Fandom: Generation Kill
Summary: An AU loosely based on the Notting Hill movie.
Disclaimer: Based on fictionalised portrayals as seen on the HBO miniseries.
Brad's pretty sure it would have gone diferently if he had actually seen Nate's movies.
Well, he did see the first one, everyone did. Judging by the numbers it pulled, at least a few times - the box office numbers, both domestic and abroad, were truly impressive. This is what Ray tells him.
But he's been deployed while the next three or four premiered, and you don't really get to enjoy Netflix in Afghanistan or Iraq. So, sure, he heard the name, but not like he had seen Nate Fick's face up close on the big screen at least twice a year, or bought dvds and studied the fucking gloss rags like everyone else in the fucking country.
The whole thing could have gone differently if he did, maybe, but as it is, it goes like this.
Brad's having a bad day. Actually, that's an understatement, he's having a day that rivals the more tedious days of driving in a shitty humvee across the neverending desert and trying to unfuck the utter stupidity of pretty much every officer in his chain of command.
It's not as bad as the days when people tried to blow them up, or the days when they rode straight into an ambush and acted like it was the plan all along... but at least then Brad had something he could do about it, even if it was just shooting back or yelling at Ray to fucking turn the car around.
Brad's bad day is the mundane sort, the one where little things pile up until it's hard to see the way out, or even believe that the way out is there. It's the retardation of the clients and the suppliers, the sheer idiocy of the drivers, and the fact that his upstairs neighbour left the water running and flooded his bathroom for the sixth time this year.
"You seem out of sorts," Ray tells him. "Should I schedule an appointment with your doctor so he could check what crawled up your ass and died there? Or would you prefer me to call and order you a whore who could fuck you with a nice and thick strap-on? It's one or the other, I can tell, gotta have something to do with your ass, the way your panties are in a twist."
It's the fact that his fiance, ex-fiance, sent back the ring, finally, through a messenger service. Brad's not sure if he'd prefer face to face. He's not sure of much, beyond the fact that the ring is heavy in his pocket and he can't quite figure out what to do with it. Do you actually go to the shop and return an engagement ring? Do you sell? Do you keep it in a drawer forever like some pathetic little bitch?
"You spend too much time thinking about my ass, Person, and not enough time shelving the new merchandise."
"Your ass is marginally more interesting than the USB drives," Ray shrugs. "And someone has to watch it," he adds in a more serious tone. He worries, Brad knows, especially since Brad left the Corps and since Jess left him.
Brad still didn't tell him about the ring that's burning his pocket. "You think you can watch the shop for a while instead? I need to step out. Maybe I'll get some lunch."
Ray's eyes narrow with suspicion but he just nods. "Just not Thai. I had some last week and I think I still haven't shat it all out."
"Thank you for that image," Brad mutters and walks out, squinting when the sun hits him. It's late September but you wouldn't know it, the sun is merciless like it was still full-blown summer. There's a jeweller's on the other side of the street and he puts his hand in his pocket and fingers the smooth curve of the ring, the sharp edges of the twin diamonds in the setting.
Someone honks impatiently in the slowly moving traffic and Brad looks away, lets go of the ring in his hand. It would probably be smarter to get rid of the thing sooner rather than later, but he doesn't feel like it today, not yet.
Nothing to do but go and get lunch. He's in the mood for Thai ever since Ray mentioned it, to be honest, regardless of the shitting thing, but he knows a rant will follow. Sometimes he does welcome the rants, sure, Ray has a way of being entertaining even while being irritating, but maybe not today.
And speaking of bad days, because he's still having it and it's not even late afternoon yet, his cellphone perks up with Poke's id. Gina must be on his case and he's going to get roped into coming to their anniversary dinner and he won't be able to beg off because you don't say no to Gina Espera unless you're dying. Or you want to die.
He gives it two days before she herself calls, though, and until then he's going to ignore Poke. He pockets the cellphone, still shaking his head, and it's that moment of distraction that keeps him from noticing a guy coming out of the coffee shop, until they collide and the coffee spills all over Brad's shirt.
At least it's a fucking frappe shit and not something scalding hot.
"Fuck, sorry," the guy says immediately, takes a step back to survey the damage. "Wasn't quite looking where I was going here, sorry."
