Title: when the mountain meets the sea
Charlie Milton - October 30, 2011 12:26 AM (GMT)
Smoking; a terrible habit but unfortunately one he couldn’t quite bring himself to kick. Not only was it bad for his health but it was bad for his bank balance too (even though he had started buying rollies instead of straights- it worked out cheaper, marginally). In recent weeks the number of cigarettes Charlie had gone through had increased substantially. Third year was taking its toll on him. The workload had more than doubled and, even though he was enjoying every second of it (so he told himself vehemently every day), it was hard bloody work. Only a month and a bit in and already there were essays to be done, portfolios to be started and even placements to be found. The latter was proving tricky; as of yet Charlie was undecided just what area of photography he wanted to go into and was of the opinion that he wouldn’t know until he’d tried everything.
But for now, he needed to get out of the flat and shake off the cabin fever. Now twenty one and in his final year he was far too serious and grown up to contemplate going out to a nightclub (not to mention who goes on their own anyway?) and decided on the nearest available bar as the best place to distract his mind. It worked for a little while, hand contentedly curled around his pint glass as he stared vacantly up at the television on the wall showing some sports game or another.
The plan had been to meet up with Ripley and get outrageously drunk for no good reason. But an apologetic message from her that something had come up and she couldn’t come made it so that Charlie was alone. He was already halfway through his first drink at this point and couldn’t very well leave it now, could he? Besides, the TV channel had just been changed now that the sport was over and instead an old film from the eighties was playing purely for background noise whilst everyone either celebrated or lamented their team.
It wasn’t until the credits began to roll on the, quite frankly terrible, film that Charlie realised he’d been there for the best part of two hours. And that he was, in fact, quite drunk. A state of mind that always left him needing a nicotine fix.
Which brings us back to the smoking. Terrible, expensive. But ultimately very social. And incidentally illegal indoors but that’s the sort of thing that one tends to forget after three, nearly four, pints. Particularly if one hasn’t had dinner because the money intended for food was instead spent on film roll, project books and a hefty coffee table book on ‘Photography Through The Ages’. Frowning at himself, Charlie slid from his stool (with only the slightest of wobbles) to his feet and patted his pockets even as the pints hit him now that he was stood up, making him blink a few times to clear his head. “Fucksake, where is it… well done, Charlie, what a good idea. Go out and get accidentally bladdered on your own like an AA reject and lose your bloody lighter.”
Hopefully the bar was busy and crowded enough that no one would notice the slight moving of his lips as he berated himself.
After a good solid minute of checking and rechecking every pocket and possible storage space about his person for a lighter or even, bizarrely, a stray match, Charlie gave up and lifted his head to look around. Someone must have one, it was a bar for God’s sake. His first try was a man sat next to him, about a good twenty years older than himself and who looked the sort to smoke a goddamn pipe or something. But it was a fruitless ask, the man merely shook his head and shifted on his seat to further ignore Charlie, a movement that didn’t go unnoticed or unreplied to with a raised eyebrow and two fingered salute.
Seeking greener pastures, Charlie moved along the bar a bit, using his self-determined ‘great judge of people’ to suss out just who might be his saviour. He was wrong twice more (the latter of those being a full out ignoring) before he stumbled, almost literally, upon a likely looking candidate.
If he was completely honest, Charlie would admit that he’d approached almost purely for an excuse to converse, however briefly, with the man. Even if this bloke said he didn’t have a light Charlie thought he might hang around a bit, at least until he was sure in exactly which direction the man swung. He was a sucker for broad shoulders and my, what a pair there was before him. Nimbly sidling up to him, Charlie tapped the fellow on the shoulder, his most winning of grins already in place.
“Hey, sorry. You haven’t got a lighter have you, mate? I’m gasping but I seem to have dropped mine somewhere.”
Brage Mæhlum-Mørch - November 1, 2011 08:11 PM (GMT)
[doHTML]<div style="margin: 0px auto; width: 450px; height: auto; background-color:none; padding-top: 15px; padding-bottom: 15px; border: 0; text-align: justify;"><p>Linguistic lines blurred after four pints or so. He'd realized this once, a long time ago, and had since only been able to re-realize it the way that drunkards did - with a glass in his hand, staring with brow furrowed and lips parted at the dwindling contents of his pint and observing to yourself that although your Scottish conversational partner had seemed to accept it, you'd just introduced the words beard in the mailbox in English. Slowly, he lowered his pint, furrowing his brow further as he watched the Glaswegian bartender make a failed attempt (the fourth one tonight) at chatting up the disinterested blonde at the end of the bar, who seemed like she would prefer to be left alone to have her drink in peace, and contemplate whatever it was that had her shoulders sagging so.
This time, he told himself, he would most definitely tell the other man, upon his return from his failed endeavours, to leave the poor woman alone. But when the man returned with a sigh and a dejected tone to his voice, he simply quirked a brow and commented, "No luck, huh? That's a shame," in the beginnings of slurred speech. Of course, he couldn't be held accountable for his friend's failures in the romance department - though "friend" was, in this case, an extended term for "regular bartender" - nor could he be held accountable for this unfamiliar woman's right to solitude in public places, and so he came to a familiar conclusion:
No one's getting hurt. Don't rock the boat.
The bartender left him again. This time, he was called to the middle of the bar to tend to a fussy patron's needs, and Brage knew it would be a while until he was allowed to return. Knowing this, he could kick back the rest of his pint and, watching carefully in case the bartender glanced his way, reach inside his charcoal jacket that had once been black, and close his fingers around a cold metal object - the flask that held considerably sharper contents than his glass just had. But he was interrupted, his intentions cut short, by a presence sliding up beside him and fingers tapping him on the shoulder. Calmly, he withdrew his hand, nonchalantly, turned his head to the side, with a quirked brow gave him a slow once-over with a level expression and concluded, with shoulders settling slightly, that this man didn't work here.
With that determined, he could return his smile, though he suspected it wasn't as winning as the other man's, and he could nod slightly in response to his words. "Yup." A pause. For a moment, he failed to follow up his confirmation with action to further drive his answer home; he'd meant to find his lighter, but instead remained stationary, with elbows on the edge of the bar, hands settled on its flat surface with one atop the other, torso leaned forward and gentle smile still in place, while all he did was meet the other man's eyes. Ultimately, he had to furrow his brow at himself, and it shook him out of inertia enough that he shifted, pushed back from the bar, straightened his torso and dug a hand into the right pocket of his dark jacket (which was useless now that it was getting cold, but no matter) to dig out a dark green lighter, which he immediately handed to the other man. The gesture was immediately followed up with the pinnacle of eloquence and invitational communication: "Keep it."
Charlie Milton - November 4, 2011 11:47 PM (GMT)
Charlie waited, smile still firmly, resolutely in place. It seemed to freeze a bit after the affirmative "Yup." from the other man was followed by silence and a complete lack of movement in any direction. He raised his eyebrows a fraction, an unspoken "...well?" Whether prompted into action by this or just a sudden realisation on his own that he hadn't moved, the stranger jerked into action with a frown and brought forth a lighter, Charlie's salvation.
"Oh excellent, thanks mate." He accepted it with another grin then set it down on the bartop after a short pause. In his agitation at not having his own lighter he'd neglected to actually roll himself a cigarette beforehand. Without asking if it was alright and without prior invitation, Charlie slid into the empty barstool next to the blond man, pulling his smoking paraphernalia out of his pocket and setting it in front of him.
"You sure? You don't want it back? Oh, shit sorry. You don't mind if I... do you?" He asked, gesturing vaguely at the paper and lump of tobacco he'd just heaped on it. It was definitely a skill he'd developed over the years, being able to successfully roll whilst inebriated. It required steady hands usually but he was so used to it by now that he could do it almost by touch alone, without looking. And so it was with his eyes fixed on the (dazzlingly blue) eyes of the man next to him that he continued, fingers deftly working on lining it up just right, setting the filter in, rolling it tight. Even when it came to lick the paper and stick it down he was still looking, probably longer than was polite, tongue darting out just briefly to slide along the thin edge of the paper. When he was done, Charlie set the finished product between his lips, looking away only to sweep the few stray bits of tobacco off the bar and onto the floor then pack everything back away into his pocket. "Don't say much, do you?" He asked, glancing up again and talking as eloquently as he could with his lips keeping the cigarette steady.
