Good Monday morning, and happy first Monday of June! Damn, this year is going by so fast, I’m going to have to start Christmas shopping soon…unless the Mayans were right. Hmm…
A few announcements! My novel Shacked Up, the sequel to Holed Up, is coming from Loose Id this Tuesday, June 5! Click on over to my author page on Loose Id’s website to grab your copy and catch up with Mark and Pearce.
Lee Brazil’s story The Man Trap, is now available. Click on over to Breathless Press and download your copy today!
JR Boyd has invited a good friend of his to post on his blog while JR is finishing up classes. Please click the link at the end of my post to hop over to JR’s place and read and leave a welcoming comment for Nicholas Peters. Welcome Nicholas!
Our hunk of the day was found by the resourceful and lovely Jade Baiser. Thanks, Jade!
Congratulations to Dianne Hartsock, winner of the Guess the Prompt contest from our Monday, May 21st postings. She correctly guessed that the prompt was “Time out! Time out! We can call that, right?” She receives a Story Orgy gift bag which includes a print copy of And the Prompt Is… Holiday Edition, signed by all the authors, plus some other Story Orgy goodies.
This week I’m writing a full length post and the prompt we all shared is: “I want you back. Why is that?”
Ready to see what’s going on at that nutty art studio this week? Let’s go!
A Hot Piece of … Art
Charlie rolled his eyes as Rafael’s high pitched voice sliced through the cool, crisp air of the art studio.
“Calm down, Ms. Fothergill,” the art studio owner, Hawkington, said in a trembling voice. “The video cameras that Mr. Zusky installed before his showing surely caught footage of whoever left this note.”
At that moment, Sven came bustling out of the back office with a laptop tucked under one arm, his high heels snapping over the hard wood floor. Charlie saw that Billy was texting and not following the events playing out before them. To get Billy’s attention, Charlie rolled onto his stomach and said, “Psst!”
Billy glanced at him, then looked back at his phone.
“I’m busy,” Billy grumbled.
“There’s drama about to unfold,” Charlie said in a sing song voice.
It worked, somewhat. Billy peered at him from behind his phone. “Drama? What type?”
“Rafael and Sven.”
Billy set his phone aside and moved so he was lying on his stomach facing Charlie. “Really?”
Charlie had to grin because he knew the two of them looked like teenage girls at a sleepover gossiping about boys.
They both turned their attention to where Sven stood holding the open laptop and working the touchpad while Rafael and Hawkington leaned in over his shoulders.
“Can you see the screen?” Billy whispered.
Charlie nodded. “A little.”
“Who is it?” Billy asked, then said, “I bet it’s Mel Gibson.”
Charlie turned to look at him in surprise. “What?”
Billy nodded. “It’s Mel Gibson. That guy is certifiably loony toons fucknuts. This is precisely the type of show he’d want shut down. I bet it’s him.”
Charlie shook his head and rolled his eyes. “You’re crazy. We are so far off Mel Gibson’s radar we may as well be in the South Pole.”
“That made no sense,” Billy said.
“Oh, and like you accusing Mel Gibson of stealing Rafael’s paintings and using cheese curl dust fingerprint smears to frame you for the heist is more sensible.” Charlie snorted at him and turned back to watch the laptop’s screen.
“There!” Rafael shrieked and jabbed her finger at the screen. “The thief! Do you see? Do you see?”
“It’s gone past,” Hawkington said. “Back it up, Sven.”
“Please hold onto your short pants,” Sven grumbled as he worked the touchpad. “I am backing it up.”
“Back that thing up,” Billy whispered, and he and Charlie both snorted quiet laughter.
“But, is that it?” Rafael said. “That’s all we can see? Just the legs?”
“Sadly, I am afraid just the legs were captured on video,” Sven assured her. “I am sorry, Raffie.”
Charlie frowned and looked over to find Billy frowning back at him.
“Raffie?” Billy whispered. “Like the children’s singer?”
Charlie shrugged before turning his attention back to the trio still staring at the laptop.
“That is all there is to see, I am afraid,” Sven said, and closed the laptop.
“The police will need to see that footage,” Hawkington said. “Make sure you keep it safe.”
“Safe as babies in cribs,” Sven assured him.
“I’m calling the police right now.” Hawkington walked off, the heels of his dress shoes making hard clicking sounds similar to Sven’s high heels.
“Why is this person stealing my paintings?” Rafael moaned. “They may as well take my blood, my hair, my life!”
“Yeah, take her hair,” Billy whispered. “Please.”
Charlie smirked, but was unable to take his eyes off the couple before him. Something had changed between the two artists. Before, there had been animosity, anger, and distrust. Now, however, they stood close together, talking in low tones, and Sven was reassuring Rafael as if he genuinely cared for her.
