Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Tuesday Teaser - Under His Skin

Let's see if I can get back to posting teasers regularly... Today, a tiny bit from the M/M magic short story Under His Skin...


“Any plans for later?” he asked instead, tongue in cheek.

Joshua took a sip of wine and was grinning when he set his glass down again. “I’m glad you asked. I called Karen to check if anything’s up.”

Groaning, Nathan sat back in his chair and took his glasses off to polish them with a paper napkin. Karen was their boss, and she cared about Christmas about as much as Joshua did. Hanukkah, on the other hand, was a different matter.

“Don’t tell me she gave you an assignment,” Nathan muttered, glowering over the table at the indistinct blur that Joshua was to his non-bespectacled eyes.

Joshua chuckled. “As a matter of fact, she did not,” he said with a grin in his voice. “She had a case, but she said she would take care of it. So I guess I’m free tonight. Did you have anything in mind? Or was the towel show just teasing?”

With a measure of relief, Nathan pushed his glasses back onto his nose. He offered Joshua a shrug as unconcerned as he could manage. “I don’t know. I guess we could play a board game or watch a movie or something.”

Joshua’s laugh always did strange things to Nathan’s belly. Strange, pleasant things.

“A board game. Really.” Joshua emptied his glass before refilling it and Nathan’s as well. “We must have been ten the last time we played a board game. You sure you can’t think of anything else?”

For a little while, Nathan affected mulling this over. “I guess I could give you your present,” he finally said. His voice shook a little at the prospect, but Joshua didn’t seem to notice. Indeed, he grinned as he raised his glass in a toast.

“Now we’re talking. Let me guess. It comes wrapped in a towel?”

Nathan barked out a quick laugh. “Will you let it go already with that towel? I should have left you outside while I got dressed. Maybe the blonde next door would have opened her door. She seems to be looking for a new boy toy.”

Joshua raised an eyebrow at him. “How would you know that?”

“She always peeks out when she hears me unlocking my door. I’m actually kinda surprised she didn’t jump on you.”

“Yeah, well, I don’t care much for blondes,” Joshua said with a shrug. “Or women. Unlike you. Have you been working out to impress her?”

Nathan didn’t know whether to be pleased that Joshua had noticed or annoyed that he was bringing up the women thing again. So Nathan liked both men and women. Big deal. It wasn’t like he was dating his neighbor behind Joshua’s back. He hadn’t even looked at anyone in that way in a long time.

“Did you start going to a gym?” Joshua pushed on, twirling the wine in his glass. “We could go together.”

If Nathan was totally honest with himself, the off chance that Joshua might suggest this very thing was why he had started to exercise. He had called himself pathetic over it, along with a slew of other less-than-complimentary adjectives, but he had long ago accepted that he was hung up over Joshua and had made his peace with that. Now if Joshua could only realize that Nathan wanted them to be more than bedmates and friends…

“That’d be cool,” he started, but Joshua was already laughing. “What?” Nathan asked, confused.

“I’m just trying to imagine you getting up early to exercise,” Joshua said with an overly wide grin. “Early for you has to be ten or eleven, huh?”

The jibe stung even more because it was one of Joshua’s oft-repeated reasons for not spending the night. He was an early riser; Nathan wasn’t, not unless he had a very good reason to get out of bed early. A reason like exercising, going to work—or being with Joshua.

“Sometimes you sound like we’re still twelve,” Nathan said, and while he tried to sound teasing, the words felt vaguely accusing. “You do realize I’m not that kid anymore, right?”

Joshua’s grin remained just as wide. “If you were a kid, I wouldn’t be sleeping with you. Who do you think I am?”

Rolling his eyes, Nathan threw his bunched up napkin at Joshua’s face. “Idiot.”

Quick as always, Joshua caught the napkin and flung it back. “What else is new? Now. My gift. I’m waiting.” He leaned back in his chair and linked his fingers behind his head, raising expectant eyebrows at Nathan.

This was the moment, wasn’t it? Nathan swallowed the lump of nervousness that was suddenly blocking his throat. He had thought of getting another present for Joshua—a normal present—because he had known there would come a time when he’d start to get cold feet. He hadn’t bought anything in the end so he wouldn’t have a way out. He had waited too long for this; he wasn’t going to chicken out now.


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