Title: , shivers and trembles ; up my spine .
Description: tag: Phoenix!
Samuel Raines - May 28, 2010 10:10 PM (GMT)
His schedule had suddenly cleared up, like he knew it would, and yet, he hadn't anticipated it. He hadn't anticipated to be walking down an un-trafficked street in the South End of Bishop, slowly meandering with his work bag hanging hazardously, not even the touch of a finger to keep it safe, over his shoulder, and his work clothes still draping his body in loose-fitting pink. The appearance of his scrubs didn't bother him, neither did getting mistaken for a nurse, nor did the ever-so-slight chill of the May breeze bother him in the least; under the gray sky, the chill was not entirely cold, but combined with the loose scrubs that allowed the breeze to slip under its fabric and tickle across bare skin, it prompted Goosebumps and slight shivers from time to time. It wasn't cold. It was simply the chill in the air, the lightness of his clothing, the absence of his jacket - absent-mindedly, he'd accidentally left it at work as he bustled out of the hospital - and that unexpected sense of unease that had settled over him. He'd been excited about his afternoon and evening off. Time off like this only came along every so often for someone in his position; first year residents were offered more rest than the interns of the past, but it was still a rarity that Sam came off work and didn't feel like crawling into bed and sleeping off the throb in his feet, the hustle in his mind and the absolute exhaustion that came with the job. But today, he'd only covered the last few hours of someone else's shift, after they had to leave early. He wasn't exhausted, and although he was satisfied he'd done his job well, he wasn't content. Not yet. Not without the throbbing in his feet, the hustle in his mind and the absolute exhaustion...
He kicked at a small stone that lay in the middle of the cobbled street, and watched it roll along the uneven surface, skipping out of reach and out of his way as it swerved to the right. It was safe, for now; he certainly wouldn't be kicking it anymore. But in its absence, dissatisfaction was left. He had nothing to occupy his mind with, no plans, all friends working, nowhere to go, nothing to do, an absolutely no desire to head to a quiet, empty house and sit by himself in the quiet, empty living room and stare at a blank screen... Once they had the TV-repairman over, it would be better, but not much. He'd discovered long ago that television was a poor substitute for actual human contact. He sighed heavily, a sound of dejection leaving his lips and being heard by no one. He wasn't alone in the street, but the nearest people were at the other end of the street, a small gang of teenagers seated on a bench, talking loudly, laughing louder. He'd smiled to them when he'd passed them, and they'd snickered at his choice of attire. No matter - he'd heard worse than snickers from teenagers.
The end of the cobbled street was nearly reached, and he knew that his foot would soon touch asphalt, and he'd once more be in the part of South End that allowed cars to drive by. He stopped, coming to a sudden halt in the middle of the cobbled passageway, and stared at the end of the street he was on, dreading its end, and the end of the row of small stores, untouched - as much as you could be, in Bishop City - by the taint of exhaust from speeding cars. He sighed again and lowered his eyes, stared down at the cobbled street and pressed the tip of his shoe in between two stones. It was done with some difficulty, and once executed, he found that his shoe was stuck - positively stuck. A wriggle or two was required to loosen the shoe from its temporary prison, and he made the decision not to do that again, lest he should be stuck here, halfway between an antiquarian's shop and a... His eyes rose to take in the store in front of him and to the left, diagonally positioned from the antiquarian's, and much, much more...vibrant. He'd seen it before, the store that was both unsettling and intriguing at once, the store that both warned against approach and attempted to seduce. He'd seen it many times, but he'd never entered. For some reason, he'd always thought it inappropriate, or even better, he'd made the excuse that it wasn't the right time for adult material, or that his company wouldn't much appreciate being invited into a den of sin, such as this one. It wasn't like he was den of sin material, himself... But still: An experience was an experience, and he doubted that a similar one, or even a wildly different one, awaited him anywhere else in the city. Drawing a deep breath, he started moving.
The handle of the blue door with posters attached all over the glass on the inside was cold to the touch, but his hand didn't hesitate when it turned it and pushed the door in, causing the little bell above the door to ring. It sounded like a laugh, he mused, casting a glance upward as he entered, an action which simultaneously caused his knees to bend, as though he was worried of banging his head against the bell as he passed it. Shockingly, it was far above him; he'd no chance of using any part of his anatomy, save his hands, to ring it, and this would require action and conscious effort. He smiled a crooked smile at himself, chuckling lightly as he entered the store and shaking his head to shake it off. The door was dropped behind him, sliding shut without help, and he took a moment to look around. Color was everywhere, visible on oddly shaped creations that were, to him, a conundrum, and immediately sparked the flame of interest. Quiet steps brought him down the few steps into the store, and he looked around for a clerk, suspiciously, mildly concerned that he might actually find one. A sense of relief settled over him when none was to be seen, at least not immediately (logic dictated that there would be one present, somewhere within the bowels of the place), and he dared to venture further, slipping in between aisles and allowing his curious eyes to wander over enigma upon enigma.
He was drawn to a shelf featuring a series of multi-colored silicone devices, oddly shaped and curiously curved, and in wondering what on earth it might be for, Sam took a step closer, leaned in and studied it closer, and closer, until he couldn't fight the urge to reach out a hand, one finger outstretched, and give it the lightest poke. Immediately, it came to life, vibrating so it fell to the side, moving like a living creature. "Oh Jesus!" He gave a start and jumped back, wide-eyed watching the curious contraption as it convulsed on the shelf, and before he knew that he was doing it, he was chuckling. He was practically giggling, a rolling laughter that bubbled up through his chest and presented without even alerting him to its presence, and it was utterly unstoppable. Still, a hand clasped hopelessly over his mouth, no more able to stifle the laughter than Sam himself was to stifle his inner sense of mirth. It was easily visible and audible, presenting itself in his giggling chuckle and dancing, green eyes. Another hand lifted and pressed down hard on his other hand, killing some of the sound, but hardly all of it. He didn't have a chance to stop the chuckling, because even if the ridiculous contraption hadn't been writhing hilariously on the shelf, he still had to face the fact: He, Samuel Raines, doctor (ish) at the city's largest hospital, was in an adult shop, giggling like a schoolgirl. It was certainly an unexpected turn of events in his day.
Phoenix Delafield - June 15, 2010 10:00 AM (GMT)
Seated cross legged on the floor of the shop, his back against the wall, Phoenix examined a copy of Playboy with almost scientific scrutiny, a little crease of concentration formed between his eyebrows. His pensive gaze travelled over the glossy pages, with the even glossier models. He didn’t get it, he didn’t understand the attraction, and barely felt anything when he looked at the pages, waiting for some kind of arousal to kick in. Nothing happened. Maybe there was something wrong with him. The thought made him smile slightly, a soft laugh escaping on an exhaled breath. Of course there was something wrong with him, there were many things wrong with him, but not getting aroused by a Playboy magazine was probably fairly low down the list. The possibility that it was a result of the fact he straddled, and straddled was most definitely the best word to describe it, both sides of the fence occurred to him but then he did quite like muscular men, which he supposed was the equivalent of the artificial women in Playboy. His tastes didn’t just go to muscles though, he likes a bit of middle aged paunch too, people just on the verge of letting themselves or having a mid-life crisis; Phoenix found that very endearing and quite attractive, particularly as he got to make them feel better about it. His clients tended to be older, anyway, more likely to have the money and be experiencing the unhappiness that he was certain preceded the calling of a prostitute. It seemed very unlikely that anyone like the women in this magazine would be calling him any time soon. He thought it would be kind of creepy anyway, like having sex with a blow up doll, and if he wanted to do that, he could just come to the shop.