Brage Mæhlum-Mørch - November 16, 2011 06:01 PM (GMT)
Strangers were a strange entity, one that Brage, for the most part, kept just out of reach of; it was typical of his people, this drawing away. This staying just-outside-of-arm's-reach, this tendency to shut unfamiliar faces down with nothing more than an indifferent glance and a turning away. But as it was, he'd had a bit to drink and he'd spent too much time alone, today, conversing only with pigs of the literal variety. As much as he might care of them, they weren't the most intellectually stimulating of company.
And so he kept his eyes on the stranger and a smile on his face that displayed, for Brage, an unprecedented degree of welcoming, responding to his first question with the briefest shake of the head (the verbal answer remained in his head; even if Charlie hadn't immediately gone on speaking, it might have been forced to remain there, waiting for Brage to organize himself into this new situation), and to his second with a smile and a non-too-disclosing, "Nope." as his eyes became distracted by watching the man's hands as he began rolling the cigarette. He didn't realize until he lifted them again that the man's eyes were still directed at his. Only one further moment of eye-contact was allowed before they moved away, taking in the length of the bar, glancing at the still-occupied bartender, and moving finally down to his glass as he began to lift it again, only to remember with a frown that he'd emptied it. It was returned to its place on the counter with a frown, as well, and abandoned there with a subtle show of bitterness.
Another question, and he dared to resume eye-contact. (He'd partly forgotten how much the man's eyes lingered, but the memory came rushing back when their eyes met again.) He smiled. "Nope." For a moment, the smile broadened, stretched into a teasing grin that only lasted for that second it took it to manifest, before it faded and became once more Brage's dampened expression of pleasantness. "You can't complain, though. I just gave you my lighter. Well..." From where they'd settled on the bar, his hands lifted, making air quotation marks to illustrate his point as he repeated, "My," with a quick wink he chose to forget the moment he'd carried out the action, returning instead to a show of casualness so casual it almost became forced. "I stole it. But you helped me get rid of the evidence, so thanks for that."
Charlie Milton - November 24, 2011 10:54 PM (GMT)
Contrarily to his new companion, Charlie loved strangers. They were his favourite kind of people. There was so much possibility with them; one could watch from afar and give them lives and stories and relationships from one's own mind like he did on a regular basis (if people-watching ever became a sport Charlie was sure he'd be world champion in no time). Or, even better, there was the chance of them turning into something else, an acquaintance, a friend, a lover, an enemy. Any kind of contact was possible if only you were willing to reach for it, and he was. Maybe that was another part of the reason he'd stayed sat down with this handsome stranger; the possibility of him changing into something other than just that, a handsome stranger.
Just his luck he'd chosen a challenging one. The thought made Charlie grin, out of context for their current 'conversation'; the blond had merely responded "nope" twice in a row.
He chuckled, nodding and clicking the lighter absently a few times, never letting it say lit. "Guess not, that was generous of you-- what?!" Charlie put on an exaggerated expression, feigning being affronted. "You stole it? Shit, now I got my fingerprints all over this thing, I'm an accomplice." Even in his inebriated state, he could fully appreciate how nice a smile this man had and his own grin broadened in response to it, false resentment at being caught up in a crime all forgotten.
"I'm going to assume by the fact you have a lighter, legally obtained or otherwise, that you are a smoker, am I right?" Charlie asked, swivelling a little on his stool to face the other man more, accidentally knocking his knee against him but noticing nothing. "You want one?" He pulled the packet from his pocket again just to clarify what he was talking about. "I can roll it for you if you like, I know some people can't do it. Can't abide straights myself, though; too expensive for a start."
Brage Mæhlum-Mørch - November 27, 2011 02:06 AM (GMT)
Cute, he thought to himself, and didn't even see it coming. Cute, because he was; endearing, adorable, attractive when he feigned outrage and affront at being so cleverly implicated a crime he'd had nothing to do with. It coaxed another smile to his lips, lopsided and amused, playful and just a little bit youthful; the way Brage wasn't often youthful. He was a fifty-year-old chewing tobacco and complaining about how everything had gone downhill since the golden 'good old days' that everyone seemed to remember, yet there existed no proof of these better days having actually existed. (But it wasn't believable; someone who looked like he did and worked like he did couldn't pass himself off as the grouchy 50-year-old. Especially not when he had such a natural inclination to smile pleasantly at most people who approached him.)
Though "chewing tobacco" wasn't quite accurate, as he was about to demonstrate; he offered Charlie a disbelieving look at his words, reaching out a hand to lay it on the offered packet of tobacco (his hand barely touched Charlie's, but he was aware of it when it happened) and push it back, his free hand reaching inside his jacket to come away with his own. (He was poor, yes, he could do with a free cigarette, yes, but he was prouder than he was poor, and more stubborn than he was sensible.) Petterøes, what they called 'ballings' where he was from; the same type Charlie had showed him, but of a different variety. (And when had he ever smoked anything else?)
He offered the man a crooked smile, "Too damned expensive," he agreed, and again he winked (preposterous!), playfully, teasingly, raising his brows a moment later in an unassuming act. "I can roll my own. I'll even prove it." Of course, he couldn't say that he would without then doing exact as he'd promised; he set to work, getting his paper lined up in one hand, repeating Charlie's behaviour from before as he looked only at him while mechanically rolling his own cigarette (even as he licked the edge, the moment he'd avoided when Charlie had done the same, he stubbornly kept eye-contact), and finally holding it up for Charlie's inspection. "See?" His smile was back, broadening, and he decided it was time, now, to extend his right hand to the man and say in his usual quickened delivery, "Brage."
Charlie Milton - November 27, 2011 02:56 AM (GMT)
There was that smile again. Charlie was drawn to it, transfixed for a moment as it split the man’s face and he felt even more accomplished that it was in direct reaction to his own exaggeration. It wasn’t something he exactly prided himself on, making people laugh, but it was nice when it happened. It afforded him a certain sense of satisfaction, making them happy in that instant, that he found mostly in his photography. Though so far he could count on one hand the number of photographs he had taken that truly reflected that, that were perfectly captured moments. Perhaps he was too hard on himself but then again, he’d never met an artist of any sort who wasn’t. Us creative types, so self-absorbed.
The hand brushing his, such a small contact in itself (insignificant, really), drew his eyes briefly and he glanced down as his generous offer was pushed politely away. Looking back up with a raised eyebrow he saw the blond draw out his own paraphernalia and smiled. (It broadened a fraction, infinitely pleased at the wink he received; so devilish yet completely innocent at the same time.) “Go on then, let’s see your handiwork, sir.” Despite expressing the wish to see the proof, Charlie never once looked down at what the hands were doing, gaze never breaking hold from the other’s eyes until that last moment where the final touch of tongue to paper occurred. Then his attention was drawn quite unabashedly a fraction south, watching fascinated and as though slow motion (possibly due to internal inhibitions thanks to alcohol) as just the tip of it drew along the paper, withdrawing back between his lips far too soon; though it didn’t stop him staring a moment longer at those same lips.
Then the finished product was brought into his eyeline for inspection and Charlie dutifully paid it attention. He nodded, apparently impressed. “A fine job, especially considering you weren’t looking…”
Moving swiftly on from his admittedly suggestive ‘critique’, he grasped the hand offered to him and grinned in return. Finally, a name for the face. “Brage,” He repeated, trying out the name on his tongue and finding he rather liked the unusual form of it. “I like it. Where’s it from? Or, more correctly, where are you from?” A pause, then: “Oh! I’m Charlie.” Another grin. “What do you say, Brage, that we actually take our masterpieces for a spin?” He twirled his own cigarette between his fingers on his right hand, shaking the lighter slightly in his left.
Brage Mæhlum-Mørch - November 27, 2011 03:17 AM (GMT)
(He'd pretend, for now, that he was unaware of how fixed Charlie's attention had been. He'd pretend, also, that he was unaware of the moment the fixed attention had slipped, giving way to attention being bestowed elsewhere.)
Now he'd given his name, and it made him smile yet again when Charlie repeated it; no matter how long he'd lived here and how many times he'd heard it, it gave him infinite pleasure to hear the locals - and non-locals alike, to be truthful - try on his name for size. (Charlie's pronunciation was good, almost impeccable, and he would have to find time to tell him so, sometime; this was rarely the case.) He decided to return the favour, curling his tongue around the syllables in "Charlie," with a pointed care that was meant to amuse, if nothing else. He accompanied it with another smile, lowering his voice to a greater hush when he responded, "Norway. Frosta." He didn't know why he specified the location; even in Norway, it was rare to find someone who'd meet the place name with anything but a blank expression and the pretence of not being entirely ignorant about the matter.
