Gambling Men: Short Story Roscoe

Tuesday November 28, 2023

Roscoe—A Gambling Man Fic


By Amy Lane




Jace had to admit, he hadn’t seen it coming—but he should have. After five years together, he and Quent had a good thing going, but Quent wasn’t a static animal. He cared. He loved. He nurtured, and Jace wasn’t as…as cuddly as he probably should be.


Not for somebody like Quentin.


It still caught him by surprise.


There they were, pausing by their favorite bagel kiosk to enjoy their morning breakfast when Jace realized half of Quent’s bagel was missing. Not just, “Quentin was hungry so he devoured it,” but, well, missing. One minute Quent had been biting into it, and the next, half had disappeared. It was almost sleight of hand.


“Where’d it go?” Jace asked, looking around to see if it had broken off.


“Whed wha’ go?” Quent answered—all too innocently, Jace thought—through a full mouth.


“Half your bagel? Did you palm it and throw it away? Are you on a diet? What? What’s wrong with your sandwich?”


Quentin made a show of swallowing what was in his mouth and shrugged, his neat beard, full lips, and big brown eyes making him look almost saintly. “No idea what you’re talking about. I ate it.” Quentin gestured with his chin while taking a large bite of what was left of his own fried-egg and sausage bagel. “Now eat yours. So we can…” He paused and swallowed, and Jace glanced at his own breakfast on reflex, and when he looked up again, Quent’s bagel had disappeared.


Jace boggled at him. “The hell,” he said, but not angry—mild.


Quent smiled winningly, standing upright now and not hunched over his sandwich like he had been. In fact, one of his shoulders was angled back further than normal and Jace leaned to the side to see if he was reaching for something behind him.


He was. And leaning back. Down by his calf, taking Quentin’s breakfast from his hand, was a tiny, scruffy dog with big brown eyes staring at him from tangled gray fur.






“Why are you feeding that dog your breakfast?”


“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Quentin replied as the dog took the final bite from his fingers. “You don’t like dogs. Why would I be feeding a dog?”


Jace continued to look around Quentin’s shoulder, a feat made harder by Quentin angling his body and walking backward in a circle in order to hide the dog. The dog was licking determinedly at Quent’s fingers by this time, his little front paws on Quent’s brand new wool slacks, and he was dancing backwards in a circle too. The whole thing resembled a small ticket circus act and Jace stood abruptly and put his free hand on Quent’s shoulder to stop him, before squatting down with the rest of his sandwich to check out the dog that Quentin wasn’t feeding.


“Hello,” he said, his voice sinking to a soft timbre that surprised even him. The dog ignored him until he held out a bite of steak and bagel, and then, with one last lick of Quentin’s fingers, he made to take the bite from Jace. Jace let him, while scratching behind his ears at the same time, and the dog allowed him to do this while giving him the same narrow eyed glare that someone might give the devil while being seduced into a bargain. Yeah, the dog knew there’d be consequences, but dammit, that bite of bagel looked so good!


Quentin squatted down next to him, the hems of their long, slick trench coats brushing the ground, although neither of them noticed. The dog finished Jace’s sandwich and then turned to Quent, not disappointed when there was no food. He was, in fact, looking forward to Quent’s ear rub, and Quentin smiled fondly at the little animal.


“You’ve fed this dog your bagel before?” Jace asked, and Quentin gave him a sheepish look.


“All last week,” he said apologetically. “It’s, uhm, why I ran this way over the weekend. I didn’t want him to go hungry.”


Jace stared at his husband unhappily. He was so…so fond of this little animal, scratching it behind the ears, seducing it with food. And he hadn’t mentioned it to Jace?


“What made you think I didn’t like dogs?” Jace asked, trying to mask this absurd sensation in his chest.


“I’ve asked,” Quentin said with a shrug. “You know. If we could get a pet. You…you were upset about the dog hair on your suits. I just assumed it was something I had to give up.”


Jace was shocked to feel a definite wibble around his mouth. Quentin, pouring his affection into this tiny stray dog, had been planning to give up having something he obviously very much wanted, because Jace didn’t like dog hair on his pants?


