Two of Wands
When I say my best friend Pierre is “not my type,” I don’t mean I’m not interested in completely hot, slightly-fem, Creole twinks with lips for days and the roundest perkiest little asses on the planet. ’Cause that’s kind of exactly my type.
When I say Pierre is “not my type,” I don’t mean I’m not interested in the kind of guys who bring you coffee just because and also sometimes fold your underwear because you left it in the dryer. ’Cause that’s kind of also my type.
When I say Pierre is “not my type,” it’s not because I don’t love it when he comes over a week before Halloween with a bag of feathers, a million yards of tulle, and a sewing machine, strips down to skivvies and says, “Cher, I need you.”
It’s one hundred percent self-preservation. Pierre is not my type.
So, since I’ve known him since grade school and we were the only two out queers at our high school and we roomed on the same hall at Tulane—and not because he’s my type—I let him set up his sewing machine on my kitchen table and I get him a cup of coffee, and bless my own rotten heart, I ask him what’s the matter.
Of course, now that he has room to sew without his roommates giving him a hard time, he hums along with the machine and smiles up at me, all blissed out. Apparently, his needs are met by a little bit of space and whatever he is doing with those feathers.
“I got you an invite to this Halloween party. There’s this whole Tarot theme going on, it’s going to be fabulous, and I need my best wingman.”
“You need the straight-looking jock BFF to make you look extra-precious by comparison to the resident bears?” Oh, hey, where did that bitterness come from? Maybe from last Halloween when he called me to pick him up at a leather club at three a.m.? Or the year before that when we went camping because he was so over masquerade parties, cher. There is nothing even remotely fun about camping in the bayou in October. It’s wet, and it’s—no, really it’s just wet—and fuck, it’s colder than you think it would be. Really, self-preservation dictates I don’t need to be Pierre’s best wingman ever, but most especially not on Halloween.
Of course, when he bats those pretty eyelashes at me and says, “Oh, cher…”
I’m so fucked. And I take the cheesy Tarot-card invite and I nod my head and I pull out my phone and start looking for a costume online.
“This better not be some hoodoo Halloween hookup party.” I grunt as I ponder whether I can recycle that pimp costume from the frat party senior year.
“Oh, no, Jakey. Would I drag you to some tawdry frat party in disguise?” He looks offended, but then giggles. “No, don’t answer that. It’s classy as fuck, I promise. So, do not even think of ordering a costume from one of those online party stores. I have enough feathers for both of us.”
Which is how I find myself standing on the sidewalk, wearing a glitter-covered mask and goddamned hand-stitched black wings, staring up at the house in front of us. Dacre House is a typical Garden District mansion done up like a haunted house, the kind of place that reeks of money. How the hell does Pierre score invites to parties like this? And how the hell am I supposed to make small talk with the type of people who come to these parties while my best friend—who is not my type—is on the prowl?
“I will blow you if you don’t make me do this,” I whisper to Pierre. I mean it as a joke, but the annoyed huff he makes tells me he doesn’t share my sense of humor.
His face is all hard in a way Pierre’s face is never hard with me, and it fucking hurts.
“What? Did I say something wrong?”
He shakes off the pissed-off expression, flutters his lashes at me, and smiles. “No, cher, it’s good to know my cock rates somewhere above social interaction in your list of likes and dislikes.”
Now what the hell is that supposed to mean? I’d ask him, but he’s already ten steps ahead of me, disappearing through the front door of the house. I bolt up the steps and follow him, showing my invitation to the dude at the door. The guy tries to tell me something, but I brush him off, not wanting to let Pierre get away before I can apologize.
I manage to catch up to Pierre in the foyer of the stunning house, grabbing his arm with one hand. “Pierre.”
“What?” He looks over his shoulder at me. I’m not sure what his costume is supposed to be exactly, but it involves black leather epaulettes and something about them makes him look dangerous.
“I’m sorry, it was a joke.”
“Whatever.” He brushes off my apology with a dramatic eye roll. “I’m here to have a good time. You can go sulk by the bar if you want, but I am not about to let your bad attitude ruin my night.”
My bad attitude? He’s the one pouting!
But before I can say it, he’s flounced away. Have you ever seen a grown man flounce? It’s sort of heart-wrenching, and now I’m all ashamed, again, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to chase after him to apologize twice in the same night.
