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Home / Samples / Hard Earned Cash: A Dark Mafia Romance by K.L. Hiers – Sample

Hard Earned Cash: A Dark Mafia Romance by K.L. Hiers – Sample


Jimmy Poe was absolutely trembling in the back of the limousine, staring anxiously out the window up at Westchester Prison. His foot was tapping, fingers twitching, and his teeth were working at his lower lip with a carnivorous ferocity.

“Jimmy,” Boss Cold said softly, a cool hand pressing against his leg and squeezing. “Calm down.”

Eyes fluttering, Jimmy nodded frantically, but he still continued to fidget.

“Breathe for me,” Cold said more firmly, his thumb slowly stroking Jimmy’s inner thigh. He squeezed his leg again. “Now.”

Taking a few deep breaths, Jimmy’s pulse began to descend. Cold’s voice was beautiful and strong, and there was a very distinct purr that it took on when he gave orders. It worked its way directly into Jimmy’s brain, and he was powerless to resist.

Boss Cold, also known as Roderick Legrand, the mob ruler of Strassen Springs, was not a man who tolerated any amount of disobedience in any aspect of his life. From his criminal empire to the bedroom, his word was law.

It was the foundation of their relationship, and it gave Jimmy purpose and confidence, and it was a love like no other.

“I know you’re excited,” Cold said soothingly, “but you’ll put yourself in a fit if you don’t calm yourself.”

“There’s a part of me that still thinks this is all a dream,” Jimmy gushed, looking back out the window to the prison where his father had been trapped for so many years.

Today was the day David Poe was finally being freed.

He had been wrongly convicted for the murder of Jimmy’s mother nineteen years ago, and Cold had recently discovered that the killer was a traitorous member of his own gang. Justice was brutally served as the result of meticulous planning that not only granted David’s freedom, but also destroyed Cold’s enemies and left him completely untouchable.

“It’s very real,” Cold promised, patting his knee.

“Thank you,” Jimmy beamed happily. “Thank you for everything.” He leaned forward, trying to steal a kiss.

Cold caught his jaw before he could, smirking faintly as he looked over Jimmy’s lips. He hummed, pretending to consider whether or not he was going to allow it.

“Please, sir?” Jimmy pleaded playfully.

Cold growled softly at the ‘sir,’ pressing a heated kiss against Jimmy’s mouth. “You wicked thing,” he snarled. “Teasing me right before I’m going to meet your father.”

“You’ll have to punish me later,” Jimmy chuckled.

“Careful,” Cold warned him, his thumb gently stroking over his chin, “or it’ll be a punishment you may not enjoy.”

Heat prickled beneath Jimmy’s collar as he asked, “Mmm, your belt?”

“Keep pushing me and you’ll find out,” Cold warned.

Jimmy knew he could only tease Cold so much before he got truly aggravated with him.

Although that did come with its own unique set of pleasures, he wanted his boyfriend in a good mood to meet his father.

“I’ll behave,” Jimmy said, smiling when Cold kissed him again. He sat back in his seat, eyes focused out the window once more for any sign of his father.

“Perhaps you should have come alone,” Cold mused.

“Why? Never met anyone’s parents before?”

“No,” was the flat reply.

“Are you nervous?” Jimmy teased, delighted by the idea.

“You really want the belt tonight, don’t you?” Cold scowled. “I do not get nervous.”

Jimmy grinned and resisted the urge to giggle. He wasn’t about to argue, gasping excitedly when he saw the gates of the prison finally open and his father step outside. “He’s here! He’s really here!”

Jerry was already opening the door of the limo, Jimmy tumbling out and breaking into a dead run to greet his father.

“Hey, slugger!” David exclaimed, dropping his bag to embrace his son. He squeezed him tight and pressed tearful kisses into his hair.

Jimmy’s own eyes were stinging with tears as he hugged his father as hard as he could. He was absolutely thrilled to be holding his father as a free man.

“My boy,” David said, his voice cracking from so much emotion. “Thank you. Thank you for never giving up on me. I love you so much, kiddo.”

“I love you, too!” Jimmy exclaimed with a big grin. “Oh, my God. You’re here. You’re really free, and, and, and my God. No more inch of glass, no more phone calls, you’re really here!”

“Damn right,” David chuckled warmly, kissing his son’s forehead and giving him one last big hug. He nodded toward the limo, teasing, “I think your boyfriend is waiting for us.”

Cold was standing by the open door with Jerry, patiently watching them with a small smile.

“Right! Come on!” Jimmy said, grabbing his father’s arm and his bag for him. “I can’t wait for you to meet him!”

David let Jimmy lead him, smiling as he offered to shake Cold’s hand, saying, “Roderick Legrand? I’m David Poe. I understand I have you to thank for my freedom. Thank you.”

“The pleasure is mine,” Cold assured him, giving his hand a firm shake. “Anything for Jimmy.”

“That’s what a father likes to hear,” David nodded with approval.

Cold gestured to the limo, asking politely, “Shall we?”

“Please,” David said quickly. “I have no desire to stay here any longer than necessary.”

Jimmy climbed in first, eagerly grabbing a bottle of champagne that had been chilling. David sat down across from him, and Cold took his place back beside him.

Jerry shut the door and got behind the wheel to drive them back home. Cold took the bottle from Jimmy to open it, pouring them each a bubbly glass.

“Congratulations on your freedom, Mr. Poe,” Cold said, his voice holding a subtle purr as he raised his glass to David’s.

Jimmy shivered at the formal title, but he tried not to think much of it. Cold was talking to his father, after all.

“I will gladly drink to that,” David laughed, clinking his glass with Cold’s and Jimmy’s. He took a long sip, coughing softly and clearing his throat. “Sorry, it’s been a little while since I’ve had anything to drink.”

“Quite all right, Mr. Poe,” Cold assured him, giving Jimmy a sly smile.

Cheeks flushing, Jimmy narrowed his eyes suspiciously at the gangster. He only ever called Jimmy that when they were being intimate.

Very intimate.

Cold winked, looking back at David as he said, “I have a room ready and waiting for you. Please let me know if there’s anything I can do for you, Mr. Poe.”

Oh, that dirty rat was doing it on purpose!

“Please, call me David!” David insisted, tipping his glass back with more success.

Thank God, Jimmy sighed to himself in relief. He didn’t know that his body would behave itself if he heard Cold say ‘Mr. Poe’ one more time.

“Are you sure?” Cold asked, raising a brow. “I’m not usually so informal with people I’ve just met…” He paused, slowly licking his lips as he added huskily, “Mr. Poe.”

Jimmy nearly choked on his champagne.

“Seriously,” David chuckled warmly, “you’re offering me your home, your hospitality, and you’ve made my son a happy man. Call me David.”

“Very well,” Cold relented. “You may call me Roderick.”

“No ‘Boss Cold’?” David laughed.

“No,” Cold replied with a smirk. “Rod is also fine, if you so wish.”

“I can live with Roderick.” David hesitated, a moment of emotion warring on his face as he added breathlessly, “Thank you again. For everything.”

“My pleasure,” Cold said, finishing off his champagne with a rare and genuine smile.

“Are you hungry, Dad?” Jimmy asked, grabbing the bottle of champagne and refilling all of their glasses. “Jerry, the driver, super nice guy, he’s also a fantastic chef! He can make you anything you want.”

“I wouldn’t mind a steak the size of Texas and a cold beer,” David said thoughtfully, smiling brightly at his son, “and a scalding hot shower to wash all this prison funk off.”

“Totally doable.”

They continued to chat all the way back to Cold’s compound, and Jimmy was proud when his father let out an impressed whistle as they drove through the gates up to the mansion.

“Not bad,” David said, nodding in approval.

As they pulled up front, Jimmy saw they had people waiting outside for them. Rowena Legrand, Cold’s younger sister, was there, plus Roger Lorre and Mickey Tamerlane, two of Cold’s top Gentlemen.

Jimmy worried for a moment that his father would be put off by so many people, especially since neither Tamerlane nor Lorre exactly screamed friendly. He knew he and Tamerlane had met while in prison, but he wasn’t sure if it would be a happy reunion. To his surprise, David was all smiles as they exited the limo.

He even reached out to hug Tamerlane, laughing, “Well, look at you! Hey, Mickey!”

Jimmy cringed, thinking the assassin would not be much on hugging, but he was surprised again when Tamerlane hugged him back.

“Hey, Doc!” Tamerlane greeted with a crooked grin. “Good to see you on the outside!”

“Good to be seen,” David agreed, nodding toward Lorre. “And this must be Roger?”

“Roger Lorre,” Lorre said, shaking hands with David. “Nice to meet ya’, Doc. Appreciate you fixing up Tamerlane while he was in.”

“No problem at all,” David said with a humble shrug of his shoulders. He looked to Rowena, asking, “And this is…?”

“Rowena Legrand,” Rowena cooed sweetly, slinking over to pull David into a big hug and kiss his cheek. “It’s lovely to meet you, Daddy Poe! Welcome to the family!”

