CHAPTER THREE - REACQUAINTANCE
Sebastian quickly lowered his head and toed the ground. Why the hell had he lost his temper with the Gedeon brothers? And why did he have to do it when Fallon came back to town?
And when did he come back? Sebastian looked up at the older man through his lashes. Fallon had left nearly a decade ago. To run the Gedeon business in England, they said. But Sebastian had always thought something else was going on. There were whispers he had disagreed with the Gedeon patriarch, Mathias. But about what, no one knew. He looks the same. Still so fucking gorgeous. Not that I recognized that I liked boys when I was nine. But I couldn't forget him. Those green-gold eyes swung back to him and Sebastian grimaced. But of course he comes back right when I'm going to beat up his little brother!
"He started it, Fallon! He stole my wallet!" Christopher's voice rose into a whine.
Sebastian's head jerked up. "I did not! I didn't touch your fucking wallet!"
"Bastian's not a thief!" Steff yelled as well.
Ven nodded vigorously though his mouth didn't open.
"He bumped into Chris! He did, Fallon!" Beagan's brown-haired head looked like a bobble doll's as he whipped it up and down. He was an angry cherub in Sebastian's eyes with his flushing, puffed cheeks and bee-stung lips.
Fallon's eyes narrowed as they swept over everyone present. Sebastian stood up straighter and met the eldest Gedeon's gaze. An electric current went through his body as that gaze continued, unblinking, for almost a minute. The air crackled between them. Sebastian didn't drop his eyes. Instead, he tried to put the truth of what had happened into them. Finally, Fallon nodded.
"I see what has happened here," he said quietly.
Christopher beamed. "You're going to get it now, Sebastian! My brother won't let you get away with --"
"Quiet, Christopher!" Fallon interrupted.
Christopher blinked at him. His smile went from triumphant to uncertain. "What is it, brother?"
"You know exactly what it is," Fallon's voice was low, but Christopher jerked back at the words as if they had been shouted at him.
"But Fallon! Sebastian was going to hurt Chris!" Beagan shouted from behind Christopher's legs. "He's so big! Chris is so small!"
Christopher glared at the youngest Gedeon. He clearly didn't like the implication that Sebastian was more of a man than he was. But Beagan clasped his small hands together as if to beg their oldest brother to understand. Fallon, however, crossed his arms across his broad chest and gave Beagan a sharp look, which had the cherub wilting.
"We all know that Sebastian didn't harass you two. Get in the car now. Not another word. You have shamed yourselves and me. Go!" Fallon's voice was withering.
The younger Gedeon brothers' heads lowered and they shuffled off toward the limousine with their entourage trailing at their heels. But just as they left, Christopher looked back at Sebastian with a malicious glint in his eyes.
So this isn't over. What the hell did I do to annoy him so much? Sebastian wondered. The Gedeon brothers were aristocratic, moneyed and bastards in general, but normally they ignored him. He wasn't popular or rich so he wasn't in their group. But then he saw Christopher give Dana Stevens a shy smile. Jesus Christ, he likes her and she likes me. That's what this is about? I could tell him not to worry about it. She's so not my type. I wonder what he'd do if I admitted to him that Fallon is.
Dana looked back at him, her mouth turned down at the corners, clearly concerned for him. He wanted to sigh. He didn't respond to her beseeching look. She was the cause of all this though she had no idea of it.
But his thoughts were soon derailed as Fallon Gedeon was suddenly in front of him. Those green-gold eyes were staring into his again. Sebastian shifted from foot to foot. Electricity skated across his skin and a flush heated his cheeks. But he refused to look away even as his body turned into a quivering, needful mass.
What would it be like if he touched me? Sebastian wondered. For one moment, he imagined being nude, lying face down on a bed with Fallon above him. The older Gedeon's sculpted torso would be limned with moonlight as he coated his hands with massage oil. Sebastian's shoulders slumped as he imagined what it would be like to have those slick palms and fingers dig into the muscles of his upper back. He could almost feel Fallon's thumbs frame his spine and massage all the way down his back until they reached the swell of his buttocks. Then the touch would become lighter as Fallon glided his oil-soft hands over Sebastian's ass. He imagined them parting his cheeks and Fallon's breath skating over his tender entrance. He flushed harder and tugged his leather jacket down over his front. His cock was stirring.
Jesus, can't let anyone know I'm hot as hell for him. He'd probably laugh to know a kid like me was interested in him. No way he'd reciprocate.
