November 21st, 2008
Title: Outside of a Dog
Rating: It's going to be for grownups only. Expect sex.
Disclaimer: This is a non-profit, non-commercial work of fiction using the names and likenesses of real individuals. This fictional story is not intended to imply that the events herein actually occurred, or that the attitudes or behaviors described are engaged in or condoned by the real persons whose names are used without permission.
Acknowledgments: A large tip of the keyboard to AlXson BechdXl, whose 'verse I might have borrowed from a little.
This chapter is for carnilia, because she made me a piece of art that has nothing to do with this story, but that made me smile a lot.
Also, the customer story in this chapter is true, only the customer asked for a blue book with an elf on it.
Ryan was behind the counter at Panic Toys when Patrick pushed the door open, and he lifted his hand in what might count as a wave.
“Hey, Patrick. Have you cleaned up from last night yet?”
“Hi Ryan,” Patrick said. “Pete is scraping the party off the sidewalk and carpet at the moment, so I figured I’d stay out of his way.”
Ryan rolled his eyes. “What was it with that guy and the mud?”
“I don’t know,” Patrick said. “I really don’t know.” Patrick paused at the Top Gear Poseable Crash Test Dummy display, and picked up the Jeremy Clarkson doll. “You here by yourself today?”
“For the morning. Those other losers I work with were too out of it to come to work this morning.”
Ryan glared at Patrick, and Patrick bent Jeremy Clarkson’s left arm at an impossible angle.
“Joe is still asleep, in our store room,” Patrick said. “We’re hoping he wakes up by close of trade today.”
“Spencer will be in this afternoon, if you’re looking for him,” Ryan said.
“And Pete will be at our store all day,” Patrick said, positioning Jeremy Clarkson suggestively against James May. “If any of you were looking for him.”
Ryan smiled in a way that showed none of his teeth, and Patrick stomped out of the Panic store, back to his own.
The sidewalk looked better, at least, where Pete had brushed the worst of the dried mud off, but Patrick had doubts about Pete’s plan to run the carpet cleaner over it after doing the carpet. Life was one long adventure…
Inside the store, the shelves were looking a little empty, but the store was far tidier, with the folding tables stacked out of sight, along with Joe. Patrick gave Pete a hand to move the portable display units, then helped himself to left over cold pizza while Pete went to pick up a carpet cleaner.
While Pete was cleaning the carpet, Patrick took refuge from the noise on the sidewalk. He leaned against the store window, reminiscing about making out with Spencer, and trying to work out why he had the feeling he’d forgotten something terribly important about the night before
Gerard ambled around the corner, while Patrick was considering the state of the universe. Gerard always looked wrong in the daylight, like he was vampire who didn’t know the rules or something.
“Hey there,” Gerard said. “You got some time?”
Patrick looked around and nodded. “Sure. What’s up?”
Gerard was radiating discomfort, like he’d left the clothes hangers in his clothes when he’d dressed. “Can we go somewhere else?”
Uh oh, Patrick could sense impending disaster, even without a GM rolling dice for him. “Sure, hang on.”
He went back into the store and waved his hands at Pete, who looked up from dragging the carpet cleaner between shelves. “Ten minutes,” Patrick shouted, holding up all his fingers, and Pete gave him the thumbs up back.
Chemical Love looked weird with the lights on, just like Gerard, the carpet dingy, the walls shabby, and Patrick followed Gerard through the empty club, the acoustic tiles swallowing the sound of their footsteps.
“Sorry about being a drama llama,” Gerard said, opening a door to a shabby office and pointing at plastic chair, then collapsing into an equally plastic office chair.
“You don’t have a unicorn?” Patrick blurted out.
“What?” Gerard said.
“Pete said you had a unicorn in your office.”
Gerard stared at Patrick, then started laughing. “Damn Mikey, and his damn fucking stories. No unicorn, for obvious reasons. I wanted to talk to you about Pete.”
“No,” Patrick said. “You can’t talk to me about Pete. You have to talk to Pete about Pete. I can’t be held responsible for anything Pete says or does. I have no control over Pete. Pete is just Pete, and everyone has to get used to him.”
