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This story has appeared in the Torquere Press collection Truth or Dare.


True Enough

"What's eating you?"


"I asked," Kevin said patiently over his can of soda, "what is eating you?"

"What do you mean?"

Kevin looked at his friend's frown and sighed. "Come on. You've been brooding over something for a while now, and imagine I haven't noticed? Is something wrong?"

"No," Barry said. "And I can't understand what you're talking about anyway."

"Man... I've known you since we were, what, eight or so?" Kevin spread his arms. "That makes over ten years. Don't you think I know you well enough by now to have some authority to claim that you've been behaving odd?"

Barry bit his lip, one hand absently picking on the armrest of his chair, gaze glued to the window, and said nothing.

Kevin waited. He knew not to push it when Barry looked like that. Whatever it was, it would come out eventually if he was patient enough. So he shrugged to himself and turned his attention back to his communicator.

"How do you know if you're gay?"


"You heard me," Barry said irritably.

Kevin stared for a moment, communicator forgotten again.

"What makes you ask?" he blurted when no explanation seemed to be immediately forthcoming.

"I was just curious."

Kevin didn't let the airy tone mislead him.

"Curious, oh yeah, sure!" he said. "What, do you think you're gay? Whoa, Barry, I never knew 每 I mean, you've never 每"

"Me neither," Barry interrupted curtly. "I always thought I'm just, well, not that interested. And maybe it's nothing after all. I mean, anyone might have these moments, right?"

"Yeah, yeah, but what's made you think about it in the first place? Something must've happened!"

Kevin sure wasn't going to let his friend off the hook quite that easily. "Come on, you can tell me! I'm always babbling everything to you, it's not like we have any real secrets anyway!"

Barry took a gulp from his drink, then shoved fingers through his dark brown hair, lips pursed into a thoughtful pout. "Well... yeah, something's happened all right and I just can't seem to get it out of my head. It was at the wedding..."

Lights were glittering everywhere in the huge penthouse patio. Bright lanterns blinked like clusters of stars above the heads of the people and music threaded through the crowd, mingling with talk and laughter. Here and there soft atmospheric lamps gave an eerie glow to selected nooks and corners, doing their best to lure people into those surprising havens of peace and into making use of the chairs and recliners strategically scattered around.

Barry took a sip from his glass, savored for a moment the sparkling on his tongue, and sighed. Most everyone present seemed to look either breathtakingly gorgeous, or breathtakingly eccentric, or both. The clothes were expensive, the hairdos outrageous, fashions eye-catching, and he felt distinctly out of place.

All right, so he'd somehow got acquainted with the perpetually chart-topping band Katana 每 in fact well enough to be called 'friend' by its members. That didn't mean, however, that he would feel quite at home in a party where just about every face was familiar either from advertisements or from the media that followed every step taken by the more popular entertainers, and where he could hardly take three steps without nearly bumping into some music business tycoon or the cover girl of the latest perfume sensation.

Even the usually dependable Kevin had abandoned him. No matter how Barry tried, that shock of flaming red hair was nowhere to be seen 每 not that that would've been in any way surprising. Most probably Kevin was somewhere hanging out with his elder brother Keith and Keith's partner Tsuriya, one of the Katana members, having a good time and enjoying the borrowed limelight to the fullest.

Barry sighed. He wasn't too keen on that sort of thing. Oh, he liked everyone in the Katana well enough, and he liked spending time with them in private, but this was a whole different thing. Even seeing his own reflection in the numerous windows around gave him a jolt every damn time, simply because he just couldn't associate the handsome young man in that dashing suit with the image that had so far greeted him in the bathroom mirror in the mornings.

He glanced around, feeling bedazzled. As flattering as it had been to be among the first invitees, maybe he should've thought it over once or twice before accepting. When the last so far single member of the Katana was now tying the knot with the top female model on the globe, of course the setting had to be posh enough to match the long and dashing guest list, and he should've really been a bit better prepared for what was to come.

Barry shook himself slightly. Well, he sure wasn't going to spend the evening just sulking in a corner, either! Even if he was just a student of technology and by no means a proper part of the glitterati currently milling about, he wasn't going to be too intimidated to enjoy himself. He'd go looking for some nice, preferably not too rowdy company, and have fun!

He took a deep breath, tossed back the rest of his drink and set the glass down on a stone table that happened to stand demurely next to him.

