It had been nine long weeks since he'd left home, and he wasn't sure what kind of reception he was going to get. If it was him, he knew he would have been pissed. He was supposed to be home three weeks ago, but the assignment ran over. There was nothing he could do about it, no way to contact anyone without blowing his cover, but that didn't make it any easier for those left behind. His guilt made him even wearier. With a sniff and a sigh, he unlocked the door deciding he was too tired to think about it all. He needed sleep.
Whatever he was expecting when he opened the door, it wasn't what he found. Beer bottles, newspapers and empty pizza boxes were scattered throughout the living room. His eyes watered as he caught a whiff of the obviously long sitting Chinese take out boxes stacked up on the coffee table. He swallowed hard forcing himself not to gag. Setting his bag down, he walked into the kitchen and was treated to even more garbage stacked on the floor and a mountain of dirty dishes in the sink. Not having the energy to deal with the mess, he turned off the light and headed down the hall to the bedroom, their bedroom.
A thin line of light was visible under the door, and he could hear voices and cheesy music, so either the television was on with some noisy infomercial blaring, or Chris was watching porn. He smiled at that thought even as he realized that the hazardous waste dump dcor, which had greeted him, pretty much insured he would be met with the former and not the latter.
He opened the door slowly, the familiar creek of the hinges more welcoming than he could ever have imagined. And there he was -- Chris. His Chris, sprawled out naked across the bed, sheets and blankets kicked to the foot of the bed, dueling shadows from the moon and the television dancing across his muscular back and perfect ass. Thank fucking God, Toby thought. He was finally home.
Quickly shedding his clothes until all he wore were his boxers, Toby sat down gently on the bed. He had planned on just lying down and going to sleep, but he couldn't do it. He couldn't help himself. He felt his hand reach out and caress Chris's back. He needed to touch him, to make sure he was real. Of course the feel of Chris's warm skin under his hand wasn't enough. He leaned down and nuzzled his neck, relishing in the taste and smell of his lover. He was home. He was really fucking home.
Chris jerked awake, nearly knocking Toby off the bed as he sat up. It took him a minute to make his eyes focus. "Toby, oh fuck Toby is it really you?"
"Yeah, Chris. It's me," Toby said taking in Chris's haggard appearance. It looked like Chris hadn't slept in sometime, at least not fitfully. He was wearing at least a week's worth of stubble, and his hair was matted to one side. Still, he was the most beautiful thing Toby had ever seen. "I'm home," he said leaning over for a kiss.
Chris kept him at arms length, his hands on Toby's shoulders. He was fully awake now. "Where the fuck have you been? O'Reily wouldn't return my calls. I thought you were dead, you bastard. I thought you were fucking dead."
"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry," Toby said. He cupped Chris's face in his hands. "I would have called you if I could have."
Chris reached up and ran a trembling hand down Toby's face like a blind person cataloging a new friend. It was a gesture that brought tears to Toby's eyes. That simple touch had become a ritual of sorts; it was how Chris said goodbye every time Toby had to leave. Chris would reach out, run his hand down Toby's face and simply walk away, neither of them knowing if they would see the other again.
And now the brush of those long fingers across his eyes, down his nose, and against his lips was welcoming him home.
Carding his other hand through Toby's hair, Chris swept his thumb back and forth across Toby's mouth. "You're real, aren't you? You're here? You ain't just some vision I conjured up after one too many shots of Jack Daniels?"
"I'm here Chris," Toby said, sucking that thumb into his mouth, letting the sense of touch provide proof of his words.
Then Chris was pushing him down on the bed, crushing his body with his own. His mouth bruised Toby's in a brutal, punishing kiss. "Don't scare me like that again, Beecher, you hear me. Don't ever fucking do that again."
"I won't Chris. I promise I won't," Toby said as he wrapped his legs around Chris's body. They both knew it wasn't a promise he could keep, but at the moment that truth didn't matter. All that mattered was the feel of skin on skin.
He wasn't sure how or when Chris had removed his boxer shorts, but that was nothing new. Chris had an uncanny ability to get him naked without him being consciously aware of it. 'Trick of the trade,' Chris always said. And from the guy who stole his wallet and then his heart, Toby knew it to be true.
Chris stared down at Toby. "Stop thinking Beecher and look at me."
Toby met Chris's eyes and was struck motionless by what he saw there. For a con man, Chris was never very good at hiding his feelings for Toby. All that love shined like the sun in Chris's eyes. And then Chris's hands were mapping his body, whether he was looking for signs of trauma or reclaiming territory, Toby was never sure. It was another of their rituals, Chris looking for scars or bruises. There were none to see this time. Other than it taking more time to bait the hook, this assignment had run smooth.
"You ok, Beecher?" Chris's long fingers slowly stroked up and down Toby's thighs.
