.”

“Does she like buffalo jerky?”

“If you give it to her, I'm sure she'll love it.” Unable to ignore the elephant in the room any longer, Faraday ran a hand over Rafe's beard. “You gonna keep this?”

Rafe shrugged. “Haven't decided yet. What do you think?”

“Not really a fan,” Faraday said, honestly. “It hides too much of your face.”

The corner of Rafe's mouth curled into a half-smile. “You like my face, guero?”

“You know I do.”

Leaning in close, Rafe purred, “Maybe you should show me how much you like it, eh?”

It took more will power than Faraday knew he possessed to resist that suggestion. But he had a game plan for the night, and he didn't intend on screwing things up for a change. “You read my mind,” he said instead, as he picked up Rafe's camera bag and slung it over his shoulder. “C'mon. I've got a surprise for you.”

The smile Rafe flashed was blinding. “Bueno!” he exclaimed, grabbing the handle of his suitcase. “I like surprises!”

+++++++++++++++

“Well, this is definitely a surprise,” Rafe joked, as he and Faraday walked down the hallway of the Motel 6. “You really know how to treat a guy.”

“Don't look a gift horse in the mouth.”

“Of course not. You'd probably fall off of it.”

“Are you ever going to let that go?”

“Probably not.”

Faraday huffed. “Look, I know it's not some fancy smancy B&B, but it was close to the airport and there was a vacancy. That's all that mattered.”

“Good point,” Rafe laughed. “So where are we?”

“Right here. Room 32.” Faraday swiped the key-card and tried the handle. Nothing.

“Andale, guero!” Rafe commanded, pressing a kiss to the back of Faraday's neck.

“What the hell does that even mean?” Faraday groused as he swiped the card again, but the light remained red.

“Hurry.”

“I'm trying.”

“Well, try harder.”

“I'll give you harder,” Faraday muttered under his breath, swiping the key-card for a third time.

“You keep making these promises. I'm starting to think you're all talk.”

The handle finally twisted in Faraday's hand and they fell through the door. Rafe's startled cry was cut short as Faraday grabbed him and pressed him against the closest wall, kissing him with a hungry desperation, one that Rafe eagerly returned. In his fervor, Faraday cupped Rafe's ass and lifted until he hung suspended between the wall behind him and Faraday's broad chest in front. Rafe instinctively wrapped his long legs around Faraday's waist, his hot mouth never breaking their passionate kiss.

Three long weeks since he had last tasted Rafe's lips, and even with all the extra face fuzz, Faraday couldn't get enough of them. But as much as he enjoyed kissing Rafe, this wasn't exactly the most optimal—or comfortable—position. Seeking to rectify that, he gathered up his strength, making sure he had a good hold Rafe, and began walking them over to the bed.

“Looks like someone's been working out,” Rafe commented, as he nibbled on Faraday's ear.

“Yeah. And someone still doesn't weigh 182.”

“Fuck you.”

“You first.” With that, Faraday dropped him onto the bed, the springs groaning in protest at the sudden weight.

“Brute.” Rafe leaned back, bracing himself on his elbows. “Can I at least take a shower first?”

“Nope. Can't risk you slipping in there and getting a concussion.”

Rafe rolled his eyes at that. “Mijo, YOU'RE the klutz, remember?”

“Not taking any chances,” Faraday insisted as he dug a small paper bag out his jacket pocket, and tossed it onto the bed before reaching for Rafe's right leg. “We're finally doing this tonight. Right here, right now.”

“So romantic,” Rafe deadpanned, watching in amusement as Faraday pulled off his boot.

“Look, do you want romance or do you want to get laid?” Faraday fired back, chucking the boot over his shoulder.

“Maybe I want both.”

“That's just being greedy.”

“I want what I want,” Rafe said, as he offered up his left leg. “What happened to going slow?”

“Tried it, didn't like it.”

