Being ECW champion, Raven decided, definitely had its perks.
For one, it opened up a whole world of excuses for not showing up for a meeting with Heyman. Signing autographs for fans, photo shoots, all viable excuses for skipping a conference. He once got away with missing a whole taping by claiming the airline wouldn’t let him through security while carrying the belt.
So really, Heyman should be glad he was here at all tonight, Raven reflected, finishing his last shot of whiskey and tossing the empty bottle into the trash bin ten feet below him. The glass shattered with a louder bang than he had expected, and Tommy Dreamer immediately stuck his head out from the locker room doorway. He glanced around the empty hall for a few seconds, confused, then glanced up, breaking into a laugh as he spotted Raven’s boots.
“Get down from there before you fall and kill yourself,” he chuckled.
Raven shrugged from his seat on top of one of the beams crisscrossing the arena ceiling. “It’s nice up here. Quiet. At least, it was before you started bitching.”
Tommy just shook his head and shut the door, leaving Raven alone to enjoy the silence. He had almost decided to give in and go find Heyman when Sabu and his new partner turned a corner and came down the hall.
The new guy had actually been around a while, if Raven remembered correctly, but they had never managed to bump into each other. Which was a shame, he decided as he watched the younger man crouch down to tighten the laces on his boots. That ass could stop traffic.
He glanced up at Sabu as he yanked the laces, and said something quick that made them both laugh. Raven leaned forward, mildly interested. He hadn’t seen anyone make Sabu laugh in years. The moment was interrupted as Taz walked up behind them, slapping the new guy hard on the ass as he stood up. He didn’t flinch, and nodded politely as Taz said something in his ear, even though Sabu was glaring murderously.
Raven sat back thoughtfully as the three of them wandered past toward the curtain, then shook it off and started making his way down to the floor. It was too late to find Heyman, but maybe Sandman would know what he was supposed to be doing tonight.
Raven later realized that the idea that Sandman would have any idea what was going on had been optimistic at best, but at least his locker room had a comfortable couch and a case of beer he was willing to share as they watched the first part of the tapings together. The ongoing tag match made Raven remember the scene in the hallway, and he caught himself watching the new guy more closely than usual. The camera zoomed in tight as he hit a picture-perfect Asai moonsault onto a ladder.
“Damn,” Raven murmured in appreciation as the new guy crumpled to the ground, clutching his ribs to sell the injury.
“I can totally do that,” Sandman boasted, tossing his empty can onto the pile already on the ground.
Raven snorted, but kept his attention on the screen. “So who is he?”
“Sabu?” Sandman asked as the genocidal maniac leapt into the ring.
Raven sighed. “His partner.”
“Oh, the kid. Fuck, you really haven’t been paying attention lately, have you? His name’s Rob something. You’ll probably hate him.”
“Yeah? Why is that?”
“Because everybody else backstage loves him. Honestly, I think Paul E. hired him just to keep the boys happy.” Sandman smirked as he noticed Raven watching Rob’s ass. “I’ll give you one guess how he manages that.”
Raven shrugged noncommittally. “What’s he like?”
“I don’t know, I don’t really swing that way, and besides, Lori and I are trying it again. You know, she likes me much better when you’re gone. I think it’s because you—“
“I meant as a person,” Raven interrupted impatiently.
“Oh. Fuck, I don’t know. Quiet, I guess. I haven’t heard him say much. But that may have been because the boys have been finding other things for him to do with his mouth.”
Raven tilted his head to one side, thinking of Rob’s reaction to Taz in the hallway. “And he’s OK with that?”
“He hasn’t been complaining. In fact, the only one I hear starting to bitch about it is Sabu.”
“What does he care?”
‘They’ve been hooking up quite a bit, and I think he’s getting a little possessive. I don’t get it. I mean, the kid’s hot and all, but with a guy like that…where’s the challenge?”
Good question, Raven thought to himself, before deciding it was time to change the subject. “So why does Lori hate me now?”
