A to Z

March 5, 2010

A quick excerpt from A to Z.


Jared brought a six-pack of Dr. Pepper and a couple of fans, and we started painting. Even with the doors open and the fans on, it was hot. Angelo had his shirt off, and I was surprised by how distracting it was. As the hours crept past, I found my eyes drawn to him over and over again. When we first met, I had simply thought he was a punk. That had changed as we became friends. Still, I wondered why it had never occurred to me to really look at him.

He was rail-thin, but his arms were roped with taut muscles. His skin was dark and he had very little hair on his body. He had a starburst pattern tattooed around his navel and another one between his shoulder blades. His pants hung low on his hips. If they were even an inch lower, I was sure I would have been able to see pubic hair. He was painting the top of a doorframe, his head tipped back, and he was laughing at something Jared had just said.

He was beautiful.

A drop of paint fell and landed on his chest. I watched it slide down his chest, over his ribs, and onto the flat plain of his stomach. I could see the soft, downy hairs there and that white paint against his dark skin, and I had a sudden and ridiculous urge to lick it off of him. I was sure that it would taste just like vanilla ice cream. I knew his skin would be soft against my tongue, salty and delicious. I imagined kneeling in front of him, running my tongue over his ribs, sliding my hands up his thighs to grip his ass. I imagined seeing him with his head thrown back in passion. I felt myself growing hard at the thought.

“Zach?” he said suddenly.

I ripped my eyes away from that drop of paint, looked up at his face. Jesus, could he tell I had a fucking hard-on? He was staring at me with that lopsided grin, looking incredibly amused, but I didn’t think it was over the embarrassing bulge in my pants. Jared, on the other hand, was grinning at me like he knew exactly what was going on.

“What?” I sounded defensive, although I hadn’t meant to.

“Did you even hear me?” Angelo asked.

Had I heard him? Had he been talking? All I could remember was the way the paint had rolled over his stomach, and I had to resist the urge to look down at it again.

“Zach, what’s up with you, man?” he asked jokingly.

Jared made a choking sound, and I knew he was trying not to laugh at me. I needed Angelo to put his shirt back on.

“Aren’t you cold?” I asked him.

“No.” He had spotted the paint and was trying to wipe it off. Now he had a white smear across his stomach. At least it didn’t look like ice cream anymore. “Why?”

“It’s cold in here.” In my defense it had finally dropped below eighty-five.

Angelo looked at me like I was crazy. “Then why you sweatin’?”

Jared really did start laughing now. Angelo turned and looked at him in confusion. I did my best to glare daggers at him. He clamped his mouth shut and started putting his brush away.

“What’s so funny?” Angelo asked him.

“Nothing.” But he was obviously struggling to get himself under control. “Listen, it is definitely hot in here. Way too hot for all three of us. I think I better go.”

“Already?” Angelo asked. “Why?”

Jared laughed again. “I gotta go tell Matt he won our bet.” He looked over at Angelo. “Ang, I was listening even if Zach wasn’t, and it’s a great idea.”

Angelo looked extremely pleased, and I was irrationally annoyed that it was Jared who had caused it. “Cool,” Angelo said to him. “We still on for dinner?”

“Sure. Just come on by when you guys are ready.” He was still smiling. He had to walk past me to get to the door, and as he passed me, he said very quietly, “Not blind anymore, are you?” I felt my whole face turn red. “See you later.”

Once Jared was gone, I looked back over at Angelo. He had gone back to painting the top of the door jamb. His skin was moving over the thin, taut muscles in his arms. His head was back. There was a drop of sweat in the little hollow at the base of his throat.

I was getting hard again.

I really needed him to put his shirt back on.

“Hey, it’s almost dinner time anyway,” I said to him. “Let’s go back to the motel and get cleaned up. I could use a shower.” A really, really cold shower.

He shrugged. “Okay.”

First we had to clean the brushes, or they’d be worthless by the time we got back from dinner. We crowded into the mop room and stood next to each other at the utility sink, rinsing out brushes and pans and rollers. There wasn’t much room, and his arm kept brushing mine. At least he had put his shirt back on. Still, I could smell him. He smelled like sweat and shampoo, and paint, and it was sexy as hell. Just standing next to him had me hard all over again. Had he rolled in pheromones that morning or something?

He was talking again and I was finding it very difficult to pay attention.

“The thing I never got ’bout Gone with the Wind was why Scarlett was so crazy over Ashley anyway, you know? Here she’s got Rhett on the line, and all she can think ’bout is Ashley, who’s a total fuckin’ pansy.”

“I never watched it.” I was watching his hands. He was washing out his paint brush, his long, thin fingers working through the bristles, and I thought about what it would feel like to have those fingers tangled in my hair. While I licked paint off of his stomach.

Seriously, this was getting weird.

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