Title: midnight in whose garden ?
Description: tag: Ben!
Cooper Vale - March 5, 2010 04:13 PM (GMT)
A tweed suit, expensive coat, a hat that was seconds away from being top, at least three chins, a sizeable stomach that he was willing to bet was stretched beyond repair, shoes shined to such an extent that they almost sparkled (but not in the fun way), and a scarf tied with a Queen Jelena knot; my God, the man might as well have been wearing a monocle, and he was passing by Cooper's own shop. And to think he'd once thought that the antique store that was practically across the cobbled street (though not quite) from them would be an un-lucrative neighbor! Nonsense, Cooper Vale; your tendency to be wrong rears its ugly head yet again, but oh, what a delightful mistake to make! Truth be told, Cooper adored the store, and that without ever having entered it. What he loved about it, what earned his undying affection and relentless attention was the clientele. More specifically, it was the opportunity to call out to the practically ancient antique store's clientele when they, inevitably, left the store and continued down the street to pass Cooper where he often stood a-waiting, a saucy comment lined up for their unappreciative enjoyment - he was sure they loved it on some level - perhaps accompanied by a lewd gesture. Monocle-boy - interestingly enough lacking a monocle - certainly deserved some kind of display, that was for damned sure.
The half-smoked cigarette was dropped to the ground, stepped on a second later by a sneaker-clad foot, hazardously at the heel, where the frayed edge of a pair of semi-skinny, light jeans brushed against the ground. He unzipped his jacket, displaying the black t-shirt underneath, with bright, yellow writing that clearly read "Ask me about oral sex!" (custom made, as it happened), put his hands on his hips and called out. "Sugar, I love the way that jacket hugs your gut." The look he passed him screamed of shock and disgust, and did not even try to hide the offense he'd taken at the statement. For a moment, Cooper considered what was worst; the words spoken, or the Georgia accent they were spoken in, appropriately thickened for the occasion. He whistled at the man as he quickened his pace to rush by, wriggling his hips back and forth as his body turned with the movement of the man. "Sugar, don't play it like that! I saw where your eyes were going, just now." The man stopped for a moment, turned and faced him shock that was now tenfold, and right under the surface, Cooper could feel excitement, amusement and satisfaction bubbling. Could there be anything better than the utter shock of one of society's finest? Of course there could, but at the moment, Cooper had no sexual partners and no food to keep him occupied, so there was little else to indulge in. Unfortunately for him, there wasn't much to indulge in here, either; after a few opening and closings of the mouth, the man turned swiftly on his heel and walked away with an air of indignation. "Well, I hate to see you go, but I love to watch you walk away!" His voice was hardly enthusiastic as he said the common phrase; he'd at least hoped for a scathing remark and some loudly expressed choler. Instead, this was what he got; a man walking perturbed away with some new stories about the rudeness of some people to share with friends and family. The details, he suspected, would be blurred for the sake of decency.
Sighing, he took a step back and leaned against the wall beside the door to the Slap&Tickle - the name of the store was genius, he really felt that it was - while gazing wistfully over at the door to the oddly placed antique shop. What he really wanted was a politician... Wouldn't that be grand? But the door remained shut, and Cooper remained dejected at his own door, deciding now that it was time to go back inside. His cigarette was lost, his impromptu and self-announced break was over (the joys of being owner, or co-owner, as it happened), and it was time to go back to actual business, even if these were the quietest hours of the day. He was beginning to feel the chill of the day, too, after he'd opened his jacket. He pushed off from the wall, just about to turn around and go back inside when a figure walking down the street (he knew not from whence it came) caught his eye and attention. From this distance, average, but as the distance decreased, it became clear that what he was looking at was attractive, not average. He smiled, practically a smirk, and took a few steps forward, bringing him at none-too-long a distance from the door, but closer to the middle of the cobbled street. "We-ell, lookie here; finally a pretty face to tickle my fancy and shiver my timbers - or so I hope?" His smirk turned into a flirtatious smile, ripe with amusement and confident tendencies. "You look like a man with a need to shiver on in from the cold and look into some enticing materials. Any test runs are recommended and assisted with by the store clerk." He offered a wink and a cheeky grin, and motioned a second later to the store, cocking a brow as he did so. "What do you say, pretty?"
Ben Metcalfe - March 5, 2010 06:14 PM (GMT)
If Ben had to think of the perks of his job, it was definitely the lunch breaks. Although they were irregular and fell at the most awkward of times, they were always lengthy and allowed him to lunch at leisure wherever and with whoever he liked. Really, it was all he deserved- especially when he was at court- and on this particular day court had been adjourned right until three. The way he figured it, that was two hours for lunch now, another hour at court, and he'd be back home in time for Project Runway (yes, it was his guilty pleasure) and all after (hopefully) a none-too stressful afternoon. So his mood was high as he wandered along the South End, freshly fed and watered and looking for something to do. It was only recently that he'd dared to venture further into the city- that was, out of the bars and locals near his home in the North End- and he'd found he was pleasantly surprised. Although the place was not, and never would be, like his home city, it was a little quieter in the back streets, silently interesting, and the South End in particular he found was great for really seeing people. It wasn't too long ago that he'd had an interesting conversation with a Chinese guy, been chatted to by a pretty Russian woman and had discovered that a load of Jamaicans really were stupid enough to move to a city like this one. It was diverse. It was fascinating: and one thing Ben had never thought he would feel towards the city was fascination. Distaste, absolutely; annoyance, yes- but not fascination, not an interesting in what the city contained, what the city really was. He's always felt he'd be being untrue if he began to truly settle into the city, but it seemed he didn't have a choice: as he navigated an established route through the shops in the South End, it seemed that the city had settled into him.