A month later, Raven was staring at the ceiling of the arena, trying to catch his breath. That, he decided, was both the best and worst sexual experience of his life.
He had started out looking for Sandman, actually, to discuss the segment they were in later in the show. When he found Rob alone in his locker room doing some post-match stretches, his plans quickly changed.
Rob had already showered and dressed, apparently, and was now clad in a white t-shirt and jeans that did little to conceal his shapely ass as he leaned forward. Raven lingered in the doorway, admiring the view as Rob shifted positions. His eyes were closed serenely and the overhead light picked out the gleaming highlights in his ponytail. When Raven listened hard, he thought he could hear the man humming softly.
“You just looking, or you want something?” Rob finally asked, breaking the silence without batting an eyelash. It sounded like flirting, but the look he shot Raven as he opened his eyes was cool and collected.
“Haven’t decided yet,” Raven answered cautiously, stepping into the room and closing the door behind him. Rob’s eyes flicked to the door as it clicked shut. He inhaled deeply, but Raven couldn’t tell whether it was in excitement or resignation. “It’s too bad we haven’t really had the chance to talk yet. I’ve heard a lot of good stuff about your work.”
“Yeah, I bet you have,” Rob retorted dryly. “But spare me the small talk, OK? You’ve got a match soon and I’ve got other things I want to do tonight.”
Raven raised an eyebrow. “Oh, I’m sorry, am I boring you? I just thought we could spend a little while getting to know each other.”
Rob seemed to consider that before moving closer, stepping into Raven’s personal space. “Sounds good to me, Champ.”
Raven smiled. “Then let’s get to it,” he suggested, placing a hand on Rob’s shoulder. “I’d hate to wreck your evening plans.”
Rob didn’t wait for foreplay, taking Raven’s hand on his shoulder as a cue and immediately sinking to his knees with astonishing grace. Raven had been just about to comment on it, but the words stuck in his throat as Rob pulled down his zipper and immediately deep-throated him in one smooth, practiced motion.
“Holy fuck,” Raven gasped, his grip on Rob’s shoulder tightening to a degree that had to be painful to the younger man. Rob never paused, pressing his tongue up against the underside of Raven’s cock as he bobbed. Raven gritted his teeth as he forced out the words, “Rob, slow down.”
Rob’s hazel eyes flickered up at him, but closed again as Rob responded, slowing his motions to an equally unbearable lazy drag. He pulled back, keeping just the head of Raven’s cock in his mouth and tracing it with him tongue, then sank down deliberately, breathing through his nose as he took in inch after inch.
Raven was only peripherally aware of moaning and pressing his hips forward to meet Rob’s motions, but he saw Rob shift to accommodate him. Raven tried thinking of something else until he regained control of his body, but he was unable to tear his gaze away from the man on his knees. “Open your eyes,” he murmured, his left thumb tracing one of Rob’s cheekbones.
Rob obediently forced his eyes open, looking upwards with enough sheer boredom to send an instant chill down Raven’s spine.
“Stop,” Raven ordered, stumbling backwards a step in his haste to pull away. Rob remained on his knees, watching him impassively. Raven pulled in a deep breath and ran his fingers through his hair as his pulse slowed. “Fuck, man. Where did you learn to do that?”
A ghost of a smirk flickered across Rob’s face, and he looked away quickly. “You don’t want to know,” he muttered. Clearing his throat, he glanced back at Raven. “So are we gonna finish this or what?”
Raven’s cock twitched hard, much to his mounting irritation. Was Rob intentionally refusing to enjoy this? “Get your clothes off.”
Rob raised his eyebrows, but stood and stripped without comment. Raven took his time moving towards him, letting his eyes run over Rob’s smooth muscles and golden skin. “You’re gorgeous,” he commented without thinking, leaning in to nuzzle the side of Rob’s neck.
Rob’s jaw clenched, but he didn’t move as Raven’s hands moved down to his ass, pulling him forward against Raven’s hip.
