For reasons unknown even to himself, Mason let Randy talk him into stopping by his shop so he could pick up his mail. That was Randy’s cover story, anyway. What he really wanted to do was show off. From a lifetime of past experience, Mason figured Randy was probably a little lonesome for company too, like when he was a kid and always looking for excuses to hang around five more minutes. There’d been times, Mason had to admit, when he’d helped Randy find those excuses.
This was simply the adult version of that game. Least Mason could do was play along.
That day he’d stopped by Randy’s place to show him the photo of Geremy, Randy’s voice had sounded a little rusty. Not because he smoked, but because he hadn’t spoken to anyone that day. Or the day before that. And that was just sad.
But then, Mason hadn’t talked to anyone much lately, either. Texting busy family members on the other side of the country wasn’t the same as a face-to-face conversation.
Only made sense that they should talk to each other, right?
“I’ll only be a few minutes,” Randy lied.
“Yeah, right.” Mason wasn’t born yesterday. He rolled his eyes and left Randy to confer with “the kid”. Who was, no shitting, a kid. Not more than sixteen or seventeen, but already quite at home with a…whatever the hell that tool was in his hand. While master and protégée talked, and jointly listened for some mysterious ticking sound supposedly coming from one of the cars the kid was working on, Mason inspected Randy’s shop.
Amazingly, it was neat and organized. Greasy and grimy and stained, but there appeared to be a place for everything and everything was in its place. Parts and boxes and tools were all neatly shelved or hanging in tidy rows. Labelled too—and where had Randy learned the joys of a hand-held label maker, hmm? Nat would be so proud.
Mason had no idea what most of the stuff was used for. Stephen had showed him how to pump gas, jump a battery and change a tire. That was about it. Not long after that, he’d escaped to college as fast as he could get out the door and away from Stephen’s barely concealed disgust.
“There, you hear that?” Randy yelled at the kid to be heard over the noise of the engine.
“You mean that?” the kid yelled back.
Mason listened. Sounded the same to him.
“Yeah, that,” Randy replied. Then he cut the engine and they went back to talking quietly.
Surprise, surprise. Who knew rowdy Randy could be so patient? Sounded like a born teacher. Maybe that explained why he and Mrs. P got along. Now he really wanted to know what that ‘P’ stood for. Piss everyone off? Or, could it be…Porterhouse?
Mason left them to their lesson and wandered over the check out the incredibly restored truck sitting all by its lonesome in an unused bay. It looked to be about a hundred. Painted deep red, it shone like a cherry in the dim light. The bed had been finished with polished wooden rails and it had an extra tire attached to the side. A movie needed to be made for that truck to star in it. It was just that gorgeous.
“Like the A-bone, huh?” Randy asked, having snuck up beside him.
Startled, Mason turned to give Randy a perturbed look. “Quit sneaking up on me! And what the hell is an A-bone?” Sounded naughty. Now sleeping single, and with the sharp edge of betrayal beginning to dull, he’d been missing getting an A-bone with reasonable regularity, not that Richard had been a great lover or anything. They’d had bedroom compatibility issues.
“Ford Model A. 1930-31 edition.” Randy grinned. “Gives me a hard-on.”
It was nice, but not that nice. To each his own. “It’s pretty nice, alright. Needs to be in a movie where all the actors wear gloves and fancy hats. You fixing it?”
“Nah, did a minor adjustment on it, but I’m just letting it hang out here for a couple weeks as a favor to the owner. I like to come over here and stare at it occasionally.”
Randy did love his cars—trucks—that was for sure. “Ready to go? Or do you have to supervise the kid some more?”
“DeShawn’s doing fine without me, the smart little shit. So I only gotta get my mail from the office before we go. Wanna come check it out?”
Mason smiled. “Sure.” Randy was practically preening. It was all kinds of sweet. “Lead on.”
Whatever he’d been expecting to find in Randy’s office was not this. Stepping inside felt like stepping back in time for the second time that day. While enclosed and separate from the work bays, the upper part of the wall had a couple rows of old fashioned glass blocks that let in the light from the large garage doors, while keeping the room private. Orderly rows of framed photos of muscle cars covered the long back wall—dozens of them—along with a row of antique licence plates.
Crammed in the space by the door, a massive old Coke machine hummed softly, and came complete with glass bottles you could buy on the honor system for a buck fifty instead of the advertised ten cents. It looked right at home alongside the messy, ancient, scarred wooden desk facing a comfy looking old couch that looked suspiciously like the one that used to be in their basement when he was growing up.
An orange Union 76 ball light fixture cast a warm glow over everything, including the side wall crowded with a collection of old fashioned gas station signs, shiny car parts…and a thoroughly modern pin-up of a brunette in a bikini. Somehow, even she managed to look like a 1950’s movie siren.