On cue, blue eyes lifted to the blow up doll stand at the end of the row nearest to him, two of them blown up and standing guard over the shelves of their deflated companions housed in boxes. One of them was turned slightly and was staring directly at him, startled eyes looking directly at them over a permanently open mouth. Phoenix frowned at her, a slight shiver running down his spine as he considered the horror of being one of those dolls. He had watched far too many horror movies not to imagine someone being trapped inside one of those dolls and seeking revenge on their owner. After they were done and discarded on the floor, the doll would drag it’s inflatable body to the kitchen, pick up a knife in that open mouth, because obviously she wouldn’t be able to use her hands to pick it up, and drag it’s way back to the bedroom to stab the owner to death. Phoenix shivered again, lifted his magazine so that the doll’s accusing eyes were blocked out. He hated being in the shop alone, especially at this time, the mid-afternoon lull, before people started getting off work and travelling home, make a little stop at the adult store on the way home. Watching them was amusing, as they slipped furtively around the shop, avoiding eye contact with each other, hoping not to bump into someone from their office. Either that or they would be loud and brash, proud to be there, and usually buying equipment for a stag or hen party. A sigh escaped him, entering the quite atmosphere of the shop and echoing, or at least that’s how it seemed to him; echoing away into the darkness. Or, lightness. The point was he was alone and it was quiet, and those two things combined brought up horrible thoughts of dead bodies.
No sooner had that thought settled in his mind than the bell of the shop rang loudly, making him jump, and Phoenix tensed, caught somewhere between happiness and feeling like he was being invaded. Slowly and quietly, he closed the magazine on his lap and slipped it back in the rack next to him. It wasn’t entirely new now, but was anyone really going to make a fuss about that? More than likely they would, but he would deal with that later. Right now, he wanted to find out who had entered his shop. There had been no call for a shop assistant, so Phoenix could almost safely assume it wasn’t someone who was proud about being in here. Feeling not unlikely a native spying on a new settler, Phoenix crawled forwards to the end of the nearest row, and peered around it, but found the aisle to be empty. At the moment the sound of vibrating started up. followed by an exclamation with laughter coming quickly on the tail of those words. Phoenix grinned, now knowing exactly where the new customer was. He crept slowly forwards until he was at the corner of the aisle where he knew the customer was, and he moved into a crouching position, not unlike a sprinter preparing to start a race. Another moment or two and he would be ready. His attention moved down for a second, making sure his crisp shirt and waistcoat were in pristine condition, or as pristine as they could be considering how he was positioned currently, and brushed the dust off the knees of his jeans. There he was ready.
One.. two.... three. Phoenix counted in his head before popping up and around the corned into the aisle. “Hello!” He sent the greeting cheerfully in the general direction of the presence before his eyes had time to take in the person. “Welcome to the Slap ‘n Tickle. My name is Phoenix and I’ll be your server for today.” A broad, welcoming smile set across his features, warming his gaze as he took in the very handsome man in front of him, settling on the blonde hair and that rather beautiful bone structure he clearly possessed. And he was laughing too, which Phoenix thought could only be a plus, he liked it when people laughed, for the most part at least, sometimes it depends on what they were laughing at. “Oh you don’t want that.” Phoenix said, looking at the twitching object on the shelf, reaching over to find the switch and turn it off. “Definitely not for you.” He added, his gaze trailing over the other man, searching him for a sign of what would be his thing. Well, something pink for sure, as he seemed to be dressed all in pink....... but Phoenix recognised that clothing, feeling immediately cold again as he recognised the hospital clothing. Hospitals were bad places with bad memories and Phoenix immediately had the urge to state they were closed and he should leave immediately. Instead, he maintained his smile with something of an effort. “You know I think you’re more of a bondage kind of man.”
Samuel Raines - June 15, 2010 10:34 PM (GMT)
His hands were wringing as he watched, still giggling, the twitching gadget on the shelf, wondering how to address and defuse the situation, above all by getting the damned thing, entertaining as it was (as long as there was no one around), switched off as soon as possible (before someone actually came around). His hands stayed behind in fear of touching the object, though, only edging slightly away from his body before returning quickly to the safety of home, his body still shaking under the weight of laughter that might not be as voiced anymore, but it was certainly still present. Maybe he should just knock the thing down... That might stop it! But before he could do anything of the sort, shock gripped him at the sound of a voice extending a cheerful greeting to him. He yelped and whipped around to face the unfamiliar voice, wide-eyed and startled, frozen with a doe-in-headlights expression to top it all off, and in three, two, one, a deep red color started creeping over his cheeks, a fire accumulating in his skin as he faced the stranger with the pleasant disposition. The stranger named Phoenix, which instantly brought Sam's mind hopping to the realm of Harry Potter, after a lengthy discussion about the nature of that very same bird, companion of one Albus Dumbledore, with a little girl with a broken arm in the pediatric ward a few days earlier. He shook his head and diverted his eyes, turning them down and smiling at the floor rather than at the man as he attempted to regain some semblance of control of his body language and skin coloration, but finding it to be more difficult than he could handle, as he was every bit as nervous, awkward and uncomfortable as he felt he was behaving.
Slowly, his eyes lifted to take in the other man, one hand tightly gripping the strap of his bag, while the other drummed against the side of his thigh, the arm attached to it reaching straight and rigid down the side of his body. He took the slightest step back as Phoenix reached over and switched the object off, causing a relieved sigh to slip from Sam's lips. Funny when no one was around, but now that the other man had come popping out of the woodwork - he was sure he must have; he hadn't seen any sign of him before he was suddenly there - it was a source of discomfort. “Definitely not for you.” He nodded in agreement, suddenly overwhelmed with gratitude that the other man had registered that it certainly wasn't his thing, not his thing at all! It occurred to him that out of all the people he could have encountered while the object was still trashing on the shelf, the actual store clerk would no doubt be the least judgmental, and having made that internal discovery, he certainly felt a wave of embarrassment wash over him, because of his relief at not being associated with the item. The man sold them for a living, and it was an honest living, perfectly respectable, and so Sam regarded the now sleeping item and concluded that this item, too, was perfectly respectable.
He returned his focus to the other man, starting to feel some of his tension seep out of his body, almost willing to be comfortable now that he'd decided that this was all perfectly respectable, but felt the tension rising again at the man's next words. "B-bondage?" he stated with some shock, inwardly cursing the sudden appearance of his nervous stutter, which would surface from time to time, and usually when he needed it least. (He remembered with horror his first week at Sacred Rose, when a question had rounds had caused him to stutter all the way through abductor spasmodic dysphonia, sending a wave of snickering through his fellow newbies.) He swallowed hard and clenched his jaw, attempting to get the sudden increase of nervous tension under control before he spoke again, and managed, somehow, like he always did, to work a smile onto his face, bordered by still inflamed cheeks. "N-no, I wouldn't say that I am," he continued, endlessly relieved that the stuttering had only persisted as far as the first word before it subsided, causing his smile to gain a touch of comfort. "I'm actually more of a... lost guy! Yeah, I'm lost!" He looked around with exaggerated confusion, putting on a temporary show for the sake of brushing his embarrassment off with humor. "Hey, this isn't a grocery store!" He laughed and attempted to make it natural, but had to face, to his disappointment, that his voice was significantly lighter than usual, and his laugh far more frantic than he was comfortable with. He swallowed hard again and shuffled his feet, and in a near-automatic gesture crossed his arms over his chest, but allowing one hand to rise to his neck and scratch at it, simply to have something to do.
"Actually, I'm, uh... No, I was just..." He stopped there and shuffled his feet again, shifting his weight back and forth as his chin lowered ever more, eyes taking in a portion of the floor that was closer and closer to his feet, and attempting to pass it off as natural behavior with strangely timed shrugs. "Curious, I guess." A sheepish laugh slipped out, and his eyes were moving again, escaping the other man and travelling through the store, but finding that this was a highly ineffective approach, as it only made him all the more aware of where he was and how out of place he was. Always the average citizen, the raciest items he’d ever touched were safely included in the ‘one in every household’ list, and thus safe. Safer than this place, which was so startlingly out-of-bounds for him that it did not cease to shock him that he’d even entered it. But his words had been truth, and so he repeated them. "Just curious."
