This is the follow up to the story with Kate and Andrew. Riley, of course gave us the gift that is Andrew.
This one almost hit smut territory, but Andrew rolled high on wisdom when Riley was forced to check it. (5e people will know what that means)
It was close to closing time before Adrian made it to Andrew’s shop. He preferred to go when it was not likely to be busy and he could have all of a Andrew’s attention.
When he entered Andrew was behind the counter, anxiously fiddling with paperwork. That was unusual.
“Andrew?” He asked. “What’s wrong?” Adrian quickly looked around for any circle members and was unable to feel any energies that might indicate one of the more evil creatures people like them attracted. “Did something happen?”
The bell rang and Andrew jumped. Just slightly, but as it was Adrian who’d just entered, the chances were equal between whether or not he’d noticed. He couldn’t stop tapping his pen over the invoices, not even sure what they were even for.
Obviously Adrian had noticed something was wrong. Samantha wasn’t with him and it was – checking the clock – definitely after school hours. Andrew was in a rare mood after the earlier events, still not able to shake some sense that there was something wrong. Not that being attracted to women was wrong, it worked for a lot of people. He’d just never even considered it, since he figured out he was gay when he was still fairly young.
“I don’t know,” Andrew said, truthfully. “Something happened, alright, but . . .” did he even want to get into this with Adrian?
“Oh shit,” Adrian came up to the counter, worried. “It isn’t Rei or the circle is it?” Adrian spent a lot of time worrying that he was putting Andrew in danger by being there. He had been having trouble with Rei lately and worried the older woman had done something now to Andrew.
“It’s not circle.” Andrew was beginning to have an idea of what had happened with Kate Withers earlier, which didn’t make it any easier. Honestly, he’d rarely been on the other side of that, except with Adrian, and he’d been attracted to him before that. Now he wondered how often he’d abused his power.
“It’s . . .” oh christ, he hated to admit it. “How does it feel when you’re charmed?”
“Charmed?” Adrian asked. “It’s been a while,” He admitted.
“I remember that I kept wanting to keep talking so you would not stop paying attention to me.” He blushed a little at those memories. He had been desperate for Andrew’s attention that it had freaked him out. He would have done almost anything to get it.
“It was very intense,” he added. “Why? I’m pretty sure you are used to me by now. I don’t think I could do that inadvertently anymore.” Wait. Had he? Was Andrew realizing it now? Adrian was suddenly afraid of what he would say next.
Andrew nodded, nodding again. It hadn’t been quite like that, but he suspected that was due to the sexuality issue. If he had been even remotely more bisexual he would now be having an even more awkward conversation with Adrian.
The concern that Adrian was charming him now, made him admit to himself that he had to tell the other man the full story. “Not you. Earlier, someone else. She came into the shop to pick up a book, and she was so belligerent that I . . . charmed her and maybe I went overboard, and then . . .” Andrew sighed, blushing a bit. He had definitely come out of it, but right after Kate Withers had left, Andrew had actually found himself fantasizing about what could have happened. And now he was blushing harder.
“This must be good,” Adrian laughed. “I’ve never seen you blush like that.” He was so relieved that it wasn’t something he did that his knees felt a little weak and he felt slightly giddy. Though the thought of Andrew charmed by a woman was a little jarring. He tried to keep his face straight but it was hard.
“Where the hell did she come from? I didn’t know there were any women around.”
Andrew sighed; he couldn’t blame Adrian for his laughter. Unfortunately, this was only making him blush harder. His ears and neck must be bright red by now. It was almost enough to ignore Adrian’s implied obliviousness to the existence of women, though Andrew knew what he meant. He hadn’t known of any female part-Lilin other from Samantha.
“Her father is a warlock.” Not sure how much more he should tell Adrian about her. “So I’d assume the ancestry could be from either side.”
“How terrible for you,” Adrian leaned in toward Andrew resting some of his weight against the counter. He was still laughing. “You must be in shock,” he teased.
“I hope you didn’t scandalize any customers while you were with her.” Andrew with a woman. Wow. He tried to decide of he was jealous of her at all, but only found it funnier the more he thought about it.
