Cut and run, p.42

Cut & Run, page 42

 part  #1 of  Cut & Run Series


Cut & Run

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Page 42


  Zane sat on the stool across from him, sliding a hand through his wet hair. “Now what?” he asked. It was a question that had many meanings.

  “Want a drink?” Ty offered sarcastically.

  Narrowing his eyes, Zane shook his head sharply. “Only when I’m in for the night,” he muttered.

  “Well, that makes it better,” Ty responded in the same sarcastic tone.

  “We all know the chicos in Miami sleep like babies. ”

  Zane’s face went hard. “Why are you giving me shit over this if you don’t care?”

  “Do I sound like a man who doesn’t care?” Ty asked, trying to keep the hostility out of his voice.

  That brought Zane up short, and his sharp reply died in his throat. Ty sounded … upset? He certainly looked angry. After four months apart, he was angry because Zane had started drinking and popping again. He didn’t know what to say without going back into that dangerous emotional territory. “So you want me to leave off it again?” he asked, voice even.

  Ty closed his eyes and snorted in exasperation as he lowered his head.

  Rubbing his eyes and wincing, he shook his head and said, “That is sort of the idea of the whole being on the wagon thing. ”

  “And I obviously have so much respect for the whole being on the wagon thing,” Zane retorted, sliding off the stool and heading back upstairs to get his shirt. This wasn’t going to go well, and he saw no reason to stick around for more abuse. He’d made his decision at the time, and at the time it had made sense. The sound of Ty’s beer bottle crashing against the nearest wall followed his exit.

  Zane stopped midway up the stairs and turned to look down at Ty as the man stood in the middle of the kitchen. “What the fuck is your problem?”

  “You don’t even care, do you?” Ty asked heatedly as the wall dripped and fizzed with Hard Lemonade. “You didn’t give a damn if you were killed down there. ”

  Zane leaned his shoulder against the wall, tipping his head back to glare at the ceiling. What did you say to a question like that? The truth? “Why should I give a damn? I got the job done, and no one I worked with was hurt. ”

  Ty glared at him for a moment before lowering his head once more and placing his hands flat on the countertop to calm himself. “All right, then,”

  he finally said in a soft voice.

  Anger flared again in Zane, and he wasn’t of any mind to repress it.

  “So now you’re going to sit in judgment over four months of my life with no explanation? Fuck you, Grady. ” He stalked up the steps and into the bathroom. For a long moment there he’d almost been convinced Ty did care.

  “You told me,” Ty called after him angrily, coming up the steps behind him, “how long it had been since someone gave a damn about you!

  You make it fucking impossible to do it!” he shouted as he rounded on the bathroom door.

  Zane froze, hands on the sink as he looked at the hurt that surfaced in his eyes and crossed his face despite his effort to swallow it down. After a tense silence he felt Ty standing nearby, and he said hoarsely, “Add four more months to the tally. ”

  “You going for a record?” Ty asked heatedly. “Because I don’t give a flying fuck about the people you were working with in fucking Florida. ”

  “What are you saying, Ty? ’Cause I’ve changed my mind about four times about what I think you’re saying,” Zane snapped back before turning on him. “I didn’t give a shit about anybody for five years, and then when I did, I didn’t do a damn thing about it slipping away. ”

  “I’m saying,” Ty answered in a slow, stubborn tone, “that I would be hurt if something happened to you. ”

  Zane’s anger wilted, and he just looked at Ty while he stood there and ached inside. “I don’t want to hurt you. ”

  Ty had nothing to say to that. He sighed heavily and shook his head.

  “Is this going to interfere with what we have to do?” he asked resignedly after a long moment of tense silence.

  “I’ll stop with the drinking,” Zane finally promised after a long pause, turning to pick his shirt up off the floor.

  “And your other … addictions?” Ty asked slowly.

  Zane tilted his head, trying to stretch some of the tension out of his neck before looking back to Ty. “I’ll get it under control,” he murmured, settling his dark eyes on Ty’s body appraisingly.

  Ty shivered slightly in the cool air of his bedroom, and he looked away toward the window and the small balcony. “You staying here tonight?”

  he finally asked in a beaten voice.