As Faraday tugged at the second boot, Rafe peeked into the bag, discovering an unopened box of condoms and a fresh tube of lubricant. “A whole box?” he laughed as his boot came free. “I think that's a bit ambitious.”

“Don't you ever stop talking?” Faraday complained, toeing off his sneakers, and struggling to pull off his jacket.

Rafe smirked up at him. “Maybe you should give me a reason to stop, eh?” With that, he reached out and cupped the bulge in between Faraday's legs, brushing his lips across the faded denim, his intentions unmistakable.

Faraday groaned, imaging how it would feel to finally have that smart mouth wrapped around his cock, when a thought suddenly occurred to him. Grasping the hand that was currently trying to pull down his zipper, he gasped, “Rafe, wait. Before we go any further. . .”

Rafe growled in frustration. “Joshua, I swear to God. If you stop this again, I'm walking out that fucking door.”

“Gimme your cell phone.”

“My what?”

“Phone. Give it to me.”

“Are you loco?” Rafe asked, incredulously.

“Just trust me.”

Rafe gave Faraday a calculating look but pulled his phone from his back pocket and handed it over, even as he muttered under his breath, “Maybe I'm the loco one.”

“No calls, no dogs, no horses, no problems,” Faraday announced proudly, as he walked over to the mini-fridge and opened the door. “Just us tonight.”

“You can't put our phones in the fridge, idiota (idiot)! You'll ruin them!”

“Fine.” Faraday scanned the room, looking for a suitable hiding place.

After a few moments, Rafe griped, “You're killing the mood here.”

“Just a sec. A-ha!” Faraday declared, as he spied the desk in the corner. He put the phones in the top drawer and pointedly slammed it shut. Turning back towards the bed, he clapped his hands and asked, “Now, where were we?”

Faraday will deny to his dying breath that he squeaked out that last word. Because while he had been busy fussing around with those damn cell phones, Rafe had been a bit more productive. Clothes now scattered on the floor, he lay naked upon the bed, spread out like an all-you-can-eat buffet.

Noticing he finally had Faraday's full attention, Rafe stretched one arm over his head, slow and languid, like a lazy jungle cat. “See something you like, mi querido (my dear)?” he teased.

Faraday swallowed hard, even as his eyes drank in the acres of rich tan skin just begging to be worshiped. He had fantasized about this moment for ages, but the reality was so much better than he could have imagined. “You should be in front of the camera, not behind it,” he murmured, mentally grimacing at how hokey it sounded.

Seriously, what the hell was it about Rafe that made Faraday feel and act like a 15-year old virgin?

“Eres un dulce conversador (you are a sweet talker),” Rafe said with a grin. “Why don't you show me what else that silver tongue can do?”

Faraday didn't know what all those Mexican words were, but the last part was a request he was happy to grant. Climbing onto the bed, he straddled the prone man and leaned forward until his lips touched Rafe's. He flicked his tongue out and lightly ran it over the soft mouth under his. Rafe's lips parted and Faraday licked into that slick wet heat, their tongues twirling and twining around each other.

Threading his fingers through Rafe's hair, Faraday held him steady as their kiss grew in intensity. A certain body part was also growing, as the sudden tightness of his jeans signaled. And it seemed he wasn't alone in his plight, as he felt Rafe's erection pressing against his thigh. Faraday couldn't help feel a bit smug by that development.

When air became a necessity, they reluctantly broke apart. “Get these fucking clothes off,” Rafe ordered, his hands tugging urgently at Faraday's shirt.

With a exasperated groan, Faraday stood up to comply. Clumsy fingers scrambled to unbutton stubborn buttons, and soon his shirt was added to the pile of clothes on the floor. Next came his jeans and boxers, but before he could get to his socks, Rafe pulled him back down on top of him, and took possession of his lips once more.

This is the only place I want to be, Faraday thought, as he melted into Rafe's mouth. Even with all the extra facial hair, there was nothing better than kissing Rafael Vasquez, and Faraday knew he'd happily do it for all eternity. But tonight, kissing was only the beginning, and Faraday was anxious for the next act to begin.

