Cut & Run, page 34part #1 of Cut & Run Series
“You’re damn right you are,” Ty muttered.
“How do you feel?” Zane asked softly. “Really?”
“I don’t … I don’t really remember much from last night and yesterday,” Ty admitted, his voice low. “And some further back from that. ”
“Yeah, I guess you hit your head pretty hard,” Zane said. “So you don’t remember streaking through the room and dancing on the bed?” he asked solemnly.
“Shut up,” Ty shot back with little feeling.
Zane sighed, reaching to push Ty’s hair away from his eyes. Ty’s eyes closed automatically, and he leaned into the touch unconsciously. “I’ll do anything I can to help you feel better,” Zane offered softly. “That doesn’t include drugs, I promise. ”
“Ugh,” Ty offered as he rubbed at his eyes.
The vibrating of Ty’s cell phone on the table beside the bed caused him to jerk and jump, then groan plaintively as he slowly laid his head back down and held it in his hands to keep it from spinning.
Zane rubbed Ty’s shoulder soothingly and picked up the phone, snapping it open. “Yeah?” he asked quietly.
“Grady?” the voice on the other end inquired doubtfully.
“No. Who is this?” Zane asked. His voice was low and emotionless.
To him, anyone was a suspect now. Anyone but the man practically in his arms.
“Who the fuck is this?” the voice demanded in outrage. “Where the hell is Ty?”
“Not available. You can talk to me,” Zane answered, his voice flat.
There was silence on the other end of the line. Finally, the voice asked in a low tone, “Is he hurt? Did he get hurt?”
Zane’s brow furrowed, and he looked down at Ty, considering. “He’s okay,” he said noncommittally, but his voice wasn’t as hard.
Ty turned his head and looked up at Zane with narrowed eyes. “Who is it?” he asked as the silence on the other end of the line stretched on once more. Zane held out the phone, and Ty took it with a frown, sitting back up slowly. “Hello?” he said into the phone as soon as he had it to his ear. He listened for a long minute, the shouting on the other end of the line loud enough that Zane could hear it, and finally Ty smiled tiredly and responded with, “And I love you, too, jackass… no, it wasn’t our car…. No. No, I’m not lying to you. I would never lie to you,” he went on wryly, which produced more cussing.
Finally, Ty told the man that he had to go, and he didn’t wait for the last curses before he ended the call with a small smile. “Those ex-Recon boys can mother you to death,” he told Zane by way of explanation. His face clouded over, though, and he frowned slightly. “Word of the car bomb is out, and so is the fact that we were the targets. ”
Nodding slowly, Zane processed that more people than the killer would be looking for them, and that Ty had people who worried about him and kept track of him. It made the other man a little more human. “I don’t trust our own right now,” he said as he tried not to think about Ty. “But we don’t have much choice but to work with them. We need the contacts. ”
“Contacts,” Ty muttered in frustration. “Call Henninger. We’ll meet him somewhere… the other hotel room,” he suggested. “Kill two birds with one trip,” he grunted as he crawled out of bed slowly.
“You doing okay?” Zane asked, watching Ty move so carefully.
“I’ll live,” Ty muttered.
Zane pulled his cell out of his back pocket, flipped it open, and made the call. It took a few rings to pick up.
“Henninger,” came the clipped answer.
“It’s Garrett,” Zane said shortly. “What’s the climate?”
“Pretty tame, considering,” Henninger answered in a completely different voice, one that was slightly more accommodating. “They’re asking about you, but not too diligently. People are wondering how fucking long it takes you two to get a cup of coffee, but other than that they’re still too distracted with the scene in the parking deck to give a damn about you,” he went on in a low, almost whispered voice. “Where are you?” he asked carefully.
“In a secure location,” Zane said vaguely. “We’re going to need some assistance, and you’re our man. Are you in?”
