by Dannye Chase
Bryan Lee was not having a good day.
It was going to be, in fact, arguably the most important day of his life, but he didn’t know that then, not while he was climbing a ladder in Graham’s clothing shop trying to rescue a cat who’d gotten stuck in the ceiling.
The cat’s name was Frances. Lee called her that because no one else had named her yet and he liked to greet her when she entered his garden and flower shop. She was a stray cat who roamed the row of businesses on Dormand Street, from the cafe on one end to Graham’s High-End Heaven to Lee’s place, Eden, to the jewelry boutique next door called Bee’s, and on down to the bakery on the other corner. Lee put food out for Frances regularly, and sometimes she ate it, so of everyone on the street, she seemed to like Lee best. Which was why when Graham discovered that he had a cat in his ventilation system, he stormed over and demanded that Lee remove her before she got any cat hair on his wares.
It wasn’t a very busy morning, just a Tuesday before lunch, and so the cat rescue was the most interesting thing going on in the street at the moment. Bee drifted over from their shop, and one of the bakers came by. Lee was not terribly pleased to be making a spectacle of himself.
“What on earth are you doing up there?” he called to the cat. “Come on, Frances, love, it’s just me, you know me. Come down, I’ll take you next door, we’ll have a nice chat over a bit of tuna, you can run about the greenhouse.”
“You sound ridiculous saying sweet things like that,” observed Bee. “Not your nature.”
Lee shot them a glare. Bee was short, with black hair. They owned the jewelry shop next door which sold expensive, mostly insect-themed jewelry, like dragonflies, butterflies, and the play on their creator’s name: bees. Lee thought the jewelry was cute enough, and Bee made an okay neighbor. Better than Graham on the other side. Graham was a tall, handsome asshole who did not possess a sense of humor. He thought he did, though, which is why he took delight in doing things like misnaming Bee’s shop. (If the first two shops in a row were Heaven and Eden, then according to Graham, Bee’s place must be Hell. Graham did not get on with Bee—Lee couldn’t imagine why—especially since the height of his wit was to keep with both themes, the insects and the religious nonsense, and call Bee Lord of the Flies.)
So Lee wasn’t climbing to ridiculous heights in Heaven on this gray Tuesday morning to relieve Graham of his troubles. He just figured Graham and Frances probably shouldn’t spend too much time together.
In retrospect, Lee probably should have known better than to climb a ladder today, because so far it had been the kind of day where everything seemed fated to go wrong. Lee hadn’t gotten his order of cut flowers in that morning, delayed by all the snow they’d had, and he’d broken a pot almost first thing, and later a vase. A customer had yelled at him for no reason Lee could divine—apparently yelling at shop owners just made some people feel better.
And of course, Graham was yelling at him now, telling him to watch where he put his fingers, which, to be fair, were always at least a little bit dirty (hazards of running a garden shop), but also to be fair, Lee hadn’t actually planned to touch any of Graham’s fancy clothes, until Graham had started yelling at him about it. Then it seemed quite the idea. In fact, he’d also love it if Frances managed to get quite a lot of cat hair on everything as well.
When Lee got to the top of the step ladder, he still couldn’t reach the ceiling, so he had to put one foot on a hastily-cleared hat shelf. It wavered a little, but seemed solid enough, so he rested his weight on it and took his foot off the ladder, stretching up toward Frances.
The next few seconds were a little confusing. Lee eventually realized that he was lying on the floor of Graham’s shop, and so were a couple of other things: the ladder, a broken shelf, and some clothes. Frances was sitting on his stomach, peering at him.
“Decided to come down, did you?” Lee asked. Or he meant to. But the words didn’t come out. Lee realized that Bee was peering down at him, looking very concerned. They were talking on the phone.
“You fell, Lee,” they said, and Lee guessed it must have been true. It was, in fact, probably why he didn’t seem able to move. Frances stopped sniffing at him and darted away, and then things got hazy again.
When Lee next woke up, he was lying on a bed, but the bed was moving. This was fairly confusing, as was all the noise and the lights and the people all talking at once.
“Bryan?” someone asked, but he didn’t recognize the voice. That probably made it okay that he didn’t answer, right?
“Not responsive,” the voice said.
Lee just stared up at the white ceiling with bright white lights, and feeling more and more like he wanted to get up and run away, except his body wouldn’t move—
And then someone was there above him, looking down at him with the most beautiful smile Lee had ever seen. In fact, Lee realized, this person might have been the most beautiful man he had ever seen. He had blue eyes and soft white-blond curls and a rounded face that looked perfect holding a smile like that, like it was made for it, the full cheeks giving the smile more room to grow.
“Hello, Bryan,” said the man. “Not feeling your best, I see? We’ll get you fixed up, my dear, don’t worry.”
The man’s faced tilted up and he seemed to be listening to other people talking to him. Lee couldn’t really hear what they were saying though. At least the bed came to a stop. He tried to focus on the beautiful man. Was he wearing tartan-patterned scrubs?
The man looked back down at Lee and smiled again. “You’ve had a nasty knock on the head. You know, if you’re going to chase cats, you really ought to learn to land like them, feet first.” Lee wanted to laugh, but he made no sound.
The blond man seemed very pleased, though. “Oh! You’ve smiled at that. I’m flattered, my jokes are all terrible. But I’m glad to know you’re hearing me. I’ll clear some things up for you, then. You’re in the emergency ward. I’m one of the nurses here, and my name is Alistair. It’s a big silly name, I know, don’t worry, we never ask anyone to spell it. I’m going to check you over to see how things are with your head and neck, all right?”
The man’s hands were soft and warm, and wherever they moved over Lee’s head and face, the pain seemed to dim a little. Lee only realized at that point that he was in pain, actually, a rather large amount of pain. Alistair frowned slightly, just at the same time. “It hurts, I know. Don’t worry, my dear, we’ll get that taken care of as soon as we can. I believe you’ve got a concussion, but it doesn’t seem serious. You’ve got no dashing battle wound, I’m afraid, not even much of a goose egg. I hope you didn’t have your heart set on a romantic scar across your forehead to charm all the, ah—well, whoever it is you’d like to charm, Bryan.” Alistair smiled again, with just a hint of color to his cheeks.
You, Lee wanted to say, and he wanted to say it so badly, to this beautiful man with the soft hands and soft smile and oh, how soft would the skin of his cheek be, if Lee could touch that with his own fingers?
Fortunately, Lee didn’t say any of that. Even more fortunately, he did actually say something. “It’s Lee.”
If the earlier smile on Alistair’s face had been beautiful, this one was glorious. Alistair looked absolutely delighted and Lee nearly shivered with the knowledge that he was the cause of Alistair’s happiness. God, if he could figure out how to reliably do that, he would be a blessed man.
