Chapter 1: The Week Before
Ricky looks into the mirror above the tiny sink. He's not a pretty sight. At least the black eye from some fight at the weekend is finally starting to yellow. There'd been a lot of fights lately. And the airplane bathroom lighting probably doesn’t help, but undeniably he looks rough. Pale with purplish-brown shadows under the bruises, Ricky looks like he hasn’t slept in days. Which, in another couple of hours, will be true; he's barely slept since he got the phone call.
Death is never convenient, but this couldn’t have come at a worse time. Ricky frowns at himself in the mirror; even in his own head he felt heartless. But he couldn’t pretend he and his father hadn’t been semi-estranged since his early 20s. Ricky on the other side of the world, only speaking to his father when the business required something of him. Ricky doesn't think his father had called once to just speak to him.
The last time they’d spoken was more than a month ago when Ricky had been receiving instructions about the Boston job. He can’t remember if he’d said goodbye or not, and he wishes he could just fucking remember so he can stop thinking about it.
Ricky checks his phone. Ryan’s going live is less than an hour but Ricky’s going to have to skip his stream. He’s got too much to get in place.
Under other circumstances he might be disappointed — this is the last stream Ryan will be doing for two weeks since his boyfriend is whisking him away for a birthday trip. A birthday trip to a place less than 40 minutes away from where Ricky will be at the end of this flight.
It was fate then, Ricky couldn’t help thinking. Family obligation dragging him back to a place he’d vowed never to go again, while a happy chance brought Ryan into an overlapping circumference.
He pushes his hair back, he needs to dye it again before next week. He wants to look good. He wants to look good for him. Ricky smudges his fingers under his eyes. And sleep, he needs to sleep. He should go back to his seat and try to sleep.
But now he’s started thinking about Ryan. Ryan grinning into the camera, Ryan strumming his guitar or dropping his controller, the tiny crease between Ryan’s eyebrows when his boyfriend called from the other room. Ricky rubs his thumbs over the rings in his lip absently. He looks at himself in the mirror again. He feels that wicked, wired, wildfire desire stealing over him.
Ricky takes a slow breath and then pops the button on his jeans. His security will probably wonder what he’s been doing in the bathroom so long, but they're too professional and too well paid to ask. He licks his palm and slips a hand into his underwear. He presses his palm on the mirror, grunting as he fits his hand around his cock. The sensation is unexpectedly intense. A heady cocktail of altitude and sleep deprivation making Ricky nearly bite through his lip to keep himself from moaning.
Ricky strokes his cock, hips flexing against the movement, looking into his own eyes as he thinks of Ryan. How his skin would feel, and smell, and taste. How soft his hair and how rough his stumble would be as he kissed Ricky’s skin. How he’d feel under him, above him. How his hands would feel between Ricky’s thighs right where his own is now. Ricky can feel his thighs tenses as his gut twists up tight at the thought.
Ryan moans, back arching, as he slips another finger into his hole. He grunts feeling the stretch. He’s naked on his back on the bed. He’d wanted to work off a little energy before getting online and his guy is still at work. Or at the bar. Ryan doesn’t know and he’s trying to not mind.
Ricky groans, slapping his hand across his mouth to keep the sound in. He’s sweating as he strokes his cock. His thighs are quivering, his stomach pulling taut as he fucks into his palm. Ricky stares into the mirror, seeing his eyes glossy and bright. Ricky clamps his hands tighter, moaning deep in his chest.
Eyes on the skyline he can see out of the window, Ryan strokes himself. They’re going on holiday next week. Flights and hotels booked. No getting out of it and in spite of the fact Ryan had said he didn’t want to make his birthday a big thing. Ryan smooths his thumb over the head of his cock — he doesn’t want to think about that right now.
Ricky can feel the orgasm on the edge of his senses, sprawling beneath his skin and curling up his spine. Tiny shocks start sparking in his fingertips and down his thighs as his gut gives a final twist and he comes. Ricky gasps, palm muffling the sound. He works himself through it slowly, feeling his come hot and sticky on his skin.
Ryan squirms, cock pulsing as he works his fingers in and out of his hole. He strokes his cock faster, the sound of the lube sticky and obscene in the silence of his apartment. He can feel his body clutching and clenching as he gets closer. Ryan moans loud and raw. Frustration and loneliness pluck at him as he feels the orgasm unfurling in his hips. He arches, clenching tight around his fingers and spilling hot on his stomach.
Ricky washes his hands and wets his face. He eyes himself. At least the orgasm had brought a bit of colour to his face. Perhaps now he’d be able to sleep for a couple of hours. He’s not looking forward to what’s coming when they arrive. Ricky sighs deeply and unlocks the door.
Ryan softens against the mattress. He feels cold now and he needs a shower but he’s finding it difficult to motivate himself to move. His limbs feel heavy. Ryan forces himself upright, done with wallowing for now. This holiday is going to be fun. They’re going to have fun. Ryan is going to have fun. Ryan lets out a very deep sigh and gets up off the bed.
