Tom took a seat at the counter, dropping his laptop bag at his feet carelessly. He stared at Trucker, Piper and Jen as they continued to giggle helplessly, starting over afresh each time they dared to look at each other again. When they laughed so hard they couldn't even talk, Tom glanced at Priestly, who just rolled his eyes and shrugged at their shenanigans.
"Looks like you're gonna have to serve me," Tom smiled widely, looking like the cat that got the cream. He was choosing to ignore the fact that everyone else appeared to be laughing at him, even though they'd been at it since before he'd come in. He'd seen them through the window as he'd crossed the road. And he was just this side of paranoid…
"Looks like," Priestly agreed, shoving a helplessly giggling Jen out of the way so that he could stand, hand son hips, directly in front of Tom. "What can I get ya?"
"Hey, you know what? Surprise me… I eat anything and pretty much everything," Tom grinned even wider, dimples appearing and eyes shining bright with mischief.
Priestly took a second to rake his eyes up and down the length of Tom that was visible above the counter top. If thoughts of the well built kid in his school uniform ran through Priestly's mind, he was keeping that all to himself. "Oh boy, I'll just bet you do," he smirked, quirking up a single eyebrow.
"Hey… I'm a growing boy," Tom chuckled, attempting to look affronted by the insinuation and failing.
"Yeah?" Priestly arched his brow again, looking the younger man up and down as much as he could. "If you grow anymore, you'll need your own zip code."
Tom laughed. He was used to jokes about his size, and even more used to people's reaction to the amount of food he could pack away in one sitting. If packing away food was an Olympic sport, Tom would get gold every single time.
"Should I be worried?" Tom asked a moment later, staring pointedly at Priestly's chest.
"About your surprise breakfast sub? Sure…"
Tom laughed, throwing his head back and clapping his hands together with glee. "Yeah, I'm not so worried about that. I meant that…" and he waved at Priestly's torso.
Priestly looked down at the picture on his apron and smirked. "If you find a finger in your sub, it's totally not mine," he winked, and he was pretty sure he didn't imagine the blush staining Tom's cheeks.
"There's something you should know about our lovely Priestly," Piper chimed in, still giggling but mostly under control. "His fashion sense kinda sucks, but he has a great range of slogan t-shirts, which we use to judge his moods. See, if he's in a good mood we get the ones that say 'Orgasm Donor'. But if he's in a bad mood we get things like 'You Know What Your Problem Is? You're Stupid'."
"Or there's the kilt. Don't forget about the kilt," Jen winked, smirking at the blush spreading over Tom's cheeks. "You should see him in his kilt. You do still have the kilt don't you, Priest?"
"You have a kilt?" Tom's voice was an octave lower when he spoke, slightly broken and scratchy. It didn't take a genius to know that Tom was currently picturing Priestly in nothing more than a kilt and the guyliner.
Priestly glanced at the look on Tom's face, the slight blush staining high on his cheeks had spread and was now a full-on flush. "I kept everything… from before. Just hid it all for a while. Now it's back." He saluted his middle finger – complete with black chipped nail polish - to his Mohawk. "And yes, I still have the kilt."
Tom made a sound in the back of his throat, a low, deep, hiccupping growl at the thought of Priestly in a kilt – only in his mind it was a kilt and nothing else, and somehow Priestly was spread eagled on the bed, begging Tom to suck his dick.
Priestly leaned across the counter and grinned like a predator closing in on its prey. "Keep picturing whatever you're picturing in that pretty little head of yours and maybe one day I'll wear it again," his voice low, husky and promising.
Tom gulped loudly. His Adam's apple bobbed rapidly in his throat. His cheeks flushed bright red and felt hot enough to start a fire… in hell.
Priestly chuckled at the flush that spread out across Tom's cheeks. "Sorry, I couldn't resist," he grinned, pushing the wrapped sub across the counter.
Tom nodded dumbly, his mouth utterly refused to work. But it did give him an inkling of an idea. He just needed his laptop and some uninterrupted time alone with it… okay, and his sub.
He grabbed the sub and tossed a five dollar bill on the counter, bent to grab his bag, got it caught round the leg of the stool and almost tripped ass over teakettle in front of the Grill's regulars. Not cool. Not cool at all.
"You okay there?" Priestly asked, hopping over the counter and helping Tom to right himself again.
Tom stared at Priestly's hand wrapped around his bicep. The touch felt electric and he shivered involuntarily, biting at his lower lip. "I'm good… I'm fine…" he managed to stutter out. "God, you have the most beautiful eyes…"
Priestly stopped stock still and stared at Tom, aware that silence dropped over the whole Grill. "Thank you?"
"Yeah… I…" Tom swallowed. "I just noticed… close up an'all…"
"You're really tall…" Priestly stated the obvious. "Like really tall and built, yeah…" he licked his lips, tongue flirting dangerously with the lip ring. His hand curled tighter around Tom's bicep as they stood toe-to-toe, eyes locked.