He was wearing his thick coat to guard against the winter chill, and it was fitted, black, Marino wool; it had been very expensive, but he had reasoned the price befitted the amount he predicted he'd use it (and, of course, its wonderful tailoring). Beneath it was a simple grey suit-Armani, if he cared to admit it- the blend a little metallic, not enough to emulate a space- man but enough to be trendy. And his hair, as usual, was flopping around as he let it, the only sign that he wasn't already becoming one of the law elites- after all, he'd already been golfing last Sunday with his boss (and hated it, mind) and post-work drinks in the trendy bars in the North End were becoming habitual. He'd never intended to fit into that mould but it seemed it was inevitable, although he still enjoyed the weird, non-generic things in life (Aidan, he decided, was definitely one of those, and he wouldn't have had it any other way).
He was just heading down a pretty, spacious avenue, keeping to himself, humming beneath his breath, when he heard a noise. He looked up sharply, so surprised that his expression was dazed, wide-eyed, and he stopped in his tracks.
"We-ell, lookie here," said a young man of roughly his own age who had appeared in the middle of the street before him, "finally a pretty face to tickle my fancy and shiver my timbers - or so I hope?" Ben shook himself and allowed his mouth to fish in the air for words for a moment or two. How to react to this situation? It had never happened to him before! Aidan! Why wasn't he here? He would have known exactly what to do, he would have been sharp, witty, fast, would have got a few laughs certainly. But Ben was- wait. Ben was a lawyer. He lived to manipulate words. He could handle this, right? Of course he could. He was just so surprised by the startling, in-your-face beauty of the man who had stopped him- the man who resumed speaking even as Ben confusedly pushed a hand through his waves and looked around as if for help.
"You look like a man with a need to shiver on in from the cold and look into some enticing materials. Any test runs are recommended and assisted with by the store clerk," he said to Ben, flashing him a grin and a wink and motioning towards his store. Ben's jaw slackened and his eyebrows raised disapprovingly as looked towards the store. Oh, hell, he thought: this guy[i] knows[i] what he's doing. "What do you say, pretty?" He continued. Ben gawped. This was certainly a surprise.
"Uh, this is unexpected," he started, looking at the man cautiously. He wasn't the sort of guy to hang around stores like this. He threw his hand ahead of himself casually and attempted to position his body to make it look like he intended to walk on. He began, "As uh, as flattering as it is to be propositioned like this, I have to tell you I don't go in for these kinds of shops. Maybe I'm missing out, but I've, um...I've never been into one, and my life has been good up to now, so I think I’ll be just fine if I skip my visit for today." He shrugged his shoulders apologetically and nudged past the man, going on his flustered way.
Cooper Vale - March 5, 2010 11:24 PM (GMT)
If words could describe the satisfaction Cooper felt at the flustered expression that spread across the other man's face as he was approached, he would have sat down and written a sonnet about it right there and then. Well, at the very least a witty limerick with a few raunchy twists and turns - when it came to poetry, that was his preference, after all - but he would have made the effort just to capture that specific satisfaction. Better yet was the look of disapproval he passed the store after just one glance. Disapproval; the joy, the wonderment! It was full recompense for the lack of reaction from monocle-man, especially considering that this man was obvious of a certain standing, too, if his clothing was anything to go by. He grinned and smirked at once, giving the other man a once-over - perhaps letting his eyes drop for a tad too long - before lifting them to find his blue eyes again. Gorgeous specimen, really; he suited the look of disapproval so well. In Cooper's opinion, of course, disapproval could never be anything but hot - and the irony of it all was not lost on him, if strongly ignored.
"Uh, this is unexpected," Smiling, Cooper tilted his head to the side and smiled crookedly at the other man, biting gently down on his lower lip as he slid his hands into his own back pockets and raised himself onto the tips of his toes for a moment. If he didn't know any better, he'd say that the other man was trying to weasel his way out of this glorious moment they were sharing - such a travesty, but it would have been even more of one if he hadn't done just that. But what was most shocking, what was the travesty of travesties, was the simple admission that he had never been inside a shop like that. Finding himself in utter shock, Cooper dropped himself down onto the balls of his feet, landing bluntly and staring rather wide-eyed at the other man. He was perplexed, shocked into paralysis, marooned in a sea of disbelief, and before he could get his bearings, the man had moved on past him and started walking further down the streets. Cooper stared ahead, taking a moment to fully process the information he'd been given. Never? Having finally found full understanding of what he'd been offered, he mouthed the word, disbelief rising, and finally turned on his heel to see the back of the man as he walked away. Though he would have started the chase right away, he wouldn't be himself if he hadn't taken that extra moment to tilt his head to the side and observe the motions of the man for just a few seconds, a content smile finding its way onto his lips before he started jogging after him.
He increased the pace of his jog just as he came up beside him, taking a few quick bounds to wind up in front of the man again, facing him. A few steps were taken backwards, a teasing smile on his lips when he then stopped in an effort to stop the other man. "Sir, I am calling you a liar." The cheeky smile was back, the unexpressed wink of his eye lurking a second ahead in time, but not taking the time to appear just yet. "Are you trying to tell me that a gorgeous man like yourself is completely lacking in sex toys, pornographic features, kinky attires and similar props?" He took a long step forward, bringing himself much closer to the other man, far within what would commonly be called the personal sphere, and placing both hands on his coat, brushing the collar lightly with his thumb, before running his hands slowly down his chest. "If you ask me, that'd be a damned shame." His voice had dropped to a near-whisper, almost husky under the strain of quieting to an extent he rarely allowed it to. His hands rose a little, a smirk tugging at the corners of his mouth as a teasing quality extended across his expression, coloring him cheeky. Lightly, he gripped the man’s coat – now that he was touching it, it was even more clear that it was the expensive sort – and gave it a light tug, as though he was planning on pulling the other man into him, but it remained at the lightest of tugs, a teasing gesture. Whatever the reaction was, he was sure it would be interesting. "Or maybe you just order all your indecent equipment online?" His brow arched curiously, tentatively, and he released his grip on the man’s coat, again letting his hands brush over the fabric, before crossing his arms over his chest. "That’d be a shame too, darlin’. It really detracts from the experience. As a professional in the industry, I’d be practically obligated to…show you the light, so to speak." His smirk widened slightly, entered the realm of smile for a moment, before returning to its previous realm with twice the cheek. "I bet I could show you more than that, though, sugar." Naughty insinuations, but it was only what he deserved if he was going to walk around looking like that.
