William had been fine when Xander’d first walked off.
Oh, he’d missed the warm weight of the strong hand on his knee, but he’d simply turned his full attention to the conversation he was having, secure in the belief that Xander would be back sooner, rather than later.
He was actually rather impressed by the things Ricardo was telling him. It was nice to know that his lover’s friends were good sorts, which they truly seemed to be. It was also surprising that none of them seemed to mind Xander having brought him—a stranger—into their group, no matter how temporarily.
His comfort level had remained fairly constant for the first five minutes or so—until Ricardo had stopped in the middle of telling him about how Xander had advised him to buy GSI stock while it was still higher than most analysts believed would be the low point—and was proven right when it began to climb again—and had given him a sharp look. A sharp look he was still giving him, in point of fact.
“What is it, Ricardo?” he asked, only to wish he hadn’t when the young man finally answered.
“You’re not really what I thought you’d be,” Ricardo allowed. “I mean, working with Xander for the last three years, I kinda thought I knew his type, right? Then again, after all that shit with Larry, maybe he changed his mind.” He shrugged. “I know. I know. We’re all supposed to pretend we didn’t notice how twisted up Xander got but I figure… it’s been going on a year since that fucker left and even if he is back, that doesn’t mean Xander’s gonna give him the time of day, right? The whole thing just… pisses me off.”
He thought for a moment, not noticing the confusion on the blond’s face. “Or it did, anyway. But I guess Xander’s really over him now. Hell, he didn’t even bat an eye when that shithead came by the site the other day. He just looked at him, nodded, and kept working.” Ricardo laughed. “Should have seen the look on his face—Larry’s, I mean—when the shift was over and Xander just walked right past him without a word.”
William wasn’t sure of what the sound trapped in his throat might have been if it had escaped, but Ricardo clearly took it as a bid for more information because the dark young man spoke on with growing enthusiasm.
“We all talked about it later. Y’know, at the bar. Chuy kept saying Xander had someone new, but he was the only one who’d met you, right? And Xander’s never really shoved being gay in anyone’s face so you know he didn’t say anything… and then Chuy wasn’t sure, anyway, but we all knew Xan’d been in a good mood so maybe it was okay…” Ricardo frowned. “But he was in a good mood in the beginning with Larry too, so… shit, I think I’m kinda drunk, man.”
“Y-yes… possibly…” William heard himself saying while his mind raced.
He’d known Xander had had other lovers. Of course he had, as had William himself. They simply hadn’t talked about it. They’d been too busy… ‘shagging,’ his mind supplied.
What he hadn’t known was that Xander’s last relationship had apparently ended badly and maybe that had something to do with why Xander wouldn’t let him swallow him down. Maybe the other man thought that would be too intimate or too… something. Or maybe—and it was this thought that had William suddenly frightened—maybe whatever they were doing didn’t mean as much to Xander as he’d thought.
Sure, the brunette had said all that about getting tested and such, but perhaps he simply disliked condoms and wanted… ‘God, he just wants to fuck me without one. That’s all. He’ll probably be done with me if I let him and I don’t want him to be through with me! I want… I want… oh, God help me. I… I think I… bloody hell, am I falling in love with him?’ It was a stunning thought, and one made more so by the fact that even asking the question of himself was tantamount to answering it, and…
‘And this means nothing to him. Xander doesn’t care. Why should he, after all? I’m damaged goods—almost a cripple, even… and he’s so bloody amazing. He could have any bloke he wanted; I know he could. So why in the world would he settle for someone like me, bum leg and all? And yet…’
William shivered slightly, remembering the way Xander’s tongue felt as it slid slowly, softly along the thick, raised scar that ran around his thigh, behind his knee, and halfway down the side of his calf. Remembered the awe in deep brown eyes that he’d survived the accident that had caused it.
He remembered gentle callused fingertips tracing that red, twisted line as a slightly stubbled cheek rubbed his navel and soft splashes of salty water dotted his skin, and… and then he heard Xander laughing from across the room, the joyous sound drawing his eyes immediately.
