Rick Cracking: A Short Story

Decent Essays
The men worked in comfortable silence until the sun dipped down behind the trees and the room was splashed in orange light. Only then did they spread the last of the paint on the walls and close up the cans. They spent a good ten minutes trying to decide if they should rearrange Carl’s furniture, or wait until they were sure the paint had dried. Daryl ended up shoving Rick out of the room mid-sentence, the bed and dresser left in the center of their workspace.

They skipped down the stairs single file, laughing at a joke Rick cracked. Daryl’s broad shoulders cast shadows on the stairs in front of Rick, a comforting shell of familiar presence. When they reach the front door, their joyful cadence fades out, and Daryl’s real hand hovers over
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“Do you wanna, uh, go out for a beer?”

Rick cracks a smile. “You askin’ me out on a date, Dixon?”

Daryl scoffs and rolls his eyes, but pulls his hand back from the door. He crosses his arms over his chest, tucking his hands under his armpits and flexing his shoulder muscles. “Nah, jus’ have a twenty-four hour shift startin’ tomorrow, so’s we won’t be able t’have one tomorrow night,” his eyes trail up Rick’s body. “But whatever you wanna call it is fine.”

Rick’s heart drops a little at the announcement of a twenty-four hour shift, but keeps the smile on his face anyway. “Yeah, lemme get my coat.”

Daryl takes Rick to a not so sleazy bar downtown, one Rick had noticed driving to work. The exterior was laid out bricks and green metal doors, but the inside had the warm and welcome dim yellow lights and quiet rock music. Daryl hopped right up onto a bar stool, gesturing to the one next to him with a raised eyebrow. Rick smiles and takes a seat, drumming his fingers on the stained wood of the counter and resting his chin in his other hand; he quirks his lips up at Daryl.

“You a regular here?” Rick asks, not failing to notice how one of the female bartenders winks at the
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Rick keens under him, hand finding dark brown hair and jean-clad hips. He shivers when cold metal brushes against the bare skin of his cheek, skirting down his jaw line and skimming like water over his neck. Then, as quickly as he came, Daryl was wrenching back.

His hands never left Rick, his real one grasping the front of Rick’s shirt in a white-knuckled, vice-like grip, and his prosthetic still cupping Rick’s cheek. Fear rises like bile in Rick’s throat, his heart pounding in his chest from a mix of anxiety, adrenaline, alcohol, and lust; a deadly combination.

“I—“ Daryl starts, then he’s leaning forward, resting his head on Rick’s shoulder. “I don’t wanna be yer drunken mistake,” the firefighter breathes, his breath smelling of whiskey and vodka, his body heavy. Rick releases a breath he didn’t know he was holding in, shifting so he could hold Daryl’s face between his hands.

Rick smiles, rubbing his thumbs over Daryl’s high cheekbones, watching the man’s visage go from confusion to settlement, his eyelids fluttering closed under Rick’s gentle touch.

“You aren’t,” Rick assures, and yeah, he’s drunk off his ass, but that he was sure of. The only mistake Rick made was not kissing him
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