David actually blushed, saying politely, “Thank you very much, Miss Legrand. I appreciate that.”

“Come on, Dad,” Jimmy said, taking his father’s arm and leading him inside. “I’ll take you up to your room, and you can get settled, okay?”

“Sure, sure, sounds good, slugger!” David took a deep breath as Jimmy walked him upstairs.

“You okay?” Jimmy asked quietly, gently patting his shoulder. His father seemed upset, and he didn’t understand what was wrong.

“I’m good, son,” David promised him. “It’s just a lot. But I’m good. This is just…” He looked around the rich surroundings. “Wow.”

“Yeah,” Jimmy agreed with a grin. “It’s pretty crazy. I still have trouble believing it sometimes.”

He showed David into one of the spacious guest rooms, saying, “This is your room. Bathroom is through that door there. Me and Rod are down at the end of the hall. There’s clothes in the closet for you. Rowena helped me; I had to guess on the sizes.”

David was looking all around, and plopped down on the edge of the bed. He was quiet, nodding along as Jimmy spoke.

Jimmy frowned, sitting down beside him, asking, “Are you sure you’re okay, Dad?”

“Been in prison a long time,” David said, his lips pulled back in a strained smile. “Rooms seem too big, lights are too bright.” He sucked in a shaky breath. “It’s a lot, son.”

Jimmy leaned against his father, taking his hand and smiling brightly as he said, “I know, Dad. I mean, I don’t know, but I’m here. We’ll get through this together.”

David’s eyes were getting damp again, and he kissed Jimmy’s forehead as he sighed, “I love you, slugger.”

“I love you, too,” Jimmy replied, smiling sweetly. “Everything is gonna be fine, I promise.”

“Baby steps, kiddo,” David chuckled, giving his son a friendly nudge.

“Everything to your liking?” Cold’s voice called out from the open doorway.

“Great,” David said quickly and wiped at his eyes. “Thank you.”

“Jimmy,” Cold said firmly, “why don’t you let your father get settled, hmm? I’ll let Jerry know what to prepare for dinner. Steaks the size of Texas, yes?”

“Perfect,” David agreed.

Jimmy pouted a little, giving his father one last hug before getting up to join Cold. He shivered when Cold’s hand gently rested on his neck, saying, “You just relax, Dad. You need anything, call for us, okay?”

Cold squeezed Jimmy’s neck hard enough to make his knees wobble, saying, “We’ll let you get some rest, David. Dinner will be ready by six o’clock.”

“And seriously, you need anything at all,” Jimmy went on, “just let us know, okay?”

“Thanks, slugger,” David said with a tired smile. “I will, I promise. I’ll see you guys a little later, okay?”

“Okay, and there’s towels in the bathroom and soap and—”

“I’m sure David can handle it from here,” Cold cut him off sharply, shifting his fingers up into Jimmy’s hair and giving a small tug. “Let’s go.”

“Bye, Dad!” Jimmy exclaimed as Cold steered him quickly out of the room and down the hallway. He hissed under his breath, “You didn’t have to rush me out of there like that.”

“Yes, I did,” Cold replied with a snort, leading him into their bedroom.

“I just wanted to make sure he’s okay!” Jimmy protested, fussing as Cold pushed him toward the bed.

“Jimmy,” Cold scolded, “your father has been in prison for many years. He needs time to adjust.”

“He said he’s fine!” Jimmy argued. “My dad is one of the strongest people I know. If something was wrong, he would have told me.”

“No, he wouldn’t have,” Cold countered. “He’s your father, and you’re his son. He is not going to tell you how difficult this is for him. Trust me. That is a man who needs space to breathe.”

“You do not know my father better than me!” Jimmy snapped, surprised at how angry he was at the insinuation.

Cold’s lip twitched at Jimmy’s raised voice, his entire body tensing as he replied, “I may not know your father very well, but I do know criminals.”

“My father isn’t a criminal!” Jimmy argued loudly, his face flushing brightly.

“No, but he spent almost twenty years living as one,” Cold replied, reaching out to wrap his hands around Jimmy’s throat. “Adjusting to life as a free man is not easy. I’ve seen it many times and lived it myself.”

Jimmy sighed, relaxing under Cold’s firm hold. His fingers curled around Cold’s wrists as his eyes slowly closed. “I want to help him.”

“I know,” Cold soothed, “but the best thing you can do right now is give him time. Do you understand me… Mr. Poe?”

“Yes, sir.” Jimmy slowly began to smile as he added coyly, “That wasn’t very nice of you to tease me like that earlier, saying that in front of my dad.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Cold said innocently. “How else should I address your father?”

“Anything but that!” Jimmy laughed.

“I rather enjoyed watching you blush,” Cold said, his thumbs arching up to trace Jimmy’s jawline. “Can you imagine what your father would say if he knew…?”

Jimmy grunted, his breath stolen away as heat crawled up his spine, hot with shame and desire.

“What would he say if he knew his precious boy likes getting fucked raw by me?” Cold went on defiantly. “That he likes being owned, that he enjoys having his body dominated by me and me alone…?”

Jimmy began to pant, his tongue swiping anxiously over his lips. He couldn’t think, and his cock was getting so hard. “Please, sir… you can’t tell him.”

“Oh?” Cold smiled wickedly. “Can’t tell him what, Mr. Poe?”

“That… that I like it.”

“Like what?” Cold pressed.

“You owning me,” Jimmy breathlessly replied, his eyes flooding with need. “Telling me what to do. Making me yours… I can’t… I can’t live without it, but I can’t tell him that…”

“On your knees, Mr. Poe,” Cold ordered, releasing his hold and unbuckling his belt.

Whining eagerly, Jimmy dropped right down and stared at Cold’s thick cock as he pulled it out. He began to drool almost instantly, waiting to be given permission to touch.

“Open your mouth, Mr. Poe,” Cold commanded.

Jimmy’s lips parted immediately, and he groaned when Cold began to rub his cock along his lower lip. He was already salivating, breathing in Cold’s strong scent.

“What would your father say if he saw you like this?” Cold taunted.

“God,” Jimmy moaned, his eyes gazing hungrily up at Cold. The thought of anyone watching them together made his cock twitch, but his own father? Oh, how that made him burn deep inside in the most shameful way. “He’d… he’d say I’m a good boy for you.”

“Yes, you’re always such a good boy for me,” Cold agreed. “Go on and suck my cock, Mr. Poe.”

Jimmy lunged forward, hungrily swallowing down all that he could. He let his throat relax, bottoming out and burying his nose against Cold’s stomach, sucking hard.

Cold stroked his fingers through Jimmy’s hair, praising, “Good boy… I think your father would be so proud of you… such a very, very good boy…”

Jimmy whimpered, closing his eyes tight as he continued to suck, squeezing Cold’s thighs. He was terribly embarrassed, and every pulse of shame that rocked through him made his cock throb.

Cold’s fingers tightened in Jimmy’s hair as he rocked his hips forward. He began to fuck his mouth, demanding, “I bet you’re so hard right now… show me.”

Jimmy let Cold thrust in his mouth relentlessly, swallowing down a gag as he hastily unbuttoned his jeans. He pulled out his cock for Cold’s inspection, desperate to stroke himself, but waiting.

He wanted to be good.

“Lovely, Mr. Poe,” Cold said, fucking deeper into his mouth, spurred on by the occasional gasp or moan he could elicit with a hard thrust.

Jimmy opened his jaw as wide as he could, well aware that he was drooling from the corners of his mouth. He didn’t bother to wipe it away. He knew how much Cold liked it.

Cold suddenly pulled back, wrapping his hand around his cock and jerking himself off quickly, ordering, “Stick out your tongue, Mr. Poe.”

Jimmy eagerly stuck his tongue out as far as he could, listening to Cold’s feverish panting and groaning when he got his first taste of hot cum. He swallowed it all down, gasping when an errant shot streaked across his cheek.

Cold grunted, satisfied, rubbing the slick tip of his cock back across Jimmy’s tongue for him to lap up every last drop.

Jimmy was warm all over and smiled shyly up at Cold as he asked, “May I come now, sir?”

Cold swiped the glob of cum from Jimmy’s cheek, offering it to him as he said, “Not yet.”

Jimmy sucked on Cold’s thumb, grumbling with disappointment. He kept his hands at his side even though he ached to touch himself, panting, “Was I not good, sir?”

“On the contrary, you were very good.” Cold gently pulled him up to his feet, kissing him as he murmured, “I need you to trust me.”

“But I do!” Jimmy fussed, dragging his fingers down Cold’s chest.

“Just as you trust me with your body, trust me with your father’s wellbeing,” Cold said, catching Jimmy’s wrists and squeezing. “I only want to help him. Do you understand?”

Jimmy resisted the urge to argue, whispering, “I will trust you.”

“Good,” Cold said, allowing another kiss before he pulled away to clean himself up. He offered Jimmy a towel, saying casually, “We still have some time before dinner.”

