December 10th, 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.
Chemical Love was jumping, full to capacity with a queue out the front that snaked down the sidewalk and kept the two bouncers busy. It wasn’t Edge night, so the place stunk of spilled booze and stale smoke and the toilets were so hideous that Patrick was opting to use the toilet in the courtyard that bookstore had the keys to.
Spencer slung his arm around Patrick’s shoulders and clinked his bottle of beer against Patrick’s water bottle. “This is great!” Spencer shouted, over the boom of the music.
Patrick nodded, rather than try and shout back. It kind of almost was, when they were thrashing around with the crowd on the dance floor, getting all hot and sweaty together, and Spencer wasn’t being drunk at Patrick. “Wanna dance some more?” Patrick shouted.
Spencer lifted his beer back at Patrick and removed his arm so he had a hand free to make toking motions with. “Later. Is Joe here?”
Patrick pointed towards the back of the club, to where he knew Joe was doing whatever it was Joe did that Joe didn’t talk about.
“Back in a bit,” Spencer shouted.
Patrick watched Spencer push through the bodies beside the bar, and shoved his bottle of water in a pocket of his jeans.
Patrick found Pete hanging around the bar, and Pete dragged him to a quieter corner. Patrick leaned against the wall behind them and tried not to think about why it might be sticky. “Thanks, you know, for this morning. That was so good, and you’re the best kind of friend.”
Pete looked pleased and smug, then said, “What did I do?”
“The back stroking. Remember? It was really early, before your first alarm.”
Pete’s face was blank.
Patrick said, “Turn around,” and grabbed Pete’s shoulder, pushing him face forward, against the acoustic tiles. “Like this.”
Pete hitched his T-shirt up, when Patrick pushed at the material, then dissolved helplessly against the wall when Patrick stroked slow hands down his back.
“Oh, fuck,” Pete whimpered. “Yes, oh, gnhhh, ahhh.”
“Like that,” Patrick said, helping Pete back to his feet again.
Pete clung to Patrick. “Baby,” Pete said. “I hate to tell you this, but whoever it was with the magic hands, it wasn’t me. I was actually asleep for a few precious hours last night, safe in your arms, and both the first and second alarms woke me up. Whoever it was who was rubbing your back like that, you need to find him and marry him.”
Patrick pushed his hat on more firmly, and tried to get his head around the idea that Andy had been stroking his back.
“Fuck, either someone broke into the apartment and massaged you, or it was Andy,” Pete said.
“I’d worked that out,” Patrick said. “He has got incredibly good hands.”
“He has?” Pete asked. “Exactly how the fuck do you know that?”
“There, um, might have been some late night neck massages before,” Patrick admitted. “When we’ve slept at the store.”
Pete unwound himself from Patrick, and Patrick pulled his hat lower and avoided Pete’s pursed lips and determined inspection.
“Is there any chance that Andy might be pursuing you?” Pete asked. “That he might want to go there with you?”
Patrick clapped a hand over his mouth and gasped. “Fuckfuckfuck.”
Pete nodded, managing to look wise and sensible. “Welcome to the real world, Patrick.”
“No! That’s what he said! That’s what I haven’t been able to remember!”
“What?” Pete asked, going from ‘wise and sensible’ to ‘eager and curious’ in an instant.
“Andy--he said he wanted to go there with me, when I was falling asleep after the launch party. Oh, fuck, how did I manage to forget that?” Patrick said. “What the fuck do I do about this now?”
“Go and find him, take your shirt off and ask him to rub your back?” Pete suggested. “I’m the idiot, for not noticing this. He even bought you a freaking cup of coffee this morning, along with your other two pursuers. How obvious does he have to be?”
“Pretty fucking obvious,” Patrick said, sliding down the wall to squat on the floor. “This is me, after all.”
Pete knelt down beside him. “C’mon. What are you waiting for?”
“You don’t get it, do you?” Patrick said. “It’s all making so much sense now. Joe’s incomprehensibly vague warnings last night were actually him being completely rational, for him anyway, and telling me to take it carefully with Andy. Fuck, Joe’s right, because we’re all stuck in this bookstore together, and if I fuck this up, it’ll be a nightmare for everyone.”