“Relax,” Raven instructed, wrapping a hand loosely around Rob’s stiffening erection.
Rob flinched, then sighed impatiently. “Let’s just do this,” he suggested, wiggling out of Raven’s grasp and dropping to the floor to grab his jeans. Rummaging through a front pocket, he came up with a condom, which he efficiently tore open and rolled onto Raven.
Raven bit back a moan at Rob’s touch, distractedly reaching down to pull out the rubber band holding Rob’s ponytail. Rob’s head jerked away and he glared up at Raven. “That stays,” he stated emphatically.
Raven blinked in surprise at the sudden firmness in Rob’s voice. “Why?”
Rob stood up, pressing his warm body against Raven’s. “It just does,” he murmured against Raven’s earlobe, nipping it gently. “I can’t—“ he broke off as Raven turned into him, kissing him hard. He pulled back with a soft moan as Raven’s hands drifted down his back, bracing his shoulders against a nearby wall. “Fuck me,” he demanded, squeezing his eyes shut and wrapping one leg around Raven’s hips to pull him closer.
Raven obliged, pressing into Rob in one motion. Setting a deliberately hard pace, he marveled at Rob’s combination of strength and flexibility as the man arched and bucked against him. When he tried to slow down to catch his breath, Rob used his leg to pull him forward even harder, sending both of them over the edge.
Fireworks burst behind Raven’s eyes as the two men collapsed, sliding to the floor. Rob recovered first, grabbing the used condom and his clothes and moving into the bathroom as Raven focused on the ceiling, trying to stop the room from spinning. He had just managed to sit up and zip up his jeans when someone started pounding on the locker room door. “Hey, you seen Raven?” Sandman called from outside.
“We’re on in ten,” he was informed. “Get your shit together.”
Rob exited the bathroom quietly, clean and fully dressed. Raven started to speak to him, but Rob just offered a half-hearted smile as he left the room, nodding to Sandman as he squeezed past him into the hallway. Sandman’s eyebrows raised, and he shot a knowing grin at Raven.
“Let me wash up,” Raven growled, stomping off towards the bathroom.
“Take your time,” Sandman laughed. “We’ll wait.”
Two weeks later, Raven had sufficiently recovered from the encounter to recognize it as nothing more than a pointless one night stand. He had certainly had his share of them before, and by all accounts, so had Rob. Which failed to explain why he was still seeing Rob’s face every time he tried to go to sleep.
Annoyed, Raven shoved away the blankets covering him and wandered into his kitchen, grabbing a beer he didn’t particularly want and hoisting himself up to perch on the cabinet. He managed to sit on a stray fork in the process, and flung the utensil into the sink as unwanted images of Rob popped into his head.
Rob, of course, would never sit on a fork, because his natural agility wouldn’t allow him to do anything so clumsy. As flexible as he was, Rob should never look as coordinated as he did sprawling across the ring. Probably a side effect of martial arts training, Raven decided.
If it hadn’t been clear from his in-ring abilities that Rob had studied martial arts, it certainly was from the minor digging Raven had done into his background. His instructor had been nothing short of effusive in local newspapers from Rob’s hometown in Michigan, praising Rob’s self-discipline every bit as much as his obvious natural gifts. His teachers, somewhat more surprisingly, were equally complementary, citing Rob’s maturity and personal charm as reasons for his professional success.
But what else could you expect from Battle Creek’s prodigal son? Between setting school athletic records and being voted Most Popular in his class, Raven was amazed Rob even had time to discover pro wrestling existed.
Raven lifted his beer to his mouth again, only to find it empty. He tossed the can in the trash and grabbed another, annoyed. He could really use something stronger, but he was all out and not really in the mood to go out and get anything. He couldn’t send Stevie out, either, because he was home visiting his family. He considered calling up Sandman to ask for a hook-up, but Sandman had already bitched him out once for staying up all night thinking about Rob.
