Fawned – A PetPlay Romance Ch. 07

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Alexis Ren

(Content Warning: the end of this chapter mentions self-harm scars)

“Barney? Barn, slow down for a sec’- Hey-”

The mug was pried from his hands, and Savannah continued making the latte, having to wipe caramel off from the sides. “Why don’t you stay up at the register, alright? Let me worry about making the orders. Would that work better for you?”

Barnaby swallowed a lump in his throat and smoothed out imaginary wrinkles in his apron. He was the one that had to call her in at the start of the unexpected rush. It shouldn’t have been up to her to make accommodations for him.

Barnaby, however, was selfish, and the idea alone lifted one of many weights from his shoulders. When his quaff-haired coworker glanced back for an answer, he nodded, skirting around her to place himself at the register. “Your latte is on the way, ma’am,” he said automatically. “Next?”

There were more latte orders, hot chocolates, and coffees, and though shaken, Barnaby was managing. A few “thank you for your patience” were thrown in for courtesy, but nobody complained.

While one customer collected their change, he turned to find his coworker moving back and forth. “How’re you doing, Savannah?”

“I’m fine, Barn.” Savannah bumped her hip into his as she brushed by. “Don’t worry about me. Just keep ’em comin’.”

Barnaby smiled and straightened his shoulders, ready for the next person in line. “Hello! What can I get for you?”

Grey eyes lifted from a phone to lock with hazel.

Barnaby’s heart skipped a beat, and Gil smirked. He didn’t know whether he wanted to run into his arms or runaway.

“Busy night?” the raven asked, scanning the menu overhead.

“Yeah, uhm-” Barnaby cleared his throat. There was a pen on his keyboard that was slightly off center. He corrected it. “I think there was- a band or something that played nearby? Were you there?”

Gil shook his head, and his attention was back on the blond. “No. Came to see you.”

Barnaby bit the inside of his cheek and tugged idly on his ear. He glanced around to make sure Savannah was out of earshot, and when he spoke, it was only loud enough for Gil to hear, “Sorry, I’m- working?” Not sorry for making money, but sorry for not being more Easily Accessible? Yeah, that felt right.

“Pff, don’t be. I’m the one with too much time to kill.” Barnaby thought he caught a wink before the man looked over his shoulder. Two more people in line, but he didn’t seem the least bit bothered by it. “Can you do a black coffee?”

“Black coffee?” Barnaby grabbed his pen to write the order on a ticket for Savannah. “Coming right—” He paused in speech and in writing in a single stroke of brilliance. “Actually—” He crumpled the note, making Gil raise a brow at him. “If you’re willing to wait, I can bring it to you myself?”

Barnaby braced himself against the man’s gaze as it swept him up and down. A hint of a chuckle left his curled lips, and Gil said, “Fine by me.” He produced a debit card, but the second Barnaby spotted it, his hand flew to the card reader to cover it. He winced apologetically without Gil having to move a muscle.

“Go. Sit,” the blond urged, “I’ve got it.”

Despite Gil’s skeptical stare, the card was returned to his wallet. Something about his smirk seemed that much more mischievous as he turned to walk away. “Weirdo.”

The next person in line came forward.

Barnaby hurriedly got through the next few orders, scribbled them sloppily onto tickets and passed them off to Savannah. He’d hoped he didn’t come off as rude, but then again, he couldn’t say he cared about their opinions as much anymore.

Not when the man who called him ‘pet’ studied him from a table for two.

Soon, the counter was clear in front of him, and Barnaby looked out at couples and groups of friends. They filled nearly every seat in the house, bantering, and by all accounts, having a good time.

“We did it,” Savannah said, clapping his shoulder. It didn’t matter that her hand was dainty and well-manicured – Barnaby flinched anyway.

“Thanks to you.” He patted her back weakly, gathering his nerves so he could ask, “Would you mind if I took my break now?”

“Go for it!” Savannah was swift to put herself in front of him, fulfilling the task of adding change to the register.

Barnaby thanked her again, since it didn’t actually feel deserved, and slipped away to fill a mug with black coffee. All the while, he could swear he sensed Gil’s glare lingering on his back. Maybe, specifically, his backside.

His cheeks flushed, and he resisted the urge to wear his apron reversed.

He ended up carrying two mugs to Gil’s table. One belonging to the other, and his, filled with peppermint tea. “I have 15 minutes.” Setting Gil’s coffee in front of him, Barnaby teetered with his own mug. “Thought you might like if I joined you?”

