Greg twiddled his thumbs and stared at the machine he had running, waiting for it to spit out the results for Sara’s case. He glanced up and saw Nick striding down the hall toward his lab. He smiled and waved, his stomached fluttering as usual. He couldn’t help but be affected by his coworker. Everyone thought Greg was a little weird and not many enjoyed the elaborate ways he tended to present evidence. But Nick humored him most of the time and didn’t seem to mind so much, anyway.
Nick met his gaze and smiled in return, his pace quickening slightly. Greg was happy to see that Nick was returning to his good-natured self. After the Kristy case Nick had retreated into himself and was understandably upset. It had taken more than a couple of months for Nick to get over it and Greg wasn’t sure of the extent of the relationship Nick had had with her. Lately, though, Nick seemed to have pulled himself out of his gloom and was coping well. In fact, he and Greg had grown closer as friends as a result. They often spent their downtime hanging out with one another.
“Slow night, huh?” Nick asked from the doorway of Greg’s lab.
“Yep. I’m just waiting on some results for Sara,” Greg said, pointing to the whirring equipment in front of him.
Nick hummed and dropped into Greg’s chair a few feet away. “Mind if I hang in here? I just have to finish up my part of this report and then I’m home-free.”
Greg turned around to lean on the table and smiled at Nick. “Sure thing,” he hesitated then added, “there’s only a half hour left of shift. Feel like waiting around for me? We could get breakfast?”
Nick looked up from his report and nodded. “Yeah, that sounds good.”
Greg grinned and turned to fiddle with his boom box, filling the lab with his unique taste in music. He had it on low though, partly in deference to Nick, and partly because he had found it helped him to wind down toward the end of shift. If he was too amped up before he left work he found it harder to relax and go to sleep, which meant oversleeping and feeling extremely cranky for his next shift.
Nick tapped his foot along with the music, absorbed in his report, and Greg took the opportunity to stare at Nick. Although Greg had never come out and said so to his coworkers, he was pretty sure people knew he was bi. Or that they at least suspected as much. He spoke openly about his social life and wasn’t embarrassed to share his thoughts – and knowledge – on sex when a case called for it. Greg wasn’t ashamed to admit to his sexuality, but working so closely with law enforcement made him hesitate to say anything unless he was prompted. The culture was changing and they did live in Vegas, but he knew better than to openly flaunt certain things.
He didn’t want to jump to conclusions about Nick, but he was from Texas and spoke often about his love for traditional southern values. And yet, he was unsure. Nick only ever spoke about dating women, but so did Greg, so that clearly wasn’t an indicator of his sexuality. However, their recent friendship was starting to shed some light on that for Greg. He couldn’t ignore the way Nick acted around him. Always touching and teasing… flirting.
“Greg?” a voice broke into his thoughts.
“Huh?” Greg said.
Nick laughed and pointed to the analysis of the evidence that had printed up during Greg’s musings. Greg flushed and reached over Nick to get it. Nick caught his sleeve. “Penny for your thoughts?” he teased.
Greg smiled and yanked his arm away from Nick. “Just trying to decide if I want to get pancakes or an omelet.”
Nick’s stomach grumbled at the mention of food and he stood, clapping his hand on Greg’s shoulder. “Why don’t you get that to Sara while I drop off my report? Then we can get pancakes and omelets.”
Nick’s hand lingered on Greg’s shoulder and he gave it a squeeze before he left. Greg felt his face heat up for the second time in mere minutes and smiled. He couldn’t deny that he’d developed a crush on Nick. But he was nervous about overstepping boundaries and getting ahead of himself. He didn’t want to ruin the friendship he was building with Nick but he wasn’t going to let something so promising slip away, either.
Greg ran the results to Sara and met Nick in the locker room after clocking out. “Usual spot?” Nick asked, shrugging into his jacket.
“Yeah, perfect,” Greg said. “If you want to, go on ahead. I’ll be right behind you.”
Nick nodded and got up to leave. He stood in front of Greg for a moment and Greg thought he was going to say something more, but Nick just smiled and left. Greg admired his backside as he left, feeling slightly guilty for ogling the man so much.
- * -
Greg slid into the opposite seat of the booth Nick had occupied and grabbed the menu. He didn’t really need to look at it but he suddenly felt shy in front of Nick and wanted a bit of a barrier between them. The look Nick had given him before leaving the locker room struck him as curious and he couldn’t stop hoping that maybe Nick was interested in being more than just friends. He felt Nick’s eyes on him and squirmed.
“You okay, Greg?”
He shrugged. “Yeah, just a little restless. It happens sometimes after a long shift.”
“Well, let’s get some food in you. Maybe that’ll settle you."
Greg nodded and set the menu down, trying to shake off his nerves. Nick smiled at Greg but there was a touch of concern in his eyes. “You sure you’re alright? You’re so quiet. It’s not like you.”
Greg was warmed by Nick’s concern. “Yeah, man, I’m fine. Still interested in splitting all my favorites with me?” he asked, flashing what he hoped was his most charming smile.
