TREVOR MICHAELSON pressed the button on the display of his brand-new Mustang to answer the incoming call. “I’m on my way.”
“Sometimes I swear you’ll be late to your own wedding, if you ever have one,” Dean Milford crowed, the way he did when he thought he had something to razz him about.
“Please. I have ten minutes and I’m nearly there, so cut your crap about me being late. I had to come the farthest, you know.”
“Yeah, yeah. If you get here soon, there’s a parking space on Second Street right next to mine. I’m standing in it to try to save it for you, but I’m getting dirty looks from the local queens and I think they might start throwing pumps at me any minute,” Dean said, then laughed at his own joke.
“I see you.” Trevor slowed, and Dean got out of the way, staring as Trevor pulled up and backed into the spot. He loved the backup cameras and sensors on the car, making it a cinch to park.
“Damn, man,” Dean said as soon as Trevor got out. “Sweet. And I love the silver-gray color with the stripes.” He stood back to admire the car, which made Trevor pretty happy. Dean was a car guy who spent his weekends under hoods and on his back—both the good kind, with guys, and the kind that required sliding under the car. Trevor was only interested in one particular position that had guys on their backs, and it involved other guys being on theirs. “When did you get it?”
“This morning,” Trevor said with a smile. He held the door open so Dean could get a look at the bone-white leather seats against the otherwise black interior. “It’s got everything, and the seats feel like you’re sitting in a recliner.”
“I’d really like to check it out sometime.” Dean seemed impressed, which was pretty hard to do. “Come on. Let’s go inside before Brent starts pacing.”
“Is he here?”
“Yeah. You know Nervous Nellie. He wanted to make sure we got a table, so he went inside to snag one. Not that we’re going to spend much time sitting. This is about getting out and having a good time.” Dean was suddenly all energy and excitement, which meant one thing. Socializing aside, Dean was here to get laid and to try to get his now ex-boyfriend, Dumbfuck Chuck, out of his system.
“Dude, just relax.” Trevor locked the car with his key fob and threw an arm over Dean’s shoulder. He’d known Dean for a decade, since they’d each looked across their tenth-grade homeroom and spotted a kindred spirit. It felt so damn good to have his oldest friend back after Chuck had manipulated Dean into a smaller and smaller circle of people, who all happened to be Chuck’s friends. How Dean stood that much stupidity in one place was beyond him.
They headed inside Club Marquee in Milwaukee’s Third Ward and passed the huge bouncers with black T-shirts stretched so tight that the outline of pert nipples was on clear display. Trevor smiled at both men, already familiar with how each of them looked without their shirts and what they were packing inside those tight black jeans. They’d each been a fun time, and if things didn’t go well otherwise, maybe he’d see if he was up to both of them at once.
“Have fun, Trev,” Marvin said as he passed, and Trevor flashed him a smile, raking his gaze over him one more time to say he appreciated the look.
“Take care, guys, and be safe,” he said, knowing there had been a few issues in the area in the past month that had made the papers.
“We will,” Gary said from the other side of the door, clearly making eye contact.
Trevor walked into the club and sent Dean to find Brent while he stopped at the bar for the first round of drinks. He knew what both guys wanted and tipped the lanky, lean blond bartender and gave him a wink. He gazed over the sea of heads until he spotted Dean’s and carried the drinks through the growing crowd to the table. He set down the glasses and gave Brent a hug.
“It’s been too damn long,” Brent said, hugging Trevor tightly. For a few seconds, Trevor let himself go. Brent was always so strong and steady, and a hug from him was like being wrapped in a cocoon of safety, even if only for a few seconds.
“It has.” Trevor sat and they all picked up their glasses. He and Brent turned to Dean. “Here’s to no more Dumbfuck Chuck!” Trevor smiled, and Dean bit his lower lip. If Dean got nervous like that, then something was up. “No way!”
“God, no. I’m done with him. I didn’t know you guys hated him so much.” Dean drank a little of his beer and set the glass down again. “I wish you’d have said something.”
