Sunday, August 10, 2014



*Story contains M/M relations, and graphic sexual depictions.*

He slammed the door behind him so hard, he had to look back and make sure he hadn't cracked the glass. With a snap just as angry as the slam had been, the kitchen window was flung open. "Mature, Jesse!" an angry voice called out of the newly opened space. "Real mature!" As reply he flipped his middle finger, got one right back, then turned to stalk away.

Sunlight dappled through the swaying leaves above, random patterns meeting his footfalls along the concrete path, as he stomped towards the studio door. A sweet breeze softened otherwise-steaming July air. It was a perfect day as far as the weather was concerned. The summer could care less that Travis was wasting its lush atmosphere as the backdrop for his hissy fit.

Jesse, on the other hand, cared a great deal. Cared enough, in fact, that the studio door was punished to the same degree as the backdoor had been. Canvases rattled on easels, a brush dropped to the floor. Beside him a baby-food jar of paint threatened to join the errant brush. He made a quick grab to save it. Until he had it - until he was holding it and gripping the tiny jar in his fist. Then suddenly, saving it was the last thing on his mind.

Jesse pulled his arm back, grit his teeth, and let the jar fly with a shouted, "Fuck!" Glass met wall with a violent pop. The surface instantly became an explosion of yellow, an exclamation of his fury. Shards of glass, sticky with paint, clung to the drywall like frightened monkey infants. By the time gravity began to smooth the edges of his emotive display, he already had the blue in hand.

"Fuck you!" Jesse hissed, and the second jar met the mark of the first. Blue bloomed out over yellow, the room screeched with the shattering of the makeshift grenade. And then there was orange, red, black and pink. There was no pattern, no artistic design. It was merely a release of frustration, peppering the far wall with intensity and drama, until his shoulder ached and his chest heaved.

Gasping, he let the currently clasped jar fall to his feet where it landed on its side, turning around itself until the lid finally let go. Thick brown paint seeped onto the floor.

Defeated, exhausted, and feeling entirely too old for his twenty-seven years, Jesse shuffled towards his newly decorated wall. Angry splotches were slowly giving way to droops, colours mingling, long runs chasing each other towards the floor. He lifted his fingers, dragging them slowly through the paint, forcing the brilliant shades to blend further.

"Feel better?" Travis' voice startled him.

"Get out," Jesse snapped.


Jesse whirled angrily, arm already lifting, finger already pointing. "Get out! This is my space!"

Travis stepped forward. "I'm sorry."

Jesse's fingers were so slick with paint that when he gripped them into fists colour bled from between them. "I don't want your goddamn sorry," Jesse growled. "I'm sick to death of your sorrys." He ignored the pained look that flashed over Travis' face and turned away.

As he stooped to begin retrieving larger chunks of glass, Travis spoke behind him. "But I am. Sorry. Whether you want it or not, I'm sorry." Silence followed Travis' statement. "Jesse?"

Glass clinked into Jesse's palm. The small A/C unit clicked on and began to hum. Water dripped in the sink. Frustrated, Travis stepped forward. "What do you want then? If I can't say sorry then what am I supposed to do?"

Jesse reached for the open trash can and tossed the small handful of glass inside of it. "Here's an idea," his voice was harsh as he struggled to control angry tears. "Don't turn into a fucking idiot in the first place!"

When Travis spoke again, his voice came from directly behind Jesse's back. "I can't help it. You frustrate me. I lash out. I try not to..."

Jesse cut him off with a sarcastic huff. Travis dropped a hand on his shoulder, "I swear. I do try."

"You've never tried to do anything in your life!" Jesse snapped, the words meant to hurt rather than prove his point. It worked. From the corner of his eye Jesse saw Travis flinch. That was the thing about knowing someone as well as they knew each other. It was easy to pick the phrases that would cut the deepest wounds. Jesse shrugged out of Travis's hold.