There was a long silence. Finally, Henninger answered carefully with,
“I’ll do what I can. ”
“We’re having lunch at the Hard Rock,” Zane said, deliberately picking a busy place way across town despite Ty’s suggestion. “Try to keep the goons off our backs, all right?”
“What time?” Henninger asked softly, his voice far away, as if he had turned to look behind him as he spoke.
Zane looked at his watch. 10:30. “Noon,” he said curtly, and he ended the call.
Ty watched him with one eyebrow raised. “Hard Rock?” he asked with a frown.
Offering the other man a grin, Zane shrugged. “Popular. Busy.
Noisy. ” He tucked the phone back into his pocket and stood to stretch slowly, getting out the kinks.
“How romantic,” Ty responded flatly as he rubbed the wet rag he’d retrieved over the back of his head and looked around for his clothing. “He say he’d meet us?”
“He said he’d do what he could,” Zane answered. “I think he’ll show.
Eager, wet behind the ears and all that. ” He groaned as his arms reached far above him and he rolled his neck. “Christ. How long have I had this job?
Calling him a damn puppy. He must be in his late twenties. ”
“His file said thirty,” Ty responded without thinking as he finally located his pants.
Zane looked at Ty in amusement. “You read his file?” His eyes narrowed. “You read my file, too, didn’t you? At least the unclassified one. ”
It wasn’t a question.
Ty looked up at Zane and flushed slightly. “I didn’t read yours,” he answered in slight embarrassment.
Tipping his head to one side, Zane settled his hands on his hips. “The way you say that makes me think you acquired my file, then. Why not read it?”
Ty pursed his lips and shook his head. “Files don’t tell the whole story,” he finally murmured. “I guess I was hoping you’d make me read between the lines. ”
“Did I?” Zane asked, not moving.
Ty was silent and unmoving for a long moment. Finally, he gave an almost imperceptible nod and said, “I certainly never expected you to drug me. ”
Zane’s lips twitched. “You sort of got a hard-knocks pharmacist on your hands, man,” he said before walking over to the table for his holster.
After a long moment, he added, “Wasn’t any malice behind it. ”
“I know,” Ty responded before he could stop himself. “Fucker. ”
Zane couldn’t hold back the snort. He just shook his head and shrugged into the holster. It seemed like they’d be okay. For now, anyway.
“Get into your pants, Ty. We don’t need to attract that kind of attention. ”
“Yeah, my ass is so sore there’s probably a bull’s-eye on it,” Ty grumbled as he stepped into his jeans.
“Whiner,” Zane said with a quiet chuckle as he turned to look at Ty while he shrugged into his shirt. “You’d think you went skiing and had a terrible time. ”
“I did,” Ty huffed. “Barely remember it. ”
“You’ve already proven what a good liar you are; no need to practice,” Zane retorted.
“I am not a liar,” Ty responded with an affronted grunt.
Zane raised an obviously disbelieving eyebrow. “ ‘No, it wasn’t our car, I would never lie to you’,” he repeated back with a smirk.
“Pft,” Ty offered as he shrugged into his shirt. “He knew I was lying through my teeth. ”
“Doesn’t change the fact that you were lying. Through your teeth.
Gleefully, even,” Zane said.
“Shut up,” Ty grunted.
Zane crossed his arm
Ty stopped what he was doing and looked up, meeting Zane’s eyes.
“Chalk it up to working off the roofie,” he shot back.
There was nothing to say to that. Zane had been there, many a time.
He knew he shouldn’t have pushed. He sighed, nodded, and headed out to the front room.
Ty just rolled his eyes and sat to pull on his boots. “You know if I was really pissed I would have just hit you, right? Or tried to, anyway,” he called wryly, even though he was slightly pissed about it, and would remain so. It had been a stupid fucking thing to do.
“That’s actually what I expected,” Zane called back as he opened the forgotten bag of breakfast and pulled out yogurt and a couple bagels. Ty would have a conniption when he saw it. Zane grinned.