“Oh? Did you have something in mind, sir?”

“I’m thinking some more trust exercises are in order,” Cold replied with a sly smile, pulling his belt from his pants and cracking it across his palm.

Jimmy shivered at the sound. “Do you want me to strip, sir?”

“No,” Cold said, moving to sit down on the chaise at the foot of their bed. “Pull your pants down. I’m going to bend you right over my knee.”

Jimmy approached before he wiggled his pants down, bunching them around his ankles with his underwear. He stretched himself over Cold’s thigh and arched his ass up for him.

Cold rubbed the leather over Jimmy’s cheeks, saying quietly, “Always so eager for me.”

“Yes, sir,” Jimmy panted, inhaling slowly to prepare himself for what was going to come.

Cold caught him with a sharp smack of the belt as he exhaled, immediately rubbing over the red mark he’d left.

Jimmy made a small sound, the sting lovely, and whined for more.

“Do you understand why you’re being punished, Mr. Poe?” Cold asked calmly.

“Because I didn’t trust you, sir,” Jimmy said, hanging his head down. He cried out when Cold spanked him again, harder this time. He grinded against Cold’s thigh, gasping, “And I should always trust you! Only you!”

“That’s right,” Cold growled, snapping the belt across Jimmy’s cheeks several times in quick succession before stopping to pet the welts that were rising up.

Eyes squeezing tight and fighting back tears, Jimmy moaned at the tender touch. Cold’s hands felt so cool against his hot skin, and he whimpered when he moved to spank him again. The pain made his head spin, and every nerve in his body was extra sensitive. His cock was absolutely throbbing now, and he was certain he was leaking all over Cold’s slacks.

“Ten in all, Mr. Poe,” Cold said sternly, giving Jimmy a brief reprieve. “That should be enough to remind you, hmm?”

“Yes, sir!” The last strike was the most forceful of all and made Jimmy yelp. He felt too hot, too sensitive, and he moaned as Cold’s fingers pressed between his cheeks. He was dry, but Cold didn’t try to press inside yet.

Cold was merely pushing against his hole, tracing small circles around it and nothing more.

“Please…” Jimmy croaked earnestly.

“Please, what?” Cold’s voice carried a warning.

“Please, sir!” Jimmy begged, trying to push against Cold’s hand and staring up at him desperately. “I was such a good boy, I took all my spankings! Please… please let me come?”

Cold pulled his hand away, noisily licking over his fingers before returning to his torture. He pressed a single fingertip inside, his thumb sliding over one of the tender welts. “Do you trust me, Mr. Poe?”

“Yes,” Jimmy sighed longingly. He relaxed, dropping his head back down. “I trust you, sir.”

“Good boy.” Cold rewarded Jimmy with a deep thrust of his finger. “You may come now.”

Jimmy eagerly reached down to grab his cock, bucking up against Cold’s finger. He whined when Cold grabbed his arm. “What is it, sir? You said—”

“Don’t use your hands,” Cold ordered, fucking Jimmy with two fingers and snatching his hair. He pulled, forcing Jimmy’s back to curl as he buried himself down to the knuckle. “Come on, Mr. Poe… before I change my mind.”

Panting quickly, Jimmy redirected his efforts. Caught between Cold’s tight grip in his hair and his fingers pounding into him, he began to grind against Cold’s thigh with renewed vigor. His ass still stung from the belt, each individual welt tingling when Cold’s hand brushed against them.

He could feel the pressure in his loins rising to madness-inducing levels, sobbing as he struggled to rut himself to completion. Cold’s fingers burned as they pushed into him, and Jimmy moaned when they curled in the most delightful way. He was finally getting close, letting himself go and giving in to all the delicious attention.

Jimmy’s cock was pressed between his stomach and Cold’s thigh, and he focused on the sensation of the smooth material rubbing against him. He grinded faster and faster, groaning when Cold moved his fingers to match the new pace. His balls were absolutely aching and there, finally, he felt his body tipping over the edge.

All he could hear was his own ragged breathing and the soft smack of Cold’s hand against his skin, taking a deep breath as he started to cry, “Fuck! Yes! I’m coming! I’m fucking coming!”

“Beautiful,” Cold praised, letting Jimmy twitch and grind against him through every withering tremor. He gently moved his hand, leaning down to kiss the top of Jimmy’s head. “Mmm, so very beautiful.”

Jimmy sighed contentedly, groaning as Cold effortlessly picked him up from the awkward position in his lap and carried him to their bed. He stretched out on his stomach, smiling warmly as Cold lay beside him and began to massage his sore cheeks.

“Good?” Cold asked, reverently tracing over the welts.

“Mmm, so very good,” Jimmy replied, snuggling against the plush pillows. “I really love it when you spank me with the belt.”

“I must find a different method of punishing you,” Cold mused.

“No, no,” Jimmy laughed. “The belt is fine. It’s perfect. It… it just clears my mind, and I always come really, really hard.”

“I noticed,” Cold chuckled, glancing down at the sticky mess Jimmy had left on his pants.

“Shit, I’m sorry! I can clean it up!”

“It’s fine,” Cold soothed, playfully smacking Jimmy’s ass. “I’m sure I can think of a way for you to make it up to me later.”

“Oh.” Jimmy grinned. “I can think of several.”

Jimmy was almost asleep by the time Cold herded him into the shower to clean up. The sweet attention after their play was almost as wonderful as the play itself. They kissed for long and tender moments before Cold pulled away to carefully bathe all the welts he’d left across Jimmy’s bottom.

Sighing softly, Jimmy leaned against the shower wall while Cold took care of him.

They stayed in the shower much longer than necessary, and Cold massaged Jimmy until he thought he might be in danger of zonking out again. It was so easy to relax under his strong hands, and Jimmy gave himself over completely.

He pouted when Cold urged him out to get dried off and ready for dinner. Cold gently patted him down with a fluffy towel and wrapped him in a plush robe. Jimmy took the chance to repay the favor, drying Cold off with equal love and attention.

Cold allowed it, smirking as he watched Jimmy carefully.

Jimmy knew not to ever take being able to touch Cold for granted. Touching him was a privilege, one that Jimmy had worked hard to earn. He treasured every opportunity, and he bowed his head to reverently kiss his lover’s scarred breast.

Cold cradled his chin and pressed a kiss to his lips before leaving him to get dressed. Jimmy followed, always happy to watch Cold put on his suits.

He lay across the bed as Cold selected socks and snug-fitting boxer briefs, enjoying the reverse strip tease. He was always reminded of a warrior preparing for battle when he watched Cold get dressed, and he admired the meticulous way he fixed every button and seam.

Cold knew he was being watched, remarking, “You like this, do you?”

“I do,” Jimmy replied, grinning sweetly. “I love how you dress. I think I might actually be developing a fetish for suits because of you.”

Cold snorted and pulled out a three-piece suit to wear. It was a dark blue pinstripe, the shirt a pale gray, the tie blue, and Jimmy wished he could take a picture. His boyfriend always cut such a fine figure in his gorgeous ensembles.

“And what would you do if I decided to wear a t-shirt and some ratty old sweatpants?” Cold teased, adjusting his cuffs with a wink.

“First, I would call Dr. Queen to make sure you weren’t having some sort of early onset dementia,” Jimmy laughed, “and then I would probably die of freakin’ shock.”

“Hmmph. Well, unless you’re planning on coming down to dinner naked, I suggest you get dressed, too,” Cold scolded, approaching to ruffle a hand through Jimmy’s hair.

Jimmy stretched and groaned loudly. “Fine.” He finally dragged himself up and put clothes on, choosing a pair of slim-fitting jeans and a red dress shirt that he knew Cold liked.

Definitely not as sharp as his gangster lover, but he thought it was more than enough for dinner at home with his father. He was excited and nervous, overcome by a fluttering blend of emotions that made his head light as he followed Cold downstairs.

He knew Cold had told him to give his father some time, but they had so much to make up for. He was determined to trust Cold, and he did his best to resist rushing into his father’s arms the moment he saw him seated at the table.

Jerry was busy fussing over David and offering him a frosted pint of beer that he graciously accepted.

“Thank you,” David sighed, taking a long sip and smiling warmly. He was wearing his new clothes, and his hair was still damp from a shower. He seemed more relaxed now, although Jimmy noticed that his eyes seemed to wander often.

“Hey, Dad,” Jimmy greeted cheerfully, grinning as his father rose to hug him and clap him on the back.

“Hey, slugger,” David said with a smile, kissing his cheek and sitting back down to tend to his beer.

“Everything to your satisfaction, David?” Cold asked politely, taking his seat at the head of the table, with David seated across from him at the other end.

Jimmy sat to Cold’s right, beaming happily between the two men.

“Everything is phenomenal,” David said with a firm nod. “Thank you for your hospitality.”

“My pleasure,” Cold drawled, then turned to his right, speaking a brief snippet of French to Jerry.