"This," he continued, holding up the packet for demonstration before he tucked it back into his inner pocket, patting it twice to make doubly sure that it had landed safely (you could never be too careful where tobacco was concerned), "is from further south in the country, though." Again, he didn't know why he specified; all he'd managed to do, no doubt, was to suggest that wherever Frosta was, it was located further north than the place from which his tobacco originated.
He nodded in resolute agreement at Charlie's suggestion, arching a brow and allowing his lips to begin to curl upward in for now mainly concealed amusement, answering slowly, "Sure," and turning around in his seat to face the other man entirely. (Their knees bumped together as he turned, and when he stopped moving, his left was rested lightly against Charlie's right.) "You'll have to lend me your lighter, though. I gave mine to a desperate stranger." Allowing his amusement to show in a grin to rival the Cheshire's, he slid off his barstool, standing first in front of Charlie, posted between his knees for a moment. "I'm generous like that." He arched a brow again, lifting the cigarette to his mouth and suspending it between his lips as he side-stepped away from the bar (and out of the space between Charlie's legs). There, he stopped and waited. "You coming?"
Charlie Milton - November 27, 2011 03:42 AM (GMT)
He was being mocked, he knew this, but Brage’s repetition of his name still sounded exquisite pronounced in that distinctive voice. It drew a smile from him (no surprise there; he was almost surprised he didn’t have cramp in his cheeks from all the grinning he was doing) and he inclined his head to show his appreciation for the sound. He would never dare to profess that he could have accurately guess just where Brage was from but he would have tentatively hazarded at somewhere, vaguely, Scandinavian. From what experience he was basing that on, Charlie didn’t know. It was merely an assumption and, in all honesty, not even that specific.
“My geography is terrible.” He admitted, failing to even pretend he knew what Brage was talking about. “I can just about find my way around Brighton and even then sometimes I have to get Google maps up on my phone.” Nevertheless it was interesting that Brage’s tobacco was so specific in its origins. Charlie had no idea where his was from. As though feeling left out, he withdrew the packet again and peered at the tiny writing. “This is from… no, no use. I can’t read that, too much beer in the way.” He chuckled and stowed it once more in time for their knees to connect a second time, but this time there was no move to disengage on either part. A witty response to being referred to as a ‘desperate stranger’ was halfway to being uttered when Brage was suddenly on his feet and ever so close. The words evaporated and Charlie was left temporarily mute but acutely aware of the proximity. Of the fact Brage (oh handsome Brage) was standing between his legs and not moving away. It occurred to him in that moment how easy it might be to just tense his thighs, bring his legs closer together and keep Brage there… but the moment passed and Brage stepped away, leaving Charlie to settle for the hope he’d get a similar opportunity at some point.
“Watch who you’re calling desperate!” He said eventually, sliding from his seat as well and landing a little unsteadily on his feet but managing to keep a hold of his essentials; the cigarette and lighter. “Remember I’m in charge of this lighter now. Since it is stolen property and all that.” Chuckling again, Charlie shook his head and slid past Brage to lead the way, tugging on his sleeve. For what reason, he wasn’t sure. He was certain Brage would have followed him anyway.
The cold air hit him cruelly and he wrinkled his nose in the face of it, sticking the cigarette resolutely between his lips again before clicking the lighter a few times, getting a flame eventually, and inhaling deeply. “Better than fresh air.” He grinned, standing close to Brage still (hey, it was cold) and holding the lighter out.
Brage Mæhlum-Mørch - November 27, 2011 04:00 AM (GMT)
"Yes sir" had distinctly negative connotations to it, to any man with pride and dignity. You didn't go around bestowing 'yes sirs' on every Tom, Dick and Harry that crossed your path - at least Brage didn't. The last time he'd delivered the equivalent had been during his year in the military, the last time it had been acceptable, the only time it had been reasonable - and yet here it was, being uttered from his lips, accompanied by the expression of the properly scolded schoolboy who was willing to face his punishment, but still found the headmaster's stern expression to be nothing more than a source of amusement, "Yes sir." He stood straigher as he said it, fitting his face with a serious expression, a respectfully submissive expression, which gave way to another grin, cheeky and playful, bordering on teasing as CHarlie slid past him and tugged on his sleeve.
Of course, he would have followed automatically, but he played the part of the ragdoll when he was tugged along like this, responding to the tug by letting his body be exaggeratedly yanked along, loose-limbed and relaxed, adequately fuelled by alcohol to put on this slight show. (But it was unlikely anyone but Charlie would be in a position to notice; Brage had never been one for putting on great performances.) He followed outside, and was struck with a moment of purest regret as he stepped through the doors and was hit by the cold November air. Immediately he shivered and pulled his jacket closer around himself, arms crossing tightly over his chest and tucking his hands into his pits for warmth, a resting place they were forced to abandon moments later when the lighter was offered. (And through it all, he was oblivious of how close they were standing; the proximity was welcome. It was too cold for personal space.)
He didn't take the lighter from his hands, but instead cupped his hands around Charlie's, letting him hold the contraption as Brage clicked it and leaned in to light his own cigarette, shuffling ever-so-slightly closer as he did. When he stood up straight again, cigarette lit and hands withdrawing, their sides were touching, if only barely. He offered a nod of gratitude, uttering a quick, "Cheers," before his hand came up to remove the cigarette from between his lips after a deep inhale, allowing him to exhale slowly in a content sigh that brought a content smile to his face. "Definitely better than fresh air." Another shiver shook him, and he crossed one arm tightly over his chest in a one-armed self-hug intended (and failing) to keep him warm. "Fresh air is fucking cold." Spoken in a chuckle, accompanied by a shake of his head and a lopsided smile. He decided to abandon the topic at once; they didn't need more reminders than they already had that England was cold in near-winter. "So how about you? You from around here?"
Charlie Milton - November 27, 2011 06:55 PM (GMT)
Why he hadn’t brought a proper jacket, Charlie didn’t know. Hindsight was such a wonderful and terrible thing. He hadn’t had nearly enough alcohol to keep him warm and found himself wishing they were back inside. But, like he’s said, the cigarette was better than fresh air, better than most things. They could return inside when they were done. His shivering seemed to still inexplicably for the few seconds that Brage’s hands cupped his own (they were warm, it was nice) and got his light. That done, Charlie pocketed it; he was indeed going to keep this lighter like he’d been invited to do.
His shivering resumed but only intermittently when a breeze caught him at the right angle and he consciously sidled closer so that he and Brage were side by side, able to feel the warmth off each other. It wasn’t unusual for him, so tactile as he was, and it certainly didn’t occur to him that this was a violation of space – when the weather was this cold stuff like that hardly mattered. He nodded along with Brage, taking a few long drags, feeling them beginning to heat him up from the inside, letting the smoke furl out from his nostrils slowly. Then a question was addressed to him and he let the rest of it out in a rush, a great silver plume.
“Nah, London. Born and bred. Though my mum’s Irish, moved here just before she had me. So all my family’s back there. Don’t visit as much as I’d like though. Not sure about my dad but that’s a whole other story.” Another drag then he held the cigarette away while he spoke again. “Do you go back to Norway much?” Charlie didn’t mention so at this point (far too soon he thought) but it was one country he really wanted to visit, just him and his camera.
Brage Mæhlum-Mørch - November 27, 2011 10:30 PM (GMT)
Another breeze bit at his skin, weaving its way inside his tragically ill-suited jacket (the one that didn't close, the one with the hole in its side, the one missing a button, and the only one he was usually inclined to wear, despite what it lacked both in style and usefulness), and he warded off a shiver by taking a deep drag from his cigarette, filling his lungs with such a great amount of smoke that it almost made them sting. Slowly, he released the breath through the corner of his mouth, breathing it away from Charlie in a controlled cylinder of smoke, dissipating and losing shape in the breeze. The cigarette remained where it was, suspended between his lips while his hands sought cover from the cold under his armpits. (It was always that way with him; he didn't take the cigarette out of his mouth until he absolutely had to.)
He nodded as Charlie spoke, deciding against follow-up questions and breathing from the cigarette when Charlie did (personal matters, he labelled it; matters that weren't there so he could stick his nose in). This time, he held the cigarette away as he exhaled, suspending it between index and middle finger and breathing down, waiting until he'd rid his lungs of the entire breath of smoke before he answered a simple, "No." Initially, he was perfectly content with not offering any more information than that, but in its current state, it felt on the verge of bitterness; like going back was something he consciously avoided. He looked up, then, meeting Charlie's eyes and smiling again. "Now and then, when I can afford to take time off from work." "Afford," a word with multiple meanings; currency-related, time-related. "I'm usually needed around here."
