Robert wanted to go out, which meant he kept looking at his watch, wondering why his security guard hadn’t turned up yet. John was rarely late, but it was an agreement Robert had. He could go out in public, pretend to be normal, blend in with the crowds, but he had to have a body guard with him at all times. Otherwise the risk was too great. The risk that he’d be recognised, or run into someone with a grudge against his public persona. No, having security was necessary and Robert knew that, even if he didn't like it one bit.
“You’re late,” Robert said as John came in.
“Sorry,” he said. “Where’re we off to then?”
“A club,” Robert said.
“No, pick something different,” Robert said. “Whichever one you think is “secure””
“I’ll look at the preapproved list,” John said, getting his phone out. “Give me a minute.”
Aaron sighed. He’d lost both drinking mates for his night out. Adam had backed out because he had a last minute date with a girl he’d been after for a while, and Cain had said no because apparently he had a bad back. Which meant Aaron seemed to have ended up in a London bar drinking alone. Maybe he should call it a night and just head home to the flat. But then… if Adam’s date went well, he probably wouldn’t be alone in the flat and overhearing would be the worst option of them all.
He sighed and finished his beer, debating ordering another when someone caught his eye. Tall, blond and slowly looking him up and down. The light in the bar was pretty dim, but Aaron knew when he was being checked out as the man walked over. “Can I buy you a drink?”
“If you want,” Aaron said as if he was indifferent. The man smiled, almost a smirk and Aaron’s stomach jolted. He looked weirdly familiar, but Aaron couldn’t place the face. Maybe he was imagining it, wanting to see a connection because this man was very attractive, taller than him too which Aaron always liked. Being gay in a mostly straight world meant Aaron had become attuned to attention when it was directed at him, and this man was paying his just the right kind of attention. The kind that made him privately curse Adams good fortune and wish he had an empty flat at home. You know, just in case.
The barman brought their drinks over, almost squinting at the stranger. “Have you got a name?” Aaron said. “I don’t let just any stranger buy me a drink.”
“You don’t know my name?” he said.
“Right, arrogant much?” Aaron said, turning away. “Tell you what, thanks for the drink.”
“No!” he said, grabbing Aaron’s arm to stop him from leaving. “Sorry. It's Robert.”
“Right,” Aaron said. “Aaron.”
“Aaron,” Robert repeated, like he was trying the name on for size. He liked the way his name sounded in this Robert’s mouth. It sent a shiver down his spine. Aaron looked at him again, noticing for the first time that a man was hovering behind him, almost trying to blend in. Middle to late forties and had the look of a security guard. So… Robert was some kind of trust fund kid then, even if he looked a bit old for it. Probably never worked a day in his life. What was he doing at a random bar then? Even if it was London and you never knew who you’d bump into, this seemed a bit out of nowhere. But then… Aaron wasn’t looking for the love of his life. He was looking for a bit of fun, and Robert looked like he could be exactly that.
“What do you do then?”
“I’m a mechanic,” Aaron said. “My uncle owns a garage and… well it’s not a bad job. Doesn’t matter where you go, someone always needs a mechanic.” Robert nodded, almost thoughtfully. “Should I ask what you do? Or is it not worth my time?”
“What do you mean by that?”
“Not everyone goes for a night out with a body guard,” Aaron said, nodding at the man behind him.
“Ah. That,” Robert said. He shrugged uncomfortably and for the first time Aaron felt a softness towards him. Robert didn’t seem to be showing off, he felt genuinely uncomfortable having someone watching over him. “That’s John. The… company insists on it.”
“You’re valuable then?” Aaron asked, curious in spite of himself.
“I’m… expensive to replace at work,” Robert said. There was something he wasn’t telling Aaron, but Aaron was too caught up in the flirtation, the look in Robert’s eyes, the curl of his lips to really focus on it. “There’s pool tables at the back. Do you want a game?”
Aaron knew there were tables here, he came here often. Clearly Robert had been here before too. “Fine,” Aaron said. “But I’ll beat you.”
Robert “hm”ed like he didn’t think so and Aaron smiled.
The rooms at the back of the bar were more private. Aaron liked that and clearly from the way Robert relaxed when they weren’t in public, he did too. Aaron wasn’t a good enough man to pretend he wasn’t admiring the way Robert’s body stretched across the pool table, the way his large hands handled the cue. He knew where tonight was heading, but he was also savouring it. The tension felt delicious and he enjoyed the way Robert's eyes looked at him. Robert looked good. He might have only been wearing jeans and a blue shirt, but they fit him perfectly, as if they’d been made for him. Maybe they had, Aaron reminded himself.
“Damn!” Robert miscued, sending the white flying and Aaron grinned. The game was his, if he concentrated. Three balls potted later and Aaron had won the game.
“Two out of three,” Robert said instantly. He was competitive then.
“I told you I’d win,” Aaron said, not biting,
“Go on,” Robert said, drawing himself up to his full height, voice gone soft. He was definitely flirting with him and Aaron bit his lip, enjoying the push and pull of it.
“You buy another round of drinks and I’ll set the table up again,” Aaron said. Robert smirked, disappearing to the bar. John, his shadow following behind him. John looked at Aaron strangely. “What?”