“You may need a shower in alcohol or something.” He really enjoyed the look of mortification on Andrew’s face.
“A drink’s not a bad idea,” Andrew began… not sure why Adrian was finding this so hilarious, until suddenly he did. He took a step back to look directly in his face.
“oh. Oh jesus, you think I actually had sex with her.” Andrew took a deep breath. “Honestly, if it hadn’t been during business hours, or she wasn’t waving pictures of nude men in my face, that would have happened.”
“Pictures of nude men? This keeps getting better.” Adrian was laughing so hard he had to wipe his eyes.
As horrified as Andrew still was, that he had been charmed and by a woman, he could not really blame Adrian for seeing the humor in the situation. Maybe it was karma, not that Andrew was big on the idea of universal judgment. Balance, though…
He sighed. “I’m closing. I need a stiff drink, probably several. If you want the full story you’ll have to wait ‘til I’m at least slightly drunker than I am now.”
Andrew went to the door and locked up, switching the sign around. Maybe Adrian would have to go home. It wasn’t even that bad, more just a mortifying chain of increasingly awkward events. That he had no desire to repeat sober.
“A drink?” Adrian asked. “Like out, in public?” He frowned. “That sound like a risky idea. I could get you something and bring it to your place.” Surely Andrew did not mean that he would consider being seen in public with him. How rattled was he? He no longer felt like laughing.
Andrew was finishing his tasks for closing up the shop when Adrian stepped in front of him and clamped his large hands on the shorter man’s shoulders to hold him still. “She didn’t hurt you, did she?” He was looking at Andrew, trying to see if there were any obvious signs of physical trauma.
He also let a small amount of his power run over Andrew’s skin, not all damage could be seen with the naked eye. Some creatures could leave the psychic equivalent of barbs on a victim. But the only thing he found was the slight residual energy around where the bindings had been.
Shit. Now Andrew wasn’t sure he’d meant for Adrian to join him for the drink, or if he’d assumed he’d only come here for a quickie in the back room and had to be getting home soon to Samantha.
It was partly the thought of the little girl, but mostly how troubled he was by the entire ordeal with Ms. Withers – Andrew had had a lot of practice compartmentalizing the other – but when Adrian touched him, he felt almost no desire to move into his arms; responding only to shake his head.
Then a warmth spread over him, entirely nonsexual. Adrian was using magic on him. Without asking. Andrew pulled away, trying to push Adrian back. “How could you do that, after what happened? Don’t you think I’m sick of being shoved around by everyone’s magic!” Andrew took a deep breath, aware he was shaking slightly and trying to regain control. Not sure he wanted to look up at the other man.
“You’re the only other person I’ve known who’s able to do that, and when you did I didn’t really mind because I was already attracted to you but . . .” taking another breath. “I need a drink, but I think you’ve got to get home?”
Adrian let his hands fall back to his sides, surprised by Andrew’s tone.
“I wasn’t trying to manipulate you in any way. Why would you think I would do that to you?” he asked. “There are things other than Lilin that can charm.”
Adrian tried to catch Andrew’s eye but the other man was avoiding it. “I wanted to make sure it was not something that would continue to drain you.”
He should have felt guilty. Did feel guilty. Andrew sighed, lifting his eyes up to Adrian’s face. What was there to say? That he was worried about how he’d manipulated people himself, that he’d left people wondering why they’d let their inhibitions down and slept with him . . . it wasn’t that they hadn’t wanted to, and yet . . . desire and acting on that desire were two very different things.
“I shouldn’t have snapped at you,” he admitted. “I need a drink. You’re welcome back at my apartment if you don’t have to get back home anytime soon. Otherwise I’ll just be alone tonight and see you . . . in a day or two?” Andrew wanted Adrian, or at least, wanted to want him. It just wasn’t the right time.
Adrian was not sure what to do. Andrew was not himself, and he did not like the thought of him going home and drinking alone, but it also sounded like he probably did not want him there.
“Samantha will be fine for another hour or so,” Adrian said finally. He had no concern that anything would happen to her. His apartment had wards far better than any burglar alarm, and she was more adult than child most of the time, so there was no worry that she would get herself into trouble. He was trying to choose his words carefully so Andrew would not feel pressured to let him come over.
