Take me back

Sour Grapes10-2023, 4225 words

Office AU
Business Trip
First published in Shousetsu Bang*Bang Issue 105: Skin Deep.
CW: Smoking, drinking, leering, and sexing

That the investor conference took place in Niagara Falls was better than the middle of nowhere, but just barely because Niagara Falls was the cheap Vegas of Canada. Hart would never have gotten to go if his boss wasn’t Zimmerman, Director of the Finance Department. He was lucky to be his secretary if it meant getting a taste of the high life.

The high life indeed. The entire day, Hart attended meetings, heard presentations, and watched money change hands between well-suited people. He didn’t get to participate, of course, but being there was enough to make him think that he could one day.

He took notes for his boss, but more for himself and his vicious desire to take Zimmerman’s place someday. The old man’s presence was a waste of company money, given how he barely paid attention to work and kept looking around cagily. Why he was like that, Hart didn’t know, and he didn’t care either.

The hotel arrangement was equally off-putting. As one of the leading wealth management firms in the country, Batco had splurged on a five-star luxury hotel overlooking the lake. This was normal for a business trip arranged by the company. What wasn’t normal, however, was the double room Hart was sharing.

The double room with the double bed.

Company policy was for everyone to room alone. There were many good reasons for this: privacy, good taste, to reduce conflict, and because Batco wasn’t a cheap-ass employer. Yet somehow, Hart was supposed to share not only a room but a bed.

When he went to the front desk to complain, the hotel claimed it wasn’t their mistake. Well, that didn’t make sense at all because no one from Batco was owning up either.

The clerk tried to comfort him by claiming his room had a prime view of the waterfalls. Like that helped. Hart found Niagara Falls offensive to his very being, just like he found most cities offensive unless they were Toronto, Montreal, or Vancouver. Not that he would ever dare tell any of his coworkers, especially not the ones from, god forbid, dinky little towns.

So what if Niagara Falls was a tourist trap with the unpleasant gimmick of a large waterfall—at least the place stank of money. If not for being a double room, his hotel would’ve been perfect. The room was big, the decor was tasteful, and the amenities were nice. There was a hot tub in the bathroom, which Hart spent thirty minutes soaking in before he got dizzy.

His skin was so soft after a good soak. Hart tied his robe and stepped out, only to find Evil Batlet typing on his laptop in the middle of the bed.

Unfortunately, Evil was his roommate for the night. Eveline insisted that everyone call him Evil, then spent his days living up to the name. He was one of those smarmy investment bankers with an overinflated salary and an even larger ego that still wasn’t over being promoted to Associate. They knew each other, if having a mutual boss and a mutually beneficial relationship counted as knowing each other.

At work, Hart wasn’t above sharing insider information from Zimmerman’s files so Evil could achieve better results. He helped Evil get ahead so Evil could help him get ahead, and they rolled around in the sheets to burn off their frustration. Hart got fucked both ways—professionally and personally—but it would pay off in the end. He was smarter than a secretary should be, so who could blame him for wanting to go places?

Funnily enough, right now Evil’s face was as blank as the Excel sheet he was working on. He stared at Hart in nothing but a robe, his hair still damp and skin flushed from the bath. A bead of water rolled down his neck, and Hart suddenly wished he'd done a better job drying off.

“Was the bath nice?” Evil asked. His eyes flicked down to where Hart’s robe ended at the leg, the cloth loose and flashing his thigh.


“I said, was the bath nice?”

Hart closed his legs together and smoothed the front of his robe to cover what he could. “Pretty nice. It’s a jacuzzi,” he admitted.

When he looked back up, Evil’s lips were curled. “Enjoying yourself, aren’t you.”

Before Hart could snap back—he knew his place and didn’t need to be reminded, thank you very much—Evil grinned at him. “Don’t worry, I am too. Made two hundred at the casino just now.”

Because they were in Niagara Falls, the hotel was attached to a casino, awful den of vice that it was. Hart felt utter contempt for gambling, which only idiots and senior citizens engaged in. People with nothing to do in their free time but sip fountain soda and stare vacantly at the slot machines.

Evil was one of those idiots, apparently. So that was why Hart hadn’t seen him all night, because he’d fucked off to waste his money. A shame he didn’t lose his life savings and instead looked rather pleased with himself.

