The sound of throaty laughter greeted the red faced form of Chris Pine as he hurried through the front door of the charmingly named Sugar Angels Bakery with a clang and clatter of shop bells and rattling windowpanes. Outside, snow was falling in hurried flurries, thick white flakes falling in fat swathes and sticking to all surfaces possible. Chris found himself thinking he was grateful for the warmth emanating from around him, warming his chilled skin and melting the flakes that had caught in his hair and eyelashes.
The air was thick with the sweet scents of baked goods, of honey and syrup and candied fruits. Beneath the scents of percolating coffee and brewing tea, he could also smell the tangy aroma of peaches and the sweet contrasting smell of maple syrup. He inhaled appreciatively, even as he wondered why he’d never entered the bakery before. It wasn’t as though he wasn‘t aware of it, or hadn’t been intrigued by the homely-sounding Sugar Angels moniker. In fact, it looked more like his kind of establishment rather than the far trendier Starbucks, where most other college kids his age preferred to spend their free time.
It was due to the snow hampering his movements into college that morning that he‘d even decided to enter Sugar Angels Bakery, deciding to hell with first class after running late anyway from visiting family friends who lived across town the night before. That same snow didn’t look likely to let up long enough for Chris to make it in time to catch even five minutes of his first class. After first class was study period anyway, so Chris figured to take the rest of the morning off and arrive fashionably late for English in the afternoon. The way he had it figured, most people wouldn’t have turned up either, either too lazy to leave comfortably warm dorm rooms or hampered by the same snow that had slowed Chris down.
He turned inquisitively when the same person who’d delivered the throaty laugh upon his arrival approached him. He smiled at the waitress, all bright grin and crinkled friendly eyes and she smiled back, politely, more because she had to not because she was dazzled by his smile like most people were. His grin dimmed just the slightest, but it didn’t let it deter him. Her name badge read Zoe.
“Hi, Zoe, can I have a table for one, d’you think?” he asked, trying to rub some warmth and some cheer into his freezing hands.
Despite having a rather worn pair of woollen gloves covering the tender parts of his hands, still his fingers felt frozen clear through to the bone. The rest of his body didn’t feel much better, slowly thawing however in the steady stream of warmth emanating from all quarters around him.
“You sure can, my lovely. Window seat do you?” she asked, tone more friendly than her previous smile had been.
“That’s fine,” Chris assured her, before he followed her over to the mentioned seat.
He was glad to note that it wasn’t anywhere near the door, so he would escape the blasts of near arctic weather blasting through with whippets of snow every time the door opened, which it seemed to do on near regular basis. The bakery, although small in comparison to a Starbucks, had a decently sized dining section. Despite being well attended by customers, there seemed to be only three staff members, when Chris swept the room with his gaze. He settled himself down, setting his book bag on the floor at his feet as Zoe left him with the menu and an immediate call for coffee, no frills, black with two sugars.
He didn’t notice the way that she looked back over one shoulder when she walked away, too busy reading through a long list of exotic sounding pastries, half of which he'd never heard of and wasn’t quite sure he’d know how to pronounce anyway. Chris soon decided he’d have to take a degree in baking terms to even understand what some of it even meant. He continued perusing, as Zoe whipped around the counter to gather together the requested coffee for him.
“That guy who just walked in from the cold looks like the type who wants to try some of the peach cobbler,” said a distinctly New Zealand accent from beside Zoe.
Zoe cast a dubious look up at Karl Urban, owner of Sugar Angels and head baker in the kitchens. He had a small, expectant smile upon his face, hazel eyes warm and amused, as though he expected Zoe to disbelieve him.
“Yeah? And you would know this how?” Zoe asked, with as much dubiousness in her tone as in her eyes.
“I just have a knack for being able to tell what people want, mate,” Karl replied, with a cheeky wink and a much-dimpled grin down at her. “Just you wait til you’ve asked him and you‘ll know I‘m right.”
