“The glasses look fine, Doctor Lecter,” Will insists, trying to hide his burning face with a cough and a hopeless pushing-back-my-hair gesture that probably looks like he’s having a little breakdown staring at the ridiculously handsome client wearing the new Antoine Berthole’s and studying himself in the mirror with a skeptic’s disappointed frown.
Rule number one—and this was a rule created solely to address his strange attraction to Doctor Lecter, with his unusual red eyes and stupid weird suits and killer smirk that made Will’s stomach feel funny—was don’t fraternize with the customer, but he was becoming more and more certain that there shouldn’t be a need for rules. Not when this was the third time Doctor Lecter had been back this month, and also the third time he’d dropped more than a thousand dollars on a pair of luxury frames that (to Will, at least) looked and fit just as devastatingly well as the first two did.
Will was more than beginning to suspect that the Doctor wasn’t really here to quadruple-check his orders had the correct prescription installed or to discuss the fit of the nosepieces. Either that or Will was going crazy, reading into it too much when Hannibal had smiled softly at him last week and reassured, “You’re being very patient, Will. I promise to be out of your hair soon.”
But “soon” would come and go if Doctor Lecter didn’t find a pair of frames he was happy with this week (he knew that Doctor Lecter favored the European brands, so there would be a two-day minimum wait for another pair), and Will hated how much he secretly wanted the doctor to stick around for at least one more appointment. He couldn’t send him off without the perfect pair of glasses, after all, it wouldn’t be right.
“They look odd,” Doctor Lecter decides, neatly folding the glasses and putting them back into their leather case. Will bites his tongue on how much he wants to yelp, “Nonono,” because the skinny black frames are the most elegant they have, and if they don’t work, nothing will (and no, not at all because he thinks it makes the Doctor look a little bit like a Euro version of Clark Kent).
“I’ll pay for them, of course, but they’re not what I’m looking for.”
“You liked them well enough when you tried them on without the prescription lenses,” Will ventures, and thinks that Doctor Lecter is probably used to other people melting under his glares by the way he lays it on thick, subtly running his tongue over his teeth, even, like a predator waiting for the opportune moment to pounce.
But Will’s made of sterner stuff than most, so he scowls right on back and keeps going till he feels like an idiot, pissing on that asinine “costumer is always right” proverb.
Half a minute they stand there narrowing their eyes at each other, until Will gathers up the composure to stow his annoyance and come out and ask.
“Does this charade of you not liking whatever you order have to do with some midlife crisis thing? Because if it does, I’ll tell you now, every pair of frames you’ve tried on look great on you.”
Doctor Lecter raises a brow. Clearly, this is not what he was anticipating Will would point out first.
“Thank you, but that’s not the issue—.”
“Then what is your damn issue, honey?” Will says, slipping back into the language he feels most comfortable with, rather than the boring yes sir, yes ma’am “professionalism” his boss encouraged. God knew the Doctor shouldn’t be surprised at it—they were practically bosom friends with how much Will had stared at his face under the guise of “doing his job”, not to mention how many times he’d handled the man’s credit card over these weeks. “Cuz if it’s you wondering if I’d accept if you asked me out, the answers a resounding yes.”
Standing there with a hand on his hip, he feels like the next seconds stretch out forever—though he’s for once not afraid of second guessing himself because the doctor didn’t even flinch at the words “asking me out”. But wealthy men can be prideful, and he thinks the Doctor may be the kind of person to talk him down about how wrong he is just to spite him.
God I hope not; if he tries, that’ll change my answer to a resounding no.
“Alright then,” Doctor Lecter says, and what the hell—is he actually smiling?
“You better take those damned glasses, you already spent more than I make in a month. It’d physically pain me to take your credit card behind the counter again.”
Doctor Lecter steps closer to him, and the way he’s the slightest bit taller than Will should make him feel boxed in (they’re way past the casual-conversation space and into a more intimate bubble of proximity that Will thinks he’d like to test out much more in the future), though the blatant attempt to intimidate honestly makes him feel more like pushing back than shrinking away, which is actually a good thing.
Can’t be with someone unless you feel confident they can take whatever you dole out and vice versa.
“I’ll pick up the bill at dinner then.”
“Who said anything about dinner? Breakfast, I pick the place. You pay for you, I pay for me. You like pancakes?”
Will grins. “Pancakes it is, then.”
Doctor Lecter—and Will should think about calling him Hannibal, now, shouldn’t he?—clenches his jaw, and Will decides he’s being too mean (as if he wouldn’t let the poor Doctor kiss him or whatever he wanted to do, right here, right now), reaches out to smooth the doctor’s lapel like they’re some old married couple already and he’s apologizing for snapping.
“Don’t worry, hun, me being terrifying is gonna be a funny story to tell the kids someday,” he says, and smiles to himself with a ducked head as Doctor Lecter snakes an arm around his waist.
“I’m not thinking that far ahead, Will,” he says, voice low and rough and belying his words.
“Course you are,” Will says. “You were practically shakin’ in your shoes waitin’ to ask me out. Which is sweet, but let’s just see about breakfast first.”