“There you are,” Alistair said fondly. “I knew you weren’t really the silent type. So you go by Lee. That’s good to know. How are you feeling, Lee?”
A look of concern flashed over Alistair’s face, very quickly, and then was gone and the smile returned. “Well, they’ve got you strapped down rather well, my dear. Sometimes people with head injuries can be a little combative, and we’re trying to protect your spine. I wouldn’t worry too much about it just yet. I’m afraid I’ve got more questions for you, though. Do you know what day it is?”
“Tuesday. January—I never know what day it is. Sorry.”
“That’s good enough. And do you remember where I said you were?”
“Excellent. And what do you do for a living, Lee?”
“Garden and flower shop. I own a shop.”
This made Alistair look delighted again, and now Lee had done it twice. “Oh, how wonderful,” the nurse said. “I just love flowers. Suppose I have to, working in a hospital, we see enough of them. But they always brighten everyone’s day. All right, one more, my dear. How many of me do you see?”
Lee told him the truth. “One, thank God. Don’t think I could handle two of you.”
There was a snort of laughter from someone else close by, but Lee couldn’t see who it was. He could see Alistair, see his mouth drop open as he looked at whoever was laughing, see his skin flush a pretty, rather delicate pink. Alistair’s eyes flicked to Lee, and then away, and then back again, and the blush was only getting worse. “Well,” he said. “I can see you’re nothing but trouble, my heavens. It’s lucky for me you’re headed upstairs and out of my arena.”
It was like being told that it was going to rain when you were about to start out for a day at the beach. Lee felt cold suddenly at the thought of going somewhere else in this building where he knew no one, where he couldn’t even move, where he couldn’t see Alistair.
He startled when he felt a warm hand on his cheek, and looked up into Alistair’s face. The man was smiling very reassuringly now. “You’re going to be all right,” he said softly. “Probably walk out of here in an hour or two. They’ve just got to run an x-ray and I’m sure it will show that everything is just fine.”
Lee knew that everything was not fine, his head hurt and he couldn’t move, and he didn’t want to be lied to, damn it, but when he looked up into Alistair’s face, somehow he believed everything the man said.
As it turned out, Alistair had been right. Not long after he went upstairs, Lee’s headache dropped to a dull pain. And after the x-ray, when they removed the restraints, Lee’s limbs worked, his hands, his feet, although a little sluggishly. He was even able to sit up.
After a while, a doctor came into the room where they’d stashed Lee. She had long dark hair caught up at the base of her head and round glasses. “Evening!” she said. “I’m Dr. Device. Heard you took a knock on your head.”
“Yeah, I fell,” Lee told her. “There was a cat,” he added, as an explanation.
Dr. Device looked at him closely for a second, and then she pulled a set of x-rays out of a folder and put them up on a light board. A nurse stepped into the room as well, wearing pink scrubs. Alistair was the only nurse Lee had seen wearing tartan. The nurse and doctor looked at the x-rays for a moment before the doctor said, “Oh. So the angel’s in the ER today.”
“Yeah, they won the coin toss this morning,” the nurse told her.
Dr. Device turned back to Lee. “Well, you don’t have a concussion. We’ll get you some discharge instructions, and you need to be more careful on ladders, all right?”
“Angel?” Lee asked.
The doctor smirked. “Hospital’s got a bit of a good luck charm, that’s all. Nice to meet you, Mr. Lee, hope I don’t see you again.” And with that, she was gone.
The nurse was more chatty. “He’s a float nurse, so all the wards fight over him. Ambulance crew too. When he’s around, oh, there’s just something in the air. Surgeries go without complications, infections clear up, broken bones turn out to be sprains. Even family members all get along. At the very least he’s lucky to have on your ward. At the most, well—” She nodded toward the x-rays.
There was no doubt in Lee’s mind. “You mean Alistair.”
The nurse smiled fondly. “That’s our angel.”
Lee stood in his shop two days later, staring down an arrangement of blue and white tulips which were clearly mocking him.
“S’not my fault,” Lee told them. “He even looked like an angel. That blond hair, like a halo. What am I supposed to do about that?”
“S’not my fault,” Lee told them. “He even looked like an angel. That blond hair, like a halo. What am I supposed to do about that?”
What Lee was not supposed to do was to stare at a refrigerator full of flowers and try to find one that matched the exact pink of the blush he’d seen on Alistair’s cheeks (Alstroemeria? Nena rose?). So he’d stopped doing that. But he was also not supposed to be looking at the blue tulips right now and thinking they were too dark to match Alistair’s eyes and judging them for it.
There were no lasting effects from Lee’s fall in Graham’s shop. He had gone right back to work the next day without so much as a headache. Probably, that was the thing he should have wondered about. It was strange, and sort of spooky, although Lee did like spooky. In any case, Lee didn’t actually care nearly as much about the vanishing concussion as he did the man who had supposedly made it disappear. The angel who had made it disappear.
But the thing was, Lee reminded himself, he had hit his head. And he’d been alone in the hospital and scared and in pain. So probably what he was remembering about a sweet, blushing, compassionate angel was false. The man was most likely average-looking, and compassion was his job, so there you were. There Lee was. About ten seconds away from berating innocent tulips.
The shop bell rang, meaning someone had come in. Lee glowered at the flowers a second longer and then went out to the front to see who it was. He was stunned to find himself met by blue eyes a few shades lighter than the tulips, white-blond curls that were exactly like a halo, thank you very much, and oh, God, there was absolutely nothing average-looking about Alistair, not his soft pink lips or peach skin or the delicate hands that peeked out from blue-and-cream tartan-patterned scrubs.
“Oh,” the angel said. “Hello. I was hoping I had the right place.”
Lee made some sort of noise.
“I, ah, thought I’d maybe see how you were doing,” Alistair said, sounding a little less sure of himself now.
Lee concentrated very hard and came up with, “Fine.”
“Ah. Well, that’s good. You have a lovely shop,” Alistair said, looking around at the displays with a shy smile. “It smells delightful. Oh, and the winter greenery.” He nodded at the potted evergreens, the holly wreaths that were, in fact, Lee’s favorite thing in the shop at the moment. He’d made them himself. “Just gorgeous.”
Fortunately, at this point, Lee’s brain finished its initial freak out and released control back to Lee. “Thanks,” he said. “Uh, I mean, thanks for—what you did in the hospital.”
“Oh.” For some reason, this made Alistair look down at his own feet. “Simply my job, my dear.”
Lee had to take a moment to explain to himself that Alistair probably called everyone my dear.
