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Title: Cowboy in Hiding
Fandom: Romani Detective Original Fiction
Pairing: Andrej Zeklos/James Rosewood/Zayne Reyes
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 2,607
Summary: While snooping in Andrej’s closet, James stumbles across something unexpected.
Author’s Note: Written for the weekend challenge at 1_million_words. My prompt was: The Case of Unused Shoes.

Shuffling boxes around on the shelf, he came across one he hadn’t remembered seeing before. Curious, James pulled it down, even though he wasn’t looking for a box, he was looking for a book, but that was another story. It looked like a shoebox, but was larger and taller than what a pair of sneakers might come in. Carrying the box out into the bedroom proper, James set it on the bed.

“Where’d you find a Tony Lama box in this house,” Zayne asked. He strolled into the bedroom and dropped his ass onto the bed beside the box.

“In Andy’s closet on the top shelf.” James sat on the other side of the box, looking at the cowboy.

“Seriously?” Zayne’s face lit up with glee or something like it. “Holy shit.”

“Wait,” James said, reaching across the box and grabbing Zayne’s arm. “What the hell is Tony Lama and why are you so excited?”

The Texan gave him an odd look. “How on earth do you not know what Tony Lamas are? Probably never heard of Lucchese either, you sad, sad ginger.”

Barely resisting the urge to punch Reyes in the mouth, James funneled his frustration into his curiosity. “No, I haven’t, cowboy. I repeat: what are Tony Lamas and whatever the hell else you mentioned? The second one sounds like a mafia boss.”

Zayne snorted. “Boots, baby.” He lifted his foot off the ground and shook it at the redhead before crossing it over his knee. “These are actually Tony Lamas,” he said, giving his foot another look. “Can’t afford fucking Lucchese.”

“Why not,” James asked. “They can’t possibly be that expensive.”

“These, no,” Zayne said, giving his foot another wiggle. “These were a couple hundred. Lucchese? The ones I want are close to fifteen hundred.”

“For boots?” James was stunned. “What the hell are they made of, shark?”

“Nah,” Zayne laughed. “Those are closer to three k. The ones I want are crocodile.”

“I – I don’t even know what to say to that,” James laughed. “And the ones on your feet are?”

“Cow,” Zayne said, lowering his foot back down to the floor. “Plain ol’ leather is all my budget allowed at the time.”

James slapped his hand onto the box between them. “So there are boots in this box?”

Zayne shrugged. “No clue,” he said. “As far as I know, Zek doesn’t own a pair of boots but he might have picked the box up somewhere and used it to store something else. Only one way to know for sure.”

Yeah, only one way to know, James thought. But did he want to invade Andy’s privacy like that?

“I’m not sure what’s going on in that head of yours, gingerbread, but whatever it is you’re debating, you were already snooping in his closet.”

Fucker had a point. “I had a legitimate reason to be in his closet,” James said.

“Really,” Zayne drawled. “And what was that?”

“I was looking for something,” he said, diverting his eyes to the top of the boot box.

“Uh-huh,” Zayne said, flicking James’ hand with a finger. “Something that he didn’t know you were looking for, right?”

“Maybe,” James sighed. “Is there a reason why you’re here? I mean, besides to torment me?”

“I heard you in here and thought you were Zek. He should have been home by now.”

“He texted about half an hour ago and said that he and Trish got hung up at the furniture store and that he was going to be a bit longer.”

“Why the hell didn’t you tell me that,” Zayne asked. “I was beginning to get worried.”

“I knocked but you didn’t answer,” James said, eyes returning to the box again. “You think he’d be mad if we looked?”

“If there’s just boots in here, no.”

Again, he had a point. “Okay, so should we?” It was a dumb question and he knew it, but James had to have proof that Zayne was with him on this before he dared.

“Oh for the love of god,” Zayne groaned. “Just open the damn box. He’ll get mad or he won’t, either way he’ll forgive us.” Reyes grabbed the box off the bed and settled it in his lap. He wiggled the lid off and tossed it behind them. Pushing the tissue paper to the side, Zayne peered into the box. “Huh.”

“Huh,” James repeated. “Huh, what? Are there boots in that box or the hearts of his enemies?”

“That’s rich coming from a redhead,” Zayne laughed. “He who has a freckle for every soul he’s stolen.”

“That’s not fucking funny,” he protested. There wasn’t anything James hated more than being teased for being a ginger. He’d gotten enough of that shit as a kid, he definitely didn’t need it now as an adult.