“Oh and ask him what he does, yeah? I don’t think I’ve ever seen him around these parts,” Zachary Quinto, the only other Sugar Angels waiter, asked.
“Yeah, yeah, Zach, I’ll give him the third degree. I’m sure he’ll love that,” Zoe said, with a long suffering sigh and an over-stated roll of her eyes at the men surrounding her.
Karl was still grinning when she made her way through the mid-morning crowds, glad to see that the new-comer looked more comfortable than he had when he’d first walked in. His cheeks now had a warm glow instead of a wind and snow bitten look, and the scarf and gloves he’d been wearing were now resting upon the table beside him. He turned too-blue eyes up to her when he felt her approach, that bright and sunny grin she’d noticed before suddenly coming into play again.
“Hey,” he said, as she balanced his coffee in front of him.
“Hey yourself. Here’s your coffee, no frills,” she said, with a slight flourish of her pad and pen. “What would you like to eat, hun?”
“Some of your peach cobbler would go down a treat just fine, thank you,” Chris replied, with a wistful bent to his smile now.
“Huh,” Zoe said, as she glanced over at Karl still at the counter.
The tall owner of the bakery was busy with another customer, and so didn’t notice her all too brief look of surprise. Zachary caught her gaze, however, and glared.
“Peach cobbler it is. May I just say you’ve made a fine choice and you won’t find a better cobbler in all of New York,” she said, proudly.
“Is that so? I don’t doubt it,” Chris replied, with an amused smile over his steaming cup of coffee.
“Speaking of New York, I haven’t seen you in here before. First time here?” she asked, curiously.
“Interesting choice of segue, but never mind,“ Chris chuckled, before taking a sip of his coffee. “And as it happens, yeah, it’s my first time here. I usually go to Starbucks when I’m with my college buddies, but I prefer La Mill back home.”
“Back home? You’re not local?” she asked, as though the accent hadn’t tipped her off to that fact already.
Chris’ accent was soft and laid-back, unlike the broader, more strident tones of New York.
“L.A. native. I only came here to study acting for a while,” Chris told her, with an all too brief smile.
“Oooh, an actor. Good luck with that,” Zoe said, with a grin. “I’ll get your peach cobbler.”
“Thanks,” Chris said, politely, as he watched her sashay easily away, greeting some of the more regular customers on the way.
He watched as she slapped the tall guy behind the counter playfully with her notepad, before returning his attentions to his coffee with a smile.
“How the hell did you know he wanted the cobbler?” Zoe asked Karl as she slapped him with her notepad playfully.
“Good judgement,” Karl said, with amused lift of his lips. “I told ya, I have a knack for guessing what people need.“
“Especially when said people are the cutest guys in the room,” Zoe snorted.
“It helps,“ Karl grinned back. “Anyway, back to the kitchen for me, I‘ve gotta stock up on the florentines.”
Zoe mumbled something incoherent, as Karl retreated back into the depths of the kitchens. .
“It’s true, you know. You haven’t worked here long enough to see the Urban in action,” Zachary chipped in from where he was pouring a handful of coins into the cash register.
“Yeah, like you’ve been here longer than me,” Zoe scoffed.
“By six months, I have,” Zachary scoffed back. “You’ve only been here two weeks. So what does he do anyway?”
“The new guy? He’s at college, studying drama,” Zoe supplied, immediately as she watched Zachary plating up a fresh piece of peach cobbler.
“Single?” Zachary asked hopefully.
“I don’t know. I didn’t ask. I don’t know his number, where he lives or what size underwear he takes either, before you ask,” Zoe shot back, with a huff. “Seriously, whenever someone new comes in, you’re all over them like a rash.”
“Not true. Not all of them, anyway. Only the cute ones,” Zachary replied, with a smile that looked more sarcastic than the intended sweet and innocent.
Zoe rolled her eyes, knowing the day that Zachary genuinely was innocent would be the same day the world ended.
“Yeah, you and Karl both. Thanks,” Zoe replied, as she took the cobbler from Zachary hastily.
Zachary only smiled sweetly at her, as she walked away to take the cobbler to Chris.