Chapter 2: The Day Before
In another hour he’s going to be 29 and one day, and this has to be the worst start to a year Ryan’s ever had.
Ryan keeps his eyes trained on his fork, wishing he’d thought to keep his hat on so at least his face would have been concealed right now. Can’t he just stop talking?
They’re at the restaurant and it’s the end of the meal. Ryan’s boyfriend — loudly drunk — had just got up to give a speech, and Ryan can feel his will to live ebb with every second he’s talking. In another hour he’s going to be 29 and one day, and this has to be the worst start to a year Ryan’s ever had.
It had started fine, he guesses. He’d woken up to an empty bed, and a vague text that said his boyfriend had already gone to the bar. So Ryan had slept in, got himself off and grabbed a shower before heading down to the pool.
He spotted a couple of his boyfriend’s friends, snagging a sunlounger next to them. They’re nice enough but they’re not his friends. None of them are. Ryan’s not actually sure if who are his friends. So he’s ended up spending the morning feeling like a stranger on his own birthday trip.
His boyfriend had come back shortly before noon and they’d argued. Ryan had apologised for expecting him to wait for him and they’d fucked. It had left Ryan feeling hollow, and even more angry and frustrated than before. Ryan had spent the rest of the day in the pool, contemplating how this had ended up being his life.
Ryan looks up. He’s finally stopped talking and is looking at Ryan with his glass held up. Ryan forces a smile, grabbing his glass to take a drink as well. His boyfriend laughs.
‘You don’t drink when it’s a toast to you, you fuckin’ idiot,’ he says, snorting with laugher and ruffling Ryan’s hair as he sits down again. Ryan shrugs, feeling a prickly blush across his cheekbones. He knows his boyfriend is only joking but Ryan still feels the sting of his words.
‘Are we going to the bar now?’ Ryan asks, trying to sound upbeat. He wants a drink. He wants a lot of drinks. He wants to drink until he can’t remember it’s his name, let alone the fact that it’s his fucking birthday.
‘Sure thing, babe,’ he says, kissing Ryan on the side of his mouth and calling everyone to head to the bar.
The club is only a couple of streets over from the restaurant. It’s still pretty early so there's no queue. Everyone seems to be standing around in the street outside, chatting and smoking. Ryan stands next to his boyfriend, not concentrating on the conversation as they wait for a few of the others to catch up.
His eyes fall on a group of five guys. It’s weird because they’re all dressed the same, dark suits, but only one of them is smoking; the shortest guy with long dark hair framing his face. Even from across the street, Ryan can feel a sort of energy from them. There’s something about the way they’re standing, something about them that’s coiled tight like a spring. And maybe Ryan’s paranoid but it seems like they keep looking at him.
Ryan shakes his head, turning back to the conversation and ignoring it. Ryan knows he’s nothing to look at, so there’s no reason for those people to be looking at him. His boyfriend puts a hand on his shoulder and Ryan leans into him, pleased.
When they get inside Ryan buys a round and shots because, well, it is his birthday. And he’s not quite sure what happens but he starts to enjoy himself. He’s buzzed enough to dance and before he knows it it’s quarter to three and he’s taking a breather at the bar. Ryan gulps down water as he looks around for the group he'd come with. Then he spots, from across the club, his boyfriend with his hand on some guy’s ass. For a moment Ryan doesn't think or move or even breathe. Fine. Cool. He’s done.
Ryan downs the rest of the water and sets the plastic cup down with a hard thunk on the bar. And just like that he’s done. Done with the silences, and the lies, and the stay out all night without calling. He hadn’t even wanted to fly halfway across the fucking world for his birthday anyway. Only for his boyfriend to be a dick from the moment they’d stepped onto the tarmac. So fuck it. He’s leaving. He’s going to get in a uber or whatever the fuck they have here, pick up his shit and go to the airport.
Ryan slips on his jacket as he walks with purpose towards the exit. The shock of the sight has sobered him up sharply but he’s still a little unsteady as he stands. From the corner of his eye, he notices one of the suited guys get up from the bar beside him. Ryan ignores him. He’s pissed and he’s tired, and he’s got no interest in what the fucking discount men in black want from him anyway.
As soon as he reaches the outside he lights up. The street is empty now and it’s jarring after the noise and heat of the club. He takes a drag, hoping the nicotine will soothe him but no such luck.
His hands are still shaking with anger as he takes another drag, then another. He huffs out smoke. It’s not helping. He flicks the half-smoked butt with a sigh, deciding to walk for a bit and cool off before heading to the hotel.
He takes a turn and then another one. Ryan stops in the middle of the narrow street he’s ended up in. He has no idea where he is. Ryan grunts softly, cursing his sense of direction, and digging his phone out of his pocket tapping on Google Maps. Ryan hears a footstep behind him. He turns. But, before he can see anything more than a blur of the person standing behind him, there a sting in his neck. Blackness starts to eat at the edge of his vision. He feels hands catch him under the armpits as his knees give out.
Chapter 3: Day 1
‘No,’ he says, and Ryan can see him smiling in the gloom, ‘you’re not under arrest.'
