by Synchronik (as Charlemagne)
And in the end, the station was saved and everyone lived happily ever after.
Or, rather, that was how Casey thought it should be, but life was never as simple as he thought it should be. Take Lisa, for example. They fell in love, they got married, they had a fine son--there couldn't be a better scenario for a happily-ever-after ending, and here he was, divorced, alone, with his semi-ex-girlfriend dating a multi-billionaire, watching his best friend hit on one of the new Quo Vadimus girls. Perfect.
He looked over at Dan, who had his hand high up on the wall and was leaning in toward the blond girl. She had her arms crossed in front of her, a bad sign, but she was leaning against the wall, too, and smiling, and Dan was murmuring in that very persuasive low murmur, and Casey knew it was just a matter of time before she uncrossed her arms.
"Hey, Dan," he said, just to throw off the rhythm.
Dan looked up. "Hey, I want you to meet someone." Dan held out his arm, kind of pulling Casey and the blond into the same air space. She was pretty, blond, brown eyes, nice body. "Casey, this is K.C."
"Hi, I'm--Casey?" he said.
"K.C." She smiled the worn smile of someone who's done this a million times before. "The letters. K.C."
"Oh, right. K.C. Hi." He shook her hand.
"K.C.'s one of the marketing directors for Quo Vadimus," Dan said, sounding so proud he might have given birth to her.
"Oh," Casey said. "Congratulations?"
"Thanks." She smiled again. "Listen, Dan, Casey, it was nice to meet you. I have to get back to the office. Talk to you later, okay?" She put one finger on Dan's chest.
"You know it," he said. Casey smiled and tried to look like he wasn't witnessing anything resembling a sexual proposition. He waited until she was out of ear shot before he said anything. Then he said no.
"What do you mean, 'no'?" Dan asked. "Did you see her face? I think definitely yes."
"You can't go out with her."
"I can, too."
"No, you can't," Casey said, keeping his voice patient, hoping Danny would get it.
"I saw her first," Dan said.
Casey shook his head. "You cannot go out with 'K.C.' It's too weird."
"Why is it weird that I would want to go out with an attractive blond who is obviously drawn to my animal magnetism?" Now Dan had his arms crossed over his chest, also a bad sign. It meant that Dan was getting stubborn. Casey sighed.
"Think about it, Danny. You're going to go out with this girl, right?"
"And you're going to go back to her place."
"Or my place."
"Or your place. And you're going to kiss her."
"Still not seeing the weirdness."
"And maybe, in the heat of passion, you'll murmur her name."
Casey held his hands up in a "see" gesture.
"So?" Dan asked.
"So you'll be murmuring 'K.C.!"
Dan paused for a moment, head tilted. His pursed his mouth, tapped his finger against his cheek. "Yeah," he said finally. "Yeah, that's a little weird."
"That's what I'm saying, Danny."
"You went out with Dana, though."
"It's pronounced totally differently! And we never went out."
"You thought about it, though. And it's not that different."
"K.C., Danny. Think about it."
Dan nodded. "I'll think about it."
"Okay, I've thought about it," Dan said. Casey looked up from his keyboard, relieved. He'd been writing, true, but most of the stuff he'd been writing had all the smooth suaveness of a seventh grader at his first co-ed dance.
"Great," he said.
"And I'm going out with her. With K.C." Dan glanced over his shoulder at Casey, and, although Casey didn't feel like he was making a shocked face, he must have been, because Dan kept talking. "I mean, she's blond, she's new so she doesn't know how inevitably fucked up and doomed to fail she and I are, and she's interested. And I'll never forget her name. What could go wrong?"
"All I'm saying Danny, is that there will be repercussions."
"Repercussions you cause, or repercussions that just happen?"
"Repercussions that just happen."
"Those I am willing to face."
"Fine," Casey said. Then he got up and went to the bathroom and sat in a stall for half an hour trying to figure out how him screaming and shouting could possibly be made to look like a repercussion that just happened.
It turned out to be not that weird, actually. Or not that weird that first night, anyway. They went to Anthony's after the show, him and Danny, and Jeremy, and Natalie and Dana and everybody else and their brothers and K.C. showed up after Danny called her, and everything was fine. She was blond, and cute, and funny in a kind of goofy way. Casey noticed that when Dan went to the bar, K.C.'s eyes followed him, and that made him feel better about the whole thing. Dan hadn't had enough people look at him with longing.
And he picked up a girl.