His heart raced and he stared, unable to help himself.
Maybe it was possible to show the sort of emotion Xander had displayed with him for someone you didn’t care for, but William didn’t think a man like Xander could lie in that manner and if that were so, then…
“Then I’m an idiot and worrying over nothing…” he whispered, every clenched-tight part of his psyche releasing as he felt himself smile softly, deeply, willing his lover to his side.
“Bloody hell,” he breathed, eyes wide at the answering emotion in Xander’s gaze, and “Bloody… hell…” again as he felt his body tighten.
“Having fun, baby?” Xander murmured quietly as he crouched in front of William’s chair, tanned hands hard on toned and slender linen-covered thighs, eyes still locked on bottomless blue. Fuck, he wanted to get out of here… wanted to feel the proof of that look; to know it to the depths of his heart and soul. “Or do you think you’ve had enough?”
Oh, bloody fuck. He was hard. He was hard and throbbing, just from what he saw in Xander’s eyes and he had no idea of how he was going to get out of the chair without having everyone know just how much Xander affected him and… “I don’t think I can get up… stand up… oh, hell. I can’t… that is, I’m..” William groaned and darted his eyes down to his own lap.
Xander found himself swallowing hard as he followed that somewhat panicked gaze, his tongue slipping out to lick his lips. “Jesus, baby… we gotta go. Now. If I don’t get you naked soon, Will… shit, you had to go looking at me like that and now, knowing you’re hard for me, I… fuck, we need to go!”
William groaned again. “Bloody fuck, yes! Just tell me how to manage it, luv. Don’t want your friends getting the wrong idea, do we? Or the right one, for that matter.” ‘Don’t want them laughing at you… or me,’ he finished silently.
Dark hair swayed easily, even as Xander lifted his head and spoke loudly. “You should have told me your leg was hurting more, Will. I think we need to get you home. Can’t have it seizing up on you, right?”
He winked and whispered as he leaned in, his hands sliding up to William’s waist then around his back. “Just go with it, baby. And say goodnight on the way out.”
Chuy couldn’t control his own laughter as his friend carried the blushing blond from the house with hollered thanks. “Well?” he demanded gently when Malina joined him, “what do you think?”
The woman snorted softly. “You saw the look, right? Like… like nothing else existed for either of them?” She leaned against her husband, one arm around his waist. “I think,” she went on when he nodded, “neither one of them has any idea of what they’ve found… and when they do finally figure it out? If they make it through the ‘scared-shit-what the fuck-how do I do this’ stage, they’ll be fine. More than fine.”
And Chuy finally relaxed. “Good. So they really were looking at each other like…”
“Like we did in the beginning,” Malina agreed with a sultry smile. “Like we still do.”
“And of course we have a house full of people right now.”
The woman laughed. “They’ll have to go home sometime, Chuy… and the cleaning can wait for tomorrow.”
It was a damned good point, he figured.
They’d made it to the truck.
They’d even gotten into the truck and Xander had driven an entire three blocks before he couldn’t stand it anymore and pulled into an alley.
“William,” he groaned, sliding across the bench seat and pushing the fingers of one hand through soft blond hair, “God, baby… need you so bad…”
The answering groan was just as loud, though it became a growl when thick fingers tried to unfasten linen. “No… bloody fucking hell no, Xander!” One hand rose, long, elegant fingers pushing roughly at a strong, solid arm. “Not again!”
“I… what? Will…? I… what’s…” Xander stammered, barely managing to keep himself from grabbing his blond and just having at him.
“Don’t you dare say ‘what’s wrong’, Xander!” William almost snarled, his body screaming at him to just give in and talk about this later, but… he couldn’t. Wouldn’t. He wanted to know. Needed to know, and especially now that he knew the little he did about Larry. “We need to talk.”
