"Jimmy, hey. Did I wake you up?"
"I- No. Yeah," McGill rubs his eyes and lets out a soft yawn. "Yeah, you did. I mean, it's 3 in the morning, Howard. This better be an emergency."
He means that. Jimmy lets out a huff almost immediately, nevertheless; trying to make it look like a joke. Deep down, he's hoping this is nothing more than… Well. Whatever it is, it has to be important, if he's honest. Howard rarely calls him — just that one time every year for his birthday, sometimes to ask about Chuck when he's not picking up — but never in the middle of the night.
"Are you gonna fire me?" Jimmy has to ask. He now sits on the bed, sounding worried. "If this is about that mixed up mail from the other day, I'm sorry. I know I screwed up but I already told Chuck it wasn't on purpose!"
"I didn't know that," Howard says from the other side of the line.
Jimmy stays quiet for a few seconds and presses his lips in a thin line. Did he fuck it up just now? He doesn't think Howard is the kind of guy that calls at 3 am just to save him a trip to work in the morning. Then again, Howard is just not the kind of guy that calls Jimmy unless it is strictly necessary. He can't decide which is worse.
"So… You are not gonna fire me?"
"Should I?'' Hamlin laughs against Jim's ear.
That's a relief, the laughter. McGill decides to keep the humor going in case it's worth something — besides, he still needs to figure out why Howard called him in the first place, if it's not that.
"I might sue you," he replies, testing the waters. "I've got Kim on my side and she's gonna be one hell of a lawyer."
Another small chuckle is what follows. This time, Jimmy thinks there's something different in it. He can't put his finger on it just yet.
"I know she will," says Howard.
There's nothing much Jimmy can say after that. It's not like he cares about small talk anyway.
Ever since he's known Howard — and he's known him for a long time now, since Chuck met his father — he has thought of Howard as "somehow unpredictable." For the most part, he's just some rich, lucky and charming boy. He had to, in order to join his father's firm. But there are times when Jimmy wonders what exactly is his problem.
Everyone has their own secrets. Howard is too good at hiding his, or maybe he's just boring. Either way, Jimmy has to ask again.
"Howard, why are you calling?" The annoyance in his tone is obvious. "Is it Chuck? Is he alright?"
"Oh, no. He's fine. He left a while ago," Howard tells him. "I was just… thinking of you, Jimmy, wondering how you were doing."
"At 3 in the morning?" Jim rolls his eyes. "Can't you do that at, I don't know, 10? Or just when we are both at work, like normal people do?"
"I guess I could."
A deep sigh comes out of Jimmy's mouth. He presses the bridge of his nose with two fingers and closes his eyes.
"You know, Howard? This is getting weird," Jimmy admits. "Are you drunk? Or… or high? God. Tell me you are not trying something bad and none of your emergency contacts were picking up, because, honestly? I'm not a good life adviser."
For the third time, Howard is laughing. It's warm and genuine — it's strange and it's making Jim even more impatient. He wants an answer. He wants to hang up and go back to sleep, pretend this never happened. But he's also curious and maybe, just maybe, too awake at this point.
What's that thing they say? Curiosity killed the cat?
"I might have drank too much wine tonight."
Howard takes a deep breath before speaking again. "You know, Jimmy? I've always liked you."
Here he comes, Jim says to himself: unpredictable Howard. If he had some more energy left in his body, he would be amused by it. The truth is, he has never had that kind of interest for mysterious people. He would rather get to the point.
That reply is as good and honest as any, Jimmy guesses.
"I mean it. You are a good man."
"Yeah, I don't know about that. But thank you, Howard, that's…" He takes a pause. His head leans back, looking at the ceiling. "Frankly, I don't know what that is. If it is what I think it is, your dirty talk needs some work, amigo. Whatever gets you off, I guess."
By now, Jimmy is ready to hang up if he doesn't get a straight answer in the next five seconds. And to his surprise, he does.
"What?" It's McGill's turn to laugh. "C'mon, Howard. You… Shit. You gotta be kidding me."
