Keepsakes and Eastward
Author: Abi Z
Post A:tS Blind Date and BtVS New Moon Rising
On his way to a new life, Lindsey meets someone else looking for the same thing.
What's mine is yours and what's yours is mine. Unless you're Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy (grr argh), in which case what's yours is *so* not mine.
This is technically two stories but as the first has no Oz but is needed to understand the second they are listed here together. Keepsakes isn't slash, but its sequel (which you won't understand unless you read this) is. It's rampant rambling and meandering. Nothing really offensive, just some bad language and non-explicit booty. I tried to put some smut in it, I really did, but it just didn't happen. Eastward's got booty, baby! And it's Y-chromosome booty, so if you don't dig that, you don't know what you're missing. Oh yeah, and always practice safe sex when sleeping with werewolves or lawyers.
He was not
the type of man for keepsakes: his apartment was spacious but spare,
decorated with bare walls except for an Alfred Stieglitz print of a winter
night in New York, a kind of cold he swore he would never know again. His
dishes were black, his countertops white, and you could have eaten off the
hardwood floors if you'd wanted to. But people were never impressed by the
cleanliness, and his dates had always insisted that he come to their
But he had
a few things, beyond the basics of suits and ties and cutlery and shampoo.
He had his sister Letitia's seventh grade picture--the year of her death,
that February when influenza had struck the Maine coast and sent her to
what their mother believed was a better place. He had Lana's picture, too,
from fourth grade: in March, three weeks after Letitia's death, not so
much out of sickness but loneliness from missing her sister. And then the
survivors, taken two years later, the year he'd graduated high school.
Larissa, the oldest, at nineteen, already working in the mill; Lambert,
sixteen, who would drop out of high school and join the Marines; Leander,
at fourteen, with his bright eyes and shaggy hair; and Lindsey himself in
the center, seventeen, smiling, knowing he was getting out. He kept the
pictures in his wallet, behind his California driver's license, and
sometimes, idly, he looked at them, trying to divine the thoughts behind
the faces, most especially his own.
ridiculous names, all L's after their parents, like it was some sort of
cosmic miracle that Larry MacDonald and Leda Cunningham had wound up
marrying each other. Lindsey had gotten strong because of his name,
blacking the eyes of the latest person to call him "girly-man" or "faggot"
or any number of small-town taunts. He wasn't sure which variety of insult
he fought harder: his name he couldn't control, but the sex part he could,
and all the adolescent Lindsey could think was that he had some genetic
defect, something that ran in the MacDonald family just like alcoholism,
that made him ache for a man. Girls were tantalizing, too, but he couldn't
imagine that they wouldn't guess his secret, and so he defended his name
and his honor, and he made it through high school celibate and
undiscovered. He was the first in his family to apply to college, and he
prayed to a God he didn't believe in that it would get him out of Maine.
It did: it
got him to Hastings University in the heart of Boston, surrounded by trees
and seventeenth-century churches and tony clothing stores. And there, much
to his surprise, his name served him well, just feminine enough to seem
upper-crust. He arrived with two suitcases, and he found himself rooming
with Hunter Kirkland, whose family looked at his name and his Maine
origins and assumed that he was just like them. They were Bostonians who
summered in York Harbor; they didn't know one Maine hole in the wall from
another, and Johnstown, Maine, might as well have been Kennebec for all
the Kirklands knew. Hunter pulled Lindsey onto the lacrosse team, ignoring
his lack of experience, and they played together for four years. Lindsey
stayed in Boston for Thanksgivings, Easters, and even one Christmas, and
he lived for a summer, between his sophomore and junior years, in the
Kirklands' airy Cambridge house while he interned with a law firm
thing to do that summer would have been to succumb to the attentions of
Ginger, Hunter's nineteen year-old sister, but it was instead her best
friend who captivated him. Therica Albright's family were cousins of the
Kirklands who lived in Wellesley. Therica was doing a summer dance program
in the city, and rather than commute the hour, she was staying with her
relatives in town. The kinship was distant, but Therica was clearly
related: she had Ginger's sun-blond hair, and Hunter's patrician nose.
