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Raptures and Roses

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Raptures and Roses

by Lyrica

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Change in a trice
The lilies and languors of virtue
For the raptures and roses of vice.

    Dolores (1866)
    Algernon Charles Swinburne

I can't even begin to imagine what I've gotten myself into. And I walk a little faster. Because I want to put as much distance between myself and that flower stall as I can.

I've got the scent of those fucking roses in my head, and I can't get it out.

That and all the other hundreds of smells that are swirling around the market--the dusty scent of silk and the sharpness of new perfume in a shop across the way. Stale perfume on skin, hot dogs with mustard and pickles, mellow shoe leather. Body odor and furniture polish and money. Brass and paint and frying fish. The list is endless, and now that the nutty professor has talked me into opening myself up to them, the smells are overpowering. I can't ignore them.

Especially the roses. Especially him.

I can smell him on me. I can smell him on him, male sweat soaked into that soft white shirt, and in an exchange of spoor, the remnants of laundry detergent leached onto his skin. Deodorant, the cucumber sandwich he ate for lunch, the dusty, antique scent of the book he handled while he was explaining all this to me. His shampoo. His skin.

If I tried, I know I could find more. More odors out there. More of him on me. It's a cacophony of smell. Like everybody in the band struck up their instruments at once, all playing a different tune until just one note, one high yellow note, rises above all the others. Conquers all the others. Yellow roses in my mouth, so thick I can taste them. The aroma is like perfume on the back of my tongue. I can feel it, fuzzy and oily. And the only thing that cuts through it is the person who started all this in the first place.

He touches my back again, steering me towards the edge of the walk, out of the worst of the afternoon traffic of men and women in designer jeans and students in tight little t-shirts and grandparents with baby carriages. I can feel the imprint of his hand through the layers of t-shirt, dress shirt and jacket. It's like he held his hands up to an open fire and warmed them and then laid them on my cold, bare skin. A square palm and the pads of his fingers, inked on my spine with heat. And if I concentrate on it hard enough, I can even block out the roses.

What am I doing here anyway? How did I let this bopping, jabbering kid talk me into this? Am I so close to crazy that I'd fall for total insanity? Tribal guardians and cavemen and Richard Burton--the explorer, not the actor... This kid has so much energy, it crackles off him. His hands haven't stopped moving in the last hour and a half, not since he saved me from being flattened by that garbage truck. And neither has his mouth. The words are all just running together into one long drone, but at least, it's not an annoying drone. It's not clinging to me like the scent of those damned roses. The slurred silk of his voice would actually be kind of soothing, like lazy rain on a Sunday morning, if it wasn't for the damn smells.

Another one insinuates itself through his chatter--the acrid, unlovely aroma of a restroom. The tang of the bleach tablets in the tanks. Stale urine that no amount of flushing with bleached water will erase. The cloying, sweet, disgusting restroom deodorizer that's actually more offensive than the odors it's trying to mask. It makes me want to piss at the same time it makes me want to gag, and I veer off towards the door marked with an irritatingly cute stick figure of a man. Us cavemen need simple pictures to find the can because we're too stupid to read.

The kid follows me, still talking.

"I think I can handle this on my own," I tell him dryly, sticking out an arm to prevent him following me through the door. He just laughs and claps me on the back. Another hot hand imprint overlays the one that is only just beginning to fade.

"It's not a one man facility," he tells me cheerily. "And now that you've mentioned it, I could use a pit stop myself." And he goes back to his lecture, which is something about this Burton guy--the explorer, not the actor--and his travels.

I'm only getting about half of it, but it doesn't matter because the sound is the important thing, I think. If I concentrate on his voice, then maybe I won't throw up when I take my next breath, because I just thought the restroom was rank from outside. From the inside, it's like breathing rotten soup. Thick and nasty and gray-green.

He tosses his backpack at the coat hooks on the wall, and it actually catches, thumping like he's carrying rocks in the damned thing. It's dark in here, gloomy, with only one light fixture actually working on all bulbs, and his white shirt is like a beacon. Like a shiny reflector, throwing the cold light back at me, and I blink against it, trying to work through the change, from bright light to dim to white cotton.

