rating: nc17 (there was sex in previous chapters)
disclaimer: I know neither Norman or Sean, and do not pretend that I do. I also know nothing about the creators of these fictional characters or how they wish them to be used. It's all in me brain.
summary: remember this story? Greg is an asshole who uses Travis? Hey, guess what? Travis gets revenge. Subtitle this chapter "Punked by Travis."
note: thank you to cherryscott for the beta and for the name of my new rock band. Thanks to lil_reedy for allowing me to use you for arm candy, and to writing_light for unknowingly giving me your name to use as Eric's receptionist. :)
Travis looked at himself in the shiny walls of the elevator. “I can’t help it,” he grumbled, pulling at the tie and tugging at the hem of his suit jacket. “I feel like an idiot in this monkey suit.”
“Trust me. You look like you were born to wear it.”
Travis turned around and smiled at the other man in the elevator with him. Eric Morrison definitely looked like he was born to wear the navy suit he had on. The dark blue brought out the black in his hair, and his green eyes were hungry as they ran over Travis’ body. “I think you’re just trying to seduce me,” Travis said lightly.
Eric brushed his hands over the shoulders of Travis’ coat and straightened the tie that Travis had tugged askew. “Are you seduceable?”
“Is that even a word?” Travis asked with a laugh.
“You look stunning. No one would think you spend your days with newsprint and paint all over your hands.” Eric raised an eyebrow and gave him one last critical look.
“And is that a problem?” Travis already knew the answer but wanted to hear it straight from Eric. He knew Eric had no problems with the fact that he was simply a poor artist; Eric himself had come from a small town in Vermont and put on no airs simply because there were letters after his name.
“Hell, no. I love thinking of you surrounded by your work.” Eric gave him a warm smile and squeezed his shoulder. “Just try to relax. I know you’re not used to these charity things. I don’t really like them much, either, though when it comes to getting things done, sometimes you don’t have a choice. Just smile a lot, nod, be polite, and remember that the food and booze are FREE.”
Travis smiled shyly. “I’m really glad you came along with me, Eric. Thanks.”
“Hey, was I really going to turn down a date with the sexiest artist in Maine?” Eric leaned in and briefly kissed Travis’ cheek as the elevator doors slid open. “Knock ‘em dead, Picasso.”
Even though it was Travis who had received the invitation to the auction dinner, he followed Eric’s lead. They each took a glass of champagne from a waiter’s tray, and Eric introduced Travis to a few of the legislators and politicians that he knew. They all seemed genuinely impressed by Travis’ work, and he started to relax as they made their way through the room. He felt his entire body tighten, however, when a familiar head turned and grey-blue eyes focused on him.
“Ah, Travis.” Greg Stillson took his hand from the back of the gorgeous woman at his hip and held it out to Travis. “Good to see you.” He touched the woman’s bare shoulder. “Sarah, you remember me telling you about Travis Jensen. He designed my cash cow.” Greg chuckled at his own joke. “Travis, this is my good friend Sarah.”
Travis shook the outstretched hand, then turned to the woman. “Nice to meet you, ma’am.”
“Such manners,” she said, letting her eyes run over Travis from head to toe, and obviously liking what she saw. She was quite a bit younger than the Senator, though she seemed to have no problem being his arm candy for the night. “An artist. Such fascinating work.”
“Not really. Most of it happens in my mind, and trust me, it’s not such a fascinating place to be,” Travis said, and Sarah let out a tinkling laugh.
Greg’s eyes never left Travis’ face. “And who have you brought with you from your fan club, Travis?”
“I’m sure you remember Eric Morrison, Senator.” Travis reached behind him to lightly tap Eric on the shoulder. Eric, who had been speaking with someone a few feet away, turned around and smiled. “Eric, here’s Senator Stillson, and his friend, Sarah.”
“Senator Stillson. Good to see you again.” He held out his hand. “And Sarah, very nice to meet you.”
Greg’s jaw clenched as it threatened to drop open. Eric and Travis did make a beautiful pair, and something in him seemed to crash into pieces as he realized that they had indeed come to the dinner together, and that they were very obviously interested in one another. Eric hovered near Travis protectively without actually touching him, and Travis’ pride in Eric’s presence was apparent. “Yes, Mr. Morrison. How are you?”
“Good. Proud of Travis. I’m sure your sponsorship of him is only the first step to his being truly recognized as an artist.”
“Stop,” Travis said bashfully, flushing deep red.
“Yes, of course,” Greg said absently.
“Greg, I think we’re to be seated now,” Sarah said, tugging on his sleeve a bit.
“Right.” Greg fought the urge to brush her off.
