Michael Bennett stood just outside the cashier’s booth watching Kevin for a while as he took customers’ orders.
The last time he’d seen Kevin the kid had been fifteen. Not that he was a kid anymore. Kevin must be what, twenty-four? And hot enough to melt the rubber in his tires. For some reason Michael couldn’t quite figure out, he found the dyed burgundy streaks in Kevin’s spiky dark hair appealing. Michael even kind of liked the little crystal stud in Kevin’s nose. Not to mention those big, pouty lips and baby-blue eyes. He’d been a cute kid, so it was no surprise that as an adult he was gorgeous.
He frowned. A little too pale and thin though. He stepped inside the booth and handed the woman his slip.
“The works, huh?” The woman—her name tag said Gabby—rang up his car wash. It had been a long time since he’d been in this neighborhood. He’d been meeting a client not too far away when a flock of birds made a mess on his car. Just on a whim he’d come to this car wash. Funny how life worked sometimes.
“How long has Kevin Flaherty worked here?” he asked, handing her his debit card.
She lowered her glasses to the end of her nose and sniffed. “I can’t give out information about our employees.”
“We’re old friends.”
The woman actually snickered like she didn’t believe him, but she shrugged. “A few weeks.” She gave him back his card.
He glanced back through the dirty window of the booth at Kevin. “Is this a second job for him?”
“If you’re old friends, why don’t you ask him?”
He turned back to give her his most intimidating attorney stare. He’d used it often in his position as a highly compensated divorce attorney to celebrities and other wealthy clients.
She sighed. “It’s his only job. He was laid off.”
Michael wasn’t surprised. Times were pretty rough for a lot of people. It just hadn’t occurred to him things would be so bad for Kevin. He’d been such a happy-go-lucky sort when Michael had known him. Of course, after he’d been forced to push the kid away, Kevin had ended his friendship with Danny and disappeared off the face of the earth as far as the Bennetts were concerned. Michael had never meant for that to happen.
“Thanks,” he told Gabby and slipped back outside.
He couldn’t keep his eyes off Kevin. The man even moved in a sexy way. The way his long, slender fingers curved around the pen as he wrote down each driver’s order. He could just imagine the way they’d feel grasping his cock. Think about something else before you end up embarrassing yourself at the car wash.
Too soon the Maserati pulled in front of him, and several workers began to dry and wax it. Michael was aware many of the other patrons eyed it with undisguised envy.
Truth was, he was a little uncomfortable with it. Oh, he loved it. It was a damn hot and sexy car. But in these troubled times it was more than a little flashy. It had been a gift from his father for his thirtieth birthday. And really, who would turn down a Maserati?
Michael noticed the line of cars waiting to enter the car wash had dwindled down to nothing. Probably a temporary lull, but one he decided to take full advantage of nonetheless. He walked over to where Kevin stood.
“Hey, Kevin, how’s it going?” Michael spoke to his back.
Kevin jumped and took so long to turn around Michael began to think Kevin planned on ignoring him. Finally he turned and fixed those incredible baby blue eyes on Michael.
“As you can see, it’s going well,” Kevin said, his sultry, sexy voice laced with sarcasm.
Shit, when had Kevin Flaherty become so fucking hot? Had he always had that killer voice that did really inappropriate things to his cock? Michael didn’t think so. The Kevin he remembered was somewhat geeky and awkward, although always cute.
Michael ignored the sarcasm and instead said, “It’s been a long time. It’s been close to ten years, hasn’t it?”
“Nine years, one and a half months, actually, but who’s counting?”
“I like the red.” Michael gestured to Kevin’s hair.
Kevin’s gaze left his face—he felt the loss like a kick in the gut—and slid to his car. “I like the red there too.”
That intense, cock-hardening gaze came back to land on Michael. “Excuse me?”
Michael grinned sheepishly. “The name of the color is Bordeaux. According to Maserati.”
“You’re obviously doing well,” Kevin said. “Working at your father’s firm?”
“Yeah. I’m a full partner though. A divorce attorney.”
“Still breaking up relationships, huh?”
Michael winced. “Kevin—”
He relaxed a little, though he was still wound tight with sexual energy. “Good. He lives up north. Going to Stanford. Engaged, too, to a fellow medical student.”
“Another wildly successful Bennett. Well, good for him. That’s great. Be sure to tell him I said hello.”
Michael swallowed his discomfort. This new, somewhat hostile Kevin was hard to get used to. He opened his mouth to say something else when Kevin swayed a little. His arm shot out and automatically wrapped around the man’s waist to steady him. “Are you okay?”
Kevin nodded but didn’t immediately pull way. “Yeah, yeah, I’m fine. Just a little light-headed.”
Damn. Michal had a feeling the kid wasn’t getting enough to eat. He thought he’d heard Kevin’s stomach growling a little earlier. Aware of the stares of others, Michael removed his arm, but he kept his hand on Kevin’s shoulder. “Listen, they’re probably almost done with my car and I know you probably need to get back to work, but I wanted to ask you if maybe you’d come to dinner with me tonight.”
