tagGay MaleSafe Deposit

Safe Deposit


Sam really didn't think he'd say yes.

It was an insane request, and it's just the sort of thing a serial killer would say to get into someone's house and set up cameras or something. Sam certainly wouldn't have believed the story if someone had called him with it. But the man had believed it, and he told Sam to come over on Sunday afternoon and he'd see if he could help.

Maybe it was the place. Clarksville had a thousand residents if you counted the stray cats. There wasn't even a school -- what few children there were had to go to New Philly. There was almost nobody under fifty, and the VFW outpost was the only place that even sold alcohol. Yesterday, Sam had seen a real policeman -- no spring chicken himself -- helping an old woman across the street. So the man might have been desperate for some entertainment, Sam thought.

Still, now that he was here, he couldn't help but feel apprehensive. It was one thing to make phone calls and wonder before he fell asleep about the mystery that had become his life; it added some mystique that Sam hadn't known he'd been missing. But now he was confronted with the truth -- he hadn't expected anyone to answer, had never thought he'd find any answers at all. The closer he got to his destination, the less sure he felt that he even wanted answers.

Even the earth seemed to be telling him to go the fuck home. There had been a bastard of a snowstorm the night before, and while the freeway and state highways had been plowed clean, the town roads were another story. They weren't impassable by any means, but he did have to crawl along pretty slow, giving him extra time to think about his impulsive decision to come here.

The forecast predicted another storm within a day, and this new one would make the roads impassable, at least for a few hours. Get in, and get the fuck out, Sam thought to himself.

The snow had stopped falling for the time being, so at least Sam could see the address. The small house was on a main street beside a church, across the street from a row of shops. There were old-fashioned Christmas lights around the windows and the part of the roof that could be seen from the street. A plastic reindeer was barely visible under the snow that had fallen the night before; it looked like something out of The Shining. A miniature something, but still.

Sam pulled up in front of the house, parking so he didn't block the driveway.

The owner hadn't shoveled his sidewalk that morning, so Sam had to trudge through a foot of snow to reach the door. No doorbell, so he knocked, praying that someone would answer the damn thing; he was wearing a coat, but it wasn't enough to keep him warm out here for long.

The thumping of footsteps on the other side of the door was very loud, and Sam had a moment to wonder just how big this guy was before the door opened. He needn't have worried; the man was five six -- if that -- and didn't look very strong. He had a small frame and a friendly face, with hair that was long on top so some of it hung down into his eyes, the color of which Sam couldn't discern.

The guy beamed at him. Sam had never seen such an unguarded smile on an adult before; it was a little disconcerting. And the man hadn't sounded like a wood sprite during their phone conversations.

"Are you Sam?"

Sam wondered how many people the guy was expecting to come calling in this fucking weather.

"Sam I am," he said. It was an old joke, but he liked it, so fuck it. "I'm here about..." He trailed off. The man knew why he was here. Sam held up the small brown box he was carrying in lieu of continuing.

"Of course, come on in." He padded aside with bare feet so Sam could pass.

It was sparsely decorated, but that was for the best considering the size of the place. Most of the furniture was brown with the exception of a cream couch that looked newer than most of the other stuff. The walls were all wood panel as far as Sam could see, but he wouldn't judge the guy too hard for that.

"You can just sit on the couch there." The man pointed -- as if that were necessary -- and headed around a corner into a small kitchen.

"Beer?" he called.

"Sure." Sam sat on the couch and opened the box, wondering how to begin. When the guy had actually invited him out, he had been so surprised that he'd come without preparing a live presentation of all this.

The guy came back and dropped onto the couch beside him. Sam thought he moved pretty quick for a guy in his thirties -- speedy, but graceful. He set the beers on the table and looked expectantly at Sam.

"I'm Thomas."

The bright way he said it made Sam imagine an exclamation point at the end of it, but he reached for Thomas's hand anyway. The knit sweater he was wearing was so oversized that Thomas had to pull it back to expose his hand. It was only then that Sam noticed the holly leaves that were printed on the ends of the sleeves.

Jesus Christ.

"I know I should have introduced myself earlier, but I forgot. It's a habit."

