Hands of Clay Ch. 12

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Hey friends, I just wanted to give a quick shout out to all of you who are reading this story. I know it’s not filled with sex… but sometimes I have to follow the characters in my mind and this is what they tell me. So I appreciate everyone for their patience. I promise that Brice and Clay are going to get this figured out.

I did a few chapters on this Off-The-Rails book this week, but happy news, I also started plotting my next Alien Love book. I can’t wait to hit the keyboard.

I hope everyone has a great day and as always, thanks for reading.

~M. From C.M. Moore

*Chapter 11*

(Clay)

After Abdul and Essie left their side, Brice and Clay got onto the elevator. Brice didn’t say anything as the door dinged closed, and they started to ascend. The energy between them buzzed with such an overwhelming current of turbulent vibes that Clay didn’t dare ask where they were heading. He couldn’t think about that anyway. His whole body was cramping from the cold. Ever since the hut, Clay couldn’t take the snow well. The chill in his bones ate at him. His wet shirt clung to him like an icy tarp, and his toes squished in his damp boots.

Besides the cold and wet clothing, Clay’s legs had become jelly. He was sleepy and hungry, and his brain was ready to shut down. The only thing helping him put one foot in front of the other was the thought that Brice liked him. In fact, Abdul might be right. Brice might love him. His jealously was so loud they all heard the announcement. Abdul would have a bruise or two on his ass from the toss, but in that second, with Brice raging, Clay knew the instructor missed him. Now he just had to get Brice to come to the same realization. Sex would help him see that they should be a couple, but unfortunately, Clay was so tired that even if he convinced Brice to do him, he might fall asleep before they got to it.

Maybe Abdul was right. Clay should lose his man card.

“This way.” Brice guided him out of the elevator when the doors opened with a swish.

At the end of a long clean, carpeted hallway, Brice unlocked the white door to his room. Clay recognized this apartment number from the blueprints Abdul had shown him.

Shuffling his feet, Clay trailed Brice into his quarters and glanced around the neatly organized rectangle. Exactly like Essie said, on one side of the room was a wooden crate of weapons of all shapes and sizes. The rifles were stacked in rows. All the handguns were put back in the container.

Beyond the weapons sat a small, spotless gray sofa, a low wooden table, and two huge speakers. There were wires to a black box that Clay figured must be the rebuilt disk player Brice had told him about on their date. Next to the speakers and wires, tall white shelves took up an entire corner. Every space in the corner had little clear plastic cases and books of all sizes.

Brice stepped past Clay while he stood frozen and dripping on his entry rug. The instructor headed to the left side of the room. Opposite the couch was a small kitchen and dining table. When Brice reached his eating area, he shrugged out of his H.S.P.C. jacket with the pocket logo. He tossed the garment over a chair and exhaled like he was getting ready to give a longwinded lecture. Clay didn’t care. Brice could talk all he wanted as long as he got warm.

When Brice didn’t speak, Clay’s eyes glided over the rest of the simple gray and white lodgings. Straight ahead was Brice’s colossal bed covered in pristine white blankets and a mountain of giant pillows. The sleeping area looked so soft that Clay had the urge to climb onto the mattress, fully dressed. Brice’s bed looked made for kinky sex and hours of restful sleep. Two things Clay wanted more than anything else.

“Lock the door.” Brice marched to a light-gray dresser next to his huge mattress. He pulled out clothing and then turned around snapping the drawer back in place. The family photos on the top wobbled with the force.

Clay did as told. The lock clicked into the slot. The thought struck him that maybe he should be concerned about Brice’s fury. The man looked like he wanted to strangle him, but Clay wasn’t nervous. Brice wouldn’t be able to hurt him. He didn’t know how he knew that; he just did.

When Clay turned back to the room again, he planned to explain a second time that he never had sex with Abdul. Instead, his eyes strayed to the pillow playland. Clay should be looking at the bed with sex on his mind. He should be jumping for joy that he got Brice alone in his quarters, but right now, all he wanted was to get warm and fall asleep. Explaining about sex could be done later.

“Here.” Brice slapped a pair of lightweight black pants and an old worn shirt in his arms. “The bathroom is there.” Brice pointed to the door to the right side of the dresser. “Take a shower.”

“I thought I had to clean weapons.” Clay jerked his head toward the pile of guns and water drops scattered from his hair.

“I cleaned them already. I can’t sleep, so I did them while I was up ığdır escort bayan all night thinking about you.” Brice stared at the ceiling. A muscle in his jaw flexed as he clenched his teeth. “You’re right. I can’t sleep or eat or function.”

