Shadows in the Light: Oscar’s Story – Chapter Eleven
We’re up to the present. Only two more chapters to go. Oscar returns home after the events in Haven’s War, and to Max’s arms.
As soon as I entered the door, the shirt and shoes came off and the volume on the stereo went up. I cued my favorite workout song, and let it vibrate the whole damn house. The beat and cadence of The Warrior Song by Sean Householder was perfect for a deep workout session, and after the mission I’d run with my old friend, Haven, had gone tits up—in the most horrifying way—I needed to get rid of the tension and anger that had been building even before we said our good byes at the airport. It took a lot of effort at least seem unaffected.
“You’ll call,” Haven told me, letting me know it wasn’t my choice.
I gave him a grin, but there wasn’t any mirth within me at all. I loved Haven, and I’d come to love his husband, Sammy. The two of them—plus Kelly and Lilah—were the closest thing I had to friends—family—but I needed to not be around them anymore. Deep down inside, I had the overwhelming urge to be home, to ensure that everything was still right. The psychotic son of a bitch that Haven had asked me to help him take down had been, but not before he’d killed a lot of people, including one I owed my life to.
“We’ll see.” I turned to Sammy and flashed him a grin. “You ever get tired of this piece of shit, you know where to find me.”
He laughed, glanced back to Haven, then shook his head. “Sorry, you’re not my type,” he said, as he wrapped his arm around Haven’s waist.
The love I could see between them had to be the most genuine I’d seen in a long time. It made the ache in the pit of my stomach even worse, because it made me think of home again. I was torn from my reverie when the volume on the stereo dropped to almost nothing.
“You’re home,” came the voice from behind me. I turned to find Max, my…ah, fuck it. I refused to put a label on what the two of us mean to one another.
Now at twenty-six, with spiky blond hair, heterochromatic eyes—one brown, the other blue, he was a sight for sore eyes. Most people were put off by his unique appearance, but I found him incredibly sexy. Whenever he walked, it was like watching liquid sin. He glided across the room—and believe me when I say, no other word would do justice to how he moved—and slid his arms around my neck.
“Missed you,” he murmured, as he rose up on his toes to snatch a kiss.
I breathed in his scent. The tang of sweat, the musk of someone who had been working hard, the oddly intoxicating aroma of paint that I could only associate with Max. That ache I’d felt since getting on the plane threatened to bring on the waterworks—and I did not cry. Max was here. He was whole. The worst part of Haven’s mission had been banging around in my head since the psychotic fucker said the words that nearly tore my soul from me. When I asked what was going to stop me from taking him apart, he got this sickly sweet smile and said, “The bomb I planted. I’m the only one who knows where it is. Don’t worry. It’s a simple device. I tell Oscar where I’ve hidden it; he calls Max and instructs him on how to turn it off. Easy enough. But if he kills me, then boom, no more Max.”
I’d been angry before. Shit, ask anyone who knew me and they’d tell you that it was pretty much my default setting, but the thought of Max dying was more than I could stand and I wasn’t sure why. I didn’t love Max. He was a good guy, we had some hot times, but we weren’t anything more than friends with benefits.
At least that’s what I kept telling myself.
I fisted his hair, which he kept long enough for me to get a good grip, and yanked his head back as I sunk my teeth into his neck, leaving my mark. He hissed, then pressed closer. Max liked to be taken, hard and rough. He enjoyed the burn of my stubble on his neck, the sharp pain wherever my teeth closed. He told me it helped him to feel alive, and I intended on making sure he felt that way today, because he had no idea how close to death he could have been.
My words came out hoarse, evidence of the emotions I was straining to control. “Get on your knees.”
Without hesitation, he went down. My cock ached in my jeans. I reached for the tab, ready to yank it open, but he put his hand on mine.
He glanced up at me with a worshipful gaze as he rubbed my erection. “Let me.”
Nothing in my life turned me on more than seeing those to amazing eyes looking up at me. The expression on his face, one of absolute rapture, had me running my fingers through his hair. It was soft, silky and god, I missed it. I’d missed him. I could feel precum dripping down my leg. I nodded sharply toward my aching cock. I barely recognized my own rough voice when I croaked out, “Do it.”
