Hydro Homo pt. 3

An unfortunate event forces Bennett and Ewan closer than ever before and the tension between the two boils over in the aftermath.

The sun shone through a single glistening drop of sweat that traced the side of Ewan’s face.

"Hey. Are you even paying attention?"

A pair of fingers snapping in front of his face brought Bennett back to reality. "Oh. Sorry," he said. "Just had something on my mind."

"I could tell," said Ewan. The corner of his mouth pulled up into a small, handsome smirk. "You were looking miles away."

"Sorry," Bennett mumbled again as he put the car into drive. He could only hope that Ewan didn’t notice the lump in the front of his pants.

"It’s fine," said Ewan, with a shrug. "Everything’s good, right?"

"Yeah. Yeah," said Bennett. "I just haven’t been sleeping well."

The part Bennett left out was that Ewan was to blame. Not directly, of course. Ewan wasn’t showing up to his motel room, banging at the doors and windows in the middle of the night.

That said, Ewan might as well have been.

From the first day they met, Ewan had featured very often in Bennett’s thoughts. He didn’t know what it was but he just couldn’t get Ewan off his mind.

It wasn’t even an idle sort of curiosity. Not anymore. Ever since that first night where he’d jerked off to Ewan’s ass, Bennett couldn’t seem to stop fantasizing about having the younger man pinned down and spread out underneath him.

Bennett wasn’t even gay. And he definitely wasn’t turning gay. He hadn’t so much as touched a drop of water from the Mississippi during his stay and he’d always let Ewan gather the samples from the riverside so he could keep a safe distance from the spray.

"That’s too bad," said Ewan. "Any particular reason?"

Bennett’s cheeks warmed. "No," he lied. "Not that I can think of, anyway."

Although it did not feel good to lie, it wasn’t like Bennett had any alternative. The last thing he wanted to do was tell Ewan the real reason he couldn’t sleep well.

"If you say so," said Ewan. He didn’t sound convinced but thankfully he didn’t push the issue. He leaned back and folded his arms behind his head, resting his hands on top of the headrest of his seat.

Ewan was wearing a tank-top today. It was a practical idea, Bennett had to admit. Since it was so hot and Ewan sweated a lot, it made sense.

The only problem with Ewan’s wardrobe choice was that it was distracting. Bennett couldn’t help but look. Especially now.

Ewan wasn’t the most built guy Bennett had ever seen but he was no slacker, either. His muscles were more lean than large but he had pretty good definition.

Bennett felt this weird urge to touch Ewan’s glistening forearms but he didn’t want to make things weird. It was bad enough that he kept sneaking glances at the lad’s smooth, exposed armpits.

It really was starting to become a problem. Bennett enjoyed Ewan’s company and was glad that they’d become friends but he was rapidly becoming a major distraction. He would never go so far as to blame Ewan for his current lack of results but the way his brain got all scattered and stuttery around the younger man certainly didn’t help.

Not that Bennet thought avoiding Ewan would be particularly helpful, either. The lad was only too happy to lend a hand wherever he could. Besides that, Bennett had gotten a little attached.

After spending so long practically friendless and alone, Bennett had grown to depend on Ewan’s warmth and exuberance. He was a bright spot in Bennett’s day and it was as if Bennett could forget about all the shadowy conspiracies going on in the world whenever he was around him.

It was nice not having to worry so much, Bennett had to admit. He couldn’t remember the last time he had someone he could trust enough to be more himself around.

It wasn’t like Bennett wanted to be the wacko conspiracy theorist everyone around him thought he was. He just wasn’t as willing to be willfully ignorant like everyone else. It was difficult to be his normal, more carefree self when he knew that the people pulling at the strings of the world might take action at any moment.

A strange faint sweetness in the air rescued Bennett from the dark downward spiral his thoughts were about to trace. The scent alone made his cock throb.

"What—What is that?" Bennett blurted out before he could think twice about what he was about to say.

"What’s what?" said Ewan. "That?" he asked, pointing at a nearby building. "That’s a building."

Bennett snorted. "No, genius," he said. "Can’t you smell that? It’s weird… I can’t quite… I can’t describe it. Is that you?"

Ewan’s eyebrows rose a smidge. "Oh," he said, somewhat sheepishly. He lowered his arms and crossed them over his chest. "Y-yeah. New deodorant. Sorry," he said.

Fair enough, Bennett supposed. It was weird how much the scent was turning him on, though. He was horny enough he didn’t even particularly care if Ewan noticed his erection.

