“Thanks.” Leo gave Murad a shy, pleased smile. A promise to try was the best he could hope for. That the other man was willing to even try was remarkable in itself. Leo had never inspired that kind of motivation in people - they usually expected him
to change. Then again, he had little experience of hanging out with people who would even be interested in expanding their horizons.
With the panic attacks, it certainly made sense that Murad wouldn’t find it enjoyable to be restrained. “I’d be kinda worried if you got too much enjoyment out of cuffing people,” he replied with a mischievous grin. “Wouldn’t do much to reaffirm my faith in the cops.” Leo nodded as the other man spoke - and then his eyes widened a little when he realised that he’d managed to make Murad blush. It probably wouldn’t do to ask which bit of what he’d said had elicited that particular reaction - but the smirk on his face was probably enough to say that he’d noticed it.
‘Be careful,’ Murad said - as if Leo hadn’t spent his whole life
being careful, as if he could ever forget that he socialised with dangerous people on a daily basis. But Leo was all too aware of the persona he presented to the world - hardly that of a typical Cartel member. “I’m always careful,” he replied, and reached out a hand to touch Murad’s. There was a small smile on his face. “Always. You don’t need to worry about me.” But I kind of like that you do,
he didn’t add. “I need to work out what to tell them. About...us.”
This was it, then. They were going to try. Leo felt...strange. How was he supposed to be somebody’s boyfriend
? How did it even work? But a small part of him felt that if anyone was worth trying for, it was Murad.
But the smile disappeared when Murad’s next statement pulled him up short. “You’re gonna tell your mom I’m in the Cartel?” he asked, frowning a little. “Dude - she’ll kill me. She’ll never speak to me again. She’d never be OK with us - being together.” Imagining Minu’s expression when she found out was enough to scare him, let alone imagining the lecture he was sure to get when she (inevitably, he felt) stormed over to his clinic to tell him what a bad person he was. How could Murad be smiling
about this? They would find him the next day, run over by her car.