knowing john is in his apartment is almost too much for harold to bear, and he sits through the rest of the day’s court proceedings with as much patience as a puppy who’s heard the word “walk.” despite everything, it’s exhilarating to be working a number with john again. it’s familiar, almost comforting—and certainly arousing.
so when he gets home, he can’t keep the jubilance out of his voice. “court is adjourned, john!” he announces. “what have you been—“
harold’s excitement is cut short by a burst of jealousy low in his stomach. zoe morgan is present—lovely, competent zoe. harold has never said anything to john about this particular anxiety, mostly because he is ashamed of it himself, but every time john and zoe are together harold feels like he’s back in high school, silently watching the boy he likes flirt with a girl. not for the first time, harold wonders if he’s enough for john.
harold shakes himself mentally. john loves him. harold knows this. so he greets zoe congenially.
zoe will never get over the look on harold’s face when he sees her with john. harold thinks he’s stoic, but she can see the jealousy on him as if it were painted on a sign. she’s not interested in john—not interested in men at all, though harold hasn’t bothered to get to know her so he wouldn’t know that—but harold clearly thinks she is. didn’t john ever tell harold they didn’t sleep together when they were posing as a couple way back when? didn’t harold have cameras all over that house anyway? maybe he didn’t want to look because he was afraid of what he’d see.
well, it’s not her job to set the record straight. let harold be jealous—it’s good for him! gets the juices flowing.
“harold!” she replies warmly. time to have a little fun. all for the boys’ own good, of course. she knows these two lunatics have been in love since day one, but they clearly need constant reminders. “it’s lovely to see you.”
“and so unexpected,” harold returns. zoe nearly laughs out loud. harold is just so obvious. it’s delightful.
harold turns to john. “john? a word?”
zoe gives them a bright smile as they leave the room.
“i thought we agreed not to involve any more innocent people in our work,” harold murmurs. he hopes his even tone hides his disappointment. he’d been so hoping to sweep john into the bedroom when he got home. speaking of which—harold peeks at his bed, looking for some sign of disarray. his shame deepens. how can he not trust john after so long? after everything they’ve been through?
“zoe’s not exactly what i call innocent,” john hedges. “besides, she insisted.”
low and waspish, harold says, “and saying no to ms. morgan was never your strong suit, was it?” he instantly regrets it, curses his own weakness, but—
“boys,” zoe interrupts.
harold turns away too quickly to notice the hurt and confusion on john’s face.
“are we gonna work, or what?” zoe asks.
john and harold agree, but john’s mind is elsewhere. what did harold mean, saying no to zoe was never john’s strong suit? does harold think they’ve slept together? that’s absurd. when would that even happen?
then it hits him—going undercover as zoe’s husband, the nights spent on an extended stakeout in the house in the suburbs. john suddenly feels wretched. he never bothered to let harold know that nothing happened because he didn’t think he needed to. he’d assumed they were together after he saved harold from root—but, again, they hadn’t actually talked about it. john took it for granted, but maybe harold hadn’t.
while zoe talks, john watches harold. could harold really not have known that john was his, had been his—maybe not the day they met, but within weeks of knowing each other? or was harold worried because john had been with women in the past? all of john’s questions come down to one point: harold still doesn’t realize he’s john’s whole world.
zoe’s been watching them all night. how exactly can harold feel jealous of her? john’s eyes haven’t left his face once. she might as well be invisible.
for hours, they coach harold for tomorrow’s deliberations, edging him toward a more forceful approach. finally, harold stands up with an incredulous, “are you kidding me?” the look on his face as he rattles off evidence glows with fury. john can’t help it—this side of harold turns him on.
zoe knows her work is done. not just because of whatever zany quest these two are on now, but because harold’s all worked up and john’s basically panting. all they need now is for her to leave and they’ll be in bed in seconds. maybe they’ll even talk to each other. well—afterward.
so zoe scoops up her things and gives them a knowing wink. “at this point, your biggest challenge tomorrow will be staying awake.” then she lets herself out and goes off to seek her own fireworks.
as soon as the door closes, harold marches around the table and straddles john in his chair. he buries his hands in john’s hair and kisses him firmly, tasting john’s surprise. john’s arms go around harold’s waist, pulling him closer—he can feel harold hard against his stomach—he undoes harold’s tie, his vest, he discards them and slides his hands up harold’s back. harold groans, and then moves his mouth to john’s ear. tantalizingly, he whispers, “you’re mine.”
john feels harold’s words in his core, in his cock. he gasps, “yes,” and harold digs his teeth into john’s neck. he opens john’s trousers and takes him out, sliding his hand along the length of him, hard and insistent. “god, harold,” john moans.
“come for me,” harold growls in his ear, and john’s blood boils. he is harder than iron, harder than he’s ever been before, and harold is working at him with both hands, slow and measured, then hard and quick, getting him close, getting him closer—
john buries his face in harold’s shoulder and comes, pulsing hot again and again; he thinks he’ll never stop. their heavy breaths are the only sound in the room. at last, john raises his head.
one of the ways they love each other is by letting each other off the hook when there’s something to say. but this time john wants to rid harold of his doubts for good. he’s said as much as he can with his body, and it’s time to use words.
“harold,” john whispers. as usual, harold tries to tell him it’s okay, he doesn’t need to say anything, but john insists. “i’ve been yours since the day at the diner.”
harold thinks for a moment, then smiles. “eggs benedict.”
john smiles back. “eggs benedict.” his expression turns sly. he undoes the buttons of harold’s shirt, sweeping his hands across his chest as he eases the shirt off and onto the floor. he moves the tip of his tongue in a circle around harold’s nipple, teasing it so gently with his teeth until harold gasps. hands at harold’s lower back, he rocks against him until he can feel harold getting harder. in one swift movement, he picks harold up—harold wraps his legs around john’s waist—and moves to the bed. he lays harold down at the edge of the bed, removes his trousers, and puts his mouth on him, slow and sweet. harold gives a languid sigh as john works him over with his mouth, letting his desire crest and fall. john moves one hand back up to his chest, running a thumb lightly over harold’s nipple, sending electricity through his veins. john’s other hand lightly massages harold’s balls, making him writhe and moan, barely able to contain himself. john eases off when he senses harold getting close; he gently works one slick finger into harold, finding the place inside him that makes his back arch and his breath come in gasps.
“john,” harold moans. “john—“
john takes all of harold into his throat and harold comes, the waves of his climax crashing over them; the sounds he makes are a song john never wants to end.
the next day in the juror’s box, bits of his night with john float across harold’s mind unbidden, each one putting butterflies in his stomach. but the part that he treasures most is the memory of john looking into his eyes and saying, “there never was anyone else for me, not after i met you. and there never will be.”