Back on the force now, Will finds himself drawn to another street punk, a hustler named Corey, who seeks police assistance to protect his "boys" from a violent attacker. Though he and Corey work well together, Will can't seem to shake the feeling he will eventually fail to protect Corey ... the same way he failed to save Tea.
|Product dimensions:||5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.26(d)|
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It'd been a hellacious day for him. The first time back to work after a forced, month-long leave, and when five o'clock finally rolled around, Will had been ready to call it quits. He hadn't known what to expect, but he wasn't ready for the fake smiles, the inane small talk, the whispered conversations that stopped when he came into a room. Men he'd worked with for years now went out of their way to avoid him. When he tried to dive into a new case, he was told to take it easy, give himself time to get back into the swing of things.
Hell, he'd been given enough time already. He wanted, needed, to move on.
Ahead, a stop light flickered from amber to red. Will toyed with the idea of not stopping--who'd notice? Who'd care? But the upstanding citizen in him hit the brakes at the last second, throwing him forward a little in his seat. Instinct caused his hand to stray to the volume knob on the radio; at the last minute he caught himself before he could turn it down. Despite the nagging headache that tugged behind his eyes, he cranked the knob the other way. The car shuddered beneath the increased beat.
Will glanced out the driver's side window. Two women stood on the curb, mini-skirts hiked up to reveal tanned thighs, halter tops straining over ample breasts. One Asian, one Hispanic, neither Will's flavor of choice. They giggled and waved, but he turned back to the street and gunned his engine, waiting for the light to change. Sorry, girls.
From the corner of his eye, he caught movement out the passenger side window. He glanced that way, saw a cluster of young men leaning against the side of an old movie theater, and took his foot off the gas as he did adouble take.
Now that was more like what he had in mind.
There were five of them in all, the youngest probably not yet eighteen. They wore tight shorts and torn tees that exposed smooth, flat abdomens. Spiked hair above dark eyeliner rimmed haunted eyes. Crotches bulged obscenely. Black leather tied in makeshift bracelets along pale arms. One kid wore a battered army jacket; another dribbled a scuffed basketball. Two of them had already paired off, rubbing against each other and snickering between stolen kisses as they moved away from the others.
But the one Will had noticed, the one he lowered his shades to get a better look at, stood by himself at the front of the group. He had translucent skin that seemed to glow in the lamplight, as if he hadn't seen the sun in years. His black hair shone almost blue in the night, the short bangs framing his face and ears in a pixie cut. He wore a silver mesh tank top cropped above his navel and a pair of black biker shorts pulled down low over bony hips. Will found his gaze drawn to the flat planes of that bare stomach, the thin muscles taut and lean, the skin luminous against the shadows.
A car horn blared behind him; the light had changed. Will hit the gas and shot through the intersection, his mind lingering on the scantily-clad hustler and his friends. At the next block, without making a conscious decision about it, Will turned and circled back for a second look.
You shouldn't, he told himself, but his body didn't listen. His blood had risen at the sight of exposed white flesh, and when he closed his eyes, he could well imagine his own dark fingers splayed over that pale midriff like the shadows themselves.
You didn't even see his face, a voice inside him muttered.
Will didn't care. He'd been driving for hours, ever since he'd left the precinct, and for what?
Some part of him needed this, he knew. Why else would he be in the Slip, cruising the street? Music blaring, sunglasses on, an erection throbbing at his crotch? He needed release.
That damn voice in his mind wouldn't let up. This is Tea all over again. Will turned the radio up in an attempt to drown it out, but it didn't work. You find another street rat like that, pick him up, take him home, clean him up, and what happens next? Where's Tea now?
Will gripped the steering wheel tight and leaned forward as he took the next turn. He wasn't thinking about Teabag anymore--that part of his life was over, done with, case closed. It'd been a month already. Tonight was an escape, a way to move out of the past, a way to move on. And Will suspected a good, solid fuck was all he needed to do just that.
Back on Cary Street again, Will slowed as he approached the hustlers' block. This time he pulled over a bit, out of the flow of traffic, so he wouldn't be rushed. The guys came into view and Will slowed the car. A few of them elbowed each other, nodded his way. Then the guy in the silver mesh turned and watched him come to a complete stop.
Will sat back in the driver's seat to wait. It didn't take long. Within a few minutes, the guy broke away from his friends and drifted to the passenger side of Will's car. As he approached, Will turned down the radio to a mere whisper.
Leaning onto the open window, the guy flashed Will an easy grin. "Hey, dude," he drawled. His voice had a raw quality to it, as if he'd spent the previous evening screaming himself hoarse at a concert. "See something you like?"
This close, Will noticed the guy was younger than he'd originally thought. Closer to Tea's age, maybe, barely a man...
An image of Teabag flashed in his mind, superimposing itself over the hustler's features. Freckles dotted clear skin, the black hair turned a deep shade of russet, those green eyes turned a warm brown. The wide grin was replaced with a crooked one, thrown off by an eyetooth broken in a club fight. Will heard Teabag's smoked-out voice when the hustler spoke. "I know you want me, Detective. And shit, I want you. So what's it to anyone else if we get our groove on, you know?"
With a shake of his head, Will chased that memory away. Teabag disappeared, leaving only the guy before him. Perhaps this hadn't been such a swift idea after all. Putting the car into gear, Will started, "Sorry, kid. You're not even legal--"
"I'm twenty-three," the hustler answered. "Don't go. I like black guys and you're kind of cute. It's been a slow night."