Trevor rolled his eyes, wanting to shake Dean, but he sipped his martini instead. “We tried, remember? And all you did was fight us and say we didn’t really know him. So we backed off until you saw for yourself. It was all we could do.”
Brent flashed Dean a look, tilting his head downward slightly. It was a patented “you know I’m right so don’t argue with me or I’ll go all lawyer on your ass” look. “We never gave up on you, but we had to step back.”
“I know. I was the one who refused to see what he was until it was almost too damn late.” Dean shivered. “The asshole wasn’t using condoms. Did I tell you? He cheated on me, and God knows what he could have brought home.” He slumped a little in his seat, and instantly Trevor wanted to punch Dumbfuck in the face. “I caught him in our bed, and he had the audacity to look surprised. And I didn’t believe him when he said it was the first time.” Dean gulped his beer. “I was so stupid.”
“You loved the dipshit,” Trevor said. “We understand that. But you kicked the asswipe to the curb, and that took guts.”
Brent nodded in agreement.
“And a restraining order to keep him away from my house. The cheating shit tried to claim that I’d given him half the house.” Dean rolled his eyes, drained his beer, and got the attention of one of the roving waiters in tight leather pants to ask for another, but ended up ordering two. It looked like Dean was going to drown his sorrows in drink.
“Come on.” Trevor stood and took Dean’s hand. “Let’s dance.” They needed to do something other than sit there and talk about Dumbfuck. The purpose of the evening was to get Dean out of his house and with people again.
The dance floor was at the back of the building, which was a godsend, because out in front, where their table was, the music wasn’t as loud. But as they approached, the floor vibrated with the sound, and lights flashed and swirled overhead. Trevor let the music sink into him, moving with it, tugging Dean along with him. “There you go.”
“You know I dance for shit,” Dean said, trying to pull away, but Trevor tugged him closer. This was the doubts over Dumbfuck Chuck coming out again, and Trevor needed to get him past it.
“Get over yourself. Think of dancing as having sex standing up.” Trevor turned to the edge of the floor. “Look at that man sitting right over there.” Dark hair, angelic features, pretty, lithe body, damn near perfection. “Imagine him wrapped around you on the floor, pressing to you. What would you do? Walk away or give him a display of how things could be when you got him alone?” Glancing at the man once again, Trevor let the music ripple through him as he put on a display he hoped would capture some attention.
Dean closed his eyes and moved better, though when he waved his arms, he did look a little silly, but Trevor wasn’t going to tell him that. Dean smiled and seemed to be having a good time, especially when a guy—wearing pants that Trevor swore he was sewn into—hip-bounced his way over, gyrated in front of Dean, and then put his arms around Dean’s neck, pressing into him. Trevor danced away, arms over his head, moving through the crowd as guy after guy danced up to him and then away again.
Brent was still at the table, so Trevor made his way back and took his seat next to him. “Go dance if you want,” Trevor told Brent, who shook his head. “What’s going on?”
“The doctor says I have to take it easy and let my ankle heal properly.” He shifted on his seat. “That accident on the bike did me a world of hurt, and I have to rest it. Doctor says if I don’t, it’s going to get worse. So I’m doing what he says and hoping things get better. It’s only been six weeks, and remember, it was so bad that they had to rebuild most of it with pins and stuff. Dancing is out for a while.”
“I thought you were doing a lot better.” Trevor had sat for hours with Brent in the hospital after his surgery.
“I am. But dancing isn’t in the cards yet.”
“Then we could have done something else tonight,” Trevor offered.
Brent leaned forward, looking toward the dance floor where the man Dean had been dancing with was hanging on Dean as though he were a Christmas tree. “Why don’t you go on out there? I’m fine here, and maybe someone will come over and talk to me. Not that I’m particularly hopeful.” Brent chuckled and waved him off. “Go have fun.”
Instead, Trevor leaned back in his chair, watching the crowd while finishing his drink. He noticed a few guys trying to meet his eye, but none of them caught his attention for some reason. Even the bouncers, when they made a pass through the club to make sure all was okay, seemed interested, but he wasn’t. Something was definitely a little off, and maybe he’d go home alone for the first time in a while.
