Luci was too embarrassed to crawl out of bed. He’d been awake for over an hour, but facing Tooth was so cringeworthy he could barely stand breathing. Maybe they could just pretend yesterday never happened? His confession was a failure on a scale so epic he doubted anyone ever got burned like that. But even a boy with a broken heart needed to pee, so eventually his bladder was what forced him to uncover himself.
He avoided looking into the direction of Tooth’s bed and walked over to the bathroom. His head hurt from the amount of crying he’d done yesterday. Yet another cause for embarrassment.
He stirred, and his stomach became light when his eyes met Tooth’s. Tooth was lying in bed, with only his bottom half covered, the bare torso like a carrot Luci could never eat. He looked so sexy with his hair still a mess from sleeping. “How are you feeling?” he muttered groggily.
Luci guessed it was about being hungover, not about his squashed feelings. “I’m thirsty,” he muttered and fled to the bathroom. What a fucking cock-up. And how was he supposed to think properly with the numb pounding in his head. He relieved his bladder and washed his face to feel a bit fresher. The mirror wasn’t responding well to him today, but he took a deep breath and walked out to face Tooth.
He was greeted by a large glass of water. Tooth was just in his jogging bottoms, which left Luci staring at his gorgeous torso, needing, wanting. He’d actually gotten to touch it yesterday, and it was heaven.
“Do you need some painkillers?”
“Um, yeah, that would be helpful. Sorry for yesterday. Got a bit carried away,” he muttered and played with his hair so it would hide some of his face.
Tooth’s chest expanded before his eyes like the sweetest candy he just wanted to lick all over. “You were drunk, don’t worry about it. I’m surprised you even remember any of it.”
Luci remembered too much for his liking. He had been a pathetic, desperate pup whining ‘love me, love me’ and humping Tooth’s leg while at it. “Yeah, I think it’s the mix that did me in.” He swallowed the painkillers with the water, making not meeting Tooth’s gaze his job.
“I’m gonna feed Bell some chili peppers for pouring all that into you.” Tooth folded his arms across his chest and paced around the room with a deep frown.
“It’s fine, I asked for it. It was his birthday anyway.” The small talk was slowly killing Lucifer’s will to live. Each meaningless word a nail to his coffin. Only appropriate. He took off his T-shirt after a bit of hesitation. He was definitely not something Tooth wanted to look at, but he needed to change, and it would be even weirder to now, all of a sudden, go change in the bathroom.
Tooth sighed and walked over to the kitchenette. The sound of water heating in the kettle was so familiar Luci was already expecting the scent of coffee to soon fill the room.
Luci took the opportunity of Tooth turning his back on him and stared at the muscular back he would never get to touch. He could shower later. “I was thinking… Maybe I should get my own room,” he mumbled.
Tooth froze in the middle of putting coffee into the mug. “Yeah?” he asked after a moment’s silence, with the spoon still hovering over the packet.
“Yeah… I mean, I’m gonna be twenty in two months. I can’t have a never ending sleepover here.” Luci kept pondering what it was that Tooth didn’t like in him. He did say he liked young and pretty. Maybe he only had a thing for black guys? Or did he really just think of Luci as a brother, and it made him feel awkward? Luci shouldn’t have bounced around the room naked so often. Fuck.
The sound of the spoon clinking against the mug made him slouch. Tooth cleared his throat. “I get it. You want some independence?”
“My own space to invite people over and shit.” And not torture myself with looking at you every day.
Tooth turned around and leaned against the counter. The frown was still there, forced back but there, most likely a sign of judging Luci’s silly hopes. “You’d have to talk to Priest.”
Luci nodded, happy that he had a glass in his hand, not just stood there like a sack of awkwardness. Sucking dick was never this complicated. Tooth must have been really uninterested to refuse that. Would his friendship with Tooth now change? Would they not go to concerts together? Why did Luci have to mess up a good thing? “Sure.”
A knock made them both look at the door, which opened before either of them could say ‘come in’. Priest walked in with a blue box and a huge plastic bag dangling from one of his hands. “Oh, you’re up. Good.”
“Me?” Luci rubbed his face. If he were with Tooth, they’d have to lock the door in case someone thought it was a good idea to just barge in like that. But he wasn’t with Tooth.
Priest wiggled his demonic eyebrows, dumping the bag by the wall. He extended his hands, presenting the box to Luci, proud as a peacock. “That’s for you.”
Luci opened his eyes wider and looked up at Priest unsure what to make of it. “Is there an occasion?” The box wasn’t very heavy and had holes on the sides. Luci sat down with it on the bed.
Priest put his hands in his pockets and started pacing in front of him. “Not really. Think of it as a late welcome gift.”
Luci had no idea what this could possibly be, but when he opened the lid and looked at the gray, green-eyed ball of fur, he forgot all his troubles, even if just for a moment. He pulled out the kitten and it meowed at him but didn’t run away. “It’s so sweet! I always wanted a cat.” He nuzzled the cat’s ear and melted with glee when it began to lick his face.
“I know, Asty told me,” said Priest with a wide grin. He scooted in front of Luci and gently tapped his thick finger on the top of the cat’s head. Its huge eyes were hard at work, taking in the new surroundings.
This gift really did make this miserable day a bit better. “I have to think of a name for it. Is that a litter box, or do we need to go shopping?” Only after he’d said it, he realized that he’d counted Tooth into the equation without asking him.
Tooth was leaning against the wall and watching him with his eyes narrowed. Priest shook the bag. “The important stuff is here, but we’ll obviously get more. So, what are you calling him?” he asked, looking at Luci expectantly. “Butch?”