Ben Metcalfe - March 7, 2010 04:55 PM (GMT)
Ben realised that he had never fully understood the meaning of persistence until now. Never had he seen someone who leapt so fast to stop him from walking away; never had there been anyone so adorably obnoxious who had vied for his attention. However, it was as frustrating as it was flattering. Ben sighed as he stopped and ran both hands (a sign he was truly ruffled) through his hair and waited, as patiently as possible, for the man to address him again.
"Are you trying to tell me that a gorgeous man like yourself is completely lacking in sex toys, pornographic features, kinky attires and similar props?" He asked, stepping forwards, and Ben replied hurriedly,
"Yes, yes I am." He almost balked as the guy caressed the collar of his coat, the sudden proximity overwhelmingly unnerving. The man seemingly had no idea of the concept, or indeed existence, of personal space, but not one to be rude quickly, Ben said nothing. Besides, he thought; it could be an old aromatic man talking to him- not, as was the reality, a spunky, good-looking male. "If you ask me, that'd be a damned shame," he continued, smiling and tugging on Bens coat. He flashed his a tight smile back. As unsettled as he was by this guy's outward display of his sexuality, it comforted Ben in the way that meeting gays always did- that, unlike the attitude of his family and friends seemed to suggest, people like him did actually exist', and they were friendly and successful and good-looking. And although Ben himself didn't go in for the whole effeminate camp act, he couldn't deny that it was a somewhat endearing, incredibly brave act of people that had been marginalised for a long time in society. It made him almost want to be a better gay.
"Or maybe you just order all your indecent equipment online?" The man quipped and Ben muttered,
"I'm sorry? What's your name?" His companion let go of his coat and Ben felt a little relieved. He looked desperately over the man's shoulder for a means of escape but none came. Perhaps the only way to get out of this would be to play along with what the guy wanted. He had the time today at least.
"That’d be a shame too, darlin’. It really detracts from the experience. As a professional in the industry, I’d be practically obligated to…show you the light, so to speak," he was continuing, his southern twang very evident, his smirk widening, "I bet I could show you more than that, though, sugar."
Ben laughed, not because he was anxious or amused but because he was genuinely shocked. His chuckle came more out of disbelief at the guy than anything, and his pushed his hands into his front jeans pockets and shrugged his shoulders.
"You own this shop, right," he said, nodding his head towards that shop that was next to them, colourful and obvious in the middle of the street. He sighed and couldn't believe his mouth. "Alright, alright. Show me if it means I can get outta here without feeling like I've um, missed out on some crucial right of adult passage." He laughed to himself again and looked at the guy's sultry half-pout. "But you don't have to keep up with the innuendos."
Cooper Vale - March 7, 2010 10:21 PM (GMT)
It was such a frustrated move, to run both hands through dark, thick locks when one would no doubt have sufficed, but it was an appreciated move, as well, as just for a moment, Cooper was made fully aware of that head of delightful hair, which he would claim in a heartbeat was just begging him to touch, to run his fingers through it, to catch the scent of and tug and pull. The possibilities were endless, as always, under a dull late-winter sky, gray today, perhaps blue tomorrow. Perhaps blue right now, if Cooper was any judge - and it was quite possible that he wasn't. It was a bitter-sweet moment, even so; the admission was clear. None of the above in the other man's possession, and Cooper's heart went out to the man with a playful pout and apologetic pair of inconsistent eyes. (His eyes were the only hetero thing about him, you could say.) It became the matter of utmost importance at the moment, causing him to side-step the question about his name and save that little gem for later; should the man decide to carry on his way again - or attempt to, rather - he might be able to use that as incentive to stay. A pretty orange carrot to dangle in front of the horse, to encourage him to nibble just a little. Well, there was always the possibility, however faint it might be.
He enjoyed his laugh, this sound of disbelief that Cooper believed he could interpret as shock. He'd heard it enough times to be familiar with it, after all, this at-a-loss expression, this lack of a better reaction to what was facing them, and he lived to inspire it. "You own this shop, right?" He tilted his head to the side, nodded his yes and didn't need to look where the man was nodding. More than that, he didn't want to, because, precious as the store had become to him, a pretty face always trumped it. "Alright, alright. Show me if it means I can get outta here without feeling like I've um, missed out on some crucial right of adult passage." Ah, finally, some pay-off for his efforts - slight as they had been, so far. No matter that the man seemed rather reluctant to be agreeing to this - curious, too, that - because agreement itself was all he needed. If the spider had lured the fly into his web... Not that he considered himself a spider, not at all. More like...a playful mountain lion.
"But you don't have to keep up with the innuendos." An overwhelming urge to throw his head back and laugh heartily came over him, but instead, he kept his calm, bit his bottom lip and contained his near-grin at a teasing smile. Slowly, he forced it away, inwardly threatening himself until his expression assumed one of forced seriousness. He stepped forward again, once more breaching the other man's personal space, and leaned forward just a touch, getting as close as he could without touching the tip of his nose to the tip of the other's nose. "I'll be completely professional." Hah, if that wasn't the lie of the century; Cooper was rarely, if not never, completely professional, and anyone who knew him would know from a passing glance at the other man that this would not be one of the few (or non-existent) occasions where he was. And the jig was up no more than a second later, when Cooper's forced serious expression was broken by a teasing smile and a quick wink, before he stepped away from the other man, allowing him again complete possession of his personal space.