“Go on and talk to someone. Doing your imitation of a monk isn’t going to help anyone, and the guy you can’t seem to take your eyes off is still sitting over there. He’s alone at the moment—his friend went off to dance—so go on and chat him up.” Brent smirked. “Give him a taste of the Trevor magic and make his day.”
Trevor had kept looking across the room to where the dark-haired beauty sat, alone for the time being. Trevor nodded to Brent, stood, trying to catch the guy’s gaze, and then sauntered over. He never lacked for confidence, at least outwardly. He pushed away the twinge of doubt that threatened to spring to life as he approached the front of the table where the beauty sat facing toward the music.
“Hi, I’m Trevor.”
The closest thing to an angel on earth—at least that was Trevor’s impression—turned to him. “Hello, I’m James.” He didn’t offer his hand, which Trevor didn’t think much about.
“I saw you sitting here and was wondering if you’d like to dance.” Trevor gave a little demonstration of his moves, which usually broke down any resistance.
“Umm, I don’t think so,” he said with a gentle tone in his voice that seemed so out of place here. “Thank you for asking, but I’m afraid that me and dancing don’t really mix.”
“Can I buy you a drink?”
The man lifted the glass he’d been cradling with both hands. “I have one, thanks.” He didn’t look away, but he also didn’t seem to be looking at Trevor.
Trevor glanced over his shoulder to see if there was someone standing behind him, but no one seemed to be paying them any attention. “Do you come here very often?” God, that was a cheesy line, but he was running out of things to ask. He might as well return to Brent and give this up as a lost cause.
The man laughed, a beautifully grand, warm sound. “No. This is my first time to a place like this. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it’s loud and full of people who make so much noise. My friend Lester brought me. He’s dancing with a guy he met here… I think. I do hope he’s having fun.”
“What about you? Are you having fun?” Trevor flashed his most winning smile, trying to communicate that the two of them could have a great deal of fun together. That usually got him what he wanted.
“This is very different for me, and I’m not sure how fun it is. The music is way too loud, and there are a lot of strange people around. Hopefully Lester will be back in a few minutes.” He drank from his glass, his expression not changing.
Trevor didn’t need a house to drop on him to get a clue. “I’m sorry to have bothered you.” He began to move away.
“It was nice talking to you.” James took another drink, and Trevor waved and walked back to the table where Dean had joined Brent.
“Totally.” Trevor turned to look into one of the mirrors that lined the wall.
Brent shook his head. “What? You spent at least an hour at the gym today, watching yourself as you did every exercise, and you think you might have changed in a few hours?”
“I don’t get it. The guy is adorable, so I gave him my best smile. He looked through me like I didn’t exist. I mean, I’m not shallow or anything, but I know how I look, and usually guys are all over me to get a piece of this, but….”
Brent rolled his eyes and smacked him on the shoulder. “What you just said is the definition of shallow. Not everyone is turned on by the package of near perfection that is Trevor. God.”
“Near perfection?” He’d honed every inch of himself to be the best he possibly could.
“Your nose is too big and your ears stick out a little too much, but if you think about having them done, I’m never going to speak to you again. Everyone has flaws—it’s what truly makes us unique and beautiful.” Brent shook his head. “So he wasn’t into you. Maybe he wants someone who thinks a smile and wink aren’t a preamble to getting it on with a stranger.”
“He’s a guy, and we’re all pretty much the same, especially the ones who come here.” It didn’t take him very long to see at least half a dozen guys making out fairly heavily all around the club. The heat in the place was rising by the second.
“You’re so full of shit,” Dean said, as he came over and sat with them. The guy he’d been dancing with brought a couple of beers and sat at the table, next to Dean, then handed him one of the glasses. “By the way, this is Bobby.” Dean smiled and scooched his chair closer to Bobby’s. They clearly had eyes for each other, which was good. Dean deserved a diversion, and Bobby seemed to be exactly what the doctor ordered. “So what were you two talking about so earnestly?”
“Trevor got shot down and he’s wondering if he turned ugly in the last five minutes,” Brent teased.