Sam took his beer and opened it; Thomas was right. Sam hadn't known his name despite all his research. He knew the guy -- Thomas -- had bought the place recently, but he hadn't been able to find a name. Which was crazy, but then, so was everything else about this.

"It's a habit not to introduce yourself after fifteen phone calls?"

He laughed, a throaty sound that was more like his phone voice had been. Sexier. Sam could kick himself for thinking it, but it wasn't like it was a surprise -- it might have been a while, but a sexy voice was like catnip to him. And he hadn't known he was going to get a greeting card character when he met the guy in person.

Now he felt stupid, and that was on top of the ambient weirdness that permeated this whole situation.

He tried not to let it show on his face.

"Yeah, I'm a voice actor. Well, some of the time. There's not much work in this area, and my voice isn't suited to everything. But mostly I'm a baker."

"Jack of all trades, huh?"

Sam hadn't meant for it to sound sarcastic, but Thomas's dimming smile told him that intent wasn't magic.

"Just the two trades." He sounded a lot less like an elf, and there was no exclamation point that time.

Sam took a large breath; it helped him to resist the urge to try and make Thomas feel better. He didn't know this guy and didn't owe him more than courtesy. He was here for a purpose; when he had what he needed, he would never see the guy again. He looked down at the box in his lap so he wouldn't have to stare at Thomas's cautious expression.

"Well, I don't want to waste too much of your time." He opened the box and busied his hands with moving the stuff around inside. Fidgeting wouldn't make this any easier, but he was suddenly struck with the feeling that this was wrong, that he shouldn't have come here. Thomas seemed to sense his unease, because he placed a sweater-covered hand on Sam's forearm and squeezed. Sam stopped moving, still not looking at him.

"Maybe you should just tell me everything," Thomas said, and God help Sam, this was the phone voice. What was wrong with him? Why couldn't he keep his head straight?

"You already know most of it," Sam said, embarrassed. There was a shake in his voice and he didn't want to look too closely at all the reasons for it. He just wanted to get this over with and get out of here. If he didn't, he would do something he'd regret; he could feel it in his bones. "Not much else to say, really."

"But there are a few more things to say?"

His voice was smooth and low and poured over Sam like honey. This was so fucking inappropriate, and the guy would probably kick him out on his ass if he knew what Sam was thinking. Sam tried to steady himself, breathing in through his nose.

"It's just..." He searched for the right words to continue, to explain. His feelings were difficult to put into words, but that shouldn't have been a surprise. It had always been that way for him. "He couldn't have picked me at random, you know?" He shook his head. "We had to have met at some point, right? But I've looked -- believe me, I've checked thoroughly -- and our paths have never crossed. Not once. And..."

He stopped.


He sighed. "I don't know, it's like there's nothing left of him, like he just disappeared. Like people just...forgot about him."

The words hung in the air and Sam's embarrassment deepened. That had come out so much more personal than he'd wanted; this was supposed to be an anthropological exercise of sorts. He shouldn't sound so involved. Thomas would think he was crazy.

Not that he cared what Thomas thought.

"Well, you two obviously never met, right?" Thomas's tone was casual but his words carried a weight that Sam wasn't sure was warranted, not so soon after Sam had met him. "It makes sense that it seems that way. Like he just disappeared. He appeared without warning, right?"

Thomas's hand was still on his arm. It felt heavy, like it was going to topple Sam over somehow. "Yeah," Sam said slowly. "Yeah, that's true."

His voice was small and quiet, which embarrassed him further.

He really needed to get a grip.

Thomas, bless him, shifted focus. "You never told me the story of how you got this stuff," he said. "I mean, I know how you got it. But the actual story. I haven't heard it."

He was right. Sam had gone out of his way to avoid talking about that part.

"Uh," Sam struggled to gather the words. "I was...I was reading the paper. Well, several of the papers. Back in Pittsburgh, I mean. Not here. Obviously."

He swallowed.

"The obituaries section. Sometimes they put notices in there, like...looking for relatives. So I was reading that part."

He waited for Thomas to ask about that, to ask why, but he didn't.

"So I saw it -- I saw my name."

"You saw your name on an obituary?"

"No." He huffed out a laugh. "In the relatives and friends section. Where they're looking for people. My name was there."

"Wow." Thomas looked pensive, but didn't say anything more.

