Third and Madison

Copyright November 1-2, 2005
by Matthew Haldeman-Time

I am writing about men having sex with other men.  You must be eighteen or older to read my fiction.  This site is for consenting, responsible adults only.

            “I’ll be there in ten minutes,” Tanner said, pushing through the revolving door and sprinting across the sidewalk to the curb.  Briefcase in one hand, cell phone in the other, he signaled for a cab.  “Tell Pembroke that I talked to Mr. Henry, and - - no, I’ll get those notes to you tonight.”  Great, a cab, yes, Tanner reached for the door handle.  “If Lisa gets those typed up for tomorrow morning, I’ll-”  Just as his fingertips grazed the handle, another hand pushed his out of the way, yanking the door open.

            No way.  “Sorry, this is my cab,” Tanner said firmly, and twisted himself in between the guy and the door.

            “I was here first,” the guy said, but Tanner wasn’t listening.  He climbed in, pulling the door shut.  “Third and Madison,” he told the driver, pulling his briefcase onto his lap and clicking it open.  “Sorry about that,” he told Gail, attention back on his call.  “If Lisa-”

            The door opened again.  “Tenth and Ducane.”  The guy Tanner had just closed the door on sat down beside him.

            Tanner stared at him.  “This is my cab.”

            “It was mine first,” the guy said without sparing a glance.  “Tenth and Ducane,” he repeated.

            “Third and Madison,” Tanner said firmly.

            “I can only go one place at a time,” the driver said.

            “I was here first,” Tanner said.

            “I opened the door,” the guy said.  He was short, slender, Japanese, and dressed in some sort of rock-punk-grunge mélange.

            “I don’t have time for this,” Tanner said impatiently.  Gail had hung up on him.  Great.  “I’ll give you an extra ten bucks if you get me to Third and Madison.”

            “Why couldn’t you just get another cab?”

            “Because I already had one,” Tanner snapped.

            “You want to get out?” the driver asked the other guy.

            “I’m not going anywhere except to Tenth and Ducane.  This is my cab.”

            “This is my cab,” the driver said.  “This guy sat down first, he says we’re going to Third and Madison, that’s where I’m headed.”

            “Fine.”  The guy sat back comfortably, arms crossed over his chest.  “I’ll wait.”

            “You sure about that?” the driver asked.  “It’ll cost you more to get to Tenth and Ducane from there than it will from here.”

            “I’m sure.  Go ahead.”

            Tanner didn’t know what this guy had to prove.  As the cab pulled into traffic, he told himself to forget about it and concentrate on his upcoming meeting.  He had to be there in, shit, eight minutes, and it would take twenty to get there.  At least he could be prepared when he showed up.  Flipping open a folder, he paged to his notes on Linton v. Kendall, skimming for-

            Damn it, “I hailed this cab,” he insisted, glaring at the guy calmly seated beside him.

            “I hailed this cab,” the guy said firmly.  He was stubborn but oddly calm about it, like he knew that he was right but refused to get mad.

            He wasn’t right, damn it.  Tanner was.  “I didn’t see you hailing a cab.”

            “You didn’t see me, period,” the guy said.  “You don’t know what I was doing.  I could have been hailing this cab or tap-dancing.”

            Like the guy had been watching his every move.  “Did you see me?” Tanner challenged.

            “You came out of the Consit building.  You were on the phone.  You raised your arm after I raised mine, and he stopped in front of me, not in front of you.  But you were so busy in your own little world, you didn’t notice any of that.”

            Busy in his own little world?  “I was on the phone.”

            “You can’t talk and listen and look at the same time?”  He raised his eyebrows, skeptical.  “And they trust you to carry a briefcase?”

            Tanner scoffed.  “What do they trust you with?  The deep fryer?”

            A narrow look was followed by a hint of a smile, like the guy was kind of amused by this asinine exchange.  “The cash register.  Part-time McDonald’s, full-time Seventh Spin Records.”

            “Your parents must be so proud,” Tanner said dryly, turning back to his briefcase.

            “Yeah, actually.  It’s my dad’s store.  I’m half owner.”

            Oh.  Tanner glanced at him.  Was he lying?  “If you’re half owner of a record store, why are you working at McDonald’s?”

            “I like fries.”  He grinned.  “And it gives me time away from my parents.  If I’m going to spend the rest of my life with Seventh Spin, I want to get a couple of hours to my day that aren’t about that.”

            Weird.  Why didn’t he just get a hobby or something?  Maybe he needed the money.  Maybe Seventh Spin wasn’t doing well.

