The Empty Bed by serrah
A loud knock on the door had Richard jumping, which in his condition was not at all optimal. So instead of telling whoever it was on the other side that had the nerve to spook him to get in there and show themselves he groaned loudly.
They either heard him and took that as their cue or decided the knock was enough warning. Andrew stuck his head around the door frame, shit-eating grin on his face. “Long time no see!”
“Jesus, Andrew, have some mercy on the injured.” Richard’s griping was half-hearted, tone mostly colored by his sudden discomfort.
He was actually relieved to see Andrew. After the fiasco that was their last job landing him with a bullet to the side, Andrew had been tasked with handling all the formalities and after effects alone. It had been a success, thankfully, but even in their underground work there was still the bureaucratic bullshit to get through and finish things up. Richard had been kept in the dark despite his constant questions to his colleagues, but he hoped the rest of the job tied up nicely. He and Andrew were supposed to handle the hand-off of their ill-gotten gains together, and he’d be lying if he said he hadn’t been nervous to not be there to make sure it went well.
Andrew’s being here was obviously a good sign.
Taking a seat on the edge of the bed, opposite of Richard’s injured side, Andrew sighed. His grin was more thin now, and Richard could clearly see the lines of stress and tiredness pulling at his eyes. “Finally finished up all the paperwork and boring stuff,” Andrew said lightly. He pressed the back of his hand to his forehead in a very ‘woe is me’ gesture. “It was agony without you there.”
“Agony because you had to do it by yourself, maybe,” Richard laughed lightly, unable to keep his eyes from rolling. God he’d missed Andrew. It had been over a week and he suddenly realized he hadn’t gone that long without seeing his partner in… he didn’t even know how long. “How did it go? The few people that actually felt like stopping in wouldn’t tell me anything.”
“Went off without a hitch, of course.” Andrew winked. “Missed you, though–Fabián is damn good, but it’s just not the same as having you there.”
Richard desperately hoped the warmth of his face and neck wasn’t visible.
Andrew turned a bit, settling his thigh and knee up on the bed so he could face Richard more. He gave him a once-over. The grin slipped into a tight-lipped hum of thought. “How are you doing? They wouldn’t tell me anything, either.”
His hand lightly touched his hip, feeling the bump of bandages under his covers and thin shirt. Richard shrugged. “I’m not dead,” he offered, and when all that got him was a stern ‘don’t be an ass’ look he amended, “I bled more than anything. It mostly went through muscle and fat,” he said, lightly jiggling his uninjured left hip for emphasis. “Skimmed a bone or something though, and of course the fact that I have a hole in my side…”
“Have you ever been shot before?”
“No, and I don’t intend to have this become a thing either. If I can help it.” Richard had been damn lucky the bullet didn’t go even a bit further to the left, or down, or–well, he was just lucky. Getting the bullet dug out was awful, but his stay was almost over now, thank god. He sighed. “It’s been boring as hell here, though. They took my phone.”
“Oh,” Andrew said softly, reaching into his jacket pocket. Held aloft as if a prize was Richard’s phone and a charger. “Your sister has called a lot, by the way.”
The prospect of having a cure for his boredom far outweighed the sinking feeling at the mention of his sister–god knows what she wanted, probably money. As his mouth began to open in an enthused “thank you” he reached forward for his phone, only for Andrew to pull back. Richard frowned. “What are you doing?”
Another cheeky grin sprouted, and Andrew waggled the phone in his hand tauntingly. Bastard. He damn well knew Richard couldn’t lean forward and take it from him. Not without it hurting like a bitch. “What, don’t I get anything for being kind enough to bring this to you?”
“It’s probably because you’ve had it this whole time that I didn’t get it sooner.”
Andrew hummed again, and tapped the lip of the phone case to his chin in mock-thought. “Gigi may have asked where it was so they could bring it on their visit, and I said I had it covered…”
“If I could kick you I would,” Richard grumbled, waving a hand at him dismissively. As it was he definitely could not do any kicking, or much moving at all for that matter. He raised his knee the slightest bit and shoved it as hard as he dared into Andrew’s back from under the blanket, instead.
Andrew didn’t miss a beat. “Swap that ‘C K’ for two ‘S’s’ and we’ll be in business.”
“What?” he asked, before his brain actually put two and two together. Their eyes met, and while Andrew looked the most serious he’d ever seen him Richard felt his own eyes narrow and then widen in realization. “What?” he asked again. He’d heard him the first time, but the clarification couldn’t hurt.
This time the phone tapped lightly at Andrew’s bottom lip, drawing Richard’s eyes there briefly before they shot back up again. “K-I-S-S,” he spelled out slowly, and Richard wasn’t sure if he was being patronizing or afraid to say the actual word. “That’s not asking too much. Is it?”
He was genuinely asking, giving Richard an out if he wanted.
Normally he would spend a fair amount of time looking at this whole scene from way too many angles. Lots of second guessing and wondering at the different paths this conversation could take depending on what he said or did next. And god did Richard want to just sit and think for a moment.
But, instead, Richard swallowed before reaching forward again, leaning as far as he could without straining anything. Maybe he couldn’t reach his phone, but Andrew’s lapel?
As he grabbed the material and pulled, still stretched forward, Andrew moved closer and met him halfway. Before they reached each other Andrew suddenly closed his eyes and surged forward, lips only barely connecting. He was more at the corner of Richard’s mouth than anything. Richard puffed a short burst of air out of his nose, a laugh, before he shifted, turning it into more of a proper kiss.
It was chaste, soft aside from the slightly chapped lines of Andrew’s lips that seemed dry no matter how much lip balm he used (and Richard knew, he used a fair amount). Maybe he was being weird about it, but he couldn’t bring himself to close his eyes. Plus, this way he could take in all the small details now that he was up close, like the tiny sunspots on Andrew’s nose or how tightly clenched his eyes were, the lashes tangling together.
Before he could stop himself Richard huffed out another small laugh, not really believing this was happening. Andrew blinked his eyes open and drew back just enough to separate their mouths. He quirked a brow at Richard’s reaction.
“Bold of you to have that as your request,” Richard said, their lips still close enough they brushed together. It tickled, and Andrew pursed his lips to get rid of the sensation. “What if I didn’t feel the same way?”
“I was worried I might have misread the situation,” he chuckled, lightly placing Richard’s phone in his lap as he bumped their noses together. Richard wrinkled his in response. “But you also weren’t super subtle.”
“Says the one more friendly than I am.”
Another hum, definitely amused from the sounds of it. Richard closed his eyes and pressed his forehead to Andrew’s with a happy little sigh and smile. He felt fit to burst, near giddy, and was almost tempted to think he’d be willing to take that bullet again if it resulted in this same outcome. Almost.