Travis’ eyes met his, and an innocent yet seductive smile crossed his face. “Senator, it was VERY nice seeing you.”
“Perhaps we’ll meet again,” Greg said softly.
“Perhaps, but then again, we don’t quite run in the same circles, do we?” Travis nodded at Sarah and followed Eric to their assigned table.
Travis’ hands were shaking as he sat down. He was a bit surprised at the little flare of jealousy he had felt when meeting Greg’s date, though he knew Greg kept up appearances as a straight bachelor with a new woman on his arm every week. The flare had quickly gone out, though, when Travis noticed a similar note of jealousy in Greg’s face when he had introduced Eric. Apparently Greg had assumed that Travis was pining away for him, and that was wrong. Travis had a lot of emotions towards Greg Stillson, but misery wasn’t one of them. He would pay for the way he had treated him. Not just the way he treated Travis, either. This was for every man and woman Greg used and dropped like a crumpled tissue.
“Are you all right?” Eric lightly touched his hand, concern in his eyes.
“M’fine,” Travis said with a weak smile. “Just nervous. I didn’t do anything special, Eric. My work is just the same as every other artist here.”
“Better,” Eric contradicted, and Travis blushed again.
Dinner was served, and Eric kept up a steady stream of conversation with the other people at their table. Travis answered when spoken to, but otherwise just looked around. Eric seemed so at ease with all the sparkle and glamour around them, and Travis looked at him in a new light. Maybe he was just like Greg. “I’m going to go to the bar and see if they have beer,” Travis said, standing up. “I need something to calm my nerves.”
“Great. Get me one as well, okay?” Eric caught Travis by the wrist, pulling him down to whisper in his ear. “Don’t let this bullshit get you down, okay? After this thing’s over, we’ll go downtown to a pub I know and get some burgers and a few cold ones, how about it?”
“You are SO my new favorite person,” Travis said with a grin.
“Well, I thought I already was,” Eric said with a pretend pout. Travis laughed out loud, slowly falling from interested to smitten.
“Greg. Greg.” A manicured hand wove in front of his face. “Hello?”
“I’m sorry.” Greg briefly smiled at his date, whom he was already tiring of. He had chosen her from his Rolodex because he had figured she’d be good for a quick tumble after dinner. Unfortunately, though, his tendencies had quickly turned from the attractive young woman at his side to the attractive young artist across the room. The attractive young artist who at that moment was laughing loud and hard at something the attractive young engineer at his side was saying to him. “I’m going to get a drink. Sarah? Anything for you?”
“No, thank you,” she said, looking confused. Greg excused himself from the table and followed Travis to the bar.
“I’ll have a seven and seven,” Greg told the bartender.
Travis, who was leaning on the bar waiting for his own drinks, turned at the familiar voice. “Senator. I thought you’d be so used to these things by now that you wouldn’t need alcohol to get through them.”
“True, but it helps.” Greg leaned one hip against the bar, his eyes running over Travis. “You look great, Travis. You should dress like that more often.”
“I don’t have a reason to, and I’m much more comfortable in a lot less clothing,” Travis said. He pulled at the collar of his shirt, but his tone insinuated something different entirely. Greg swallowed hard, feeling that familiar hunger stirring deep inside.
“Yes, I noticed that at your apartment,” Greg said quietly, nodding his thanks to the bartender and accepting his drink. He looked at Travis’ hands as Travis took the two bottles of beer he had ordered. “So…I didn’t realize you and Morrison were friends.”
“We’re not, really.” Travis took a long swallow of his beer, letting the bottle briefly rest against his lips before bringing it down again. He inwardly smiled with satisfaction as he watched Greg’s eyes follow the bottle. “He’s here as my date.” He stood up. “Well, Senator, it was great seeing you again. Thank you, really, for everything you’ve done for me. It’s been a real learning experience.” He balanced both bottles in one hand and held out the other.
Greg shook it, holding on briefly. “Listen, Travis…”
“Yes?” Travis tilted his head, blue eyes innocent and shy.
Greg chuckled a bit, wondering to himself exactly what he thought he was doing. “Uh, if you ever need anything, don’t hesitate. Call me. Any time. For ANYTHING.”
Travis smiled. “I doubt I’ll need you…I mean, need to bother you like that, but I will definitely keep it in mind.” He laughed to himself as he walked away without looking back. When he sat back down at the table, however, his hands were shaking yet again.
A few hours later, just as Eric had promised, they were seated in a dark smoky bar, eating the best cheeseburger Travis had ever tasted. Their suit coats were tossed over the back of the third chair at the table, ties were long gone, and collars were unbuttoned. “I cannot believe it,” Travis said for the eighth time. “That is an INSANE amount of money for a cow.”
