Book: The Devil's Ride (gay outlaw biker MC romance)

Previous: Chapter 12
Next: Chapter 14

Chapter 13

It was strange for Luci to have people around who actually took an interest in him. The only person he really missed from the Vanilla Lounge was Rick. And Suzy, but he’d lost hope that she could be still alive. It had been almost three weeks since he’d been dragged into the clubhouse kicking and screaming, but he’d settled in so quickly it scared him. He didn’t want to get so attached since this peaceful life could end at any moment, yet he couldn’t help getting used to the banter with Bell, going on some wild target practice in derelict buildings. Bell was also the only person who was willing to sneak him alcohol. He wasn’t a dream older brother by any means, but they were getting to know each other. And despite being an ass at times, Bell did put in the effort to meet up, so Luci tried not to be too stubborn either.

Just yesterday all three of them—him, Bell, and Priest—had played pool together. Luci was pretty shit at it, but they still had fun. He didn’t expect much from his dad, so any crumb of interest was worth bending over for. For once Luci felt like maybe, possibly, he could be wanted around for more than his cocksucking mouth.

And then there was Tooth. Oh God, Tooth. Tooth was the best. Always around, always somewhere in the background. Luci did everything he could to make him happy. Cleaned, made the beds, did the laundry for them both, cooked whenever there was an opportunity. Luci tried to not make it a habit, but whenever he’d crawl into Tooth’s bed, Tooth didn’t kick him out. Luci would never embarrass Tooth by telling anyone about it, but he was so grateful for the scraps of affection, even if they weren’t sexual for Tooth. In some fucked-up way, despite not missing kneeling in bathroom stalls and pretending interest, Luci felt an itch he couldn’t scratch no matter how much he masturbated. Being able to fall asleep under Tooth’s hot, heavy arm made everything better.

Another aspect of being close to Tooth was the secret arrangement they had. Luci’s dad would probably flip if he found out about Tooth’s concept of discipline, but he had told Luci that he’d given Tooth free reign over what Luci was and wasn’t allowed to do. And with that free reign came pleasure and fun, as well as punishment. Those aspects mixed too much for Luci to ever disclose it to Tooth. Tooth’s methods were never too severe, and after the smacks Luci got on the hands, and the bruises that followed, Tooth said it would be easier to keep things discreet and keep the strikes out of visible places on the body. Which meant spanking on the ass. Luci did not oppose.

Luci got spanked for lying about drinking alcohol.

He got spanked for making dirty comments to Milk, who went pale and fled instead of answering.

He got spanked for trying to spy on Tooth in the bathroom.

Instead of resenting Tooth for his strictness, each time the flicker of excitement sparked into a bigger flame. Anxiety wasn’t an issue when he knew Tooth was trustworthy. The man kept his word and always stopped the spanking after the number of slaps he promised. He would never strike Luci in anger, which made Luci pleasantly relaxed around him. But the truth was that Luci was beginning to anticipate the spanking. So much so that an evil part of him was considering misbehaving just to get it. He knew it was fucked-up, but when Tooth spanked him, adrenaline rushed to his head, his heart beat faster, and at the mere thought that Tooth was paying his ass any attention at all, his dick would get interested as well. Once, the spanking got so intense Luci barely knew who he was anymore. Not because it was so painful, but because Tooth used his bare hand, striking him through just a pair of briefs. It was long, slow, and Luci never knew when he would be touched, which sent his senses into overdrive. That bare hand. Tooth’s hand. So close to his barely clad ass. Luci’s imagination went wild with ideas for what could have happened afterward. He’d offer himself up then and there.

But it wasn’t only about Tooth being super hot, with muscles of steel and green eyes that reminded Luci of succulent leaves in the summer. It seemed that the guy genuinely liked spending time with him, always interested, always ready to help. He taught Luci how to play chess and encouraged him to work out together. Tooth found it especially important that Luci knew basic self-defense and taught him a few simple moves that could send the attacker into a world of pain. The nuts, eyes, nose, the knees, the neck, all good places to strike. It had been difficult at first, but after two weeks of daily training and Tooth’s attempts to fake-attack him, defense was becoming second nature.