With a shrug, he decided that was enough of that, and was all too pleased to move the topic away from himself and onto the stranger-at-close-proximity, almost hurrying to ask, "What brings you to Brighton?" But the moment he'd said it, another biting chill travelled down his neck with a sharp wind that pushed through the street, and this time, he couldn't fight the shiver. Quickly, he looked around, and located the alley no more than five to ten steps away. With a questioning look on his face, he turned to Charlie, arched a brow and gestured for him to follow as he turned and walked into the alley, staying close to its exit, but far enough in that he was shielded from the wind.
Charlie Milton - November 27, 2011 11:10 PM (GMT)
He was quietly glad that Brage hadn’t asked further about his father. He didn’t talk much about him to anyone, he was unsure what had caused him to mention it now. Too much alcohol perhaps. Still, the subject had passed and he felt a rush of relief and gratefulness for Brage. So he offered him a smile, listening with it still on his face as he received an answer to his question. Well, at least he knew now that he hadn’t run into either an unemployed bum or one of those no-need-to-work types that he saw far too many of at school.
More questions came to mind even as one was asked of him but before he could either ask or answer, Brage had come up with a good idea. Charlie nodded earnestly and followed without hesitation towards the mouth of the alley. It wasn’t exactly warmer over here but it wasn’t as windy. Perhaps it would be easier to warm up now, he thought as he dragged deeply on his cigarette, free hand deep in his pocket to warm it up before he switched over. It was cosier, at least. A smaller space (all the better for losing more of that personal space).
“I’m a student at the college. Stanmer Park.” He clarified after a moment, as though that would make any difference. Who cared? Certainly not someone like Brage, not even a native; the significance was probably lost on him and for the better. Charlie liked his school well enough but it wasn’t half full of snobs with attitude, particularly towards people such as himself. Let them sneer. “Photography, actually. Yeah, I know, sounds like a joke of a degree, right? But you’d be surprised how many essays I have to write.” He grinned, flicking
non-capitalised ash into the wind away from them. “What about you, what do you do?” Usually he’d have attributed an entire story for this stranger by now. But a while back, at the bar probably, he’d decided he wanted to know the real story, not the one of his own creation. Despite himself (and completely without subtlety), Charlie let his eyes wander again, over Brage’s face, every feature, down to his torso, drinking in whatever detail he could scavenge. Without looking the least bit embarrassed, he looked back up to catch Brage’s eye again, cigarette poised just between his lips.
Brage Mæhlum-Mørch - November 28, 2011 04:40 PM (GMT)
In the alley, he found the wall, leaned back against it and crossed his arms over his chest again, one arm propped up for easy movement of cigarette to lips and away again. He listed this, now, as an occasion where taking the cigarette out from between his lips between each drag was a necessity; he'd landed himself in conversation, and felt his tongue loosening with every word he said. It gave him pause, however, to hear where Charlie came from in Brighton, and he looked him over quickly, concluding after a moment of consideration that if he went to Stanmer, he was there on a scholarship. (Brage knew more than he would like about that place; it came with the territory of having a selection of friends scattered throughout its halls.) He cleared his throat at the realisation, nodding and smiling a knowing smile, and chuckling lightly at his words. "I hear there's a lot of that going on up there..." He decided, for now, not to tell Charlie that he knew people there. (Though he wasn't sure why; it just felt like his ex-girlfriend and related acquaintances wasn't a subject he was keen on visiting right away.)
He cleared his throat again at Charlie's question, the knowing smile making its way back to his lips as he looked away, took a drag from his cigarette and released smoke into the cold winter air before he took the time to answer. (No doubt for the best; looking away, he didn't see the way Charlie looked him over without a hint of inhibition.) "Farmhand." Simply put, no need for clarification, and yet he did; his tongue was loosened quite enough for extra information, and it wasn't like he'd ever been let off the hook by city-people when it came to his profession of choice. His eyes found Charlie's again, alight with the same smile that curved his lips slightly now, though it was certainly more expressed than his mouth's smile. "I work at a pig farm outside of town. Live there, too. Little cottage, got a rooster crowing every morning..." His amusement began to build; it wasn't lost on him that his life seemed to be based around a type-description of reality rather than reality itself. "It's very quaint."
He laughed a little at his last description, shaking his head and tapping the ash off the tip of his cigarette, for a moment lowering his eyes from Charlie's as he did so, but lifting them along with the cigarette a moment later. Another drag from the cancer-stick; he let the smoke leave him in puffs along with his words. "Used to be a fisherman, but it didn't take." His smile widened. "Wasn't as quaint."
Charlie Milton - November 28, 2011 11:06 PM (GMT)
So far, Charlie was feeling very accomplished. This man had already confessed to not talking a whole lot yet here he was completely content to have an entire conversation. In the cold, no less. He felt a swell of pride in himself that he was apparently such a desirable conversational partner. He quelled it before it became too apparent and focused once more on what Brage was saying. And quite a lot on how his mouth looked when he was saying it.
Easier said than done but he tried. He said nothing more on the subject of Stanmer and essays and the like, much more interested in an answer to his own question that, when it was forthcoming, did not disappoint. He hadn’t expected ‘farmhand’ as an answer and it made his eyebrows rise and his mouth curve into a grin. Clarification followed, however, and the grin changed at once into an ‘o’ of awed disbelief.
“Fuck off! Are you serious?!” He hadn’t meant to be so rude but his overexcitement had got the better of him. “You are kidding, aren’t you? You’re not… Pigs? Oh man, pigs are awesome. All snuffly and chubby.” His cigarette was temporarily forgotten, dangling between forefinger and thumb as he spoke. “And very intelligent too, I saw a documentary on it. I also saw an episode of CSI where they were used to cover up a murder because they ate the body or something, I dunno. So they’re good at covering up crimes, maybe you can hide all your stolen lighters with them.” The gushing ramble ended abruptly as he realised just what he was saying but he didn’t look at all abashed. In fact he moved swiftly on to talk about fish instead.
“I could never be a fisherman. I don’t really like open water for a start but also fish are just gross and slimy and smelly. Don’t even taste that nice to be honest unless they’re covered in oil, deep fried in batter and served with chips.” He remembered his cigarette and brought it to his lips again, eyes looking straight into Brage’s with a glint of mischief in them, lips curved slightly at the corners. “Course, a lot of things are nicer covered in oil.” He didn’t clarify any further, content to leave the statement delightfully ambiguous.
Brage Mæhlum-Mørch - December 2, 2011 05:00 PM (GMT)
Brage had realized just a few months into his job at Reed farm that he was endlessly fascinated with pigs. Or maybe that's when it had happened; after a few months of working with them, of inhabiting the same space as them, he woke up and thought that pigs were, in Charlie's words, awesome. It was rare that people agreed with him, however, so when Charlie responded with excitement and praise, his lips stretched into some kind of combination of a beam and a grin, further than they were accustomed to stretching in conversations with strangers. It paved the way for chuckling - of course, it would have been difficult not to laugh when Charlie started rambling. He would have responded; already the words were lining up on his tongue (they're omnivorous, you know; he was sure everyone who knew him also knew this, by now), but Charlie was quicker. He was silenced, nodding along to his words - he was right; they were gross and slimy and smelly - and chuckling quietly as he finished (or Brage thought he finished) and unknowingly mirroring his actions, lifting cigarette to his lips.
But it stayed at a slight distance, halted when Charlie spoke again and Brage met his eyes in a moment of pause. Covered in oil. For a moment, his eyebrows began to rise in barely expressed surprise, then his eyes dropped, cigarette was brought all the way to his lips to take a deep drag, releasing it quietly to distract himself and concentrate on how to respond. He only had one choice; he backtracked, retraced their steps to when he still had words, and it left him suddenly, following the silence in sharp contrast, just a little bit louder than the normal volume of his voice. "They're omnivores, you know." His eyes finally lifted, meeting Charlie's again as he took another drag from his cigarette, but he realized how discordant his words were after a moment, and added in a rush, "Pigs, I mean. Not fish. Well... I guess that'd depend on the fish, but that's not important. Pigs."
