It was a ridiculous waste of money.
But Dinesh insisted. He did more than that frankly. Dinesh whined, stomped and begged for a Pied Piper + Hooli buy out party.
"You assholes made me screw over my flesh and blood! The least you can give my sweet cousin Wajeed is one final taste of the good life with a dope party! And maybe a VIP booth. No definitely a VIP booth!"
Monica had been at the brunt of the onslaught after taking over Jared's party planning duties. When Dinesh camped out outside her apartment and ruined a long-needed hookup, she had finally approved it.
In lieu of throwing an entire party themselves, they bought out the VIP booths at one of the less popular clubs in the Valley. And because Dinesh insisted they couldn't be total cheapskates, they handed out limited drink vouchers to their employees. Still expensive, but nowhere near as bad as what they'd spent on past events where Jared had been in charge. Ordering ice sculptures with Richards face on them was never cheap.
Richard was currently sitting at one of the VIP booths that had been designated for executives with Wajeed. The stock news broke minutes before the club had gotten into full swing for the night. Monica, Gilfoyle and Dinesh had high tailed it out and hadn't been back since. So Richard was left to console Wajeed in their booth just as Sandstorm began to blast over the clubs speakers, signaling the beginning of 90's night.
"I just can't believe they would do this to us." Wajeed finally spoke out through his tears, "How could they do it, Richie! Screw over my cousin and you. Put us in this impossible position. We're going to get through this right?"
"W-wait, what?" Richard who had been strategically keeping his eyes off Wajeed and searching the crowd for signs of Jered finally spared the guy a glance. "You mean. You aren't upset about what Dinesh did to you? He screw- I mean, we screwed you over man."
Wajeed gasped, quickly wiping his tears with the back of his hand and finally sitting up. "How dare you! Dinesh has always been there for me. He didn't screw me over. He's my best friend and my family's pride and joy! This was all a misunderstanding!"
Richard let his jaw go slack as he backed away from Wajeed, the slippery VIP couch making it difficult. His eyes darted toward Dinesh who was currently dancing his heart out to, Gonna Make You Sweat, on the clubs' bar. In retrospect, he didn't look like a guy who felt bad about screwing over his cousin, so Richard could see the disconnect from Wajeed in terms of what really happened.
The feeling of a tiny jeweled pillow brought his attention back to Wajeed, who was now throwing the decorative VIP couch pillows at him, "I-I'm sorry! Wajeed. I didn't mean it. H-hey man. Stop!"
He felt a slight sting on his cheek and recognized it as a cut, the product of the trashy pillows and their crudely glued in stones. Richard felt himself panic, suddenly seeing the by-line in tomorrow's papers, Death By Pillow, flash before his eyes.
Out of instinct, he yelled for Jared.
Jared wasn't here. He'd been looking at the club doors all night and so far there had been no sign of Jared or his newly beloved Gwart. Just as quickly as the pillow onslaught began it ended and Wajeed had calmed down enough to leave the booth in search of Dinesh once he'd run out of things to throw.
Now alone in the booth, Richard took a look at his face in the mirrored table in front of him, the purple-blue lights made it difficult but he could clearly see and feel the two cuts on his face.
"Fucking great," he muttered to himself. With one last look around the club to make sure Wajeed really had headed next toward Dinesh, he scrambled down the steps of the VIP booth and headed toward the bathroom. He kept himself close to the wall, ducking his head as he moved around drunk employees. Whitney Houston started blasting through the speakers above him.
Why had they chosen 90's night of all nights to rent out this club? He didn't need to hear Whitney belting out to a remix of, I Will Always Love You, not right now. Not when Jared-
"Are you fucking kidding me."
And of course. Just when he didn't want to see Jared. There he was. Richard spotted his head easily above the crowd.
No, not just him. Them. Jared and Gwart.
They were close to the wall up ahead. Which must have been why Richard hadn't been able to spot him from his booth. Gwart was wearing a pair of large noise-canceling headphones, holding her signature Yoo-hoo chocolate milk as Jared spun her around in their little corner, her unbuttoned flannel shirt spinning delicately around her as they danced to Whitney.
Richard pressed his lips together, his fists tightening at his side at the sight of them. He knew he's offered them office space. But now looking at them both being un-fucking-believably cute in the middle of a trashy club tore him up.
After ensuring there was no other way to get to the bathroom without crossing their path he took a breath and stalked forward. He had to be a better man. He didn't want Jared leaving again and he'd have to get used to seeing them together from now on. If he was quick and kept to their right. If he left the wall as he crossed them for a second and blended in between the dancers, Jared might not even notice him. But Jared always noticed.
"Richard!" he felt a hand on his wrist, Jared had reached into the crowd and pulled him out with all the ease in the world. He yelled over the loud music, his large eyes concerned as he took in Richard's face, "Richard! What happened! Who did this to you! Did you have an accident blowing your nose again!"
Richard shook his head, "What, no, not at all! It was the pillows!" he glanced over to Gwart hoping she hadn't heard that through her headphones. He didn't want her to think he was some loser.
Jared's fingers touched his face, his fingertips tapping on his cheek as he inspected the cuts, "Richard, you can't walk around in a dirty club like this! It could get infected!"
He knew that. Of course, he knew that. That's why he was on his way to take care of it. Because he could do this without Jared. He could live his life without Jared.
