Payoff (A Market Garden Tale)
This title is #3 of the series.
This title is part of the Market Garden universe.
Tristan and Jared have got it made. When they aren’t raking in the cash together at Market Garden, they’re burning up their own sheets and getting closer by the day. But something isn’t right. Tristan’s on edge, and Jared doesn’t understand why.
Before they can hash things out, their services are requested by none other than Rolex. And Rolex doesn’t just want to be a bystander this time. He wants Jared while Tristan watches, and he’s more than willing to pay for it.
But Tristan’s reached a breaking point, and even that huge wad of cash might not be enough to keep tonight’s arrangement from crashing and burning.
This title comes with no special warnings.
Caution: The following details may be considered spoilerish.
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Tristan’s gaze was fixed on the door, but Jared suspected he was less interested in the traffic coming into Market Garden’s lounge area and more focused on not looking at Jared.
They’d been sitting in their usual booth for almost an hour, and had barely said a word to each other. Ice melted in their drinks. Music thumped all around them. Ever since Jared had come back from a short—thank God—session with a john earlier this evening, Tristan had been quiet.
“You’re staying?” Tristan had asked.
Jared had shrugged and offered a playful grin. “I’ve got plenty left.”
And that had been the end of the conversation.
Jared picked up his glass and tilted it to slide an ice cube into his mouth. As he set the glass down beside Tristan’s, he crushed the ice with his back teeth. He ground the tiny shards into nothing, letting the ice take the brunt of his quiet frustration.
Maddeningly oblivious, Tristan took a sip of his own drink, but kept his attention on the door. On not looking at the man he’d fucked so tenderly just last night.
What is your problem? Jared wanted to ask, but concentrated on pulverizing the rest of the melting ice. This wasn’t Tristan’s first cold silence. In fact, Jared was starting to expect it whenever he went out with a john on his own. Every damned time, he came back to forced smiles and awkward silences.
Jared rolled his eyes and went for another ice cube. If Tristan didn’t like him going out solo, then he could man up and say something, but he’d insisted time and again that they didn’t have to only work together. That this was business, and he wasn’t about to prevent Jared from earning a living. Though Jared had noticed that Tristan had all but stopped going out alone, which was weird. It wasn’t like guys didn’t fall all over themselves for Tristan—he was easily as popular as Nick had been—so he could’ve made a killing with or without Jared.
If Tristan was upset or unhappy, the least he could do was fucking say something. Except if he said something, it might be “this isn’t working” or “we shouldn’t see each other anymore,” and Jared couldn’t stomach either option. He wanted more, not less.
But maybe it would be less painful if Tristan just ripped off the bandage and—
Get your head in game, idiot.
Jared cleared his throat. “Slow night.”
Tristan turned towards him, an eyebrow up. “You’ve already made some money this evening.”
Yeah. Sure. It’s about the money, isn’t it?
Jared broke eye contact and searched his glass for yet another ice cube. The two of them had been chatty and playful in Tristan’s bed this morning. Nothing out of place, nothing wrong at all. Now this again. And fuck this. Jesus. He was not in the mood to play mind games.
“Holy shit.” Tristan’s eyes were again fixed on the door. “Look who just walked in.”
Jared craned his neck and almost spit out an ice cube when he recognised the john.
Jared couldn’t help grinning. Back for more, was he? “Wonder if the third time’s the charm.”
“Eh?” Tristan eyed him. “You think he’s got a glass slipper for you or something?”
Jared glanced at Tristan, surprised at his tone. This morning, in bed, it would have been friendly teasing, but there was an edge of acid in his voice that Jared didn’t like at all. “Not a glass slipper, but I do expect some easy money.”
Tristan gave a noncommittal shrug.
Well, suit yourself, then.
Jared sat up a bit straighter, and—bingo, eye contact.
Rolex smiled at him and walked over, looking quite in control of himself (for the moment). “You gentlemen free?”
Jared grinned. “We’re hardly gentlemen, and we’re never free. You know that.”
Chuckling, Rolex nodded. “And you’re well worth it. Maybe I should’ve asked if you’re available, then.”
“We are.” Jared leaned forwards on his elbows, waited for Tristan to make some space in the booth opposite. Seriously, how could such a skinny guy take up so much room? “Haven’t seen you in a while.”