“I—”

“If you say I told you so, I’m going to make you polish all my boots.”

“I wasn’t going to say that.” Clay hugged the clothing to his chest. “I was going to say that I wasn’t having sex. Abdul was showing me how to use this tube to clean out my ass. I was trying to get ready to have sex with you.”

“Claymore Wicks.” Brice’s eyes darkened. “If you have questions like that, from now on, you will ask me. Is that clear?”

“Crystal.” Clay couldn’t help his grin.

“Wipe that smile off your face and shower.” Brice pointed to the bathroom door. “Did you get chow?”

“I haven’t eaten.” As if Clay’s stomach wanted to punctuate the sentence, it growled.

“Shower. Start there.” Brice turned to the kitchen and began to gather food out of the cabinets.

In an exhausted daze, Clay headed to Brice’s bathroom. Once inside the immaculate tiled room, he quickly washed using Brice’s soap. Even though Clay wanted to spend extra time in hot water, Clay made his shower short. The idea of dinner with the man he cared about was more seductive than the heat.

After he finished getting clean and warm, Clay put on Brice’s shirt and pants. The clothing was bigger than his uniform, so Clay synched the pants’ drawstrings to keep them around his waist. When he stepped out of the bathroom, the smell of the food had his mouth-watering.

“I don’t cook a lot.” Brice didn’t turn around from where he stood next to his sink. He’d dried his hair and hung the damp towel over his shoulder. The grader had also changed his clothes. Brice wore plaid pants and a well-used navy sweater. The man looked so at home in his place that Clay felt the stirrings of jealousy. Clay wanted so badly to be a part of Brice’s world. He wanted to be a part of Brice’s life, like the plates in his hand or his threadbare pajama pants.

Crossing the room, Clay sank into a seat at the table.

“I’m not picky.” Clay picked up the glass Brice had set out for him and gulped down the water.

“I know.” Brice gave a rueful smirk as he placed a plate of steaming vegetables and rice in front of him. “You fooled around with me. Your standards are low.”

“Fuck that noise.” Clay laughed. “You’re hotter than you think.” Clay regarded the man he was reasonably sure he loved more than air. “You got this thing I can’t stop thinking about.”

“My scars?” Brice ran a finger down his cheek.

“You’re going to have to take off all your clothes so I can remember what it was.”

“Stop flirting with me and eat.” Brice did his awkward can’t-look-at-Clay-ceiling-stare and refilled his water glass. “As I said, I don’t cook a lot. Consider this my specialty.”

“It’s hot and edible, and I’m with you, so I’m happy.”

As Clay ate, Brice took a seat across from him and then leaned back with a mug in his hand. With hooded eyes, Brice watched him as he sipped on his steaming drink. The instructor’s eyes followed Clay’s fork when he lifted it to his lips.

“I shouldn’t have done that,” Brice said when his cup was empty. “Abdul will think something is going on between us.”

“Something is going on between us, but don’t worry about Abdul.” Clay finished eating. “He’s not going to say anything.”

“I don’t want to hang my hope on a recruit’s secret-keeping skills, but I guess I’m going to have to.” Brice picked up the empty plate and brought it to his sink. He stayed facing the backsplash and washed the dish. As Clay sipped on his water, he enjoyed the way Brice’s pants clung to his ass.

“What if Essie says something?” Clay pulled his eyes away from Brice’s tempting butt and forced the question out. He hated to ask, but he didn’t know the trainer at all.

“He won’t.” Finally, Brice turned to face Clay. His grader scanned him as he dried his hands on a towel. “Besides, we’re not dating. There is nothing to tell.”

“Have it your way. I’m not going to argue.” Clay rose and finished his glass of water. For a second there, he forgot that Brice had dumped him in a maintenance closet.

“Fine.” Brice tossed the towel to the counter. “I don’t feel like arguing either. I’m tired.”

“Me too.” Clay agreed. He set his empty glass next to the sink and refused to meet Brice’s intense stare. He didn’t want to have this conversation right now. “I remember, Instructor Brice. We aren’t dating.”

“B plus on your memory.”

As Clay headed to the bathroom, he swore at Brice’s stubborn and inflexible nature. He could take his B plus and shove it where the sun didn’t shine.

Clay decided he would grab his boots and wet clothes and head to medical to get some sleep. Since they were not a couple, he doubted that he could convince Brice to let him crash here. He glanced at the bed with longing.

“Get ığdır escort bayan in my bed.”