Gerard shook his head. “Calm down, though I do understand, because people always want to talk to me about Frank like that. I just wanted to say that Mikey is my little brother, and I know he acts like he’s ultra cool and everything, but he’s got it pretty bad for Pete. So I guess I’m just being all protective and checking Pete out.”
Patrick blinked. “Okay. What sort of checking out?”
“Obviously Pete is bug fuck crazy, which I don’t give a shit about, because anyone who knows anything about the dynamics of us here at Chemical Love knows that we thrive on that. I’m more worried about the internal politics of your group.”
Gerard was watching Patrick’s face closely, his eyes steady, and Patrick had a flash of insight. “You’re asking if Mikey is going to be intruding on anyone else’s territory? Not in-house. Apart from that, I can’t say, because Pete might have started dating an entire football team in the time I’ve been gone from the store.”
Gerard smiled, and Patrick decided he liked Gerard. “Good. I needed to check that Pete wasn’t actually your Vermont civil partner, and the two of you never bother telling people.”
Patrick boggled a little at the idea. “Um, no.”
Gerard shrugged. “I heard about Mikey’s mistake with Joe last night. I hope Joe’s okay.”
“He’s still asleep, but I’m anticipating his personal crisis of identity with some amusement,” Patrick said. “But I’m malicious that way.”
“Ah, the shared entertainments of a fellow abstainer,” Gerard said. “Nothing like watching your friends get hammered and make total asses of themselves, and being the only person who remembers, is there?”
Patrick grinned. “I should get back, before bad things happen at the store.”
Gerard walked beside Patrick, to the club door. “It was good talking to you,” Gerard said. “And I’m sorry if you were disappointed about the unicorn.”
“Deeply disappointed,” Patrick said. “My heart’s broken. I may never recover.”
Gerard laughed, and closed the club door behind Patrick.
Patrick laughed too, to himself, as he walked back to the bookstore. So, Mikey had it bad for Pete, and had chosen to show it by picking up straight Joe? Life didn’t get much more amusing than that.
Ryan was in the store, perched on the counter, watching Pete drag the carpet cleaner around, to Patrick’s continued hilarity. That Pete had decided carpet cleaning was hot work and taken off his T-shirt was elevating the situation to something of a farce, in Patrick’s opinion.
“Hi Ryan,” Patrick shouted over the roar of the carpet cleaner, and Ryan scowled at Patrick.
“Bye, Ryan,” Patrick shouted, because if Ryan was at Fall Out Boy, then there was a chance that Spencer was at Panic Toys, and alone.
Ryan might have scowled at that, but Patrick didn’t bother looking.
Pete could either work out where Patrick had gone, or call him, when the carpet-cleaning-and-tattoo-exhibition had finished.
Good friends didn’t cock block, and that worked both ways.
Spencer was behind the counter at Panic Toys, and he grinned at Patrick briefly over the head of a customer who was earnestly bent over the counter, peering at a Star Wars model.
“But is it canon-compliant?” the customer asked.
“It’s canon-compliant up to the release of the sixth movie, the first time around,” Spencer said. “Any shit that was introduced in the extended version isn’t canon anyway, in my opinion.”
Patrick nodded enthusiastically, signaling his agreement. He wasn’t going to part with his VHS tapes of the original trilogy until someone released a version of the movies he was happy with, even if his favorite scenes were distorted from repeated freeze-framing.
Classic was classic.
The customer bought the X-wing model and left, so Patrick leaned across the counter and grinned at Spencer. "Ryan said you had trouble waking up this morning."
"Joe's brownies were a little on the poisonous side," Spencer said. "I'm sorry if I was hideously inappropriate last night."
"Don't apologize," Patrick said. "Please don't. I don't think you were at all inappropriate. On the scale of inappropriateness, you were at the zero end, being wonderful. Joe was up the other end, and needed rescuing before something startlingly unexpected happened to him."