Lindsey had met Therica in passing around the Hastings campus--he
remembered dimly that she had been to one or two of the lacrosse
matches--but he recalled her only vaguely. But it was the sight of her out
on the back porch early one morning, using the old wrought-iron loveseat
as a barre for her ballet stretches, that stuck in his mind.
riding the T with her every day: Therica's studio wasn't far from the firm
where he was working, and she only left about twenty minutes after he did.
Her wit was sparkling, sometimes edgy, and she missed nothing. She had
mild dyslexia, which made reading and school a struggle, but she gave
directions to tourists in fluent French, German, or Japanese. She was
weirdly awkward around the opposite sex, but with Lindsey she let herself
shine. He fell in love with her every day on the T, back and forth from
downtown to Cambridge. They lived chastely enough with the Kirklands:
Therica was hesitant to sneak around in her relatives' house, and Lindsey
was too shy to do any more than kiss her. Hunter walked in on them in the
kitchen late one night--Therica sitting on the counter, Lindsey standing,
her legs around his hips, his hands in her hair--but had simply laughed,
said, "Excuse me," and left again.
started just after Labor Day. Hunter and Lindsey moved into a suite in one
of the campus houses, and Therica moved into an off-campus co-op with two
friends. Lindsey was invited to spent the night, but never did: he was
embarrassed to tell Therica that he'd never had sex before. That
Thanksgiving, though, Hunter's parents were in Greece, and Therica was in
a fight with her mother, and so they had dinner at Therica's apartment.
Lindsey and Therica cooked a turkey, Ginger and her boyfriend brought
potatoes and a pie, and Hunter's girlfriend brought her grandmother's
green bean casserole and pound cake. Afterwards, sleepy with food and
zinfandel, Lindsey and Therica had fallen asleep on the sofa, and he had
woken several hours later from nightmares of hunger and cold.
bad enough that he woke Therica, too. She pulled herself into a sitting
position and leaned Lindsey back against her. "Who was Letitia?" she
someone I used to know."
whipped his head around to meet calm blue Brahmin eyes. "What makes you
telling her to wake up."
And so he
told her about Letitia, and Lana, and the rest of them. Larissa, at home
in the sock factory; Lambert, who'd been shipped off to Somalia; Leander,
who had already lost an eye in a knife fight; and finally himself, who had
escaped. Therica believed him, and she listened to him quietly for most of
the night. Then she tucked Lindsey into her bed, told him she loved him,
and let him sleep for the next ten hours.
made fumbling, exploratory love the next morning--Therica, Lindsey was
delighted to discover, was no more experienced with men than he was with
women. She was remarkably verbal in bed, and if she didn't like something,
she told him; if she did like it, she just moaned. They went out for
orange juice and Chinese food on Saturday, but beyond that stayed in the
apartment for the entire weekend, and only got dressed when Therica's
roommates returned Sunday night. He lived with her unofficially for most
of that year, and officially the next, when Therica talked her parents
into paying for a one-bedroom in Jamaica Plain. Lindsey loved her, and he
wanted to do things the right way. It was easy for him to ignore other
girls--it was what he did anyway--and less so for him to ignore other men,
but he did, and he was faithful, and he told himself that he always would
year, Lindsey applied to six law schools, each of which waived his
application fee, and he got into all of them. UCLA gave him the best aid
package, a full ride plus living expenses, and he would not know until
years later that the offer was underwritten by a UCLA grad and managing
partner of Wolfram and Hart. Lindsey moved west in August, and Therica,
who had put off auditions and gotten a job teaching dance at a day school
in Westwood, moved with him.
Lindsey thought ten years later, looking out from his office onto the
lights of Los Angeles, his troubles began.
Angeles was different from Boston--not to mention Maine--in every way. It
was sunny all the time, and everyone there seemed beautiful and well-fed:
even the migrant workers seemed better off than most of the people he'd
known in Johnstown. When he walked to class, both men and women openly
appraised him. One evening in the grocery store, a man about his age,
handsome and clean-cut, dressed in a fraternity cap and faded blue jeans,
had been making casual conversation for about ten minutes when Lindsey
realized with a shock what he really wanted. Matt, his name was, and two
weeks later, in his bed, Lindsey slept with a man for the first time.
