The calendar had tormented Tommy for the last three weeks, ever since Jude had flown out of Heathrow to São Paulo. Phone calls were no substitute for the warmth of his lover in their bed or the skill of his hands in the kitchen – Jude had probably forgotten more about food than Tommy would ever know.
To hear the huskiness in Jude's voice from the other side of the Atlantic describing the joys of bolinhos and pastels doused in hot sauce for breakfast made Tommy want that desire for himself. He'd never be the fiery peppers in anyone's meal; no, he was just plain old Tommy Bell, landlord of the Good Man, and would-be chef. He wasn't in Jude's league, and every time Jude flew away to film another set of episodes for his show, Tommy worried that he'd find someone more exciting in a far-flung place and wouldn't be flying back.
But those calls, just about every day, said yes, yes, Jude would return. Tommy hadn't been best pleased when Jude tried instigating phone sex with his voice slurred from one too many caipirinhas, but he'd gone along with it, desperate to feel connected. Other nights, when Jude's voice was clear but his belly overstuffed with moquecas or grilled piranha, they didn't try for arousal, but talked about things that mattered. Best of all, there had been calls when Jude had not overindulged in anything on behalf of his show. Then they'd talked, and then their voices had dropped; they'd made love to one another with words and their own hands across the thousands of miles of Atlantic.
Jude's nights in Brazil kept Tommy awake into the wee hours, but he didn't begrudge the lost sleep. There'd be no call tonight—Jude had caught the red-eye express from São Paulo.
Tommy looked around his little flat above the pub, knowing he'd have to go downstairs eventually to prep for lunch, but Jude's plane had landed in Heathrow while Tommy was at the market. Jude would need to find his luggage, get through Immigration, and catch the Express to Paddington. He couldn't possibly get here for at least another twenty minutes. He'd be tired, rumpled, and hungry after the long flight. He'd need breakfast.
The whole world fed Jude with things weird and wonderful; what could Tommy give him? Would beans on toast be one more unfamiliar thing to choke down, one more meal that said, "You are a stranger here"? Tommy checked the pantry in his little kitchen, where breakfast was the only meal he ate. Weetabix, no, not special, and his hand didn't even pause on the tin of coffee; he'd not push Jude to stay awake after eight hours of sitting bolt-upright in a flying pilchard tin.
He settled on shirred eggs, throwing the little ramekins of egg and butter into the bain marie¸ closing the door on the oven to let the egg set up. That should be familiar enough, shouldn't it?
Jude would have other hungers, too, but would he be too tired? No matter, Tommy would be happy to do nothing more than dip the bread soldiers into the runny yolk and hold them to Jude's lips, perhaps seasoning them with a kiss.
Jude might have slept on the plane. He'd still be tired from traveling but... Tommy checked the clock, thinking of traffic from Paddington to the pub. Not long... He stripped, replacing the apron, hoping. Footsteps sounded on the stairs—Tommy posed against the table to study a cookbook chucked open upside down. Jude's key turned in the lock, the squeak announcing the door swinging open.
Lifting his eyes from the unreadable words, Tommy watched the smile spread across Jude's face. He couldn't hold the tableau one moment longer—dashing across the tiny sitting room, Tommy flung himself into Jude's arms, clutching, pressing, opening his mouth to the onslaught of Jude's tongue.
The first desperate kiss broken, Tommy buried his face into Jude's neck, inhaling faint traces of tropics and the tang of the journey on his lover, whose hands lay hot against Tommy's back. Jude's cheek rubbed hard against Tommy's head, and his ribcage expanded past a normal breath—that should fill him with the scent of Tommy and baking eggs, with the scent of welcome.
"Oh, Tommy." Jude held him more tightly, swaying him slightly; Tommy could feel him pressing his lips against skin. "It's good to be home."
Aw… Jude and Tommy come from PD Singer’s Dreamspinner short, Prep Work, which was a 5 marbles/5 divas review.
PD has a new one out! Maroon: Donal agus Jimmy is fresh from Torquere.The best jobs in 1911 Belfast are in the shipyards, but Donal Gallagher's pay packet at Harland and Wolff doesn't stretch far enough. He needs to find someone to share his rented room; fellow ship-builder Jimmy Healy's bright smile and need for lodgings inspire Donal to offer. But how will he sleep, lying scant feet away from Jimmy? It seems Jimmy's a restless sleeper, too, lying so near to Donal...
In a volatile political climate, building marine boilers and armed insurrection are strangely connected. Jimmy faces an uneasy choice: flee to America or risk turning gunrunner for Home Rule activists. He thinks he's found the perfect answer to keep himself and his Donal safe, but shoveling coal on a luxury liner is an invitation to fate.
***Available now at your favorite ebook retailers.