Zhenya expected the summons. Maybe not from Lemieux himself, but certainly from Crosby, who was second in command and had set Zhenya the task in the first place. Still, when the text message arrived from Fleury, the capo Zhenya worked for most frequently, Zhenya read it over three times before it sank in.
He had been working for Lemieux’s organization for a year: odd jobs, running errands, serving as muscle. He had met with Crosby several times in that year. Crosby was hands-on; he liked to know who was working for him, even associates like Zhenya who weren’t officially part of the family. He was young, and unfairly good-looking, and his gaze when he looked at Zhenya was hot and appreciative, covetous. Zhenya knew what it meant when a man looked at him like that.
He wasn’t an idiot. He knew Crosby was dangerous. But Zhenya was dangerous, too, and he got a sharp thrill from Crosby’s attention. He had done far more foolish things than allow a mobster to look at him.
Before the meeting, he dressed in his one suit—cheap and ill-fitting, but if Crosby wanted him to look nicer, he should pay better. Zhenya parted his hair to the side and combed it down neatly, wetting down the cowlick at the front that always wanted to curl. He looked good enough: as good as it would get.
He walked from his apartment in the Slopes to Crosby’s office in the Flats, in the back half of a nightclub on Carson. The weather was mild: early May and balmy. Zhenya paused outside the door at the rear of the building to pat down his hair and pull on his jacket.
Two guards waited outside Crosby’s office. “Malkin, right on time,” one of them said. Zhenya had never met the man before. They had pictures of him, then. Well, no surprise.
Zhenya turned over the handgun in his hip holster and waited patiently while one of the guards patted him down. When they were satisfied that he was unarmed, they opened the door and waved him through.
Crosby’s office was bright and sparsely furnished: a big desk, some bookcases, an armchair in one corner, beside the window. There were no chairs in front of the desk; Zhenya had nowhere to sit unless he dragged the armchair over. It was an obvious tactic, but probably effective. Zhenya was immune. There were people he found intimidating, but not this man. Not when he looked at Zhenya the way he did.
“Come in, Evgeni,” Crosby said. His pronunciation wasn’t perfect, but it was pretty good.
Zhenya closed the door behind him and walked toward the desk, where Crosby was seated.
Crosby wore a crisp white dress shirt with the sleeves rolled up a few times, baring his muscled forearms. His tie was slightly loosened at his collar. He watched Zhenya approach with the attitude of a man inspecting a piece of art: critical, dispassionate, willing to be pleased. Like Zhenya was here for Crosby’s enjoyment, and Crosby wasn’t certain yet if he was satisfied.
“Crosby,” Zhenya said. He wouldn’t risk the informality of a given name.
Crosby leaned back in his chair. “I hear you made some trouble go away for me.”
“It’s my job,” Zhenya said. He didn’t want to dwell on that miserable sleepless night in an interrogation room. It was over; he had walked out of there, a free man.
“It’s your job to keep your mouth shut,” Crosby said. “Lying to the cops so well that they go after my enemies instead—that’s a special talent.” He drummed his fingers on the desk. There was the look: hungry, watchful.
Zhenya straightened to his full height, shoulders back. “It’s my job,” he repeated firmly.
“Well,” Crosby said. His gaze dropped, sliding appreciatively over Zhenya’s body. “That’s a terrible suit.”
So buy me a nice one, Zhenya thought, but he knew better than to say it. But he couldn’t think of anything else to say, and so he said nothing.
Crosby drummed his fingers again. “I’m in your debt. I owe you a favor.” He was looking at Zhenya, but not at his face.
Zhenya’s pulse slammed into high gear. He knew how favors worked, but Crosby hadn’t said the family owed Zhenya a favor. He’d specified that he, Crosby himself, was in Zhenya’s debt. That was an invitation, and—maybe a little bit of a command.
He licked his lips, and watched Crosby’s gaze dart to his mouth. It was a stupid gamble, but he didn’t think he was wrong about what Crosby wanted.
“Let me suck you,” Zhenya said.
Crosby flushed, hot and sudden, and Zhenya felt a stab of fierce triumph to make Crosby react that way. Crosby was dangerous, but he was still only a man.
“Really?” Crosby said. His voice was even, but he was pink all across the middle of his face. “That’s what you want to waste your favor on?”
“Yes,” Zhenya said. Warmth began to build in his belly and between his legs. Crosby’s tone held no disgust, only intrigue. Zhenya was going to get his way.
Crosby considered him for a moment. “Take off your jacket.”