Setting aside his laptop on the nightstand, Evil reclined on the bed and stretched luxuriously against the pillows. When Hart looked at him, he couldn’t believe he was going to be sleeping next to him for the night. This was so upsetting.

“I went in with a thousand, lost five hundred, and made it back in the end,” Evil rattled off. “Turns out I have no luck at poker but I’m great with slots, who would’ve thought? Feels like it should be the other way around, but I’m not complaining. How was Zimmerman today?”

There was nothing to say about Zimmerman. He was an unreliable old man with, what, how many years until retirement? Either retirement or dismissal, whichever came sooner. These days, Zimmerman spent more time smoking and moping around than doing anything of value. He barely read people’s reports before approving them, so all the bad ideas got through. With how much he was slipping up, Hart hoped he got fired.

He couldn’t wait for the upheaval once Zimmerman left. If Hart played his cards right, he could push Evil up a few rungs, maybe not into Zimmerman’s spot but at least into management. As for himself, Hart was planning to jump ship soon. That kind of boss wasn’t worth being tied to.

“I had to remind him of the schedule multiple times,” Hart admitted. “Other than that, he was the same as usual. I don’t dislike working under him.”

Evil made a noncommittal noise. “I don’t either. I like being under him, if only he’d let me.” Then, after a beat, he added, “Can’t believe I’m not rooming with him.”

“Why would you be rooming with him? The fact that we’re in a double by mistake is bad enough,” Hart said with distaste.

“We shared last time. He got us a double suite even nicer than this one, if you’d believe it.”

A half-smile flashed across Evil’s face before he steadied himself. Hart wasn’t stupid, he caught on quickly and kept his mouth shut. It dawned on him that in the two months he’d known Evil, Evil had always been close with his boss.

Disgusting just how close that was.

“Don’t misunderstand, nothing happened while we were there,” Evil said quickly, waving a hand. “Besides, I’m not rooming with him now, am I? Zimmerman doesn’t want anything to do with me.”

“Don’t give me that,” Hart snapped. The topic was bad enough, but he hated being bullshitted even more. Evil was trying too hard to sound like he didn’t care, making him the exact opposite—young, desperate, and eager to please, if only he got the chance. “Doesn’t Zimmerman have a family?”

Zimmerman kept a framed photo of his wife and daughter on his desk. He talked about them sometimes, so Hart learned that his wife stayed at home while his daughter worked two floors down in Regulatory Affairs. She used her mother’s maiden name, but everyone knew she was a nepotism hire. Why try to hide it? If he were in her shoes, he’d enjoy being a nepo baby.

Evil frowned. “So? He’s always telling me how much he hates his wife and how I’m better.”

“Right,” Hart said slowly.

“Sometimes he makes me think he’ll leave his family for me, then takes it back the next day. You know how much I’d like that? It’s too much for my heart.” Letting out a sigh, Evil ran a hand through his hair, making a mess of the strands.

Hart looked off to the side. He’d never seen Evil like this before and wasn’t sure what to make of him. How infuriating that Evil wanted comfort for a problem that was entirely his own fault. “Do you think I care?” he said. He went to sit at the corner of the bed, crossing one leg over the other and not bothering to fix his robe this time. “You and Zimmerman can do whatever you want, as long as you get away with it.”

Evil’s gaze went down, then back up, and they met eyes like that.

With a huff of laughter, Evil’s mouth twisted into a resigned smile. “You’re right, Hart. You’re right and I’ll stop talking. Wanna do something else?” He rolled onto his side to face him and continued to stare at the skin Hart was letting him see. “Why don’t we order room service? Pick a wine off the list, and we’ll celebrate my good luck at the casino today. Get anything you want.”

And then what, Hart thought. I get drunk, you feel better about yourself, and what happens once you get me in your bed?

But he already knew the answer so he opened the menu instead.

There was nothing Hart wanted from the food, which claimed to be seasonal, local, and organic, with prices to match. Well, the tiramisu was tempting but he needed to watch his waistline, and he was full from the company dinner earlier anyway. Besides, Evil didn’t mean for them to have a late-night snack.

He could feel Evil’s silent pressure, so he flipped to the wine list and tried to look engaged. There were some nice vintages there.

