Cut & Run, page 41part #1 of Cut & Run Series
Ty watched their fingers intertwine, fighting back the fluttering in his stomach when Zane spoke. He jerked his head up sharply and met Zane’s eyes. That one he did remember, although he had regretted that conversation for months, blushing furiously whenever he thought of it even when he was alone. He shook his head and swallowed. “No,” he answered hoarsely, echoing the answer he had given before.
Slowly, Zane raised his other hand to cup Ty’s reddening cheek. “Me, either,” he breathed before leaning forward to kiss Ty gently.
Ty groaned plaintively to break the kiss, and he took a step back to put some distance between them. “Jesus Christ, Zane,” he muttered in exasperation. “I was horrible to you. Why are you even here?”
Zane clamped down on the emotion swirling inside him, forcing himself to be as reasonable as he could. Some insane declaration would get them nowhere but upset and blustering. “I missed you,” he admitted hoarsely.
“All the damn time. ”
Instead of asking why in the hell Zane had missed someone who’d been so shitty to him for the majority of their time together, Ty decided to accept it as a gift and shook his head, moving closer again. “I missed you, too,” he admitted.
A small smile pulled at Zane’s lips as Ty stepped back into his reach.
“Missed a pansy-assed poster boy?” he teased as he pulled Ty to him.
“I had a head injury,” Ty answered defensively, mumbling against Zane’s cheek.
“You called me that before the head injury,” Zane needled.
“Exactly,” Ty affirmed with a small smile against Zane’s skin.
Ty’s lips against him made Zane happier than he could remember being in some time. Four months’ time, if he was honest, which he really tried to avoid.
Ty turned his head, breathing in Zane’s scent. “Why don’t you go back to the shower idea,” he suggested softly, pulling away gently again.
Zane kept hold of Ty’s hand even as the other man backed away. He felt both relieved and scared, and it was a toss-up as to which was stronger.
“Your shower idea? Or my shower idea?”
Ty snorted softly and looked back down at their joined hands. “Which do you prefer?” he asked with a small smile.
“My idea,” Zane admitted, tilting his head to one side as he raised their combined fists. “But that won’t get me food anytime soon. ”
Ty grinned mischievously, acknowledging the obvious joke he could make and passing it over. “Tell you what,” he murmured as he tugged at their hands and brought Zane closer. “You go shower, and I’ll order pizza and change the sheets on the bed,” he offered.
The purr started low in Zane’s chest and built as he stepped right up against Ty for one more enveloping kiss. “Deal,” he murmured.
Ty grinned against his lips and gently extricated himself. “What do you want on your pizza?” he asked as he moved away before Zane could snag him again.
“Anything but onions and fish,” Zane said as he reached for the jacket. “I’m gonna duck outside for a smoke first, okay?”
“Those things’ll kill you,” Ty admonished as he headed for the phone.
Zane had the cigarette between his lips already as he headed for the back porch. “I think the bullets will get me first,” he said wryly as he stepped out and pulled the door shut behind him.
Ty stared after him for a moment, unsettled. He wasn’t sure what it was about the situation that left him feeling odd. He sighed heavily and dialed the nearest pizza joint, placing the order and giving his phone number for delivery. Then he headed up the narrow stairs to the bedroom at the front of the little row house and began yanking the sheets off the bed. They smelled like the girl from the bar and expensive cigars and possibly Mike’s Hard Lemonade. Ty was a little hazy on the details. Regardless, Zane didn’t really need to catch a whiff of any of those things.
Taking his time with the smoke, Zane stared off into the city that sprawled out down the hill from the roofs of the brownstones. He spent a few long minutes picking apart his own feelings—why he felt simultaneously steadier and shakier than he had in months. Steadier, because he was with Ty.
It had to be. But just the implications shook him. He had no idea how he had become so dependent on the other man without even seeing it happening.
How did he do something about it? More importantly … did he want to do something about it?
