TIGERS DON'T CRY - Chapter Twelve
In the harsh environment of a British pub kitchen, young Nate will have to come to terms with his growing attraction for one of his male colleagues.
TRIGGER WARNING - Strong and sexual language. Explicit sexual content.
For those curious to read from the start:
An alarm woke me and I dimly recognised the tune. It was Caravan, the version from the movie Whiplash. Nice one.
I was cosy and warm under the samurai duvet, breathing unfamiliar but comforting smells, with my head sunk deep into a soft pillow. Ethan’s arm was around my waist, his body pressed against my back and the hard rod of his cock firmly planted between my buttcheeks. In fact, he’d slipped his dick under the elastic of my underwear so that it had a nice home against my hole and he was rocking his erection slowly against it.
As the jazz piece played and Ethan carried on doing the tormenting thing with his hips, his breath hot on my neck, my morning wood stiffened to something needy.
‘Do you have to get up to go to work?’ I asked huskily.
He pressed his cock on my arsehole more firmly and I whimpered.
‘Yeah,’ Ethan croaked. ‘I think I'll get a cab.’
I could offer to see him after work – he didn’t need to spend more money on transport – but Ethan hooked a finger on my boxer shorts and briskly pulled them down my legs. My brain went soggy. He stroked my twitching hole, still a little moist from yesterday, as he opened the bedside drawer and grabbed whatever it was he grabbed. I heard the sound of crinkling plastic and the pop of a lid. A second later he was lubing my arse and I, ridiculously turned on, held on to the pillow as my face and body heated.
He pushed a finger inside me but it wasn’t long before they became two. It took even less for me to beg for his cock and not in a nice way.
‘Fuck me already for fuck’s sake!’ I gritted out. My dick was already dripping pre-cum on the sheets.
Ethan didn’t waste any more time. A second later the familiar stretch and burn of his pushing cockead drew a gasp out of me. I huffed and puffed as I got used to the feeling of his hard cock and, in a few moments, we were fucking hard. I might have asked him to destroy my hole with his dick – I’m not too sure – and I was appalled at how stiff and wet my knob was. The slutty sounds I was making because his cock felt so good, stretching my little hole and rubbing my insides, filled the room. It was four, like. Nobody is in their right mind when they’re being fucked at four in the fuckin’ morning!
Ethan put a hand on my mouth, ‘Nate, shush babes. You’re going to wake half the town.’
If I touched my cock I would come. Totally, I would. Ethan was holding one of my legs up to have better access with his thrusts and open like that I felt even dirtier.
‘I don’t want to come yet, fuck,’ I said with a thin voice that didn’t sound like mine.
Ethan licked my ear. ‘Why not?’
‘It’s too fast.’
‘You like my cock that much?’
I moaned as he banged me harder. ‘I fuckin’ love your cock!’
He opened my legs wider and I yelled as I squirted cum all over the sheets. Ethan swooped a hand over my mouth again. With my cries muffled under his palm, I shuddered through my orgasm, my arse twitching and pulsing amazingly.
‘Fucking hell, Nate. Jesus fucking Christ.’
Ethan rolled me over so that I was flat on my back and straddled me. He removed his condom and came over to slip his cock in my mouth, leaning on the wall for support. I parted my lips and took him in willingly. I sucked him for a while and Ethan, panting , removed his dick from my wet mouth and jerked it frantically, coming on my tongue with low, drawn-out moans.
Sweat ran down his chest, streaming along the lines of the tiger’s jaws and the dragon’s whiskers. Ethan’s eyes shone with astonishment, lust and emotion.
We cuddled for a while, though his alarm went off again, reminding us it was time we separated. He got out of bed with a groan and I watched as the lean muscles of his body and lush shapes were slowly hidden from my view with clothes. His belt clinked as he pulled up his trousers. Ethan looked at me and smiled.
‘You can sleep here longer if you want and let yourself out later. Or you could wait for me to come back which is even better.’