Then he unzips his too tight jeans, drags his penis through the opening and aims without even pausing in his lecture. Most guys would at least belly up to the urinal a little tighter. Shield a bit. I mean, I've lived in a barracks, where there's no privacy, and in the wild, where there's even less. I've done my business in the bushes in the jungle, so it's not like I'm shy...but he's got no body consciousness whatsoever. And no sense of the sanctity of the john, because he's still talking. Doesn't he know guys aren't supposed to talk and piss at the same time? It's an unwritten law or something.

But even as his urine arcs out and strikes porcelain, he's still talking. Still chattering about...what? The desert? South America? Christ, I don't know, even though I'm listening. Because the intimate scent of him, his cock and his piss, is clearing the fog. Overlaying his voice and all the odors with a scent so earthy and elemental that everything else just fades away. I can almost taste him, the way I could feel the roses on my tongue, but his scent is clearer than the roses. Better than fresh, yeasty bread right out of the oven. Sweeter than air after a brisk rain.

I want to lean into him and press my nose to his skin. Into that thick, flyaway hair. Flatten my tongue against his neck and soak up his smell. His taste. I want to reach down and put my hand on his and touch him while he's-- And, fuck!, that's weird. But he smells so whole...all scrubbed and pure when everything else is so messed up.

At the edge of my vision, I see my hand rising, trembling. Moving on its own.

I run.

I duck into one of the stalls just to get away from him. Away from me. Away from doing something dangerous and stupid. The metal of the divider is cold, flaking paint, against my forehead, but it eases the red that's burning its way across my face. I can't piss leaning like this, and eventually, after I've listened to him zip up and wash his hands, I straighten up and take care of business. I try not to think about him listening to me or how my own scent makes me want to hold my breath, because it's strange and foreign and acrid, compared to his. I try not to think about my hand reaching out for him.

I'm concentrating so hard on not wanting to touch him, smell him, that I don't even realize he's shut up. I don't even hear the quiet until I'm at the lavatory, washing my hands, thinking how much that slick, liquid soap out of the dispenser stinks and how much iron is in the water. And I realize that, without the background drone of his voice, without the nearness of his scent, the imprint of his heat on me, the smells have come back. Full force and nauseating. Old cigarette smoke and chlorine and moldy tile. And roses.

I glance up at his reflection. Has he finally run out of things to say?

He's standing over near his backpack, near the door. His warm, square hands are tucked just barely into the pockets of his ragged jeans. There's a swirl of hair, peeking out of the open collar of that blinding shirt, hinting at what must be hidden underneath. And a sharp point of Adam's Apple spoiling the line of his pale throat.

His gaze, blue like topaz, like sky, meets mine in the mirror, reflecting his awareness of my perusal. My eyes are blue, but, jesus!, do they look like that to other people? Like I could cut with them? Pierce skin and bone?

"So..." he says casually, "'re gay."

So... He hasn't run out of things to say.

The sound penetrates. Even so, for just a second, I don't look at the meaning. I'm still trying to pull myself up out of his reflection. Still trying not to be mesmerized by the way the sliver of sunlight coming through the transom is reflecting on the hairs on his arm, or the way his jeans are rubbed white and thin along his zipper.

And then the words form and take meaning and it's the last straw. Even if I've brought his observation on myself by standing there cataloguing his dick and his muscles and his laser-light eyes. It's the last indignity I can take, in a day filled with indignity. Being called a caveman by a hippie professor, run over by a garbage truck, forced to smell everything within a hundred yards, to listen to some co-ed drooling over the man whose hands make my skin burn. And same man is curling those hands into claws, digging them through the skin, into my flesh. Even deeper. Into my personal life. Into the places I don't even look.

With a fury that's cold and as blue as his eyes, I round on him, splashing water on myself and the mirror and the floor. "What!" The sound, loud and angry, bounces even higher than the water. Up to the ceiling and into the corners. It reverberates. "Who the fuck do you think you are?!"

"Hey..." He backs up a step, giving ground before me, dropping his hands to his sides, palms out. All the right moves to placate a pissed-off caveman. On some weird, untouchable level, I recognize what he's doing. I see the subservient, cowed body language...but it doesn't work. And his touch doesn't work, as he puts out a palm and touches my chest. "Hey... Easy, man... I didn't mean..." Neither do the soft, musical notes of his voice.

