Sipping his scotch, Rafael looked around the crowded room and felt the burn of regret pooling in his gut. Instead of accepting the invitation to Olivia's dinner party, he'd allowed his own insecurities to get the better of him and declined. Which was why he was currently standing at the bar of an upscale Manhattan bar, sipping scotch, surrounded by fellow Harvard Alumni; most of whom he had no real desire to talk to. He smiled slightly as Harvey leaned against the bar next to him and said, "You look like you'd rather be anywhere but here."
"Mmm, ever perceptive, Specter. Glad to see that firm of yours hasn't dulled your senses too much." Rafael said, finishing his drink and setting the empty glass on the bar.
"No need to be rude, Barba." Harvey said, smiling slightly and sipping his own drink.
"Where's the puppy?" Rafael asked, cocking an eyebrow. When Harvey just shot him an unimpressed look, he smiled and added, "I only ask because it's rare to see you without him."
"Mike has the night off. Decided to spend it at home watching movies instead of dealing with stuck-up Alumni. A decision I wish I had made as well." Harvey said quietly.
"I should've gone to a friend's dinner party." Rafael muttered, nodding to the bartender to refill his glass.
"You have friends? Ones that don't want to use you?"
Rafael snorted softly and said, "Olivia. I work with her but she's...she's a good friend as well."
"Ah. Why didn't you go?"
"The rest of her team was going to be there and...I don't quite get along with one of them." Rafael said, shrugging. He took a sip of his scotch, savoring the slow burn of it sliding down his throat and warming him from the inside out.
"Is it the same one you want to bone?" Harvey asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Don't be crass, Specter." Rafael said, shooting his friend an unamused look.
"So it is. You know, you could always just tell him."
"He's as straight as an arrow."
"That's what I thought about Mike and look how that turned out."
"I'm not getting high with Nick in the hopes that he'll fuck me, Harvey." Rafael said, rolling his eyes.
"I never said you had to do it the way I did. The point was that assumptions can be wrong." Harvey said, smirking slightly.
Rafael was about to respond when he felt his phone buzz in his pocket. Sighing, he pulled it out and checked his notifications, just in case it was work calling him back in for some reason. He frowned when he saw that, instead of a message from work, all he had was a new Snapchat from Nick. It wasn't necessarily unheard of for him to get a snap from the detective but they'd been scarcer in recent weeks. Olivia and Harvey were the only ones who sent him regular snaps and forced him to keep up with social media. Raising an eyebrow, he muttered to himself, "What the hell?"
Harvey peeked over his shoulder and, noticing who the snap was from, said, "You might want to open that one in private. Just in case."
Rafael rolled his eyes and said, "Amaro doesn't send me snaps like that, Harvey." Taking another sip of his scotch, he opened the snap and promptly choked on his scotch when the photo loaded.
Setting down his glass, Rafael coughed to clear his throat and stared dumbly down at his phone. The photo showed Nick standing with his back to the mirror that he knew was in Olivia's bathroom with his shirt unbuttoned all the way and pushed aside so that his chest and abs were clearly visible. He had that damned flirtatious grin on his face that Rafael hated to admit made him a little weak at the knees. Rafael was so focused on taking in the sight of Nick's bare chest and stomach that he almost didn't notice the text bar two-thirds of the way down the photo; which read: Wish you were here, cariño.
Harvey leaned over and looked at the photo on Rafael's screen. His eyebrows shot up as he let out a low whistle and said, "Why are you here with these boring stiffs when you could've been looking at him all night?"
Shooting his friend a glare, Rafael said, "It must've been a mistake." Turning his attention back to his phone, he sent back a snap of his best I'm unamused with your antics face along with the caption: Check the recipient, pendejo. Once the snap was sent, Rafael slipped his phone back into his pocket and downed the rest of his scotch. Glancing over at Harvey, he said, "On that note, I'm leaving."
Harvey nodded and said, "We'll have to have dinner sometime. It's been a while."
"Have Donna contact my PA and she'll set it up." Rafael said, flagging down the bartender to pay his tab. Once his tab was settled and the bartender had called him a cab, he headed outside to wait. While standing there, he texted Olivia to see if he was still welcome to drop by. He knew that she had assured him that he would be if his party wrapped up early but it was just polite to check.
That invite still open? The Alum dinner was shit even if the scotch was good. Not to mention the company kind of sucked. Save for Harvey.
Of course. There's plenty of food here but I can't promise the company's any better. Nick's been moody all night, Amanda's been constantly texting someone, and Carisi's Carisi.
I'll keep that in mind. Cab's here, I'll be there soon.
Pocketing his phone, he slid into the backseat and shut the door behind himself. He gave the driver Olivia's address and stared out the window as the city passed by. Loosening his tie, he slid it off and wrapped it up before tucking it away in one of the inside pockets of his blazer. He wondered who Nick could've meant to send the Snapchat too as he loosened the first two buttons of his shirt and rubbed his neck. He felt his phone buzz again so he dug it out of his pocket and raised an eyebrow when he saw it was another snap from Nick.