Peals of laughter erupted from behind a row of bushy potted plants, beckoning him over. When he peered over them, he noticed a glittering swimming pool and a circle of some twelve or fifteen people sitting on the tiled floor next to it. Encouraged by the relaxed atmosphere radiating from them, he strolled closer.

"Hey, more people!" someone shouted and waved at him. "C'mon, join in!"

As Barry hovered closer with a hesitant smile, several people glanced at him and a slot appeared in the circle.

"Sit down!" A dark girl in an extremely slinky dress patted the tiles beside her. "Sit down, and someone please pass that drinks tray around, this guy doesn't have a glass yet!"

While Barry was settling down in the group that had so welcomed him, a tray full of colorful drinks had already begun its teetering hand-to-hand passage towards him. Miraculously, by the time it reached him all of the remaining glasses were still standing upright, and he picked up one. The taste was pleasantly crisp and fruity, and after a second mouthful he turned his attention to what was actually happening.

In the middle of the loose circle lay an empty bottle, looking highly purposeful. One of the male members of the company reached out to grab it.

"Hey, so it's my turn, right? Ookay, here goes..."

The bottle spun around for a few moments, then slowed down until it finally stopped, its neck pointing at a very tanned, very blonde woman who shrieked in delight.

"Oh no! Not me!"

Her protests were drowned by the applause and encouragement from the others, and she pressed both hands on her cheeks.

"No wiggling," said the man who'd spun the bottle, a wicked gleam in his eyes. "Truth or dare? Your call..."

"Pick truth!" someone shouted. "You're sure to get some crazy task if you pick dare!"

"Spoilsport," snorted another, "it's not a dare if it's something lame!"

The questions and tasks were doled out by one of the players who was holding a little electronic gadget, apparently designed specifically for the purpose, and Barry soon decided that he was indeed lucky because the bottle seemed determined to miss him every time. Time and again it seemed to hesitate and then, at the last moment, point at someone else instead, so that he got to laugh along at the increasingly ludicrous tasks that befell each subsequent victim. Maybe the person reading out the commands was adding something for better effect, or maybe it was just the relaxed atmosphere and a suitable amount of booze that made everything so funny; whatever the reason, very soon his stomach muscles were nearly cramping with laughter.

Once again the bottle spun wildly, slowed down, stopped. A roar of laughter emerged from the crowd.

"Truth or dare?"

"Dare," said the blond young man with an expectant smile.

The appointed referee squinted at his gadget, then grinned widely. "Kiss the person on your left. Tongues must be involved."

Barry blinked when the blond man grinned mischievously and crawled to sit closer to him. Dark eyes glinted in the dim light and he saw a wink.

Then a hand was cupping the back of Barry's head, for a moment Barry smelled the fruit and alcohol in the breath that washed over his face, and the next thing he realized were the lips pressing on his. Too confused to resist, too surprised to really register what was happening, he still somehow managed to take note of the fact that tongues were most definitely involved. He had his arms full of a warm, slim body, another pair of arms was snaking around him, and the soft fabric of the blond man's shirt hissed under his hands.

The kiss tasted good. The body molding into his felt good.

As to the loud applause...

Barry opened his eyes, surprised to notice they were closed in the first place, and swallowed as he saw the twinkling smile of the blond who pulled back, lips wet and red and swollen.

The man glanced around. "Good enough?"

Another round of cheering met the challenge in his voice, and with a triumphant grin he reached out to spin the bottle again.

Barry was no end grateful that somehow, miraculously, his luck held to the last. No matter how many times the bottle was made to spin, it just refused to pick him out. Which was just as well, as his brain flatly refused to come up with any scheme that would allow him to even attempt a graceful escape.

In the end he was rescued by the newlyweds who arrived to insist that everyone join them on the dance floor, and for the rest of the party he made doubly sure that everyone he danced with was definitely female.

For a good while Kevin just stared at his friend.

"Was that it?" he asked finally. "And now you're suddenly madly in love with him, or what?"

Barry rolled his eyes.

"Don't be stupid! I don't even know his name!"

"That might not mean anything," Kevin argued. "You and he kissed, right? I've heard about people who claim to have fallen in love with someone at first sight 每 so why not at first kiss?"

"Kev, stop being an idiot and understand that I'm not claiming to be in love with the guy!" Barry exploded. "You're missing the whole point. It's not about him, not really. It's just that it was a he, a guy, and he kissed me, and it felt totally different from anything ever before."