Jerry nodded, obediently bringing over two glasses and pouring a rich red wine for him and Jimmy.

“Thank you, Jerry,” Jimmy said, raising the glass to take a sip.

“So!” David said jovially. “You never did tell me. How did you two meet?”

Jimmy sputtered, snapping his hand over his mouth to stop himself from spraying wine all over the table. He flushed, stammering, “W-well, it’s sort of a f-funny story…”

David’s brow furrowed.

“We met… through Maury,” Jimmy said carefully, glancing nervously at Cold. He would take the story of how their relationship began to the grave before ever telling his father he’d been selling his body to pay off his debt.

Cold’s lips were curled in an amused smile around the rim of his glass, and Jimmy swore he was trying not to laugh.

“Maurice Martine,” David sighed affectionately, shaking his head. “How is ol’ Maury the Mouth? I always enjoyed his phone calls. That man molds profanity like a master sculptor.”

“He’s good! Cranky, you know, like always,” Jimmy chuckled, “but I know he’d love to see you. Uhm, you know, whenever you’re ready!”

“Sure thing, kiddo. Maybe we can go see him tomorrow. Go out for lunch or something.”

“That would be great!”

“So.” David paused to finish his beer. “Maury just decided to introduce you to the most powerful criminal in all of Strassen Springs?”

Cold smirked at the blunt question, and Jimmy thought he was going to die from embarrassment. His father had a twinkle in his eye that was downright mischievous, as if he somehow knew there was more to the story than what Jimmy had told him.

“When I first met your son,” Cold said carefully, glancing down at his wineglass, “it was only business. The pleasure, the love… came later.”

“And you love my son?” David asked, smiling appreciatively when Jerry brought him another beer. He looked back at Cold expectantly, his expression still gentle, but his jaw was tight.

Jimmy’s heart jumped right up into his throat.

Cold set down his glass, leaning across the table to meet David’s eye. He took a deep breath, his icy facade melting ever so slightly.

Jimmy noticed the shift immediately and watched the cold armor drop away as his lover regarded David with an openness he’d rarely seen outside of their bedroom.

“Yes,” Cold replied sincerely. “I do.”

“Good.” David raised his beer to take a drink as he added nonchalantly, “I’d hate to go back to prison for actually killing someone.”

“So would I,” Cold agreed, nodding sternly and taking the threat with a calm sip of wine.

Jimmy chugged down his glass. His father had just threatened Boss Cold, and Cold might have possibly just threatened him back, and they were both smiling.

Jesus Christ.

Mumbling his thanks when Jerry brought the bottle to refill his glass, Jimmy almost drank half of it before Cold’s concerned gaze stopped him.

“Dinner will be served momentarily,” Jerry promised, swishing back to the kitchen with a polite bow.

Merci, Jerry.” Cold glanced back at David as he said, “You’re more than welcome to stay here as my guest for as long as you’d like.”

“I appreciate that,” David replied, “but I do hope to get back on my own feet again soon. I’ve been away from the world too long.”

“Any idea what you wanna do?” Jimmy asked.

“I’ve been thinking about that for years,” David laughed helplessly, “and now that the moment is here… I’ll be honest, son. I have no friggin’ idea.”


“Nope,” David chuckled. “Practicing medicine is probably out of the question.”

“Not unless you want it to be,” Cold calmly interjected. “It would be easy enough to have your physician’s license reinstated.”

“Easy, huh?” David shook his head, downing his beer with a wry smile. He chose his words carefully, clarifying, “Easy to bribe the medical board, you mean.”

“Easy to provide a donation,” Cold corrected, “and I can be very generous.”

“I appreciate that,” David said firmly, “but if I cannot do it on my own merits, then I would rather not do it at all.”

“As you wish.”

“I still want to do something to help people,” David went on. “I don’t have to be a doctor to do that. I actually have a mind to turn my attention to the prison system right here in Strassen Springs.”

“Wait, you’d actually want to go back there?” Jimmy frowned in concern.

“I would go back to help. The system is atrocious,” David replied with a sad shake of his head. “There are so many problems. Medical alone is a nightmare. There’s a reason so many prisoners like Mickey came to me instead of bothering with the infirmary.”

“I have some connections with the prison board,” Cold offered, “and I’ve been considering having the warden replaced with someone more sympathetic.”

Jimmy marveled at the way Cold talked about replacing someone with all the ease of changing a tire.

“I’m sure a prisoners’ advocate position could be created,” Cold continued. “If that’s something you would be interested in.”

“Now that is an opportunity I will take you up on!” David exclaimed. “Medical would be my first target. It’s terrible. Yes, they’re prisoners, but they deserve better than that place’s brand of medieval torture.”

“I agree completely,” Cold said. “Should our dear mayor win the election next month, he has promised to help fund several new projects for the city. A new infirmary at the prison could definitely be one of them.”

“You’ve got the mayor, don’t you?” David asked without hesitation.

Jimmy choked on nothing. He couldn’t believe his father was being so candid with Cold about his criminal dealings. Even more unbelievable was that Cold didn’t seem to mind.

“I have a good sense for politics,” Cold smirked, taking a small sip of wine. “That’s all.”

“Well, should the pieces fall into the right places, I would love to be involved,” David said, grimacing sharply. “I spent almost twenty years in that place, and trust me, it needs a lot of work.”

“Dad, if anybody can turn that place around, it’s gonna be you,” Jimmy said proudly.

“Could definitely use a lawyer’s help from time to time, too,” David said, winking at Jimmy.

“You’ll have it,” Jimmy beamed. “I’m going back to school as soon as I can.”

“And you’ll do great,” David said with a confident smile.

“You could return in the spring if you wish,” Cold offered. “I would expect that your hours at the club will be reduced so you can focus on your studies.”

“Club?” David questioned.

“Oh! Right!” Jimmy blushed as he explained, “So, I might have taken a job singing at one of Rod’s clubs. La Belle et la Bête.”

“That big swanky place downtown that used to be a theater?” David whistled. “That’s awesome, slugger! I remember how much you used to love singing with Mom.”

“Thanks! It’s a lot of fun!” Jimmy beamed proudly. “You’ll have to come see me perform!”

“That would be wonderful, son!”

“Dinner is served, monsieurs,” Jerry announced, swinging back into the dining room with a tray of steaming food. “Steaks the size of Texas, as requested.”

David stared hungrily down at the enormous T-bone steak set down in front of him. “Wow. Thank you, Jerry. This looks friggin’ incredible.”

“Oh, it’s nothing, monsieur,” Jerry preened, looking very pleased as he served Jimmy and Cold.

The next few moments were filled with the light clattering of silverware as they ate, and David made little pleasurable sounds as he chowed down. He was already almost done with his steak before Jimmy had eaten a quarter of his.

“Why, Daddy Poe,” Rowena greeted from the doorway, smiling at him ravenously. “Don’t you look lovely all cleaned up!”

To Jimmy’s delight, his father blushed.

Rowena walked up beside him, lightly raking her nails over his shoulder. “Much improved.”

“Thank you, Miss Legrand,” David said, smiling shyly up at her. “Nothing sweeter than the compliments of a beautiful woman.”

“Why, Daddy Poe!” Rowena laughed, petting his cheek. “You are just adorable.”

“Behave yourself, sister,” Cold scolded.

Jimmy had never seen his father so flustered, grinning in between bites.

“I am!” Rowena argued.

“I certainly wouldn’t mind if you misbehaved,” David said innocently, and Jimmy nearly inhaled his steak.

“Mmm, and here I thought you were a good boy!” Rowena giggled.

“There might be snow on the rooftop, but there’s still fire in the furnace, Miss Legrand,” David told her sagely, his eyes twinkling with mischief.

“You wicked old thing!” Rowena gasped as she pretended to be aghast. “My boyfriend better watch out. Apparently he has some competition.”

“Enough,” Cold warned with a roll of his eyes. “We’re trying to eat.”

“My apologies,” David said, still grinning. “I meant no offense.”

“Oh, none taken,” Rowena assured him with a wink. “I love shamelessly flirting with handsome men.”

“Flirt elsewhere.” Cold pointed his fork at his sister. “Doesn’t your little boyfriend need some tending to?”

“Yes, dear brother,” Rowena replied, scrunching up her nose with a smirk. “I was just on my way over to see him. Wanted to stop in and see Daddy Poe!” She blew Jimmy a kiss, giggling, “And Baby Poe, of course!”

“Have fun!” Jimmy laughed. “Say hi to Dario for me!”

“You boys have a lovely evening!” Rowena called out before slinking away, waving farewell.

David went right back to his steak, making small talk about the changes he’d like to make in the prison, with Cold voicing his support. Jimmy was glad to listen while watching two of the most important people in his life getting along fabulously.

Dinner was cleared away, and Cold suggested they take their drinks into the living room. It was a massive space of plush furniture and state of the art electronics. Jimmy plopped down in his usual spot, stretched out across the couch positioned right in front of the massive television.

