Sunday, August 10, 2014

Coolin' Down

Coolin' Down

*Story contains M/M relations*

The air felt like it had given up on moving altogether. Nothing twitched, flitted or stirred in the clammy heat. Even the birds lay still, resting in shady branches with feathers fluffed, hoping to allow flow for non-existent breezes. The humidity was thick enough that Jarvis was sure if he stuck his tongue out of his mouth he could taste it. If tasting was even possible, because God knew, sure as the sun was somewhere behind the haze, that a tongue released to the damnable environment would surely wilt like twelve-day old lettuce the moment it passed lips.

He'd tried a beer, standing a bit too long in the coolness radiating from the refrigerator, clinging to the cold aluminum like it would pass temperature through palm to bloodstream; but the can had too quickly grown warm, the beverage undrinkable. "Buy bottles," his dad used to say. "Them cans ain't no good for holding in the cold." Yet still the containers made their way into Jarvis' fridge time and again. He liked a can, liked the way it felt in his hand, and wasn't convinced in the slightest that his dad had known what the hell he'd been talking about. Besides, it was Jarvis' house now. And if he wanted to buy cans, he'd darn well buy them.

The grass needed to be mowed like nobody's business. There was no way in hell Jarvis was planning on it though. He'd considered fishing but gave the thought up a heartbeat after he'd had it. He doubted even the fish were eating on a day like it was.

Distant growls foretold thunderstorms, unless the threat did what it had done for the last three days and just rumbled on past – like a high school bully laughing as he walked on by. You knew he'd be coming, eventually. You just never knew when. And every time it passed it left that sick feeling that it would somehow be worse when it finally got there, just because it took so long.

"You doing?"

Jarvis turned towards the voice and squinted eyes at his boyfriend, Mike. And how was it, he thought, that the skies were thick with cloud yet the sunlight still managed to find a way to burn the eyeball?

"I'm doing," Jarvis said. "Just not much of it at the moment. You?"

Mike walked over to the picnic table, his own screwed up frown marking disdain for both temperature and glare, handed Jarvis a fresh beer and popped the tab on his own. "Thought about working on the bike," Mike said with a huff, motioning for Jarvis to slide over and flopping beside when he did. "But I just can't talk myself into crawling over gravel and dust in this bullshit."

"Bugs are quiet at least," Jarvis offered as reply.

"Mm," Mike eyed the sky. "''Til it rains anyway."

They sat in silence, as immobile as the rest of the world but for the occasional sip of malt liquid or brush of wrist to catch sliding sweat. "Wanna do something?" Mike asked.

"Hell, no," Jarvis answered.

"We could go into town," Mike suggested. "Grab a booth at Sam's and have a burger."

"A/C's broke in the car," Jarvis reminded him. "She'll be a damn sauna all the way in. Even with all four windows down."

"Ya'," Mike nodded. "You're probably right." He stared into the yard without expression. "We could fuck."

Jarvis didn't even bother to roll his eyes. "Nothing personal, hon. But you come anywhere near me right now with that body heat of yours and I'm likely to just fall to ash. 'Sides," Jarvis rolled his neck lazily, "I don't think I slept all of three hours last night. That fan didn't do shit."

Mike tsk'd. "I know, I know. Everything's broken. Car's broken, house is broken, I’m broken. Fuck, Jarvis, I tried. But until we can spring for that part—"

"Stop," Jarvis snapped. "Just don't. Don't take out your crankiness on me. And don't take everything so dang personal. I ain't saying nothing about you or your abilities. I'm just saying to say 'cuz you asked. Don't freak on me."

Seconds passed, another rumble thundered overhead, and Jarvis took another drink from the beer that was joining its abandoned case-mate in the race towards way-to-warm-to-drink. "Sorry," Mike said quietly.

"Nah," Jarvis wiped his forehead and stared at the greasy remains left behind. "S'all right. It ain't you. It's just the weather."

"This beer—" Mike started to say before Jarvis nodded and finished the line for him.

"Is warm as fuck already."

Mike stood. "Hold on. Be right back."

Jarvis tried to force away the frown that threatened to crease his forehead when Mike rose, as if the simple act of moving somehow tap-danced directly on the nerves that flared annoyance, watched Mike disappear into the house and then grinned when Mike came back out with two tall glasses shoved full of big square ice-cubes.

"What the hell you gonna do with them?" Jarvis asked, understanding lighting his expression when Mike plucked the beer out of Jarvis' hand and lifted the mouth of the can to the glass. "You can't pour beer over ice!"

"Why not?" Mike said, golden liquid tumbling to fall over frozen squares.

"I dunno," Jarvis replied, watching far more fascinated than he imagined he should have been. "Just don't seem right I guess."

"Fuck it," Mike said, upending the can and handing the already sweating glass to Jarvis. "Our house, our rules. We do what we dare."

Jarvis took a sip, smiling as he watched Mike repeat the process, and nodded when Mike sat down beside him again. "It ain't too bad. Good plan."

Mike smirked. "Yeah, I still have 'em every now and again. Thought of another one too while I was inside."

"Did ya'?"

"Ayup," Mike's grin grew. "Let's run a bath. You and me, piled up in that big 'ol tub. We'll just keep adding cold water 'til we can stand the sight of each other again. What do you think?"

Jarvis took another drink, silently gleeful at how quickly the beverage had sucked the cold out of the ice and transferred it directly to his belly with every sip. "You know, that ain't such a bad idea. 'Sides, if I stink as bad as you do, water and soap will definitely be a friend of mine."

"That a hint?" Mike said, rising to follow Jarvis as he walked towards the back door of the house.

Jarvis grinned and pushed the door open, not listening to the squeal the hinges made, ignoring the way the screen flopped open from the tear in the bottom corner. "Less a hint, more a fact. Come on," he tilted his head towards the stairs. "Last one there has to wash the other one."

"You will notice," Mike said, with a smile and a tug to close the door behind them. "That I am not rushing to be first then."

The End

Copyright © 2012 AF Henley

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