Phoenix Delafield - June 27, 2010 11:02 AM (GMT)
His eyebrows lifted faintly as the new customer began to ramble, in an obviously awkward manner than Phoenix found entirely endearing and wished that he could just squeeze him into a hug. That might not go down to well, seeing as they had barely said anything to each other and he was already stammering. Phoenix looked down to brush some imaginary lint off his waistcoat, wondering if he might be more comfortable if he wasn’t being looked at directly. However he soon found that he wasn’t at all comfortable looking down when someone was talking to him, he much preferred eye contact, and being able to see all those little movements, the way he acted out his attempts at confusion (not at all well or convincingly), the way his face changed when he smile and laughed (which was very convincing and rather lovely), the crossing of his arms and the lifting of one hand to touch his neck.
“Oh a lost guy.” Phoenix smiled, nodding in understanding, he reached out to straighten a few of the boxes on the shelf, turning their angles ever so slightly so they weren’t completely dead on straight with the line of the shelf. He thought the slightly jaunty angle made them look better, like a hat set not entirely straight on someone’s head. His smile turned a little secretive with these thoughts, becoming more internal as he finished his arranging and looked up again at the good looking customer. “We get a lot of lost people in here. Perhaps we need some clearer signs. Or one that says ‘we are not a grocery store.’” Phoenix mused. “We do both cater in satisfying appetites though.” He added, with a broader grin, pleased about making the link between the two.
Momentarily his eyes dropped to the man’s shoes as he shuffled from side to side, his gaze drifting lazily back up his body, wondering if he got to choose the colour of his uniform of whether he had chosen it for himself. Phoenix wondered at that, pink was so often the colour of mockery for a man, it took a very secure person to be able to wear it, and of course Phoenix was one of those people owning as he did a pair of bright pink skinny jeans, but this man didn’t seem at all confident. He had to conclude that he had no choice in it, except why would he still be wearing them if that was the case. Phoenix bite down on his full lower lip as his light blue eyes found the head atop the shoulders (very nice shoulders, too), only to find it was angled down, gaze focused on the floor and those shoulders rising in a strange pattern of shrugs.
The admission of curiosity made Phoenix smile in a far more satisfied way, pleased that they were getting down to true intentions now. The furtive customers who slipped their way into his shop always amused him, but he did like it when they finally broke down and admitted to their motivations behind entering. Curiosity was often the answer, but sometimes they knew exactly what they wanted, they were just too scared to reveal it. In that way, he was reminded of his own, personal, customers, many of them furtive and worried about what to do the first time they met, but Phoenix generally managed to coax them out of the standard missionary with the lights off, to something more exciting, something more inline with their secret desires. After all, what was the point in paying for a prostitute only to do the very thing that they could do any day of the week with their husband, wife or other. He enjoyed the look of pleasure and freedom that came with releasing someone’s inner most desires. Perhaps he could help this customer out too.
“We have a lot of curious guys too. I do prefer the curious ones, because the lost ones always leave when I give them directions to the nearest grocery store.” Phoenix pointed out with a reassuring smile, hoping to put the man somewhat at ease. He reached up and ran a hand through his hair, absently, thoughtfully as he turned slightly follow the gaze of the man who seemed to be looking in any direction but the one Phoenix was standing in. “It’s okay to be curious. Sex is a very natural part of life, as is experimenting with it.” He gave a casual shrug, reaching out to re-arrange a box again, which he was sure had turned itself back to the straight angle that he had been trying to hard to avoid. A frown creased his forehead briefly as he moved it, somewhat glaring at the item, before he turned back to his customer, his expression clearing, becoming lighter again. “Everyone seems to make such a fuss about it but I think it’s quite unfair. If you’re happy and no one is being hurt by what you’re doing then why should it be so awful? Unless you like being hurt, in which case you’re also happy, so again, there is no big deal.” Phoenix explained, with a casual shrug of his shoulders, wondering how the man was going to react to that, considering being more cautious with his approach, so as not to frighten his customer away. He would be quite sad if this one went away.
“There’s no one here, except me, so you can tell me about your sex life, and then we can work out something to make it more interesting.” Phoenix suggested, in a matter of fact tone, as though it was perfectly normal for this to happen, which to him, it was. “Or you can write it down if that makes you more comfortable. Or draw! Or just point, at a few products and I’ll do the rest.” The addition to the suggestions made him smile a little broader, imagining the kind of diagrams that might be drawn if he got all his customers to do that. “It would be a terrible shame if you wasted all that curiosity on getting in here, and then do nothing about it.” He had a feeling he might run, but he hoped not. “I promise I will be gentle.” A bright smile touched Phoenix’s lips then, trying his best to be as persuasive and friendly looking as possible.
Samuel Raines - August 5, 2010 02:20 PM (GMT)
At the peak of his nervousness, Sam decided that the man who currently shared his company was a comedy genius. There could be no other reason why Phoenix's words about satisfying appetites resulted in a sudden burst of rolling laughter, appropriately light-voiced and trembling to suit the willies that crept across his skin when he glanced around at the surrounding items that littered the shelves, in particular the boxes Phoenix adjusted to a slightly ajar angle. It occurred to him that the safest direction for his eyes, in this particular context, might, in fact, be right to the front, facing the very person he was trying to avoid with the furtive shifting of his eyes. At least then he knew that he would find eyes, a nose, lips, cheekbones and hair, all of which he knew the purpose of, and could only result in a set amount of mental images. The colorful, strangely shaped and differently sized objects in the shelves brought on a plethora of imagined situations, at least half of which he suspected had no place in a polite person's mind.
He blinked hard and adjusted his gaze directly down, smiling broadly, but slightly uncomfortably, as he attempted to think of a response to the other man. "That's true..." His voice was quiet, meek, uncertain at the very least, and he had little desire to speak up in this particular context. He wasn't known for being frigid - far from it; since his personal evolution during his college years, he'd been released and relaxed behind closed doors, with a penchant for light experimentation - but it was undeniable that Sam had been raised a certain way. His grandparents had never spoken of sex - apart from the notorious 'talk' - and it had been understood that it was a realm he would have to investigate on his own, without help from his caretakers. This place was a shrine to everything that made his grandparents frown and shake their heads, and comment on the demoralization of society. If the way he was raised was anything to go by, he should be nowhere near this place, but truth be told, he was hardly the best at following his grandparents' rules outside of these establishments, either.
A strange feeling of being revealed followed his sheepish admission, and his wide, uncertain eyes quickly darted across the room. The need to keep them distracted faded slightly at the sound of the other man's response, and especially at the sight of his reassuring smile, which caused him to issue another sheepish laugh and lower his high shoulders a little. His hands found his pocket, and he looked down for a moment, awkwardly shifting his weight before he dared to look up and face Phoenix again, but finding that he had turned away, now. “It’s okay to be curious. Sex is a very natural part of life, as is experimenting with it.” It took only a second for the dreaded feeling of finding yourself naked in a high school classroom set in - at least he suspected this would be how that felt, though he'd never experienced it or even imagined it in the past - and his eyes dropped immediately, staring straight down at the floor. "Oh God..." he whispered in sudden panic, realizing that his twenty-five years hadn't prepared him for the simple matter - at least it should be simple in 2010 - of discussing what Phoenix called a natural part of life. He pressed his eyes shut for a moment, and blinked rapidly afterwards, hands balling into fists inside his pockets, whitening his knuckles.
He shifted more awkwardly, more frequently, as Phoenix went on, and only halfway even listened to the words that were coming out of his mouth. He tried to convince himself that this was nothing to feel so awkward about: Like the man had said, it was natural! Nothing to make a fuss about unless you like being hurt! Or...maybe that wasn't entirely what he'd said, he realized, but whatever it was, Sam realized that he would never be able to behave as casually as Phoenix was in this context. His hands left his pockets and he crossed his arms tightly over his chest, shifting his gaze this way and that and trying not to take in the various toys on the shelves as Phoenix asked him to tell him about his sex life, or write it down, or draw it, or point at products. His arms tightened across his chest; he'd never felt this uptight before.