Alistair looked hesitant for a moment, and then gave a bit of a wiggle, a shake of his shoulders, and got a braver look on his face. “Well, since I’m here, I really ought to buy some flowers, I think. Goodness, I don’t know how I’ll choose, everything is so lovely.”
It was a beautiful thing, standing there and having an angel admire your shop, your handiwork. Lee was about to fall over with how flattered he was. Naturally, of course, given Lee’s luck, the next thing that happened about knocked his feet out from under him with quite the opposite feeling.
“I think I ought to get something for Anathema,” Alistair said. “Oh, I mean Dr. Device. I think you met her upstairs. Flowers always make her a bit weak in the knees. It’s delightful, really, you know, she plays at being so aloof, but flowers are a weakness.” Alistair was still smiling, but the sight of it cut like glass, because Lee understood now that the look wasn’t really for him. It was the usual flower shop smile that people had—sure, the arrangements were lovely, but what people were really thinking about as they looked around the shop was the reaction they would get when they gave the flowers to someone they loved.
It made sense, Lee had to admit. No one as beautiful and compassionate and wonderful as Alistair could possibly remain unattached. Everyone probably loved him just the same as Lee did. And Alistair worked at a hospital. He’d have his pick there of people who were smarter and more talented than a garden shop owner could ever be.
Lee wished suddenly that he’d been working in the greenhouse this morning, because then he might still have been wearing his sunglasses. As it was, he had to drop Alistair’s gaze and move to the refrigerator before the angel could see whatever wildly inappropriate heartbroken expression was no doubt on his face.
“What kinds of flowers does Dr. Device like?” he asked, opening the door and staring in at all the arrangements, trying to find even one that looked good enough for an angel.
“Roses, I’m afraid,” Alistair answered. “Odd to think of Anathema being traditional about anything, but roses are her favorite.”
Lee busied himself selecting the best six roses he had of six different colors, and then he managed to get them arranged and wrapped up with his head down. When he finally did look up, the nurse had his wallet out.
“Oh, no, it’s on the house,” Lee said quickly. “I owe you for what you did for me.”
“Oh, my dear, are you sure?” Alistair asked. When Lee nodded, he said, “Well, that’s so very kind of you. Thank you.”
Lee made some sort of noise about being called kind by an angel, but Alistair didn’t seem to notice. The man picked up the flowers in their paper wrapping, but instead of leaving, he just stood there by the counter. He didn’t look at Lee, though, his eyes once again roaming the shop. They finally lighted on a black pot on Lee’s work desk. “Oh,” he said. “You’ve got one that didn’t make it, I see.”
Lee found himself immediately reassuring the man, as if Alistair cared about a dying plant. Of course, he probably did. “It’s not as bad as all that,” Lee said. He picked up the pot and frowned at the withered plant inside of it. “Graham had it, shop next door. Doesn’t know the first thing about plant care, so I snagged it. It’s not dead, not quite. Just needs a little discipline.”
For some reason, this made Alistair laugh and it was the most delightful sound Lee had ever heard. The laugh burst into the shop like confetti, swirling the air with colors. “What kind of plant is it?” the angel asked.
“Well, it seems to be in good hands.” Alistair’s smile faded just a little. “I, uh—I should get on, I think. It was lovely to see you again, Bry—Lee. Sorry. Glad you’re feeling better.”
And then Lee had to watch the angel walk out of his shop with his arms full of roses to give to someone else.
It was both Lee’s greatest desire and worst fear that Alistair would come back to the shop. So when it happened, Lee wasn’t sure if he was reaping good karma or bad. The first time, he turned around from fitting carnations into a vase to find an angel peering into the shop refrigerator. At least it was easier to talk to him this time. They chatted while Lee made Alistair a new arrangement, this time for the hospital’s library, which Alistair helped to run during his time off. He told Lee all about the books and magazines, the cart that visited the wards loaning reading materials to bored patients. They discussed the gardenia, which, much to Alistair’s delight, had started to perk up. It wasn’t any great miracle really, just that the pH of its soil was correct now, and it wasn’t being overwatered. And then Alistair left with another bouquet of roses for Dr. Device.
He came back to the shop a few days later to find a plant to give to his fellow nurses in the ICU, as they’d nearly lost a patient the day before. Alistair thought they could use a bit of color as a celebration. Lee personally had no doubt that Alistair had been in the ICU at the time of the miraculous recovery, but he knew better than to mention it, or else he’d no doubt get Alistair just looking at his shoes again.
Of course, he managed to screw up anyway. As Lee handed him the prettiest potted geranium that he could find, he said, “What do you think of this one, angel?”
The name made Alistair startle. Lee was nearly ready to regret being able to speak English, when Alistair blushed. And then Lee was completely occupied with sorting through all the pink flowers in his mental database. First Light rose, that’s what it was, the exact color of Alistair’s cheeks. “Sorry,” Lee said in a rush. “I just meant—”
“My nickname at the hospital, I know. But I’m not really an angel.” Alistair’s blue eyes looked into Lee’s, clearly seeking some kind of understanding.
“Right,” Lee said. “Sorry. It’s just, everything about you just seems…angelic.” His voice croaked a little. “Sorry, totally stopping, sorry—”
“No!” Alistair exclaimed, and it seemed to startle them both. “Um, actually, I don’t mind. From you.”
Lee wasn’t at all sure how to answer that one. And before he figured it out, Alistair had left the shop with the geranium and of course, a bouquet of roses.
The fourth time Alistair came by started out fairly well but went downhill from there. At this point, Lee had to admit that he was at a loss as to why Alistair kept visiting. The hospital had its own gift shop, which stocked roses and some potted plants, and while Lee was very proud of his place, he knew that there were easier and less expensive options.
But here the angel was, looking into the idea of a potted tree or two for the hospital library. Lee glanced up at some point to realize that Alistair was looking at him rather intently. Alistair seemed to notice just when Lee did, and he gave a little gasp. “Oh, I’m sorry, my dear. I was just admiring your eye makeup. You have such lovely hazel eyes, and it—” He shook his head. “Sorry, I’ve upset you.”
“No,” Lee said. “It’s just—you don’t have to call them hazel, angel, I know they’re yellow.”
Alistair tilted his head a little, narrowing his gaze. “I suppose they are.”
Lee laughed humorlessly. “Yeah, I used to always wear dark glasses, but I’m used to the staring now.”
Alistair blinked rapidly, cutting off his own staring once again. “I, uh, I suppose you must be,” he said faintly, with one of those look-look away-look back things that he did when he was especially flustered.
At that point, Lee’s brain started to do a couple of things, quite without Lee’s direction. First, it calmly informed him that when Lee had mentioned staring, he had meant it in the You’re a freak with yellow eyes, not to mention a man who wears eye makeup kind of way, but that when Alistair had mentioned staring, he meant it in the You’re extremely attractive sort of way. Lee listened to that argument and firmly rejected it, because, among other things, angels most definitely did not desire garden shop owners who looked like they thought it was a good idea to wear day-glo contacts beneath flaming red hair.
