Crandall stayed in the shower until his fingers pruned, and then longer. When he emerged pink-skinned and dripping, he wandered into the living room with a towel around his waist and another draped over his head as he dried his hair. Mike slouched on the sofa, his booted feet propped on the coffee table and his fingers intertwined behind his head. A greasy brown paper bag sat at his feet, the scent of the food within permeating the room.
For a moment, Crandall watched his lover. Mike stared at the ceiling, apparently deep in thought. Crandall balled his towel and threw it at Mike. When it landed with a muffled plop beside him, Mike rolled his head to the side and blinked at Crandall.
“You drive me nuts when you walk around like that,” Mike said. He smiled, but Crandall narrowed his eyes. He knew Mike better than Mike knew himself, and something else was on his mind.
“Since when?” Crandall asked.
Mike’s grinned widened, the desire reaching his dark eyes. “Since always,” he said. He pushed himself up and made a sweeping gesture towards the bag with an oil-stained yellow receipt stapled to it. “Your dinner has arrived.”
“Don’t change the subject.” Crandall walked to the sofa, pushed the wet towel onto the floor and sat down. When he did, the towel around his waist split open revealing his entire right thigh. Mike noticed, his gaze stuck on the parted fabric. Even when Crandall spoke again. “So you’ve been jacking off with me in mind all along?”
At first, it seemed Mike hadn’t heard him. Crandall waited. Slowly, Mike’s gaze crawled up Crandall’s bare torso, his appreciation and desire as palpable as a caress. When he met Crandall’s gaze, Mike smiled sheepishly. “Would it be too creepy if I said yes?”
With a snort and an eye roll, Crandall stood. Mike caught his wrist and, when Crandall looked down at him, said, “Yes, I’ve been checking you out all along, and yes, there may have been a few day dreams… some very active, physical day dreams.”
Crandall cracked a smile and shook his head. “I’m going to get dressed, then we’ll eat.”
Mike held him still. “As long as we’re being honest…” His gaze dropped to his hand. He shifted his grip to twine their fingers together and lifted them to kiss the back of Crandall’s hand. “I do want to try… your…” He glanced up, shook his hair out of his eyes, and managed a half smile.
Crandall tugged his hand away and frowned. “Next time,” Crandall said. “I’ll fucking hold you to it.”
Mike watched Crandall disappear down the hallway and then slumped back against the couch. When Crandall returned a few minutes later, Mike still hadn’t moved. Crandall dropped down into the seat beside him and gave him a shove.
“Fuck, Mike, are you that distracted by a towel that you can’t get silverware when dinner arrives?”
With a low chuckle, Mike swayed with the push, but then leaned toward Crandall. He shot a hand out and caught Crandall behind the neck. He pulled him closer. After a brief pause, he tilted his head and pressed their mouths together.
Panic swelled in Crandall’s chest, but the same thing that inspired it pushed it away. He hated people in his personal space, but he loved the taste of Mike’s kisses. With a soft whimper, he opened his mouth, inviting Mike in, the tip of his tongue meeting Mike’s for a quick tussle before Mike pulled away. Crandall sucked in a deep breath and blinked once before his gaze settled on Mike’s ass just before Mike ducked into the kitchen.
Mike returned with forks, plates, and beers. Sitting side by side, Mike and Crandall ate in silence. Once he’d had his fill, Mike pushed his plate away and tipped his beer bottle to his lips. He leaned back and let his free hand rest on his stomach. “So how come no IHOP today?” he asked.
Crandall shoveled more rice onto his plate before answering. “I wanted to discuss our new contact.”
Crandall talked around mouthfuls of rice and lo mein. “She’s young, and best I can tell she still relates better to humans than Immorale. I think we can exploit that.”
“She’s willing to help. No exploiting necessary.”
“Sure,” Crandall swallowed and nodded. “She’s also going to have rules. Max probably already told her what she’s allowed to say or not. He seems like a fucking control freak.”
“I’m not following.” Mike sat forward again, setting his empty bottle on the table to reach for another teriyaki skewer.
“She likes me.”
“God knows why.”
Mike grinned and the look on his face said more than the leer over the towel earlier. He shoved the meat in his mouth and chewed, still grinning wickedly.
“Fuck you again,” Crandall said. “A little flirting and maybe I can convince her to give us more information than Max approved.”
“You forget something though. Max works for Judas. He wants this stuff done with too.”
“But he also wants to protect the rest of them. I doubt he wants us to know their secrets. Otherwise, once we’re done with Judas, we can wipe out the rest of them.”
Mike chuckled. “Sure. So you have this grand plan to destroy all of the vampires now?”
With a shrug of one shoulder, Crandall said, “If we get the chance we should take it. Then we can enjoy the night again without looking over our shoulders all the time.”
Mike frowned. “Yeah, that’d be nice, but…” He shook his head. “There are so many of them, Crank. Don’t get your hopes up.”
Up Next: Love Creed