I broke into a grin. ‘Wha like, stay here, naked in your bed so you can jump me as soon as you’re home?’
He chuckled. ‘Why not?’
I thought about it. It was really early in the morning and I could do with more sleep. The bed was warm and, as soon as Ethan was back, we could resume the sexy date. For breakfast, I could have something delivered and then I could just chill indefinitely – something I didn't often have the chance to do.
I stretched on the bed as Ethan slipped on a white hoodie with mountains on it. ‘How do I lock the door if I have to leave for some reason?’ I asked.
‘One of my housemates will let you out.’
I prickled with irritation. ‘Who, Manny?’
‘Maybe, but probability not. He mentioned he’d be back late in the afternoon.’
‘Good.’ I shuffled under the duvet to keep warm. ‘I don’t want to deal with that prick.’
Ethan’s eyes widened with shock. ‘He’s not a prick.’
‘He basically said I’m using you for sex, like!’
‘That’s because he’s worried about me,’ he said with a note of hurt.
I peered at him. ‘Well, he’s got nothing to worry about when it comes to me. Have you seen me? I’m harmless. I can barely lift a trash bag.’
Ethan laughed and shot me a flirty glance. ‘You take dick like a champ though.’
Oh, man. He stuck his foot in his shoe and I said, ‘Your cock feels good.’
‘I know. I mean… I heard how much you liked it.’ He checked his phone, ‘Shit, it’s getting late. Let me book a cab real quick.’
While he waited for his ride, Ethan snuggled under the bed next to me with a poor attempt to keep his shoes out of the mattress. We kissed, cwtched and chatted and it was sooo nice. Damn, it was good. Fuck, maybe I was a cuddly guy too?
‘You’re beautiful,’ he murmured.
‘I thought you said I was cute.’
‘You’re cute and beautiful.’
I raised an eyebrow. ‘You have a massive crush on me, like.’
‘Do you notice only now?’
‘Why have you got a crush on me?’
He traced my cheek with a finger. ‘You’re witty, funny, you say things as they are. You’re artistic and you’re also gorgeous, which does help.’
‘Oh, so now I'm cute, beautiful and gorgeous. That’s a lot of compliments, mun. You’re fishing for a blowjob or wha?’
Ethan snorted, ‘I won’t say no for one when I'm back from work.’
I bit my lip, ‘Me neither.’
The cab arrived and Ethan left to go to the Devil’s Arsehole. I was about to fall asleep under the samurai duvet again when he texted,
‘I love that you’re so noisy in bed and Jesus, you came hands free. Just thinking about it makes me hard again. Fuck, you’re hot!’
He added a row of aubergine emojis, droplets of “water” and a little face having a heat-stroke or something,
‘Why like, coming hands free is not normal when you get fucked?’
‘It doesn’t happen often, like. Only in porn ahah’
‘Is there something wrong with me?’
‘No! It's really hot!!!’
He put three exclamation marks so it must have been true,
‘I think I’m going to sleep for a bit. What time will you be back?’
‘Just before three babes x’
‘Ok mun. Enjoy the living hell lol’
He added a grinning emoji and I sent it right back,
‘Yes please x’
I zonked peacefully for ages, as if I was sleeping on a cloud in paradise, and woke up around half ten. A night spent awake fucking does that to you. I checked my phone sleepily and saw there was a message from Ethan,
‘Busy af again. Cam did not show x’
A no show? I could not remember the last time Cam had called sick before yesterday – if there ever was a time he did. A no show was so not his style. I didn’t want to think negatively but it was a bit odd that he didn’t contact work. His indigestion must have been seriously bad.
I got myself out of bed and quickly got dressed. I sent Ethan a text,
‘Did they try to ring him? Shit is weird.’
No answer. I called Cam.
The phone rang for two long minutes but he didn’t pick up. I shook my head because I honestly couldn't wrap my head around it all. It probably was nothing.
My brother texted,
‘Do we need to talk?’
‘Not really lol’
‘That was one way to tell me you’re into guys’ He sent a laughing emoji.