“It’s not just the cow, Travis. It’s the work you put into it. Don’t you think that was worth three times as much as Stillson paid for it?” Eric stabbed a french fry into the ketchup on Travis’ plate.
“It wasn’t that hard,” Travis said with a shrug. “I thought he and that other guy were gonna get in a fistfight over it.”
“Oh, Senator Smith?” Eric laughed. “He and Stillson HATE each other. With a passion. I think he was bidding on it out of spite.” Eric raised an eyebrow. “I also think Greg Stillson has a little crush on you.”
“You’re insane.” Travis took a long hard pull on his beer. “He’s straight. Lady killer in every sense of the word, m’sure.”
“I was almost jealous, seeing him look at you like he was.”
“He was looking at me?” Travis said, then realized how girly that sounded. “I doubt it.”
“I don’t. You caught my attention the first time I saw you,” Eric said quietly. Travis blushed. “So…now what?”
“What do you mean?” Travis pushed his plate away and sighed with contentment. “Now what as in the next ten minutes? Or now what as in the next ten days?”
“Yes,” Eric said, putting down his burger.
“I like you a lot, Eric. I’d like…I’d like to get to know you better.” Travis sighed. “But I was just screwed over pretty bad…having some bitter hateful issues right now.”
“No, you don’t.” Travis reached out and lightly touched Eric’s arm before he could stop himself. “I mean it. I want to get to know you better, but I can’t just sleep with you. Not tonight, okay?”
“Oh.” Eric was obviously relieved. “So you’re not rejecting me completely, just rejecting me sexually.”
“Hell, no!” Travis almost yelled before he realized Eric was teasing. “Jerk.”
“I’m a lawyer. We’re all jerks,” Eric said, laughing.
Greg slipped out of bed, pulling on a pair of pants and a robe. He debated waking Sarah up and sending her on her way, but he was feeling particularly generous towards her at that moment, and decided to let her sleep.
He was surprised at his own kindness; he wasn’t exactly in a particularly good place emotionally at that moment. Seeing Travis with that attorney Eric Morrison had thrown him for a loop. Greg was used to a wake of conquests crying and begging for attention. Apparently he had misread Travis Jensen. Travis had moved on, seeming to harbor no ill will towards Greg, another thing he wasn’t used to. Greg had honestly liked Travis. He was young, attractive, intelligent and so talented. That was just a few of the reasons Greg had fought tooth and nail to get that cow.
Greg went down to the kitchen and poured himself a glass of juice. Damn that Smith, anyway, making him pay out the ass for the sculpture. Granted, he had the money, and was willing to pay whatever it took, but he knew the other legislator had raised the bid sky high just to aggravate him. It didn’t matter though. As usual, Greg had won in the end. He always did. And now the cow would remain exactly where she was, with his name on it for all eternity. A beautiful specimen of art, showcasing everything that was special and wonderful about the state of Maine, and everyone would think of him as a kind and generous supporter of the arts AND the state.
Greg caught his reflection in the shining metal front of the refrigerator. He toasted himself, wondering why the success seemed a bit more superficial than usual.
THREE WEEKS LATER
“Mr. Morrison, there is an emergency here at the desk. Do you think you could come out for a moment?” The receptionist said into her speakerphone.
“Samantha, it’s almost lunchtime. You’re sure one of the other partners can’t take care of it?” Eric’s voice said wearily. “I’ve been up to my ears in biosolids all morning.”
“I know, Sir,” Samantha said regretfully, smiling up at the man standing in front of her. “I know you also have lunch plans, but I’m afraid they may have to change. Could you come out, please?”
“Fine.” The phone slammed down, causing Samantha to jump.
“You should be an actress,” Travis told Samantha.
“I considered it,” she replied. By now all the clerical staff at Eric’s firm knew Travis, and they absolutely adored him. He was sweet and shy, and their boss was absolutely infatuated with him. They thought it was adorable, and they thought Travis was, too.
“Is this really necessary?” Eric stormed out of his office, heading directly for Samantha’s desk. “I need to…” His face lit up as his ranting died off. “Travis? What are you doing here?”
“Taking you to lunch. Sounds like you need it, Bitchy McBitch,” Travis remarked, crossing his arms over his chest. “Is that any way to treat your staff?”
“I’m sorry,” Eric said immediately. “I’m sorry, Sam.”
“No problem, Mr. Morrison. Your lunch appointment has been rescheduled to coffee tomorrow morning at ten, and you’re free today until two. Except for your new lunch date.”
“New lunch date?” Eric looked confused.
Travis held up a bag from his favorite deli. “I have your lunch…and I’m your date. Is that a problem?”