"Not true," Travis said quietly. "I try. I'm just too fucking stupid to do anything right."

Jesse lowered his eyes at Travis' tone. Uncalled for, he chastised himself silently. Years of parental berating had done its job of instilling a good strong dose of personal hatred in Travis already. Using that sense of failure as a dig was a dirty trick and Jesse knew it.

Paint runs had reached the floor and were pooling at the baseboard, even as what remained on the wall began to thicken and harden into permanence. "You're not stupid," Jesse said, his voice just as quiet.

Fighting shame, Jesse turned away and once again began to pick through the solidifying liquid for glass shards. "It's just..." he spoke to the wall, "I'm tired of the fighting. I'm tired of the yelling. One minute it's spring and sunshine and the next minute we're in the middle of a full-blown hurricane. This roller-coaster shit is killing me, Travis."

He stood, staring into the garbage with wavering eyes. "I want to love you. I want to be with you. I really do. I love that we live together and I love sharing a bed with you. But it fucking sucks when you fly off the handle like that." The tears he'd been fighting finally got the better of him and he felt one drop from the corner of his left eye. "You're supposed to love me back, god damn it!"

Travis chuckled sadly and Jesse looked up with a frown. His brow softened when he saw Travis slowly shaking his head. They locked gazes. "Don't you get it?" Travis sighed. "It's because I love you that we fight like this. If I didn't love you, I wouldn't give a shit."

Silent, Jesse dropped his eyes. He opened his fingers and let the glass tumble into the trash. When Travis slipped up behind and circled his arms around his waist, Jesse stiffened. Not in anger from the embrace but in disgust of his own need. Not a physical need either, but an emotional craving of his core-self - a need to be held, comforted. It made Jesse feel weak and vulnerable, it made him want to push Travis away and pull him tighter all at the same time. His fingers twitched and he hissed as one of the retreating shards caught between his trembling digits and held there, point buried in the soft flesh.

"Shit!" Travis reached forward, glancing over Jesse's shoulder and quickly tugged the glass out Jesse's palm. When Jesse tsk'd angrily, Travis dropped a light kiss on his neck. "Sorry. But it's gone now. Come on, to the sink. Before any of that paint gets in there."

Jesse walked over to the sink with his eyes closed, letting Travis guide him. Without thinking, however, he made the mistake of opening them when cold fluid hit the puncture. An angry gush of blood welled to mix with the water and Jesse felt his knees go soft. His own personal weakness - his own Achilles heel - blood.

Still behind him, Travis tightened his hold. "It's all right, I got ya." Lips brushed the back of Jesse's sweaty neck. "Close your eyes again."

He resisted. For about one second. The he slumped back into Travis' bigger body and let himself drift. One hand held his leaking palm under the cold water, the other wrapped around his waist to keep them close. "You're okay," Travis soothed, his body rocking Jesse's just enough to feel it. Once again lips dipped to Jesse's sensitive neck. "I love you, Jess."

Jesse rolled the back of his head against Travis' chest and turned his face into the warm skin of Travis' neck. "No you don't."

The water stopped as Jesse rested, blind behind closed eyes and pressed into that perfect hollow. "It's not bad." Travis said quietly, "It was more of a bleeder than an actual wound." He felt his hand being lifted and opened his eyes as it reached Travis' mouth. "Happens that way sometimes," Travis continued. "Little shit like this... It's not really anything you know, but once it gets opened up, once it gets pumping out, you just can't stop it from running until it's all run out." Jesse caught his eye and Travis smiled timidly. "Kind of like my big mouth."

Travis laid hands on Jesse's hips and turned him so they faced one another. He folded a paper towel and laid it on top of the small cut, closing Jesse's fist over top of it. Then he placed a finger under Jesse's chin and tilted it up. "I love you. I'm sorry. Forgive me?"

Though he couldn't drop his chin, Jesse lowered his eyes. "I just hate it Travis, that's all. I hate the fighting. It makes me feel like shit."