“Why don’t you go home and I will bring you some food and alcohol. And then I’ll leave if you want.” He watched Andrew’s face to see if here was any reaction. He had never seen Andrew like this before.
Not sure what to do, Andrew hesitated for a moment, fidgeting with the key to his shop, rubbing the teeth against his thumb. “I think that’s the best option. Thank you.” Andrew sighed. “I’ll see you in a little while, Adrian.”
For a moment, he considered kissing him but didn’t want to give him any ideas. It’s rare that Andrew wants affection without anything more, but the effects of the charm had him so unsettled, all he really wanted was to be held. That wasn’t something he could ask Adrian for, it was . . . too intimate.
“Yes. Well, let’s go out then.” Andrew moves to the back door of his shop, hoping Adrian doesn’t ask too many more questions ‘til he’s had a few drinks. “Absinthe tonight, I think. I probably have some, but more is always welcome.”
Adrian tried not to look too surprised. Absinthe was not what he expected the man to ask for.
“Goth,” he teased with a wink, trying to get at least some kind of normal reaction out of Andrew. “Go home, I’ll be there in a while.” He would stop at a place on the way, it was next to a liquor store. If anywhere was likely to have Absinthe that was the place.
It took longer than he expected and it was nearly 45 minutes before he made it to Andrews apartment. The old building housed a shop downstairs, but Andrew rented the top floor. It was old, by Chicago standards and had the kind of feel that would have attracted Andrew.
It was not far from his own apartment, but might as well have been a different city. This street was quieter with houses and shops no more than two or three stories, nothing like the brutalist brick block he lived in. Not that he minded where he lived. It was cheap, and still close to almost everything interesting in the city. And no one bothered him there.
He went up the back steps and knocked on the door. The bag with the turkey sandwich and chips in one hand and the bottle of Absinthe in it’s oh so obvious black plastic bag in his right.
Despite his mood (which Andrew couldn’t even categorize as bad, just . . . unsettled), he did smile at Adrian’s goth crack. He had surprised the other man a bit. . . several times, with how much the ‘mostly harmless’ shopkeeper appearance was nothing but an act.
Once they split up, he headed straight home, almost charming a dog-walker to keep their yappy overly friendly terrier away from him . . . then reconsidering it and leaving them be. Without even caring what Adrian thought of his appearance, he changed into dark gray pajama bottoms and an old t-shirt and sat on his sofa, listening to The Cure and waiting for Adrian to make another goth comment.
The knock on the door roused him from something akin to a stupor, and Andrew went to the door, unlatching and unbolting the door to let Adrian in. “Thank you, I really don’t think I could have handled the liquor store right now.”
Adrian took in the site of a very depressed looking Andrew and frowned, pushing the bag with the sandwich at Andrew before stepping inside.
At least the pants aren’t black, though the gray may be even more depressing,” he said. However, it is appropriate attire for listening to the Cure.” He was not as big à fan of the band as Andrew was.
“Go sit down and eat,” he ordered, pulling a couple glasses from the cabinet and pulling open drawers looking for the right spoon. It felt so weird to be here and not heading straight for the bedroom.
If he had been in a different state of mind, Andrew might have changed the music to something Adrian liked better. Of course, he’d had to put up with Adrian’s extremely loud and aggressive tastes in music for years so . . . he took the sandwich without question, moving to the table and opening it up. Luckily, it was a turkey sandwich and not something he wouldn’t eat. Andrew wasn’t entirely sure if Adrian would remember he didn’t eat red meat or pork.
“Feel free to turn off the music,” he said, starting to eat. “I just needed something besides my own thoughts.”
Adrian chuckled. “It’s fine, though I would be even more worried about your state of mind if I didn’t already know you listened to this.” He meant it to come out light-hearted but he sounded worried, even to himself.
His phone rang and he felt himself jump. It was the tone Samantha had assigned for herself. He had checked on her while he was picking up the food and alcohol, but he still worried when she was alone.