“You thought right.” Gil gestured eagerly to the chair casino şirketleri across from him, and Barnaby, very cautious not to spill his drink, sat down. The raven went on, “So this is okay?”

Barnaby’s eyes widened slightly, and he hesitated sipping his tea. “Is what okay?”

“Me showing up here.” Elbows on the table, Gil leaned forward. “No boundaries crossed?”

“No.” Barnaby shifted to the edge of his seat to be sure he was heard. To be sure that Gil would believe him. “No, it’s-” He hunched his shoulders, speaking the rest to the table, “As long as you know I can’t…do what we did the other night here.”

Gil chuckled, and Barnaby caught a glimpse of his coffee being lifted. “Obviously. I’m not gonna make you roll over in front of everyone.”

Barnaby’s face grew warm at the memory.

“You’re different up there, aren’t you?” Confused by the question, he looked to Gil for clarification. The man continued, “Not as shy as you are around me. You didn’t stutter once. Not that I heard.”

Laughter squeezed out of Barnaby, surprised, though it probably sounded like he was wheezing. “Well, that’s-” He slicked his hair back with a sweaty palm. So much for Not Stuttering. “That’s rehearsed, kind of. You say the same thing so many times, it just becomes- natural.”

Gil nodded, but judging by his crooked smile, he wasn’t exactly convinced. That was- fine, Barnaby guessed. Maybe Gil believing he could be “different” wasn’t all that bad. Unless, of course, that idea secretly offended him. Would he think it meant he was uncomfortable around him?

“It’s not a bad thing,” Barnaby blurted. Gil blinked, unsuspecting. The boy abandoned his mug to flick and pick at his fingernails. “That I’m- the way that I am around you. You just- have that effect on me. And I don’t mind it. I like it.”

He heard Gil give a faint snort, echoed by the clink of his cup against the table. “Okay,” he said, sounding sympathetic, “It was supposed to be a compliment. I’m flattered, but you really don’t need to explain yourself to me.”

Barnaby’s face grew hot with embarrassment. He forced out another, weaker laugh. “If I don’t explain myself, you’ll never understand a damn thing I’m trying to say.”

“Bullshit.” When Barnaby looked up, Gil was rolling his eyes, his lips having curled with the word. “You-” He pointed right at the blond, then traced a line that covered the room. “Make more sense to me than any other chucklefuck in this joint.”

“Oh, that’s- very eloquent,” Barnaby said, not knowing how else to respond.

“I’m serious.” Gil swigged his coffee like it was some bar drink. When he set it down again, he stared intently into what was left, fingers tapping stiffly across the ceramic. Then, he said, “I don’t get how they do it. You have a group of- what? Five people over there? Where the hell do you even get that many friends from? And listen- I’m pretty sure I can hear- three different conversations going on right now, and I don’t think they give a shit. I feel like I’m whispering. Not to mention, the fact they all walked in and decided to stay even with the place filling up…” He trailed off, seeming- amazed? Baffled? Vulnerable? He crossed his arms and scanned the shop, slumping in his chair. “I can’t understand it.”

Barnaby didn’t really understand it either. Gil got it exactly right, voicing Barnaby’s own envy for other people’s ability to exist, but how?

“You,” the blonde attempted to phrase it as delicately as he could, “Invite strangers into your bed. You reveal everything without knowing them, and you get as close as two people can get without making promises to each other. How does anyone make sense of that?”

Gil grinned, and Barnaby decided it wasn’t the reaction he was hoping for. “What did you say about your job?” he asked, subdued and jaded, “It’s rehearsed?”

Barnaby frowned. “I don’t see how you could rehearse that. Isn’t everyone- different?”

“To an extent.” Gil shrugged. “It’s the same as anything else. But instead of memorizing how to make a drink or which button to press on a register, you find patterns in what generally makes people feel good. The more you do it, the more confident you get.” He paused, though Barnaby could still see the wheels in his head turning. Soon enough – “But sure. Everyone’s different.”

The blond nearly jumped out of his seat as he received a light, unexpected kick to his shin.

Gil’s expression softened. Apologetic, but affectionate. “Have to learn a whole new set of patterns for you.”

Barnaby believed he was different than Gil’s other partners – he had the collar to prove it – but it was nice to be reminded. Tapping the man’s leg with his foot, he muttered, “And somehow I’m the one that makes sense.”

Gil gave an affirming nod and corrected his posture. “So. ” The lift prepared Barnaby for a change in subject. “On the topic of rehearsed lines-” Grey eyes squinted at him. casino firmaları “I don’t think I ever asked what your major was.”

