ONE OF the joys of working in a large insurance company was that Frankie had a Monday-to-Friday job processing new insurance policies. He waved good-bye at five o’clock Friday evening and didn’t have to think about work or his colleagues until eight thirty Monday morning.
Until the day Frankie opened the e-mail from Human Resources. “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me.”
Charlotte looked over from her desk. “What?”
“They’re sending me on a team-building exercise.” He didn’t appreciate Charlotte’s chuckle. “Winning Ways? What the fuck is that?”
“You’ve been caught. They get us all in the end. You get to spend the weekend in a swanky hotel, building egg wombs and sucking up to managers. Don’t sweat it. You’ll enjoy it.”
“Don’t bank on it,” he muttered. “Wait, egg what?”
“Egg wombs. You know.” At Frankie’s frown, she said, “You have to drop the egg out of a window without it cracking, using only a plastic bag and a cup.”
“Is that what they really call it?”
She shrugged. “Who knows? That’s what you’ve got to do. And the sucking up to the managers. They give you the ‘We’re all equal here. Call me Jeff’ speech but you know they’re just spying on everything you do.”
It was Frankie’s recurring nightmare—to be stuck in a small room with his colleagues and not be able to get away. He got that five days a week but at the weekend as well? “Karma’s a bitch.”
“What have you done?”
“Do you want the list?”
“You’ve been that bad?”
“Probably worse,” he admitted.
She smirked at him. “Frankie’s been a bad, bad boy, and now he is going to get his bottom spanked?”
“I wouldn’t mind if it was that sort of weekend.” Frankie grinned as Charlotte’s cheeks crimsoned. “Gotcha!”
“You’re wicked,” she said. “My mother warned me about boys like you.”
“My mother warned me about boys like me too. They sounded much more fun than the good, church-going boys she wanted me to meet.”
She gave him an odd look. “She knew you were gay back then?”
He rolled his eyes. “Girl, look at me. Could anyone not realize I’m gay?”
“You have a point.”
Frankie’s mum said it was obvious he was gay from the moment he came out of the womb. According to her description, Frankie flounced out to the song on the radio. Frankie thought that being born to Kylie must have been prophetic. It could have been worse—he might have been born to Meat Loaf.
“When are you going on the exercise?”
Frankie scanned the e-mail. “Next month. They’ve got a dropout and they want me to fill in.”
“Can you go?”
Frankie shrugged. “It’s not like my calendar is full or anything.” It would give him something to do. Since Chaz had thrown him out, his social life consisted of clubbing with Jonno or staring at the walls in his tiny flat, eating ready meals he could ill afford and wishing he had Sky TV instead of Freeview. “It might be fun.”
She gave him a dubious look. “Your life really is boring at the moment, isn’t it?”
“You have no idea.”
“Why don’t you come out with me and the girls? We’re going to try that new club in town.”
“Uh, gay, remember?”
“Uh, gay club, remember?”
He frowned. “There’s a new gay club in town? In this dump of a town?”
“God, Frankie, you really are out of it. It opened a couple of weeks ago. It’s near Primark, over the slappers’ shop.”
“I didn’t know. Anyway, why’re you going to a gay club?”
“Ignorance is no excuse, and I’m going to a gay club because most of my mates are dykes and the rest of us are married. It suits us fine not to be hit on by sleazebags. Anyway, the booze is cheaper and the music’s better.”
“How did you end up with lesbians for friends?”
Charlotte grinned at him. “Some of us aren’t narrow-minded little pricks like some people I could mention.”
She did a dramatic head roll to their manager who sat not ten feet away, oblivious to their conversation. Ed Winters was a 1950s Tory poster boy. He disliked women, black people, anyone from the Indian subcontinent, curry, the French, the Irish, dogs, and particularly hom-o-sex-uals—he always enunciated the word as if a bad smell was under his nose.
Frankie grinned at her. Taking the piss out of Ed was one of the few joys in his life. “I’m on for the club. You say where and when.”
Maybe he needed a change from the scene with Jonno. Those clubs were hook-up sites, and much as he needed action, he needed fun. God, he really needed some fun.