“Hey, sweetheart,” he answered. He listened to Samantha’s still sweet high voice for a moment before speaking again. “of course, no problem. But no staying up late.” Samantha replied. “I will definitely know,” he added, but it was clear he was teasing her.
“OK, punkin I’ll see you when I get home. Yes, I’ll tell him.” He flipped the phone closed and shoved it back in his pocket.
“Samantha says hello,” He told Andrew. “She’s quite fond of, you know.
Andrew has already started eating the turkey club with far more enthusiasm than he’d thought possible a moment before, shaking his head at Adrian’s calling his musical tastes stuff, before wiping mayonnaise off the side of his mouth and considering whether Adrian would like to do that, before reminding himself he didn’t want things to go that way tonight. He’d feel bad about it in the morning, he knew, though not really why that would be so.
Just knowing Samantha was on the other end of the phone extinguished his libido fully, though it also made Andrew feel better. He smiled when Adrian relayed her message. “I would have told her hello back.” He finished off the sandwich and looked around for the bottle. “At least she’s doing well. Honestly, I would have trusted myself to stay home alone at that age . . . though considering it would have been a foster home, maybe not.”
“I stopped by with some supper for her too when I picked up yours,” Adrian explained, putting the bottle, two cups, a large glass of ice water, and a box of sugar cubes on the table before pulling a chair out at the table draping himself in it. “She’s more than capable of staying alone another hour or so. She’s had dinner, done her homework and is now watching television. She’ll fall asleep before it’s even time for her to go to bed now. She always does when I let her watch TV.”
“This is your thing, child of Poe, you pour. I’ll mess it up.”
“Hah,” Andrew replied to the Poe quip, standing to prep the la louche, making his quite a bit stronger than Adrian’s. Adrian wasn’t used to drinking absinthe, for one thing, and also Andrew was fairly sure he could control his urges better than Adrian . . . and as soon as Adrian started something all his reservations would be forgotten.
“It’s a relief that you do remember to feed Samantha, considering you don’t always remember to feed yourself,” Andrew said. Surprisingly, for as little care as Adrian took of himself, he was actually a good father. He looked over at him. “Have you had dinner yourself? I think I have a few things around here.”
“I’m not hungry,” Adrian said taking his glass and sniffing it suspiciously.
“I’ve watched you drink this before, but I am still not so sure about it.” He eyed the swirling cloudy liquid. “At least it looks nice.” He took a sip and struggled not to make a face.
“Get to drinking,” Adrian demanded. “Can’t let me have all the… Fun?” He took another drink and grimaced.
Though Andrew doubted that, he wasn’t about to argue as he was sure all he had were microwaveable dinners and he doubted Adrian would even want them, so he watched Adrian try not to look as if he didn’t hate absinthe.
“Yes, Sir.” Andrew took a drink, sighing a bit as it hit him, and took another. “You don’t have to drink it if you’d rather not. I just hate drinking alone.”
“Drinking alone is a terrible sign,” Adrian agreed. “I am sure I will get used to it,” he laughed.
“It always tastes good when you drink it,” he gave Andrew a wink, but then remembered that it would probably not be appreciated. This was completely uncharted territory with Andrew. Hell, with almost anyone other than Sofia. Sitting here, spending time with him without being certain he would get anything out of it. What was he doing?
Adrian propped his feet up on the chair next to him and watched Andrew drink. HE still wanted to know what the hell had happened, but Andrew would have to tell him in his own time. However, patience had never been a strong suit of his.
For a few minutes, Andrew focused as much of his attention as he could on drinking his absinthe, slumping back in his chair and trying not to look at Adrian, only shaking his head at the comment. He rubbed his forehead, setting the glass down nearly drained, considering mixing another glass full but deciding he’d had enough for the moment.
“So, I did not have sexual relations with that woman.” Definitely had enough to drink. “She was there picking up a book for her father. I’ve probably already mentioned that.” Andrew began preparing himself another glass, despite his reservations. “I guess I went overboard with the charming and the next thing I knew, she was all over me. . . I mean, flirting with me not . . . y’know, bodily all over me.”
Adrian gave an involuntary snort. “If your reaction was half as bad as I imagine it must have been a sight.” He was trying hard not to laugh at the thought. Poor Andrew, he really thought there was nothing that could embarrass of fluster the man, but apparently aggressive women could.