"No," is all he says back. "Show me how is done, Jimmy."
The hoarse voice sends all kinds of mixed signals to his brain and down his body. He swallows and opens his mouth, trying to find the words. He's done that before, but he never expected Howard, of all people, to ask him to.
So this is his secret, Jim figures. He does not know how to feel about that. However, he's sure of two things right now. First, some people at work owe him a few bucks. Second, he's not going to let an opportunity like this go.
When his free hand reaches down, he's already half hard. It's not really a surprise that the mere idea of what is going to happen makes him this excited. He has thought of Howard like that before, even if he never imagined it could actually happen.
"Alright. Let's do it."
The next morning, all that Jimmy wonders is how many times he ended up coming. The night is blurry and he has a headache, his bed is a mess and he realises that he's going to have to wash his blanket and pillow case soon.
It's not like he regrets any of it.
It's Kim's birthday party that afternoon.
For the most part, it all goes according to plan. Howard takes her upstairs around 1 pm and distracts her for half an hour. When they come down again, everyone is waiting for her with a cake, a few candles in it and a cheerful "happy birthday". She's moved by it. She thanks everyone for their effort, the gifts, the decoration.
After his job is done, Jimmy sneaks out with her permission and goes to the copy room.
Many would argue that he is the soul of all parties — and he wouldn't argue back. But he needs to sit down for fifteen minutes and take a nap before he passes out at the karaoke.
It's been a long day. Hell. It was a much longer night. He deserves to take a break sometimes. It's not like anyone is going to notice that he's been gone for a few minutes.
Anyone but him, apparently.
"Jimmy," Howard greets.
He's holding a piece of cake on a napkin and he has a gentle smile on his face, as he always does. The man comes in before Jim has a chance to say anything, closes the door behind him and then, he turns back to continue.
"I was looking for you. Can we talk?"
Jimmy huffs. He certainly doesn't want to talk, but he doesn't find the strength to refuse either. He's been cornered agaisnt the wall here and there's no way he's getting out; both metaphorically and literally. Howard is standing on his way to the door.
He forces a smile, but remains sitted.
"Huh. Yeah. Sure," he nods, not convinced yet. "Something I can help you with?" He has enough time to say that before having to stop himself from yawning. It's in vain, so he covers his mouth with his arm instead. "Sorry."
Howard shakes his head and makes a gesture with his hand, diminishing it.
"Don't worry. I didn't sleep very well myself."
Jimmy chuckles. He knows. The bags under his eyes are clear, but he is not doing any better.
Howard walks closer to him and stands right in front, leaning against one of the copy machines. McGill is expecting him to talk first. After all, he was the one who called and the one who asked to have this conversation. He waits for a second — a second becomes two, eventually three. Howard is looking around like he's trying to find the right words.
Fuck it, Jimmy can't wait any longer.
"So, listen," he says first. Howard looks at him and gently pays attention. "About last night. I… You were drunk and maybe… I don't know. Maybe we crossed a line that we shouldn't have crossed and…"
Jim sighs. He scratches his chin, then puts both of his hand on his hips. When he looks up at Howard again, the lawyer interrups him.
"I wasn't drunk."
Now Jimmy is at a loss of words.
"What?" He mumbles. "But you said you were."
"I was tipsy, at most," Howard confesses. "I never drink too much."
"But you said you were," Jimmy insists. He still can't process what he's hearing. It changes everything. "Sorry. I don't understand. So you… were sober?"
"That's the opposite of being drunk, yes."
Jim doesn't know whether to laugh or cry. Instead, he hides his face in his hands briefly, grunting and thinking — thinking too much, in fact. Howard lets him have that moment and walks around the room. Jimmy stares at him when he's finally ready to face him, still not believing what he just heard.
Howard stops once something catches his eye. He points at it with his finger and leaves his piece of cake on the table next to the copy machine.
"What are these?" He asks.
Seriously? is what Jimmy wants to reply. But he doesn't.