The second thing Lee’s brain did was more devastating. It reminded him that at this very moment, there was not, in fact, a great deal of space between between Lee and this angel, no counter or work desk, just a few evergreen branches. And the problem with that was that it didn’t actually matter so much at that point that Alistair, of course, did not desire Lee, because Lee sure as hell had enough desire for the both of them.
Hardly an hour had gone by since Lee’s hospital visit that he hadn’t thought about this, thought about Alistair, about what he would feel like to the touch and taste like to the tongue. About what sounds Alistair might make if Lee backed him up to the cold glass door of the refrigerator and then warmed him with his own body. There was, unfortunately, a whole fantasy about seeing Alistair come into the shop, locking the door behind him, dragging the man back into the greenhouse among the flowers, and sucking him off until he nearly sobbed.
Lee would never do such a thing, of course. Alistair was taken. And he was an angel. You didn’t pleasure angels in dirty greenhouses, no matter how much they liked flowers.
But, dear God, there really was hardly any space between them, and Alistair was blushing, and he was looking at Lee like he had when Lee had teased him in the hospital, and Lee was, amongst other shameful things, a flirt.
“Bet you get lots of stares yourself, angel,” he murmured.
“Oh, goodness.” Look-look away-look back. “No, I never get stares. I was created plain, you know, don’t really have any color to me at all, but you—” Alistair looked up at him with a kind of wonder. “You’re just the most striking colors, aren’t you, red hair and golden eyes, like one of your flowers. Dear heavens, that must be the most ridiculous thing anyone’s ever said to you—”
Lee took the last step toward Alistair, so near that their clothes brushed against each other. Alistair was breathing quite shallowly, his gaze still fixed on Lee. His lips parted.
Perhaps, in all fairness, it was rather fitting that Lee’s attempt to inappropriately make love to an angel was thwarted by both Heaven and Hell. That was to say, Graham and Bee, who both chose that moment to come into Lee’s shop, and they might have been accompanied by lightning and bursts of flame for all the noise they made.
Alistair jumped, and Lee was so busy cursing himself that he nearly missed what Graham and Bee were yelling about. Lee caught the end of it: “…and she can hardly breathe, and it’s all the fault of that stupid cat!”
Alistair was much quicker than Lee to grasp what was going on, and he dashed out of the shop with Graham and Bee. A few seconds later, he came back in with a young girl in his arms. Lee could hear her wheezing. Two people that must have been her parents were right behind them.
Alistair looked at Lee and spoke calmly enough to shock him back to reality. “My dear, if you could please phone an ambulance. Tell them we have a six-year-old girl with an allergic reaction to a cat, and please tell them that I’m here.”
Lee hastened to comply. By the time the call had been placed, Alistair had put the girl down in one of Lee’s shop chairs and he had her smiling a little, though she was obviously scared. Alistair knelt on the floor so that he was at her height. “Don’t be afraid,” he said softly. “We’ll have your pesky throat behaving itself in no time, you have my word, Tracey.” But the girl couldn’t answer him, and her wheezing was only getting louder.
“Oh,” Alistair said, still very calmly, “it looks as if you’ve decided to wear a little blue lipstick. It’s hardly your color, darling, let’s see if we can’t get it back to pink, all right?”
He looked back at the girl’s parents. “Does she have an epi-pen?”
The girl’s mother shook her head, almost frantically. Both parents were as pale as paper.
“No matter,” Alistair assured them. “They’ll have one on the ambulance.” He turned back to Tracey. “In the meantime, my dear, let’s just breathe together, you and me, all right?” He took her hands in his own. “In and out, darling, there’s a good girl. You know, I was just thinking that I know a very silly story about a cat and and his best friend, who’s an owl. They make a rather unlikely pair. Would you like to hear it?”
The girl nodded and Alistair beamed at her. And then, bless his heart, he began to recite:
The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea-green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five-pound note.
As Lee watched, the girl’s breathing began to even out, and her lips lost their bluish tinge. By the time Alistair got to the last lines of the poem, about dancing in the light of the moon, Tracey was breathing easily, and Lee was absolutely certain that he’d witnessed a miracle.
The ambulance arrived a moment later, and Tracey seemed loathe to leave without Alistair, and lord, didn’t Lee understand that feeling? So the angel went in the ambulance with the family and Lee was left with just Graham and Bee in his shop.
“Stupid cat,” Graham said, pacing. “I’ll be lucky if they don’t sue me for this. She’s not even my cat! What the hell is she always doing in my shop?”
“Causing injuries, apparently,” Bee observed. But their mind was clearly elsewhere. They strolled up to the counter where Lee was trying to occupy himself by tidying already tidy things. “So,” they said. “Made yourself a friend, did you? Seen him come in quite a few times in the last couple of weeks.”
“He was the nurse in the emergency room when I was hurt,” Lee growled, and did not feel one twinge of guilt about growling.
“Figured,” Bee said. “He’s always wearing scrubs. That’s why we came to get him when the girl had her reaction.”
“So are you two a thing now?” Graham asked.
There were a lot of ways Lee could answer that. The one that came out was, “He’s taken.”
“Huh,” said Graham. “He doesn’t act taken.”
“Doesn’t,” Bee agreed. “The way he was looking at you—”
“Don’t you have shops to run?” Lee snarled. “He’s dating a woman.”
“If that man is straight I’ll eat one of the hats Graham sells,” Bee said.
“Could be bi or pan,” Graham remarked, earning curious looks from both Bee and Lee. “What?” he asked. “I’m an asshole, so I don’t know anything about queer people?”
“You are an asshole,” Bee told him.
“I just said that, but who the hell do you think buys my clothes? Most of my customers are queer.”
“Doesn’t matter, he’s taken,” Lee repeated. “He’s always in here buying flowers for her.”
“You’re an idiot,” Graham informed him, before heading back to his own shop.
Bee frowned at Lee. “Did you ever consider,” they asked, “that you might have it backwards? You think he comes in to buy flowers for someone. What if he’s actually here to buy flowers from someone?”
Alistair didn’t come into the shop for the next three days.
Lee thought about delivering the evergreen Alistair had liked to the hospital library, but then he told himself that if Alistair wanted the damn thing, he’d come back and get it.
Lee knew the truth, of course. He’d nearly kissed Alistair. It had been inappropriate and creepy as hell, and Alistair was probably never going to come back to the shop at all. And that would be right, it would be sensical, because Lee was an asshole and Alistair was an angel who could talk down a little girl’s anaphylactic shock with poetry.