Clearly, Matt had done this before, and Lindsey was content to spread his
legs and let Matt fuck him into oblivion. It was a pattern Lindsey found
remarkably easy to establish.
really startled him was how easy it was to lie to Therica afterwards.
out, though--they always do, Lindsey thought. It was idiocy to think that
she wouldn't: her father had cheated on her mother for years, and Therica
knew what to look for. Lindsey realized, later, that she checked for signs
of infidelity as subconsciously as he made sure that the apartment was
always warm, and that there was always five days' worth of food in the
refrigerator. He really didn't think they were going to starve, and she
really didn't think he would cheat, but she smelled it out like a werewolf
smelling fear, and she left. Lindsey dug himself into school, and then
into Wolfram and Hart, and he filled his bed with actors and models of
both sexes, and one day he was thirty and about to defend a child-killer.
made his choice and allied himself with Angel, and then he had remade it,
and he had sat at his desk in the empty office that was now his, and he
had thought, all this is mine.
But now he
thought: it has to end. He closed the blinds, cutting the room off from
the outside, and without the city lights, it looked like what it was:
empty and sterile. It was time to leave, and it looked like Wolfram and
Hart might just let him go.
put the phone back on the hook and called his banker at home. In ten
minutes, the transaction was done: five thousand in cash, awaiting him at
Western Union, and the rest in a trust fund, for Larissa and Leander's
kids. When he left, he taped a note to the door: I QUIT. He smiled at the
guard on the way out.
wasn't much to pack. He folded some sweaters and jeans into a suitcase,
and threw in a ski jacket. He had a friend in Worcester who ran a Legal
Aid office. He could support himself working there for a while, and then
maybe he'd leave the law completely. Get a master's in legal theory and
teach somewhere: live in a college town, drive a Hyundai, and watch the
leaves change every year. Marry a former student and have a couple of
kids. Forget about demons and dark-eyed vampires and blind murderesses.
Western Union was five blocks from his house. He parked on the street and
had the money in ten minutes, and then back into the Jag. It was about a
three-day drive to California, four if he slept. He could stay with Hunter
for a few days--remarkably, after the Therica debacle, Hunter still spoke
to him, although Ginger didn't--until he got on his feet, called his
friend in Worcester, found an apartment. He hadn't been back East in
years. He wondered if it still looked the same. Los Angeles was a living,
volatile organism in a way that Boston, settled so many years ago, would
never be. L.A. glittered and expanded and shone, while the East seemed to
writhe within limits written years before and never changed.
heart, he was still a Maine hardscrabbler, and he'd gotten in over his
head out here. Hunger and cold he could fight, and he'd thought he could
juggle demons and vampires and living an hour from the Hellmouth (because
what was Maine if not a colder version?). He'd thought he could do it, and
he had watched it fall down around him. He pulled off the highway in Santa
Monica to get gas and coffee. He filled up the car and then got the
largest size of coffee they had, loading it with sugar--black as sin,
sweet as love, as Hunter might have said--before paying at the counter.
"You're gonna be up all night with that," the clerk, a young blond man
with a lip ring, remarked.
"I have a
long drive ahead of me."
shook his head. "No. Leaving for good."
smiled at him. "Seems like a lot of people around here want to leave for
good. Not many of them do it, though." He handed Lindsey fifty-seven cents
in change. "Good luck to you, man."
underneath the half moon, the night was filled with stars and possibility.
like he was possessed, not crazily, but compulsively, unable to stop. He
passed cities and towns, crossed rivers, wound through mountains, and it
was nearly a day later, in a national forest in Colorado, when finally his
body made one last, insistent demand that he stop. He pulled over at a
rest stop which was, as far as he could determine, located just west of
nowhere, and he went into the men's room and wet his hair and stared at
his bloodshot eyes echoed under gray bathroom light in the mirror.
Outside, the Western sun was having one
last hurrah before setting, and the sky was red from horizon to horizon.