“They are taking the products of your beautiful mind,” Sven told her. “Trying to steal what makes you strong. But they do not know you as I know you. They do not realize that your strength lies here.” He pounded a fist against his own chest with a loud thump. “Within you. Let them steal from you, take the paintings that you create, the work that you suffer so exquisitely for. This thief, whoever he is, can never reach that which is the very essence of you.”
Charlie discovered he had been holding his breath and let it out. The honest sentiment in Sven’s voice, the power of the man’s words, and the way he stared at Rafael really got to him. He didn’t know if it was the commanding timber of Sven’s voice, the jaunty way he was standing in his heels, or the fact that the words he spoke sounded like something Rock might say to Charlie himself.
Rafael turned away, a hand pressed to her chest, blonde dreadlocks swinging around her shoulders. She took a moment to catch her breath before looking back at him. “You really believe that, don’t you?”
“Absolutely,” Sven assured her, and took a step closer, his heels quietly clicking. “After years of temper tantrums and wars of egos, after the nights we spent shouting at each other until the sunrise, after you drove my car into the ocean and I tore the seats out of yours. After all of these things, Raffie, I want you back. Why is that?”
Charlie looked at Billy, saw his wide-eyed expression of surprise reflected back at him, and then he turned his attention back to the artists standing just a few feet away.
“We are meant to be together, Sven,” Rafael said, and put a hand on his chest. “Our hearts will always beat in time, no matter the distance we are apart or the words we fling at each other. No matter the things we do which can never be described, on any planet in any solar system, as rational.”
They fell quiet and stared at each other. The moment stretched out, but just as Sven started to lean down to kiss Rafael, just as Charlie drew in a deep breath and his eyes widened as he leaned closer to the edge of the futon, the door to the street pushed open. Two police officers strode into the studio, one of them Rodrigo, the handsome Latino cop Charlie had accidentally sucked off. Rafael jumped at the sudden interruption and took a few steps away from Sven as a blush tinted her cheeks. She seemed flustered, at a loss what to say when the officers began to question them both.
“You know they’re going to want to talk to us,” Billy said.
Charlie sighed and nodded. “I know.”
“Hey there,” a deep voice called, and Charlie looked down to see Rodrigo’s handsome face smiling up at him.
“Why, hello officer,” Charlie said, trying to keep his voice neutral though deep inside he was extremely embarrassed.
“I imagine you’ll want to ask Billy and me some questions.”
“Absolutely,” Rodrigo said, and reached down to adjust the bulge inside his pants. “I might need to interview you for a long, long time.”
“Well, let’s start with the questions about the theft first, okay?” Charlie said. “And we’ll see what happens after that.”
Just as Charlie stepped off the bottom rung of his ladder, the door to the back office burst open and Hawkington stood there with tears on his face and papers crumbled in both hands.
“I’m ruined!” the man cried. “Ruined! This insurance payout will push my rates too high for me to remain in business. My life’s work is ruined.”
“Well, at least your life’s work isn’t being stolen out from under your nose!” Rafael shouted at him, and Hawkington jumped a little at the harshness of the tone of her voice before scurrying back into his office.
Charlie and Billy stood side by side, both nude, both answering Rodrigo’s questions. In an attempt to keep from leading the police officer on, Charlie kept his answers on topic and tried to stay professional. When they had answered all of Rodrigo’s questions (no, they hadn’t heard a thing, no they did not recognize the lower half of the person in the video, yes they had been on their platforms all evening), Charlie turned away and climbed up his ladder, leaving Billy and Rodrigo talking on the floor.
People had come into the studio, drawn by the police car out front and the promise of hot young men living in the nude and, if a visitor was lucky, having hot, sweaty sex. Charlie ignored the onlookers and settled on his futon. He picked up a magazine and flipped through the pages. Nearby, Billy let loose with a high, melodious laugh, his flirting laugh, and Charlie rolled his eyes.
He looked out over the heads of the patrons, searching for Sven and Rafael. Neither was in sight, and Charlie went back to his magazine as he thought about the honest emotion he had heard in Sven’s voice as the man had spoken to Rafael of the love they had shared in the past, still shared, somehow, to this day. On the heels of this came thoughts of Rock Harding, and Charlie remembered Rock stopping by the studio the day before, interrupting Charlie having sex with another of his visitors. He thought of the warmth in Rock’s dark brown eyes, his smile as they sat on the futon for hours just talking, and the warm press of Rock’s lips when he had kissed Charlie good-bye.
Charlie reached the last page of the magazine without retaining any of the words or images. With an exasperated sigh, he tossed the magazine aside and rolled over, turning his back to the room. Somewhere nearby, Billy laughed again, the sound rising above the murmurs of the visitors gathered around and the quiet weeping coming from Hawkington’s office.
~~ * ~~
Curiouser and curiouser! Wonder what that’s all about? Be sure to come back next week and see what more trouble Charlie and Billy can get into. Until then, hop on over to the other Story Orgy blogs with me for more hot, smexy reads. Ready? Here we go!
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