If anything, part of Bennett was hoping Ewan would. Not that he hoped anything would happen but he wasn’t any stranger to the kind of porno where just such a scenario would lead to some road-head.

"Fuck," Bennett said, under his breath. He gripped the steering wheel tightly as his cock pulsed against his leg. He’d just had the briefest image in his mind of Ewan’s head bobbing up and down between his legs.

"Did you say something?" said Ewan.

"N-No," said Bennett, through gritted teeth. He took a few deep breaths through the nose, trying to calm the blood pounding through his veins. He was so goddamn horny. And for a man, at that!

That worry that Hierarch Industries had somehow gotten to him without his noticing resurfaced in the back of Bennett’s mind. It was so inconceivable, though, that he ended up just dismissing the thought.

There were more reasonable explanations, Bennett told himself. It was just a perfectly rational, perfectly natural response.

It was the result of years of being starved of affection Bennett told himself. He’d just gone so long without companionship that his brain and body were getting all the wires crossed.

As long as Bennett could hold it together and not do anything he’d later regret, he was sure that it would all come to pass once he was used to being around other people again. The last thing he wanted was to ruin the good thing he and Ewan had going on. He was sure a hot young thing like Ewan probably wasn’t interested in him, anyway.


Two weeks on and Bennett still had nothing to show for his efforts. Progress was nonexistent and he couldn’t help but feel like he was stuck in a rut.

Bennett hadn’t seen Ewan in two days. It turned out that his adviser had sent back his thesis for revisions and he was working hard on that.

What little headway Bennett had been making slowed to a crawl in Ewan’s absence. For one thing, the younger man couldn’t accompany Bennett on his sample-collecting trips every day anymore.

It was just as well, Bennett supposed. Part of him missed the constant companionship but he was also grateful for the time apart. It was certainly less confusing, emotionally, when Ewan wasn’t around.

Two weeks on and Bennett’s late-night fantasies about Ewan hadn’t gone away. They’d subsided, at least, but that wasn’t much of a consolation.

Bennett was at the point where he was starting to accept the fantasies as just another part of life. They were always so vivid, and they made his blood so hot he could hardly ever resist—even when they woke him up in the middle of the night.

That said, Bennett still didn’t think he was gay. He still liked women—or at least he thought so—but he was becoming more open to the idea that maybe Ewan was a rare exception. He’d always heard people talking about how everyone was a tiny bit bi.

Bennett sighed. It was an overcast day, the first one in a while. It was the kind of day that Ewan would probably enjoy being out and about because the car wasn’t nearly as hot inside.

Part of the reason Bennett didn’t mind having some days to himself was that it gave him time to sort out his feelings. He didn’t want to get too involved with Ewan as he knew, deep down, it wouldn’t get far even if he indulged it.

The last thing Bennett needed was Ewan’s rejection. His investigative efforts were enough of a mess as they were. A broken heart wasn’t going to help.

Even if Bennett did entertain the wildly improbable chance that Ewan would reciprocate his feelings, he didn’t think it would be right to pursue a relationship. It just wouldn’t work.

Bennett was a washed-up old man. His best years were behind him and he’d squandered them by wallowing in misery.

Ewan, on the other hand, still had a lot to look forward to. He had so many things to experience yet—so many better people to meet.

If Bennett and Ewan ever got into a relationship together, Bennett didn’t know if he could live with it. He would spend every day guilty that he was holding Ewan back from the life he deserved.

Not that Bennett wanted to be in a relationship with another man in the first place, anyway. It was just—Ewan made it worth considering.

In any case, Bennett was glad for the time apart for another reason: it gave him time to go and look for work. He had some savings but they were meager and he definitely couldn’t live off them forever.

Bennett’s motel room was cheap but it wasn’t free. Not only that, it wasn’t an apartment, either. He could only stay for so long before people started asking questions.

What Bennett needed wasn’t a good job, just one that paid enough to sustain him. As long as it was somewhere Bennett wouldn’t have to potentially expose himself to Hierarch Industries’ agent, he was willing to do any sort of work.

Bennett was used to taking odd jobs and doing manual labor, anyway. This was a familiar old song and dance for him. Dignity didn’t matter as long as he could put a roof over his head, put bread on the table, and fund his investigation of the Mississippi.

Thunder rumbled overhead, distracting Bennett from his thoughts. He leaned over the steering wheel and peered up at the sky with a frown.