            Why the hell was he worrying about it?  Irritated, Tanner turned his attention back to work, turning a page and glancing out of the window to check - - they were only on Spruce?  Shit.  Shit!  Lights flashed ahead; police.  “Damn it.”

            “What do you do?”

            “I work for Lansing, Griffith, and Moore,” Tanner said, dialing.  Gail, great, “It’s Tanner.  I’m trapped in the cab from hell.  Can you call ahead and - - yes, yes.  Great.  Thanks.”  He hung up.  Shit.  Closing his eyes, he rubbed the bridge of his nose.  If this meeting-

            “Are you a lawyer?”  He sounded genuinely curious.

            “I practice corporate law.”  He was going to be late to this meeting, and Richards was going to get pissed, and Pembroke was going to come after his ass.  Shit.  Okay.  Tanner took a deep breath, lowering his hand, opening his eyes.  He could salvage this.  Gail was making the call for him.  He wouldn’t be too late; he just had to get around this traffic snarl, and everything would be fine.  He was ready, he was prepared, he knew everything that he could possibly need to know for this meeting.  He’d spent-

            “Is Tanner your first name or your last name?”

            “What?”  Who the hell was this guy and why couldn’t he leave Tanner alone?  “It’s my first name.  Have I given you the impression-”

            “Really?  What’s your last name?”

            “Allen.  Do you need a lawyer?” he asked impatiently.

            The guy grinned.  “That’s okay.  My dad has one.”

            “Great.”  Tanner couldn’t believe this.  “I’m sure that you’re a very nice person, and a great store clerk, but I have a meeting to prepare for, so-”

            “The meeting you’re going to now?  Why aren’t you already prepared for it?”

            Thrown off-guard, Tanner spent an extra second staring at him, at a loss for words.  “I am,” he finally said.

            “Then relax and enjoy the ride.”  The guy pushed Tanner’s briefcase shut, then extended his hand.  “My name’s John.”

            Not sure how to respond to that kind of hubris, Tanner fell back on years of training and shook John’s hand.

            “You look kind of young for a lawyer,” John said, taking his hand back.

            “You look kind of old for McDonald’s,” Tanner said.

            John merely smiled at him, refusing to be baited.  “What’s the meeting about?”

            “We’re romancing a potential client.”

            “Romancing?” John asked, sitting up straighter, interested.  “I don’t see any wine or roses.”

            “The senior partners take care of the wine and roses,” Tanner said.  Since his briefcase was closed, he latched it.  “I’m just dealing with his personal lawyers.”

            “Really?”  John studied him with curious eyes, in an apparent attempt to figure him out.  “Do you have to dress like that every day?”

            “Yes.”  Reminded, Tanner smoothed his tie, adjusting the crease in his pants.

            “Does it make people take you more seriously?”

            “Yes.”  He checked his cuffs and looked at John.  “Although it doesn’t seem to work with you.”

            John laughed, and when he tipped his head back the movement drew Tanner’s gaze to the collar around his neck.  “I’m immune to suits.  But you look good in yours.”

            His smile was teasing but well-meaning; Tanner smiled back, but hesitantly.  Was John hitting on him?

            Why wasn’t this cab going anywhere?  Tanner was too stressed out about this meeting to deal with cute, off-beat salesclerks.  He had an agenda, and it didn’t include getting to know taxicab passengers.

            He should have left for the meeting earlier, but he’d been busy with a memo from the pre-meeting meeting.  He hadn’t counted on a traffic tie-up, but he should have.  A good lawyer was prepared to face any eventuality.

            “Are you going to get fired if you’re late?”

            Tanner hadn’t stared at someone in fear, anger, and disbelief this often since one of the senior partners had made an explicit pass at him.  “I don’t think so,” he finally said.

            “Good.  Then relax that death grip on your cell and tell me about yourself.”

            “Tell you about myself?”  What the hell?  “This isn’t a cocktail party.”

            “I’ve never been to a cocktail party,” John said.  “What are they like?”

            Oh, god.  “Excuse me,” Tanner said, leaning forward to the driver.  “Can we take another route?  I’d really like to get there soon.”

            “I’d love to help you out, but I don’t know where you want me to go,” the driver said, gesturing at the gridlock.

            “Looks like we’re stuck here,” John said with a too-cheerful note in his voice.  “Have you read any good books lately?”

            “I don’t read books, I read briefs,” Tanner said.

            “Do you wear briefs, too?” John asked.  “I’m more of a boxers man, myself.  That way, when my pants slide too far down my ass, I’m not showing everything to the world.”