“Come on, let me see the menu too.” The bed shifted as Evil sat up, taking the menu that Hart wordlessly handed over. He made an impressed noise when he saw the wine list. “Hey, there are some nice vintages in here,” he said, surprised.

“That’s what I was thinking,” Hart grumbled. “I want the Inniskillin Merlot and the Bella Terra Red.” Those were the two most expensive wines on the menu, but he figured it wasn’t his money.

Evil chuckled at that. “Two bottles? You’re so classy, Hart. Trying to get drunk tonight?”

Like that wasn’t the plan in the first place.

He picked up the phone and dialed room service, then promptly ordered and went back to the bed. Rubbing his forehead, Evil groaned. “Ugh, all this talk about Zimmerman’s making me want to smoke. You don’t mind if I do, right?”

“When have you ever cared whether I did? I’ll open the windows,” Hart muttered.

The air from the windows was colder than the rest of the room, but it was better than setting off the smoke alarm. Behind him, Hart heard the click of a lighter as Evil lit up a cigarette.

When he turned around again, Evil was reclining on the bed, his eyes shut in pleasure as a haze of smoke danced around him. Hart was reminded of Zimmerman’s office and the same acrid scent that wasn’t just smoke but the same brand of smokes. So Evil was that hard up for him.

As Evil took a slow drag, Hart was at once aware they were about to share a room for the night. Him in only a robe, Evil tense and frustrated, and there was nothing to stop them from going at it all night, as many times as they wanted.

Something in Hart turned hot at that—a tight, simmering boil low in his stomach.

“Room service is here,” Evil said lazily. “Go get it.”

And indeed, two bottles of wine were waiting for them on the other side of the door.


“Inniskillin Merlot,” Hart mused to himself, holding the bottle up to the light. The liquid inside sloshed darkly when seen through the glass. “How much was this again?”

Next to him, Evil set the other bottle on the nightstand with a thunk. “Shouldn’t you know? You’re the one who chose the wine, just enjoy it. I’m not cheap if that’s what you’re implying.”

That was exactly what Hart was implying, but it was nice to know Evil wasn’t cheap according to himself. “Thanks,” he said grudgingly because Evil had paid with his company card.

“You’re welcome. Now let’s drink, okay?” Stealing the bottle from Hart’s hands, Evil fumbled with the wine opener before he managed to pop the cork. “Pass the wine glasses, Hart.”

Hart would’ve listened, except the way Evil looked at him made his skin prickle, like he was waiting for Hart to get drunk and distract him. At least he wasn’t bringing out the drugs—investment bankers were all high off cocaine and their own egos, but Hart only took Prozac.

He wasn’t much of a drinker, only a social drinker but this was hardly a social occasion. At the same time, he was never very good at saying no.

“No, you give me the bottle,” Hart said and snatched the glass, sealing his lips around the rim to drink.

According to the wine list, Inniskillin Merlot was a vintage red with notes of blueberry, currant, and vanilla. The drink was supposed to be richly textured and smooth, but all Hart could taste was a sour tang. Not that he cared—to him, wine was more of an experience than a taste. He liked getting what most people couldn’t, whether on his own merit or someone else’s. 

Between long, dragging gulps, he caught Evil watching him, eyes hungry like he wanted Hart more than the wine. His gaze caught on the clean line of his neck and followed the movement of his throat when he swallowed. Then to where Hart sat sprawled on the bed, sash loose at the front and robe barely covering his legs.

He was acutely aware of the effect he had on Evil and almost enjoyed the attention. Almost, because to Evil, Hart could’ve been anyone if he wasn’t Zimmerman. And Hart didn’t care about Evil but he did care about himself, and being second place was a fucking insult.

“Your turn,” he said coolly once the wine had warmed him from the inside.

Evil grinned. “Sure,” he replied and took the bottle, tipping his head back for a deep sip. A line of red went down his chin, and with nowhere else to look, Hart was infuriatingly reminded of the effect Evil had on him.

Wiping his chin with the back of his hand, he looked down at Hart and smiled the perfect boardroom smile. “So we’re finishing the entire bottle, maybe both,” he said, savoring every word that came from his mouth, suddenly confident in himself. “We might get drunk, we might get up to trouble. Might even have a good time. What are you offering?”