He took his road atlas out of the Jag's glove compartment to check the
next part of his route. At some point he would have to sleep, but not
"Mind if I
have a look at that?" a quiet, gravelly voice asked, and Lindsey looked up
to see himself regarded by a small, pale man with spiky red hair. Lindsey
handed over the atlas and watched as the young man traced an eastward path
with a long, callused index finger.
headed?" Lindsey asked.
from here. Been on the road a while?"
under a day."
from the red-haired man. "You look tired."
slept in a few days."
flipped the atlas closed. "I was about to eat. Join me?"
laconic, his eyes intense, but he looked harmless. "Sure," Lindsey said.
man introduced himself.
commented on the strangeness of the other's name.
driving an enormous brown van, and he opened the back doors to reveal a
spacious and remarkably clean interior. Some musician's paraphernalia--a
guitar, the case to what looked like some kind of large woodwind
instrument--was stored inside, along with Oz's belongings. Oz climbed
inside the van and opened up a backpack, removing several items from
within. "Come in. Have a seat."
school friend had had a van somewhat like this, only dirtier; it had been
large enough to keep Robbie and Lindsey warm during their weekend drinking
bouts from driving age until graduation. Then Lindsey had gone to
Hastings, and Robbie--now Bob--had traded the van for a used Bronco after
he'd joined the Navy and moved to Portsmouth.
fruit, thick brown bread, some kind of jarred fruit spread, two apples,
some bananas, tangerines, a tomato, and a large jug of water. "I-- I don't
have any food," Lindsey started, "but I can pay you--"
him off. "No need. I offered."
spread turned out to be tart cherry preserves, clearly homemade, and the
bread crunched with the husks of grains. "Been living on an organic farm,"
Oz said. "Got enough food to get me across two continents." Oz took off
his leather jacket and threw it into the front seat; underneath he was
wearing a T-shirt with a worn Jane's Addiction logo. His faded jeans were
several times patched, and his work boots were battered. Lindsey started
to relax, and he sat back against the van wall and divided a tangerine
into sections. Oz picked up the tomato and took a bite out of it.
seen anyone eat a tomato like that," Lindsey observed.
favorite way. They're better fresh off the vine, but this is almost as
good." He held it out for Lindsey to taste. "Try it."
did, and the flesh of the tomato was spicy and succulent. He wasn't sure
he'd ever really tasted one before; usually they were dismembered in
sauces or coated with salad dressing. "Tomatoes are actually a fruit,
Oz took a drink of water and offered it to Lindsey. It went against his
Wolfram and Hart training, where nothing was so casually shared. But who
was he kidding? The worst he could catch from this man--this boy--was a
cold; the worst he could have gotten at the firm was dead. He drank. The
water was warm but pure.
coming from L.A.?" Oz asked.
back or leaving for good?"
"I made a
lot of mistakes in L.A. You coming from there, too?"
from a lot of places. I was in L.A. yesterday. Last week I went back home
to Sunnydale, where I grew up. Thought I would stay. I didn't."
miss it as much as you thought?"
more. But I made mistakes, too, and they caught up with me."
"Sunnydale. I hear some crazy shit about that place."
had gone down, and the red sky was fading into the dark sapphire blue of
oncoming night. Oz took another item out of his backpack. He unwrapped it,
broke off a chunk, and handed it to Lindsey.
it?" Lindsey asked.
dark and on the bitter edge of semisweet, just enough sugar to make it
palatable. "It's from South America," Oz said. "Don't have much of it
left. It's almost pure cacao. You won't find it in this country."
his jacket from the front seat, folded it over a few times, and leaned
back, resting his head on it. He was not, Lindsey saw, as small as he
looked; compact was perhaps a better term. His T-shirt was loose, but
gravity draped it to reveal a leanly muscled torso; the man's hands and
arms were clearly strong. He was young, Lindsey could tell, but it was
hard to tell how young; Oz would spend his life as a person whose age
could not be easily determined.
him another piece of chocolate and Lindsey lay back, too. His brain, no
longer forced for safety's sake to keep his body frenetically awake, had
started to slow, and he realized how tired he was. The evening was cooling
off, and it seemed like a fine thing to lie here in this van like he had
not since he was a teenager and eat farm-grown food with this amiable,
He felt Oz
looking at him again. "You think you can clean up your mistakes in
it's too late for that. But I think I might be able to try again."