Brad shakes his head. His first instinct was to tell the moron to watch where he's going but when he looked up, his annoyance seem to have evaporated. The kid looks flustered enough as it is, biting his lip as he's looking down at Brad's shirt. "Yeah, neither was I. Don't sweat it," he says, not unkindly.
He's not quite sure why he's being relatively nice to people, but fuck, maybe he's just tired. And the coffee spilled fairly on both of them, the front of the kid's shirt is soaked even more than Brad's, and that's a much nicer shirt.
"I feel like I should at least pay for your dry cleaning or something," the guy offers earnestly and there's something in his face that keeps Brad from saying that the best thing he could do would be to kindly fuck off.
"I'm pretty sure dry cleaning would be more than this shirt cost in the first place."
"New shirt, then? I think there's a store on the corner," he says and Brad stares at him, because seriously?
"Most people would just give me ten bucks and move on."
"How do I know you're going to buy a shirt and not spend it on hookers and blow?"
Brad laughs, startling at the sound of it. "Where the fuck are you from and how ugly are the hookers there?"
The kid looks at him for a strangely long moment. Brad notes that his eyes are really fucking green. It's an odd thought, passing through his head like a ghost of something familiar but forgotten. "I'd be glad to stand here and discuss the current rates and possibly follow that with the prices of blow too, but I'm kind of cold and slightly sticky. New shirts," he concludes.
"You know, I actually work right there," Brad says, waving in the general direction of the shop. "Bound to have an old t-shirt or two in the back. You don't have to..."
"You know, might as well go with me and buy that shirt because now that I know where you work I could just buy it and drop it off there. And my taste is atrocious, I've been told" the guy tells him, the corner of his mouth rising in a smile. Brad feels an answering grin press itself against his mouth.
"Okay," he says and isn't sure why he feels warmth spread through his chest at the way the guy beams at him.
Could be the fact that the coffee is drying in the sun and he doesn't feel cold anymore. Yeah, going with that.
"I'm Nate, by the way," the guy says, a curious curl to his lips, like there's a joke hidden somewhere. Brad nods.
"Brad," he offers and the whole thing seems just a little bit ridiculous, with the way his shirt is sticky and uncomfortable and they probably look fucking strange, shaking hands in the middle of the street. Brad's mouth quirks in response, because most of the time he enjoys the fucking strange.
And they must look stranger than he feels, because the girl behind the counter in the male clothes department looks at them as if they had, at least, a few tentacles sprouting of their chests, or a few additional heads or whatever the fuck, and not just a frozen beverage melted and staining their shirts.
Brad grabs a shirt from the nearest available hanger, one that doesn't look like someone puked on it. There's something wrong with colors this year, most of the selection available makes his coffee-stained shirt look good.
When he comes out of the changing room, Nate's writing something on a piece of paper and the sales girl is giggling, flustered and flirty, tossing her hair over her shoulder. Brad shakes his head.
"Is your friend..." she starts and stops immediately, stumbling to an awkward stop. "Thanks," she says instead, picking up the piece of paper, holding it to her chest with near-reverence.
Brad doesn't know what the hell, but he mostly doesn't care so it's all fine. "I'm just gonna ring those up," she adds and takes the tag Brad hands her, along with the one from Nate's shirt. "Do you want me to pack those up?" she gestures at their soiled shirts.
Brad shrugs. "I think it's beyond helping. If you wouldn't mind throwing it away?"
Nate looks thoughtful when she glances at him, almost reluctant, but nods after a moment. "Yes, thank you," he hands the shirt over and signs the credit card receipt. There's seriously no excuse for the way she seems delighted to be handed Nate's old shirt.
"I think there's something seriously wrong with her," Brad mutters when they leave and Nate shakes his head.
"I just hope it doesn't end up on eb..." he bites the word back and Brad doesn't ask. "Well. Sorry again."
"There's something seriously wrong with you, too," Brad tells him. "It was just a fucking shirt. Besides, I'm pretty sure it wouldn't have happened if I paid a little more attention, so..." He can tell where this is going. It's unexpected, but he thinks he kind of likes Nate, his easy manner and the way he seems bemused by the whole thing, in-between the slight guilt. That's new too, most people would probably swear at Brad for spilling their coffee, regardless of who was really at fault. "So, you owed me a shirt and I got one, I think I owe you a coffee."
"Frappe," Nate corrects.
"A retarded, pussy beverage of your choice."
