Unrequited, p.1

Unrequited, page 1

 

Unrequited


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Unrequited


  2 Unrequited | Abigail Roux

  I

  Victor Bronsen tapped his pen against his temple slowly.

  Tap.

  The defense lawyer was speaking in a low, monotonous

  drone. He was new to this district, brought in from somewhere

  else by the family of the accused man, and he obviously didn’t

  know how short Judge Trammell’s temper was when it came to

  stalling or pontificating.

  Tap.

  Vic glanced up at the bailiff, Owen Montgomery, who stood

  stock-still with his blue eyes narrowed, looking at the defense

  lawyer like he might like to hit him soon. Owen was a big guy,

  with thick blond hair, a full beard, and wide shoulders that

  made him look a little like a lion. He wasn’t the type of guy you

  wanted to piss off.

  Tap.

  Vic saw Owen glance sideways at the judge and Vic tried to

  repress a smile. Owen’s patience was wearing thin, just like

  everyone else’s. Vic liked to think it was because the man had

  plans after the day was over, but he knew it was just because

  he was hot and tired. Just like everyone else.

  Tap.

  The air conditioner was broken on the third floor. There

  weren’t even any windows in the courtroom to open, and the

  August heat was becoming oppressive as the day dragged on

  well past lunch.

  3 Unrequited | Abigail Roux

  Vic put his pen down on the table in front of him with a

  clank that reverberated through the courtroom. He was trying

  not to slump in his chair, trying not to fidget, trying not to look

  like he was a wilting prosecutor in a thousand-dollar Italian

  suit.

  He knew he was failing miserably. His short, dark hair was

  already beginning to curl at the edges as the sweat dried on his

  neck and forehead. Soon it would be curly all over and he

  would look ten years younger. At 37, with dark green eyes and

  a thin, angular face, he was in good shape and had always

  looked younger than he was. But when his damn hair curled

  on him, he got carded ordering drinks.

  He could feel the sweat running down his back, and he

  knew soon enough he’d have to get out a handkerchief and

  start wiping at his face, or the jury would see him as nervous

  every time he wiped the sweat from his eyes.

  But at least he wasn’t wearing the heavy black robes the

  judge was. The heat might win him the case before he even had

  to say a word if the defense kept rambling on. The man must

  have one of those air-conditioned suits.

  Vic’s eyes met Owen Montgomery’s and he rolled his eyes.

  The bailiff winked at him discreetly, his lips quirking but not

  forming a smile. Vic tried not to smile as he covered his mouth

  and looked away, forcing himself to concentrate as the heat

  bore down on the little courtroom.

  Owen and everything that came with him would have to

  wait.

  Vic’s chin tilted upward slightly each time his body was rocked

  with one of Owen’s slow thrusts, and every time Owen pushed

  4 Unrequited | Abigail Roux

  into him he let out a little huff of air. Sometimes a moan from

  the back of his throat would join the huff and Owen would

  tighten his grip and thrust harder.

  The breathy moans and the muted squeaks and groans of

  the bedsprings were the only sounds in the room. They weren’t

  fucking hard enough to make noise with the meeting of their

  damp bodies, not yet anyway, and Owen rarely made a sound

  when he topped. As a bottom he was as vocal as you could

  want, and his words and begging alone would make Vic come if

  he so desired, but as a top Owen was singularly focused on one

  thing and one thing alone. He simply held you down, pressed

  his face into the hollow of your neck, buried himself deep

  inside your body, and fucked you until he came.

  If Vic was lucky he would come with him, clutching his

  body to his and writhing beneath him. If not, Owen would pull

  out of him, flop down beside him, and languidly caress him

  until he came all over himself, thrashing and crying out Owen’s

  name.

  “Fuck… fuck yeah,” Owen gasped into Vic’s ear. “Come on,

  baby.”

  That was another thing about Owen; he never said Vic’s

  name when they were together. Baby. Babe. Sweetheart. Doll.

  Darling. The occasional “come on, you bastard.” Just about

  any endearment Owen could think of. All except for Vic’s name.

  Afterward, after Owen had gone back to whatever pressing

  engagement it was that made him leave Vic alone in bed once

  again, Vic would think back on their encounter and think that

  it had been good. Not wonderful. Not even particularly

  memorable. Simply good. Average, really.

  If Vic was the one doing the fucking then it was often

  better in remembrance; he would still have Owen’s cries ringing

  in his ears and he would often have Owen’s drying come still on

  5 Unrequited | Abigail Roux

  his skin, because Vic always made sure that he was inside the

  other man when Owen came. But when it was Owen topping,

  Vic would never remember anything special about it.

  Just that it had been Owen.