            “A good way to get around that would be to wear pants that fit,” Tanner said, looking out of the window and wishing that John would shut up so he that could panic in private.

            “You’re definitely wearing briefs,” John said.  “You probably wouldn’t be so tense if you gave your balls some breathing room.”

            There was only so much that he could take.  “Thanks for the ride,” Tanner said, pulling out a bill and tossing it onto the front seat.  “Good luck with your illustrious career,” he told John, and got out of the cab, passing in front of a sedan to get to the sidewalk.

            Behind him, a car door slammed.

            No, no, no.  Denying it, Tanner stormed forward.  All he had to do was walk a few blocks, get past this congestion, hail another cab - - he’d better call Gail and-

            “You’re addicted,” John said, neatly slipping the phone from his grasp and pocketing it.

            “Give me that!” Tanner exclaimed, so shocked that he stopped short right there in the middle of the sidewalk.

            “I’ll give it back,” John said calmly with an odd little smile.  “Come on, you don’t want to be late.”

            When John took a few steps, Tanner was quick to catch up.  John was extremely cute and extremely maddening, and the maddening outweighed the cute.  “Give me my phone.  I have important calls to make.”  His life was in that phone.  What if John disappeared with it?  What if he missed his meeting and he lost his phone?  He couldn’t afford to be that unprofessional.  He was too new to the firm; this was a big chance, and if he fucked it up, he might never be given another shot.

            “You’ll get it back, I promise.  I wouldn’t fuck you over like that.”  John’s legs were shorter than Tanner’s, but he still managed to seem like he was strolling, unlike Tanner, who was practically breaking into a run.  “Who were you going to call?”

            “My secretary,” Tanner said shortly, conserving breath.

            “You have your own secretary?”  John was impressed.

            She wasn’t his personal secretary, but he saw no need to share that information with John.  “She can tell them that I’m on my way.”

            “They know that you’re on your way,” John said.  “They know that, she knows that - - do you really need to call and check in?  You’re only adding to the stress of the situation.  You’re on your way, you’ll get there, they’re waiting for you.  Don’t worry about it.”

            Tanner was so pissed off, he stopped walking again.  “Don’t worry about it?” he repeated, staring at John in fear, anger, and disbelief all at once, this time.  “Don’t worry about it?!  This is the most important meeting of my career to date!  If I fuck this up, the-”

            “Why would you fuck it up?” John asked, like it was an honest question.  “You know where you’re going and who’s going to be there, don’t you?  You know what your job is and what they want from you.  You’ve read everything and decided everything and written down everything.  You might be a few minutes late, but they know that and, hey, it happens.  What’s going to happen to fuck it up?  Are you going to suddenly lose it and throw things at them and curse their mothers?”

            Tanner glared at him.  “I take my career seriously, and this meeting is important to me, and you being a smart-ass and making light of the situation only makes me want to throw things at you and curse your mother.  Give me my phone and get the fuck away from me.”

            “Wow.”  John was amazed.  “You’re the most uptight person I’ve ever met.”  Honest concern flickered across his face.  “My mother’s friend Rachel is a great therapist, if you-”

            “Oh, my god,” Tanner said to himself, and started walking again.  He couldn’t take it, he couldn’t believe this, he couldn’t fucking - - “You try to hijack my cab, you steal my phone, and when I get pissed, you recommend therapy?!” he demanded, whirling to face John, who was right at his side again.

            “You aren’t actually going to try to deny that you’re the most tense and stressed out person ever, are you?” John asked.  “Because stressed out and delusional wouldn’t be a good combination.”

            John sounded so damned serious and was so damned aggravating that Tanner burst into laughter.  A few passersby gave him weird looks, which only made him laugh harder, because he definitely was not the person they needed to look at strangely.

            John just grinned at him.  “You feel better?”

            He did, he truly did.  And if he was ever going to get to this meeting, he had to get rid of John.  He tried a new tack.  “Who are you, and what do you want from me?”

            “I already introduced myself,” John said.  “You remember, we met back there in the cab.”

            “I’d love to be able to forget,” Tanner said.  Part of him meant it.  Part of him didn’t.

            “I don’t know what I want from you,” John said.  “Maybe a date.  What are you doing tonight?”

            “Cleaning out my desk and updating my resume,” Tanner said.

            “You won’t be fired,” John said.  “Come on, keep moving.”

            Tanner walked beside him.

            “I work at the McDonald’s on Juniper, near Telford,” John said.  “You could meet me there, later.  We could celebrate the success of your meeting.”