‘I was in a rush and I didn’t want to make a big deal out of it’
Admittedly, Ethan was a biggish deal. It had been for me – Louis had no clue how much.
‘So that’s why you were acting so weird recently, like someone had punched your kitten lol’
Or maybe he did have a clue.
‘I guess. I met him and I didn’t know what to do because I’ve never given a dude a go like. But it’s cool now we’re proper dating’
‘Gotta get me introduced’ A smiling emoji.
‘U know him bro he’s the guy that did the tattoo on your back lol’
‘Yeah I know right? Small world lol’
‘I thought he was engaged to a girl. I mean it was almost two years ago or smth tbh anyway yeah! That’s super surprising. Gotta go back to work. Promise we talk later yeah?’
I took a moment to digest the fact that Ethan was engaged at eighteen, according to my brother. Guess that didn’t work out, though it explained his fear of being too rushed with his relationships – heading to marriage at that age was definitely a hasty thing to do. On a different note, he was creating amazing art on people’s skin even though he was so young. Ethan was such a talented artist.
I envied him as much as I liked him. Fuck.
I missed him a bit and I wanted a hug. Ugh, why did I want a hug? I had to wait until three for him to be back. That’s a bloody long time.
Deciding I didn’t want to dwell on my mushy feelings, I planned things up for breakfast and ordered a special wrap with sausage, eggs, hashbrowns and sriracha sauce. And I definitely needed a cup of coffee which I could hopefully make in the kitchen, saving up the money that lately was flying out of my wallet.
I went down the stairs that creaked like they were in pain under my weight. As I descended, I overheard the muffled sound of the telly and croaky voices. Ethan’s housemates were there. After fighting off some residual social anxiety, I reached the landing.
‘That’s because you sleep through anything,’ someone muttered.
I was met with three sleepy faces. There was a biggish guy with piercing blue eyes clutching a large mug, a woman seemingly in her mid-thirties with long dreadlocks and traces of makeup on her eyelids. Lastly, a person who I couldn’t really tell if they were a boy, a girl or neither. In any case, they were monstrously attractive, with short dark hair and large, expressive brown eyes that were burning me down. They sat comfortably on the sofa, slender pale legs in shorts resting crossed on the coffee table.
The three of them had three things in common: wherever there was visible skin, aside from their faces, there were stretches of beautiful tattoos, they all looked pretty wrecked and their eyes were fixed solely on me.
Brown-eyes glared my way like they wanted to bite my head off. Judging from the snippet of conversation I caught, I had an inkling as to why.
Aw shit. They heard us fucking, didn’t they?
‘Yalright?’ I pinched my nose lightly as my face lit up like a fuckin’ Christmas lightbulb.
‘Hiya mate, had a good night?’ Brown-eyes asked sharply.
Oh God please kill me.
The girl with dreadlocks shot Brown-eyes a flaming glance. ‘Alice, don’t be a dick.’
‘What!’ Alice slapped a hand on their leg. ‘I only asked if he had a good night. I mean, he did have a good night, for sure.’
I wanted to die. Seriously.
‘Sorry,’ the girl with the locks said. ‘Can I do anything for you, love?’
‘Uh… I was wondering if I could have a drink of coffee, like.’
‘Of course!’ Dreadlock said. She glanced at the guy holding the huge mug with uncertainty. ‘Have we got any left?’
The guy nodded, his eyes heavy with sleep. ‘Yah, plenty. I bought some yesterday, innit?’
‘Oh good.’ Dreadlocks nodded primly. ‘You’re Nate, right? I’m Oscar.’
‘You wha?’ I burst out before I could stop myself.
Oscar laughed and so did the other two. Alice grinned. ‘Yep. Seen that reaction before.’
‘There’s this anime I’m obsessed with, Lady Oscar…’ Oscar stopped with her explanation and watched me narrowly. ‘You wouldn’t know. You weren’t even born!’
‘Osc, nobody knows shit about that anime, like. Only you.’ Alice winked at me.