Zhenya’s own face heated. He shrugged out of his jacket and held it in his hands, not sure what to do with it, waiting for Crosby to tell him.
Crosby tilted his head toward the armchair in the corner. “Put it over there.”
Zhenya crossed the room to discard his jacket, conscious the whole way of Crosby’s gaze on him. He knew what his ass looked like in these trousers, and now Crosby knew it, too.
“Good,” Crosby said. His voice sounded a little rough now. Zhenya turned to look at him, and Crosby pushed his chair back from the desk and swiveled around to face Zhenya. His dick was at least half-hard, a considerable bulge in his dark trousers.
Zhenya waited. He was getting hard, too, and harder from waiting for Crosby’s next command. He liked being ordered around a little, and Crosby seemed happy to do it. He needed to adjust himself, but he didn’t want to do it under Crosby’s assessing gaze.
“Come here,” Crosby said, and spread his legs to make a space for Zhenya between his knees.
Zhenya’s mouth was dry. He walked forward, his heart pounding, and sank to his knees on the gleaming terrazzo floor.
“Good,” Crosby said. He touched Zhenya’s chin, and Zhenya looked up. Crosby’s eyes were hazel. Zhenya had never been close enough to notice the color before. His thighs were warm on either side of Zhenya’s body, bracketing his shoulders. He was so big, and Zhenya could smell him, and he wanted to unzip Crosby’s trousers and bury his face there, in the musky heat of his groin.
Crosby touched Zhenya’s mouth, two fingertips on Zhenya’s lower lip, rolling it down. Zhenya opened for him, and Crosby pushed his fingers inside, sliding deep.
“You’re made for this,” Crosby said, and Zhenya closed his eyes and sucked, burning with shame and desire.
Crosby’s fingers tasted like nothing: faintly salty for a moment, and then nothing but spit and clean skin, nearly flavorless. Zhenya reached down to cup himself through his pants, but a sharp noise from Crosby made him freeze.
“I didn’t give you permission to touch,” Crosby said.
Christ. Zhenya’s face flamed hotter. He obediently placed both hands on his thighs, well away from his dick.
“Good,” Crosby said. He cupped Zhenya’s chin with his free hand, urging Zhenya to look up. When their eyes met, Zhenya had to fight the impulse to look away again. Crosby was flushed and heavy-lidded and they hadn’t even done anything. Zhenya wanted to suck him off maybe more than he had ever wanted anything in his life.
Crosby slid his fingers out of Zhenya’s mouth and wiped them on Zhenya’s shirt. Zhenya watched eagerly as Crosby reached down to unbuckle his belt, unzip his fly, and draw his cock out of his pants. He was hard and pink and his foreskin had drawn back to show the round head, and he was big enough that Zhenya’s jaw loosened a little in anticipation.
“These are nice pants,” Crosby said, holding himself in hand. “You’re gonna have to swallow.”
Heat washed through Zhenya’s body. Cautiously, he raised his hands from his own thighs and settled them on Crosby’s. The fabric of Crosby’s nice pants was soft to the touch, expensive wool, and Zhenya was there on the hard floor in a cheap off-the-rack suit he hadn’t even bothered to get tailored. He wanted Crosby to use him.
Crosby leaned back in his chair, resting one arm on his desk, and still holding his cock with the other. “Well? You wanted to do this. Have at it.”
Zhenya’s mouth was watering. He shuffled in and moved one hand to curl around the base of Crosby’s dick. Their fingers tangled together for a moment before Crosby took his hand away to rest it on the arm of the chair.
Face hot, pulse racing, Zhenya leaned in. He glanced up and met Crosby’s eyes as he pressed a soft, open-mouthed kiss to the head of Crosby’s dick.
“Shit,” Crosby breathed. He spread his legs a little further, and Zhenya moved closer, licking his lips. This wasn’t his favorite sex act, but it was up there, pretty close to the top of the list, and having an appreciative audience made it even better. Zhenya’s dick throbbed in his trousers. He wanted to touch himself, but Crosby had told him not to, and this wasn’t the time to test how serious he’d been about that.
Zhenya kissed Crosby again, right on the bare round tip of his cock, and then he gave up on trying to hold Crosby’s gaze and sucked the head into his mouth.
The weight of Crosby’s cock on his tongue made his breath come faster. He let his mouth fall open and rubbed Crosby’s dick along his lower lip, and he heard Crosby’s sharp inhalation and reveled in it. He was going to make Crosby come.