Really, she picked him up, since she was the one who slithered up to him at the bar in a low-cut dress and, after he'd identified himself as "yes, that Casey McCall," said
"You're eminently fuckable. Wanna call a cab?"
They ended up at his place because it was closer, and she climbed on top of him right away, straddling his hips and winding her arms around his neck. He was trying to keep up, to respond, but really, this girl seemed to have hands everywhere, and before he knew it his pants had been slid down to his knees and his shirt raked up and she was rubbing herself off on him, breasts heaving just inside the neckline of her dress, her crotch slipping along his cock like it was a water ride.
The phone rang.
Then it rang again. It wouldn't have been a big deal except it and the answering machine were right next to the couch, and hence, right next to his ear, and it kept distracting him until the answering machine clicked on. Amy-or-Andy was still sliding away, getting closer and closer to actually letting him inside her, teasing him with it, and his attention kept getting diverted, first the phone and then the silky wetness of this girl.
And then, after the message, Danny's voice.
"Hey Case," Dan said, sounding metallic and distant. "I just wanted to call and make sure you're okay. You left kind of --"
Amy-or-Andy had paused; his cock throbbed against her. "Are you gay?" she whispered in his ear.
He groaned. "Do I feel gay to you?"
She laughed. "I was just calling to check on you," she said, imitating Dan's inflection surprisingly well.
"--because if it really bothers you, Case, I'll stop. You're my best friend, and--" Danny was saying.
"Your best friend loves you, Case," Amy-or-Andy said, not unfriendly.
"Please," Casey said. He arched his hips involuntarily, tried to press her to him. She laughed.
"I wonder if he'd like to see you like this?" she murmured, sliding herself along his cock. Casey jerked. "I wonder what else he'd do for you, Casey." She ground herself against him. "I wonder if he'd fuck you, if you asked him to." Her hips were moving now, up and down, and she still wouldn't let him inside, still kept taunting him. She was no friend, but it didn't matter. "I wonder if he wants to fuck you like I do?" she said. Her breath was hot in his ear. "Tell me his name, Casey. What's your friend's name?"
"Danny," he said, and slid home inside her and came, and came.
Casey came in early the next morning, hoping to be sitting at the desk typing away when Dan came in, hoping to be busy, but Dan was already there reading the paper, his feet upon the desk.
"Hey Case," he said.
"Danny," Casey said, and blushed. He couldn't stop thinking of it, that moment when--he couldn't stop thinking of it.
"You okay?" Dan asked. "You look feverish."
"I'm, I'm fine."
Dan took his feet down. "uh huh. Fine. What's her name?"
Dan grinned, leaning forward, elbows on his knees. "Name. Name, Casey, you know. What did you call out last night while you were making out?"
"Do you want some coffee? I'm going to get some coffee. You want some?"
"Casey, wait. Casey, what happened?"
Casey didn't stop.
"Where's your coffee?"
Dan stood up, coming around the desk and perching on the edge, crossing his arms across his chest. "You said you were going to get coffee."
"It was--they were brewing a new pot."
"Right. But you're okay."
"You have a hickey."
"I have a hickey."
"Right there." Dan reached out, pressing one finger to a spot right next to his ear.
"Oh." Casey said. He sat down on the couch, which had the advantage of being some distance away from Dan's finger. "Oh. So what about you and the new girl?"
Dan grinned. "Oh Casey. Casey, Casey, Casey." He flopped down on the couch next to Casey, folding his arms behind his head.
"Are you talking to me or to her?"
"Ha ha. I'm telling you, Case, this girl is something else."
"Maybe I should be checking you for hickeys."
Dan rolled his head to the side, smiling. "No such luck, my friend. We can't all have your magnetic personality."
"But she's nice, hmm?"
Dan smiled again, closing his eyes. "Fabulous. She's got these eyes, Casey, and she says the most amazing things. We were talking about Nascar last night and she said--"
"--that an event where the spectators come to see the failures rather than the successes is not a sport, but an entertainment."
"How'd you know?"
"I said that to her the first day she was here."
"Yeah?" Dan asked.
"Hmm, well, it's still a good line."
Casey nodded again. "You really like her, though?"
"I do, Casey. I really do."
Casey didn't know why, but for some reason he was disappointed.
A week passed, then two. Dan kept seeing K.C., squiring her around the office, bringing her to the bar. Once, when he came back up to the office after going to Anthony's, Casey walked in on them kissing.
"Whoops!" he said, grabbing his jacket off the coat rack. Dan and K.C. were still staring at each other, grinning, just waiting for the door to shut so they could get back to kissing. "Sorry," Casey said, and shut the door.