Ryan comes awake slowly. It takes him a moment to realise he’s not in his bedroom but in a room he’s never seen before. It’s beautiful; lavishly but tastefully decorated. Ryan lifts his head up from where he’s laying on the bed. On the wall opposite the end of the bed there’s an open fire crackling. Silhouetted on the sofa beside it is a man Ryan doesn’t recognise either.
Ryan blinks, feeling a headache spike through his eye-socket. He tries to piece together what happened last night. Had he got drunk? Drunk enough to go home with some stranger? He glances at the man on the couch.
He’s suited and silent. His long dark hair is loose over his shoulders, contrasting with his pale, tattooed throat and hands. He seems to fill the space in between them. Fill the whole room. Despite almost definitely being shorter than Ryan. His arms are spread across the back of the couch and his legs are relaxed and slightly parted. He's easy taking up space. His expression is relaxed too. He looks content to sit in front of the fire and watch Ryan.
‘You’re awake,’ the man says quietly, and Ryan flinches, realising he must have seen that Ryan’s eyes are open.
‘Yeah, I guess,’ Ryan says, pushing himself up, head swimming. What time is it? Where is he? What’s the fuck is going on? The man hasn’t moved. Ryan can see the light gleaming on his eyes in his shadowed face.
‘Where-where am I?’ he asks. His chest is tight, heart rate picking up. He tries to take slow even breaths, trying to reassure himself. He doesn’t even know how much shit he’s in yet. The guy shifts in his seat. There’s a glass in his hand Ryan realises, half an inch of amber liquid with ice clinging softly as he moves.
‘This is a guest bedroom in my private compound,’ he says, taking a sip of his drink and continuing to watch Ryan.
‘Private comp—I-what? Am I under arrest?’ Ryan says, glancing around the room as if there might be an answer there. It certainly doesn’t look like a prison cell but what the hell is a private compound. The man snorts softly.
‘No,’ he says, and Ryan can see him smiling in the gloom, ‘you’re not under arrest— you’re my guest here.’ Ryan stares.
‘But I-I’m on vacation and I don’t—’ Ryan takes a breath frowning at the man, ‘—I don’t even know you. Why am I here?’ The man takes another sip of his drink and then sits forward to set his tumbler on the low table in front of him. The movement brings his face into the light and Ryan feels a weird kind of flip in his stomach.
‘Well,’ the man says, ‘my name is Ricky Olson. I’m in the country executing my father’s estate.’ He pauses, stroking his tattooed forefinger over the pair of rings in his lower lip thoughtfully. ‘And you’re here because I want you to be, Ryan.’
Ryan stills, feeling a sudden wave of cold wash over him. What the hell was that supposed to mean, and how did this stranger know his name? He stares at the man — Ricky — as he tries to comprehend what he’s just said to him.
‘But why—’ he starts, then stops shaking his head, ‘I-I need to leave. I-my partner will be concerned. Thank you for picking me up or whatever, dude, but I need to go.’ Trying to look determined, Ryan gets out of the bed only to be immediately hit with a headrush that leaves him clinging to the wall. Ricky’s standing as well, eyeing Ryan warily like he’s worried he’s going to collapse. He is shorter but only just, not enough for Ryan’s height to be an advantage in a fight. Not that Ryan’s intending to fight him.
But this guy is sketchy as hell and he guesses now is as good a time as any so he bolts for the door. Ricky catches him, grabbing his forearm and wrapping an arm around his waist. Ryan struggles, pushes at his chest, trying to twist his arm free, grunting with the effort. But Ricky’s faster and stronger than he’d expected. And it’s obvious he knows how to restrain someone.
Somehow Ryan gets his arms around his waist and, feeling something cold and hard in his belt, grabs at it wrenching himself away.
It's a gun. Ryan almost drops it he’s so shocked. Panicking, Ryan levels it at Ricky. He has held a gun before, technically. But that was more shooting cans with his cousin than the heavy pistol currently resting cold in his palm. What the fuck is he doing?
‘I-I’m going to leave,’ he tells Ricky, awkwardly strafing to keep Ricky in sight. Ricky grunts, eyes on Ryan. He’s wearing make-up Ryan notices; big, thick black lines around each eye, making the white of his sclera pop. In the moment Ryan’s distracted, Ricky steps up to him, completely unafraid, and delivers a sharp tap to his wrist that leaves the gun skittering across the tiles.
Ryan gasps at the pain and Ricky catches him, twisting his arm up his back and shoving him into the wall. Ryan whines as another splinter of pain spikes up his forearm. To his surprise, Ricky loosens his grip a little.
‘Ryan, I like you but pull a fucking gun on me again, dude, and you'll regret it,’ Ricky says, evenly, putting his full weight against Ryan’s back. ‘Do you understand?’
‘I-yes,’ Ryan says, muffled where his face is pressed to the wall. There’s a sort of tingling warmth between his thighs, and it has everything to do with the weight of Ricky’s body.
