Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Twenty Thousand Roads Chapter Eight: Turn Off The Light

Container Stacks
Present Day

Okay, I’ll be the first to admit it.  As happy as I was for Branna, being around the lovebirds for an extended period was starting to wear on me.

Don’t get me wrong, they weren’t disgustingly demonstrative in front of me or anything like that, it was more the feeling of being invisible when you were sitting in a room with them. I felt like I could have stood up, stripped down naked and started reciting Hamlet’s soliloquy and they probably wouldn’t have even noticed.

And yes, I was a little jealous too, which sucked. I didn’t want to resent my best friend. And Ciaran was a really great guy, and he was remarkably good for her. As nauseating as it sounds, it was like he was made with her in mind, and vice versa.

So I tried to maintain some distance when they were around, which is what brought me to the cafe at Container Stacks, the comic book shop/arcade/cafe that Branna and I had haunted pretty much since it opened a year before.  I had interviewed Jasper Lochlan, the owner for the paper several months before and he had become friendly with us.

Branna was thoroughly convinced that Jasper had a crush on me, but I wasn’t sure.  He was considered a bit of a wunderkind, having started the business at the age of 22 and already having the business acumen to make it very successful.  We talked a lot about art and music, and he’d even come to see a couple of our gigs. He had mentioned to Branna at one point that he was gay, but hadn’t had the time to do much dating while he was getting the business off the ground.  She tried to get me to ask him out, but I just didn’t think I was on his radar screen that way.  We were kind of in different worlds.

I didn’t see him initially when I got into the place, but I figured he was probably busy, considering school was out and the place was full of kids causing general havoc.  I got an iced coffee from the cafe and sat down with my iPad, intending to catch up on Huffington Post.

“Fine Rick, don’t say hello.”

Jasper was standing over my table with a playful grin. Did I mention he was really attractive? Like, really attractive?

About 6’2, athletic build, sandy blond hair and light blue eyes. His hair was cut in such a way that left it a little shaggy, and a bit of it seemed to fall over his eyes, which he would occasionally move with an impatient shake of his head.  He could almost have been considered too pretty, but his general demeanor and friendliness made him seem not so untouchable.

“Sorry, man. I figured you would be busy playing headmaster of the world’s most high-tech daycare.” I quipped, gesturing around the place, which was crawling with teens and tweens of all shapes and sizes.

He shrugged. “That’s what I have a staff for. Besides as long as they spend some cash and don’t break shit, I’m alright with them being around.” He gestured towards the chair across from me. “Can I sit, or are you having special alone time?”

“No, by all means, sit.” He sat down across from me and smiled. “So, shall we talk Red Wedding?”

Jasper was a huge Game of Thrones fan, just like me and Sean. Like us, he’d read all the books multiple times and had even gone to the San Diego Comic-Con where the cast and creators were panelists. Of course, he got to write it off as a “business expense.”

“Profoundly disturbing, but really really hard to look away from. When Robb said ‘Mother..’ before Bolton drove the knife in, that was powerful.”

“Did Branna flip her shit?”

Branna, unlike us, had never read the books and had demanded that we not feed her spoilers. This made her finding out about the Red Wedding a revelation, to say the very least.

“If screeching like a banshee and calling us all fucking assholes for not warning her in spite of saying she didn’t want spoilers is flipping her shit, then yes.”

He laughed. “I love it. Sean was there too, I presume?”

“Yeah, and Ciaran, her new guy. He’s read all the books too.”

Jasper’s brow perked up, intrigued. “New guy? Do tell, Rick.”

“He’s from Ireland and he’s a teacher at the Academy. He’s actually pretty cool and they seem to be crazy about each other.”

“Is that why you’re alone here today? I mean, not that I’m complaining.”

It's getting so lonely inside this bed
Don't know if I should lick my wounds or say woe is me instead
And there's an aching inside my head
It's telling me I'm better off alone
But after midnight morning will come
And the day will see if you will get some

I felt a flush of heat shoot through me. He was happy I was alone? Had Branna been right?

Couldn’t be. He probably just wanted to have some nerd talk. “Yeah. I mean, she’s not blowing me off or anything like that, it’s just that I get tired of feeling like a third wheel when they’re at the apartment together.”

Jasper sat back in his chair, cupping his chin in his hand thoughtfully. “I have a hard time believing you don’t have guys coming on to you all the time.”

That was most decidedly not nerd talk...

“I do have some,” I admitted, “but the guys that do are usually just wanting casual sex, which is fine, but not what I’m in the market for anymore. In college it was great, now it’s just tiresome. And the ones that are wanting more end up not being my type,” I finished, picking up my iced coffee and taking a sip.

He smiled then, as if something amusing has popped into his mind. “So what IS your type, Rick?”

I almost choked on my coffee. Was he flirting with me? For the first time in ages I was struck dumb. I usually had a bit more swagger when guys flirted with me, but Jasper made me as nervous as a twelve year old meeting One Direction.

“Um...well, I don’t really think I’m all that demanding,” I finally managed to stutter out, “good sense of humor, compassion, intellect, nice ass. You know, your basics.”

Letting out a chuckle, he leaned back in his chair crossing his hands behind his head.  “That’s not too much to ask, Rick. And who knows, it might be more available to you than you think.”

Holy hell...that was a flirt. Yep.

For a second I didn’t know how to reply.  Jasper had been so off my radar as someone to potentially date I was trying to reconcile myself with the fact that this gorgeous, intelligent, warm and funny creature really WAS interested in me.