“I hope you know what you’re doing,” he said as he left. Aaron had no idea what he meant by that statement, but didn’t spend too long worrying about it. He was enjoying how the evening was progressing, and he wasn’t about to spoil it with overthinking.
At the bar, Robert quickly got served. “You’re being dangerous,” John said.
“Two beers please,” Robert said, ignoring this.
“He doesn’t recognise you,” John pushed.
“I know,” Robert said. “Do you know how rare that is?”
“Yes,” John said. “I also know it won’t last forever, at some point your face is going to click, and he’s going to know you.”
“Add it to the tab,” Robert said, grabbing the bottles and turning away. A few people did turn their heads to look at him and Robert ignored that as well as John.
“Robert!” John hissed, grabbing his arm. “This is risky.”
“This is fun,” Robert said. “Remember that? Fun?”
“You know nothing about him,” John pushed.
“That’s part of the fun,” Robert said. “I’ve got a pool match to win.”
Robert won the second match easily, bringing it down to a third. Aaron had the shot to win the tiebreaker but he missed it, Robert sucking his breath in with a “ooh!” sound.
“Shit,” Aaron said. He’d left a sitter for Robert to win.
“Do I even bother to take the final shot?” Robert teased.
“I can’t just let you have it,” Aaron said. “Go on, put me out of my misery.” Robert sunk the shot and grinned.
“Told you I’d win,” Robert said, smiling at him. Aaron was leaning against the edge of the pool table and suddenly Robert was in front of him, almost between his thighs, his face swimming in Aaron’s vision. Robert kissed him, making Aaron’s heart stop for a second. It was gentle, undemanding, like Robert was silently asking him “is this okay?” Aaron recognised that kind of kiss, the tentative way of being scared that the bloke you fancied wasn’t out, wasn’t comfortable with affection like this. The repercussions that could happen if the guy overreacted. It told Aaron that he’d done this before, but Aaron wasn’t one to shy away.
“Is that all you’ve got?” Aaron teased, smiling at him and this time Robert kissed him deeply, breathlessly. Aaron’s fingers ended up in Robert’s hair, pulling him closer. He closed his eyes, feeling Robert’s body against him everywhere. He felt so good.
“I have a hotel room,” Robert breathed against his neck.
“You were confident,” Aaron said and Robert smiled.
“Or we can go back to yours?” Robert said. Aaron shook his head quickly.
“Flat mate,” Aaron said. “I can’t. I don’t want an audience.”
“Then… the hotel?” Robert said. Aaron nodded.
“Sounds like a plan.” Robert’s hand slid from Aaron’s shoulder, down to his hand and squeezed gently.
Aaron wondered if the car was privately paid for, as it seemed to just appear from nowhere, and the driver knew John, Robert’s bodyguard too. Aaron mentally raised his estimate of Robert’s wealth by a couple of notches. Then a couple more as they bypassed the hotel desk and Robert instantly led the way to the room.
“I should recognise you, shouldn’t I?” Aaron said, once the door to the hotel room closed, unfortunately including John too.
“Probably,” Robert said. “I’m quite pleased that you don’t though.”
“Why’s he here?” Aaron said, nodding at John. The man in question got out some paperwork, leaving it on the table. Aaron frowned. “What’s this?” Robert looked uncomfortable.
“It’s just the paperwork,” he said. “It… basically it says you can’t go to the press.”
Aaron looked at Robert in disbelief. “You want me to sign a contract before we…”
“Want to? No,” Robert said. “But I have lawyers who insist on it. It just says you’re not going to sell the story to the papers. That’s all.”
“It’s a nondisclosure agreement, I’m not thick,” Aaron said. “This is kind of a mood killer, Robert.”
“Yeah,” Robert said sadly. “I know. Do you want to leave?”
Aaron hesitated. He could. He should. This… this was going to be so much more trouble than a quick screw was worth. But… Aaron badly wanted to stay. “I should go,” Aaron said. “But I’m not going to.” He signed the piece of paper without reading it, which was quickly scooped up by John, with a nod of the head as he left. “We’re done with that crap?”
“What do you want from room service?” Robert said. “To make it up to you.”
“A few beers wouldn’t go amiss,” Aaron said and Robert smiled, picking up his phone to order them. Once he’d got off the phone with room service, Aaron put his hand underneath Robert’s chin, making him look directly at him. “Who are you?” The face did niggle something in Aaron’s memory, but he couldn’t place it.
“I’ll tell you in the morning, if you’re still here,” Robert said. He closed his eyes, leaning forward for a kiss and Aaron groaned into it. His lips felt so good and Aaron didn’t want to be anywhere else in the world. He forgot the bloody paperwork, the fact Robert was clearly rich, and the feeling that he should recognise him, but somehow didn’t. Instead he focused on the way Robert’s fingers unzipped his hoodie, creeping under Aaron’s T shirt and stroking his skin. The way Robert’s mouth started kissing down his neck. Robert was good, and being honest, it’d been a while since Aaron had been intimate with someone. He forgot everything other than the way Robert touched him and kissed him. God, this was good.