Opening it, he gasped softly when he saw the photo Nick had sent. Just like the last one, it was taken in Olivia's bathroom but this time Nick used the mirror to his advantage. He'd actually taken his shirt completely off and Rafael was fairly certain that he'd also taken off his pants. Or at the very least, shoved them down past the edge of the sink. Madre de Dios, that was a lot of skin on display.
Rafael glanced down at the caption (It was 4 u, Rafi. This 1 is too.) and bit his knuckle to stop from making a noise that he was sure was inappropriate. He saw that the time was running out on the timer and quickly took a screen shot. There was no way he'd read that caption right. Nick couldn't possibly want him.
When the photo disappeared, he exited the app and pulled up the screen shot. Sure enough, the caption hadn't changed. He stared down at it, mind whirling. Did this mean that Nick wanted him? Why else would he be sending him half-naked selfies? A wave of dread hit him like a freight train. What if Nick found out about how he felt and was just jerking him around? What if the detective was just toying with him? Or, God forbid, what if he was just using him to experiment?
Shaking his head, he dismissed that idea as a product of his own insecurities rather than something Nick would actually do. The younger man wasn't the type to toy with someone just for the hell of it, or even if it was for a job. He'd seen what it'd done to him when the woman he'd been involved with during an undercover operation had been paraded in front of him in open court. Rubbing his mouth, Rafael opened the Snapchat app and sent Nick a photo of the darkened street with the caption: Please don't tease me like this
Pocketing his phone again, he sighed and rested his head against the cool glass of the window. He didn't feel his phone buzz again until the cab pulled up in front of Olivia's apartment building. Ignoring it, he paid the cabbie and slid out of the cab. Striding over to the door, he hit the buzzer for Olivia's apartment and waited until the door unlocked. Once he heard the click of the lock, he pulled the door open and headed up to Olivia's.
He knocked and shoved his hands in his pockets as he waited for the door to open. He smiled brightly at Olivia when she poked her head out and said, "Better late than never."
Olivia chuckled and, opening the door a bit wider, said, "True. Come on in."
Slipping past her, Rafael glanced around the apartment to see who was still there. Munch and Tutuola were sitting on the couch talking about something that Rafael couldn't decipher. Rollins and Carisi were sitting at the dining room table arguing about baseball. Nick and Cassidy were standing off to one side discussing something that Rafael couldn't hear but he could see that Nick kept checking his phone every couple seconds. Olivia took him by the elbow and gently steered him towards the kitchen.
"We ate earlier but there's still a bunch of left overs. It's not warm but I do have a microwave." Olivia said, shooting Rafael an apologetic look as she started pulling containers out of the fridge.
Shucking off his blazer, Rafael folded it across his arm and leaned against the counter. Smiling slightly, he said, "It's fine, Olivia. It's my own fault for thinking that an Alumni dinner would be better than it had been in past years."
Olivia chuckled and, making Rafael a plate, said, "I don't have scotch but I do have wine. If you'd like some."
"I think I'll stick with water. But thank you." Rafael said, pulling out his phone when he felt it buzz again. He frowned when he saw that it was just a reminder that he had another Snapchat from Nick. Sighing softly, he looked at the ceiling and muttered, "Dios mi. Este hombre va a ser la muerte de mí."
"I know my Spanish is a little rusty but I did understand that. Who's going to be the death of you?" Olivia asked, popping Rafael's plate in the microwave and putting the rest of the left overs back in the fridge.
"Who do you think?" Rafael asked, shooting her a look and grabbing a bottle of water from the fridge.
"Ah. What's he done this time? You haven't even spoken to him yet."
"Snapchat." Rafael said, cracking the bottle open and taking a sip. Looking back down at his phone, he opened the unread Snapchat as he took another sip of water and promptly choked when he saw the selfie Nick had sent. Again. At least this time it wasn't expensive scotch.
"Rafael? Are you okay?" Olivia asked, moving beside him to rub his back as he coughed and tried to clear his throat. She glanced at his phone and said, "Oh..."
"First time he sent one, I choked on my scotch." Rafael said hoarsely, not taking his eyes off the selfie. Nick had stripped down to his briefs and taken a picture of himself shooting the camera a pleading look. The caption said: Not teasing. I want you.
"I don't blame you." Olivia said, smiling and patting his back as the photo disappeared. Sighing, Rafael exited the app and shot Nick a text instead.
If you keep this up, one of your selfies is going to cause me to actually choke on whatever I'm drinking and drop dead.
Looking back up at Olivia, he pocketed his phone and asked, "How's Noah?"
"He's doing well." She replied, smiling slightly.
