Hi, kids, remember me? It’s been a while: I’ve been waiting for the editing/proofing/preliminary work to be finished before I posted anything more. But now the novel is with the proofers and I have a release date: August 22nd, so it feels like time to let you all know what you’re in for.
There was half an uneaten cake on Jamie’s kitchen counter, bits of wrapping paper on the floor and wine glasses scattered here and there. Jamie wandered through the flat, turning off lights, and poured himself a glass from the last open bottle. He took it out onto the balcony and sat in the plastic chair, propping up his feet on the wrought iron balustrade.
Ben looked at him and grinned. “Happy birthday.” He held out his glass.
Jamie clinked his own against it. “Thanks.”
“I’d sing but my voice sucks.”
“I’ve been sung to about five times already today. I think I’m all sung out.”
Ben took a sip and then turned to look into the flat. “Did everybody leave? Even Dune?”
“Yup. He left too.”
“I thought he would have stayed, at least. Helped you clean up.” He propped his feet up on the balustrade too, laying one ankle over Jamie’s.
“He left with Daniel.” He looked at Ben and shrugged.
“Oh…should I say sorry?”
“No. They’ll have a good time. Daniel’s a nice bloke, Dune’s a nice bloke . .. they’re probably having beautiful long-legged sex right about now.”
Ben chuckled and sipped his wine. “Well, I stayed to keep you company.”
“I am eternally grateful. But it can wait until morning.”
“You ought to get the cake in the freezer. Cake freezes forever.”
“All right. It was so beautiful I almost didn’t want to eat it. Seemed like destroying a work of art.” Ben had decorated his cake to look like the moon on Jamie’s ceiling, blowing an enormous puff of air that read ‘Happy Birthday, Jamie!’ in big golden letters.
“Your art. I just copied it.”
“You made a brilliant copy.” Jamie drank. “You were up all night making that.”
Ben didn’t answer for a moment. “Yeah.”
“Because Betty Crocker doesn’t have my special touch of class.” Jamie sighed and stared out at the city, and after a moment Ben said in a more serious tone, “I wanted to give you something no one else could. And…and if I hadn’t made something, hadn’t created something, I would have hunted down that little twink and pounded his face in.” Jamie looked at him–Ben’s face was somber. “Nobody hurts my Jamie.”
Jamie whispered, “Since when am I your Jamie?”
“You’ve always been my Jamie.” He looked away, shifted in the chair, and cleared his throat. “Okay, I think I’m a little buzzed.”
“In vino veritas,” Jamie murmured and sipped again.
“I don’t speak Italian.”
“It’s Latin. It means ‘in wine there is truth.’”
“Oh. So whenever somebody gets drunk and spouts off it’s probably true.”
“I’m in trouble,” he said with a sigh.
Jamie chuckled and sipped more wine. “Your inhibitions are lowered. Your guard is down.”
“And you’re getting over a breakup.” He raised an eyebrow at Jamie. “Or something will happen with that, right?”
“I suppose so. I should pack up his things and bring them to his dorm.”
“Does he have a lot of stuff here?”
“Not much. T-shirts. CDs. Video game code books.”
“So you take him his box of crap, have a couple of throwaway dates and get back up on the old horse.”
“It sounds like a great plan,” said Jamie with a sigh. He poured the last of the bottle into his glass, took a drink, and made up his mind. “So tell me. For us to fuck do we have to stop being friends?”
Ben quickly drank down the last of his wine. “Um. What?”
“I’m just trying to figure out what it takes to get you into bed. There’s another bottle of wine if I have to get you drunk.”
“Jamie, you just broke up yesterday.”
“I’m well aware.”
Ben leaned over and pointed his finger at Jamie’s chest. “I do not want to be your rebound guy.”
Jamie caught his finger. “You have a lot of rules for somebody who claims to be footloose and fancy-free. You don’t fuck your friends, you don’t fuck on the rebound, you don’t fuck people in relationships. So who do you fuck, Ben Gallagher? Hm? Who do you have beautiful long-legged sex with?”
Ben’s eyes darted over his face–he leaned forward and kissed Jamie hard, fingers curling around his hand. Jamie inhaled, squeezing his eyes shut, and pressed his tongue to Ben’s lips. They parted and Ben sucked Jamie’s tongue into his mouth. He leaned closer, the chair scraping against the concrete floor, and held Jamie’s face in his other hand, spilling wine down his neck.
He backed off. “Shit–I’m sorry–” He tried to mop up Jamie’s neck with his jacket sleeve.
“It’s all right.” Jamie patted the spilled wine with his shirt collar, looking at Ben from under his lashes. “I’ve had worse things spilled on me.”
Ben’s lips twitched and he looked away a moment. “Look,” he began, “I don’t–”
“Yeah, yeah, I know. I’ve heard them all.”
Ben took hold of his face again. “Listen to me. I don’t want to be your rebound guy. I may entertain being something else at a later date.”
Jamie couldn’t help smiling. “So we do have to stop being friends.”
“Asshole.” He let go of Jamie’s face and stood. “I’m going home before I do something we’ll both regret.”
“The only way I’d regret fucking you would be if I forgot the lube.”
“Begone, foul tempter,” Ben said and let himself out.
Jamie leaned back in his chair, grinning, and finished off his wine.
Mirrored from Jenna Jones.com.