Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Happy Solstice and Round-Robin XXX

I hope everyone enjoyed their Solstice weekend! I had a great time Saturday participating in the local Solstice parade. Even the Flying Spaghetti Monster was there, but, I am sad to say, I was not fortunate enough to be touched by his noodly appendage. /me is sad.

Okay. On to the RR. I admit to a little confusion on this but I'll see what I can do.

Round XXX (I think. Maybe.)

Cole and Matthew stared each other down. Matthew's face was a masterwork of mixed emotions--anger at Cole, hurt at yet another rejection, fear of possible retaliation from Tyler--or worse, from Tyler's scary-conservative parents. And now Cole had treated him no better than a hustler who was still pimping himself out for his rat bastard of an ex. Way to go, dipshit, Cole thought in self-disgust. Matthew had a penchant for mistaken assumptions, and a chip on his shoulder the size of Denali, but that didn't mean this particular misunderstanding was his fault.

Cole sighed. "Fine. So you're not the only one here who can leap to the wrong conclusions. I fucked up and I'm sorry. In fact…" Cole's mouth went suddenly dry. A good thing since it was about to run ahead of his brain. Did he really want to let that happen? ... Fuck it. "Fact is, I find you sexy as hell. You've got a mouth that I would give my left nut have on me again." Matthew gaped at him in obvious shock at the sudden change in tone, but Cole didn't stop. He was in it now and damned if he wasn't going to finish it. "Okay, maybe not that, but damn! If circumstances were different, I'd do you in a heartbeat. I'm not holier than thou or any one else. Far from it. I'm just a guy. A single, lonely guy who could use your help at my store and if, over time, that grows into something more, well, let's just say I wouldn't slam the door on the possibility. You can be a total asshole when you want to be, but so can I. Obviously, since that was a pretty crappy thing to say. But maybe we can start over. Sort of. Back things up. I don't mean forget all the stuff that's happened, but maybe…set it aside?" He let out a growl of frustration. Fuck! He was a painter, not a poet! How the hell did people have these conversations without it turning into complete gibberish?

To his astonishment, Matthew smiled at him. Not a sly or seductive smile. Not an ironic smile. Not a bitter smile that implied its own opposite. A genuine, amused smile.

Cole returned it uncertainly. "What?"

Matthew shook his head and chuckled. "You're a total fucking dork. You know that, right?"

"Oh yeah." Cole nodded. "Never a doubt of that."

"You're like something out of a dumb fairy tale. The White Knight and His Weird Cat, Mathesar."

"Balthazar."

Matthew snorted a laugh and rolled his eyes at the correction. "Right. Balthazar."

All the fire and fight seemed to have drained out of him. Fortunately, it seemed to Cole that so had the fear. "Listen. If Tyler comes back, I can handle him. We can handle him. Together."

"And if his folks come after you and your store?" Clearly Matthew was still playing a defensive game. Problems like Tyler might go away physically, but the mental and emotional damage was done. It would take time for Matthew to get past the destructive relationship.

That was okay. Cole could wait. "I don't think it'll come to that. But if it does," he went on before Matthew could protest, "we'll handle that, too. So. What do you say? You've got a job and a place to stay for as long as you need to get back on your feet. All you have to do is say yes."

The silence stretched out until Cole thought he'd go crazy, but he managed to maintain his composure and his sanity until at long last Matthew spoke.

"Hi. I'm Matthew." He put out his hand, which Cole shook before his brain could register what was going on. "I hear you've got a job opening at your art supply store, and maybe a room for rent."

"Wha-?" Then it clicked. Cole's own words echoed in his head. Start over. Back things up. He smiled. "I'm Cole. Do you know anything about art supplies, Matthew?"

Matthew shook his head once. "Not a thing."

Cole grinned. "You're hired."

2 comments:

K.A. Mitchell said...

Beautifully done, Maia.

Maia Strong said...

Thanks, K.A.! :)

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