Unfortunately, any attempt to reciprocate on my part was interrupted by one of his employees popping their heads into the cafe. “Jasper, the Death Ray Megazord Hellfire game is malfunctioning again, like, big time. There may be a revolt if we don’t fix it.”

He sighed and got up from the table. “I’m sorry. I have to take care of this, Rick. But I’d like to talk more if you want.”  I stood up as well, realizing that I needed to do something before he walked away from me and I lost my nerve. “Hey, I have to go to this gallery showing tonight...would, would you be interested in joining me? I mean, it’s just art stuff, but there’s an open bar, so...”

“What time does it start?” he asked me.  Butterflies started to kick up in my stomach. Gallery showings are usually a drag to anyone not in the art world so the fact that he was entertaining the notion made me think there really might be something to this.  “Um, 7:30 at the Waterman Gallery. You know where it is?”

“I do. Can I meet you there at 7:30?”

I had to will myself to keep my hands from shaking. “Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I’ll be in the foyer.”

He took a step closer to me and tilted his head, his full lips rising in a sweet smile that made my stomach flip. “I’ll see you at 7:30 then.”  His hand brushed mine as he walked away towards the arcade.

Weakly, I flopped back down in my chair and picked up my iced coffee, drinking it as fast as I could. It had suddenly gotten very hot in there...

They say that girl ya know she act too tough tough tough
Well it's till' I turn off the light, turn off the light
They say that girl you know she act so rough rough rough
Well it's till' I turn off the light, turn off the light
And I say follow me follow me follow me down down down down
till' you see all my dreams
Not everything in this magical world is quite what it seems

When I got home I pretty much collapsed in a mixture of excitement and sheer terror. After Branna had the privilege of doing her patented “I told you so” dance, she fixed me a gin and tonic and picked out something for me to wear. It was quite the role reversal.

Jasper walked into the gallery five minutes late. By that point I had pretty much worked myself into a nervous frenzy of pacing back and forth and contemplating raiding the open bar.  He looked around for a second and then spotted me. That gorgeous smile lit up his face and he walked over to me with the ease of a runway model.  “Hey, Rick. Sorry I’m late. Had some last minute work issues and then had to go home to change.”

The buildup of nerves spilled out in a stream of babble that I couldn’t seem to control. “That’s okay, man. Shit happens. I wasn’t thinking you’d bail or anything. If you don’t mind my saying, you look really good. Was that coming on too strong? I just thought I should be honest in saying that you look good you know, I wouldn’t want you to think that...”

He looked amused. “Rick, chill. I would never have bailed on you. And I have no problems being told I look good to you. In fact, I’ll go ahead and say the same about you.”

The nervous energy seemed to dissipate in that moment as we stood and smiled at one another for a minute. “So, show me around the place?” Jasper asked, breaking the spell a little.

I took him around the gallery, showing him some of the newer works of the artists that were being featured. People came up to me a lot, doing the usual artist schmooze that I’ve always found so incredibly insincere, the air kissing and sucking up.  Still, I had to play into it at least somewhat to continue to get work. Jasper was patient with it all though.

“I’m really sorry about all that...” I said as we walked across the polished stone floors.

He shrugged. “Nothing to be sorry for, Rick. No matter what the line of work, there’s always asses waiting to be kissed. You do what you have to. Besides, you do other stuff that seems to keep you grounded.”

“I’m glad you think so. Branna would kill me if I ever got pretentious.” We reached a painting and stood in front of it. “This is actually one of mine. I did it about three years ago. I wasn’t even going to show it to them, but I put it in my portfolio at the last minute and they asked to show it.”

Jasper studied it. “I really like it, actually. I mean, I don’t know much about actual composition and all that, but the colors work well together. At least, to my unsophisticated eye. Is it for sale?”

“It was, but apparently someone bought it this afternoon. They didn’t tell me who.”

At that moment something caught Jasper’s eye and he shook his head like he was trying to clear it out. “Is that what I think it is?”

What it was was a urinal, mounted proudly on the gallery wall. It was the gallery owner’s homage to being “edgy.”  What it did was make most of us roll our eyes in derision, as Jasper was doing right at that moment. “Rick, how the hell is this considered art? A urinal? Really? I mean, I consider myself as open-minded as they come but I really don’t think a place where you piss is meant to be revered as art. Hell, it’s not like it’s even decorated or anything! Put a damn wreath on it if you’re gonna call it art.”

“Honestly, I couldn’t agree more,” I told him. “I’ve seen art done in a lot of different mediums, but stuff like this always makes me shake my head. I mean, there’s the avant-garde and then there’s just the fucking ridiculous.” 

We went over to the window area and looked down at the people milling about, drinking and doing the schmooze.  “So, how do you deal with that kind of thing?” Jasper asked. “Like, you’re a truly talented artist. How do you feel when shit like that is put up alongside stuff that you put a lot of work into and considered art by some?”

I shook my head and looked down at the gallery owner air-kissing some D-List reality star. “My advisor in college told me something about the art gallery world that I always kept with me. He said, ‘They’re merchants and speculators at best, parasites and whoremongers at worst. Never let them be the final judge.’ I try to keep that in mind when this scene gets overly pretentious, lest I start glue-gunning fringe to old Roman vomitoriums.”  He laughed at that, a real laugh, not a phony giggle.  He was so gorgeous.