“Surely it does not take that much effort for you to get a woman to flirt with you.” Adrian took another drink. Now that the surprise at the bitterness was gone, he decided it really wasn’t bad.
“I was trying to be polite,” Andrew said. “I’m used to women flirting with me, this was . . . she was telling me she painted male nudes and I told her I’d like to see them, hoping she’d get the hint. . . and then next thing I knew, I was making her coffee and letting her drink it in the shop.”
The humor of the situation was beginning to dawn on him, but he still felt guilty for putting other people through that. He didn’t think he’d ever done that to a straight man, however, but he’d definitely been with married men who might otherwise not have cheated. . . and took a drink from his second glass of absinthe.
“I am still confused,” Adrian admitted. “I am sure it was a little disconcerting and all, but you are way more upset than that.” He finished his glass a set it down. It felt warm all the way down to his stomach. Maybe he should have eaten. Good thing he walked here.
Andrew stood abruptly, the room spinning a bit, and steadied himself on Adrian’s shoulder. “Let’s go sit on the couch, this is . . . not good.” He moved over to the couch, setting his glass on the end-table and falling back, staring at the ceiling.
“Honestly I wouldn’t even be bothered if she and I had ended up having a quickie in the back room,” Andrew said. “It would have been weird, I’ve never been with a woman or even really considered it . . . it’s only . . . I do that to people? I make them want things. . . want me? What if they don’t even really want me but they just . . . cannot help themselves?”
It was even more difficult to admit than he’d expected it to be, and Andrew fumbled for the glass, nearly knocking it off the table.
“Oh,” Adrian grabbed the glass before it toppled over. “Now I see.” And he did, and horribly he had never really thought about it before. Of course, his general approach to sex was, if they are not into it, walk away someone else will be. He was not interested in making a lot of effort to woo or seduce. That just led to things like relationships and finding out she told her whole family you were dating. He shook his head to rid himself of a few bad memories.
“I think you may have had enough of this,” He placed the glass further away from Andrew before sitting on the couch next to him. He looked so sad, so defeated that all he wanted to do was pull him into his arms.
Fuck. Where had that thought come from? Maybe absinthe was a little too strong.
“I’m pretty sure you are not a rapist,” He said running his fingers through Andrew’s hair. “you are frighteningly moral considering your gene pool.” He laughed. “You are a kinky Fucker, but not likely to be coercing anyone.”
Andrew took a deep breath, falling back to stare up at Adrian with hooded eyes. He was probably right he’d already had too much to drink, and while Andrew usually didn’t appreciate people telling him what to do – one of the many reasons he’d wanted to go into business for himself – he couldn’t help feeling comforted by Adrian’s taking care of him.
He sighed at Adrian’s caress. “I would like to think so. I’m fairly sure I never coerced anyone. I think people made bad choices around me, but I never meant to hurt anyone, I just . . . wanted them to want me.” he reached for Adrian’s hand, wanting to hold it. “Obviously it doesn’t completely change people’s minds, or I’d have been with Kate.”
“I think you’re good,” Adrian said. “You’re not some monster. Must be all those nuns. They are good for something.” He teased. He took Andrew’s hand and rested his head against the back of the sofa, still looking at Andrew.
“Besides, someone would have to be crazy to not want you.”
The mention of nuns made Andrew snort. Of course, this was just Catholic guilt. Goddamn nuns. He smiled at Adrian as he took his hand, meeting his eyes. This was exactly what he had wanted, until Adrian had to go and say his next statement. Andrew almost panicked. Almost.
Would have actually panicked if he hadn’t been so drunk, and he isn’t sure what to do or say in response to that . . . near confession of . . . emotional attachment, and shifted to climb into Adrian’s lap and try to kiss him, despite knowing he’d regret sleeping with him in this state, in the morning.
Adrian was so surprised he let Andrew get most of the way into his lap before he realized what was happening. He tried to hold a very persistent Andrew back for a second.