Before I'm even aware of the intent, I've got my hands on him. Twisted in the folds of that pretty vest, gripping his shoulders so hard I can feel his flesh slide on the bone. There's more muscle there than I would have thought. And more tolerance for pain, because he doesn't wince when I lift him bodily and slam him up against the wall. Again.

For the second time today, I've got him crushed up against a solid surface. Trapped between the door and my body. Trapped against my body. And he's hot. Steamy through all the layers of cloth between us. Sturdy and strong for his size. He's not really so small as I originally thought. Not a lightweight at all.

But unlike before, when I caught him off guard, this time I think he saw me coming. Instead of that hard point of a finger, poised to jab into me, his hands are gripping my shoulders, holding me just as fiercely as I'm holding him. One of his thighs is between mine and one of mine's between his. And he's hard. God, he's so hard.

He arches towards me and his pupils dilate and his breath gusts out across my face. And I think the only thing keeping him from wrapping his legs around me is the way my leg is squishing his dick back into his balls.

"You have got to get rid of some of this hostility," he says softly, breathing cucumber and dill scented breath into my lungs. There's so much laughter in his voice. So much desire.

But he doesn't understand. Most days, hostility is all that's holding me together. Anger is all that keeps me sane. It's better to hold onto it, but it's hard to hold onto it with him arching up against me like that. Rubbing that branding iron on my leg.

"That jaw... Man, you have got to be doing some serious enamel damage there."

And his fingers slide across my shoulders, cup my neck. I can feel my pulse beating wildly against his palms. His thumbs start to rub at my jaw, following the line of bone and tense muscle forward, then back again to where the hinges are buried, just in front of my ears. And he's digging deep, massaging, like he thinks he can undo a lifetime's worth of knots. His scent is flowing up to me, warm air rising. Filling my lungs and seeping into my pores.

"I bet I know what would relax this jaw." His thumbs are at my mouth now, teasing at the corners. "This book I read on stress relief, it says if you've got tension in your face and neck, you should let your mouth hang open. 'Cause the muscles can't stay tense if your mouth is open."

His voice is all throaty and purring, but still so full of laughter. He tugs at my bottom lip, urging me to open my mouth, and I know what he wants. I know. And I hate him for it. For a brief, blinding flash, I hate him. Because I know he's never been afraid to look at anything, to reach for anything. And I want him. And it scares the shit out of me.

He sticks his thumb in my mouth. It tastes of salt and sweat and his penis and the nasty, pink restroom soap. "Suck me," he says softly, and I know he doesn't mean his thumb.

And I can't. I can't. I can't...but I know I will. And so does he.

The moment I ease my grip on him, he reaches for his zipper. By the time it's down, so am I. My face slides the whole length of his torso, feeling his heat, the roughness of his shirt and the thick, springy hair underneath. Scraping over buttons and the heady leather of his belt.

Then I'm kneeling on the floor in front of him, cold, damp tile beneath my knees. Muscles creaking as I open my too tight jaw for his cock. He guides himself into me, one hand aiming his dick for the back of my throat, the other guiding my head, fingers splayed over my skull. His erection, hot and pulsing with blood, slides over my lips, my tongue.

And he was right. The tension drains out of me. The anger, the fear. It's all gone. The odors and the weird green light. It's all mellow. All sweet and even and calm. I don't have to think about anything but this hard, velvet flesh against my tongue. To wallow in how hard it's making me to taste him, to have him.

And I'm suddenly hungry. So hungry. I yank him forward so hard that I gag myself on his erection. I taste my own bile and the salty slickness of precome. And I think I'm going to come in my pants. Lose myself in the scent and taste of him. Let go of reality, because reality is...

Reality is...I'm a cop. Kneeling on the floor of a smelly, public restroom, blowing a man I only just met. And reality, if I hold onto it, would demand that I stop. That I be sane. But I can't remember the last time things were so clear. So good. If I don't get my zipper undone and my cock out, I'm going to come in my pants. It feels that good. Just the pressure of my boxers, sliding across the head of dick. My tongue, slipping around the swollen crown of his.