They also spent some time at the clubhouse gym, which seemed like a good place to socialize with the other bikers, who at some point started being more curious about Luci than anything else. In any other circumstances, Luci could be afraid to talk back to them, but with Tooth at his side he felt invincible. His loud mouth actually gained him some notoriety, and a few of the conversations turned into friendly banter, making him feel more at home than he had imagined possible.

Despite his best efforts, the most he got to see of Tooth was his muscled ass. Tooth had such a great body, chiseled and strong like an ox’s. And Tooth didn’t only train because of vanity, he needed to maintain his strength and agility to be good at the job he did for the Nails. He was so reliable too. Luci had never met a guy so committed to doing things right, at least according to a certain code, because Tooth was, without a doubt, a criminal with a seemingly bottomless bank account. Luci didn’t want to ask for too much, but rather than asking his dad for money, he usually told Tooth what he needed, and he was never once refused.

Their daily morning workout was a series of exercises one of the brothers, a former fitness instructor, had come up with. Tooth was doing lots of weightlifting, while Luci spent most of the time doing cardio. He loved it, especially since from his spot on the treadmill, he had a great view of the weightlifting section.

And what a view that was. Tooth in his jogging bottoms and a tight T-shirt, lifting two dumbbells, which were collectively probably heavier than Luci. Every now and then, Luci could swear he saw the outline of Tooth’s dick in those pants, and he was dying to find out more about the exact look of the thing. Big? Small? Thick? Cut? Uncut? Surrounded by hair as bushy as on Tooth’s head, or smooth? Luci licked the sweat off his top lip.

Finally, Tooth left the dumbbells on the floor and made a few jumps while shaking his hands to relax them. “I’m done,” he said, stretching. The front of his shirt was clinging to his chest as if it couldn’t stand being apart from that warm skin. Luci was jealous of that damn fabric.

Yeah, me too.” Luci smiled and slowed down the machine before turning it off. “I guess it’s shower time?”

Tooth snorted and put the gym towel around his neck, walking into the small bathroom next door. “Definitely. I smell like a pig.”

Luci followed with his own towel and made sure to walk close enough to smell Tooth. He didn’t mind the scent one bit. He’d lick some of it off actually. “Wanna shower together? Save some water… It’ll be quicker,” he said innocently, watching the muscular back move so gloriously under the shirt.

Tooth gave him a gentle shove and laughed. “No perving. Can’t believe you have such an innocent face.”

Luci moaned but obediently stayed outside giving Tooth a longing look. “I wouldn’t be perving. I would just be quick. In and out.”

Tooth frowned at him. “No in-and-outs here,” he said, but then off went the shirt, and Luci was hypnotized by Tooth’s chest, not too hairy but not too smooth, with dark nipples begging for Luci’s attention.

Despite all his professional experience, next to Tooth Luci felt like a schoolboy having his first crush on the straight quarterback who would never notice him. “I didn’t mean it that way…” He tried to look at Tooth’s face, but it was virtually impossible with all the muscle on show.

“What way did you mean it?” asked Tooth, leaning against the doorframe, all sweaty and butch, and oh, that body would soon be naked and wet from the shower. And Luci would be out here, silently howling by the door.

“I could um… shower with my eyes closed. How’s that work?” Luci knew they were now wasting more time than they could possibly save by showering together, but pushing for it was impossible to resist. Not to mention that if Tooth ever actually agreed, Luci would open his eyes, see the Holy Grail of dicks, and then get spanked for it. Perfect. Two birds with one stone.

It was such a shame he’d never get to suck it into his mouth, lap at the balls, long and slow. If Tooth were gay, or bi, or even curious, he’d gladly kneel on the hardest floor and give that cock the attention it needed. Luci always believed every cock had something that made it stand out, be sexy in its own way, be it curved, long, small, thick, cut, uncut. He loved them all. Whatever Tooth had in his pants, it would be glorious to see it.

But Tooth shook his head. “No way.”

Luci sighed and put his hands on his nape. He knew that was it. There was no point trying to be cocky anymore. “You’re just afraid you’d be tempted.” He stuck out his tongue.

Tooth snorted and started slowly closing the door. “In your dreams.” It was only when Luci had lost all hope that Tooth’s hand reached out and gave his nipple a little twist.

“Hey!” Luci moaned in shock and backed off, but before he could slap Tooth’s wrist, the hand was gone behind the door. All he got was a laugh from the bathroom.