“Done. Don’t worry. I’ll make sure the straight girls don’t treat you like their pet poodle for the evening.”
He shrugged. “They can be my bitches.”
“They’ll love it. Do you want to bring the leashes?”
“I worry about you sometimes.”
Charlotte tossed her hair. “You love it.”
“Mr. Mason, Ms. Tiller, is something wrong?” Winters peered over his frameless glasses to stare at them.
They shook their heads and smirked at each other when he scowled and turned away.
Frankie looked at the files on his desk, and the e-mail telling him he had to play nice for a weekend. Charlotte was one bright sparkle in a sea of beige and gray. He pecked disconsolately at the keyboard. “Okay, I’ve confirmed my attendance at the egg womb thing. Now you take me out.”
Charlotte looked up from her phone. “Friday? The girls can’t wait to meet you.”
Frankie nodded. “I’m all yours.”
“Ah baby, if only that were true.” Charlotte blew him a kiss and turned her attention back to her own work.
Hmmm, a new club, potential new meat. Frankie needed something new to wear. He might be short of cash, but he could work that budget. Frankie rocked at the vintage look.
THE FOUR girls whistled when they met Frankie outside Primark. He twirled for them, shimmying his arse for a show. He was wearing black: tight, tight black, the shirt displaying every asset he owned.
“Very nice, Frankie.” Charlotte kissed his cheek and slapped his denim-covered arse.
“Hey!” He rubbed his butt cheek and glared at her.
“It’s such a nice arse, sweetheart.” She slapped it again before hooking her arm through his and leading him to the club.
A petite redhead fell into position on his other side. “Hi, Frankie, I’m Joan.”
He grinned at her, awkwardly shaking her hand with his left as Charlotte had a death grip on his right. “Hey, Joan.”
“That’s Tina, Jane, and Lindsay,” she said, pointing at the others. “Jane’s my girlfriend, and Tina’s married to Lindsay’s brother.”
Joan and Jane? Frankie knew he’d never remember who was who, but he smiled at everyone.
“Julie and the gang are going to meet us in the club,” Charlotte said. “I hope you’ve got your dancing shoes on because we are going to par-ar-tay!”
She wiggled her behind, and the girls cheered her on. Frankie grinned, feeling lighter for the first time since he’d received the text from Chaz. There was no pressure to hook up or do anything except dance ’til his feet ached and his body craved a bacon sandwich.
“Did you say bacon sandwich?” Charlotte looked confused.
“Did I speak out loud?” At her nod, Frankie said, “Post clubbing I want a bacon butty.”
“I thought you preferred sausage,” Jane said, a wicked smirk on her face.
The girls cackled as he poked his tongue out. “Tonight bacon trumps sausage.”
“I’ll go with that,” Lindsay said. “Bacon sandwiches and cups of tea at Greasy Joe’s after the club.”
“The best bacon butties ever,” Joan said reverentially.
Frankie moaned just a little. This was going to be an awesome night.
QUEENS, DYKES, pretty gay boys—the new club was a real mixture. Frankie spotted one or two straight men looking like deer caught in headlights, but at the door the bouncers had been turning away large groups of straight girls and their boyfriends. He felt comfortable here; it was a place to have a good time rather than hook up. The club was heaving, and Frankie felt the sweat beading on his forehead within minutes of arriving. He didn’t care because almost as soon as they’d hit the dance floor the girls had him arms-up and grinding his hips to “Dancing Queen.” He really hoped they were going to get past the seventies classics. Still, the night was young.
The girls were up for everything, and they didn’t let Frankie leave the dance floor until he threatened to pass out from dehydration.
“Make sure you come back,” Charlotte said when he pleaded to be allowed to get a drink.
“Promise ya,” Frankie stumbled off to get a drink from the bar. Christ, he thought he had stamina, but the girls hadn’t stopped dancing the entire night and they were all wearing heels that could do serious damage.
The bar was packed and Frankie wasn’t tall. He waited in the scrum until it was his turn to be served and then beamed at the barman, who was short, blond, and really cute.
“Two bottles of water,” Frankie said.
The barman blinked. “Still or sparkling?”