Without Pierre in his avant-garde costume to capture my attention, I take in the scene. Bass thumps around me in a sensual beat, and the crowd of masked party-goers throbs with the music. A dancer in a cage catches my eye—he’s wearing next to nothing and his skin glistens with body paint and glitter. His movements walk the line between sensual and sexual. My cock chubs up a little in appreciation of the sight, but I really wish Pierre could see him. This dancer guy might be a pro, but Pierre moves like his spine is made of liquid. Where the dancer walks the line between sensual and sexual, Pierre dancing is pure sex. Pierre would take one look at the cage dancer, smile, and say “that ain’t nothin’, cher” and he’d proceed to put that professional dancer’s skills to shame.
Yeah. Time to go sulk by the bar.
I don’t know when I started resenting my friendship with Pierre, and I don’t want to think about it.
A few people by the bar are sipping something orange and frothy. “What is that?” I ask one of the bartenders, gesturing at the concoction.
I can’t quite suppress a shudder, but the bartender laughs so I guess that’s okay.
“Let me guess, you’re more of a tequila guy?” He leans over the bar, a bit of flirtation in his eyes.
“Maybe. But it’s no fun doing shots alone.” I place my hand on the bar, close enough to his that he’ll move it if he wasn’t flirting.
“Hmmm. Got it.” His hand brushes over mine as he turns to fix a drink. Definite invitation there. He’s cute, with blue eyes and dark hair, a little cleft in his chin. I would normally be all over that.
But he’s not wearing leather epaulettes and feathers and he doesn’t have pouty, sultry lips or move as if his spine is made of liquid. He’s attractive and flirty, and that isn’t enough. So when he hands me a glass of bourbon, neat, and leans in to brush a kiss over my cheek, I pull back so he’s kissing air.
“Sorry,” I mutter, blushing.
“It’s okay. You’re not here to kiss the bartender I guess.” He winks, and I smile back.
“Guess not.” I pay him for the drink, and he smiles again. “So, which card have you got?”
“Card?” What’s he talking about?
“The invitation—the tarot card. Which card?”
Oh. I fish it out of my pocket. It’s half a card, actually. “Two of Wands. Why?”
He laughs. “Didn’t they tell you at the door? The other half of your card is with someone else in the house. It’s kind of a party game. Icebreaker. Go play.”
I shove the card back into my pocket. “Thanks.” I salute him with my glass and turn back to the throbbing music. Sure enough, people are talking and laughing over their half-cards, clearly getting into the game going on all around them.
A petite blonde bumps my arm. I look down and steady her with one hand. She smiles at me from behind a red mask.
“Thanks. I’m Ellen.” Ah. Ellen with a charming smile. There’s something hypnotic, almost fey about her smile. She’s looking at me as if she expects me to say something. When she holds out her hand for a handshake, I blush.
“Jake. Sorry, not so good with the social stuff.”
She laughs. “Thank goodness for icebreaker games then. What card do you have?” She holds hers up so I can see it. Three of Cups.
“Sorry. Two of Wands.” I shrug apologetically.
“Oh well!” She grins back at me. “Kinda funny though, a gay guy getting the Two of Wands.” She giggles at the innuendo.
“You either have the best gaydar on the planet or I know you from somewhere.”
“Nah, I saw the bartender fail to close, but it didn’t look like it was because he was a dude. I’m a people-watcher.”
“So, do you know anything about these?” I hold up the card. I don’t buy into all that fortune-telling business. After six years in New Orleans, I’ve seen some strange shit, but none of it made a believer out of me.
“A little. I mean, this is New Orleans, who hasn’t seen a tarot deck? Three of Cups is about family, being in tune with the people around you. Your card is a little more interesting. It’s about choice. Courage. Two paths before you, and once you go down one, the other is closed forever.”
“Cool.” I smile. “Well, guess I should…” I wave the hand with the card around.
“Yeah. Have fun.” A flash of the fey smile and she disappears into the crowd.
I wander through the house, trying to push aside my ennui and get into the game, but I can’t quite get my head into the right space for this. I didn’t even want to come to the party, I just couldn’t stand the idea of turning Pierre down. Coming to a party like this by himself, he could be hurt, or taken advantage of, or…or he could go home with someone else.
I need to get out of here.
I set my long-empty glass on the nearest horizontal surface and head for the door. If I could just clear my head. I don’t want to leave Pierre alone at the party, but suddenly the house feels oppressive and the music is too loud and the shrill laughter of a woman in the next room is piercing.
Outside, the air—or my mind—is a little clearer. I wrap my feathered wings around me like a jacket and head across the street for the cemetery to walk off some of my angst. Something seems fitting about walking between the crypts when you’re in a shitty mood on Halloween.