“I am pretty sure you were definitely not interested only a couple minutes ago,” he said. “If you are just trying to get me to shut up, just telling me to shut up usually works. Otherwise I am not inclined to say no.”
The attempt to stop him did make Andrew pause, but his brain is already swarming with thoughts of everything he wants to do and have done to him, and just stares at Adrian with a glazed lust. “No I wasn’t . . . trying to shut you up.” Not sure what to say about his reluctance a few moments before, it wasn’t inaccurate but now Andrew really didn’t care about any qualms he might have.
“Like you said, I’m a kinky fucker. . .” continuing to try straddling Adrian. “And she was showing me all these nude men earlier.”
“Those must have been some very nice pictures,” Adrian said. Shifting Andrew into a position that was more comfortable.” You should show me sometime.” He slid his hands up under the tee-shirt. He wondered if he would ever get used to how cool Andrew’s skin felt. Of course, had always had the opposite problem, as a child doctors, nurses, and teachers were constantly assuming he had a fever when the truth was, he just ran significantly warmer than typical.
He let Andrew kiss him, commenting that he much preferred the taste of absinthe this way.
Andrew whines with longing as Adrian moves his hand up under his shirt, pleased by his heat and kissing him roughly, grinding against him and clutching at his shoulders, pulling at his hair.
He wanted Adrian to stay, all night and into the morning … but he couldn’t. Whatever sense he still had remaining reminded him that Adrian had obligations.
“I’m sorry, I forgot,” he pulled back, still straddling the other man but trying to dampen his own desire. “You shouldn’t stay, you have to get home soon.”
Adrian let his head fall back against the back of the couch and groaned. “You are trying to kill me,” he complained. He did not remove his hands yet.
He had no doubt that Samantha was fine still, he had not been gone long since taking dinner to her, but he also knew how Andrew was about taking care of Samantha. If she had been a normal nine year old, he would not be out at all, but Samantha was a better adult than most adults he knew.
He took a couple deep breaths. He really wanted to just keep going, but he also did not want to upset Andrew. Especially after this afternoon.
“Either you sobered up way too fast, or this is just not my day,” he pushed Andrew back, off of his lap. “There is not enough cold water in the world for shower I am going to need now, but it is time to put you to bed. Apparently you are not feeling yourself still.” He shoved himself off the sofa.
“Come on, I promise to behave. Once you are asleep I’ll leave.”
Admittedly, Andrew was disappointed, but he would not forgive himself if he prevented Adrian from being responsible for his daughter. It didn’t help that Adrian was still touching him, but Andrew closed his eyes and tried to calm himself down. It worked, for the most part.
Letting Adrian shove him, which didn’t actually help him cool down. Andrew sighed, getting to his feet unsteadily. “I’m not sober, and I’m not . . . I’m sorry I’m being a tease, that’s definitely not myself. I just can’t be selfish when you have to go home to your daughter.” The thought of Adrian’s child did help, and Andrew went on through to the bedroom and collapsed onto the bed.
“I promise I’ll be back to my usual self tomorrow.”
“You are cruel,” Adrian teased. “Samantha will be fine a little longer. Trust me, that apartment is the safest place in Chicago for her. Once you are asleep, I’ll go home.” He crawled over Andrew and lay down behind him. He wrapped himself around Andrew and closed his eyes, trying to stay calm. It was not easy.
“You are you going to have a hangover tomorrow,” He mumbled.
“Yes.” He didn’t bother making it clear what he was saying yes to. All of it, Andrew was sure. It certainly felt cruel to send Adrian home in this state, but Andrew was already too close to sleep to change his mind at this point, snuggling into Adrian’s arms. “G’night, Adrian. Thank you . . .”
A few moments later, Andrew began to snore softly.
Adrian waited a few minutes, until he was sure Andrew was going to stay asleep before getting up. It was a good thing he did not live far.
He checked his watch, it was only now 10 pm. He had hours yet before he went to bed. He also had people to meet later. He knew Andrew would be appalled at how often he left Samantha home alone in the middle of night. But he sure as hell wasn’t taking her with him.
He sighed as he checked to make sure the door locked behind him. There were things Andrew was better off not knowing. And some of the things he almost said earlier were at the top of that list.