Lust-filled brown flew disbelieving to equally hot blue. “Now? You… you’re kidding, right? We need to talk right now? Will… please, baby. I’m dying, here…”
“God, so am I, Xan… want you, pet. Want you so badly right now.” And maybe he could slip past whatever Xander’s objection was while the man was so clearly desperate and then maybe they wouldn’t need to talk after all.
He slid a few inches closer, eyes tight on Xander’s face. “Want you, luv… want to take you in my mouth, Xander. Feel you throbbing on my tongue, in my throat… taste you when you cum for me, feel you fill me with your flavor. Bloody hell, Xander, I want that.” William moaned at the thought and his own boldness, his hand sliding up Xander’s thigh to cup the straining bulge beneath the denim Xander wore. “Let me. Let me, pet. Please…”
He couldn’t help arching into that warm hand, a loud gasp flying from him when William squeezed lightly. “Shit, I… fuck, baby, we can’t… condoms. My place. Just let me… Jesus, Will, please! Just use your hand while I suck you…? I… fuck, never needed anyone this bad, Will. Never! I…”
And while he was still burning just as hotly for his lover, William was suddenly confused.
He moved his hand and pressed himself hard against the door, straining for just a few inches between them as he tried to figure out what was bothering him about what Xander had said. And then it hit him. ‘Condoms…? He would want to wear a… but I never do when he… bloody hell, what’s he afraid he has?’
Unfortunately, he wasn’t likely to find out while Xander was so very frantic. Still, that could be dealt with easily enough.
“Alright,” William murmured, his hand on Xander’s jeans again, “alright, luv… we’ll do it your way… not like I mind, is it?” He groaned low and deep when those thick, strong fingers worked his slacks open, letting his ready shaft spill forth and when Xander’s dark hair was spread over his lap, the red lips hot and soft on his tip, William moved faster, unbuttoning the tightened denim covering his bloke’s shaft and slipping his hand inside.
Two hours later found them lazing in Xander’s bed, the worst of their lust and need spent for the time being, and if William was a bit disappointed in himself for backing down in confronting Xander about the whole sucking issue, he figured he had every right to be. Of course, that didn’t mean he was letting himself off the hook, either. He simply had to choose his moment. Which was apparently now.
One hand slid slowly over soft, dusky skin and William propped himself up on his free elbow. “So, pet,” he said simply—plainly, so there could be no misunderstanding— “what exactly do you think you’ve got? Because there has to be something. Never heard of a bloke turning down a blow job, otherwise.”
Ah, hell. Xander sighed deeply. “I… what are you…” And then he looked at Will and shook his head. No, William wasn’t going to buy ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about’ and Xander knew it. He’d just hoped the blond wouldn’t notice what they hadn’t done until after the testing, if then. “Shit.”
Scarred brow arched, William smiled slightly and shifted closer, pressing a slow, deep kiss to Xander’s lips. “Luv… whatever it is you’re not telling me, it can’t be worse than what I’m imagining, right? So just… spill it, Xan. Need to be honest with each other, don’t we?” His brow furrowed just a bit. “About this, I mean. If we want this to work out, anyway, right?”
“Shit,” Xander sighed again. “You couldn’t wait two more days until I know if there’s even a reason to be worried?” He heard the soft snort and couldn’t help smiling. “I guess not, huh?”
It took a good ten minutes or so for Xander to be ready to really talk about it, but once he started he found that he couldn’t stop until it was all in the open—meeting Larry on site almost two years earlier, starting to see the other construction worker on the sly because Larry wasn’t out and had no interest in having anyone know how much he liked to ‘fuck that tight ass, you hot little slut’…
William cringed more times than he could count as Xander told him more about the man, the shamed tone of his lover’s voice telling him more than words ever could just how much Xander hadn’t enjoyed the way Larry had treated him. That was enough reason for things to end, he figured, but as the story continued he found himself furious on Xander’s behalf, his fingers digging deep into the solid waist as he gritted his teeth.
