Out of Sync

Paul Avery/Robert Graysmith. NC-17. ~2600 words.
“I’m a drunken reprobate, Bobby boy, nothing’s too much for me to handle.”

“All right,” Paul says from the passenger’s seat, sharp and crisp like he’s summing up a lead to follow, “here’s what we’re gonna do. You’re gonna take me back to your place– Wait, shit. You’ve got kids, don’t you?”

“They’re with their mom,” Robert says, keeping both eyes on the road and not Paul’s boneless sprawl. It’s always sort of bothered him, how loose Paul is. Paul never just sits; Paul slouches, lounges, drapes. Like his body couldn’t keep up with the snappy rhythm of his voice so it just quit trying.

“Okay, so we go to my place– oh, fuck it.” Paul’s knee hits the underside of the dash, the equivalent of a pen flicked across the room when he doesn’t have a pen at hand. “I’ve got a wife. I’ve got a wife, you’ve got kids– Hold up, what did you just say?” The old leather seat creaks as Paul shoves up in it. “What was that?”

“It’s her night,” Robert says, flicking an uneasy glance across the centre console. Paul’s taken to looking at him like that lately, intent, focused. He’s not used to it yet. Compared to the few weeks they’ve been… doing whatever it is they’re doing, Paul had spent months ignoring him. Maybe not even ignoring him, not like the others do, just not noticing he was there. “I thought it’d be good, since we might be out late.”

“Well, it is late–”

Robert flicks a glance at the dash. 10:52 PM is not late by Paul’s standards.

“–and I’d like to go home.” Paul points a finger at him. “Your home.”

“Sure.” Warmth spreads out from the glowing pool in Robert’s stomach. It’s been a while since he had a friend over. It’s been a while since he’s had a friend, period. “Maybe we can come up with a better theory about locations.”

“Right,” Paul says after a beat, and flops back in the seat. “I think we’ve already got one. It’s called ‘convenient’.”

“Yeah, maybe, but–”

Paul’s hand shoots up, palm out. “Nope. Not another word. Home first, Bobby.”

Robert smiles. He can’t really help it.

*

“Not bad,” Paul says, strolling in through the kitchen. “Not great, but hey, single dad, could be worse.” He starts opening cupboards. “Got anything to drink?”

“There’s some juice in the fridge,” Paul says, locking the door, dropping the keys and books on the table, putting his coat in the closet. The same routine every day, because it’s good for David. Good for him, too. “Maybe some milk?”

He looks up to find Paul staring at him, one eyebrow cocked. “It’d be too much to ask for there to be a beer in there, wouldn’t it.”

“Sorry.” Robert scratches the back of his neck. “Coffee?”

Paul heaves out a breath, collapsing back as if its weight had been holding him up and without it he needed the counter to stay on his feet. “Fine, coffee. I suppose I should be at least halfway sober for this.”

The back of Robert’s neck keeps on itching as he goes for the Folgers in the freezer and puts the kettle on. While waiting for it to boil, he spoons about half an inch of coffee into one of his favourite pumpkin orange mugs and starts in on the other before remembering he’s not sure how Paul takes his coffee. He offers the tin.

“I’m your guest,” Paul says. “You serve me.”

“Okay, but don’t blame me if it’s too strong.”

Paul watches him dump about the same amount into the second cup. “I’m a drunken reprobate, Bobby boy, nothing’s too much for me to handle.”

The itch under Robert’s skin turns to a slow burn. He glances at the kitchen table–big enough for David to do homework on and not much else–and asks, “How about the living room? The couch is pretty comfy. Better than the table, anyway.”

This time, both of Paul’s eyebrows wing upwards. “Works for me,” he says, finally shrugging out of his jacket. “See you in there.”

By the time Robert heads in, he’s kicked back on the couch, arms tucked behind his head and knees splayed wide. He cracks one eye open as Robert sets both mugs on the coffee table. “Put all that down there,” he says, waving at the files tucked under Robert’s arm. “I swear to God, Bobby, what’re you doing?”

“Nothing.” Robert shrugs, picks his mug back up and sits down with it on the opposite end of the couch. “I just thought we’d make the best of the time. You know, get right to it.”

Paul completely ignores his coffee. “Excellent idea. Get over here.”

As Robert moves to exchange his mug for the files, Paul bursts out, “Bouncing baby Jesus, Bobby. You’re killing me. No, really. Fuck. Would you leave off that shit?”