“Anyway,” he said, wiping tears of laughter from his eyes, “You want to get out of here? We can go back to my place and have a drink if you want.” I must have looked surprised, because he quickly added, “No expectations, honest. I just have a really nice balcony area and it’s a nice night out, so...”

I beat back the butterflies yet again. “Sounds good. Lead the way.”

I looked above the other day
Cuz I think I'm good and ready for a change
I live my life by the moon
If it's high play it low, if it's harvest go slow and if it's full, then go
But after midnight morning will come
And the day will see if you're gonna get some

His apartment was in a high rise similar to the one I lived in, the only difference being the gigantic balcony he had, complete with bar, fire pit, and lounge chairs. It was pretty swank. I guessed the business was being good to him.

“Sorry that gin and tonic is all I can offer. I don’t keep much liquor around.” He handed me a glass and took one of his own.

“Not a big drinker?”

“Not particularly. One of my dads has a pretty bad drug and alcohol problem so anything outside of the occasional social drink doesn’t appeal to me.”

You know that sound that they play on sitcoms, the sound of the needle scraping across the record? I heard that sound in my head.

“Wait, you have two fathers?” He nodded matter-of-factly. “Uh huh. Well, technically Dusty is my biological father, but yeah.”

I was more than a little intrigued. “So, how did know...”

“Come into being?”

“Well I was thinking of a polite way to say it...”


He took a sip of his drink. “The wonders of science. Donor eggs, a mixture of both dads...material, my Aunt Regan was the surrogate, and the three of us resulted.”

I nearly choked on the drink I was taking. “THREE of you?” Another nod. “Yep. Multiples aren’t uncommon in these scenarios, so I’m a triplet. I have a sister named Lyla and a brother named Simon.  I have three other siblings in addition to them.”  “You must have kept your dads busy then.” A rueful chuckle. “We were pretty much raised exclusively by Dusty and my Aunt Regan. She lives in Bridgeport now. It's part of why I moved here. And like I said, Desmond has a lot of issues, so my dad kept him away from us when we were younger. By the time he was back living with Dusty full time, we didn’t really identify with him as a father anyway. Wanna sit down?” He gestured towards a set of loungers, so we took our drinks and sat, looking out at the sky. It was a beautiful midnight blue, interspersed with streaks of purple.

We watched the sky for a while, and then Jasper spoke again. “Don’t get me wrong, I love Desi, I really do. Even though he wasn’t a father in the traditional sense, we became closer to him the older we got.  I think once we stopped being demanding little kids, he could relate to us better.  And he loves my dad.”

“It sounds like he’s put Dusty through a lot,” I said a bit hesitantly. “Oh no doubt. He still does sometimes. But...I don’t know. In spite of all of that, they’re made for each other.  Both of them say a lot that they don’t know how they could live without the other. So...I really can’t judge. For the most part, he does make my dad happy."

“So it was probably easy to come out in your household, huh?” I inquired. “It was, but they warned me I’d probably catch a lot of shit from closed-minded people. But yeah, they were very supportive.”  I bit my lip and looked away. I didn’t resent him for having had it easier, but I won’t deny that it brought back a shot of bad memories, that night in my parents’ house, my dad’s booming voice punting me out, my mother standing by while he did it, trying to explain to Tasha...

Jasper reached over and put his hand on mine. “Rick, are you okay?” he asked, his voice filled with genuine concern. I shook my head a little and took another drink. “Yeah, I’m okay. Suffice it to say my experience wasn’t as supportive as yours. When I came out at sixteen, my father kicked me out and my mother stood by and cried, but didn’t help me.  If Branna’s family hadn’t taken me in, I don’t really know what I would have done.”  He squeezed my hand tightly. “Jesus Rick, I’m sorry.”

“It’s alright, man. But yeah, its why Branna and I are so close. I mean we’ve basically lived as a non-sexual husband and wife for the past decade. And really, she and her family are why I could accept myself. And I know I’m not the only gay man who’s had to deal with their family rejecting them.”

“Let’s move over there, we can see the stars better that way. I need to brush up on my constellation spotting,” he said, obviously looking to change the subject. I couldn’t blame him.

We settled on the ground and leaned back. The sky was studded with a blanket of stars, but I was damned if I could make out any kind of specific pattern. “Jas, are you spotting any of your constellations?”  He bit back a laugh. “I can’t see a goddamned one. But still, it’s pretty awesome to look at, huh?”

“That it is.” His hand slid effortlessly over mine again. “Do you ever talk to them?” he asked.

So much for changing the subject.

“My mother and sister, yes. But I haven’t spoken to my father since the night he threw me out. If he can’t accept me for what I am, I don’t have any use for him.” He stroked the top of my hand with his thumb, making the hair on my arms stand up. “That sounds really final.” I shrugged.

“Not like he’s given me much choice in the matter.  When his mother died she left almost all her money to my sister and I. Apparently he was so livid he started making noise about contesting her will until my mother threatened to divorce him. He doesn’t want to make amends, he just wants to be the one pulling the strings.” I spoke with what I hoped was a tone of finality. I wanted to enjoy my time with him, not have to explain my lack of relationship with my father.

I'm searching for things that I just cannot see
Why don't you don't you don't you come and be with me
I pretend to be cool with me, want to believe
That I can do it on my own without my heart on my sleeve
I'm running, I'm running, catch up with me life
Where is the love that I'm looking to find
It's all in me, can't you see, why can't you, why can't you see it's all in me

Thankfully, he took the hint.