Ending the kiss, despite Rafe's disappointed whimper, Faraday began trailing his lips down Rafe's throat and densely furred chest. Encountering a tempting pebbled nipple, Faraday flicked his tongue over it, causing Rafe to whimper again, this time in obvious pleasure. Pleased with that reaction, Faraday began worrying the sensitive flesh between his teeth while his fingers played and pinched the other one, the room soon filling with Rafe's staccato panting.

Wondering what other kinds of sweet sounds he could get Rafe to make, Faraday shimmied lower and lower until he reached the jackpot. He hummed happily as his tongue traced along the length of Rafe's rose-hued cock and over his heavy balls. Sucking first one then the other into his hot mouth, he delighted in Rafe's lusty moans. Latching his lips onto the base of the shaft, he slid up until he was at the tip again. He ran his tongue around the ridge and licked away the small drop of pre-cum that had pooled in the slit before finally taking the head into his mouth.

Rafe groaned loudly as he was suddenly enveloped in liquid heat. He placed his hands on Faraday's head, tangling his fingers in those unruly russet curls, pushing insistently downward. Faraday resisted at first, content to suck and tease, but eventually gave in to Rafe's demands. Methodically, he began swallowing, showing off his expertise, as inch after slow inch disappeared into his talented mouth until he held Rafe deep in his throat. He paused for a moment, letting his breath even out, then slowly pulled up before doing it again.

From the exuberant burst of Spanish, it appeared Rafe was impressed.

Concentrating completely on his task, Faraday soon set the rhythm, his head bobbing up and down between Rafe's legs, cheeks hollowing with the suction, swallowing as much as he could, and working the rest with his hand. For long minutes, he reveled in the texture of Rafe's skin, the hardness, the heat, the taste, everything about him. He was so lost in the moment that he initially missed the tapping of an impatient finger on his shoulder. Only when he heard a raspy, “Josh,” did he finally look up and see Rafe holding out the tube of lubricant to him, a silent plea made loud and clear.

Though he was loath to do it, Faraday released his prize and took the tube. As he sat up on the bed, Rafe rolled gracefully onto his stomach and spread his legs. For a moment, Faraday was disappointed that he wouldn't be able to look at Rafe's face for their first time—even if it was covered with that horrible beard—but then again, this view wasn't half-bad, either.

As he sat there musing, Rafe piped up, “You know what you're doing back there, right, querino (darling)?”

“World's greatest lover, remember?”

“Prove it.”

Never one to back down from a challenge, Faraday took a moment to finally shuck off his socks, then set about defending his reputation. Tube in hand, he was about to twist off the cap, but the tempting vision in front of him gave him an idea. A very naughty idea. Dropping the lube onto the bed, Faraday knelt behind Rafe and placed his hands on those firm, round cheeks. Slowly he spread them, then leaned in for his first taste. He slowly licked over Rafe's hole, then did it again, taking his time, inhaling the musky aroma, savoring the masculine flavour.

This wasn't something Faraday did often, not unless a lot of whiskey was involved. But Rafe was a special case, in every sense of the word, and Faraday knew he didn't need to be drunk to appreciate it this time.

“Oh fuck!” Rafe cried out, obviously not expecting this turn of events. Crawling onto his hands and knees, he pushed back against Faraday, his body instinctively seeking more.

And more is what Faraday gave him, his tongue flicking rapidly over the crinkled flesh, wetting the tender skin, before slipping inside. The groan Rafe released was positively pornographic as he arched his back, forcing Faraday to dig his fingers harder into his thighs to keep him still.

"Dios mio! (my god)” Rafe sobbed as his body clenched around Faraday's tongue. “Don't stop!”

Don't intend to, Faraday thought, as he pushed Rafe's legs further apart and thrust his tongue deeper into that delicious heat again and again. He wondered if he could get Rafe off like that, with just his tongue buried in that perfect ass. It was an intriguing notion. Definitely something to put on his 'to-do' list. But his throbbing cock reminded him he had other plans for tonight. With one final lick, he reluctantly moved on.