‘Good,’ Ricky says. He lets Ryan go and steps back. Ryan turns, putting his back against the wall and holding his aching wrist with his other hand as if this might keep the pain in. Ricky hasn’t moved away from him, so Ryan’s not exactly pinned but he is trapped between the wall and the half-inch of space between him and Ricky’s body.
‘Sorry,’ Ricky says quietly and Ryan can see that he’s looking at how Ryan’s holding his sore wrist. ‘I don’t — it’s — I don’t want to hurt you.’
‘Could have fooled me,’ Ryan says sourly. Ricky huffs a breath, now moving back from him, and going to retrieve the gun. He sits back on the couch with his eyes on Ryan. The gun is on the low table in front of him. Ryan’s relieved. Sort of. Ricky had been so close to him he’d practically been able to feel the heat rising off his skin.
‘C'mon, sit down,’ Ricky says. ‘I’ll explain a bit if you want?’ Ryan stares at him — if you want? Did this guy genuinely just expect him to accept his situation; apparently hostage to a total stranger who also carried a gun?
‘That would be good,’ Ryan says, nonplussed, sitting on the end of the bed opposite Ricky. Ricky nods, leaning forward to put his elbows on his knees, steepling his fingers. Ryan leans forward too, unconsciously mirroring his position. He sits up sharply when he notices.
‘I... I’ve brought you here to get to know me,’ Ricky says after another moment of silence. ‘To have time to get to know me, so you'll fall in love with me.’
Ryan feels his mouth drop open. And then his heart rate starts to pick up again. Oh. Ryan closes his mouth, trying to process and not completely panic.
‘But I don’t— how could I—’ Ryan starts, helplessly. Ricky lifts a hand and Ryan stops talking.
‘Not at the moment,’ he says, eyes searching Ryan’s face, ‘—but in time, I hope. I want you to stay here, with me, until your next birthday and find out if it’s possible.’
‘What?’ Ryan says, louder than he intended to, ‘but that’s, that’s like a year from now. I can’t—’
‘It’s a year from yesterday, right?’ Ricky says, sitting back. Ryan frowns at him.
‘How do you know that?’ Ryan asks, ‘how do you know me? Why are you doing this?’
‘I like you, Ryan,’ he says, shrugging as though it’s that simple. Ryan scoffs unbelieving.
‘But I can’t—’ Ryan says, belatedly remembering: ‘I-I’ve got a boyfriend and a family, and work and stuff. I can’t just—’
‘I’ve taken care of it,’ Ricky says.
‘What?’ Ryan says, suddenly feeling afraid. His eyes flick to the gun that’s still on the table between them. But Ricky snorts at him.
‘Nothing so dramatic,’ he says, smirking. Ryan can’t help but think this a little rich from a person who has apparently kidnapped him like some cartoon villain. But he’s not brave enough to say it and Ricky continues:
‘I had my guys grad your stuff from your hotel... and leave a message ending your relationshi—’
‘You did what?’ Ryan barks.
‘He doesn’t deserve you, Ryan,’ Ricky says, unabashed.
‘I—’ Ryan starts then lets out a long breath, ‘I know.’
‘That’s good,’ Ricky continues, ‘and I’ve sent a letter of resignation—’ Ryan opens his mouth to start yelling again but Ricky raises a hand. ‘Listen, you don't need to work, I’ll get you anything you need. If there are things you need from your apartment, give me a list and I'll get it couriered, otherwise it will be safe in storage with the rest.’
‘Why’s my stuff in storage?’ Ryan asks quickly before Ricky can start talking again.
‘I gave up your apartment, there’s no need—’
‘But I-’ Ryan starts again, he feels like icy water is rising in his chest. He drags in a wet breath and realises he’s half a second away from crying. He quickly brings a shaking hand up to his mouth, trying to swallow a sob. He’s not going to cry in front of this dickhead. Ricky makes a soft noise and when Ryan looks at him, he looks distressed. Upset by Ryan’s upset. Ricky takes a breath then speaks quietly again: ‘I know this is a lot.’
‘Can I have my guitar?’ Ryan says, wanting something — anything — to make this reality more bearable.
‘Of course you can,’ Ricky says gently, taking out his phone to make a note. ‘I sent a message to your family too.’ Ryan squeezes his eyes shut, trying to swallow a hiccup as he presses his hands to his mouth, head bowed. ‘You're going to call them on Saturday and tell them you’re taking a job opportunity here, and that you’re going to stay. You’ll have weekly phone calls.’
‘I can talk to them?’ Ryan asks, raising his head.
‘Yeah,’ Ricky says, shrugging, ‘I wouldn’t suggest you discuss the specifics of the, um, situation but you can speak to them.’ Ricky nods, feeling the icy water again. So not only he, but his family were at risk from this guy. And yesterday his worst problem had been having a shitty boyfriend.
‘Please don’t be upset,’ Ricky says and Ryan has to fight not to scream at him. ‘All I’m asking is a year. For you to spend a year finding out if you can love me.’ Ryan doesn't speak; he doesn’t trust himself to scream. How could I ever fucking love you? Ryan takes a breath, head down, looking at where his hands are folded in his lap.