Christ. He shook his head. Zane didn’t even know what “it” was. But he knew he was afraid it would disappear. He didn’t want to watch Ty walk away again. He finished the cigarette, stubbed it out on the concrete, and dropped it into the planter that looked like it had been used for that purpose before. Zane briefly wondered who had been smoking out here if Ty was so against cigarettes, and he drew in a deep breath. He knew Ty’s habits. It didn’t bear thinking. Shower first. Then he’d see what other emotions reared their heads. Hopefully they’d be ones he understood.
He found Ty upstairs, searching for the spare set of sheets and muttering to himself as he rummaged through the top shelf of the closet.
Zane stopped in the doorway. “Towels in here?” he asked, taking in the length of Ty’s body and pushing back the desire that revived inside.
Ty glanced over his shoulder and shook his head. “Bathroom,” he answered. “I was just looking for clean sheets. ”
Zane nodded and glanced into the closet briefly. He was surprised to see an old, beat-up motorcycle helmet sitting on the top shelf. He didn’t say anything about it or even show that he saw it, but he looked at Ty curiously as he wandered away. The bathroom was easy to find. He stripped down, then frowned at the fresh bandage.
“Well, damn,” he muttered. He scrunched his nose. Might as well take it off. It would just get wet and sticky and gooey and that was just gross.
He pulled the tape as fast as he could, pleasantly surprised when it didn’t take off too much skin. He turned on the water, poked at the side of the gouge again, and watched a thin stream of red trickle from the deepest cut of it.
“You know, I think that’s gonna hurt even more if I get it wet,” he muttered to himself. He grabbed a washcloth from the counter and climbed into the shower, holding the cloth over his upper arm.
“Need help?” Ty’s voice asked softly from the doorway.
Zane turned his chin to look through the clear shower curtain. Ty was a little wavy, but recognizable. “I forgot about the bandage,” Zane said. “I took it off so it wouldn’t get . . . gloppy. ”
“Gloppy,” Ty echoed with a nod, as if that made perfect sense. “Need help?” he repeated.
Ty gave that a small smile and moved into the bathroom, pulling his buttoned shirt over his head and tossing it to the floor. He then slid out of his suit pants and briefs and left them on the ground as well before he stepped into the shower and gently pressed a hand to the rag over Zane’s arm.
Once Ty held the cloth, Zane turned his back to the water and leaned his head into the spray, wetting down, running one hand through it to soak his hair. He let the hot water pour over his face, groaning quietly as it sluiced down over his shoulders and body. Without warning, Ty stepped into him and pushed him hard against the shower wall, kissing him hungrily as the water cascaded over them both.
Zane’s groan didn’t abate as it came out over Ty’s lips. He wrapped his good arm around Ty and gave as good as he got; the sizzle popped inside him, just like every time before. He’d craved it. He’d tried the oblivion of alcohol and the high of drugs, but he’d not been able to find anything to match this. Ty’s touch was unique and irreplaceable. The idea stunned him, and he wavered a little, catching himself against the wall with one hand.
Ty murmured to him soothingly and pressed himself hard against Zane’s body with a growl. Zane lowered his chin to rub his cheek against Ty’s temple, flattening himself against the wall—practical
Ty pulled away with a gasping pant suddenly, and he put his hand on Zane’s chest and stepped back carefully in the shower stall. “You finish your shower,” he rasped breathlessly. “Then we’ll do this right,” he promised.
Reaching up to hold the cloth to his arm, Zane lifted glazed eyes to look at Ty as he dragged in breaths. He was flushed all over, both from the hot water and the attention.
Ty was obviously just as turned on as he was, chest heaving as he tried to regain his composure, and body on full alert as the water pounded down on him. “We may even eat first,” he added with a crooked smirk.
“Get out of the shower before I turn you around and fuck you right here,” Zane warned in a growl.
“Pushy,” Ty observed as he turned and stepped out of the shower, standing there for a moment to calm himself before he grabbed a thin robe and shrugged into it.