"Walk with me a moment, Sebastian?" Fallon asked softly. He saw how Steff and Ven were coming over to them. "Alone?"
"Yeah, sure, no problem." Sebastian waved his two best friends off, gesturing that he would be a minute.
Steff nodded and grabbed Ven's hand to keep him with her. Not that she needed to do that. He never left her side.
Fallon's long coat swept out behind him. He rubbed his hands together. "I'm sorry about my brothers. They are ... spoilt."
"Not your fault. You've been away," Sebastian said. He wasn't going to claim that the Gedeon brothers weren't complete gits.
"They shouldn't have done that. Father has indulged them. They don't seem to understand that people aren't here merely for their pleasure or disdain." Fallon frowned. "Perhaps if they had had my guidance, someone nearer their age, it would have done some good."
"Well, you can't live your life for your brothers," Sebastian offered. He glanced out of the corner of his eye at the older man. He nearly jumped when he realized that Fallon was looking openly at him.
Fallon smiled fondly at him. He lightly cupped Sebastian's face for a moment. His hand was gone all too soon. "When I look at you, I see how long I have been gone. You were just a little boy when I went away."
Sebastian colored. His cheek tingled from where Fallon had touched him. "I'm surprised you remember me. I was what? Nine?"
Fallon chuckled. "It's hard to forget the boy who danced naked in our azalea bushes."
Sebastian gasped and his mouth hung open for a minute. "You -- you remember that?"
Fallon was outright laughing now. "You were so entertaining. You were talking to your dolls. Having a grand time."
"They were GI Joe Action Figures. Not dolls!" Sebastian winced at how outraged he sounded at the implication he had played with dolls. "And I wasn't talking to them. I was talking for them."
He'd been acting out a script he had in his head. He wasn't a part of the action. He was directing it.
"Ah, I see," Fallon said, biting his lower lip to keep his laughter from erupting again.
"And I wasn't naked. I -- I had on a bandana ... around my neck." Sebastian burst out into peals of laughter. He had been buck naked except for the small scrap of fabric that he could hardly tie around his throat.
"That is an important detail." Fallon wrapped his arms around his chest as he laughed harder.
Sebastian loved how Fallon's cheeks pinked and eyes sparkled when he laughed. The somber seriousness that he constantly had about him disappeared when he let go like this.
"I never understood how you got into our azalea bushes. Let alone how the naked part happened," Fallon said.
"Give me a minute. I think I blocked it out, because of the trauma of you finding me!" Sebastian cast his mind back. The Gedeon property was on the good side of the tracks so to speak. But the Ford house butted up against part of the Gedeon's ten acres of land. He had roamed onto their property all the time. And one day, after a summer rainstorm, when mud was everywhere but the sun had come out bright and clear, he wanted to play. But he had on his good clothes. "My mother threatened to whip my ass if I got this little suit I had on dirty. But it was so incredible out. And I kept thinking how awesome it would be to go through the mud with my action figures. So I ... ah ..."
"Got naked," Fallon suggested. "Makes perfect sense. You wouldn't get your clothes dirty, but you'd get to have fun at the same time."
Sebastian darted a look over at the older man to see if he was snickering too hard. But Fallon looked amused, but wasn't outright giggling. Yet.
"Right. So I stripped off my clothes. Set them neatly on the back steps and took off --"
"Wait! You haven't explained the bandana around your neck. How did that come in?" Fallon asked.
They stopped and were standing across from one another on the sidewalk bordering the parking lot. Sebastian's Harley glimmered underneath the trees. For a wild moment, Sebastian wanted to ask Fallon if he'd like to go for a ride. He could imagine the bigger man behind him, chestnut hair flying in the wind, and his coat spread out behind him like a pair of wings as Sebastian flew them around town. When Fallon cocked his head to the side with an unspoken question on his lips, Sebastian came back to the actual moment.
"Right, ah, the bandana. Well, I felt -- uhm, more military with it on," he said even as his cheeks became scarlet.
Fallon tipped his head back in laughter then. Tears had sprung out in his eyes. He swiped them away. "All right. Military. Well, yes I suppose."
"I was nine!" Sebastian pointed out rather desperately. "Logic didn't really have a part in what I thought."
That fond smile was back. "So what about the dancing? I will never forget as I rode along the back edge of the property on Azazel only to find you swaying your pale little behind to music only you could hear while the azalea bushes waved around you."
Sebastian knew his face was nuclear red by now. "I wasn't -- wasn't swaying!"
"You were doing a little jig or something. You shook your butt to the right and then to the left," Fallon said quite emphatically.