“Let me guess. He smiled at the guy and expected him to roll out his tongue and pant like he was in some Mel Brooks movie.” Dean chuckled slightly, shook his head, and turned to Bobby. “My friend here has incredible luck with guys. They seem to line up for him.”
Bobby looked him over. “I can see why.” Then he moved his attention back to Dean and they smiled at each other like they were smitten teenagers.
“So what do I do?” Trevor asked.
“Get back on the horse and find someone else. The place is filled with guys who keep looking at you like you’re an all-you-can-eat buffet. All you have to do is pick one,” Brent quipped, and Trevor glanced around, meeting the gazes of dozens of guys.
Now that was more like it. He met gaze after gaze, but didn’t see anyone who really caught his interest. Then, without realizing it, he settled on the dark-haired beauty once again, watching him. Each movement, even something as mundane as picking up a beer glass, was a study in grace.
Dean and Bobby got up to dance again, leaving him alone with Brent.
“You’re watching him again, aren’t you?” Brent asked, and Trevor nodded without even thinking about it. There was something about him that hit Trevor like a punch in the gut. James sat there in the midst of all the chaos and noise almost like none of it quite reached him. That was fascinating and incredibly attractive.
“We always want what we can’t have,” Brent said from near his shoulder.
“I know, but I keep wondering why I can’t look away from him. What is it about this guy that draws me to him?” Trevor had never experienced anything like this before. He’d known more men than he could count, and trying to remember them all took too much effort.
“Who knows why we’re attracted to one person over another?”
“I don’t get it. He’s just another guy.”
Brent shook his head and finished his drink, then set the empty glass on the table. “Maybe it’s time you admitted that there’s more to being a man than a cock and some balls. That there’s another organ that’s just as important.”
“When did you get so philosophical?” Trevor asked, honestly interested in the answer, but not getting one as Bobby and Dean returned.
“Is that the guy you were interested in?” Bobby pointed across the dance floor.
“Yeah. I talked to him for a few minutes.”
Bobby chuckled and leaned into Dean, whispering something in his ear, and they shared a laugh. Bobby turned to smile at Trevor. “You weren’t going to get anywhere with him with your smile and stunning good looks.”
“Why not?” Trevor demanded.
“He’s blind.” Bobby said the words so easily, and they shocked Trevor into silence. He watched James, and it made sense. The way he held his glass with both hands wrapped gently around it as if he’d lose it if he wasn’t touching it. How James had looked through him the entire time Trevor had been speaking to him because he couldn’t see and was just looking in his direction, probably to try to be polite. At least Trevor understood why none of his “charms” had worked.
“Are you going to go talk to him again?” Bobby asked. “He looks lonely. He’s been just sitting there for over half an hour.”
“I don’t think so.” Trevor had nothing to offer a guy like that. He always caught guys’ attention with his looks; it was the main gun in his arsenal. Hell, if he thought about it, his looks were his only weapon. Well, that wasn’t true. He could talk to men with no problem, but there weren’t many guys who were interested in Trevor for his repartee. Usually they didn’t get that far.
“Why not?” Brent got up and leaned his hands on the table. “If you aren’t, then I am. He’s….”
“Angelic,” Trevor supplied, and Brent nodded and began walking across the floor to where James sat.
Trevor groaned, clenching the stem of his glass so tightly, he was lucky it didn’t snap in his hand, unable to take his eyes off James. “Fuck it.” Trevor got to his feet and strode across the room, causing a breeze as he passed Brent.
“James, is it okay if I join you?”
“Trevor?” James asked with a smile. “If you like. But I’m not very good company.”
Trevor pulled out the nearest chair and sat. “Why wouldn’t you be?”
James had tilted his head toward the dance floor as though listening for something or someone, but then turned to him. “I’m a little lost. My friend Lester said he wouldn’t be long, and I keep wondering where he is.” James leaned close. “I need to go to the bathroom and I don’t know where it is, and even if I did, trying to make it safely through all these people would be impossible.”