When the microwave dinged to let them know Rafael's food was done, he grabbed himself a fork and held the bowl with a potholder as Olivia explained the finer details of everything that had been going on with Noah. Rafael ate silently and listened as Olivia talked, barely glancing up when Cassidy and Nick walked into the kitchen.
Cassidy grabbed two beers from the fridge and, handing one to Nick, said, "Barba, I didn't think you were coming."
"Change of plans. I forgot how shitty Alumni dinners are. At least the scotch was good." Rafael said, shrugging a shoulder as he finished off the rest of the food in his bowl.
"There's always that." Cassidy said; chuckling softly and cracking his beer open.
"Was there at least someone you wanted to talk to there?" Olivia asked, frowning slightly.
"Specter was there but no one else important. I talked to him for a little while before I left. We made tentative plans to have dinner sometime soon." Rafael said, shrugging a shoulder and setting his bowl in the sink.
Nick raised an eyebrow and asked, "Like, as in a date or....?"
Rafael rolled his eyes and said, "I doubt his boyfriend would like it very much if Specter took me on a date. They're not into the polyamory thing." He paused for a moment before adding, "Besides, he's not my type."
"What is your type?" Cassidy asked, cocking his head to the side.
"Apparently it's intelligent, competent, Cuban men who are straight as an arrow." Rafael muttered, resolutely not looking over at Nick. Olivia snorted and shook her head, causing Rafael to smile slightly.
The next hour passed quickly and before Rafael knew it, it was time for him to head home. He did have a court date early the next morning after all. He was saying his goodbyes when Nick came up behind him and, putting a hand on the small of his back, said, "I'll drive you home, save you money on a cab."
Rafael nodded silently and pulled his blazer back on before following Nick out of the apartment. He glanced over at Nick as they walked out of the front door and onto the street. The younger man smiled slightly as he opened the passenger's side door of his car. Rafael smiled and slipped inside, tucking his knee in so that Nick didn't hit him with the door. Nick shut the door then rounded the car, opened the driver's side door, and slid into the driver's seat.
Once he'd shut the door behind himself and buckled himself in, Nick pulled onto the road and started driving towards Rafael's apartment. Most of the ride was spent in silence, with only the radio playing softly in the background. When Nick pulled onto Rafael's street, he glanced over at the older man curiously and said, "I was surprised you showed up. Olivia said you had an Alumni dinner."
"Yes, well, now I remember why I rarely go to those." Rafael said, looking down at his slacks and picking at the nonexistent lint.
"I...I'm sorry. About earlier. With the snap chats. Rollins told me to either shut up about you not being there or do something to get you there and...I wasn't thinking all that clearly."
"It's fine, Nick."
"Not really. If I'd known you were interested in someone else, I wouldn't've sent them."
"Someone...what? What are you talking about?"
"The guy you told Cassidy about. You said he was straight so that's obviously not me."
"Since when aren't you straight?" Rafael said, staring at Nick as if he'd grown a second head.
"Since I was born? Wait, did you seriously not know?"
"Nick, the only significant others of yours that I know of are both the mothers of your children. That's it."
"Oh. Well. Surprise?" Nick said, shooting him a confused look and pulling over to park in front of Rafael's building.
"Nick, were you serious? About what you said in the snaps."
"About wanting you? Yeah. But you don-"
"Oh for fucks sake, you were the one I was talking about earlier. I thought you were straight but apparently I was wrong. Just like I was wrong about you not wanting me."
Nick blinked for a second before he grinned and said, "You are most definitely wrong about that last one. How could you not know? I thought I was sending clear enough signals without outright groping you."
Rafael sighed and said, "I may be a little bit blind when it comes to reading people in that respect. Usually I do just fine but I have a blind-spot when it comes to flirting and romance. So sue me."
"I'd rather just kiss you." Nick said, raising an eyebrow and smirking playfully.
Rafael turned to him and, raising an eyebrow, said, "Well then, why don't you? I mean, I've been waiting for you to do that since you cornered me in the elevator."
Nick snorted and, unbuckling himself, leaned across the center console to pull Rafael into a heated kiss by the front of his shirt; only letting his eyes slip shut after he'd made sure their lips had touched. Melting into the kiss, Rafael let his eyes fall shut as he reached up and raked a hand through Nick's hair; pulling him closer and deepening the kiss. Nick groaned slightly and let his hand smooth down the front of Rafael's shirt as he nipped at his lower lip. Rafael gasped softly at the brief spark of pain and leaned into Nick's touch as his hand trailed down over the front of his slacks and came to a rest on his inner thigh. Clutching at Nick's hair, he whimpered softly when Nick slipped his tongue into his mouth and started to rub the inside of his thigh. It was too much sensation all at once. At this rate, he'd cum in his slacks before they even made it out of the car.
Pulling back, Rafael rested his forehead against Nick's and breathlessly asked, "Come upstairs with me?"
Nick pressed a tender kiss to Rafael’s mouth and, with a gentle squeeze to his thigh, said, “I thought you'd never ask."