Authors: Kay Ellis
Monday morning, he rose late and phoned the office, informing Emily he would be working from home and she should reschedule the meetings set for that day. He hung up before Emily could start asking questions and turned to find Jesse watching from the doorway. Devon hadn't expected to see him up so soon and his heart ached to see the dark shadows beneath troubled brown eyes. Jesse looked pale, and younger than Devon had ever seen him look.
“Coffee?” he asked, heading for the kitchen.
Jesse trailed behind him, hugging his arms to his chest. “Why are you being nice to me?”
The question took Devon by surprise. “Why do you think?”
“I don't know.” Jesse shrugged one shoulder. “Because you want to fuck me?”
Slamming the two empty mugs he had just taken from the cupboard down on the work surface, Devon turned to face him. “You really think that's all I want?”
Another shrug. “It's all I'm good for. That's what Ant....” Jesse's eyes filled with fresh tears. “That's what
Quickly crossing the kitchen, Devon seized him by the shoulders, giving him a shake. “He's wrong. You're worth so much more than that. You want to know why I'm being nice? It's because I love you, you idiot. God knows I've tried not to, but I can't help myself. These past few weeks without you have been absolute hell.”
“Really?” Jesse asked in a small voice.
“Really,” Devon assured him. “And right now, I'm not thinking about sex. I'm prepared to wait until you're ready. As long as it takes. Okay?” Jesse managed a watery smile and Devon released him. “Why don't you go and have a shower while I make the coffee? I think there are still some of your clothes in the dresser.” He pressed his lips to Jesse's forehead. “I love you, baby, and we're going to get through this.”
Jesse nodded and took a step back. “Devon?”
“I like it when you call me baby. And I love you, too. I always have.”
Devon waited until he was sure Jesse was shut in the bathroom with the water running before retrieving his phone and thumbing through his contacts. Finding the name he was looking for, he pressed the call button and waited impatiently for an answer.
“Devon Alexander.” Kenny Marten, close friend and head of one of the capital's biggest modelling agencies, answered a split second before the call went to answerphone. “What can I do for you on this fine Monday morning?”
“I have a favour to ask.”
There was a lengthy pause before Kenny spoke again. “You want me to give Jesse Young a job? I was hoping you'd never get round to asking me, Devon.”
“He's a good kid, Kenny. He just needs a break.”
“Some would say he got his break when he got his claws into one of the richest men in the country. I'll be honest with you, I've seen photos and he's a good-looking kid. I could use him, but I've heard all this stuff about him and none of it good.”
“Antonio was badmouthing him all over town even before Saturday night. Everyone knows Young is a liar and a thief, and that he charges for sex. That's why Antonio hit him the other night. He caught Young taking money from his wallet.”
Devon sucked in a deep breath. He should have known Antonio would get his version of events out there first. “Is that what Antonio told you?”
“It's what he's telling
. Shit, you did know they were sleeping together, didn't you?”
“Sleeping together? That's not quite how I would put it.”
“Are you saying it's not true? Devon, I'm always going to take your word over Antonio's, you know that. If you vouch for Young, I'll willingly give him work. But you need to tell me the truth. I should know what I'm letting myself in for.”
“Saturday night Antonio phoned, telling me to go and get Jesse from his place. When I got there, Jesse was so drunk he could barely stand. Yet Antonio still found it necessary to beat him into submission. Yes, I think Antonio had sex with Jesse. I'm just not sure it was consensual.”
“What? You think Antonio forced him?” Kenny sounded shocked.
“Jesse hasn't actually said so, but... I'm pretty sure that's what happened.”
“Well, that settles it. I'm not having some sick pervert tell me who I can and can't employ. Tell Jesse to come and see me this afternoon. We'll have a trial session and see if he's any good.”
“Thank you.” Devon's gratitude was heartfelt. There had never been any love lost between Kenny and Antonio, but Devon appreciated Kenny's willingness to believe him. “Just one more thing. Jesse's fragile right now. Don't make him promises you can't keep.”
“I won't, I swear,” Kenny said. “Does two o'clock suit? I take it you're coming with him?”
“We'll be there. Thanks.”
