“I don’t develop feelings. Period. But the more times I show up here, meeting with the same person and heading up to these rooms, the more of a chance I have that someone is going to notice. Most of the people down here abide by one rule: reciprocity. I keep my mouth shut, and they do the same. And most of the time, the patrons in this bar are too drunk or high to remember the comings and goings around them anyway. But on the off chance that someone does remember and then decides what they remember is good enough intel to get them a hefty reward…I could be risking my own well-being. And I’m not going to put my neck in a noose just for a fuck. No matter how good of a fuck it was.”
“You’re afraid of the government’s reach?”
Micah shifted uncomfortably. “There are more powerful forces at work in Tartarus than the government. Tovar’s arm is long, but down here, it’s not quite as menacing as it might be.”
“Then, who? Who are you afraid of? I could…” Eden stumbled, his wide blue eyes again sincere and somber.
“You could what? Protect me? I don’t need your protection. I don’t need anyone’s protection. You forget Tartarus is my home. Unlike you, I don’t just get to stumble down the steps in my free time for a good fuck.”
Eden bristled at that, but Micah pushed past him. Before he reached the door, however, Eden’s hand once again clasped around his wrist.
“You approached me. I never asked for this.”
“But you didn’t say no.”
Stunned, Eden dropped Micah’s arm. “Did you want me to? Was this all just an elaborate ploy to see how far you could push another person?” The hurt on his face was evident. Micah forced himself to ignore the panging of guilt in his heart.
“Don’t be stupid,” Micah scoffed.
“Then, why? Why approach me? Why not accept payment?” Eden’s eyes were wild, his tone possessive and desperate. “You felt something when we touched. We both felt it. You said it yourself. It’s not like that. Not ever.”
Silence settled between them. Micah wanted to turn Eden away, to chide him and dismiss him, but for some inane and incomprehensible reason, he couldn’t.
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