I cleaned up my mistakes, but I got back home and they just came back
again. Maybe it's a hometown thing; you can't be anything other than what
why I've never gone back to mine."
his head. "Can't do that. I love too many people there."
love anyone in Johnstown, Lindsey wondered? His siblings, but not enough
to go back forever. His father was dead; his mother was smoking her way
there. Boston was almost a hometown; he'd spent good years there, once
he'd learned to forget where he was from. He'd heard from Hunter that
Therica was back East, teaching dance at a day school in Brookline. She
should have her own studio, her own company; she deserved better. He
realized after a moment that he'd said it out loud.
from the stretched-out lump that was Oz.
who moved to California with me."
me years ago. Last I heard she was back in Boston."
from the red-haired boy. After a moment, "Boston's big but not so big as
to hide an ex-lover forever."
cities are that big."
laugh from Oz. "True that. Even in L.A. you can't hide forever."
people did. Angel seemed to be trying to. "So you left Sunnydale. Are you
going to try to clean up your mistakes again?" he asked Oz.
know. Seems like that route didn't work. Maybe I should just stay
away--settle somewhere else, try to forget."
of people in the northern part of the state. They're all like me."
they like you?"
strange… like me."
quiet. Solitary. But you seem pretty normal."
semidarkness Lindsey could see that Oz's smile was charmingly crooked.
"The strangeness doesn't manifest itself most of the time."
was led to wonder what kind of strangeness the boy might be talking about,
but these days who knew; there were communities for more cultures and
subcultures and sub-subcultures than Lindsey could possibly name. Perhaps
the boy would be happy in Vermont with the people who were supposedly like
him. Perhaps they all had angular bodies and beautiful hands. But that did
not bear thinking about.
got other friends in Boston besides the ex-lover?"
hardly a friend. But yes. My best friend from college lives there with his
wife, and a buddy of mine from law school is in Worcester."
I love is in Sunnydale," Oz said; his voice was so quiet that Lindsey
wondered if he was talking to himself.
moment, Lindsey ventured, "Why aren't you there with her?"
the first time, and she moved on. Found someone else. Still loves me, but
found someone else."
didn't want to stay if you couldn't have her?"
have… killed the other person."
seem the type to kill anyone. "She ran around on you while you were gone?"
laugh, harsher this time. "No. I left. Didn't stay in touch, didn't say
where I was going. She grieved. Then she recovered. The other person is
good for her. But there's a side of me that needs to be away from them
had set completely; the part of the sky that was not deep sunset blue was
now black. The air had gotten colder, and Lindsey felt the chill eating
through his sweater. Oz sat up and pulled a blanket from some cranny of
the van. He shook it out to its full size and offered part to Lindsey.
It was a
thick wool, scratchy but comforting, like some of his father's old camping
blankets. Sharing it meant moving slightly closer to Oz, though by no
means close enough to touch; it was a strange, easy closeness born of
convenience and exhaustion.
blanket up in Manitoba. Traded lunch and a Nepalese beaded necklace for
"I was in
Tibet for a while last year. Passed through Katmandu on my way out."
have you been on the road?"
over a year. I expect I'll stay on it for a couple more."
think you'll stay in Vermont?"
a while. It's just hard to imagine calling anything home right now."
said, turning over. Part of the blanket came with him. "I almost forgot I
had this." He sat up and reached back into the backpack, but in the
darkness Lindsey couldn't see what he took out. Whatever it was, it
rustled. "Peppermint candy," Oz said. "A little gooey from the heat. Open
non-rational part of Lindsey's tired brain took over, and he did. There
was the bright tang of peppermint and then the low salt of Oz's fingers,
which Lindsey might or might not have intentionally licked in taking the
peppermint. It was sharper than anything he'd ever tasted, nothing more
than a bit of sugar and essence of peppermint and something to hold the
swallowed and looked up. Oz was still leaning close, watching him. And
then Oz was leaning closer, and his mouth tasted like peppermint and
man Lindsey had kissed was someone he'd met at the gym, a broad-shouldered
man, clean-shaven, his black hair cut sleekly. They had kissed for perhaps
a minute before the man had pinned Lindsey's hands above his head, nudged
his legs apart, and fucked him in a way he never argued with. Kissing Oz
was what Lindsey should have done at age twenty, instead of jerking
Therica around; he should have found a boy his age, someone in his
political theory class, or maybe a closeted Catholic boy from B.C., or a
dark-eyed medical student from Brandeis. They should have done this on a
back sofa in a teahouse in Harvard Square, or maybe sitting on the floor
of a friend's apartment late at night, or even at a fraternity party,
against a wall, too drunk and too horny to care who saw.
