[deprecated] Let Me Be | Chapter 2: The Next Morning

(Update, September 2022: This has been rewritten¬†again and the new version will be posted eventually. I’m leaving this here for posterity’s sake only.)

Here we are again! The boys think about each other. Start with chapter 1, if you haven’t read it yet.

Emmerich woke up with his tongue glued to the roof of his mouth, head pounding, pressure building at his temples as though he’d been hit in the head with a sledgehammer. He groaned and reached up to rub his eyes, but the arm was numb from sleep and he smacked himself in the face instead.

“Fuck,” he croaked, prodding at his aching nose with the functioning hand.

10:37 am, according to the bedside clock. He rolled away from the light streaming through the blinds and flipped the pillow to the cool side.

Several pillow flips and five minutes later, he realized he wasn’t going to get more sleep. He shuffled out of bed, wincing at the sunlight brightening the room, and nearly tripped over his own dragging feet.

You’re a hot mess, he thought.

In the bathroom he helped himself to two ibuprofen, a glass of water, and a half-hearted job of brushing his teeth. He grabbed his phone on the way to the kitchen, and was blearily putting his milk into the cabinet when he remembered the night before with a sudden jolt and a name on his lips.

“Andreas,” he said, staring incredulously at the jug in his hand and putting it in the refrigerator where it belonged.

The last thing he’d done on his phone the night before was try to identify the song Andreas had danced to, but he’d been distracted before it found a match. It hadn’t needed any further input from him, though, and there was information about the song, as well as a link to buy it. He scrolled through the lyrics and sheepishly hit the buy button.

As he closed the app, he received a text notification. He tapped on the message and immediately fumbled the phone when it opened, catching it midair and nearly dropping his cereal instead. Milk sloshed over the lip of the bowl. His shirt took the brunt of the damage, and he hardly noticed.

The message was from Eva; no words, just a photo.

A photo of Andreas in his lap and him looking up with an expression like Andreas was God himself. He hadn’t even realized she’d taken a picture.

He looked over his shoulder as though anyone might be watching, then hit save.


By the time his hangover was gone, Emmerich had finished breakfast, played two angsty songs on his guitar, paced the length of his apartment at least a dozen times, thrown himself face-down on the bed once, and talked himself out of texting Eva asking for everything she knew. Instead of setting himself up for her relentless teasing, he was staring at his computer screen and had one hand firmly pressed to the front of his jeans.

He’d thought to search for the club they’d gone to, thinking the website might have information about the dancers. There was less than he’d expected – a name and a photo for each of the regular employees, it seemed, and a clearly fake, sexy backstory for a few of the more popular ones.

At the very bottom of the surprisingly long page was one photo with no name and a simple caption.

The doctor is in.

Emmerich knew it had to be Andreas; he’d had a close encounter with the toned stomach and the feather boa. But Andreas in the photo was wearing a plague doctor mask that obscured everything from the neck up except his hair, which was down, brushing the tops of his shoulders.

Emmerich saved the picture to his computer, unzipped his pants, queued up the song he’d bought, and resigned himself to the fact that he was going to be fantasizing about a hot blond stripper for the foreseeable future.


Andreas was awoken by incessant mechanical shrieking. He blindly flailed for his alarm clock, knocked it off the bedside table, and managed to turn it off with far more effort than he had been hoping for. He, too, dragged himself out of bed and into the bathroom.

Noon already, and he hadn’t slept anywhere near enough. But there was a shift at the urgent care clinic, then another at the club, and he wouldn’t be home until 4:30 in the morning at the earliest. I can sleep in tomorrow, he reminded himself, absently noting the darkening circles under his eyes.

He didn’t often work weekends at the urgent care, but they were short-staffed, and he’d been taking more shifts than was reasonable. It was going to start affecting his performance at one or both jobs pretty soon.

But I’ve still got it so far, he thought, smirking as he twisted the shower knobs. The man he’d given the lap dance to at the end of the night had been practically begging for it. He felt a little thrill at knowing he’d made someone that attractive that… well… erect. He knew he shouldn’t have taunted the poor guy, and his boss had given him an earful about ignoring the bride-to-be. But Andreas liked his job, and sometimes – when the customers were particularly his type – he liked to feel wanted.

He stepped out of his shorts and into the shower.

He pictured the brunet as he’d been last night, needy and breathless and practically shaking with the desire to touch. Andreas was grateful he hadn’t – regardless of his feelings on people wanting him, touching without his consent wasn’t high on his list of preferences. It happened often enough as it was. But the man from the bachelorette party had obediently not touched at all. It was…

Pretty fucking hot, all things considered.

In his mind, Andreas danced as he had the night before. Grinding down against the man’s lap, teasing. But he also licked a line up the shell of the man’s ear. Unbuttoned his pants right there in front of everyone else in the room. Slipped off his lap, took him into his mouth and sucked, let the brunet fuck his throat, and through it all was never touched.

So he touched himself, slow strokes like the man must’ve felt, other hand against the tiled wall for support. When he finally lost control, sped up, and came with a choked whimper, he realized he wasn’t the only one being wanted.

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