"With whipped cream and sprinkles?"
"Now you're just doing this to annoy me," Brad complains. Nate shrugs, confirming his suspicions. "Nothing that requires more than three words to order," he lays down his offer and Nate smiles, puts on his shades and nods, as if he's accepting a challenge.
In the cafe, he takes his glasses off in a slightly showy gesture and leans forward over the counter. "Same as before," he says and the barista nods, all smiles and cartoon hearts in his eyes.
Brad snorts. "You come here often?"
"No. This is the second time," Nate beams. Fucker. "I just make a lasting impression."
"Yes, I've noticed." He means it, and not in the sarcastic way he cares to pronounce it. It's not like he goes around and asks people out for a coffee, no matter how pretty their mouth is, or how green their eyes are.
Yeah, he noticed that too. Hard not to.
The barista hands Nate his coffee, a frozen thing with, yes, cream, but no sprinkles. Thank god for small mercies, Brad's not sure he'd be able to hold any respect for anyone who likes fucking sprinkles.
They sit at the table for a while and Nate asks about the city, says he's here only for a few days, work-related. He doesn't explain further and Brad doesn't push for answers. They talk about Brad's favourite places to surf and the diner near the beach that has absolutely best pie in the state. Nate looks a little wistful, his mouth working around a smile that's not quite there, and Brad finds himself offering to maybe teach Nate to surf.
No, he's not quite sure what the fuck either.
"I'd like that," Nate says, but the slight reluctance already gives Brad the answer. "But today's my only free afternoon, I'll be... stuck in meetings for the next few days."
The brief pause doesn't escape Brad. He shakes his head. "Let me guess. You're an assassin. Can't tell me why you're in town because you'd have to kill me."
Nate's expression is perfectly impassive, his green eyes suddenly serious and cold, staring at Brad unflinchingly. "Of course not," he says flatly and it even makes Brad uncertain for a second, before Nate cracks a smile, back to his easy warmth in no time.
Oh, he's good, Brad has to admit. "You're an asshole," he says, raising his coffee cup in salute.
Nate bows his head, like he's accepting praise, and catches the sight of his wristwatch. "Fuck," he mutters, an almost hilarious expression of panic crossing his features. "Sandra's going to kill me. I'm half an hour late already."
"Sorry," Brad offers without really meaning it and Nate shrugs.
"No, I'll just grovel for a while. Anyway, it's been nice to meet you," he says, polite and smiling. He's clearly been brought up right, and he waits for the handshake, his arm extended, and Brad can't quite disappoint him. He thinks Nate holds on for a second, two, longer than necessary, but he's probably deluding himself.
And even if he isn't, he has better things to do than waste time on pretty boys with warm smiles and nice green eyes, who have girlfriends and are leaving town in a few days anyway.
He's slightly annoyed at himself for wishing he could waste some time on Nate anyway. He obviously hasn't learned a lot from the whole Jess thing.
He finishes his coffee quickly and goes to pick up the Thai food. The way Ray sputters at that is reasonably amusing, so there's that.
"Took you long enough, though. Don't tell me, you used your lunch break to go and get some nice and warm pussy. You can tell your Ray, homes," he says, contradicting himself rather splendidly and Brad snorts.
"Believe me, Ray, you are the last person whom I'd tell about any kind of sexual encounter I might have."
"I get no love. Well, no, homes, I do get love, and for sure I get more love than you, because your hand doesn't count. You do need to find yourself some girl who'd spread her legs, paid or not, and you need to fuck Jess out of your system. Not that chicks don't go for the brooding type, but you spoil it by being an asshole with a stick up your ass."
The door chimes somewhere in the middle of it, but nothing short of a siren would stop Ray. Brad shakes his head and turns to the newcomer, calling up his look-for-customers which might not be cheerful and polite but isn't homicidal. They should consider themselves lucky.
"Bad time?" Nate asks, a wry smile on his lips.
"Motherfucker," Ray says, loud even for him.
"It's always bad time with Ray," Brad shrugs. "But he makes even more noise when we keep him in his cage, so. Do you need something? We have a good deal on external drives." He's not... not excited, definitely. Nate's here because he needs to buy something, or because he forgot something, or... And Brad's not doing this anyway.