            “I don’t eat at McDonald’s,” Tanner said.  They were almost at the site of the accident.  There were a few crunched cars, no major victims, and a crowd of pedestrians.  Tanner wove his way through the gawkers, and he suddenly felt John’s hand in his.  Surprised, he tightened his grip, pulling John along after himself.  It was an odd intimacy, being palm-to-palm with someone who should have been a stranger but wasn’t.

            When they reached the other side of the crowd, Tanner relaxed his grip, but John simply laced their fingers and kept walking.  “You don’t eat at McDonald’s?  Why not?”

            “It’s not healthy,” Tanner said.  Their pace was calmer now.  The gentle tether of John’s hand kept him grounded, kept him from panicking.

            “What do you eat?” John asked.  He always sounded curious about Tanner, interested in what Tanner’s answers might be.  Wasn’t that strange?  John acted like it was normal, but it seemed unusual.

            “Fruits and vegetables.  Fish, chicken.”

            “How responsible of you,” John murmured.  It sounded like he wanted to laugh.  Tanner smiled, not sure why.  They were watching the sidewalk, their future path, and not each other.  “What else do you eat?”

            Tanner chuckled, relaxing at the teasing knowledge in John’s tone.  “Doritos.”

            “The world’s most perfect food,” John said, his tone approving.  Tanner found himself smiling again.  “It looks like we can get a cab from here.”

            Tanner didn’t want a cab.  A cab would get them to their destination faster, and the sooner he got there, the sooner John would disappear from his life.

            He knew himself.  As soon as John was gone, he’d push the entire concept of John away.  He’d burrow right back into his safe haven of stress and work, and it would be like they’d never met.  There was no chance of him dropping by McDonald’s, tonight or any other night.

            As soon as he said good-bye to John, John would effectively cease to exist.

            “Let’s keep walking.”

            John stopped walking, which Tanner probably should have expected, since John’s role in life seemed to be to aggravate and contradict.  Tanner looked at him, and it was strange, how different they were.  John seemed to be his age, and male, and gay, but the similarities ended there.

            Tanner had neatly trimmed hair somewhere between blond and light brown.  He was six feet tall with hazel eyes and an athletic build he cultivated at the gym.  John was Japanese, with shaggy, silky, black hair and dark eyes.  He was several inches shorter than Tanner, with a slimness that seemed more natural than acquired.  Tanner wore a well-tailored suit like it was a uniform.  John had on low-riding jeans, a dog collar, half-a-dozen bracelets, and at least three shirts that Tanner could see, of different fabrics and sleeve lengths.

            “If you get a cab, you’ll get to your meeting sooner,” John said.

            Tanner almost laughed.  “Since when do you care?”

            “I respect your job,” John said.  “I respect the fact that you have a meeting to get to.  I want you to relax about being a few minutes late, not screw it and take as long as you can.”

            Tightening the knot of their fingers, Tanner looked deeper into the depths of John’s eyes.  “Where were you going?  What’s at Tenth and Ducane?”

            “Seventh Spin,” John said.  “You should drop by sometime.”

            What was it like there?  What was it like to be John?  What was it like to own one store and still take the time to work at another?  What was it like to wear jeans and sneakers and layered T-shirts to work?  What was it like to get in a stranger’s taxi just for the ride?  Just for the principle?  Tanner had never had the time or the freedom or the mentality that made such a thing possible.

            “You have a meeting to get to,” John reminded him quietly, squeezing his hand to refocus his wandering attention.

            “I have a life to get to,” Tanner said, and kissed him.  Right there.  On impulse.  In the middle of the sidewalk.

            The slow, easy parting of John’s lips under his was devastating in its perfection.

            A horn blew behind them.  “You still want a ride?” someone called.

            John broke the kiss first.  Tanner never quite forgave him for that.  Looking past Tanner, John laughed, one hand patting Tanner’s chest.  “Our chariot awaits.”  With a smile, John pulled Tanner around, leading him back to their taxicab.  This time, John got in first, Tanner piling in behind.

            “Tenth and Ducane,” Tanner said.

            “Third and Madison,” John corrected.

            “Tenth and Ducane is closer,” Tanner said.

            “I tip better than he does,” John said.

            “Third and Madison it is,” the driver said.

            Tanner held his briefcase in one hand, John’s hand in the other, and watched traffic.  The closer he actually got to his meeting, the less terrifying it seemed.  So he was late.  It happened.  He’d never been late before; the odds of him being late again were slim.  This one time, he’d be forgiven, especially if the meeting went well, which it would.