I don't want to let go of him. My thumbs have found perfect, thumb-shaped grooves in the hollows of his hips, perfect finger-sized curves rounding back into his ass, and it all serves to rock him just so that his cock slides along the roof of my mouth. But I have to let go. I scrabble for the tab of my zipper and yank at it blindly, not willing to release his cock to look down. The sound as I rip it open is rusty and lewd, not at all like the pure, silvery hiss his made when he peeled it down.

He moans and the sound washes down over the top of my head. His hard, flat belly bumps my forehead, and I know he's leaning over, trying to watch me fish my cock out. The idea of him seeing me, looking at me, makes me flush hot. Fever races over my skin, centering behind my cock.

I let him slide out of my mouth. Lean back and, slowly, slowly, tug myself free of my clothes. I make a brazen dance of it, flexing my hips so that the muscles in my thighs bunch up hard and my erection and my balls jut out through the gaping maw of my zipper. I wrap my fingers around my dick and stroke it. Prime it. Make it swell even more and flush even hotter. A shiny drop of precome beads up at the tip, and I smear it in a line all the way down to my balls.

His gaze flutters from my cock, sliding through my fingers, to my face. His tongue, all pink and wet, makes a complete roll around his lush mouth, echoing the circuit mine's just been making around the head of his cock. His gaze slides back down again for a long, long look as I use one hand to cup my balls, the other to pump my cock. The hot blue of his eyes has gone almost completely black.

I like it. Him looking at me, wanting me. His gaze strokes my nerves better than my hands stroke my own skin. I shudder with pleasure. Can't stop the moan that slips out.

"Man..." he rasps, and he reaches for my head, pulling me back to him. Thrusting forward to meet my mouth.

I suck him in again and work him the way I'm working myself. Up and down. Up and down. I've never been more turned on. My chin is wet with my own saliva and my tongue is slicked with him. My dick is slicked with me, and it's almost like tasting my own precome, having his leak into my mouth. I've got a rhythm going that's better than music. Swallowing and stroking and squeezing. Letting his dick slide in until it hits bottom, timing it to the thrust of mine through my fist, letting it slide back out, using my thumb on myself the way I'm working my tongue on him.

His grip on my shoulders would be painful if I didn't like it so much, and he's moaning and praying. 'Yes' and 'Oh, god' and 'Please.' 'Suck me' and 'That's good' and 'Faster.' Rising up on the balls of his feet and thrusting towards my face. Trying to spread his legs wider to accommodate my hand when I shove it into his jeans to grab his balls. They're drawn up so tight, they feel like they've melted into one taut, spongy lump instead of two. And behind that, he's all baby soft flesh and downy hair. And just a hint of the sweaty crease of his ass, and I whimper, because I can't reach any further and I want to. Want to bury my face in him. My fingers in him.

I yank at the bottom of his zipper. The teeth cut into my hand, but his belt and the brass button of his jeans hold, and I can't get to him. I growl around the mouthful of cock and gulp him. If I can't get inside him, I'll take him inside me. My cock jumps in my hand as I try to swallow him. And I realize he's wrong. All wrong. It isn't having my mouth open that's stripped my hostility. It's having it filled. Filled and fucked.

He surges up, one last time. Fingers biting into my shoulders, thighs straining, head thunking back against the door. "Oh, shit. Oh, Jim. I'm gonna come. I'm gonna--"

Is that the first time he's said my name? I like the sound of it, husky and desperate, warning me and entreating me. I feel the orgasm rush forward. His and mine. In the back of my mouth. At the base of my cock. Sparks and shocks of sensation coalescing. Drawn there, into a writhing, arcing knot the size of a softball. It throbs, contracts, swells. And suddenly the pressure is too much, and the pleasure is too much, and the heat explodes and I'm coming. Pushing up into my hand. Moaning around the mouthful of rigid, swelling cock. Nerves jangling with sweet fire. Splattering the door and the floor and my fingers.