Picking up the tube once again, Faraday squeezed out some of the gel, and set about preparing Rafe for the main event. His broad fingers trailed across the tight opening his tongue had just been plundering, testing the ring of muscle, teasing it lightly. Rafe made a low guttural sound as Faraday's finger finally slipped in, carefully and patiently working its way deeper. Pulling out, then pushing back in, Faraday marveled at the way Rafe undulated his hips to match his movements. Seeing the man's reactions reminded Faraday that Rafe was no novice, and other men had shared his bed.

Well, if he couldn't be the first, he'd damn well be the best.

“Hurry, cabrón (bastard)!” Rafe panted. “What's taking you so long?”

“Just going slow here,” Faraday answered, as his finger slid in and out of the receptive body beneath him.

“I thought we gave up on slow.”

“Don't want to hurt you. I'm bigger than my finger.”

“I'm counting on that. Now get on with it.”

A second finger joined the first, gently scissoring, gently stretching. “Are you always this pushy in bed?”

“Like I said, I want what I want. So give it to me.”

“You asked for it.” Faraday twisted his fingers, reaching them as far up and in as he could, then crooking them just. . .so. Rafe's cries grew louder as he bucked back towards Faraday, trying to drive those skillful fingers even deeper.

“Yeah,” Rafe grunted. “There. Harder. Right like that.”

“Lot of backseat driving here.”

“I just know what I like.”

“So do I. Roll over.”

“Que?”

“Wanna see your face.”

“My face?” Rafe asked, curiously.

Oh, shit! Did I say that out loud? Damn traitorous tongue! Sex always made him stupid. Well, more stupid than usual. Feeling his cheeks heating up, Faraday tried to cover his mistake with a healthy dose of macho bravado. “Yeah. I like to see what I'm doing. And who.”

“I thought you didn't like the beard.”

“I don't, but the rest isn't so bad to look at.” Faraday hoped his flippant remark would hide how badly he really wanted this.

Rafe chuckled, “Well, since you asked so nicely.” He rolled onto his back, his rock hard cock lying flush against his stomach. “Better?”

Faraday looked down at the stupidly handsome man spread out across the cheap motel bed and licked his lips unconsciously. “Much.”

When Faraday didn't make a move, Rafe decided to take matters into his own hands. Literally. Reaching down to stroke his cock, he cooed, “I'm waiting, guero.”

That snapped Faraday out of his daze. He sat back on his heels, grabbed the box of condoms, and ripped one open with his teeth. Rolling it onto his cock with practiced ease, he ran his lube-slicked hand up and down the thick shaft a few times. As he did, he looked down at Rafe—all tan skin, his legs open wide, eager and wanton, his black-coffee eyes half-lidded with undisguised desire—and Faraday felt his heart flip over.

What had he ever done right in his life to get to this perfect moment with this perfect man?

As if he could read Faraday's mind, a slow, sultry smile spread across Rafe's face. “I'm still waiting, guero.”

“I should probably do something about that then,” Faraday said, pushing Rafe's legs further apart and getting into position.

“Yes, you should,” Rafe agreed, giving his cock one final stroke before bracing his hands against Faraday's shoulders. “I think we've both waited long enough.”

Faraday couldn't argue with that.

Gripping his cock, Faraday placed the tip against Rafe and carefully pushed, breaching the tight hole. A soft groan caused Faraday to stop his advance to let Rafe relax and adjust. When Rafe gave him a little nod, Faraday started slowly pressing forward once more. Halfway through, he pulled out a bit, then pushed in again, a little further. He kept repeating those actions, sheathing himself inch by inch, until, with one last thrust, he was buried to the hilt.

“Definitely bigger than your finger,” Rafe sighed. “Lucky me.”

They stayed like that for a few beats, just relishing the moment they had finally become 'more'. Their breathing gradually synchronized, until it seemed as if they were one being instead of two.