Cold sat on the end so Jimmy could put his head in his lap, surprisingly at ease around David to show such affection.

“So?” David took the armchair next to them. “What are we gonna watch?”

“You’re the guest!” Jimmy laughed, his cheeks rosy from all the wine. “You get to pick.”

“I’m a little behind on recent flicks, slugger,” David reminded him.

“Well,” Jimmy said cheerfully, “we have all the time in the world now to get you all caught up!”

“Yeah,” David agreed with a fond smile. “We sure damn do. I love you, kiddo.”

“I love you, too.”

David sipped at his beer, sinking down into the lush cushions with a contented sigh.

“I take it your first day as a free man is going well, David?” Cold asked politely, his fingers absently gliding through Jimmy’s hair.

“You know,” David chuckled, “yeah, it really is.”

Cold raised his glass. “Here’s to you, David. May every day of freedom bring you such joy.”

David lifted his beer in salute, agreeing, “And here’s to you and Jimmy for making that happen. Thank you both.”

“The pleasure is mine,” Cold assured him.

Finally settling on an old western that Jimmy knew was one of David’s favorites, the movie began to play. It had only been running for about ten minutes before David’s attention drifted elsewhere. His expression now somber, he reached over to pat Jimmy’s leg as he said, “Tomorrow, I’d like to go see Mom.”

“Oh!” Jimmy sat up immediately. “We can go see her right now if you want! Jerry would totally drive us!”

“It’s all right, slugger,” David said with a sad smile. “We can go tomorrow. It’s been nineteen years, I can wait one more night. Maybe after we see Maury. He may even want to come with us.”

“Yeah!” Jimmy nodded earnestly. “Whatever you want to do!”

“Mm, well, it’s been a pretty long day,” David sighed, “so I might have to give you guys a rain check on the movie if that’s all right.”

Jimmy frowned, starting to protest, “But Dad—”

Cold’s hand touched the back of his neck, a silent reminder of their previous conversation.

“O-okay,” Jimmy stammered, smiling awkwardly as his father hugged him good night. “I love you, Dad.”

“Love you too, slugger,” David sighed, hanging on tight for a few moments. He shook Cold’s hand, saying, “Thank you, Roderick.”

“Have a good night, David,” Cold replied politely.

Watching his father depart, Jimmy resisted the urge to call out after him. He had to trust Cold. He got settled back on the couch with his head in Cold’s lap and tried to watch the movie.

“Thank you for trusting me,” Cold said, his hand moving to pet Jimmy’s hair. “Things will get easier for your father, but it will take time. Just listen to what I tell you, and all will be well.”

“Are we in a ‘master and slave’ relationship?” Jimmy asked suddenly.

“Pardon?” Cold blinked.

“You tell me what to do all the time.” Jimmy blushed. “So, what we have together… am I your slave?”

Cold was thoughtful, finishing his drink before replying, “Are you my slave, Jimmy?”

“Uhm, w-well,” Jimmy stammered shyly. “I mean, I really like doing what you say…”

“Do you want to be?”

“Yes? No… I don’t know. The more I think about it, I think I already am.”

“Are you sure about that?” The television was forgotten now, Cold’s icy eyes only looking at Jimmy.

“We have a freakin’ safe word,” Jimmy laughed with a little smile. “What we have isn’t exactly normal.”

“Which part? The part where we’re both men? The part where I’m so much older than you?” Cold asked coyly, seemingly amused by the conversation. “Or is it the part where I tell you what to do and you ‘really like’ doing it?”

“That part.”

“You desire purpose,” Cold said with a shrug. “You always have. I could see that in you from the very moment we met. You want someone to take control.”

“And you?”

“I am the one to take that control. I leave nothing in my life to chance. When I am intimate with someone, I only allow it because I’m the one in charge. Nothing happens without my explicit permission.”

“Permission,” Jimmy repeated, as if there was a secret within that word he could somehow unlock.

“Yes,” Cold affirmed.

“Are you sure I’m not your slave?”

“The permission works both ways,” Cold replied. “You give me the control freely. You want to give it to me. And you can always refuse me if you so choose. So, no, you’re not my slave.”

“But you do tell me what to wear,” Jimmy pointed out.

“No, I purchase nice clothing for you so you don’t look like a transient,” Cold scoffed. “You could wear your own rags if you prefer.”

“You tell me what to eat.”

“I prevent you from eating fried garbage that’s loaded with high fructose corn syrup. It’s for the sake of your health. Again, you could always tell me no.”

Wagging his brows, Jimmy coyly said, “You tell me when I can come…”

A wave of lust rippled over Cold’s face, smirking darkly as he agreed. “Yes… because you do need my permission for that.”

“And you tell me what to do with my body,” Jimmy went on. “What to do with your body… sort of sounds like a slave to me.”

“If you are, it’s only because you want to be,” Cold said, his fingers tightening in Jimmy’s hair, “but I don’t want a slave. What I desire is a partner who wants me to rule over them… willingly.”

“I do want you to,” Jimmy said eagerly. “You have my permission to always rule over me. I want you to teach me everything.”

“And so I shall,” Cold said quietly, affectionately nudging Jimmy’s chin.

“So,” Jimmy wondered out loud, “does this mean we’re more of a submissive and dominant kind of couple?”

Cold snorted, sliding his hand down Jimmy’s stomach as he mused, “So eager for labels, are we?”

“Maybe,” Jimmy said, his breath hitching as Cold’s fingers moved over his crotch.

“All you need to know is that you’re mine,” Cold said softly. “For as long as you want to be. I will have no one else as I have you; you’re the only one who will share my bed, my home.”

“And your heart?” Jimmy asked breathily, his eyes hot and stinging as he gazed over Cold’s beautiful face. He remembered when Cold had offered it to him, and asked again, “Your heart is still mine?”

“Yes,” Cold replied, the ends of his mouth curling up in a tender smile.

Jimmy was getting hard and rolled his hips up into Cold’s hand.

“No one else in this whole wretched world can lay claim to any part of me except you, Jimmy Poe.”

“I’ll fucking take it,” Jimmy said passionately, pushing himself up into Cold’s lap and wrapping his arms around his neck. He moaned when Cold kissed him hard, growling against his lips, their teeth clicking.

“Take off your clothes for me,” Cold drawled seductively as he brought the kiss to an abrupt stop, smugly adding, “Mr. Poe.”

Jimmy began to strip quickly, and his hard cock bounced as he wiggled out of his clothes. He tried to somewhat fold them and place them on the edge of the sofa, standing before Cold with an eager grin.

Cold looked him over lustfully, but made no move to touch him. He offered out his empty glass, asking innocently, “Will you pour me another drink?”

That was not what Jimmy had been expecting, and he pouted as he obediently accepted the glass and padded over to the bar. He could feel Cold’s eyes on him while he poured the whiskey, and he put an extra swing in his hips when he brought it back.

He kneeled down before Cold and handed the glass back to him. “Anything else, sir?”

“No, Mr. Poe,” Cold answered casually. “That’ll be all for right now.”

Jimmy stuck out his lower lip, his shoulders sagging. He teetered back and forth for a few moments, looking up at Cold and nuzzling against his knee.

“Did you want something, Mr. Poe?” Cold asked.

“Yes,” Jimmy said grumpily, insistently pressing his hands over Cold’s thighs.

“And what exactly is on your mind?”

“You,” Jimmy replied anxiously, running his tongue over his top lip as his words became increasingly more passionate. “Ruling over me… using me… telling me what to do… I might not be your slave or your sub but whatever I am? I am fucking yours.”

“And?” Cold asked, his voice strained as he struggled to remain unmoved.

Jimmy pushed himself between Cold’s legs, fingers digging down into his thighs as he demanded haughtily, “So fucking take me!”

“Gladly,” Cold growled, surging forward to connect their lips, his drink forgotten. He pulled Jimmy up into his lap, hands squeezing his ass and under his thighs until he moaned, his nails dragging hard over his smooth flesh.

Jimmy slipped his tongue possessively into Cold’s mouth, kissing him hungrily and falling into the heat that was burning between them. There was nothing else in the world that mattered except being in Cold’s arms, tasting his lips, and feeling his cock grinding against him. The temperature was soaring until Jimmy’s head felt light, and the head of his cock left a wet streak of pre-cum on Cold’s vest.

Cold already had his pants opened, pulling himself out and licking a generous stripe across his palm before taking both his cock and Jimmy’s in hand. He began to rub their lengths together, focusing on the heads, twisting up against one another in a mix of spit and Jimmy’s ample leaking.

Jimmy sucked and kissed Cold’s lips, murmuring pleasurably as the rhythm began to pick up. The warmth of Cold’s cock felt so good against his own, and he whimpered and panted, “God… uh huh… please… fuck, just like that, sir… please…”

“Mmm, getting close, aren’t you?” Cold challenged wickedly, giving them both a hard squeeze.