"I'll be your personal guide, sweet cheeks," transgression number one with more to come, no doubt, "And the name's Cooper." He continued stepping away from the man, venturing towards the store and keeping an eye cast over his shoulder at the dark-haired beauty in the middle of the street as he walked towards the entrance. "What's yours?" The cheeky smile was back, accompanying even the simplest of requests and clouding every word he spoke, like it always did. Mind you, there was a reason behind ever cheeky glance, and behind this one lay the knowledge that no matter what name the man reported, Cooper would continue calling him sugar, pretty, sweet cheeks or tasty buns - whatever seemed to suit the moment.
Finally, he looked away for just a moment, having now reached the door. A hand lifted and landed on the doorknob, turning and pulling the blue door open, allowing a bell to ring blissfully from above. He stood back, holding the door open and leaning into it just a bit as he waited for the other man. "Customers first." He couldn't risk letting the man scurry off while he retreated into the store ahead of him, could he?
Ben Metcalfe - March 13, 2010 01:58 PM (GMT)
Ben found himself thinking about the name he'd just been given as the other guy moved away from him. He regarded the figure, with its slim back and tight t-shirt, rather pensively; he had never heard the name Cooper around here before. It wasn't like he came around here often and certainly not to engage in browsing slightly dubious shops but the name was unfamiliar and uncomfortable on Ben's tongue as he repeated it quietly to himself. Cooper. What did the name remind him of? It made him think of a high-school jock, a guy's eldest son, a quarterback. Cooper. It was youthful, rather fresh, non-traditional but a classic at the same time. It was like a name turned back-to-front, a surname where a forename should be. Cooper. It actually rather suited the man, when he considered it. His step had a lightness and his eyes possessed a glimmer that couldn't be matched to a name like James or John or Alex. He needed the slightly exotic undertones of a more uncommon name. He needed Cooper.
It took speech to reach him again to jolt him into action, and he looked in Cooper's direction sharply when he said,
"What's yours?" Ben balked and blurted,
"My what?" Then he realised what the question was and shook his head to himself, walking over to join Cooper, looking at the floor as he replied,
"Ben. I'm Ben." He paused and watched as Cooper opened the door for him (and shamelessly admired the way he could see the muscles in his arm flex beneath hit t-shirt, too) and was surprised when he drawled at him,
"Customers first." Ben snapped his eyes to Cooper's face and felt his cheeks flush hot and red as, surprised at his politeness, said,
"Oh, uh, thanks." He slipped quickly passed Cooper and into the building, wary that the guy might try to, oh, maybe smack his butt or something. He wasn't sure but he didn't know what game the other guy was playing yet- was it fair or was he cheating, did he have some other agenda?- but he was aware that either way, he was not going to be the victor.
Sorry this is a bit er, random! Hope it suits.
Cooper Vale - March 20, 2010 12:40 AM (GMT)
There was something about that combination of such dark hair and such vibrant, blue eyes that really tickled him, and in that sense, this other man, this Ben (notable Bens: Benjamin Franklin, good sport, approved; he'd never fantasized about sexual encounters with Benjamin Franklin, but from now on, he definitely would), had succeeded already in what Cooper had hoped he would. All he needed now was some good timber shivering, and his day would be made. Of course, seeing Ben walk towards him, following his steps, even though he had no actual obligation to, was enough to make him at least shiver-prepared, as he with far too much interest and focus picked up on the way the other man's body moved with each step taken towards him. It was always such a curious business, trying to read something about another person from their body-language, and the sudden blurting of his answer, the downcast eyes and the slightly-longer-than-average look offered him as he opened the door at least suggested two details he had already assumed about him. One, he was not comfortable in this situation. Two, he had a healthy appreciation of the male anatomy, and could you blame him? Of course, Cooper was inclined to believe that everyone had a healthy appreciation of the male anatomy, but he believed himself endowed with enough recognition of his own sexuality in others to be able to discern the unlikely assumptions from the truths. In this case, he believed himself successful in discerning the latter.
He bit down on his bottom lip with excited appreciation at the sight of the other man's blush; if ever there was a shade he truly enjoyed in an attractive man's cheeks, it was that rosy touch, that bashful indication of whatever it was he had done to prompt such a glorious reaction - he'd have to do it again. He tilted his head to the side and watched him enter the store, eyes dropping without hesitation or fear of being discovered to the rounded posterior of the attractive Ben. It was not at its preferable display under that coat, and shielded by pants and (no doubt; he looked the type) underwear, at that! It was a travesty, finding such attractive men, and then having to live with the fact that they came clothed. This was not to say that he didn't enjoy the travesty; in fact, he enjoyed it immensely. It allowed him to step after the man, observing him now from behind as they entered the store, and indulge his tendency to fantasize by in mind stripping off layer upon layer of what he'd label unnecessary scraps of cloth. His smile turned lopsided and cheeky, bordering on smirk for a moment, before it toyed with the idea of becoming a grin, and he deflected the idea by looking around at the inside of the store, fully equipped with Bad Boys, B-Bombs, Love Swings, Flexi Felixes and Ripples, all in a wide variation of color, not to mention the wide selection of spicy cinema located in the back.
He bit his bottom lip again as he quickly stepped up behind the man and, without even the slightest consideration of self-reproof, placed his hands gently on the man's waist, one on either side, directly above the hip, and moved in close. Close enough to let his head hover over the other man's shoulder, close enough to lower his voice to something barely above a whisper as he said, "What do you do?" He moved away directly after, edging around the man's right side and letting his left hand glide over the small of his back as he moved, finally rounding him completely and standing to face him. "For a living." He smiled teasingly, playfully, and looked the man up and down with no attempt to hide what he was doing, though inwardly reminding himself that if his push was greater than his pull, here, he might just end up chasing pretty blue eyed Ben away. "You look...professional." He paused, a cheeky smile tugging at his lips as he said the word with extra emphasis. "I know how to treat professionals."