There was a thought. Raven tilted his head to one side, debating the merits of calling up Rob and seeing if he wanted to share some pot. If nothing else, it would give Raven the opportunity to swing by Rob’s place, see what he was up to, maybe ask him a few questions.
And upgrade from minor curiosity to full-fledged stalking, he reminded himself. Besides, they hadn’t spoken since the incident, and he had the distinct impression that that was intentional on Rob’s part. Rob probably needed the weed more than Raven did anyway, to deal with getting treated like a T-bone steak by the starving dogs of the ECW locker room.
Which begged the million dollar question, of course. Why would Mr. All-American Boy even consider allowing himself to get treated the way he did? If he enjoyed it, that would be one thing, but unless Raven read him totally wrong during their encounter, he was tolerating it at best. And there was really no reason to. Not when he could kick as much ass as his martial arts belts indicated he could.
The most annoying thing, Raven decided, was that there was no one he could ask these questions. Rob had made himself as unapproachable as possible, and the only wrestler he spent any considerable time with was Sabu, who wasn’t exactly known for offering up bursts of insight. The only others who were even civil to Rob was Stevie, who made it a point to be nice to everybody, and Tommy, who would’ve—
Raven paused. Stevie. For all his faults as a lackey, Stevie was an amazingly sympathetic listener. He would just call Stevie in the morning and ask him to figure out what was going on in Rob’s head. Decision made, Raven grabbed another beer and headed for the couch, hoping some TV would take his mind off of this whole thing.
“We need to talk.”
Raven nodded mutely, stepping back to allow Rob to push by him into his cramped locker room. He was finished with his match for the day, only waiting around for the promo tapings, which probably wouldn’t start for another few hours. Plenty of time to discuss whatever was on Rob’s mind.
Raven couldn’t even take a guess what that was, of course. Rob had come directly from his own match, sweat still beading across his forehead, his ring gear clinging to every muscle as he paced around the room. It was distracting, and Raven had to consciously remind himself not to drool.
Oblivious, Rob whirled around to face him as he closed the door, fists planted on his hips. “I talked to Stevie,” he stated accusingly.
Raven nodded. “Stevie talks to a lot of people,” he responded mildly. “Why don’t you have a seat, Rob?”
Rob tossed his ponytail (mussed from the match, but still securely fastened, Raven noticed) and ignored him. “Stevie says you told him to ask me about my personal life.”
There was more fire in Rob’s eyes now than Raven had ever seen, and he was momentarily lost for words.
“My personal life is none of your concern,” Rob pressed. “If I want anybody to know something about me, I’ll tell them myself. Do you understand that?”
The simple question seemed to bring Rob up short. “Because it’s none of your business. And I don’t like the idea that you would send somebody to pretend to be nice to me so you could find out stuff. You could at least have the balls to ask me yourself.”
“Fair enough,” Raven agreed with a shrug. “Can I ask you something?”
Rob glared at him, but offered a guarded “Go ahead.”
“Do you want to fuck?”
Rob swore, turning to stare at an empty corner of the room for a long moment. Raven waited him out, and finally Rob turned back. “Fine,” he agreed tonelessly. “But let’s be quick about this so I can go take a shower.”
Raven shook his head. “That’s not what I asked. I asked if you wanted to.”
“Why does that matter?”
Raven stared, but there was no sarcasm in Rob’s voice, only confusion. “Are you kidding?”
“I said I would, and I will. Why would it matter why I said it?”
“Call it personal curiosity,” Raven told him. “Explain to me why you would be willing to do all these things that you obviously have no interest in doing, and I’ll tell Stevie not to bother you anymore.”
Rob glared suspiciously. “That’s none of your business,” he repeated.
“I really don’t care. I’m curious, and if you won’t tell me, I’ll have to go ask Sabu or Heyman or your parents or whoever until I find someone who knows.”
Rob paled slightly, sinking into a nearby chair. “That wouldn’t do you any good. They don’t really know either.”
“But I doubt you want all of them hounding you about it. So either you tell me know or pretty soon everybody’s going to want to know.”