‘Why are you doing this?’ Ryan asks, not looking up.
‘I told you, I—’ Ricky says.
‘No, I mean…’ Ryan interrupts, ‘why me? Why do you want me?’ Ricky’s quiet for a moment, sucking the rings in his lips again. Calculating. Then he shrugs, posture softening.
‘We…’ he wets his lips, evidently still thinking what to say. ‘I… I watch your stream.’ For a moment Ryan doesn’t comprehend and then it feels like the world has tilted on its axis. And he knows who Ricky is.
‘Shit, I know you!’ he says, staring at Ricky, ‘—you’re that horror guy, right? R.horror is your user!’
‘That’s me,’ Ricky says. Weirdly, he looks embarrassed. But maybe that’s because Ryan’s so shocked. Ricky smiles at him a little, though he still looks flushed. ‘You get it— R. Horror?’
‘Ricky, right?’ Ryan says, huffing out a laugh. How fucking bizarre. Who knew he had a fucking stalker. A stalker with a compound and money and a gun. He guesses he’d known about the money at least. Every stream without fail Ricky would be there, silent for the most part. Though he generally asked for AFI when Ryan wanted requests. He never gave a huge amount in one go, and now Ryan realises that was so no one would notice. It was just small bits here and there but it added up. Until Ryan had got around to working it out and discovered Ricky would routinely drop half a grand on him a night. It was one of the reasons he was considering streaming full time.
But he guesses none of that matters now.
He looks at Ricky; young, tattooed, attractive. Not exactly what he’d imagined when he’d thought of a stalker or his mysterious patron for that matter. Ryan shakes his head, trying to process this new information.
‘I thought you were just some old guy jerking off,’ Ryan says, scrubbing a hand over his face. Ricky laughs, softly.
‘Well,’ he says, mouth curving, ‘as you can see I’m just some young guy jerking off.’ Ryan feels colour flood his face suddenly, realising what he’s said. But then he feels another wave of cold. He forces himself to look up into Ricky’s face. How in love with him is he expecting Ryan to be.
‘So you… watch me and you…’ Ryan says, forcing himself to keep eye contact with Ricky though his cheeks are blotched with a flush. Ricky shrugs, and Ryan feels his pulse practically throbbing through his face.
‘So, you’re going to...’ Ryan says, eyes stinging again as his cheeks burns. Ricky lets out a heavy sigh. Ryan glances at him but he’s looking down at his hands.
‘Let me say this,’ Ricky starts, looking up at Ryan now. ‘I wouldn't touch you unless you ask me to.’
‘You already touched me,’ Ryan says; his embarrassment shifting into anger.
‘I restrained you, Ryan,’ Ricky says firmly, ‘You pointed a gun at me, I think we can both agree that’s reasonable.’
‘Fuck you,’ Ryan says but it's without heat. He’s too shocked and too overwhelmed to put the full extent of his fury behind it.
‘If you want,’ Ricky says, smirking as he fishes in his pocket and pulls out a pack of cigarettes. They’re Ryan’s brand. ‘—or you can return the favour. I’d love to see how you play on your own.’
‘You can’t be serious,’ Ryan says, feeling his blood flooding right back into his face. ‘I can’t—’
‘Sure you can,’ Ricky says, lighting his cigarette, ‘pretend your life depends on it.’
Ricky doesn’t look at the gun he’s left on the low table next to his whiskey glass. But then he doesn’t need to, Ryan’s already frozen in place. At first Ryan doesn’t move, he just watches as Ricky smokes his cigarette and watches him back.
‘Get comfortable,’ Ricky says, ‘take your time.’ Ryan shifts, heart throbbing in his chest. He puts his feet flat on the floor, rubbing his hands down his thighs trying to get the sweat off his palms. He guesses he's just going to have to go for it. He plants a hand behind him on the mattress, leaning back and slipping it under the waistband of his sweats.
Ryan closes his eyes, trying to think of something that will get him in any way in the mood. But all he can see behind his eyes is Ricky. The rings in his lip, his gleaming eyes, his tattooed hands. Ryan feels his dick starting to respond to his lackluster strokes. He thinks of Ricky doing this. Doing it as he watches Ryan on screen. Ryan’s hips twitch up at the thought, thrusting into his palm. He’s more frightened and somehow more turned on than he’s ever been in his life.
‘You can take those off,’ Ricky says, and Ryan’s eyes snap open. Ricky’s looking at him, silently smoking with his arm stretched along the back of the couch. Ryan’s not sure if it’s a relief he’s not touching himself as well.
‘What?’ Ryan says, trying not to pant. He’s getting into it now, and the feeling of Ricky’s eyes on him is only working him up more.
‘You just look a little uncomfortable,’ Ricky says, mouth pulling up a little at the corner. Ryan flushes, realises Ricky must mean the way he’s awkwardly jerking himself inside his sweats. Ryan hesitates, but then his skin is already hot and his palm is now sweat-slick. He pushes his sweats and underwear down roughly.