Barnaby grinned, and maybe he was blushing again because How Cliche. He wore a collar with the man’s dorm number attached under his shirt, and now he wanted to know his major. “Uhm- I’m in the Agriculture Program, actually.”

Not many people knew what it was and judging by his raised brows, neither did Gil. “Agriculture, huh? ”

With the amount of times he’d explained the program, the speech was already formulated in his head. Barnaby educated him on the campus greenhouses, how most of their labs involving planting and soil-testing happened there. Then there were the community gardens, where they practiced in teams. There were trips to parks and farms, and the inevitable, what Barnaby most looked forward to, internships. At least that was the college’s term for it. Some people, evidently, thought they were too good to be called farmhands. But not Barnaby. He’d be proud when the time came to it.

He didn’t stutter, and he didn’t hesitate – and that usually meant he was rambling, leading people in his past to zone out, or glance at their phones or anything else halfway through. Gil held his gaze the entire time, his chin rested on his hand, his smile unwavering. Barnaby didn’t realize he’d been expecting that to change until he was done talking.

He settled back in his seat, but Gil remained attentive. “You’re going to be a farmer?”

“That’s the goal.”

“And what are you gonna farm?”

The phrasing made Barnaby giggle, but Gil still seemed genuinely curious. “Uh- anything? Whatever I can give?” The boy shrugged. “I’ve thought- Mostly crops. Maybe an orchard or vineyard? I would like to have a barn ’cause, y’know, animals, yay. But also, I wouldn’t be able to hurt them, so it’d have to be a no-meat farm.”

Another affirmative nod from Gil. His eyes were practically twinkling, and he had this overall look about him that- made Barnaby want to pinch his cheeks, dang it. “I like the way you think.”

Barnaby thought, I like the way you exist.

He was about to ask what Gil was majoring in when something grazed his shoulder. Looking up, he saw Savannah, utterly oblivious to the bubble she had burst.

“I’m gonna start cleaning,” she told him, collecting both of their mugs, “If you could go around and take care of refills as soon as you come back, I would really appreciate it.”

“Oh…” Any enthusiasm was promptly sucked out of him. He had to force a smile after, praying she wouldn’t notice. “Uh, yeah, I can do that. Thank you, Savannah.”

“Thanks, Barn.” Unfazed, she trotted away with a sophisticated sway.

That left Barnaby to bury his head in his arms on the table, heaving a sigh.

“What’s the matter?” Gil asked.

“It’s stupid.” Barnaby huffed. “I really don’t like refilling drinks. It should be easy, I know, but it’s like- ugh- stage fright on top of making sure I don’t spill coffee everywhere on top of having to interrupt people, and I know I’m overthinking it but…” But he was whining. He’d impressed Gil, maybe, but there he went ruining it. “Sorry. Can you- forget I said anything?”

There was another kick to his shin, but he barely flinched that time.

“Do you want help?”

Barnaby’s brows furrowed, and he lifted his head to find Gil’s expression turned serious. “No, you- it’s fine. If Savannah sees you trying to serve anyone, she’ll yell at me and kick you out-”

The man shook his head. “Not what I meant.”

“Then…what?”

His stare lingered a second longer before he was reaching down to his feet, rummaging through the bag he’d brought in. “By help,” Gil said, “I mean something to help you relax.”

Oh no, he’s one of Those Guys.

Barnaby’s DARE Officer had warned him the day would come.

He’s going to offer me drugs.

He’d never do it, of course – he couldn’t – but for some reason, when Gil slid his fists across the table, Barnaby put his hands over, accepting the offer.

Except, when he brought the items into his lap for inspection, he didn’t find a pipe, or a vape pen, or a needle.

Gil had given him a vibrating butt plug. Plus a miniature bottle of lube.

Barnaby’s eyes widened, and he stopped himself from throwing them back at the man. “No!” he hissed, “Are you kidding? That’ll make it worse!”

“Think about it.” Gil’s voice was perfectly calm, and Barnaby swore he was biting back his smirk. “You’re- looser in the heat of things. I can tell that once you give yourself up, you don’t worry as much. It’s not intense either. It’s just an incentive.”

Barnaby’s cheeks were burning.

Bastard.

Audibly, dramatically sighing, he shoved the items into his apron-pocket. His leg started shaking, and he covered half of his face with his hands. Glaring at Gil, Barnaby mumbled, “What if I can’t hold it? güvenilir casino In front of someone? Gil, I’d die.”