Rob took a deep breath. “Tommy says you’re a genius. I’m not, so this probably isn’t going to make a lot of sense to you.” When Raven only nodded, he continued slowly, “I’m not really sure how to say this. It’s not something I really think about a lot.”
Raven watched him closely, but didn’t interrupt.
Now that he was stationary, the sweat on his skin was rapidly cooling, and Rob absently rubbed his arm for warmth as he talked. “OK. I know a lot of people don’t approve of the way I do things, but the way I see it, I’m just making people happy. I mean, I don’t force anybody to do this stuff. They’re the ones who come to me. And, um…well, you know how it is, with the boys on the road all the time. Tensions get worked up, and sex is a good way to relieve them. I mean, sex is a healthy part of an adult lifestyle, right?” He seemed to be looking at Raven for reassurance, so Raven nodded. “Right. And it’s better than, like, doing drugs or getting into fights or anything. This way, nobody gets hurt.”
“Nobody?” Raven echoed quietly.
Rob looked at him seriously. “I know what you mean, and no, it doesn’t hurt me that much. I’m pretty tough, you know, and honestly…most people are pretty nice about it. Hell, I get off sometimes, too.”
“But not everybody’s ‘nice about it.’ ”
“Sometimes people are just assholes no matter what you do. But, I mean…” Rob swallowed hard, struggling for words. “It’s like this. If I’ve got the choice between pissing someone off, getting my ass kicked, and then getting…you know…forced into something, and just giving in immediately and doing what I can to protect myself, I’m just going to give in.”
“And kicking their ass and stopping them is out of the question?” Raven wondered out loud.
Rob stared at him stonily. “I don’t use violence against people. Being strong means knowing how to avoid unnecessary confrontation. And I’m tough enough that I know they’re not going to permanently hurt me.” He fell silent for a few seconds as Raven continued watching him. “Look,” Rob finally snapped. “I know what you’re thinking, and you’re wrong. I don’t need your pity, and I am not a victim here. Because—“
“Because it’s not rape if you don’t say no?” Raven guessed.
“Fuck you,” Rob said flatly as he got to his feet. “It’s not…I’ve never…you’re never going to understand this, so I don’t know why I’m wasting my time.” He moved toward the door, but Raven brought him up short with one last question.
“Are you a virgin?”
Rob laughed out loud, but it sounded brittle and strained. “Are you fucking kidding me?”
“It’s the wrong word,” Raven admitted calmly, “but it’s the right concept. I’m not talking about sexual penetration, I’m talking about lowering personal boundaries. Have you ever wanted to have sex? Have you ever allowed yourself to need someone else? Have you ever set aside your bulletproof, unassailable, armor-plated perfectionism and allowed someone to get so close to you that they could actually hurt you?”
Rob’s mouth dropped open, and for several seconds he could think of nothing to say. Finally, his jaw snapped shut with an audible click, and he pulled in a deep breath. “You’re fucked up,” he informed Raven, yanking open the locker room door. “You’re every bit as fucked up as everyone says you are, and you’re not going to fuck up my head with your stupid little mind games. What I do is working for me, and I’m going to stay with it. And I’d appreciate it if you and your lackeys stayed the fuck out of my life.”
Raven felt his stomach drop as he watched the door slam.
“So did you hear about Rob?”
Raven glared at Stevie briefly before returning to unpacking his gym bag. “I heard you told him I was asking about him.
“Oh. Well, you didn’t tell me not to tell him,” Stevie pointed out. “I just thought he’d be flattered, that’s all. You normally don’t show a lot of interest in other people and—“
“What did you want to tell me about Rob?” Raven interrupted testily.
Stevie bit his lower lip. “Right, well, you know how he and Sabu are sort of together?”
“Did he tell you that?”
“No, but everybody kind of knows. Anyway, Rob’s been kind of acting a little wild the last couple days, which is weird, because he was really laid-back when I talked to him. He has these yoga things that he says helps take away stress, and he—“
“Wild how?” Raven growled, rapidly losing his patience.