Nick studied him for a moment, a small smile on his lips. “Sounds good.”
After a veritable buffet of what Greg claimed to be the best breakfast items, the two men sat around talking. It was their usual chat about weird stories from work, recently watched movies, and other mundane topics. Greg was in the middle of recounting his day in the lab when he caught a peculiar look from Nick. Fighting the urge to glance away, he held Nick’s gaze and quirked an eyebrow at him.
“Am I boring you?” he teased.
“You have the day off today, right?” Nick asked.
Greg was oddly pleased that Nick knew his schedule. He nodded. “Yeah. How about you?”
“Same… do you wanna do something?”
Greg had planned to laze around his apartment in sweats and napping most of the time but he couldn’t pass up an opportunity to hang out with Nick. He pretended to think about it and said, “If you feel like being lazy you could come over for pizza and beer?”
Nick grinned. “Alright. Around six, okay?”
“Perfect. I should be fully rested by then,” Greg said, laughing.
“Not like last time?” Nick teased, throwing his balled-up napkin at him.
Greg laughed even harder, turning slightly pink at the memory. One of the last times they’d got together for pizza and beer after a shift, Greg had fallen asleep almost as soon as he’d got to Nick’s. His impromptu sleepover had thrown both of their schedules off that day but Greg’s consolation had been seeing what Nick was like as soon as he woke up. He flushed again as he remembered Nick, shirtless, and shaking him awake.
Nick smiled softly at him and again there was something different in the way Nick looked at him. Greg held his gaze, an easy smile on his lips, as well, and he knew he wasn’t mistaking Nick anymore. But flirting and actually acting on emotions were two completely different things. Some people just liked to flirt with no intention of it leading anywhere. But Greg was hoping for more.
- * -
Greg rolled over and glanced at the clock. It read 5:42. “Shit. Shit!” he mumbled, tossing his sheets from his body and tumbling out of bed.
Nick was always on time and Greg knew he had just a few minutes to get his apartment into a semi-decent state. He’d been too tired after breakfast to do more than shower. He surveyed his living room and groaned. There were empty snack bags, half-drunk glasses, and other bits of trash strewn across the coffee table. Not to mention the odd sock or shirt flung across the couch.
He tried to move quickly but he was still sluggish from sleep. Greg took care of the garbage first and opted to just dump the rest of his untidy belongings into a pile in his room. He’d just straightened out his bathroom when he heard a knock on his door. Greg opened it and found Nick standing with a pizza and six-pack of their preferred beer.
“Hey,” he said, shuffling back to let Nick in.
Nick grinned wide at him. “You didn’t tell me this was a pajama party.”
Nick gestured at him as he set down the food. “Did you just wake up, G?”
Greg glanced down and realized he was still in his sleep shirt and boxers. His felt his face heat and he ran a hand through his hair.
“Ah… you got me.” He laughed.
“Typical,” Nick teased.
Greg inched toward his room. “Let me just…”
Nick chuckled as Greg fumbled with the doorknob to his room. He shook his head at himself as he found a pair of sweats and changed into a clean t-shirt. When he emerged from his room he saw that Nick had already set the pizza on the coffee table and opened two beers. He walked into the room and ran straight into Nick who was coming from the kitchen with paper plates and napkins.
“Oof,” Nick grunted. Greg grabbed his arm to steady them both and apologized.
“No worries,” Nick said, turning toward the couch, a slight flush to his neck. Greg noticed and smirked. They settled on the couch and Nick served up the pizza.
“Thanks,” Greg said, taking the paper plate. “And thanks for picking up the food. How much do I owe you?”
Nick shook his head and settled against the cushion. “Nah, don’t worry about it. You can just get it next time.”
“Okay,” Greg said and grabbed the remote. He surfed through the channels for a bit before suggesting they pick a movie from Greg’s collection.
“Alright, but it’s my turn to pick,” Nick said as went to kneel in front of the cabinet under the TV.
“If you say so.” Greg rolled his eyes. “You make it sound like I have bad taste in movies.” Nick glanced at him over his shoulder with a look that said he did think Greg had bad taste in movies.
“Whatever!” he huffed and took another bite of pizza. Nick finally picked something and popped it in before he joined Greg back on the couch.
“I’m surprised you could find anything to your liking since I have such bad taste!” Greg teased.
The opening scene of Jurassic Park played across the TV screen and Nick smirked at Greg, “Well, everyone likes dinosaurs. Even people with bad taste.”
They were halfway through the movie and almost completely through with the pizza and beer when Nick shifted closer to Greg on the couch. Greg glanced at him and saw how tired Nick seemed. He bit back a remark and turned back to the movie. If Nick needed some rest he wasn’t going to tease him for it. Greg relaxed into the couch, unconsciously leaning toward Nick. Maybe he could use some more sleep, too.
