Read after White Night 003.
Point of View: Buck
Featured Characters: Buck, Leo Lanier
Word Count: 826
Ever wonder where Leo got his jacket?
“What’s a pretty little thing like you doing in a place like this?”
The kid was younger than he looked, Buck was pretty sure. He had the five o’ clock shadow and muscles of a man in his early twenties, but there was a freshness about him… a strange kind of innocence, almost, that convinced Buck he couldn’t be much more than sixteen or seventeen. Maybe it was those big baby blues; maybe it was the wardrobe that screamed young punk (the dark t-shirt promoting some band called “Black Sabbath”, the tight plaid pants, the scuffed high-top boots).
“I’m looking for a drink to drown my sorrows,” the boy answered, looking up from his seat at the bar. Christ, his eyelashes were long. Dark, too. If Buck hadn’t known better he might have thought that was mascara. “Wanna buy me one?”
Buck propped an elbow on the bar, giving the kid another good, long look. He had messy dark hair that was just a little too long and gelled securely into place. Buck wrinkled his nose at that; gel took all the fun out of running your fingers through someone’s hair, of gripping it tight and winding it up in your grasp. This boy was so pretty that Buck figured his hair must be soft. He wasn’t the kind of kid who’d had a rough day’s work in his life. He was pale, no callouses on his hands. Buck pegged him straight off for a runaway.
“What kind of sorrows could someone with a face like yours have, Baby Blue?” he asked, lazily signaling to the bartender. Three fingers of scotch, neat. Someone as lanky as this beanpole kid wouldn’t need more than that before he was knocked on his ass.
The kid laughed. It was a nice laugh, the sort that warmed you all the way down from head to toe.
“Oh, big fella, you have no idea.” The moment the glass of amber scotch was set down in front of him on the dark wood of the bar, the boy tossed it back like it was water. Buck blinked in surprise. “Let’s just say I just got out of a bad relationship, and I’m taking a little roadtrip to clear my head.”
“And this,” Buck prompted, waving his hand at the room. “This is the sort of place that clears your head, huh?”
The bar was dim, choked with smoke and the perfume of human sweat. Men milled around the room, drinking and talking and touching. About five feet from the bar, only just barely obscured by the jukebox, one of the waiters was pressed face-first against the wall while a regular patron known to Buck as “Big Mike” ground up against his ass.
“It could be.” The blue-eyed beauty gave Buck a broad smile that forced him to reevaluate just how innocent the kid really was. Did he know that kind of look was an invitation? “It all depends on the local flavor. So whose tab am I ordering on?”
“Name’s Buck.” Buck reached over with one large hand to pick up the boy’s fingers from the bar in a tight handshake—and if he lingered a bit too long, well, the kid didn’t protest. “And who’s ordering on my tab?”
The kid grinned a little wider. His teeth were very white under the glow of the bar sign.
“Leo,” he returned.
“Leo.” Buck turned the name over on his tongue. “So tell me about your boyfriend, Leo. What’d he do to make a good thing like you walk out on him?”
For the first time since Buck had spotted him from across the room, something dark crept into those pretty blue eyes. Leo sat back on his stool, running his finger along the edge of the counter. A thoughtful look flickered across his face.
“…He thought he could control me.” Leo looked up, meeting Buck’s gaze dead-on. “He thought I wouldn’t ever go against him. And oh, boy, was he wrong, Buck. I bite back.”
For a moment, the bar’s volume seemed to turn way down, like Buck was hearing everything from underwater. Those eyes… They were so bright they almost hurt to look into. And they weren’t the eyes of a child.
The next moment, Leo had plastered on a pout and hooked a finger into the collar of Buck’s shirt.
“Nice jacket,” he admired in a perfectly normal, flirty tone. His fingertip trailed down along the zipper. “I’ve always had a thing for leather.”
“…Oh yeah?” Buck drawled back, scrabbling to regain his composure. What was wrong with him? This was just some spoiled little twink. Buck’s newest discovery. And if the kid had a leather kink, Buck was just the guy to oblige. “My car’s interior is all new leather. Want to come take a look?”
“Yeah,” he agreed, slipping off the bar stool. “Let’s check it out… and then maybe you can get me another drink, Buck.”