“Like I said,” the man stated, “It’s not that intense. And if you think you can’t hold it, take it out. That’s all.”

“That’s all,” Barnaby scoffed.

Gil reached out to run his fingers through his hair; Barnaby stubbornly refused to lean into his touch. “And once I do have you alone,” the raven purred, “I’ll make sure it was all worth the trouble.”

The audacity of that man.

Assuming he’d have the chance to get Barnaby alone that night.

Using that tone and those touches on him in public.

The gall.

Leaving the bathroom, Barnaby contemplated spilling coffee in his lap when he passed by with the decanters. He decided against it. But only because he’d have to clean it up. And he wasn’t about to bend over tables or get on his knees to clean anything while a plug vibrated dully in his ass.

Shooting Gil a final glare, Barnaby found the man looking all too pleased with himself. He turned away in a huff, doing his best to focus his worries on not spilling coffee on anyone else instead.

Fortunately, half of the patrons had left by that point. Others were putting their coats on. It made him a little more eager to get it done and over with.

He used the same line at every table he approached: “Hi, sorry, would you like a refill?” The first few rejected him, but that just made him hopeful. The less people he had to serve, the less his chances were of messing up. When someone eventually did say “Yes, thank you”, he was almost calm about it, able to keep a steady enough grip on the decanter. He filled others without issue too.

Yes. He was calm because it no longer seemed as daunting, because he had a tendency to expect the worst case scenario. Absolutely, definitely, and not at all because he was, from head to toe, relaxed by a pleasant, incessant vibration between his legs.

Before long, Barnaby was returning the decanters to the coffee machine, Savannah was scrubbing away in the sink, and they were on their way to preparation for closing. Patrons continued to trickle out, and minutes later, Gil was the last one seated, occupied by his phone.

Barnaby was bagging unsold pastries to take home when Savannah brushed against him. “Is that your boyfriend?” she asked sweetly. Barnaby fumbled with a brownie.

“No.” Since that totally didn’t sound defensive, he added, “He’s just my friend. Why? Do you want him?”

His co-worker laughed and stole a cookie from him. “Oh, no. My days with e-boys are over.”

“He- He’s not an e-boy.”

“Barney, c’mon. No guy our age would have hair like that and wear that much black if he wasn’t an e-boy.”

Barnaby rolled his eyes at her, and she bumped their shoulders together before walking away to gather garbage bags. He closed the pastry display, intending to follow after her –

He froze instead, his breath getting caught in his throat. Staying very still, Barnaby clenched his cheeks as his plug delivered a much more powerful vibration.

He took a careful side-step, hoping it would shift it to a different angle, if that was the problem.

No luck.

He tried walking in place, wondering if that could somehow counteract the sensation.

It only made it worse.

“I’ll be right back,” he told Savannah, “I have to go to the bathroom.”

He barely made it around the counter when Gil called out to him. Looking his way, Barnaby found the man beckoning him over. “Can it, uhm- I’ll be right back, I need to-”

Gil shook his head, pointed directly at his table.

Barnaby groaned and dragged his feet over.

“Where were you going?” Gil asked like he already knew the answer.

Thighs rubbing impatiently together, Barnaby whimpered, “I can’t keep it in. O-Or I need to fix it..”

“Fix what?”

“The- position-?” Another spike in intensity. He bit his lip and gripped at the edge of the table for support. “It’s getting really strong! I’m scared it’ll be too much.”

As soon as he said that, a miracle happened. The plug resumed a dull pulse, and Barnaby sighed in relief. “Oh my god…”

An impish grin plastered Gil’s face. “Better?”

Barnaby didn’t trust that, somehow. He knitted his brows at him, regarding him skeptically.

The raven put his phone down in front of him, revealing what he’d been so preoccupied with: the screen was pink, and at the bottom, there was a sparkling ball of light. At first, Barnaby didn’t understand what he was looking at –

Until Gil put his finger above the ball, dragging it upward.

The plug shook mercilessly inside of him, and Barnaby slapped a hand over his mouth to muffle a moan. Fuck. It was just like the remote paired with the first vibrator. Gil was in control.

“Change it,” Barnaby begged, grabbing onto the man’s arm, his legs shaking. “K-Keep it low, but- Gil…”

Gil chuckled and obliged, bringing it to its original setting.

Barnaby didn’t move though, instead struggling to compose himself. It was simply a means of delaying the inevitable. The damage had been done.

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