Vito spent two hours charming his planned fling for the night before her boyfriend came to the bar and, after risking a glare at Vito, pulled her away. Clearly, he needed to start asking his endeavors if they had a boyfriend before he wasted too much of his time.
“Need a pool buddy?”
He lifted his head, eyes landing on the black man standing at the other end of the pool table. He dragged his gaze up the man’s body–past the skinny blue jeans and pale yellow button-up, past the little bit of tattoo peeking out from under the rolled up shirt sleeve on his left arm, past the little silver cross necklace around his neck–before settling on his face.
Vito smiled. “Would love one.”
“Great.” The man grabbed a pool stick from the corner and came back to the table. He stuck out a hand. “Elias.”
Vito grabbed his hand. “Matteo.”
Elias raised a brow. “You… really think I don’t know you’re Vito Minetti?”
“Umm…” Vito cleared his throat. “Yeah, I do think that. Or, I did think.” He chuckled. “Now I’m just confused.”
“Hmm.” Elias skimmed a hand over Vito’s back as he walked behind him. “You’re telling me that woman that’s been all over you didn’t know you were Vito Minetti?”
“If she did, she sure as hell didn’t tell me.”
“That must be hard. Pretending to be someone you’re not.”
“You get used to it. Been doing this shit most of my life.” Vito took a sip of his beer and set it back down on the shelf. “You’ve been watching me, huh?”
“I was sort’ve planning on making my approach much sooner. The gal threw me off my groove a bit.”
Vito flashed a smile. “Flattered.” He grabbed the triangle from under the table and set it on the green felt. “You wanna break ‘em once I get them all set up?”
“I’m not great at pool, so you might wanna be in charge of that.”
Vito chuckled, dropping the eight ball into the triangle. “I could teach ya.”
“Mmhmm. Teaching’s my speciality.”
Elias chuckled. “I’m sure it is.” He crossed his arms over top the pool cue, watching as Vito racked the balls again. “I hear you’re quite the playboy, Minetti.”
Vito snorted. “Yeah, like that’s the biggest thing they report about me.”
“It is in some circles. Some people just mark you down as hot and call it a day,” Elias said.
Vito lifted his eyes to the man’s face. “How do you mark me down?”
Elias cocked his head to the side. “Intriguing.”
“I’ll take intriguing.” Vito lifted the triangle and tucked it under the table again. He set the cue ball down in front of Elias. “Got a last name, Elias?”
“Elias Payne,” Vito said slowly. “Quite like the sound of that.” He tapped the cue ball. “There you go. You want help?”
Elias chuckled. “No, I’ve got it.” He hit the cue ball, launching it across the table and all the way back without ever hitting a single ball. “Oh, gosh, maybe I will take that help.”
Vito smiled and leaned his pool stick against the table. He knew Elias’s tactic all too well. He usually used it on men and women already playing pool. People enjoyed teaching others the things they were good at. He tended to use that to his advantage.
He wrapped his hand around one of Elias’s and pulled it back on the pool cue. “Not too far away. Not too close. Huh?”
Standing behind Elias, he laid a hand over his on the pool cue. He felt the sharp inhale of Elias’s breath, the relaxation of his shoulders. Vito nuzzled his neck with the tip of his nose. “You smell good.”
“Old Spice with shea butter. You’re probably smelling the vanilla,” Elias said, his voice quiet.
“Mm. I like it.” Vito laid his free hand on the table. “Couple of good ways to use this one as your brace, but you gotta… brace it. I usually use the groove between my thumb and forefinger, leave it open. But you can wrap your index finger around it if you need to. There’s a whole bunch of weird ass hand positions too.”
“I’ll go simple.” Elias slid his hand over Vito’s on the table before laying it down beside his.
“You’re driving me crazy,” Vito whispered, lips brushing the shell of Elias’s ear.
The man shivered. “Good.” He hit the cue ball, scattering the racked balls around the table. Elias slipped out from between Vito and the table, tapping the cue to Vito’s chest. “Your turn, Minetti.”
Vito smiled. This one, he liked.
Like a true gentleman, Vito let Elias win all but one game of pool. At last call, Vito dropped his hands to the green felt on either side of Elias, pinning him between himself and the pool table. Elias laid his hands on Vito’s chest, hazel eyes scanning Vito’s. “I’m sure you know how I usually end my nights, Payne.”
“I do. But I’m afraid I have to work in the morning,” Elias said.
Vito smiled. “So do I. Wasn’t planning to enjoy your company enough to be here until last call. But, hey… maybe I’ll see you again, huh?”
“Or you could give me your number instead of placing it on chance.”
Vito chuckled, skimming his tongue over his top row of teeth. “Sorry. I don’t do that.” He curled his fingers beneath Elias’s chin, tilting his head back ever so slightly. “I had fun last night and this morning.”
“Thank you for that,” Vito said. Elias nodded. Vito pressed a kiss to Elias’s cheek. He was a lot of things, but he was still a firm believer in consent being sexy, even for a kiss. “You need a ride or anything, Payne?”
“No. I have an Uber on standby. Do you?”
“Nope. Got my brother on standby.”
Elias laughed, gently shoving at Vito’s chest. “Hopefully I’ll see you again, Minetti.”
Vito stepped away, crossing his first and middle fingers on both hands. “Fingers totally crossed, babe.”
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