He almost forgot how it was to deal with this, with the heavy rush of attraction and interest, but he'll deal with it. Maybe Ray's right, he needs to buy the services of a professional and fuck some things out of his system. It might not be Jess he needs to forget, though. Go figure.
"I find myself with a clear schedule for tomorrow, after all," Nate's saying and Brad doesn't quite get what's happening here. "If the surfing offer is available," he adds, just a hint of nervousness in his voice.
"Yeah," Brad says, too fast. "Sure."
The way Nate smiles, like Brad had just made his day, like surfing with Brad is the best thing ever happening to him... it's dangerous. Especially since Brad is not doing this, not letting himself even entertain the thoughts of how it would be to kiss Nate, feel that smile against his skin. This is why hookers are a better choice, no complications, no fuss, no skipped beats when his heart gets him in trouble again.
One surfing lesson can't hurt, though. And Nate's leaving town in a few days anyway.
"Here," Nate picks a piece of paper from the counter, a receipt one of the customers must have left behind. He takes a pen out of his pocket, a black sharpie, writes down a few lines in neat lettering. "That's my cell and the number for the hotel I'm staying at. Call me with details or text me the address and directions..." he says and hands Brad the note. "You okay with that?"
Not really. "I did offer, didn't I?"
Nate's smile turns wry, like he's pretty familiar with the fact that people don't always say what they mean. "You did," he nods, then glances at his watch. "An hour late now. Hope I survive until tomorrow."
"Would be a total waste of my time if you didn't, so you better," Brad tells him and gets one quick final smile before Nate disappears. Brad waits for a beat before he turns. "You're being awfully quiet, Ray," he says. "Not that I'm not thrilled with this surprising occurence, but it fills me with dread at what it may be a sign of. An impending apocalypse, perhaps."
"Did you just get Nate fucking Fick's fucking phone number?"
"You know him?" Brad's eyebrows rise up, he can feel it. It didn't look like that at all, Nate just glanced at Ray for a second and then his eyes were on Brad again, no spark of recognition.
Ray snorts. "You really need to go out more. Or pull your head out of your ass, that should do the trick," he mutters and picks up his laptop from the counter, turns it around and types the name into google. It turns up an impressive number of results. Well into seven digits.
It's funny, Brad's brain clicks finally. Yeah, Nate seemed familiar, but when someone spills their coffee on you in the street your first thought is not going to be hey, it's that hollywood heartthrob guy. Besides, Brad had seen one movie with the guy. With Nate.
"You know, I can't even," Ray's saying, obviously over the brief and wonderful silent phase. "You go out to get fucking take-out and manage to get a date with the guy of whom an entire generation of chicks thought when discovering what the showerhead was best for," he says and shakes his head. "And you don't even recognise him. It's a classic, Brad."
Brad ignores him in favor of clicking through the google results. The imdb listing, the fucking wikipedia page, entertainment blogs and fan fucking pages. There's the official site and the facebook group and the twitter. Google images has pages upon pages of screencaps and candids and promos and photo shoots and Brad stares at it for a moment. He really hates the new google images design, to be honest.
The photos themselves, though... Seems the entire world is as infatuated with Nate Fick as Brad could be, if he let himself.
"It's not a date," he tells Ray belatedly and Ray just stares at him.
"Yeah, whatever you say. So, he gave you the number for the hotel and his cell phone?"
Brad scowls at him but that had never really worked on Ray. "It's not like that," he insists and Ray looks at him for a moment longer, serious and searching, until he nods.
"If you say so, homes. Hey, listen, we had an idiot customer while you were gone," he starts and rambles on. Brad tunes him out, sometimes it works best.
Brad second guesses himself for the rest of the afternoon and the better part of the evening, but he calls anyway. He's not quite sure if he's not calling to cancel, though.
Nate answers after two rings, warm voice in Brad's ear.
"Brad Colbert," he offers. "So, you're still alive."
"Barely. But I have been informed that I haven't yet outgrown my usefulness, so the execution was postponed. On the plus side, it means I'm still up for surfing tomorrow," he says and Brad thinks there's some nervousness in the following pause, in the way Nate's breathing is just that little bit uneven. "Unless you've changed your mind."
It's the uncertainty that's Brad's undoing. Apparently the guy who's been announced the sexiest man on earth by the People magazine is worried that Brad's going to cancel their... whatever it is.
"No," he says, as if he wasn't thinking of saying just that. "You have something to write? I'll give you the address."