            John leaned in close, right up by his shoulder, nuzzling his ear.  “You’re smiling,” John whispered, and he felt himself blushing, felt himself getting hard.  “What’s making you smile?”

            “You,” Tanner admitted, and made eye contact.

            John smiled right back.  “You’re even sexier when you’re happy.”

            “So are you,” Tanner said.

            John chuckled, kissing the corner of his mouth.  “I’m sexy when you’re happy?”

            He had to laugh.  “Yeah.  You’re sexy when I’m happy.”

            John’s hair was silky-soft, his mouth was experienced, and he let Tanner touch him just about anywhere.  He really was wearing boxers, and his satin-smooth skin was warm, and the more Tanner kissed him, the louder and more urgent his moans grew.  His hands were demanding; his body was submissive.  Tanner was in love with the way he licked.

            “Here we are.”  The driver coughed to get their attention.  “Third and Madison.”

            Tanner raised his head slightly, meeting John’s eyes.  John was almost close enough to kiss, on his back beneath Tanner on the seat.  Tanner could feel John’s chest rise and fall with each breath.

            “I didn’t mean to wrinkle you,” John said, his voice soft, his eyes hot with desire.  Carefully, he drew Tanner’s tie through his fingers.  “I don’t think you’re too late.”

            “It’s okay to be late, sometimes,” Tanner said.  He’d never said such a blasphemous thing in his life.  He’d certainly never believed it, until today.

            John smiled, a small smile with a lot of happiness behind it, and kissed him again, gently.  “Good luck with your meeting.”

            “Thanks.”  With an inner pulse of regret, he carefully withdrew his hands from under John’s clothes, sitting up.  “Good luck with Seventh Spin.”

            “Thanks.”  Sitting up, John shook his head to get his hair back into place.  “Here.”  He fished Tanner’s phone from one pocket, offering it.  “Use it responsibly.”

            Smiling, Tanner accepted it.  “Thanks.”  He put one hand on the door handle, but couldn’t take his eyes off of John.  “It was nice to meet you.”

            “We’ll meet again,” John said.

            Tanner wanted to believe that.  “Bye.”

            John kissed him, one last time, and Tanner returned the kiss, lingering, adoring the sweet tug on his heart.

            It was hard to leave John.  Tanner had never wanted to stay in a cab before.  But it was time to get back to the real world.  Time to resume life.

            Getting out of the taxi, he faced the building before him, briefcase in one hand, cell phone in the other.

            John sorted through a stack of CD’s, tag gun in one hand, lowering prices.  There was only one customer left; the store would close in minutes.

            When the door opened, he looked up with a smile.  “I told you we’d meet again.”

            Tanner approached the counter slowly, with a dark, suspicious expression that John found completely amusing, even endearing.  Slowly, carefully, Tanner placed both hands on the countertop, bracing himself.  It felt so good to have him this close again, John couldn’t suppress a happy burst of laughter.

            “What,” Tanner asked too calmly, “is your last name?”

            “Watanabe,” John said, smiling into Tanner’s eyes.  In this light, the hazel had more of a green cast than it had in the cab.

            “Watanabe,” Tanner repeated, as though confirming something.  His gaze darkened.  “What’s your father’s name?”

            “Greg Watanabe,” John said.  He loved Tanner’s suit.  Expensive, tailored, just the right shade of dark blue.  He loved the way it looked so much, he wanted to take it off.

            “Greg Watanabe,” Tanner repeated.  His jaw clenched briefly.  When he inhaled, his nostrils flared.  “You mentioned, earlier, that your father has a lawyer.  What’s his lawyer’s name?”

            “Wade Babb,” John said.

            “Wade.  Babb.”  Tanner looked furious; he was exerting too much control over his voice, like if he didn’t keep it tightly reined in, he’d start screaming.  “Do you know where Wade Babb was this afternoon?”

            “I know that he had a meeting,” John admitted.

            “Really,” Tanner said flatly.  A steadying breath.  “Where?”

            John smiled wildly; he couldn’t help it.  “The Kraft-Parker building.”

            “And where might that building be located?” Tanner asked.

            “On Third Street,” John said, grinning.  “Right off of Madison.”

            “Third and Madison,” Tanner said.

            “Third and Madison,” John agreed.  He couldn’t believe how incredibly tense Tanner was.  How intense Tanner was.  He wondered how badly Tanner was dying to fuck him.  “I’ve been thinking about you all day.  I haven’t had dinner, so if you want to go out, we can celebrate-”

            “What the fuck were you doing in front of the Consit building this morning?” Tanner asked.