He felt like chuckling at himself, but only smiled a lopsided smile, shook his head a bit and lowered his eyes again, moving his cigarette from his right hand to his left, and reaching into his jacket with his now-free right hand. It came away carrying a metal flask, opened when his cigarette went for a quick pit stop between his lips, taken a large gulp from when it was back in his left hand. It stung then burned, but it was a familiar sensation; enough that he only squinted lightly as he offered the flask to Charlie. "Pretty cool animals, much better than fish - it's strong, so you know." He realized his jump after a second and smiled. "The alcohol, not the fish. Made it myself."
Charlie Milton - December 7, 2011 10:56 AM (GMT)
The pause after his statement, lingering ambiguously as he’d intended, made Charlie grin widely despite himself. His eyes glinted with mischief and he made no effort to conceal it, even when Brage didn’t answer it verbally, instead moving on to talk more about pigs. Which actually suited Charlie fine because they were pretty cool.
“I know, just like us. It’s kind of weird when you think about it, a pig eating meat, because… they are meat. I mean, do you think they’d eat bacon if you gave it to them? Weird on many levels but I do wonder.” He wasn’t sure to what extent Brage loved his pigs and so he didn’t mention his undying love for bacon. The last thing he wanted to do was offend him.
“You know, I think there are omnivorous fish. It stands to reason, really. If you live in the ocean I guess you can’t be too picky. It’s either fish or seaweed you can eat.” He took a final drag on his cigarette, a long and drawn out one, before dropping it to the ground and crushing it with the ball of his foot. “Sharks are best though, badasses of the sea.” Charlie shook his head at himself as the words left his mouth. What the fuck was he talking about? Even he didn’t know at this point and decided to try and hold it back a bit. People who knew him were mostly used to his utterly random trains of thought but he and Brage had only just met; he should probably ease him into the mentalness.
He nodded in agreement that pigs were cooler than fish, watching with interest as Brage pulled out a hipflask. “Do you always take your own alcohol to a bar?” He enquired with a small smile, still happy to take what was offered to him. “You made this?” Charlie looked impressed then cockily brought the flask straight to his lips and took a healthy sip.
Brage hadn’t been lying.
“Holy fuck!” A splutter and small cough, handing the flask back as it happened, Charlie half laughed as his throat burned. “Jesus, what is that?” The burning subsided after a few moments and he cleared his throat, clapping Brage on the shoulder. “Congratulations, that truly is something.”
Brage Mæhlum-Mørch - December 7, 2011 09:20 PM (GMT)
He watched with a lopsided smile on his face as Charlie began talking again, listening with brows high and eyes alight with otherwise unexpressed amusement as he rambled and went off on topic-jumping tangents, quietly trying to keep up in his mind. It had always taken Brage a bit longer than many people to finish with a topic; he ran through it slowly in his head, meticulously considering the topic, though he would rarely express his thoughts verbally and mainly kept them to himself, taking his sweet time in completing a thought before he'd considering moving on (though when he did, it was often a speedy procedure.) Unusual, this; forced to keep up with a mind who seemed to be directly connected to the man's mouth. But maybe this was alcohol playing a part. Brage couldn't say he minded, either way; it was refreshing, in a sense. Different.
He leaned in a little at Charlie's words, lowering his voice as though to conspire with him in the shadows, so he could whisper, "We're meat too, though, and we eat it." He stood up straight after that, grinning at the other man and offering a shrug. "I'm pretty sure the pigs'd get ill if they ate bacon, though. Which is a shame. Bacon is awesome." He grinned again, lips going lopsided in execution, and he leaned back heavily against the wall, body curving as he did so, without him attempting to straighten by taking the little step back that was required. "Or they could eat plankton," he answered quickly as Charlie went on, smiling an almost teasing smile as he gently corrected him, "Or mammals. Sharks do that." For a moment, his smile widened. It wasn't in his nature to correct, to point out when people were mistaken, but with alcohol in his system, he felt suddenly inclined to be playful, and to express it through gently ribbing tone-of-voice and eyes alight with teasing intentions.
But ultimately, his eyes dropped away from Charlie, looking down as he brought his cigarette to his lips, and lifting them again as he exhaled, nodding a yes to Charlie's question, and watching expectantly as he brought the flask to his lips.
He couldn't help but burst out laughing when he took a sip. It would be futile to try to contain it, but he didn't even do that; his head tilted back and his eyes squeezed shut, and he laughed loudly, without abandon, the kind of laughter he only laughed in good company, or when he was uninhibited enough to not be his usual level of stoic. He was still laughing when he straightened, pushing off the wall with enough force that he had to take a step forward, closer to Charlie, and shaking his head at him as he took the flask back. "Oh yeah, it really is something. And you handled it masterfully." The laughter started again, this time as a more controlled chuckle, stilled for a moment when Brage took another drink from the flask, closed it and tucked it back into his jacket. Himmkok swallowed, he grinned again, reaching around to Charlie's back to pat it compassionately at first and stroke his back in semi-round motions second. "Don't worry. Not everyone can handle my himmkok." Cheekily, he grinned again.
Charlie Milton - December 7, 2011 10:35 PM (GMT)
It wasn’t anything to do with a short attention span, his jumping from topic to topic, at least he didn’t think so. It was more just the fact he often had a lot of thoughts running around in his head and all of them apparently had to be voiced regardless of the actual topic of conversation. Hence how they seemed to have moved on from pigs all the way to sharks, two very different species if ever there were.
Also cannibalism apparently.
The conspiratorial tone of Brage’s voice had Charlie raising an eyebrow. “Yeah we’re meat but we don’t eat other humans, do we? Not unless you’re Hannibal Lecter or something. I’d feel bad feeding a pig bacon because they wouldn’t know. And they might really like it and be all ‘oh man, what is this heavenly delicacy, I must have more’. Essentially, a monster would have been created.” He stood only a little way from Brage, who was leaning on the wall, standing fully upright himself and looking thoughtful. “Saying that… I’m pretty sure sharks eat other sharks and that’s not weird because they’re sharks, you know? Yes I know they eat mammals. Poor little seals and dolphins and things. I watched a documentary on it.” He was certainly giving off the impression that he watched a lot of nature documentaries, perhaps not wholly inaccurate. “David Attenborough can make anything sound interesting…” Charlie mused, mostly to himself as a sort of justification.
Throat still a little sore, he smiled along with Brage. He had tried to scowl as the other man full out laughed at him but the sight was so genuine and looked utterly uninhibited that he couldn’t quite manage. “Masterfully? Oh yes, quite. Coughing and spluttering, so masterful. Now I know you’re teasing.” Charlie managed a frown but it was insincere, disappearing as soon as there was a hand on his back delivering well received strokes. Semi-consciously, he leaned a little further in towards Brage, almost leaning up against his side, smiling contentedly at the touch, close enough to smell the smoke and the alcohol on him but minding neither in the slightest. His eyes, which had slid closed briefly as he enjoyed the sensation, snapped open at Brages reassurance. It took a moment to process what he’d said. “Handle your… himmkok? Is that what you call it now?” He responded to the grin with one of his own, significantly more suggestive than Brage’s cheeky one. “I’ve never heard that one before…” He said, voice low and eyes glancing noticeably southwards before meeting Brage's gaze again.
Brage Mæhlum-Mørch - December 8, 2011 12:43 AM (GMT)
He'd never had a conversation about cannibalistic sharks with anyone before. Internally, he jutted it down in his 'curious observations' notebook, the one he only remembered he had when his alcohol level reached a certain point, in which everything he ever wrote was sucked into the page the moment he sobered up. And he could have laughed at it - could have laughed loudly, or shook his head and chuckled at Charlie's antics - but he was left with a half-formed smiled on his lips, amazed at Charlie's ability at aimless monologue, nodding along in an attempt to express interest and encourage him to continue. (On one level, he was interested in seeing how long he could carry on like this. On another, he was quietly appreciating the movements of Charlie's lips, and there was no need for anyone, even himself, to investigate this matter more closely - not again.)
He considered chipping in, offering observations on savaging of piglets, but held his tongue, watched as the topic changed, listened to how Charlie's tone changed with the topics, ending up in that musing state that seemed oddly distant, even as it was present. Enthralling, in a sense; he was an appreciative observer, content being the observer, even after alcohol had loosened his tongue. (Occasionally, people kept his attention so profoundly that he couldn't noticeably express his interest.)
And now he was grinning, pleased for having let the previous topic die out, content with having his hand on Charlie's back, tracing slow circles on the back of his jacket, employing that gentle touch that was never a hundred percent convincing when Brage used it. "Never," he insisted, playfully, still teasing in his denial of having ever teased, passing Charlie a crooked smile accompanied by a quirked brow. (He was only aware of him coming closer in passing; an increase in shared heat that was well-received and made this flimsy jacket seem more effective than it way.) The observation almost made him retreat; he didn't realize what he was talking about at first (the cogs of his mind were turning slowly, slower, slowest), but when his eyes dropped, it hit him with a sudden bang.