Ben Metcalfe - March 23, 2010 04:06 PM (GMT)
Ben had to admit that he was becoming slightly concerned about his situation. Not the current one- not that fact that he had followed a rather excitable stranger into his shop- but the inherently more sexual one. Was he supposed to know about all this stuff? Wasn't it all just a little...Odd? Wasn't it only male escorts and other dubious persons who were meant to know about these things? Or was he just being boring? He soon reasoned it was probably the latter. This guy looked normal enough- in fact, if it wasn't for the very fact he appeared to own the shop, then Ben would have been fooled. He sighed and ran a hand through his hair, looking around the shop now that he had entered it. Aidan probably knew about all this stuff. In fact Aidan knew everything. Ben eyed a near-by stand reproachfully; was that a...?
He jumped violently when Cooper surprised him. How had he got there so fast without Ben even knowing? "What do you do?" He said to him quietly- rather huskily, actually, too huskily- and Ben, again, stalled at answering. Why did this happen to him? He was a fully-grown adult male, he stressed (inside his head)- he should have better self-awareness than this! He should what it was and why it was that this happened, the hot-under-the-collar business, the same thing that happened whenever Aidan was around. It wasn't just attraction- he'd seen countless attractive guys and never felt anything for them- but some people, the Coopers and Aidans of this world, apparently had so much charm and so much effortless cool that it seemed to make Ben lose his. Cooper, here, was so suave that it was almost painful, and Ben had no idea whether this was a good or a bad thing.
"For a living," he said. He was continuing. "You look...professional." Ben watched as he sort of half-stalked around in front of him. He was a big cat rounding up his prey. Ben's options? He could scuttle off like a mouse and probably get his tail bitten off. He could give as good as he got and possibly end up with a few scratches. Or he could whip out the catnip and see if Cooper went crazy...
"I know how to treat professionals," Cooper boasted and Ben crossed his arms over his chest.
"I'll keep that in mind," Ben said, surprisingly coyly, nodding a little as he took another glance around the shop. It was like being in another world; a weird, sexy little world where he did feel, at least, that all his more natural urges could satisfyingly be catered for. It almost embarrassed him, standing there, looking around the place; he momentarily imagined what his mother would say, seeing him in there. She still didn't accept that he was gay. She still hoped for grand children! He shivered uneasily (coupling his own mother and less vanilla practices was never, ever a comfortable thing) and he looked to Cooper.
"I'm a lawyer, actually," he said, nodding his head a little, in disbelief that he was making small-talk in a place like this. "Usually I specialise in personal injury or assault, but right now I'm..." He stopped himself before he mentioned his current case. He could hardly mention that he was on the prosecution against one of the most vile men he'd ever encountered in his life. Before the watery eyes of that little girl threatened to distract him again, he added, "That's why I'm here now. Court's adjourned until this afternoon, so I usually take a walk around about now." He flashed Cooper a half-smile. "Although, I must say, I rarely browse shops...Like these."
Cooper Vale - April 2, 2010 05:23 PM (GMT)
The jumping nature he exhibited when approached was soon to be challenged, and Cooper had to wonder if the sudden coyness of his I'll keep that in mind, as he looked around the shop. Curious men in fancy suits; if he had the ability to walk away and deny himself playtime, he would have to employ said ability when he came across these types. Charmingly unsure, far more used to the stuffy offices - or whatever else they frequented - than the sharp, tingly air of shamelessness. God, if he didn't just want to tickle them, and be tickled - if he didn't just want to tickle him! He'd try to get there, if he could, but his objective for now was to run his fingers through his hair. After that, slip his hands into his coat - there was a hierarchy of desires, after all, all of which were addressed one by one so as not to rush a single step in this thing he called playtime.
He noted the semblance of a shiver, and wondered with a tempted smile if he should wrap his arms around the other man and offer to warm him up. It would easily skip many of the steps in his hierarchy of desires, it would shuffle him far up the pyramid, and no doubt spook his precious finding so much that he drew away from him, quickly, and it was such an unpleasant idea, right now, at the same time as it was undeniably tempting. He wondered about the warmth of his body... Lightly toasty, he'd venture, he'd hope; the boy wouldn't set him aflame right away, but heat him gradually until the explosion snuck up on him. He took note of that and tilted his head to the side, took in the description of the man's profession. Lawyer. Personal injury or assault, but right now he... Silence. Cooper curious child within struggled with inquisitiveness and urged the older Cooper in control to bounce up to the other man and snuggle up to him, beg him to tell him just a bit more - but he resisted, biting his lower lip as he struggled with suppressed urges. If he was going to beg for anything, it wouldn't be information, after all.
He started wandering a bit again, heading to the side of the man and approaching a counter. He reached out, let his hand close around a purple creation, silicone with shiny metallic sheen, a tower rising in waves - Ripples, as the product's name implied - from thicker to thinner. He handled with casually, shifting it from one hand to the other as he listened to Ben talk and paid close notice to the way his lips moved with each word. He wondered if his interest was as obvious in his expression as it was within... "If your objective was to inspire sympathy, pretty, you've succeeded," he replied with a teasing smile and stepped nearer to the other man, closing in the space between them again with rather slow steps while he handled the object in his hands with both of them; one held it at the base, while the other felt along its length, fingers gliding over the soft ripples. "I guess that makes you fresh meat, hm?" His brow arched as he reached his destination, barely half a step away from the man, and his hands changed their hold, grabbing the base of his product between two fingers of one hand and its tip between two fingers of the other as he lifted it a bit. "Perfect for beginners." He held it up to the man, resisting the urge to practically shove it into his face, and instead brought it forward to him at chest height, allowing it to make contact with his body as he silently urged him to take it.