"Those, huh… Those are the photos from the charity event you went to last week." McGill says, standing up and walking to him. "Chuck asked me to pick them up this morning but I haven't been to his office yet."
Jimmy is getting impatient as the seconds tick away. He needs to go back to the other topic they should have been discussing from the start. Whatever Howard is trying to do here, looking at the pictures one by one, is genuinely driving him crazy.
"You know? Chuck has some pictures of you when you were younger. With your father," Howard nods at that. Jim is trying his best to keep it together, but he can play the game Howard's playing too. Most importantly, he can win. "I gotta say, you were good looking."
That takes the lawyer by surprise. He raises his eyebrows and smiles at McGill, forgetting all about the photos he is going through.
"Well, yeah," he shrugs softly, like he doesn't know what he's doing to Hamlin with this. "I mean, I'd still fuck you, if you ask me, but you had great hair back then. With all due respect to what's left of your hair now, of course."
Howard stares at him with disbelief. If he's offended, he is good at hiding it. The corners of his mouth stay right were they are; no anger, no smiles. He looks thoughtful, long enough to make Jimmy worry about what's coming next. Then, something tells him whatever is going to be, it has to be good. Howard looks at his mouth with contempt, back to his eyes.
"Let's go to my office."
It doesn't sound like a suggestion.
"You mean now?"
"You said you'd fuck me if I asked."
Well, he has to give it to Howard. That's one way of looking at it — a clever one.
"After you," Hamlin says while holding the door.
Jim follows blindly.
Jimmy is not the kind of person that drinks while he's at work. Really, he isn't. Never found anything good about it, besides being fired when he wanted to. But he might have drank a few beers this morning and during the party, too nervous to get to HHM and finally face the man that said all those things to him the night before; he couldn't have done that sober.
That's why now it's easy to cross the room in a hurry, to push Howard against the sofa; to start kissing him and kissing him and kissing him again, like he's hungry and he has found the answer to this need now. Truth be told, it's far from being romantic. Jimmy doesn't mean to be. For him, this is about fucking Howard until they are both done and satisfied, then going back home and asking himself on the shower what the hell was that all about. Perhaps he will jerk off again then, too.
Whatever Howard feels about this, Jim's indifferent to it. Five minutes pass; suddenly their clothes are all over the floor and Jimmy is on top of Howard, riding him.
It's both exciting and disappointing to find out that Howard has a generous size. Exciting, because he gets to fuck — more likely, to be fucked by him. Disappointing, because he now owes Kim twenty bucks. But hey, he's not complaining. He's too busy moaning against Howard's ear, scratching his back and going down slowly to focus on that at the moment.
It's dizzy. Howard is holding his hips, kissing all that is at his reach; he goes to the neck and leaves a mark; he goes to the chest and slides the tip of his tongue through the line that divides Jim's pecs. He doesn't mind the chest hair — how it tickles when his palm goes up and stays there for a second, close to the heart, just before his thumb starts playing with one of the nipples while his mouth takes the other enthusiastically.
"You've been waiting too long for this," McGill realises outloud.
He can feel Howard smiling, even if he can't get to see it. Fine. Jimmy doesn't mind if Howard takes his time with all of this, but he wants more than that. He's good at what he is doing, there just has to be more to this.
So, here's the plan: make Howard Hamlin lose his temper. Jimmy has never once seen him act out, raise his voice or be anything but the righteous man he always presumes to be. Just as Howard takes pride in his self restraint, Jimmy does with his ability to corrupt those kinds of people. Growing up with Chuck is, after all, good practice.
Why would Howard be any different? The guy admires Chuck senselessly.
"I knew you liked me." Jim, agitated, says. "You are obsessed with me."
Howard looks up. His gaze, first soft, now turns serious and darker. He's waiting for whatever Jimmy has to say; he actually freezes for a second, like Jim is talking crazy. Jimmy, on the other hand, keeps moving against Howard.