“Sorry,” Robert says, immediately dropping everything. “But you said–”

“I know what I said. I said it, of course I know what I said.” Paul scrubs a hand over his chin. “Christ, you’re really not following me here, are you?”

“No. Not really, no.”

Paul leans forward, head in his hands, elbows on his knees. “Shit.” Then again, a moment later, “Shit. I think I’m sobering up.”

Not sure what else to do, Robert offers, “There’s a gas station around the corner that might still be open?”

“Fuck it.” Paul sits bolt upright, hands smacked to his thighs. “You know what? Just fuck it. You want me to suck your dick or not?”

Robert’s mouth gapes open. His stomach crashes through the floor and keeps on going. Paul just keeps staring at him, mouth set, and something like a laugh bubbles up in the back of his throat. After a second, he manages to get, “I don’t think you’re sobering up at all,” squeezed out through the tight clench of his throat.

“Sober enough,” Paul says. “I’m not kidding here, Bobby. Robert. Close your eyes, pretend I’m your ex, I don’t give a shit.”

“But you’re not–”

“Queer?” Paul says, and Robert snaps his mouth shut. “No strings, no consequences, just your dick in my mouth. Doesn’t have to mean a thing.”

Robert’s fist clenches tight against his thigh. “You’re drunk,” he insists. “You’re always drunk.”

“So? All you gotta do is say no, Bobby.” But Robert doesn’t say a word, can’t get his thoughts to untangle long enough to even try forming a sentence, and he hates how that happens to him sometimes, like his brain is moving too fast for his mouth to keep up so the whole thing just shuts down.

Springs creak as Paul rocks up onto one knee, his hand sliding along the back of the couch. His eyes are dark, as dark and rich as the black coffee he hadn’t even touched. “Is that it, you want it to mean something? Do you want me to kiss you, call you sweetheart?” He leans close, not touching, not yet, but Robert knows he’s not going to wait long before he does. His breath smells of cheap liquor and something heavier, sharper. “Or maybe you just don’t know how to say yes.”

Then Paul kisses him, soft and sweet and slow. His heart kicks and he turns his face away, doesn’t do anything more than that and doesn’t even try to fight it when Paul cups his cheek, turns him back to it. Paul’s whiskers scratch his lips and it’s not what he thought it would be, it’s weirdly and bizarrely okay, and when Paul flings a leg over his, straddles his lap and kisses him hard enough to drive him back into the cushions, he snaps back to himself long enough to realise exactly what he’s doing.

“I don’t,” he starts, and Paul says, “Then don’t,” already yanking at his belt, pushing in through his fly to get into his shorts, hands hot and rough and shocking against his bare skin. He’s still soft when Paul works his cock free and he freezes for a moment, stares down at thick fingers and wide palm without really connecting them to Paul.

“You think you don’t want it,” Paul says, leaning down to nip at the side of his throat, sharp and quick and easily eclipsed by the warmth of another kiss. He ducks his chin and Paul goes for his mouth again instead, whispers, “But you’re not really sure, are you?”

“This isn’t–”

“Nope. Not a good idea, not what married guys do. But mine fucking well knows all about me, Bobby,” Paul says, boldly pushing Robert’s foreskin back with his thumb and rubbing the side of his finger dry across the head. Robert’s hips jerk, the sensation too sharp and gritty to register as pleasurable. “Maybe yours knew you better than you know yourself, huh? Since she’s not here anymore and I am.”

Robert grabs onto Paul’s arm at the elbow, grips it hard enough that Paul winces but doesn’t let go, just leans down again like he’s aiming for another kiss. Their mouths brush, Paul’s nose bumping his, and then Paul rubs their cheeks together, nuzzles right up close with his whiskers catching on Robert’s late night stubble.

When Robert closes his eyes, tries to think, Paul shoves a second hand into his shorts, runs wet fingers from the seam of his balls all the way up to the tip of his cock. He sucks in a breath, his heart pounding and his blood rushing so quickly through his veins he’s dizzy with it.

“C’mon, sweetheart.” Paul’s grip loosens just enough for his foreskin to slide back down and he plays with it, strokes it all the way down over the head and back again. “Get hard for me.” A soft moan tickles the skin beneath his ear, and Paul keeps toying with him, goes so far as to lick his fingers, rub the slick pads over his slit, then goes ahead and licks them wet again. “Like that,” Paul whispers, his words drilling into Robert’s skull, diamond-sharp, relentless, “nice and thick, fuck. I can’t wait to get you in my mouth. I bet you taste as good as you look, don’t you.”

“God,” Robert bursts out, his head falling back against the couch and his hand dropping from Paul’s arm.