He put a hand over the pink flesh and gave the door a longing look when he heard a furious stampeding on the stairs. Milk rushed inside, red-faced, and he did freeze when he faced Luci, but this time, he stayed. “Err... is Tooth in there?”

“He’s in there.” Luci pointed to the door and stepped away.

Milk rushed to the door and opened it wide.

“What the hell?” yelled Tooth from inside.

Luci tried to peek in, but sadly, Tooth was still in his jogging bottoms. “What’s wrong?” he asked.

Milk looked between Tooth and Luci, biting his lip. “That drug chick we lost three weeks ago? She’s here.”

Tooth frowned. “What?”

“Suzy?” Luci blinked and already turned toward the exit. “Is she all right? What happened?”

She’s upstairs,” said Milk, jogging back to the staircase. Tooth followed them both, and they quickly made their way to the lounge, which seemed to be drowned in chaos, even though there were actually only a few people present. In the midst of all that commotion, on a leather couch sat Suzy, dressed in a pair of jogging bottoms and a hoodie. She was pale, and her blue hair lay flat on her head. Luci had never seen her in such a pathetic state.

People swarmed around the sofa she lay on. Dolly brought Suzy water, and Astaroth kneeled on the floor with a tray of food. Ghost, a man Luci had seen around the club before, scooted by her, speaking softly. Something bad had to be happening, because Ghost was always called over at times like this. He was Don’s son, in his first year of residency at a hospital, on his way to becoming a surgeon. Which meant that despite Don’s wife hating the club, Ghost would always get called over for medical emergencies. Luci didn’t have to ask anyone to know how Ghost got his nickname. The guy was so fair-skinned and blond, at first Luci thought he was an albino.

But as Luci wondered about what could have happened to Suzy, it was someone else who caught Luci’s attention. Rick stood behind the sofa. His large frame and bald head were easy to notice. Luci had never gotten his cell phone back, so this was the first time he’d seen Rick in almost a month.

“Lucifer!” Rick raised his voice and was already heading his way like he had a purpose.

The name hung in the air like dust that just wouldn’t fall, and a few people went quiet.

It was like being in a slow-mo movie. Behind Rick’s back, Dolly stared daggers at Luci, her eyes going so dark he was afraid she’d curse him with her witch powers. Priest turned toward her, all tense, veins bulging on his neck. Bell dragged his hands down his face.

It was only when Rick took hold of Luci’s arm that time returned to normal.

“Is this where you’ve been the whole time?” hissed Rick. “How could you not call me? I was worried.”

“I-I know. I don’t have my phone anymore.” Luci tried to focus on answering Rick, but the tense atmosphere around them was growing by the second, Suzy no longer the center of attention.

Dolly got up and was hissing something to Priest while giving Luci the evil eye. He couldn’t hear much from where he stood, but he could bet it was something awful.

All of a sudden there was a naked chest to Luci’s left, and his senses were flooded by the strong scent of sweat and cologne. “Stop grabbing him,” said Tooth.

Rick’s hand twitched on Luci’s arm, but he quickly stepped back with an apologetic smile. “Sorry, Luci. I sometimes forget my own strength.”

“Oh, that’s fine, it didn’t hurt or anything.” Luci stood between them, ready to act if needed. Tooth had always been nasty about Luci meeting up with Rick. “You came with Suzy?”

Rick cleared his throat. “She came to my apartment and demanded I bring her here. I have no idea what’s going on.”

Tooth frowned. “Did she say who took her?”

“She said she didn’t see their faces. She’ll tell you all about it,” Rick said and stepped aside to let Tooth through, but Tooth’s eyes strayed to Luci, dark and intense.

Luci swallowed, unsure what to make of it. “Um, I’ll be fine if you need to go…”

“I don’t care. For fuck’s sake someone take Dolly and Asty out of here. This is club business,” Priest roared all of a sudden.

“Oh, yeah, and he’s club business as well?” Dolly yelled back and pointed at Luci.

Asty was clearly confused but seemed to quietly plead with her mother as Blitz and one of the other guys gently nudged them toward the door.

Rick cleared his throat and leaned in to look straight into Luci’s eyes. “You sure?”

It felt weird. As if Rick really wanted him to leave. “What’s up with everyone treating me like some flower? I’m fine.”

“Of course you’re fine!” screamed Dolly. She made a move toward him, and it took two grown men to stop her halfway. “Sucking my man’s dick like your slut of a mother!”

