Seth checked the address on the piece of paper again before looking at the house sceptically. Shifting his backpack on his shoulder, Seth stuffed the paper into his pants pocket along with a few condoms and a tube of lip chap. He only hoped he'd be so lucky.
Taking the front steps two at a time, Seth let out a breath before pressing the button for the doorbell. He waited only a minute before someone opened it.
He frowned at the blond customer from earlier in the day, realizing belatedly it was probably rude. Then the blond opened his mouth and Seth didn't mind being rude so much.
"Fire-crotch," the blond greeted him, leaning against the door jam. "A dubious pleasure."
"Wash your hair," Seth said. "I'm looking for Roger."
"He's out," Patrick said, going to close the door on Seth's face.
"Wait," Seth said, sticking his foot out to hold the door in place. "Can I come in and wait for him?"
"What's wrong with the porch?" Patrick pointed towards it. "It's not even that cold out tonight."
"Patrick, wasn't it?" Seth asked.
The blond nodded warily.
"I could make it worth your while." Seth kept his expression as innocent as possible, letting Patrick draw his own conclusions.
"Whatever," Patrick finally said, leaving the door open as he retreated to the couch. "Take your shoes off."
"Sure thing," Seth said, leaving them neatly beside the door with his backpack. "So any idea when Roger's getting back?"
"He's my roommate, bitch." Patrick didn't even look at Seth when he spoke, intent on changing channels. "Not my problem."
"Fine," Seth said, making a face at the side of Patrick's head as he sat down in a chair on the other side of the room.
"Real mature," Patrick said, not looking away. "What are you, twelve?"
"What are you, twelve?" Seth mocked, shifting uncomfortably in the chair.
Patrick levelled a look at him, holding it until Seth grew uncomfortable. "Should I offer you a drink or something?"
"Don't bother," Seth said. "Although that's just killing the hostess I know you've got buried deep inside you."
"You've hit the nail on the head," Patrick said, making a face like he'd eaten something disgusting. "God, I even sound like my mother."
Seth opened his mouth to say something rude, but changed his mind. He didn't want to go back to calling each other twelve. "Actually, can I get something to drink?"
"Kitchen's that way," Patrick said, jerking a thumb in what Seth assumed was the direction of the room. "Help yourself."
"I can hear it now," Seth said, grumbling as he stood up. "Screaming from the woman inside of you."
"I'm not even going to answer that," Patrick said. "Although the idea sounds kinky."
"Score one for Seth," Seth muttered, heading in the direction of the kitchen. He stopped at the fridge, opening the door to find it surprisingly well stocked.
Seth pulled out a Pepsi, cracking it open as he dug in the vegetable crisper. He always thought there was a lot he could tell about a guy judging by the vegetables he ate.
Or didn't eat. He made a face at the wilted bok choy and dried out baby carrots and shut the drawer again. Turning back around to his Pepsi, he jumped when he saw Patrick standing behind him.
"Examining my root vegetables?" Patrick asked, reaching around Seth to grab the milk jug.
"Apparently so," Seth said. "There's a theory, you can tell—"
"I don't care," Patrick said, pouring himself a glass of milk.
Seth raised his eyebrows, taking a sip of his pop. "You're surprisingly pleasant."
"I'm annoyed," Patrick said. "You're in my kitchen, drinking my Pepsi, and—"
"I made you a cookie but I eated it." Seth grinned at Patrick's cloudy expression.
"Shut the fuck up." Patrick pointed at Seth as he cursed, just in case Seth wasn't sure who Patrick meant. Taking his glass of milk, Patrick walked back to the living room. Rolling his eyes, Seth followed with his Pepsi in hand.
"Unh," Robbie said, hitting the wall with a little too much force to be comfortable.
"Shh, baby," the bald man pressing against him whispered, holding a sweating finger to Robbie's lips.
Robbie gagged a little, turning his face away from the man's hand to look down the hallway. "Listen, this isn't really the place."
"Your place?" The man asked, moving his sweaty fingers to Robbie's chin.
"Uh, no," Robbie said. "House rules."
"My—my wife," the bald man started to protest, and Robbie cut him off before he could get any farther.
Taking a step away, Robbie held a hand up between them to stop the man from coming at him again. "Listen, I dance."