"I know." Travis touched his lips against Jesse's and Jesse had to fight against leaning forward and sinking against him. "And as much as I would love to say it, as much as I love you enough to wish it wasn't true, I can't promise you it won't happen again. Because it will."

Jesse's heart sunk into his belly.

"But," Travis pressed their foreheads together. "What I can promise you is that I'll still love you afterwards. And that it'll pass by as quickly as it blows up."

With a smooth tug Travis pulled their hips together. At the same time he caught Jesse's mouth with his own. Light stubble scuffed over Jesse's chin as Travis kissed him, a warm tongue requested entry. Jesse turned his head. "Travis, don't."

The soothing rocking that Travis had been doing while he'd held them back to front, had descended to his hips. Gentle pressure teased denim against khakis. "Forgive me, Jess. Please." Travis dipped his head, taking advantage of Jesse's turned face to nuzzle into his ear. "Tell me you still love me."

Travis' tongue brought a bloom of heat to Jesse's body as it began to travel over his throat. His heart stuttered with the thought of his own reply. As if there could be anything else to say. "Of course I still love you," Jesse whispered. His hand threaded into the hair at the back of Travis' head.

Up his throat, over his chin and back to his mouth, Travis' lips devoured his skin. He spoke against Jesse's cheek. "And you forgive me?"

Pressure grew behind Jesse's zipper as Travis continued to rock their hips together, the once easy movement now more of a definitive grind. "Yes," Jesse sighed. "Yes, I forgive you."

The hands on Jesse's hips slid back, one providing light pressure to curve his spine, the other cupping the space where thigh met ass. With closed eyes Travis searched for Jesse's lips again, securing them, and a content hum tickled sensitive skin when Jesse agreed to part them. And there it was again - the build-up, the height, the promised rush - climbing the incline towards the peak of the rails that made up this rollercoaster ride of a relationship. So unbelievably good when it was soaring; the offset for the crippling lows when it was back down.

Jesse's body responded to the kiss faster than it had to the grinding of hip against hip. No-one could move their tongue the way that Travis did, no-one tasted as sweet. The tips of their wet muscles languished over one another, circled, teased, danced. Jesse's eyelids fell.

Travis released his holds and pressed Jesse against the sink. With the grace of a maestro Travis' hands traced Jesse's hips, his waistband, the line of his zipper, before palming the front of Jesse's pants. Travis pulled the kiss back, laid a smaller one on Jesse's jaw, his chin, and then those tiny kisses began to wander - down his neck, across his collarbone - descending.

"Trav..." Jesse stopped the man at his chest. "You don't have to do that."

Travis grinned, pressed his hands up Jesse's shirt and lifted it in one smooth swipe. "Shush," he hummed. "Let me." As his teeth found Jesse's nipple, his fingers found the fastening of Jesse's shorts. Breath hiccupped loudly in the back of Jesse's throat as Travis nibbled, then mouthed peaking tissue. It was nothing, however, compared to the strangled sound that Jesse made when Travis reached inside the open clothing and squeezed the hardened flesh he found there. Thin cotton did nothing to dull the sensation that flashed through Jesse's body at the warmth of Travis' palm or the strength of his touch.

"Nice," Travis whispered after releasing his nipple with an audible pop. Jesse wasn't surprised to see the darkened skin. Travis loved to mark him. The hidden areas were Jesse's compromise to it. As Travis knelt he kept his mouth against Jesse's torso, his tongue slick against the natural indent of body that pointed him downward.

It should not have affected Jesse the way it did when Travis pressed his mouth against the firmness outlined in Jesse's briefs. But it did. It always did. Knowing his lips were there, knowing Travis' intentions, could melt Jesse's mind and crumble his reserves. Jesse's heart was already pounding by the time the final cloth was pressed away and heated skin was exposed. A flush was already working his way over Jesse's chest when strong fingers traced Jesse's length and a pleased purr reached his ears. Then tongue, and teasing, and slippery wet heat as he was tasted - Jesse's mind shut down everything except what came instinctually.