His smile faltered, but he forced it back on his face, and another sheepish laugh slipped through his lips, more nervous than ever. He lifted a hand again to rub, once more, at the back of his neck, harder than before, almost hard enough to be a bit uncomfortable. "I'm sure you're very, uh..." He failed even to speak the word 'gentle', his mind skipping quickly to a scenario he had no idea why he was envisioning, and which he was fully aware that he should never picture. Not abnormal, but certainly not him - not at all! He blinked hard and shook his head, re-crossing his arms and allowing his smile to falter for a moment as he finally faced the other man again. His eyes widened a little. "I don't know if... It's not really..." He inhaled sharply and held his breath for a few moments, brow furrowing as he frowned in obvious discomfort. It faded from his face after a moment, and he issued another sheepish laugh, shook his head again and diverted his gaze, this time dropping it a bit more casually as he gave a shrug. "It's not my thing..."
He felt a sudden rush of guilt passing through him, and sharply lifted his eyes to the other man, doe-in-headlights expression back in full force. "Not that there's anything wrong with it!" he added quickly, panic irrationally creeping up his esophagus, and shook his head energetically. "Not at all, I'm just saying that, you know, for me, it's not... Not natural, I mean, I don't mean natural, it's just, you know... And in any case, you have to actually have a sex life before you can..." His words got away from him, and his eyes darted quickly around the room, before returning to Phoenix, refusing to allow himself a chance to distract from what he was saying before he'd actually managed to say it. He wasn't doing a very good job, but then again, he never did when he got nervous; word-vomit set in, common sense abandoned him, and a tendency to over-interpret his own words set in. It was impossible to say the right thing, and in the face of those odds, he smiled again, practically grinned at the other man, still awkward, but trying to hide it. "Sorry. I, uh... Sorry." His eyes dropped again, focusing on a spot on the floor that had probably been forever burned into his memory, by now, considering the many times his eyes had retreated to that particular spot.
Phoenix Delafield - November 2, 2010 09:50 PM (GMT)
Phoenix wondered briefly if he had said something strange to the good looking man to make him seem even more jumpy and have increased trouble in getting his words out. He had only been trying to make it easier, but maybe it was something else that he had missed. Phoenix could understand perfectly well what it was like to stumble over words and struggle with them, but they didn’t seem to be particularly difficult words, nor did he seem as though he was badly education. Doctors or nurses or whatever he was usually had to be smart and good at talking to people. No doubt it was something he had said, Phoenix concluded, aware that on occasion he confused or scared people or made them uncomfortable. Really he didn’t see why they got so uncomfortable, it was just sex, after all. Everybody did it. Well, most people did it, apart from those strange people who didn’t want to for some reason. He couldn’t imagine not wanting to. It would put him put of business in both areas of his life if everyone was like that.
A grin touched his lips as the word ‘gentle’ went unspoken, hanging silently in the air between them. He watched the nervous shifting, the darting eyes and the crossed arms with a strange feeling of amusement and guilt, somewhat delighted at the reaction which he considered to be quite adorable, but feeling a vague twinge of remorse that he was making the man so uncomfortable. Phoenix wanted him to be comfortable with him, he decided, but, still, he thought it would do him good to discuss his sex life, even if it made him uneasy. Repression was bad for the soul, he had decided some time ago. “It’s not your thing.” Phoenix repeated, trying to puzzle out those words. What exactly wasn’t his thing? The talking, the drawing, the writing it down? “What is your thing? I suppose we could talk in code... or gestures.” The last suggestion came to him suddenly, and he lit up again with it, a broad smile on his lips as he nodded. “And think about it, if you can’t talk about sex in here then where can you? This is a perfect opportunity.”
His eyes proceeded to widen in shock, smile falling away as the halting words went on “You don’t have a sex life?” Phoenix asked, his gaze sweeping over the man in front of him, examining his figure before returning to his face. “But you’re so beautiful!” He exclaimed, bemused as to why anyone would not want to sleep with him, unless it was a case of him not finding someone he wanted to sleep with. Cocking his head slightly to one side, he observed the man critically once more, before giving a small shake of his head. Given time he could probably help him find someone to hook up with, if that was what he wanted, but right here and now, Phoenix could help him find something to make up to some extent that lack of a sex life. That was what he was here for after all; to help people find their pleasures and it was something that he truly enjoyed, both in the shop and as an escort.
“I’m just going to have to help you find something to tide you over until you get your sex life going again.” Phoenix stated firmly, accompanied by a decisive nod. “I could help you with that too, if you want. I know a lot of people.” Absently straightening his waistcoat, Phoenix’s gaze travelled around the various products in his eye-line before returning to his customer, a perplexed look on his face as though he was considering something of great importance, which in his mind, he was. “Do you prefer male or female? Or both? I go for either, myself, although it can depend on who is paying.” He amended, before busying himself with shifting through various boxes, browsing his way down the aisle so he could find something that he thought would suit his current customer, humming quietly as he did so.
Samuel Raines - December 28, 2010 12:06 PM (GMT)
He strongly disagreed with the other man's conclusion. At present time, Sam could think of no place less fitting to discuss his sex life, and his eyes darted around the place in reaction, somewhat frantically taking in his surroundings once again. There were far too many colours, shapes and sizes in this shop - and Sam usually appreciated diversity! The diversity he was presented with here was of a variety he'd always chosen not to think about (or maybe just hadn't thought to think about?), and one that brought that unmistakeable blush to his cheeks. He was entirely put out, and the very idea of discussing that incredibly personal matter here, with this stranger, seemed to him foreign and unthinkable, just as the place seemed stilted and forced. To me, he inwardly added, lowering his eyes suddenly to the linoleum flooring and staring intently. It was quite possible that there were countless people who found this place to be a perfect outlet for all their deepest fantasies, but Sam... Sam's fantasies were wasted in a place like this - or rather, a place like this was wasted concerning itself with Sam's fantasies.
Phoenix's surprised exclamations that he was so beautiful gave him cause for pause. He was unsure how to respond to it, and even if it could be considered a compliment, and so he simply fumbled for words for a few moments, consciously looking anywhere but directly at the man. He'd had a girlfriend, once, who had insisted on calling him beautiful - it made him blush every time - to which his grandfather had responded with an unimpressed "pah" and a confident "men aren't beautiful". Sam vividly remembered the look his grandfather had passed him; a look that was intended to communicate a "this woman is clearly bonkers, and if you don't get rid of her, I'll start hurling Republican slogans at her hippie ass". He knew for a fact that this was what his grandfather meant to communicate, as he'd five minutes later begun doing just that, and later insisted that it was Sam's fault that she had been offended, for "not getting rid of her hippie ass when I wanted you to". Sam had always considered his grandfather to be the ultimate Master of Logic.
"Um, uh...thank you..." he answered sheepishly and another deep blush spread across his cheeks. He wondered for a moment what he most resembled at this point: A horse-radish or a tomato. It was quite probable that he was more like a strange mix of the two, but he was willing to bet that whatever he looked like, it certainly wasn't beautiful. A hand lifted to awkwardly scratch the back of his neck while he shook his head and cleared his throat quietly. He looked to the door, wondering how to most effectively excuse himself, but when Phoenix started talking again, he found his eyes automatically - and quite involuntarily - turning to look at him. He was caught, then; a deer in headlights while Phoenix seemed to float the possibility of pimping Sam out to his friends. His eyes widened considerably, and widened even further when the following question was posed. He had no answer.