Bell rushed over, his face tense. “Mom, what the fuck?”

Tooth pinched the bridge of his nose, watching the scene, while Rick shrugged. “You don’t seem all that welcome. That’s all I’m saying.”

Luci’s eyes went wide, and he took a few steps back, ignoring Rick. His eyes focused on Dolly’s scowling face as anger and sorrow erupted out of his mouth. “You know nothing about my mother! Ask Priest if he wants me here! I can go anytime!”

“Jesus Christ. Why?” Bell groaned.

Asty stared at Luci from across the room with her eyes wide. He’d never seen her look so vulnerable.

It was Priest who broke the strange balance of people not moving by an inch. He yanked his wife by the arm and pulled her to the door. “Enough. Stop making a scene!”

“I have another brother?” Astaroth uttered, but Priest cut her off.

“Not now, Asty. We’ll talk about it later. Tooth! Don’t just stand there. Talk to Suzy.” He walked out with Dolly, and Astaroth followed without a word.

Bell ran his fingers through his hair. “What a cock-up.”

Before Lucifer knew it, a big strong arm wrapped around his shoulders, but it wasn’t Tooth’s cologne that enveloped him.

“I could take you away for now,” Rick said quietly.

“Shut the fuck up,” growled Tooth, his eyes shooting daggers. “You’re not taking him anywhere. Besides, now that Suzy’s here, there’s no reason for you to stay,” he said, breaking Rick’s personal space.

Rick groaned and looked back to Luci who was more confused than anything else. He wasn’t an item someone could just take or keep.

“Okay, but why would you take Luci’s phone. Is he not free to do what he wants?” Rick gave Tooth a hard stare but backed off.

“Club business,” growled Tooth, and his hand rested on Luci’s arm with the gentlest of squeezes. “I think you should go.”

Luci took a deep breath. “I’m fine, really. Maybe we could meet up when the situation gets less tense. I could come round to the Vanilla Lounge.” He wasn’t sure if Tooth would allow it, but he wanted to resolve this situation somehow.

Rick stared at him for the longest moment, as if searching for signs of a lie, but he eventually nodded and moved toward the door. “Stay safe, Suzy,” he said before disappearing from sight.

Suzy stared after him, cuddled against the armrest while her eyes searched for Luci. “What are you doing here?” she asked, as Ghost pulled up her hoodie to reveal a cut on her side that looked like it had been stitched up on the backseat of a moving car. At least it didn’t seem infected.

Luci sat next to her with a deep sigh. He hated letting Rick down like that. The guy had always been there to help him out. “I’ve been living here for a while. It doesn’t matter. What happened to you?”

Bell pulled a chair closer and was all ears, while Tooth stood behind him, menacing like the mad pirate Luci had compared him to when they first met. It seemed that Ghost was done with the examination for now as he backed away and sat in a chair by the wall, watching Suzy.

Only from up close, Luci noticed Suzy trembling. “I... They broke into my house and knocked me out. And when I woke up, I was in a hospital bed, but restrained so I thought that maybe I took something without remembering and they had me sectioned, but the room was more like a dark cell than a hospital,” she uttered, completely shaken.

Tooth sighed. “We went to your house, and found blood. We did alert the police.”

Suzy groaned and hid her face in her hands. “Fuck, they’ll kill me.”

Luci reached out to hold her hand. Suzy was always so confident, he could hardly believe what he was seeing. “Who?”

Bell leaned even closer.

She suddenly burst into tears, curling her shoulders and hiding her hands in the sleeves of her hoodie. “They took my kidney,” she sobbed, and the room went quiet before Tooth grabbed the backrest of the couch, filling the air with his presence.

“What? Are you sure?”

“Oh, my God, Suzy…” Lucifer’s eyes went wide, and he stroked her arm. He couldn’t believe this monstrosity.

Yes,” she uttered. “They were masked, and they told me so I wouldn’t end up with the hospital and could manage on my own. They knew I was dealing big time, and if I go to the police they’ll set me up for jail. I don’t know what to do. My money’s gone, my stash is gone. But I needed to come clean with you guys. I don’t need any more enemies,” she broke into a sob again.

Tooth walked around the couch and stood in front of her, veins bulging on his forearms. “Were there any other victims? Or something you remember? Like, smells and shit?” He growled, bending over to look into her eyes.