Devon ended the call and went to tell Jesse the news.
THINGS happened fast in the weeks that followed, despite the fact the meeting with Kenny started off so badly. Jesse walked into the room like a frightened little boy, clinging onto the sleeve of Devon's jacket, afraid to let go in case Devon left him on his own. To his credit, Kenny had done his utmost to put the boy at ease. He left his office door open, something Devon knew he never did during meetings, and a photograph of his family had moved from its usual home on the bookcase to a prominent position on Kenny's desk.
For the first half-hour, Jesse was defensive and monosyllabic, his eyes firmly fixed on the floor. Devon resisted the urge to slap some sense into him and looked at Kenny with an apologetic shrug, annoyed with Jesse for throwing away his big chance with a petulant sulk.
Kenny waved a dismissive hand. He shot Jesse an appraising look and abruptly changed the subject, ignoring the boy altogether and chatting with Devon. He spoke about his wife's desire for another baby, his eldest son excelling at school while the younger seemed to be struggling, and how the business was doing so well he was thinking of moving to bigger offices. Gradually, Jesse relaxed enough to release his grip on Devon's sleeve and start paying attention to Kenny. A short while later, the older man related the tale of an embarrassing incident in the supermarket with one of his sons, and Jesse laughed. Devon stared at him in surprise and Kenny grinned. He stood up from behind the desk and held out his hand to Jesse.
“Well, you took your time, but finally you showed up. Hello, Jesse, I'm Kenny.”
Jesse hesitated, and then shook Kenny's hand with a rueful smile. “Sorry.”
“It's okay. So long as I have your attention now. You're a good-looking boy, Jesse, even with the bruises. There's no question I can find you work. But I need to know how you photograph. I'm going to send you off for a trial session with Billie and we'll take it from there.”
“Billie?” Jesse echoed faintly, instantly on edge again. “Can Devon come?”
“Don't worry,” Kenny assured him. “Billie is a professional. You'll be in good hands.”
As if on cue, a petite redhead bounded into the room and threw her arms around Devon. Eighteen months earlier she had done a series of publicity shots for Alexander Industries and Devon had liked her instantly. With her bubbly nature and vibrant energy, she was the perfect choice to work with Jesse. If anyone could put him at his ease and get the best out of him, it would be Billie.
“Please tell me this vision of loveliness is for me,” Billie said to Kenny, although Jesse was the one she fixed with her megawatt smile as she looked him over with a professional eye.
“He's all yours.” Kenny laughed. “Make sure you play nice and bring him back in one piece.”
And Billie had done a good job. Even with the bruises, the photographs she took were amazing. Jesse had been buzzing with excitement ever since, and the job offers were rolling in. Suddenly Jesse was in demand, and Kenny was confident of landing an advertising deal in a nationwide magazine campaign.
The only problem, in Devon's thinking, was that Jesse's confidence had been at an all-time low since that night at Antonio's. Not that he blamed him, because a few short weeks was no time at all to expect someone to get over something as terrible as what Devon suspected he had been through. Although Jesse refused to go into details, Devon knew he was still badly affected by whatever had happened. Kenny had arranged a room for Jesse in a shared flat owned by the agency, but apart from a brief visit to find out where the place was, Jesse hadn't been there.
For Devon's part, he was in no rush for Jesse to move out. He enjoyed having Jesse there, falling asleep in his arms each night, waking beside him in the morning. Any frustration he felt came from a lack of sex in their relationship, but it would happen when Jesse was ready. He just had to be patient.
It was late when they turned out the light and fell into bed. The next day was set to be a busy one, with both their schedules filled with meetings.
“Dev?” They lay on their sides, facing each other in the darkness. “I think maybe tomorrow I should stay at my place.”
“Okay,” Devon replied slowly, hoping Jesse wouldn't hear his disappointment. “If you're sure that's what you want.”
“It's not,” Jesse told him. “But it seems pointless having it if I'm not going to use it. Besides, it's closer to the studio.”
“Of course, that makes sense. I just worry about you.”
“I know you do, but I have to stand on my own two feet sometime. I can't depend on you forever.”