His hands deftly popped the button, and he slowly slid the zipper down. He was teasing, but I wasn’t in the mood right now. I shoved the pants down, and grabbed him by the back of the head, then dragged him to my cock.
I pinned him with a stare and ground his face against my groin. “Suck.”
He opened his mouth and took me deep. Goddamn, it felt glorious. Max was incredibly talented, showing off all the tricks he’d learned in the years we’d been together. The fact I was the recipient made it so much better. I tightened my fingers in his hair, and started thrusting my hips, pushing my cock into his throat. He opened for me beautifully, swirling his tongue along the shaft when I pulled out, and sucking harder when I pushed in. I’d been with a lot of guys, but not one possessed Max’s talents for giving head.
I wanted to bend him over, have him screaming my name as I pounded him, but the truth was, I needed the release. I locked both hands around his head, then slammed in, my balls smacking on his chin. He gagged a little at the rough treatment, but we’d talked about this before. If he had problems, he only had to tap on my legs and I would stop. As much as I needed him rough, I wouldn’t hurt him.
He reached up and ran his fingers over the hair on my balls and that was it. Game over. I shouted as I forced him down on my cock, and held him there while I deposited my seed into his throat. Later we’d do this again, and I’d let him go at his own pace. He liked to taste me, but he also enjoyed being used. Max was perfect in every way.
Haven and Sammy had teased me while I’d been with them about my feelings for Max. I tried telling myself he was just a convenient body for me to use when the urge hit me, but the truth went far deeper. I denied it until there was the possibility I could lose it. When Joel had threatened to blow Max up, I thought my heart would explode from my chest. I could scarcely breathe at the thought I could lose Max. Even after Sammy told me there was no bomb, I had to force myself to stay at Haven’s side, to finish my mission, but I’d never done anything more difficult in my life. I needed to see Max, to prove that he was alive. It took me a few seconds to notice Max still knelt at my feet, stroking trembling legs. His smile destroyed the knots that had built up since I’d left him all those weeks ago.
His voice washed over me, reminding me again that I was home and he was safe. I put my hand on his head and stroked the silky softness. Inwardly I cursed myself. When had I gotten so goddamn weepy? Fuck it. Max was here, he was whole and that’s what was important. Since he came into my life, I didn’t even look at another dude. I might flirt a lot—as Haven could attest—but as long as I had Max at home, I wouldn’t ever look for sex somewhere else. Our kinks worked perfectly together. And he fucking turned me on like no one else ever could.
“Welcome home,” he said again, licking a stray drop from the head of my dick.
I dragged him to his feet and kissed him, running my tongue along his. This time there was less urgency, but no less passion.
“Rough one?” he asked, stepping back.
I bent over and hauled my jeans up. The thoughts of Max, laying dead in a smoldering heap, his body blown to bits still haunted my dreams like nothing else had. “You just don’t know.”
“You wanna talk about it?” he asked, rubbing his hands over my chest. “I wasn’t sure what was going on when you called and insisted I had to leave, then called back and said everything was fine.”
It felt good, being touched. Having Max to come home to made everything better. He knew enough not to ask if I said no, and was just there, giving me what I needed—food, a blow job, whatever—until all was right with the world again. Later we’d talk, but now I needed to show him how glad I was to be home.
“No. I just want to take you to bed. I need to be inside of you,” I answered, grabbing his ass and squeezing hard enough he squeaked.
He laughed when my stomach rumbled.
“I’ve got dinner done. I made you a twenty-two-ounce ribeye steak with cheesy mashed potatoes, and creamed corn on the side.”
My mouth watered at the thought. “Really?”
He smacked me on the arm. “Hell, no. There’s some leftover lasagna in the fridge I can microwave for you. I didn’t know if you were getting back on time, and the steak would be like rubber by now.”
Little shit. This here was the reason I’d never let him get together with Haven’s boy. Between the two of them, he and I wouldn’t have a chance.
I wrapped my hand around the back of his neck, and pushed him toward the kitchen. Touching him the way I was had given me the grounding I needed. With each step down the long hallway, I relaxed. Our place—and Max—were okay. I had to remind myself of that. I’d already lost enough on that fucked up mission, no way could it cost me Max.
