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For his New Year's resolution, Dave had decided that he wouldn't press
Carter where friendship was concerned. Oh, he still wanted them to be
friends. Even better would be for the two of them to go past
friendship, and to be lovers. But, Dave knew that Carter was right in
that he had to come to terms with everything. And so, Dave decided to
be patient, and wait.

Oh, Dave still kept up his usual friendly banter, but he couldn't deny
that his heart skipped a beat whenever that banter drew a smile or
laugh out of Carter. And, as the month drew to a close, Dave was
thrilled over the fact that every time he went on break, Carter seemed
to take his then, too. There'd be coffee and pie at Maggoo's, or
coffee on the roof. Little things, really, but they were things they
did together, and that meant all the world to Dave. The abductions
were never mentioned, and that was just fine to Dave. The sooner they
both put all of that behind them, the better, he thought. And was it
his imagination, or was Carter looking at him differently? Dave swore
that there were times when he'd quickly look over at Carter and see an
intense longing in the man's eyes. The look would pass quickly, but
Dave was sure that it had been there. And that belief gave him hope
that he did have a chance with Carter, that despite the fact that
Carter could get a chick like Elaine Nichols in his bed, he could
still want another guy.

As January ended, and February began, Dave was feeling very optimistic
indeed, almost to the point of going out and buying Carter a card for
Valentine's Day. A very naughty, racy, and suggestive Valentine's Day
card. Dave's face broke into a huge grin whenever he thought about
it, but then his stomach would do a flip as doubts reminded him that
he could be reading Carter's looks wrong. The only thing to do, Dave
finally reasoned, was to just keep watching Carter, and waiting for
Carter to make the first move.

For his New Year's resolution, John had decided that he'd put Dave
Malucci and the past out of his mind. Now that he had his answers to
the hows and whys of the abduction, there was no longer any need to
dwell on what had happened. No need to wonder just what he'd done
that had been so bad as to warrant that kind of treatment. From
January 1st onward, Dave would be nothing more than a co-worker, a
colleague, just like Kovac or Cleo. Nothing more, nothing less.

And that was a resolution that John broke on January 2nd, and every
day after that. Hell, he didn't even have to be working the same
shift with Dave to break it. Thoughts of Dave would pop into John's
head without warning. And they were always erotic thoughts. If John
had been having those thoughts about a woman, he'd welcome them. But
they weren't about a woman, they were about a man. And not just any
man, but about a man who had once kidnapped him and did...things to
him. For the first time since Kerry Weaver had evicted him from her
basement, John found himself glad that he had his own place. The
strain of acting 'normal' at work was a hard one, and after every
shift, John would come home and fall apart in the privacy of his own
apartment. Oh, it wasn't a hysterical falling apart, nothing quite so
dramatic as that. It was just that once John stepped into his own
apartment, he remembered Dave being there, remembered how Dave had
looked on his bed, naked. John often found himself crawling onto the
bed, his mind and hands active, until he'd climax with Dave's name on
his lips.

And then John would shower furiously, the water as hot as he could
stand, sometimes almost too hot, but heat was needed for cleanliness.
He'd scrub his skin over and over, trying his best to wipe away the
dirt and guilt. What kind of a person was he, anyway? Definitely not
'normal', he'd decide, and the silence of his apartment would agree
with him on that. As each day passed, John found himself wanting Dave
more and more. He imagined what it would be like to kiss another man,
to kiss Dave Malucci, and he found himself yearning to find out the

The agonizing days of January came to an end, and John tossed his
resolution out the window, knowing there was no way possible for him
to ever keep it. The first days of February found John trying to
think up a way to get Dave alone, so that John could find out once and
for all just what it would be like to kiss him. Oh, it was dirty and
definitely not 'normal', but Dave Malucci was worth it. And maybe,
just maybe, Dave would think that John was worth it, too, and not find
him as repulsive as he found himself.

John stood nervously in front of the men's room mirror. He'd gone
over this a million times, but was certain that when it came time to
actually talk to Dave, he'd mess it up. And, John definitely didn't
want to mess this up, not when everything else had seemed to fall into
place so easily. His plan to get Dave alone had started to come
together earlier in the week, when he'd seen the latest television
guide. The Chicago Blackhawks were playing Atlanta on Saturday, in
Atlanta, no less. Which meant that the game was going to be aired in
the Chicago area. A quick look at the schedule showed John that both
he and Dave would be off in time to see the game. Dave had that day
off, and John was getting off of his shift at six. The game was at
seven, so there was plenty of time to get home, shower and change and
then be ready for Dave's arrival.

