Tate secoua sa tête et l'embrassa doucement. "Non. J'ai fini de prétendre que je ne comprend pas ce qui se passe. C'est dingue et intense, mais Logan, c'est réel. Chaque fois que je suis près de toi, je me sens vivant." Il ferma les yeux et murmura, "ce qu'ils font et ce qu'ils disent... c'est leur choix, et toi tu es le mien".
"Tu me rends dingue et furieux et hors de moi, mais au final, tu me rends tellement heureux. Je ne me souviens pas avoir déjà ressenti ça. Et personne ne va me dire que c'est mal. Personne".
- C’est une épreuve « Défi ». Donc qui dessine dans chaque équipe ?
Tate leva la main et vit Logan et Cole en faire de même.
Ça promet d’être intéressant.
Lena entreprit de faire passer la carte de main en main, et Tate remarqua que sa mine avait besoin d’être taillée. Il chercha le taille-crayon, qui se trouvait près de Logan, et lui tendit son crayon à papier.
- Tu peux le tailler pour moi, s’il te plaît ?
Logan se pencha au-dessus de la table et le lui prit des mains.
- Tu veux que je te taille quelque chose, Tate ?
- Très drôle. Le taille-crayon est juste à côté de toi. Tu n’as qu’à le prendre et le glisser à l’intérieur.
Aussitôt, le coin des lèvres de Logan esquissa un sourire arrogant, et Tate se mordit la langue.
- T’es sérieux, là ? Tu viens vraiment de me dire ça ?
Plus à l’aise que jamais en compagnie de Logan et de ce groupe, Tate haussa les épaules et hocha la tête.
Il est temps de lui rendre la monnaie de sa pièce.
- Ouaip. Ça te pose un problème ? Tu n’as qu’à te mettre en position et… l’insérer.
- Tu sais, Tate…
- Ne fais pas ça, l’interrompit Tate en levant son pied – pied qu’il avait calé entre ceux de Logan toute la soirée – de sorte que son tibia vienne heurter légèrement le mollet de Logan.
- Faire quoi ?
- Dire un truc cochon. Je sais que t’en meurs d’envie, mais contente-toi de tailler ce crayon.
Logan saisit l’ustensile et prit malicieusement son temps pour introduire l’extrémité du crayon dans le trou.
- C'est peut-être toi qui m’as couru après au début, mais, Logan ...
- Ouais ?
- Je n’ai jamais été plus heureux qu’au moment où tu m’as attrapé.
-Je ne savais pas qu'on avait un problème.
-Ce n'est pas un problème. C'est un mur, plutôt. "Ton" mur.
Tate avait raison. Il avait bel et bien une barrière. Il ne faisait "aucune" confiance aux relations.
Qu'elles soient familiales, ou pire encore, amoureuses. Il lui semblait préférable de s'en tenir à des rapports faciles, simples et sans complications.
Tout ce que n'était pas Tate.
-Non, mais tu t'entends? s'exclama-t-il sous le regard de Tate, le souffle court. Ouais, j'ai une putain de muraille. Elle fait 6 mètres de hauteur, "surtout" avec toi. T'es différent. Et le fait que tu n'aies jamais fréquenté d'autre homme avant moi me fout une trouille de tous les diables.
Aussitôt, Tate se calma et recula. C'était comme s'il venait de lui envoyer son poing en plein visage. Logan glissa ses doigts dans les poches avant du jean de Tate et l'attira à nouveau contre lui.
-Je ne mentais pas, hier soir. Tu me fais peur. C'est pas pour moi, "ça". Je ne reste pas en couple avec qui que ce soit, et il est hors de question pour moi de laisser mon cœur guider ma tête.
-Je sais, acquiesça Tate. C'est juste que... Comment je peux savoir ce que tu veux de...
-Il m'a fait souffrir, l'interrompit Logan, peu désireux d'entendre Tate formuler à voix haute les doutes qu'il avait à son sujet.
Il approcha sa main du visage de Tate pour la poser sur sa joue.
-Il m'a embrassé et il m'a touché comme personne. Et quand il me disait que j'étais spécial à ses yeux, je le croyais.
Logan cessa de parler quand Tate s'avança et glissa une main dans ses cheveux.
-Tu "es" spécial à mes yeux. Vraiment spécial.