“God you have no sense of humor,” Zayne said. “Yes, there are boots in this box. Nice ones, too.”

James pushed the tissue to the side so he could get a better look. Reyes was right, they were nice boots. They were a sandy brown leather with a slightly vintage look to them, although it was obvious they’d never been worn. The uppers had a traditional cowboy look to them while the foot had a mock alligator pattern. As far as boots went, they were awfully pretty.

“I wonder what size they are,” Zayne said, grabbing one out of the box and turning it over in his hands. “Zek and I wear the same size shoe, but not sure if his boots would fit me or not. I kinda have fat feet, yanno.”

He couldn’t stop the grin that split his face. There wasn’t much on Zayne that could ever be called fat – his mouth, his cock, and now his feet. “I bet all the girls tell you so, too.”

“You are such an ass,” Zayne laughed.

“And you are a snoop,” Andrej said from the doorway. “I cannot leave you two alone, can I?”

Guilty, James looked up and met Andy’s gaze. “It’s my fault. I was in your closet looking for that book you were joking about last night and I stumbled across this box. It’s huge so I was curious.”

“He’s always curious about big things,” Zayne snickered.

Andrej shook his head, laughing. “I do not know about you sometimes, Zayne.”

“I’m beginning to feel the same way about you,” he said. Zayne held up a boot. “How did I not know you owned a pair of boots? And a better question is, why haven’t I ever seen you in them?”

“They were a gift,” he said, sitting on the bed next to Zayne. “A gag gift – is that what you call it? When the present is supposed to be a joke?” James nodded and Andrej continued. “When I first came to America, I made friends with a man from Oklahoma. When I decided I could not bear the cold of New York, he gave these to me as a parting gift.”

“How is that a gag gift,” James asked, dumping the box on the floor and moving closer to the cowboy.

“He knew about my love of old westerns,” Andrej said, looking slightly embarrassed at having to confess to it. “He told me to save them until I met my cowboy.”

Ah, no wonder he looked embarrassed. Andy’s cowboy was sitting right beside him. And he’d never worn the boots for Zayne? Well, of course he hadn’t, James chastised himself. Up until recently, Zayne hadn’t even known Andy liked him in that way.

“But we’ve known each other for ten years you asshole,” Zayne shouted. “Why the hell haven’t you worn them?”

Andy gave Zayne a look that said more than any of them wanted to admit. Mostly that he’d been in love with Zayne for far too long to even debate this point. It kind of hit James in the gut to acknowledge that Reyes had always been Andy’s first choice, even if Zeklos had dated him first. “I would think that was obvious, cowboy. He never had reason to wear them for you until all this happened.” Meaning their mess of a relationship.

Zayne rolled his eyes and looked at Andy. “Zek?”

He shrugged. “Jay is right, to a point. Wearing them for you when you were chasing after every female in sight seemed –” He made a face. “I do not know how to say it, but it did not feel right.”

“So, what about now,” James asked before Reyes could butt in and make a mess of this. “You more than have his attention now.”

“They do not match with my suits,” Andy said. “I do not have the clothes to wear with them.”

Which was complete and utter bullshit. Although he was reluctant to wear them, Andy did own a few pairs of blue jeans, particularly a pair Reyes had picked out for him a few years back. Those specifically hugged Andy’s ass like they were made for his body. “I know you have some jeans, Andy.”

“Yeah,” Zayne agreed. “One of them is even a pair of Wranglers.”

Those, obviously, were the ones Reyes had purchased. “That’s one thing down, what else are you missing?”

Andrej gave him a nasty look. “I do not have a…” He waved his hand over his chest.

“You don’t need some dumb, fake ass western shirt, baby,” Zayne said, rising to his feet. “Jeans and a t-shirt work just fine. But, if you want, I’ve got something that would look good on you.”

Without waiting for a response, Zayne disappeared from the bedroom and returned a few moments later with a grey and teal plaid button up. He held it out to Andrej and reluctantly, Andy took it from him. He ran the material between his fingers and to James it looked soft and well-worn.

“This is one of your favorites,” Andy said, frowning at Zayne.

“I know,” he said, returning to his place on the bed. “Hil bought it for my birthday one year. She said the colors would work with my swarthy good looks.” He grinned and elbowed Andy gently. “We’ve got about the same coloring so I figured it’d look good on you, too.”