“Dinner? You think you can just waltz in here with your hot wheels and snap your fingers and I’ll be free?” Kevin shrugged his hand off his shoulder.
Michael sighed. “All right, how about tomorrow night then? Give me your address, and I’ll pick you up.” Behind them the car washers whistled. He glanced over, and one of them waved his towel at him.
Kevin pulled his bottom lip with his teeth, uncertainty in his eyes. Michael could clearly see he was torn.
Kevin nodded, exhaled. “Okay, but, um, pick me up here. I get off at five.”
Giddy relief flowed through him, far out of proportion to the way it should. “All right. I’ll see you tomorrow night then.”
He walked to his car and handed the washers their tip. Michael noticed the older, heavyset man who’d yelled at Kevin earlier standing just inside the doorway of the cashier booth. He stared in Kevin’s direction. Kevin was back to taking orders for washes. Something about the way the man stared made Michael uneasy. There was something predatory about it. He damn well didn’t like it.
As soon as Michael got going on the road toward his Laurel Canyon home, he called his brother.
“Hi Michael,” Danny answered after only two rings. “Where are you?”
“Hey, kiddo. I’m on my way home, actually.”
“Isn’t this a little early for you?”
“Yeah,” Michael acknowledged. “But I’m wiped out.” And horny as hell.
“Good, you work too hard. Glad to see you’re giving yourself a break. What’s up?”
“You’ll never guess who I saw today.”
Danny paused. “Hmm, Clark Gable?”
“Ha-ha, he’s dead.”
His brother laughed. “I know, that’s why it would be someone special to call me about. Michael, you work with stars all the time. Isn’t the celebrity spotting getting old?”
Michael grinned. “I never said it was a celebrity. You’ll never guess, so I may as well tell you. Kevin.”
“Kevin? Kevin who?” Then there was a small gasp. “Kevin Flaherty
“In the flesh.” And fine flesh it was too.
“Oh my God. Where’d you see him?”
Michael didn’t want to tell Danny that Kevin was working at a car wash. For some reason he knew Kevin would be extremely embarrassed for Danny to know. “Oh, just at the store. Anyway, I’m going out with him tomorrow night.”
Now there was a long pause. “You’re what?”
“I’m having dinner with him. You know, that’s what people who aren’t engaged do. They go out on dates.”
“Yeah, but, Kevin? I mean, hasn’t that boat sailed? You didn’t want him before.”
“He was fifteen
“I know, but you still weren’t interested.”
“Because he was fifteen. Jailbait. End of story.”
Danny chuckled. “Okay, so how does he look?”
He’s the hottest fucking guy I’ve ever seen.
“Pretty nice. A little on the thin side though.”
“Yeah, he always was thin. Is he still as crazy and flamboyant as he was then?”
“Kind of. He has a stud in his nose and red dye in his hair, which is all spiky. He looks a bit like a Japanese anime character from a video game, really.”
His brother cleared his throat. “Doesn’t sound like your usual type.”
“Maybe not, but I think my type has just changed.”
“Wow, you sound almost smitten, Michael.”
“Hmm…anyway, just wanted to let you know. How are things with you and Peggy?”
* * * *
Kevin scooted out of the car wash lot and down the street toward the bus stop as quickly as he could. He did not
want to be stopped by Mr. Lewis. Whether or not he’d been joking, Kevin wanted no part of it, and he didn’t find it the least bit amusing.
What a strange day. He couldn’t believe Michael Bennett had come to the car wash and had even asked him out. Kevin had noticed Michael seemed to be devouring him with his eyes. Kevin had learned over the years that most gay men found him attractive. He didn’t ever have to wait long for attention in gay bars. But he had
been surprised Michael actually asked him out.
The bus arrived, and Kevin slipped his money in the slot. It only took about fifteen minutes to get within a block of his apartment.
Michael wanted to have sex with him. Kevin had no doubt of that. The question was whether Kevin would allow it. Having had no money for a while meant no bars for looking for pickups. And with no steady boyfriend for even longer, he’d had sex with only his hands and toys lately. And he’d wanted Michael all those years ago. Now he could even have him. If
he wanted him.
Kevin got off the bus and walked to his apartment. He ran up the stairs and then stopped halfway up, looking at an envelope taped to the outside of his door. A heavy ball of dread pitted in his stomach. He stood frozen, unwilling to move the last few steps to the door.
“Just do it,” he said out loud.
He charged up the rest of the way and removed the envelope. He tore it open and read the words, “Eviction Notice.” Great.
Now he was going to be starving and
He unlocked his door and entered the dark apartment. He flipped on the switch, grateful the light came on. At least his electricity hadn’t been disconnected. He threw the envelope on the nearby coffee table and headed to the kitchen. He might be able to find some ramen noodles or something. He turned on the kitchen light.