That night, in his bed, he would think of them, lips wet from kissing, staring at each other, Dan whispering her name.
Three days later, Natalie grabbed his arm.
"Casey, come here," she hissed, yanking on his sleeve.
"What's Jeremy done now?" he asked.
"Although normally you were be correct in assuming that my problems revolve around the bespectacled love of my life, this time there's something much more serious going on."
Her hand was still on his arm, flexing and unflexing. Her convulsive grip worried him.
"What's up, Nat?" He leaned close to her.
"I have something that he needs to know, Casey, but I'm not sure what to say. I'm not sure how to tell him, and you're his best friend so--"
"Natalie, what?" Casey asked, grabbing her hand.
"K.C. She's married, Casey. She's married."
Casey stared. "How do you know?"
"Her husband called from France. The switchboard girl asked Jeremy where she was, and Jeremy--"
Natalie nodded. "What do we do?"
Casey sighed. He looked at Natalie's earnest up-turned face. "How many people know?"
"Me and Jeremy."
"Not Kim, or Elliot, or Dave, or anyone else, Casey. What are we going to do?"
"Don't tell anyone, Nat. I'll handle it."
He found K.C. in the conference room, reading over some papers, sipping coffee. She looked up when the door opened.
"Hey, it's the other one," she said, smiling. "How are you?"
"Good, good. How about you, K.C.?"
She was very pretty, Casey realized, suddenly. Natural looking. Her skin seemed to shine, even in the fluorescent lights. "I'm good. What can I do for you?"
"You can break up with Dan."
"Dump him, leave him. Break up with Dan."
"Casey, I don't understand."
"Maybe your husband would."
Her face crumpled in slow motion, first her mouth, then the soft skin around her eyes.
"Casey, you don't under--"
"No, K.C., I don't understand. I don't want to understand. Break up with Dan, or I'll tell him. He won't understand, either."
He waved her off, wishing that the conference door would slam behind him.
The knock came at about 1:00am, earlier than Casey would have expected.
"Hey," he said. Dan slid past him, a fifth of something in one hand, eyes downturned.
"Hey." He sat on the couch. The bottle clanked on the table. "You have ice?"
Casey went and got two glasses full of ice. He handed one to Dan and sat down next to him. Dan poured, filling both glasses full. Scotch. Casey grimaced.
"So you know," Dan said. His voice was flat and inflectionless.
Casey nodded. "Natalie told me."
Dan sighed. "What's on?"
Casey handed him the remote.
"So I guess you were right when you said that there would be repercussions," Dan said, during a commercial for deodorant.
Casey reached out, not quite touching his shoulder. "Dan--"
"I know, I know. You didn't mean that."
Dan looked over at him. "It doesn't matter what you meant," he said.
They sat and watched t.v. and Dan drank and Casey pretended to drink to keep him company.
"It was a little weird," Dan said, once.
"I kept thinking you were in the room."
"Was I any good?" Casey asked.
Dan looked over at him for a second before he cracked up. "Were you?" His words were interrupted by laughter. "Were you good? You were great, man. You've got a great rack!" Dan laughed for another minute, and Casey laughed with him, watching him.
"Good to know? How am I as a kisser?"
That set Dan off again, and when he stopped his eyes were blurry with tears.
"I sure can pick 'em, Case," he said, taking a swig from the glass.
"You okay?" Casey asked.
"Yeah. Yeah." Dan pushed a weak imitation of a smile his way.
He put Dan into bed a few hours later, when most of the scotch was gone. Dan slumped over onto his side and curled up around the pillow, asleep almost instantly. Casey pulled Dan's shoes off, and tugged the sheet up over his shoulder. Then he sat on the side of the bed for a second, watching.
Casey heard it before he knew what it was, the muffled sound of someone crying through the open bedroom door. He sat up quick, and had to brace himself with his arms against the couch cushions against the sudden rush of dizziness. He stood up when his vision cleared. "Danny," he said.
He stood up and lurched to the door of the bedroom, sleep drunk. The sound was little louder here, but not much. He could hardly hear it over the hum of the air conditioning, but it was there, the soft heave and rush of Dan's quiet crying. The figure on the bed was twisting on the sheets, writhing in almost-silent agony.
"Casey?" Dan said, and that was all it took, those syllables of agony. It had seemed a little like a game to him earlier--Casey-to-the-Rescue- -when he had gone charging in on K.C. and made demands. But this, Danny crying, this was no game.