“I don’t know what I was thinking,” Xander said softly, the painful grip on his skin somehow comforting rather than distressing. “I guess I figured gay guys were few and far between here; especially in construction. And we had a lot in common. I thought. Both gay, same job, both of us from California. So I convinced myself that we were… something we obviously weren’t, y’know? I thought…” He shrugged a little, shoulders moving sheepishly on the sheets. “I thought he cared. Hell, I thought I cared. Even when I suspected—knew—there was something wrong, I just ignored it. Until I couldn’t anymore.”
“You won’t mind if I beat him senseless, right pet?”
A smile tugged at Xander’s lips even while he shook his head. “Wouldn’t be worth it, baby. You’d be in jail if you did and I don’t think Texas allows conjugal visits for guys and their lovers. If we’re… I mean, after we…”
Blond hair moved softly on skin and William brushed his lips lightly across one small, dark nipple. “No worrying about that bloody test until we know there’s a reason, got it? Could be just fine, you know. I’ve never heard that being an asshole was contagious, after all.”
Fingers stroked wheaten hair even as Xander forced himself to continue.
“I started to notice things. Little things, Will. Bruises. Red marks that looked like they could have come from teeth. And then one night Larry came by really late.” He sighed, remembering. “He was drunk… and obviously on some sort of drugs. Whatever it was, it made him stupider than usual and when I asked him why he was here, he told me. He’d struck out at the bar. He was horny. He wanted me to fuck him and cum in his ass like all the other guys he’d been fucking for the whole time we’d been together… and then he wanted to fuck me. Without a condom. Just like he’d been doing with those guys in the bars.”
A snarl vibrated against Xander’s chest and he let his hand slide from Will’s hair to the long curve of his spine.
“It wasn’t something we’d ever done. The whole ‘unsafe’ thing, I mean. And I wouldn’t be worried now except… ah, hell Will. Larry… he’s a big guy, okay? He…”
“He forced you?” William was fully enraged. He sat up, glaring at nothing as his voice—cold and clipped—filled the air loudly. “That bloody fucking bastard raped you? I take it back. I’m going to kill him. Slowly. I…” It was only the hands on his arms, rubbing soothingly, that stopped his plotting.
“No… no, baby, no…” Xander babbled, pulling William between his legs to rest against his chest. “No… I would never have let that happen. He’s not that big, okay? It’s just…” He blushed, trying to think of how to put it. “He never let me… see him when he was… in me. He told me that night that he pretended to put on the condom sometimes and… Jesus.” He shivered. “I just thought… hell, I used to tease him about too much lube and it was probably that and his… and I can’t fucking believe he was such a shit! I…”
And that quickly, William went from furious to comforting.
He shifted, turning in Xander’s hold. One arm wound around the larger man’s neck while the other maneuvered his own bad leg into a bearable position. “Hush, luv… hush. Bloke’s clearly a piece of garbage and not worthy of your pain, right?” He held the man tightly, not even a little bit surprised when he felt tears on his shoulder. “Don’t understand how anyone could do less than treasure you, Xan,” he murmured, meaning every word. “Bloody hell, only known you a bit more than a week and I can’t imagine not feeling like you’re…” he swallowed hard, barely managing to swallow the word that echoed in his mind. ‘Everything…’
He didn’t know what Will was saying; mostly because he was focused on his own labored breathing. All that mattered was that William wasn’t pulling away, wasn’t trying to leave him now that he knew. And that being the case, Xander figured he owed the man the rest.
“Sorry,” he said, taking a deep breath and releasing it. “I just… never really talked about this before. Didn’t mean to get all… weepy.”
A small shrug and soft kiss were his only answer and Xander did his best to smile.