Frankie admired the guy’s arse as he bent to get the bottles from the chiller. Cute and a nice butt! Not Frankie’s usual type, but never let it be said he wasn’t flexible… except for women—he wasn’t that flexible.
“I get off at three,” the barman said, obviously reading Frankie’s admiration.
Frankie licked his lips, pleased to see the barman’s eyes tracking the action. “See you then.”
“Mark, if you’ve finished flirting with the customers….” A woman dressed in the club’s uniform leaned across him to serve another customer.
“Yeah, sorry, Sarah.” Mark smiled at Frankie. “Later.”
Frankie nodded and backed away. Later sounded good enough for him.
He chugged back an entire bottle of water to slake his thirst, then followed up with half of the second.
“There you are,” Charlotte said. “I thought you’d escaped.”
Frankie smirked at her. “Cute barman.”
“’Bout my height, big eyes, probably blue, and a tight arse that’s waiting for me to plough it.”
Her eyes widened. “You top?”
“Don’t sound so surprised. It’s been known to happen.”
Charlotte plucked the water bottle out of his hand and downed the rest of it, ignoring his outraged “What the fuck?” When she’d finished, she wiped her mouth and looked at him. “Thought we were going for breakfast after the clubbing.”
Frankie leaned forward to kiss her on the cheek. “Babe, we’ll have breakfast.”
“Are you bringing him with us?”
Frankie shrugged. “We’ll see. Leave the details to me. Now let’s get back to the dancing.”
She whooped and dragged him back on the floor. The music changed to George Michael.
“Jesus, get in this century already,” Frankie yelled.
Jane shimmied against him. “He’s a classic.”
“That’s one way to describe him,” Frankie agreed. He could think of others.
MARK’S MOUTH tasted of mint as Frankie explored it, pressing Mark against the door so that he controlled the kiss. That was odd in itself. He was usually more than happy to be in Mark’s position, but this time… damn, the blond made him hot and horny.
Frankie had presented the problem to the barman during the evening. He wanted to fuck Mark, he wanted to have breakfast with his friends. Mark was welcome to be present at both.
Mark had taken a long time to reply, and Frankie was sure he was going to say no. Then he’d looked at Frankie. “My break’s in ten minutes. Maybe breakfast another time?”
So yeah, hot and horny and in a store cupboard. Frankie roamed under Mark’s shirt, pinching his nipples and making him groan loudly.
“I haven’t got long,” Mark said, but as he worried a hickey onto Frankie’s neck, he obviously wasn’t that bothered.
“Wanna fuck you,” Frankie said.
Frankie held up a foil packet.
Mark turned around and pushed his trousers around his thighs. Then he slapped his hands flat on the wall.
Okay, then. They were short of time, so Frankie didn’t waste a second, rolling on the condom and lubing Mark’s arsehole, grunting as it closed like a vice around his fingers. Damn, he was tight.
“Relax,” Frankie whispered in his ear.
“Trying.” Mark sounded strained.
Frankie wasn’t going to hurt the kid, and he took a few minutes gently preparing him until the blood supply was flowing to his fingers and Mark was panting, his head down between his shoulders.
Mark turned his head. “Get a move on.”
Sound advice that Frankie was happy to take. He lined up his cock and pressed in, still taking his time for Mark’s body to adjust. When Mark was obviously ready, Frankie pumped his hips several times, drawing a groan from him.
Frankie held on to Mark’s hips, changing position to peg his prostate, and grinned when Mark yelled. He set up a rhythm, thrusting hard enough that his balls slapped against Mark’s, and Mark was reduced to grunts and moans. As Frankie’s balls tightened, he leant against Mark’s body and wrapped his hand around his leaking cock. Three more thrusts and come shot over his fingers and splattered the floor. Frankie hammered into Mark’s arse, pulsing into the condom as he climaxed.
He could feel the sweat prickling his chest as he rested against Mark’s back.
“Fuck,” Mark said.
Frankie frowned and pulled back, slipping out of Mark’s body. The barman hissed at the movement. “You okay?” Frankie asked.