The spell of heat that had been smothering Minnesota for the last couple of weeks seemed to have broken. The dark clouds were ominous, though. It was likely to get bad.

Bennett sighed. That was it for today’s sample-collecting trip. He had to start heading back to his motel room. He didn’t want to risk getting caught out in the rain.

This close to the Mississippi, Bennett couldn’t be sure that Hierarch Industries’ agent hadn’t somehow contaminated the rain. He didn’t know how it could have, but he didn’t want to take the risk if he didn’t have to.

It wasn’t rush hour, at least, so it didn’t take long for Bennett to get back to the motel. Just in time, too, as it was starting to rain.

Bennett held a hoodie over his head as he made for the dry spot under the roof of the motel. As he was climbing the stairs to get to his room, he realized with a start that they were wet.

At first, Bennett thought it might have been the rain. It wasn’t pouring just yet, though, and there was way too much water for a drizzle to account for.

Heart sinking, Bennett made his way over to his room. A considerable amount of water was gushing out of the gap under the door.

Bennett’s hands shook as he took out his key and unlocked the room. The moment he opened the door, more water spilled out onto the mezzanine; he’d never been so glad to be wearing a pair of rubber boots.

The sound of spraying, splashing water was the first thing Bennett noticed. A broken pipe was poking out of the ceiling and, as if that wasn’t bad enough, water was dripping from the light fixtures as well.

The only thing of any value that had been largely spared was the bed. Bennett’s problem was that everywhere else in the room was fucked.

From the samples and the equipment to the gym bags that held the rest of Bennett’s meager belongings, everything was soaking wet. Even his laptop, which he’d left behind to charge, had water dripping onto it from overhead.

Nothing was salvageable and Bennett didn’t dare go into the room to check. Everything was contaminated, anyway, and if he spent any more time gawking at the massive "fuck you" the universe had just sent his way, he would be too, soon enough.

Tears pricking at the corners of his eyes, Bennett hurried back to his car. It was almost too much to bear.

The three weeks of work that had been ruined barely even registered. It was the horrific waste of money that hurt. Even if Bennett wanted to, it would take months before he could buy back all the equipment, and that was if he forewent most of the necessities.

Bennett was shaking by the time he got back into his car. He was half-tempted to grab the samples he’d gathered today and scatter them across the parking lot.

Lightning flashed overhead, followed by a dull peal of thunder. The rain started falling heavily in the moments that followed. Fat droplets pelted the roof of Bennett’s beater, pinging against the metal as if to taunt him with mocking laughter.

Bennett’s one consolation was that he still had his phone, at least. He didn’t know where else to turn. He had no other connections. Ewan was his only option.

Knuckles white around the steering wheel, Bennett waited with bated breath as the phone rang. "H-hey," he blurted out, the moment he heard Ewan’s voice, failing to realize for a few seconds that he’d gone to voice mail.

Swallowing thickly as he waited for the beep, Bennett struggled to regain his composure. "Hey…" he said, as soon as the voice mail prompted him, "This is uh, Bennett… I-I… Just, uh… Just get back to me as soon as you can, okay? I, um… I could use some help."


"Shit, man," said Ewan from the mezzanine.

Bennett nodded. "Yeah," he said. "Shit."

The rain had subsided while Bennett was waiting for Ewan to get back to him, but the dark sky threatened to spill open again at any moment. "I don’t know what to do," Bennett admitted. "Maybe it was a mistake to come here."

"No, man," Ewan called down. "You can’t let something like this get you down. Wait there. Let’s figure this out."

Bennett watched Ewan hurry down the stairs. He was on the brink of a panic attack but Ewan’s presence was strangely comforting. "I mean… Nothing’s gone right in the past three weeks!" he lamented.

"Nothing?" said Ewan, coming up to where Bennett was leaning against the hood of his car.

Staring at his hands, Bennett shook his head despondently and said, "No. Nothing."

Ewan shook his head. "I think at least one thing went right," he said. "You made a friend and, sometimes, that’s all you need to get through something like this."

Bennett looked up. "What do you mean?" he said, heart racing.

"I mean, you’ve got me to help you," said Ewan.

"Oh," said Bennett. If he didn’t know better, he would have said Ewan was blushing. That wasn’t right, though. Ewan was probably just flushed from jogging down the stairs. "You don’t need to go that far."

"I want to," said Ewan. He reached out and touched the side of Bennett’s forearm.