It’s a clear night, if a little cold, and moonlight silhouettes a figure sitting on a bench outside a huge crypt. I would recognize that shape anywhere, even without the leather epaulettes. I trudge over.
Pierre looks up and smiles weakly.
“Don’t you look like an avenging angel?” He gestures at the seat next to him, and I sit.
“Don’t, Jake. It’s my fault. I know you don’t like parties. Our history with Halloween is shit, and it was super selfish of me to impose on our friendship by inviting you to come with me.”
“If it’s a real friendship, your company is not an imposition. I shouldn’t treat you like it is. The thing is, Pierre—”
Oh God. I’m really about to end a decade-long friendship. I swallow hard. Courage.
“Don’t say it.” His eyes glitter in the moonlight. “I don’t think I can handle hearing you hate me. I know the only reason you’re friends with me today is because we were friends yesterday. I don’t want to hear we wouldn’t be friends if you met me tomorrow.”
God, he doesn’t even get it. I shake my head.
“We wouldn’t be friends if I met you tomorrow, Pierre, but not because your friendship isn’t important to me. Your friendship is the most precious thing. But we wouldn’t be friends if I met you tomorrow, because I’d be trying my damndest to make you my lover.”
His little gasp sounds loud against the thud of my heartbeat in my ears, but he doesn’t say anything. He just stares at me, his lips open in shock.
Slowly, slowly…so fucking slowly I could cry, he reaches up and traces the planes of my face with soft fingers. This isn’t the touch of a friend. For the first time ever, Pierre LaVoie is touching me as a lover.
“I thought I wasn’t your type,” he whispers.
“You’re exactly my type.” I catch the side of his thumb with my teeth, then draw it into my mouth with a hard suck.
His eyes flutter closed, and I’m struck by how perfectly fucking gorgeous he is. I let go of his thumb. He surges into my lap just as I reach for him.
Our first kiss isn’t tentative or quiet or even playful.
It’s reckless and hot and explosive. He thrusts against my hip, grinding his cock into me and biting my lip.
God, the things I want.
I grab his legs and pull them apart around mine so he’s straddling me, and then I place a palm on his bare chest and push him back enough to look in his eyes. Ellen’s words come back to me in a rush. Choice. Courage.
“We do this, we can’t go back. We go down this road, the other is closed to us,” I warn.
He nods, his face serious. “I don’t want to go back.”
I kiss him again, drawing him out, making him mine. I run my hands down his back and palm his ass, kneading it hard until a shudder runs through him and into me. His hands seem to flutter around me as if he can’t decide what he wants to touch first. So when they land on my chest and rub hard across my nipples, it’s a shock. A delicious, achy shock that lights me up from inside out. It runs down my body and sparks at the base of my cock.
Pierre grinds against me and rubs my chest again. It’s a hard touch, a claiming touch. It’s not something I’d have expected from him, but it feels good. How many times had I fantasized about him over the years? How many times had I wanted him to touch me just like this?
I thrust up against him, knowing the base of my cock is pushing up behind his balls and knowing exactly what it will feel like to him—the pressure, the little ache which isn’t quite pain and isn’t quite pleasure, but somehow desperately wants to be both. He shudders again and tears his mouth away from mine to suck in a deep breath. His eyes are closed and his chest heaves. I can’t remember ever wanting another person like this.
“If you have something against public sex, we need to get a cab right now.” His voice shakes, but his eyes open and the lust I see there hits me straight in the gut.
I can’t answer him, and fuck if I’m going to stop what we’re doing to call a cab. I unzip his jeans and pull his cock out. It’s beautiful. It’s darker than the rest of him, intact, the glans peeking out of the foreskin. The very appearance of it makes me greedy. I want to taste him.
“Up,” I murmur, using my hands to urge him higher. He moves over me, bracing his palms on the back of the bench. I wrap my fist around his cock and push the foreskin back to expose him. I run my tongue around the sensitive head, teasing at the frenulum and drawing a whine out of him.
I open my mouth and take him inside, sucking with a slow, steady rhythm as he rocks forward into my mouth. I love the weight of him on my tongue, the salty-bitter taste of his skin and pre-come. He moves one of his hands from the back of the bench to cup my face and strokes his thumb along my jawline, urging me to open farther. I take him as deep as I can, letting him take my breath for just a moment before he draws back. I pull off him, still working my hand over his shaft, pulling the foreskin over the head and then pushing it back.
