The first time, they’re holding hands. Totally platonically: the scene was really intense, and they’d grabbed at each other and not let go, and Stuart had never been one to think that someone should fall into gay panic over nothing. Besides, Raj had nice hands (“Manlicures” Raj had told him once). The next time an action sequence comes up Stuart squeezes Raj’s hand, while Raj goes to bite his own knuckles (Stuart presumes), and nips Stuart instead.
“Not until at least the fourth date!” Stuart leans over and quips in Raj’s ear. Raj responds by kissing Stuart’s knuckles, then letting go entirely.
The second time is lip to lip, but is hardly a kiss. Raj is leaning over to ask Stuart for a napkin just as Stuart is turning to make a pithy comment about the movie. Their lips touch, Stuart can suddenly hear his heartbeat in his ears and his face heats up. Were it not for the dark movie theatre he knows he’d be beet red. But he doesn’t pull back, and neither does Raj (whose nostrils have flared and his eyes have dilated, Stuart can tell, even in the dark). Raj purses his lips, almost imperceptibly, and Stuart starts to relax his jaw a little, and then Raj pulls away. He’d never known time to bend, but Stuart can hardly believe that it lasted only a fraction of a second. He shifts his gaze to the floor, forgetting all about his comment.
“Sorry, about …” Raj says in the car.
Stuart tries to brush it off, it’s no big deal, don’t worry.
He wonders how it would go over to say he’d like to do it again. Properly.
The third time they sit in the back of the movie theatre. Raj offers his palm, and they hold hands for the first half of the movie. Stuart stretches him arm around Raj’s shoulder, and Raj leans his head on Stuart’s shoulder. They inch their faces closer and closer, and finally it happens. Stuart has to crane his neck a little – it’s not the best position. Raj parts his lips and lets Stuart take the lead. His lips taste like movie butter and salt, and Stuart’s sure he’s never missed an application of chapstick. After – a second? A minute? An hour? – Raj’s tongue pushes back, finding its way into Stuart’s mouth and he realizes he forgot how great this feeling could be.
Too soon the credits roll, and the lights come up, and they pull away flushed and light-headed.
The fourth time Raj nibbles along Stuart’s jaw and curls one hand in the hair at the nape of his neck. He appreciates that Raj took the time to shave before their date.
“You did say the fourth date…” he murmurs as he pushes at the neckband of Stuart’s tee shirt. When Stuart takes his shirt off that night and looks in the mirror, he smiles at the mark on his collarbone. On the one hand, he’s pushing 40 and he’s giddy about a hickey, on the other hand, no one is going to see it, hidden away under the layers, but it’s there, promising of more things to come.
The fifth time is downright crass. Raj picks a film being shown at an “art house.” Stuart smirks. He knows art house movies. They don’t have sticky floors like this. There’s no pretense when Raj puts one arm around Stuart’s shoulder that they won’t be acting like a couple of horny teenagers, and Stuart’s happy to acquiesce, letting Raj’s tongue roam across his lips and around his mouth. He can tell they aren’t the only couple being amorous in the theatre, and it’s not something he ever thought he’d do. But Raj flicks open the top button on his jeans one-handed, sliding his ever well-manicured hand along Stuart’s shaft, and it’s not long before he’s seeing stars and Raj is wiping him quickly with a napkin before anything can stain.
He returns the favor, Raj sighing in relief when Stuart frees him from the cargo pants. Stuart feels bad his hands aren’t as smooth, but he sucks at Raj’s neck, not quite as careful that it won’t show. But, he knows Raj usually wears a button down with a collar that can hide some things. He only pumps Raj a few times before Raj tries to swat him away with a fistful of napkins. Stuart throws all good sense and caution to the wind, and leans down, taking Raj into his mouth and sucking him until he’s dry.
They’re still in the theatre when the credits finish and the lights come up.
“You’re amazing,” Raj tells him. Stuart just shrugs.
“So, what about finding something on Netflix tonight?” Raj asks with a salacious grin.