Patrick put his hands over his face and groaned. “I can’t do this, Pete,” he said indistinctly. “We’re friends!”
“Is Patrick not feeling well?” Gerard’s voice asked, and Patrick groaned even louder. “He can rest in my office if he needs to.”
Pete slapped Patrick on the shoulder. “Do you want to, Patrick?”
“I want to go home,” Patrick said, peering through his fingers, and finding himself looking at the variously worried and/or trashed faces of Gerard, Mikey, Spencer, Joe, Ryan and Andy. “Now.”
“Andy will take you home, right?” Pete said, helping Patrick to his feet.
“Course I will,” Andy said. “C’mon, Patrick.”
“I hate you,” Patrick told Pete, over his shoulder, as he followed Andy past the others, and Pete just waved at him.
“Are you okay?” Andy asked, once they were outside the club, and out of the noise. “Do you think there’s a chance someone got at your water bottle?”
“My water bottle’s safe,” Patrick said, as Andy unlocked his car. “And I feel okay now. I just went odd for a bit.”
“You’re not working tomorrow,” Andy said. “I’ll text Joe and Pete, make sure they know. Sleep in, contemplate the inadequately catalogued state of your personal library, hang around online auction sites bemoaning the price of collectible figurines, that sort of thing.”
“Sorry if I ruined your night out,” Patrick said, once Andy was driving.
“Non-Edge nights are not good,” Andy said. “I was considering heading home anyway, before someone threw up on me or something. Were you having a good time, before you felt ill?”
“No,” Patrick said. “Not really. Spencer was getting wasted, by himself. I’d pretty much wandered off, and was hanging out with Pete.”
“Oh,” Andy said.
“I’ve worked out exactly how I’ve been an idiot,” Patrick said. “No need to go into details, but Pete might have smacked my head against some things it needed smacking against.”
“I wouldn’t always trust Pete’s judgments on things,” Andy said.
When Patrick glanced at Andy’s face in the flickering streetlights, he looked serious, and Patrick didn’t say anything more, not until Andy pulled up, in front of Patrick’s mom’s house.
“Get some sleep, without Pete talking all night,” Andy said.
“Thanks, for the ride,” Patrick said, and on impulse Patrick leaned across the seat and kissed Andy, where Andy’s beard straggled up his cheek
Patrick let himself into the house quietly, and tiptoed past the living room, where his mom’s meditation group was working on some project or other. If Patrick was home more often, he’d keep track of these things, but he had no idea if they were omming for peace, someone’s planned conception or a fertile compost heap that week.
He fell onto his own bed, kicking his shoes off, then rolled onto his back. He had text messages, of course, from Pete, demanding updates, and from Gerard and Spencer, wanting to know how he was.
He sent Pete a message to say he was in his own bed, alone, and laughed at the response, which detailed the ways in which he was failing to seduce Andy. Spencer was trickier, and Patrick wished, not for the first time, that he had Pete’s particular combination of outrageous self-esteem, glib words and savoir faire. ‘What would Pete do?’ wasn’t a question Patrick asked himself very often, not with any genuine interest in the answer.
‘Deal with it later’ was a perfectly valid answer, so Patrick texted back that he fine and going to sleep.
Downstairs, the dykes in the meditation group were moving around, laughing in the kitchen, clattering plates and calling to each other, their voices distant through Patrick’s locked bedroom door. Patrick let himself go back to that morning, to the feeling of Andy touching him.
“Oh, fuck,” Patrick muttered. It had been hot enough at the time, even thinking Pete was doing it. Knowing now it had been Andy’s hands, and that Andy wanted him, was a huge fucking turn on. Fuck, if that was how Andy touched him when he was asleep, then Patrick’s imagination was melting down at the idea of Andy fucking him.
Patrick ditched his clothes onto the floor beside his bed and pulled his box of toys out from under his bed. Thanks to Mad Wombyn Books and his staff discount, he had a collection that even Pete envied.
Cool lube, slipping down Patrick’s fingers, then across his ass, and he slid the smallest glass screw in. The cold was so fucking good inside him, while he jerked himself slowly, sending shivers running through him, his brain looping the feeling of Andy’s hands on his back.