“Oh, like…” Stevie shifted his weight awkwardly. “Like flirting a lot and going to parties.”
“And?” Raven pressed, when Stevie seemed reluctant to continue.
“And Sabu was looking for him after the show last night, and couldn’t find him, and he searched all day today and just found him here…” Stevie cleared his throat nervously, “you know, with a couple other guys. And Sabu got all angry and yelled at him and Rob ignored him, and Sabu freaked and threw him into a wall. They think he might have a concussion, and now Paul E’s mad because he might have to miss a couple shows.”
Raven stared at Stevie expressionlessly for a few heartbeats before rising from his chair and flatly stating, “I have to go.”
Stevie winced. “Look, I’m sorry I told Rob you were asking about him, but—“
The door swung closed before Stevie could finish his apology.
By the time Raven found Rob’s locker room, Tommy was already there. “Hey, Raven,” Tommy greeted over his shoulder as he hovered over Rob’s chair, “I’m kind of busy right now, can you—“
“How is he?” Raven demanded.
Tommy looked from Raven to Rob, then back at Raven. “Uh, well, he hit his head, so—“
“I’m fine,” Rob snarled. “I’m completely fucking perfect.”
“Now’s not a great time,” Tommy added apologetically.
Raven stood frozen in place, floored by the pain and anger in Rob’s typically mellow voice. “Can you give us a minute?” he finally asked Tommy.
Tommy frowned at him, confused. “I don’t think that’s a good idea.”
“Tommy,” Raven said quietly, closing his eyes. “Please.”
Tommy’s frown deepened, but he eventually nodded with a sigh. “I’m going to get an icepack, Rob. I’ll be right back.” Patting Rob once on the shoulder, he left the room.
With Tommy out of the way, Raven got his first clear look at Rob, automatically cataloguing the minor bruising on his throat and the blood on the side of his head before meeting his eyes. Rob’s glare was filled with enough hate to make Raven’s throat go dry.
“Did you think of more interview questions or are you here to gloat?” Rob finally snapped after several seconds of silence.
“Why would I gloat?”
Rob leaned back in his chair, folding his arms over his chest. “Because I’m apparently completely unable to take care of myself.”
Raven shrugged. “You’re tough,” he reminded Rob. “You’ll bounce back. Killed your buzz, though, didn’t it?”
“Dude, no kidding.” Rob snorted out a laugh, immediately wincing and touching a hand to his throat. “So what do you want?”
“I just wanted to check up on you. Can I see your head?” Raven asked, moving forward slowly.
“It’s fine,” Rob insisted automatically, but Raven ignored him, brushing some of the dried blood out of his hair so he could assess the damage. Rob jerked away from the touch.
Raven paused, remembering their previous night together. “What’s the deal with the ponytail?”
“See?” Rob forced a laugh. “More questions. You’re like the Barbara Walters of ECW.”
“You’re an interesting guy,” Raven countered calmly, refusing to get sidetracked. “What’s with the ponytail?”
“Nothing,” Rob mumbled, staring at the wall. “It’s stupid. Forget it.”
Raven waited silently until Rob glanced back up at him. “I’m serious, Raven. It doesn’t mean anything.”
“Good, then it won’t matter if you tell me about it.” Raven experienced an unexpected flash of guilt for pushing Rob, given the circumstances, but his curiosity won out.
Rob forced an indifferent shrug, even though his eyes dropped to the floor. “I don’t really care if you know or not. Like I said, it’s dumb. It’s just kind of a control thing.”
“A control thing?” Raven prompted when Rob stopped.
“Yeah. It seems like it’s kind of hard for a guy to keep his clothes on around here, but I figured if I can keep my hair up, that’s at least something, you know? I can stay in control at least that much.” Rob swallowed hard. “Most guys don’t really notice it.”