"I'm much better now," Toby said. He lifted his head up to kiss Chris's jaw. "I missed you."'
"I missed you too."
Toby heard the remaining anguish and ran his hands through Chris's hair. "I'm home," he said.
"That you are," Chris said, mischief replacing misery. "So did you bring me something?"
Toby laughed. "You mean like a gift?"
"Yeah, ain't it customary to bring back something with you?" Chris slid down Toby's body and bent so that he could run his tongue over Toby's hipbone. "If I was gone, I'd bring you back something."
Leaning to the side to give Chris better access to his hip, Toby laughed once more. "I'll try to keep that in mind next time."
Chris rubbed his beard along the inside of Toby's thigh letting his thick stubble leave tiny red scratch marks across Toby's pale skin. "So you didn't bring me anything then?" His mouth hovered over Toby's groin.
"Nope. I'm sorry," Toby said. He wondered if Chris was serious about wanting a gift.
"Then what's this?" Chris asked, as he took Toby's hardening cock between his palms.
Toby snorted a laugh and arched upward into Chris's hand. "That would be my dick. If you don't know what that is, I've really been away too long."
"So this ain't for me?" Chris asked. His breath was hot against Toby's skin.
Toby shuddered. It really had been too long, and the feel of Chris's callused hands methodically stroking his cock was too much. "Oh yeah, it's for you." His hips automatically thrusted upward. "Come on Keller, suck my cock."
Chris darted his tongue out, letting it peck against the tip of Toby's penis. "I don't know. You were late. Very late. I just don't know if you deserve it."
"Chris, please," Toby said, his body coiled tight with need. "I'm sorry. Please."
Chris grinned wide and slid his hands down to the base of Toby's cock. He blew a few breaths against the leaking head before slipping the shaft into his mouth.
Toby grabbed the sheets at his side and forced himself to not arch up into the wet heat of Chris's mouth, afraid he would hurt him with the fury of his passion. "Fuuuuuck," he moaned as Chris increased the suction and began massaging his balls.
"That's the idea," Chris said, his tongue sliding along the top of Toby's cock. He turned his hand backward, lining his fingers up on either side of Toby's sensitive shaft. He squiggled them up and down Toby's cock before opening wide and sucking fingers and cock deep into his mouth.
The added stimulus of Chris's fingers was too much for Toby, and he couldn't stop himself from thrusting upward.
Knowing what Toby's reaction would be, Chris slipped his salvia slick fingers out of his mouth and under Toby's body. He slid Toby's cock deep into his throat as he pushed first one and then his other finger deep into Toby's ass. He twisted and stretched his fingers and heard a moan. It took him a minute to realize he was the one moaning, the tight, hot heat of Toby's ass surrounding his fingers nearly bringing his own climax.
"Oh fuck, Chris." Toby thrusted downward onto those talented fingers and then up into that amazing mouth.. He was lost in the rhythm, his body striving to find release.
Chris curved his finger and scratched it against Toby's prostate, first once and then again and again until Toby screamed out, his cock shooting down Chris's throat.
The combination of Toby's cock pulsing in his mouth and the wanton keen that escaped Toby's lips made Chris reach for his own cock, desperate for release.
Pushing Chris back against the mattress, Toby covered Chris's hand with his own. Weaving their fingers together, they worked in tandem, hands flying fast against Chris's throbbing cock. "Come for me Chris, come for me," Toby said.
The sound of Toby's voice, still raw with need, sent Chris over the edge, his cock shooting into their entwined fingers.
Moving so they were laying side to side, Toby wiped his hand on the corner of the sheet before pulling Chris's still wet and sticky hand to his mouth. He swiped his tongue across Chris's palm and in between his fingers, cleaning him with his mouth. Putting Chris's hand down, he pulled his lover flush against his body. "Fuck it's good to be home," he said. He pressed his forehead against Chris's. "I love you."
Chris draped his leg across Toby. "I love you too. Now sleep."
"Mmmm," Toby said finally at peace.
TWO YEARS EARLIER
"Fuck, fuck, fuck," Toby mumbled as he searched every pocket in his suit. But it was fruitless; his wallet was gone. He'd have to call in and get replacements soon, but he just didn't feel like dealing with that bullshit at the moment. What he really needed was a smoke, so he ventured over to one of the tables set up outside on the deck. Sitting down, he fished out a pack of cigarettes from his inner jacket pocket. Well better my wallet than my smokes, he thought looking around for matches having lost his lighter earlier in the day.
"You need a light?" asked a vaguely familiar voice.
Toby looked up to see one of Busmalis's posse leaning against the side of the deck. He remembered seeing him inside at the party, but he couldn't remember his name. With his dark blue thermal top and well-worn blue jeans this guy should have seemed out of place, but he seemed like he belonged here among the idle rich, much more so than Toby, who had been raised in similar surroundings. Now the blue jeaned man was grinning and flipping a Zippo lighter open and shut in one hand taunting him with the click, click, click that made his blood burn for it's nicotine fix. Toby motioned the man over to his table. "Yeah, I could, thanks," Toby said returning the smile.