A smirk grew on his lips, playful and sweet, while his sultry eyes fixed intently on the other's man's blues. "We have a room in the back if you want me to show you how. Very private. Promise." There was nothing subtle about it, of course, but Cooper had long since abandoned any appreciation of subtlety – unless, of course, said subtlety was directed at him, and could be countered by unabashed directness – and replaced it with an unmistakeable expression of unapologetic desire whenever attraction was felt. ”I’ll get you up to advanced in no time.” There was no shame, expressed nor felt, as his eyes dropped away from Ben’s eyes to lower to his body and slowly climb up the length of it, a blatant look of appreciation of what he saw present in and around Cooper’s eyes. They rose at last to find Ben’s eyes again, and he bit down teasingly on his bottom lip, thinking naughty thoughts, imagining naughty imaginings, and obviously so. ”Right where you belong.”
Ben Metcalfe - April 4, 2010 01:44 PM (GMT)
And what the hell was that? Ben found himself staring slack-jawed at the object clutched in Cooper's knowing grip. And it was approaching him- Cooper, the thing- and he felt so ridiculous to feel his face burning with the fire of embarrassment. But embarrassment seemed so irrelevant, here- Cooper, fearless foreign Cooper who felt no indiscretion seemed immune to the powerful complexity of shame- and he fought to hide his surprise as he focused on Cooper's words.
"Perfect for beginners," he was saying, urging it closer to him, and Ben's eyes aflame with his veritable mortification glowed amber brown and dropped. He studied the thing as Cooper pressed it near to him, encouraging him to take it, and Ben was surprised as he saw his hand reach out and push it away from himself. This felt so ugly and awkward! He was a rather private guy- there were places and times for these things, call him old-fashioned- and this was- this was- unbelievable. He reasoned that there was no better place for this sort of thing to go on, but even so, reason played no part in diminishing his shock- near disgust- as he watched Cooper, handsome, mature, intelligent-looking Cooper talk at him like that. Surely he was better than...?
Ben had to be missing something. He didn't think it was dirty in any way, he didn't find it wrong- simply uncomfortable, simply not right, a bad taste in his mouth, this openness, this pleasure-exploitation, this...
"We have a room in the back if you want me to show you how. Very private. Promise." Ben's eyes gulped in the bright light of the room and his tongue tasted the sultry air. ”I’ll get you up to advanced in no time...Right where you belong.” And Cooper was staring at him, really staring, razor-eyed and predatorily, and Ben backed away to the corner, frightened little shadow-of-himself victim Ben.
"That really is suggestive," he said, his mouth a little dry. "Do you really talk to every customer like that?" He turned away, thinking what a shame it was that Cooper was so evidently amicable and yet wasted his time on selling these...Things. Ben turned away, needing to pace his uncomfortable tightening stomach out, and shook a hand through his hair. He brought his clammy palm to rest at the back of his neck, around and across, a stricken embrace as he gazed around the shop. "Is there anything actually, uh, useful in here?" He asked, "I mean, anything I might want without knowing I've wasted twenty dollars on something useless." He looked back at Cooper over his shoulder, (almost) challengingly. "You do have things people might want, right? Serious pieces of...Whatever it is you sell here?"
Cooper Vale - April 7, 2010 01:36 PM (GMT)
It was a disappointing reaction, this pushing away of the carefully selected item - in reality, the Ripple had been selected somewhat at random, chosen because it was there, right beside him, even though it was, in fact, a perfect place to begin - but to be honest, Cooper wouldn't think it worth the effort if it was easy. There was something about these professional types, the slightly uptight ones - a judgment based on first impressions alone, but at least Ben had come with him, which was almost surprising - that always got his determination pumping. But then there was this backing away, not with an appalled stare and a few vicious words, the kind of backing away Cooper could appreciate, but a backing away that seemed almost...frightened. Inwardly, he compared the man - the lawyer; was he really terrifying enough to back a lawyer into a corner? - to a cowering animal, and instantly went through a large selection of the cutest, furriest critters he could think of. A deer calf. The man was a cowering deer calf, fruitlessly trying to escape the hunter's rifle; he'd backed Bambi-Ben into a corner. An immediate feeling of guilt grabbed at him, and he lowered the object and slipped it behind his back, taking a few steps backwards and edging towards the store's counter, where he put the item down. He wasn't used to feeling guilt, certainly not when it came to attractive professional-types with fancy suits and fancier jobs; for the most part, Cooper felt an overwhelming sense of entitlement. But he'd taken this poor Bambi out of the woods and dropped him in a technological jungle - metaphorically - and gone on to tease him about it.
He pushed the item a little further down the counter, accidentally tipping it over, but making no effort rectify this mistake. Instead, he leaned back against the counter, assuming an act of relative innocence, eyelashes nearly batting for dramatic effect, but he settled for two rapid blinks as he considered Ben's questions. "Only the interesting ones," he answered easily, and reasoned to himself that four out of five of his customers were, indeed, interesting (at least it would have to be that way, considering the amount of his customers he spoke to like this), "If I'd like to get to know them better." The teasing twinkle in his eye was back, a playful quality that wasn't as innocent as he was trying to look, if only to appear less threatening. He couldn't have his Bambi-Ben running off just yet, after all.
He watched Ben pace a little and tilted his head to the side as one of his hands rose to the back of his neck, studying his hand as closely as he could at this distance, and resisting the urge to get closer - much closer - reminding himself that he was dealing with a Bambi-Ben. He could feel his inner hunter stirring, having deflected his sense of guilt and replaced it with his usual sense of justification, but told him to hush, to calm down and wait for better timed approach. Still, he had to move, couldn't just stand here leaning against a counter and watching the man; he'd drive himself crazy with nonsense like that. So he did a little pacing of his own, approaching a lower row of items and running his fingers over the edge of it, while still watching Ben. "Is there anything actually, uh, useful in here?" He quirked a brow and stopped moving, stared directly at Ben with a look of disbelief. Like any of it wasn't! "I mean, anything I might want without knowing I've wasted twenty dollars on something useless." Ben glanced back at him, and he smirked with mild delight - it was only the lightest of challenges, but it was there. He'd seen it with his own two eyes, heard it so clearly! "Sex-enhancing gadgetry," he replied playfully to his final words, winking teasingly at him, and started pacing amongst the rows again, turning his eyes, at last, away from the other man and instead letting them travel around the place.