Oh… oh no. Oh no.


“What…what would we do with a dog?” Jace asked, but there must have been something different about his voice, because Quentin looked into his eyes and smiled.


“You know. Take him on walks, take him with us on trips, take him to the office with us. Buy him little beds, feed him treats. He’s really smart. I bet we could have him fetch little toys and stuff. Isn’t he cute?”


“But he’s filthy,” Jace said, although he was scratching the dog’s rump like this didn’t matter. He stared at his own fingers, moving in the dog’s fur, and wondered how he even knew what to do with the thing.


“Well, I checked the vet on the corner,” Quentin said, giving an almost ingratiating smile. “They’ll give him a hygienic groom and check him out for diseases and parasites and stuff, and they’re attached to a pet store. We could… you know. Take him in. Get him looked at.” He swallowed. “Give him up for adoption if you don’t like the idea.”


Jace found his equilibrium after all. “Yeah, Quent. You’re going to pick that animal up, take him to the vets and spend a fortune on him, and then find him a new home. That’s what’s going to happen.”


The sarcasm in his voice brought out color in Quent’s cheekbones. “But…” he faltered. “You don’t like dogs.”


“Regardless,” Jace said crisply. “I like you, so the dog’s coming with us. Now hurry. I’m sure the vet’s office is going to take an hour and our own office falls apart without us.”


The goofiest smile was spreading over Quent’s face, and Jace couldn’t look away.


“Really?” he asked, although he was already bundling the dog up in his arms.


“On one condition,” Jace muttered, starting his usual ground-eating stride, throwing away his bagel napkin as he went.


“What?” Quentin asked, hurrying to catch up with him. The dog was climbing his chest, licking his face, ignoring the beard, even as he walked.


“You go back to the apartment after we drop him off, change your clothes and take everything you’re wearing and my own coat to the cleaners.” Jace shuddered. He’d never considered himself a germaphobe, but at the moment, that dog was like a hairy piece of bubblegum. “My God, I feel like Pigpen from the Peanuts cartoons.”


“Did you hear that, Roscoe?” Quentin said, ignoring Jace’s prissiness. “We’re going to go get a bath!”


“Roscoe,” Jace muttered, not slowing down in the least. “Oh my God.”




The veterinarian told them that Roscoe would take all day, with a hefty chunk of change added because he was a dropoff appointment, but Quentin didn’t bat an eye over the cost. He scratched the little animal’s head and told him they’d be back, and the creature—whom the vet estimated to be around two years old—smiled at him trustingly, even as they turned to leave.


“Where are you going?” Jace asked as Quent turned the wrong way when they left the vet’s.


“Home,” Quentin said worriedly. “You told me to—”


“Elsie can take the coats in to be cleaned,” Jace said reluctantly. “We’ve got a washroom and a shower and a change of clothes there. Don’t worry about it. I was being an asshole.”


“But you let me keep the dog!” Quentin said happily.


Jace shook his head, struck again by the inherent wrongness of that statement. “But Quentin—it’s your apartment too!” He swallowed, his throat absurdly tight. Five years they’d been living together—five years! He’d been happy. He’d been sure Quentin was happy. But…but there was his husband, sneaking pieces of a bagel to a dog because he thought Jace wouldn’t approve.


It stung like a betrayal, except apparently he’d been the one betraying.


“Well, yes,” Quentin said, sounding cautious, and Jace wondered what his own expression was. “But pets are tricky things, Jace. They have to be a complete buy in by both parties. If I get a dog and you hate a dog, that’s no good. If you get a cat and I’m allergic, I end up hating the cat. So if you don’t want a dog, I need to either find a compelling reason why I absolutely need a dog, or I live without a dog.”


Jace stared at him, miserable. “But I didn’t know how much you really wanted a dog,” he said. “I didn’t want a boyfriend, or a husband, but you were my compelling reason for wanting a boyfriend and then a husband. For all you knew, you could have been my compelling reason for wanting a dog.”


Quentin was an urban businessman, as picky about clothes and furniture, about image and couture as Jace himself. Was it only Jace who saw those absurdly shy smiles and the inherent kindness in the man? The way he had of making their apartment a home, a den of warmth, of laughter, a place of joy?