Logan eut toutes les peines du monde à expirer à l'entente de l'émotion pure qui perçait dans ses paroles, et quand Tate colla son corps au sien ici, dans ce musée, et scella sa bouche à la sienne, l'espace d'un instant, il s'autorisa à croire que Tate était réellement sien.
Tate fit courir ses mains sur ses épaules et reprit :
— J’ai envie de faire un truc cool. Un truc qui nous fera oublier ces deux journées de merde.
Il s’interrompit, ferma les yeux et souffla :
— J’ai envie de me laisser aller un moment.
Logan y réfléchit quelques secondes, puis demanda :
— Et si on testait Le Fouet ?
Tate rouvrit les paupières et parut légèrement pris de cours.
— Je sais que je me suis ouvert à pas mal de choses dernièrement, et ouais, j’en testerai sûrement plein d’autres, mais…
— Tate ? rit Logan.
— Ouais ?
— C’est une boîte de nuit. Mais s’il te plaît, n’hésite pas à aller au fond de ta pensée. Tu disais que tu testerais sûrement plein d’autres choses ?
— Enfoiré, marmonna Tate.
— Tu sais trouver les mots pour me plaire, rétorqua Logan en lui adressant un clin d’œil. Allons danser.
The music was thumping, the club dimly lit, and as Logan made his way through couples gyrating, he felt Tate’s fingers tightening around his. He’d picked a place he knew fairly well, Whipped.
It was a place where there was a little bit of everything, including men dancing with women, women dancing with women, and—he stopped on the corner of the dance floor and pulled Tate into his body—men dancing with men.
He’d figured Tate would be a little more comfortable around a mix of people, and as his arms came around his neck and he closed his eyes, Logan knew he’d been right until—
“Ah, my favorite lawyer and his ‘friend.’ I swear you two get hotter every time I see you. So it’s a damn shame I don’t see more of you.”
Tate froze in front of him, and Logan closed his eyes, hoping that the voice that just shouted over the music wasn’t—
“Robbie,” Tate answered for him as he greeted the intruder.
Logan turned around to see Robbie step closer to them both.
“I thought it was you. It’s hard to ignore someone like Logan. Or you for that matter,” he added, winking at Tate.
“In fact, I think I saw you smile at Logan when you walked in. Granted, I could be wrong since it’s such a rare event, but when it appeared, it was fabulous.”
Logan turned to Tate, and instead of finding him fuming, he was grinning down at Robbie—amused. He then looked back to see Robbie’s eyes close to fucking sparkling up at Tate, and he couldn’t help but shake his head at the guy’s antics.
As usual, Robbie was dressed much the same as he had been the night they’d hooked up. Loose, black cargos that rode his skinny hips, and a bright-pink mesh tank top that was cut to expose from his navel down. His eyes were enhanced by black eyeliner, and his blond hair was spiked with enough hair gel that not even the busiest hands in it would mess it up.
He was cute and knew it. There was a time that had really worked for him, but when Logan felt Tate’s body brush the side of his, he knew that time had long passed.
Tate, in his leather pants, tight, white T-shirt, and the leather jacket he’d checked at the door, was the guy who could give as much as he dished out, and Logan hadn’t realized how much he craved that until now.
“Did you know this is where I met Logan? And we danced the night away,” Robbie reminisced over the music.
“Really,” Tate responded, secure enough that he didn’t make it a question. It was more like a perfunctory answer, and with his arm looped around Logan’s waist, it was obvious he was in no way threatened by Robbie.
And fuck me, that’s hot.
“It was one dance and then we left. Let’s not get carried away, Cinderella. It wasn’t your ball,” Logan interjected.
“No,” Robbie agreed, grinning like an imp, “it was yours. Both of them. That was a good night.”
Logan groaned and Tate’s body vibrated with laughter.
“What was a good night?”
Both he and Tate looked over Robbie’s shoulder to the man who’d stopped behind him. He was a tall, muscular guy in jeans and a white button-down. He was familiar, but Logan couldn’t quite place him. The man seemed to exude carefree and relaxed with the longer blond hair that was pushed behind his ears and hit the collar of his shirt, but the shrewd eyes and serious line of his mouth screamed of confidence and control.
“The night I met Logan,” Robbie stated, gesturing in his direction before adding an introduction. “This is Daniel.”
The man’s eyes found both him and Tate, and as he sized them up, Logan caught a flash of heat...and interest.
“Yes, I can see that would be a night worth remembering. And you?” Daniel asked as his eyes shifted to Tate. “What’s your name?”