He sucked gently at the head, tasting salt, waiting for a hand in his hair, dragging him down, or for Crosby’s hips to push into his mouth. But Crosby gripped the arm of his chair and didn’t move, and when Zhenya glanced up after a minute or two of careful sucking, Crosby was watching him, cheeks pink, lips parted, seemingly content to let Zhenya do what he wanted.
Zhenya pulled off and kissed the base of the shaft, wet and open-mouthed. The cool metal buckle of Crosby’s belt pressed against his cheek. He slid his free hand along Crosby’s thigh, closer to his groin. He felt a little light-headed already. He said, “You fuck my mouth—”
“You expect me to do the work?” Crosby said. “Don’t be lazy.”
The casual contempt in his voice made Zhenya shiver. He wasn’t lazy—he didn’t want to be lazy—he wanted Crosby to be pleased with him. He took Crosby into his mouth again and slid down as far as he could go, until the head hit the back of his throat and he had to pull off again.
This was his favor, and he was going to enjoy it. He took his time, going down on Crosby as slow and messy as he wanted, pulling back to wipe his wet chin on his shirtsleeve so he wouldn’t ruin Crosby’s trousers. Every time he glanced up, Crosby was watching him, his face pink and his hands carefully far away from Zhenya. This more than anything was what Zhenya loved, having this powerful man at his mercy, feeling Crosby’s huge thighs flex against Zhenya’s shoulders and beneath his hand.
He fell into a rhythm, down and back up, sucking at the head, thin salty pre-come leaking across his tongue. Crosby’s cock was long and thick and Zhenya’s jaw ached from taking him in, a good ache that made him burn hotter. His knees ached from the floor, and that made him hotter, too. He felt dazed, the way he always did, from the sheer hedonistic pleasure of sucking someone’s cock, but also from the focused intensity of Crosby’s gaze, watching him, watching his mouth, sitting there and letting Zhenya indulge himself, like he had nothing else on his schedule and nothing better to do with his time.
Crosby had been perfectly silent, and when he made a noise at last, less a moan than a loud exhale, Zhenya glanced up again, expecting to meet Crosby’s eyes. But Crosby’s head was tipped back against the back of his chair, eyes closed, and Zhenya pulled off for a moment to study him: sprawled out, legs spread wide, throat bared. Zhenya’s toes curled in his shoes. He hadn’t asked to get off, and he wondered if Crosby would let him, or make him walk out of the office with his dick hard in his trousers and his mouth swollen so that everyone would know what he had been doing.
He jacked Crosby a few times with his hand and then went down again, working now to make Crosby come, sucking hard, using his mouth and hand together. He thought about asking Crosby to come on his face, and whether Crosby would do it. Zhenya would let him. He felt his face heating from the thought of it. He wouldn’t ask, not now, but maybe he would have another chance, if he was good.
“Fuck,” Crosby said, and his thighs jerked, his knees trying to draw together. Zhenya sucked harder, his own eyes squeezing shut, focusing on the taste and the stretch of his jaw and the warm musk of Crosby’s body.
One of Crosby’s hands settled, finally, on Zhenya’s head. “Swallow,” Crosby said, his voice rough, and Zhenya pulled back to suck on the head and work the shaft with his hand, and he was ready for it when Crosby started to come, warm and salty and bitter.
Zhenya swallowed it all, and he was careful. He didn’t spill a drop. When he drew back, Crosby’s trousers looked like they were fresh from the dry cleaner.
Zhenya waited, head down, dick so hard he could probably bring himself off through his pants, with only a few haphazard strokes. There was no sound in the room aside from Crosby’s harsh breathing.
“You look good on your knees,” Crosby said, after a minute.
Zhenya looked up. He licked his lips, and let Crosby see his mouth, wet and used.
Crosby watched him, saying nothing, as he tucked himself back into his pants and zipped up. He didn’t tell Zhenya to get out. His gaze dropped from Zhenya’s mouth to his lap, and Zhenya opened his knees wider, showing Crosby his erection. Why not be bold, when you had just sucked off a mob boss?
“Do you want to come?” Crosby asked him.
Zhenya’s pulse stuttered. “Please.”
“Unzip your pants,” Crosby said, and Zhenya did it, fumbling a little, and then Crosby said, “Show me your cock.”
Zhenya pulled it out and tried not to turn red at the critical look Crosby gave him. He didn’t have anything to be ashamed of.
“Put your head here,” Crosby said, touching his own thigh, “and jerk yourself off.”