Casey sat on the side of the bed, and reached out, pulling Danny to him, letting him press his damp face to Casey's shirtfront.
"Dan," he said again, rocking, trying to smooth Dan's hair away from his face. "Dan, it's okay."
Dan didn't say anything, not for awhile. His breath rasped in and out against Casey's neck, and his arms were heavy bands around Casey's ribs, but he didn't say anything. Eventually, he pulled back a little, and wiped his face with his hands.
"I'm okay," he said.
"You sure?" Casey asked. His hands were on Dan's face, his thumbs brushing Dan's cheekbones.
"It's not about her."
"I know," Casey said, running his thumb along Dan's cheek, although he hadn't known until just then.
Dan nodded. "I'm just . . . fuck, you know."
"Dan Rydell, master of the spoken word."
"Fuck off, Cas--" The silence was worse than the crying, Casey thought.
"It reminds you of her, doesn't it?" he murmured. "My name?"
Dan nodded, miserable. "Repercussions," he said.
"Yeah," Casey said. His hands were still on Dan's face. "Repercussions," he said, and pulled Dan to him.
The first few seconds of the kiss were strange, hesitant, then Danny's arms tightened around him, and Dan's tongue pressed up against his. Casey tipped Dan back until they were both lying on the bed, one of his thighs wedged between Dan's, and his arms around Dan's neck. Dan's mouth was salty from the remains of his tears. His breath was hot and sweet.
The kiss was slow for a long time; Casey felt like he was in slow motion, the soft press of Dan's mouth more of a dream than anything else. Then Dan arched against him, hands grabbing at his ass, and Casey felt the solid thrust of Dan's cock through his jeans. Casey tightened his hold on Dan's neck and arched back. They were just getting into a rhythm when Casey pulled back, sliding his hand up under Dan's shirt over his smooth stomach.
"Say it," he whispered.
"What," Dan said, twisting under Casey's hands, straining upward. "What? Kiss me."
Casey pushed him down, held him with one hand, rubbing the other over the front of his jeans, undoing the buttons. Dan leaned his head back, mouth open.
"Say it," Casey murmured, sliding his fingers into the opening the Dan's boxers. Dan gasped.
"Casey," he said. "Casey."
"That's right." Casey nodded. He ran his fingers over Dan's cock, squeezing, testing. Dan was squirming, trying to get out from under Casey's arm and latch onto him at the same time. His hips kept lifting off the bed, pushing toward Casey's hand.
"What's her name?" Casey asked. He lifted his hand off Dan's cock long enough to slide it under the waistband of Dan's boxers.
"I, ahh, who?" Dan gasped. He caught on quick.
Casey kissed him, twisting his tongue in Dan's mouth, gripping his cock tight in his hand. Dan sighed.
"You fucker," he said, when Casey let him up for air.
"We can stop right now, Dan, if you're uncomfortable." Casey lifted his hand away.
"'We can stop right now,'" Dan mimicked, rolling over on top of him and ripping his jeans open. Casey lifted his hips up and allowed himself to be stripped. "You ever done this before?" Dan asked, nuzzling his belly.
Casey shook his head. "It never came up before. You?"
Dan nodded. "Once. At camp," he said, and drew Casey's cock into his mouth.
The sensation was both familiar and different, familiar because although he hadn't been the undergraduate slut that Dan had been, Casey'd had his fair share of blow jobs: he'd been married for Pete's sake. But this was different, this was Dan whose hand was stroking his thigh, who mouth was on him. Dan.
He came suddenly, taken by surprise, unable to give Dan the slightest warning.
Dan, who wiped his chin on the bottom of the t-shirt he was still wearing, didn't seem to mind.
"Casey," he murmured, crawling on top of him, and Casey licked his own palm and slid it in between their bodies. This was what it must be like, he thought, as Dan began humping into his hand, the heavy weight of his chest on Casey's pinning him down. It was hot under Dan, his sweat mingling with Casey's own, and it was comforting, and it was fucking sexy to look over Dan's shoulder and see the smooth shape of his ass moving rhythmically in the faint light the sifted through the blinds.
Then Dan's rhythm staggered and grew erratic, and Casey squeezed a little, grabbing Dan's ass with his other hand. Dan groaned, once, loud in Casey's ear, and Casey felt the hot flood over his fingers.
"Camp, hmm?" he said in Dan's ear. Dan, who had collapsed, sprawled on top of him, laughed.
"What kind of camp was this, Dan?" he asked. "I'm just wondering, because Charlie's getting old enough to go and I'm not sure whether to encourage or discourage this kind of camping."