“So anyway, I kicked him out.” A small chuckle left him. “Pretty much literally. I think you can still see the dent in the wall on the stairs from where he, uh… ‘fell’ down them.” Another tiny laugh. “He was so wasted, he didn’t remember any of it the next day. I had to tell him what he’d said and… anyway. I got tested the day after that and came back clean. Then I did it again a few months later, and… same result. But there hasn’t been anybody for me since and no one even interested me until I met you so I figured I didn’t really want to know for sure, y’know? But now…” Xander swallowed and looked away.
“Now, you do,” William finished for him. “And that’s why you’ve never let me swallow you down, isn’t it? You trust me when I say I’m negative but you’re not so sure about yourself, yes?” The small nod was answer enough, but still… “What about that first night, Xander? You didn’t know anything about me then. I could have been the world’s worst slut, spreading it about for any bloke with a twinkle in his eye. But you sucked me off, pet. Swallowed me down, even. Can’t help wondering why that is.”
Even though Xander was blushing, he couldn’t hold back a wanton groan. “Fuck, Will. I had to. I… shit. There you were, looking like you look, and I hadn’t even touched anyone in like a year, and… I had to. Wanted to, even when I’d never really liked doing that before. I…” He blushed deeper still. “I didn’t even think about condoms until you were already cumming and by then I knew what you tasted like, and… I couldn’t help it, okay? I… it was you, William. I couldn’t resist you. Not even then. I… hell, I wouldn’t even if I could.”
‘And you think you’ve the bloody plague already,’ William finished in his mind with a small frisson of fear, ‘and if you do, luv, we’re buying stock in bloody Trojan because I’m not giving you up.’ The words that came out of his mouth were entirely different, though.
“I don’t plan on letting that change, either, pet. But just so you know ahead of time… the minute you come back clean, I’m going to swallow that bloody lovely shaft of yours. Over and over, Xander. Won’t need food for days, I’m going to be so full of you. Fair warning. Got it, luv?” He smirk grew just as quickly as Xander’s cock was doing against him. “Think you like that idea, Xan. Good thing, too. I can be rather… stubborn when I’ve set my mind to something.”
“Good God… the clinic had better be quick…”
“Better tell them to call us at my place too, pet. I’ve no intention of spending another night here when that right sodding bastard was welcome once.”
As it turned out, the clinic was quick. Of course, William thought that might have had something to do with the rather sizable donation he’d offered on behalf of Aurelius Technology Systems. Angel probably wouldn’t even notice that ATS—in the person of his step-brother, though they never used the ‘step’ anymore—had gifted such a sum. It was just too far beneath his notice, after all.
Xander was nearly vibrating with nervousness as he sat in William’s living room. The call should be coming any minute but each second felt like hours to him. He wished he’d taken the time to be sure of his status before he’d even met the blond, but how could he have known? How likely was it really that he’d be driving down a dark road and accidentally run into someone so fucking right for him that a mere week and a half later, he’d be in… ‘oh, fuck. I love him?’
The realization was slightly hysterical, but he couldn’t bring himself to deny that it was true. He loved Will. Couldn’t stand to think of a time when they’d be anything but together. And maybe that was alright. Maybe. It all depended on what the clinic had to say, he figured, because there was no way he would ever make William stick around if he was going to get sick and…
“Stop it,” William snapped. “You’re brooding. I’m just as anxious to know what they’re going to tell us as you are, Xander, so just… stop.” God, he was going crazy. He’d been fine until Xander had gotten there, all sweaty and mussed and so bloody tempting. It was taking every ounce of willpower William possessed to keep himself at the other end of the couch, rather than on top of the other man, pressing down on him and feeling all that muck and muscle at his disposal. “Bloody hell,” he grumbled, glaring at the phone, “ring, already!”
As though it had been waiting for just that show of temper, the metallic chirp sounded, seeming unnaturally loud in the suddenly silent room.
“I… I suppose I’d better get that,” William said nervously, one hand reaching for the speakerphone button while the other groped across cushions and found the larger, also seeking hand.
Brown and blue met and locked, fear and hope warring in both sets of eyes even as William’s voice stumbled. “H-hello…?”
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