“So,” he said, playfully nudging my side, “How come it took you so long to ask me out, Rick?”

I raised my eyebrows at him in surprise. “I didn’t even know you were interested!"

“Oh come on, I did everything but sit on your lap every time you guys came into the place! Branna knew I was into you. Didn’t she tell you?”

“Well, yeah...”

“And you didn’t believe her?”

“It just...didn’t occur to me. I’ve never met any of the guys I dated at a place like yours.”

“I’m sorry my arcade isn’t more of a gay cruising spot, Rick. Should I add on a glory hole room?” he asked, a look of mock seriousness on his face.

I slapped his shoulder. “Fuck off.”

His light blue eyes locked onto mine then, and there was a certain intensity to his gaze that made my stomach turn a particularly spirited flip. He bit his lip, which only lent to how sexy he looked at that moment.  “I think there’s something else I’d rather do,” he said softly.

He leaned back so I was holding him, cradling his head in my hand.  “This is the point in time where you kiss me, Rick.”

A bit shakily, I leaned down and gently touched my lips to his.  The kiss started soft, but gradually we opened our mouths to take in each others tongues and my grip on his head tightened a little. The heat flushed through my body again, heightening all my senses even more than they normally were.

Our tongues danced and dueled for ages until we both had to stop for air. “Damn, Rick,” he whispered, “Do you...”

I quieted him with a finger over his lips. “Yeah, I feel it too.”

It felt natural, real. It felt like...home.

Where is your logic
Who do you need
Where can you turn in your delicate time of need
Follow me down, follow me down down down,
I do not need I do not need nobody
Where is your logic
Who do you need
Where can you turn in your delicate time of need

Song: "Turn Off The Light" by Nelly Furtado

Kudos to the glorious Miranda for the use of the gorgeous Jasper Lochlan! 

And thank you to everyone for being so patient with me. The start of summer brought a bunch of problems with constant sinus headaches that were making life pretty miserable. I've hit on some good meds and it seems under control now, so expect timely updates from now on!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Chapter Two: Magic Power

Present Day

Something's at the edge of your mind
and you're not sure what it is
Something you were hoping to find
You're not sure what it is...

Branna smiled as she walked into the living room and looked around. The apartment she shared with Ricky and Sean was open-concept, which meant they had ample room to set up a music area.  It quickly became her respite; a soothing balm for her occasional sadness and jangled moods.

She approached Candygirl, her guitar. "Hello, gorgeous."

Pulling the strap overhead,she picked a Nick Drake tune to play, and as the notes began to pour out of the instrument, her eyes closed and a cloak of calm began to envelop her, as it had since she was young.

Then you hear the music
And it all comes crystal clear
The music does the talkin'
Says the things you want to hear

It started with her eldest brother Brendan.  He would play his guitar for hours on end, sometimes until his fingers bled.  Even as a grown adult, her brother's hands bore the callused texture of someone who let them take a lot of abuse.

When he was in high school, one of them broke open while he played and he told his little sister to pour Krazy Glue into the wound, and tape it for him. Wide-eyed with shock, Branna obeyed.  Imagine her awe when he shook his hand out a bit, shrugged, and began practicing the chord progression on "Freebird" again.

I'm young, I'm wild
And I'm free
I got the magic power
Of the music in me...

Branna and Sean were a more than willing captive audience when they were younger. Their sister Sinead not so much, preferring to spend most of her free hours with her easel. Just to watch the bliss on her brother's face and the concentration as his fingers plucked out melody after melody.
In Branna's little world, nothing made a greater impression.

She climbs into bed, she pulls the covers overhead
And she turns her little radio on
She's had a rotten day, so she hopes the deejay's
Gonna play her favorite song 


 On her eleventh birthday, Branna's parents gifted her with a karaoke machine. It was half meant in jest, as they never thought it would be used for anything more than family parties and other occasions that called for a raucous group sing-off.

Imagine their surprise when they found out their young daughter not only could sing, but possessed a vocal talent that actually stopped people in their tracks when they heard her. It was not a typical "little girl" kind of voice. Reminiscent of  Sinead O'Connor to some, Dusty Springfield to others, it was a touch bluesy at times and clear as a bell. 

Makes her feel much better
Brings her closer to her dreams
A little magic power
Makes it better than it seems   

Sometimes when she was alone in the room she shared with her older sister she would put on her iPod and let the sounds of all the bands Brendan had taught her about wash over her, from Annie Lennox to Led Zeppelin to Nirvana, and look out at the tall buildings of Bridgeport, dreaming of the day she'd make that city her own.

She's young now, she's wild now
She wants to be free
She gets the magic power
Of the music from me...

As she grew into her teen years, the dreams began to take real shape. Not content to just join the church choir, Branna also performed in various vocal groups in Bridgeport as well as school musical production.  It was at Bridgeport East High school that she met another young prodigy named Richard Hades.

His family had moved to Bridgeport from Sunset Valley and Branna knew immediately he was a kindred spirit. Also blessed with tremendous vocal gifts and a talented pianist, Ricky became her most frequent collaborator and duet partner.  Their ultimate high school triumph was starring as Marius and Eponine in "Les Miserables."  The fact that it was not a sophisticated production in terms of costumes or sets was irrelevant because of the strength of the performers, of which Ricky and Branna were the backbone.

They were pretty much bonded for life after that.