“Well then, it's settled,” Devon said stiffly. He rolled over, turning his back to Jesse. “Now, you'd better get some sleep. You'll never be a supermodel with bags under your eyes.”
Jesse sighed in the dark. “You're angry with me.”
“I'm not. You're young. It's only right you get a life of your own.”
Jesse shifted across the bed, slipping one arm around Devon's waist as he pressed his chest against his back. “Can I still stay here at the weekends?”
Devon shrugged, hating himself for being so cross with Jesse for making what was a perfectly logical decision. “If you want.”
A hand slipped beneath his T-shirt, gently rolling a nipple between finger and thumb. Jesse's breath was warm on the back of Devon's neck. “I want,” he said huskily.
Devon tipped his head back, seeking Jesse's mouth in the darkness. “Are you sure?” he breathed, when they stopped kissing long enough for him to ask.
Jesse's response was to push Devon's pyjama bottoms down past his knees before bringing his hand back up to the tight hole between his arse cheeks. He slipped a finger inside, making Devon growl in needy pleasure. After a few moments he added another finger, and then a third. Devon pushed down on his hand impatiently, the feeling of Jesse's tongue in his mouth and his fingers inside him intense and pleasurable.
Sensing Devon's desperation, Jesse freed himself from his shorts, his erection lying hot and heavy against Devon's thigh. Devon brought one hand up, winding his fingers through Jesse's thick hair, pulling their mouths together for another searing kiss. Jesse broke free, rolling Devon onto his stomach. Covering Devon's body with his own, Jesse gently nudged his legs apart, settling in the space between them. Taking his weight on his arms, he pushed inside, making Devon cry out.
“Is this okay?” Jesse asked breathlessly.
“Mmmm... don't... stop,” Devon gasped, wriggling his hips.
Jesse began to move, slowly, filling Devon with long, deep thrusts that had him wantonly begging for more. Kneeling up behind him, Jesse grabbed Devon's hips, pulling him onto all fours. Holding Devon tightly, Jesse moved harder and faster, the room filling with the sounds of soft cries and grunts. With his right hand, Jesse reached around and jerked Devon's cock in time with his deep plunges, tipping Devon over the edge and into a blissful orgasm. Devon's muscles tightened around Jesse as he came, and Jesse cried out, his thrusts faltering as his body shook with a powerful orgasm.
Spent, Jesse withdrew and collapsed onto the mattress, pulling Devon into a tight embrace. They lay there, breathless and happy, for several minutes before either of them could speak.
“You can definitely stay for the weekend if you promise to do that again.” Devon smiled.
Jesse laughed. “Hey, I'm eighteen. Give me five minutes, I'll be ready to go again. Sod waiting till the weekend.”
“I'd heard a rumour that romance is dead. I think you might have just proved it.”
Jesse propped himself up on one elbow. “You don't think I can be romantic?”
“Let's just say it's not one of your greatest strengths.”
“Is that what you want, though? Romance?”
“It's what every boy wants, Jesse, however old he gets.”
“Then marry me.”
“Don't be ridiculous.”
“I'm serious. I'm doing something romantic and I'm asking you to marry me.”
Devon sat up, suddenly irritated. This wasn't the way things were supposed to go. For once, he wished they could have the amazing sex without the drama afterward. Yet again, Jesse proved how young and immature he was, thinking proposing was the best way to show he could be romantic. The idea was preposterous. Even if he meant it in the heat of the moment, he would regret it by morning. Devon was too old for such shit. And Jesse was too young.
“I'm not marrying you, Jesse. It's a stupid idea.”
“Stupid? Wow, thanks.” Jesse rolled off the bed and began searching for his clothes. “Now who's being unromantic?”
“Where are you going?”
“Home. Busy day tomorrow, remember?”
“You don't have to go.” Devon regretted hurting him, never imagined Jesse would take his rejection so badly, but he hadn't considered for a moment that Jesse was serious. Devon couldn't agree to marry him just to keep the peace. In the morning, once Jesse had time to calm down and think things over, he'd see it was for the best. He'd probably be relieved to know Devon hadn't taken him seriously. “Get back into bed, Jesse. Please don't leave like this.”