The bottles clanked softly as I rearranged them for about the fortieth time. I couldn't get it right. I don't know why. Normally, I didn't have this problem, but today, I just couldn't seem to get my eyes on straight. Everything looked cocked up to me.
"Ye have to move the tallest one from the end."
The low voice rolled over me, raising goose bumps along my arms and setting other body parts twitching. The little hairs at the back of my neck tickled up, and I turned. "You a set dresser now?"
The man who'd spoken smiled at me, and I just managed to stifle a moan. I did lean back so my arse rested on the edge of the wobbly counter, one I had been trying to make look like something from an Irish pub from the fifties. The position let me disguise the growing bulge in my pants.
"Just a bored hanger on. Want some help?"
He nodded and climbed up onto the sound stage. His short shorts drifted up his muscled thigh, the fringes of the cut-off denim mingling with his own dark hair. I swallowed. Hard. "Everything's a union job. Everything is also behind schedule, and Ricky's freakin' out a bit."
"Ricky." The reminder that the guy was fucking my boss, or, more likely, knowing Richard Cornwall, being fucked by him, settled my erection in a hurry. "Did he send you to check up on me?"
"No. He sent me to find something. And get out of his way."
A slight frown marred his expression and curled full lips down into a pout I felt the sudden urge to suck away. His body heat clung to me--and the scent of sex mingled with sawdust and set paint. It shouldn't have been a turn-on. I was so far gone. If I held my breath any longer, I thought I might pass out.
"'Scuse me." I backed off, jumped from the stage, and hurried toward Richard's office. Maybe if I knew what David was supposed to be looking for, I could help him find it. Some twisted logic told me that would get him far away from me and my weak ability to resist temptation. And at the same time, I hoped it would keep him close by while we searched. Normally, I didn't let my cock do my thinking for me. Normally, I wasn't confronted with eager, completely fuckable men with bodies like David's just looking for an excuse to piss off their current, cranky lovers. I wasn't under any delusion he wanted me specifically. I was just open, gay, and single. Convenient.
I rapped on Richard's door and walked in. "Hey."
"Did you find it?" Richard didn't turn around from rifling his own office, frantically searching for something.
I crossed my arms over my chest. "No."
"Go look in the dressing room. We used it there. You said you were going to clean it before you brought it back. I swear, David, if someone else finds it, you had better keep your slutty mouth shut."
I grunted, trying to keep my opinion of that comment to myself.
"I know. I know. It's just a dildo. But it could get my ass fired if anyone knew about it and what we do. Besides, the shamrocks are just humiliating. No idea why you would want something that gaudy inside you."
He moved on to the storage seat under the window and was now practically half inside it. I didn't want to know what kind of paraphernalia he might pull out of there. I turned to leave without speaking. That's when I spotted it. Right there in plain sight on a book shelf behind the door. A long, flexible rubber dildo with green glitter and shamrocks embedded in it. Unbelievable. I palmed it and left.
David was still on the set pulling things out of boxes and dressing the shelves behind the fake bar. I rejoined him and proceeded to slide wine glasses into the slots above the bar.
"You know you don't have to do this," I told him.
"I know." He smiled, showing perfect teeth. "It's more fun to let Ricky think I'm doing what I'm told, than actually doing it."
"Do you even like him?"
David shrugged. "Rugby's a good game. Doesn't pay a lot o' bills."
"And 'Ricky' does?"
"Indirectly." He set the last liquor bottle on the shelf and turned to face me. "Does it chafe ya? Knowing I let him fuck me and buy me fancy dinners?"
"Not my arse he's ploughing, mate."
David nodded. "Sure, and that's truth." He went back to work, stacking plates and mugs in an artful approximation of an actual pub. I had to admire his eye for detail. And his arse. And wonder why it didn't bother me that he used it to pay his rent. Maybe because he wasn't ashamed of himself for it. He didn't pretend to be anything other than what he was, and that attitude was attractive.
"And so you must think I'm--"
"What?" David's brow furrowed.
I pointed "Richard. He's the wrong colour. Red...not such a good look for him."
David watched him storm across the room. "He's pissed to be sure."
"You know why?"
"Because I'm talking to another man." He grimaced.
False brightness split his face into a wide grin, but didn't reach his lovely green eyes or stop his hands from tugging on the pale blue tank stretched across his abdomen. He followed Richard's progress like he was waiting to be spotted. I couldn't tell if he wanted Richard to look up and see him with me, or not.
"So what next?" He snapped himself out of the moment and focused back on me.
So we were going to ignore Richard until we couldn't anymore. "Here." I handed him a gaudy plaque with a clay leprechaun grinning at his pot of gold. "Up there, I think." I pointed to the post above our heads. "You were going to ask me something?"
He climbed up on the rickety counter and looked down. "This is sure wobbly." I reached up to his waist to steady him, and he grinned. "Better."
"Just on that post. Think there's a nail there already."
He took his sweet time hanging the thing, though, and my lip was almost bit through with holding it between my teeth in an attempt to keep my hand where it was.
"Not mine," I muttered to my dick. "Not touching, shut the fuck up."
"Sorry?" He crouched and put both hands on my shoulders to steady himself as he hopped down. "Did I say something to annoy you?" He stood in front of me now, both hands still on my shoulders and breath warming my face. The scent of sweat and sex folded around us.
He grinned, crooked and lazy, and shifted his weight so his hips canted toward me. "And then what are ye not to touch, I wonder?"
Oh, fuck me.