It was snowing. It had been snowing for two days. Lee normally liked snow. He supposed he ought to still like it, because it had chased most of the customers away, so now he had an excuse to close early and go home where it was warm and he didn’t have to see an angel everywhere he looked. He had just finished cleaning and was ready to snap off the lights when the door bell sounded. Lee groaned. He should have locked up first—
But he hadn’t, and now there was an angel in his shop once more, covered in a dusting of snow.
“Oh, dear,” said Alistair, looking apologetic. “You’re closing. I’m so sorry. I haven’t been able to come back for the evergreen, the hospital’s been rather a zoo with the weather, and I’ve been helping out in the ER. I’ll come back, though—”
“No. Stay,” Lee said. Begged, honestly.
Alistair brightened a little at that, and Lee was lost to it. All thoughts of a warm flat and too much wine disappeared from his head, chased away by the greater heat of just having Alistair so near once more.
Lee carried the best of the potted evergreens forward. Alistair smiled at the plant, and Lee imagined it growing in the library, in the warmth of that smile.
“I’m sorry,” Lee said.
Alistair looked at him curiously. “For what?”
It seemed easiest to go with: “Everything.”
“Oh,” Alistair said, still looking a little confused. “Well—everything is fine, my dear.”
“It’s just—last time you were here—” Lee’s voice faltered a little.
Alistair looked concerned, and still honestly bewildered. “Oh, but you were brilliant, my dear. I’m sorry for making your shop the center of a medical crisis, but you were very calm. Sometimes people get very nervous when something like that happens, but you…”
And Lee was a cursed idiot, because here with the poor angel in his shop once more, as Lee had known would happen, all he could think of was What if he’s actually here to buy flowers from someone? He knew Alistair was just being polite, glossing over Lee’s attempt to kiss him, of course.
Alistair was looking up at Lee again with his wallet out, ready to pay for the plant, and he had a pretty smile on his face. A smile for Lee.
Lee put his hand to Alistair’s cheek. It was exactly as soft as he’d imagined. The angel froze beneath Lee’s touch. Lee stood still as well, not moving forward, but also not pulling back, because Alistair was looking up at him with a full blush on his face, and he was not pulling back either. He wasn’t even doing the look away thing, his gaze fixed right on Lee’s eyes. And then it dropped to Lee’s mouth.
Lee waited. He had to. Another moment, enough chance for Alistair to break away. He didn’t.
Lee kissed him. Both of their mouths were slightly parted, but Lee didn’t push it too far. He just held there with the press of Alistair’s cheek against his, the sweetness of the angel’s breath against his lips.
After a couple of seconds of bliss, Lee’s brain caught up with him, reminding him very forcefully that no matter what the angel had said about everything being fine, bouquet after bouquet of roses had left the shop in this man’s arms. Lee pulled back.
He’d hardly gotten an inch away when he heard Alistair’s wallet hit the floor, and then the angel whispered, “Oh, dear god, yes, please,” against Lee’s mouth and threw his arms right around Lee’s neck.
That, obviously, led to more kissing. Lee pulled Alistair fully into his arms, this time sweeping his tongue into the wet heat of the angel’s mouth. Alistair tasted like coffee, probably hospital coffee, not the good stuff, but with enough sugar and cream to make it almost a food. Lee wondered when the angel had eaten last, if he’d had any real food while stuck at the hospital for days.
This was idle wondering because most of Lee’s brain was caught up processing how amazing it felt to have Alistair pressed up against him like this. How soft his lips were, how the curls of his hair caught at Lee’s fingers. All the sweet little sounds he made as his tongue tangled with Lee’s, how his arms were wrapped so tightly around Lee’s neck that Lee was unable to fully stand up.
Alistair was moaning quietly but unashamedly into Lee’s mouth, and there was other evidence of his willingness: the unmistakable press of a hard cock against Lee’s thigh, right next to Lee’s own. Lee groaned and shifted his body against Alistair so that their erections rubbed together, and Alistair gave a little cry. Lee slid his hands down to where he could grasp Alistair’s hips and pull them closer. But as he did so, Alistair’s left hip buzzed beneath his fingers.
Alistair broke the kiss and let his head fall back. “Fuck,” he said, very calmly, and very prettily. He looked into Lee’s eyes. “Sorry, my dear,” he said, a bit breathlessly. “Pager. Hospital. Storm, probably.”
Lee let go of Alistair and stepped back. He wasn’t sure what to do, other than to say, “I’m sorry.”
Alistair blinked at him, suddenly looking confused. “Why?”
“You—” He didn’t want to say it, he didn’t want to break what had just happened like a glass vase, but he had to. “Anathema.”
“What about her?”
Lee found himself frowning at the angel, wondering which one of them was not making sense. “You aren’t—”
Alistair’s eyes drifted shut and he put a hand up to his forehead. “Oh, I really am just terrible at this, aren’t I? I was just telling Anathema that. I was telling her I was completely hopeless when it came to you. She didn’t believe me. She’s going to love this.”
“You’re not with Anathema.” It was a desperate half-question that Lee was too afraid to make a full question.
Clear blue eyes met his with honesty. “Anathema is my dearest friend. We’re not a couple. We did date once, but that was ages ago.”
“But you date men also?”
“Well, I was attempting to!” There was a high blush on Alistair’s cheeks now. “But, of course, it makes sense, I had sabotaged it from the first. I’m so sorry, my dear, I’m just dreadfully awkward at this sort of thing.” Alistair made a face like he was re-evaluating that statement. “Well. Actually, I’m awkward at anything that doesn’t involve the hospital, to be honest. You see, I’m very good with patients, but I have an awful time talking to people when I’m not helping them with something. I don’t know what to say without a mental checklist of questions, and I never know quite what to do with my hands, I need to be holding a plaster at the very least.” He gave a rather hopeless laugh.
Lee was still stuck on the earlier part of that ramble. “You want to date me?”
Alistair frowned at him now. “I may be rubbish at this, my dear, but I should think that was rather clear by this point.”
“But you’re an angel,” Lee said.
Alistair closed his eyes. “I’m not.”
Lee made a noise of protest. “You can’t fool me, Alistair. You look like an angel. Right out of a painting, you are. Pink and golden and perfect. You act like one too. Sweet and kind and compassionate, always thinking of everybody else. You are an angel if there ever was one, even without what I’ve seen you do. What you did for me.”
Alistair was looking at him with wide eyes now.
“You’re perfect,” Lee repeated. “And I grow plants. My hands are always dirty, and you are the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. I can’t touch you.”
Alistair’s mouth had fallen open now. “With those hands that bring flowers back from the dead?” he whispered. “You could.”