"I bet you do a lot more than dance," he said, leering at the red mark he'd left on Robbie's neck.
"I bet—oh," Robbie said, pretending to notice his cell phone. "Look at that, I'm getting a call. I bet it's important."
He flipped the phone open and held it up to his ear, waiting for the man to get the hint and walk away.
He did, reluctantly, giving Robbie a long look before moving back in the direction of the bar.
Robbie shook his head, wondering how he'd ended up picking up a guy too stupid to notice that Robbie wasn't even talking into his cell phone.
Walking the other way down the hall, Robbie paused outside of the employees-only door, looking back towards the club. It was quiet, even for a weeknight. Chewing on the corner of his lip, Robbie wondered if it was worth going back inside to straighten himself up or if he should just call it a night.
The bathroom to the men's room swung open and the guy coming out stumbled into Robbie. He was wet to the elbows, wiping his mouth with the hem of his shirt.
"Sorry," the guy mumbled, using Robbie's chest to push himself upright. "You okay?"
"Fine," Robbie said, trying not to breathe in the smell of vomit and urinal cake.
"My buddy pushed me into the urinal," the guy explained, waving a wet sleeve in Robbie's face. "Some buddy, huh?"
"Sure," Robbie agreed. "Excuse me?"
"You're all the same," the guy mumbled, pushing his way back down the hall.
Robbie shook his head, thinking the same thing.
A snort from behind him startled him into dropping his phone.
Peeking underneath his arm as he bent down to pick it up, Robbie was pleasantly surprised by the decent-looking guy standing by the washroom door.
"You his buddy?" Robbie asked, wiping his phone off on his pants.
"No, but I wish I was," the guy said, shaking his head as he grinned. "You get upwind?"
"Unfortunately," Robbie said. "It's a shame, really, my night was going so well."
"You're being sarcastic," the guy guessed, tapping his finger to the side of his nose. His smile's fairly attractive despite the day's worth of dark stubble. "I can tell these things."
"Yeah." Robbie snorted, shaking his head. "Can you tell something else?"
"Well, I'm not a mind reader, but I know what you're thinking." The guy kept smiling, the sort of bland expression letting Robbie choose what he was trying to say.
Robbie figured out what he wanted to take from the statement and shrugged. "I'm thinking it's about time I blow this joint."
"Not before you let me buy you a drink," the guy said, holding up his hand. "Maybe two."
"You trying to pick me up?" Robbie let the guy push past him in the direction of the bar, following a few steps behind him.
"Come on," The guy smiled over his shoulder, nodding towards the bartender. "Can't a guy buy a guy a drink?"
"If this wasn't a strip club, I'd say sure," Robbie said, sliding onto a stool beside the bar.
The bartender gave Robbie a knowing smirk, pulling two beers out and set them on the counter.
"Come on," the guy said, taking both bottles in one big hand and used his empty one to point to a free booth.
Robbie shrugged at the bartender, following the guy toward the table near the far wall.
"I'm not really into this scene," the guy confessed over his shoulder, dropping down to sit on one side of the booth. "First time here, actually. You?"
"No," Robbie said, searching the guy's face to see if he recognized him from earlier. He didn't, so the guy probably didn't know Robbie was a dancer.
The guy took a long drink from his beer, setting it back onto the table and pushing the other bottle closer to Robbie. "See, I'd never be here if it wasn't for my friend."
"The guy with the urinal baptism?" Robbie turned in the booth to look over the tables. "You let that guy make decisions?"
"Oh, god no," the guy said, shaking his head. "My friend, he got an emergency call. Had to head back to the office. I was just about on my way out when I stumbled into the douche bag from the bathroom."
"And instead of continuing home you're buying me a beer?" Robbie took the bottle and took a long pull, watching the guy as he swallowed.
He smirked, leaning back against his seat and looking far too comfortable in a dress shirt with all but one button done up. "Maybe."
Robbie snorted and took another drink. "So what is it your friend does?"
"Same thing as me," the guy said, holding up a hand when Robbie was about to tell him off for talking in circles. He grinned and elaborated. "We're both lawyers."
"Fun," Robbie said, not meaning it. "And you hang out at strip clubs when you get off?"