Whining loudly, Jimmy thrust his hips as he replied, “Yes, sir! So fucking close… but I won’t come yet. Not until you tell me I can. Not until then.”

“Good boy.” Cold nipped at Jimmy’s jaw. He kept them grinding together, perfect and sweet, stroking their cocks in long, rough pulls. He started to speed up, growling, “I’m going to come… but you won’t. Not yet.”

Jimmy whined but nodded, chomping down on his own bottom lip to keep himself grounded. He watched Cold’s hot cum splattering all over his bare chest and oozing down his stomach. “Fuck,” he gasped, his toes curling from the awesome effort of keeping himself from falling over the edge.

Cold relaxed, leaning back and appraising Jimmy’s swollen cock as he said, “Clean yourself up. Every drop. Then I’ll let you come.”

“Yes, sir,” Jimmy breathed, swiping his hand down over his body to start collecting all of Cold’s cum. He sucked it greedily off of his fingers, groaning, “Fuck, it’s still warm… mmmm…”

“Keep going,” Cold urged, watching Jimmy intently.

Jimmy licked up every splash on his body, even the bits that had dripped onto his own cock. He reached for Cold’s soiled hand, his tongue like a sponge as he cleaned all the mess away. He nuzzled into Cold’s palm and peered hopefully up at him.

“What is it, Mr. Poe?”

“Good, sir?”

“Very good,” Cold assured him, his thumb lightly patting Jimmy’s cheek. “Now, come for me, my gorgeous boy. Come for me now…”

Jimmy eagerly took himself in hand and sank down into the icy depths of Cold’s eyes. Cold was looking at him as if he was something magnificent to behold, and it turned the fire in his loins into a burning inferno.

He moaned as his release captured him, stealing away his senses and burning beautifully as his cock pulsed all over him. He knew to clean up, smiling at Cold’s approving grunts as he watched him lick up his own cum.

Clean and sated, he happily flopped against Cold’s chest. He listened to Cold’s heartbeat slowing down to its normal steady thumping, smiling brightly. Cheeky as always, he took a big breath and teased, “How was that… Master?”

Cold snorted, his hands winding around Jimmy’s waist. “Hmmm,” he mused. “You know… ‘Master Cold’ does have a nice ring to it.”

“I’m not calling you master!” Francis Von Valdemar’s voice yelled out suddenly, but he was quickly shushed by someone. Judging by the sound of the cursing, it was presumably his grandson, Francis Von Valdemar III, whom they called Thirdsies.

They were the youngest and oldest members of Cold’s inner circle and Jimmy had serious doubts about their sanity. Although he couldn’t see them, he knew they had to be just outside judging by the sound of their voices.

Jimmy groaned miserably and ducked his head down, Cold’s deep chuckle rumbling in his ear. “God,” he mumbled, grabbing for his clothes. “How long have they been there?”

“We came in right around the juicy ‘fuck, right there, sir’ and decided to wait!” Valdemar happily replied, raising his voice higher to imitate Jimmy’s passionate moaning.

“Valdemar,” Cold warned.

“Sorry, Boss!” Valdemar giggled with absolutely no hint of remorse.

“If you’re, uhm, available, Boss?” Thirdsies called hesitantly. He sounded very upset. “We need to see you. About the guy with the thing? You know?”

“I’ll be right there,” Cold said firmly, his expression hardening. He watched Jimmy get dressed, sighing, “My apologies, Jimmy. Duty calls.”

“It’s all right. I’ll be here,” Jimmy said, stretching back out on the couch with a warm smile. He winked as he added, “Master.”

Cold rolled his eyes again, but he was smiling when he gave Jimmy a parting kiss. “Mmmm,” he purred, “I can tell you that ‘Master’ expects you to go upstairs, take off your clothes, and spread yourself open for me… I want you wet and waiting by the time I come back.”

Jimmy moaned softly at the thought, nodding, “Fuck. Yes, sir!”

“Uh uh,” Cold teased. “Yes, what?”

“Mmm. Yes, Master.”

Jimmy woke up with a smile on his face and Cold’s arms wrapped around his waist. He’d prepped himself in anticipation of Cold’s return as requested and was not disappointed when he finally came home to thoroughly ravage him. He didn’t ask about what Thirdsies and Valdemar had needed him for; asking questions would probably lead to answers he didn’t want to hear.

They showered and dressed for the day, and Jimmy was surprised when he didn’t see his father at breakfast. He looked to Cold for guidance, asking, “Should I go wake him up?”

“He’s spent almost twenty years with people telling him when to get up and when to sleep,” Cold replied, sipping at his coffee. “Leave him be.”

Jimmy thanked Jerry for his breakfast and ate in silence. All he wanted to do was help his father, and Cold’s advice made him feel useless.

“He will come down when he is ready,” Cold soothed.

Jimmy nodded, picking at his eggs with a forlorn sigh. His head jerked up when he heard someone walking in. He was hoping to see his father, but instead he saw the giant figure of Julian Price lumbering in.

“Morning, Boss,” Jules grumbled in his gravelly tone. He jerked his head at Jimmy. “Twigs.”

“Good morning, Jules!” Jimmy greeted, waving his fork.

“Any news?” Cold asked casually, though Jimmy caught the impatience in his expression.

“It’s a go,” Jules replied obediently. “Surveyors have been all over the block. Might be six months, might be a year. But it’s a done deal.”

Cold didn’t like that answer, scowling heavily as he said, “Fine. Just keep me posted.”

“Everything okay?” Jimmy asked, frowning in concern.

“It’s fine,” Cold snapped. He cleared his throat, saying in a softer tone, “It’s fine, Jimmy.”

“Don’t worry that pretty head of yours,” Jules chuckled. “Boss has got this handled.”

“Mm, morning,” David’s sleepy voice announced, shuffling in and blinking at everyone. He was still wearing his pajamas and his hair hadn’t been brushed. “Having some sort of a meeting?”

“Just passing through,” Jules said, turning to offer his hand to David. “You must be Big Twigs.”

David actually laughed, shaking Jules’ hand as he said, “I guess I am? David Poe, a pleasure. Wow, you’re a big one, aren’t you? You must be Jules Price. Tamerlane told me a lot about you.”

“Oh, yeah? Some of it may have even been true,” Jules laughed heartily.

“Good morning, Dad!” Jimmy piped up. “How’d you sleep?”

“Pretty damn good,” David replied, walking over to kiss Jimmy’s forehead before sitting back down at the end of the table as he had last night. “Still woke up at six thinking I was going to hear call.”

“It gets easier,” Jules said sympathetically. “Being in the joint shapes you a certain way. Hard to break back out.”

“Spoken like a man who’s done some time,” David said with a wry smile.

Jules smirked, which then grew into a giant joyful leer when he saw Jerry swooshing in to bring David coffee.

Jerry was glaring contemptuously and very much looked like he wanted to throw the scalding beverage at Jules.

They’d both been courting the same woman, Dr. Madeline Queen, and Jules had been the victor. Jerry had not been very happy about it, especially since Jules liked to rub it in his face whenever he could.

“Hey, Jerry,” Jules greeted cheerfully. “Guess where I was last night?”

“Face down in the gutter, rolling around in a pile of your own disgusting filth because your head is as stupid as your feet?” Jerry retorted sweetly.

“I was with the Doc,” Jules sighed longingly. “We had us a swell fucking time.”

“Ugh, that poor woman,” Jerry groaned. “Ah, well. She is a doctor; she’ll be able to write herself a prescription for whatever venereal diseases you’ve spread to her.”

“Hey, hey!” Jules barked angrily, puffing up his chest and staring Jerry down. “What are you trying to say, you fuckin’ twat?”

“Eh, my apologies, monsieur. I forget how weak your brain is. Let me try using smaller words—”

“Enough,” Cold warned, holding up his hand for silence.

Jimmy tried to bury his face in his plate, swallowing back a fit of giggles.

Sniffing stubbornly, Jerry ignored Jules’ sneering and asked David politely, “How do you like your eggs, monsieur?”

“Mmm, just the coffee for now,” David said, doing his level best not to laugh over the hilarious exchange. “Thank you, Jerry.”

Jerry looked to Cold for instruction. “Anything else, Monsieur Cold? More coffee? Perhaps throw Monsieur Price out into the trash?”

“Once David here is ready, please bring the car around,” Cold replied sternly, ignoring his last comment. “There are some errands he and Jimmy need to run today.”

“Oh, we don’t really need a limo, do we?” David glanced over at Jimmy for confirmation. “I really just want to go see Maury and go to the cemetery.”

“I must insist,” Cold said politely.

“All right,” David chuckled, holding his hands up. He smirked playfully at Jimmy. “Living the big life now, aren’t you, son?”

“Yeah,” Jimmy said shyly. “I guess I am.”

“I take care of what’s mine,” Cold explained fondly. “Jimmy is very important to me, and if I cannot be with him, I want him accompanied by someone I trust.”

“You’re not coming with us?” Jimmy frowned.

