Sunday, March 20, 2011

A Thousand Word Thursday Story from Juniper Gray

Coffee and Keys

“You sure you don't want one?”

“You know I don't drink that tasteless crap.”

Glen shot him a flat look and returned to the precise preparations of his instant coffee; black-one-sugar. Steve stood with his back against the sink, watching Glen as he added the right amount of water to the right amount of granules, stirred in the right amount of sugar. The thick aroma filled the air of Steve's small kitchen. The scent of stolen mornings with Glen. Not that Steve would ever let on he thought of the instant-coffee smell in such a way.

Glen set the steaming mug aside and sealed the little foil packet his brand of coffee came in, then tucked it safely back into its cardboard box. His hands were so gentle, their movements so exact. Glen was a stickler for order – liked to keep things just the way he wanted them. That was why his mug and coffee and sugar and even spoon had made their way into Steve's apartment. For mornings like this. He would have brought the water too if he could've.

And yet, there were certain facets to Glen's life where order didn't seem to matter. He wasn't overly particular about cleanliness - at least not to the level of obsession he had with the particulars of his coffee – he wasn't massively vain, he never lectured Steve or tried to introduce order into his pretty-much spontaneous existence. Even now, performing his morning ritual, Glen was only half-dressed and only the shorts even belonged to him; the shirt was the first thing he'd found on the floor after rolling out of bed, and combined with his stubble and bed-hair he looked like something handed in at the YMCA.

Steve looked Glen over from foot to head. It was odd, really. He'd never come across anyone he liked absolutely everything about before. The way Glen stood so flat-footed sometimes. The ass cheek peeking out from one side of his underwear. The slender line of his waist and the broad of his muscular shoulders. The consternation on his face when he was caught up in his own perfectionism. His complete lack of self-awareness. Those hands that pressed at Steve, so tender and so firm, sent him out of his mind and brought him rocketing back down to earth again. Steve wanted those hands on him now, but kept it to himself.

Glen stowed the box inside the nearest cupboard, next to Steve's connoisseur ground coffee. Steve allowed himself a small smile. He liked it when Glen stayed over. That crappy instant coffee was starting to smell like home.  

Glen picked up the mug and gave the contents a cursory blow followed by a cautious sip. Satisfied, he leant back against the counter and looked over at Steve. He could have stayed in bed, let Steve make it for him. But Steve couldn't be trusted with the task of coffee-making, apparently. Not yet.

“You're not forced to rush out of here, you know. I can leave you a key.”

Glen stretched, toes clicking, drawing Steve's shirt tight across his chest. “Nah, it's fine. Doesn't take me long to get ready, I won't hold you up.” He noticed Steve looking. “What?” he said, peering levelly over his coffee.

“Nothing, I'm just thinking.”

“Dangerous ground,” Another sip, and a raised eyebrow.

If Glen kept this up he'd be spread all over the counter, coffee or no. Steve's fingertips ached for Glen's contours already. His cock had similar ideas, and he had to distract himself. “I think your mug would be more at home amongst your other junk, don't you?”

Glen just stared at him for a moment, then looked a little sad. He glanced down at his mug. “Point taken,” he muttered.

“Point taken, but in the wrong direction.” Steve told him, moving past him and heading for the hall. It was beyond time he was getting ready for work.

“What does that mean?” he heard Glen say. He smiled, refusing to make it any clearer, and started up the stairs. Glen's footsteps followed him. “Hey,”

Steve turned, foot on the second step, and put on his best enigmatic expression. “I'm just saying, if you absolutely had to pollute my place with more of your crap, I'd be okay with that.”

They stared at each other for a moment. He started up the stairs again. “Are you asking me to move in with you?” Glen said, incredulous.

“So what if I am?”

“You can't ask me to move in, you haven't even told me if you're in love with me yet!”

Steve stopped and peered at Glen over the stair bannister. He leaned forward slightly. “I love you.” he said. The colour seemed to drain from Glen's cheeks. This was fun, Steve decided. “Don't even think about bringing that sixties vase, though.” He narrowed his eyes. “Or that candelabra.”

“I inherited those!” Glen complained, brows furrowing. Then he waved a hand around in front of his face as though fending off wasps. “That's not even the point! You...! I...”

Steve was at the top of the stairs now. “I'm going to get dressed. Let me know when your linguistic faculties return so we can discuss this like adults.” he shouted down.

And then Glen was pelting up the stairs after him, grin wider than seemed possible, chasing Steve into the bedroom and grabbing him, kissing him as they both tipped back onto the bed. “I hate you, goddamn asshole,” Glen grinned into his ear, those dexterous hands assuring Steve that, in fact, quite the opposite was true.


Thanks to Juniper Gray, who provided this little glimpse of morning. Her first novel, Imposition, will be out this summer from Torquere, which is especially good news for us science fiction readers! Check for news at her website and livejournal.


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