His eyes quickly dropped again, and a hand rose to pinch the spot between his eyes. He decided he wouldn't comment on Phoenix's attempts to pimp him out, nor would he respond to his question. Instead, he decided to get just a little bit clinical - that had always worked for him. "Though I don't mind the implication that physical appearance is paramount to...copulation, there are...multiple variables that are equally important. Such as time, opportunity, the...click. Of two people." He glanced at the other man again, and couldn't help the blush that reappeared. Even so, he felt much more comfortable now that his words were appropriately detached from himself, and could continue to look at the man. "To generate the desire when opportunity strikes - a lot of people struggle with that, you know." He had to pause again, and his brow furrowed as he considered his words. As an afterthought, he added a rather quick, "...not referring to myself, but, you know, you come across stories..." He could envision himself digging himself a hole over this matter, and so he decided to let it go there, again moving his eyes away from the man, settling now for staring up and out the windows at the people that passed. "I just work a lot."
Phoenix Delafield - April 5, 2011 11:35 PM (GMT)
Phoenix tried to be gentle with people, and not cause them any undue pain or worry, he didn’t like to see other people suffering, particularly not because of something he had done to them, intentionally or otherwise. However,he couldn’t help but smile at the obvious discomfort his customer was in, and how red his cheeks were turning, as though being called beautiful and questioned about his sex life was the worst thing that had happened to him. Not the first time Phoenix had received such a reaction in one of his customers, particularly the ‘lost’ ones, but he was no less amused by it, every time it happened. It was just the name of the game, and he was quite used to it by now, even if he didn’t really understand what the big deal was with talking about sex. Phoenix wasn’t going to judge or broadcast his secret desires and fetishes from the rooftops, if that was what the other man was worried about.
Now the rambling came, right on cue, and it was something of a struggle for Phoenix to follow the words, as they suddenly became formal and more complicated. He tilted his head a little to the side, not entirely understanding all of the words that were being used, but getting the gist of it. Or so he hoped. He meant the spark of attraction, which was of course more prominent between some pairings that others, but Phoenix had always found that something attractive could be uncovered in almost any person, a trait which he had had to cultivate during his work as a prostitute. It was important for his clients to know that he was as in to them as they were to him, otherwise it would be quite a depressing experience for them. Once or twice people had got angry with him, sensitive to the fact they were paying him, and he wasn’t displaying enough obvious attraction for their liking. Phoenix preferred not to think too closely about those moments, pushing them aside as something he had done wrong, and a part of his working life that he could improve on.
The flow of words ended in the excuse that he worked a lot, one that Phoenix had heard before, from couples as well as single people, but he saw it simply as an excuse to stay in a safer realm, where there was no possibility of getting hurt but also no possibility for excitement and fun. “There is always time for a sex life.” Phoenix replied, with a grin. “Even if you work a lot.” He paused momentarily, light blue gaze watching his customer with a hint of scrutiny. “If you want one. Some people don’t have those.... urges.” An attempt at tact, at least Phoenix was attempted in the phrasing of it. Personally he thought it would be a terrible shame, a waste, even, if the other man had no interest in sex. He remained firm in the belief that sex and physical acts were important to life and brought people a kind of happiness that couldn’t really be discovered in other ways. In his opinion there was nothing lovelier than trying to get as close to another person as possible.
Despite his own views on the subject, if he was going to keep the man in the shop, as he wanted to, Phoenix decided that a different approach might be necessary and he didn’t have much trouble plucking one out of the list of possibilities that formed in his mind. “Would you like a cup of tea?” He asked. “I promise it will be a normal cup of tea, nothing scary.” Phoenix assured him, grinning as he did so, and holding his hands up somewhere around mid torso, palms displaying outwards in a classic gesture of ‘I mean you no harm’. It wasn’t unusual for Phoenix to go out of his way to talk to customers, more for the company than to get them to buy things, although he often found that one helped the other along, and the man standing in front of him was no exception.
With a bright smile, Phoenix tried to appear harmless and not at all like someone who would scare anyone away. He liked this customer already, his nervous blushing and rambling were incredibly endearing, and thought that he might be able to persuade him to loosen up a little bit, which in Phoenix’s books could only ever be a good thing. On top of that, there was no one else around and he really didn’t feel like being by himself in the shop again. He had exhausted most of the magazines by now and would inevitably have to move onto rearranging the dvd collection, which would no doubt annoy Cooper. “You would be doing me a favour. The shop is slow at the moment, and I’m here by myself, so the company would be welcome.” Phoenix added, trying to nudge a little more incentive in there.
Samuel Raines - June 19, 2011 02:37 PM (GMT)
If every moment he'd experienced so far had all accumulated into a neat, predictable line to lead him to this moment, Sam was lost as to the logic. The gentle coos of his grandmother with the fragile nerves, the no-nonsense rumbling of his grandfather with the stern disposition, the rock-hard defences of his brother and the warm laughter and heartbreaking sad-eyes of his sister - none of them seemed congruent in any way, shape or form with this, and he felt suddenly bitter that he hadn't come more prepared. That he wasn't the man who'd stand with back straight and head held high and announce, "Well, sir, I do appreciate a bit of light bondage in the morning and a quick swat to the buttocks in the evening." The extent of truthfulness in either of those statements were unclear to him, but after giving it a second thought, it occurred to him that neither option sounded particularly unpleasant...
The swiftness with which embarrassment struck him after the thought dawned on him surprised even Sam. In a heartbeat, his eyes were downturned yet again, intensely studying the particularities of linoleum floors and tracing the pattern as though it was a conundrum in desperate need of immediate clarification. There was always time for a sex life... Sam could agree that there probably was, but he'd be damned if he wasn't so tired all the time these days... Not tired enough to keep himself from having sudden fantasies about morning-bondage and evening-spankings, though - apparently. The renewed thought deepened his blush to the point where he thought his face was quite literally catching on fire. He sniffed a bit to see if the scent of burning hair was filling the room, and amused himself with the notion, enough to lift his eyes and meet Phoenix's blue, scrutinizing eyes.
"Some people don't have those... urges."
His eyes shot open at that, a sense of panic gripping him. It became apparent to him in that moment that the mention of lacking sexual urges carried far more gravity than any mention of the urges he might have. "N-no, I d-do!" he hurriedly interjected, stuttering the words out and cursing himself for his hesitant consonants. It was hardly a way to sound certain, stuttering your way through exclamations, was it? His frustration showed clearly on his features, knitting his brows and pursing his lips as he felt the familiar - but not entirely frequent - sting of irritation in his chest. "I mean, maybe not this instant," he corrected without really thinking, still meeting the other man's eyes, "I don't have any overpowering urges right now," it began to dawn on him what topic he was furthering as he spoke, "But in general I'd say I should stop talking right now."
Green eyes slowly steered away from the other man, his embarrassment renewed (though this time not so pink in expression), and settled on a bright turquoise silicone penis. A second passed before he realized the mistake of where his eyes had landed, and they flew from right to left, settling on the opposite shelf and on the revealing picture - on a box - of a woman wearing a corset (and very little else) wielding a leather whip (which was lying outside the box, with mock-innocence on the shelf itself). "Huh..." he found himself musing quietly without really realizing that words were leaving him, "There really is no safe place to fix your eyes in here, is there..." His voice trailed off, and he blinked again, shook his head, returned his eyes to the other man and renewed the blush in his cheeks. Awkward as it may feel to make eye-contact in this situation, he realized now that any alternative the store had to offer was far more awkward.
The invitation of tea caused his blush to deepen substantially in colour. It was an appreciated offer, a lovely gesture, but even so, it occurred to him that he must be in a right state - maybe more of a state than what was normal from any 'lost' person in this area, judging by the man's gentle kindness (or maybe he was just naturally like that? Sam chose to believe the latter) - for the man to deem in necessary. A nervous giggle slipped away from him - he tried to cover it by clearing his throat and speaking with an unnaturally low voice as compensation. "Tea would be... Tea would be great." He cleared his throat again, shifted a bit on the spot, fidgeted lightly and stuck his hands resolutely in his pockets to conclude. "Thanks." Another nervous laugh - this time more of a chuckle - escaped him, and he cleared his throat again, shifting his gaze to the floor and lifting a hand to rub his eyes awkwardly.