Clay halted before the bathroom. His head swiveled to the king-size mattress covered in a giant fluffy blanket. His eyes then flipped to Brice. The man was washing out his mug, and he didn’t look at him.

“Do you believe in God?”

“Why?”

“Because I think this is a miracle.”

“Recruit Wicks,” Brice snapped. “Stop grinning and get in my bed.”

“Yes, Instructor Brice.” Clay hurried to the foot of the bed and then climbed up onto what might’ve been clouds. The bossy telling him what to do was so damn sexy that Clay’s cock started to harden. How did Brice say simple things like get in my bed, and that sentence got his blood heating?

Clay pulled the blankets back and ran his hands over what might’ve been the silkiest sheets ever made.

“Facedown,” Brice instructed.

“I thought you couldn’t date me. I’m a recruit, and you don’t date those or agents or anyone else for that matter,” Clay muttered as he buried his head into Brice’s fluffy pillow. Clay inhaled. The fabric smelled like Brice and laundry soap and sunshine. “You won’t date me, but you’ll fuck me?”

Since Clay was wearing Brice’s clothes and was now face down in his bed, he felt surrounded by his grader. He smiled. He never wanted to be anywhere else. If this was a one-time hookup—fine by him. Clay would take whatever he could get. It might have been sad that he was that desperate for Brice, but whether his wants were pathetic or not didn’t change his need for the other man.

“We aren’t dating, and we’re not having sex.” Brice stood at the side of the bed. “Tonight, I want to talk, and I want you to listen. Close your eyes and listen. If you can’t do that, then get out. Is that clear?”

“Crystal.” Clay wrapped his arms around Brice’s pillow and snuggled into the delicious cotton puff.

“Can you stay awake while I talk?”

“Yeah,” Clay murmured. Maybe.

“Good.” Brice knelt on the bed next to Clay’s thigh and began to untuck Clay’s shirt and lift the top toward his neck. Removing Clay’s clothes would help him stay awake, but the action wouldn’t help him listen to Brice tell him how they weren’t boyfriends.

“I started training as a teen. It was necessary to survive. After the meteor hit and the planet got so cold, there was so much chaos and death.” Brice’s voice was low as he folded Clay’s shirt up around his shoulders. Air whispered along Clay’s back. “I trained with my older brother, Colin. You see, after our parents died, we met Keith on the equator. He took us under his wing, and we were young and hungry. Keith saved us in a way. Keith and Nancy looked after us before the H.S.P.C. even existed. Before the birth of the H.S.P.C., we were a group known as the Seemyah. The Originals had beef with us, and they attacked an underground base where we were guarding the now president of the C.T.O.N.A.”

“Eric Bennet? You guarded him?” Clay looked over his shoulder as Brice opened a bedside table drawer.

“Yes. In that attack, my brother died.” Brice produced a bottle of lotion and poured out clear oil into his hand.

“I’m sorry, Brice.” Clay didn’t know what to say. He turned his head back to the pillow and wished he could hug the other man. Since their relationship was on shaky ground, he didn’t dare.

Brice’s hands in the center of his spine had Clay stilling. That one touch had him holding his breath and hoping Brice would never let go. The grader’s fingers glided over the tense muscles, and Clay bit his lip to keep from groaning with pleasure.

“I’m telling you this not because I want to give you a history lesson. And I don’t want comfort or pity. It was a long time ago. I’ve mourned my family and let them go. I’m telling you this because, at that moment, I realized that H.S.P.C. agents die. In this lifestyle, as an assassin, any day can be our last. Young, fresh, new agents like you don’t see it like that. They think they’re indestructible. They think they don’t have to listen to advice. You’re not invincible. The first reason I don’t date agents is that they think they can take on the world. They have no fear, and they dive in guns blasting.”

“Not all agents are like that. Some are careful. My older brother, Butch, he keeps coming home,” Clay argued.

“The new ones like you are the reckless ones, Clay. You’ll think that you’re unbeatable, and when you make one hasty mistake, you’ll die or get captured or get Snow Flu. I already like you too much. If you died or got hurt, I’d fall apart. Dating you would be like tossing my heart in a rock crushing machine and then hovering my finger over the on button.”

“You won’t be with me because I can break your heart when I die?” Clay didn’t know how to fight this logic. No one lived forever. Brice liked him too much to date him? That was great to hear, but how was he going to combat that?

“I’m not finished.” Brice rubbed his hands down Clay’s lower escort ığdır back and massaged along his spine. “After Colin died, I was single for a while as I said goodbye to all my family. But then, one day, I met what I thought was the love of my life. H.S.P.C. Agent Latoya was my first girlfriend. I thought she would be with me forever.”