"I'm not an idiot, Howie. You are always around. I…" Another warm sound follows, between a grunt and a laugh. "We actually thought you were into Kim. You know, getting upset every time I talk to her for too long. But you were jealous of her, right? You wanted me all for you and you finally got me."
The silent but noticeable fear on Howard's eyes is something Jimmy might never forget. The blue gaze looks as vulnerable as he never imagined it to be. Jim is playing him and it's dirty — it's unfair and it's selfish, because he wants to get a more enjoyable pleasure out of this. But it's not like he didn't know. However discreet Howard thought he was about his feelings for Jimmy, he was wrong.
They are not one-sided. This is just not the moment to discuss them.
"I don't know what you are talking about, Jimmy," Hamlin tries to back down.
McGill could ignore it, keep this going as it is. Or he could take advantage of Howard's jealousy right when he's so close to finding out how much of it can the oh so righteous man take.
"Yeah?" Jim says then. "You know what's funny?"
Howard looks at him and dares him to continue. His expression hardens. This is the line Jimmy decides to cross and he's not looking back after he does.
"You are not the only person I talk dirty to at 3 in the morning," Howard's grip softens at that. "Kim does it better."
A moment — that's all it takes. Jimmy doesn't even have the chance to look at Howard's face to understand what he has done. In the blink of an eye, he's being pushed away, next to Howard on the sofa. But only for a reason. Howard's hand goes to the back of Jimmy's head. It's barely a second later that Howard pushes him again, now face and body against the sofa. It's tough. It's far from the sweet side of Howard he got to see just a few minutes before.
Overall, it's fucking hot to be treated like this.
Hamlin's hand goes from the back of his neck to his back, pinning him down. Jim gasps and tries to fight back once, just so Howard knows that he's not giving up that easily. It doesn't work, as expected. There's no way he's getting out of this without a good fight.
Well, Jimmy McGill can be a loser once in a while. A sore one, mind you. But a loser nevertheless.
"I didn't know you had it in you," he says.
This is how he officially loses. Sometimes, Jimmy finds it strange when people can read him like an open book. He wouldn't claim to be one. But Howard is smart — smarter than most. And Jim, right here and now, is almost transparent. Howard then notices the trap he has walked into. The man under him has led him to it directly. The thing is, Howard doesn't like to be fooled.
So this is how he's going to win. Just watch him.
"I didn't know you were so easy to bend."
"I'm full of surprises."
Howard huffs. He's tempting Jim, putting himself closer to the man underneath him so Jim can feel how hard he still is. He pushes against Jim, just the tip — he gets a grunt as a response. Not so long after that, the first thrust takes Jimmy by surprise.
His muscles tense. His face gets red, sweaty and embarrassed, too pleased at the same time. He's not used to this. It's been a while since the last time he slept with a man. Jim knows he might regret his decisions the next day when he's walking funny. Right now, the only thing he cares about is to be fucked silly on this sofa until he forgets his name. Howard seems willing to make it happen.
"That feels good?"
"Y-yeah," he sighs once he gets used to the feeling.
Howard needs more than a whisper to keep going. Or maybe not, but as long as he gets to piss Jimmy off, he can wait.
"I can't hear you. Say it again."
Jimmy chuckles back. He leans his head against the sofa, licks his lips. Is he really doing this?
There's no need to answer that.
"It feels fucking good," he repeats, less weakly than before.
That seems to be enough; either that, or both of them are running out of patience. Howard goes back, then pushes inside Jimmy again and again and again. He goes deep and he does it hard. The echo of every thrust is harsh, getting to Jim's ear as his own heartbeat, accelerated, does.
"Would she do you like this, Jimmy?" Howard says all of the sudden. "Is anyone as good as me when they fuck you?"
His voice is deeper. Jim shivers at the sound, moaning softly against the sofa. It's easy to read Howard's anger in his voice. The jealousy is clearer than ever. It feels good too. This, and Howard now fucking him without mercy. It's like he's in heaven — the closest he might ever get to it.