Faraday leaned down and brushed a kiss to Rafe's forehead. “Ready?” he asked.

“I've been ready,” Rafe told him, wrapping his left leg around Faraday's waist. “You were the one dragging your heels.”

“Just wanted to do it right.”

With a soft smile, Rafe said simply, “You did.”

Faraday wasn't sure about that, but he was sure about this. He drew back, then pressed forward, then again. Each thrust smoother and easier than the one before. Hips snapping back and forth – the quick, steady tempo soon established. Two bodies joining and parting, a dance performed for the first time, effortless and perfect as if done all their lives, set to the music they made together: the creak of the mattress, the soft grunts and shallow pants, the slap of skin against damp skin, and Rafe's broken words, rising above it all in the sweetest of melodies.

“Quería esto por tanto tiempo (I wanted this for so long), ” Rafe murmured, his fingers digging into Faraday's shoulders hard enough to bruise. “Te sientes tan bien en mi. Nunca quiero que esto termine. Nunca quiero que termines. ( You feel so good in me. I never want this to end. I never want you to end.).”

“English, dammit.”

Rafe chuckled/groaned. “Good. Gimme more.”

“It seemed like a lot of words just to say that.”

“They all meant the same.”

Faraday let it go, because there were other, more important things on his mind at the moment.

Their cadence became faster and more frantic, even as they both tried to hold back, tried to prolong their dance as long as possible. Rafe wrapped his right hand around his cock; Faraday's hand wrapped around Rafe's, stroking together. Hips rocking harder and faster, moving, colliding, pounding, sweating, faster, faster, faster . . .

“I'm close,” Faraday gasped, his lips brushing Rafe's shoulder.

“I'm closer,” Rafe gasped back. “Kiss me, cariño (dear).”

Faraday didn't need to be told twice.

Their mouths made contact just as Rafe crested the peak. Faraday continued to kiss Rafe as he rode out his pleasure and when his own time came, he came, tasting Rafe's name on his lips.

Having nothing left to give, Faraday toppled forward, pinning Rafe beneath his muscled bulk. In between heaving breaths, he carefully pulled out and collapsed on the bed beside the satiated man. With his final bit of energy, he stripped off the condom and dropped it into the bedside trash-bin.

God, I'd kill for a cigarette, Faraday thought, but he didn't have any because Red had bet him he couldn't give them up last year. Why had he ever agreed to that stupid idea? Damn his competitive streak! Then again, a little siesta sounded pretty good, too. He could hear Mr. Sandman calling to him, and was about to give in to the temptation, but someone else had a different idea.

“Now that's what I call a welcome home,” Rafe sighed contentedly, rolling over and draping himself across Faraday.

“What are you doing?” Faraday mumbled, already half-asleep.

“Snuggling.”

“SNUGGLING?!” Faraday exclaimed, nap-time temporarily forgotten. “What kind of fresh hell is this!?!”

Rafe chuckled as he tucked his head under Faraday's chin. “Haven't you ever snuggled before, tesoro (treasure)?”

“No,” Faraday stated, emphatically. “You fuck, you come, you go to sleep. Everyone knows that.”

“Wow, and you wonder why you're single.”

“Ugh! You're all hot and sweaty!” Faraday complained, even as his arm unconsciously wrapped around Rafe, pulling him closer.

“So are you,” Rafe noted. “I don't mind.”

“And sticky. You're very sticky.”

“Who's fault is that, eh?” At least that's what Faraday thought he said. It was hard to make out the words as Rafe's mouth was busy sucking at his neck.

“Are you giving me a hickey?”

“Maybe.”

“It better not show.”

“Where's the fun in that?”

“You're like a goddamn furnace!” Faraday's protests would have been more convincing if he had been making any attempt to extract himself from Rafe's embrace. “Are you always so clingy after sex?”

“Mmmm-hmmm. . .” Rafe hummed, nipping at the tender skin beneath Faraday's ear. “If it was a good fuck.”