Bell frowned. “Relax, man.”

Luci was only sitting next to Suzy, yet he still felt the impact of Tooth’s imposing presence. It was beyond inappropriate that he found that cold, green gaze exciting. “Yeah, I’m sure she’ll tell us everything.”

No… I just… I think the hospital was somewhere underground. It was very quiet, and there were no windows anywhere.”

Tooth hissed, tugging on his beard like a villain from a children’s storybook. “You must know something! Weren’t you gone for the last two weeks?” he asked, making sharp gestures with his hands.

“She’s telling you,” shouted Ghost from his seat. He seemed ready to intervene at any time.

Luci watched Tooth, unsure what to make of his attitude. “She’s probably very exhausted.”

“Don’t you think we should work on it right away?” Tooth bit his lip, restlessly pacing in front of the couch. “Maybe we could get someone to look at her, maybe there’s traces of those people?”

Suzy curled up, squeezing Luci’s hand as tight as she could. “No, they cleaned me before leaving me at my doorstep. With some brown spirit.”

“Iodine?” growled Tooth, pushing his thick fingers into his hair.

Luci had known him long enough to know that something was off. Tooth never freaked out like this. He was just as cool and collected when he stepped in to stop a brawl, as he was brushing his teeth. Lucifer was actually afraid Tooth was about to grab Suzy and shake her, which could be devastating in her state.

“We can talk to Priest when he comes back, get someone on it,” Bell said.

“I really don’t know anything. They kept me drugged,” Suzy muttered, hiding her face in her arm. “I have no idea what they did. What if they took something else as well?”

Tooth swore and turned around. He pushed a beer bottle off the table, and it smashed on the nearest wall. He gave it a blank faced glare before walking off through the door and disappearing outside.

Luci stared at the door, unsure what to say. “I… I’ll come back, Suz. Will you look after her?” he asked Bell, already getting up.

Bell raised his eyebrows at the crying woman and slowly nodded, slouching in the chair. “I’ll take her to one of the guest rooms.”

Luci gave them both a shaky smile and sped up, worried Tooth would drive away on his bike if he didn’t hurry.

But the only people he saw next to the bikes were Priest and Dolly, engaged in a brutal shouting match. Tooth was rushing in the other direction, still only in his jogging bottoms, with hair tangled by the cold wind.

“Hey! Tooth! Where are you going?” yelled Luci and ran to catch up with him.

Tooth either ignored him or honestly couldn’t hear Luci’s shouting because he disappeared behind the building, rushing as if he were late to a party in hell. The coffin tattoo on his back only prompted those images in Luci’s mind.

“Tooth! Don’t go!” Luci sped up and finally caught up with him, grabbing Tooth’s wrist.

That finally got Tooth to stop, but for the longest moment he just stood there, and Luci watched goose bumps break out all over the bare skin. “What is it?” he muttered.

“You don’t seem all right…” Luci tried to catch his gaze, completely confused by Tooth’s outburst. Even his thick wrist pulsed furiously underneath Luci’s fingers.

Tooth stared at the concrete fence. “I’m fine...”

Luci gently pulled him toward Beast’s shed. At least there was a bench they could sit on there. “Is there anything I can do?”

Tooth followed him like a pig to the slaughter, his hand burning in Luci’s grip. “No.”

The goat looked at them from behind the fence, moving back and forth, as if excited with the visit.

“Are you angry about Dolly finding out about me?” Luci tried, at loss.

Tooth sat down on the small bench, hunching his upper body in a futile attempt not to lose too much heat. His eyes were burning, but they seemed strangely empty as well. “No. Priest should have dealt with it already. He couldn’t have hidden you in plain sight forever.”

“So it’s about Suzy. Am I missing something?” He sat down next to Tooth and gently stroked his wrist with his thumb.

Tooth groaned. “Fuck... yeah, it is about her.” Slowly, he looked up at Luci, for once seeming lost in the game he was so good at.

Luci didn’t even think when he slid under Tooth’s arm and hugged him. The surface of his skin was so cold now, but it still smelled of the gym and familiarity. “I know I’m not part of the club, but you can tell me, I wouldn’t betray you.”