‘It’ was a manga written by a Japanese communist woman! People should know about it!’ Oscar said.
Alice rolled her eyes. ‘Here we go again.’
The biggish guy smiled and raised a hand. ‘I am normal. My name’s Dai.’
Alice grimaced and shook her head. ‘No, mate. You ain’t normal for shit, bro.’
‘What’s not normal about being called Oscar?’ Oscar protested.
Alice and Dai ignored her. Alice peered at Dai like they were a hygiene inspector. ‘Tell him what you put in your coffee.’
‘No,’ he squeaked, embarrassed.
Alice raised her hands and widened her eyes, looking at me. ‘Maple syrup! How’s that normal?’
Dai pouted. ‘It tastes nice.’
‘Alright,’ Oscar said mildly and put a hand on my shoulder. ‘Let’s get you sorted with a cup of coffee.’
I sat down in the lived-in lounge with them as I drank my hot drink and, to my relief, there was a bit of pronoun clarification as the conversation went on. Alice and Oscar were shes and Dai was a he – also, maple syrup in coffee did sound nice. After saying that, I was huffed at by Alice and received a thumbs-up with sparkling eyes from Dai.
‘I hear you’re an artist,’ Oscar said smiling.
I blinked in surprise. ‘Ethan told you about me?’
Alice flashed me a beaming grin. ‘Not exactly. Manny is shit at keeping secrets and Manny knows all about Ethan. So we know everything too.’ She sipped from her Monster can and added thoughtfully, ‘Not that after last night there’d be someone in town who wouldn’t know you guys have been busy at it, innit?’
‘Leave him alone!’ Oscar put an arm around my shoulder like she was my aunt or something. ‘And it’s not that you’re exactly silent when you get at it, Miss!’
Alice gaped. ‘Who, me? I am quiet. It’s my girls that moan a lot because they come all night.’ She lifted two fingers and wiggled them. ‘I’ve got the magic touch.’
Dai just went, ‘Ugh.’
A heated discussion about sex sounds went on between the two and there was nothing I could do about it. I’d unleashed a wild creature, like.
Oscar asked, ‘Can I see your artwork? It has been highly praised.’
‘Sure.’ I pulled out my phone. Similarly to Ethan, Oscar looked a good deal impressed when she saw my drawings.
‘Holy shit,’ she said. ‘But you are a wonder! Wow!’ She scrolled through my Instagram posts. ‘Damn, boy! You’re really good!’
‘Lemme see lemme see!’ Alice squished up next to me and Dai peered over my phone too.
‘Oh wow!’ Alice said. ‘You did all these?’
‘You gooood.’ She smelled real nice and her naked legs, decked with black art, pressed against mine. From the sounds of it, she was a lesbian and I was seeing a guy. Still, I wasn’t a dead fish and she was proper attractive. Plus, having three people fanning over my drawings and sitting close got me all flustered.
Alice spotted the happenings. ‘Awwww he’s blushing!’
‘I’m alright,’ I mumbled.
‘Ever thought of getting into tattooing? You’d be good at it,’ Dai said.
‘Oh why, oh why do you want to expand the competition?’ Alice asked.
‘I was actually thinking the same thing,’ Oscar said. ‘You’d be really good at it. Your style is unique and I mean, look at that bike! Amazing!’ She pointed at one of my Pin drawings.
‘Thanks,’ I said.
‘We’ll be reopening our tattoo studio soon enough and I’m going to expand a little. And I am looking for inexperienced apprentices to teach them things the right way. You get people who’ve handled tattoo guns before and it’s hard to make them forget old, bad habits.’
Alice grunted. ‘You talking about me?’
‘No, I'm just saying…’
They went on chatting around me. I was surrounded by voices, sitting in the middle of it all as well as being the main topic of conversation. Dai pressed I should think about Oscar’s proposition and that he’d be very happy to ‘share his knowledge and support.’
‘Right,’ Oscar announced after replying to a phone call. ‘My beauty wants me to go food shopping and I shall oblige. Goodbye inklings.’