"I must seem... Very... I don't even know. I don't really talk about...stuff like this... I was taught that it's not something you..." Laughter broke through his words, sudden and loud, louder than he'd anticipated, and he lifted his eyes again, returning the hand that had broken free to the confines of his trouser-pocket. "That's rich, isn't it? I'm a doctor, a paediatrician! I've treated kids hitting puberty and encouraged their parents to have open dialogue on sexual matters. Done the whole -" His hands both broke free from their confines, now, to wave enthusiastically on either side of his head in an absolute unnecessary gesture as he continued in an applied, determined and lighter voice, "'Wear a condom!'" again the waving, this time facing a subtly different direction, "'Don't get pregnant!'" His hands dropped again, his voice back to its usual pitch. "Thing." For a moment, he had to pause, reviewing the spectacle he'd just made with knitted brows. "I don't..." he lifted his hands again, less enthusiastically repeating the gesture from before, "When I'm talking to..."
It was pointless. More than that, it only made matters worse when he attempted to explain away the pointless gesture from before in his head. For once, he was able to control the words that came flowing out of his mouth. Instead of speaking, he hung his head in relative shame, lifted a hand to pinch the bridge of his nose and raised the other into the air, a little above the level of his head. "Awkward puppy."
Phoenix Delafield - November 7, 2011 05:49 PM (GMT)
Phoenix smiled, bright and wide, as his new favourite customer stammered out that he did indeed have sexual urges. Despite the fact he doubted that he had a chance, he still liked the idea that this was an area that was of interest to the man, with his general consideration that sex was an essential part of life and relationships. “Oh that’s excellent.” Phoenix replied, the smile remaining on his face as he did so. “And I don’t think you should stop talking. I think you say wonderful things when you talk.” Tilting his head a little to the side, the smile faded down to a gently amused grin as he watched the other man’s eyes dart all around the shop. He did like the endearingly nervous ones. They filled him with an urge to guide them through their exploration of the sex shop, and eventually their experiences outside of the shop. Even if they didn’t always share his enthusiasm.
His eyebrows lifted as Sam finally made eye contact with him, noting the increased blush on his cheeks. “Oh, well, it really depends on what you consider safe.” Phoenix replied, glancing sideways at the whip which he had noticed the man’s eyes settling on, and then over to the silicone penis, before shifting back to his customer with another smile beginning to form. “You’ll have to let me know if you see something that you consider safe.” Phoenix added, sidling a fraction or two closer as he spoke, wanting to close the distance so they weren’t standing so far apart in the aisle, like adversaries facing off. His smile became genuinely giddy once an agreement on the cup of tea was reached, pleased that in that area at least, he seemed to be making some progress and hadn’t been completely brushed off. Before he could do anything about it, however, his customer went from nervous giggling to rambling again, Phoenix’s blue eyes tracing the movement of the hands, with an amused glow in his gaze.
“You should meet my friend. He hands out condoms to teenagers, too. Not because he’s a...” He tried to recall the word beginning with a p that the man had labelled himself with, but dismissed if after a moment, deciding it was best not to pronounce it incorrectly when there were other words to be used that he did know. “... a doctor, he’s involved with AIDs and HIV things.” Phoenix explained with a nod to emphasise his words, moving forwards so that he could begin making that promised cup of tea. Instead of making his way straight to the store room where they kept a small area for making tea and storing bits and pieces of food, he reached out and lightly clasped a hand around his customers wrist and tugged him gently forwards, guiding him in the right direction. “He’s always telling me to get tested for things. Which I do, of course.” Phoenix added with a quick glance over his shoulder to reassure this doctor that he was in the presence of someone who was completely free of sexually transmitted diseases. “And, you know I always make sure people wear condoms.” He dropped the other man’s wrist as they entered the store room, pushing it open and holding it to let the other man in behind him.
“Have a seat.” He said with a small flourish towards a small seating area, next to the ‘kitchen’ area, which he walked towards and began setting up the necessary objects for making tea. “What’s your name, by the way? I can’t keep calling you ‘nervous guy’ or ‘lost guy’ in my head.” Phoenix asked with a grin, as he filled the kettle and set it to boiling the water.
Samuel Raines - December 20, 2011 12:26 AM (GMT)
He doubted that he said wonderful things when he talked, just like he doubted that he'd let Phoenix know that he'd found something he considered safe, if only because this place, in all its apparent glory, was anything but what Sam would call safe. Even the condoms, visible somewhere behind Phoenix in colourful wrappers, with multiple flavours, weren't safe, despite the experience he had with them, despite the experience he'd had with them for a good portion of his life. Because they were colourful, they were vibrant, they were flimsy and enjoyable, and his condoms had always been serious, plain, medical. They served a purpose and only that. They kept him and his partner safe, and only that.
It would be against his entire upbringing to go out into public and consciously purchase something that spoke so loudly about sexual enjoyment.
And for that reason, he kept his eyes away from his surroundings, concentrating only on Phoenix. And it became safe, because the topic, in its way, was safe. AIDS and HIV things, handing out condoms, it was familiar, it was medical, and in its medical familiarity, it became safe, and its speaker became safe. Phoenix became safe, and he was on the verge of telling him so, was on the verge of smiling broadly and saying, "You're safe," but stopped himself just as the smile had begun manifesting and let it remain in a cordial and tense half-formed state.
With the touch to his wrist, his eyes dropped suddenly, and remained lowered as he was tugged along, willingly following the relative stranger deeper into the store, and keeping his eyes firmly concentrated on the back of his feet, dubbed the only 'safe' area in his near vicinity. (Everywhere else was bright pink and purple and orange and silicone and edible and leather and lace; he'd blush at the thought of it alone in such a public place - something he'd never think to do in the bedroom.) And in his mind, Phoenix's words were processed, and somehow he responded, clearly, voice a bit lowered, a bit quiet, a bit shy, but concise, assured, "He's right. It's imperative to get tested frequently, and to use protection." But he lost himself there; that professional edge he applied to his tone overtook him and made him lose track, for a moment, of what he meant to conceal in these situations. It was too personal a setting for him to be absolutely professional; without hospital smell and hospital lighting, he couldn't truly be a hospital worker. "I always do; use protection, and I get tested all the time. Well, I mean, not when I haven't been sexually active, though I usually have." Phoenix's feet were so unfalteringly safe; the waiting outside a door to take him elsewhere was so unfalteringly safe; the professional tone he'd applied to his personal words was so unfalteringly safe. "There's always a time when you feel like unwinding after work, and you end up at the bar with someone else who needs to unwind, and it's good to unwind together..."
He stopped himself there, realizing that he'd somehow, at some point, taken the conversation to a more personal plane - to a plane of sincerity that he was unwilling to visit, otherwise. (Not even his own twin sister knew about that, the one-night-stands with nurses who smiled or surgeons who pretended to forget or superiors who suddenly pronounced his name differently.) He cleared his throat suddenly, blushing the brightest of reds and raising his shoulders until his head was almost buried between them as he hurried into the room and went immediately to the assigned seating area. He almost sank into the corner of the couch, inwardly cursing himself and frantically searching for a different topic. The question had his eyes rising again, seeking out Phoenix's back and attempting not to hesitate or stutter as he answered, "Uh, Sammy! I mean, Sam. Well, Samuel, but, you know, people call me Sam. I'm... Sam. Nervous Sam. Sort of like Curious George, just...nervous..." But he'd failed, so spectacularly! He blushed again, and groaned with frustration as he threw himself back in the couch, closing his eyes and leaning his head back as he released a quiet sigh. (It didn't occur to him that the other man would no doubt have heard his groan and could easily see his current show of frustration.) "Yours is better. Phoenix. You sound like a protagonist." Having reached the edge of awkwardness, he released a breathy laugh. "I'm a sidekick at best. But probably an insignificant page-filler. Guy at a coffee shop who gets a one-line mention."