Faraday might have preened at that. Okay, he absolutely preened at that. “Good, huh?”

“Si. Mucho bien.”

“Told you it'd be worth the wait,” Faraday said, smugly, his fingers stroking through Rafe's damp curls. He had just closed his eyes and was starting to drift off to dreamland when Rafe ruined his plans again.

“Not sure about 'world's greatest lover', but you're definitely in the top twenty.” Faraday cracked open an eye and gave him a dirty look. “I'm just teasing, corazón (sweetheart),” Rafe said with a kiss to his nose. “Top ten, at least.”

Closing his eye once more, Faraday muttered, “You came before me. I did my job.”

Rafe just laughed at that. Crossing his arms on Faraday's chest, he propped his head on his hands and asked, “What about me? Where do I rank?”

Without opening his eyes, Faraday grumbled, “If the list was 'most annoying', you'd be number 1 with a bullet.”

“You say the sweetest things.” Faraday registered Rafe's lips brushing his, and returned the kiss automatically. Sleep had just about pulled him under when Rafe inquired, “Does this place have room service? I'm starving.”

“Of course you are,” Faraday replied with a heavy sigh. “Not sure I'd trust the room service here even if they had it, but there's a Carl Jr's just down the street.”

“Perfect. I want a Super Star with cheese, extra ketchup, extra pickles and an order of onion rings.”

“Why are you telling me this?”

“Actually get me two Super Stars,” Rafe amended. “I worked up an appetite.”

Faraday's eyes flew open as his brain suddenly caught up with the conversation. Oh, god! Rafe wanted HIM to get out of bed and fetch dinner!? Jesus wept! He had already picked the guy up at the airport, paid for the hotel room, and gave him a good, hard ride. Hell, he even SNUGGLED! What more did Rafe want from him?!

He was just about to say something he'd regret in the morning—if not sooner—when he heard Emma's voice echoing in his head: “If you want to keep him, it's going to take some work.”

Right. He was trying to be a good boyfriend. And a good boyfriend would provide food. “Is that all?” he asked, sarcastically, pushing Rafe off of him and sitting up on the edge of the bed.

“And a piece of chocolate cake, if they have it.”

As annoyed as he was, Faraday shook his head fondly. “Because every meal needs dessert.”

“I've trained you well.” Scratching his stomach, Rafe asked, “We got this place for the night?”

“Yeah,” Faraday said, snatching his jeans off the floor and tugging them on. “Red's watching Maria. He did owe me one, after all.”

“He's a good friend. You know, beer goes well with burgers.”

Faraday slipped on his sneakers without untying them. “Subtle.”

“Just stating a fact.”

Standing up, he looked around for his shirt. Unable to find it, he grabbed Rafe's hoodie instead. “You're an expensive date,” he commented, pulling on the snug-fitting garment.

“But worth it.”

“Debatable.” Faraday picked up his jacket and dug his car keys, wallet, and motel card out of the pocket before dropping it on the floor again. Leaning down, he gave Rafe a quick kiss. “I'm glad you're back.” His hand caressed Rafe's beard and he frowned. “Shave this off while I'm gone. Pour fevoor. (please)”

He knew he had butchered the pronunciation, but if Rafe was irritated, he hid it well behind a bright smile. “Needs practice. Extra pickles.”

“I heard you the first time.”

“And can you grab my camera bag? I don't want to leave it in your car overnight.”

“In this neighborhood, I don't blame you.” He was halfway out the door when he heard Rafe call out to him. “Hey, Joshua?”

Figuring he wanted to add some more items to his meal, Faraday rolled his eyes before turning around. “Yeah?”

“Top five.”

Trying desperately to ignore the sudden warmth in his chest at those two little words, Faraday fired off a playful, “And I was just gettin' warmed up.”

Yes, it had been a long three weeks. But Rafe was finally back. And Faraday intended to start making up for lost time.

THE END