Sebastian made a strangled noise and he covered his face with his hands. "I take it no amount of money or pleading will make you forget that?"
Fallon shook his head. "Never! I loved it. You were adorable. And then when you swung around to face me, your little hands covered your uhm assets, and you were blushing scarlet as the day. I felt awful when you ran away screaming."
Sebastian shook his head. "It seems like I only meet up with you when I'm doing something embarrassing."
Fallon's eyebrows rose. "You did nothing embarrassing today. Or are you promising me something later?"
He wished to god he was seeing Fallon later. The thought of meeting up with the older man and just drinking and talking was incredible.
But I'm still a kid compared to him. He's late twenties, early thirties. What would he want with a 19-year-old?
"I shouldn't have lost my temper with your brothers," Sebastian murmured. A stab of shame went through him.
One of Fallon's hands was suddenly squeezing his shoulder. "They deserved that and much more. I am deeply troubled by the lying I saw them doing today. I cannot believe they are so corrupt as to accuse you of theft ..." He went silent, his expression disturbed.
Sebastian suddenly wanted the smiling and laughing Fallon back not the one who seemed to think he was responsible for his brothers being obnoxious. "Hey, hey, it's really not your fault. And I think I know why Christopher's all pissed at me. Though he needn't be."
Fallon's green-gold eyes met him, a questioning lift to his eyebrows. "Why would he do something like this?"
"Her name is Dana Stevens," Sebastian said with a grimace.
A light of understanding flickered across Fallon's face and Sebastian thought he imagined a look of disappointment, too, as he asked. "You're dating this girl and Christopher wants her?"
Sebastian almost said yes. He almost let the easy lie fall off his lips. Confessing he was gay to Fallon was not something he intended to do.
But I'm not ashamed of it. So what the hell? What's the worse that can happen? He imagined being strung up at school, but then shook that thought away.
"I'm not dating her and I'll never date her." Sebastian ran a hand through his short hair and coughed. His gaze flickered to Fallon's face and away.
The older man frowned. "So she likes you and you do not like her?"
"I'd never like her that way." Sebastian was blushing again and his nervousness made his hands sweat. He wiped them against his jeans.
"She is not your type?" Fallon asked, still frowning.
Sebastian's heart hammered in his chest. He felt that by admitting that he was gay and seeing Fallon's reaction, he would know if his view of the other man would be irrevocably changed. Can't quite fantasize about a guy that withdraws in horror at the thought I like men. But why waste time wanting a guy who will never want me back?
"She's not the right gender," Sebastian said. He held his breath as he awaited Fallon's reaction.
A light dawned on the older man's face and to Sebastian's shock, a small smile played across Fallon's beautiful features. "I -- I see. Well, yes, that does make sense."
Sebastian took in a deep breath. He clearly wasn't despised by the other man. But he isn't saying: Well, I'm gay, too! What did I expect? For him to admit he's interested in guys and me as well? Jesus, grow up. But Sebastian felt his heart tumbling. Maybe he had been hoping for that reaction.
"Are you out to your friends?" Fallon asked quietly.
"Yeah, just not the whole school. You know, it's not like people go around and introduce themselves as straight so I figured I didn't have to either. I sort of keep it to myself, because it's not one's business," Sebastian answered. He knew there was a touch of defensiveness in his voice. But he really didn't care to be the topic of school gossip again. He'd already had that after his father died. People had whispered that Galen had been drunk. That he'd been on drugs. That he'd driven into the trees on purpose.
"I'm sorry. I've upset you," Fallon said. He squeezed Sebastian's shoulder again before his hand dropped to his side. "I assure you that I won't tell anyone if you do not wish it."
The thought of Christopher and Beagan knowing was both good and bad. Good in the sense that Christopher might leave him the fuck alone, knowing that he had Dana Stevens all to himself. Bad in the sense that he'd spread it all over school and use it as another way to harass Sebastian.
"It's not exactly a secret, but I'd get less grief if you didn't say anything," Sebastian admitted.
Fallon nodded. "It's no one's business." His gaze lifted to meet Sebastian's. "Thank you for sharing it with me."
Sebastian blushed and shrugged. "You've already seen me naked and dancing in the flowers. How much more revealing could this be?"
Fallon chuckled. "There is that."
"Are you back in town for good now? Or are you heading back to England?" Sebastian asked.
"I'm here. The matters in -- in England have been handled." Fallon would not meet his eyes and his mouth was firmed into a tight line.