"Yeah, wow. I about had a heart attack, because I thought - " Sam took another deep breath and steadied himself. "I thought it was about someone else. But then I see the guy's name, Harold Myers. Says he's named me as a living friend or relative, and that I should call this county number to get the information."


"They said he had left stuff for me, in a safe deposit box."

Thomas cocked his head. "But if you hadn't met, how did he even know you existed?"

Sam shrugged. "Who knows? But he'd left money for his own cremation, and they had the ashes and this box of stuff..."

The silence stayed for a while.

"What did you do with the remains?" It was almost a whisper. His hand hadn't left Sam's forearm, and right then, Sam was glad.

"In the car."

He didn't look at Thomas; he didn't need to be told how crazy it was. Harold hadn't left any notes about what to do with his own fucking ashes; he'd just dumped them on Sam's lap.

C'est la vie.

"Okay." Thomas sounded cautious again, but not in the same way as before; now he seemed like he was trying to keep Sam calm. Sam had never felt gratefulness and resentment simultaneously, but this had been a year of firsts.

"Okay?" Sam chuckled. "That's all you have to say about this? Okay?"

Thomas puffed his cheeks and blew the air out. "Yeah, I mean..." He shrugged. "Here we are."

He didn't know how to reply to that, so he just stayed quiet, fiddling with the stuff in the box. The small box of stationery was at the bottom and Sam was careful not to touch or look at it.

He didn't like it.

"So what's all in there?"

"Just the stuff we talked about." He was unspeakably relieved to be asked a question he could answer without shaking. "The snow globe, the knitting needles."

He swallowed loudly.


The words were strained but at least his voice hadn't cracked. He'd have had a hell of a time explaining tears over dime-store stationery. He couldn't even explain it to himself.

"There were some old batteries, too? Don't know why hell he kept them in a safe deposit box. I didn't bring those."

Sam beat around the bush for a while, telling Thomas again about how the snow globe had been manufactured in Switzerland and only available from one shop that didn't ship, and how that must have meant Harold went there at some point. The knitting needles too were handcrafted, though when and by whom, Sam hadn't been able to find out. Harold's unpaid tickets. That stationery that was nice to look at, but not unique.

He left out the part about not being able to examine it without wanting to cry or vomit.

"Why are you here?"

Thomas had interrupted him mid-sentence and he stopped short. He'd been rambling and was beginning to feel a little hysterical.

This guy really knew how to hit him where it hurt, Sam realized. He had seemed like a chirpy ditz when Sam had first walked in, but it didn't track with how he'd been on the phone. There was a reason Sam had called him fifteen times.

Apart from the voice thing, of course.

"There are keys," he said. He held up a chain with three hanging from it. "Not specially crafted or anything. Kwiksets. Can get them anywhere, so I didn't know where to look." He sighed, staring at his hands. "So I thought maybe his house would have some answers. Maybe there's a safe, or -- "

Thomas laughed, and the sound was so bright that it forced Sam to look up.


"There's a door," Thomas said. He'd been sitting cross-legged like a yogi on the couch, but he bounced to his feet in one go. The weight of his hand vanished from Sam's arm and he almost reached to pull it back. "It's a little door, like a roof access panel, but it's on the floor. I couldn't open it before, I had no key, but..."

Thomas went around a corner, still talking, but Sam couldn't hear him. His head popped back around the corner, looking impatient.


He found he didn't have the strength to stand up; his legs felt like water. The dread had returned with a vengeance, and he considered making a run for the door, jelly-legs or none. Thomas's expression softened and he padded over, sitting down next to Sam again. He was much closer this time; their thighs were pressed together and Thomas was holding his arm between his hands.

"Sorry," he said, his voice low and soft.

His mouth was too close to Sam's ear.

Sam's heart rate was slowing, and the feel of Thomas's breath on his neck was helping. He was a quite exhausted; the last few weeks had been such a roller coaster of emotion that he felt like he had a hangover. He let his head fall back against the couch cushion, closing his eyes.

"I'm sorry I'm like this," he whispered. This couch was a cloud and Thomas's weight was comforting next to him. "I don't know why, I just...can't get it together about this whole Harold thing."