Sheepishly, he cleared his throat and looked away, but his hand stayed where it was, and pretty soon a chuckle emerged. "It's Norwegian, actually. Means something along the lines of... home-brew." And suddenly, confidence; a certainty that gripped him tight and drove him forward. He returned his eyes to Charlie's and his hand rose, sliding up his back until his arm was curled around the other man's shoulders. (The stranger's shoulders, but didn't he have a familiar air to him? Certainly; it was acceptable. It was what it was.) "But if we're on the subject, you definitely couldn't handle my himmkok." That was what it was, too.
Charlie Milton - December 19, 2011 08:50 PM (GMT)
That was the thing with Charlie; conversations with him could often be a first for a lot of people. Cannibalistic sharks, why is it not acceptable to wear pyjamas in public, what would happen if there was suddenly no such thing as television and so on. One might wonder, given that he spent so much time talking, when he had time to ponder on such things. The truth was, most of it came to him in a split second, completely unrelated to whatever task or topic was at hand except by perhaps the most tenuous link. He often found that to be the case late at night when he started watching videos on YouTube. One minute you’re innocently watching something about a cat that can say ‘no!’ in a comical voice, then half an hour later somehow you’re watching videos on how to paint your own face like a lion.
The conversation moved (thankfully) onwards from such puzzling things as sharks and their eating habits and instead began to focus more on themselves, something Charlie was only too willing to talk about. “Norwegian, huh? Well, obviously. I like the sound of it though… Himmkok.” He tried it out again but was less than satisfied with the result- he clearly didn’t say it as well as Brage did, and thankfully Brage did indeed say it again in a sentence that made Charlie grin as the arm curled around his shoulders.
“Is that a dare?” Charlie asked, moving slowly until he was no longer just leaning into Brage’s side but standing in front of him and standing very close, too. “If so, I probably should have told you sooner but it’s a rare occasion if I ever say ‘no’ to one…” He murmured, the volume of his voice not needing to be higher than it was thanks to their proximity. Probably more noticeable than his tone, however, was the hand he’d surreptitiously slid between their bodies to accidentally brush over the front of Brage’s trousers, not breaking eye contact for a second. He wasn’t feeling very cold anymore, quite the opposite. He could feel a slight flush rising up his neck and a slight tingle in the hand that was still between them. He’d decided not to move it away.
Brage Mæhlum-Mørch - December 19, 2011 10:15 PM (GMT)
Was it endearing? Was it the ever-dreaded sweet that Charlie tried to pronounce the word, failing by his own standards, failing by Brage's, but still trying it on for size the way Brage tried on the various dialects he'd encountered while living in England? Whatever it was, it made him smile a crooked smile when he heard it, while he sidled - almost ignoring his own actions - closer to the other man, draped an arm around him, pronounced the word with pointed correctness. He pretended he wasn't prepared for the response - that he hadn't thought that far ahead, that he had only been playing, that he hadn't been inviting anything of the sort - and told himself that he'd pull away now and make it clear that he wasn't the least bit interested in men.
(Apart from when he unexpectedly ended up kissing them on the beach. In passing, fleeting moments such as that one, it didn't make a difference what he was. He'd decided it didn't make a difference what he was.)
For a moment, he held his breath. As though they hadn't already been close enough, Charlie had to come even closer, diminishing the distance between them until it seemed non-existent, and he felt like he had nowhere to move. No way to breathe. Any moment now, he'd move away, but he didn't yet. He stood where he was, impossibly meeting Charlie's eyes as he spoke, almost arching a brow, but finding himself locked into the expression that had already settled across his face: The shadow of a smile clinging to his lips, a distant presence in his eyes. Cluelessness like he wouldn't believe. "Oh." And he was eloquent, of course; the master of witty retorts, but it wasn't entirely his fault. Not with the look in Charlie's eyes, though that didn't affect him in the least (of course not, it couldn't, it wouldn't, heterosexual, apart from those fleeting, passing moments of kissing on beaches, irrelevant, already forgotten, though the taste was fresh on his lips - he wondered what Charlie's lips tasted like), and that clandestine hand that slipped between them, the hand he was unaware of until he felt it, and he felt himself shifting closer, leaning in...
A sudden ruckus interrupted him. It came from the entrance to the bar, a group of men bursting out and laughing boisterously. He drew away immediately, arm slipping away from Charlie's shoulders, pushing his hand away on its way to relaxation, feet taking a step away again, far enough that he could lean sideways against the wall, back turned on the exit from the alley, where the men chortled as they passed. Calmly, he brought his cigarette to his lips, drew deep, cast a glance over his shoulder as he was exhaling, and saw them disappear again, heard their voices growing dim, and was in a fleeting, passing moment fuelled by something. (Fleeting, passing moments, heterosexual, irrelevant, it was only a fleeting, passing moment, always passing; soon he'd have normalcy again.) He pushed away from the wall and dropped his cigarette, still looking over his shoulder when he grabbed the front of Charlie's shirt and pulled him with him further into the alley, into the shadows, behind the sizeable dumpster to obscure them from view, and pushed him back against the wall. He was flush against him, hands on either side of him on the wall, faces an inch apart, and eye-contact restored. (In the shadows, he couldn't quite make out the glint in Charlie's eyes; he decided it was a good thing.) Hushed, spoken in such a low voice that it came out almost a growl, just a sound; he was unsure if his words even had meaning as he said it, "Repeat that."
Charlie Milton - December 19, 2011 10:45 PM (GMT)
If pushed, he would be able to remember his own fleeting, passing moments. They were few and perhaps that was why they returned to him in such clarity. Unlike a good few people he’d known, Charlie had known his sexuality from an early age and had been lucky enough to come to terms with it with no troubles. Perhaps it was the flamboyant nature of her industry but Audrey had been very accepting when Charlie had told her of his equal intents towards boys and girls. Other people weren’t as lucky to have a support system like his, he knew this, and his ‘coming out’ to his mother was one of his favourite memories purely for the rush of affection it still sends through him to think of it.
Despite his own ease of acceptance, he knew it wasn’t like that for everyone. A lot of people were scared to admit it to themselves even after they’d fooled around. “I’m not gay,” was an excuse he’d heard before and often retorted with a half sarcastic “Neither am I.” He could never tell if he’d bagged a closet case until that sentence – most of them seemed so goddamn eager.
But then every so often there would be a Brage, an enigma. Charlie had been sure he was just following signs laid out nicely for him, returning the flirtation in equal measure if not a little more. The noise of the door banging open had startled him, too, but not enough to move away. This was Brighton after all; two men in an alleyway was hardly an uncommon sight. But then he was standing alone, watching Brage smoke his cigarette and frowning. Maybe he’d imagined the lean towards him, towards his hand, imagined the smile and look in his eyes… It wouldn’t be the first time.
He was all set to shrug it off and head back inside, having got what he initially came for – a light for his damn cigarette – and had even half moved a leg to take a step away when a hand came from nowhere to grip his shirt and pull him less than gently deeper into the darkness. Alcohol-sogged as he was, it only took a second or two to realise that this was another one of those signs he’d been following earlier. Only this one was in big, red, neon letters that he couldn’t miss even if he’d tried. Even clearer, perhaps, was the rough press of the brick wall against his back, in such contrast to the warm and inviting body pressing on his front. It had knocked the breath from him just a little but he smiled anyway. “What? Oh, you mean this?” He murmured, hand deftly snaking between their bodies to not merely brush him this time but cup, and firmly. Then his other hand grabbed the collar of Brage’s jacket and pulled him in, meeting him halfway. He could taste fresh tobacco on his mouth, a fact that made him rather pleased; he had been wondering what was so special about Brage’s foreign cigarettes.
Brage Mæhlum-Mørch - December 19, 2011 11:24 PM (GMT)
He got what he came for, without the willingness to admit that he'd come for it. Shaded, he could see his smile and chose to ignore it (no room for smiling in passing, fleeting moments - far too conscious, far too intentional), chose to direct his attention solely to sensation. A hand coasting through the obstruction of body-to-body, effortlessly moving past abdomen and hip, between his legs and curling, going from lithe to firm in sudden development. His entire body came closer, and finally the taste, willingly met halfway with mouth hot and rough, setting out to dominate, to take and have and use - no part of Charlie was made of glass. He wasn't afraid of breaking him.