Bennett jolted the moment Ewan’s fingers grazed his skin. He’d felt a shock—the kind that wasn’t painful or uncomfortable but somehow shook through his entire being from the top of his head to the tips of his toes. He had no idea what it meant.

"Why?" said Bennett, still reeling from the sensation. He was breathless, for some reason, and his skin felt hot.

"I don’t want you to give up," said Ewan, pulling his hand back. "I want you to stay and find the truth that you’ve been looking for."

"How can I?" said Bennett. He hadn’t meant to raise his voice as he gestured aggressively toward his motel room but he wasn’t in control of his emotions at the moment.

As far as Bennett could see it, he was stuck. He was at a dead end. Even if he wanted to keep going, he didn’t have the means to. Not for a while, at least.

Ewan chuckled nervously as the rain fell. Tiny cold raindrops prickled on Bennett’s skin. "You could, uh… You could stay with me?" said Ewan, softly.

A crash of thunder overhead punctuated the way Bennett’s mind screeched to a halt. He stammered wordlessly for a moment before he managed to regain his composure. "E-excuse me?" he said, eyes wide and heartbeat frantic.

Ewan averted his gaze. A rosy tinge crept across his cheeks. He blushed. He definitely blushed this time. "You can stay with me," he repeated.

Bennett could scarcely believe what he was hearing. He barely noticed the cold rain pelting him. He felt like the whole world had shrunk down around the foot of space between him and Ewan.

The younger man coughed and scratched the back of his head. "I-if you want, I mean. Y-you don’t have to. I-I just thought it would be helpful if you could stay somewhere without having to worry about paying…"

Bennett gawked. He couldn’t speak. He tried to string words together but failed every time.

The silence must have been too much for Ewan as he started rambling. "B-but, uh… I understand if you wouldn’t want to live with a college kid… I-I can help you out with some rent money for a little bit i-if you’d rather d-do that…"

"W-what?" said Bennett. His throat felt suddenly dry—even though the rest of him was anything but. "You want me to stay with you?"

Ewan’s mouth clamped shut. He nodded, gaze fixed firmly on the ground. Even in the dim light of the overcast day, Bennett could tell that the tips of Ewan’s ears were red.

"A-are you sure?" Bennett whispered as the wind picked up.

"Yeah," said Ewan, head snapping up. There was an earnest look in his eyes. "We’re friends. Of course, I want to help!" he said.

"Okay," said Bennett. His heart was pounding. This all sounded like a bad idea. He was getting attached in exactly the way he told himself not to and getting his hopes up for something unlikely to work out in the end but Ewan sounded so adamant and sincere he could hardly decline.

Against his better judgment, Bennett decided to take Ewan up on his offer. "Thank you," he whispered. He wasn’t sure what else there was to say.


"You have a nice house," said Bennett. It was better than what he expected a doctoral candidate could afford in today’s economy and he couldn’t help but feel a bit out of place.

Ewan laughed. "It’s not mine," he said. Motioning toward the coffee table in the living room, he added, "You can set those down over there."

The comment made Bennett wonder whose the house could be. He couldn’t imagine it belonged to Ewan’s parents. He’d gotten the impression he was estranged from them.

"I have a roommate," Ewan explained.

That made more sense. Although, Bennett hadn’t noticed any signs of another person living in the house. There hadn’t been a car in the garage, only a pair of bikes.

"He’s out for the summer, visiting his parents out west," said Ewan. He must have noticed Bennett looking for this supposed roommate.

"Oh, that’s nice," said Bennett. It made him feel a little bit better about intruding on the space. He felt uncomfortable enough with imposing on Ewan’s kindness, in the first place. He would have felt bad if it meant being an inconvenience to a stranger.

"I was actually trying to figure out how to give you some good news before I got your voice message," said Ewan, flopping down on the couch as Bennett hesitantly sat on the other end.

"Hit me," said Bennett. God knew he could use some good news, right now.

Ewan smirked. "Well, I was going to tell you that I managed to get approval to bring you into the lab," he said.

"Oh fuck," said Bennett, raising his eyebrows. What a stroke of luck. Just when he’d lost all of his equipment, better facilities became available to him.

Bennett leaned his head against the backrest and sighed. "That’s great to hear," he said. Of course, he suspected there would be a caveat of sorts. He doubted he would get free reign of the lab when he wasn’t even affiliated with the university.

"You’re going to have to show me and my adviser that you can be trusted with access, though," said Ewan.