"I'm assuming that it felt different in a good way," Kevin mused, unperturbed by the roar. "Well, have you ever been suddenly grabbed and French-kissed by a girl?"

"Of course I haven't!"

"Then you can't know for sure that something like that might not have a similar effect," Kevin pointed out.

Barry nodded but his frown didn't look too convinced.

"Okay," Kevin tried a different approach. "So it's left you thinking. What about it, exactly?"

"That I liked it," Barry admitted grudgingly. "A... a lot, actually."

"Well then!" Kevin threw out his arms. "Don't you think that might mean that you actually swing that way? Even though you've never come to think about it before? Huh?"

"I suppose so. But how do I know for sure?"

"Well, I guess you ought to try it again and see what happens. How's that for a plan?" Kevin cocked his head. Barry snorted.

"Try what, exactly?" he asked. "Kissing a guy? You make it sound pretty damn simple!"

"Isn't it simple, then?" Kevin shrugged. "Anyway, kissing might be good for starters, and then maybe something more, depending on how you'd feel about that."

Barry groaned. "Oh yeah, really simple. So how do I go about finding somebody to try it out with, huh? Any suggestions there?"

Kevin gave him a slanted look. "Um, surely this isn't the point where I'm supposed to, dunno, offer to lend a helping hand or something?"

Barry nearly choked. "You? No fucking way!"

Kevin's eyebrows jumped to his hairline, then he grinned broadly.

"I might almost be insulted, Barry old man," he said mischievously. "But I think I know what you mean, so I'm not. I mean, we're best pals and all that, but I don't think I'd be ready to go quite that far, even for a friend like you. No offense."

"None taken," Barry sighed. "It's just that you're more like a brother or something, and 每 no. Just, no."

"Anyway, we need to find a solution to this," Kevin continued.

"We?" Barry groaned. "How did it suddenly become 'our' problem?"

"Old pals and all that stuff, remember?" Kevin sat on the armrest of his friend's chair and put an arm around Barry's broad shoulders. "Of course I want to be there for you. Besides, why wouldn't I, when I know just the people who can help you?"

"Stop looking so nervous!"

"I'm not nervous," Barry countered untruthfully and tasted his drink, just to do something. He just couldn't shake the feeling of being stared at, no matter how he tried to tell himself that he was imagining things. All right, so he wasn't used to be wearing stuff like the slinky silvery shirt and tight black pants that he'd been coaxed into, but one glance around was enough to tell that his attire was among the tamest in the place.

Besides, Barry was sure that even if he were stark naked, everybody around them would be too busy looking at his two companions to even notice him. Even though The Galaxy, Delmarva's hottest nightclub was packed as it usually was, there were some people who tended to be noticed no matter what their surroundings, and two such people were currently sitting at a little round table with Barry. Or rather, they were comfortably sprawled against the backrest of the sofa that curled gracefully around the table, enjoying their drinks and getting stared at.

"Yes you are," Keith insisted and winked at Barry. He raised his tall, narrow glass and took a sip of what looked like green slush. "Just relax, Barry, nobody's going to eat you."

"I know," Barry grumbled. "I'm just not at all sure if this was the right thing to do."

"Why wouldn't it be?" Tsuriya chimed in. "You want to find out something, and here's your chance. Look around, man, go dancing with people, try out stuff, and stop when you like. This was exactly the right thing to do!"

Barry threw a sideways glance at a group of youngsters who sauntered by, trying very inefficiently to look like they weren't ogling the handsome Katana member. Tsuriya routinely ignored them while Keith blew them a kiss and got a burst of delighted giggles in return. "Wouldn't it have been better if I'd come here alone, or just with Keith?"

"What? No way! Or would you want to be making headlines tomorrow as the guy with whom I'm being unfaithful to Tsuri?" Keith laughed at Barry's shocked expression. "No, I thought you wouldn't! Besides, now it's plenty clear that you're not taken, and that you're here looking for company."

"Also, because you're here with us, it's a good guess that you're after guys and not girls," Tsuriya added. "So, r-e-l-a-x. Take a deep breath. You're here to have fun, right?"

Barry found it surprisingly difficult to follow the advice, but he did his best. And really, there was no goddamn reason to feel this out of place 每 this wasn't his first visit to The Galaxy, nor the first time he was hanging out with gay friends! Still it took a good while before his tension evaporated enough and he began to actually enjoy the evening. Tsuriya and Keith were good company, the music was loud but not overwhelming, the drinks tasty, and at last Barry felt himself relaxing in his seat. So what if he was here to find out things? Nobody was telling him to do anything more that what he felt like, it was perfectly all right to just look around and gauge his feelings about what he saw.