            Ah.  “I had a meeting, inside,” John said.

            “With my fucking law firm,” Tanner said.

            “With your fucking law firm,” John agreed.

            “You made me late to a meeting with your own father’s fucking lawyers!  What the hell-”

            “I heard it went really well,” John said.  “I talked to Wade, he said you were extremely professional and totally on top of your game.”

            “Why didn’t you tell me that your own damned father was the person-”

            “You didn’t ask.”  John couldn’t resist; he reached out, stroking Tanner’s tie.  “I’ve never fucked a guy who dresses like this.  I don’t know why it’s making me so hot.”

            “I didn’t think that I’d have to ask a stranger I met in a cab, ‘Hey, is your father the head of a multi-million-dollar empire?’”  Tanner shoved John’s hand away, glaring at him.  “You fucked with me.”

            “You deserved to be fucked with,” John said.  “Look, once I found out who you were, we’d already gotten off to a bad start.  I thought that it would only stress you out more if you knew that you’d just fought over a cab with your firm’s potential client’s son on your way to the meeting.  Besides…”  He grinned.  “That was my cab.”

            “This isn’t about the cab!  This is about-”

            “Hold on, one second,” John said, and stepped down the counter two feet, as the customer approached the register.  “I hope that you found everything you were looking for,” he said, taking a short stack of CD’s off of her hands.  As he made encouraging small talk and completed the transaction, most of his attention was on Tanner, who paced around agitatedly and scowled at him a lot.

            John followed the customer to the door.  When she left, he locked it, putting up the “closed” sign and turning off the front light.  “I’ll be finished up here in a few minutes, and we can go to dinner.”

            “Fuck dinner!  Do you know what could have happened if I’d missed that meeting?”

            “You didn’t miss it,” John said.  “And I’m the one who made sure that you got there.  You were trying to come here first, remember?  I got you back in that cab, I-”

            “Do you want me to thank you?!” Tanner demanded, incredulous.

            John smiled.  “You already thanked me.”

            Tanner’s face grew red.  With heat, at the memory of their kiss?  With shame?  With increased anger?  “I was supposed to be in that meeting, not making out in the back of a cab!”

            “The meeting went well!” John exclaimed.  “We should be celebrating, not arguing.  Come on, I’ll pay for dinner.  Not McDonald’s, either, we’ll go somewhere you like.”

            “Do you seduce all of your father’s lawyers?” Tanner snapped.

            That had come out of left field.  John set his jaw, displeased.  “I know that you’re pissed, and I’m dealing with that, but don’t make stupid accusations.”

            Tanner glared at him.

            Deciding to give Tanner time to cool off, John tidied up, counting down the register, going through his end-of-day routine.  He went back to his office to finish up, and Tanner followed him.  After he’d filed a few papers, he sat on the edge of his desk, watching Tanner.  “I didn’t know who you were at first.  After you’d said a few things and I put it together, I figured it out.”

            “You never said anything.”

            He probably deserved the accusation in Tanner’s tone.  “No, I didn’t.  Maybe I should have.  I didn’t keep anything from you out of malice, I just didn’t speak up.”

            Tanner stepped closer now, less hostile.  When Tanner stopped within the spread of John’s thighs, John slid his hands inside Tanner’s opened suit coat, feeling the warmth of his body.  “If your father’s Greg Watanabe, why do you work at McDonald’s?”

            “I told you,” John said, curling his fingers in Tanner’s shirt.  “It gives me a break.”

            “You don’t make sense to me.”  Tanner sounded very annoyed.

            “But you want to fuck me on this desk,” John guessed with a sly grin, tugging him closer.

            “I wanted to fuck you against the cash register,” Tanner said.  His tone was exasperated, almost frustrated, but his hands were gentle as they spread John’s thighs further.  “I wanted to fuck you in that cab.  I wanted to fuck you against every damned piece of furniture I saw today.”

            John knew exactly how he felt.  The feel of Tanner’s hands still on his thighs made him close his eyes for a minute, to regain his equilibrium.  “You make perfect sense to me.”  He drew Tanner closer, closer, wanting to kiss, wanting to fuck, wanting Tanner.  “You’re everything I almost was.”

            “Why aren’t you me?” Tanner asked, his voice coming out newly soft, his hands sliding over John’s hips.  His gaze wondered.  “Why aren’t I you?”

            “We chose,” he tugged at Tanner’s shirt, pulling it untucked, “different priorities.”

