He raises one hand in brief signal to the bartender to refill his empty glass. He’s drunk, head buzzing and cheeks flushed, but not yet nearly drunk enough. The anger sharpens his thoughts, making it impossible to lose himself completely in the burning alcohol. Another drink, then, and another after that if necessary. He has all the time in the world.
Tanim’s flesh crawls as a purring voice in his ear disturbs his morose self-medication. At the sound his fingers unwillingly recall sweat beaded silken skin, his tongue the taste of whiskey and saliva and cigarettes. He buys time to steel his nerves by taking a slow, deliberate sip of freshly poured bourbon before turning to the newcomer lounging on on the bar stool beside him. “Alex,” he nods, cold but polite. “It’s been a while.”
“Too long,” Perfectly sculpted lips peel back in a charming white toothed grin, a single golden eyebrow likewise lifting in a graceful arc. The motion seems effortless but Tanim knows slick Alexander’s every movement is painstakingly choreographed. “I thought you’d vanished, or perhaps gotten bored with me. It’s absolutely wonderful to see you again, Tanim. I’ve so missed our late night… conversations.”
Conversations. Right. Tanim shifts his gaze back to the glass clenched between his fingers, avoiding the other’s dazzling blue eyes. “I’ve been busy,” he answers simply, and in any other mood might have chuckled at the understatement. Since last he encountered Alexander he has nearly destroyed himself with drugs and alcohol, met a man as irrevocably damaged as himself, fallen in love with this man despite their seemingly endless irreconcilable differences, and now perhaps lost him to the stubborn pride which has them so often at each other’s throats. Busy indeed.
“Not working yourself too hard, I hope,” Alexander shifts on his seat, stretching out one long leg so his knee brushes lightly against Tanim’s. “You seem in low spirits tonight, dear. Something troubling you?” The older man, drunk as he may be, isn’t fooled enough to think the contact an accident, nor does he believe the concern in Alexander’s voice for a moment. Once the simple touch would have fueled a rush of desire, shameful yet undeniable, but this arrogant young predator no longer holds sway over him.
“The years haven’t been kind,” For one of them, at least. Too willful now to surrender to Alexander’s siren like spell, Tanim is free to admire his one time lover out the corner of his eye without fear of falling for those gorgeous looks once again. Has the man aged at all? His face is still that of a Greek statue, carven angelic features framed by curls bright as polished gold. He hasn’t aged, no, and hasn’t learned any new tricks either, it seems. Alex still believes himself the dominant hunter here, Tanim the wounded prey who may be herded and cornered with ease. How beautifully naive.
“I’m sorry to hear that,” Alexander imitates a concerned frown, though the emotion never reaches his covetous eyes. “Are you… busy now? Perhaps I can distract you from your woes. It wouldn’t be the first time.” Tanim glances down to where Alexander’s long fingers glide slowly over his knee, up his thigh. He shouldn’t even consider this. He isn’t this spiteful, vindictive man. He should just let go of the anger, down another glass of sweet inebriation, and stumble home where he belongs. But why? Daren isn’t there. Daren is off sulking somewhere alone, as he sulks here, so why should Tanim be the first to come crawling back? Why should he play the martyr and subject himself to another barrage of Daren’s insults? He has nothing to apologize for. His lover spoke cruelly, tore open old wounds and fought dirty like the coward he is. Surely Tanim can’t be blamed for defending himself with his own well placed verbal assault. It’d serve Daren right to worry over his absence for the night, to lay awake imagining whose arms his partner sought comfort and pleasure in. Maybe he’d learn a little humility, or at least appreciation.
Tanim grazes his fingers over the back of Alexander’s warm hand as he seeks his companion’s eyes. “Not presently,” he murmurs, leaning close so his words brush over the younger man’s ear. “And I certainly could use a distraction tonight.”
“How lucky for me,” Alexander wets his lips like a triumphant fox standing over its kill. He believes he’s won this game of seduction, and Tanim must smother his disdain at such oblivious arrogance by flashing an intimate smirk of his own.
He will never own Daren, yet he will possess something tonight: this incubus who held sway over him once but who plays the puppet now for Tanim’s hunger, his anger, his need to inflict pain on another living thing to smother his own misery. This time Tanim doesn’t dance to Alexander’s piper tune and when they rise it isn’t Alexander who leads the way to a more private setting. Tanim’s iron grip around his wrist is a threatening promise of things to come.