“My god,” Mason breathed. “This is awesome!”
“Isn’t it?” Randy beamed.
“Where did you get all this stuff?”
“Been collecting it for a while, and some of my customers bring it in.”
“Wow.” The ultimate man-cave. Complete with…“You stole our couch.”
“I did not! Your mom gave it to me. Said it would go perfect in here.”
Which it did. It rocked the sixties. The only thing not rocking the retro look was the banged up laptop on the desk. Scratch that. The thing was enough was old enough to be a collector’s item. “And where the heck did you find that antique pop machine?”
“That came with the place. Probably been in here for fifty years, collecting dust. Took me forever to find someone to restore it, but he got it going in no time and I only had to barter an easy window switch repair job for it.”
Randy parked his butt half on the desk and grinned, clearly happy to be home—and this was home. His happiness was contagious, and Mason found himself smiling in response. Then the pin-up chick caught his eye.
“So you’re gay, huh?” he teased, nodding at the shapely poster girl.
“She’s a hottie, all right.” Randy turned all his attention from the poster to Mason. “Very…” he mimed a woman’s shape with both hands, indicating a curvy shape. “But I prefer…” he mimed a new shape, one much less curvy, with only a slight flare at the waist. Then he pretended to reach between the shape’s legs with his good hand, and gave the pair of imaginary balls a thumb and two finger fondle.
“You’re so full of shit! Now I know why your eyes are such a dark brown.”
“Hard to miss all those girls you hung around with at school.”
“You mean the ones that followed me around uninvited?”
“Or the grown up versions like the one I met that day I ran into you hiking in the gorge.”
“I’m not allowed to have friends?”
“Nobody is that good at hiding it! From the straights maybe, but not from their openly gay neighbor.”
“If you had my old man for a father, you’d be singing a different fucking tune, Mase, guaranteed. I’m the master fucking illusionist. You wanna know why I hid it and hid it so fucking well my openly gay neighbor had no clue? Because he would have murdered me in my sleep.”
“He’d probably murder me now, you know, if he could catch me.” Randy smirked, but it didn’t reach his eyes. “Too bad he crispy fried that foot, huh?”
“Christ.” Not that Mason believed him, just yet. Randy had always been a consummate prankster. Their eyes met. Randy raised one brow and adopted his patented, prank-master glare. That lying bastard! “I’m not buying it, Porterhouse.” Mason put a hand on his hip and replied with his own challenging stare. “Prove it.”
Instead of laughing, like Mason expected, Randy’s happy grin faded. His eyes darkened and the glare turned into stare, which he held far too long, making Mason acutely uncomfortable. He straightened from his desk-leaning slouch and deliberately slowly, stood, rising to his full six-foot-four-with-boots-on height. “Deal.”
An alien emotion seemed to twist low in Mason’s belly. Fear. It ran swift and wild and coursed through his blood like poison. Underneath that ridiculous, and completely unwarranted fear, something else awoke, a different emotion, darker, but as powerful—more powerful. One there was no way in hell he was acknowledging.
For fuck’s sake, he didn’t even like Randy.
Without taking his eyes off Mason, Randy reached out with his good hand and grabbed a handful of his loose t-shirt. Fuck—Randy’s hand was massive. As Mason’s heart tripped a panicked beat, Randy bunched a handful of the material in that large fist and slowly, effortlessly, dragged Mason toward him.
Okay—now this really was taking the prank too far. Way too far.
Most of Randy’s towering height came from a powerful stretch of torso that seemed to go on forever. Still, at five foot ten, with possibly and extra half inch if Mason stood up straight, their heights were close enough that the vanishing distance between them forced their groins into a troubling alignment. They were suddenly too close. Indecently close. Randy’s belt buckle scraped against Mason’s skin, a vulnerable spot bared by Randy’s grip on his shirt just above the waistband of his jeans. The cool metal warmed as Randy dragged him flush against his hot, wide body.
Goddamn it, no! He didn’t like Randy. Not like-like…that.
To go with the wild emotional response hitting him from out in left field, Mason’s legs developed a sudden, unwanted paralysis. His brain demanded he stop this insanity. Right now! But his legs had locked at the knees. His hands flew up, only to flutter stupidly until finally landing, without any brain input whatsoever, on Randy’s hard stomach—on the gut he was positively not developing.
In response to his touch, Randy sucked in a quickened breath and his chest expanded, growing even wider. Taut muscle tensed and rippled under Mason’s roving fingertips.
Okay, maybe he liked Randy a little.
Mason’s hands froze on that powerful expanse of heat.
No and nope. He didn’t even like him a little.
