That night, Finn and Troy ordered Chinese food and sat on the floor of Troy’s office to eat it, careful not to spill any sauce on anything of value. Mostly, they talked about the mystery, and it didn’t escape Finn’s attention that they were talking around the big kiss in the room. Finn had probably already wasted too much time thinking about it.
The kiss itself had been nice, but the greater problem here as far as Finn was concerned was that it seemed to signal some sort of change in their relationship. Not that they’d never kissed before; quite the contrary. But in the past, the kisses had always been preludes to sex, and this one had been a sweet little kiss that had happened just for the sake of kissing.
And now he was sitting in the same room as Troy, who was yammering on obliviously about gender relations in the nineteenth century, and all Finn could think was that Troy had a really lovely mouth, and he would very much like to kiss it again.
Troy interrupted his lecture to ask, “Do I have something on my face?”
“Oh. You’re staring.”
Finn blinked a few times. “No, I’m not.”
Troy shifted his feet so that he was sitting with his legs stretched out. He leaned against the sofa, right next to where Finn was also leaning. “You weren’t even listening.”
Finn contemplated lying. “Eh, I guess I zoned out. Sorry.”
“It’s fine. Probably stuff you mostly already knew. Here, have a fortune cookie.” Troy picked up two and handed one to Finn.
Finn cracked his open. He read aloud, “Look in the right places; you will find some good offerings.”
“In bed,” said Troy with a grin.
Finn rolled his eyes. “You are such a child.”
“I don’t think there is anything childish about showing you the offerings found in my bed.”
And there was a mental image Finn didn’t want. Before that line of thinking got out of hand, he asked, “What does yours say?”
Troy chuckled as he opened his fortune cookie. “’Bide your time, for success is near.’ In bed. Ha! I knew it was only a matter of time.”
“Well, I have always been an advocate of slow and steady in certain…circumstances. So one could take it that way. Or one could argue that the moment I will succeed in seducing you is nigh.”
Finn’s face heated up. “I told you, no sex.” Although, he admitted to himself, he wasn’t completely opposed to being seduced.
Troy moved a little closer. “It’s not that I don’t respect your boundaries…”
Finn put a hand on Troy’s chest to ward him off. He wondered when Troy had gotten so close. Then he marveled at how warm Troy’s body was. How strong and alive. He looked up because he knew something was about to happen. Their eyes met.
“It’s that I don’t believe you,” Troy said before lowering his face to Finn’s.
Their mouths crashed together. Almost by instinct, Finn devoured Troy. It was not the most appetizing of kisses; Troy tasted mostly of garlic sauce. But there was something there, something that pulled at Finn, that forced him to move his hand to the back of Troy’s head to hold him there, that compelled him to slide his tongue along Troy’s teeth. There was a promise in the kiss of greater things, of memories and events not yet experienced, and it was familiar and strange all at once.
Then Troy had to ruin it by groaning, which brought Finn back to the time and place they actually inhabited, and he pulled away. “We’re not doing this.”
“You want to,” Troy said, his warm breath feathering across Finn’s cheek. “You want me.”
“It doesn’t matter.”
“It does. Why would we deprive ourselves of something we both want?”
Finn knew it would be best to back away, but he was trapped in Troy’s orbit now, unable to move more than a few inches. “Professional. You promised to keep this professional.”
Then they were kissing again. This time, Troy ran his fingers through Finn’s hair, sending electric tingles along his scalp. Finn opened his mouth to let Troy in and then was lost, surrounded by the mixed scent of Chinese food and Troy’s spicy cologne. Finn could only feel; he forgot how to think. The world stopped when they kissed.
Except kissing Troy could only end in disaster. Finn knew that from experience. He managed to pull away again, but this time he stood up to remove the temptation. “No,” he said. “I mean, yes, obviously I’m attracted to you, but we’re not doing this. We can’t.” He bent down to pick up the empty food containers.
Finn looked at the containers in his hand, the eviscerated bits of food left behind. He wondered if there wasn’t a metaphor there. “I can’t,” he said. He dumped the containers in the trash can.
“What do you want from me?”
Troy pulled his legs up to his chest. “I thought that was obvious.”
“Yeah and then what? So, we have sex, just like we have a half dozen times before, and then what do we do? There’s too much shit between us for that to not end in disaster.”
“Will you stop being such a pessimist? Besides, you’re the one who always storms out. So don’t do that this time. Stay. Look, you know that I want you. I’m pretty sure you’re just as hot for me. The only thing that is preventing us from having really awesome sex tonight is your stupid stubborn streak.”
“I’m still mad at you.”
“So you keep reminding me. But maybe you should consider taking a moment to look at yourself and figure out who you’re really angry with. The last time you and I had any meaningful contact besides for sex was in grad school, and that was, what, six, seven years ago? Are you really still holding on to that grudge?”
“You sabotaged my whole academic career.”
Troy stood. His brow was furrowed like he was angry, yet all he did was casually wipe the dust off his pants and walk over to his desk. “I did nothing of the sort. You’re being irrational. I will not discuss this further unless you want to take the time to work out what’s really going on here.”
But Finn was already reaching for his jacket. He didn’t want to spend time wallowing in his feelings. “I’m outta here.”