“I have business,” Cold replied with a shake of his head, nodding toward where Jules was still hovering.

“Okay,” Jimmy said with a faint frown, returning to his eggs. It was hard not to worry about Cold, especially when it felt like something was going on. Not that it was unusual for the Gentlemen to pop in like this, but so many of them in a short amount of time was troubling.

“I’ll be home to join you all for dinner,” Cold said, sliding his hand under the table to squeeze Jimmy’s knee. “I promise.”

Jimmy’s frown immediately turned into a bright smile at the simple touch. Even though he would miss Cold’s company today, it would be nice to have some alone time with his father.

“Well, mm, I guess we’re all waiting on me, huh?” David smiled, taking another big gulp of coffee. “Let me just get to the bottom of this cup and we’ll go.”

“Sounds great, Dad!”

David finished his coffee and headed upstairs to get dressed. Cold kissed Jimmy farewell and quickly left with Jules. Jimmy waited aimlessly by the front door with Jerry, asking him, “Do you know where the Strassen Springs Memorial Garden is?”

“Oui, monsieur,” Jerry said with a polite nod of his head.

“Do you have family buried there…? Or…?”

“No,” Jerry smiled, “but Monsieur Cold knows your mother is buried there. He made sure that I could take you there should you have ever asked me.”

“Remind me to thank him later.” Jimmy blushed, touched by Cold’s often discreet affections.

David joined them, showered and dressed in another set of his new clothes, saying cheerfully, “All right, slugger! I’m ready! Let’s go see Maury the fuckin’ Mouth!”

“Dad!” Jimmy laughed, absolutely scandalized to hear his father curse.

“What?” David grinned. “I’ve served time! I think I’ve earned the right to drop an f-bomb or two.”

“Make sure you do it in front of Maury ‘cause otherwise he will never believe me.”

Maury’s Pawn Shop was in the heart of downtown Strassen Springs, a small store packed to the brim with a diverse assortment of wares. There was a large counter limiting access to the back where more large shelves were overflowing with trinkets and knick-knacks. It had a unique smell of dust and grease, a scent that Jimmy was always happy to breathe in.

While his father had been in prison, Maury was Jimmy’s only friend. Until meeting Cold, Maury was also the only other person who had believed in his father’s innocence.

Arm in arm, Jimmy was bouncing with excitement as he led David inside. “Hey, Maury! I got a surprise for you!”

“I already fuckin’ know who it is!” Maury’s gruff voice called back. “When the fuck will yous learn that I got cameras fuckin’ everywhere? Hang on! I’m waddling my fat ass out there as fast as I can!”

David froze in front of the counter, tears in his eyes when he saw Maury’s stout form come hurrying to meet him. “Hey, Maury!”

Maury pushed his way around the counter and dragged David down into a fierce hug. He hung onto his neck, blubbering passionately, “Hey, you good-lookin’ son of a bitch! Fuck me sideways, is it fuckin’ good to see yous!”

David had to bend over to accommodate Maury’s lacking height, hugging him back just as eagerly. “It is good to be seen! Wow!” He pulled back with a big grin. “You look exactly the same.”

“True beauty never fuckin’ fades,” Maury cackled, playfully smacking David’s cheek. “But you, ugh. Look at yous! You got fuckin’ old!”

David laughed, wiping at his eyes as he said, “Yeah, I damn sure did.”

“Hey, kiddo!” Maury greeted Jimmy, bringing him into a tight hug and smacking his back. “How’s it goin’?”

“Great!” Jimmy exclaimed. “Everything is so freakin’ great! It still doesn’t feel totally real.” He smiled warmly at his father. “Like, I’m going to close my eyes and you’re just going to poof away.”

“Trust me,” David sighed. “I know the feeling all too well, son.” He eyed Maury with a renewed burst of happiness, teasing, “So, I heard you’re the one that introduced Jimmy to Roderick?”

“Me?” Maury scoffed, glancing sideways at Jimmy.

Jimmy tried to use every muscle in his face to plead with Maury not to tell his father the truth.

Scrunching up his brow, Maury stammered, “Uh, well, you see… when Boss Cold bought me out, eh… He was really interested in, in, uh, Jimmy here… Yous know, ‘cause they got so much in common. They both likes dicks… and uh…”

“So, you were playing matchmaker?” David pressed with an amused smile.

“Yeah! Exactly!” Maury said loudly, nodding his head eagerly.

“Well, I’m really glad that you did,” David said, “because I’ve never seen Jimmy so happy.”

Jimmy blushed immediately, unable to resist a giant grin. “Aw, Dad, I really am. Like, so very happy.”

“As long as he’s good to you, I’m happy for you,” David said, “but I do hope you’re not planning to ever represent him.”


“When you finish law school,” David clarified. “Might be a tiny bit of a conflict of interest, don’t you think?”

“I guess I hadn’t really thought about it like that,” Jimmy said, scratching the back of his neck. “I want to help people, innocent people, and Cold is a lot of things, but…”

“Innocent sure as fuck ain’t one of them,” Maury finished for him with a snort.

“But deep down, he’s seriously a really good person!” Jimmy insisted passionately.

“I know that,” David soothed. “Look, it’s thanks to his not-so innocent connections that we were able to get me out of jail and get justice for your mother. Being a criminal doesn’t disqualify him from being a good man, and I appreciate everything he’s done, but I don’t want to see you compromising yourself.”

“I won’t,” Jimmy said firmly, even as his stomach swam awkwardly. “I know who Cold is. Yes, it’s difficult sometimes to wrap my head around the things he does, but I do love him. And he loves me.”

“He’d fuckin’ better,” David said with a wink, affectionately patting Jimmy’s shoulder.

“Wait, what in seven flyin’ fucks did I just fuckin’ hear?” Maury cackled madly. He stared at David as if he’d just grown a second head, gasping, “Somebody got all fuckin’ hard and shit while they were in the big house, huh? I ain’t never in my fuckin’ life heard yous cuss!”

“First time for everything!” David laughed, Maury’s colorful declarations easing the tension that had been building. He beamed at his old friend, asking seriously, “Look, I know it’s during business hours, but would you like to come with us to see Eliza?”

“Holy fuck,” Maury gaped, his brow pinching in sympathy. “That’s fuckin’ right. You’ve never even been out to her fuckin’ grave. Goddamn that fucker Duplin, goddamn him right up Satan’s hiney hole.”

“Now there’s someone I definitely don’t want to see,” David sighed, the lines of his face drawing back and his age showing through. “Maybe one day I can forgive him, but that day is not today.”

“Never sounds fuckin’ good to me,” Maury snorted, waddling toward the door. “Come on, let’s go see Eliza.”

“You’re sure it’s okay to close up for a little while?” Jimmy asked as he and David followed Maury out.

“Are yous fuckin’ kiddin’ me?” Maury scoffed. “This is my fuckin’ place. I’ll burn it down if I fuckin’ want to!”

“Doesn’t Cold technically own it?” Jimmy asked with a sly smile.

“Bah!” Maury waved his hands, ushering them onto the sidewalk to lock up. “I ain’t fuckin’ scared of him. Big ol’ tall and ugly should be scared of me and my fuckin’ wrinkly balls hauntin’ him for all of his days.”

“What?” David asked, staring between them and completely clueless as to what any of that meant. “I sense a story here.”

“Oh, it’s a doozy!” Maury snickered, slapping David’s back. “Come on, I’ll tell yous all about it on the way.”

Jerry was there to open the limo door for them, and he greeted them with a cordial smile. He tipped his head to Jimmy, asking politely, “To the cemetery, monsieur?”

“Could we stop somewhere nice for flowers first?” Jimmy fidgeted, glancing anxiously inside the limo. Maury was telling a very enraptured David about the time he threatened to haunt Boss Cold by waving his genitals in his face. “I feel like we should have something, you know?”

“I know just the place,” Jerry said with a knowing smile. “Trust me, monsieur.”

“You’re the best, Jerry!”

Jerry stopped at a local flower shop where Jimmy discovered that he could get whatever he wanted without question. “For the Boss,” the owner told him, graciously helping Jimmy pick out a large bouquet of sunflowers. They had always been his mother’s favorite, and he offered them to his father to take.

David smiled sadly when he saw them. “They’re perfect,” he said, cradling them to his chest. “Thank you.”

To Strassen Springs Memorial Gardens they went, a lush and well-manicured cemetery with lots of trees and flowering bushes. Jerry even knew where to park to find Eliza’s grave, a simple granite headstone with her name chiseled across it with the words ‘Mother, Wife, Friend’ below.

Jimmy took his father’s hand, feeling it shaking in his, and gave it a squeeze. Maury took off his hat as he followed them toward the grave. It had been some time since Jimmy had visited here, but the grave was clean and freshly weeded.

He wondered if Cold had anything to do with it, a smile tugging at the corner of his mouth despite the sad occasion.