  Looking up at himself in the mirror, Zane knew what his reply had to be, as much as he didn’t want it to be. “No. I’ll go on ahead and find somewhere for us to work,” he said quietly. It would not be a good idea for him to stay so close to Ty. It was far, far too tempting, and he knew he’d never be able to resist.

  Ty sighed and rolled his head back and forth. “How ’bout this, then?”

  he said in exasperation. “I would like for you to stay,” he told Zane slowly.

  Zane sighed and turned to walk over to Ty, sliding his arms around his waist and leaning to press their foreheads together abruptly. Ty had asked; Zane would go for broke. “So,” he murmured. “Is this one addiction I can indulge?”

  Ty’s eyes closed as soon as they made contact, and he turned his head to the side and sighed softly as he slid his arms around Zane. “At least it’s not one that’ll kill you,” he answered flatly.

  Zane’s mouth tipped up at the corners. He wasn’t too sure he’d say that. “I’ll stay,” he murmured.

  Ty just nodded in response, not moving from the tentative embrace.

  He rested his chin on Zane’s shoulder and exhaled slowly. Zane squeezed his arms tentatively. “Never a dull moment,” he muttered. They’d been flash and bang from the first moment they’d met.

  “Yeah, well, if you weren’t such a dick…,” Ty murmured with a small smile.

  Zane snickered. “Works out well since you’re an asshole. ”

  “We’re gonna have to talk about these puns. ” Ty groaned as he pulled away and shuffled slowly for the bed. Neither man was thinking of sex any longer. It was obvious from the slump of Ty’s shoulders that he had exhausted what energy he had left on being pissed off.

  “Mm hmm,” Zane answered, following along. Some sleep wouldn’t go unappreciated, depending on if he slept at all without several whiskey shots first.

  “Next bad pun you make I’m kicking you in the shin. I don’t care where we are,” Ty threatened as he turned and raised his chin.

  “Ah ah ah, you forget, pain is not an incentive for me to quit,” Zane prodded, crossing his arms.

  Ty responded with a swift kick to Zane’s shin. Zane laughed and caught Ty around the waist, hefting him practically off his feet and swinging him around. Ty flailed gracelessly. A man of his size and demeanor was not accustomed to being tossed around like a rag doll, and it showed. Zane’s size advantage was finally paying off. He snickered and let Ty get his feet under him. “You love it,” he teased.

  “Jesus,” Ty snapped as he held to Zane for a moment longer to make sure he really was on the ground again. Zane kept his arms wrapped around him, and he leaned forward to nuzzle the side of Ty’s neck. “Well, that’s …

  sort of embarrassing,” Ty muttered almost to himself.

  Zane grinned and pressed his face close so the other man couldn’t see it and get cranky again. Ty simply let himself be cuddled with a resigned sigh.

  Unable to hold back a yawn, Zane mumbled against Ty’s skin, unwilling to move just yet.

  “Bed, huh?” Ty murmured as he finally wrapped his arms around Zane and patted him on the head.

  Zane nodded, feeling drowsy for the first time in a long while without the help of copious amounts of alcohol.

  “Take off those nasty jeans before you get your ass i
n my clean sheets,” Ty warned. Zane disrobed obediently as Ty watched him, leaving only his briefs to sleep in, then Ty stepped back and nodded for him to get into bed. “Fucking later,” he promised with a tired smile.

  Zane grunted at him and crawled over the foot of the bed and slid down to lay on his belly with a soft sigh, not even bothering to reach for a pillow. Ty stood watching him for a moment, then walked over to the door and flipped off the light before crawling in after him.

  “You’ll be here?” Zane asked sleepily, shifting one hand to just barely touch Ty’s arm.

  “If I’m not, look on the balcony,” Ty answered softly as he rolled onto his side and slid his hand over Zane’s back.

  The other man hummed softly and dropped quickly off to sleep. With his eyes closed, the shadows and thinness of his face became more pronounced. Ty sighed softly as he looked over him.

  There was an obvious familiarity to this situation. Except before, their roles had been reversed, and Ty hadn’t yet been forced to resort to substances to keep his sanity. He reached up and ran his fingertips down the side of Zane’s face with a frown. There wasn’t much to be done for him, either, nothing that Zane wouldn’t resent.

