Last round here.
Shit. Shit, shit, shit! Matthew's heart raced in that sickening way that told you you were about five breaths away from falling over. He dragged in a deep breath and felt himself calm enough to pull his wits together. That had been…intense. Cole had surprised him yet again in yet another way. Was he for real? Matthew'd never thought of himself as an optimist, but he couldn't deny the tiny spark of hope that warmed his belly.
Ruthlessly, he tried to smother it. No one was that nice. There were no knights in shining armor. Everyone had ulterior motives. He just had to figure out what Cole's were. If wasn't easy sex, it was something else. Maybe Cole wanted something kinkier than what Matthew had offered so far. Or maybe he didn't want it to be so easy; maybe he wanted Matthew to make him work for it. He could handle that. He'd turned some pretty twisted tricks in his life. He could do this, figure out what Cole wanted and give it to him. Unless… Unless Cole really didn't want anything from Matthew.
Damn it, there was that hope thing again.
Did he really dare to take that chance? Matthew hands trembled at the possibility. He clutched them into fists. He took a shaky breath and released them, reaching out for his coffee simply for something to do, something to focus on besides his confusion. The mug had gone cold. He set it back down and was glad to see that at least his trembling had stopped. On the outside. Inside, he was a mess. He wanted to believe Cole's offer was honest. Wanted to believe there really were no strings. He almost had himself convinced when an image of Tyler suddenly flashed in his mind's eye. Matthew had thought that relationship had been honest and look where that trust had gotten him.
How could it have been honest when they'd had to sneak around and lie to Tyler's folks?
Huh. First hope and now logic. You'd think he'd been watching daytime TV. Oprah would have a field day with his fucked up life. And yet…
Even through the bitter taste of his cynicism, there was that sweet hint of hope. Matthew still didn't believe in fairy tale heroes, but Cole had saved his ass twice already--once from the guys who attacked him, once from the cops who'd shown up at the door of the art shop--and he'd repeatedly refused compensation. Maybe, just maybe, it was safe to hope this time. At least a little bit.
He rose from the table and went to find Cole.