“Because you can’t see?” he said gently, and James nodded. Of course, that was the answer, but Trevor wanted James to know he understood what the issue was. “The bathroom is just around the corner, and I can help you.”
“But as soon as I get up, someone will take the table and then I’ll be totally lost.”
“That’s not a problem.” Trevor caught Marvin’s eye, and he came over. “James, this is Marvin. He’s one of the bouncers here.” Trevor waited while the two men shook hands. “Marvin, would you please hold the table for James while we’re gone for a few minutes?”
Marvin smirked knowingly and nodded once.
“Thanks so much.” Trevor stood and waited while James did the same and extended a collapsible white cane. Trevor glanced at Marvin, whose expression had changed completely, and nodded. Then Trevor gently guided James toward the restroom, speaking softly to let him know what was in front of him.
“You do this very well,” James said as Trevor motioned for people to get out of the way. One guy seemed oblivious until Trevor bumped into him so they could pass.
“There you are. The door is straight ahead. That’s it. We’re inside. Do you need a stall?”
Trevor guided James to an empty one and closed the door, standing guard outside. Why, he had no idea, but he wasn’t going to move. One guy approached and tilted his head questioningly toward the other stall, smiling and raking his gaze over Trevor. Usually he wasn’t one to turn down a blowjob if he could get one, but Trevor shook his head. Once the toilet flushed, he waited for James to open the door before guiding him through the steady stream of guys coming and going.
“The sink is right ahead of you.” He turned on the water, and James washed his hands. Trevor handed him a paper towel and then threw it away once James was done before guiding him out of the bathroom and back to the table. Word seemed to have gotten around because the way parted like the Red Sea as they passed. “Thanks, Marvin.”
“Yes, thank you,” James said as he found his chair by the wall and sat once again. “I really appreciate it.”
“No problem,” Marvin said. He had the deepest voice and always sounded like God whenever he spoke. “If you need anything, just let me know.”
“I will. Thank you.” James smiled in Marvin’s direction, but Trevor didn’t tell him that Marvin was already gone. He turned back in Trevor’s direction. “Do you need a drink?”
“I’m good for now. I have to drive home so I need to be careful.”
“You’re driving?” Trevor asked, teasingly, and James giggled. It was a gloriously joyful sound, and though he tried to cover it up and shift his laugh to a heartier sound, those few moments of abandon were pretty amazing, and Trevor was happy he got to hear them.
“You’re a real smartass. I like that. I meant that I have to be careful how much I drink. Can you imagine the damage a stumbling drunk blind guy can do? The last time I took out three old ladies and a Jehovah’s Witness with my cane.”
“Come on, no way!” Trevor said, enjoying James’s great sense of humor.
“Having too much to drink dulls the senses, and since I can’t see, I need what I have to navigate the world.” James turned around in his chair. “Over there are three guys, and they’re about to have some kind of fight. Their tone is getting rough and the light teasing is turning hurtful.” James pressed himself to the back wall as one of the men chose that moment to leap to his feet and grab one of the others. The bouncers were at the table in seconds, breaking up the argument and escorting the guys out of the club.
“Good. They were getting out of control.”
“How did you do that?”
“When you can’t see, other senses become sharper. I listen very well, but here it’s extra hard because so much is covered up by the music. I hear some voices, but much less than I normally would. Also, everyone is always moving around. It’s like a blob of ever-changing voices around me and it’s too hard to follow, so I end up giving up and then I’m completely lost.”
“James, are you having fun like I said you would?” a skinny guy, wearing tight jeans with a navy blue T-shirt plastered to his body, asked as he hurried over. His hair was damp and slicked down to his head. “I wasn’t gone too long, was I?”
“No.” James was lying, and Trevor wanted to teach Lester a lesson. Maybe trap him in one of the bathroom stalls so he could see how it felt.
“It was at least an hour,” Trevor said firmly, locking gazes with Lester. He was wild-eyed, and Trevor wondered what exactly he’d been doing while he was on the dance floor. The club was warm, but not enough to have someone covered in sweat like that, along with the manic demeanor and darting eyes. Trevor was going to guess Ecstasy, but he wasn’t quite sure.