“Oh, come on! He doesn’t look like a ‘Butch’.” Luci laughed and cocked his head to the side. “What do you think, Tooth?”
Tooth’s mouth twitched. “So it’s a he?” he asked, slowly walking over. “How about Manson?”
Luci pouted at him and put the kitten in his lap. Of course that was what he’d come up with. Tooth was the only person who knew Marilyn Manson was Lucifer’s secret musical guilty pleasure. “I suppose he looks a bit like a potential serial killer.” He looked into those big, innocent green eyes, but when the kitten gave a loud, pleading meow, it got his heart to melt.
Priest scratched his head. “Yeah, that might work too.” His eyes strayed to Tooth. “Hope you’re okay with it?”
Luci looked up at Tooth. “I’ll take care of it, clean, feed it, and everything.”
Tooth bit his lip, staring at the cat as if it were a spider infesting his home. “Yeah, that’s fine.”
Luci knew it would be a good moment to ask Priest about moving out, but he couldn’t get himself to do it. He already imagined how much fun they would have with the kitten together with Tooth. He smiled and let the animal play with his fingers.
Priest stared at him and only smiled after a moment, patting Luci on the arm. “I thought it would be good for you.”
“Teach me some responsibility?” Luci mocked, rocking his head to the sides.
Priest cleared his throat. “More or less.”
Tooth’s footsteps filled Luci’s mind so completely he didn’t listen to the next thing his dad said. And then, Tooth sat down right next to him, and with a hand big enough to squish the tiny kitten, gently petted its back. Luci half-imagined it could be him who was getting stroked over his spine. Tooth’s thigh touched Luci’s, and even that was getting Luci hot all over.
“I have to read up on what to feed him.” Luci smiled up at Tooth. If he could, he would just crawl under his arm and kiss for an eternity. Too bad Tooth didn’t even care enough to have a drunk make out session.
Priest kneeled next to the bag and pulled out a small packet of dry food, some cans and sachets. “That’s what you need for now. There’s also some toys inside.”
Luci smiled and picked up the kitten for a kiss. Maybe he would have someone of his own after all?
Luci finally took a long bath. He’d set up the space for Manson with Tooth and the awkwardness wasn’t all that bad anymore. Luci did get dressed in the bathroom though. When he came out with his hair still wet and accompanied by steam, Tooth was nowhere to be found. Before he knew what was happening, there was warm fluff brushing over his calves. Mason was such an affectionate creature, it was sweet how much attention he seemed to need.
For a moment, Luci wondered whether Tooth was somewhere downstairs, but the blood drained from his face when he noticed that the box under the bed had clearly been moved. Luci picked up the kitten and sat with it on the bed, clenching his eyes hard. He would not cry. So Tooth wouldn’t want him when he threw himself at Tooth, but would go out to meet up with some random fuck buddy? Maybe worse? Maybe Tooth actually had someone he wouldn’t tell Luci about, and that was why he rejected him. He didn’t know what would hurt more. That Tooth could have some lover, or that he wouldn’t tell him about it. They talked so much. Luci poured his heart out to Tooth.
Mason tried to jump on Luci’s shoulder, but it was too much for him, and he fell into Luci’s lap with a loud meow. At least this little thing was interested.
“Maybe he thinks I couldn’t handle his kinky shit,” Luci said to the cat and gently patted its head. If that was the case, at least there was something he could do about it. He was willing to experiment with more than just spanking.
The kitten looked up at him with interest, and Luci imagined it saying, ‘You should prove him otherwise then.’
“I know, right? I’m a big boy.”
But the truth was his heart kept bleeding every time his mind strayed to the imaginary man Tooth was most likely fucking now. It made Luci feel so completely useless. Tooth was one to talk about guys wanting him. He himself was gay but wouldn’t even let Luci suck him off, probably afraid he’d get some dirty disease. God, that had to be it. The only other option coming to his mind pushed him into yet another level of being upset.
“I don’t have a small dick, kitty,” he said to Manson with a pout. “You think he saw me naked so many times that he got bored with me? Or likes them curvy or something? And it’s a lot bigger when I get hard. He must know that.”
The sound of a Beyoncé song cut through the silence, making Luci look around for the source. It was the phone Rick had given him. He couldn’t change the fucking ring tone for the life of him. He grabbed the phone out of his bag, and with his other hand pushed the cat to its back and petted its belly.
“Hey,” he tried to fake some enthusiasm.
“You haven’t messaged me for a while,” said Rick with an uplifting tone.
“Yeah, I’m sorry, I was just so busy at the salon, and now school started.” School. The last fucking thing he wanted to think about.
Rick laughed. “How about a little meetup? We could eat some pretzels in my car and talk? How about that?”
Lucifer snorted when Manson bit his finger with the barely-there teeth. “That actually sounds really nice. I got a cat, I’ll show him to you.”
Rick was speechless for a moment. “A cat? Since when?”
“Today. My dad bought it for me. We called him Manson, so I’m pretty sure he’s gonna grow up to be one deadly killing machine.”
“Just make sure you wash your hands after handling him. You know you have a weak stomach,” said Rick.
“Um, I’ll be fine. You’re not allergic, are you?”
“Tooth’s not here anyway.” He hoped his voice didn’t sound sour. “So you can meet me a block down from the club?”
“Sure, works for me. In an hour?” asked Rick, and there was some rustling in the background, but Luci was distracted by the cat attacking his finger.
“Fine. I still have to dry my hair. See you then!”
“Bye, I’ll get you your favorite one,” said Rick before hanging up.
Lucifer took a deep breath and left the cat alone. Maybe he could talk to Rick about his situation by making up a hypothetical construct.
As he walked past the bed, he kicked the box under it with a snarl.