“Am I?” Quentin asked, hope peeking out from his dark brows.


“Are you what?” Jace asked, at a loss as he only was with Quent.


“Am I your compelling reason for wanting a dog?”


Ugh. Jace could still smell the little creature, an impossible stench of garbage and unwashed crotch, and he would itch all day imagining crawling things coming off its fur. But he could also see the little pink tongue licking shyly at Quent’s wrist, and the way the bead-black eyes had followed the two of them as they left the vet’s office, and perhaps (as the dog saw it) abandoned him forever.


Was loving Quentin with everything he had a reason to open his heart another crack? A small, ten pound or so crack? The kind of crack that came with pee pads and poop bags and dog beds and sixty-dozen lint rollers because that shit never came out ever?


Quentin’s eyes were patient as Jace thought, and suddenly Jace could think of nothing but how trusting Quent was, that whatever Jace picked, he’d pick what was best for them. Not just Jace—and not just Quent—but the two of them, their perfectly functioning team, their marital unit. It was the biggest, most frightening responsibility in Jason Spade’s life, and he hadn’t been so uncertain of his next action since their beginning days, when he’d been so desperate to have Quentin in his bed, his life, and so uncertain as to how to make him stay.




“We didn’t really need the three dog beds,” Quentin said later that day as they walked, Roscoe on the end of a lead, from the vet’s to the apartment.


“One for our bedroom, one for the living room, one for by the poker table so he can watch us play,” Jace said, because that only made sense.


“Or the expensive food. He’s been living on street trash for the last month, at least,” Quentin added, expertly tucking his shoulders to avoid the crowd of people heading their way while keeping the dog safe at his heels at the same time.


“Better food will help him live longer,” Jace told him.


“Or the fancy leash and collar,” Quent added dryly.


Jace felt the heat in his face and tried to ignore it. “If I’m walking that dog in my new Burberry coat and Ferragamo’s he’d better keep up.”


Next to him Quentin made a suspicious sound, but Jace pretended to ignore him.


“And all that stuff better be there by tonight,” Jace added. “I’ve got steaks in the fridge and I’m not planning to sacrifice my dinner—or any of my T-shirts—so he can sleep.”


“They promised it would be,” Quentin told him mildly.


“But what if it’s not?” Jace demanded.


“Then I’ll sacrifice my steak and my sweats,” Quentin told him. “You’ve been begging me to throw out that pair with the hole in the ass for years.”


Of course he had. It made him unbearably horny and Jace had enough trouble controlling himself. Which reminded him… “Ugh. What are we going to do with that dog while we have sex?” he asked, just as they passed a group of teenagers, who all burst into giggles.


“Oh my God,” Quent muttered.


“My bad,” Jace said, lowering his voice. “Sorry.”


“Don’t worry,” Quent said, as they rounded the corner for their apartment, getting a wide-eyed look of surprise from their doorman as they approached.


“How can I not worry?” Jace asked, noting Quentin’s friendly smile and wave as they entered the lobby. Quentin, as always, was nice to everybody. Everybody. And now, he had a dog to be nice to, and Jace had to learn to deal. “It’s one of my favorite things to do.”


“Well, yeah, Jace,” Quent said. “But I take your orders just fine. I’m pretty sure the dog’ll get down when it’s time to wood up!”


And like that, Jace’s cock ached. Like that. They were the only two people in the elevator, and Jace, careful of the dog, who sat guard at Quent’s feet like Jace had wanted to during their entire relationship, placed a careful hand on Quent’s backside.


“Quent?” he said, low and near Quent’s ear.


“What?” Quent asked breathlessly.


“Wood up.”


Quent’s sudden “Wooolf…” of an inhale sucked all the air out of the elevator, and the next ten airless seconds took an eternity. Jace flexed his fingers against Quent’s backside to pass the time, and Quent let out a slow, breathy, “Ahhhh…” on the exhale. Jace buried his face against the back of Quent’s neck and shuddered. Only nine more seconds to go.




The elevator doors opened and Quent doublechecked to make sure Roscoe was still there.