"Sure, and don't forget it. Rules are made to be broken, yeah?"
I nodded. "You break a lot of them, I think."
His grin slipped minutely, but his hands stayed.
"We should finish."
I swear I thought he was going to touch my face. He leaned a fraction of an inch closer, but glanced over my shoulder and abruptly backed off. "Hey, Ricky!" He waved past me. "Find it?" His grin stretched a little bit past real.
Richard merely snarled and walked on, no doubt to scowl and bitch at wardrobe, since that's the direction in which he headed. My annoyance with Richard, who still held the attention of this man I was secretly in deep lust for, allowed me to calm my physical reaction. I moved over so David could reach the bottles I'd been trying to arrange.
"You don't have practice today?" I asked.
He glanced over, almost catching me eyeing his arse, and the false smile wavered into one more genuine. "Nope. Rugby season's over. I am exclusively fuckable twink for now."
"Jesus." I backed off, stumbled over a box of set decorations, and landed on my arse on the other side. I might have gone right over the edge and off the stage if he hadn't moved so fast, grabbed my arm and held on.
"You all right?"
He hauled me up with such strength I landed practically in his arms. Fuck, but he smelled good....
"Shite." I almost tripped over the box again scrambling away from him. "Yes, sir?"
"I need this set finished before lunch, Ian."
"Yes, sir." I glanced at my watch. Less than an hour. Normally, it would be a challenge, and one I would be able to meet. I was so far off my game now I doubted the results would pass inspection.
The object of my lust turned his forced brightness on Richard. "Yes?"
"Come on. I have something for you to do."
Did he sigh? "Sure thing." He jumped down and hurried over, falling in beside Richard, his long strides held in check to keep the shorter man from having to hurry to keep up.
"Where have you been?" Richard's voice had dropped. I didn't think I was meant to hear him. "I've been looking everywhere for you. Didn't I tell you to look in the dressing room?"
"I got bored."
"Well." Richard put a hand on David's broad back and pushed him forward slightly, guiding him down the narrow hallway to his office. "You can entertain me for a while. Ought to keep you out of trouble."
David glanced back, looked right at me just before he disappeared down the passage. I didn't imagine the resigned look on his face that time.
"Man. I could do that."
For the second time, an unexpected voice made me jump. I turned to find Sarah, my assistant, grinning up at me.
"I suspect he wouldn't be interested in li'l ol' me, though." A devil light came into her eyes. "You, on the other hand..."
"Shut it." I glared at her, and she laughed.
"Nope. Git your bum up here and help me. This has to be done by noon."
She mocked me as she went round to the steps, but she pitched in, flipping on the stereo to play some rocking modern Celtic band. It helped the flow, and after a few minutes, I was back in my vision of what I wanted the set to look like. Around twelve forty-five, we stepped back to the last camera angle to admire our work.
"We done good, boss."
"Cornwall hears you call me that, he'll fire both our arses."
"Cornwall's a blowhard." Sarah was never one to mince words.
One of the cameramen snickered and glanced up from inspecting his equipment. He bobbed his head at the hallway to Cornwall's office. David was just emerging. From across the room, I could see the reddened skin on his bare knees and his over-plump lips. "Don't think Cornie's the one doing the blowin', you ask me."
"Prick," Sarah spat. She took my fisted hand in hers and hauled me off toward the green room.
The lunch table had been picked pretty clean. Just the tuna salad and limp Caesar salad remained. I grabbed half a sandwich and sat down across from Sarah. Like always, she had her attention buried in a Daily Mirror. After a minute, she snorted and slapped the table.
"Some people really have too much time on their hands." She flipped the rag around and pointed to a picture. "Apparently, this looks like Bono."
"It's a potato."
"Yup." She chortled gleefully. "County fair in Donegal. Wanna go?"
"To look at a potato?"
"A potato that looks like Bono," she corrected, pulling the paper back around to continue reading. "I hear David MacDougal is from there."
And damn it if I didn't take the bait. "Sure he doesn't go home on weekends."
"What would he tell his Ma?" she agreed, without looking up. "It's just a day job, Ma. He keeps me in short shorts, and all I have to do is--"
I kicked her under the table. In the door way, David stood, staring right at me. "Me Ma's dead."
"Oh, Jesus." Sarah turned white, then layer after layer of red. "David, I'm sorry."
For a minute, he stared at her, his expression completely open and shocked. Then he grinned, wide, bright, and just as open. "Nah." He waved a hand at her. "Alive and well in Ballyshannon. I tell her I don't let him fuck me without a condom, which is the truth." He dug in his tight back pocket and pulled out a foil packet. "Don't leave home without it." He winked.
Sarah lowered her head onto the table. "Arsehole."
"A very tight one," he agreed and turned his devastating smile and wink on me. "And very much in demand, I hear."
My turn to go red, though it didn't stop my cock jumping at the invitation in his eyes.
He whirled and swung his arse on swivelling hips out the door, leaving me staring and drooling after him.
"You gotta hit that!" Sarah giggled at me from her flattened position on the table.
"Don't be crude."
"Don't deny it."
"I am not in lust with him."
"Liar, liar, pants on fire." She reached under the table and squeezed my hard on. "Literally." She wiggled her chair closer around the circular table and licked her lips. "I can...if you like."
I squirmed, stuck my tongue out at her, afraid if I actually spoke, I might take her up on it. I wasn't wearing my loose jeans.
We turned to the door to find Richard's personal assistant, Beth, shifting from foot to foot in the entrance.
"We've got a problem."