I’m rewarded by a hot, throaty noise and a visible shiver down his spine. It’s a gift, seeing him like this, knowing I’m making him this hard, this aroused. I put that tremble in the hand that grips my hair and guides me back to his cock. When I suck him deep again, I’m the one who makes him shake and groan.
“Oh, God, Jake, cher…” His hips snap forward more aggressively, and I want to make him come. I want to see his face. I tilt my head so I can look up along his body as he thrusts into my mouth again, and the sight of him is perfection.
His skin, so much darker than my own, shines under the moonlight. His nipples are drawn up hard. Leather epaulettes add a strength to his shoulders, and the cloak made of feathers and tulle flows back from his shoulders like a mantle.
But his face, his face is magic. His head thrown back, his features contorted in the grimace of lust, he looks like a gladiator claiming victory as he shouts out his climax with another vicious thrust. Tears spring to my eyes as his semen spurts onto my tongue. My Pierre, my best friend, is coming in my mouth, and I’m the one who made this happen. He might look victorious, but this is my celebratory moment.
When he draws back with another shudder and sinks back onto my lap, I claim his mouth in a salty kiss. I run my thumbs along his cheekbones, wiping away tears. I shush against his lips.
“Why tears, Pierre?”
“Mais… oh fuck, Jake. I’ve wanted this for so long.” He’s boneless in my arms, a warm, solid weight, and I want to protect him from the whole world.
He kisses me again, and I can’t help but thrust up a little. I can’t fuck him now, not so soon after he’s had an orgasm, but God, I want him.
“I got you.” He reaches between us, cupping me hard. It’s my turn to whimper as I thrust into his hand. I close my eyes, enjoying his possessive touch. I feel his weight moving off me, and I open my eyes to watch him sinking to his knees. I scoot forward to the edge of the bench as he opens my jeans, then shoves them and my briefs down. The bench is cold on my ass, but his lips and hands are warm as he takes me into the haven of his mouth.
He pulls off as quickly as he took me in. “Go ahead and just let go. I don’t mind if you get rough, but don’t pull my hair.”
That’s all he says before he starts sucking hard. My hips roll up and my eyes drift closed. I take him at his word and fall into a lusty, rutting rhythm as he takes me completely apart with his lips and tongue.
He slides one of his hands under my legs to tickle and tease and push at my taint. I lose all thought beyond seizing the orgasm looming right fucking there for me to take. He groans around my cock, and that’s the moment I lose it. Pleasure rolls over me in a great huge tsunami of a wave. I feel him swallowing, and I can’t help but thrust a little harder, wrenching a grunt from him and another spurt from my cock.
He pulls off me slowly. Now it’s his turn to pull me into a rough celebratory kiss, his turn to feed my own taste back onto my tongue, and even though that’s never been my kink, I love the taste of both of us mingled together.
“We just had sex in a cemetery, cher.” He buries his face in my neck and giggles.
“We just made love in a cemetery,” I correct.
“Made love.” He agrees. “I do love you, Jake. I’ve loved you for a long time. I was scared to do anything about it.”
His eyes are serious and sad as he pulls away from me. Is he mourning the friendship we’ve forsaken tonight, or is he mourning the time it took us to figure out we loved each other?
We straighten our clothing and zip up. As we stand on shaking legs, I take his hand and kiss the back of it, offering him my reassurance. “I love you, too, Pierre. Love you so much.”
This time our kiss is sweet, unhurried. He rubs my chest again, not in possession, but in exploration. As I slide my tongue into his mouth, I frame his face with my hands and skate my thumbs along his cheekbones.
I pull away. “Can we go home? I don’t want to go back to the party.”
“Your house? My roommates are home.”
“Yeah.” My house. Maybe he’d consider moving in and then it could be our house. I’ll talk to him about it in the morning over coffee.
“Your invitation … what card is on it?” I don’t know why I’m curious, but for some reason, I just want to know.
He pulls it out of his pocket. “Two of Wands. Stupid party game.”
I take his card from him and pull my own out. Sure enough, they’re the same card, cut in half. I feel all warm and happy, like the afterglow of our lovemaking has been given some sort of blessing. “I’m going to take these home, tape them together, and frame this fucker.”
“A souvenir from your hoodoo Halloween hookup?” he teases.
“A souvenir from the first time you said you love me.”
“It won’t be the last,” he promises.
“Jake Forrester, I love you.” The declaration isn’t any less poignant for having been demanded.
“I love you, too, Pierre.”