Read In His Shoes Online

Authors: K.A. Merikan

Tags: #M/M Romance - tags: thug, pimp, first time, sex in a seedy back alley, friends to lovers, protecting your sweetheart, greed, dark

In His Shoes (2 page)

BOOK: In His Shoes
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Frank cleared his throat and pulled him into an alleyway nearby. They weren’t supposed to be seen. “She’s… a good woman for a whore.”

“Yeah, ‘for a whore’.” Jasper snorted and snatched the flask from Frank’s hand.

“What about ya?” Frank sighed, leaning against the building wall with one arm.

Jasper smirked and took a big gulp of the alcohol, before returning the flask. “What about me?”

Frank swallowed and quickly pushed the gin against his lips. Whenever they shared a drink, he toyed with the idea that Jasper’s lips touched it first, and he wasn’t even sure if that was appropriate. He was a man like any other. Without a doubt, many had thoughts like those, but never voiced them, just like him. He traced the opening of the flask with his tongue before taking a large gulp of gin. Too bad the taste of alcohol was sharp enough to disguise Jasper’s.

“Ya know, ya never talk ’bout girls.”

“Oy!” Jasper frowned and folded his arms across his chest. “What’s there to say? I’m not there yet.”

If Frank hadn’t swallowed, he’d probably spit the gin out. “What?” he whispered, looking at Jasper in the dark. He moved closer so they could talk without being unnecessarily loud. The lonely man he’d seen earlier entered Molly’s building without having to throw small pebbles at her window, as they’d left the door unlocked.

“I’m going to have me a proper lady someday. But I’m not good enough yet.” Jasper slouched against the wall, his eyes focused on the spot Stevens was standing in just seconds ago.

Frank leaned over him, hiding the flask back in his pocket. Jasper was wrong, he was plenty good. What he lacked was the means to impress. “But yer nor savin’ yerself now, are ya?” he asked, bewildered.

“Muttonhead.” Jasper snorted and slapped Frank’s forehead with his palm. He kept moving in place to warm himself up. “I have ambition. I didn’t say I’m a monk. I’m just meant for better things.”

“Betta’?” Frank shrugged. “Isn’t what we do now as good as it can get without gettin’ that cravat of yours tied into a noose? Dunno ’bout ya, but I like my ’ead where it is, I do.”

“No. We have to expand. I can’t even afford proper shoes yet. Look at me,” Jasper complained. “I bet that toff is spending daddy’s money on Molly’s snatch and doesn’t have to worry. Did you
see
his boots?”

Frank cleared his throat, sensing the heat of Jasper’s breath on his cheek. “No.”

“Well, they’re fucking black leather. Probably gets them polished every day by his servants. It’s not fair.” Jasper kept looking into his eyes and his breath became more rapid. Frank couldn’t look away, his skin feeling tingly from the warm vapor of Jasper’s words.

“Since when’s the world fair? Poor Molly’s tradin’ her cunt, while the ladies ya want parade in their carriages for doin’ nothin’.”

“So what are you saying? That I should marry some whore and stay put?”

Frank groaned. He didn’t like it when Jasper turned his words against him. “And what when y’ave that new life? Ya wouldn’t even spare a glance at the people ya knew before.”

“I’d take you with me.” Jasper sighed and nudged him with his elbow. “You could marry her sister.”

“Ya mean her fuckin’ maid.” Frank didn’t know what to do with his hands, so he decided to smoke his pipe again. He wouldn’t take his word for it. No one in their right mind would risk a better life for a few scoundrels from the old one. It was what it was.

“You said it.” Jasper laughed and Frank felt his eyes on him while he was packing the tobacco into the bowl of his pipe.

“I don’t favour those stiff uniforms though. Too rough on skin.”

“You like them soft?” Jasper asked, absentmindedly looking down to his battered boots.

“Women are always soft if they aren’t starvin’.” Frank looked at the cockily crooked top hat on Jasper’s head. He lit a match and let it burn for a few seconds before using it on the tobacco. “Clothes shouldn’t be hard to breach.”

“I like a bit of… I don’t like them plump,” Jasper muttered, picking at a loose thread on the brim of his hat.

“Me neither, just… the usual, ya know.” Frank kicked a stone across the street. “Pert arses and nice legs.”

“Yeah, I guess it don’t matter much when it’s dark.” Jasper shrugged.

Frank blinked at him and let out a surprised chuckle. “What, ya thinkin’ about takin’ an ugly lady?”

