Silence fell in the office. Damien lounged against the desk, a little smirk on his pretty face. Michael stood rigidly, his face like carved teak. Finally he stirred, and said a single word: “No.”
Damien straightened up in shock. “What?! But Michael, this is the only way that you’ll be able to get laid! Don’t you want that?”
The handyman took a deep breath. “Yes, I do,” he agreed. “But I’m not sure that I want to break my sexual abstinence with you. It’s not a good idea.”
Damien glared at him. “Not a good idea?” he repeated incredulously. “I’d think it’d be the best idea EVER for a guy with your problems! I’m doing you a favor here, Michael!”
“Maybe. But you’re such a selfish, petulant little brat that I’m not sure that I want to sleep with you, even if you are the only solution to my problem. I won’t be your boy toy, merely here for your pleasure. I want more than that out of life for myself. And so should you, Damien,” he went on soberly.
A contemptuously lifted lip. Damien gave him a cold look. “I really don’t need lectures from you, Michael,” he spat. “I get enough of that from my father. If you don’t want to fuck me, that’s fine. You don’t need to come up with stupid reasons to give me.”
“They’re not stupid,” the handyman replied quietly. “You just don’t understand because you’ve never wanted anything like that. You don’t yearn for a partner in life, someone who loves you and is always there for you no matter what. And that’s fine. It’s perfectly okay for it to just be about the sex. I was like that when I was younger. But I don’t want that anymore. So I can’t be what you need me to be, Damien. But you’ll be fine - there are plenty of other men around who will sleep with you if you want them to. You don’t need me.”
Damien lifted his head, his nostrils flaring. “You’re right, I don’t need you,” he hissed. “Now get the hell out of my office, Michael.”
The handyman nodded and left, closing the door behind him. Damien went and hurled himself down in his chair, folding his arms over his chest and pouting furiously. How dared Michael talk to him like that?! He’d practically called Damien a whore! Okay, well he hadn’t really…but it still felt like he had. Under the anger, he felt a lance of hurt. He wasn’t good enough for Michael. Well, so be it. The handyman had been right about one thing…there were plenty of other sexy men around the Sweet Springs B&B who would take care of his sexual needs. He didn’t need Michael anymore than Michael needed him.
The other employees of the bed and breakfast noticed in the days following that Damien was in a foul, evil mood. He even snapped at the guests, which was very surprising. And he openly glared at Michael whenever he saw the handyman. If looks could kill, then Michael would be dead a thousand times over…
The rest of the staff speculated about what might have happened to put Damien in such a terrible mood. One reason might be the fact that their boss had taken to retreating to his attic apartment every night alone! That was so astonishing that they simply didn’t know what to make of it. And Cyndi reported that there was no one but Damien in the apartment when she took his breakfast tray up to him, and no signs that there had been anyone but Damien any time during the night, either. Not getting laid when he was used to getting it every night might account for some of his belligerence and sulking, but not all of it.
On Damien’s part, he was totally, utterly furious at Michael. Not just because the handyman had turned him down, either…but for some reason, because of that rejection, he’d lost his interest in the casual, one-night stands he’d been indulging in every night since he’d reopened the B&B after its remodel. He had no idea why he kept turning down the men who propositioned him, but it only added to his raging fury. He would have liked to rip Michael’s heart out and feed it to him.
Michael was listening to Franny and her assistant talking in the kitchen one day as he was sitting at the table sipping a cup of coffee. The cook was making loaves of bread, expertly using her rolling pin on the dough as she chatted with Cyndi. “Well, I don’t know,” she was saying doubtfully. “I’ve never seen him like this. Not even when he first arrived and was insulting everything. I wonder what’s wrong?”
“I don’t know either,” Cyndi replied, “All I do know is that he hasn’t had a guy up there in almost two weeks. That’s like a miracle for him.”
Michael stopped sipping his coffee and set the cup down. He sat there, frowning, his ears trained in the direction of the cook and her assistant. “Yeah,” Franny was agreeing. “I never thought I’d see the day. That boy surely likes variety, doesn’t he? Maybe he’s just tired of sleeping around?” she added doubtfully.
“Maybe,” Cyndi said. “But if that were true, why is he in such a bad mood about it? I mean, he nearly took my head off this morning when I carried his breakfast tray up there.”
Michael frowned. He’d been avoiding Damien since their conversation in the office, knowing how angry the younger man was with him. This was the first he was hearing about Damien spending his nights alone. Could it be? Had something he’d said had anything to do with this? But surely that couldn’t be right…? Why would Damien care about what he thought about anything?
He rose silently to his feet. Not to confront Damien; he wasn’t sure that this was any of his business. But he wanted to go outside and get some work done, because he thought best when he was doing something physically. He wanted some time to think about what Franny and Cyndi had said about Damien.