The music morphed yet again into something new, and an eerie, sensuous melody crept out to dance over a deeper beat. Keith perked up.

"Tsuri..." He gave his partner a mischievous glance. "Recognize this?"

"You think I wouldn't?" Tsuriya slunk out of his seat and tossed his voluptuous mane over one shoulder. "C'mon, babe, there's no way we could miss this! I hope you don't mind, Barry?"

"Of course not!"

Barry smiled to himself as he watched how the two joined the crowd on the dance floor. Really, the present-day Keith was a far cry from the serious, uptight youngster he remembered from their boyhood days back in Kinross. This Keith was an altogether different creature, a self-assured young man who handled with admirable patience and good humor the everyday tribulations of his life as the partner of a celebrated pop star. No wonder Tsuriya was so completely crazy about him.

Being with them here was also most entertaining, as long as one managed to ignore the staring, but Barry wasn't sure that it did anything to solve his problem. He couldn't deny that he enjoyed looking at the people around 每 particularly at the males, in fact, but he was still feeling unsure of what exactly to do about it.

That was a feeling that made him more exasperated than anything. How the hell was it possible that he was this clueless? Surely, if he really was gay, he should've noticed at least something already much earlier? Keith, too, had grown up in the insular, prejudiced, apparently asexual Kinross, but he claimed to have realized his own inclinations early on. Thus it didn't do to blame it all on the environment, either. Maybe then he was just mistaken? Or not really interested in any kind of sex? Or 每


Ice chunks clinked in the glass as it slipped from Barry's suddenly limp fingers and dropped back on the table with a muffled thump, luckily only from the height of about an inch. For a moment Barry sat still, as if someone had picked up one of those ice cubes and slipped it down the collar of his shirt. Then he slowly turned around.

The face peering over the backrest of the sofa, chin resting on crossed arms, looked familiar. As did the shiny mop of blond hair. As did the brown eyes that glittered at him over a broad smile.

"Remember me?"

Barry swallowed with difficulty. "Yeah," he managed.

The smile grew even broader. "I wasn't at all sure you would. Mind if I sit down for a while?"

"N-not at all."


Barry couldn't for the life of him understand why his eyes insisted on lingering on the tight, satin-clad bottom that appeared, together with the rest of the young man, from behind the sofa. When it settled next to him on the cushioned seat, he tore his gaze away with some effort and looked at the face once more.

"You with someone?" The blond pointed at the two momentarily forsaken glasses. "I hope I'm not intruding?"

"No, I'm with some friends but they went dancing." Barry glanced over his shoulder, but neither Tsuriya's artfully striped hairdo nor Keith's unique shade of fiery red were anywhere to be seen.

"Oh, right. Well." The newcomer flashed Barry a fetching smile. "Are you sure that you remember where we've met before?"

"Yes," Barry said, feeling how heat crept up his neck. "You were at the wedding. Playing truth or dare."

"So you really do remember! Damn, I'm flattered."

"I was hardly drunk at all." Barry fingered his glass. "Actually I'm really surprised that you remember me."

"Oh? Why wouldn't I?"

For some odd reason the tilt of that blond head made Barry's mouth go even dryer. "Well, I just happened to be there, and, uh 每"

"So what? We got a hell of an introduction!"

"Actually we didn't," Barry said and managed to look the other man straight in the eye. "I don't think I ever caught your name, back then."

This time the blond laughed aloud, then raked fingers through his hair and looked sheepish. "Oops, I guess. But damn, you're right. I know for sure that I didn't get your name, because I was trying to look for you later in the evening but couldn't find you, and was rather pissed when I realized that I didn't even know whom I was looking for. There were way too many people at that party!"

"Look for me?" Barry's eyes went round.

"Yes I did, handsome, and why do you look that surprised? Anyway, let's get that thing settled right now. I'm Blaise, Blaise Razak."

"Barry Conrad."

They solemnly shook hands before breaking into a smile once more. "So, Barry, you're here with friends who've run away to dance, was that so?"

"That would be about right," Barry admitted. "Um, would you like to have a drink or something? Were you sitting with someone before?"

"Nope, just walked in about ten minutes ago. Was looking around to see if I could find anything interesting, and look what I found."