            “I don’t…”  Tanner kissed him.

            John could have explained that Tanner had chosen to get ahead, while he’d chosen to enjoy life.  He could have explained that Tanner’s life was about goals and ambition, while his life was about experiences and variety.

            He did, later.

            At that moment, however, his mouth was otherwise engaged.

            It was a matter of seconds before John tugged off Tanner’s tie, getting rid of his coat and working at the buttons of his shirt.  Tanner’s hands felt amazing on his body, pushing under his T-shirts and stroking his skin.  Arching into that heated touch, moaning against Tanner’s kiss, John opened Tanner’s shirt only to be confronted by an undershirt.  Tanner’s body felt great under there, taut with muscle, and John needed to get to it.

            “Take that off,” he said, pushing Tanner back a few inches.  He removed his own shirts three at a time, tossing them aside unselfconsciously and reaching for Tanner’s belt.

            “We’re in your office,” Tanner said, a weak protest.

            “It’s my dad’s office,” John said, undoing Tanner’s belt.  “Don’t worry, the front door’s locked.”

            “Your dad’s office?”  Scandalized, Tanner stepped back, staring.  “I can’t fuck you in your father’s office!”

            “Why not?  He never uses it anymore.”  His dick was begging for attention, and he’d already brushed against evidence of how aroused Tanner was, and John wanted to get laid, not discuss propriety.  Tanner had a hard-on, and that hard-on needed to be up John’s ass; other concerns could be discussed later.

            “I could get fired!”

            It would be easier to work out a new arrangement than to insist on this one.  If Tanner didn’t want to fuck him in his dad’s office, fine, John could respect that.  “Then where can we do this?  Your apartment?”

            “I could get fired for this,” Tanner said again, like it was a new realization.  “Oh, my god, I could get fired for this,” he repeated, staring at John with wide, shocked eyes.

            “You’re not going to get fired.”  This relationship was going to be interesting, he could already tell.  “This isn’t sexual harassment or fraternization.  It has nothing to do with your career.  Your firm is going to represent my father, but I don’t see that as a conflict of interest.”

            “I just had a meeting with your father’s lawyer this afternoon!  And now I’m-”

            “Do you want me to call someone for permission?” John asked.  His offer was sincere.  “I can talk to my dad or one of the senior partners or someone in human re-”

            “You can’t call - - you’re serious, how can you - - who the hell are you?” Tanner demanded.  “You can’t call the senior partners and ask for permission!  I’m not going to ask your father if I can fuck you!”

            John stood, reaching for his shirts.  “Why don’t we go to your place?  I want to see where you live.  We can talk about this some more.”  Dressed again, he gathered up Tanner’s coat and tie.  Since Tanner wasn’t doing a lot of moving, he shrugged into the coat himself, pocketing the tie.  “Or we could go to my place.”

            “And where would that be?” Tanner asked.  Apparently he didn’t know whether to be resentful or conciliatory, so he settled on half of each.  He tucked his shirt back in, refastening and re-buttoning.

            Even though John was sad to see Tanner’s clothes back in place, he enjoyed the sight of Tanner dressed, too, because Tanner managed to look crisp, polished, and professional even without the coat and tie.

            “Do you live in a luxurious penthouse?” Tanner asked.  “Or do you live in someone’s grungy basement?”

            “I live here, actually.  Upstairs.  My dad owns the building.  We keep talking about moving in more merchandise and expanding, but for now, it’s just my apartment up there.”

            Tanner lifted his gaze, studying the ceiling overhead.

            “I have lube up there,” John said.  It was a fact worth mentioning.

            Evidently, Tanner thought so, too.  Clearing his throat, he said, “We could, maybe if we…  I think…”

            John smiled.  “I think so, too.”

            It didn’t make any sense.  Greg Watanabe’s son, working at McDonald’s and living above a second-hand CD store.  Greg Watanabe’s son, in a one-bedroom apartment.

            To be honest, Tanner was glad that he’d started lusting after John before he’d known how much John was worth.  It relieved him of a lot of doubt about his own motives.

            There seemed to be a lack of communication between them.  Sometimes it seemed like they were speaking different languages.

            Except when they kissed.  Sexually, they understood each other perfectly.  When Tanner put his hands on John’s body, and John moaned and pulled him in, they both knew exactly what that meant.

            John looked like he was wearing a lot of clothes, but they practically fell off of him before Tanner even got him to the bed.  Tanner stripped while John located the lube, and then they were skin to skin, flesh on flesh.  John’s hands pulled at him, urgent, possessive, while John’s body undulated welcomingly beneath his caresses.

