Richard had decided a long time ago that mornings were the worst part of the day. Luckily in his line of work it wasn’t a time of day he had to see very often, but Till had requested that today they were back at the club by 8.30am. The clock on his bedside table showed that it was only 7.15 so he didn’t need to be up quite yet, but he could hear the shower running in the bathroom and smiled. Paul never remembered to turn the extractor fan on, so when Richard opened the bathroom door he was assaulted by warm steam and he rolled his eyes.
“Close the door, Reesh. You’re letting the cold in.”
Richard did as he was told and closed the door, stripping off his boxers and joining his lover in the shower. Paul smiled softly as Richard’s strong arms wrapped around him from behind and he leant his head back on the taller man’s shoulder. Richard dropped one hand to wrap around Paul’s cock, stroking the man to hardness and biting lightly at his earlobe. He wrapped his other arm around Paul’s chest, pulling him close and grinding his erection into the smaller mans arse. Paul turned his head to press soft kisses to the younger man’s jaw, reaching behind himself to get a hand on Richard and smirking against Richard’s throat as he shuddered.
“You should get on your knees for me, love.”
Paul said against Richard’s neck, smiling as he felt the man nod minutely. Richard let go of Paul and did as he was asked, getting on his knees in front of the shorter man and putting his hands behind his back, signalling his submission. Paul is the only person that Richard would ever willingly submit to, the only person he could ever trust enough to be submissive with. Paul ran a hand gently through his hair before grabbing a fistful and guiding his lovers mouth to his cock, sighing softly as Richard’s talented mouth and tongue begun to work at his erection. Richard looked so good on his knees, especially with the water beading on his shoulders and falling into his unfairly long eyelashes and making them look longer and darker, Paul thought to himself as he fucked his partners mouth.
“Look at me.”
He commanded softly, stroking Richard’s cheek in praise as those unfairly pretty eyes meet his face. It only takes a few more thrusts into Richard’s warm, wet mouth before Paul is coming with a deeply satisfied grunt, using the grip he has on the younger mans hair to pull him back to his feet. Richard sighs softly against his mouth as they kiss, it quickly becoming whimpers as Paul starts jerking him off with a tight fist.
Paul works Richard through his orgasm pressing kisses to his hair and doing his best to keep them both upright even though the younger man is leaning heavily on him.
“C’mon Reesh, we should get ready. Till will kill us if we’re late.”
Richard smiles happily at the prospect of later and Paul can’t help but laugh at him, nudging the other man out of the shower so he can finish up and get ready himself.
Flake still hasn’t arrived when Richard and Paul get to the club, both of them raiding the result of Riley and Ollie’s breakfast hunt that’s sitting on the coffee table. Riley is laying on top of the covered pool table, eyes closed, one hand behind her head and the other hand holding a cigarette and a paper cup of coffee on her belly. The door to Till’s office is closed but they can hear the man shouting, apparently in a phone call that isn’t going at all well. Doom and Ollie are sat at the table, Ollie is meticulously deconstructing and cleaning his, Riley’s, and Till’s guns and Doom is weighing and cutting several large blocks of cocaine into smaller ones.
“Don’t even think about it.”
Doom tells Richard sternly as he comes over, not even needing to look at the man to tell he’s eyeing the powdery substance, Ollie flashing him an amused smile as he pouts. Paul wanders over and sits next to Riley on the pool table, stealing her cigarette and what’s left of her coffee. She opens her eyes and sits up, lighting another cigarette and dragging the ashtray closer.
“You had Richard on his knees again this morning didn’t you?”
“How the hell do you know that?”
“You have a face.”
Is all Riley offers by way of explanation, giggling at the look that Paul gives her and smoking her cigarette.
“Hey pretty boy, get your fine ass over here would you?”
Richard looks over as Riley calls out to him, casting one more longing gaze at the cocaine and then heading over to join the two at the pool table and looking thoroughly dejected.
“You gonna stop looking like a kicked puppy if I give you some of this?”
Riley pulls a little baggy of the powdery white substance from the pocket of her incredibly tight skinny jeans and waves it in Richard’s face, smirking at him with a raised eyebrow when his face lights up.
“It’s unfair that Doom just gives you coke and the rest of us have to practically beg him for it.”
“Who says I got it from Him?”
She giggles and hands the coke, a mirror, her credit card and a crisp €100 bill to Richard, putting her arm around Paul and kissing him on the cheek.