  And for Vic, that was enough. That was enough to keep

  him craving more. That was enough to make his heart stutter

  when he saw Owen’s name on the docket for the day. That was

  enough to make him drop whatever or whomever he was doing

  to run to a rendezvous when Owen called. That was enough to

  make him cry Owen’s name when he came, no matter whether

  it was Owen he was with or not.

  “Owen,” Vic gasped as Owen’s arms tightened their grip on

  him. Vic came with a desperate cry.

  Owen panted against his damp skin, thrusting through

  the spasms Vic’s body suffered, and soon Owen was panting

  and coming as well with a muffled groan.

  Vic remained on his back, breathing heavily and keeping

  his eyes closed as he felt Owen roll off the bed and walk into

  the bathroom. Vic didn’t have to ask to know that Owen would

  be gone in the next thirty minutes. That was what always

  happened. Vic understood. Sort of. Owen was a sheriff’s deputy

  with a lot of responsibilities and numerous perfectly good

  reasons to leave.

  It didn’t mean Vic had to like it.

  “You all right?” Owen asked dubiously when he came back

  into the room and tossed a towel at Vic. It landed across Vic’s

  head and Vic simply reached up to slide it off and opened his

  eyes. There was no point in cleaning off; he could just lie there

  until Owen left and then hop in the shower.

  “Yeah,” he answered flatly. “You leaving?” he asked, hating

  himself for asking but needing to know for sure anyway.

  6 Unrequited | Abigail Roux

  “Yeah,” Owen said casually as he pulled on his jeans and

  lo
oked around for his shirt. He continued talking, telling Vic

  why he had to leave, what needed to be done, when he’d be

  leaving town to escort a prisoner somewhere to do something,

  but Vic found his mind wandering.

  In the early days of their more intimate acquaintance, Vic

  had told himself that he wouldn’t allow it to happen again. He

  wouldn’t allow Owen to run off and leave him feeling somehow

  emptier than when he had started. Now, of course, five years

  later, he was past that.

  Empty or not, Vic needed whatever Owen would give him.

  He supposed that was what happened when you loved someone

  who didn’t return the feeling. You wound up empty and needy.

  Owen never lied to him, never plied him with wine and

  roses or told him he loved him in order to get him naked, so

  why should Vic lie to himself?

  He had thought a lot about why he always allowed Owen

  to come back to him, and he had come to an unsettling

  conclusion. There were three levels of pleasure, so far as Vic

  could figure.

  Physical pleasure—the first and most basic—was the

  feeling of pliant lips on yours. The sensation of warm hands on

  your body. A questing tongue. Burying yourself deep inside

  someone who was wrapped around you. That was what had

  kept Vic interested when he would have otherwise given up on

  the flighty younger man he’d met all those years ago when

  Owen had started taking shifts as bailiff at the courthouse.

  That, and the fact that work was all he had time to do lately. If

  it weren’t for Owen’s occasional flybys, Vic would never have

  time to get laid. He didn’t like one-night stands and he didn’t

  have time to date.

  7 Unrequited | Abigail Roux

  Emotional pleasure—the second level—that was when it

  got a little trickier. A hand questing silently across a mattress

  for yours in the middle of the night. Whispered words of

  affection. Sitting in silence and watching the sun set from the

  steps of the courthouse as the jury deliberated, knowing that

  words need not be spoken between you. Vic had experienced

  these things with Owen. Precious few times, though. These

  were the things that had kept Vic hoping through the years,

  allowing Owen to continue on his merrily oblivious way, hoping

  that Owen would one day realize what he could have, if he

  desired it.

  The third level, though, that was where Vic found himself

  now. When the physical and emotional collided and the

  pleasure turned to pain. The pain of knowing that the bed he

  awoke in would be cold and empty and still smell of the other

  man. Knowing that when Owen called up in a week or a month

  or a year and asked him if he was free, that he would be there

  without question, without regard for what he needed to be

  doing. Knowing that whatever he felt for the younger man, the

  feelings were unreturned and probably always would be.

  Physical love. Emotional love. Unrequited love.

  Owen leaned over him and frowned as he looked down at

  him. “I didn’t hurt you, did I?” he whispered as Vic crossed his

  eyes to focus on him.

  “No,” Vic managed with a smile.

  Owen’s eyes brightened and he grinned. “You free for

  lunch tomorrow?”

  “Yeah,” Vic whispered.

  “I’ll call you,” Owen told him as he bent down and kissed

  Vic on the tip of his nose. Then just as quickly as they’d fallen

  8 Unrequited | Abigail Roux

  into bed together, he was out the door and Vic was once again

  alone with his self-recriminations and regrets.

  The shrill ring of the phone sent Vic bolt upright in his bed.

  The darkness swirled around him in confusing circles and he

  kicked his legs, trying to get free of the bedcovers and out of

  bed in order to pick the phone up and hurl it into a wall.