"Moment. Yeah, okay," Nate says and jots down what Brad tells him. "When do you want me there?"
It's not quite the phrasing Brad needed. "Six am too early for you?"
"Not at all. Looking forward to it."
Brad is giving up. Giving in. Whichever. His whole fucking body reacts to Nate's wisftul tone and he just doesn't fucking know what to do with it. "Okay, then. Six am, don't be late," he says and disconnects even while Nate's soft 'okay' rings in his ears.
It's fine, he has it all under control.
Or at least he thinks so, until the next day, until Nate shows up in the designated spot by the beach, carrying a surfboard and two coffee cups in their carton tray. Brad's coffee is the exact same thing he ordered yesterday. He has his shades on and Brad's pretty sure he looks even better than yesterday.
Better in flesh than the few pics Brad might have looked through on the Internet, but you can't prove anything and he cleaned up his internet history anyway.
"Thanks," he says and is careful in picking up his coffee cup. Their fingers don't even meet around it.
Nate isn't bad, he obviously hasn't surfed before but he's no stranger to water and he takes orders easily, needs only to be shown something once to take to it. He's obviously had some martial arts training for the movies and has good reflexes.
Brad might be even impressed. It's not at all easy to manage that.
"Yeah, okay," Nate says after a while, draped over his board, rubbing at his eyes. "I think I've drunk enough of the salt water to last me a lifetime and fell of this thing enough times for my ego to be sufficiently bruised."
"You're not half bad," Brad tells him.
Nate looks at him for a long moment, squinting at the sun that's behind Brad. When he smiles, it must rival the shine, Brad thinks. "Since I don't think you offer praise lightly I'm suitably flattered. Now, breakfast?"
"Only if there's bacon," Brad agrees easily. Some time more, some time with Nate, can't hurt.
And there is bacon, and pancakes, and scrambled eggs. There's also a rather flustered waitress who disappears for a few minutes right after taking their order and when she comes back, she's holding a photo of Nate, torn out from some magazine. "Would you mind?"
If Brad wasn't looking for it, he'd miss the way Nate's eyes flicker to his for the briefest of moments, before he smiles widely at the girl and asks what's her name, then writes down the dedication and signs with a perfected flourish.
"So, not an assassin for hire," Brad deadpans after the waitress goes away, smiling widely.
"You don't sound surprised."
"You felt guilty about spilling coffee on me, you'd be a fucking lousy assassin," Brad shrugs. "My coworker recognised you," he adds and Nate nods, looks away for a moment. Brad's not sure what it means, maybe Nate wanted to spend some time with someone who didn't know who he was, maybe he enjoyed the anonymity and nothing more. "Look, I don't care..." he starts.
Nate does look up then. "I've figured that much," he says, the corner of his mouth twitching. "Listen, I'm in town only until the day after tomorrow."
"You've mentioned that."
"There's a party tonight I absolutely can't get out of. I've been assured that if I even try, I will get straight up murdered and believe me, my manager can be fucking scary."
"Is this going somewhere?" Brad asks, smiling to take the sting out of his words.
"Come with me?"
"To your murder?"
"To the party," Nate clarifies, licks his lips as he's leaning slightly forward. It's hypnotic, Brad wants nothing more than just kiss him, lean over the table and lick at his mouth, find out how Nate tastes, what sounds would he make, if his fingers would tangle in Brad's shirt and pull him closer. "And yes, I mean it as a date."
Brad swallows the first response, the one word on his lips. He wants this, that's the whole problem. "You think it's a good idea?"
Nate shrugs. "I'm not asking you to be my plus one to a publicised event. I'll get you a ticket and you can show whenever you want, even for five minutes. By date I mean that afterwards I can take you out for pizza and beer."
"No pizza or beer at the party? I don't even know why you're going."
"Brad," Nate says seriously and his eyes are wide and open and unbelievably green.
"So, by date you mean that afterwards you can take me out for pizza and beer, or take me back to your hotel room," he offers and watches the flush spread on Nate's face, his mouth open just slightly as he breathes out, an almost inaudible sigh. Something twists in Brad's stomach, low and warm, and he's almost overwhelmed by the want, the way he reacts to Nate's closeness. "Alright," he mutters.