Rolex smirked. “You remember me. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad one.”
“In your case, it’s a good one.” Jared’s eyes flicked towards Tristan, but he didn’t get a response. Clearing his throat, he faced Rolex again. “Just got into town?”
“Yep. Even with all my luggage, no thanks to Heathrow.” Rolex settled onto the bench beside Tristan, though he didn’t fully relax. He was keen to be going already, probably wound tight from a day of flying and chasing up his luggage and meetings and whatever else he spent his time on. “And you guys? Still working together?”
Right into the negotiations. Jared did prefer johns who didn’t hem and haw. The quicker they could start making money, the quicker the night would be over and he could go home. Luxury hotel rooms were starting to get old, though he still remembered the excitement of five-stars that he’d never have been able to afford and had never expected to see from the inside. By now, he knew quite a few of the hotel staff, if not by name then by personality. Always good to know who might refer him more clients and who might get unpleasant.
“Yes, still working together.” Tristan stretched and rolled his shoulders, then inched closer. Game face on. He went from mildly annoyed to seductive in his blasé way that Jared envied but still hadn’t managed to copy. “What’s your budget?”
Rolex gave a quiet laugh, eyes narrow as he met Tristan’s. “My budget isn’t an issue. It’s a question of what I want. The price”—he waved a hand—“is a minor detail. I’m just thinking of something a little different than the last couple of times.”
Jared gulped. The first time, Rolex had wanted to watch Tristan fuck Jared. Second time, he’d had Jared give Tristan a lap dance. What the hell did he have in mind tonight?
“All right,” Tristan said, still locking eyes with Rolex. “What’s your pleasure, then?”
“Something I thought about all the way across the Atlantic.” Rolex’s gaze slid towards Jared, then back towards Tristan. “Watching you guys is hot, but I think I’m in the mood to be watched tonight.”
Jared’s heart sped up. Tristan didn’t give any outward reaction. As always, he seemed bored by the discussion, but Jared had long ago learnt that was just part of his game. He played johns with the most skilled poker face Jared had ever seen.
“Watched?” Tristan casually picked up his drink. “Doing . . .?”
Rolex nodded towards Jared. “Him.”
And Tristan choked on his soda.
Jared blinked, more at Tristan’s reaction than Rolex’s declaration. Tristan was always cool and collected in front of johns, even when he was in one of these moods. His aloof, blasé persona was part of what intrigued these men so much, and Jared didn’t know what to make of him breaking character. It wasn’t like this was the first time someone had asked to fuck Jared while Tristan watched, though it had been a while. Or, rather, it had been a while since someone had been able or willing to pay the price Tristan commanded.
What the hell, Tristan?
Jared cleared his throat and returned his attention to the john. “So you want to fuck me while he watches.”
Tristan coughed into his leather-covered arm a few times before schooling his expression, though he couldn’t do much about the red in his cheeks. “That’ll be more expensive than the last couple of times.”
Oh, will it? Jared always deferred to Tristan when it came to pricing out their services, but this didn’t strike him as something that should cost more than their eye-wateringly expensive previous sessions with Rolex.
“I know the routine with you two.” Rolex locked eyes with Tristan. “Hundred pounds every time I want to turn up the heat.”
“Depends on how high you want to turn it up.” Tristan’s voice was flat, almost cold. “Fucking one of us while the other watches? That’s going—”
“I’m not worried about the price, to be honest.” Rolex reached into his inside pocket and pulled a wad of cash out far enough for them to see that he had more than enough. For what he had in that pocket, he could probably have every man in the building blow him. Including some of the other johns.
Tristan eyed the money, and when it disappeared into Rolex’s pocket again, he glanced at Jared for a split second before he shifted his gaze back to his drink. He took a long swallow, then set the glass on the table and pushed it away. “Well. Let’s go.”
Rolex immediately stood. Tristan followed.
Jared hesitated for a moment, watching his partner slide out of the booth. Tristan was moving slowly. No, reluctantly. He was clearly back to his earlier weird attitude. Right about now, he’d usually offer Jared a quick “we’re about to score some serious cash” grin while the john wasn’t looking. This time? Shoulders down. Gaze down.