- * -
Greg blinked his eyes open and found himself staring at the top of Nick’s head. He realized they’d fallen asleep and he carefully shifted, stretching his muscles. He turned back to look at Nick and felt a rush of affection. Without thinking, he lifted his hand to Nick’s face, pressing his fingers tenderly to his cheek.
Nick sighed deeply and opened his eyes, smiling softly at Greg. He covered Greg’s hand with his own, keeping it in place before Greg thought to snatch it away. Greg’s stomach fluttered.
“Sorry, I didn’t realize how tired I was." He started tracing small circles on the back of Greg’s hand with his thumb. “Greg, I wanted to talk to you about something.”
Greg swallowed hard. “Yeah?”
Nick glanced at Greg’s lips and stuttered, “I… I like you a lot, Greg. And, tell me if I’m reading things wrong, but I think you like me, too? As more than just a friend?”
Greg could feel his eyes widening and he struggled to say something but he couldn’t find the words. Nick must have taken his hesitation for rejection because he dropped his hand and was beginning to move away from him. Greg grabbed his hand instead and squeezed.
“Wait. Just wait.” He laughed nervously. “I’ve been thinking about how to say the same thing to you.”
Nick grinned at him and slid a little closer. “You scared me, G. You looked like a deer in headlights. I thought I’d really messed up just now.”
“You took me by surprise,” Greg said, leaning closer to press his forehead to Nick’s.
“Can I kiss you?” Nick asked.
Nick tilted his head and kissed Greg slow and sweet. Greg sighed into it and melted against Nick. He slid his hand to the back of Nick’s neck, fingers caressing the short hairs at the nape of his neck. Greg lost himself in the sensation of kissing Nick, fighting back a smile. They broke apart and Nick settled closer to him, resting his head on Greg’s shoulder again.
“Are you going to pass out on me?” Greg asked, laying a hand on Nick’s thigh.
Nick turned his head and pressed a kiss to Greg’s throat. “I’m pretty tired. I couldn’t sleep earlier. I was thinking about how to ask you out on a date.”
“Technically, you haven’t asked me yet,” Greg teased, unable to keep from smiling. Nick groaned and hid his face in Greg’s neck.
“How about I ask you out?” Greg asked.
Nick nodded and pulled away so he could look at him. Still smiling, Greg asked, “Nick? Would you go on a date with me?”
Nick’s eyes crinkled as he laughed. “Yes.” He pulled Greg to him and kissed him firmly on the lips.
Greg slid his hand up to Nick’s hip and deepened the kiss. “Do you want to take this to the bedroom? We don’t have to do anything but it is more comfortable than my couch. Especially if you’re going to fall asleep.”
Nick agreed without hesitation and allowed Greg to steer him toward his room while being kissed. They stumbled into the room and onto the bed. Nick didn’t seem to mind the mess but Greg felt self-conscious. Nick rolled on top of him and snuck a hand under Greg’s shirt while pressing kisses to his neck. He whined softly and gripped Nick’s hips.
Greg’s heart was beating fast and he couldn’t remember the last time he’d felt so giddy. Just the day before he had been unsure if there would ever be anything more between them and now, not only had Nick admitted his feelings first, they were making out like teenagers. He almost laughed at the turn of events but Nick bit down gently on his collarbone and his laugh dissolved into a sigh.
“Nick,” he whined, bucking up against him. He was half-hard from Nick’s attentions and could feel Nick’s arousal, too. Nick moaned against him and whispered, “I don’t want to go too fast but can I take my jeans off?”
Greg nodded his head a bit frantically. “Yeah.”
Nick chuckled and slid off Greg. He stood over Greg for a moment, eyes wandering over his body. Greg blushed but appraised Nick, too.
“You’re so cute when you blush,” Nick said to him, his fingers tugging open his belt and pants.
Greg smiled. “I could say the same about you."
Greg raised himself on his elbows and watched Nick slide his jeans down. Nick looked back at him and stood still.
“What’s wrong?” Greg asked, stomach flipping.
Nick laughed nervously and put a hand to the back of his neck. “I, uh, don’t want to rush things. And I am actually pretty tired.”
“Okay.” Greg nodded and moved up to sit against the headboard. He patted the spot next to him and Nick crawled toward him before kissing him once on the lips.
“This might sound lame but could we… cuddle?” Nick asked softly and ducked his head to hide a blush. But Greg saw it and found it incredibly endearing.
Greg lay on his back and opened his arms in invitation. Nick lay down beside him with his head on Greg’s chest and threw his arm across his waist. Greg wrapped his arms around Nick and hugged him tightly.
“Cuddling’s not lame,” he said and ran his fingers through Nick’s hair. Nick hummed contentedly and pressed a kiss to Greg’s chest. Eventually, Greg felt Nick’s entire body relax and he knew Nick had fallen asleep. He was still amped up from their confessions and kisses but could feel sleep tugging at him. Nick felt so good in arms. The warm, solid weight of him was calming. He closed his eyes and focused on Nick’s breathing, trying to match his breaths with his own. It wasn’t long before he fell asleep.