Tooth sighed and slowly, very slowly returned the embrace, resting his chin on top of Luci’s head. Only now, looking down, Luci realized Tooth was barefoot on the asphalt. “Organ snatchers. I’ve been looking for them for a long time, and that’s how I first got in touch with the Nails. The police couldn’t do shit so I offered all the money I had to Priest. As you can see, he wouldn’t let me go,” chuckled Tooth, but he didn’t seem cheered up.

“But you’re intact, right?” Luci gasped and put one of his palms over Tooth’s stomach in a search for scars. His heart stopped beating for a moment at the thought that Tooth had been hurt that way.

It started beating again when Tooth’s thick, coarse fingers curled around his hand. “I don’t have an appendix, but that’s a good thing,” said Tooth, and the corners of his mouth twitched.

“How did you get involved with organ snatchers then?” Luci quickly took the opportunity to squeeze Tooth’s hand. “Did they catch you, and you fought them off?” He imagined that would be the kind of thing Tooth would do. Wiggle out of their grip and smash some faces.

Tooth swallowed hard and looked away. “Remember when I told you about my former girlfriend? That she died?” he whispered, twisting his beard.

“Yes, that she was ill.” Luci stroked Tooth’s thumb, giving him all his attention and more. For what Tooth did for him, how he took care of him, Luci wanted to be the vessel for any of his problems, take them and lock them away.

Tooth hid his eyes with his hand and sighed. “She was doing fine, she was on medication,” he said, slowly looking up at Luci. The truth hung between them like thick smoke.

Was she kidnapped like Suzy?” Luci watched the massive man next to him. He hoped that maybe it would be easier for Tooth to share a painful memory with someone like him, instead of one of his club brothers. That maybe he would be able to give back even a tiny bit of the support Tooth had offered to him a few weeks ago.

Tooth sighed, playing with his beard. “It was supposed to be her night off, but she told me she was seeing a friend for coffee. But she never came back,” whispered Tooth.

“Just like that? They just chose her at random?” Luci entwined their fingers, shocked at such a horrible event.

Tooth took a shaky breath, squeezing Luci’s hand. “No… I don’t think so. She was... she was a working girl.”

Luci’s heart sank. “Oh,” was all he managed at first, but he hugged Tooth’s cool body again. Luci knew all too well what that meant.

When he first ended up on the street, each day he would ask himself if it was his last. Each car he got into with a stranger felt like a potential trap. Each quick blow job in a back alley had him only half-focused on the dick, as the other half of his mind kept alert in case the man had a gun or a knife he intended to use. He had heard horror stories from acquaintances whose names he didn’t even remember anymore. Their company had always offered a bit more protection than being alone. But even around them he never felt safe, avoided sleeping in a bed with someone in case they decided to get frisky at night. Yet he still had a man crawl into his bed when he shared an abandoned house with others. He had to wrestle his way out and walk out of there with nothing at three in the morning. At least with blow jobs he’d had the illusion of control. It was some guy’s dick entrusted to his mouth, so much less invasive than being fucked. Early on he’d decided not to get ass-fucked for money. Not only was he afraid of being hurt, but it was also much easier to give three blow jobs than get fucked once. Not to mention easier to avoid STDs. He wasn’t completely clueless. Most guys wouldn’t want to use a condom, so giving head carried much less risk.

That was why he welcomed the work at the Vanilla Lounge with such relief. Many others weren’t as lucky. After what he’d been through, giving lapdances and servicing the glory hole was nothing. He had a tiny room in the motel next door, and it was all his. Rick would bring him hot food, they would go running or even swimming a few times. Sure, maybe it wasn’t what he wanted from life. He’d hated the sequin leggings with a vengeance, but it was much better than going hungry and not being able to sleep in fear that the man who lived downstairs would come and try to rape him.

It must have been hard… How did you meet?” Luci asked after a long pause. Was Tooth’s past the reason why he took pity on him when no one else did?

Tooth slid his hand out of Luci’s grip and covered his face with a low sigh. “I was a runaway, not able to get any legal work yet, so I was pickpocketing, sleeping in abandoned buildings, and so on.” Slowly, Tooth uncovered his eyes, still shielding the lower half of his face in the cradle of his fingers. “I usually ate at those cheap diners, and one time this girl started flirting with me. I was still a virgin, and... yeah, that was a long time ago. She suggested she was available, but I didn’t really have any decent money. But it had been a while since I actually chatted to anyone so I bought her some food, and we talked for a long time.” Tooth swallowed. “She was tired, but really pretty and sweet once she kinda opened up. And when it came up that I hadn’t found anywhere to sleep yet, she invited me over. She had this tiny apartment with three other girls, and that’s how it started.”