“Due back at work five minutes ago.” Mark pulled his trousers around his hips. “Boss’ll kill me. Gotta go.”
Before Frankie could decide if he was meant to apologize or even pull up his jeans, Mark was out of the door. Frankie stared after him, then pulled off the condom and headed for the gents.
Charlotte gave him a knowing look when he returned.
“What?” Frankie asked.
“Hooked up with your little barman?”
“Yeah. Then he ran back to work.”
“Aw, baby, no spark?”
Frankie shrugged. “I’ve had better. Dance with me, girl.” He wrapped his arm around her waist and dragged her onto the dance floor. The music was from a decade ago. At least they’d made it into the twenty-first century.
JANE STARED at Frankie openmouthed. “How can you shovel that much food into your mouth? Don’t answer that until you’ve chewed!”
“Frankie’s got a huge gob,” Charlotte said.
Frankie chewed obediently because Jane was scary. Charlotte he would have just sprayed with crumbs. “It’s a gift,” he said and took another huge mouthful.
“Ugh!” Jane pulled a face. “You like this man?”
Charlotte grinned at Frankie. “I love this man. He makes my day at work bearable.”
“Ditto.” Frankie loved her and her husband, David. “Otherwise I’d have to put up with Edward Shitbag all by myself.”
“You’d have killed him by now,” Charlotte said.
“Fucking right I would. That man deserves to be hanged by his own polyester tie.”
“He can’t be that bad,” Jane protested. She was cuddled next to Joan, quiet and sleepy. Tina and Lindsay had gone home after the club, protesting their exhaustion.
“This is the man that believes all lesbians haven’t been porked by the right man,” Frankie said.
“Kill the bastard painfully,” Jane said flatly.
He grinned at her.
Charlotte moaned as she put the last of her sandwich in her mouth.
“Good?” Frankie asked.
“The best. Breakfast at Greasy Joe’s in the morning with my favorite people. What could be better?”
“I’ll remind David you said that,” Joan said.
“Most of my favorite people.” Charlotte licked her fingers. “He is my soul mate.”
“Aw, isn’t that sickening.” Frankie pretended to gag.
“Just because you haven’t found your soul mate, you don’t have to knock mine.”
“You really believe in soul mates?”
“You don’t?” Joan asked.
Frankie looked at the couple, huddled as close as they could in public, and Charlotte, who adored her husband passionately. “Maybe for some people, sweetness, but not for me.”
“Because guys like me have fun and sex, not cuddles on the sofa and walks with the dog on the common. We don’t get the beige life.” Frankie had seen heteronormative life described in a book as “beige,” and he liked that description. So many of his straight friends seemed happy to settle for dull and boring.
“You don’t get it or don’t want it?” Jane asked.
None of the girls seemed offended by his rejection of their lives.
“I….” Frankie had to think for a moment. “I don’t want it.”
Charlotte nodded. “You never want to settle down?”
He shook his head. “Not me. I just want to have fun, you know?”
“I know, sweetie,” Charlotte patted his arm. “But at some point even that gets old and the sofa looks real comfortable.”
Frankie didn’t need reminding that he was too old to be a twink. He beamed at the girls. “I’m going home to get my beauty sleep. I’ll see you on Monday.”
“What are you doing this weekend?” Charlotte asked. “We’ve got a barbeque if you want to come.”
Frankie tried to think of a way of declining without saying he’d rather gouge his eyes out with a red-hot poker. A couple of hours in the company of happy couples and their brats were his idea of hell.
Charlotte burst out laughing. “Frankie, if you could see your face! Don’t worry, I won’t be upset if you stay at home and count your ingrowing hairs.”
“I don’t have any ingrowing hairs,” he said, thoroughly offended.
“Course you don’t. See you on Monday.”
Frankie kissed them on the cheek and headed for the door. Dawn had arrived with a pale pink-and-blue sky, and thankfully no rain. He decided to walk home, relaxed and full, and ready to sleep. At this time of the morning, he could cut off a few minutes by walking through the station concourse without negotiating hundreds of tourists.
He stepped off the curb, and after that, he wasn’t sure what happened except his world spun crazily out of control. He heard the sound of a car horn, and Frankie was thrown off his feet, only to land on the ground, an excruciating pain in his hip.
