Jonathan’s phone wakes him with a text message from Art: no words, but a picture that’s the very definition of NSFW. “New kit” apparently means a new set of shibari ropes, gleaming scarlet against William’s pale freckled skin. Christ, he’s sweating already just from thinking how long it must have taken Art to create that intricate pattern of knots, thinking about how Art likes to talk while he’s doing it, talk about the ropes and the knots and what he’s going to do to you when he’s finished tying you up, as casually as if he was talking about the weather… Fuck. Fuck.
He’s got his hand on his cock before he can stop to think, jerking off fast and hard, more desperate than he’s been in months. Bloody Art, he knows exactly what he’s doing sending that picture, probably knows what Jonathan’s doing right now, and oh god if that isn’t the thought that tips him over the edge –
His phone buzzes again, right on cue, while he’s still shuddering and gasping. He wipes his hand on the sheet and squints blearily at the text message.
Three words this time: EMPIRE IS WAITING – it’s not like Art to use capslock, even at this hour of the morning.
Fuck you, Jonathan texts back.
FUCK HIM? Art replies, at speed.
No, Jonathan types. He stares at the Send icon, and changes the message to Not yet. Whatever scruples he felt last night over dinner with Grant, seeing that picture of William has sent them right out of the window.
A burst of ABBA (seriously, Jonathan needs to change that ringtone) heralds an incoming call from Art, who is clearly losing patience now.
“What?” Jonathan says, as if he didn’t know.
“Don’t piss about, J, you took the bet.”
“And your point is?” Jonathan says. “There wasn’t a time limit.”
“Three weeks,” Art snaps. “If you can’t do it in that time, even you have to admit defeat.”
Three weeks is a surprisingly generous allowance. Jonathan’s not fool enough to point this out, obviously; knowing Art, he’d cut the time to a fortnight just to spite him. Anyone would think he wanted Jonathan to win the bet, and Christ, he can't let himself think about that or he won't be able to function at all today.
“OK, done,” he says hastily, and Art laughs. Shit, what did he miss?
“Good” Art says, so pleased with himself he’s almost purring. “Empire’s put the client meeting back to the 6th, so that works nicely. I’ll have Emma send you the files.”
“Don’t bother,” Jonathan says. “I won’t be needing them.”
Art laughs again and rings off.
Three weeks. Three weeks less two days, because their river walk and pub lunch date's not till Tuesday.
He's never needed anything like that long to get someone into bed before. How hard can it be?
“Put some music on, if you want,” Jonathan calls from the kitchen.
The walk by the river had ended up at Borough Market, two streets away from his flat, and it would have been just silly not to invite Grant up for a cup of tea. Grant had looked at him narrowly before accepting, as if he knew this was a variation on “come up and see my etchings”, and yes, OK, that had been the point of the route they'd taken, but you can't blame Jonathan for trying to move things forward. He hopes he's guessed right about what kind of tea to get in; Grant probably has views on tea.
While the kettle's boiling, he sneaks a look at Grant as he bends down to pull a CD from the shelf, admiring the lines of his back and thighs. Fuck, he'd like to get his hands on that. They'd kissed briefly outside the pub when they met, but not touched apart from that. Jonathan had to fight the urge to push Grant up against the wall the minute they got through the door of the flat; no point spoiling his chances by going too fast.
It's a pain that Grant doesn't drink, and after his tequila-fuelled clumsiness at the restaurant Jonathan's not risking it either. Not that he needs alcohol to relax, but trying to seduce a missionary who's also still a virgin at 36 on nothing stronger than tea -
The kettle starts to whistle, and he turns back to the stove, missing the opening bars of whatever Grant's decided to put on. His phone beeps with a text from William: Best. Night. Ever. Drink & debrief tomorrow? xx
Damn, He'd been avoiding the blow-by-blow account of William's night with Art so far, though it was too much to hope he could escape it altogether. If his luck's in, he'll have something better to do tomorrow, but he doesn't want to jinx the possibility by saying so. Anyway, he'll deal with that later.
Grant's singing voice is every bit as good as Jonathan imagined. The thrill of hearing that sound from his sitting-room hits him right before he realizes what Grant's singing, at which point he nearly drops the milk.