Spencer lifted both eyebrows, managing to look pleased and amused, and Patrick leaned a little closer.
"Ryan's occupied at the bookstore," Patrick said. "Pete has a lot of tattoos that need to be admired. I could try and prove to you that you weren't inappropriate last night..."
"By being inappropriate now?" Spencer asked.
Patrick grinned. "That's the idea."
Patrick didn't know if Spencer licked his bottom lip deliberately or subconsciously, but it didn't really matter, not if Spencer was going to meet him halfway, mouth already opening.
This kiss was slow and indecent, and Patrick could hear the clatter of stuff behind the counter as Spencer hitched himself higher, getting better access. Patrick held onto Spencer’s arm, steadying him, and Spencer made gratifying noises against Patrick’s mouth.
“Mommy,” a little voice said. “Why are those men kissing?”
Patrick let go of Spencer reluctantly and turned to smile at a surprised-looking Hockey Mom and her daughter. Damn, Pete was never around to MILF when he was needed.
“Because, little girl,” Patrick said. “We’re not allowed to get married, so all that’s left for us is kissing in toy stores in front of the children.”
Spencer coughed, and the Hockey Mom glared. “Do you have the GenXration One BXrnacle Boy My LXttle PXny, in blue, with the ClXdesdale fluff on the feet?”
Spencer served the Hockey Mom—and Patrick was frankly appalled at how much the My LXttle PXny cost, and he knew how much it was possible to spend on a replica light saber with realistic sound effects—then closed and locked the door behind the mom and kid.
“I can’t believe you said that,” Spencer said, starting to laugh as he hung the ‘back in ten minutes’ sign on the door. “Are you always so antagonistic?”
“Yes,” Patrick said. “But only to the straight world.”
Spencer took Patrick’s hand and pulled him behind the counter, so they were screened by a rack of miniature cars that presumably made someone very excited. Patrick didn’t give a damn about miniature cars, not right then, but he was moving right past interested, to fascinated, by Spencer.
“Hold onto the counter,” Patrick said, pushing Spencer back against the edge of it, dislodging some of the miniature cars.
“Oh, fuck,” Spencer said, against Patrick’s neck, then Patrick got the damned button at the top of Spencer’s fly undone.
“The sign says ten minutes,” Patrick whispered. “I think fucking might be a little optimistic, under the circumstances.”
The clutter on the floor behind the counter was uncomfortable under Patrick’s knees, a random collection of cardboard packaging, paper and plastic bags, discarded receipts and crumpled disposable coffee cups, , but Patrick didn’t fucking care. He pushed his hat to one side and rubbed his face across the front of Spencer’s jeans, breathing in the scent of Spencer, moaning to himself at how fucking hot Spencer smelled.
Spencer moaned too, grabbing at Patrick’s shoulders and bending forward, and Patrick had to remind himself they only had ten minutes.
Spencer, up close and personal, with his jeans around his thighs, and his boxers low enough that his cock hung heavy over the elastic, was like every late night fantasy of the past few months come true for Patrick. His cock slid into Patrick’s mouth sweetly, slipping across Patrick’s tongue, hard and urgent, and Patrick wanted to fucking climb all over Spencer, sucking his skin, just to taste him.
“Fuck, fuck, fuck,” Spencer gasped, and he wasn’t fucking kidding.
Patrick shoved a hand down, yanking his own fly undone, dragging his cock out desperately, clamping his fingers around himself, trying to hang on even though he was jumping out of his skin.
The noises Spencer made, all deep and desperate, went right through Patrick, and fuck yeah, Patrick wanted as much of Spencer’s cock in his mouth as he could manage, so that Spencer’s fingernails dug into the back of Patrick’s shoulders hard enough to hurt, and Patrick couldn’t breathe.
Spencer seemed to be after the same thing, jerking forward, almost choking Patrick, making Patrick swallow hard and keep swallowing, until Spencer slumped down, on top of Patrick, sending both of them sprawling across empty cartons and the rubbish bin.