His right hand hovered over a row of blue Naughty Boys, occasionally dipping to let the tips of his fingers barely brush against the silicone material, casually, with complete ease. "Everything in here is something people might want. Depending on the people." He cast a glance over his shoulder at the other man, playing coy for the shortest of moments before a cheeky smile tugged at the corners of his lips. He looked ahead again, rounding the row of items and again facing the other man. "You want me to give you a tour, sugar?" He placed a hand at the very edge of the row and leaned sideways against it, brow arching as he regarded the other man from this distance. "Or I could always give you a demonstration. Give me twenty minutes, and I'll make you swear that this stuff isn't just useful, it's vital."
Ben Metcalfe - April 11, 2010 09:04 AM (GMT)
Ben wasn't sure if he liked the way Cooper would momentarily turn away and then directly address him: it was that pause between the two, the small break where there was silence and it felt that Cooper was estimating exactly how much teasing Ben could take. It made him uncomfortable. It was like he was a victim being subjected to...To...To what, exactly? None of this was downright painful. It was embarrassing, yes, and acutely so, and that was what unsettled Ben. He was a safe guy, he liked- safe. He liked to know what he was doing and where he was; most of the time he preferred to even do it himself, and having that power taken out of his hands was being like...Well, like being powerless. It didn't sit well with him. And, furthermore, the idea that he couldn't immediately pin down Cooper made him even more agitated; the guy wasn't easy to place, somehow, he couldn't be put in a social box, he couldn't be put anywhere: he didn't really fit at all. Ben was used to seeing people, clients, slotting them into a social category- and now he had met someone that just didn't go, the thought was a shadow hanging over his soul, making his inner weather overcast. And of course it was all so ridiculous: the fact he was even here; the fact he was even so worried about what he was thinking; the fact that he even worried at all. But the truth was that Ben was a habitual worrier, that he lived in a state of perpetual malcontent, so he should have recognised that being worried and being embarrassed and confused was all part of himself, a natural reaction against this obviously new situation for him. But also, in truth, he had never really thought he'd actually enjoy meeting someone like this- someone who simultaneously kicked up the sand of his emotional desert and, hell, enjoyed getting sandy- so the whole mess and confusion was actually kind of refreshing.
"Everything in here is something people might want. Depending on the people," Cooper said to him, and as Ben watched him he was surprised to find himself contented with a rush of- of what? Something like admiration, almost, a momentary bolt of adoration for this guy who so bravely battered down the social constraints that usually prevented people from acting like this and doing this job. It was so bizarre that it was good.
"You want me to give you a tour, sugar?" He asked, leaning against the row behind him, and Ben gave him a slow, amused looking. Humouring him. Observing him. "Or I could always give you a demonstration. Give me twenty minutes, and I'll make you swear that this stuff isn't just useful, it's vital." Was it really so wrong that Ben had to stop himself from saying yes? Evidently this guy was good at his job (that was, if his purpose was to cajole Ben into acting saying, what the hell?) but Ben hadn't expected that he'd find himself considering it, even for the briefest of moments. It was one of those strange things people dreamed of- heck, made movies of- one of those weird moments where one found himself offered with the possibility of living out his deepest-rooted fantasies with someone just like Cooper. Ben wasn't sure how to react. Would Cooper take his hesitancy as a yes? Was this all just talk and was there a chance that there would be no action? Was Ben at risk of looking like a jerk standing there, even looking like he was giving the statement even a moment's thought?
"You don't stop, do you," he said, glancing at Cooper, ruffled. His face was plastered with the delight of a child in a sweet-shop: bright eyed, bushy tailed, but infinitely more sexy. Sexy? Had Ben just really thought that word? The adjective felt odd in his mental commentary so he ducked his head and shook it to himself for a moment. Cooper was going to think he was weird if he kept doing this. "Aw, hell," he said, after a moment, lifting his hands into the air as if to ask an emphatic: why? "Truth is, I don't even know if I want to look at this stuff. I don't mean to insult you, but it's just so..." He turned around and caught a flash of someone pink and silicon and wheeled back around to face Cooper. He swallowed. "It's just like, God, I'm twenty-five years old and I figure if I'd wanted to come in here, I'd have done it by now. It's just so...So..." He was getting cold feet. He was embarrassing himself. Maybe he should just get out of here and pretend he'd never even come in. And what if Aidan found out? What if he saw Aidan when he wasleaving? Oh, God, well that would be worse, wouldn't it? Maybe he should just stay put. He was looking at Cooper imploringly, as if he had the answer. And then it came to him:
“You know what, I really have to be getting back to work. I can’t be late for court and it takes a while to walk back.” He shrugged his shoulders and offered and unsure, but slightly relieved, smile. “This was interesting.”
Cooper Vale - April 22, 2010 05:09 PM (GMT)
He saw him hesitate. He'd made people hesitate in the past - it was nothing unusual, and usually, he credited it to a fear within the hesitator that if they didn't choose their words wisely, Cooper would pounce like a hungry mountain and consume their flesh before they had a chance to react. He supposed he could be a bit scary, in that way unfamiliar things were always a bit scary, and he supposed he could make people uncomfortable, nervous, ill at ease, and often, it was a hoot and a half eliciting such response. Unless, of course, he was hoping for a different response. With Bambi-Ben, here, with the beautiful blues and the ruffled locks, he wasn't sure what kind of response he was hoping for, but he knew he was hoping for some response. Maybe that was the problem, this indecision. It made it difficult to handle a moment's hesitation with cat-like grace, to pounce on the moment and jab his claws into it - it made him wait for hesitation to pass. "You don't stop, do you?" He smiled cheekily and shook his head, neglected to inform him that he just had; for a few seconds, just now, Cooper Vale had stopped and waited for a moment of hesitation to pass, for a decision to be reached, and he had not imposed himself on the moment, like he would. Like he had, in fact, wanted to, but decided against for the sake of...consideration. "Never."