(He was so much gentler with women, when he touched them for the first time. Respectful hands, lips not quite feral; it had been ingrained into his mind to treat her well - and 'well' had almost automatically translated into 'gently, respectfully, cautiously, until permission is granted to do otherwise' - but no one had ever bothered to put it otherwise, to tell him to treat him well. No one had ever anticipated that scenario.)
There was beer, faded, on his lips, tobacco fresh and clear, the sting of his own alcohol touching his mouth, and a sense of satisfaction that presented, possessive and domineering - he'd given his lips a taste that was his. Without thinking, he was pushing himself into Charlie's hand with definitive press, a hand on the other's hip drawing him firmly closer, the other curling around the back of his neck in a tight hold. He had him in place, unyielding, instinctively handling him with authoritative ease that he hadn't anticipated until it happened. With teeth nipping roughly at reddening lips and tongue brushing over in soothing, coaxing movements - half of each or more of one, he couldn't tell, he didn't care to tell - he sought him, esurient to such an extent that he chose not to acknowledge it. Chose not to acknowledge that now that he'd invited the man's advances, he was advancing with ease on his own. Chose not to acknowledge that he'd slipped his tongue between the other man's lips, that he'd curled it around the other man's tongue and tasted him until he could help but ask himself what the rest of him tasted like.
His lips pulled away, mouth seeking the answer along the line of his jaw, teeth grazing along the sharp edge, tongue flicking his earlobe when he reached his destination and could continue lower, setting teeth to his neck and feeling the delicate skin yielding to his touch, pliant under his teeth. With enough press, he'd most certainly leave a mark. His nips became a mite sharper - he'd most certainly leave a mark.
Charlie Milton - December 20, 2011 12:05 AM (GMT)
There was no correlation between gentleness and gender as far as Charlie was concerned. Even the most innocent looking of girls could surprise you. Amelia, the last girl he’d been with, had been neither innocent nor gentle and the scratchmarks he’d received had only just healed. He still might not have had her in an alleyway quite like this though, not least of all because she’d never allow it. He didn’t anticipate many scratchmarks from this encounter but from the looks of things he’d still have a mark to show for his troubles.
What Brage lacked in perfectly manicured nails he made up for with teeth that nipped everywhere, stinging his skin for a split second before he found it soothed by a tongue that still surprised him with its roughness. The neon lights of the sign he’d followed had long since blown from their intensity but Charlie didn’t need them anymore. He had a hand at his hip pulling him close, another hand on his neck holding him fast (as though he’d really try to get away… ridiculous) and his own hands were just as busy as his mouth was with its kissing and nipping and every so often moaning. Momentarily he drew his hand away from the satisfying shape beneath it to join the other as it reached for first the button then the zipper of Brage’s jeans, not even hesitating once there was room enough to delve a hand inside.
The action coincided with Brage’s mouth meeting his skin, lips and tongue dragging over it, desperate to explore, and he arched his neck to allow more room, another half moan escaping him as he grinned up at the sky, pushing his own hips forward just a mite. The hand inside Brage’s jeans was doing exploring of its own, mapping out what it could and relaying a mental picture to Charlie’s mind’s eye. He was not displeased but decided that he still wasn’t getting enough accuracy. The flimsy elastic waistband of underwear was no match for him, his fingers slipped deftly past it to curl around their ultimate goal. The contact almost made him shudder and definitely made him grin and hum in appreciation.
Brage Mæhlum-Mørch - December 30, 2011 10:51 PM (GMT)
His trousers felt at once loose around his waist (curious, wasn't it, that they felt tighter and tighter not far below that again?), and for a split second, there was the awareness that this was the time to turn back, to abort, to retreat and return to the safe place where none of this needed to be visited. It could remain what it was, fleeting-passing moments, and never amount to anything else, fleeting-passing moments, until he found himself in this place again, fleeting-passing moments - but Brage had always had a knack for learning when he decided a mistake had been made. But maybe he'd had a bit too much to drink, maybe he shouldn't have had shots of himmkok between gulps of beer when he sat inside, and maybe he just wanted it too much; he didn't even try to stop him.
For the quickest moment, his lips came to a pause in their explorations of Charlie's neck, just long enough to acknowledge it as he reached the point of no return, just long enough to ignore the shall-not-pass and trudge bravely on with the courage of inebriation. Just the quickest moment, enough to react to the unfamiliarity of the hand that curled around him. Larger hand, rougher hand, different - he was suspended there in that unfamiliarity for a moment, hovering in a nibble paused midway through biting mode, leaving a mark allowed to set and grow in the second that passed. When it had, he released the skin on the lower part of Charlie's neck, leaving teeth marks in his wake.
He didn't pull away. For a moment, he thought he might; it was there for him to grasp it, the freedom to pull away and leave, and was tickling him with its temptation even as this separate temptation had command over him. There was safety in that, maybe, the closeness of the alley's exit. The possibility of pulling away and making a run for it and never thinking about this again. (Wouldn't he?) Safety enough to ignore the shall-not-pass and trudge on in inebriation, to curl his hand more firmly around the back of Charlie's neck and brush his lips over the exposed, stretched skin across his throat and feel stubble scratching at his lips. Different; it flickered in sparks, stoked the flame. Firmly, he pressed his lips to his throat once more, then lifted them, brushed them along neck and jaw and cheek to find his ear, nip sharply at the lobe and whisper in grumbling growl, "Kneel."
Charlie Milton - January 4, 2012 11:49 PM (GMT)
He’d never been particularly good at taking instruction. It wasn’t a problem with authority, not really, it was more a dislike of being ordered around like a nobody. Not that Charlie had any delusions of grandeur either, far from it. But it was why he’d never managed to stay too long in any of the part time jobs he’d had over the years; a desire to do things his own way and in his own time was not a trait that went down well with a lot of small business owners. And don’t even mention the stint as a bartender, people shouting drinks orders without even looking at him. Plain rude, really.
Even in the bedroom he liked a mutual sense of respect and give-and-take, usually doling out playful demands more than receiving them.
But something in Brage’s voice gave him no hesitation at all. Or perhaps it was the proximity to his ear, or the teeth on his skin or even the gravelly growl that shuddered right through him to exacerbate the situation in his pants. Whatever it was, it had Charlie immediately bending at the knees to slide down the wall and kneel, hands bringing the trousers down with him to knee level, immediately setting his mouth on the bare skin of Brage’s thigh, one hand gripping the back of a knee, the other curving around his bum. He had all sorts of things he wanted to do while he was down here, show Brage exactly why he was a smart man for staying when he could have fled (yes, he’d noticed a brief hesitation even in his inebriation; somehow situations like this seemed to sharpen his senses even if only for a little while).
But would it be too much too soon, he wondered. If there had been contemplation of leaving already, Charlie didn’t want to scare him away. It was definitely better this time if he didn’t assume control.
That and he also wanted to hear that voice again, gravelly and low, telling him what to do. Looking up with bright eyes and dilated pupils, Charlie leaned his cheek against Brage’s leg, drawing circles with his fingertip on the back of his knee.
“Now what? What is it you want me to do?”
Brage Mæhlum-Mørch - February 5, 2012 11:30 PM (GMT)
There was relief in that, too; the promptness of his obedience, the man sliding down the wall and landing on his knees in front of him. Had he hesitated, Brage might have done the same - this time, he might have come to his senses. (It would have been that; not a chickening out or running away, but a rediscovery of sense.) One of his hands followed the other on his way down, settling on his shoulder with moderate pressure, gripping him tightly and feeling the strong contours of bone and musculature under his skin and under the man's shirt. For a moment, he'd wished there'd been nothing between them, but it only lasted a moment; maybe that was a relief, too, the incompleteness of it all.
He didn't want to look at him, now. Wanted to let him go about his business, wanted to stare at the wall and glance at the mouth of the alley and pretend that he was with a remarkably butch woman - it wouldn't be the first time - and let himself remain cut off from this part of himself that he strictly speaking had never needed to visit.
(Such self-indulgence from him today; exploring all aspects of self had never been a necessity, and he would have been content to live a partial lie.)
But it wasn't going to happen; Charlie (and he couldn't forget his name; tried, failed, couldn't render this as insignificant as he'd like - he still even thought of him as a nice guy) made sure of that with his pause and the press of his cheek against his thigh, and the demand for further instruction. Instinctually, his eyes dropped to meet Charlie's, facing the reality of a man kneeled in front of his revealed form, perched and prepared to carry out his wishes. And, miraculously, he found that it was so easy to comply with that demand.