For the first time since he’d met Tate, Logan felt the intense need to make it known who he belonged to and wrapped a proprietary arm around his waist.
“So, Logan and Tate. Nice. Very nice. Evening, boys.”
His voice was smooth like whiskey, and Logan felt Tate shift beside him and knew he was feeling the same sexual appraisal from the man.
“Hey,” Logan responded. Then he turned his eyes to Robbie, who was looking between him and Daniel.
“I noticed you both as soon as you came in, and Robbie said he knew you.”
Logan’s eyes narrowed on the blond, and then he focused once again on the man who seemed to be wanting something. Two somethings to be exact.
“Did he now?”
“Yes,” Daniel answered, eyes locked with his in a stalemate. “He did.”
Tate’s fingers were now stroking over his ass, and Logan had to really hold back a laugh at the fact that he didn’t seem bothered at all that the guy in front of them was eye-fucking them both.
“Are you two free later?”
Logan was about to answer when Tate finally decided to speak up, and as always, he didn’t disappoint.
“No, we aren’t. We don’t play well with others.”
Logan turned to look him in the eye and the expression in Tate’s was, ‘But I’m going to play with you.’
“I told you,” Robbie stated, and Daniel gave them both a smug smile and tilt of the head as he wrapped an arm around Robbie’s shoulder.
“So you did.”
Robbie leaned into Daniel’s side before giving him a thorough once over and Tate, a full-on cheeky grin. “What? Can’t blame a guy for trying. You two—”
“Aren’t interested,” Logan ended for him. “But you have fun tonight.”
Robbie looked over at Tate and then back to him before grumbling, “You too.”
Logan felt Tate’s hand squeeze his ass, and before he could speak, Tate did. “Oh he will.”
Then Tate stepped in front of him and wound his arms around his neck, making it more than obvious he was done with the conversation, done with the intrusion, and ready to dance to the heavy throb of the pulsating music.
Logan placed his hands on Tate’s back and ran them up to his shoulder blades, and he couldn’t help putting his mouth on him.
Love that I can do this, he thought, punctuating it with a kiss to his neck. Love that you’re here, with me.
Tate’s head lolled to the side, and when the salty sweat on his smooth skin hit Logan’s tongue, it was hard to remind himself they were in public.
Tate widened his legs, and Logan pressed one of his between his thighs. He could feel Tate’s fingers twisting through the back of his hair as their hips rocked against each other, and the thought of concentrating on anyone or anything other than running his hands all over Tate’s body left his mind.
He dragged his fingers back down Tate’s spine to the leather pants covering his ass. He loved the feel of them, and when Tate’s mouth found his ear and he said, “Harder,” Logan’s cock stiffened as if he’d physically stroked him.
Logan shut his eyes, and when Tate’s lips moved over his ear, he dug his fingers in. Tate’s hips thrust forward like he was inside him. Then he hissed, “Yes,” and Logan groaned.
Jesus. I’ll be lucky if I make it home without attacking him.
Tate was writhing against his leg and body as if they were already somewhere dark and private, which made Logan want...
He brought his mouth to Tate’s ear and whispered, “Turn around.”
Tate took a small step back and, without question, turned. Logan didn’t wait a second before he plastered himself against the sexy length of his body. He placed his splayed hands on Tate’s hips and pulled him back until his ass was cradling his aching cock.
“Fuck yes,” Logan growled, gyrating against the rounded curves filling out Tate’s leather. “I don’t blame him for wanting you, but he can’t fucking have you.”
Tate raised his arms to loop them behind his neck and looked over his shoulder with sex-hazed eyes. “He wanted you too, but—”
“We don’t fucking share,” Logan ended and then thought, One night—and soon—I’m going to fuck him just like this. Naked and in front of a mirror, so I can see every goddamn inch of him.
“You want me to leave?” he asked again, his tone flat, disbelieving.
Tate’s father stepped forward, placed a hand on his mother’s shoulder—a sign of solidarity—and spoke for the first time.
“I think it’s best if you go now. You’ve upset your mother.”
Tate’s mouth opened as if he wanted to say something, but nothing came out. His eyes flickered up over his parents and landed on his sister, and when she stood, Logan could’ve sworn he saw a glimpse of regret in her eyes.
Tate stuffed his hands into his pockets and nodded. His jaw was twitching, and from his side view, Logan could see the flush of anger and hurt spreading across his cheeks.