Without a doubt, the shirt was going to be too big on Andy since he wasn’t half as broad across the chest as Reyes was. But the cowboy was right, it was a good color for Andy. He had a dress shirt in a similar teal that he often wore with a dark grey suit and tie. James loved that outfit because it made Andy’s already hauntingly blue eyes even brighter. “Humor us,” James said. “Go change and let us see how it looks all together.”

“I’ll even doll up the narco so he doesn’t look so damn out of place.”

James slapped Zayne upside the back of his head. “Be nice,” he said. “Besides, I’m already in jeans and a t-shirt. I don’t own a pair of boots.”

“We’ll have to remedy that now that Zek does,” Zayne said. He gave James’ outfit an appraising look and sighed. “I guess you’ll do for now.”

Andrej gave them both a weary look before taking the shirt and going into the bathroom. When he returned a few moments later, their straight-laced, nothing but business boyfriend had been replaced with something new and different. Exotic. James loved it when Andy wore jeans instead of his usual casual khakis, but this was a whole new level of sexy. Judging by the silence coming from beside him, Zayne thought so, too. He’d chosen the Wranglers Zayne had given him and tucked the shirt into those perfect jeans. Although James had been right in believing the shirt would be too large, it hung just loose enough to give the illusion of more underneath. Andy had even rolled the sleeves up to his elbows the way Zayne always did with his long sleeved shirts. He was the hottest thing James had seen all day.

“You,” Zayne said, swallowing hard. “You forgot the boots.”

Andrej smiled at Zayne, sweet and sassy wrapped in one. “I would never,” he said, sitting on the edge of the bed and holding a hand out.

Zayne handed him one boot and watched as Andy struggled to get it on. “This’ll get easier the more you wear them. They’re always a bitch the first couple times.”

From where James sat, the look Andy shot the cowboy said that he wasn’t thinking there’d be many more times, but he could have been wrong. Andrej struggled with the second boot and then, once it was on, he pulled his pant leg down over the tops and stood. Despite his obvious unease with the situation, he looked perfect.

“I could take you home looking like that,” Zayne said, likely referring to his hometown in Texas. “Just so long as you never open your mouth, no one would ever know you weren’t local.”

Looking down at himself, Andrej took it all in. “I do not think this suits me.”

“I think you’re wrong,” Zayne said, standing. He fidgeted with the collar of Andy’s shirt, unbuttoning the top button. Zayne smoothed his hands down Andy’s sides, over his ass and then nodded. “You look amazing.” He dug his phone out of his pocket and took a quick picture.

“You better not share that with anyone,” Andrej growled.

“I love it when he gets mean,” Zayne cackled. “But I promise, I’ll only share it with the narco.”

“Damn right you will,” James agreed. “But it won’t go any farther than us. Promise.”

“You want to go get something to eat,” Zayne asked, looking at James. “We could take him to that place we were talking about earlier.”

Andrej looked from one to the other. “I do not want to see anyone I know looking like this.”

“Why the hell not,” Zayne asked. “You look good, baby. And besides, I doubt anyone we know would be in this place.”

Andy turned his eyes onto James and the redhead nodded. “I agree with Reyes. It’s a new place and not the kind of thing most cops would go for.”

“Meaning it’s perfect for your weird ass, even dressed like this.”

“Okay, fine,” Andrej agreed. “What is this place?”

“A gay cowboy bar,” James laughed. “But not the skeevy kind,” he added hastily.

“Do I even want to know how you two found this place?”

James looked at Zayne before he answered for both of them. “No, just trust us.”

“I trust you,” Andrej said. “But I will not be gentle if you trick me.”

“Oooh, Mufasa,” Zayne said, giving a mock shiver. “Talk dirty to me baby.”

James barked out a laugh. “You might not want to piss him off while he’s wearing boots, cowboy. He kicks hard enough as it is.”

“Good point,” Zayne said. “Let’s go have an early dinner so we can come home and have an early bedtime.”

“First smart thing you’ve said since I’ve come home,” Andrej said, surprising them all.

Although Andrej was more than willing to do anything – and everything – they asked, he wasn’t one to initiate any of it. “I think we ought to take that as a hint and get the hell out of here,” James said. He held out his hand to Zayne who pulled him to his feet.

“Well, let’s get the hell out of here,” Zayne said. “Mosey your fine ass out to my truck. Both of you.”

“Yes, sir,” Andy said, deadpan, only stoking James’ banked flames hotter. “Whatever you say.”

Damn, but it was going to be an interesting lunch.

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