Phoenix Delafield - April 28, 2012 09:32 PM (GMT)
Phoenix usually managed to find something about a person that he liked or could tolerate. It was a part of his personality he had needed to develop out of necessity, when he had first started out as a prostitute, and one he perfected over time. With some people it was easier than others and there was more to find which appealed to him. With someone like his current delightful customer, it was effortless, he didn’t even need to try to be thoroughly enamoured and engaged. All he had to do now was try not to scare him away, and he thought that he might have achieved that, for the moment at least, as they made their way through their shop. His hand around the other man’s wrist stayed where it was without being shrugged away as physical touches could sometimes be, and the man walked with him, making no attempt to pull back.
In these situations it was easy to smile, even while discussing something like sexually transmitted diseases, which he usually tried to consider more seriously, because they were Cooper’s cause. He knew how much the other man had been hurt when his friend had died, and so he did his best to do what Cooper told him in regards to that. But the way his customer spoke about it, talking in such professional tones, seemingly able to speak more confidently, without a hint of a stammer, in this particularly manner, on this particular subject. Phoenix’s grin broadened of it’s own accord as he listened, noting the assurance of how sexually active the other man was. He wondered if that was with both genders or just one. He hoped it was both, or if it was one gender, it was men.
Inside the stock room, Phoenix had to bit on his lip, storing the last piece of information offered carefully, not reacting fully to it. “Of course, unwinding together is a good thing.” Phoenix agreed, casually, a smile threatening to bloom once more, though he made a token attempt at keeping it under control. “I love unwinding at bars, with other people.” He added, the smile breaking out across his features. He had never been good at containing a smile.
Concentrating briefly on the business at hand, he set out two mugs and dropped a tea bag into each, pulling out the milk from the small fridge set under the counter, and positioned the bowl of sugar beside the mugs, just in case. His concentration was immediately broken by the name of his customer being revealed, and he turned back around to face Sam, leaning against the counter and folding his arms. Once again the smile returned. “Sam. I like that name. It’s lovely. Sammy is nice too, quite sweet, but you definitely suit Sam. Maybe once day you can be Less-Nervous Sam around me.” Phoenix replied with a nod, already confident that one day that would happen. “Although I do like Nervous Sam, too. He’s a sweetheart.” He watched as Sam leaned back against the couch, looking a little overwhelmed, and Phoenix did have a moment of guilt, but only a moment, as the other man spoke again.
Eager to reply, Phoenix shook his head determinedly. “You are definitely not a side-kick or a coffee shop guy.” He assured Sam, and gave him a confident smile. “You are definitely the leading man, but the kind of leading man who doesn’t realise what he is, and that just makes him all the more engaging.” He paused to consider, the teabag he had picked up hovering somewhere over the cup. “Or you might be best friend that steals the entire movie from the leading man without even trying. Yes, I think you’re that.” He nodded again, absolutely decided this time. Unless another, more fitting solution came along. But for now he was certain.
At that moment the kettle began to whistle, indicating it was ready and Phoenix turned away to fill the cups with hot water. “Do you have milk and sugar?” He asked, as he moved to open the nearest cupboard, rooting out a packet of cookies and tugging it open as he moved back around to face Sam. “So, tell me, when you’re unwinding in a bar after work, do you unwind with women or men, or both?” Phoenix questioned casually, extending his arm to offer the packet of biscuits to Sam.
Samuel Raines - June 15, 2012 11:13 AM (GMT)
He could barely look at him now, after his clumsy reveals of too-much-information and details about unwinding that he wished he could take back. Unfortunately, life didn't come with an undo button, in spite of how much Sam often needed one. At least the man, Phoenix - Phoenix; he did sound like a leading man, and an especially interesting one, at that, with a heartbreaking back-story that would have you (meaning Sam) sobbing at the movie theatre - was gracious enough to only offer the most mild-mannered agreement to his rambling, and he smiled such a lovely smile that, despite the aggressive blush that had set up shop in his cheeks, Sam couldn't help but smile a little in return, meek and bashful as it may have been.
Rather than occupy this bashful place of humiliation, however, he tried to snap himself out of it by paying close attention to the other man's actions. Not that it was the least bit effective; they were talking, still, and now the topic was on him, his name, his nervous ticks. He blushed furiously again, quickly moving his eyes to the arm of the sofa, his hand absent-mindedly playing with the fabric, tugging and pinching. A sweetheart. That was a familiar name for him. That and "adorable"; people were always calling him either, and usually the people he least enjoyed hearing it from. It didn't sound so bad coming from Phoenix. It was a relief, in a way. It seemed right to be a sweetheart around this man.
What finally snapped him out of his blushing reverie, was the information that followed, the insistence that he was most certainly a leading man. His eyebrows shot up to his hairline, and he leaned forward again, the blush dissipating as he rested his elbows on his knees and watched the man with disbelief. "I'm never a..." he started, a bit weakly, but stopped himself; it was in no way polite to start talking while the other man still was. He couldn't help another repeat of the blush, though it was fainter, now, not so aggressive as earlier - his cheeks didn't feel on the brink of burning up. "No..." he answered meekly when the man reached his conclusion, looking at him with a lopsided smile and a look of near-comfort on his face. "I'm much too polite to go around stealing movies. And I'm happy being a side-kick. Or a coffee shop guy." He chuckled a little, motioning to the mugs on the table. "Subtly standing out by drinking tea."
His chuckle escalated for the briefest moment to a laugh, but came to an abrupt stop at the sound of a whistle. He almost jumped - he'd always been that way - but settled with a lopsided smile upon realizing what the sound was. "Uh, yeah!" he called after him, voice going a little louder than it had to. He cleared his throat, quieted it, repeated his answer with a slight blush. Milk and sugar, and lots of the latter - he decided not to reveal that particular piece of information just yet. His grandmother always said that the way he dropped spoonfuls of sugar into his tea made him seem like a child.
He moved casually to the edge of the couch as he waited for Phoenix to return, and when he did, talking again, asking questions, there was a moment when he had no clue what he was talking about. He was too comfortable, now, his mind wandered too easily; he'd moved on to tea and sugar and coffee shop guys, and unwinding seemed to him, for a moment, just that: unwinding. His eyebrows rose quizzically. "Um, well, I mean... Both, I guess, I don't..." Discriminate. His mouth stopped moving there, mind racing back to a previous topic and the contextual meaning of unwind. Realization blossomed on his face along with a renewed blush. "Uh, women!" he hastened to specify, but felt an immediate pang of guilt at the specification. "I mean, not that there's anything wrong with... I'm just, you know, I like girls. I mean women. I don't..." Do that? He stopped himself again with the briefest chuckle, worried of sounding judgmental when it was the last thing he wanted - he didn't even feel that way, never had. He had no idea why this was suddenly becoming an issue.
His eyes dropped to his lap, where his hands were wringing nervously. He commanded them to stop. "I mean, I haven't... Well, I mean, apart from college, but everyone... Experiments..." And he'd done it again, massive talent at putting his foot in his mouth that he was: He'd offered up too much information. Weakly, he cleared his throat. "In college."
Phoenix Delafield - July 31, 2012 06:07 PM (GMT)
Going through the familiar motions of making cups of tea, Phoenix kept the majority of his attention - as much as possible as he could when someone was behind him - on Sam. He liked having a name to apply to the other man, and repeated it in his mind a few times. Sam seemed to be a particularly appropriate name for the man. Drawing out the tea bags and adding milk and sugar to each of the mugs, Phoenix listened to the chattering reply to his question. From what he could gather, it seemed that Sam had indeed ‘experimented’ with men and women, though he didn’t seem particularly eager to admit to the former. Instead he fell back on the excuse of college, one which Phoenix couldn’t really agree with on the basis of first hand experience.
