Happy Friday. I was worried that I wouldn't get this written, what with the cold/flu that's been plaguing me the past few days. Jax and Danny, however, took matters into their own hands and got really loud, making it impossible to just lay on the couch and stare at the TV. I hope you enjoy this weeks installment. feel free to scroll down two threads and see an excerpt from my upcoming novel Desolation Angel coming soon from Wayward Ink.
Jax hadn’t been sure what to expect a rehearsal to be like, if he was being honest with himself, the words just sort of slipped out of his mouth, more because he hadn’t been in any real hurry to have his time with Danny end than anything else. Now that he was sitting front row center staring up at the stage he’d found he couldn’t tear his eyes away.
Danny had said the play was called Masks, but he’d never expected to see one of the lead characters actually up on the stage wearing a black and silver Lucha Libre style mask as he pleaded with a washed up former wrestler to train him. It was actually kind of cool and nothing like the old English language he’d expected to hear. There were no stuffy costumes either and or sword duels, this was easy to understand, relatable even. Didn’t they all wear a mask of one sort or another?
As Danny gave instructions to the people up on the stage, Jax found himself wondering what had inspired him to write the play in the first place. What was Danny’s mask, and would he like what lay beneath it, if Danny ever trusted him enough to strip it away? For that matter, what would Danny see if he ever looked deep enough at Jax to see all the things that he kept hidden?
Jax had never intended to care one way or the other. Remembering how they met still sent sparks of anger surging through him. How someone could accept treatment like that he still didn’t understand, never would and never would be able to accept that Danny had kept on going back for more. Did it mean that Danny believed he couldn’t do better or did it mean he just didn’t see himself as worth very much?
If that was the case, then how could he value anything or anyone else?
How could he fight for someone else if he wasn’t willing to fight for himself?
Jax knew he had his own demons. Demons that made it hard for him to give a shit some days, demons that made him lash out at the world around him, maybe not physically, but words could hurt too and the last thing he wanted was to be with someone who was going to let him get away with it. He needed to know that the person he was with would reign him in even when he was incapable of reigning himself in because some days….some days he just wanted to tell the whole world to kiss his ass in the most graphic way possible and unfortunately, the person who ended up on the receiving end of that little rant wasn’t always the person who deserved it.
Okay, so maybe he was as much afraid to move forward with Danny because of his own issues as he was because of Danny’s or maybe it was just that they were already moving forward, despite all the ways the voice in his head tried to protest.
He scrubbed a hand over his face, unable to tear his eyes off Danny on the stage, unable to stop wondering if together they wouldn’t be like a flame in a firework factory; wild, exciting explosions only to be over way too fast.
Thing was, Jax was really getting tired of relationships ending that way, but he was even more tired of random hookups. He wanted something meaningful, someone who didn’t mind if the only thing he wanted to do was lay on the couch all afternoon and read. Better would be someone who didn’t mind reading with him, or going for a long walk to see nothing, or watching old movies without complaining ‘cause shit wasn’t blowing up every thirty seconds. He wanted someone he could have an intelligent damned conversation with, who actually liked going to a museum or talking about astronomy and history.
He liked Danny and he wanted Danny to like him, wanted it to be uncomplicated but he didn’t see how it could be. So he watched as Danny came down off the stage and walked towards him, and while his brain was screaming at him to make an excuse and get out of there because really, thinking about Danny was starting to occupy way too much of his time, all that came out of his mouth was “Come for a walk with me?”
“I’d love to, let me grab my things,” Danny said and took off for the back, leaving Jax blinking and wondering when the hell he would learn to think before he spoke.
When they stepped outside Jax sighed, eyes scanning in all directions, trying to decide which way to go. He knew downtown was west so he headed that way, Danny at his side.
“What did you think of it?” Danny asked after they’d only gone half a block.
“I could understand Az’s fear, not wanting anyone to see him without his mask because of the burns. I could understand Maurice’s fear as well, he felt old and useless, like no one cared that he was still capable of teaching and still had so much left to share. I don’t know that it’s enough that they both needed one another, right time, right place is good and all, but is it really enough to build on?”
“How do you mean?”
“Az is one student, that isn’t enough to keep a gym open for. There’s no guarantees he’ll be any good either. Maurice can teach him only as much as Az is capable of learning. In the end, for all of their best intentions, they might still fail.”
“But they’ll have tried,” Danny explained. “And that’s really what the play is all about. Trying when you don’t even believe in yourself anymore. Trying because someone else needs you to.”
Jax fell silent then, glad when Danny did too. They walked past pawn shops and record stores that still sold vinyl, classic rock music drifting through the crack in the door. They walked past the Asian market and a hair salon, listened to the whisper of country music drift from a corner bar before they crossed the street, hands brushing against each other they walked so close.
It was Danny who intertwined them, lacing his fingers with Jax’s, and it was Jax who froze, eyes wide as he looked from Danny’s face down to where their hands were joined.
“Sorry,” Danny muttered, face turning red as he started to let go.
Jax shook his head, startled, and closed his hand tightly around Danny’s fingers so he couldn’t get away. “No, I umm, this is okay.”
The smile on Danny’s face was worth all of the confusion Jax was feeling as they continued to walk towards the heart of the city. He couldn’t recall the last time he’d walked hand in hand with someone this way, not since…
He cut off that train of thought before it could even take root, cussed himself for ever having allowed it to raise its ugly head to begin with and focused back on the moment and the man he was with.
“Are you gonna write more?”
“Huh?” Dany asked, as if pulled from his own thought. Jax wondered if he was thinking about the past too, or just how good it felt to actually be connecting with someone.
“Az and Maurice, do they get more to their story?”
Danny shrugged. “I don’t know. I never thought they’d need it.”
“Guess I just found myself wanting more,” Jax said.
“That’s not a bad thing.”
“Sometimes it is.”
“And sometimes we just want what we want, we can’t help it, we’re human. We can’t always control the things we feel.”
“Isn’t it because we’re human that we’re supposed to have more control over ourselves?” Jax asked.
“Maybe,” Danny muttered, before pushing him against the wall.
Jax blinked, stunned, not because it had hurt, but because it was unexpected, as was the kiss that Danny suddenly laid on him. His body sagged, melting into it, kissing back but not trying to reverse their positions or take control. It was better to just feel Danny’s hands framing his face and Danny’s body pressing his against the stones, molded to his front in all the best places.
“And sometimes,” Danny muttered as he pulled back. “It’s just better to feel.”