They needed to talk, Jared decided. Even if the conversation ended on a painful note, it had to happen. Soon. Tonight. After Rolex was finished with them, assuming Tristan still wanted to go back to one of their flats as planned. Wherever they wound up tonight, they needed to hash things out.
But first, they had a job to do.
Tristan didn’t like this. At all.
But why? Rolex was a safe and sane john. He was also loaded and more than happy to pay through the nose for the smallest service.
And Jared was . . .
Tristan stole a glance at him, then swallowed hard and focused on Rolex, watching the man’s back as the three of them headed out of Market Garden. All night long, he’d been chastising himself and telling himself to get it together. So what if Jared had been out with another john? They were rentboys. This was what they did. Tristan himself had sucked off a good-looking lawyer in the back of a limo parked in front of the Garden while Jared was out. Not that he’d been able to focus very well, considering his mind had been on Jared and wherever he’d gone, but the john had seemed satisfied. He’d given him a fifty-quid tip, but Tristan’s heart hadn’t been in it.
His heart hadn’t been in any of this. Not for a while.
Things weren’t quite right between him and Jared, and it was getting worse. Every time they woke up together, the knot in Tristan’s gut tightened, despite his best efforts to ignore it. Something had to give. He’d been pondering getting Jared out of the city for a week or two—they had enough money between them to go on holiday somewhere cheap and preferably warm. Maybe talk things through, figure out where the problem was, and see what they could do about it. It wasn’t something Tristan could tackle on his own.
Rolex’s driver opened the limo door. Jared got in first, then Tristan opposite, feeling oddly sticky in his leather trousers on the leather seats. More friction than normal.
Rolex joined them, sitting next to Jared on the backseat. And Jared slid closer, giving him one of those coy glances while he pressed up against him. Rolex glanced at Tristan first, winked, then lifted Jared’s chin with two fingers and kissed him. Jared had always said the man was a decent kisser, and that was obvious just by watching him—not timid, not sloppy, not the type of freaky john who’d be slobbering all over Jared’s face. The quiet little moans coming from Jared were anything but fake. Rolex knew exactly how to kiss him. Bastard.
The car began to roll forwards, which disoriented Tristan. He’d been too caught up there for a moment in how their lips moved, their tongues. Jared had been the very picture of a boy with his sugar daddy, his fingers tightening on the john’s thigh as Rolex’s fingers splayed possessively on Jared’s shoulder.
It might have been hot.
It should have been.
In different circumstances, it would have been.
In fact, it had been hot the first time. And the second time. When Tristan had finally had the chance to get his hands on Jared, it had been a thrill to touch him and taste him and fuck him, and having another man to watch there had just made it hotter. The lap dance? Bloody hell. Tristan still got shivers thinking about that. Jared would have been stunned if he knew how many times Tristan had jerked off thinking about that night. Though he’d done a lot less of that over the last few months because he didn’t need to jerk off with Jared in his bed.
Leather squeaked softly as Jared draped his leg across Rolex’s lap. His hand was on the front of the john’s shirt, a couple of buttons undone now, and Tristan’s heart skipped a little as he remembered Jared touching him that way.
Does he think of me the same way he thinks of the johns?
Tristan quickly banished that thought. Not here. Not now.
He swore he could feel Jared’s fingers drifting lower, catching on each button on the way down the front of that crisp, white shirt. As Jared’s hand slid over the front of Rolex’s trousers, the contact hidden from Tristan’s view by Jared’s slim, leather-clad leg, Rolex wasn’t the only one whose breath caught.
Tristan swallowed. He was suddenly overwhelmed with the need to push Rolex out of the way and grab Jared for himself. He wanted Jared’s hands on his dick. He wanted to be the one kissing him like that, especially as he watched Jared playfully nipping Rolex’s lower lip. God, he loved it when Jared did that.
The thought of sitting back and watching Rolex fuck Jared was simultaneously the hottest thing Tristan could imagine, and the most frustrating. He wanted to be the one moving inside Jared while Rolex watched. Or to hell with Rolex. He wanted Jared.
Jared and no one else.
[Voinov and Witt] know just how to make us readers squirm!
Jared and Tristan were my first official m/m romance.
[S]exy and seductive.
[B]rings it full circle.