What the fuck?
“He just stepped out in front of me. You saw that, didn’t you? He didn’t look at all. He was probably after a score.”
Frankie opened his eyes and glared at the man standing over him. “Thanks for your concern, arsehole, but I’m not a druggie. Give me your phone number, address, and insurance details,” he said brusquely. At least, he aimed for brusque rather than weak and feeble.
The man sniffed and vanished out of sight. Frankie contemplated getting up. On the other hand, the ground was comfortable and he had nowhere to be.
“An ambulance is on its way. You have a habit of getting into trouble, don’t you?”
Frankie turned his head to deny the charge and was fixed by the most beautiful green eyes he had ever seen. “Take me home,” he said and was rewarded with a smile from the man.
“Huh, a faggot. Might have known.”
The driver was really getting on Frankie’s nerves. “Give me the details and then you can get lost.”
A hand squeezed Frankie’s, and Green Eyes said, “Give me the details. You can talk to the police and I’ll look after my boy here, before he gets into any more trouble.”
“Frankie,” Frankie said.
“My name’s Frankie.” Frankie gave a melting smile to the nice man with dark hair and gorgeous green eyes. Then he glared at the driver. “That’s Mr. Lawsuit to you.”
“Listen, you little—”
Green Eyes sighed. “How the hell did you manage to get to adulthood, Frankie? The ambulance is here, thank God.”
Frankie was really pleased because fuck knows the pain in his hip was hurting like a bitch, and no one seemed to give a shit about him, and his mum would wash his mouth out with soap and water if he kept swearing, and….
His brain shut off as Green Eyes kissed him.
“What the…?” he said faintly.
“You were talking again, Frankie. It seemed the best way to shut you up.”
Frankie was about to ask if he could do it again when they were interrupted by a woman wearing a green monstrosity. Seriously, couldn’t they find anyone to design better uniforms than this boiler suit?
“What’s happened here?” she asked perkily.
Oh great, a perky girl. Even her ponytail swung in a perky fashion. Frankie hated her on sight.
“Frankie got hit by the car. He’s been conscious all the time.”
The girl smiled at Frankie. “How are you feeling, Frankie?”
He rolled his eyes. “How do you think I feel? Like I’ve been hit by a fucking car.”
Her smile didn’t fade, but Green Eyes said, “I’ll wash your mouth out with soap if you don’t start being nice to the lady.”
“You could always spank my arse,” Frankie suggested hopefully.
“You’ll have to spank your boyfriend later,” the paramedic said. “We need to get him to hospital.”
“He’s not my boyfriend,” Green Eyes said. “I was on my way to meet my mum and I saw the incident.”
“Ah, sorry. I thought I saw you kissing him.”
“You did. It’s a remarkably good way of shutting him up.”
“It only works with hot men,” Frankie said hastily in case the paramedic got any ideas.
“Understood,” she said with a completely straight face and then ruined it by grinning at him. “Way to go to pick up a guy.”
She held out a hand for a high five. Frankie tried hard to respond, but the pain was making it difficult for him to move.
The paramedic frowned. “Where does it hurt, Frankie?”
“Everywhere.” Frankie swallowed back the rising nausea. “I feel like shit.”
She was all professional now, feeling down his body. “We’re going to get you to hospital now.”
Frankie tried to nod, but she stayed the action. “Just stay still and let us move you. We’re going to put a collar on you so don’t move.”
Green Eyes loomed over him. “I’ve got to meet my mum, Frankie, or I’m in trouble. I’ll leave you with the ladies.” He bent down and brushed Frankie’s mouth with his. “My mum is seriously ill, or there is nothing that would keep me from coming with you. I’ll see you again. This is the second time, and things like this always run in threes. Try not to drink so much next time.”
Frankie frowned. The second time? Next time? What the hell was he talking about? What was his telephone number? But he didn’t get a chance to ask as he was loaded into an ambulance. The doors closed on hot Green Eyes, and Frankie was left with Ms. Perky Green Boiler Suit.
Someone up there had a sick sense of humor.