David touched the top of the headstone, tears freely falling down his cheeks. He fell to one knee and bowed his head as his shoulders shook with silent sobs.

Jimmy crouched next to him and wrapped his arms around him. He was crying before he knew it, whispering urgently, “It’s okay, Dad. It’s okay.”

David inhaled sharply, a whimper leaving his lips next. He was still holding the flowers, pressing a hand to his face as he cried.

Maury stood behind them and dropped a hand on each of their shoulders. He was sniffling with them, his eyes wet as he mumbled, “Eliza was one hell of a woman. She was my friend… and I… I miss her every fuckin’ day.”

“She was my world,” David gasped, forcing a smile despite his sobs. “She was my everything. She was just… She was perfect.” His fingers tightened around the flowers, and he took a few deep breaths to calm himself. “I wish I could have been there to see that bastard go down. I wish… Sometimes I wish I could have done it myself.”

Jimmy shivered at the memory, still able to hear the gunshot ringing when the traitor Rufus Corman had been murdered. It was the final act of Cold’s master plan, tricking his enemy, Matteo Luchesi, into killing Corman for him. Police raided the club, and Matteo was killed when he refused to surrender.

“That’s the anger talkin’,” Maury grunted, squeezing David’s shoulder. “Don’t listen to it. C’mon. Eliza wouldn’t want ya’ talkin’ like that. She’s finally at peace, David. Just let all that shit go down in the ground with her.”

“You’re right. You’re right, Maury.” David wiped at his eyes with his sleeve. He took another deep breath, gently resting the flowers by her headstone. “She’d be so mad at me for even thinking something like that.”

“Her nose would get all scrunched up,” Jimmy said with a weak laugh. “Remember? That little nose wiggle she did whenever she got really mad?”

David laughed, recalling fondly, “Oh, yes. I remember it very well. Used to see it a lot.”

“I think I spied it once or twice myself,” Maury chuckled. “Couldn’t take her seriously for fuckin’ nothin’ when she’d get like that.”

“Sure couldn’t,” David agreed, all smiles now.

“Do you remember when she used to catch you sneaking cigarettes?” Jimmy suddenly recalled. “Back before you quit?”

“Oh, God,” David groaned, cringing at the memory. “She’d find the damn pack and throw the whole thing away. Lighters, too.”

“She always knew when you was fuckin’ smoking,” Maury chimed in. “She could fuckin’ smell it and she’d bitch to me all about it. ‘That fuckin’ dumbass! What kinda doctor is dumb enough to fuckin’ smoke?’ Ha!”

“She always told me I needed to quit to make sure that I’d be around to be a good father,” David said with a bittersweet smile.

“I remember her singing while she cooked,” Jimmy said quietly. “I would sing along with her, even if I didn’t know the words. I always loved the sound of her voice. I just… I loved her so much.”

“Me too, slugger,” David whispered.

“Me fuckin’ threes,” added Maury.

They fell silent, no more words needed to express their love for this woman. When David was finally ready, he stood up and started walking back to the limo with Maury and Jimmy by his side.

Jerry was waiting with tissues and to open the door for them, asking Jimmy, “Home, monsieur?”

“Yes, Jerry,” Jimmy replied, gratefully grabbing a fistful of tissues to wipe off his face. “Thank you so much. Let’s go home.”

They took Maury back to his pawn shop, sending him off with another round of emotional hugs and a few more tears. On the way back to the mansion, David and Jimmy sat beside each other, David’s arm wrapped tightly around his son’s shoulders. They didn’t say much, and when they got back, David wanted to lie down for a nap.

Jimmy wanted to pry, but he remembered Cold’s advice and let his father go with one more big hug. He and Jerry had lunch, and then Jimmy went upstairs to listen to some music. Today had been a hell of an emotional roller coaster, and while his memories of his mother were wonderful, it still hurt so much that she was gone.

Cold’s suite opened into a small foyer that led into a lounge with the master bedroom beyond that. The lounge was full of Cold’s personal things: old furniture, photographs, and his record player. Jimmy had added his records to Cold’s collection, and it made for one very eclectic variety of music.

He turned on the record player and put on AC/DC’s Back in Black. It was his mother’s album and one of her favorites. He made sure not to turn up the music too loudly, crashing in the ratty chair nearby. He didn’t know how many times he got up to restart it before he felt Cold’s hand gently nudging him awake.

“Mmmm, hey there.” Jimmy smiled sleepily. “Shit, what time is it?”

“Time for dinner,” Cold replied, offering his hand to help Jimmy up. He nodded at the record player as he asked, “Did today go well?”

“As good as it could have,” Jimmy replied honestly, standing up and curling his arms around Cold’s waist. He sighed deeply, mumbling, “Lots of tears, lots of laughs, then more tears. It was really hard, but I’m glad I got to be there.”

“So am I,” Cold said, hugging Jimmy close and kissing his brow.

“How did your gangster business go?” Jimmy asked, aiming to add some levity to the somber chat.

Cold snorted and cracked a small smile. “My gangster business went just fine, thank you.” He tilted his head curiously down at Jimmy. “You do realize that I am not ever going to tell you the details of my work?”

“I know that,” Jimmy huffed. “I was just… I don’t know. Trying to make a joke.”

Cold cradled the back of Jimmy’s head, saying firmly, “I don’t want you to forget who and what I am, Jimmy.”

“What are you talking about? Look, I get it! You do bad things!” Jimmy made a face. “What’s the big freakin’ deal?”

“I don’t want to wake up one morning and find my bed empty because you’ve decided you can’t stand to be with a monster,” Cold said quietly.

“Oh, Rod,” Jimmy murmured, surprised by the vulnerability he could hear in Cold’s words. He shook his head and pressed a tender kiss to his lips. “I know that you think you’re a monster—”

Cold scowled.

“—but,” Jimmy quickly continued, “I love you. Just as you are. That’s enough for me. I’ll never ask about the things you do because I don’t want to know, and I wouldn’t want you to lie to me.”

Cold seemed to accept that, kissing Jimmy’s cheek as he said, “Thank you. And I won’t. That I can promise you. Now. Mmm, are you hungry?”

“Starving!” Jimmy exclaimed. “Is Dad awake yet? I think he was taking a nap, too.”

“Already downstairs waiting.” Cold offered his arm to escort Jimmy to the dining table.

Jerry had made filet mignon this time with heaping helpings of buttered potatoes and broccoli, bringing out the plates as soon as Jimmy and Cold were seated. David was smiling, eagerly leading the conversation with more happy memories about Eliza. He made sure to throw in some embarrassing childhood stories about Jimmy, including a few times he had decided to take Eliza’s high heels for a spin.

Everything was going great, and Jimmy’s spirits were completely uplifted. When they were done eating, David suggested they all go finish watching the movie they had started yesterday. Jimmy, thrilled and tipsy from a bit too much wine at dinner, clumsily plopped back on the couch in the living room.

Cold joined him in his usual spot with Jimmy’s head in his lap, while David elected to sit down in one of the recliners to stretch out his legs.

It was an odd Polaroid of domestic mafia bliss; all of them enjoying the movie while armed guards patrolled the grounds outside. Jerry came in to check on them and bring them fresh drinks, and David raised his glass for another toast.

“Here’s to a lifetime of happy memories,” David said, “and to a bright future making even more.”

“Cheers to that,” Cold agreed, tipping his drink back with a little smile.

“To the future,” Jimmy said, his chest overflowing with love and warmth that he was able to share this moment with his boyfriend and his father, something he never thought he would be able to have.

“And you know, speaking of the future,” David said innocently, “I do expect some grandkids at some point, you know.”

Jimmy squeaked without meaning to, glancing up at Cold and flushing all over. They hadn’t talked much about such things, and he was immediately concerned that Cold’s mood might sour. He was surprised to see his lover still smiling softly.

“Only time will tell,” Cold teased, stroking Jimmy’s hair adoringly.

Jimmy smiled at that, his eyes heavy from the wine. The idea of having a family with Cold made him happier than he could even say. He never saw the end of the movie, passing out long before the credits rolled. He distantly felt Cold lifting him up into his arms and starting to carry him upstairs.

There was a pause, a warm kiss on his forehead, and his father’s voice murmuring, “Love you, slugger.”

Jimmy smiled sleepily, vaguely aware of Cold tucking him into bed. For the first time, he allowed himself a real and honest sense of pride.

He was no longer the failure he had always worried about becoming. He had finally done the impossible and gotten his father out of prison.

His father was free, he was in love with a gorgeous gangster, and life was good.

No, better than good; life was pretty damn fantastic.

Jimmy let himself fantasize about the future ahead of him: finishing college, becoming a lawyer, and helping his father take on the corrupt prison system.

Marriage with Cold and adopting some kids were also possibilities. It all sounded so wonderful, although he wasn’t really sure what Cold really thought about actually settling down someday and having a family.

He didn’t dare to dream such wonderful things would all come true, but it was nice to think about.

And besides, Cold had said it best:

Only time would tell.

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