“No,” Eric said immediately. Samantha hid a smile. “I’ll be back at one forty-five,” he told her. She nodded and winked at Travis.
“Have a nice lunch.”
Eric and Travis sedately walked to the elevator. They climbed into the empty car, and Travis barely had the button pushed before Eric had him slammed back against the wall, hands on his waist, mouth attacking his own. “Guess…you’re happy to see me.”
“Every inch of me,” Eric growled, nipping at Travis’ neck. Travis squirmed and giggled a bit. “You’re amazing, do you know that?”
“And you’re insatiable,” Travis replied, though he didn’t mind. The relationship with Eric was like nothing he could have dreamt of, and at the bottom of it all, he had Greg Stillson to thank for it. If it hadn’t been for Greg, he never would have run into Eric. Not that he was ready to forgive Greg for everything.
“So, where do you want to go?”
“It’s so nice out. Let’s sit out on the Capitol grounds,” Travis suggested.
“You just want to visit your cow,” Eric playfully griped.
“I’ve missed her. I haven’t had a chance to go check on her,” Travis said. He had been incredibly busy over the past few weeks. He had received many calls from people interested in commissioning everything from advertising posters to small sculpture pieces for their homes. He had Greg to thank for that, too.
“Fine,” Eric said with an exaggerated sigh. He held the front door of the building for Travis, and they walked the few blocks up to the Capitol. They strode up the lawn, heading for the benches that were placed in various locations on the grass. Eric slowed down as they noticed a huge group of people standing in a circle. “Wonder what’s going on?”
“I don’t believe it. That’s just sick,” someone said.
“I think it’s hysterical. Stillson’s a conceited asshole,” someone else remarked.
Eric and Travis looked at each other. Eric shoved his way through the crowd, Travis on his heels. “Oh my God.” Eric pushed back against Travis. “You might not want to look at this, Trav.”
“What? It can’t be that bad,” Travis said, looking over Eric’s shoulder.
“Senator, I think you need to come outside,” Eva said, opening his office door with barely a knock of warning.
“Excuse me?” Greg looked up from his paperwork. “I’m in the middle…”
“It…I just think you should.” She bit her lip. “The cow, Sir. Someone’s…defiled it.”
“Defiled it?” Greg blinked at her. “What do you mean?”
“I didn’t see it…someone just told me. I thought you’d want to see it before…before we do something about it.” Eva pressed herself back against the open door as the Senator darted out of the office.
Greg took the steps two at a time, ignoring the ancient elevator altogether. He hurried out of the building, heading for the large group of people on the lawn. “Excuse me, please. Excuse me. Pardon me.” Greg shouldered his way through the crowd as politely as he could, skidding to a stop in front of the sculpture he had paid so handsomely for.
Instead of Travis’ design of tiny photos, newspaper headlines were splashed across the cow’s body. They were all about Greg Stillson, and none of them were positive. They dealt with issues about money he had received while campaigning, women he had been involved with, and rumors that had not yet been proven. It was all there, though, in black and white, with a huge photo of Greg over the backside of the cow. Over the spine, in huge blood-red letters, read the words, “Greg Stillson likes COCK and bull,” with the word “cock” in bold print.
“Jesus,” Greg whispered. A security guard came up beside him.
“Senator, I think you should go back in. We’ll clear these people out, move the animal inside, and start investigating this immediately.”
“There’s no sign of the sculpture being moved, Sir, and all of these people have marked up any possible evidence we might find,” the man said apologetically. “And whoever did it applied everything in a way that cannot be removed.”
Greg turned around slowly, rage boiling inside of him. He said nothing, however, simply followed the guard back towards the Capitol.
Travis melted back into the crowd as he saw Greg Stillson come hurrying down the lawn. The look on Greg’s face was priceless. He went from pale to red with fury in a matter of seconds. It was worth the hours of research on the internet, the late nights cutting, pasting and gluing, and the delicate work of putting the Maine mural over the nasty headlines and getting everything to line up just right. The idea had occurred to him after the first night at Greg’s home, and his own embarrassment and anger had fueled him, giving him the energy to actually carry out the vengeful deed.
“God, Travis, I’m so sorry,” Eric gasped. “Your…your work. Destroyed.”
“It’s okay,” Travis said, working hard to transform his face into a mask of shock. “It’s just a cow.”
“It’s your work, Travis.” Eric put a hand on the small of Travis’ back. “I can’t believe someone could be so hateful.”
“Well, apparently someone doesn’t think too highly of the Senator,” Travis said. He shrugged. “C’mon. Let’s go sit down and eat.” He gave the cow one last forlorn look, then let Eric lead the way to a bench. Thankfully Eric didn’t look in his eyes, however, or he would have seen the triumph and pride in their blue depths.