But Richard didn't tell him that. Instead, he just nodded. His voice was useless with Jared's soft hand at his wrist and the other at his face. The back of his neck was beginning to heat up and he kept waiting for Gwart to react. Why isn't she? Richard would be furious if Jared had been touch- No. No, he wouldn't be. Why should he? Jared could touch whoever he fucking wanted as far as it concerned him.
Jared's touch left him and he spun back to Gwart. He gently took her phone from her and typed something into it. Gwart read into the screen and typed something back. And then he was sitting her down on the floor, adjusting her headphones and sticking a string of licorice in her mouth.
Richard felt his heart pump a little faster as he realized what was happening. Jared was setting Gwart aside, if only for a moment, for him. Jared motioned for Richard to follow but didn't grab his wrist again. Instead, Richard grasped the back of Jared's vest as he wove them through the remaining dancers and to the bathroom.
As they squished themselves into the closet restroom he heard the track outside change again and the tiny room was flooded with the low and muffled thump of, Be My Lover. Richard pretended to ignore Jared's nervous swallow behind him. The room was so small. No way was this code complaint.
He felt his back fully press itself into Jared as the door shut behind them.
"Get on the sink," Jared ordered.
Richard was so shocked, so confused at the lack of please and thank you's in his request and voice that he immediately obeyed. He sat up on the edge, thankful that the square pedestal sink had a wide enough lip that stopped his ass from fully sitting inside of it.
Jared moved in front of him not even hiding his attempt to steady his breath. The somber look in his eyes made Richard squirm and he squeezed his legs a little tighter despite his body screaming at him to spread them open.
"I need to wash my hands," was all Jared said as he reached behind Richard and turned the sink faucet. They were so close. So close now. And Richard scooted closer to Jared to avoid having the water from the sink splash his back. Every time Jared twisted his hands behind him he felt the other man's wrist graze his ass.
Jared finally pulled back and Richard tried not to think about all the times he'd seen Jared wash his hands in the past. He was usually so through a never that quick.
From his vest, Jared took out a sleek and compact first aid kit. He asked Richard to "Please, hold out your hands," the soft candor in his voice back now. He placed two tiny bandages and a single-use pack of Neosporin into them before tucking the little kit back into his pockets.
As Jared worked on his face, Richard tried to focus on the muted lyrics of the music outside instead of the thumping in his chest. The DJ had been looping over the beginning of the song after realizing how responsive the crowd was. His eyes screwed shut as he quietly sang along with La Bouche.
La da da dee da da da da
La da da dee da da da da
The simple pattern keeping him distracted from the feeling of his knees pressed against Jared's warm thighs. The room was impossibly cramped and something in his belly swopped low every time Jared's breath touched his lips.
When he heard Jared's soft voice also singing along to the music he braved the goosebumps and stole a glance. It felt normal for a second. Routine. How many times had Jared patched him up in bathrooms in the past? Richard felt himself relax as they sang along together. Content in pretending that nothing had changed between them. That Gwart wasn't sitting outside waiting for Jared to come back and spin her in his arms.
It was a perfect moment. And in that perfect moment, they locked eyes as the lyrics left their lips.
Looking back on all the time we've had together
You oughta know right now if you wanna be my lover
Jared steadied his fingers as he brought the little bandaids to Richards's face. He placed them above the two cuts more quickly than Richard would have liked and then pulled away, quickly swinging the door open before Richard was even off the sink and rushing out the bathroom door open.
Go ahead and take your time, boy, you gotta feel secure
Before I make you mine, baby, you have to be sure
The song now blasted deeply into Richards's ears without the walls from the bathroom to dampen it. The feeling in his stomach grew larger and he resisted the urge to run back into the tiny space and throw up. Instead, he rushed forward and grabbed Jared by the elbow and attempted to pull him back into the crowd of dancers.
Everything that happened after was a haze. Richard would spend hours in the following nights agonizing over what expression his face must have held, to make Jared look so deliciously weak, so soft and pliable, as he let himself be pulled deeper and deeper into the pile of dancing bodies.
La da da dee da da da da
La da da dee da da da da
When they had squeezed into the middle of the dance floor, Jared finally took over. His large hands claiming Richards hips as he pulled them tighter together. The crowd around them felt like it was swallowing them whole and Richard wasn't sure if his hips were the ones actually moving or if it was the people so tightly pressed against him making him do it.
I hear what you say, I see what you do
I know everything I need to know about you
Richard felt Jared's hands in his hair, he felt them on his back, on his neck, on his thighs. And then Jared was dipping down low and pressing into his neck, somehow making him feel hotter than he ever thought possible despite being in a sweaty crowded club.
As they danced and clawed at each other, Richard felt the pit in his stomach disperse through his body. This was right. Nothing had ever felt as right as this. The day he'd ask Jared to be his COO didn't even come close anymore. And like the selfish prick he knew he was, he knew he needed more.
He pulled his arms tighter around Jared, pushing himself closer into his arms he wrapped his arms around the taller man's neck. He was all but three inches short of climbing onto him.
And as the music blasted above them, as the crowd moved like a steady wave, as his chin finally rested itself perfectly on Jared's shoulder, his eyes caught sight of Gwart.
Still waiting patiently on the floor, licorice in mouth waiting for Jared to return.
Richard dug his nails deeper into Jared at the sight of her.
He knew what he wanted now.
Oh be my lover
I know you wanna be my lover
I know you wanna be mine