Chris counted out the required change for his cake and his coffee, leaving a sizable tip for Zoe as he did so. He looked up when Zoe herself bustled over, attracted by the way he seemed to be getting ready to leave.
“Everything okay?” she asked, as she picked up the small tray filled with change without checking it.
“Yeah, fine. You were right, you know. That cobbler was the best I’ve ever tasted,” Chris said with a smile.
“Told ya,” Zoe said, smugly. “You come back, now, yeah?”
“Sure thing,” Chris replied, with a grin and a tip of an imaginary hat.
Zoe grinned at his retreating back, watching until the door swung shut behind him, snow flurrying around his huddled form outside. She wondered if he would return to Sugar Angels. Despite being well customed, Zoe knew that it was always nice to welcome a fresh face into the fold.
~~ 2 ~~
Chris didn’t return to Sugar Angels Bakery for another three days, although the warm, homely surrounds often played upon his mind. The atmosphere was so much better than his usual Starbuck’s haunt, more cozy, with an inviting family atmosphere. Upon his return, it was still snowing, almost as thick as it had upon his previous visit. He shivered his way through the door again, hit once more with the homely scents hitting his nostrils and the warmth flowing over every inch of his body. He scanned the crowds for Zoe, yet he found that she wasn’t there. Instead, a tall man came over, dark eyes curious behind black framed glasses.
“Hey,” Chris greeted him with a friendly smile. “Where’s the waitress who served me before?”
“Zoe? Oh, she’s off sick today, The snow got the better of her and she came down with the flu,” the waiter, whose name tag read Zachary, said.
“That sucks,” Chris said, sympathetically.
“Yeah, tell me about it. Table for one again, is it?” Zachary asked him, lips forming a moue of considering scrutiny.
Chris got the distinct feeling that the waiter was giving him the once over. He merely smiled blandly back. Although the guy was undeniably attractive, Zachary wasn’t usually the type Chris went for.
“You bet,” Chris replied, in response to Zach’s question.
Zachary smiled, all too aware that his attentions were definitely not returned, and led Chris over to the same table he’d sat before. He shrugged to himself, deciding that this one was not for him. He took Chris’ order of coffee and bustled away, once again leaving Chris with the menu of the day.
“What is it this time, Karl?” Zachary asked, as he tilted his head towards Chris.
“Oh, he’s back? Good. Could do with some fresh meat in here from time to time,” Karl said, as he took in the bent head of Chris across the room.
“Not the only place you want fresh meat,” Zachary muttered from behind his hand.
Karl steadfastly decided to ignore Zachary’s off-colour statement; instead, he gave Chris the clinical eye of a true food connoisseur.
“Chocolate bourbon cake,” Karl said, after a few seconds thought.
Zachary harrumphed, but knew better to disagree with the Urban when he was in full swing. He took the coffee over to Chris before returning to Karl’s side, shaking his head in obvious disbelief.
“I dunno how you do it, Urban. Good thing we’re not betting on these things. I’d lose all my wages in no time,” Zachary said, with a snort.
“Chocolate bourbon cake it is, then,” Karl said, in satisfaction.
Zachary merely rolled his eyes and took the proffered plate of cake from Karl’s own hand. Upon his return to Chris, he saw that the other man was studying a script, glasses perched upon his nose as he read.
“What are you reading? And don’t say a script, for God’s sake,” Zachary said, adding a smile to take the potentially sarcastic edge off his words.
“Hmm? Oh, it’s Romeo and Juliet,” Chris said, absently, as he took the cake that Zachary offered him. “I’m Mercutio.”
“Are you, now?” Zachary said, eyebrows raised. “I imagined you more for the Romeo type.”
Chris laughed at that, grin open and friendly, catching in his eyes and creasing the skin around their edges into pleasing crinkles. Zachary couldn’t help but smile back; after all, Chris smile was infectious and warmly open.
“Flattery gets you everywhere, or say they say,” Chris said, with an amused lilt to his voice, eyes sparkling with amusement.