“I don’t know. Just think about the money, Frank. Who cares about a bit of muff, when you could have shoes like Mr. Stevens.” He finally looked up at Frank again with that familiar cocky grin. It took a moment for Frank to realize that he’d stopped breathing, so he took a huge drag of the smoke and looked away, enjoying how the fragrant warmth filled his mouth and nose. No other pair of eyes was as intense as Jasper’s, man or woman.

“Ya keep talkin’ ’bout those shoes. Envy’s a sin.”

“Oy!” Jasper suddenly pushed at his chest. “Who the fuck are you to say?”

“What? Am I jealous?”

“You fuck around with whores and knock people around. And I’m the sinner, cause I want that toff’s shoes?”

It was Frank’s turn to shrug. “Maybe ’e doesn’t deserve ’em for whateva he’s doin’ to Molly right now.”

“Yes! Exactly my point!” Jasper ate that up. He probably just wanted to believe it. “He’s using her, she’s afraid to say what he’s doing and we don’t even get enough money for it.” He stood just inches away, with that strange glint in his eyes.

Frank licked his lips, becoming tense, like when Jasper undressed in their shared room. “We might go after ’im and take’em as payback. He’ll think twice before piggin’ around again.”

“Yes? You’d do that with me?” Jasper was standing so close to him, it was bordering on uncomfortable. Or
too
comfortable for that matter.

Frank tried to bring the pipe up to his mouth with so much haste that he nearly dropped it when he knocked his hand into the wall. “Ya know yer like a brother to me,” he replied, pretending that nothing happened.

“Molly says he carries a lot of money. Maybe even a real gold watch…” Jasper slowly moved away, allowing the raging flutter in Frank’s stomach to quiet down. That last bit however, made Frank look up with wariness.

“Only if ya promise to keep it ’idden. I’m not buryin’ ya anytime soon.” Frank spat to the ground and chewed on the bit of his pipe.

“Aww, you’d miss me?” Jasper laughed and playfully patted Frank’s cheek. His hands were cold. The bastard wasn’t wearing any gloves. The strangest thing was, if it weren’t such a dooming perspective, Frank would gladly turn his face into that cold palm and warm it with his breath. Instead, he just stared.

Jasper’s face became more serious, but before he could say anything else, they heard a thud of a door, followed by quick footsteps. They geared up, ready to follow Stevens, but it turned out it was someone else altogether and the strange mood dispersed like fist-fighting thugs at the sound of a police whistle. After that, they kept to routine topics, discussing further plans, family matters and so on. Frank was glad, and the conversation engaged him so much he almost overlooked Stevens passing by about an hour later, but Jasper was like a bloodhound, instantly on the man’s trail.

They kept their distance, trying to be quiet on the cobblestones. The fog was their friend, though they didn’t need it much, as Stevens seemed awfully careless for a toff walking through a seedy neighbourhood. Maybe he and Molly shared a glass of gin or two?

It was deep in the night and the streets were deserted, so as soon as Stevens’ dark silhouette took a turn into a narrow alleyway between two rows of buildings, Frank gave Jasper a squeeze on the shoulder. That was the perfect spot for what they intended to do, and he wrapped his thin neck cloth around the lower half of his face, just in case.

Jasper nodded and did the same. The moment he slouched like a predator on the hunt, Frank’s heartbeat sped up. Stevens looked over his arm, stopped for a split second, and that was that. Frank dashed forward, taking out his trusted knife.

“Well, well, look what the cat dragged in!”

Jasper followed with his beloved pistol in hand, and Stevens took a quick step back, raising his arms so that they could see his hands. He was much younger than it seemed from afar. Rather handsome too.

“Wait, wait! Gentlemen, I don’t want any trouble—”

“Neither do we.” Frank stopped in front of their catch and nodded, deciding to go for Jasper’s favoured loot. “Take off yer shoes.”

“But… gentleme—” Stevens looked to where the alleyway met a wider street. Frank could almost hear the cogs turning in his head.

“Don’t even think about it!” Jasper quickly stepped forward, circling him. “Empty your pockets and take off the fucking shoes!”

Frank nodded. “Come on, don’t be daft and listen to my friend ’ere.” He folded his arms across his chest, making sure his dagger was in plain sight. Based on his experience, a display of power was more than enough to disarm someone who had loads of money back at home.

Stevens took his time looking between them. Eventually, he bent down towards his shoes, but then made a swift move and pulled out a sabre from under his oversized coat, instantly taking a defensive stance. “Back off!”

Frank froze, surprised by the man’s boldness. He
was
outnumbered.