“I was only gone a few songs, and I met the cutest guy.” Lester seemed totally in his own world. How could a guy like that bring James to a club and basically abandon him? “I just wanted to make sure you were okay. You can come dance with us, you know. I’ll stay close.”
Somehow Trevor doubted that, and James waved Lester off to go dance and have a good time. “I’m fine here.”
“Okay. I’ll be back soon.” Lester threw his arm around some guy who looked as strung out as he was, and they disappeared into the gyrating crowd of people.
“I’m here with some friends. We have a table on the other side of the club. Would you like to join us? It would give you someone else to talk to besides me.” Why he was offering to share this beautifully kind man with anyone was beyond him, but he didn’t want James sitting here all alone, especially after being blown off by his friend.
“You don’t have to do that. I can sit here and wait for Lester.”
Trevor figured James was going to be waiting for quite some time. And even when it was time for him and Lester to go home, Lester wasn’t going to be in any shape to drive, and Trevor could see James being stuck. “Come on. They’re nice guys. Though don’t say anything to Dean about breakups. He’s here to try to forget a pretty bad one with Dumbfuck Chuck.”
James laughed. “Okay.”
Trevor stood and waited for James, then took his glass in one hand and guided him across the club.
“Why does everyone get out of the way? When we got here, we had to fight through the people.” James stepped slowly and carefully as though expecting to bump into someone.
“I think they’re scared of me,” Trevor said.
“Why? Are you frighteningly ugly or something?” James turned his gaze to him. He had beautiful eyes, with no signs of scarring or cloudiness, so the problem with his vision must be deeper.
“I don’t think so. I’m tall and broad, and when I scowl, people get the hell out of the way.”
“So you’re a bruiser or something?” James stopped moving, turned toward him, and placed his hands on Trevor’s shoulders, leaving a trail of heat as he slid them over Trevor’s arms and then across his chest. “Not a bruiser.” James smiled, and Trevor rolled his eyes, even though James couldn’t see it, and guided him the rest of the way to his empty chair.
“This is James.”
“Dean, and this is Bobby,” Dean said. “Look, he and I are going to take off. You guys have a good time.” Dean stood and hugged both Trevor and Brent. “It was great to meet you, James. Have fun.” Dean waved quickly, obviously in a race to leave.
“Thank God. Dean has been sucking Bobby’s face off for half an hour. I was starting to think they were going to get it on right here, and while I’m not averse to watching… I don’t want to see Dean’s bare ass ever again.”
“Is it that bad?” James asked. “Maybe I should be grateful I’m blind, then.”
“It’s not bad. But the last time we were at the lake in the summer, Dean and Dumbfuck Chuck, his ex, decided to go skinny-dipping. Well, they got too close to a flock of geese and Dean came running out of the water, hands over his junk, with a goose chasing him, pecking at his ass. He was black-and-blue for days, and sitting wasn’t particularly comfortable for him judging by the level of complaining he was doing. So we have a rule that Dean is never to show his bare ass around any of us to avoid any sort of repeat.” He and Brent laughed, while James made a weak attempt at a chuckle.
“I’ve never seen one, but they sound vicious.”
Trevor said, “They can be. It’s a large brown bird maybe thirty inches tall. They poop everywhere and they’ve very territorial, especially around their young.”
“They can also run fast and seem to have an affinity for Dean’s butt. Of course, if they went for Chuck’s ass, he’d end up with brain damage.” They all laughed at Brent’s attempt at humor.
“Was Chuck as bad as you say?”
“Worse,” Brent said. “He used Dean for years and then cheated on him.”
James didn’t react initially. “I know what that feels like.” He lifted his glass and drank the last of his beer. “The next time you see him, tell Dean that he should have smashed Chuck in the nuts.” He was so vehement that it took Trevor a little by surprise. James had been reserved and nice up until then, but he contorted his lips and showed his teeth when he talked about what Dean should have done to Chuck. He must have been hurt badly to have such anger.