“You're the book that I have opened,” Grant sings, “And now I've got to know much more.”
Jonathan carries the tray in and sets it down on the coffee-table. “Of all the songs you could have picked, you go straight for that one,” he says. “OK, that settles it, we're officially soulmates.”
Grant laughs and says “First single I ever bought.”
“Same here,” says Jonathan. “Was your school full of idiots who liked Oasis?”
Grant nods. “Oasis and Blur.”
“I liked Blur,” Jonathan admits. “Though that was more about fancying Damon Albarn. But Massive Attack was proper music.”
“Massive Attack and Portishead,” Grant says, and sighs. “I wanted to be them so much.”
“I wanted to move to Bristol, but I couldn't convince my dad to go,” Jonathan says, and Grant laughs again.
“How old were you?”
“13, 14,” Jonathan says. “You?”
“11,” Grant says with a grin. “Got the money singing at weddings with the church choir, before my voice broke.”
“I like your singing,” Jonathan says.
Grant goes slightly pink, but looks pleased. He drinks his tea, which seems to meet with his approval; Jonathan still can't see the point of the stuff, but keeps him company.
There's a moment of silence when the song ends, and then Jonathan puts it on again. Grant gives him a mildly quizzical look.
“What?” Jonathan says. “It's my favourite song, and I missed half of it.”
The air crackles between them as the song unfolds for the second time, and the room is full of memories.
I know that I've been mad in love before
And how it could be with you.
Really hurt me, baby, really cut me, baby,
How can there be a day without a night?
You're the book that I have opened,
And now I've got to know much more.
“Yeah,” Jonathan says, a little huskily.
Grant doesn't ask him what he means; they both know what comes next.
The curiousness of your potential kiss
Has got my mind and body aching...
Jonathan's not going to ignore that cue. Neither is Grant, apparently: they move together and kiss properly for the first time, slow and sweet and luxurious, a dance of question and response.
“If he's a good kisser he'll be a good fuck”, William always says, and it's true more often than not. Jonathan really hopes this isn't one of the other times, because Grant is a bloody gorgeous kisser. He wasn't expecting that from someone who claims not to be particularly interested in sex, but it's a very good surprise.
He moans into Grant's mouth and strokes his back, which Grant seems to like, judging by the way he presses against him. Jonathan's just about to untuck Grant's shirt, because he can't wait one more minute to feel warm skin under his hands, when his fucking phone bursts into song: “Waterloo, I was defeated, you won the war.”
Either Art has this place bugged or he has the most diabolical timing Jonathan's ever come across. The shock of it makes him tense up, and Grant breaks away. He stares at Jonathan as if he's trying to focus.
“It's him, isn't it?”
No use trying to deny it, or pretend he doesn't know who Grant's talking about.
“Forget him,” Jonathan says, and goes back to kissing. But the mood is broken; Grant feels awkward and uncomfortable in his arms and pulls away from the embrace.
“I should go,” he says. “Need to pick up my bike from the repair shop before it closes.”
“If Art hadn't called, would you have stayed?” Jonathan asks, knowing he's pushing it.
“Yes, probably,” Grant says, flushing slightly.
Jonathan kisses him again, and Grant kisses him back, harder than before. It almost seems like he's going to relent and stay, but he breaks the kiss and steps back.
“When can I see you again?” Jonathan says, rather breathlessly.
“Oh, it's when now, is it?” Grant says, teasing him a bit.
“You know it is,” Jonathan says, with a grin.
“Cocky,” Grant says, and grins back. “I'm free tomorrow night.”
“Want to see the new Star Wars film?” Jonathan suggests. “I'll switch my phone off, I promise.”
“Is that a yes?”
“Yes,” Grant says. “Text me the times, OK?”
“OK,” Jonathan says. “See you tomorrow.”
Grant's almost out of the door when he turns back and pulls Jonathan close for a quick fierce kiss that takes him completely by surprise. Then he's gone without a word, leaving Jonathan giddy and elated.
He could cheerfully strangle Art for being such a fucking cockblock, and he'll have to text William and say he can't make that drink and debrief tomorrow. First, though, he's going to think about all the things he would have done to Grant if Art hadn't interrupted them, and have a nice long slow wank.