“Owwww,” Patrick bitched, pushing the bin out from under his shoulder, then Spencer planted a hand on Patrick’s sternum, pushing Patrick down harder and getting some leverage up. “Ow, fucking watch it.”
“Oh, stop whining,” Spencer said, then he wrapped his mouth around Patrick’s cock, and Patrick stopped breathing for what felt like several minutes.
Someone was pounding on the door to the store in a staccato complaint, and Patrick was the most uncomfortable he’d ever been during sex, even worse than the time he’d been blown in the walk-in fridge at Pete’s girlfriend’s restaurant. Spencer, however, was determined to take Patrick’s mind off both the person trying to break into the store and the thing with the razor sharp edges that he was lying on, using only a combination of suction, friction and heat, and Patrick handed his mind over willingly.
“Damn, you’re loud,” Spencer said, once Patrick had stopped thrashing around amongst the debris.
“Oh, fuck,” Patrick managed to say, dragging his jeans back up and zipping them closed. “Exactly how frustrated do you think I was? I crashed at the store last night, with no privacy. I only hope I didn’t spend the night humping Andy’s leg.”
Spencer pulled himself up on the edge of the counter, disappointingly dressed again, and held out a hand to Patrick. “I should let Ryan in, before he breaks something.”
Patrick straightened his own T-shirt, then pushed his cap back on. “Ten minutes? Couldn’t he have waited ten minutes?”
Spencer unbolted and unlocked the door, and Patrick slipped out, past a pissy looking Ryan and a queue of equally pissy looking customers.
“Honestly…” Patrick heard Ryan say, then he was mercifully out of ear shot, and within range of the shouting coming from Fall Out Boy.
“…eyes!” Joe was squawking. “I’m never going to get that out of my head! I’m going to have to fucking go to therapy now!”
Patrick stepped into the store, and found himself facing a bewildered customer, who was watching Joe shout at Pete.
“May I help you?” Patrick asked the customer, in his best Retail Service voice.
“I want to buy a book,” the customer said, sounding panicked.
“One moment,” Patrick said, then he turned to Joe and Pete. “You two, in the yard.”
The pair of them slunk out the back, and Patrick smiled at the customer, hoping the customer couldn’t distinguish between ‘just-got-off’ and ‘I-care-about-your-reading-needs.’
“We have books. Which book would you like?”
“I don’t know anything about it, except that it was green and had trees on the cover.”
Patrick blinked. “Do you remember what it was about?”
The customer stared at Patrick, then said, “I haven’t read the book. It was my mom’s, and my dog just ate it, and I have to replace it before she gets home from work. Do you have the book?”
Patrick took a deep breath in. He’d handled every book in the store, over the past four days, but it had never occurred to him to mentally catalogue the things by the images on their covers.
“Right, books with trees on the covers…”
Patrick ducked around the shelves, clambering over the abandoned carpet cleaner, and held up TreX and LXaf, by TolkiXn, and the customer shook his head. Then The OnX TreX, by DXnaldson, again with no luck. The SXmmer TreX, GXy GavriXl KXy, and the customer also frowned unhappily.
At The Fxmily TreX, by SherrX TeppXr, the customer said, “That doesn’t even have a green cover with a tree on it.”
“Work with me here,” Patrick said. “I’m trying to help you and your dog. What about these?” He held up The IntegrXl TreX, by LXrry NivXn and ShadX of the TreX, by Pixrs Anthxny, and the customer sighed and shrugged.
“De LXnt!” Patrick said, struck with inspiration, which is a fucking huge achievement under the circumstances. “Trees on all the covers, lots of green.” He started grabbing De Lxnts off the shelf, holding them up for the customer to see. “Does your mom read De Lxnt?”
“I haven’t got a clue,” the customer said, then, when Patrick waved MoXnheart around, he shouted, “Yes! That one! That’s what the dog ate!”
“Your dog owes you $15.95,” Patrick said, carrying the book to the register. “Do you want me to peel the price sticker off the back, so your mom can’t see where the book came from?”
“Please,” the customer said. “And thanks, for saving my dog’s life.”