Touching him as we moved through the house pushed a bit of the anxiety away, knowing I was home. Max had done a beautiful job decorating the house. Before he’d come to live with me, it had been Spartan at best. White walls, beige carpet. Ho hum would be the best way to describe it. Then Max came in and the place came alive. While I was getting ready to leave on a mission a few years ago—after we’d fucked the night away—he’d asked if he could spruce up the place a little. I gave him my credit card and told him to go nuts. He did. When I came back, I found he’d painted the walls deep green, which was offset by a cream trim. He’d also begun to draw a mural in the hallway. A forest scene, complete with a pond, a black jaguar, a skunk, and other animals could be seen hiding in the trees if you knew where to look. The whole thing soothed me. I would never tire of seeing his talent on display. My boy could paint like no one else.
“That one’s new,” I said, pointing to cerulean blue water cascading down from a snowcapped mountain. At the top, barely visible in the clouds, you could see a cave with light coming from it, as though someone lived there. I honestly hoped he never finished his work, because I delighted in finding every addition he did.
“I put that in two months ago.” He gave me a look that showed his displeasure.
Max’s work was beyond incredible. I’d seen photographs that had less detail. I’d been trying to convince him to sell his work in Blank Canvas, a small gallery in town, but he demurred. There were more than a dozen things throughout the house he’d done, and each one was unique. Desert scenes with a large moon breaking over the dark sands, a sea landscape with a whale breeching the waves, a field of deer that you would swear you could touch. My favorite, though, was one he’d done of the two of us, standing hand-in-hand as we watched the sunrise from our deck.
“Shit. Sorry.” My stomach knotted, because Max delighted in me seeing his art, finding new things. And here I’d just fucked up by not seeing something that should have been obvious to anyone with eyes.
He turned and ran a hand over my face. “You’re forgiven. Besides, it’s not like you don’t have other things on your mind.”
And I did. Before Haven called and said he needed my help, I’d been paid to take out the members of a cartel by their rivals. It had taken me weeks to get through the list, but the cool three million I’d charged them would keep Max in paints and brushes for a long time, and leave enough for us to take a vacation somewhere nice.
“Yeah, but I shouldn’t have missed it. I suck.”
Max chuckled, and plucked my nipple. “Maybe later you can show me.”
The thing about our relationship is that normally Max serviced me and jacked off while he did. It was rare that I got to take care of his needs. Not by my choice. I loved the times he allowed it, because he came apart so easily, and getting him hot like that made for absolutely the most mind-blowing sex ever. Most times, though, he kept this wall between us when it came to me touching his cock. He claimed it was because he didn’t think he was endowed enough to satisfy me. Which was stupid. True, Max wasn’t hung. He had a respectable five-and-a-half inches. Deepthroating had never been easy for me, so having Max fit easily into my mouth was perfect. And I needed that—needed him—in a way that surprised me.
“Don’t tease if you’re going to push me away again.” When he drew back, I realized I had been much harsher than I’d intended.
His eyes went wide, and my jaw ached as I ground my teeth together.
Again, I’d put my foot in my mouth. “Sorry. It’s just…it was a really bad mission. Probably the worst I’ve ever been on. Still, that’s no excuse for me taking it out on you.”
Max wound himself around me, his head resting on my chest. “I know, Oscar. I’m sorry about that.” He reached around and patted my back. “Let’s get you fed, then up to bed. Maybe some sleep will help.”
Sleep would be my idea of heaven right now. My bodyguard mission for Haven’s family kept me awake for weeks on end, and after the shitstorm I dealt with after… fuck, I still couldn’t believe he was dead. The images on my phone were a constant reminder that despite our best intentions, we’d failed and a friend had paid the price. I rubbed the bridge of my nose. Yeah, a week of shuteye would probably be a good start.
Max directed me to a chair, and told me to sit. I glared at him, but he ignored me. I huffed in my impotent rage, which caused him to chuckle. He went into the oven and pulled out a plate. “This is hot,” he warned me. He turned and put it down. Aw, fuck. A ribeye steak, at least two inches thick sat on the plate, perfectly seared. The potatoes were whipped with cheese and a dab of melted butter pooled in the middle, sprinkled lightly with salt and pepper. I smiled up at him, grateful for what I had. If a more perfect man existed, I’d never met him.