“Just because I happen to be fucking the man who looks after all of our drugs, doesn’t mean I don’t have other contacts when it comes to getting my hands it. I have my ways and my sources of getting the things I want. Plus, Till would murder me if he ever caught me skimming off our product and I’m not that dumb.”
The three of them do a line each before Flake finally comes in, carrying and distributing paper cups of coffee. Riley takes hers gratefully and ends up at the table, helping Ollie by putting the guns back together. Richard surprisingly gives the little baggie back to Riley with some left in it and she smiles as she tucks it back in her pocket. Now that Riley has vacated the pool table Flake and Paul take the cover off and start playing a game, Richard sitting at the table and helping Ollie so Riley can help Doom.
Everyone’s eyes flash to the doorway to Till’s office as he slams it open, stalking over to the group at the table.
“You. My office. Now.”
He all but growls at Riley and she rolls her eyes, getting up from the table with a reassuring squeeze to Ollie’s shoulder and doing as she’s been told. Till narrows his eyes at her retreating form before turning back to the others.
“Richard, Flake, Arielle and Ines got attacked last night and I need you two to go to Arielle’s apartment and check up on them. If they have the information of whoever the fuck went for them, you go find them and make sure they suffer. Call me if they don’t and I have something else I need you to do. Paul, Ollie, you two can handle the deliveries, and then you need to go and collect from this lot.”
Till hands Paul a folded up piece of paper and runs a hand through his hair, taking a few deep breaths to compose himself as everyone gets started organising themselves to do as they’ve been instructed. It wasn’t unusual for someone to have to stay behind in case there were other things that came up during the day, but Doom can’t help but feel uneasy about it being him and Riley. Especially when Till is refusing to meet his eye or even acknowledge him being in the room.
Riley can hear Till dishing out orders to the boys in the lounge but mostly tunes him out, boredly picking at a loose thread at the bottom of her t-shirt. When Till comes in slamming the door again, Riley stands up and turns to face him with furrowed brows. She’s not prepared for it when Till stalks over and slaps her so hard across the face it makes her head spin and knocks her to the floor. Riley doesn’t get a chance to respond as Till leans down and picks her up by the hair, slamming her face first into his desk.
“Was zum teufel ist letzte nacht passiert? Und traust du dich nicht mich anzulugen.”
Till snarled, keeping Riley pinned with his hand in her hair and gripping both wrists painfully tight behind her back with his other hand.
“Was…was wovon redest du…redest du?”
“Benimm dich dicht dummes, kleines madchen. Ich habe mehr respect vor dir.”
Riley yelped as Till pulled shoved her into one of the chairs opposite the desk, yanking her head back by her hair and holding a knife to her throat.
“I went to the club and as we predicted Akerlund’s men came straight up to me and I got impatient. Doom got held up because the shipment was late, but I didn’t know that at the time. I lured them out of there with the promise of a threesome and we made it as far as the alleyway before they started getting rough with me. I let them smack me around a little, one of them pinned me against the wall and started kissing me, then Doom finally showed up and managed to grab the other one without him even noticing. So, I stabbed the one who was holding me twice in the stomach while Doom held the other one back, then when I was done I slit the other ones throat. Then we came back here. That’s all that happened Till, I swear!”
“You’re forgetting the part about you lying to me when you got back.”
Till puts the knife down and lets go of Riley’s hair so he can wrap one of his big hands around her throat instead, squeezing tightly and smiling at her as he leans in close to whisper in her ear.
“Lie to me again and I’ll kill you.”
Using the hand around her throat Till shoves Riley to the floor, stepping over her as she coughs and splutters, drawing in precious lungful’s of air and trying to stop the room from spinning. Doom looks up as he hears Till’s office door open and looks down in shock as he catches sight of Riley on the floor, stopped from going to check on her by Till stalking over to the sectional and standing in front of him. Till lifts his head up with the cane and Doom swallows harshly, having only seen the angry look on the older man’s face once before when he’d found out that Flake’s wife was cheating on him. He holds his hands up in surrender, keeping eye contact with Till despite his fear.
“Bitte Till! Don’t!”
Riley stumbles over and puts herself between Doom and Till, barely managing to stay on her feet and speak. There’s already a large, angry, hand-shaped bruise around her throat and the right side of her face is bruised from being slapped, as well as her lip being busted open and bleeding.
“Please Till, I’m the one who deserves to be punished. Don’t take it out on him. I fucked up, not him. I lied to you, not him.”
“You’re going to shut your fucking mouth if you know what’s good for you. Go and set up the bar for tonight and I don’t want to see hide or hair of you for the rest of the day.”