It all hinged on Dave accepting his invitation to come over to watch
the game. Sure, Dave liked hockey, but what if he already had other
plans? Or didn't want anything to do with him? John sighed heavily
as he gave his reflection one last look. Hiding in the men's room and
obsessing over whether or not Dave would accept the invitation
certainly wasn't getting him anywhere. He'd just catch Dave on break
and casually mention the game, and then if Dave seemed interested,
John would invite him over. His determination back in place, John
turned from the mirror and headed back into the ER, hoping that his
confidence wouldn't vanish the moment he saw Dave.

The day had not been going well, Dave thought with a frown. The work
had been the usual fare of the ER - sprains, broken bones, flu
complaints, a few MVAs, and some GSWs. It was the rest of the day,
his breaks most especially, that hadn't gone well at all, and all
because of one small fact - Dave had spent his breaks alone. He'd
become so used to having Carter as company that he felt Carter's
absence keenly, and Dave felt like kicking himself for letting his
feelings grow that much for someone who obviously only wanted to be
friends. Dave then wondered if he'd done or said something that had
scared Carter away? Maybe looked at him too longingly? Stifling a
sigh, Dave signed himself out from his shift and headed into the
lounge to his locker, Carter not in sight. That was the repeating
theme of the day, Dave realized. Except for one trauma, he hadn't
even seen Carter, and that had to mean that he'd done something to
scare him away.

But what? As Dave opened his locker, his mind raced to try to
discover just what he'd done to frighten Carter off. Dave was so deep
in thought over the matter that he didn't notice that someone else was
in the lounge with him until he heard the sound of someone clearing
his throat. When Dave looked over his shoulder to see who was there,
he couldn't keep from breaking out into a smile at discovering it was
Carter. But his smile faltered a bit as he realized that Carter
looked uneasy, maybe even nervous.

"Carter," Dave said, nodding at the other man and then returning his
attention to his locker. If Carter was already nervous, then he
didn't want to do anything to make matters worse. The best thing was
to let Carter take control of the conversation. "You off already?"

"No," John replied. "I've got a few more hours to go. There's a
Blackhawks game on TV this weekend. Saturday night, at seven; to be
exact. They're playing Atlanta, and I, well, I was wondering if you'd
want to come over to watch it. That is, if you're feeling up to it,
and all." Dave was still getting over his short bout of the flu, and
John wasn't sure that Dave was up to going out, even if it was just to
come over to watch a game on TV.

Carter was inviting him over? Dave grinned once more. "Yeah, that'd
be great. I could grab a pizza or something on my way over."

John nodded. "Okay. And I've got beer and stuff. You remember where
I live, right?"

"I sure do," Dave replied. He felt all happy inside as this moment
more than made up for the fact that Carter had been scarce all shift.

"Good." Carter headed for the door. "I've got to get back to my head
lac. We can talk later about what to get on the pizza." He then
smiled, and Dave felt right then as if his heart would melt - and his
cock embarrass him completely as it tried to spring to life. Luckily,
the door closed behind Carter just as that happened, sparing Dave that
bit of notice.

"Down boy," he whispered to himself as he pulled on his coat. "It's
just a hockey game. It's not like he just invited us over to screw
his brains out or something." But if things went well, and Carter
kept on inviting him over, then maybe, just maybe, someday there would
be a chance to do just that.

Whistling happily, Dave slammed his locker shut and headed home, his
mind already on the weekend and spending some time alone with Carter.
All in all, it had one Hell of a great day.

John spared a moment to glance at his watch, and he groaned loudly as
he saw it as 7:15. He then continued up the stairs to his apartment,
taking them two at a time and wondering if Dave would be in the
hallway, waiting. He'd told Dave to be there a little before seven,
wanting to give himself time to shower and change once he was home
from work. And that would have given John plenty of time, and then
some, if he had gotten off of his shift at six, as scheduled.

John should have remembered that quitting times in the ER hardly ever
went as scheduled. A trauma had come in, an MVA with three people,
and he'd been too busy to notice the time. It wasn't until he'd
declared the death on his patient that he realized it was after six,
and he still had the chart to finish. John had taken a moment to call
Dave, to let him know that he'd be late, but there'd been no answer at
Dave's place, and John had had to leave a message on Dave's machine.
It was already after six thirty at that point, and John was pretty
sure that Dave was on his way to his place. Dave had planned to get
the pizza that they'd talked about having, a large one, with extra
cheese and everything on it. Dave had raved about a place he knew
that made a New York style pizza, something rare to find in Chicago,
and John had given in to Dave's desire to get a taste of home.

Only now, Dave would probably be the only person enjoying any of it,
John grimly thought. He couldn't really blame Dave for not hanging
around past seven. After all, it was only a hockey game and nothing
more. The certainty that Dave had come and gone slowed John's steps,
and he was practically dragging his feet as he opened the stairwell
door and stepped into the hallway of his floor.

"D'ya get stuck at work?"