“You should congratulate your dog on having great taste,” Patrick said, handing the book over to the customer when he’d paid. “And stop the dog from eating books.”
When the customer had gone, Patrick opened the rear door of the store and let Pete and Joe back in.
“What the fuck were you two doing?” Patrick asked.
Pete lifted his fist, and Patrick sighed and held his own out for Pete to bump knuckles against, while Joe found a large bottle of electrolyte replacement fluid in the fridge and chugged half of it.
“Joe just saw too much,” Pete said.
Joe lowered the bottle to glare at Pete through bloodshot eyes. “Far too much. I’m deeply traumatized. They’re going to have to name a complex after you, Pete. You can’t do that sort of thing when the store is open.”
Pete shrugged. “I don’t think Patrick minds, do you, babe?”
Pete slung his arm around Patrick’s neck, hugging him, jamming his face against Patrick’s, and Patrick said, “Whoa, Pete,” because there was sharing, then there was over-sharing.
Pete chuckled against Patrick’s ear, and Patrick knew he was in for an extensive debrief over Spencer at some stage. As long as Pete didn’t feel the need to offer sex tips, Patrick could cope.
Joe put down the bottle of electrolyte replacement fluid and rubbed at his mouth, then his face creased in a frown and he patted his face. “Oh, fuck,” Joe said. “I must have eaten something weird last night, something I was allergic to, because I’ve got this rash all over my face.”
Pete burst out laughing, almost deafening Patrick, and Patrick shoved Pete away, trying not to laugh himself. “Yeah,” Patrick said. “Um, yeah. There’s something we need to talk to you about. About last night.”
Joe froze, hand on the stubble rash on his chin, and Pete dissolved in helpless giggles, so Patrick hit Pete hard, making Pete whimper. “Ignore Pete. He can finish cleaning the carpet while you and I, um, oh fuck, stand outside.”
On the sidewalk, once the carpet cleaner was roaring inside, Patrick said, “So, Joe, you were shit-faced last night. You did stupid things. Do you remember this?”
Joe shrugged. “Not really, not past the bit where Gabe caught fire. Why? What did I do?”
“Made out with Mikey.”
Joe was silent, for far too long.
“Don’t talk to me,” Joe said. “Ever again. Actually, talk to me, I want to know what I did. Tell me what I did.”
“We rescued you. You honor is intact.”
“There was groping. And obviously you got stubble rash.”
Joe grabbed Patrick’s shoulders. “That’s all?”
“That’s all. Honestly. And you thought Mikey was a girl. That’s what you told us.”
“Can I die of embarrassment now?”
“Sure. Anytime you want to.”
Joe turned around and pressed his face against the store window, groaning in horror, and when Patrick turned to pat his back consolingly, Pete was pressed against the inside of the store window, squeezed between the FXist display and the poster for the latest Star Wars novelization of a video game, pulling faces at them both.
“Joe?” Patrick asked, and Joe groaned.
“While you were being wasted and stupid last night, did you notice me doing anything that I should remember?”
Joe turned his head sideways to look at Patrick, ignoring the sight of Pete’s open mouth pressed against the other side of the glass.
“Um, no. You made out with Spencer. You sold books. You ate pizza. Why?”
Patrick could hear Pete saying, “Look at me! Look at me!” through the glass.
“I’ve just got this feeling that something happened, but I have no idea what it was.”
Joe sighed. “Maybe you made out with a girl?”
Patrick glared at Joe. “I don’t think so.”
“Why don’t you ask Andy? He wasn’t wasted. And he doesn’t live on Planet Pete. He’d know if you’ve been an idiot.”
“Andy always thinks I’ve been an idiot,” Patrick said. “Though I guess he might be able to provide specifics this time around.”
Customers walked into the store, and Patrick knuckled Joe gently in the arm. “I should go serve those poor people. I don’t think they deserve to be exposed to a shirtless Pete who is demanding attention.”
“No one does,” Joe called after Patrick, as Patrick walked into the store.
on to Chapter Seven