was soft underneath Lindsey's fingers, and Oz's hand was warm as it rested
lightly on the side of Lindsey's face. He couldn't remember what that last
anonymous man had tasted like, but the skin of Oz's neck was spicy, and
kisses to it made him moan. Oz pushed them over gently, and Lindsey did
what he always did, which was to move onto his back to let the other
person do what he wanted.
stopped. "You do that like it's some kind of habit."
strange. It's like… a beta surrendering to an alpha."
bizarrely phrased, but it was not, Lindsey thought, an inaccurate way to
dark, Oz was looking intently down at him. "You're older, stronger,
stronger, at least. Seems like you ought to be the top."
"I like it
down to Lindsey's side. "No, I don't think you do. I think it's just a
habit." He hooked a leg over Lindsey's hip and suddenly Lindsey was
looking down at him. He felt Oz's body move underneath him and it was like
being with a woman but it wasn't, because the body under his was strong
and hard and male and absolutely what he wanted right now.
doors," Oz whispered, and Lindsey did. Three days ago, he would have
thought that Oz meant to take him and sacrifice him to some demon god, but
tonight Lindsey was pretty sure that Oz had other, much simpler things in
had changed into jeans at his apartment, but he was still wearing his blue
oxford lawyer's shirt, and Oz was working at the buttons, and when he had
them undone he pushed the garment off Lindsey's shoulders. The Jane's
Addiction shirt came off quickly, and Lindsey bent down to lick the hard
nubs of Oz's nipples--and was surprised when his mouth touched cold metal.
"How long have you had those?"
OK to be touched?"
pulled at the steel circle with his tongue, and Oz arched up against him,
whimpering. Lindsey cupped the younger man's erection through the soft
denim of his jeans, and Oz moaned a quiet, "Please."
what?" seemed like a good response.
suspected that, just as he wasn't used to being on top, neither was Oz
used to being on the bottom. "Please… please touch me."
nothing like the ironic ones of earlier, burst out of Oz. "Oh God… what
are you, a lawyer?"
rubbed softly, and Oz tried again, shuddering. "Please… please take off my
clothes and touch me."
kissed Oz's temple. "OK."
fly opened easily, and then Oz remembered that he was still wearing shoes.
He sat up for a moment and removed them, and Lindsey rid himself of his,
and then Oz guided Lindsey's hands back to his hips. So maybe Oz wasn't
technically on top, but he was still in charge.
found Oz's cock and began to stroke, and Oz's fingers dug into his back.
His jeans came off easily, and then Lindsey's, and suddenly they were
naked and wrapped around each other and writhing in the cool air. Lindsey
kissed his way down Oz's chest, licked the crease of his hip, and gently
bit the inside of Oz's thigh, listening to the other man's breathing
become ragged. And then Lindsey took Oz's cock in his mouth, and Oz
the most submissive of men, Lindsey had to think, there was an incredible
power trip in this act, holding someone completely helpless with nothing
more than well-timed suction and motion. He wrapped his hand around the
base of the shaft and tongued the head, listening as Oz descended into
wordless pleas. Hands that had stroked his hair began to tug and pull and
Oz moaned "ohgodohgodohgod" and then there was his come, salty and tasting
slightly of apples.
back and surprised Lindsey by pulling him into a kiss, licking the last
traces of semen out of his mouth. They lay still as Oz's heartbeat slowed.
"The backpack should be next to you. Take the plastic bottle out of it,
did. "What is it?"
oil." A leg snaked around Lindsey's hips, pulling him hip to hip with Oz.