Zane closed his eyes and turned to the side, pressing his heated cheek to the cool tile while the water started to soak into the rag he held over his arm. What was it about Ty that made him lose control? Inhaling sharply as his arm twinged painfully, he merely dropped the rag and turned around to grab the soap and clean up.
By the time he was done, Ty had retrieved the pizza from an unimpressed delivery boy who was apparently used to people answering the door while soaking wet and still in a robe, and he’d set a couple sodas out on the kitchen counter. As soon as he got out of the shower, Zane shook his jeans out and frowned at them. They were a mess. He just dropped them and wrapped the big towel around his waist. Wasn’t like he’d need clothes for that long.
He thumped down the steps to join Ty in the kitchen and groaned happily. “Pizza. Food of the gods. ”
Ty just gave him a crooked smile and pushed the pizza box in front of him. It didn’t take long for them both to eat. Despite being hungry, they both wanted something else.
Finally, Zane got up from the stool, towel dipping precariously low on his hips, and took his empty drink can to the trash. Ty watched him as he finished his drink. Waiting.
One hunger fed, the greater one was almost overwhelming. Zane turned and walked back to Ty, took the can out of his hand and set it on the bar, and grabbed his chin. “I want you on that bed, under me, now. ”
Ty’s body reacted instantly to the words. He licked his lips in anticipation and stood, pressing their bodies together. “Missed me, huh?” he wagered with a small smirk.
“Fuck,” Zane murmured, pulling Ty closer. “You’re worse than heroin. ”
Ty stopped short and cocked his head at Zane. “Not sure that’s a compliment,” he muttered.
Zane tipped his head to the side and sighed, not able to meet Ty’s eyes. “I crave heroin. ”
“Ah, Christ,” Ty groaned as he moved again and pushed away from Zane. He walked slowly to the sink counter, rubbing the back of his neck and grumbling to himself. “You know, you keep turning into a worse and worse idea. ”
Zane sighed and shifted to sit on the nearest stool again. He leaned his elbows against the counter. “You’re right,” he said, scrubbing at his face with one hand. “And another addiction is just the thing I need, let me tell you. ”
Never mind that he feared this addiction was already rooted deep inside him.
Ty stood with his back to Zane, his hands flat on the sink top as he stared at the reflection of the overhead lights in the stainless steel. Being called an addiction was not sitting well with him, especially from an addict, and he began to worry about how Zane was seeing this arrangement. Ty lowered his head and frowned down at the drain. A lot of things occurred to him to ask of Zane at that point. The only thing Ty knew he could ask without making a damn fool of himself, though, was, “Are you using?”
Zane closed his eyes. “Only you,” was the best answer, the answer he wanted to give. But it wasn’t the correct answer, and he had no right to lie.
“Nothing hard core,” he finally admitted. It had been a self-destructive couple of months, when he first got to Miami. He wondered if Ty would care.
Ty straightened and turned to stare at Zane. “You back on the bottle?”
he asked neutrally.
Nothing other than a flat-out negative while steadily meeting Ty’s eyes would convince him otherwise, and Zane couldn’t do it. He shrugged a little. “Yeah. ”
Ty looked away and shook his head, walking to the steps wordlessly and heading to the second floor. Zane sighed as he sat in the kitchen before slowly getting up to follow. Ty retrieved the pair of sweatpants he had been wearing before he was called in to Burns’ office, tossed his robe aside, and he was stepping into them when Zane topped the stairs.
“Well, then,” he said as soon as he heard Zane enter the room. “You won’t mind if I have a drink,” he said curtly as he brushed past Zane and headed downstairs for the kitchen again.
Zane sighed. That answered that question. “By all means,” he said, going to the bathroom to put his briefs and dirty jeans back on and taking another look at the rip in his arm. He sniffed at it and ventured back down the narrow stairs to face Ty, who had retrieved a bottle from the refrigerator and was standing at the kitchen counter, drinking it as he played the bottle top over his fingers like it was a poker chip.
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