What might have been his brain’s futile attempt to push Randy away, instead transformed into a rushed exploration of Randy’s abs and chest. He couldn’t seem to stop himself. Because if he didn’t snatch this opportunity right now, he might lose it, and never get to understand this mad rush. Wild sensations raced up though his fingertips to fuel the thudding beat of his heart.
What in the hell was he doing?
He was touching Randy.
Inappropriately. Only a thin film of cotton separated his fingers from warm, muscled, man flesh. Wrong as it was, he couldn’t yank his hands away from their new obsession. They were stuck fast. Like the rest of him.
Pinned by his own out-of-control hands and the force of Randy’s stare, he couldn’t move. He could only watch as the world’s most irritating man lowered his head and leaned in closer—dangerously closer—suddenly filling Mason’s entire field of vision with those startling dark eyes and wide lips usually formed into a smirk or sneer. Randy’s lips were silent now, but somehow they spoke anyway, wordlessly promising that unwholesome deeds were on offer.
Yeah. The wild thing racing inside him wanted to take Randy up on that offer—and did. He simply let it happen. Stubble poked, then rasped against Mason’s upper lip as Randy’s mouth landed on his. Shocked, Mason opened his lips to that beguiling contrast of silken lips and hard demand.
Not Randy’s mouth. On his. Tasting like sex and dirty things.
God, he loved that taste.
And dirty things.
Involuntarily, Mason’s eyes fell shut. Not unwillingly, he kissed Randy back.
The wicked heat moving roughly against his mouth burned hot enough to rival open flame. Randy’s scent became all he could smell, and Randy’s lips, mouth, and tongue, became all he could taste. Because it was Randy kissing him, there was nothing timid about it. Nothing nice.
Figured. Randy kissed with the same reckless abandon as he did everything else.
More violent than romantic, Randy’s mouth devoured, his tongue invaded, and his hand squeezed in places Mason shouldn’t let him squeeze. But ask him if he cared. The wild thing thrilled to the kiss and the grabbing hands. Even the scratchy cast as it scraped against Mason’s waist excited him. Randy hooked his fingertips through one of his belt loops at the back of his jeans and mashed their bodies so close together Mason could barely breathe.
The kiss was…
Dirty. Like, if he let Randy, his tongue could do amazing things.
Also, this was definitely not a prank.
Randy had saved the biggest revelation for last. Dropped the bombshell. Like all the other things Mason had been wrong about the past couple months, he’d been wrong about Randy, who was, honest-to-fucking-god, gay. This proved it. Words could lie. Bodies couldn’t. Kisses could be faked. But not this. Not this pulsing heat where their groins met. The hard, swollen length of Randy’s cock pressed against Mason’s answering thickness and shot any remaining doubts he had to hell.
Taking the kiss from rough to outright mouth-rape, Randy grabbed him one-handed by the ass and slid their rapidly thickening body parts together. Friction further ignited the heat rising between them. Randy was fully, gloriously aroused, and Mason’s cock had lost whatever shyness it once dared possess. Shamelessly, Mason ground himself against Randy’s erection, his hips having a mind of their own.
When Randy’s fingertips began a determined slide into the crack of Mason’s ass, reason reasserted itself. With effort, Mason wrenched his mouth from Randy’s and, finally remembering where his hands were—clawing at Randy’s muscular chest—pushed against the warmth rippling beneath them.
Once again, Randy wouldn’t let him off that easy. His hands met resistance.
After a moment’s hesitation, Randy relented. He reluctantly licked his tongue back out of Mason’s mouth, but his lips lingered on Mason’s for a few extra seconds. His goodbye was a slow scrape of Mason’s bottom lip through his teeth. He lowered Mason’s feet back down to the floor—when the hell had they left it?—grinding their cocks together along the way. An intense pulse of arousal forced a startled moan from Mason’s throat and a harsher reply from Randy’s.
Then it was over.
Cold frustration filled the space between them as Mason found his feet and peeled their warm bodies apart.
“Satisfied?” Randy asked, his voice rough.
No, fucking goddamn it no, he wasn’t. But he resisted the unfamiliar urge to rip all of Randy’s clothes off, shove him onto the couch, and satisfy his aching body by climbing on Randy’s big, stiff dick and riding him to oblivion. “Yes.” Trembling, Mason swiped the back of his hand across his mouth. His lips stung.
Randy’s red, wet lips curled into his usual smirk.
Suddenly angry, and not just madly horny, Mason snarled, “You asshole!” He meant it. Wholeheartedly. And that shoddy insult was all he could come up with. His head throbbed. He actually felt faint.
