Title: 3 Ways Tallahassee Never Met Columbus and 1 Way He Did
Rating: PG-13 for language and imagery
Summary: Again and again, he'll meet him every time.
Disclaimer: Not mine, no profit made and no harm is intended.
This is a continuation of If I Just Lay Here. You don't need to read it to follow this; it's more of a companion piece.
Of Spitfucks and Twinkies…
Trolling for someone late at night wasn't his usual style, especially not in Texas, but then he never really was one for consistency.
And there was the usual assortments of people gathered in the bar, the same type he knew he could find anywhere, the serious drunks, and the morose ones cryin' the blues to the bartender and pretending that they don't know that the bartender's debating when this fella's last call should be, the loose women long past their prime, the young guys passing their years away and looking well worn far too soon. Tallahassee saw too much of himself in them, truth be told.
But in Texas, late one night, shot glass in his hand, he found himself watching one person in particular, the only one who stuck out from all the others, the ones who all belonged. There might well have been a spotlight over the table, lightin' the way to him and yeah, oh yeah this boy didn't fit in at all.
What with that mess of brown curls on his head, a pile of napkins shredded under nervous fingers and the way his shoulders were hunched all up, yessir, the loneliest outcast in the bar. Probably all of nineteen, maybe twenty tops and a virgin, no doubt, wrapped up in a hooded sweatshirt, one hoodie string frayed as if it'd been chewed a time too many, the pile of napkins under his hands increasing by the minute.
And really, how can you resist when the good Lord practically hand delivers you someone like this in a dive bar in the middle of nowhere, Texas?
Not a man to turn down such a thing, Tallahassee made his way to the table and sat in the chair opposite him. He tipped his cowboy hat back an inch or so, watching the look of surprise creep over his boy's face. And when he sat down, the boy blinked his pretty eyes at him, his mouth opening and closing, no sound coming out as a flush of pink crept over his face.
Yeah, he was only twenty, Tallahassee learned, yeah he had a fake license burnin' a hole in his pocket, gotten it from a guy in his WOW group, whatever the hell that was, and he'd always wondered what it'd be like in a real bar and since he had the license, he'd been trying to work up the nerve to order.
Wasn't long before he'd slipped Pretty Eyes a shot of whiskey, not long before he was shiftin' in his seat, rambling away, little pink tongue darting out to wet his lips, not long before Tallahassee had him out of the bar and in the alleyway beside it, listenin' to Pretty mumble about all the possible germs in alleyways like these, not long at all before he had his mouth pressed to the boy's lips.
And hearin' those whispery soft moans startled out of the boy and feeling the way he trembled under Tallahassee's calloused hands an' seein' the way he looked up at him, stunned and aroused and more than a little frightened, and yeah, that was better than any drink, better than nearly anything he could think of at that moment.
"You got a name, kid?"
On the hunt for a box of Twinkies, since the last store had been out of stock (the nerve…), Tallahassee turned down another aisle of the nearest grocery store, only to be caught off guard by rows of freezers occupied by one lone person halfway up the row. Basket in one hand, a frozen dinner in the other, reading the ingredients in a hushed whisper, a look of confusion on his face…
More than enough to distract Tallahassee from his Twinkie hunt.
Enough to give his opinion on whether the taste is anything close to what the box claims and no, he doesn't recommend the no name brand and yeah, most of 'em taste like cardboard anyway and while the boy fidgets with his basket, he can feel the weight of the kid's stare.
He taps another box with his fingers, nodding to it. Yeah, these ones generally taste less like cardboard, and really, who gives a rat's ass about the calories when the kid's so damn scrawny.
And he knows what he sees in boy's eyes, knows that look, that curious look, knows the way the kid's palms might be sweating, the nervous twitch when he sees Tallahassee watching him back with a smirk, a predatory one than promises everything and nothing if he'd just come a bit closer, close enough to touch, taste, an' feel.
There's something about this boy, something that tweaks him just right inside.
And he smiles wider and leans in closer, nearly whispering in his ear, delighted by the shiver that follows, the wide-eyed look on the boy's face.
"You wouldn't happen t' know where the Twinkies are, would ya?"
He doesn't find much joy in doing laundry. Hell, there's a list longer than his arm of what he'd rather be doing than laundry. And to be honest, he never paid much attention to his mom when she tried to show him how to stay wrinkle and spot-free. Bigger things to worry about, he'd thought at the time.
Buck though, good Lord, it's that child's mission in life to go through all his clothes and sheets in one week or less. Never met a kid so devoted to mud puddles, to rollin' in the dirt and eatin' his toast with gobs of sticky peanut butter all over his bed…'cept for him when he was little, or so he heard from his mom's wild tales. Not that he remembers it quite like that.
He's got bags of clothes, towels and sheets lined up at the laundry mat; quarters jingling in his pockets, and Buck fast asleep on the folding table, curled up like a messy blond-haired puppy, when the doors open and a blast of humid air hits them dead on.
All he sees at first is a big white mesh laundry bag, two arms barely holding on and a pair of legs staggering under the weight of it all. Tallahassee lifts the mesh bag easily, amused by the gasp of relief from the little spitfuck underneath all those clothes. He chides him for tryin' to do what he can't clearly do and tosses the bag over to the nearest empty washer.
The kid darts nervous glances at him, chewing on hoodie string while loading the piles of clothes into the washer. He smiles a bit at the sight of Buck snoozin' away in a nest of warm and clean towels. He's far from home, not that Tallahassee asks. He's got a knack for knowin' things and kicking ass, not necessarily in that order. He thinks things he shouldn't when the kid bends over, thighs flexing against his jeans.
He likes the look of him, the way his jeans fit, the shy gazes in his direction, the way the sweat gathers along his temples, darkening the kid's curly hair. Tallahassee drifts in images and thoughts and thinks of how much he wants to bend this stranger over the heap of laundry, how he'd give anything to see what he tasted like.
He snaps out of his lustful thoughts when it occurs to him that the kid is speaking to him hesitantly, askin' about Buck, about Florida's temperatures and he thinks for one second that in another life, another time, he'd claim this boy for himself.
Tallahassee pushes at those thoughts and quirks a shoulder at him. The kid's a little too tempting, that's for damn sure.
When he picked him up from the cluttered highway, watching his hands shake on his weapon, Tallahassee wanted to laugh at the bravado the little spitfuck was trying to show.
It was adorable, really.
And he was pretty, not like a girl, but pretty in a way that he had no word for. Pretty in a vulnerable way that made his hands clench and made his heart ache a little. Pretty in a way that made him feel things he had no use for. Losing Buck had nearly put him over the edge, but keeping a fiercely protective vibe up around Columbus eased the raw, jagged edges of pain. Not completely, no, never completely, but it helped.
And when Columbus first got into his vehicle, all nervous and rumpled, he felt his self imposed rule of 'no attachments' start to crumble, no matter how he fought it. Fallin' for a peppy, pretty lil' spitfuck wasn't on his agenda but it happened as things often do.
And whenever he dreamt of other things, other lives, Columbus would appear in every scenario, meeting him again and again. Some things were inevitable, he guessed, listening to the quiet breaths beside him, his gun in hand and an arm slung tightly around his boy.