Matthew drew himself up, tried to shake off—or at the very least bury—the sudden wave of disappointment at Cole's words. He'd secretly hoped the cops had been called on the assholes who'd jumped him. He should have known better. Why should anyone report a couple of thugs wailing on a faggot? It wasn't their business, wasn't their problem. It was also par for the course as far as Matthew was concerned. Nothing to give a shit about. So why did he?
The cat… What the fuck was its name again? Balthazar. Right. …wound around his ankles. Where had it come from? He hadn't seen or heard it approach. He eyed it with some suspicion as he answered Cole's unfinished question. "I can take care of myself." Matthew stepped carefully away from the purring feline, but Balthazar followed and began his weave again.
"Do we have to play the bullshit game again?" Cole asked.
"You think I can't?" countered Matthew defensively. He tried again to escape the cat's affection, and had as little success. The damned thing was as persistent as its human counterpart. He needed to get out of here. Away from the pair of them. But with the cops roaming the neighborhood and no chance of
"I never said that. Listen," Cole went on. He took a breath, let it out in a controlled sigh. Matthew tensed, waiting. "If you need a place to stay tonight, you can crash with me. No strings attached," he added quickly.
Matthew gave a derisive snort. Yeah, right. And Cole claimed he didn't want to "play the bullshit game"? Bull. Shit. "There's always strings." But Matthew couldn't deny that he could use somewhere to stay for the night. Get his shit together. Figure out what the hell he was going to do next. He couldn't go back to his aunt and uncle's house, that was for damned sure.
He toned down his anger and turned up the seduction again. He'd have to pay for the privilege, no matter what Cole claimed. At least he'd have a mattress under him when he let Cole fuck him. That would be a plus. And maybe he could use the guy's shower before he finally stopped playing the goody-two-shoes Samaritan and kicked Matthew out. "You liked your payment before. I could make your offer worth your while." He took a step forward… and promptly tripped over the cat.