Under the pretext of smoothing Mason’s crumpled shirt, Randy thumbed Mason’s distended nipple and ignited a fresh spark of arousal. “I’d be happy to prove it some more,” Randy offered in a growly tone that Mason heard loudest with his dick.
Oh, god, yes. “No, thanks. I’m convinced.” He was more than convinced—he felt like he’d been hit by a fucking truck. Richard had never once kissed him like that. Not in all their years together. But why, out of the three and a half billion men on the planet, did it have to be Randy fucking Porterhouse who ended up being the one to kiss him the way he’d always wanted to be kissed?
The way he craved?
The kiss seemed to have rattled Randy’s usual cool composure as well. The smirk still lingered on his lips, but he had a glazed look in his eyes. Hopefully he’d been hit by the same speeding truck.
Mason checked, gazing into Randy’s dark brown, almost black eyes.
Yes, he had met the same truck, and thank god. Something that mind blowing shouldn’t be a one-sided deal.
Or be repeated.
But god knew, Mason wanted a repeat. Wanted to see if the earth would quake again. Besides, a good scientist never mistook one, lone event for fact. They repeated their experiments many times over to be sure. Not surprisingly, his dick completely agreed they should try kissing again. Or other things.
What did liking someone have to do with it, anyway?
While Mason stood there in a daze thinking it over, Randy ran a calloused thumb over Mason’s bottom lip and reluctantly backed away. “You okay?” he asked.
“Fine.” Well, getting there.
“Gotta say, I liked having my tongue in your mouth.” Randy grinned, low and dirty. “In fact, I’d like to have other things of mine in your mouth.”
God. That insufferable, irritating, arrogant bastard. “Not a chance.”
Randy’s stare traveled over Mason’s chin and cheeks, and locked onto his mouth. “Sorry about the whisker burn.”
“Sure you are.”
“Okay, I’m not. Looks good on you.”
The wildness inside Mason flared to life, only this time, anger fueled it. In the months since he’d caught his boss and Richard doing the nasty together, he’d been dead inside, a shell, functioning only on autopilot. He’d had enough of going through the motions, but not really living. The real Mason Novak suddenly surged back to life and did what he always did when Randy had wrestled him into the dirt or the grass or the smelly basement carpet. He pulled back his arm, formed his hand into a fist and slugged Randy in the stomach.
Caught off-guard, Randy jerked back, startled, and then broke out laughing, sounding only a slightly winded. He patted his belly. “You said prove it.”
Well, he did, didn’t he?
“We still friends?”
Randy’s words shocked the world back into its proper orbit. “Maybe.”
“Good enough you’re gonna give me a ride home?”
“I don’t know. You should walk. You’re getting a gut.” No, he wasn’t. There was just enough padding to nicely cushion all the muscle underneath.
“You know, you’re not nearly as sweet as you look.”
“Don’t make me change my mind.”
Smiling, and too damned sexily at that, Randy adjusted the fit of his jeans—and the lay of his cock, and grabbed a stack of mail from his desk. “Want me to drive?”
“Ha. Over my dead, bloated, maggot infested corpse.”
Replying with his all-purpose snort of many meanings, all of them rude, Randy tucked the mail under his arm above the cast and walked to the Coke machine, opened the door, grabbed a bottle, deftly popped the top in the built-in cap remover and dangled it in front of Mason.
“Bribing me now?” Mason asked.
“Will it work?”
“Possibly.” Mason’s mouth was suddenly dry as the desert, and lonesome for Randy’s tongue in it. He took a long drink. It fizzed and burned icy cold all the way down. God, he’d forgotten what it was like to drink ice cold Coke from a glass bottle. Fucking hurt, but he felt strangely energized. Awake. Alive. Like a phoenix, reborn from the ashes.
Randy popped one open for himself and took a swig. Mason watched, fascinated, as his throat worked to swallow the cold liquid. Randy had a sexy throat. And he’d nicked himself the last time he bothered to shave.
Mason shook his head.
What the hell was the matter with him? No way did he like Randy-Beefsteak-Porterhouse. Like that. So why did he want to jump his bones so badly?
“Ready to go?” Randy asked, having gone back to staring at Mason’s mouth again.
“Yeah.” He was a wreck with his grasp on reality a little worse for wear, but he probably wouldn’t crash the truck into a phone pole now. “I’m ready.”
Juggling the bundle of mail and the pop bottle between the tips of his fingers peeking out from the cast and his uninjured hand, Randy finally dragged his gaze from Mason’s mouth to his eyes. His smirk blossomed. “Glad you never could hold a grudge.”
Didn’t mean he couldn’t learn to. But Mason let Randy have the last word and took another sip from the bottle. It was the only thing that kept him from smashing the heavy glass over Randy’s fat head.