Travis didn't stop Jesse from bucking into the mouth that took him. Sensation swelled into desire. His fingers tangled hair that was just starting to dampen with sweat, holding on, gripping, while he gasped and tried to remember how to breathe. The smell of drying paint was thick, fighting against the cooler air trying to filter through the space, settling into Jesse's lungs as his breathing increased to match his racing blood. "Travis..." his throat hummed the word, though for the life of him, his mind could offer nothing further to say.

Smooth movement increased in speed and determination. Jesse's knees grew weak though his thighs and calves tensed. His fingers trembled while his jaw tightened. "Travis..." The word was a whine on his tongue, but fuel to the fire of the man at his knees. Travis lavished his attentions on the cock in his mouth. Jesse all but squirmed under his ministrations; let his head fall back, and a strangled cry croaked from Jesse's throat as his body found the peak Travis worked him to. Behind closed eyes Jesse tumbled along with the waves of pleasure, pushing himself deep into the wet heat, feeling every second of each pulse, every nerve that shook and danced.

Travis didn't pull away. Pleased sounds vibrated over Jesse's dick, over-stimulating him in a way that made Jesse want to yank away and sink deeper all at the same time.

Jesse didn't consciously feel the soft kisses that made their way back up his body; only noted the press of Travis against him because it became that much easier to stand while Travis supported him. Travis whispered into Jesse's hair, "I love you, Jess."

"I know," Jesse said back. "I love you too." As the pleasure slowly faded, emotion seeped back in to take its place. He pulled back and looked directly into Travis' eyes. "It doesn't make it okay, you know. What you just did... it doesn't make the screaming any nicer. Or the names any easier to take."

Travis reached for his face, cupping each side, thumbs stroking along Jesse's cheekbones. "I'm trying." Then he leaned forward and pressed their lips together. When he pulled back, his words were mumbled against Jesse's mouth. "I'll try harder."

They held each other's gaze for a minute. He wouldn't. Jesse knew that much. Travis could try forever and it would never change what years of brow-beating and demeaning had done. The self-hatred, the defensiveness - the pain. The emotions that made Travis lash out. The defences that helped him feel safe. And Jesse knew, as he stared into the expression of the man that he loved, the man he couldn't live without, that Travis knew it just as well as he. That sometimes you just couldn't fix broken.

Travis lowered his eyes first. "I'm always here Jess." His voice was quiet. "Always. Just like your wall over there. Underneath all that angry colour, the wall is still the wall." Jesse's heart tugged at the sadness in Travis' voice. And this time it was Jesse who leaned their foreheads together. Travis lifted his head and turned, making it their cheeks that rested instead. "Just remember that, okay? No matter what?"

There was more truth to the statement that Jesse cared to admit. Because not only did the angel lie hidden behind the demon, the demon also stalked in waiting behind the angel. Regardless, Jesse nodded. "Okay."

A smile lit Travis' face. "Come on. You said you wanted to go to the beach. Let's go."

Jesse frowned at him. "You said you didn't have time."

"Fuck time," Travis grinned. "I'll make time. Let me just go change and we'll..." He stopped dead when he turned towards the door. "Unless you want me to help you clean this up. It's probably going to harden..."

"No." Jesse cut him off and took a long look at the colour drying on the wall of his studio. "No, thank you." He smiled over at his boyfriend. "I think I'm going to leave it."

Travis grinned again, grabbed for Jesse's wrist and yanked him. "Good!" He walked them both towards the door. "Let's go then."

And as they stepped out of the studio into the bright afternoon, the sunlight was still painting patters through the leaves. Breeze continued to lighten bright, hot, summer air.

It was still a perfect day. And, for now at least, promising to get better still.

The End

Copyright © 2011 AF Henley

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