Another kiss and Paul’s weight shifts; Robert opens his eyes in time to catch Paul’s wink as he slips to the floor, jostling the table carelessly out of the way. Coffee sloshes out over the rim of one of the mugs.

“Forget about it,” Paul says, slapping a hand to his chest before he even gets a chance to move. He eases back, earning a quick flash of a smile, and then both of Paul’s hands are gripping the waistband of his jeans near the small of his back. One good yank has them hauled straight down to his knees, his skin scorched and burning in the wake of Paul’s blunt nails.

Paul shoulders his legs wide, gets in between them and skims both hands up the insides of his thighs; his knee jerks when Paul nuzzles at him there, every last nerve sparking like torn cables. Paul moans again like he likes it and licks at Robert’s quivering belly, the juncture of his hip and thigh, the heavy weight of his balls held cupped in one hand. Blood surges and Robert bucks up, makes a noise he doesn’t recognise as his own as his cock drags over Paul’s rough cheek.

“Hold on to me,” Paul says, the permanent teasing lilt dropped from his voice, replaced by a low grate like rusted gears. He turns his head, catches the head of Robert’s cock between his lips and sucks. The heat, the gentle pressure, barely registers before his tongue presses firmly to the head and his cheeks hollow.

Pleasure races up Robert’s spine and bursts out of his mouth in a strangled gasp. He digs his nails into the upholstery, grits his teeth and tries to close his eyes, tries to imagine this is someone, anyone, other than Paul. But he can’t, and he isn’t even sure he wants to.

Paul grabs him by the hips and drags him further down into the couch. His hands smack down on Paul’s shoulders, pure reflex, and Paul’s ragged groan shivers under his skin, bores through right to the bone. He tightens his grip and Paul sucks harder, fucks his jaw wide and his throat open, takes Robert’s cock straight down into it and holds there until his face flushes and his shoulders start to shake.

He chokes, fights it, and Robert’s gut lurches. Robert shoves him back and he fights that, too. His throat constricts, the sudden squeezing pressure punching Robert square in the nuts, and only after he falls back, gasps for breath and grinds against Paul’s face does Paul relent.

Resting his cheek against Robert’s thigh, Paul gets his own breath back but doesn’t give Robert a chance to catch his. He gathers up the saliva stringing from his lips and rubs it back over Robert’s slick cock, jacks it lazily and grins when he feels muscles tense.

“Got the balls to fuck my mouth for me, sweetheart?” Paul asks, a wicked slant to his lips, not a smile and but still not a smirk, as he presses a kiss to the side of Robert’s cock. “If you’re gonna do it, you gotta do it right, though.” Another kiss, open-mouthed and slow. “Hold me down and fuck me.”

It’s like they’re not even his own hands when Robert takes hold of Paul’s head, pulls him down to fuck shallowly against his slack mouth, but he can feel the soft damp strands of Paul’s hair between his fingers, Paul’s breaths hot and quick on his skin. It’s his voice that’s a back-alley rasp when he says, “Open your mouth.”

Paul slurs a string of words against his cock, sweetheart again, yes and do it right and thought you’d never, and opens his mouth, takes the hard push of Robert’s cock deep with an aborted breath and the fitful flutter of his eyelids.

Losing himself in the heat, the wet sucking pressure and the tremble of Paul’s throat around him when he pushes too far too fast–but Paul still clutches at him, still wants him to keep going, do it again–it’s barely any time at all until Robert’s head falls back and his body surges up. He stuffs Paul’s mouth full and shoots straight down his throat without so much as a whisper for warning, and while he watches Paul struggle to swallow and breathe around his cock, he still can’t think but he knows all he wants is to do it all over again.

His fingers are aching by the time he finally lets go of Paul’s hair. Long minutes later he still doesn’t have his head on straight, can’t quite honestly believe what he’s just done. Paul pulls off, lips slick with spit, drops of come glistening in his neatly trimmed beard and Robert wipes them away without thinking about it, rubbing his palm clean on the rumple of his shirt.

“Sorry,” he says to the odd look Paul gives him, not sure if he’s apologising for something he just did or something Paul thinks he’s about to say.

Paul just looks down at the slow spreading stain on the front of his pricey tailored slacks and slumps in a breathless laughing heap against Robert’s legs.

*

Four years later, when Robert leaves Paul’s house with the taste of come in his mouth and the burn of vodka in this throat, he wonders if all the time he’s spent trying to save people he doesn’t even know might have been meant for someone he did.

End

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