Till hissed at Riley and gave her a shove towards the bar at the front of the club, glaring at her when she didn’t make a move.
“I’m not going to ask you again, Riley. Now get. Out. Of. My. Sight.”
He wrapped his hand tightly around Riley’s bicep and dragged her from the room, locking and slamming the door shut once he’d shoved her through it. Christoph sat patiently and waited for Till to come back, not entirely sure what to expect.
“You let her lie to me. Why?”
“Riley had already started telling you her version before I had a chance to say anything, so if I had of told you something different it wouldn’t have looked good. How…how did you know she was lying to you?”
“Jes called me this morning to apologise for the shipment being late, and Veronika called when someone reported the bodies. Apparently the anonymous tipster saw a tall man and a pretty redhead. She’s keeping those details to herself luckily for you, and you’re going down there now to apologise to her.”
Till takes a step back to allow Doom to stand, watching him walk away with a raised eyebrow and waiting until he’s almost out the door before calling out to him.
“Like I told the little brat, you ever lie to me again and I’ll kill you.”
Doom gives Till a slight nod and then makes himself scarce, closing the door behind him and letting out the breath he didn’t realise he was holding.
Flake leant stood a little back from the front door of Arielle’s apartment as Richard knocked lightly on the door, a cigarette hanging from his mouth and his gun tucked carelessly into the front of his jeans.
“It’s me and Flake, open the door, Ari.”
Both men heard as the key was turned in the lock, the deadbolt unlocked and the chain pulled free and then the door opened and neither of them sure what to expect.
“Where’s Nes, Ari? What happened?”
Richard asks softly and pulls Arielle into his arms, running his good hand softly through her hair and cupping her jaw with his other hand, encouraging the girl to look at him. She has a black eye and a cut on her chest, her makeup a mess and running down her face.
“Bedroom. She…she got it worse than me. I patched her up the best I…I could. But…”
“Sit down before you fall down. Flake will go and check on Ines and you can tell me what happened.”
Flake bristles a little at being told what to do by Richard of all people but heads into the bedroom with his medical kit to go and check on the other girl. Richard sits Arielle down at the small kitchen table and takes his jacket off, wrapping it around the girls shoulders. He starts to make her a coffee but changes his mind, reaching for the bottle of whiskey sitting next to the sink and pouring her a glass and handing it to her.
“I can’t help you if you don’t talk to me, Arielle. What happened last night?”
Arielle takes a big gulp of the amber liquid, putting her glass down on the table with a shaking hand and pulling Richard’s jacket tighter around herself before looking at him.
“Nes and I were working together last night, picked up a John in one of the clubs and brought him back to our usual hotel. Things were going okay, we were drinking, smoking, a couple party favours and then things went bad. He…he wanted to get rough with us, and he lost it when we said no. He…he punched me and knocked me out then when I came to Nes was bleeding and all of our money and drugs were gone. We came back here and like I said, I patched her up best I could and we drank until we passed out.”
“I’m going to need a name, honey. I assume you were smart enough to follow protocol?”
“Yeah…um…about that…we…we uh…”
Richard rests a comforting hand on Arielle’s knee, looking at her with a raised eyebrow and a small smile.
“You can tell me anything, Ari, you know that.”
“We weren’t exactly doing things by the book. Our landlord put our rent up and we’ve been struggling to make ends meet so we uh…we’ve been seeing men on the side.”
Arielle downs the rest of her drink and whimpers when Richard stands abruptly, the gentle look on his face and the gentle touch of his hand on her knee gone and replaced by something colder.
“Shut up, Arielle. Don’t move. I’ll be back in a minute.”
Richard heads to the bedroom and hears the tail end of Flake’s conversation with Ines.
“…take these and they’ll help with the pain and change the dressing every two days. I’ll write it down for you.”
Ines gives Flake a small smile but it disappears when she see’s Richard standing in the doorway and the pissed off look on his face.
“Flake, can I speak to you alone in the bathroom for a moment?”
The bathroom in the girls apartment is small but Richard and Flake both manage to squeeze into it.
“What’s going on, Richard? What did Arielle tell you?”
“The guy last night, they don’t know shit about him because they were working on the side to try and make more money. What should we do?”
“There’s nothing we can do. They know the rules and what happens if they break them. I’ll pack up my stuff, you call Till.”
Both men exit the small bathroom, neither of them acknowledging Ines in the bedroom and Richard completely ignoring Arielle as he heads back into the kitchen to get his phone out of his jacket pocket and taking it from the girls shoulders.