Lee looked down at his hands for a second, dirty fingernails and all, and then he reached for Alistair. Right as the pager went off again.
Alistair groaned. “Oh, fuck this storm. Darling, promise me that we can pick this up right from here the next time I’m set free from the hospital.”
Lee kissed him. Softly, and very briefly. And then he smiled. “Go on then, angel. They need you.”
Alistair left the shop, but of course, he didn’t leave Lee’s mind, not for a second. Lee’s mind was actually a rather giddy place at the moment, full of bursts of emotion like disbelief and gratitude and of course lust, and who was Lee kidding, love. There was color everywhere, fireworks and confetti as Lee recalled the sounds that the angel had made in his arms, sounds of delight, because Lee had figured out how to please Alistair and the way to do that was to kiss him.
Lee could probably be excused for sitting aimlessly in his shop for a time, just smiling at the wall.
Eventually, he recalled the point at which he’d wondered if Alistair had eaten properly, and that thought made him spring into action. He’d visit the cafe and then the bakery at the end of the block, if they were still open in all this snow, and of course, he’d bring flowers, so many flowers, and when he walked into the hospital—
That was where the fantasy broke down a bit. Alistair had said that Lee could touch him even with his hands covered in earth, and Alistair had most definitely allowed that scarcely half an hour ago, but that had been here, in Lee’s shop, where everything was always a little bit messy. Flowers belonged in a hospital, right along with angels. Dirt did not.
So Lee stayed sitting in his shop for another few minutes, until he realized there was another option. He could simply drop things off at the hospital, a sandwich, pastries, flowers. And then when Alistair was done working, Lee would see him again.
So he spent a few minutes picking out the best of what was in the refrigerator and arranging it in a vase. On his way out, Lee’s gaze fell on the little black pot still sitting on the work desk. The gardenia had grown green and healthy now, and just the barest promise of a white flower had begun to reveal itself. Lee wrapped the plant up with the rest of the package.
The hospital was, in fact, a zoo. The ambulance bay was busy, and the ER was full of people. Lee was very grateful to be walking into the hospital on his own two feet this time, and at the main entrance. He stopped at the desk and gave the little speech he’d rehearsed in the car. “Hi, I’m a friend of Alistair Parker. I know he’s been spending a lot of time here, so I thought I’d bring him some dinner. I’ll just leave it with you, then.”
The receptionist, a rather harried looking woman in a red coat, frowned at Lee over the large paper bag he’d set on the desk.
“Oh, and there’s some flowers in there,” Lee added hesitantly. Right. Time to go.
“Wait,” said the woman. “Are you Flower Shop Guy?”
“Uh—” Lee looked at her in confusion. “I’m a flower shop guy, I guess—”
He was interrupted then by a beautiful sound. “Lee!” Lee turned to see Alistair standing a few feet away, beaming at him. “Oh, my dear,” the angel said.
The receptionist laughed. “You are Flower Shop Guy!”
Lee was too busy looking at Alistair to answer that. The angel was wearing his tartan scrub trousers, but a blue shirt this time, and he was carrying a small bundle in his arms, wrapped in a blanket. As Alistair walked closer, Lee could see that the blue shirt had buttons, and the first few were undone, revealing a small swath of Alistair’s pale chest above the bundle he carried. Alistair moved the top layer of the blanket aside and Lee could see an infant pressed up gently against Alistair’s chest, skin to skin.
“This is Michelle,” Alistair said quietly. “She’s been staying in our nursery for a couple of weeks after she was born a little too early. I’m afraid she’s being rather naughty at the moment, had a bath and absolutely refuses to get warmed back up again. So I thought we’d go for a bit of a stroll, see if the activity might get that heater going.”
A couple of other people had walked up to them at this point, in various colors of scrubs and a few white coats. “So this is Flower Shop Guy?” one of them asked.
The receptionist had opened the bag and set out the food and flowers. “Brought him dinner,” she said with a grin. “And flowers. Oh, and a plant.”
“Not a bad start,” somebody else said.
Alistair rolled his eyes. “You’re all being quite ridiculous.” He walked over to see his gifts. “Oh, Lee, that smells heavenly, the pastry! And the gardenia! Oh, she’s just beautiful. Look at her, come back to life, and you brought her here! What wonderful good luck she’ll be for the hospital. Thank you, my dear.”
“Well, I’ll get going,” Lee said.
Alistair’s blue eyes darted over to him with surprise and disappointment. “Oh. Already?”
Lee looked down at his hands. He had washed them, of course, had put on his least dirty shoes, but they hardly compared to Alistair’s clean blue sneakers. “Well, I don’t want to interrupt—”
“Oh, you’re not interrupting,” someone assured him, sounding very amused.
“Alistair needs to eat,” another voice said.
“In fact,” a third person spoke up, “with the baby in his arms, he might need you to feed him.”
Alistair was blushing harder than Lee had ever seen it. “Really,” he said. “My goodness.”
It was at that point that the ramifications of being Flower Shop Guy finally became clear to Lee. Alistair had told his coworkers about him, including what he did for a living. Alistair wasn’t ashamed of dating a man who ran a flower shop.
He made Alistair happy, Lee realized, and not just because he brought him dinner or gave him flowers. Alistair had brightened on seeing him every time they’d met.
In fact, Lee’s brain reminded him, probably inappropriately, Alistair even seemed to like the fact that Lee was a flirt.
Lee cocked out a hip and leaned against the desk. “Don’t worry, angel,” he said smoothly. “You know I can help you with whatever you need.”
Alistair closed his eyes in embarrassment as everyone around them started laughing. “Was that really necessary?” he complained.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” Lee answered. “I was just thinking of Michelle. Every time you blush you get a little bit warmer, so—”
Alistair had started to laugh as well at this point, and he came forward enough to lean his head on Lee’s shoulder, the baby tucked between them. “I knew you were trouble,” he said with a fond sigh.
Lee slipped an arm around him. “Come on, angel, bring the little one. We’ll get you some dinner.”
Alistair lifted the edge of the blanket again. “She does look a little rosier.” He grinned up at Lee. “Thank you for the assist, my dear.”
Lee kissed the angel, on the forehead, right in view of everyone in the lobby. “Anytime.”
Work kept Alistair busy for most of the rest of the night. The snow stopped eventually, though, and the ambulances fell mostly silent. Lee spent the time in the waiting area of the lobby, watching the snow, playing games on his phone, feeling surprisingly comfortable just sitting in the hospital.
Eventually, Alistair walked in, with his coat thrown over soft athletic trousers and a t-shirt. “You’re still here,” he said in a breathless voice, and Lee couldn’t help but just smile at him.