Brendan got her a guitar the Christmas of her sixteenth year, a pink leopard acoustic she dubbed Candygirl.  Her brother immediately set to teaching her everything she had watched him do for so many years.

She absorbed everything she taught him like a sponge and if anything, was better than he was at her age. She was one of the rare individuals that could play a song back after hearing it once. He encouraged her to listen to great guitarists like Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Zakk Wylde, Slash, Stevie Ray Vaughn and John Frusciante for inspiration.

Brendan had long since abandoned his rock star dreams in order to follow their father's footsteps into law enforcement, but he encouraged his little sister to stick with it. "You and Ricky, you're gifted, more than I ever was," he'd told her.  "Start a band, go do musical theater, whatever. You guys have something amazing to share, don't let anyone tell you otherwise."

"So why are you becoming a cop like Daddy? Isn't this what you wanted to do?" she asked him.  "Well yeah, of course. I think most teenage boys want to be rock stars. And I'm a decent guitarist, but not a gifted one. You are. Combine that with your pipes, well, it would be fucking criminal of you not to make it your life."

His words resonated. They always did.   

If you're thinkin' it over
And you just can't sort it out
Do you want someone to tell you
What they think it's all about?

They jammed their way through high school...

And through university.  It was after college that they moved into the heart of Bridgeport.

Ricky's art career kicked into high gear after that, and he was busy with all the preening and posturing he had to do in order to sell his work. He hated that aspect of the art world, so his music became a much needed respite.

He and Branna formed a cover band called Under The Radar with Sean on bass and a local boy named Ethan Stark on drums.  They played bars and clubs, and developed a sizable following, especially after doing a cover of Prince's "Let's Go Crazy" that pretty much blew the roof off of Eugi's one night.

Ricky was a highly flamboyant performer, harkening a bit to Freddie Mercury, while Branna was more soulful and intense.  They complimented each other on stage in a way their audiences loved.

Are you the one and only, who's sad and lonely
You're reaching for the top
Well the music keeps you goin'
And it's never gonna stop...
The world is full of compromise
The infinite red tape
But the music's got the magic
It's your one chance for escape
Turn me on, and turn me up
It's your turn to dream
A little magic power makes it better than it seems...     

For better or for worse, Branna had taken her brother's advice and made the music her life.

I'm young now, I'm wild now
I want to be free
I got the magic power
Of the music in me...

Song: "Magic Power" by Triumph



Thursday, June 6, 2013

Twenty Thousand Roads Chapter Seven: Come On Get Higher

Note: This chapter contains graphic sexual content. 

Present Day 


"Okay, it's official. I hate Daisy Buchanan." I declared as Ciaran and I leaned against the bar with our drinks.  We had just gotten there after going to see "The Great Gatsby," and I was still steaming mad.  "Ridiculous vapid bitch."

Ciaran grinned. "You don't need to be so cryptic, angel." 

"I'm serious! She let him take the blame! She's why he's dead!" 

"Well in the strictest definition, he's dead because he got shot, but I see your point," he replied, reaching over and rubbing the small of my back.  I leaned into his touch, feeling like I couldn't get enough.

It had been two weeks since our first date. We had seen each other several times since then, but they had been shorter because Ciaran was wrapping up the school year and had to prepare final exams and grade papers before he was off for the summer.  It was probably just as well, considering we almost fucked like drunk bunnies that first night until Ciaran had put on the brakes. 

It confused me at the time, because it was apparent that we were both in the same frame of mind in terms of being physically attracted to one another, but the more I thought about it, the more I appreciated his consideration. It did make me feel special.  

This night, however, was different. He had finished the school year that afternoon and was off for the summer break. We weren't on a tight schedule, so even though neither one of us had said it out loud, chances were this was going to be the night.

"At the risk of sounding altogether too eager, I should tell you that Finn won't be coming home tonight."  I smiled and wound my arms around his neck. "And where will he be?" His hands clasped my waist as he pressed his body against mine. "One of his myriad paramours is in town so he's meeting her at her hotel." 

"You mean booty calls, don't you?"

"Technically, but he prefers 'paramour,' and I let him call it whatever he wants." He kissed the tip of my nose. "But basically it means that if you'd like to come back to my flat, we'd be alone. Not that I'm making any presumptions."

I pressed my pelvic area against his for a quick second before leaning in and subtly licking his earlobe. His grip tightened on my waist and he sucked in his breath. He had sensitive ears, I learned that our first date. "You can presume whatever you like, it's all likely to happen anyway," I purred, giving him a wink.


Ciaran and I sprang apart as I saw my ex Bronson watching us. He had broken up with me about a week before Ciaran and I met, citing that continuing our relationship was pointless because he knew I'd never feel about him the way he did about me.  He'd been right about that, but at the time, my ego smarted.  

Ciaran looked from Bronson to me and said quietly, "An ex?" I nodded. "Yeah. He ended things right before I met you. He's a good guy, though. I'll introduce you."

"Bronson!" I said as he gave me a quick hug. "How are you?"  "Not bad, just meeting some people but I think I'm a little early. You look fantastic, seriously," he said, looking at me with his natural puppy-dog eyes. "I think something, or more precisely someone, agrees with you."  

I chuckled at how well he knew me. "Come meet him."

I don't know why I was initially nervous introducing them. Ciaran was very friendly and Bronson could usually pry conversation out of the most taciturn of people, probably because he was a social worker, he had to make a living talking to people from all walks of life.  They got along fine, and we were all having a good time talking when the bar owner approached me and asked if he could talk about setting up a gig for the band.  