“Not everywhere, I don’t think, but it can’t help to try sometimes,” Zachary replied, ruefully. “How comes you’re always in here on your own? I would have thought you would have been accompanied by a Juliet or two on your arm. “
“Hardly. I’m more of a Romeo type, myself. If you know what I mean,” Chris said, with an embarrassed tilt to his head.
“Yeah. Me, too,” Zachary said, with his first proper grin of the day.
Chris merely smiled back and watched as Zachary was called away to serve another table. He returned his attentions back to the script in front of him while idly making his way through his cake.
“I think you’re in with a chance, Urban,” Zachary said, as he nodded over to Chris table, studiously. “He’s indicated he’s gay and single. He’s not interested in me, either.”
“All the better for me, then,” Karl replied, staring openly and appreciatively at the man sitting across the room.
As if Chris realized that he was being scrutinized, he glanced up, gaze immediately locking with Karl’s. Karl smiled, unashamed at being effectively caught red-handed while ogling, and felt a jolt of pleased surprise when he got a wide grin in return.
“You go, girl; I think you‘re in,” Zachary murmured, smile curling the corners of his lips.
Karl merely harrumphed, hardly daring to hope that Zachary‘s words were true.
~~ 3 ~~
Over the course of the next couple of weeks, Chris visited the bakery every chance that he could. He soon became firm friends with the trio of staff in attendance. Karl in particular had taken a shine to him, stating that whenever Chris came in, he should report to the front desk for immediate service. Although that was met with raised eyebrows from both Zoe and Zachary, Chris never questioned it, instead grinning at the tall New Zealander and accepting his overtures of friendship unequivocally. He figured that a lot of the time, it gave him free food, something which most of the customers didn’t get the chance at as far as Chris could determine, and the chance to ogle the tall, handsome Kiwi. Suddenly, it wasn’t just Sugar Angels that played on Chris’ mind, but the kindly, slightly geeky owner as well.
It was sunny one day as he wandered into the bakery, looking a little deflated as he leant on the cashier’s counter, waiting for service from Karl as he was now wont to do. Karl soon came bustling through, carrying his latest creation for Chris to sample - a coconut cupcake with coconut cream cheese frosting. He placed the cake in front of Chris proudly, before he spoke.
“Get your mouth round that, then and tell me what you think, young Christopher!” he said, accent seeming more prominent that day than at any other time before. “I think you’re in the mood for something sweet.”
“Hey, not so much of the young. You’re not that much older then me, Karl,” Chris said, with an attempt at a smile.
Karl merely smiled and gestured towards the cake, hopefully. Chris lifted the cake to his lips and bit down, eyes closing lazily as the wash of sugar and heady coconut flooded his tongue. He chewed, tongue lapping out at his lower lip to remove the smear of coconut cream from its surface and Karl watched him closely.
“Well? What d’ya think, mate?” Karl asked, when the silence dragged on for too long between them.
“Yeah, it’s nice. You were right about needing something sweet today, I think,” Chris replied, although there was enough distraction in his tone and expression to indicate his heart wasn’t entirely behind his words.
“What’s up?” Karl asked, smile fading as he peered at Chris closely with concerned hazel eyes. “I mean, tell me if I’m being a cheeky bastard, won’t you, but I can tell there’s something wrong. “
Chris’ shoulder lifted in a diffident shrug, yet his words were carefully chosen and a long time coming.
“I think I might have to drop out of college, Karl,” he said, not quite able to meet the other man’s gaze, long fingers picking at the cake still sitting in front of him.
The pad of one finger rubbed through the coconut icing on the top, smearing some of the sugary frosting over the tip of his finger, before his hand rose and he licked at the sugary smear like a cat.
“D’you mind if I ask why?” Karl eventually asked, when the silence stretched out for too long. “Are they giving you trouble or something?”
He studiously didn’t ask if it was a family issue, knowing that Chris’ parents were supportive of their son’s choice in college courses.