Barry realized that he was once again looking into those brown eyes from rather close vicinity, and blinked. Blaise was leaning on his shoulder, chin propped on the back of a wrist. He had quite indecently thick and long eyelashes, Barry observed.

"I think I might want to dance," the blond continued. "How about you?"

"I... yeah."

The tight satin of Blaise's close-fitting pants didn't just look good. It also felt pretty damn good under Barry's palms, particularly with the way the hips inside it were swaying to the beat. He squeezed a little, and was much encouraged by the smile that he got in response.

"I feel a bit guilty now," Keith said over his shoulder and deftly avoided running into yet another vigorously dancing couple. "Shouldn't get carried away like this when we promised to keep him company."

"Your own fault entirely," Tsuriya countered and combed his sweaty hair back with his free hand; the other was of course possessively in Keith's back pocket. "Besides, I think leaving Barry alone for a while is the only way to make him actually do something. Damn, I can't believe he's acting so shy all of a sudden!"

"Meh, he's just confused." The redhead stopped to let some dancers continue their choreography past them, then slipped into a marginally less crowded area and headed towards their own table. "Hey, what 每"

"Confused, my ass." Tsuriya's fingers didn't loosen their vise-like clasp of Keith's wrist. "Just look at that."

Keith didn't have the advantage of his boyfriend's remarkable height, so he had to crane his neck in order to see what 'that' was. When he did, his eyes nearly popped out of their sockets.

"What the..."

Tsuriya slowly shook his head. "Doesn't look very confused to me."

"Um, no." Keith exhaled loudly. "Tsuri, exactly how long were we gone?"

"Wish I knew. Half an hour, maybe?"


Keith leaned lightly against his partner, head tilting back to peek at him. "You're right, though. He's got over his confusion pretty fast... But don't you think it'd be a good idea to breathe a little, once in a while?"

"Well, yeah." Tsuriya grinned back at him. "So, what're we going to do now?"

"Dance some more?" Keith looked hopeful. "Or get new drinks? I wouldn't want to interrupt."

"Let's go to the bar."

Tsuriya turned to go but Keith lingered still, eyebrows crunching together. "I'm just wondering..."


"Kev told me the whole story, and according to him it had been some blond guy who'd kissed him. In the wedding, you know. Do you think that might 每"

"Naah, that'd be too rich." Tsuriya nudged Keith's shoulder. "C'mon. I want something cold and liquid."

"Damn, you're hot!"

Barry had to blink a few times to bring his eyes back to focus. Blaise rubbed their noses together, smiling like a satiated cat and panting a little, and Barry knew he was panting as well.

"Yeah?" he breathed.

"You still don't believe me?" Blaise licked his lips, and Barry's gaze was irresistibly drawn to the pink tip of his tongue swiping over the soft red of that skilled mouth. "Well well. What should I do to prove it?"

He shifted a little closer, elbow brushing against one of the half-empty glasses on the table, and Barry just barely managed to rescue it before its contents were spilled all over them both. He stared at it for a few seconds, then glanced around and swallowed.

"Hey, what's the matter?"

"Nothing," Barry said and tried to push the blond off his lap, but for some funny reason his arms refused to budge from where they were: around Blaise's waist. He was painfully aware of quite a few things at once, such as the fact that he had no idea where Keith and Tsuriya were, and that he'd just been doing his damnedest to kiss Blaise senseless in a thoroughly public place. And that he still wasn't sure whether he was gay or not but the odds were in favor of it, at least if his current hard-on was anything to go by.

Luckily nobody seemed to be staring at them. The sight of two guys kissing passionately was probably far too commonplace in The Galaxy to merit a second glance, which was something of a relief. Barry tried to scrape the rest of his composure together and ventured a look at Blaise, who was still straddling his lap and peered back at him with a worried frown.

"Honestly, handsome, is something wrong?"

"No," Barry said after a deep breath and held him tighter. The answering chuckle and slight roll of hips made his eyes nearly cross, and he bit his lip not to groan aloud. "Oh fuck..."

"Now you're talking," Blaise grinned. "How about we skip a few dances and get going? Your place or mine?"

"Are you serious?" Barry gasped.

"Absolutely. Unless you'd rather use the men's room?"

Barry closed his eyes, listening to the heat licking his balls, and tried to count to ten. He got as far as six.

"Where do you live?"

"In Royston Terraces. Just five minutes with a taxi."

"It's closer than mine, then," Barry said, heart beating very fast. Blaise granted him an angelic smile.