“Do they?” Phoenix said, as he turned around with a mug of tea in each hand, his tone a mixture of curious and enthralled, without the slightest hint of irony. He had always been fascinated by the parts of life that he hadn’t managed to experience, and college was certainly one of those. Occasionally he considered trying to improve upon his meagre education, but the time was never right and he knew that most likely his attention span would never extend to include the time required to complete a college course.“Everyone?” He repeated, placing the cups down on the coffee table, one nearer to Sam, before turning around to grab the packet of biscuits, putting them on the table, and then sitting down in a chair opposite.
“I never went to college, you see. Didn’t quite manage to finish high school, either. My brain doesn’t seem to work very well in those situations.” Phoenix explained with a little shrug, dismissing it immediately. “So I wouldn’t know anything about that, unless it’s in movies but who knows if they are really true.” Tilting his head to one side, he studied Sam for a moment. “I always thought college kids were scared of being thought of as gay.” He reached for a biscuit then, almost absently. “As it’s such a terrifying way to be.” A grin flickered across his lips then, before he concentrated on dunking his biscuit in his tea, judging the perfect time to take it out before it fell apart, and taking a bite.
“How far did your experiments go?” He asked casually, once he had swallowed, immediately commencing nibbling away any of the slight damp bits of biscuit left around his bite mark, as he waited for Sam to answer.
Samuel Raines - September 7, 2012 11:30 PM (GMT)
For a moment, he became hopeful that the conversation would take a turn away from him, his big mouth and his over-sharing inclinations. This was unusual, at least in this sense. Most of the people who knew him might not think of Sam as a secret-keeping machine; for the most part, he seemed to wear his heart on his sleeve. But even so, most of him remained untold. Untold and, it would seem, poised to jump off the edge of his tongue and present itself to the world. Or to Phoenix, as fate would have it.
He shifted uneasily in his seat, but attempted to seem as interested as he possibly could when Phoenix spoke of his own scholastic experiences, and only felt a slight spike in his levels of discomfort as he continued, joking about college kids, about fear, about the terrifying state of being gay. He chuckled lightly, and felt it sounded hollow. "I'm sure that's not..." he started, but felt immediately crooked saying it, like he was bashing his entire world out of place simply by beginning to state it. I'm sure that's not the case - what right did he have to comment? He'd burst out with his defense of his own heterosexuality as though his life was on the line. Maybe he'd lost his right to argue. Maybe he'd lost his right to speak.
His head lowered, bringing eyes down to stare at his hands folded in his lap, wringing in uncertainty. He stopped them moving. And then it began again.
His head whipped back up when Phoenix began speaking again, revealing that his eyes were as wide as saucers and his lips were parted and stagnated surprise. He was as surprised by the question as he would have been if it had come out of nowhere, without any conversational topic to prompt it. "I, what? I mean... Wow." His cheeks were burning - or rather, his entire face was burning, and it became suddenly a pressing matter. It was too hot in here; he thought he might burn up. (He thought his entire body might be blushing.) And he sought the shade, leaning forward until he was bent over, wrapping his arms around his head and hiding there, face resting between his knees, where it was somehow cooler. Quietly, he groaned against his legs.
"How are you so calm?" he exclaimed from down there, but it was mumbled against his jeans, barely intelligible, and so he sat up, facing the other man, blush and all, hands finding each other in his lap again and resuming their wringing. "I can barely think about this around other people, and you make it seem... So easy, like it's second nature." Like it's natural. "How do you do that?"
Phoenix Delafield - November 3, 2012 07:08 PM (GMT)
If he achieved nothing else during the day, or even during the week, Phoenix was determined that he would make friends with Sam. The man was too sweet, too beautiful, too funny to let just walk out of the shop with no possibility of seeing him again. Watching the other man stutter and double over, hiding his face against his knees, only to straighten up again, with flushed features, Phoenix came to this very definite conclusion. He wanted to cross over to sit next to Sam, place a hand on his back and reassure him that it would all be okay. But that might not be well received, and so he stayed where he was, concentrating on the careful deconstruction of his biscuit as he listened to the confession and the question from the hand-wringing Sam.
Phoenix paused to give the question real consideration. He had never really seen his comfort with sex as a particularly strange thing; or at least, not one that would cause distress in another person, though he had repeatedly been proved wrong. Still, he wasn’t capable of moderating himself, and so continued in the same fashion and occasionally elicited a reaction like Sam’s - which was, admittedly, a step up from the more extreme, violent reactions be stumbled upon. Lifting a hand to absently rub one finger across his cheek, scratching a sudden itch, Phoenix looked across at his new, bright red, friend and gave him a gentle smile, the finger which had been running across his cheek now moving to tap thoughtfully against his bottom lip as he ordered his thoughts.
“I suppose...” Phoenix began slowly. “...because it is... natural. Sex is no different from talking about how you like your tea, or whether you like to dunk your biscuits.” And then he grinned brightly, dropping his hand away from his mouth to rest on his thigh. “That’s quite good, actually. Do you dunk your biscuit...” Pleased with himself, Phoenix reached out to take a victory sip of tea. Recalling the subject at hand, he replaced his mug on table and became a little more serious. “I suppose it helps that I do it for a living. Wouldn’t be very good if I started blushing and hiding my face whenever a customer wanted to talk about sex or what position they liked, or whether they should pick one vibrator over the other, or what they want to restrained with.” Phoenix pointed out, again quite pleased with himself, for being so logical.
Tilting his head to one side, he studied Sam, and then nodded to himself, in line with the internal decision that he should step a little more carefully with this one. “We can start slow with you. Just tell me if you’ve ever kissed a man. A yes or no answer is perfectly fine.” He hoped that wouldn’t scare Sam off.
Samuel Raines - January 15, 2013 11:17 PM (GMT)
Sam lead a life carefully compartmentalized with crisp, clean borders and the softest possible edges. Phoenix was, in that regard, an impossible conundrum. A stranger who dragged mud through the borders of his compartments, who planted his unfamiliar face in the rooms of most intimate familiarity, and who made it seem like he'd belonged there for as long as memory permitted, even though Sam knew this couldn't possibly be the case. The crippling sincerity that surrounded him left Sam, in addition, completely disarmed, paralyzed to usher him firmly and efficiently into his own compartment.
Gentle as he was, Sam had always possessed a certain sharpness when it came to regulating those arbitrarily designated borders. He'd perfected the art of blankly denying entry from one compartment to the next, regardless of whether the visitor had only just occupied the very same compartment that was now rendered off-limits to them. Where there had been a door ajar, there was now a solid wall. The room may as well have vanished; Sam no longer acknowledged its existence.
But here he was, the inalterable puzzle who trudged proudly on through the walls he had fashioned and dreamt up doors where he'd previously permitted none. He equated sex to dunking your biscuits, and Sam almost cried out an objection, but ended up biting the insides of his red-tinted cheeks and holding his tongue. Wringing his hands still, he looked to his lap and tried to listen without losing every three words, working against the instinct to block him out and simply change the topic. For some reason, he felt as though Phoenix would find a way back to it no matter what he did, and he would accomplish that feat in such an innocuous way that he'd have no choice but to go along with it - anything else wouldn't even occur to him.
And so he tried to straighten his back, meet his eyes and chuckle lightly at the mention of blushing and hiding his face, which he interpreted as a sarcastic jab at his own conduct, and was immediately ashamed of himself, the adult, the doctor, who couldn't even complete a simple conversation without resorting to such measures. The chuckle came out a strangled half-yelp.
He cleared his throat and looked at his wringing hands again. He'd failed so far, but he'd get it right somehow; he wouldn't do that again. Somewhere inside him, there had to be an adult. An actual adult male who could answer a simple yes or no question. And he decided to be that adult. "Yes." The answer came out louder than he'd intended, suddenly exclaimed into the room, and his blushing fired up again. He squeezed his eyes shut for a moment, but decided to move on. "Yes," he repeated at a more sensible volume, "I have."