The man swaggered, there was no other word for the way he moved in those tight jeans, over to Toby's table and bent forward with the flame from the lighter cupped in his hands. "Thanks, I needed that," Toby said after a long drag on his cigarette. "Tobias Beecher," he said extending his hand to the other man. "And you are?"
Taking Toby's hand in his, other man sat down in the other chair at the table. "Chris Keller. And I know who you are, Toby."
The man's familiarity made Toby shudder inexplicably. "You know me? How could you possibly know me?".
Sitting back and spreading his legs almost as wide as his grin, Chris laughed. "Call it a gift. I know people Toby. And I most certainly know you."
"Had a little too much to drink tonight, or are you always this much of a dick?" Toby snorted, taking another drag of his cigarette.
Chris just smiled and leaned across the table, his fingers wiping ashes off Toby's suit jacket. "Oh, I come by it naturally. And don't worry, baby, I don't bite. Not unless you ask real nice."
Toby crossed his arms and stared at the other man trying to figure out what his game was. "Please tell me you aren't propositioning me? ''
Chris looked up and down Toby's body, licking his lips before smiling a feral grin. "Don't worry Beecher, I'm not after your virtue, but I do have a proposition for you."
While he wouldn't admit it, Toby couldn't help feeling a twinge of disappointment at Chris's apparent lack of interest. "Proposition? What could you possibly do for me?" Toby said with a practiced tone of arrogant authority.
Chris just grinned even wider. "Oh, I could do lots of things. But specifically, I can crack open Busmalis's safe for you."
Toby choked as he took another drag on his cigarette. "I don't know what you've been smoking pal, but whatever it is, I'd quit. It's making you delusional."
"Good front there Beecher, but I told you, I know you. You can deny it all you want but you need documents out of Busmalis's safe. And I'm the guy who can get them for you."
Toby stared at him incredulously. There was no way this man could know what he said he knew. It had to be some sort of elaborate con. But he had to find out what kind of danger he was really in. "Ok, say everything you are saying is true, why the fuck would I turn to you? You work for Busmalis. How do I know this isn't some set up?"
Chris reached across the table and took a cigarette out of Toby's pack and put it to his mouth. "Busmalis ain't that smart. If he was, he'd know you're working for the Feds. I knew it the moment you barged into the room in your Brooks Brothers pinstriped suit. You do bumbling pretty damn well Toby, but your eyes give you away. You can't hide the intelligence and cunning going on in that head of yours. Course, probably only another con man can see it."
Toby swallowed hard, struck by what Chris had said. When he had gone through training, his handler had told him, his eyes would give him away. It's why he wore glasses and sunglasses whenever possible. "What's in it for you?"
"You mean besides your undying gratitude?"
Toby just glared across the table.
"Diamonds. You want the documents, I want the stash of diamonds he keeps locked up in there."
"Why would you tell me this if I'm a Fed like you say? I could bust you."
Chris smiled as he scooted his chair closer to Toby so that their thighs were touching. "Nah, you want the documents more than you want to bust me."
"You so sure?"
Chris leaned close. "Yep, I'm staking my life on it."
"How do I know you're as good as you say you are?"
Chris laughed. "You mean, you won't take me at my word? Don't worry, baby. I'll provide proof of my skills."
"When?" Toby asked still not quite sure what to make of the other man or his promises.
"Soon." Chris stood up and extended his hand to Toby. "You go ahead and keep the lighter. I think you need it more than I do."
"You're leaving now?" Toby asked taking the lighter.
"Break's over. Time for me to go back to playing hoodlum. Nice chatting with you Toby. I'll be in touch."
Chris walked back inside leaving Toby sitting alone at the table. He shook his head trying to clear it, wondering if he should pull himself from the case as he was compromised. Lighting up another cigarette, he weighed the pros and cons. If this Keller could deliver what he promised, Toby's part of the case would be over. He could go back to his real life and maybe get out of the business once and for all. Of course that was if the guy could deliver.
Deciding to sleep on it, Toby stood and went to put the Zippo into his inner breast pocket. His hand met smooth leather as he pulled out his missing wallet. He couldn't help smiling as he caught Chris raising his drink to him from the inside window. Toby opened his wallet to find nothing missing. But there was a note written on a cocktail napkin. It said: "Is this enough proof? If you're interested, call the number below."
Toby knew he should report what happened, he knew he should remove himself from the case, but he just couldn't do it. He didn't know why, but he believed that Keller would come through for him. And if not, it would be one hell of a ride. Sliding the paper back into his wallet, he knew he would be calling Chris the next day.