Jax looked up from his plate to realize they had both settled into comfortable silence as they ate, which was great, but he was curious to know more about Danny.
“Did you go to school to be a writer?” Jax finally asked. “My buddy Max, one of the ones moving here, he’s enrolled in that big writing course at the university, and Callum was excepted into Drake University to major in studio arts. His main focus is on sculpting, but I guess there are a ton of painting and drawing classes too.”
“Yes, there are, I have a few friends who went to Drake and I know exactly what course you’re talking about over at the university. I got my MFA from the Playwrights Workshop there; it’s one of the best in the country. “
“That’s pretty cool. I’ve got to admit, I’ve never seen a play.”
Danny’s eyes went a little wide. “Never, not even a high school production or something?”
Jax just grinned and shook his head. “Nope. Sorry. Never was into sports either, or much of anything, really. I’m good with my hands, I can fix stuff when I need to, but until I got into doing piercings, there was nothing I was really passionate about.”
Danny studied the four piercings Jax had in each eyebrow, the two in his nose, three in the left corner of his lip, the one in his chin and the trail of them running up each ear. When he spoke, Danny could see a barbell through his tongue, and mentally shuddered at how many needles that must have involved. “Did you do your own?”
“Nope, my mentor, the guy who ran the place I used to work at back in Seattle, he did them,” Jax explained. “And several of my tattoos too.”
“How many do you have?”
“Twenty-one,” Jax explained. “The biggest is on my back.”
For a moment, Danny simply sat, remembering the ones he’d seen on Jax’s chest earlier that morning, along with all of the water that had been running down it. It certainly had seemed like an impressive amount of work.
“Didn’t they hurt?” Danny asked, noticing Jax sopping up some of the gravy with a biscuit, letting nothing go to waste.
“The ones on my ribs were the worse,” Jax said once he’d swallowed. “There’s one on my ankle that comes around onto my shin that hurt a lot too, and this one on my hand. Otherwise, no, not really. I take it you don’t have any ink.”
“Not a chance,” Danny laughed and poured them both some more tea. “Too afraid of needles.”
Jax just chuckled at that. “To each their own. If you ever change your mind, let me know. I’ll be happy to hook you up.”
“Umm, thanks,” Danny said, knowing that was one offer he would never take Jax up on. But thinking about piercings did make him curious about something. “Are the ones in your face the only ones you have?”
A slow grin crossed Jax’s face. “Nope.”
For a moment, it was a standoff. Jax silently watching Danny, wondering if he’d have the guts to ask, while Danny stared at Jax trying to imagine where he had those other piercings.
“Umm, how about some dessert,” Danny asked as he stood to grab a severing spoon from the kitchen.
“I’d love some, thanks.” Jax said with a grin. “Not gonna ask where they’re at, are you?”
“I umm, didn’t want to seem rude,” Danny said, blushing a little as he dished out some warm peach cobbler over Vanilla Bean ice cream.
The knowing smirk on Jax’s face was like a challenge Danny couldn’t back down from. He set the bowl and spoon down in front of Jax, then put his hands on his hips.
“Fine. Where are your other piercings?”
“Covered by my shirt and jeans,” Jax said mischievously.
“I kinda figured that,” Danny grumbled before sitting down with his own bowl.
“Tell me more about your plays?”
Danny grinned, grateful for the change in subject. “The one I’m currently working on is centered around a circus and a string of bad luck they’ve been having. All of them are superstitious in some way, and the comedy part of the play comes when they each try different things in an attempt to lift the ‘curse’ they believe they’re under. Of course, it turns out that there isn’t a curse, one of the performers has been sabotaging the circus and amusing herself watching everyone else freaking out about hexes, curses and old rumors.”
Jax cocked his head to the side, enjoying the cobbler and thinking about the storyline.
“Why?” he finally asked when his mouth was empty.
“Why is she sabotaging the circus? I mean, it’s her job too, so why would she do that?”
Danny sighed and tapped the edge of his spoon against the place mat. “That’s the problem. I haven’t figured out a really viable reason for the things she does.”
“I’m sure it will come to you,” Jax said before taking another bite.
The look of bliss on his face thrilled Danny, and he realized his dessert was melting as he watched Jax eat.
“Man, this is good, whatever it is, holy shit, peach and a ton of flavor, wow,”
Danny beamed. “Thank you. It’s peach cobbler, it’s one of my favorite fall desserts.”
“Never had it before, but, I sure as hell wouldn’t turn down the chance to have it again, I love peaches. Plums too."
“I love peaches too, and strawberries, and you should see what you can do when you mix peaches with raspberries, especially as a topping over ice cream.”
“Just the idea of that sounds really good, though I’m not sure I’ll think that when I’m getting up early in the morning to hit the gym. Speaking of which, you wouldn’t know of a good one in the area that doesn’t cost and arm and a leg for membership.”
Danny shook his head. “No, sorry, never really been much, for umm, weights and all that.”
“Ech, I do as much cardio as I do lifting. I just like being in shape. Plus I like being able to show off my tattoos. Not sure I’d want to go shirtless if I wasn’t rocking a six pack.”
Danny nodded at that, having never had a six pack in his life, or the desire to spend hours in the gym trying to get one. Besides, he’d hated gym in school, he’d never been the fastest or the strongest, though at least he’d had some good friends who’d made sure he was never picked last. Still, he’d always been self-conscious trying to play most of the sports they’d been assigned.
“That was an amazing meal, thank you. If I’d had to cook tonight it would have been sloppy joes and a beer before falling asleep in front of the TV.”
“Sloppy joes have their place, just not sure where,” Danny teased, shocked when Jax got up and helped him to clear the table.
“Let me help with the dishes, it’s the least I can do and you can tell me more about the play? It sounds kind of interesting.”
“Thanks,” Danny replied, grinning like an idiot all the way to the kitchen. He was too thrilled to care, though. Imagine that. Jax found his play interesting.