This is roughly how he finds himself in a sea of suits and evening gowns, trying to keep away from the photographers and wondering if it's a bad idea to take off his tie.
"He's going to be a few moments more," a woman tells him, standing a few inches away and following Brad's gaze to where Nate is talking to a group of people, two pretty girls hanging on his every word. "I'm Sandra," she adds when Brad doesn't respond. "And you're Brad Colbert. Are you going to be trouble?"
Her voice is matter-of-fact and direct, which is why Brad doesn't go with the first response that appears to him but waits for a beat before answering. "Wasn't planning on it."
She narrows her eyes. "Very few people do," she tells him then smiles at Nate when he joins them. "I'll make excuses for you, you have an early day tomorrow, yadda yadda. Try and behave."
Nate laughs, bowing his head when he does. "Now, Sandy, what are the chances of that?" he asks her and pulls lightly at Brad's sleeve, his fingertips brushing over Brad's wrist. "Come on, let's get out of here before she changes her mind."
"I always thought your manager works for you, not the other way around."
"I don't think anyone told Sandra," Nate shrugs, stops once they're outside. "Did I tell you how good you look?"
"I pretty much hate the tie. I'm actually hoping to take it off soon." He realises how it sounded only when Nate's eyes widen, darker now, amost black. "Have you decided yet if it's pizza or your hotel?"
"There's no reason it can't be both, we can order in."
"I do like the way you think," Brad mutters, already tugging at his tie, loosening the knot. He's done talking himself out of it, he supposes, even though the uneasy feeling remains. But he doesn't have expectations so he can't be disappointed.
Inside the room Nate presses him against the doors the moment they close. Brad expects him to lean in for a kiss, even bends his head to meet him halfway, but instead Nate busies himself with undoing Brad's tie with swift fingers, the soft sound of silk sliding against the collar of his shirt unnaturally loud in Brad's ears.
"Better," Nate mutters and his fingers slide down Brad's neck, like he's admiring his work. He deals with two top buttons of Brad's shirt and runs his knuckles against the newly exposed skin, down and back up again.
"Enjoying yourself?" Brad asks dryly and Nate smiles, doesn't even bother to even slow down in his exploration. Brad forgets he was going to complain further when Nate leans in finally, his lips over the throbbing pulse point, mouthing the sensitive skin.
"Very much," he says and Brad can't quite remember what he even asked about in the first place, Nate's warm breath rippling over his sensitised skin.
When he finally gets to kiss Nate, when he pulls him up and crashes their lips together, he's already breathing harshly, his body moving out of its own accord under Nate's hands and mouth. "Fuck," he mutters into Nate's mouth and Nate swallows it eagerly, steals the rest of Brad's breath away.
When he pulls back his lips are red and slick and he licks at them, smiling like he's enjoying the lingering taste. "Got the MTV award for the best kiss a few years back," he tells Brad and he looks like he's holding back laughter, he looks young and reckless and almost drunk, his eyes clouded and bottle green.
"Of course you did," Brad shakes his head and steps forward, his hands finding the closest bare skin with amazing accuracy. "Any other skills I might want to know about?"
Nate pretends to think about it. "I'll show you," he decides finally and pulls Brad closer again.
It's a long while before they remember the promise of pizza and beer, before Nate fumbles for the phone and orders room service. Brad's legs are tangled with his, his skin is still flushed and warm and covered with a sheen of sweat and Nate doesn't seem to mind when he noses a path down Brad's shoulder and arm, like he can't be bothered to move closer but he needs to be touching Brad somehow, and that's the easiest way.
They eat pizza sitting on the floor, Brad's back against the bed and Nate leaning back against the nightstand. One of his legs is propped up, bent at the knee and pulled close, the other extended, his foot against Brad's thigh. The alarm clock by the bed tells Brad it's three am in bright green digits, two dots blinking between them hypnotically.
He knows he's on borrowed time, the feeling is familiar enough. He used to get it with Jess too, the low pressure in his chest, like a breath half held back, like something half forgotten and yet everpresent. He didn't know what it was then, not until she left him. If he knew, he'd make a better use of it.
He doesn't realise his hand is on Nate's foot until Nate groans and slides down just a little bit, his movement smooth and liquid. "Yeah," he mutters, eyelids fluttering and Brad presses with his fingers into the sole, runs his hand up Nate's ankle. It's almost unbelievable that just this, just Brad's touch, can elicit this reaction from Nate, make him look at Brad with undisguised want.