"I want you to fuck me."
haven't done it before," Oz finished. "It's OK. I have."
the bottle from Lindsey and poured out a bit of something that smelled
like almonds. And then there were marvellously slick hands on his cock,
stroking up and down and around, and Lindsey did not want to fuck; he
wanted to lie there and let the slickness dissolve him into orgasm. But Oz
turned over, pulling a bundle of something under his hips. "Push in
gently," he said. "It'll be more intuitive than you think."
of men--more than he cared to think about--had done this to Lindsey, and
he had never attempted turnabout. He covered Oz's body with his own, his
chest to Oz's back, and lay there for a moment. Then he moved up on his
knees, found Oz's opening, and started to enter the other man's body. Oz
pushed back up against him. "That's it… oh God… yeah, like that."
feel good?" To Lindsey it always had, but on someone else he had no idea.
More. Come on. Deeper."
he was all the way inside and it was hot and tight and oh God. He started
to move, slowly, and then Oz bucked up against him and there was no need
to go slow. Fast and faster and the moans couldn't be his own but they
were and oh God why hadn't he tried this when he was twenty? This was it,
this was perfect, just two bodies in sync with each other. Oz moved to
brace himself on his forearms and yes that was exactly it, that was right,
and Lindsey came with his head thrown back and a hoarse, delighted cry.
And then he collapsed bonelessly next to Oz. The van smelled like almond
blankets back around them and wrapped strong arms around Lindsey. "Thank
you," Lindsey murmured, so softly he hoped Oz wouldn't hear.
did. "Thank you," he answered.
mind wandered--to the first man he'd slept with, the first time he'd
kissed Therica (who, actually, had kissed him--he'd been too shy to try),
to the precise onyx quality of the vampire Angel's eyes.
kiss on his neck. "You're not awake," Oz observed.
tried to remember the last time he'd slept next to another human being.
Since Therica, yes, but not for a while. He was naked and sticky and in a
van that probably dated back to the Reagan administration. But that was
OK. Oz's hand had settled gently at the small of Lindsey's back. Lindsey
fell into sleep easily, and didn't wake for fourteen hours.
did come to, Oz was awake, picking out a melody on his guitar, shirtless
and barefoot but with jeans on. His skin was pale and creamy, and in the
light of the morning, Lindsey could see the piercings--ears and nipples,
as far as he could tell--as well as tattoos, intricate lines around Oz's
wrists and ankles. Oz looked at him but kept going with the tune. He
smiled his crooked smile. "Hi."
smiled back. He felt no regret. "Good morning."
want to put some clothes on, there's a family making breakfast not too far
away. I told their kids stories this morning and they talked their parents
into feeding us."
have you been up?"
hours. Sleep well?"
than I have in a long time."
for a shirt and started to put it on. Lindsey realized that it was his,
the oxford which was now almost unrecognizably wrinkled. He tossed a
bundle of cloth to Lindsey; it was a thermal shirt which was probably
loose-fitting on Oz but which settled with little room to spare around
Lindsey's gym-built muscles.
said. He watched Lindsey dress with a small, satisfied smile on his face.
had built a grill fire and put a frying pan on top of it. They made
blueberry pancakes with maple syrup, and they handed out plastic cups of
orange juice to everyone seated at their picnic table. There were two
parents, fairly close in age to Lindsey, and three children, two boys and
a girl, the oldest of whom was maybe eight. Oz told another story--about a
girl who had been cursed to live her life as a nightingale, who could only
be human for an hour every year, and how she tricked the wizard who cursed
her into not only revoking the hex but accidentally placing it on himself
as well. When Oz finished the story, he bowed with a flourish, and both
children and parents clapped.
breakfast, the family, whose had Kentucky license plates, went on their
way--they had plans to visit family in Fort Collins--and Lindsey and Oz
took out the atlas again. They traced the route east: 76 to 80, loop
around Chicago. Lindsey was going to take 90 through New York State, but
Oz vetoed it: "Thankless stretch of road." They decided on 80 through
Pennsylvania to 81 to 88, and then 90 out of Albany. Oz would pick up 91
in Springfield, up north to Vermont, and Lindsey would continue east to
at Lindsey in the bright late morning sun. "So I'll meet you in Omaha
Lindsey knew he would.