Intermission

edge-lit violinist in dark
Mental Practices

Drin can’t remember the last time he felt this happy. His young musician has eaten chocolates– not in the avid way he’d eaten sushi, but with pleasure– and sipped at the world’s finest espresso, served in a miniature shell of a cup. He made funny startled faces, brows lifted, blinking at it, by turns amazed and thoughtful, blissing out with his eyes squinted shut, giving himself over to the tastes. Dance looked naked when he discarded all that taut awareness of his surroundings.

Though he’s observed plenty of these exchanges in others, still it’s Drin’s first time to enjoy watching such new pleasures happen in front of him, his first time to give a gift like this to someone. ¬†Funny, how patrons bitched all the time about the costs, not the dangerous rush of the reward. ¬†Not merely making something happen, but watching it unfold Dance into such gloriously sensual relaxation.

Now, they are walking through quiet streets to Drin’s car. Three blocks away there’s neon over restaurants, and people laughing, and sirens soaring past, but here their steps echo on the sidewalk in the relative quiet, and he can hear Dance’s suit shift and rustle as he moves. The smell of rosemary perfumes the air of the whole neighborhood, where the wild, scrubby resinous stems spill down thick concrete retaining walls that are still warm after the heat of the day. It’s like walking through an Italian kitchen.

Dance’s elegant face had expressed such a welter of emotions, so fast it was almost unreadable, when Drin had asked him to spend the night, and those emotions flicker still, in his eyes, the corners of his beautifully mobile mouth — which is returning Drin’s smile to him at the moment, Dance dancing ahead, spinning halfway around to bring home his point, those hands flying in rhythm to his words.

“I’m sorry,” Drin says, grinning helplessly, “You lost me at the intermission.”

“Would our Drin prefer–” Dance begins.

Drin reaches out, fingers touching, and allows himself, at last, to believe in the reality of this fantasy man under his hand. Something about ‘our Drin’ makes his toes curl in pleasure by now. “Dance, I can’t care right now. I look at you, and my brain derails.”

“Oh.” Dance becomes as still as a man walking backwards can be.

Drin feels his hand clench down on the coarse black silk sleeve of the formal jacket, the pulling-him-near-reflex, the ownership need. Feral cat, he reminds himself, but his hand won’t let go. He gets a sideways glance from one impossibly perfect almond eye, and Dance’s cheekbones pull up in one of the sweetest smiles Drin has ever seen. It makes him hold his breath.

“Oh,” Dance says again, and he is in front of Drin now, his hands hot against Drin’s shoulders, rising up on his toes and their mouths meet.

Drin’s breath explodes out of him, his mouth gaping wide open. The younger man makes a similar sound, his tongue slipping over Drin’s lips, teeth, lapping at his chin when they finally pull apart. Dance tastes of the dinner mints, of coffee, of chocolate, and Drin hears music scattering in his mind so loudly that surely the musician in his arms must be hearing it too. Then Dance has his face buried in Drin’s shoulder, and his breath comes in puffs of heat through the shirt.

He’s humming melodies like those in Drin’s head. Drin can’t tell where the humming is actually coming from, nose, upper chest, diaphragm, whatever, but it’s quite beautiful.

Drin draws a shuddering breath, rubbing his cheek against the hard silky head. Dance’s hair smells of where they’ve been, of the food they’ve eaten, of the strange piney odor of the rosin he uses on his instrument. Drin wraps his arms around the sleek waist, and pulls Dance in– and only then does he realize that Dance has avoided contact below the waist. Too late, because they are hip to hip now, and prick to prick. And Dance says; “Oh!”

“Oh yes,” Drin agrees, and presses his mouth against the wonderful neck muscles. Before he completely buries himself in kissing the man silly in public, the way he really wants to, he pulls himself back just enough to look down at Dance’s face.

Dance is looking up just as steadily as ever, not blinking, not breathing, not moving. His eyes are all pupil, dark and wide open and taking in everything. There’s just the slightest shiver in his body where he’s pressed against Drin’s belly.

Drin blinks down into those eyes, and thinks, I bet he can’t even see two feet past my face, his eyes are so dilated. He looks like he’s been taking a glaucoma test. I haven’t even got him naked in bed yet, and he’s looking at me like that. Like that.

“You’re okay?” Drin asks.

“Yes, very, we are– I am– very very okay,” Dance says. He turns his head to one side, leaning solid weight against Drin. It’s no burden. Neither is walking with his arm around Dance.

Drin looks up to see his car parked not ten feet away and sends a prayer of thanks to whatever deity brought them safely there.

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