Usually that would be all he’d do, just the cold glass warming was enough, but his imagination was burning a fucking hole in his body, making him want things, want hands on his ass, a cock pushing into him, something to set him on fire.
He didn’t have to justify what he did in private, not even to himself. He didn’t even have to necessarily admit what he did to himself either. He had half a dozen different brands of condoms tossed in the box, and it could even have been random chance that he grabbed a vegan condom to roll on the latex dildo.
The glass screw clattered onto the floor, and Patrick grunted as he worked the latex into himself. Fuck, he hadn’t done this for too long; he was too fucking lazy most of the time.
He pushed his glasses off and rolled over, one hand wedged under himself and wrapped around his cock, and fuck yeah, he was seeing stars now, breathing hard into his pillow. He ground down into his hand, teeth gritted, hanging onto the burning inside for as long as he could, then he was coming hard and tight, his other hand clamped over his mouth to muffle his gasps.
“Fuck, fuck, fuck,” Patrick muttered to himself, rolling back over carefully, and easing the toy out. He tossed the condom and hid the box back under his bed again. “You are so fucked, kid.”
Sleeping in took care of a decent chunk of Sunday, and Patrick felt obliged to do some minimal domestic duties, like load the washing machine a couple of times, as well. Then, fortified by a graze through the contents of his mom’s fridge, Patrick loaded his entire SandmXn collection into his pack and borrowed his mom’s bike.
Andy lived in a large fannish household, with a bunch of hardcore geeks who made even Patrick look moderate and well-adjusted. Patrick liked Andy’s housemates in general, even if they scared him a little.
Matt opened the door, eyes widening a little at seeing Patrick on their porch, then he grinned. “Hey,” Matt said. “Cool, come in. You here to see Andy? He’s around.”
“Thanks. You guys have a good time at the con in Boston?” Patrick said, wheeling his bike into the hall, and lifting a hand in greeting to Rossman, who was huddled over a PC in the living room. Rossman ignored Patrick in favor of shouting abuse over a headset at whoever he was playing WoW with.
“Boston was awesome,” Matt said. “Sorry we missed the launch party for the store. Did Andy take in our bulk order?”
“It’s been processed,” Patrick said. “Delivery in four to ten days, and can I just thank you for your custom. Did Andy tell you Fall Out Boy has decided this household is actually a library, and we’ve decided to extend the library discount to you?”
“He did,” Matt said. “That’s great. Andy’s in his room.”
Patrick picked his way across the snaking lengths of blue and red ethernet cabling that lined the passageway and stairs, and decided he wasn’t imagining the significant glances that Rossman and Matt had exchanged behind his back.
Andy’s door was open, and Andy was sprawled on his unmade bed, laptop in front of him, bed covered in paperwork.
“Hey,” Patrick said. “Am I interrupting?”
Andy grinned, pushing papers aside and clambering off his bed. “Hi, come on in. I was looking over the store invoices and trying not to worry. You can either join me and fret, or I can put all the invoices away, and we can talk about something other than the store.”
Patrick thudded his pack down on Andy’s bed. “I come bearing the complete run of SandmXn. Feel like seeing how far through the series we can read before our brains explode?”
Andy swept the invoices up into a pile, and shut his laptop. “Pull up some mattress, and I’ll get my volumes out. We can break for food somewhere around SeasXns of Mxsts.”
Patrick toed his sneakers off and flopped onto Andy’s bed, then pulled out PrelXdes and NocturnXs. Andy cleared the mess off the bed, retrieved the first couple of SandmXn volumes off the shelves beside the bed and settled beside Patrick.
Somewhere around the middle of DreXm CountrX, Andy turned the bedside light on and disappeared downstairs, returning with rubbery vegan cookies and two glasses of fresh wheatgrass. Patrick, his stomach hardened by a lifetime of nutritious snacks, made all the right noises and ate the cookies appreciatively, washing the taste away with wheatgrass.
“I should go soon,” Patrick said. “I rode my mom’s bike over.”
Andy held out another cookie. “We can toss the bike on the back of my car, if you want to hang around. Matt’s making pasta for dinner, and there will be plenty.”
