Saturday, March 21, 2009

Round Robin -- Part VIII

Cole focused his attention on the remains of his dinner but his hunger had disappeared with Matthew’s jaded words. The guy was awfully young to be so bitter and Cole hadn’t even been able to deny his attraction to the younger man, even if had nothing to do with payment for services rendered.

Balthazar deigned to accept a few more tidbits of pork from him before he pranced over to Matthew to see if he could score any more shrimp.

“Traitor.” Cole couldn’t help but be amused by the cat’s fickleness.

“See, even the cat is looking for something in return for being friendly.” The younger man’s voice held a hint of sadness.

“I’ll get my shirt, it should be mostly dry by now and I need to get going. I have to meet someone.”

Cole glanced out the front window of the shop again. If anything, the rain had grown into a true squall. Sheets of rain and wind driving along in waves and pieces of tree branches tumbled by, tossed like twigs.

“I don’t think either of us is going anywhere for a while. It’s getting worse and worse out there and I’m not really all that thrilled with the idea of swimming to my car.”

Matthew stopped on his way toward the restroom to stare out first one window, then the next one, as if hoping he’d see something better. “Damn. This sucks. I don’t even have a car and I’m sure the guy I’m meeting won’t bother coming out in this.”

Cole busied himself cleaning up the counter and throwing away the take-out boxes. A quick wash and the checkout counter was back to its normal tidy state. Not looking at Matthew took almost every ounce of willpower he possessed but no matter how much he was attracted to him, Cole was not going to let him think he’d intervened because he wanted to fuck the cute blonde.

Counter as clean as it would get, Cole pulled the sketch pad he kept under the register out and flipped to a fresh page. Frames of a new comic series flew from his fingers without thought or effort. Rapidly sketching out a rough storyboard, he nearly forgot the other man was in the shop with him. Only when Matthew stood in front of him again did Cole remember and look up. Exhaustion pinched the corners of his mouth and weariness rolled off him in waves.

“There’s a comfortable chair in the storeroom I use sometimes when I sketch. It’s good for a nap, too. Why don’t you rest for a while and we’ll see if the rain lets up. Usually squalls don’t last too long.”

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