"Told ya…" Tom swallowed again. All he had to do was dip a couple of inches and he'd… they'd… be kissing. "So… okay… I'ma gonna go and eat this and do… umm… some research… work… yeah…"
"Yeah… you should… go research…" Priestly nodded, eyes zeroing in on Tom's lips as he stuttered.
"I'll see you later," Tom nodded, matching Priestly movement for movement.
"I hope so," Priestly grinned, releasing his grip on Tom's arm. "I really hope so."
Tom manages to make it out of the shop without making an even bigger fool of himself… but the day is still early yet.
When he'd gone Lucille fanned her face with the menu. "Phew," she huffed, fanning harder. "Did anyone else notice the testosterone level just soar? I think I came over all dizzy for a moment there…"
"It wasn't just you Lucille," Jen laughed, moving back to the laptop to check if any orders had come through while they'd been goofing off. "I think the whole state felt that one."
"And they're about to call a national state of emergency because of it," Piper giggled, patting Priestly's back.
"You guys are hilarious, you know that?" Priestly grumbled, rolling his eyes and hopped back over the counter. "A real laugh a minute."
"Come on, Priestly," Tucker snorted, rubbing his hands on a clean dish cloth. "Even I felt that level of flirtation and I'm practically immune."
"Whatever," Priestly retorted, but there was no heat in the words. His grin said it all.
"Well, I think it's time for me and BamBam to head home," Lucille announced, standing and shouldering her bag, BamBam's head poking over the top, ears pricked and nose sniffing at nothing at all. "After that little display, I've come over all of a tizzy and I think some alone time might be appropriate."
"Oh my God, Lucille," Piper giggled again, throwing her hand over her mouth. She cast a glance at Jen, who was trying her best to stifle her laughter. "That's TMI."
"Oh, come on, we're all grown-ups here," Lucille huffed. She turned on her heels and left the Grill.
Mr. Julius jumped up. "I think I'll just… you know… make sure she gets home okay." And with that, he too left the place, scurrying after Lucille.
"You see what you've done with your hormonal overdrive?" Tucker proclaimed, waving his arms around the currently empty diner. "You've driven away our only two regulars…"
"They'll be back," Priestly promised, grinning and shaking his head. "They always come back."
"Unlike your crabs, huh?" Jen asked, eyes innocently wide belying the smirk that tugged at the corners of her mouth.
"Uncalled for," Priestly scowled. "And they were hers first. Can we talk about something else now, please?"
"That's a very good idea," Trucker agreed. "Though I do believe I actually pay you all to work." He winked and was instantly distracted by the sight of his wife waving to him from across the street.
Behind Trucker's back, Priestly flicked his tea towel at both the girls, setting them off giggling yet again. It was going to be one of those days…
~ O ~
Back at Zo's, he made nice with his aunt for a few moments before seeking out the sanctuary of his bedroom for some private time with his laptop.
He had had an idea, so he logged straight onto Google and within the first five links or so, he'd found what he was looking for. All he needed now was to place an order, using the credit card his dad had given him to cover any essentials. He seriously doubted his dad would consider this an essential item but Tom did, and that was all that mattered.
It had been a long time since Tom had felt such an instant attraction to someone. Priestly just happened to tick all of his boxes, and Tom had been hankering for a way to win him over – not that he really needed to, but still… if anything was worth winning, it was worth putting some effort into it. He'd learned that from his father.
And that was about the only thing he'd learned from his father, seeing as his father was rarely there to teach him anything. Maybe that had a lot do with why he'd acted out the way he had before his momma sent him live with Zo.
He couldn't fault his parents for sending him out of the way. It would take a long time for the heat to die down back at Westlake Preparatory Academy, and he wasn't exactly proud of what he and the other's had done… but he'd been one of the few who'd actually had the guts to speak out and admit to the stunt. Everyone else had been too scared to speak out about Dodger's actual level of involvement, but Tom hadn't been. He wanted anyone and everyone to know just who it was that had actually instigated the 'game'.
This was supposed to be his fresh start, moving to Santa Cruz to start all over again. He'd been there less than twenty-four hours when Zo introduced him to the Beach City Grill, and since then he'd practically lived at the place. He found the staff amusing with their comedic responses to anything and everything. The customers were just the same…
And for the first time in… oh, forever… Tom found himself making friends, actual real friends, ones who didn't want to just be his friend just because his father was a senator or because his family was filthy-stinking-rich.
Then he'd met Priestly and everything Tom thought he wanted had gone flying out of the window… because now Tom just wanted Priestly. But the girls at the Grill had informed him that Priestly had just gotten out of a relationship, one he'd had his heart set on for quite some time, one that hadn't worked out.
Tom didn't fancy being someone's rebound. But God, Priestly. Just thinking about him and Tom's body reacted. It could be the tattoos, or it could be the piercings, it could even be the brightly colored Mohawk, but Tom was pretty sure it was more down to the twinkle in Priestly's eyes when he'd looked Tom up and down and then smiled like he wanted to eat him up.
So, break-up? Tom didn't think Priestly seemed as cut up over the break-up as the girls had implied, and Tom was fully intended to make a move. Soon.