“Didn’t want you driving home exhausted. Thought maybe I’d take you back to my place. Just to get some sleep,” he added hastily. “Just so that I can…take care of you. You deserve someone taking care of you.”
Alistair stepped right into Lee’s arms. “That sounds heavenly, darling.”
Lee had tucked Alistair into bed and the angel had gone to sleep almost instantly.
Lee had taken the couch, and he rose early to see about breakfast. Either the noise or the smell of sausage and eggs woke Alistair, and he padded out into the kitchen in his socks. Lee hadn’t really seen the angel in anything except scrubs, and oh, did he fill out that pair of soft trousers quite deliciously. Lee turned back to the stove.
Alistair was looking out the window of the flat onto snow-covered roofs and cars below them. “You know, working at the hospital, I’ve mostly come to hate the snow. It makes everything so busy. But it really is beautiful, isn’t it? With the sun out this morning, everything is sparkling. Maybe we could go for a walk after breakfast?”
“Of course,” Lee said, and Alistair smiled happily at him.
“Thank you for yesterday,” the angel said softly. “The flowers, the food, the visit, bringing me here. I’m glad we’ve begun to sort things out.”
Lee grinned at him. “Me too.” He let his eyes travel down Alistair’s body, slowly, and then back up. Alistair’s breathing hitched a little. “In fact,” Lee said, “I was just thinking—”
Lee was interrupted by a loud meow and there was suddenly an orange cat on his kitchen counter. He just had time to wonder how on earth Frances had gotten to his flat—had she hidden away in his car?—before she took a leap toward the sausages in the pan.
Lee was able to block the cat from landing on the hot stove, but unfortunately, the pan got knocked over and it fell against Lee’s hand, just for a second, before he cursed and let it tumble onto the floor. But had been long enough. A bright red burn showed up instantly across Lee’s palm.
Alistair was there immediately, turning off the stove, shooing the cat (who did manage to steal a sausage), picking up the pan by its handle and putting it into the sink. Then he took Lee’s hand in his own.
“Oh, my dear,” he said, but it threw Lee a little because Alistair was not speaking in that calming voice he usually used when someone needed help. He sounded nervous.
Lee caught the angel’s hand in his unburned one. “Alistair? It’s just a little burn, nothing serious.”
Alistair pressed his mouth into a thin line and looked up at Lee. And then he gave that little shake to his shoulders that meant he had decided to be brave about something. Alistair placed his hand over the burn on Lee’s palm, looking into Lee’s eyes the whole time. When he pulled his hand back, the burn was gone.
“I’m not an angel,” he said softly.
“But you can work miracles.”
“I can’t. It isn’t me that does them. I’m like…an empty vessel. Something else comes into me and I’m just open to it. I don’t decide who it helps and how much. I don’t even ask it to work. My role is just to care and to watch.” Alistair’s voice faltered a little. “I know it’s a lot. It’s strange. I never tell people this. Anathema knows, of course. Some of the others at the hospital understand that it’s real, but they don’t know how it works. I don’t like people thinking that it’s me doing it, but it’s not the kind of thing that we can discuss out in the open.”
“But you told me,” Lee whispered.
Blue eyes looked up a him with a bit of wonder. “I feel like I can trust you. I don’t mean with the secret, I mean trust you to see me as a whole. The good parts of me and the bad parts, because this is only one part of me. When you said I was an angel because of who I am as a person, and not the miracles—I can’t tell you what it’s like to have you truly understand that those things are separate.”
“But it must take a lot of courage to be open to something like this,” Lee said. “That’s you, being brave.”
“I’m well rewarded,” Alistair countered. “I get to see people made whole again.”
Alistair let out a heavy breath. “Oh, dear, you—” He frowned. “I wasn’t going to tell you this, but if you’re going to know about the miracles, you deserve to know your own story.” He took Lee’s hands in his own. “You remember what I said about how some people know it’s real? Well, that includes all the ambulance teams. They’ve seen it enough. When they picked you up, you were— going downhill,” he said gently, in a tone that suggested that it was a euphemism. “I was already working in the ER that day, but they called ahead to have me paged to the ambulance bay.” Alistair laughed suddenly. “You know, at first sight, I thought you were very handsome. Terribly inappropriate of me, sorry, but—well, you are.”
Lee couldn’t help pressing his lips to the soft skin of Alistair’s cheek, just for a moment. Which made him blush, of course.
“I sat with you for a moment in the ambulance,” Alistair told him. “Until your color came back, and then we knew that—we knew that you would live. I wasn’t sure how far the miracle would go for you. It often takes a while for large injuries like that, so we had to wait and see. I’m so glad that it restored you completely.”
Lee had guessed that he had been paralyzed. Maybe more. Still, to hear it out loud… “So a miracle was worked for me?” he asked.
“Thank you. For being there, for being part of it.”
Alistair had a soft smile on his face. “I wasn’t sure I’d ever meet another person that I could really trust, besides Anathema. But here you are and—I feel like a miracle was worked for me too.”
Lee pressed his mouth against Alistair’s cheek, and then traced kisses up into his white hair. Alistair gave a delightful shiver.
“Let me take care of you,” Lee whispered. “Please?”
“Oh, yes,” Alistair said, before Lee covered his mouth with his own. They kissed sweetly for a moment before it became more than that, and Alistair fisted Lee’s shirt in his hands, giving a little moan into his mouth. They moved backwards together until Lee had Alistair pressed up very gently against the wall of the living room. Then he was free to taste the angel as deeply as he wanted.
Alistair met him with just as much desire, licking his tongue into Lee’s mouth and pressing his body against him. Alistair was hard again, and this time Lee worked a hand between them to stroke at the angel’s cock beneath his trousers.
Alistair gave a little cry and his head fell back against the wall. Lee traced kisses along his jawline and then over his neck, down to his collarbone, desperate to see that little sliver of chest that he’d seen last night at the top of Alistair’s unbuttoned shirt. He grasped at the t-shirt and Alistair let him pull it off over his head. It left the angel’s white curls delightfully mussed and Lee made them worse by running his fingers through Alistair’s hair as he kissed him. And then he trailed kisses down over Alistair’s chest, pausing to spend a while at each dusky nipple. Alistair gasped at the attention and his hips thrust against Lee’s.
Lee groaned, and dropped to his knees. Alistair looked down at him, delightfully flustered and out of breath. Lee leaned forward to press kisses against the angel’s soft stomach, all along the waistband of the soft trousers.
“Angel,” he breathed. “Can I? Do you want this?”
“Oh, dear heavens, yes,” Alistair said. “I mean, if you want—”
Lee laughed and then pressed his mouth against Alistair’s cock, still through his trousers. Alistair gasped and tangled a hand in Lee’s hair. Lee tugged the angel’s trousers down and off of his body, revealing his cock, flushed and thick, standing at attention.