“I’m not sure I want to hear this,” Clay muttered. “Crushed heart?”

“She cheated on me because she said she had to use her body to get what she wanted.” Brice tugged on Clay’s pants until they were down around his knees. “And maybe she did.” If the conversation had been even slightly better than this one, Clay would have thought he was going to lose his virginity. Instead, Brice began to work the muscles of his thighs. “Monogamy is the second causality of the war with The Originals.”

“I’d like to say that doesn’t happen, but I see it all the time.” Clay groaned when Brice kneaded a knot under his skin. “Agents use whatever is at their disposal. Sex is a tool. My brother Butch does it.”

“Very studious of you. I’ll give you an A.”

“I won’t do that to you.” Clay glanced over his shoulder, but Brice didn’t look at him. He kept working his fatigued muscles.

“After Latoya was double-crossed by the informant she was sleeping with, I buried her and decided to stay single. The way agents use their bodies as a weapon is the second reason that I don’t date agents.” Brice paused. “I’d like to say this is where my list ends, but after Latoya, I promptly thought I was in love with Agent Vihaan.”

“Agent Vihaan already sounds like an ass, and you haven’t even told me the story yet.”

“Vihaan was handsome and young like you. I chased him hard.”

“We’re the same age, Brice,” Clay corrected, but Brice ignored him and kept talking.

“With Vihaan, I thought I was lucky when he finally agreed to be with me.” Brice pulled off Clay’s pants and tossed them to the floor. “He said we were forever, and I believed him until one day he said he loved someone else. He’d fallen in love with his partner. That’s reason number three why I stay away from agents. I see it all the time in the H.S.P.C.” Brice began to work Clay’s thighs down to his calves and then up again. “The agents get paired up by gifts and skill-sets. They rescue each other. They help each other. As a team, they rely on that bond, and it grows into love. I’m here at headquarters, and I probably always will be. Even if we date, sooner or later, you will be holding your partner. You’ll be holding someone who isn’t me.”

Clay wanted to argue that, but he couldn’t. That was what had happened with Abdul. It was a relationship built over time, help, rescue. They hung out so much that after a while, dating seemed natural. They didn’t stay together, but Clay wouldn’t dispute what Brice was describing. It happened.

“I dated Abdul.” Clay buried his face back into the pillow as Brice rubbed a tight spot in his right calf. “We grew up together so I thought we would work. But it ended up a mess. I know the difference between that type of relationship and true love. What if I gave you my word that it won’t happen again?”

“I’m too jaded now.” Brice pressed on the arch of his foot as he scooted to the edge of the bed. “I wouldn’t believe you. I’d want to, but I don’t blindly run into enemy territory anymore.”

“Dating me isn’t enemy territory,” Clay grumbled. “You never mentioned Toby.” Clay was afraid to ask, but he had to. Brice had concrete reasons he didn’t date, and Clay wanted to know them all. He couldn’t face the problems if he didn’t know what they were. Toby had to be on the list as well.

“After Vihaan was Agent Suze.”

“What happened with Agent Suze? More enemy territory or are we back on the rock crushing machine?”

Clay was starting to think this was the universe’s way of telling him that Brice and Clay should be together. Clay didn’t know anyone who had as bad a set of relationships as him. They were made for each other.

“I made the mistake of asking Suze to spend more time with me.” Brice switched to Clay’s other foot and pressed on his instep.

“You monster.”

That drew a chuckle from Brice, but after a few seconds, his laughter faded.

“The end of that relationship was my fault. I smothered him.”

“With this pillow?”

“Not in a killing way, in the couple way.” Brice bent his leg up and ran his hands over Clay’s sore shins. “As a smart, skilled, and strong agent, you will need your freedom. That’s reason number four. Agents need their space. Suze was right not to want to hang with me. I was an anchor around his neck. You’ll want the missions too. Agents start to live for the excitement. They crave it. Even if you like being with me at first, after a while, a night on my couch listening to music and having dinner will become ordinary, boring…”

“Domestic?” Clay asked.

“Yes,” Brice agreed. “And when that happens, agents like you start to thirst for the action they think they’re missing. Suze didn’t want a boyfriend, or marriage, or family. The man wanted adventure. You will too.”

“Finish the list,” Clay said. He wanted to explain that he was completely into nights of dinner and music and reading a book. He planned to tell Brice he liked the idea of domestic, but first, he wanted to hear the end.

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