Ryan parked his car in the driveway and turned off the engine. He let his head fall back against the seat with a relieved sigh. The evening commute had been even more hellish than usual and he was beyond glad to be home.
Briefly he closed his eyes, before gathering up his suit jacket and briefcase from the passenger seat and getting out of the car. Fuck, but he was tired. His light blue button-down, the sleeves rolled halfway up his forearms, was as wilted as he felt. He’d loosened his navy tie and undone the top button of his shirt, but it hadn’t helped much. He couldn’t wait to shed his attorney persona for jeans, a tee shirt and bare feet.
Holding the jacket with two fingers hooked into the collar, he slung it over his shoulder and trudged up the brick path to the front door. The briefcase felt like it weighed a ton and the last thing he wanted to think about was the paperwork inside it that he had to look over in preparation for an eight a.m. court appearance next morning.
At the door, he set down the briefcase and stuck his hand in his pocket. Before he could retrieve the house key, however, the door unexpectedly opened.
“Hey,” Teddy said, smiling a welcome.
“Hey,” Ryan replied, brightening visibly. “What are you doing here? I thought your soccer team had a game.”
“Canceled. Apparently half the players on the other team came down with a stomach bug.”
“I’m selfishly glad.” He tried not to be needy, to give Teddy space and time for his own pursuits. But he wasn’t going to apologize, not this time, not after a frustrating day filled with recalcitrant witnesses, unsympathetic judges and pompous asshole prosecutors.
“So am I, to be honest. Gives me a chance to pamper my favorite legal aid attorney. Here.” Teddy held out a glass tumbler half-filled with ice and amber liquid. “Scotch and soda.”
“God, I love you,” Ryan said, taking the glass. He raised it to his lips and took a large gulp, coughing a little as the Scotch burned a path to his stomach.
“Easy does it,” Teddy warned as he picked up Ryan’s briefcase and moved it into the foyer. “I made it pretty strong.”
“Brilliant. The stronger the better.”
“Rough day?” Teddy took the jacket from Ryan and draped it over the banister of the stairs that went up to the second floor.
Ryan sipped the Scotch and shrugged. “More of the usual courtroom drama from that asshole Weiner. I’d really love to talk it over with you, Teddy, but not just yet, okay?”
“Sure thing. C’mere.” Teddy slid his arms around Ryan and with cupped palm coaxed his head down. He held him for a few minutes, rocking a little, and didn’t speak, just offered wordless comfort and a broad shoulder for Ryan to rest his head against.
“Fuck, this is nice,” said Ryan, rubbing his cheek against Teddy’s green cotton sweatshirt. Never had a guy been more aptly named, he thought. It was like hugging a big, lovable teddy bear, but one with the world’s sexiest eyes and a killer smile.
“It’s about to get nicer. Come with me.” One arm still around his lover’s shoulders, Teddy led him into the living room where the evening news was playing on the television. “Lie down on the couch and I’ll give you a back rub.”
“My hero.” Ryan quickly downed the remainder of his Scotch and soda, already experiencing the liquor’s soothing effect in the tendrils of warmth unfurling in his stomach and spreading outward. He set the empty glass on the coffee table then flopped onto the sofa cushions, belly first. “Ohhh,” he groaned, toeing off his black dress shoes. “Oh man, this is bliss.”
“You ain’t seen nothin’ yet, mister.” Teddy shut off the TV. Then he went to Ryan and straddled his thighs, knees braced on either side of his narrow hips. Placing his hands on the wings of Ryan’s shoulder blades, he started kneading the muscles with strong, rhythmic movements. “Shit, you're stiff as a board,” he said, and dug his fingers into a knotted muscle, working it loose.
“Oh god,” Ryan moaned ecstatically. “That feels fucking incredible.”
“That’s why they call me Mr. Magic Fingers,” joked Teddy.
“A title you richly deserve.”
Ryan’s left arm dangled limply over the edge of the sofa, fingertips just brushing the beige carpet. The tension gradually leached out of him as Teddy massaged his neck, shoulders, arms and back until the muscles were relaxed and supple once more. His eyelashes fluttered shut, and he hovered in a half-waking, half-dreaming state of sheer boneless bliss.
“Don’t fall asleep, Ryan,” Teddy said softly. “Dinner’s almost ready.”
“I may never be able to move again,” Ryan replied without opening his eyes, but he was smiling. “Fuck, you’re good, Mr. Magic Fingers.”
“You should see what I can do in bed,” Teddy said.
“Are you trying to seduce me, Theodore?”
“What do you think? First I ply you with liquor and a back rub and then I get you into bed and have my wicked way with you.”
“Sounds like the perfect plan to me,” Ryan said.
“Except that I have a pot roast in the oven.” Teddy bent forward and pressed a soft kiss to the corner of Ryan’s mouth. “And I better go check on it. I’ll call you when it’s time to eat.”
Teddy swung his leg up and off Ryan and stood. But before he could move, Ryan took hold of his right hand, and pulled him down for a proper kiss, long and lingering.
“Thanks, babe,” he said, caressing Teddy’s cheek with the backs of his fingers. “You’re always so fucking good to me.”
“I can’t imagine why,” Teddy said, lightly tweaking Ryan’s nose, and earned a giggle for his effort. “Now before our dinner is incinerated…” He started to move away.
“Wait. There’s one more thing,” Ryan said.
“Next time, will you meet me at the door wearing nothing but a frilly apron?”
“I’ll think about it,” Teddy promised, laughing, and went away to the kitchen.
After Teddy departed, Ryan fell into a light doze, utterly relaxed and content. Teddy’s loving care had once more dispelled the effects of a shitty stressful day. For about the millionth time Ryan blessed whatever fate had caused him to literally bump into Teddy at the local Starbuck's. It was the best thing that had ever happened to him, no doubt about it. Sure, defending the indigent wasn't glamorous work, but it was emotionally satisfying, unlike the corporate law that had been eating his soul and driving him into depression, until Teddy convinced him to stop pleasing his father and start pleasing himself, that is. He owed Teddy so much - his sanity, for starters.
Dimly Ryan could hear a dog barking outside. Must be Wilfred, his neighbor Jenna’s dog, he thought. The big shaggy gray mutt sure had a mouth on him. Funny, before he’d met Teddy, Ryan had wondered if maybe canine companionship would help beat back the loneliness and depression, but not anymore. After all, who needed a dog when he had his very own teddy bear to love?