Ricky makes a soft noise but Ryan doesn’t look up, concentrating instead on the head of his cock, where he can see it deep pink and poking out of the circle of his fist. Ryan grunts, unable to stop his hips rolling up into his hand. He arches his back and lets his head drop back feeling the first shivers of the orgasm curling up his spine. He gasps sharply, feeling the muscles in his thighs clench as he comes in a hot stripe over his fist and stomach.
Ryan pants, letting go of his dick and sitting up a little. He can feel shame, churning and burning, acidic in his stomach. How could he have done that? How could he have enjoyed it?
‘Mm, you did good,’ Ricky says. Ryan doesn’t speak, he can even look at the other man. ‘I’m going to give you some time, sleep a little more, take a shower, whatever, and you’ll join me for dinner at seven.’
Ryan still doesn’t speak, head bowed, as he listens to Ricky pick up the gun and move around the low table towards the door. Ryan glances up when he hears the door open and makes eye-contact with Ricky again.
‘Thank you,’ Ricky says quietly, before slipping out. Ryan lets himself lie back on the mattress, staring at the ceiling as he listens to the key click in the lock.
Chapter 4: Day 21
‘You can look,’ Ricky says, mouth curving more. Ryan bites his lip, feeling his cheeks burning, but he can’t quite keep himself from glancing up.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
Ryan stretches out. There’s already sunlight striped across the bed, which tells him he’s woken late. With this, the dry mouth, and the slight headache, Ryan knows he’d had one glass of wine too many at dinner last night. He groans, rolling onto his side. Not that it matters.
He doesn't have to get up for work. He doesn’t have to get up to cook for himself or clean. His room gets a once over from Ricky’s staff every day, clean towels and neatly folded sheets, like it’s a goddamn hotel. All meals are provided, delicious and varied. Ricky likes complicated French stuff or Thai but is more than willing to indulge Ryan’s taste for sushi. And fries.
Unexpectedly, to him at least, Ryan’s fallen into a routine of sorts. He usually wakes early and eats breakfast by the pool, before swimming a few laps and then heading to the compound gym. He’s never been much for organised exercise but Ricky has an extremely sarcastic PT, and Ryan has found himself frighteningly desperate for conversation with someone other than Ricky’s polite but chilly staff. Not that the PT isn’t also Ricky’s staff but at least he’s willing to joke with Ryan a little, in between barking at him that his press-ups are a shame upon his family name.
In the afternoon he practices guitar. At first, it had just been to try and get some sense of normalcy back, but the familiar, practiced movements are so soothing Ryan finds his fingers itching for the instrument. He’s getting good too. Better than he’s been in years. It’s a tiny victory but Ryan is going to take what he can get.
The only other form of diversion are the regular visits from Ricky’s friends; Justin and Vinny. At least that’s what he’d called them. Though Ryan can see they both wear a gun, like Ricky does when he’s going out, so he has to guess it’s more of a business arrangement.
Ricky always comes to tell Ryan when he’s leaving, and on the first day he’d shown Ryan where his office is where he can be found in the day if he's not out. He kisses Ryan too when he goes out. Not quite on the lips, but it’s most certainly not a friendly kiss. He’d done it on the first day — when Ryan had been too shocked to react — and seems to have taken this as permission.
Ricky’s friends are fun and a good distraction, despite not doing much other than sitting around the table by the pool, drinking espresso and speaking Italian too fast for Ryan to catch more than a couple of words. They speak English when Ricky’s there, unless they’re talking business, but then Ricky will usually send Ryan away if talk turns to business anyway.
Ryan has yet to work out what business Ricky is in. But the guns, and the secrets, and the brick of coke on Ricky’s desk the day Ryan had gotten so bored he’d gone to see him, suggested it wasn’t missionary work.
Ryan hadn’t yet got up the courage to ask him about it at dinner. They ate together once a day (unless Ricky was out, which had happened only twice in the close to a month Ryan had been living with him). Dinner was his opportunity to ask questions; Ricky had told him as much. And he would answer anything. Ryan had tried to get under his skin the first couple of days, asking the most explicit questions he could think of. But Ricky had just shrugged, or smirked, and told him. So now Ryan knew his parents were dead, his favourite colour was blue and he’d once had to go to a private, out of hours clinic with suspected dislocated vertebrae from his ex choking him while he fucked him from behind.
Ryan feels his stomach churning and decides a very strong black coffee will do wonders to knock off the crust of the hangover. He doesn’t bother to get dressed, pulling on the fancy robe over his underwear, and trotting out of the double doors from his room that open to the pool.
There’s someone sitting at the breakfast table and Ryan’s relieved to see it’s Vinny. He’s not sure he could cope with Ricky’s intensity this early.
‘Ciao,’ Vinny says to him, grinning. He seems to enjoy making a point of flirting with Ryan as much as possible. ‘—Sleep well, my darling?’
Ryan grunts, flushing, and doesn’t say anything but accepts when Vinny pushes the coffee pot towards him. He takes a deep draft and groans, flopping back in the chair. Vinny chuckles. Ryan glances over the pool and realises someone is swimming, and with another jolt realises it’s Ricky.