John's head jerked up as he heard Dave's voice, and he smiled broadly
at he saw that it really was Dave sitting there on the floor in front
of his apartment door. "Yeah, I did," John replied. "I tried to call
you, but you'd already left."

Dave turned to the side and picked up the pizza box that was beside
him, holding it up toward Carter. "Here, hold onto this for a sec."

John took the box, surprised that the pizza was still hot. "I thought
you'd be gone by now."

Dave got to his feet and shrugged, then grinned as he took the pizza
back from Carter. "Your time was going to be up in about ten
minutes," he said. "Luckily for you, I know what it's like to get
stuck leaving late."

John dug into his pocket for his keys and quickly unlocked the door,
then standing aside so Dave could go inside first. Once John had
entered the apartment, he flipped the switch for the overhead light,
and then closed and locked the door. "You can just put the pizza on
the coffee table. Would you like a beer or a soda pop?" John asked as
he removed his tie and draped it over the back of one of the dining
room chairs. He dropped his bag on the floor against the wall, then
began to pull off his jacket as he headed toward the kitchen. Dave
went on over to the couch and put the pizza down on the table. He
took off his coat and tossed it in the easy chair, then sat down and
picked up the remote.

"Beer, please. Do you mind if I get the game on?"

"No," John called back as he opened the refrigerator. "Go ahead." He
grabbed two beers and some napkins, hoping that Dave wouldn't mind not
having a plate for the pizza. Right then, John physically and
mentally didn't feel like dealing with dishes. He just wanted to
collapse on the couch, eat and relax. He also wanted a shower, but
knew it would be rude for him to go and take one now that Dave was there.

"Thanks," Dave said as he took his beer from Carter. He'd easily
found the game, and was pleased to see that they hadn't missed much
since there wasn't yet a score. He glanced over at Carter as the
other man sat down, thinking that he looked tired. He also looked
quite delicious as he lounged there, his long legs stretched out under
the coffee table, his hair tousled, his tie loose and the top buttons
of his shirt undone. As his cock began to react to that scene, Dave
turned his attention to opening the pizza.

"One large garbage pizza, New York style," Dave declared as he grabbed
a piece of it and took a bite. "Mmmm."

John smiled, then leaned forward and grabbed a slice as his stomach
rumbled. It smelled good, and the slice was heavy from all of the
toppings. He took a bite and found himself agreeing with Dave on the
taste. It wasn't a Chicago style pizza, but it was pretty damn good.
"Mmmm," he echoed.

Since both men were hungry, they ate in silence for a little while,
eyes mostly on the game. Every now and then, one or the other would
glance sideways at the other man, their thoughts running along the
same lines. The only different in their thoughts was in the
conclusions of them, with Dave thinking that it was going to kill him
to be patient, but he'd do it anyway; and John trying to think of a
way to let Dave know without a doubt that he was interested in doing
something more than eating pizza and watching a hockey game.

There were so many scenarios running around in John's head. Almost
too many, he thought. Heck, if Dave were a woman, then he'd have a
better idea about what to do, John thought, glancing once more over at
Dave and taking in the form-fitting T-shirt and tight pants. He
grinned as Dave cheered for a Blackhawks goal, then returned to his
musings. Okay, so Dave wasn't a woman, but the act of seduction
wasn't necessarily gender exclusive, was it? John had seduced women
before, so he certainly could seduce another man. What he needed
though, was something that wasn't too overt, and his thoughts went
back to the fact that he wanted a shower. Rude or not, John was
beginning to think that a shower would be just the thing. He could
leave the door open and give Dave a chance to join him. And if Dave
didn't do that, then John could always find an excuse to come back
into the living room while wearing nothing but a towel. He nodded,
knowing that he'd finally decided on a good course of action.

"You know, I'm sure I reek of the hospital," he said, looking over at
Dave. "You wouldn't mind if I went and got a quick shower, would
you?" He'd already begun to undo the buttons on the shirt cuffs.

Dave looked over at Carter, knowing all too well how it felt to want
to wash away the smells and feelings from the ER. "Nah, go ahead.
I'll save some pizza for ya."

John smiled as he got to his feet. "I'll try to be quick." As he
headed toward the bathroom, John began to undo the rest of the buttons
on his shirt, hoping that his act of stripping was sending the right
message to Dave. He closed the bathroom door, but didn't lock it.
Then he opened it again, not wanting Dave to think that he was being
shut out.

"I keep forgetting that the exhaust fan is broken," John said, quickly
making up a lie to explain why he was going to leave the door ajar.

"Okay," Dave said, and he made himself look back at the TV. Carter
obviously trusted him, and Dave wasn't going to mess things up by
ogling him now. Even if Carter's bared chest did look pretty damn
kissable, and would look even more touchable once Carter's entire body
was bare and wet.