“Nothing like that. More like I’m in need of extra money or I won’t see out this semester,” Chris said, morosely. “I don’t wanna bother my parents for more money. They've already given me enough.”
Karl sighed and leaned both forearms on the counter between them, laying one hand supportively on Chris’ arm. Karl smiled at him when Chris turned impossibly bright eyes up to his and didn‘t pull away.
“Listen, kid, I know how this goes. I’ve been there myself. I studied at college too. In fact, I learnt everything I know about baking from college. I didn’t think I’d see out my second year, so set up Sugar Angels to try and make some money. Luckily for me, it thrived and it’s the best decision I’ve ever made,” Karl said. “What I’m saying is, I want you to work here with us. It’d help you out and I could always do with one more pair of hands here, anyway.”
“Nah, I couldn’t impose here,” Chris said. “You’ve got a good set up with you and Zach and Zoe.”
“No worries. You’ll take to it like a duck to the proverbial water,” Karl said, waving one hand in front of Chris’ face dismissively. “We want you here. I want you here. Plus you get all the free food you want. Just don’t tell Zoe or Zach right? They still have to pay for theirs.”
Chris chuckled at that, before he picked up his cake again and tore a more appreciative chunk out of the side of it.
“Thanks, Karl, you’re a life-saver. I dunno why you’re doing it, but thanks all the same,” he said, with a grateful grin.
“It’s ’cos I like ya, kid,” Karl said, with one slow wink of an eye. “You can start tomorrow, if you‘re able. When are you free from classes, anyway?”
“Afternoons, usually, from about three. I can do some lunchtimes. I can work all weekend too, if need be,” Chris said, as he finished up the last of his cupcake. “Nice cupcake by the way. I don’t remember you selling these in here before.”
“It’s because you’ve tried the first one,” Karl revealed.
Surprisingly, Chris blushed at that.
~~ 4 ~~
Chris had been working at the bakery for a whole month before he started to feel a part of something special. Of course, he knew the bakery itself was special from the first moment he stepped through the doors so many weeks before. Chris just couldn’t think of a place where he’d been happier; the customers now all knew his name and even some of his college friends had started to drop by on occasion, eschewing their usual and trendier haunt of Starbucks. Zoe proved to be a sassy but loyal ally, while Zach was a dry-witted and very funny guy to be around.
Chris, however, didn’t know where to start in describing his ever growing friendship with Karl. There was a certain closeness between them that couldn’t be described in words, and words were something Chris was rarely ever short of. There was a bond between them that went beyond mere friendship and on into something Chris didn’t even have words for. Casual touches between them seemed to come more often and more easily than those shared between Chris and Zoe, and Chris and Zach. Glances were prolonged, and silences seemed weighted with words they didn’t need to say aloud, often second guessing what each other needed without being prompted.
Zoe was very astute upon picking up on how close Chris and Karl were becoming. Chris often caught her staring whenever he turned away from watching Karl working, large hands forming perfect pies and pressing out cookies from sheets of dough. Chris always kept his face schooled into a look of innocence, little knowing that Karl himself always watched Chris when the other man sailed through the customers, uniform proud on his body and a constant smile upon his face. Karl however, merely winked when Zoe returned that same knowing look upon him.
It came to a head, when one day, Karl was making peanut butter cookies. Chris was watching Karl the same as he usually did whenever something new was rolling off Karl’s ever productive table, nose inhaling the sweet scents of sugar and the nutty aromas of the peanut butter. Karl's hand, when it came down upon Chris’ presumptuously stealthy hand, delivered a sharp crack when Chris decided to steal some of the peanut butter direct from the spoon.
“Not now, mate. Wait til they’re finished,” Karl warned, even as a smile played at his lips and warmed his eyes.
Chris only grinned that innocent smile of his, knowing that it would get him off the hook as it always had in the past, specifically when Karl was the recipient of said puppy-eyed glare. Karl groaned and shooed him out of his kitchen, telling him to return in a half hour when the cookies were finally finished. Zoe merely raised an eyebrow at Chris when he walked jauntily out of the kitchen, having caught some of the action inside with her eagle eye. Chris lifted his eyebrow at her in return.