“Are you bloody kidding me?” Jasper burst out with laughter and pointed his pistol at Stevens. With such skills in bluffing, he should have become a gambler, rather than a pimp. But Stevens saw through the sham. Within a split second, he ducked to avoid a deadly blow from the pistol and drew his arm back to give his sabre enough speed. Frank’s head went blank and it seemed that his hands and legs became heavy with blood rushing through his veins. It was the sight of red flourishing on Jasper’s hand in the pale moonlight and his scream that triggered Frank into action. He thrust his dagger straight into Stevens’ chest, meeting hardly any resistance. The man stiffened and Frank lunged at him, ripping the knife out only to stab it into his abdomen. Time after time it went in easily, like it was soft butter, not flesh, Frank was piercing.

Stevens gurgled, blood spilling down his chin like boiling milk left on a stove, and his knees hit the cobblestones. Frank used the opportunity to kick the sabre away, and he withdrew from the cowering man, his eyes searching for Jasper. His body was pulsing all over, even his gums were throbbing along with the quick rhythm of his heartbeat. Frank’s wet hands and chest were quickly becoming chilly, but he was still awfully agitated. The coppery smell mingled with the aroma of the back-alley and the sharp scent of cool air. He didn’t even notice when the neck cloth fell off his face.

“Fuck! Fuck!” Jasper held his hand close to his chest and there were dark spots all over his clothes. Still, he shuffled closer and dropped to his knees onto the blood-stained cobblestones. “Is he dead?”

Frank shook his head dismissively and grabbed Jasper’s arm, pulling it closer for a brief examination. There was a cut on his hand, but it didn’t look even close to fatal, so with a breath of relief, Frank pulled his faded cravat loose to wrap it around the wound. He felt like his blood was boiling. “The fuck would I care? He still moves.”

Jasper went silent, looking at the faded cloth, but then gave Stevens’ arm a harsh shake. He didn’t even stir. With the stench of gore so overwhelming, it was beyond comprehension to see a smile break out on Jasper’s lips.

“Fucking toff met his match.” His breaths were ragged and as their eyes met, Frank was sure it was him Jasper was talking about. The admiration in that blue gaze set his skin on fire. He felt weak and strong at the same time. His chest tightened, while it seemed that something danced around in his belly. He crouched next to Jasper, never breaking the eye contact.

And that
grin
. Jasper wouldn’t stop smiling, even when kneeling in a pool of blood.

“You need a new cravat, Frank.” Instead of going for his long-desired shoes, Jasper bowed over the body and pulled at the silky piece of fabric wrapped around Stevens’ neck. It was hard to recognize any details, but it had some sort of pattern and two different colours. What Frank didn’t need to see though, was the softness when he leaned closer and slowly wrapped the cravat around Frank’s neck. He stopped breathing, locking his eyes with Jasper, unable to even utter a word of gratitude. The touch was far more intimate than he was used to and it made all of the hair on the back of his neck stand up.

A grunt to their side broke the spell. A hooded man dressed in rags was approaching them with wobbly steps. He’d seen them. But if he saw what they did, why wasn’t he running? Jasper got to his feet and grabbed Stevens’ sabre. Frank could already imagine this would be his favourite new toy. It was too dark for the stranger to see their faces from where he was, so he got up as well, still clutching his now-bloodied dagger.

“Oy, you there, get lost!”

“Yes! Unless you want a taste of this.” Jasper laughed and licked the blood-stained blade of the sabre. Frank couldn’t help but stare.

“What was that?”

“What?” Jasper turned to Frank with a stupid grin and it was the worst moment for him to do that. The ragged stranger was clearly mad. Without a warning, he attacked Jasper with his bare hands. The stench of someone who hadn’t washed for months filled Frank’s nostrils as the man’s gurgle clashed with Jasper’s shocked yelp.

“Oy!” Frank pulled the lunatic away, ready to intervene if the vagrant wouldn’t bugger off. The stranger clutched at Jasper’s jacket with a blood chilling screech, and before any of them could act, he turned his head under the hood and bit into the hand that Jasper tried to push him away with.

That was it. The rush from killing Stevens was still pulsing through Frank’s veins, and he lunged forward, jamming his knife under the man’s collarbone. And nothing really happened.
Nothing
. The loony was still grabbing at Jasper, who managed to free his hand.
What was this, some fucking rabies?

Dumbstruck, Frank watched his knife shift where it was buried in the stranger’s flesh, but he snapped out of it when the man lunged at him with a strangled cry. Frank ripped the dagger out and pushed it right into the attacker’s face. This time, it worked, and the assailant dropped dead at Frank’s feet with a soft thud.

BOOK: In His Shoes
8.48Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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