"Fuck," he gasps and pushes his hips back, meeting Howard in the middle. The stimulation against his prostate makes his legs tremble. "Right there. C'mon".
Instead, Howard stops. Jim whines in protest, looking over his shoulder. The hand in Jimmy's back reaches his shoulder and Hamlin forces him to go up. Jim holds his weight with his knees and hands, struggling. His palms could fail any minute now; that's what he thinks before Howard leans to him, chest touching back, and puts a hand under Jim's body. The fingers reach the pale neck, only caressing.
"Are you tired already, old man?"
"I want you to beg for it, Jimmy," he says abruptly.
Jim feels weak before the answer. If he's honest, he could come by just listening to Howard talk like that to him. It actually takes some self restraint not to do so. That would have been pathetic.
Howard remains silent. Then he repeats. "Beg me."
McGill swallows. What else can a desperate man do if not obey?
He takes a deep breath. His body is burning, sweating. Howard is still inside him and he needs him to start moving or he's going to lose his mind.
"Fuck me, Howard. Please," he pleads. "Just do it."
It's strange when he says it outloud — it's sincere, nevertheless. The vulnerability of it is painfully pleasant. His throat tickles with excitement, it sends shivers down his spine. He's waiting, but he is also running out of patience.
"I like you better when you beg," is all Howard says.
The lawyer is merciful this time, maybe he is as inpatient as Jimmy is by now. Whatever the reason, he keeps fucking Jim and he knows how. He wouldn't have expected Jimmy to be this noisy when he's getting fucked, but it's funny. It's also encouraging and hot.
When McGill comes all over the sofa, he mumbles Hamlin's name sweetly, making a mess out of Howard with his broken voice. Howard comes right after that.
Jimmy is eating Howard's cake so calmly, that for a moment Howard forgets what they were doing ten minutes ago. They are still naked — well, Jim is. Howard is wearing his boxers and looking at the other man like he's the most interesting person in the world.
"Sorry. I get hungry after sex," it's his excuse.
Hamlin laughs it off and takes a bite too.
"I'll keep that in mind," he replies. "Do you like chinese?"
Jim looks at him like there is something wrong with his face. He eats what's left of the cake and takes his time to swallow before he asks. "You are saying you wanna do this again?"
"Only if you do."
"I… yeah. Why not? I've got nothing to lose," he shrugs.
Jimmy stands up so he can start looking for his clothes.
"What about your job?" Howard jokes in the meanwhile.
"What about yours?"
Hamlin rests his own hands over his stomach while he watches McGill pick up the clothes. He puts his underwear on, then the pants, finally the white tank top and his shirt. He doesn't bother with the tie for now, but Chuck has insisted on making him wear it.
Howard decides he's asked too much of Jimmy for the afternoon. So he doesn't point it out. Instead, he lets out the question that's been on his mind for the last twelve minutes.
"That thing you said about Kim," he begins. "Did you mean it? Or you were just trying to get to me?"
Thankfully for Jim, he's not facing Howard while he picks up his socks. He's not the best liar when it comes to this — intimacy and all that. It makes him nervous to talk about it. But he figures something out before Howard gets to put a meaning to his silence.
He has to admit that it's weird to hear Howard asking it so gently now, though.
"Well… Everyone can always learn a thing or two about phone sex. It's just a matter of practice," he smiles gently at him after putting one shoe on. There, Howard understands. At least he appreciates that Jim is trying not to hurt his feelings. "So if you want some dirty talk on the phone again, better call Jimmy!"
He is pointing at the lawyer with his finger when he says that, followed by a quick wink. At that moment, Howard thinks that Jimmy looks like one of those salesmen on the TV, the ones from those ridiculous ads he doesn't bother to watch. But that's him, Charlie Hustle. Chuck's charming little brother.
"Oh, and hey," McGill stops, one foot already outside the door. "Do it before bedtime, alright? I need to get some work done tomorrow or Chuck's gonna fire me for real."
"I can't make any promises."
After showing Howard his middle finger as response, Jimmy leaves.