The day had been a long one, but fun and filled with interesting people. He’d done seven piercings, consulted with potential clients about four more, two of which already scheduled their appointments. In between his own work he’d answered the phone, taken messages, accepted an application and set up for the artist to interview with his sister later in the week. He’d picked them up some Thai food that they’d barely had time to eat but it was awesome working with Steph. He hadn’t realized how much the weight of the miles between them had weighed on him until he found himself sitting in a free moment and just watching her work.
He’d always admired her talent, but the truth was, he admired her strength and determination more. She’d taken a shitty situation and turned it into something remarkable. It made him proud that he could help her out with even a small part of it.
He was halfway up the stairs when his stomach grumbled. A quick check of his watch showed that he was about fifteen minutes early, but he hoped Danny wouldn’t mind. If he went to his apartment and dropped in a chair, he feared he’d fall asleep and miss dinner.
Danny greeted him with a smile, as did an amazing aroma drifting from the kitchen. His mouth started watering and he was afraid he’d embarrass himself entirely by drooling all over the place.
“Hey,” Danny greeted as he stepped back to usher Jax inside. “How was work? What ummm, I never did get the chance to ask what you do for work?”
Jack chuckled as he stepped inside, his eyes sweeping around the warm tones of the brightly lit living room.
“I work at my sister’s tattoo parlor, I do body piercings,” Jax replied. “Man, you’re place is pretty awesome. I love the colors, the whole room reminds me of fall.”
“Thanks, I can’t take any credit for it though, it was like that when I moved in. I love the browns and tans though, and it worked well with my furniture. I got lucky, really, I looked at two other units, one was shades of green and the other this pale, washed out blue.”
Jax scrunched up his nose. “I saw the blue one, that’s why I opted for the gray, most of my stuff is black or gray anyway, and I can’t wait until it gets here, ‘cause all I’m using right now is the stuff left over in the apartment.”
“When is your stuff supposed to arrive?” Danny asked as he carried a pan to the table and set it in the center alongside a pitcher of sweet tea and a plate of biscuits.
Jax practically bounded over to the table, eyes going wide when he saw the spread. “Holy shit is that pot roast?”
Danny couldn’t help but grin, pleased at Jax’s enthusiasm. “Yup, I take it you approve?”
“Man, I love pot roast, haven’t had it in a very long time though. Last time was at my sister’s place, but that was before her husband died.”
“Wow, that’s umm,” Danny stammered, feeling himself flush a little, death always threw him, he never dealt with it well. “I’m umm sorry to hear that.”
“Thanks,” Jax muttered softly, clearly in no mood to talk about it either.
Danny rushed to change the subject, hoping to lighten things up for the both of them. “So umm, how long have you been doing piercings?”
“About three years,” Jax explained as he took a seat. “I got certified in Seattle and started working in a shop up there, but for the last year, my sis has been bugging me to move here to Des Moines, so I finally relented. Wasn’t a hard choice, really, I missed her and she needed me. Was a simple matter of organizing a move and getting a few buddies to drive the truck for me.”
“Wow, what did you have to promise them to get them to do that?” Danny asked as he brought over a bowl of roasted carrots and potatoes.
“Not a lot, actually, they’re relocating too, actually, so I agreed to pay for the truck and they agreed to drive it. They gave me cash to put a deposit down on a place for them, so guess who will be moving into the blue unit downstairs,” Jax chuckled.
Danny couldn’t help but laugh at that. “I guess coming out here first has its perks.”
“In this case, yeah, it really does. They’ll be here in a few days, as long as they don’t fight over the map. I can just see them ending up in the wrong state, though.”
“I have a few friends like that,” Danny chuckled. “Go ahead, dig in.”
“Thanks man, this smells amazing, I can’t wait to taste it,” Jax said as he filled his plate. He waited for Danny to fill his before he started eating though, was just something he’d learned young that had always stuck with him.
The first bite was like heaven, the meat tender and practically falling apart, in a flavorful gravy that left him wanting to close his eyes and savor it.
“Mmmm this is amazing,” Jax moaned after he’d swallowed the first bite. The blissed out expression on his face made Danny practically choke on his food, and he had to take a sip of tea just to wash it down properly. Jax’s eyes were half-lidded and he’d titled his head back a little, exposing his neck and the intricate tattoo that wove around his throat. Danny found himself wishing he could study it more closely, even as Jax sighed contently, and took another bite.
“Thank you, I’m glad you like it,” Danny said proudly.
“Like? Naa man, I love it,” Jax said when he’d finished chewing. “You’re an awesome cook. You don’t do it for a living, do you, ‘cause that would be pretty cool.”
“Nope. I’ve taken a bunch of classes though, because I really hate eating the same things over and over. I’m a playwright, actually. I’ve had several pieces performed around the city and all over the state too. We even took the last one up to Minneapolis and St. Paul and it did extremely well, I’m pleased to say.”
Watching Danny talk about his work and the animated look of joy that crossed his face, made Jax curious about these plays. Not like he’d ever really been into the theater, but he appreciated a well done movie and figured that couldn’t be too different. Maybe he’d have to check one of them out. At the very least, Max and Callum would love to go. They loved all things art related and if there was anything he didn’t get, at least they’d be able to explain it to him.
Jax took another bite of the delicious meal, happy to take his time and enjoy it and the conversation. Danny seemed like a very nice guy, despite his poor choices in boyfriends. Maybe somewhere down the line, Jax could teach him a few things about fighting, then he wouldn’t need to be rescued from the next bad situation he found himself in. And something told him that Danny was really good about getting himself into bad situations.