He still hurt almost a week after the debacle at LeHorne’s. Raider winced as he lay in the bathtub, the scent of lavender wafting up into the air.
Chellie had been a little too liberal with the bubble bath. The bottom of the tub was slick as shit, and if Raider didn’t keep his toes pointed so that he could brace them above the drain, he’d slip all over the place.
As he’d found out twice already when he’d started to doze off. He hadn’t been sleeping well at all and was lucky he hadn’t drowned himself.
Water had sloshed out of the tub both times, though, probably because he’d shot back up by pushing off the front of the tub. A grin tugged at his lips. Murphy was going to be pissed about the water and suds on the floor.
If Raider were the asshole-type, he’d splash around some more. However, he tried to be a decent guy.
A cramp in the arch of his left foot signaled an end to his bath time. Raider had only hoped to soak away some of the soreness—though the doctor at the ER had ordered ice packs and pain meds, Raider hated being cold. The warm water soothed him even if it didn’t help with the pain and swelling.
At least his face was almost back to normal and he hadn’t had any broken bones.
“Thank God for small miracles and all that.” With a sigh, he eased himself upright. He rubbed his left sole until the pain ebbed, then Raider stood up.
The door flew open without so much as a knock of warning.
“Hey!” Raider yelped, trying to cover his bits and butt. He needed more hands. He gaped at the man standing in the doorway.
Clyde’s eyes were huge, and his face was flushed a dark red. He kept moving his mouth—open, close, open close—as if he were trying to say something or perhaps breathe, but he didn’t make a sound other than his teeth clacking together.
“Oops!” Chellie called out from somewhere beyond them. “Thought you were done, Bug-Boy. Sorry about that.” Her laughter held enough evil to scare Darth Vader off.
Chellie had known Raider was in the bathtub. She’d drawn the water and done the bubble-stuff for him. And she’d just checked on him not five minutes ago.
“Ngh?” Clyde asked.
Raider was still trying to cover all his parts, especially one particularly unruly part that was growing hard at record speed.
He dropped back into the water like his legs had vanished beneath him. A tsunami of bubbles and water sloshed all over the floor.
“Told you the bathroom needed cleaning first.”
Upon hearing Chellie’s smug comment, Raider groaned and ducked under the water completely, lying back, hoping the bubbles were sufficient enough to cover his bobbing dick. He had to stop trying to cover it because the urge to begin jacking off was too great. He came back up and sucked in a sharp breath. Could he casually drape a washcloth over his groin? Raider peeked out of one eye. The bubbles were thick. He averted his gaze toward the door.
A huge part of the reason Raider hadn’t been sleeping well was standing right there, gawking at him with a mixture of hunger and embarrassment. Clyde still hadn’t moved, other than that gaping-fish imitation he was doing.
Then, as if he were zapped with a cattle prod, Clyde jolted. “She told me the bathroom—“
“Needed cleaning, and to go on in.” Chellie nodded from behind and to the right of Clyde. She shoved, and Clyde stumbled into the bathroom. “Look at the mess he’s made. Hop to it, and see if you can clean as well as your brother does. Talk about a total surprise. Murph the Moron cleans better than I ever have.”
“He likes things neat,” Clyde muttered, glancing anywhere but at Raider.
“And he’ll be all kinds of pissed if he gets here next time and sees that you didn’t do everything just the way he does.” Chellie shrugged. “Have fun with that, and you’re welcome, both of you.”
Chellie shut the door, barely missing Clyde with it.
“I’ll just—“ Clyde turned away.
“She won’t let you out,” Raider said. “I can guarantee there’s about to be a chair slid up against the door and under the knob.”
Not five seconds later, they heard the thump of wood on wood.
“Is she crazy?” Clyde asked. “Hey! Let me out!”
“Clean the bathroom,” Chellie replied with a calm that was certainly annoying to Raider.
“Chellie,” Raider called out. “This is—“
“All you do is hint around for Murph to give you tidbits about Clyde,” Chellie interrupted. “Now you can get to know each other.”
“Chellie!” Raider bellowed, furious with his bestie and totally mortified to have had Clyde hear that.
“I thought you hated me,” Clyde said, facing the door. “Are you, er, mentally… um.” He glanced back at Raider as if asking silently for help.
“If you’re trying to ask me if I’m mentally ill, yes, as a matter of fact, I have a mood disorder.”
“Oh shit.” Clyde slapped his hands over his face. “Shit!”
Raider felt sorry for him. “You did kind of step in it there.”
Clyde spun around, flinging his arms out. “But I was tricked! Murph broke his big toe, that’s why I’m here. He said he called and Chellie said I had to clean for him and… and…” He stopped and his expression turned contemplative. “I thought she hated me. Well, all of my family, too.”
Raider wasn’t going to fess up that he’d confided in Chellie how much he’d been attracted to Clyde and how he wished she’d been nicer to the guy. He also shouldn’t have told her about the dreams he had, in which Clyde always played a very big, and very naughty, role.
It was just lust. Raider had told himself that repeatedly. Lust, and maybe appreciation for being saved, however that had happened.
Fear kept him from leaving the apartment. He’d managed to make his doctor appointments, although he had just that morning left a message cancelling the one he had for next week.
And he had dropped his classes.
And decided not to re-register.
Because staying inside seemed the safest course for the foreseeable future.
“Hey, are you okay?”
Clyde’s question tugged Raider out of his own thoughts. He grunted, the best he could do when he was so rattled.
“You look like you’re in a nightmare,” Clyde continued, frowning. “I should leave.”
“Chellie won’t let you,” Raider eeked out, then immediately felt like an asshole for using that as an excuse. It implied that he didn’t want Clyde there, and he did. He just wasn’t sure it was a good idea.
“Until I clean up this mess.” Clyde examined the room. “Are you part seal? Do you have a whale-tail flip-thing you do?” He snorted. “Or were you making a huge mess cuz you thought Murph would be here?”
Raider chuckled for the first time in days, some of his fear pulling back from him. “None of the above. I just slipped a couple of times.”
“Oh!” Clyde nodded. “And you pushed off with your feet, right? Did you make that weird suction-sound like when your lower back causes a vacuum?” His face began to turn red again.
Raider wiggled and the tip of his cock bobbed up, parting some bubbles. He hoped Clyde didn’t notice. All Raider had intended to do was try and make the sound Clyde had just described. Instead, Captain Horny was making an appearance.
And Clyde didn’t miss it. “Oh.” He stared as Raider hissed, grabbed a washcloth, then covered his recalcitrant pecker.
“Oh, you were doing—um, jack—er—“ Clyde spluttered for another thirty seconds before Raider put them both out of their misery.
“No, I wasn’t.” Raider puffed out his cheeks. “You know how it is. Dicks have minds of their own.” Sometimes true, but not in this case.
Clyde cocked his head to one side. “So does that mean your dick likes me, then, or did something else make it hard?”
Raider was going to lie. He had to, or else he’d just make an utter idiot of himself. “I—“
But Clyde watched him with an appreciation no one had ever levered at Raider before.
And he didn’t know what to do, or say, or think.