“What’s up wit yo, Saldana,” Chris asked, affecting a Brooklyn accent to make her smile.
The effort almost worked, and she flicked him mercilessly with her notepad.
“You’re getting awfully close with the boss, there, aren’t you?” she asked, when Chris deflected her best efforts at notepad related violence with ease. “If you were anybody else, I’d say you were brown-nosing.”
“Am not and what do you mean - if I was anyone else?” Chris asked in genuine confusion.
“Oh, you! You’re impossible. Everyone knows that you’re Karl’s blue-eyed boy,” Zoe snorted, with derision. “You can’t do a thing wrong by Karl.”
“I know; it’s awesome, isn’t it?” Chris beamed.
“I think you’re missing the point, Chris,” Zoe huffed, impatiently. “You ever see Karl acting the same way with me or with Zach as he does with you? Think about it.”
Chris thought about it.
“He doesn’t,” he said, finally, a hint of surprise in his tone.
“Exactly. I don’t think he thinks of us the same way as he does of you,” Zoe said. “Don’t be so surprised if he doesn’t ask you out on a date before long, is all I’m saying.”
Chris blinked, then huffed out an approving note.
“Well, I wouldn’t say no,” he said, tentatively.
“I thought you’d say that. I could tell, just by the way you were flirting back. Just don’t hurt him Chris,” Zoe said, softly.
“I couldn’t,” Chris replied, just as softly.
“I know,” Zoe said, with a genuine, soft smile. “Look after him, is all I’m saying.”
“I will,” Chris promised, before she shooed him away to look after more customers.
A half hour later and Karl was calling for Chris, a triumphant smile upon his face pushing dimples into his cheeks. Chris always loved it whenever Karl properly smiled, and loved those dimples too. He slung his pad into his pocket and hurried towards the kitchen. Both Zach and Zoe raised their eyebrows at him, but Chris didn’t take much notice.
“You’re jealous,” was all he said to them on the way past.
“He’s all yours,” was all Zach said in response.
“Good,” Chris said, as he hurried in the kitchen.
“What was all that about?” Karl asked, having caught some of the exchange.
“Ah, you know what these kids are like. They like to play,” Chris said, airily.
“Zach’s older than you are, Pine,” Karl said, with a snort. “Anyway, never mind that, try this.”
He held out one cookie to Chris’ mouth and Chris leant in immediately, lips closing around the cookie and biting down. Sweet nutty tastes flooded his tongue and Chris chewed slowly, appreciatively as his tongue flicked out to remove all traces of crumbs from his lips. His eyes never left Karl’s face, wide, deceptively deep, watching as Karl’s gaze travelled to Chris’ mouth and the way his tongue swept purposefully out again. Karl cleared his throat but said nothing at first.
“They’re really nice,” Chris said, voice a little gruff. “Another bite?”
Chris reached forward before Karl could reply, hand wrapping around Karl’s wrist and drawing the cookie up to his lips again. His eyelashes lowered, fanning against his cheeks like lace. He kept eating, until the cookie was finished, lips wrapping around Karl’s fingers and removing all trace of crumbs from their flour spotted surfaces. His eyelids lifted, impaling Karl with a sharp look as Karl swallowed, with an effort.
“Damn, you're good,” Karl muttered, beneath his breath.
Chris smirked and winked at him, yet didn’t relinquish his hold upon Karl’s wrist. Instead, his fingers formed soft lines against Karl’s slightly darker skin, tan in stark contrast against Chris’ pale skin. Chris finally let go, tips of his fingers twirling over the back of Karl’s hand before he stepped away, reluctantly.
“Another Urban success,” Chris said, tipping Karl a wink before slowly meandering out of the kitchen, leaving Karl alone and staring after him.