The lawyer started laughing before Robbie could correct himself.
"Get off from work," Robbie said, scowling across the table. "Jackass."
"Whatever." The guy rolled his eyes and took a drink of his beer. "You want to not slip innuendo in our pleasant conversation?"
"I think you want me to slip something else in something else," Robbie said, waiting for the guy to make eye contact.
"Asshole." He smirked, tilting the neck of his bottle in Robbie's direction as he concedes the point.
"But I hardly know you." Robbie grinned playfully, misunderstanding the guy on purpose. "I don't even know your last name."
"Last name," the guy snorted. "We haven't even gotten around to first."
"Robbie," Robbie said. "And I won't even make a joke about the first part."
The guy winked, taking a drink from his beer. "Jeremy. It's truly a pleasure, considering you've still got your clothes on."
"This is a strip club," Robbie reminded him. "It's what it's for."
Jeremy shook his head, setting his beer down onto the table and wiping the condensation on his hand down the front of his shirt. "Call me old-fashioned, but I'd prefer a place where a guy can get a beer, maybe some conversation with a particularly attractive patron and possibly even a phone number before calling it a night."
"You're old-fashioned," Robbie said, aiming it towards the table top as he grinned around the mouth of the bottle. "And if you buy me another drink, I'll see about getting you that number."
Jeremy smiled across the table at Robbie.
"Might even be mine," Robbie said, winking as Jeremy tossed his head back and laughed.
"So why don't you just go home?" Patrick asked again. "It's been over an hour."
"You invited me in," Seth said, trying not to grit his teeth. He's somewhat unsuccessful. "And I'm not going to go home now."
"Unfortunately," Patrick muttered. "Listen, I'm sure Roger went off to some bar and he's totally hammered by now."
"Yeah, well," Seth shrugged, leaning back into the dirty recliner, leaving his hands free to make air quotes. "Maybe 'Roger' changed his mind when he saw I wasn't the other guy at the store."
"What, your twinkie friend?" Patrick snorted, shaking his head. "Listen, firecrotch. My roommate is out, and you're going to join—"
The front door opened, shutting both of them up.
Patrick glared across the room at Seth, practically daring him to make some sarcastic comment.
"Patrick, honey, it's—oh," the slender brunette in the hallway frowned, looking in confusion at Seth before she focused on Patrick. "You have company?"
"No, not really," Patrick said, leaning back in the couch and looking balefully towards Seth. "He's just—"
"Oh, wait," she said, eyes widening as she took a step into the room and saw Seth's backpack near the door. "Is this—?"
"I, uh, huh," Patrick got out, coughing into his elbow as he shifted towards the edge of the couch.
"Oh my god, Patrick." She crossed the room quickly, sitting down next to him on the couch.
Seth looked towards the floor, not wanting to see anything accidentally. Bad enough his booty call went sour, now it looked like his evening's entertainment was going to get busy without him.
"Hi, Seth?" The brunette raised both her eyebrows, taking a seat in front of him on the coffee table. "I'm Mindy. Patrick's girlfriend."
"Uh, hi," Seth said, frowning as he looked at Patrick over her shoulder. "I'm, y'know."
"I know," she said, lowering her voice conspiratorially and leaning closer. "I just want you to know, this is totally something me and Patrick are both into, and we're really happy you're going to share it with us."
"What?" Totally confused, Seth couldn't help the look of near-disgust that crossed his face, any more than he expected Mindy to lean in and kiss him right on the mouth.
The ringing of the phone interrupted Nathan's train of thought from Scott's tongue trailing down his jaw and brought it abruptly back to the present.
"Oh god," Nathan said, pulling back from Scott's mouth. "The phone, Scott."
"Machine'll get it," Scott said, paying more attention to Nathan's earlobe than the persistent ringing.
"What if," Nathan started, taking a deep breath. "What if it's important?"
"They'll leave a message," Scott said. He pushed himself up from Nathan's mouth, using a hand to tilt the phone in the other direction.
"I wouldn't," Nathan told him, trying to shift closer to the phone. "I'd keep calling back until someone picked up."
"Well, good thing you're lying on my couch, then, huh?" Scott grinned down at Nathan, pressing his hand down on Nathan's forehead. "Honestly."