"Fuck off, Casey," Dan said, rolling off to one side of Casey, and pulling him close by throwing a leg and an arm over him.
"Feeling better, I see." Casey ran his hand over Dan's sweaty hair.
They lay in silence for a while, Casey stroking through Dan's hair, feeling the sweat cool and dry.
"Thanks, Case," Dan said, eventually. Casey grunted a response, and fell asleep, his hand still in Dan's hair.
Sometime in the night they must have rolled over, because when Casey woke up to go to the bathroom he was on his side and Dan was pressed tight up against him, one arm curled over him, hand flat on his chest. Casey lay there for a moment in the heat of his friend's body.
When he came back to bed, he was secretly grateful to see that Dan had turned away, and was snuggling a pillow. It made things easier somehow.
When he woke up the second time, Dan was gone.
Casey had expected things to be a little awkward after that. It wasn't every day that you slept with your best friend who had just broken up with his married girlfriend. In fact, Casey bet it wasn't even every day on General Hospital that things like that happened, so he was prepared for a certain degree of uncomfortable silences. He was also prepared for some awkward conversation, and some sidelong glances. He was hoping for some awkward conversation followed by some awkward making out, but it was best not to count your chickens before they hatched. After Lisa, Casey had learned the value of caution.
But he had not expected to come in and find K.C. in his office, sitting knee to knee on the couch with Dan.
"Hey!" he said. This was worse than the time he had caught them kissing.
"Hey, Case!" Dan said, smiling, no beaming up at him like nothing was wrong, like the blond bitch sitting on the couch was still his . . .
"You're getting back together, aren't you?" he asked.
Dan's happy look faded abruptly. K.C. was studying her hands.
"Don't 'Casey' me!" Casey said, not even knowing what he meant. "What the hell are you thinking?"
"I should go," she said, standing.
"Yes, you should," Casey said, flinging open the door.
"We'll talk later, Dan," K.C. said, and bolted.
"Casey," Dan said.
"What the fuck are you thinking, Dan?" Casey knew he was being too loud, that he was flailing his arms like a chicken, that he was going off the deep end, but there was something in the pit of his stomach, something cold and coiling and if he stopped flailing he might just have to be afraid.
"Listen, her and her husband--"
"Are divorced, Danny? Are separated? Are thinking about it, maybe? Because I've heard it all before, and if you want to go through that again, that is fucking fine with me, but don't expect me to throw open the door when you show up in the middle of the night, and hold you while you cry because I'm done with that!"
"You don't mean that, Casey." Dan's voice was low and sad.
"I do, Dan. I was willing before, because I thought she liked you, but she's using you, Danny, and I won't help her. I won't stand by and watch someone else walk all over you."
Dan sat down on the couch, bowing his head into his hands.
"She says they're getting a divorce."
"Does that change what has already happened?" Casey sat down next to him, feeling the cool knot in his stomach thaw a little. This was okay, this was rational.
"Between her and me, or between you and me?"
"Either, Dan. Both."
Dan looked at him. Casey sighed. "Look," he said. "Look, what happened between you and me, it happened. It occurred. We can let it go."
"A buddy fuck."
"Sure, if you want. A buddy fuck." Casey nodded. "But her? Danny, I can't let you do that again."
"What if I don't want to let it go?" Dan asked.
"She's a nightmare, Dan. She's trouble. She's a blond Rebecca."
"Rebecca's a blond now."
"Then she is Rebecca. Let her go."
"What if I don't want to let you go?"
He'd been preparing his arguments against her, against K.C., and it took him a second to hear the question.
"Um, well, what if?" he said, finally, feeling like an idiot.
"What if," Dan said, his voice low, "what if all I'd been thinking about the whole time she was in here was how you looked on the bed."
"Well, I . . . that would be good, I guess."
"What if I was thinking of breaking up with everyone in the studio just so I'd have an excuse to come to your house and lie on your bed?"
Dan leaned in close, eyes fixed on something over Casey's shoulder, breath moist against Casey's cheek. "What if I told you I wanted you to kiss me, right now."
Dan laughed, and slung an arm around Casey's shoulders. "Casey McCall, master of the spoken language."
"Fuck off, Danny," Casey said, relieved. "You're not getting back together with her."
Dan shook his head. "I'm not. It would be too weird. I mean, I'd be kissing her, and then, in heat of passion, I'd murmur her name, and then--"
"Repercussions," Casey said.
"Repercussions." Dan nodded. "You're still going to kiss me later, right?"