"You guys gonna be okay for a few?" I asked before going to the owner's office.

"Go ahead, angel. We're fine." Ciaran replied, trailing a finger down my cheek. 


Branna had briefly mentioned having dated someone shortly before meeting me, but she never really went into detail and I didn't pry.  Now here he was. He was pretty much the polar opposite of me appearance-wise, the only commonality we had was long hair. 

We stood awkwardly for a minute, then I cleared my throat. "So, how long did you guys date, if you don't mind my asking?"

"A couple of months. I met her after one of their gigs here. She kind of hypnotized me on stage."

I had to chuckle. The same thing had happened to me the first time I saw her play. "Yeah, she does have that capability. I guess it's just seeing the passion she has for the music. Um...look, why did things end? She never really said other than it didn't work out and I didn't want to push her."

Bronson studied me for a moment, obviously trying to see if he was walking into some kind of a trap. Finally, he spoke. "I broke up with her. I liked her a lot, but I knew she didn't feel the same way about me. I mean, don't get me wrong, she never led me on or anything. I guess she was just trying to convince herself that she could like me that way? But I knew better."

"I know this will probably make me sound like a complete creeper, but I was watching you guys when I came in," he continued. "And I will tell you one thing: she never once looked at me like she was looking at you. So, I don't really know you or your 'intentions'," he said, making quote fingers, "but if you're looking for something with her, she's probably receptive to it."  I tilted my head at him somewhat dubiously. "You caught all that from watching us interact for a few seconds?"

He shrugged. "Reading people's non-verbal cues is part of my job. And like I said, I tried for almost three months to get Branna to look at me like she was at you. So, all I can say is you're a lucky man. She's pretty incredible."

"Well, I'd say that's something we can both agree on, Bronson."

Branna came back up to us at that point. "Did I miss anything important?" she asked, looking at both of us a little nervously.


Then I don't really know what came over me, but I put my arm over her shoulder and pulled her close to me. I don't usually act possessive like that. "Just talking about a beautiful woman we know."  

"Good things, I hope."

"Naturally," Bronson replied. He looked towards the door. "Oh, my friends are here." He leaned over and gave Branna a chaste peck on the cheek. "Branna, it was good to see you, and nice to meet you, Ciaran." 

 "Likewise," I told him.  He went over to meet his friends and I turned to Branna. "Would you like to get out of here, angel?" 

"I thought you'd never ask," she said with a knowing grin. 


Initially, I was scared shitless when the bar owner asked to speak to me. I had no idea what I would come back to. I mean granted, Bronson and I hadn't parted on bad terms, but still. Maybe he'd let resentment build? I didn't know.

But my worries were for nothing. Ciaran was even more affectionate when I rejoined them, like he'd been told something that gave him reassurance. 

The apartment he shared with Finn was a fair bit smaller than the one I had with Ricky and Sean, but it was beautiful nonetheless, and it had a fireplace, something I loved from my childhood home. I immediately ran to one of the huge windows to look out at the lights. "This view is incredible!"

Ciaran stood behind me grinning. "You act like you've never seen a city view before. The one from your place is even better than this one" I turned and stuck my tongue out at him. "I like different perspectives, okay? It's my right."

He walked up to me confidently at that point and turned me around. "I think I'm enjoying the view in here even more," he said softly, his lips crashing into mine.  I opened my mouth to accept his tongue, feeling jolts of sexual electricity starting to surge through my body and the wetness building between my legs.  God, what he did to me from just one single kiss. "Shall we move this to the sofa?" he asked, his tongue dragging along my bottom lip. I nodded, breathless. 

I miss the sound of your voice
And I miss the rush of your skin
And I miss the still of the silence
As you breathe out and I breathe in

If I could walk on water
If I could tell you what's next
I'd make you believe
I'd make you forget

I waited on the sofa while Ciaran lit the fireplace and turned down the lights. "I know it's summer, but I like the lighting that a fireplace provides," Ciaran said, sitting next to me and sliding an arm around my shoulder. "It's cool, I grew up with a fireplace. They make me happy."

"You make me happy," he whispered, leaning in to kiss me. He sucked my bottom lip gently into his mouth and explored it with his tongue. I opened my mouth wider to take his tongue in and it seemed our tongues dueled with one another, sweeping inside each others mouths. Mine gently brushed over his fangs and the slight pain at their sharpness made me get even wetter. 

He drew his hand over my stomach and pulled me closer, pinning me to his body. I rolled over until I was on top of him, my legs between his.

So come on, get higher, loosen my lips
Faith and desire and the swing of your hips
Just pull me down hard
And drown me in love

Our pelvises ground together as his hand came around to cup my ass. He squeezed hard, and I gasped into his mouth. "Ciaran," I moaned, rubbing myself against his growing erection, "Please let it be tonight. I want you so bad."

His response was to reach up my skirt and quickly pull off my rapidly getting soaked panties. Kissing me all the while, he slipped a finger inside me and I nearly shattered in a million pieces right there. He massaged my swollen clit for a moment and then pulled his finger out, glistening with my wetness.

"Yeah, I'd have to say you do. It's more than mutual, by the way."  With a growl, I yanked his shirt over his head. He did the same with mine and we seemed almost possessed with a savage need as our clothes went flying all over the room, our lips almost never parting the entire time.  I ran my hands over his bare chest and realized that his tattoo, which I'd only seen glimpses of, actually went down his entire left side and ended a little above his knee.