“We have to set up,” he practically wheezed. “Pee pads… the bathroom…”


“The bedroom,” Jace ground out. “He’s fine. Go.”


Quentin’d had plans. The dog had relieved himself dry on the walk to the apartment, but Quent was going to set out pads and interim bedding and a food and water station and—


And Jace bent down, unclipped the new leash from the new collar as soon as Quent shut the door. Before Quent could even get dizzy, Jace had him stripped of his coat, his pants, his boxers, and bent over their bed, bare and exposed and groaning as Jace penetrated him with two lube-slicked fingers.


“God,” Quent moaned. “So fast. Jace—so ah!


That quickly, Jace had breached him, full and hard and ready even as Quent’s brain caught up. Jace wanted him. They were doing this. His husband was inside him and everything, stretched and aching asshole, erect cock, even his nipples under his dress shirt, everything, tingled and buzzed, like his body had been jump-started and he was arcing electricity from his nipples to his cock to Jace’s cock inside him.


And then Jace began to fuck.


Quent screamed, the good kind of scream, when sensation overwhelmed a body and there was only one way to let it out.


“Yeah?” Jace asked, but he knew Quentin’s tells like he knew his own hand. He grasped Quentin’s shoulder hard and thrust, brutally fast, and Quentin screamed again, face buried against their comforter, as he convulsed, not ready to come yet but unable to think, to even breathe he was so aroused.


“Yeah,” he whimpered when the scream was done. “Yes yes yes yes… Jace…yes!


So hard, so fast. Jace’s hips bounced off Quent’s backside with enough force to bruise, but Quent didn’t care. Just please, God, Jace, hit it again, the spot, the spot, the spot, right fucking there!


This time, Jace let out the sound, almost a howl, as he pegged Quent’s gland, and Quent was too nerve-shot to even scream this time. His mouth opened soundlessly, and his body convulsed, this time orgasm taking over, his come scalding against his cock, his stomach, his balls. Jace collapsed over his back, rutting, and Quent was filled with his spend, spilling hotly from his asshole, coating their thighs, running down the inside of Quent’s knee and still, Jace kept coming.


Finally he let out a grunt and fell on top of Quent, his arm wrapped around Quent’s chest. Quent heard Jace’s harsh breathing in his ear, and that marvelous woobly floaty sensation that seemed to come from bottoming with a lover as intense as Jason Spade.


And then he realized the quality of Jace’s breathing had changed, broken, gone uneven. With difficulty, Quent looked over his shoulder and tried to look at Jace’s face, before he realized it was buried in the back of his neck.


“Jace?” he asked hesitantly. “Jace, is anything wrong?”


“Want,” Jace mumbled. “You don’t have to need something, Quent. You just need to want it. If you want it, I want it for you. You waited five years for a dog?”


Aw. “Jace…” he murmured. “Come on, baby. Look at me.”


Jace did, and he looked miserable. Quent managed to kiss his cheek, glad when Jace helped him out and went in for the kiss. It was short and gentle, and Quent gave a gentle sigh when it was over. Jace slid out of his body, finally, softened, and Quent wondered if he’d be able to walk. And, hey, where was the dog?


“Jace,” he said uncertainly, wriggling, “where’d Roscoe go?”


“Oh shit!” Jace stood up suddenly and as Quentin turned around he saw several things at once.


One was Jace’s suit slacks in a puddle around his feet, which meant he’d been really primed to go because usually his suits got hung up. The other was that there was something small and weighty in the crotch of the slacks, in the underwear, curled up in a ball, and as Jace stood and attempted to back away from the bed, he floundered for a moment, uncharacteristically clumsy, his arms windmilling as he lost his balance and oop! Oop! Oop! Fell down on his backside as the suddenly displaced dog let out a yelp and jumped up on his body, looking for comfort!


“Oh my God!” Jace thundered, so uncharacteristically rattled that Quentin had to stare. “He’s licking my face and I’m naked!”


Quent had half turned on the bed and now he collapsed sideways, his own slacks sliding off his feet as he howled with laughter and Jace unsuccessfully fended off the highly affectionate dog.