She left with a wave. Turns out she didn’t live with the others but had crushed the night just because it was convenient. Oscar was married to a woman and lived in Grangetown.
‘We went partying yesterday because Oscar got a lot of money from the insurance and she wanted to celebrate,’ Dai explained. ‘We were all supposed to go get smashed but Ethan said no, that he had a date with you and didn’t want to postpone it.’
This I didn’t know. I got all warm and fuzzy. ‘Did he actually?’
The house emptied in the following three hours. Dai went to work – he said he was working part-time for Tesco to keep up with the bills – and Alice got dressed like she was going to a metal concert without saying where she was heading. They both said my breakfast burrito looked ‘smashing tasty’ and really, it was.
I went back to Ethan’s room and opened a window to let the fresh air in. I snoozed under the samurai duvet, plucked at my stitches though I really shouldn't have and thought about what the guys had said. Me? A tattoo artist?
The possibility had never crossed my mind. Drawing had always been a hobby for me, nothing much to talk about. I liked tattoos a fair lot and I’d always wanted one but I knew that, after the first, I’d want to get another million more and my savings would blow into smoke. Or ink, more precisely.
I pictured myself being an apprentice in a studio and Ethan working there too. Wow, that’d be cool!
I spent the rest of the time watching videos about tattoo art in Ethan’s bed, playing tutorials and that program about fixing bad tattoos which, in all fairness, was something I’d been religiously following anyway. The more I thought about it, the more I realised I'd dig it.
At a quarter to three, Ethan rang.
‘Holy fucking Christ!’ he sounded breathless. ‘My God, Nate, it’s been mad! Insane!’
‘I bet.’ I wasn’t looking forward to getting back to work.
‘It was more relaxed, in a way, because Cam wasn’t there shouting, like, but it was real busy. Anyway, I’m on my way back now. What have you been up to?’
I told him about how I got to meet his housemates. Ethan laughed.
‘Alice can sure be a dick. She’s nice though, once you get to know her.’
‘I didn’t know you skipped the party to go to our date,’ I said.
He chuckled. ‘Oh, but it was worth it. Fuck, it was. I got laid amazingly while those buggers did their usual drunk-stunt. I had a much better time than them.’
I bit my lip. ‘I’m up for carrying on with things when you’re back, mun.’
‘Mmm, yeah. Me too. Fuck, yeah.’
After twenty minutes odd, Ethan was back, looking half-dead. He threw himself into the bed with me and demanded to snuggle.
‘Wanna have a shower with me? A bath?’ Oh, God. He was putting on a cutesy voice. And, worst of all, I didn't hate it. Christ, this guy broke me!
‘Yeah, bath’s alright.’
He went off to run a bath, all smiles. That’s when my phone rang. It was Cam.
‘Hi there.’ It was a warm voice. A woman’s voice. Cracked. Sad. ‘This is the last number Cam called. How are you, love?’
‘Good,’ she said thickly. ‘Did he say anything? What did you talk about?’
‘I couldn’t answer his call. I was busy. He… sent me a message.’
I knew it before she said it and I was deep into a dreadful corner.
‘Yes, I saw it. That’s why I’m asking. He was stressed from work, he—’ she burst out crying. I listened to the aching sound in stunned silence, each of my bones a shard of ice. ‘Oh God, sorry love,’ she whined. ‘Forgive me darl, I just… wanted to know his last words.’
‘Oh, love, he had a heart attack sadly. He was home alone and he died, just like that. Today we were going to sign the divorce papers. Jesus, it’s all my fault!’ She cried again and I waited, mortified I could say nothing to make it better.
‘So sorry for calling, love. So sorry.’
‘It’s alright,’ I said. She hung up and I was left in blank silence, staring at my phone and the patches of sweat my thumbs left on the screen.
Ethan came back. ‘Sorry. Dai left the bathroom a mess and…’
I met his eyes and he read my expression. ‘What’s wrong?’
I shook my head slightly. ‘Cam died.’