Raven pulled in a deep breath, trying to think of something comforting to say and coming up blank. “Rob…”
“You know, you can leave if you want,” Rob suggested casually. “It’s not really a big deal. Sabu’s cool, we just got in a fight and he got pissed. It happens.”
“It doesn’t have to happen,” Raven insisted tightly. “You just let it happen because you—“
The locker room door squeaked as it swung open, announcing Tommy’s return. “They were out of icepacks, but I improvised,” he explained cheerfully, crossing the room and handing Rob a damp, wadded black t-shirt filled with ice cubes.
“Thanks, man,” Rob said softly, smiling. “I really appreciate it.”
“I could—“ Raven started to offer.
“Trust me, Raven. The situation is under control,” Rob assured him. Raven nodded and turned to go, just barely catching Rob’s “Thanks anyway,” as he closed the door behind him.
Raven had just hung up the phone with Paul Heyman after one of their four-hour bullshitting session on character development when his doorbell rang. It was a rare enough occurrence that the sound surprised him; he was hardly ever home long enough for guests to drop by, and 2:00 in the morning was a little late for Jehovah’s Witnesses. A tentative knock finally convinced Raven to get off the couch and answer the door.
Rob was just turning to leave, huddled in a jacket and a clean pair of jeans. “Hi,” he muttered as Raven stared at him, taking in his red, swollen eyes. “I shouldn’t have come. Sorry I got you up.”
Raven grabbed his arm and pulled him into the house before he could escape down the sidewalk. “Are you OK?”
“Yeah, I’m cool,” Rob said, before sighing and shaking his head. “No, I’m not. I’m…God. Everything is just so fucked up right now, you know?”
“I know all about fucked up,” Raven assured him dryly, helping him out of his jacket.
“Exactly, man. That’s why I’m here. I never wanted any of this…fuck, I’m not making any sense, am I? Look, Raven, I know you probably think I’m just some dumb slut like the rest of the guys do, but it wasn’t like I wanted to fuck the locker room. I was just trying to be cool, and then people got to talking, and then…I don’t know. I just can’t do this anymore.”
“Rob,” Raven said carefully, fighting to control his voice, “I don’t know who called you that, but you are in no way dumb or a slut, and you do not deserve to be treated like you are.”
Rob stared at him with watery eyes. “I’m sorry I’ve been such a dick to you, man. I just…what you said, about me being bulletproof. It’s not that I want to be like that, I just can’t let anybody in.” Raven started to answer, but was stopped by Rob’s next words. “I want you in, though.”
“I want to let you in. I don’t know why, and I don’t fucking care. I’m tired of trying to be so fucking tough, and you deserve so much better than that.”
Raven swallowed hard. “I don’t know what to say.”
Rob stared down at his shoes. “If you don’t want to, it’s cool. And don’t worry, I’m not going to say I love you or anything. I’m not…I don’t know yet. And maybe I’m just being stupid again. But I—“ His voice hitched, but he pushed on. “I just don’t want it to be like this anymore,” he finished in a rush.
“It doesn’t have to be like this,” Raven assured him, pulling him into a long, slow kiss. Rob’s eyes fell to the floor as they broke apart, his cheeks flushed. “God, you’re gorgeous,” Raven whispered.
“You said that last time,” Rob pointed out with a small smile.
“I meant it then, too.”
Rob’s grin widened, and Raven noticed his dimples for the first time before Rob leaned in for another shy kiss. Raven finally broke that one, shifting back uncomfortably as he tried to avoid making the swelling in his groin apparent. “I’ll tell you what,” he offered. “How about we just chill and do this tonight? Then tomorrow we can see how you feel about it.”
“Yeah, we can do that,” Rob agreed readily. “Or we could just take a chance and do it already. Raven, I swear, I’m ready. I need this.”
“You want this?”
“I really want this,” Rob insisted, grabbing Raven’s hand and moving it to the bulge in the front of his jeans. He caught his breath as Raven gentle squeezed, then unzipped Rob’s pants to feel the hard length through Rob’s silk boxers. “Raven,” Rob moaned, pushing into his hand.