That was fine. Bennett had expected as much. There was expensive equipment at stake and research he could potentially ruin if he wasn’t careful. He could see why the people in charge would be cautious. "What do I have to do?" he said.

"Well," said Ewan, "the first thing you have to do is learn a bit of chemistry. Then you have to pass a basic laboratory skills exam."

Bennett grimaced. He might have graduated with pretty good grades twenty years ago but tests and exams were the banes of his existence. He just didn’t test well. He never had.

Ewan must have noticed the look on Bennett’s face because he quickly followed up with: "It’s fairly easy, so don’t worry. I’m sure you’ll do great."

It would have been comforting—and it was, coming from Ewan—but Bennett had heard those exact words from professors before. Maybe it had been deliberate misdirection or maybe those professors just had a different definition of "easy" but those exams had always turned out to be the most difficult, in Bennett’s experience.

"I’ll do my best," said Bennett. His personal feelings on the matter aside, he had no choice but to give it his all. He had no equipment left. This was his only option to get anything done until he got everything replaced.

"I know you will," said Ewan. The bright little smile that touched his lips made Bennett’s heart skip a beat.

The exam was going to be the least of Bennett’s concerns. He could already tell. Trying not to lose his mind while living in close quarters with Ewan was going to be a major challenge.


It was official. Bennett was going to go insane before he even had a chance to take the stupid lab skills exam that was lined up for him. The sweet irony was that it was the very man who’d given Bennett the opportunity who would send him to the loony bin before he could take it.

Bennett had already mostly processed the big middle finger the universe had flipped him just a few days ago. What he needed was peace and quiet to study and make sure he passed his upcoming test.

It might have been much to ask, considering he was a guest in someone else’s home but Bennett had been invited. He was pretty sure that entitled him to at least a modicum of tranquility.

Bennett’s problem was this: Ewan liked to lounge around the house in nothing but his underwear. It drove him to distraction. Endlessly. He could never not look.

It would have been bad enough had Ewan been showing off his tight, lean body in a pair of loose boxer shorts but he wasn’t. He was wearing these tiny bikini briefs that cupped his ass and lifted his bulge.

If Bennett didn’t know any better, he would have sworn Ewan was showing off for him. He liked to think he did know better, though. There wasn’t a snowball’s chance in hell Ewan was actually showing off for him.

Not that it mattered since Bennet couldn’t help but ogle the younger man, anyway. It left him flustered more often than not and he was lucky if quickly rubbing one out into the toilet would help get the image out of his mind.

Bennett was new to this whole lusting after guys business. He was still convinced he was straight. He still felt nothing toward other guys.

Ewan was the exception. Ewan was the one that made Bennett’s blood boil without even having the grace of pretending to make an effort. Ewan was the only guy Bennett fantasized about bending over his desk and fucking just so he’d stop waving his skimpily-clad ass all over the house.

It might not even have been an issue if Ewan spent his day doing mostly his own thing on his own side of the house but he didn’t. He was concerned about Bennett and regularly dropped by to check on him and make sure he was okay.

Bennett appreciated the concern. He really did. It was just driving him up the fucking wall and making it really difficult to focus on studying up for the exam.

Locking the door to the room he studied in might have been a viable option but Bennett felt it would be rude to deny access to rooms in someone else’s home. Maybe he could have talked to Ewan about it but he was a bit too chicken-shit to do that.

"Hey. Are you doing alright?" Ewan called from the doorway.

Bennett turned to look. It was a reflex, by this point. His mouth ran dry as soon as he did.

Ewan was leaning against the doorframe, wearing nothing but a tight, light-blue pair of briefs with a set of decorative laces in the front. Sun shining in through the window struck one side of his body, casting his sculpted muscles into stark relief.

The sunlight seemed to glint off the slight sheen of sweat that covered Ewan’s pale skin. His trademark ballcap was missing, leaving his fiery red hair to almost shimmer in the daylight.

To Bennett, Ewan looked like an ancient Celtic god become flesh. The way the early morning sun shone over him seemed to lend him an unearthly, ethereal glow.

"Y-yeah," Bennett stammered. His cock ached, pressed up against the inside of his thigh by the too-tight pair of briefs Ewan had lent him. He could only hope his problem wasn’t visible from the doorway. "H-have you eaten?"

"Not yet. I’ve been doing some morning stretches. How about you, have you had anything yet?" said Ewan.