Ben ducked his head again and shook it, and Cooper couldn't help but wonder if this was some sort of tic the other man had. His mind immediately raced to a full court room, observing as Ben delivered a fiery closing argument, complete with occasional ducking of the head and shaking it, but somehow adding, here, an emphatic touch, underlining his point, making him seem absolutely... Well, there was any number of adjectives. Cooper decided on none of them, but wandered lazily along the row of delectable goodies that failed to amaze after so long of living around them, and was far more interested in the other man. But he stopped. He stopped when Ben's hands lifted into the air, changing the situation ever so slightly, and he waited for the conclusion of this development, waited for an opportunity to creep just a little closer. "Truth is, I don't even know if I want to look at this stuff. I don't mean to insult you, but it's just so..." There was, again, any number of adjectives, and Cooper had heard most of them. All of them, perhaps, plenty in an accusatory tone, complete with thunderous judgment and horrified repulsion. Public opinion suggested that it was wrong. It had always been Cooper's opinion that the public simply didn't know what good was.
He quirked a brow as Ben continued, tilting his head to the side and assuming an empathetic expression as he listened to what he chose to classify as Ben's "woes" - at least it seemed woeful to Cooper that he should be twenty-five and only now be experiencing the insides of a store such as the Slap'n'Tickle - but smiling when the string of words stopped and Ben looked at him, seemingly wanting him to do something, to...finish his sentence for him, maybe? He didn't get the chance to. “You know what, I really have to be getting back to work. I can’t be late for court and it takes a while to walk back.” He hadn't been prepared for that culmination - not at this point - and when the words reached him, his spirits dropped, and his somewhat cheerful expression evaporated with it. It was only gone for a moment, disappointment on his face only for a moment before a more casual and uplifted expression took its place. "It was," Cooper agreed, and started moving, stepped towards the other man with swift steps, but side-stepped as he reached the end of the row and moved away from him, moving instead towards the counter. "You know, they say it's not for everyone." His voice continued in deep, Valdosta drawl as by its own volition, a bit detached from the reality that was the moving Cooper, but certainly aware, certainly heading somewhere as he stopped by the counter and reached over it, behind it, grabbing a pad of paper and a pen. "But you know what?" He looked at Ben for a moment as he clicked the pen, letting a smile tug at his lips. "I say they're all a bunch of rotten fuckin' liars."
He chuckled lightly and turned his attention to the paper pad, pushing the tip of his ballpoint pen to the purple surface - he couldn't go for simple white, of course not! - and starting to write, almost meticulously. "I think you should come back here some day, lawyer Ben," he stated as he wrote, almost absent-mindedly, before he finished scribbling down what he'd intended to write and ripped the top sheet of paper off the pad. He folded it in half and started moving again, stepping up to Ben with casual strides, and holding the piece of paper out to him. "Or you should call me, and we'll talk somewhere safer." He smiled a little, playfully, teasingly, and winked cheekily to button it off. "My number. I'll try my very best not to be heartbroken if you don't use it, but just in case, it's probably for the best if you do."
Ben Metcalfe - May 9, 2010 05:02 PM (GMT)
Ben smiled uneasily as Cooper halted his speech for a moment, looked at him, and Ben got a sense that he was very very small, and so was Cooper, and that they were just two people suspended in the middle of a universe of important things in which both of them and all of this was not-so-important. He didn't know why but he felt drawn to Cooper in moment, not because he expected some sort of protection or reciprocation of anything but because, after his previous words, Ben realised he respected what he was doing. Risking it. Risking being spurned by everyone he met for his job, or, on a more realistic level, toeing his way across the tightrope strung across the edge of society, a precarious balancing act with the respectable on one side and the not-respectable on the other and deep abyss swirling dangerously below. But Cooper was practiced at this, it seemed; he'd walked the tightrope before, and his sense of balance was proven. So Ben could only sit back and enjoy the show, a meaningless white-faced spectator in the curious crowd surrounding a curious social acrobat.
"I think you should come back here some day, lawyer Ben," Cooper called, and Ben realised that he was writing something, something made neat and fast by ease of practise. Ben straightened up, wondering if he'd down there right thing by making it known he didn't feel comfortable here. He watched as Cooper tore off the paper and spun towards him, his face brightened with a smile, topped off with a wink.
"Or you should call me, and we'll talk somewhere safer," he told Ben, and he opened his mouth as if to say something but couldn't find anything suitable to say. Why did it feel so unexpected that he should be taking Cooper's number, holding it safely in the loose fist of his hand, protecting it like it was twenty dollars? "My number. I'll try my very best not to be heartbroken if you don't use it, but just in case, it's probably for the best if you do."
"Alright," Ben said, unsure as to what he was agreeing to- something intangible, up in the air, at least. "I'll call you- sometime in the week, maybe," he said, folding up the paper a second time before he tucked it into his coat pocket. He didn't want Cooper to take his eagerness to leave personally, but something about the place didn't sit right with him. And then, looking at Cooper, he knew what it was: he'd been in a place like this once, sure- with James, when they were in University, just for fun. They'd been half-drunk, love-hazy and horny and it had been James' idea. Never again. Ben looked at Cooper, oddly, shook his head, smiled, and then turned to the door to leave. But before he did he paused, glanced over his shoulder at Cooper and told him, "We'll go out, maybe," and then he was gone.