Dave could hear the sounds of clothing rustling, and his cock twitched
in appreciation of the fact that Carter was most likely fully naked.
He jumped slightly as the water suddenly started, seeming pretty damn
loud through the partially open door. Dave glanced toward the
bathroom, catching a glimpse of a bare leg before he forced himself to
look away. Damn, but this was going to be one long shower, he
thought, hopefully long enough so that his erection would ease off
before Carter came back.

Dave returned his attention to the hockey game, and soon lost himself
in the battle that was being played out on the television screen. It
wasn't until he felt a presence slightly behind him that he realized
that the water had stopped. Dave sent a quick glance to his right,
and the quick glance quickly turned into a stare as he saw that Carter
was standing there behind the couch wearing nothing but a towel. His
skin was still a bit pink from the hot water, and damp, and Dave found
himself growing hard once more.

Dragging his eyes away from Carter, Dave leaned forward to get another
slice of pizza from the box, hoping that the movement would hide his

"What's the score?" John asked.

"Uh, two to one, I think," Dave replied as he slowly sat back against
the cushions, hoping that Carter would quickly go to get dressed while
also wishing that he was standing there naked.

"Chicago winning?"

Damn, he didn't seem to be in a hurry to leave, Dave thought. "Yeah,
Chicago's winning."

"That's good."

Dave could feel Carter's eyes on him, but he didn't dare turn to look
at him again. If it were anyone else, Dave would have been pretty
sure that Carter was trying to seduce him or something. But, this was
Carter, and the fact that Carter's hand was now on the back of the
couch, his fingers barely brushing against Dave's neck, didn't mean
anything except that Carter didn't realize the effect he had on Dave.

The devilish part of Dave chose that moment to speak up - maybe it did
mean more than that. John Carter wasn't an innocent, after all, even
if he didn't do guys. Dave slowly turned his head to look at Carter,
and this time he was fortunate enough to look at Carter's eyes first.
Oh, yeah, there was no mistaking the look there. It was desire, pure
and simple. Dave let his eyes trail down Carter's body, noting the
erect nipples, the lean belly and the bulge under the towel.

Oh, dear good God in Heaven, Carter WAS trying to seduce him. The
devilish part of Dave wanted to vault over the back of the couch, grab
Carter and kiss him senseless, along with a few other choice acts.
The 'good' part of Dave knew that Carter had no experience with men,
and he didn't want things to happen just because Carter'd had beer.
How many HAD he had, anyway? Not enough to be drunk, his devilish
side replied, he knows exactly what he's doing.

Dave quickly turned back to face the TV, undecided about what to do.
Lordy, but if it was anyone else...Hell, if it was anyone else, he
wouldn't be sitting there right then. Dave wanted Carter, pure and
simple. He'd wanted him for a long time now, and why should he be
hesitant now that it looked as if Carter felt the same way? Maybe it
was because looks could sometimes be deceiving? What if this was just
another bit of payback? Or what if Carter didn't really know what it
was he was asking for?

After showering alone, John had been a bit discouraged, but he'd
rebounded by reminding himself that Dave didn't know that the open
door was an invitation to join him in the bathroom. Obviously, he
needed to be more overt, and once his body was mostly dry, John had
acted spontaneously, stepping back into the living room in just a towel.

And Dave hadn't noticed. He'd been so wrapped up in the game that he
didn't bother looking when John left the bathroom. Torn between going
quickly into the bedroom to dress and stepping between Dave and
television, John had opted for something simpler - going up behind Dave.

That seemed to work, John noticed. Dave had definitely taken note of
the fact that he was there, but then the game had reclaimed his
attention. John scrambled for something to do or say that would get
him Dave's attention again, and he'd leaned against the couch, bracing
his hands on the back, to ask how the game was going. Unfortunately,
it took more than one question for John to get Dave's full attention.
Fortunately, John was patient enough to keep talking, and when Dave's
eyes met his own, he could have sworn that he saw want and need there,
and John was pretty sure that Dave's eyes hadn't missed the fact that
he was hard.

So why then did Dave turn his attention back to the game? His
shoulders slumped in defeat; John started to turn away, confused as to
what had just happened. Had he only imagined the look in Dave's eyes?
God, he HAD imagined it, hadn't he? And Dave was being nice enough
to not punch his lights out over it. Shaking his head, John headed
for the bedroom, wondering if he'd really be able to come back out
without being totally humiliated over what he'd tried to do.

He should have known better, John thought. Nothing ever worked right
when he made the first move. It never worked right with women, so he
didn't really know why he'd thought it would work right with a man.
Besides which, John should have realized that a simple seduction
wouldn't work with Dave, not when he was the one doing the seducing.
Dave had seen him before and he knew the way John's body had responded
to what he and the others had done to it. Dave knew firsthand that
John was a bit perverted, so why would he want him? Why would anyone
ever want him?

To be continued.
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