While trying to answer him, Hart’s breath caught in his throat. They both knew how the night would go—they’d get drunk, then fuck.

Sleeping with Evil was easy. Obviously, Evil found him attractive, and he wasn’t so hard on the eyes himself. They had good compatibility in bed and otherwise tolerated each other’s presence. The fact that neither of them cared about having feelings was a benefit.

Evil would close his eyes and think about Zimmerman. Hart would close his eyes and think about nobody at all. He used his body like every other asset he owned, knowing that in the end, he didn’t own himself. That was fine if he gave himself up willingly. 

Hart went for the wine again, thinking that if he was drunk, the sex would feel better in a way he couldn’t admit to while sober.

“Hey, Hart, don’t drink it all. Leave some for me.”

Time passed like that, the bottle going between them as they inched closer and closer until they were sitting next to each other, Evil half-splayed over him.

Hart felt nice. He wasn’t a drinker like he wasn’t a gambler, just like how he didn’t indulge in any vices. But he felt nice. The alcohol was making his body heavy and his mind light, and there was a persistent itch beneath his skin to throw himself at the man beside him.

Evil must’ve been the same with that dazed, hungry look on his face. He leaned in close enough to breathe Hart’s air, hands starting to wander into his robe. Each time he invaded Hart’s personal space, the bottle swayed precariously in his grip, but he didn’t seem to care.

His cheeks were a feverish red. From the alcohol or the groping, Hart wasn’t sure, but he wished Evil would acknowledge the flush on his own. Evil wasn’t much of a kisser—he didn’t seem to like initiating—which left Hart endlessly frustrated imagining lips against his face, his skin, his neck. Hart wanted to tell Evil to do it already, to bite him and leave a mark, but having to ask was worse.

“Take off your robe. Get it off, I wanna touch you,” Evil mumbled.

Hart made some sort of desperate, breathy gasp—absolutely mortifying—while letting Evil slip the robe off his shoulders.

At the sight of his bare skin, Evil made a pleased noise and settled between Hart’s legs. He smelled nice like good cologne, Tobacco Vanille and sweat, which suited him just fine. The lingering aftertaste of smoke hung in the room but was the strongest on him.

Zimmerman was a smoker too, and knowing Evil was desperate enough to pick up the same habit made him want to be mean.

“You smell like smoke, the same as Zimmerman,” Hart said, sweet as sugar as he threw his arms around Evil’s neck. “How much did you like him?”

“Don’t ask me that.”


Evil looked at Hart and grimaced. Hart smiled back, went in for a kiss, and tasted his shitty cigarette. “Disgusting,” he commented lightly. “Say, tell me what cologne he uses and I’ll wear it next time.”

Just like that, Evil snapped. He must’ve liked Zimmerman more than Hart thought, a lot more, because his face turned blank in the dim light of the room. Raising himself up on his knees, he tipped the bottle right onto Hart.

Wine spilled out.

The cold liquid splashed onto his skin, making him flinch. As Hart watched in horror, expensive alcohol dripped down his chest, running along his stomach and onto the sheets. The pristine white linen stained an offensive purple, ruining them forever.

Hart felt faint. A rush of breath left him as his arms struggled to remain upright on the bed. He felt laid out like a pretty meal: dinner, drink, and dessert all in one. Naked while Evil was still in his button-up and slacks, and debauched even more by the indignity.

“That was for provoking me,” Evil said, a smile growing on his face. Then he leaned down and licked his chest.

Evil was… He was… This wasn’t Vegas! He was crazed out of his mind. As rivulets of wine flowed down his body, Evil chased their trail with his mouth, tasting wine and skin in equal measure. He lapped up every last drop, a terrible smirk on his face like he was pleased with what he could do.

No matter how drunk Hart got, no amount of alcohol would be enough to dull the sensation. Not when Evil was licking his nipples like that, chasing the high of using Hart like he’d chase the high of a good, strong shot. The bed shifted as Hart arched his back, pushing into Evil because he couldn’t get enough of him.

Not missing a beat, Evil emptied the rest of the bottle on him, then dove down to taste his collarbone. As Evil’s head dipped lower on his stomach, Hart gave an embarrassingly loud moan and fisted a hand in his hair. Then Evil was firmly settled between his legs, head resting against his thigh and face close to his cock. 