"Oh, well, that's good then. You'll be around, I mean. And that's cool," Sebastian murmured. Fallon was lying. Was he even in England? If not, where was he for ten years and why lie about it?
Fallon adjusted his coat. "It will be good for me to keep an eye on my brothers. Clearly, they have been lacking guidance."
From the narrowed eyes and tight smile, Sebastian almost felt badly for Christopher and Beagan, but then he remembered those shrill voices accusing him of stealing. The sad thing was that he could desperately use the cash. Oh, could he use the money! But he'd never steal it. Although, he was running out of options.
Fallon touched his chin. It was the barest brush of fingers. "You look so sad."
Sebastian smiled softly even as a part of him was amazed at how many times Fallon had touched him that day. His skin felt on fire from it. And something in him yearned to just lean forward, to fall against that stronger body, and just let go.
Can't do that. Can't spill my problems to him. He's kind, but he's not my friend. I'll just make him uncomfortable if I tell him everything that's happening with Mom and me. He'll think that I'm asking for money, because he's rich.
"Just a little tired," Sebastian said. That was true, although it was only the barest part of what he truly felt.
Fallon frowned and his brows drew in. "I wanted to say how very sorry I am about your parents."
It was a general statement of sympathy so it shocked Sebastian how the hot flood of tears seemed to hover just behind his eyes because of it. He nodded his head and blinked furiously to stop them from falling. "Ah, thanks."
"How are you doing? I know that you are taking care of your mother," Fallon said.
Sebastian's eyes widened. He was shocked that Fallon knew that. The Gedeons had sent a wreath to his father's funeral. But it wasn't like they were close or anything. Other than the azalea bush incident, he'd spoken to Fallon more today then he'd ever done before.
"We're doing okay." Sebastian swallowed. That was such a lie. He had no idea where the next mortgage payment was and Mona's salary was already two weeks behind. He wouldn't be eating except for what he grabbed from his pizzeria job. The owner fed him dinner and let him take home some food for lunch.
Fallon's gaze pierced him again and Sebastian found himself quickly looking away.
"If there's anything we can do ... anything I can do, please let me know," Fallon said. Again, there was a gentle press of his strong hands on Sebastian's shoulders.
"I really appreciate it, but -- thank you," Sebastian couldn't form the words for the lie. He looked away quickly. The stress of his situation was creeping up on him again.
"Bastian!" Steff called over to him. She waved one of her black clad arms to get his attention. He hadn't noticed her outfit before though it was hard to miss: black and white striped shirt with a scoop neck collar, a short flouncy black skirt, textured tights and high black boots up to her knees.
"What?" he called back. His annoyance at being interrupted with Fallon was mitigated by the fact that it was Steff and he was hardly ever angry with her. Plus, he was afraid he would suddenly burst out with the whole sordid story of their financial problems and his mother's health to Fallon at any second.
"Don't you have to be at work like -- uhm, now?" Steff gestured towards her wristwatch.
"Shit!" Sebastian cursed as he realized what time it was.
"You have to go I take it?" Fallon guessed.
"Yeah, like ten minutes ago, but -- damn! I can still make it. I'm sorry I've got to take off!" Sebastian longed to ask if they could meet up again, but his mouth wasn't cooperating.
"Of course. One last thing. Would it be all right if I came to see your mother?" Fallon asked.
Sebastian blinked at him. He hadn't expected the question. "She's, uhm, really not ..."
"I know her condition is quite serious and that she's nonresponsive," Fallon said quietly. "But she was very kind to me when I needed it. I would very much like to visit with her even if ... if she doesn't know I'm there or can react to me."
Sebastian choked up at this. He had no idea that Samantha had done anything to earn Fallon's friendship, but clearly she had. He nodded. "She'd like that."
"Tomorrow, perhaps? Around noon?" Fallon asked.
"Bastian! TIME!!! You won't make it unless you go like now!" Steff shouted.
"Go, go! I will contact you tomorrow." Fallon shooed him towards his bike.
"Thanks! Sorry! Tomorrow! Definitely want to see you tomorrow!" Sebastian threw over his shoulder as he shoved his helmet on his head and leaped for the bike.
It thundered to life between his thighs. The bike's rumbling purr was music to him. He pushed the kickstand up and grasped the handlebars. The bike felt like a part of him. Just as he turned it around to ride it out of the parking lot, he glanced back at Fallon. The older man was watching him and waved at him. Sebastian waved back.
Why was my mother kind to you? What had happened that you needed her kindness, Fallon? But he knew that the answers to those questions would have to wait. He was late.