Finally Quent managed to breathe again and saw that Jace was sitting bare-assed naked on the carpet, holding the dog against his chest and looking totally discombobulated.


“Jace?” he said, hoping this would help.


“What?” Jace asked.


“I really need you to want that dog.”


Jace let out a helpless little laugh. “I do,” he said, looking into Roscoe’s very visible eyes under his newly trimmed bangs. “The little bastard apparently loves me. What’s not to love?”


“What do you want to bet he chews holes in things and sheds and has to learn where to pee?” Quent asked, because these were the things he feared most, that Jace would get fed up with an animal that interfered with his perfect life. He wasn’t afraid now—not seeing Jace showing the creature tenderness that, in the past, he’d reserved only for Quentin himself.


“No bet,” Jace said grimly, struggling to his feet with the dog tucked under his arm. “You named him Roscoe—that’s pretty much a wild card name. He’s going to be a handful.”


Quent smiled, relieved, and stood himself, gathering his slacks and sliding on his boxers, and then doing the same for Jace.


“C’mon,” he said, after finding some sweats and a sweatshirt. With a kiss on Jace’s cheek, he took the dog and cuddled it. “Get dressed. We’ll have dinner. Take him for a walk before we go to sleep. Call Elsie, see if we can hire a dog walker to come by the office or who will stay with him when we’re at the gym. It’ll be fine.” He smiled up into Jace’s vodka-blue eyes and hoped for a return smile, some of Jace’s usual confidence. He loved that Jace took charge, loved that Jason Spade wanted their lives to go in a way that made them both happy, but sometimes, caring for another person took the wind out of even a die-hard dominator’s sails.


Jace nodded and looked away. “I’m sorry,” he said after a moment. “I…you must have said ‘Hey, a dog would be fun,’ a million times and I never heard, ‘I’d really like a dog.’ I just heard, ‘Hey, Quentin’s talking about dogs again.’ I…I wasn’t being a very good husband.”


Quent sighed. “Jace, put on some clothes. You’re a great husband. If I’d been going to daieeeeeee without a dog, I would have told you. Maybe, it was just time. Maybe, this dog was all we were waiting for.” Roscoe licked his hand and he smiled at him. “I mean, maybe you had to see me feed a dog a bagel before it really clicked. Whatever. You let me spend a zillion dollars on a street dog, and now he’s ours and I love him. It’s all good.”


Jace’s expression had gone warm and melty. “You’re all good,” he said throatily. Then he grinned, his usual shark grin, and Quentin felt his own heart growing warm.


“I’m only really good when you’re banging me like a drum,” he said.


Jace’s eyes darkened. “Or on your knees,” he said, and Quentin’s smile went sleepy as well before Roscoe licked his wrist again.

“See?” he said. “We’re still good. Just now we’ve got walkies at night.”


And to his amusement, Jace’s expression became completely horrified. “I’m not calling it walkies!” he said, but Quentin had turned to walk out of the room.


“Put your pants on, Jace,” he all but sang. “Roscoe and I will be waiting!”


When he got out to the living room he checked in front of the door and saw Roscoe’s furniture had been delivered, so the little dog was set up in his dog bed on a corner of the couch, gnawing happily on a chew toy as he made dinner when Jace emerged from the bedroom.


Quent watched as he paused in front of the dog and scratched between his ears and then moved through the dining room until he was behind Quent as he chopped up salad fixins.


“Feeling better?” Quent asked, enjoying his closeness.


“I’m not calling it ‘walkies’,” Jace growled, nibbling on his ear.


“Wanna bet?” Quent teased, and he could practically hear Jace calculating the odds in his head. Before he could spit out an over/under, Quent turned in his arms and kissed him, loving him so much in his moment he wondered how he’d ever thought he’d known what love was before.


“No bet,” Jace murmured, pulling back. “I should have learned five years ago, Quent. The home always wins.”


Not the house, Quent knew. The home. “I love being your home,” he murmured. “Now go play with the dog.”


Behind him, he heard his husband, the man he loved more than anything, lose years and dignity, chanting, “Want the toy, Roscoe? Go get it! Go get the toy!”


More. He loved the man more and more and more. Never, ever bet against the home.