"Maybe it's Vick," Nathan persisted, working one hand from between their bodies to push against Scott's cheek. "Please?"
"Damn it," Scott said easily, rolling off Nathan to kneel on the floor, tugging the phone closer. "Hello?"
"Is Nathan there?"
Scott rolled his eyes, not recognizing the voice on the other end. "Hold on."
Covering the mouthpiece with one hand, Scott glared at Nathan playfully. "One date and you're already forwarding your calls here?"
"I'm a playa-player," Nathan said dryly, reaching for the phone. "Hello?"
"Nathan, Davis," Davis said. "Have you talked to Vick?"
"Unless he's the one on top—uh, no," Nathan said, changing his mind about saying anything that made Scott look even more wicked.
"Damn it," Davis swore, making Nathan flinch on the other end. "If he calls, tell him I don't want to see him, all right?"
"Uh, okay," Nathan said. "But I mean, he's going to talk to me to my face, right? And what if he tries calling—"
"Nathan." Davis let out a frustrated breath. "Just tell him you don't know anything, okay?"
"Okay," Nathan said. "Davis? What's this about?"
"Nothing," Davis said. "Don't worry about it."
Nathan frowned, wondering how to tell Davis he was already concerned, but Davis had already hung up.
"Who's that?" Scott asked, taking the phone from Nathan and replacing it in the cradle. He put both his hands on Nathan's shoulders, pressing him back into the couch. "Should I be flying into a jealous rage?"
"That's my roommate's boyfriend," Nathan shrugged his shoulders underneath Scott's hands. "Apparently they're in a fight."
"Over you? Naughty," Scott tsk-tsked and bent closer until his nose was brushing against Nathan's. "I had no idea. You look so innocent."
"I am innocent," Nathan told him, blinking to try and focus. "Well, I was until I met you."
"Hah," Scott said, tilting his chin down to kiss Nathan chastely on the lips. "I'm not a bad influence."
"You're probably in the mob or something," Nathan said. "Crushing bodies inside of the cars accidentally to hide evidence."
"Dude, that's twisted." Scott pulled back a bit. "Maybe I underestimated you."
"Me and Aaron used to watch a lot of horror flicks." Nathan pursed his lips, thinking back on it. "He got a lot of enjoyment out of giving me nightmares."
"Aaron being the one in law school now, right?" Scott raised his eyebrows, leaning down and pressing a kiss to the corner of Nathan's mouth, touching the tip of his tongue to a mole on Nathan's cheek. "That's surprisingly unsurprising."
"Yeah, I know." Nathan closed his eyes, squinting up his face. "Damn it."
"What?" Scott squeezed Nathan's shoulders, angling his head to figure out Nathan's expression. "What's wrong?"
"Nothing. It's just, I really want to sleep with you," Nathan said, keeping his eyes closed like it made the confession easier. "And, you know, I shouldn't."
"Okay," Scott said slowly, wondering if he should take his hands away from Nathan's shoulders. "Is there something wrong?"
"First date, dude," Nathan said. "I'm not a slut."
Scott snorted, giving Nathan's shoulders one last squeeze and got to his feet.
"I didn't mean it like that," Nathan said, opening his eyes and looking a lot like Snow White, lying on Scott's couch like that. "I don't think you're a slut."
Shaking his head, Scott laughed softly. "No, I just mean, honestly, if I keep touching you I'm going to be a slut."
"What—oh," Nathan said, face colouring as he realized what Scott meant. "I, uh, okay. How about I go now."
"Okay," Scott agreed. "Can I see you tomorrow?"
"Um, okay," Nathan said, looking pleased as he sat up on the couch. "Date number two?"
"Well, maybe two and three," Scott corrected, offering Nathan a hand to get up. "When do you put out?"
"I, uh, four," Nathan said. "Is four okay?"
"Four's fine." Scott smiled at Nathan, dropping his arm around Nathan's shoulder in a half-hug as they walked towards the door.
"Well, this was kind of like two dates," Nathan said, looking up at Scott shyly before stumbling out into the hallway and in the direction of his own apartment.
Okay, so Scott maybe had it bad, but not for the first time he thought maybe it was going to be all right.