Take It Off (Market Garden, #2)
L.A. Witt & Aleksandr Voinov
Tristan’s gaze was fixed on the door, but Jared suspected he was less interested in the traffic coming into Market Garden’s lounge area and more focused on not looking at Jared.
They’d been sitting in their usual booth for almost an hour, and had barely said a word to each other. Ice melted in their drinks. Music thumped all around them. Ever since Jared had come back from a short—thank God—session with a john earlier this evening, Tristan had been quiet.
“You’re staying?” Tristan had asked.
Jared had shrugged and offered a playful grin. “I’ve got plenty left.”
And that had been the end of the conversation.
Jared picked up his glass and tilted it to slide an ice cube into his mouth. As he set the glass down beside Tristan’s, he crushed the ice with his back teeth. He ground the tiny shards into nothing, letting the ice take the brunt of his quiet frustration.
Maddeningly oblivious, Tristan took a sip of his own drink, but kept his attention on the door. On not looking at the man he’d fucked so tenderly just last night.
What is your problem? Jared wanted to ask, but concentrated on pulverizing the rest of the melting ice. This wasn’t Tristan’s first cold silence. In fact, Jared was starting to expect it whenever he went out with a john on his own. Every damned time, he came back to forced smiles and awkward silences.
Jared rolled his eyes and went for another ice cube. If Tristan didn’t like him going out solo, then he could man up and say something, but he’d insisted time and again that they didn’t have to only work together. That this was business, and he wasn’t about to prevent Jared from earning a living. Though Jared had noticed that Tristan had all but stopped going out alone, which was weird. It wasn’t like guys didn’t fall all over themselves for Tristan—he was easily as popular as Nick had been—so he could’ve made a killing with or without Jared.
If Tristan was upset or unhappy, the least he could do was fucking say something. Except if he said something, it might be “this isn’t working” or “we shouldn’t see each other anymore,” and Jared couldn’t stomach either option. He wanted more, not less.
But maybe it would be less painful if Tristan just ripped off the bandage and—
Get your head in game, idiot.
Jared cleared his throat. “Slow night.”
Tristan turned towards him, an eyebrow up. “You’ve already made some money this evening.”
Yeah. Sure. It’s about the money, isn’t it?
Jared broke eye contact and searched his glass for yet another ice cube. The two of them had been chatty and playful in Tristan’s bed this morning. Nothing out of place, nothing wrong at all. Now this again. And fuck this. Jesus. He was not in the mood to play mind games.
“Holy shit.” Tristan’s eyes were again fixed on the door. “Look who just walked in.”
Jared craned his neck and almost spit out an ice cube when he recognised the john.
Jared couldn’t help grinning. Back for more, was he? “Wonder if the third time’s the charm.”
“Eh?” Tristan eyed him. “You think he’s got a glass slipper for you or something?”
Jared glanced at Tristan, surprised at his tone. This morning, in bed, it would have been friendly teasing, but there was an edge of acid in his voice that Jared didn’t like at all. “Not a glass slipper, but I do expect some easy money.”
Tristan gave a noncommittal shrug.
Well, suit yourself, then.
Jared sat up a bit straighter, and—bingo, eye contact.
Rolex smiled at him and walked over, looking quite in control of himself (for the moment). “You gentlemen free?”
Jared grinned. “We’re hardly gentlemen, and we’re never free. You know that.”
Chuckling, Rolex nodded. “And you’re well worth it. Maybe I should’ve asked if you’re available, then.”
“We are.” Jared leaned forwards on his elbows, waited for Tristan to make some space in the booth opposite. Seriously, how could such a skinny guy take up so much room? “Haven’t seen you in a while.”
Rolex smirked. “You remember me. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad one.”
“In your case, it’s a good one.” Jared’s eyes flicked towards Tristan, but he didn’t get a response. Clearing his throat, he faced Rolex again. “Just got into town?”