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He Never Thought

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He Never Thought
by Joanne Collins

Charlie had teased him about it.

"One day, you'll find someone, Rob. You'll fall head over heels and wonder what it is you ever  saw in those drooling little groupies. She'll take your breath away with a smile, and make you  hot with a look. Just like Sarah does for me."

Rob had believed him. He'd believed him with every woman who looked at him and fell into his  arms or his bed. Every woman who'd left perfume that had lasted longer than his memory of her. Every woman who was more interested in his money than anything else he could offer. He knew that somewhere out there was the person who could make him give that up in a heartbeat.

He'd just never expected it to be Lyle.

They'd gone their separate ways after getting their revenge on Steve, but the pull to each other  had been more than just another job. The connection between them wouldn't be severed.  Charlie would call Rob when he and Sarah were in town, or Lyle, or one of the others.  Eventually, Sarah had said that it would make more sense to set something up and they'd  started having monthly get togethers. One month it would be a wine tasting at Charlie and  Sarah's place, Rob would get an illegal copy of a movie another month and they'd have a movie  night, Lyle would do something amazing with a computer and they'd get invites to somewhere  they'd usually be kicked out of, Left Ear would take them to a hip hop club or they'd just spend  a night drinking beer and playing cards - with Sarah usually cleaning them all out.

"You hit the jackpot with her," Rob said to Charlie, many times. That was usually the point  when Charlie would tease him about him falling one day.

He'd come close a time or two, but there was always something missing. He never felt like he  
could *really* tell anyone about the rush of what it was like to restore a car, to make it work  again, or to drive it so fast he swore he could hear angels singing in the breeze. They'd probably  tell him it was noise echo. So he went back to spending an occasional night with a woman,  when the loneliness or the need to fuck someone got out of control.

Then one month, the get together plans had been ruined. Charlie and Sarah were caught in a  plane delay, Left Ear had a pressing engagement with someone who was after his hide, and only  Rob and Lyle had turned up.

"I can leave if you want," Lyle said.

"Nah, why not join me for a beer, at least?" Rob invited.

And he had. Rob had been surprised to find out how witty Lyle could be, laughing at things that  weren't, in retrospect, all that funny. His favourite was Lyle's impression of him, he'd nearly  bust a gut at that - Lyle had him dead on.

"That's *scary*, man," Rob could hardly catch his breath from laughing. "I even said half that  shit to the cable girl!"

"You forget, I've heard every line and routine you have. From the wounded puppy to the big  strong man and everything in between. Hell, some of them even came awful close to working on  me."

Rob hadn't answered that and a moment later they'd been laughing over something else, but  he'd remembered Lyle saying that later, as he cleaned up. He wondered for a moment if it might have worked if he'd tried it with the goal of seducing Lyle. He had had to use his charm on men before, on various con jobs, but he'd never taken it further - he'd never wanted to take it further. He didn't really want to do that now, but the challenge was an interesting idea.

Except that a big part of the reason that he'd never tried to take things further with men was  because he wasn't into them. He'd never thought of being with a man when there were so many
willing, eager women around. Oh, he'd noticed the occasional attractive man, but it had been an
intellectual appreciation. That must be what this was, he thought. With the added spice of a
challenge. So he put it out of his mind.

A few weeks later, he ran into Lyle on the street. He didn't feel a thing beyond pleasure to see
him, so Rob bought Lyle coffee and they talked about computers. Rob mentioned that he'd  been thinking of buying one and Lyle immediately took him to a ratty neighbourhood where he'd  been set up with a computer that was twice what he could have found in even the best store.  Lyle went home with him to set it up, and Rob bought him dinner to thank him. They didn't talk  of anything out of the ordinary, but as Lyle left, he squeezed Rob's arm as he said goodbye. It  wasn't an intimate touch - but it was one they'd never shared before.

Later that night, Rob was on his bed, alone. His mind filled with images of Lyle, he pleasured  himself and called Lyle's name when he came.

The next day, he flirted with the waitress at the cafe where he bought lunch. He took her to a  small room in the back of the cafe. When she put her mouth on him, he closed his eyes and  imagined it was Lyle's mouth. He didn't know how he managed to keep from calling Lyle's  name again when he was inside her.

He knew when he left her that he couldn't do that again. He'd lost the desire to have every  woman who threw herself at him. So that left one option. He had to see if Lyle was in any way  interested.

Calling Lyle's cell, he invented a non-existent problem with his computer. Lyle was there in  fifteen minutes and said that he had just been doing something he shouldn't. Rob noticed how  long Lyle's eyelashes were as he blinked while explaining the technical details.

"It was an excuse to get you over here," Rob admitted. "I wanted to ask you something."


"Remember when the reunion got botched and we had a few beers? You said that some of my  lines were close to working on you. I wondered if they might still work."

"No, they wouldn't," Lyle said. "I don't like lines."

"Okay," Rob said, tightly. "Let's forget this conversation, then."

"Just because I don't like lines doesn't mean that I would mind you just asking me what you're  trying to," Lyle said, looking directly at Rob.

Rob was confused. "I don't get it."

"I don't want to hear how soft my hair is or how bright my eyes are or any of that other bull you  serve to the women you want something from. But if you want to be direct, to ask me what you  seem to be trying to, well, the answer will probably be yes."

"Fuck it," Rob said and leaned over to kiss Lyle. It was obviously the right move, as Lyle  responded.

"Talking is overrated," Lyle said as Rob pulled back, hoping he wasn't about to get punched.  Rob grinned and kissed him again for that.

"I do want you to ask me, though," Lyle said, several kisses later.

"I don't know what I'm asking," Rob said, honestly.

"Just tell me what you're feeling," Lyle suggested.

"Can we see if this would work?" Rob asked. "I think that's what it all comes down to in the  end. I can't promise anything, but we might as well let it play out."

Lyle nodded. "That's what I was hoping you were going to say. And the answer is yes."

As Rob stood there, Lyle made his way toward the bedroom door. "Coming?" he asked.

Rob laughed and followed Lyle into the bedroom.