"What about your friends?" he asked while trying to get off Barry and onto his feet without toppling the entire table. Barry shrugged.

"I'll send them a message," he said and followed Blaise towards the door, feeling delightfully dizzy.

Keith sighed and shook his head, plopping down on the overstuffed seat of the sofa. "Damn, where the hell is he? I haven't seen a glimpse of him for heaven knows how long! And we promised Kevin that we'd take such good care of him."

"I wouldn't be so worried," Tsuriya said with a shrug. "Barry's not a kid, and he's such a level-headed and sensible guy anyway."

"Well, that's what I've always thought, too," Keith sighed. "But what we last saw him doing was pretty untypical of him."

"Oh, just stop fretting!" Tsuriya poked him. "Maybe they've gone dancing? Or to do some more untypical things? Listen, wasn't the purpose of tonight to help him find out if he's gay or not? So why should you worry if he's found someone to give him some hands-on training."

"You... uh, what's that?" Keith fished his communicator from a back pocket and flipped it open. "A message 每 from Barry?"

Tsuriya watched as a broad, incredulous smile spread on Keith's freckled face. "What is it?"

"Listen: No worries, met someone, left already. Big thanks for taking me along. If Kev asks tell him I'll call when home again. PS: gay? guess so."

They looked at each other for a while, then leaned back and grabbed their glasses. The edges clinked together, and Tsuriya smirked.

"Mission accomplished?"

"Guess so." Keith tossed back half of the drink and sighed. "Though we can't take too much credit, really."

"Oh, shut up and let me feel righteous for once!"

Some three miles away, Barry dropped his own communicator on a small table and slumped more comfortably into a somewhat tattered loveseat, then quickly sat up again with a yelp.

"Careful," Blaise chided and handed him the glass he'd pressed against Barry's neck. "You don't want to spill this. Especially not all over yourself."

Barry drank greedily, watching as the blond slithered over the backrest and occupied the free end of the loveseat with a contented sigh. Blaise's hair was still wet after a shower, his eyes very bright, and apparently he either hadn't found anything else to wear or hadn't bothered to look, because his only piece of clothing consisted of an ancient pair of tattered shorts.

Barry was sure that his own body had to be glowing with the crazy, tingling sensation that lapped over him in lazy waves, and just looking at the flush on Blaise's face made his own turn even redder.

"Well?" Blaise's bare foot crawled under the crumpled towel, the only thing hiding Barry's crotch from sight. Barry swallowed an undignified squeak and grabbed a firm hold of the stray limb.

"Well what?"

Blaise laughed. "What do you think, silly? Of course I want to know how you're feeling now, after your first time with another guy?"

Barry opened his mouth, then shut it again and thought hard.

"Good," he said slowly. "I feel good in a way I've never felt before. I 每 no, you're just going to laugh at me if I say it."

"I won't!"

"You will, it's so stupid!"

"I promise I won't." Blaise ceremoniously put a hand over his heart.

Barry eyed him suspiciously, then shrugged. "Well, it's 每 I don't know what would be the right word. Like I've found something that's been missing although I never knew it."

Blaise sighed and shook his head.

"I don't think that's anything to laugh at," he said slowly. Then a broad grin crept onto his face. "Hey, does that mean it's proven, then? That you really are gay?"

"I suppose so," Barry said.

"Suppose? So it probably wouldn't do any harm to make sure?" Blaise's eyes had taken a mischievous glint. "Because, you know, I'd be more than happy to help."

"You would?" Barry tried to deadpan, lips twitching with laughter. Blaise nodded solemnly.

"Sure," he said. "And I have a few more tricks up my sleeve. Tricks you might like."

"What sleeve?" Barry asked lazily and tickled the foot he was still holding underneath the towel. It wiggled a little but made no attempt to escape.

"Speaking figuratively, handsome!" Blaise gulped from his own glass, then put it down on a nearby table and slid off the loveseat and onto his knees on the floor.

"What are you planning?" Barry asked, alarmed, as Blaise leaned closer towards the strategically placed towel. The blond flashed him an innocent smile, then opened his mouth enough to give Barry a glimpse of the ice cube clenched between his teeth. Barry's eyes went wide.

"You wouldn't!"

"Is that a dare?" was Blaise's somewhat jumbled reply. "Because the truth it sure as hell isn't."


"A dare, then," Blaise decided with a smirk and tossed the towel aside.

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