He cries out and grabs my head and his cock jerks and he fills my mouth with his come. The taste is musky and bitter, and it backflows over my lips. Down my chin. I swallow fast. Before I can gag. Before I get lost in how good he tastes. And the whole time he's pumping into me, banging back against the door, groaning my name, I keep coming. Ribbons and shimmers of pleasure rolling across my skin, winding through my nerves, loosening all the knots in my muscles. It's freedom. Bliss. Rapture. It's more intense than anything I can ever remember feeling, and if my mouth wasn't plugged, I think I would scream. I think I would sob with the simple, pure ecstasy of it.

Even when I'm dry and there's nothing left to squeeze out of my softening cock, I don't want to stop stroking myself. The throbbing is still there. The swelling, lazy aftershocks that signal a really spectacular orgasm. The slow, sensual rolling waves of pleasure that echo across the small of my back. If this is what it's like to have enhanced senses, then maybe I can do enhanced senses. I can put up with the smell of roses for this.

I don't let his dick slip out of my mouth until it's clean of all but my spit, softening, and he's starting to squirm from the over-stimulation. Even then, I don't look up at him. I rest my forehead against his belly and gasp air into my starved lungs. And reach up, trying not to make a big deal out of it, to wipe his come off my face.

But the movement can't be hidden, and he shifts. Adds his thumb to the clean-up. Wiping the sticky remains of his pleasure from the corner of my mouth while he strokes my head with his other hand. And he smiles down at me. Really still and quiet and calm. It's the first time I've seen him devoid of that incredible, irritating energy. I like the heavy, sleepy droop of his eyelids, the satisfied slump of his muscles.

I make myself get up. I'm too lax to be creaky from kneeling, almost too limp to stand. But I can hear people moving past, just outside. It's a miracle that no one needed the facilities while we were using the door as a trampoline. I start putting myself back together, suddenly stung by how stupid I've been. By how lucky I was not to get caught on my knees with my dick in my hand and his dick in my mouth.

While I swipe up the evidence with a wad of toilet tissue, hiding my face in a pretense at cleanliness, he rearranges his clothes. Tucking and patting and zipping. We manage to avoid looking at each other until I end up back at the lavatory, exactly where I was only minutes ago, washing my hands and staring at his reflection in the mirror. Only this time, instead of admiring him, I'm wondering if a quick blowjob has washed the shine off his awe and enthusiasm for me.

For a second, I think it's going to be awkward. But then he tries a smile, quirking one corner of his mouth and a shoulder in unison. He jitters just a touch, that energy threatening to come back, then visibly forces himself to be stand quietly. I wonder how many people have bitched at him to be still. And I realize he's waiting for me. He's letting me decide how this is going to come out. How we're going to act now.

In the face of that clear, unembarrassed gaze, I can't hold onto my irritation or my uncertainty. Laughter bubbles up around the edges of my stomach, but I don't let him see it. I pierce him with a blue gaze of my own. "I'm not gay," I growl, rude and unsmiling.

Poker face is one of my specialties, but he sees right through it. A grin that's brighter than his shirt breaks through. Laughter that's velvet and crystal. "Oh. Okay. Neither am I, man." He snags his backpack off the wall and heads out the door, still laughing. "Neither am I."

I follow, ringing the overflowing trashcan with my paper towel as I leave.

He's sobered by the time I catch up to him. That lively laughter has dried up as he stands at the edge of the busy sidewalk, watching the shoppers flow past, looking around as if he doesn't know what to do next. As if the last few minutes have only just caught up with him. He looks up at me, his face solemn and still. "Maybe that wasn't the smartest thing we could have done. You being the subject of my dissertation and all," he says.

I look down at him. Now I know what his problem is. He's schizophrenic. Or just plain damn crazy. I just sucked off a stranger in a public restroom, and he thinks it wasn't smart because he needs to maintain distance from his guinea pig?! I open my mouth and suck in enough air to really blast him. To singe those thick, dark eyelashes with words alone.

And I can smell the fucking roses again. We're all the way at the other end of the mall from the flower stall where he started all this, and the scent just marches in and wraps itself around my tongue. And him. Jesus, him and his semen and my saliva. I can smell my mouth on him. I want him again. Want to bury my face in the sweaty crook of his neck, in his hair, between his legs. Want to bury my tongue in him. Even more, I want him buried in me. To the balls. And he thinks it wasn't smart!