They barely make it back onto the bed.
Brad wakes up in a still warm bed and to the sound of Nate's voice, barely above whisper, explaining to someone, presumably Sandra, why he's late for whatever. "I'll make it in time for the lunch, don't worry. No. No, it's fine. You said it yourself that they want me for the role. Yes. Fine."
Brad wonders who in their right mind wouldn't want Nate Fick.
It's a dangerous thought, more dangerous than letting this happen, letting himself enjoy the break from reality for a day.
He closes his eyes anyway, wills his breathing to even out. He wants the moment to last.
The bed sags when Nate comes back, slides under the cover carefully, like he doesn't want to wake Brad up. His arm is pressed against Brad's side but it's comfortable, almost unbearably so.
"I know you're awake," Nate mutters, his voice still a little bit rough, from sleep or from the way he kept repeating Brad's name few hours before, until it almost lost its meaning, until Nate made it a part of himself. "You're fucking lousy at faking it."
"I'd be pretty damn glad for that, if I were you," Brad tells him. "Are you late for something?"
"Nothing important enough."
"Are you lying?"
Nate huffs a laugh and then leans in, his lips brushing Brad's nose. "Wouldn't lie to you. I do have to get to that lunch, though, or Sandra will castrate me with her nail clippers."
"Wouldn't want that," Brad mutters and he's already sliding down, eyes still closed but pretty efficient at finding Nate's cock anyway. Once more, then he's done.
Nate's phone starts ringing an hour later, when they're out of the shower already and Nate's towelling his wet hair. He ignores it the first two times, until Brad picks it up and looks at the caller id. "Sandra," he tells Nate, as if it could be anyone else.
"She's probably calling to tell me which tie to wear," Nate mutters but picks up with a sigh. "I'm on my way," he tells her after a few seconds of what seems to be a tirade.
"So," Brad nods. He's not quite sure how to say goodbye. Should have stuck to hookers, that was much easier.
But then he wouldn't get this, the way Nate seems to melt into his body like he's familiar with it, like he knows a way to fit in perfectly after just a few short hours. His hair is still wet, his shirt sticking to his skin in few places, he smells of the hotel shampoo Brad used as well, one he'll be able to smell for the entire day.
"I really wish I had more time," Nate mutters against Brad's mouth, the words resonating on his lips. "But I'm pretty sure I actually wanted to go to this lunch, at some point."
"I figured it's important."
"Best script I ever got. Sandra thinks I shouldn't tell them that. Play hard to get and all."
"Not your style?"
Nate smiles, Brad can feel it more than he sees it. "I'm regretfully easy."
"Yeah," Brad agrees. It's a complete lie and nothing but the truth at the same time. Being around Nate, with Nate, seems like the most natural thing, yes, but those are the most difficult too. Those are the ones that end in disaster.
"How about the evening?" someone says and Brad realises it's him. He's well and truly fucked now.
"I was going to turn in early, got a morning flight. What did you have in mind?"
"Nothing," Brad says quickly. Nate tugs at his hand, his fingers wrapped around Brad's wrist in an easy hold, his thumb skiding over the sensitive skin on the inside of it. "It's... I couldn't make it anyway, I'm obligated to show at my idiot of a coworker's boyfriend's birthday dinner."
Nate watches him for a long moment, his lips parted, before he swipes his tongue across his lower lip and nods. "Not a thing to which you bring a date?" he says and it sounds like it's supposed to be a joke but it falls flat. Nate sounds like he wants this, like he actually fucking wants to go to Walt's birthday with Brad, have them be something more than this, then the hotel room and one night and cold pizza in the morning and quite probably the best sex of Brad's life, because yeah, it might have been.
"Are you going to bring a gift?" he asks and has to close his eyes, because Nate's smile is blinding.
"Can't I just sign the card on yours?"
"Sure, if you're that kind of a cheap asshole."
Nate's cellphone rings again and Nate jabs at it with his thumb, silences it. "Where and when?" he asks, words stumbling out in a hurry.
"Come by the shop around six?"
He hadn't thought it through. Ray's going to be there. Poke's going to be there. God help him, Gina Espera will be there and that can only end badly for Brad. Nate's kissing him even as they make their way towards the door and Brad doesn't fucking care about any of that.