Did you hustle as well?” Luci cocked his head, amazed by this new side of Tooth he got to find out about. It looked as though they had more in common than Luci would have imagined.

Tooth shook his head and nervously massaged his eyes.

Luci swallowed. “Did you take care of them?” It was the best euphemism he could think of for ‘did you become their pimp?’. He’d seen situations like that all too often where a guy would be the girl’s boyfriend and provide her with security while she worked.

Tooth sighed. “Yes and no... I mean... I was already big at the time, and it just seemed like a better thing for all of us. I wasn’t taking their money or anything,” he said, squeezing his toes over the asphalt. “I got a bike, and I took them to clients, and made sure they were safe, and they gave me pocket money. I know how weird that sounds, but at the time it seemed like a good arrangement. I really... loved them. They were my family. We got each other Christmas presents and shit.”

Luci couldn’t help a little smile. He would have loved to have a Tooth around when he was out there on the street. Then again, he had Tooth now, so it wasn’t all that bad. “And she was targeted by these criminals?”

All color drained from Tooth’s face, and he shrugged. “She shouldn’t have gone without letting me know. And then someone found her in a shallow grave. One of her kidneys was removed, but they dumped it with her body. I think they found out about her positive status from something she had in her bag. They didn’t even use the fucking kidney...” Tooth bit his hand, his body beginning to tremble, but it was hard to say whether it was the cold or the memories.

Luci’s eyes watered at the horrifying confession. A life lost for nothing. A life so precious to Tooth he’d tattooed a commemorative cross on his arm. A life so important he left everything to find the perpetrators and joined the Coffin Nails. Lucifer slid closer again and wrapped his arms around Tooth’s midsection. For once, it wasn’t a silly attempt to get a feel of Tooth’s muscles. All Luci wanted was to give Tooth some comfort. “I’m so sorry.”

Tooth pulled him closer, close enough for Luci to hear the powerful heartbeat. “And she probably didn’t tell me because I was getting serious about her. I was jealous and wanted us to move on. I was old enough to find work, and it could have worked out, you know?”

Even listening to it crushed Luci’s heart. Both for Tooth and the imagined ‘Tracy’ whom he could feel for just as much. He could see her meeting a guy like Tooth, them getting along better, falling in love maybe. But they would have no money, so she would go out for one more time, and then another one last time. Luci knew that maybe his imagination was running too far, but he couldn’t help but put himself in the place of Tracy. He felt so safe with Tooth’s arms around him, and if Luci were her, he would also try to do anything he could to get money for them both, so they could have a future together. He bit his tongue so hard he drew blood not to cry. It wasn’t his moment, he was here for Tooth, not for his own stupid tears.

When Tooth spoke again, his voice had a strange, high-pitched rasp. “I didn’t know what to do. My life was falling apart again without her, and so I ended up here. I guess that’s as much of a happy ending as I could get.”

“Now you have brothers, right?” Luci swallowed and gave Tooth a quick kiss through the beard, with his heart pounding like crazy. He didn’t want to offend Tooth, but he was dying to show him some kind of support and affection. All he could do was hope Tooth wouldn’t take it the wrong way.

The coarse hairs tickled his skin when Tooth turned his head to look at him, and their noses touched, side to side, lips only millimeters apart. Luci couldn’t blink, too choked up with emotion. He’d never been in love before and he was beginning to wonder if this was what it was like. Always wanting to be around the other person, getting all hot and bothered over them, missing them if they were gone, and never feeling better than when they were close. It wasn’t just about Tooth being hot either, Tooth was the whole package. Handsome, caring, protective, and able to crush anyone Luci could ever be afraid of. Sadly, not gay.

Luci slowly pulled away. The last thing he wanted was to freak Tooth out.

Tooth slowly exhaled and put his hand on top of Luci’s head, petting it gently. They looked at Beast, who was busy at the feeder and didn’t pay them any attention. “Thanks.”

Luci smiled at him with a deep exhale. “Always here.” Waiting for something that will never happen.

Previous: Chapter 12
Next: Chapter 14