I want to punch him, but all I can manage is an emotionless, stiff, "Yeah. Not the smartest thing we could have done."

He's looking up at me. Blue, blue eyes, as sharp as glass. Getting rounder and more dilated as I stare at him. As if he could hear my thoughts better than my words. He blinks, looks away. Looks up at me again and those gorgeous eyes are heavy lidded and seductive and hopeful. And I know, before he even says it. I know that it wasn't a brush-off. It was his way of feeling me out. Of giving me a graceful way out.

I didn't give him any real response to work with, and I can see him trying to decide what to say next. He takes a breath and starts to say something, rejects those words. Takes another breath and starts again. Then he just takes a really deep breath and plunges in, unafraid, "So...since the damage is already done... Want to do it again?" And another one of those sunburst grins lights his face.

I look down at him. Yeah, I want to do it again. Horizontal and naked this time. With his weight pinning me to the mattress, riding me into it. But I don't say so. Not right away. I let the pictures chase across behind my eyes first, turning and twisting them, the way I want him to turn and twist me.

I'm a mean bastard, enjoying the way he shivers, waiting for me to say yes or no. The way his tongue tortures his full lower lip. That coed was right. He is adorable. And I don't think I've ever been attracted to adorable before. It makes what I'm contemplating seem kind of lecherous. Like I ought to be planning moonlight and soft music instead of him, spread-eagled and sweaty and panting in the middle of my bed.

I feel sorry for her, because she doesn't know the half of it, and if I have anything to say, he's gonna be way too worn out to clue her in. For a very long time. But still, all I say is, "Yeah. Okay." Poker face is one of my specialties.

He lets out a pent up breath, but I get the feeling it's more anticipation than anxiety. That he wasn't really worried. That all that lip biting was for show. That he knew exactly what I was standing there thinking. "Where do you live?" he asks eagerly. "We can go to my place, but it's across town, in the warehouse district."

I like the idea that he thinks across town is just too long to wait. "My apartment's not far. We can go there." I grumble it, like I'm granting him some kind of favor. Like the idea of stripping him and laying him out and feasting on him is a chore. Like the idea of his smell permeating my sheets isn't making my head pound and my cock throb. "Anything to get away from the smell of those fucking roses." I turn on my heel and lead the way back down the walkway, back towards the parking lot.

"The roses? You mean you can still smell them? Wow! Man, that is fantastic. What else can you sme--?" For a minute his enthusiasm is cut cold as he stops to consider. "No. Scratch that. You can probably smell everything." Then the excitement is back, and he jogs to catch up with me. "You have got to let me do some preliminary tests to set baselines. I mean, when we start working with this, I need to be able to..."

I watch him out of the corner of my eye. I'm scowling, shaking my head, storming along the sidewalk. But he doesn't care. He's gone again. Dancing along at my side, sidestepping the people who scatter before me. Jabbering, theorizing, planning. Those big, square hands are moving in about twenty different directions, sketching god knows what in the air.

And I realize, with a pang of fear that knots my stomach and slows my feet, that my poker face won't work. My hostility won't hold. Scowls, laughter, indifference--it's all transparent to him. Veneer. I have no defenses against this man. None whatsoever.

I should run like hell. Get as far away as I possibly can.

Then he looks up at me and grins, and he wraps those hot fingers around my upper arm and squeezes quickly. Gives me a little shake. Says, "Come on, man. Let's go!"

And everything else just fades away. Even while he's jittering like something broken loose, irritating the hell out of me, he calms me. Even while I'm thinking I'd be smarter to just throttle him and toss the body over the side of the pier, stay the hell away from crazy professors and flower stalls for the rest of my life, I'm remembering how he looks, aroused and breathless and moaning. I'm remembering how he feels, caught up in my arms. I breathe him in, pure as new frost, bright as sunshine. Even while he's scaring me, he beguiles me.

I can't even begin to imagine what I've gotten myself into. And I walk a little faster. Because I want to put as much distance between that flower stall and myself as I can. Because I can't wait to see how Blair's hair looks, spread out over my pillow.