Ryan watches him for a moment the sleek rhythmic movement of his body. And then Ryan feels tingling warmth slowly seeping up his thighs. He looks away quickly, back at Vinny. Vinny’s looking at him too.
‘What?’ Ryan snaps, embarrassed to be caught looking at Ricky. Vinny’s got his chin on his palm and his eyes are on Ryan.
‘Oh nothing, darling,’ he says, ‘just appreciating Rick’s taste .’ He arches an eyebrow, flicking his eyes down and Ryan notices his robe has pulled open showing his bare chest.
‘Fuck off,’ he says, pulling the robe tightly around him. Vinny laughs but before he can retort Ricky joins them, dripping and asking Vinny something in Italian. Or more accurately telling him to get lost, Ryan surmises as Vinny gets up from the table as Ricky sits down.
‘How's your head?’ Ricky asks, giving Ryan an assessing look.
‘Fine,’ Ryan says, smiling at him a bit. ‘I was going to swim after I wake up a bit,’ he says with a shrug. Ricky nods, sipping Vinny’s abandoned coffee. His long black hair is slicked down his back with water and his skin looks more pale and translucent than usual. Ryan likes the pretty filigree tattoo he has curling all the way up one arm.
‘I’ll go change,’ Ryan says, getting up quickly. He feels weird around Ricky after last night. It was the first time he’d gotten drunk since being taken captive, though Ricky kept a wet bar Ryan could get access to at any time. He’d been justified in his caution because he’d had barely one glass of wine more than usual and he’d ended up letting Ricky give him a long, and now very confusing, goodnight kiss.
So he felt weird. Upset and angry with himself and with Ricky. His initial fear of Ricky and his stalking, and his fucking gun, has faded. The luxury and the loneliness of his living situation has certainly pushed him towards Ricky. And Ryan’s smart enough to recognise it but he can’t quite stop himself giving in to it. Can’t stop himself wanting to see Ricky, talk to him, to kiss him, to fuck him.
Ryan picks up his swimming stuff, making to go back to his room.
‘Use my room if you want,’ Ricky says, pointing with a thumb over his shoulder. Ryan looks to the pair of full-length glass doors, standing half-open, that he’d indicated. Ryan hadn’t realised that was his room. With a perfect view of the pool where Ryan swims every morning. Ryan feels a weird swoop in his stomach.
‘Oh, uh, sure,’ Ryan says, moving quickly away from him.
Ryan slips into the room. It's large and airy, a pleasantly soothing mix of grey blues and charcoal greys. Ryan likes to imagine Ricky picked out the colours himself. Ryan can see another door and guesses that’s the way to the bathroom, quickly slipping through.
He lets out a low whistle as he takes in the gleaming oyster-coloured marble. Ryan takes a step further into the room and feels warmth beneath his feet. Fancy . In fact, the whole bathroom is one of those super fancy couples’ bathrooms, like you get in honeymoon suites. A pair of side-by-side sinks, a huge bath obviously meant for two, a large chrome shower-head jutting from the ceiling at either end with no screens.
Ryan puts his trunks on the edge of one of the sinks. He can see Ricky’s aftershave on the counter, wondering why he has a bathroom for two. But then he guesses it’s just that this room is the Master. It probably came with the house. Or… compound.
Ryan eyes the shower, imagining the warm water on his skin. He’s stripping off and stepping under the spray before he’s even decided. The water feels if possible even better than Ryan imagined. The remnants of his hangover sloughing off. Ryan groans deeply, scrubbing his hands over his face.
He feels the water dripping down through his hair, slicking it to his head. It makes him think of Ricky’s hair. Ricky’s sleek body moving through water. Ryan curses, slapping his palm against the tile. His hormones are always a little out of whack after he’d been drinking. And the thought of Ricky’s muscles flexing as he pulls himself through the water has Ryan’s cock hard and sensitive between his thighs.
Ryan groans softly, cursing himself. He knew he should have gone to his own damn room. He lets his hand brush his thigh, wanting so badly to take a hold of his cock. But he can’t . Not here. Not in Ricky's bathroom. But then — Ryan reasons — who would know? He could just get himself off quickly now, and stroll out as if nothing had happened.
Ryan fits a hand around his dick, groaning with relief as he lets his head rest on the tile. He starts to stroke himself, biting his lip, trying to focus on anything other than the thought of Ricky’s wet skin. He’s just starting to get really into it, his pulse pounding through his cock as his gut twists up with arousal, when there’s a sound behind him.
Ryan half turns and sees it’s Ricky slipping through the door. Ryan freezes, staring. Ricky stops too, also staring. His eyes drop to the hand Ryan’s still got on his cock. Ryan makes something between a squeak and grunt, dropping his hand but then fumbling to cover himself.
Ricky takes a step closer. Ryan wants to tell him to get out but he can’t quite seem to get his mouth to work. Ricky takes another step but he’s not moving towards Ryan. He walks towards the other side of the room, turning on the other shower.
