Read Chiaroscuro Online

Authors: Jenna Jones

Chiaroscuro (5 page)

BOOK: Chiaroscuro

He lay on top of Jamie for several minutes, panting, then muttered, "Sorry," and pulled away. "I should have asked, shouldn't I?"

Jamie shook his head and peered at Micah from under his hair. "It's okay. I like it."

"Okay, then," said Micah, relieved, and smacked a kiss on Jamie's mouth. "I'll help you wash your sheets." He rested against Jamie's side, arm across his chest and head on his shoulder.

Jamie stroked his sweaty hair back from his face. "Feeling okay?"

"Yeah. Sore, like you said. But good." He raised himself up and kissed Jamie briefly.

"It'll get easier." He traced Micah's nose. "You keep doing it, it'll get easier."

Micah was quiet a moment. "Jamie? Are we going to keep doing it?"

"As often as possible, I hope," Jamie said, quiet too.

"Because you like me."

"Because I like you." He smiled and closed his eyes.

"Are there a lot of people you like?"

Jamie raised his eyebrows and looked at him. "Not as many as I think you're thinking. Who has that kind of time?"

"Like Dune?"

"Upon occasion, yeah. Micah?"

He plucked at the stitching on the duvet. "I've watched that show a couple times, you know, that one on cable. I don't know if I can be like them. Just look at a guy and know I want him, or go home with strangers every night."

Jamie leaned on his elbow, looking at him seriously. "You don't have to live that way if you don't want to. You could find yourself a boyfriend and settle down and be as boring as any married couple."

"You think commitment's boring?"

"I think it's overrated. But I've never had it end well, so it's probably just the bitterness talking."

Micah's mouth quirked and he played with Jamie's nipple ring a moment. "So you don't want to do it again."

"It depends on the bloke," Jamie said and took his hand, giving his fingers a quick kiss. "What are you driving at, Micah?"

"I don't know. I've been thinking so long about--you know, 'am I, really?' and now I've actually--actually had sex and now I don't know what comes next."

Jamie held his chin and kissed him. "It's okay," he soothed, "not always knowing what comes next."

"I wanna be with you," Micah whispered, his lips a breath away from Jamie's. "I want to be with you. That's all I know."

"I want to be with you too. I've wanted to since the first time I saw you."

"Really?" He kissed Jamie's mouth and twined their legs together. "Since I showed up? That very first day?"

"That would be the one." He cocked his head a little, trying not to look as ridiculous as he felt. "You were very cute that day."

"I was a big scared dope that day."

"That's probably why I found you so irresistible. I have a soft spot for the helpless." He grinned at Micah and rubbed their noses together.

"Aw, Jamie..." Micah kissed him in that fierce, hungry way he had, and then laughed and threw his arms around Jamie's neck. "Do I look different?"

"No. You look fabulous." He smoothed Micah's messy hair.

Micah preened under his touch a moment, then said, "Jamie? Don't tell anybody? Please."

"I wouldn't."

"I haven't figured out how to tell my parents yet. I mean, it was bad enough convincing them I didn't need to go to college right away. This will be worse. I've always got to be the good son."

"You can be the good son and be gay, Micah."

"Not to them I can't." He sighed. "I will tell them. I'll figure it out. But until I do--please don't tell anybody."

"I won't, Micah." Jamie pulled him close enough to kiss the top of his head. "Not until you're ready."

"Thank you." He nuzzled against Jamie's chest, and Jamie could feel him relaxing in his arms. "Thank you for asking me to stay with you."

"The pleasure was all mine," Jamie said and kissed his forehead.

"I think we shared that," Micah said with a naughty expression. "I think we shared that a lot."

"Oh, and do you want to share it more? Is that what you're saying?"

"Yes," Micah said solemnly. "More sharing. Naked sharing." He looked like he was going to start laughing again, and Jamie kissed him for being so adorable.


"Nothing's wrong my voice, Mom," Micah said into the phone. "I'm just a little hoarse. I'm not sick. I--Jamie and I went to the Boardwalk. We must've ridden the Giant Dipper six times." Pause. "Yes, on a Sunday. I'll go to church next week. I promise.

"Anyway, that's why I called. I'm with Jamie--I'm at Jamie's. Jamie, Mom. Jamie Makepeace. The English guy from work. I've told you about him--the head of the art department. Yes, him."