“Fine. I’ll go. But it won’t change anything.”
Tate looked over at him, and as Logan stared back, he’d never felt so fucking helpless in his whole life. He nodded to him, trying to silently convey that he was there—he wasn’t going anywhere.
Whatever you need.
Tate turned and started walking toward the door.
As Logan followed, he heard Mrs. Morrison call out, “William?”
It was Logan’s turn to hold his breath as Tate stopped where he was and glanced back at the people who were supposed to love him unconditionally. Then she landed her final blow.
“I didn’t raise my son to be gay. You’re a disgrace to this family, and you are no longer welcome here.”
If heartache had a face, it was Tate’s right then, but instead of responding, he spun away and marched out of the house, leaving him to follow.
Logan started toward the door, but at the last moment, he turned to face Tate’s family. He couldn’t leave without saying something to these people, and he’d be damned if they didn’t know they’d just let an amazing human being walk out their door because of their own ignorance.
“How could you treat him like that? You'd rather side with some malicious bitch than trying to understand your own son? I've never met anyone like Tate—”
“His name is William,” Tate’s mother cut in.
“No, it's Tate. That honest, stubborn man that you just let walk out your fucking door is Tate. I hope when you look at the empty chair at your dinner table this afternoon you realize what the fuck you just did and come to your senses. If you do, he’ll be with me, Logan Mitchell—the pervert. She knows where to find me,” he made sure to add, pointing to Diana, who was now standing by the side door, probably wanting to run after Tate.
Well she could fuck right off. That was his job, and he wasn’t about to let her try and hone in and promise to make shit better.
He stormed to the door, and as he opened it, he heard her say, “Think he’ll still want you now?”
Logan looked her in the eye and made sure he didn’t reveal the fact that he was terrified the answer was no. “I have no fucking doubt.”
As they rounded a corner, Tate pulled him into a small alcove and pushed him roughly up against the wall. Logan didn’t know what to expect as he found his back against the solid surface and Tate’s face inches from his.
“Our problem isn’t getting laid. I could undo your pants right now and prove it, but you already know that.”
Logan swallowed but couldn’t argue with it, so he went a different route. “I didn’t realize we had a problem.”
“It’s not a problem. It’s more like a barrier. Your barrier.”
Tate was right. He did have a barrier. He didn’t trust relationships.
Not with family, and certainly not with lovers. It was better to just keep it easy, simple, and uncomplicated.
Everything that Tate wasn’t.
“Are you listening to yourself?” he asked as Tate stared him down, his breathing heavy. “Yeah, I have a fucking wall. It’s twenty feet tall, especially with you. You’re different. And the fact that you’ve never been with a man other than me is fucking terrifying.”
Instantly, Tate sobered and stepped away. It was as if he’d punched the guy. Logan reached out and hooked his fingers into the front pockets of Tate’s jeans and pulled him back in against himself.
“I wasn’t lying last night. You scare me. I don’t do this. I don’t stay in relationships, and I certainly don’t let my fucking heart rule my head.”
“I know,” Tate nodded. “It’s just…How do I know what you want from—”
“He hurt me,” Logan cut in, not wanting Tate to voice his doubts about him. He brought his hand up to Tate’s face and cradled his cheek. “He kissed me and touched me like no one else ever had. And when he told me I was special, I believed him.”
Logan stopped talking when Tate took a step forward and slid a hand into his hair.
“You are special. So fucking special.”
The raw emotion in Tate’s words made it difficult for Logan to exhale, and when Tate connected their bodies right there in the museum and kissed his mouth, he allowed himself to believe for a moment that Tate was really his.
“Do you think I’d be here if it was just sex? That I’d be thinking about—”
Logan interrupted him by tasting Tate’s mouth again, slowly and gently. Tate seemed to have lost his train of thought, so Logan reminded him.
“That you’d be thinking about what?”
“Oh.” Tate blinked at him. “That I’d be thinking about the future.”
“A future with me?” Logan asked, his mouth curving against Tate’s until he started to chuckle.
“You just want to hear it out loud, right?”
Logan lowered his hands to Tate’s hips. “Damn fucking right.”
“Then yes. I’m thinking about my future and what part you’ll play in it. If you want to, that is.” Tate stepped away from him and held out his hand. “Come on. I have to go home and get ready for work.”
Logan took his hand, and as they walked out of the museum and down to the parking garage, he wondered for the first time what their future as a couple held.
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