Ryan doesn’t know what to do. So he stands, immobile, as he watches Ricky hook his thumbs under the waistband of his shorts and pull them down. Before Ryan’s processed what’s happening Ricky standing there naked. Ryan eye’s drop to his cock, feeling his face flush. He looks good . And Ricky’s shaved. Completely .
Ryan’s dick is throbbing insistently as Ricky turns apparently unconcerned and steps under the spray. The sight of the water dripping down the lean lines of Ricky’s back and ass almost doubles Ryan over, his blood is pulsing through his dick so hard.
‘Sorry,’ Ricky says, turning back to face Ryan as he twists his black hair in a thick skien. ‘I think I interrupted you.’ Ryan feels his cheeks burning, almost as much as his cock is between his thighs.
‘I was just… um…’ he trails off not knowing what to say.
‘A hangover always makes me want to fuck,’ Ricky says, tipping his head up into the spray. He says it lightly but Ryan feels icy uncertainty finally cutting through his fog of arousal. He becomes aware for the first time of how intensely vulnerable he is. Alone and naked. Although Ricky is naked too, he's already proved he can easily overpower Ryan in a struggle.
‘I don’t—’ Ryan says, feeling his palms tingling.
‘Don’t?’ Ricky asks, gently. He’s looking steadily at Ryan as the water runs down his chest.
‘I don’t—’ Ryan mumbles, looking down at his toes. ‘I’m not going to have sex with you.’
‘That’s your prerogative, Ryan,’ he says, but he’s smirking. Then he lifts a hand and fits it around his cock. Ryan feels his entire body light up, shivering and oversensitive. Suddenly the water dripping down his skin is just too much. The humid air between them is too much. Ricky’s scolding gaze on his skin is too much. Ryan looks down again.
‘You can look,’ Ricky says, mouth curving more. Ryan bites his lip, feeling his cheeks burning, but he can’t quite keep himself from glancing up. Ricky starts to stroke his cock more firmly, eyes on Ryan.
‘Why don’t you come here?’ Ricky says, thumb stroking over the head of his cock. Ryan can’t seem to take his eyes off his hands; chipped black nails and the tattoos on his fingers. Ryan moves before he even really decides to. Every thought that isn’t wondering how soft Ricky’s skin feels falling out of his head as he pads across the titles towards Ricky. Ricky backs up a little too, eyes flicking over Ryan.
‘I’m not—’ Ryan says, although he’s already here. He’s standing under the spray of Ricky’s shower, the water is running down his skin. Ricky has put his back against the titles behind him. He looks up at Ryan pushing his long dark hair back off his shoulder. Ryan reaches out, fingertips touching Ricky’s shoulder as well. Ricky bites the rings in his lip.
‘Bit lower,’ Ricky says, smirking and starting to stroke himself again.
‘Shut up,’ Ryan grunts. He knows he shouldn’t be doing this. He should be turning right around and taking himself and his dumb dick straight out of there. Instead, he takes another step closer, hand tightening on Ricky’s shoulder to keep him in place. He lets his other hand move back to his cock. Ryan exhales shakily, feeling it practically jump into his hand. They’re not quite chest to chest, not touching anywhere but Ryan’s hand on Ricky’s shoulder.
‘Ryan,’ Ricky says softly.
‘Don’t,’ Ryan grunts, still working his cock. Ricky chuckles. Ryan lowers his head, looking down at where Ricky’s doing the same; fucking his cock into the circle of his fist. Ryan pants, letting his hips rocking against his hand as he watches Ricky jerk himself off. Ryan can feel his thighs starting to shake.
‘You’re close,’ Ricky says. Ryan glances up to him as he feels Ricky’s fingertips brush the cut of his hip. Ryan knows he should be telling him to stop, but he’s so fucking close and he wants—
Then Ricky’s hand fits around his dick and starts to stroke him. Ryan lets out something between a gasp and a whine. Heat sprawls across his skin, making it burn under the spray of the shower. It barely takes a dozen of Ricky’s strokes before Ryan feels his gut twist taut as he comes. Ryan hisses through his teeth, swaying against Ricky, as the orgasm shudders through him. Ryan drags in air, trying to swallow the acidic feeling burning the back of his throat. Ricky hums, hands on his stomach stroking his skin. Ryan takes a breath as he stumbles back.
‘It’s okay,’ Ricky says, ‘Ryan, it’s fine—’
‘Fucking don’t—’ Ryan says, feeling bright, hard shame unfurling beneath his skin. Before Ricky can say anything else, Ryan backs further away from him. He can't look at Ricky, feeling his heart pounding in his chest as he grabs one of the plush towels and staggers out of the room.
‘Ryan!’ he hears Ricky call once but he doesn’t pause, feeling his eyes start to sting. How could he have let that happen? How could he have let Ricky touch him like that? Just because he was fucking hungover and wanted to get off. Ryan stumbles back across the pool area and back into his room, closing the door behind him and putting his back against it before he lets out a soft fuck .
I know Vinny (or Ricky for that matter..) can't speak Italian, although I didn't know he didn't drink until like last week so I could be wrong 😂
And if you're wondering where Chris is.. good 😉