Jamie moved as silently as he could onto his side and flicked one of Micah's nipples with his tongue. Micah glared at him and pulled up the sheet to cover his chest.

"Because I like him. He's nice." Another pause, and Micah rolled his eyes. "He's not letting me drink, Mother. For G--for crying out loud."

Jamie pulled the sheet down with his teeth and moved on top of Micah so he could kiss Micah's chest.

"He drove me home from the wedding last night and when I said I didn't want to be by myself all week he offered to let me stay with him." Micah covered the mouthpiece with his hand and hissed, "Quit it!"

Jamie shook his head and sucked hard on Micah's nipple.

"Mother." He was trying to sound patient. He was not doing it well. "I'm sleeping on a futon in his guest room. We went to the Boardwalk because I wanted to. And this way I'm lots closer to work and won't have to ride BART at all those weird hours--which I wouldn't have to do if you'd just let me buy a car--"

Jamie slid down his body and started to make love to Micah's belly button. Micah exhaled with a tiny whimper. "I'm, I'm sunburned," Micah said into the phone. "Stayed out in the sun too long. Jamie's got aloe--he's English, he burns as easily as I do. It just hurts to move a little."

Jamie chuckled and moved lower still, his tongue dabbling along Micah's lower belly and upper thighs.

"Mom," Micah squeaked. "I really should go now it's late and it's been a long day and I love you and I'll call you later. Bye!" He slammed down the phone and tackled Jamie, kissing him hard. "I--was--talking--to--my--mother!"

"I know," Jamie said, laughing, "But you're irresistible, mate. Can't keep my hands off of you."

"Or your tongue," Micah said with a sniff, and then kissed him again, his body curling easily into Jamie's.

There had been, of course, no trip to the Boardwalk. Jamie didn't need roller coasters to have the time of his life, and Micah had been shouting from a different kind of happiness.

"Hey, Jamie?" Micah whispered.

"Yes, Micah," he said patiently, breathing in the scent of Micah's neck.

"What are we going to do tomorrow?"

"I don't know about you but I've got work." He smiled.

"Dopey." He scrubbed his hand through Jamie's hair. "I mean, should we go into work together? Will people suspect anything?"

"I think people will suspect more if we act like anything's different. If we stop giving each other piggyback rides in the halls or you stop parking yourself in my office for hours or we stop eating lunch together."

Micah nodded, his face serious. "Okay. You're right. I'd hate for people to think we stopped liking each other."

"Particularly since the opposite is true." He smiled at Micah, holding him loosely by the waist.

"Yeah," Micah whispered and laid his head on Jamie's shoulder. After a moment he said again, "Hey, Jamie."

"Yes, Micah."

"Do you think we're going to have jobs on Monday?"

Jamie sighed and rubbed Micah's back to soothe him. "I don't know. Most layoffs happen on Friday."

"So you do think we're going to get laid off."

"I know the company's in trouble," he said seriously. "I know we've lost a lot of money--we need a hit and haven't had one for two years. I think they're going to pare things down a great deal. How many, how soon--we won't know until it happens."

Micah nodded, serious too. "This is my first real job."

"There'll be others. You're young yet."

"Pfft. Don't remind me. Everybody loves reminding me."

Jamie grinned, reached over and scrubbed his hand through Micah's dark messy hair. "Because you're our wee mascot, young Micah."

"Hey!" Micah jerked away, frowning, and smoothed his hair down. "Not you, too."

Jamie folded his hands on his chest and just looked at him, feeling remarkably peaceful for someone facing layoffs and the wrath of his lover's parents.

His fingers twitched and he rolled out of bed. "Stay right there."

"Why?" Micah said but didn't move until Jamie came back with his big sketchbook and some pencils. "Oh," he said in understanding. "You--okay."

"It is okay, right?" He sat on the bed and opened the sketchbook to a blank page.

"Sure," Micah said. He'd gone tense again, and Jamie leaned over and kissed him, holding his jaw.

"Relax. I just want to draw you, beautiful. I won't show anyone," he added. "This is just for me."

Micah nodded slowly and leaned back against the headboard, the sheets low on his body. "Okay."

Jamie smiled and started drawing in rapid, dark strokes. Graphic design was a fine way to make a living, but drawing--drawing like this, freehand, from a live model--this was what made him alive inside.