~~ 5 ~~
Chris had always thought the bakery was a little creepy after hours, silent and devoid of the warmth and chatter of regular customers and the usual complement of staff. Despite this, he often helped Karl to cook some of the pastries and pies, when he was able to and not otherwise engaged in rehearsals and going out with his friends. Karl was always appreciative of the extra hand, often saying that neither Zach nor Zoe could be seen for love nor money after hours. Chris often gave his usual response of a self effacing shrug, stating that it was no problem.
That evening had been no exception, and they were working in silence, making several batches of butterscotch cookies for the Christmas crowds. Karl mixed the ingredients while Chris rolled out the cookie dough and applied the cookie cutters with ferocious alacrity. Many times, Chris would lift his gaze, frown working his brows low over his intense blue eyes to find that Karl was watching him. Karl didn’t turn away, merely smiled with a flash of dimples every time. Chris gave him a rogueish smile back each time.
Finally the last batch had been made, in time for the first batch to come out of the ovens. Chris waited until they were cool enough, chatting idly to Karl as they did so, butts resting up against the work surface behind them. Karl’s body was a comforting presence beside Chris, standing so close as to feel the heat from him, hands resting upon the work surface while his ass rested between them. Every time that Chris moved, his arm brushed somewhere against Karl’s body but neither moved, too comfortable with each other to do so.
Finally, Karl turned and plucked one of the cooled cookies from the baking sheet and handed it off to Chris, fingers trailing teasingly against fingers. Karl gave Chris a meaningful look, and Chris returned that look silently. Chris didn’t take his eyes from Karl’s, as he nibbled at the cookie held between warm fingers, as he chewed appreciatively at the sweet and almost burnt-coffee taste of the butterscotch.
“Well?” Karl asked, raising one eyebrow artfully at Chris.
“They’re nice. My favourite flavour,” Chris said, with a completely straight face.
Karl laughed, and nudged Chris, playfully.
“You say that every time I make something, you cheeky bastard,” he said, affectionately.
“I know. You’re a good baker, good with your hands,” Chris replied, casting his gaze down to Karl’s broad strong hands.
“Not the only thing I’m good with,” Karl said, tongue lapping out over his lips, gaze suddenly turning dark.
Tension hung between them then, and Chris swallowed past it, sudden arousal and hope clogging his throat.
“Oh yeah? Prove it, Kiwi boy,” he said, training his gaze back upon Karl’s, once more.
Karl licked his lips again and leant in suddenly, pressing his mouth against Chris’. It took a few seconds for Chris’ brain to catch up with what was happening to his mouth, before he started kissing Karl back, hungry, needy, the dam breaking inside him with that one kiss he’d wanted for so long. Karl’s hands rose and cupped the back of Chris’ head, fingers lacing through the other man’s hair as their kisses grew deeper and more heated. Although the kiss was messy, hasty and uncoordinated, Chris still thought it was the best thing he’d ever experienced. Karl’s mouth was soft, lips urgent against his and he tasted of cinnamon and butterscotch, of all the things he was good at baking and it seemed to Chris as though Karl was stripping him apart and building him up again from the ground upwards. Karl finally pulled away, lips kiss-bitten and swollen, eyes still trained upon Chris’ mouth as though he still wanted more.
“I’ve wanted to do that since the first time that I saw ya,” he said, voice gruff.
“What took you so long?” Chris replied, tongue licking at his lower lip as he watched Karl closely.
“I didn’t know how you felt,” Karl said, clear embarrassment colouring his cheeks.
“I’m guessing you do, now, right?” Chris replied, grin wonky as he stared at Karl‘s swollen lips at close range.
“Yeah, guess I do,” Karl replied. “So are we good?”
He angled one hand between them, before saying - “I mean, between us. I’d understand, I guess, if you don’t wanna pursue this any further.”
“Whatever gave you that idea? I kissed you back, didn’t I? I want this, I want us to be something and have since I first started to know you. Just don’t leave it so long to kiss me next time,” Chris said, a gentle smile curving his lips.
“I won’t,” Karl said, before making good on his promise and pulling the other man into another heated kiss.