Sam felt him scoot closer and leaned into him. He knew what it must seem like to Thomas, him leaning in and closing his eyes. If Thomas was going to kick him out, he'd do it now. If not, well.


Thomas's hand was on his thigh, inching closer to his zipper. He let out a breathy chuckle and his hand disappeared from Sam's leg, reaching up for his cheek and turning Sam's face further into his. Sam groaned at the loss of touch but didn't fight it.

The first press of Thomas's lips to his was chaste. Sam gave into it, not pushing it any further until his mouth opened just a fraction. Thomas took it for the sign it was and pushed his tongue into Sam's mouth, a bit roughly, if Sam did say so himself.

Not that he minded.

He lost track of time as they sat, necking like teenagers. Thomas was straddling his lap and grinding into him before Sam came up for air, turning his head before he passed out. Thomas made a sound too quiet to be a groan and sat back a bit, resting on Sam's thighs.

"This is so fucking crazy," Sam panted. Thomas was playing with the waist band of his pants, and it was almost too much after all the petting.

It had been a really long time.

"Is it?" It comforted Sam to hear that Thomas was out of breath, too. "I mean, it was kind of inevitable, right?"

He marveled at Thomas's ability to use words like inevitable with his cock straining against the fake denim of his jeans. Thomas's hands felt him up under his shirt; that lack of inhibition was impossible to resist, even if it was less than a surprise.

"I don't know man, it kinda came out of nowhere, don't you think?"

Thomas's face was pressed to his collarbone and his lips tickled when he talked. "You complaining?"

Sam let out a bark of laughter. "Not at all."

They'd been building toward something, before, but Sam could feel the atmosphere shifting; Thomas was winding down and sliding off his lap even though they were both still hard.


"I'm not going anywhere." Thomas was smirking. "Don't think you're getting off that easy."

Sam shifted position and tried to get comfortable again -- a tall order given the throbbing in his groin. Thomas was drinking out of his beer and offered him some; Sam waved him off and watched the head of the bottle slide between his lips. He had a very graceful neck, and his smaller body made Sam want to pick him up and throw him onto a bed somewhere. He hadn't fucked a guy in years but he sure as hell remembered how to do it. See if he kept that teasing grin on his face when Sam pried his legs apart.

They'd see who wouldn't be getting off easy --

"Whoa, down boy," Thomas said. His bare foot was resting on Sam's crotch and he was wriggling his toes and arch. "We'll get to that."

Sam shoved his foot away in mock annoyance. "What are you, a fucking psychic?"

"Watch your mouth. I have popsicles I could be eating in front of you."

Sam laughed; it felt good in his throat. "You prick."

"I had to do something. You were losing it."

His feelings from earlier seemed far away; it seemed crazy now that he had tried to leave.

"It wasn't that bad."

"You were gonna run out the door."

"It's a weird situation."


Thomas took another swig of beer and looked intently at him. Sam knew he was going to say something penetrating again and tried to brace himself.

"So what's really going on here?"

Thomas's gaze was level and intense, and Sam could feel the words about to pour out of his mouth. It was crazy, what Thomas could get out of him with just a look. He couldn't hide anything, and he wasn't sure he liked that.

"I...don't know." It was true, at least on the surface. He really didn't know why he was so obsessed with this shit. But there was something about it that was important; he could feel it. It was just that he was ambivalent about whether he wanted to find what he had come looking for.

Thomas nodded.

"Other cases get to you like this?"


It was a lie. Sam often forgot cases once they were done. Most of his work involved cheating spouses and runaway teens, and the vast majority of the cases ended with divorce and extended groundings. It paid well, but it wasn't as exciting as he'd imagined it would be when he started out.

Thomas was unconvinced. "What's the last case you spent a year investigating?"

"Fuck you, twenty questions. Why did you say yes? Baking not thrilling enough for you?"

Thomas didn't move, but he grew tense. "Something like that."

Sam rolled his eyes. Unbelievable. "So, what, I can bare my soul and practically have a panic attack on your couch but you can't share anything?"

He shook his head and then looked back at Sam, grim. "I had a great job that I hated. Coworkers weren't exactly Friends of Dorothy. Quit and moved here to open a bakery; property is cheap. Bought a house from a dead guy's niece for cash."

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