He went out the back door, seeing that the wind had picked up and taken on a slight chill. Fall would be here soon. A great gust of wind made his body bow a bit as he walked toward the shed that they used for storage, intent on retrieving some of his tools. As he passed a large oak tree that spread its branches over the garden paths and provided shade during the hot summer(there was even a bench sitting under the tree), the wind began to rage even more furiously. It whipped through the branches of the oak, and there was a loud crack as one of them gave way under the pressure and dropped to the ground. Michael looked up, startled, and threw his arm up over his head reflexively when he saw the branch falling toward him. It hit him on the forearm, but part of it also struck his head. He went down under the large branch’s weight, and darkness took him away for a long time.
When he came back to himself, he felt a soft surface under his body. His arm and head were throbbing sullenly, and he groaned as he forced his eyes open. It took them a moment to focus, but when they did he saw that he was lying atop the covers of a bed in one of the B&B’s guest bedrooms. “Well, Michael. Nice to see you back with us,” a light voice remarked sardonically.
He turned his head a little(Boy, was that a mistake!) and saw Damien’s slim body stretched out beside him on the bed. The green eyes were trained on his face. “You scared the crap out of me,” Damien snarled softly. “I thought you were dead for a minute when I saw you lying there with that branch on top of you.”
“I’m sorry,” he croaked.
Damien sniffed. “You ought to be. Thank God we have a doctor staying here. He checked you out. He says that you’ll have a minor concussion, and that you cracked one of the bones in your forearm. You'll have to wear that splint on your arm for a few weeks until the bone heals, but you’re basically really lucky. You’ll be pretty much fine after a few days of rest.”
“Oh,” he said. “That’s good.”
“Yeah,” Damien reached out and cupped his cheek with one long-fingered hand. “I really hate you,” he said conversationally.
“Do you?” Michael asked quietly, searching the green eyes.
Damien closed them to keep him from seeing too deeply into them. “No,” he sighed. “I wish I could, but I don’t. When I saw you on the ground, I was so frightened that it made me sick. I’m not stupid enough to think that was because you’re a good handyman. You’ve done something to me, Michael. I don’t know what, but you did.”
The handyman wanted to point out just what that something might be, but he held his tongue. Damien wasn’t ready for that yet. “I’m sorry,” he repeated softly. “I didn’t mean to do anything to you.”
“I know you didn’t,” Damien sighed. “That’s why I’m not really mad at you. God, Michael…do you know what you’ve done to me? I can’t fuck anybody else! I tried, but it was a disaster. I was afraid to try again and be humiliated. You’ve made me just like you, damn you. I don’t want to be celibate!”
His words made Michael’s lips lift slightly. Damien in a tizzy was actually rather cute. “You don’t have to be,” he said quietly.
His words registered with Damien, who stopped mid-pout and stared at him. “What do you mean?” he asked, hope and suspicion both lacing his words.
Michael met his eyes again. “I’ll sleep with you,” he said.
Damien’s mouth fell open. “You will?! But you said…!”
“I know what I said. But I don’t want to leave you high and dry,” Michael said, concealing his amusement only with difficultly. “I don’t think that you can handle it. I don’t want you to suffer.”
“Are you sure?” Damien pushed himself up on his elbow, looking Michael over eagerly.
The handyman’s lips twitched. “Yes, I’m sure,” he replied.
“Awesome! But damn it, I can’t do anything for at least three days! The doctor said so!” he realized, his face falling.
Michael couldn’t help but chuckle just a little. “I’m sure you’ll survive,” he said dryly.
Damien folded his arms over his chest and visibly sulked. “Easy for you to say,” he sniffed. “You’ve gone without for YEARS.”
Michael reached out with his good hand and touched Damien’s arm. “Come here,” he commanded.
Damien lay back down and wiggled close to him. “Like this?” he asked.
“Yes,” Michael reached out and cupped the back of his head, bringing their lips together. He gently kissed Damien’s pouting pink lips, tasting them for the first time. He heard a soft moan, and pushed his tongue into the moist cavern of Damien’s mouth in response.
Obviously he hadn’t lost any of his skills through disuse, because Damien was panting and languid-eyed when he finally let their lips part. “Wow,” he breathed, licking at his plump lower lip. “Not bad, Michael.”
“I’m glad you approve. Hopefully that will give you something to look forward to,” the handyman said. “Until I’m healthy enough to actually have sex with you.”
Damien gave him a narrow-eyed look of suspicion. “Did you just kiss me to make me crazy?” he demanded. “Because I have to wait until you’re better?”
Michael’s lips lifted in the faintest of smiles. “Why would I do that?” he asked innocently.
Damien sniffed. “Because you’re evil,” he replied tartly.
A/N: hee hee. Now did I ever say that this chappie would be filled with hot sex? No, I didn’t :P The next one might be, though…ask for what you want, folks, and I might be inclined to write the next chapter more quickly -Dl
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