“Mmm. It gets better,” Raven teased gently, smirking as he dropped to his knees, tugging Rob’s jeans and boxers to his knees.
“Jesus,” Rob moaned, threading his fingers through Raven’s hair as he fought to keep his knees from giving out.
Raven hummed softly as he wrapped his lips around the head of Rob’s cock. His tongue-ring was smooth and cool next to the heat of his tongue, and he swirled it around slowly, lapping up the drops of precum already forming.
Rob watched him from under heavy eyelids, pushing him away when the tempo began to increase. “I want you inside me when I cum,” he explained.
Raven nodded, dropping one last kiss to the inside of Rob’s thigh before tugging his jeans up, then rising and leading Rob further into the house. Clothes were stripped as soon as they reached the bedroom, and Rob surprised Raven by shoving him backwards onto the bed.
Raven immediately snatched a condom from his bedside time, barely managing to roll it on before Rob was straddling him, pinning his shoulders to the mattress as he leaned in to claim a kiss. Raven’s hands fell to the back of Rob’s upper thighs, guiding him down onto his waiting erection.
Rob took his time, sinking inch by inch as he adjusted to the penetration. He shuddered hard as he reached Raven’s hips, rocking a few times before withdrawing and impaling himself again, setting a slow but steady rhythm. Raven’s hand pumped him in time to his motions, and Rob smiled down at him, dropping another kiss.
“Rob,” Raven gasped, feeling his toes start to curl, “babe, I’m not going to last much longer. You have to slow down or--”
“One second,” Rob panted, reaching up to yank out his ponytail holder. His hair spilled over his shoulders, and he tossed his head as he ground down hard one final time, yelling Raven’s name as he spasmed.
Raven immediately followed him over, fingers automatically burying themselves in Rob’s hair. They collapsed into a tangle of arms and legs, partially buried under blankets, sweaty and happy. “Can I stay here tonight?” Rob finally asked, stretching lazily as he tried to work up the energy to go clean off.
Raven just held him closer as he felt himself dropping off to sleep.
“Jesus Christ, Raven,” Sandman groaned backstage at the next show. “You sure know how to pick ‘em.”
Raven grinned. “Tell me about it.”
Sandman raised his eyebrows as he fished another beer out of his cooler. “And what do you think the odds are of him not cheating on you?”
“About the same as the odds of me not cheating on him.”
“So…slim to none?” Sandman guessed.
Raven took a long swallow of beer and shook his head. “Think about it, Sandman. I’ve got the most incredibly gorgeous, talented, beautifully fucked-up guy on the planet a few rooms away. What would I need anybody else for?”
Sandman faked a gagging noise. “Either he’s slipped you a drug I’ve never seen before, and I frankly doubt that even exists, or you are head over heels for this boy. I’ve never seen you like this.”
Raven shrugged. “First time for everything. Everybody’s got to get their cherry popped sooner or later.”
Rob popped his head in the open door, then noticed Sandman and hesitated. “Am I interrupting?”
“You interrupted the rest of my life the first day I saw you,” Raven announced with a resigned sign. “You might as well come in now.”
“Cool,” Rob nodded. “Hey, Sandman.”
“Hey, Rob. I was just leaving, actually,” Sandman announced, getting to his feet.
“Because of me?”
“Nah, I just gotta go talk to Sabu about something,” he assured Rob, then turned to wink at Raven. “Good luck.”
“You, too,” Raven smirked.
“What’s his problem with Sabu?” Rob asked as Sandman left, dropping onto the couch beside Raven.
Raven shrugged, wrapping an arm around him. “He’s just protective. Sabu’s been messing with a friend of his.”
“Anybody I know?”
“I doubt it,” Raven smiled. “I’m just starting to get to know him myself.”
Rob stared seriously at him, before kissing him softly. “I’m not used to this,” he murmured quietly.
“Yeah, well, that’s OK,” Raven laughed. “It’s kind of my first time, too.”