Evil let out a ragged exhale through his mouth. “You like this,” he said with a shit-eating grin. “Look at you, you’re so hard for it.”

“What? No,” Hart protested, but the way his voice shook and dick twitched when Evil sucked wine off his thighs didn’t help. Fuck, he was so easy sometimes. Maybe all of the time.

“I could do anything to you,” Evil said, and then he was taking Hart into his mouth.

Evil gave blowjobs like he was used to sucking cock, which was probably Zimmerman’s fault. He went for it with the drunken enthusiasm of half a bottle of wine and what he poured onto Hart. Somehow, he was still good, swallowing Hart all the way down and doing tricks with his tongue. The occasional moan vibrated through his throat, and even better, he couldn’t talk.

Hart’s mind was spinning in that sick, dizzying way it did whenever he drank too much. The wine list popped into his head: richly textured and smooth with notes of blueberry, currant, and vanilla. He hoped he was richly textured and smooth, then wondered if he was going insane.

When Hart looked down, Evil’s eyes were closed, one hand braced against the bed and the other hidden from sight. The hand beneath his body was jerking in a strained, rhythmic motion.

Excited, he arched his back and let out a low moan. “Give it to me,” Hart said. Throwing his head back, he let out a sharp gasp and spread his legs wide. “Fuck me, Evil, please.”

Evil continued to suck, shattering Hart with the sensation of being taken deep into his throat. He groaned, wishing Evil would hurry up and fuck him, confused beyond words when he didn’t. Usually, Evil loved pushing him down and taking him hard, with no care for wining and dining.

If Evil was going to play coy, then Hart was under no obligation to be nice either. So he didn’t feel bad for jerking his hips and fucking Evil’s mouth the same way other men fucked his. Hart himself had sucked enough dicks with no care for their owners—it wasn’t personal.

He wrenched Evil’s hair and pulled him off his cock. “You said you’d do anything, so stop sucking on me like I’m Zimmerman,” he snarled.

All Evil did was lick the spit and precome off his lips before diving back down. An absolutely filthy moan left his mouth, and everything clicked into place.

He wasn’t thinking about Hart at all.

Of course he wasn’t. Between him and Zimmerman, the one Evil really liked was Zimmerman. Evil didn’t want to fuck him because he wanted to get fucked by his boss. He’d been keyed up all day crawling for Zimmerman’s scraps—craving him, chasing him, and not getting him.

Just then, Hart really did feel cheap for letting Evil pour wine on his body and blow him. Men like Zimmerman only took and never gave, and Hart should’ve been like that too. He wasn’t above spreading his legs to get what he wanted, but people needed to want him back.

Fucking give me what I want already, Hart thought as he came, arching his back and filling Evil’s mouth, feeling his throat work around every last drop.

Evil swallowed. Of course he did.

“Good?” Evil said, and his voice sounded distant against Hart’s ragged panting. He coughed to clear his throat. “I bet it was.”

Too tired for words, Hart shuddered and fell flat against the bed with a noise of disgust. A groan left him at the persistent buzz in his body, and pinpricks of frustration interrupted his afterglow, if it could even be called that.

He paused when Evil lay next to him, curling up with his head against Hart’s shoulder. Their legs brushed against each other, and Hart shifted uncomfortably.

When he tried to pull away, Evil swung an arm around him and didn’t let go. He was still hard against Hart’s hip, but aside from a few light grinds, he seemed content to let it be. There was probably too much on his mind, and maybe he hadn’t meant to reveal all that about Zimmerman.

For just one night, they were sleeping together on a wine-stained bed at Niagara Falls, in the classy hotel with the jacuzzi and the nice lake view and the mysteriously booked double room. It was the sort of night that didn’t matter because tomorrow, nothing would change—not between them and not with Zimmerman either. Not with the career that Hart wanted, nor his luck in life.

Evil was pathetic and way too desperate. So was Hart, except he wanted a different, equally impossible thing. Since neither of them was getting it, they might as well settle for each other.

Looking at Evil flushed and sweaty, hair sticking to his forehead, tongue darting out to trace his lips—Hart wished they could’ve finished the second bottle.