When we were both completely naked, he pulled away for a second. "We can go into my bedroom if you want, angel," he said, weaving his fingers through my hair.  I was so wet, so ready for him, that I really didn't think I'd even be able to walk the ten feet to his bedroom.

Instead, I slid off the sofa and lay down on the rug in front of the fireplace. I stretched out seductively, making sure he could get a good view of all of me.  "Do you approve, Mr. Farrell?"

He knelt down next to me. His hard cock stuck out straight in front of him, and it was more than impressive to look at.

"I more than approve," he said softly. "You are so incredibly beautiful. Your skin, under this really do look like an angel." His hands reached for me and I pulled him down onto my body, wanting nothing more than him.

I miss the sound of your voice
Loudest thing in my head
And I ache to remember
All the violent, sweet
Perfect words that you said

If I could walk on water
If I could tell you what's next
I'd make you believe
I'd make you forget


She was flawless. Completely and utterly without a flaw. Her body was toned but still curvy, the pale white skin glowing under the firelight.  Her breasts were the perfect size and they jutted out perfectly from her chest, her nipples hardening under my gaze.  I leaned forward and kissed her neck, letting my lips and tongue glide over the silky skin as I licked and nibbled her neck and jawline, first softly, then harder as I began to hear her respond with moans and sighs.

I moved down further, my hands curving around her breasts as I teased her nipples with my tongue, first the left, then the right.  She moaned and threw her head back. "Jesus fuck Ciaran, that feels incredible. Bite them." I looked up at her. "Bite them?"  She laughed. "Not hard, I'm not a masochist. Just a little bit. I'll tell you if it's too much." I got what she meant and gently took her left nipple between my front teeth and applied a light pressure, pulling slightly. "That's it," she sighed, as I pinched and rolled her other nipple between my thumb and forefinger. "Oh fuck, that's getting me so wet, baby." 

I looked down and saw the wetness starting to seep out of her. Playing with her beautiful breasts was well and good, but once I saw that I knew I had to taste her. 
Grabbing her around the waist, I lifted her over to the chair next to the fireplace and gently spread her legs, draping each one over the arms of the chair.

She let out a yelp followed by a deep moan as my tongue brushed over her hardened clit, running her hand through my hair.  "Oh my God, oh my God," was all she seemed to be able to say as my tongue moved over her soft folds in an increasing frenzy, eagerly lapping up her juices as fast as they ran out of her.  She tasted as sweet as I thought she would.

Gently, I slid my index finger inside her as I licked her clit. She responded by squeezing her muscles down around me hard, bucking her hips against my mouth as I thrust the finger in and out of her. I drew my tongue in gentle circles around her clit and then sucked it hard between my lips as I slipped my middle finger inside her as well. 

She gasped and jerked her hips upwards.  I pulled them back down so I could finish what I started. With the two fingers I had inside her, I felt around until I found the sweet spot I was looking for and pressed down on it, rubbing it firmly as I continued to lick and suck on her clit. 

  "Oh fuck, oh fuck...what are you doing to me..." she moaned as I kept up the pressure with my fingers and mouth.  Her hands gripped the arms of the chair and I could feel her muscles squeezing down on my fingers harder and faster and I knew she was getting close to a climax.  

Suddenly her body went rigid and she screamed, "I'm coming, oh fuck, I'm coming," followed by a loud keening wail as her hips thrashed back and forth as if they had a life of their own.  It was, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the most erotic thing I'd ever seen. 

I let her come down gradually, lightening the pressure of my lips and tongue until she gently pushed my head away.  Her head lolled back on the chair as she tried to catch her breath. "Jesus Christ, what the hell was that?" I lifted my head but continued to caress her thighs. "I take it no one has ever found your G-spot before?"

She smiled and ran a finger over my lips. "I don't know that anyone has ever thought to look." I kissed her fingertips. "Pity. That was quite a sight."

So come on, get higher, loosen my lips
Faith and desire and the swing of your hips
Just pull me down hard
And drown me in love

That was an understatement. Watching her had gotten me so excited I wasn't sure I could last much longer, but that didn't stop Branna as she stood from the chair, pulled me up and pushed me over onto the sofa, kneeling between my legs. "What's that phrase? One good turn deserves another?" she purred.  She wrapped her hand around my shaft and and slid it down to the base. She ran her tongue from her hand all the way up my length and then took just the head into her mouth, sucking gently as she ran her tongue in circles around the tip.

I moaned. "Oh fuck, Branna, oh fuck..."  I fisted her hair in my hand as she moved her head rhythmically up and down my full length, stopping occasionally to swirl her tongue around the head as her hand continued to move up and down.  She reached down with her other hand and gently cupped my balls as she licked and sucked me. 

"Branna you keep that up I'm not sure I can last much longer," I said breathlessly. She pulled her head back and released suction with a gentle pop as she continued to squeeze me rhythmically with her hand. "What, you can only get it up once a night? I strongly doubt that."

She had me there. "Good point. Carry on, then."  She smirked and ran her tongue around the head before sucking my shaft back into her mouth again.  I moaned as she kept it up harder and faster, pulling my cock out of her mouth occasionally to lick and nibble the head. 

I knew I was getting closer and closer to coming, and I grabbed her head and gently guided it up and down. She wrapped one hand around the base of my cock so I didn't gag her.  "I'm getting can stop if you don't want to..." She raised her beautiful blue eyes to me and winked, indicating it was okay.