Bennett shook his head. He turned back toward his study materials but his heart ached at having to direct his attention away from Ewan. "I haven’t eaten anything yet," he said, trying to sound less shaken than he was, "I’ve had coffee, though."

Ewan clicked his tongue. "Well, that’s not good," he said. "I’ll see if I can put something together. I’ll call you when it’s ready!"

Simultaneous pangs of relief and disappointment hit Bennett as he heard Ewan walk away. He wanted to chase after him but he forced himself to stay put.

He wasn’t gay, Bennett told himself. He wasn’t gay. He didn’t have a crush on Ewan. He wasn’t hoping Ewan felt the same way. He wasn’t dreaming of being more than friends.

There was no way it would happen. There was no way it could happen. Bennett wasn’t delusional enough to believe that.


"Ben, you might want to sit down," said Ewan.

Bennett’s heart nearly stopped. His anxiety over the exam went straight through the roof. He could scarcely bear to look Ewan in the eyes because the crestfallen look on the younger man’s stupidly handsome face could only mean one thing.

Maybe it would be a good idea to sit down. Bennett grabbed a chair and flopped bonelessly into it. "What is it?" he said. "It’s bad, isn’t it? I knew it was going to be bad."

A tight, small smile pulled at the corners of Ewan’s lips. That wasn’t a good sign.

"I’m afraid it’s bad news, Ben," said Ewan.

Bennett had never gone by Ben, before. If anything, he’d actively avoided the nickname. He didn’t know why, exactly, he disliked it so much, but what he did know was that he didn’t mind when it was Ewan using it.

"Fuck, fuck, fuck," Bennett muttered under his breath. "I can retake it, right?" he said. His leg bounced up and down as he tried to weigh his options.

Bennett had started a part-time job to help pay for things around the house but his income wasn’t nearly enough to replace what he’d lost in a timely manner. "I’ll just study harder this time and make sure I pass. I really need access to that equipment, Ewan," he said.

Ewan nodded solemnly. He pulled up a chair of his own, sat down, and patted Bennett on the knee. "Before I tell you, I just want you to know that I’ll still support you, okay? If this doesn’t work, then I’ll find another way."

Bennett glanced at Ewan’s hand. He wasn’t wearing pants, today. He was wearing shorts. Ewan’s slender fingers felt hot, like coals, against his skin. The warmth was spreading up his leg, snaking slowly into his groin as his cock swelled against his thigh.

"Just hit me with it, already," said Bennett, loudly. He hoped to draw Ewan’s attention away from the bulge slowly forming in the front of his shorts.

"Okay," said Ewan. He flipped open the piece of paper that, ostensibly, had Bennett’s test results. "I’m sorry but I think you’ll have to stop spending so much time collecting samples."

Bennett was ready to bemoan the test results when he realized what Ewan had just said. "Wait," he mumbled, utterly confused. "What?"

"It’s just, you won’t have the time to be going around the city collecting samples between spending time with me at the lab and going to your job," said Ewan.

"I see," said Bennett, entirely crestfallen until the meaning of Ewan’s words hit him. "Wait,"

The solemn look on Ewan’s face evaporated as if it had never been there, in the first place. "Yeah," said Ewan, beaming with a grin that split his face from ear to ear. "You heard that right."

"I’m going to have to spend time at the lab with you?" said Bennett, slowly and haltingly because he wanted to make sure he’d heard right.

"Yeah," said Ewan, laughing as his expression visibly brightened. "You did it, Ben!" he said. "You passed!"

Bennett fumed. On the one hand, he was happy. On the other, he did not enjoy having his emotions toyed with like that.

The chair Bennett was sitting in fell to the floor with a loud thud as he got up to his feet. Emotions churned in the pit of his stomach. Anger. Relief. Happiness. Irritation.

Bennett took one step toward Ewan. It was all it took to cross the space between them. He reached down, grabbed Ewan by the front of his tight tank-top, which left little to the imagination, and hoisted him into the air.

"You little shit," Bennett snarled.

Even the spittle flying in his face seemed unable to wipe the smug, self-satisfied look on Ewan’s face. "You should have seen yourself," said Ewan, with a light laugh that made something in Bennett’s chest ache with longing.

The more he looked at the happiness in Ewan’s eyes, the more Bennett got irritated by it. He knew just the thing to shut the stupid-hot ginger up.

Grabbing the back of Ewan’s head with his free hand, Bennett brought their lips crashing together in a sizzling hot kiss.

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