“Please, don’t tell Till! We…we’ll stop doing it, Richard, I promise. Please…I…we…we need this job!”
“You should have thought about that before you broke the rules, Ari. You knew what the rules are.”
Richard answers coldly, prying Arielle’s hand from his arm and pushing her away from himself as he dials.
“What did you find out from the girls?”
“That they’re both idiots and have been screwing around on the side to make more money, last night as one such instance so they don’t have any information about the man.”
“Let them sort it out themselves then. Tell them they’re no longer our concern and come back here.”
Till disconnects the call and Richard pockets his phone, leaning against the benchtop and waiting for Flake to emerge from the bedroom.
“You and Ines are no longer any concern of ours. I wish you the best, Arielle. Take care of yourself.”
Richard can see that Arielle is about to cry but he turns away, following Flake out of the apartment and back down to the car.
“Are you alright, Richard? I know you and Arielle were close.”
“I’m fine. Just angry. She should have known better. Till wants us to head straight back but he sounds like he needs a coffee if you feel like stopping on the way.”
“Coffee sounds like a fantastic idea. I didn’t know you were capable of having those.”
Flake laughs as Richard scoffs indignantly and starts the car, trying not to make too much fun of the younger man because he doesn’t much feel like dealing with Richard when he’s being moody. Till is flicking through channels on the TV when Richard and Flake get back and he perks up a little at the sight of coffee, Flake joining him on the sectional and Richard heading back outside to smoke.
“The others not back yet?”
“Doom headed out to go and get us all some lunch but he should be back soon, and Paul called about thirty minutes ago and said he and Oliver were coming back here for food before heading out again.”
“What about Riley?”
Till scowls in the general direction of the bar, taking a big mouthful of the class of vodka sitting on the table in front of him.
“Haven’t seen Riley since I banished her to the bar after you all left. She lied to me last night about how she got the bruises and I punished her for it this morning.”
“You’d think she would know better than that by now, especially when Riley knows what your temper is like. Want me to go and check on her and you can explain to Oliver when he and Paul return why you did it?”
“Thank you, Flake, I would appreciate that. I may have gone too hard on Riley, her heart was in the right place but she just didn’t think.”
Flake nods and squeezes Till’s shoulder reassuringly before heading into the bar, closing the door firmly behind himself again.
“Sorry sweetie, it’s just me. Are you alright?”
“Oh, hey Flake. I’m okay. Well, as okay as someone who’s been smacked around twice in less than 24 hours can be.”
Riley stubs out her cigarette in the half full ashtray sitting on the edge of the bar, picking the cloth she was cleaning with back up and stepping out onto the floor.
“Come here. Let me get a look at you.”
Flake offers Riley his hand and she steps over to him with a soft smile, wincing ever so slightly and trying to hide it but Flake see’s it. He’s surprised that she can speak at all considering how bad the bruising around her throat is, trying to be as gentle as he can when he touches the coloured skin as not to hurt her. Riley’s right eye and cheek are a blueish-purple colour, and her lip is swollen but seems to have stopped bleeding for now.
“You should know better than to lie to Till, my dear.”
“Any other injuries I need to look at, or did he keep the marks to this pretty face?”
Riley laughs a little at that, biting the uninjured side of her lip and lifting up her shirt to show him the bruises on her ribs.
“The guys I killed last night got kinda rough with me first. Been giving me hell all day.”
Flake’s eyes go wide at the colour of Riley’s ribs, wondering how the hell she’s been doing anything with her day.
“I can’t be sure without sending you to the clinic for an x-ray, which I really don’t want to do, but you’ve probably got a couple of fractured ribs.”
“Explains a lot. Thanks, Flake. Think it’s safe for me to go back into the office? I desperately need coffee, and the bathroom, and to give my boyfriend and my lover a hug.”
“Yeah you should be safe. I’m not sure if Oliver or Doom are around, but they should both be back in the next thirty or so minutes. You can give me or Till a hug instead though while you wait.”
Riley pulls her shirt back down and giggles, giving Flake as tight of a hug as she can manage with the condition her ribs are in.
“You can have hugs any time you like, Doc. You know that.”
She kisses him on the cheek and then heads back into the office and making herself a cup of coffee, curling up next to Till on the couch once she has her drink.
“I’m sorry for lying to you. I should know better.”
“You should, yes. I shouldn’t have gone so hard on you, I know your heart was in the right place.”
Till kisses the top of Riley’s head and smiles to himself when she curls in a little closer to his body.