"Angel, I...I...oh FUCK!!!!!!" I yelled as I exploded in her mouth. She kept her lips moving as she took everything I gave her until I finally fell back, completely spent. 

I miss the pull of your heart
I taste the sparks on your tongue
I see angels and devils
And God, when you come on
Hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on

When I could finally think coherently, I wove my fingers through her hair and cradled her head against my chest. I kissed the top of her head as I spoke. "That was amazing...just..incredible." She chuckled. "At a loss for superlatives?" she asked playfully. "Pretty much," I replied, inhaling the orange blossom scent of her hair. 

We stayed that way for what seemed like ages, until our gentle kisses once again grew deeper and more frenzied and I could feel my cock stiffening all over again. Branna wrapped her hand around it and pulled me towards the floor.

"I want you inside me. Now."

She only had to ask once.


In one swift movement, he thrust himself deep inside me. He grew still for a moment, closing his eyes and smiling, as if it was something he hadn't felt in a long time.  I had never asked him how long it had been for him, actually.  I wrapped my legs around him as he began to move in slow, steady strokes.  He filled me completely and he felt so incredibly good inside me. 

 "Oh fuck, that feels so fucking good," I moaned as I began to match the rhythm his hips were making with his thrusts. I squeezed my muscles down around his cock and the friction made me ache inside.  He lowered his head and licked my nipples, taking one into his mouth and sucking it hard before nipping it lightly with his teeth, sending a jolt of electricity straight to my clit. 

"More?" he asked me. All I could do was nod.  He repeated the action on the other nipple while keeping up with his steady thrusts and all I could do was babble nonsense, squeezing my eyes shut.

"Open your eyes, angel," he said firmly. "I want your eyes open...I want you to watch what I do to you, what you do to me..."  My eyes flew open and I was rewarded with his sexy smile. "Much better..."

He spread my legs apart then and rose up on his knees, looking straight down at me as he intensified his thrusts. "You're so wet, like what this is doing to you?"  "I love it...oh fuck, I love it."  He licked his first two fingers and began massaging my clit. 

My head almost seemed to involuntarily thrash from side to side as I felt another orgasm starting to build. Ciaran seemed to sense it too, and stroked my clit with an even harder intensity. I matched him thrust for thrust as I squeezed my muscles around his shaft. Then I felt the orgasm hit me like a freight train as I wailed and moaned.  "That's it, my beautiful angel, that's it..." he murmured softly as I came around him. I drew a shaky breath at the feel of him moving in circles inside me, not pulling in or out, just going around and around while I came down from the orgasmic high.

 He pulled me up so we were face to face then, cupping my ass in his hands as we ground against one another. "Tell me how this feels, angel..."   "Amazing..." And it did. The position allowed him to penetrate me even deeper, so deep I could almost feel him bumping against my cervix, causing powerful jolts of pleasure mixed with slight pain.

He gazed up at me with his glowing hazel eyes. "You're so beautiful," he whispered. "So are you," I told him in response. He gave me a crooked smile. "Not like you, angel. Not at all like you. I can't believe how lucky I am to have found you..."

"You know how to say all the right things..." I joked. He grabbed my chin and held it firmly as he pierced me with his stare. "Branna, I never say things I don't mean...I mean every word I'm telling you. Every word."  I took his face in my hands and kissed him hard, hoping to pour all my unspoken feelings into them. I wasn't as eloquent as he was. 


I adjusted our position so she was sitting astride me. I wanted to see her above me, her breasts hovering over me, as she moved up and down on my cock, grinding her clit against me, hopefully driving her to another orgasm. I knew I was getting close myself.

She rode me hard, throwing her head back, her beautiful red streaked mane cascading down her back as she moaned. Then her hips moved in circles as she pinched my nipples, making me gasp. "Ah, I see you like it too...excellent." 

A teasing grin came over her face and she raised herself up, high enough that only the head of my cock was still inside her, and then she rapid fire pumped her hips up and down. The sensation, the slow torture of it was indescribable. She did this several times before returning to a more steady rhythm. It had served its purpose.  For a while all that existed was the slowly building pressure, the aching need, the yearning toward completion, for both of us.

Finally, the dam broke. "Fuck, Ciaran! I'm coming again! Oh God! Fuck!" Her muscles again clasped my cock frantically and it was too much for me and I came as well, saying nothing but her sweet name over and over as I spilled my seed deep inside her.  

We were silent for a moment, and then with a soft whimper she collapsed on top of me.

We lay there watching the fire, holding on to one another as we came down from the post-orgasm haze. "That was..." I started to say when she interrupted. "Earth-shattering? Mind-blowing?" I laughed and pulled her closer. "All of the above, angel. All of the above."

"Ciaran, if you don't mind my asking, how long has it been for you?"

"Truthfully? Three years." She lifted her head from my chest, her eyes wide with surprise. "Seriously? But you're really hot...I mean, there had to have been opportunity..."  I traced my fingers along the planes of her face. "There was, but I was waiting for someone special to me. I found her."

She smiled almost shyly. "I hope I was worth the wait."

I pulled her closer. "More than you know, angel," I whispered. "More than you know."

It's all wrong, it's all wrong
It's all wrong, it's so right
So come on, get higher
So come on and get higher
'Cause everything works, love
Everything works in your arms. 

Song: " Come On Get Higher" by Matt Nathanson