“Want me to hit you, then? So you won’t be disappointed?” Ty offered hopefully as he stood slowly and made his way into the other room.
Zane didn’t look up from the table. “If it’ll make you feel better,” he said as he mixed sugar into his coffee. He was hyper-aware of where Ty was, though.
“Maybe when my head doesn’t hurt,” Ty shrugged negligently as he peered down at the breakfast. “What the shit is this?”
Zane snickered and added cream to his coffee.
“You fucking pansy,” Ty muttered under his breath.
Zane sniggered a little more. “They’ve got hot food down in the lobby, but since we’re going to lunch we don’t need to eat this crap. ”
Ty picked through the slim offerings, grumbling wordlessly. “Let’s get the fuck out of here,” he finally muttered as he grabbed his battered leather jacket. He stopped and sighed as he examined it. “Need to get a new jacket, I guess,” he said almost to himself, his voice wistful and slightly sad.
Stepping close and rubbing a finger along the sleeve, Zane said softly,
“Now it’s got character. ”
“It had character before,” Ty muttered with a frown as he practically cradled the jacket in his arms. “Now it’s got blood on it. And it smells like burnt cow. ”
“Are you worried about the jacket or worried about yourself?” Zane asked, still sliding his fingers along the leather.
“I smell like burnt cow?” Ty asked innocently in return. Zane shook his head, wryly expectant. “What?” Ty asked as he held the jacket to his chest defensively.
Zane couldn’t believe that of all things, he was utterly charmed by this side of Ty. He took Ty’s chin between his fingers, leaned closer, and kissed him firmly.
Ty stiffened in surprise, then relaxed slightly and returned the unexpected kiss. It wasn’t soft or sweet, but it wasn’t out-of-control hot, either. He mumbled softly against Zane’s lips, confused by the actions but enjoying them anyway. “That’s not nice to do to a man with a concussion,” he admonished in a low voice when their mouths parted.
“Why not?” Zane asked, lips quirked, dropping his hands and waiting.
“Because I’m easily confused,” Ty answered without thought to the many meanings the words could have.
“I rather doubt that,” Zane murmured. They were standing chest to chest, not touching but for the jacket between them.
Ty poked him gently in the stomach, trying to put some distance between them again to dispel the uncomfortable warmth.
“Is that the best you can do? You must be more hurt than I thought,”
“I am,” Ty responded softly, taking a step back and licking his lips nervously.
Zane slowly nodded. All right, that’s how it was going to be. He picked the keys up off the table. “Let’s go, then,” he said as he pocketed the key cards.
“Are you … are you feeling this, too?” Ty asked against his better instincts.
There was a hitch in Zane’s movement that gave away his reaction to Ty’s words, and his hand stayed jammed into his pocket as he shifted his weight and then his eyes returned to Ty. Zane searched the other man for some clue, some sign, as his mild apprehension was overwhelmed by want.
Want for something of Ty he couldn’t define. Zane didn’t say yes … but he didn’t say no.
“We need to go one way or the other with this,” Ty went on earnestly with a little wave of his hand.
The tone of Ty’s voice made Zane smile. “One way or the other, huh?”
“You’re big on rules, right? We need rules,” Ty responded with a sincere frown. “I prefer rules that still allow fucking. ”
Zane’s eyes widened. He cleared his throat and rubbed the back of his neck with one hand. “Rules that still allow fucking,” he repeated, voice a bit shaky as he was really trying hard not to grab Ty, throw him on the table, and suck him off until he screamed. “What sort of rules? What do you want?”
“No more surprise kisses,” Ty demanded with a wag of his finger.
“Okay,” Zane agreed, a bit mystified.
Ty cleared his throat and pursed his lips as if he had thought there would be an argument. The impulsive kisses, while very enjoyable, were blurring the lines for him. He didn’t like blurry lines unless he was trying to cross them.
“That’s all I can think of,” he finished with a frown and a slight blush.
“You don’t look too sure about that,” Zane pointed out helpfully.
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