Patrick nodded, stretching out on the bed and taking the cookie. Andy’s room was pleasantly messy, without the impending social collapse of Pete’s room or the imminent rodent infestation of Joe’s. The bedside light was making the glow-in-the-dark Darth Vader poster fluoresce, and Patrick kind of wanted to turn the light off and goof around with Andy’s light saber, but there wasn’t any way of asking without it sounding dirty.
Actually, if Patrick was honest, he probably was just sublimating what he really wanted to do anyway.
“You’ve got that faraway look you sometimes get,” Andy said, propping himself on one elbow beside Patrick. “I can never tell if you’re planning something evil, or contemplating your dinner.”
“I haven’t talked to Spencer yet,” Patrick said. “But I’m going to tell him that I’m not interested in being with someone who gets wasted when we’re out together. I don’t care what he does on his own time, but he got trashed last night, and that just feels wrong.”
If the sudden change of subject surprised Andy, he didn’t show it, but they were all used to Pete, who had conversational ADD, and could change topic mid-word, and several times if the word had lots of syllables.
“Okay, good call,” Andy said. “I’m kind of surprised you gave Spencer that much of a chance, but hey, that’s your business.”
“I guess it’s like media and literary fans dating,” Patrick said. “It never works out.”
Andy nodded wisely. “I have doubts about Marvel and DC mixed marriages too, but I’d be willing to take that under advisement.”
“You’re just a purist,” Patrick said, laughing. “That’s taking things too far.”
“Does this mean you’re going to go out with Gerard?” Andy asked, sprawling back with DreXm CountrX propped open so that Patrick couldn’t see his face.
“I think Gerard is fucking crazy,” Patrick said. “And I get enough of that shit from Pete already. I was going to pass on that particular source of trouble, thanks. I think it’s going to be bad enough with Mikey and Pete bonding.”
He opened his own copy of DreXm CountrX and went back to the story that riffed on Shakespeare, letting GaimXn’s sheer fucking genius wash over him, until Andy peered over the top of Patrick’s book.
Patrick lowered his book.
“Do you think you could let me know when you’ve had a chance to talk to Spencer?” Andy asked.
Patrick nodded, and when Andy went back to reading, Patrick was grinning to himself.
After dinner, which was announced by nerf gun rounds fired into the room at random, Andy lashed Patrick’s bike to the back of his car.
Outside Patrick’s house, once the bike had been removed, Andy hugged Patrick. “You right to work tomorrow? You don’t think you’re getting sick or something?”
Patrick hugged Andy back. “I feel fine. Really.”
“I’ll be in to do the banking,” Andy said, letting go of Patrick. “See you then.”
Patrick looked at Andy in the streetlight, and decided that while Pete’s scream-and-leap style of role-playing mostly led to disaster, as an approach to personal relationships, it had a certain appeal.
“Hang on,” Patrick said, grabbing the front of Andy’s Firefly T-shirt with both hands, making Andy squawk, then Patrick shut Andy up by pressing his mouth against Andy’s.
Andy jumped, and Patrick heard him swear under his breath, then Andy’s hands cupped Patrick’s face and their lips moved together.
Between the warmth of Andy’s hands and the slide of their lips together, Patrick just about melted, and he was unsteady on his feet when Andy took a step back suddenly.
Patrick jerked his eyes open and let go of Andy’s T-shirt.
“Getting in my car and driving away,” Andy said, and he sounded pretty much like Patrick felt—and Patrick felt like he’d been on the receiving end of the Monty Python Fish Slapping Dance.
Patrick nodded, and he stood on the sidewalk, pack over one shoulder, holding his mom’s bike up, and watched the rear lights of Andy’s car disappear, then reached for his phone.
“What?” Pete asked, and Patrick didn’t even care that he hadn’t texted first.
“So,” Patrick said. “There’s been kissing.”
Pete hooted, and Patrick could hear him talking to someone else for a moment, voices muffled. “Excellent. Why did you stop there?”
Patrick grinned to himself. “Just because. Talk to you tomorrow. Say hi to Mikey for me.”
“How’d you know it was Mikey?”
“Educated guess,” Patrick said. “Have a good night.”
on to Chapter Nine