His words shivered through Zhenya and left him breathless. Crosby’s gaze was clear and direct. He wasn’t smiling. He didn’t seem to be mocking Zhenya, or joking. And Zhenya was warm and floating, his mouth was still tingling from swallowing Crosby’s come, and it was easy to shuffle in a little closer and turn his head to the side and rest his hot face on Crosby’s warm, solid thigh.
“That’s good,” Crosby said, and his hand settled on Zhenya’s head once more, his thumb tracing the rim of Zhenya’s ear.
Zhenya shuddered and turned his face into Crosby’s thigh, hiding himself, thinking of nothing but the soft scratchy wool and the immovable bulk of Crosby’s muscular leg beneath it. He shuddered again at the first stroke of his own hand, and Crosby made a soft noise and sank his fingers into Zhenya’s hair.
Zhenya wanted to draw it out, to enjoy it as much as possible, Crosby’s close warmth and his hand weighing down Zhenya’s head, holding him there. But he was too close to the edge to make it last the way he wanted to. His cock was hard and swollen in his hand, almost painfully rigid, and his hips twitched helplessly with each touch. He panted against Crosby’s thigh, hot and damp, and Crosby’s hand was in his hair, tugging just a little, making his whole scalp prickle.
He could feel his orgasm building, that hot tension in his thighs and belly, and he fought it, slowing his hand, squeezing hard at the base. But Crosby’s thumb moved over his ear again, sliding over his earlobe and then behind it to stroke at the tender skin there, and Zhenya gritted his teeth and felt his face go flushed and tight and his muscles seized up and he repositioned just in time to milk out his come onto the floor.
Crosby waited, petting his hair. Zhenya didn’t want to move away. He felt so good with his head in Crosby’s lap, like he was doing exactly the right thing, exactly what he was supposed to be doing. And Crosby was silent, like he would let Zhenya stay there forever, as long as he wanted. But finally Zhenya forced himself to sit up.
Crosby’s hand dropped from Zhenya’s head to his nape. He squeezed gently. His face had been unreadable before, a blank, commanding mask, but now there was a warmth in his expression that Zhenya had never seen before. It made his stomach flip over.
“Clean that up,” Crosby said quietly.
Zhenya froze, eyes widening. Did he mean—
But Crosby turned to pull a couple of tissues from the box on his desk and offered them to Zhenya.
Right. That made more sense. Zhenya wiped his come from the floor, his cheeks burning. He could feel Crosby watching him, and he tried to ignore that knowing gaze, but of course Crosby wouldn’t let him get away with it.
“You were going to lick it up if I asked you to, weren’t you,” Crosby said, low and amused.
Zhenya balled up the tissues and met his eyes, because so what? What did he have to be ashamed of? But Crosby looked—fond, maybe. Or turned on.
“Maybe next time,” Crosby said.
Zhenya let out a breath. He tossed the tissues in the wastebasket beneath the desk and stuffed his soft dick back into his trousers. He didn’t want to wear out his welcome. It was time for him to leave.
Crosby touched his mouth, gently, and then ran his thumb along Zhenya’s cheekbone. “I’ll never touch you again, if you don’t want me to.”
Zhenya licked his lips. Here was the pivotal moment. He knew Crosby didn’t have a mistress or anything like that, whatever the male equivalent of a mistress was; everyone talked about it, a little baffled, a little condescending. Zhenya wasn’t certain the position was open, but—that could be a nice life. Boring, safe. Protected.
And if he was wrong, well. He’d settle for more sex.
“And if I want?” Zhenya asked.
Crosby’s expression turned fiercely satisfied for a single moment before it smoothed out into studied neutrality. But Zhenya saw it, and he would never believe Crosby’s bland façade again. Crosby’s self-control was unbendable as iron, but underneath that he wanted Zhenya, for whatever reason, and Zhenya knew it now, and would take full advantage.
“You could come back tomorrow,” Crosby said. “Same time.”
His hand was still on Zhenya’s face. Zhenya turned his head and kissed Crosby’s fingers, and he heard Crosby inhale, and smiled to himself.
He climbed to his feet, his knees cracking as he stood. He was too old for this. He would make Crosby buy a rug.
Crosby looked up at him, and Zhenya let himself enjoy the feeling of looming over Crosby, making him tip his head back to make eye contact. Crosby had a nice mouth. Maybe Zhenya would get to feel it on him. Maybe he would ride Crosby in that armchair by the window and let everyone hear how much he was enjoying himself. Crosby was a dangerous man, but there was nothing dangerous in his gaze as he watched Zhenya.
“Tomorrow,” Zhenya said. “11AM.”