"Open your mouth, and-" A momentary distraction; a sound at the mouth of the alley that had his head whipping around and one hand tightening its hold on Charlie's shoulder, as the other pressed firmly against the wall behind him. A cat. Nothing. It already strayed past the opening of the alley and disappeared. His eyes returned to Charlie, filled to the brim with renewed determination, and his hand rose from his shoulder, gentler as it followed a path up and beyond his neck, to venture into and close firmly around a handful of his hair. "And blow me."
Charlie Milton - February 13, 2012 11:53 PM (GMT)
While not the first time he'd been on his knees, it was the first time he'd done this in an alleyway. And while he was excited at the prospect (having a man like this in front of him wasn't exactly an every day occurrence) he experienced a certain amount of discomfort the moment his knees hit the hard ground. His discomfort was alleviated almost immediately by the words that came out of Brage's mouth at his question, request for direction. Charlie grinned, biting his lip and still tracing circles on the back of Brage's knee. Even with the distraction of the cat Charlie never moved his gaze from the face up above him.
The animal disappeared and he once again had the full attention of the man in front of him, not to mention the remainder of his instructions, words that shivered down his spine and to his groin. He let a small and quiet moan sound from his throat at that, goosebumps flaring on the back of his neck as fingers grabbed his hair.
Being rough didn't exactly do it for him one hundred per cent, but it certainly seemed to fit with the situation they were currently in. Something sordid and seedy without being too crass, whimsical and spur of the moment. Passionate, even.
Without further ado upon receipt of his instructions, Charlie shifted on his knees slightly, getting a little more comfortable (as much as was possible on the flagstones) and facing Brage, or a part of him, straight on. Swiping his tongue over his lips, he leaned in with an expression like a hungry animal and placed his mouth at the base of Brage's cock, pressing open mouthed kisses all the way up its length until he reached the tip to which he delivered special attention with his tongue. Then, a hand gripping firmly at the base, he finally obeyed and opened his mouth, sinking it down around Brage, other hand squeezing where it gripped his bum.
Brage Mæhlum-Mørch - March 12, 2012 01:37 AM (GMT)
There was a curious quality to all of this; the unfamiliarity of the situation collided with a strange sense of correspondence to some distant corner of himself, stirring slowly out of inertia and beginning to stretch its limbs, stiff from inaction. It was near mesmerizing, the sight of him; he certainly couldn't look away, even though he tried and tried again, tried to lift his eyes and watch the wall as Charlie's eyes left his and shifted instead to the part of him that was directly in front of him. Tried even more to look away when he moved closer, but the look on his face was too much to not be observed, the tongue running over his lips was far too potent a means to send shivers down his spine, and though every press of his lips to Brage's body was registered acutely by nerves immediately bursting into flame, he wanted to watch every movement, every touch, every kiss and the curl of his tongue. He watched his mouth with greedy fixation, watched it open and watched him come closer, and was unaware of the quiet beginning-rumbles in the back of his throat that quietly communicated approval to the man on his knees.
No lying, no cheating, no shut-eyed pretence; there were no stories he could tell himself now to make his position acceptable. And for moments at a time, he began to forget the initial attempt to, and began to forget why he'd thought it necessary - for moments at a time, before it rushed back only to get quenched in a renewed, toe-curling sensation that made his abdomen tighten and his fingers dig into the wall behind Charlie, and made something rumble in the back of his throat - low, quiet moans, barely brought to fruition, but carrying up from his vocal cords despite the efforts made to swallow them, demanding their stunted existence, the sound hovering about his lips like humming birds.
But in time, his eyes couldn't help but flutter shut and remain that way while his every attention was concentrated on a certain sensation, a certain curl of Charlie's tongue or a certain press of his lips against sensitive skin, intensifying the sensation for a moment or two. It intensified it enough that the hovering hum become a rumbling groan, enough that his head tilted back for a moment, enough that he breathed heavier and his fingers dug more firmly into Charlie's hair and attempted to guide him back to that place, that sensation, that particular touch. And the urge returned, rushing back to him, to see his lips move to accommodate him, to see his mouth take him in, and he tilted his head forward again, opened his eyes and watched him with eyes near covetous, wondering what else he could accomplish with those lips and that tongue. Pictured him turned around and pressed against the wall behind him, his own body pressed flushed against Charlie's back. At the image, his skin seemed to ripple, and his eyes closed despite their urge to stay open; another groan forced its way from his throat, louder than the last. He was past the point of caring.
Charlie Milton - March 29, 2012 06:00 PM (GMT)
It had taken a little while for Charlie to perfect this certain skill he possessed. After the first few times he'd discovered he rather enjoyed it, enjoyed seeing how easily people came undone under the simplest of touches from his tongue. Practice, they said, made perfect and that's what he'd done. Times like these showed him just how much it had paid off. When he was able, on most upwards movements, he glanced up to catch Brage staring at him with a peculiar expression. Some disbelief, maybe, perhaps some surprise and most definitely lust; he'd recognise that anywhere. Greed, too. He'd had that a few times. It only made him want to do more, see what else he could get Brage to do without meaning it. So far his ears had only picked up muted sounds, not allowed to come to fruition here in public (God forbid). His knees were aching but so far his jaw was fine. He couldn't help a moan of his own as fingers tightened in his hair, making his scalp prickle and his throat vibrate.
Charlie followed direction dutifully, allowing Brage to manoeuvre his head ever so slightly. He glanced up again and saw Brage no longer looking at him, but not looking at anything else either. Eyes closed, lips just parted. He felt a twitch below his waistline and subconsciously gripped harder where his free hand had come to settle at the top of Brage's thigh. He felt rather than saw eyes upon him again, noticing the slight shift in Brage's body as his head tilted forwards enough to glimpse him again. If only he'd been able to read minds, too; he would have told this man, this stranger, that he had very little problem with being turned and pressed against the opposite wall. A similar scenario was running through his mind, too. Only they were facing each other, Charlie's legs wrapped around Brage's waist, strong arms holding him up, pressed against the brick…
Another accidental moan around Brage's cock and Charlie had to drop his free hand to press against the front of his own trousers. After another moment or two, he pulled back, breathing heavily and flushed in the face. "You want to finish this way? I don't mind."
Brage Mæhlum-Mørch - May 2, 2012 09:03 PM (GMT)
The predicament changed. Where there'd been a desire - or need, perhaps - to deny the presence of the other man, there was now the urge to look at him, and his eyes' unwillingness to go along with this urge. For seconds at a time, his eyes opened, before another sensation hit him that had him licking his lips and automatically working his hips ever so slightly, swaying them forward and pulling them back within a space that spanned little more than an inch (Charlie didn't even make that necessary), and his eyes insisted on closing again. It became more difficult to contain the sounds that began to rumble into existence; throaty groans of increasing volume began to surface. Soon, they'd reach the mouth of the alley.
And then it was gone. The waves of sensation, the lips on his skin removed, and he was left with a chill travelling up his spine as a cool breeze his him. It seemed impossible that it should be so cold outside when the inside of Charlie's mouth had been so warm. His eyes dropped to meet Charlie's in momentary confusion, and it hit him so violently, then, where he was, what he was doing, who he was doing it with. He swallowed hard and nodded in the fast-bobbing manner of a man who was suddenly witless and nervous and lost, despite having found himself perfectly comfortable only seconds before. "Yeah," he responded in a croak, his throat suddenly too dry and too constricted, "Like this."
He squeezed his eyes shut the moment the touch was resumed, and tried to lose himself as he had seconds earlier. Tried to forget it again, to forget that it mattered and that he cared, to become engulfed in the tongue that curled so masterfully and the lips that seemed too soft for the face they were in. To get it over with, he thought, and it was turned within moments into, To keep it going. It wasn't too difficult to lose himself in it again, and to stay lost long enough for the throaty groans to resurface, near-unrestrained, to shape themselves into Norwegian profanities muttered so that the syllables melted together. His nails, short as they were, dragged against the surface of the wall. His hips began to sway again, moving along with Charlie's pace, and his grip tightened on Charlie's hair, willed him to up the ante in those final moments before the groan truly was unrestrained, and he seemed to be light-headed and grounded at once. Certainly problem-free.
A few seconds later, the heat of climax began to falter. He remembered to breathe properly again. His hand untangled from Charlie's hair. Slowly, his eyes opened, blinked away the dots lining his vision. He stared at the wall. A heavy realization hit him.