            The only thing that John still had on was his dog collar, and when Tanner kissed around it, John made breathless, eager sounds and rubbed up against him, hard cockhead riding his abs.  Moaning at the sensation, Tanner rocked against John, wanting to get inside him and fuck deep.

            “You’re,” John panted, “so…”

            Tanner wanted to participate in this conversation, but all he could get out were a few low groans as their bodies rocked together.  John’s embrace was hot, his hands busy, and Tanner couldn’t stay away from his mouth.

            “So…  I…  Tanner…”  John moaned, arching, digging his fingers into Tanner’s back.

            Absolutely, one hundred percent agreeing with that, Tanner found the lube, slicking his fingers with it.  Lifting his hips away from the heat of John’s body made him moan with regret, but when he eased in that first finger, the echoing groan rising from John’s throat made his cock throb.

            John wanted it.

            Tanner needed it.

            “Give me,” John moaned, “your dick,” he shuddered, “fuck me,” his hips bucked and his fingernails dug into Tanner’s arm, “now, now, god, please.”

            Now, god, yes.  Bringing John’s legs up and into position, Tanner spread lube over his cock, eager to get inside before he burst.  When he pushed in and sank deep in John’s clenching heat, their groans met in near-harmony, his of tortured pleasure, John’s of anguished ecstasy.  Their eyes met, and it was almost too much intimacy, but Tanner couldn’t look away from the pulsing need he saw living in John.

            He felt that need in himself.  He could answer it.

            Easing back before thrusting in again, Tanner began to fuck John, picking up a steady rhythm.  His pace was met by John’s moans, and the urgency in John’s caresses only reinforced the desperation in his own body.  His hips relentlessly driving forward, Tanner curled one hand around John’s erection.  It jumped in his hand, responding eagerly, and John’s back arched beautifully.

            “I want, I want…”  Twisting a little, rocking himself against Tanner’s thrusts, John curled one hand around Tanner’s thigh, trying to pull him closer and urge him deeper.  “You’re, I…”  Crying out, John bucked.  “Tanner…”

            Fascinated, each thrust of his hips driving his cock deeper and pumping him that much closer to orgasm, Tanner jacked John’s dick.  He wanted to see John come, wanted to watch, wanted to make it happen.  He could make John come, he could give John that, he could push John into ultimate pleasure.

            “Tan,” John gasped, “ner.”

            “Come on,” Tanner said, his voice rough with passion, his cock rhythmically pushing, pushing, pushing.  “Come on, come on…”

            “Get…  Fuck…  Yes,” John groaned, one hand clutching at Tanner’s thigh, nails digging into Tanner’s arm, ass contracting greedily around Tanner’s cock.  “Yes, yes…”

            “Come on,” Tanner insisted.  John was so close to orgasm, Tanner could feel it, rising, pulsing, “Come on.”

            “Yes, yes, oh!”  John cried out, shuddering into Tanner’s hand, climaxing like the pure ecstasy of it took him by surprise.  “Oh, oh, yes…  Oh…  Tanner…”

            Damn, damn, the feel of John coming, the sight of it, the sound of it, those shocked moans, the jism spurting out over his fingers and arcing onto John’s heaving chest, gripped Tanner where he ached and forced him over the edge.  Groaning, hips slamming in, Tanner came, calling out John’s name as orgasm ripped through him.

            Stunned, shaken, Tanner did his best not to collapse on top of John, managing to drop to one side before his muscles gave out on him.

            He was grinning stupidly, but he felt so damned good…

            “God, I love your dick.”

            Surprised, Tanner laughed.

            “That felt amazing,” John said.  “You can fuck me any time.”  He moaned like it still felt good.  For Tanner, it still did.  Then, with a soft grunt at the effort, John rolled over to face him.  “Let’s talk.”

            Talk?  Tanner was in no condition to talk.  It wasn’t like they really needed to talk, anyway.  So far, John won every time; there was no reason to think that this conversation would go any differently.  “Yes, to whatever you want,” he said, and rolled onto his side, too.  His fingertips drew adoring lines down John’s cheek.  “As long as I can stay here tonight, and we can have sex again.”

            John’s smile was so sweet, happiness fluttered around in Tanner’s stomach.  “Agreed.”

            Tanner intended to smile back, except he’d already been smiling.  That had never happened before.

            John kissed him tenderly, caressing his neck with gentle fingers.  “You can steal my cab anytime.”
Short stories