“Fuck,” Lee whispered. “You’re absolutely gorgeous.”
Alistair caught his breath as Lee kissed along his cock and then tongued over the slit, which caused a little precome to dribble out. Lee grinned and then took the head in his mouth. He worked his way down slowly, licking and caressing, until at last, he took in the whole thing.
Alistair was, as always, polite. He didn’t thrust into Lee’s mouth or pull too hard at his hair. He just leaned back against the wall and made the most gorgeous moaning sounds that Lee had ever heard. Lee held Alistair’s ass tightly in his hands and sucked the angel’s cock deep into his throat, bobbing his head, swirling his tongue over the underside of the shaft until Alistair’s legs started shaking.
“Oh, god,” he groaned. “Oh, Lee, I’m—if you—oh, fuck! Yes!” And Alistair came down Lee’s throat with a high-pitched cry. After that, he slumped back against the wall. Lee got to his feet, kissed the angel sweetly, and then took his hand, leading him to bed.
The sheets smelled like Alistair already, and when Lee laid him down on them it was perfect, like Alistair belonged there in Lee’s bed, like this wasn’t their first time, but their thousandth, like they’d known each other and loved each other for ages.
Lee stripped himself of his own clothes as he climbed into bed. “What do you want, angel?” he whispered against Alistair’s cheek, and Alistair smiled up at him, eyes heavy with sated lust.
“Oh, anything, darling.”
“Do you want to fuck me?”
A smile. “Oh my, yes, I’d love to. Give me just a minute though, dear, I’m afraid you quite took me out on the first round.”
Lee grinned and covered Alistair’s body with his own, kissing him rather messily, tangling their tongues together. Alistair started moaning again, and Lee could feel his renewed interest rising against his thigh.
After a few minutes, Alistair gently pushed Lee off to the side and started ministering to him, tracing kisses across his throat and then down over his chest. When he got to Lee’s nipples, he used his teeth. Lee cried out in surprise, his hips bucking up. Alistair pulled off long enough to say, “Mmm, interesting,” and then resumed his attentions. By the time he’d worked his way down to Lee’s cock, Lee was achingly hard and dripping.
“Oh, dear, that looks uncomfortable,” Alistair said with a frown, and then he took Lee’s cock into his mouth in one go.
“Oh, fuck,” Lee gasped. “Angel, please.”
Alistair pulled off with a slow release of suction. “Sorry, my dear, but your cock is quite distracting. So long and beautiful. I know you want me to fuck you, but I’m afraid I’m going to have to spend a little time here first.” He bent his head and took Lee’s cock back into his mouth.
Lee was not terribly polite. He thrust up into Alistair’s mouth involuntarily a couple of times before the angel pushed his hips back down onto the bed. He pulled off a moment later, looking pleased and licking his lips. “Delightful,” he said with a smile. “I’m definitely going to need you to fuck me with that cock later, my dear. If you don’t mind.”
“Could probably work that out,” Lee managed to say, his hips bucking again at just the thought.
Alistair made a pleased noise. “Lovely.”
“Top dresser drawer,” Lee gasped out, and Alistair left the bed briefly to fetch the bottle of lube there. He was gorgeous standing there naked, a rounded stomach, generous thighs, and his cock fully hard again. As Lee watched, Alistair put a little of the oil into his hand and spread it along his cock, closing his eyes with pleasure.
“All right,” Alistair said softly, coming back to bed. “Now you, darling.”
Lee parted his thighs, bending his legs, and Alistair scooted between them, one oiled finger running gently over Lee’s entrance. Lee tipped his head back onto the bed and gave himself over to the pleasure of having his lover work him open slowly, gently, never stretching him too far too quickly. Alistair didn’t stop until Lee was easily taking three fingers together.
“Didn’t want to tease you too much,” Alistair said softly, “until we got to this point. But now—” He slid two fingers in and crooked them slightly, rubbing against Lee’s prostate.
Lee saw stars. He cried out, bucking his hips. Alistair rubbed his fingers inside of him, still gently but relentlessly, until Lee’s cock shot out a stream of precome and Lee moaned helplessly.
Alistair’s fingers vanished suddenly, and Lee was going to protest, but then Alistair was on top of him, pressing his hips wide open, rubbing his cock against Lee’s stretched hole.
“Need you,” Alistair groaned. “Need you right now.”
“Yes,” Lee cried. “Please!” And then Alistair’s cock was sliding into him, inch by inch. He’d prepared Lee well and there was nothing but a slick, smooth slide all the way in.
Alistair paused when his hips were flush with Lee’s ass. “Please,” he said. “Darling, please, can I?”
“Yes,” Lee moaned, and then he wrapped his legs around Alistair’s waist as the angel started to snap his hips against him. Alistair was moaning again, fuck, he made the most beautiful sounds in bed.
“Where—” Alistair groaned softly, canting his hips until the angle was just right so that his cock rubbed over Lee’s prostate again.
“Angel!” Lee cried. And when he could speak again, “Oh, god. Going to come, angel, I’m—”
Alistair wrapped his hand around Lee’s cock, pumping the length of it, and Lee threw his head back as he came, shouting his release, feeling hot come spatter against his stomach. “Keep going,” he groaned. “Please, angel—”
“Going to come inside you,” Alistair panted.
“Yes, please, god—”
Alistair fucked Lee harshly for another minute before his hips stuttered and he came into Lee’s ass.
When his hips had stilled, Alistair pulled out and then collapsed over Lee, and Lee wrapped his arms around him, pressing the angel’s head down onto his shoulder.
“Fuck, that was good,” Alistair whispered. “Oh, fuck.”
“Not so much trouble now, am I?” Lee asked.
Alistair groaned. “You are nothing but trouble. Now I know what you’re like in bed, how am I supposed to concentrate on anything else?”
Lee laughed. “Don’t then. Just stay in bed with me forever. Except for walks in the snow.”
Alistair curled right up against Lee’s side. “Do you know, you say the most delightful things.”
“I love you,” Lee said. And then he pressed his eyes closed. “Sorry, it’s too soon, I know—”
“Oh, I know you do,” Alistair said sleepily against Lee’s chest. “You’ve loved me a while now. I’ve always been pretty good at sensing that sort of thing. Don’t know why.”
“It’s because you’re an angel,” Lee whispered, feeling it more clearly now with Alistair in his arms than he ever had before.
Alistair sighed. “Nonsense.” He was quiet a moment and then gasped, “Oh! I love you too. Ought to have said that, sorry. I’m really quite rubbish at this.”
“You’re not,” Lee told him, pressing a kiss to his white curls. “You’re perfect.”