“There you are,” Lester said as he skidded to a stop near the table. “I looked over there and you were gone, and I thought that….” He wiped his brow, and Trevor handed him a napkin. Lester was really starting to piss him off.
“James is fine here with us. You bring him here and then ignore him most of the time because you found someone interesting.” Trevor leaned toward him, narrowing his eyes. “Go on and have all the fun you want. We’ll watch out for him and see that he gets home.” He glared at Lester, who looked like a stiff breeze was going to blow him over.
“You can’t. He—”
Trevor stood, towering over Lester. “Listen. I don’t know what you’re on, but he isn’t getting in any vehicle with you, and if you push it, I’ll call the police and see what they have to say about it. Now go find your friend and see if he gives a shit about whether you get home or not. You aren’t putting James in danger because you were stupid.” He stepped closer. “Do you get my meaning or should I have the bouncers toss your ass out?”
Lester paled, and Trevor hoped the kid wasn’t going to be sick. He waved Lester away and sat back down.
“But I don’t know you. How can I let you take me home?” James said, and Trevor realized just how out of control and small James must have felt at that moment. “I didn’t really want to come. Places like this aren’t comfortable for me, but Lester talked me into it and promised he’d stay with me.”
Trevor patted James’s hand lightly. “It’s all right. If you don’t want me to take you home, then when you want to go, I’ll get you into a cab. It’s not a problem. But I’m not going to let you ride with him.”
“Is he really on something?”
“Yes. Ecstasy, I think. And he isn’t making good decisions and definitely shouldn’t drive.” Trevor caught the attention of one of the waiters and ordered another round with just a soda for himself. If he was going to be driving James home, something he hoped he’d be allowed to do, then he was going to be stone-cold sober. “Nothing is going to happen to you. I know you just met me, but you’re in good hands. I promise.” He was more concerned with making sure James was okay than anything else.
That thought made him pause. What the hell had happened to him? He’d come here to get laid, hopefully with someone as hot as James, and what was he doing? Playing the protector. This was completely new territory for him. He was the bad boy, taking what he wanted and walking away. He didn’t get to know the guys he slept with… well, fucked was a better term. He stayed aloof—that way he didn’t get hurt—and was up-front. They had some fun, nothing more. He never made promises to anyone. Yet here he was making promises to James that he had every intention of keeping.
“That’s very nice of you.” James turned his head as though he were looking around and then, finishing his drink, he stood. “We should all leave now.”
Brent’s hand stilled with his drink halfway to his lips as James took Trevor’s arm.
“Please lead me toward the door right away.” James practically pulled Trevor to his feet. “You too, Brent.”
Trevor wasn’t sure what the hurry was, but he downed his drink and led James toward the front door. As they got close, a bright light flashed from the back of the club and people started screaming. Trevor picked up the pace, half carrying James to the door and outside onto the sidewalk. Brent was right behind them, and Trevor guided James across the street as smoke poured out of the front door.
Alarms sounded and other doors around the side opened, the noise louder now as still more people poured out of the club.
James looked unsurprised. “I smelled smoke, probably from overheating wires, definitely electrical. It was getting worse.”
Other people hurried across the street, soaking wet, probably from the sprinklers coming on. More smoke poured out of the club as the building lights flashed and then went out, the water most likely shorting out the electrical system.
“I didn’t smell anything,” Brent said.
Trevor shook his head. He hadn’t either, but there were so many people and the place was filled with guys who’d bathed in every brand of cologne available. “Why didn’t you say anything when you said we needed to leave?”
“I didn’t want people to panic, and we needed to get out without being stomped.” James held Trevor’s arm tightly as people milled around them. “Can we go?”
“Yes.” Trevor turned to Brent. “Where’s your car?”
“A block that way. I should be good to go.”
Trevor hugged him. “Call me when you get home. I’m going to take James home. Talk to you soon.” He waved and guided James toward his car a block the other direction. He used his fob to unlock the door and helped James inside. Then he closed the door, went to his side, and got in. Trevor started the engine and asked James for his address, putting it into the GPS, and then he pulled out, turned the car around, and drove away.