  The phone trilled again and Vic jumped at the sound of it

  even as he struggled. He cursed and flailed and rolled and

  finally ended up in an ungraceful heap on the floor beside the

  bed.

  His hand reached out from beneath the tangle of sheets

  that had followed him from the bed and groped around on the

  bedside table until it landed on the vibrating cell phone. He

  fumbled with it to get it under the clinging sheets and answer

  it. If someone was calling in the middle of the night, then

  something was either seriously wrong or one of his traveling

  buddies from the law firm had gotten drunk and forgotten what

  time zone they were schmoozing in.

  “I’m here, I’m awake, I’m here, what’s wrong, what’s

  happened?” Vic blurted into the phone as soon as he managed

  to answer it and get it to his ear.

  “Hey, Vic!” Owen’s cheerful yell came over the line. “You

  won’t believe who I get to drive around today!”

  “It’s the middle of the night, Owen,” Vic said groggily.

  “Unless someone’s dead or dying, I really couldn’t care less who

  you’re driving around.”

  9 Unrequited | Abigail Roux

  “It’s six in the morning, actually, and you should be

  getting ready for work,” Owen replied with a smile apparent in

  his voice.

  Vic threw the sheets off his head and peered over the edge

  of the table to find the bedside alarm clock. The time blinked

  on and off, signaling that at some point over the course of the

  night Vic’s apartment had lost power.

  “Fuck,” he hissed as he stood up and looked around. The

  heavy blinds kept the light out, and the alarm clock was

  usually the only thing that woke him in the morning. He had

  no inner clock to speak of.

  “Had a rough night, huh?” Owen asked knowingly.

  “Shut up,” Vic grunted as he hurried to get a suit out and

  go in search of his toothbrush.

  “So you don’t want to know who I’m escorting?” Owen

  asked.

  “Shane Simpson,” Vic ventured flatly as he pressed his

  shoulder up to hold the phone to his ear and free his hands so

  he could get dressed.

  “How’d you know?” Owen asked, sounding slightly deflated

  over having his fun thwarted.

  Vic instantly felt guilty for doing it. Owen may have been a

  big tough sheriff’s deputy on the outside, but he had a lot of

  little kid in him. “Just lucky, I guess,” he mumbled as he

  zipped up his jeans.

  Shane Simpson had started his career in the same law

  firm Vic now worked for, moving onto the bench soon after Vic

  had arrived and then moving up to be one of the Superior

  Court judges of North Carolina. As a Superior Court judge, he

  had to travel all over the state. He came into town maybe once

  or twice a month. He knew Shane was in town because Shane

  10 Unrequited | Abigail Roux

  was one of his very best friends. They talked at least once a

  week, meeting whenever they were in the same place for a

  friendly drink and often ending up passed out on someone’s

  couch and drooling on each other.

  Good times.

 
Fuck you. You knew he was in town,” Owen said

  petulantly. “You two always go out without me,” he accused.

  “Not because we don’t offer,” Vic said defensively. “We

  always lose you when the first neon light flashes.”

  “Shut up,” Owen laughed. “You up for dinner tonight?”

  “Yeah, if we’re not all melted into puddles by then,” Vic

  said unenthusiastically.

  “Rumor is they’re getting the air fixed today,” Owen said as

  the dinging of a car door being opened sounded and Owen

  grunted into the phone as he flopped into his cruiser. “You

  mind if Shane comes too? He’s at the courthouse today. Some

  big-time case. He requires a police escort everywhere he goes to

  keep him safe.”

  “Yeah, that’s fine,” Vic said distractedly as he ran his

  fingers through his hair. “Wait. What?” he asked as it sank in.

  “He’s under police protection for this one,” Owen said in a

  worried voice. “I don’t know what it is, but they’re not messing

  around.”

  “Jesus Christ,” Vic muttered in surprise. He grabbed his

  keys from the kitchen counter and hurried for the door, taking

  one last glance around to make sure he had everything he’d

  need for the day. “And you’re all they gave him?” he asked

  incredulously.

  “Ouch, Vic,” Owen said with a small laugh.

  11 Unrequited | Abigail Roux

  Vic snorted. “I mean, they only gave him one deputy to

  watch him?”

  “I’m just the escort. Wow, someone’s pissy today,” Owen

  murmured as his engine started.

  “Yeah, well….” Vic thought about mentioning that waking

  up alone had a tendency to do that to him, but he bit it off at

  the last minute. “Sorry,” he said instead, as he walked out the

  door. “Shane and I were planning on meeting later anyway, so

  dinner works. Where are we eating? Is there a list or something

  where he’s allowed to go?” he asked, only half-kidding.

  “Nope. You pick it, man. Here comes Shane. Tell you what:

  you call me tonight when you’re ready to eat and then we’ll go

  from there.”

  “All righty,” Vic agreed easily as he got into his own car.

 
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