Chapter Three

At lunch on Friday, Jamie and Dune were sharing a tray of sushi when Dune said conversationally, "So, how's Micah?"

Jamie swallowed his sashimi. "Fine. Playing lots of Everquest, just like I thought he would."

"Hm." Dune ate a sushi roll, not getting even a grain of rice on his clothes--unlike Jamie, who'd tucked a napkin into his collar and still had soy sauce and wasabi dotting his shirt. "You look smug and well-laid for somebody who's just watching a guy play video games."

"I do not look smug." Jamie said and dipped a California roll into soy sauce. "And I certainly don't look well-laid."

"Either you're getting laid or you've started using skin brighteners, and I've never seen you in makeup."

Jamie smirked. "I'm not using skin brighteners. I'm just--it's the ocean air."


"Eat," Jamie said, pushing the tray closer to him. "You're too thin."

"Feeding me is not going to distract me," said Dune but ate another roll anyway. He leaned back and pulled up his shirt to reveal a flat, muscular abdomen. "And you can't tell me this is too thin."

Jamie gazed for a moment, then met Dune's eyes and grinned. "Okay. You're just right."

"So come home with me after work and do me."

Jamie drank some tea. "I can't. I've got plans."

"With Micah, right?"


"You are sleeping with him!"

"I'm not! We're going to see a movie."

"Which one? Which theater?"

"The Metreon and whatever's playing when we get there."

Dune scowled. “Somebody is putting that sparkle in your eye, Makepeace, and I'm determined to figure out who." He looked up, eyes wide. "Did you find that caterer guy again?"

"No," Jamie said with a sigh.

"Well, who else do you know?"

"Funny, Bellamy."

"'Fess up. You haven't been the most social guy lately, Jamie. You don't do clubs, you don't go to bars, I have to drag you out of the office just to take you to lunch--so who is it? Who's the lucky guy?"

"I could start doing clubs again if it would make you happy."

"It would make me happy to hear you admit the truth."

"You're dramatic today." He stabbed a cucumber slice off Dune's plate.

"Is he ugly? Is he boring? Does he have some terrible personality flaw? Is he married? Is it my dad?"

"It is not your dad. Good lord. I've met your dad, what, once?"

Dune said, "You're no fun anymore," and sipped some green tea. "So, tell me what's going on with the company, then."

This was a much safer topic. "We're still waiting for the board to meet. We'll hear what's going on then. Rumor has it they're meeting today."

"And then--what? The beatings begin?"

"Layoffs, git. In large numbers." He sighed. "I'll have to sell my house."

"It's not as bad as that, is it?"

"There's not much out there right now. The whole industry is having problems. I've been looking at job listings--can't find a thing for an art director in the area. Maybe if I wanted to move to L.A.--but I don't want to move to L.A."

"You could paint. Isn't your degree in fine art?"

"Yeah, it is and I could, but I like eating."

"Sellout," Dune said and gave him another roll. "Eat while you can. And if you do have to sell your house, there's an opening in my dad's building. I could get you an application."

"Let's not rush things," Jamie said, then added, "Yes. If you would." He poked his California roll with his chopsticks.

"At least you can take comfort in your new boy toy," Dune added.

Jamie sighed and put down his chopsticks. He laced his fingers together, rested his chin on them, and looked at Dune. "If you swear on the bosom of your mother to keep it to yourself, I will confess all."

Dune grinned. "I swear on the bosom of my mother."

"Yes." He ate a roll, without bothering with chopsticks.

Dune laughed and clapped his hands. "I knew it!"

"Hush, you. He's finding the whole thing more than a little frightening, and I promised I'd be supportive. So not a word. Not even to tease him."

"Frightening? Why? Most people think it's a relief to admit who you really are."

"And then there's Micah, whose father is an evangelical pastor. When he called his mum on Sunday to tell her he was staying with me, she wanted to know if I was letting him drink. Can you imagine what she'd say if he said what I'm actually letting him do?"

"I think it'd be enlightening and educational."

"He's been sheltered all his life--telling his parents he's gay is going to be the hardest thing he's ever done."

Dune drank his tea, a thoughtful expression on his face. "It's the hardest thing most of us have ever done. Even I had trouble finding the words, and you couldn't ask for parents more understanding and open-minded than mine."

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