“Thank you,” I murmured, as I sliced into the steak. The first bite melted in my mouth, and reminded me again that Max was better than any majordomo I’d ever gotten from the agency. I mean, seriously? Not one of those fuckers ever offered to give me head. “I thought you didn’t make a steak.”
He grinned. “I tracked your flight in. I had it all ready to go, so just needed to finish it in the oven.”
He gave me a look; one I’d seen many times. Adoration mixed with something else. He leaned forward and kissed my cheek.
“I couldn’t keep the corn in the oven, but I’ll heat it up for you.”
He started for the refrigerator, but I grabbed his wrist and pulled him back, putting him on my lap. “Sit here.” I wrapped an arm around his waist, ensuring he understood I wanted him close. As soon as I was certain he wasn’t going to move. I sliced a thin piece of steak and picked it up with my fingers. I held it out to him, and Max opened to allow me to slip it into his mouth. He sucked the juice from the tips of my fingers, all the while holding my gaze.
“Tastes good.” His voice was soft, his tone seductive. “And so we’re clear, I mean you.”
“I know.” He arched his brows at my husky voice. “Later I’ll give you another taste. For now, let me feed you.”
Piece by piece, I fed him the steak, taking an occasional bite for myself. He accepted each bite with his teasing licks and nibbles. Before I knew it, the food was gone.
“I’ll make you some more.” He tried to stand, but I wouldn’t let him. Feeding him had chased away the sadness that clung to me, and now I was ready for a nap.
“Don’t.” I stifled a yawn. “It was delicious, but I’m exhausted. Let’s go to bed. I need some sleep in the worst way.”
He stood and took my hand. “I’ve got everything ready for you.” He tugged me along to the bedroom.
When he pushed open the door, the rush of cool air chilled my skin. I hated the heat, and trying to sleep when I was sweaty—especially when it wasn’t from sex—made me grumpy.
I stretched my arms, letting the cool air wash over me. “God, this feels so good.”
Max chuckled as he drew the covers back. “Sixty-eight degrees, just like you ask for it.”
Damn, I was exhausted. My arms were like lead when I tried to strip off. Max came over and brushed my hands away. In a few moments, I stood naked. Normally, I’d have Max on his knees again or bent over. Right now I couldn’t even manage a hard-on.
The bed barely gave as I lay down on it. One of the few things Haven and I agreed on—short of the best way to kill people—was the importance of spending money on a good bed. It made all the difference in the world to me.
Max bent over and kissed me gently. “I’ll wake you up for dinner.”
I scowled at him. “Where are you going?”
“I want to get the kitchen cleaned up, then maybe do some painting.”
No. Definitely not. He needed to be where I could see him. Touch him. Remind myself what I had in my arms. “Fuck that. Get your skinny ass naked, and in the bed.”
He grinned as he started to strip off his shirt. “Are you sure I won’t be a distraction?” He showed a flash of his stomach, the downy hair leading down to a buried treasure.
“No.” My cock made a valiant effort to rise, but it took everything in me to stay awake right now. “You’ll lay here, and I’m going to wrap around you, and you’ll sleep.”
Though we didn’t really talk about it, Max suffered from nightmares. When your brother drugs you, then sends someone after you with a big gun, it tends to leave a lasting impression. The one thing I learned from that mission was that I couldn’t trust anyone’s intel except for mine. I could have killed Max, something I don’t necessarily regret as I was doing my job, but… Well, let’s just say I’m glad I didn’t. He had problems sleeping when I wasn’t home, and when I got back, I insisted he get into bed with me. It generally worked out. Not always, though.
He graced me with a smile. “Okay. I can do that.”
He stopped the striptease and shucked the remainder of his clothes. He got onto the bed and pressed his lithe body against mine. After I pulled the covers up over us, I wrapped an arm around his thin waist and buried my nose in his hair. The smell of jasmine shampoo tickled my senses. Max had a thing for scent, and the exotic warmth melded with his own aroma beautifully.
“I love you, Oscar.” He snuggled against me as sleep took him.
I kissed his hair, but said nothing. His words did set my mind to work, and though I was dead on my feet, sleep was a long while in coming.
Next week, the final chapter! Oscar comes to a realization. Oscar and Max watch a movie. Max cries. Hope you’ll be here for it.