  Zane managed to sleep a couple hours before the dreams and the shakes woke him with a startled gasp. He sat up quickly, reaching for the gun Z that wasn’t there, looking around in confusion. The man in bed beside him groaned in response to the bouncing of the mattress and flopped onto his side. Seeing that, Zane remembered where he was and why, and his heart started to calm. He looked down at Ty, though he couldn’t see much in the dark. He glanced to the clock and sighed. Two damn hours. He was wide awake now with little chance of more sleep.

  He scooted up to lean against the headboard and stare off into the dark, trying to order his thoughts. A day ago, he would have hit a bottle. Now

  … he pulled one knee up to his chest and sighed.

  “It’s harder to go back to sleep when you’re sitting up, numbnuts,” Ty muttered sleepily without moving or opening his eyes.

  A smile pulled at Zane’s lips. “I didn’t realize that, thanks,” he murmured, reaching out to smooth a hand through Ty’s hair. It was comforting to have him there, though Zane wouldn’t have admitted it aloud.

  Although, he figured, he’d already said it in a way, hadn’t he?

  Ty swatted at him grumpily and muttered again, tossing an arm over Zane’s lap as he sat there beside him. He rested his face against Zane’s hip and sighed sleepily. Settling his hand in Ty’s hair again, Zane petted him gently as he let his head loll back. No more drink; it would be hard to get to sleep at night, hard to gear down. He’d probably be a worse mess in the morning, and Ty sure wasn’t going to tolerate him popping pills to wake up and stay up. He winced. He should get that other tin out of his jacket before Ty had reason to find it.

  “Go to sleep,” Ty muttered against his hip. “And stop thinking about drinking. ”

  Zane thumped his shoulder. “Bastard,” he cursed quietly before allowing himself to slump. He stilled and calmed, looking at the dark shadow of the man curled up against him. It didn’t seem like they’d spent enough time together all those months ago to have developed this sort of comfort, but it was there nonetheless.

  “C’mon,” Ty muttered as he lifted his head and scooted back, patting the bed next to him.

  “Ty,” Zane said tiredly. It wouldn’t work. As soon as he went back to sleep he’d wake right back up. Too much time spent on a hair trigger. But he didn’t want to keep Ty awake, so he slid down and turned to his side, facing him, and laid his head down.

  “Roll over,” Ty ordered in a hoarse, sleepy voice as he slid his arm under Zane’s head. He gave his shoulder a push for good measure.

  Frowning, Zane let him push him to his back. Ty manhandled him until he was on his side again, facing away, and Ty snuggled against him. He wrapped his arm over Zane protectively and nuzzled his nose into Zane’s hair with a sigh.

  “Sleep,” he whispered soothingly, knowing if Zane didn’t, then he wouldn’t either. It was impossible for him to rest with a tense body next to him.

  Zane laid there for a long moment, surprised, but he started to relax more as Ty held him close. It was … indescribable. He could feel sleep encroaching again, and Zane hoped he might rest for a change.

  He twitched slightly as he started to fall asleep; the warmth of Ty’s body and the sound of his breathing eased Zane enough that he dozed off, feeling safer in Ty’s arms than he had in a long time.

  The next time one of the two men awoke, it was Ty, waking without moving. The morning light was seeping through the windows and he groaned softly. Zane still lay on his side, just where Ty had maneuvered him, deeply asleep with Ty wrapped around him. He hadn’t even moved, much less woken up again. Ty extracted himself carefully and padded into the bathroom, making as little sound as possible. When he returned, Zane still hadn’t moved.

  Ty slid back into the warm bed and up next to him. He slowly kissed his neck, nuzzling into the warm skin. Zane shifted slightly and his breath caught as he started to wake, recognizing the touch as out of the ordinary.

  “Morning,” Ty murmured softly as he felt Zane stir. Zane hummed quietly, almost questioningly. “Wake up,” Ty whispered.

  Starting to move a bit, Zane drew in a deeper breath and turned his face up toward Ty, eyes still closed. “Time to wake up already?” he asked, voice soft and heavy with sleep.

  “You’ve got an hour or so before we have to get out of bed,” Ty answered as he continued to nuzzle against Zane’s skin.
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