"I'm not really sure if this is such a good idea after all." Harvey Williams stared at his image in the mirror, his forehead furrowing a little more with each second that passed. "Actually, scratch that," he decided. "It's a terrible idea."
"It's a bloody great idea," his friend, Charlie, cut in firmly. "You look fantastic!"
Harvey ran his gaze up and down his reflection. "I look like a pillock."
Charlie was so busy rummaging around in the bag of tricks he'd brought home from the fancy dress shop, he didn't even bother to glance in Harvey's direction before he answered him. "Fine, if the definition of a pillock is a really hot, young stud who's going to have every dom in the club panting after him as soon as he steps through the door, I'll admit it--you look like a complete and utter pillock."
"And I'm moulting," Harvey grumbled half-heartedly. He brushed a fluffy white feather off his bare arm. It floated down and landed on one of the ridiculous white sandals Charlie had somehow convinced him to put on.
"No one will be looking at your wings, sweetheart." Charlie appeared behind Harvey in the mirror's reflection. "You're not going to be that kind of angel."
Harvey sighed. The fact that guys might prefer to stare at the skimpy little toga Charlie had nagged him into wasn't much comfort.
"Now, stay still so I can fix your halo in place," Charlie ordered.
"I've changed my mind," Harvey announced, with every scrap of conviction he could bundle together. He turned and tried to step past his friend. "I'm going to go home and--"
Charlie grabbed Harvey's arm and dragged him back to stand in front of the full-length mirror. For someone who'd never had any interest in being anything other than a pretty little twink, he had one hell of a grip.
"No! You can't let one bad date ruin your entire life."
Harvey was pretty sure he could. "It wasn't just bad," he began. "It was completely and utterly humiliating. I--"
"I'm not going to let you hibernate in this flat for another second." Charlie perched his hands on his hips and raised one perfectly made up eyebrow daring Harvey to even try to disagree.
"I can't go back there dressed like this!" Harvey waved a desperate hand at the angel costume, sending three more feathers floating gently down toward Charlie's bedroom carpet.
"We could swap, if you like?"
Harvey glanced at Charlie's roman slave costume--if a few scraps of leather and some shackles could be called a costume. "I, um..."
"Ha! That's what I thought," Charlie said. He turned Harvey back toward the mirror. "Now, stay still."
Harvey obediently permitted his best friend to fit a twinkling halo in place on top of his head. Silver glitter rained down over his hair, coating the light brown spikes with sparkles.
God, but he looked like an idiot. He was going to get laughed out of the club, be humiliated all over again, and...
"Fitz won't be there, will he?" Harvey blurted out.
"I don't think a charity fancy dress night is his kind of thing," Charlie said. "Even if it is being held in a leather club."
"You're sure?" Harvey pushed. "Because, I can't face him again, I..."
Harvey swallowed rapidly as his throat threatened to close up. His head swam. He had to put a hand on the dresser next to Charlie's mirror in order to stay on his feet. Harvey wasn't entirely certain of what the symptoms of a panic attack were, but he was pretty sure he was having one. Again.
"Ready?" Charlie asked, completely ignoring Harvey's previous question.
Charlie's smile didn't falter for a second. "Great! Let's go."
Harvey closed his eyes. "Charlie, I'm not sure I can..."
Charlie wrapped his hand around Harvey's upper arm, his very un-roman-slave-like gold nail-varnish catching the light. "Sorry, sugar. But it's time for some tough love. I'm taking you to the club tonight, if it kills me."
Harvey was halfway to the front door before he managed to pry open his eyes. He had the horrible suspicion that it wasn't Charlie that the visit to the club might slaughter.
Forget panic attacks. Harvey glanced heavenward and tried to remember what the symptoms of a heart attack were instead.