Following Arlene’s directions, Jenny Gillespie’s studio sat tucked away in the centre of Royal Tunbridge Wells, above a travel agent on the main high street. Jaymes—his Rover now back in action—eventually found parking a few streets away on the third floor of a municipal car park. As the engine died, in the gloom of the building, Nathan felt Jaymes’ gaze come to rest on him. Insightful as always, he knew exactly what Nathan was thinking, which is why he’d kept the conversation light and diverting on the drive over. Truth be told, Nathan appreciated his presence, because he knew only too well how nervous he’d have been if he’d come alone. Still, it wasn’t every day you got to take your clothes off for a photographer and showcase your skin and bones, even if not your crown jewels.
As though hearing the doubting voice in his head, a warm hand landed on his thigh and squeezed.
“You know you’re going to rock this, don’t you?”
“Not sure about that.”
Nathan mourned the loss of heat when Jaymes removed his hand, but almost immediately the warmth transferred to around Nathan’s neck and shoulders, pulling him into Jaymes’ body. Nestled against him, Jaymes kissed the side of Nathan’s face and whispered in his ear.
“I’m going to be with you, Nate. All the way.”
Since Sunday—except for working hours—they had spent every waking and sleeping moment together. After visiting the solicitor, they enjoyed a light brunch inside a trendy brasserie overlooking the stormy Eastbourne seafront, and had a long chat about the implications of the will. Jaymes quelled any worries Nathan might have, reasoning that if Nathan, a relative his uncle had met only once, had left him so much money, then his true next of kin would surely have been left a hell of a lot more, making him a very wealthy man.
After lunch, they agreed to drive straight to Polly’s. Instead of dessert, Jaymes had stoked Nathan’s ardour by promising him another unhurried session in the bedroom when they got home. Nathan drove barely under the speed limit and arrived at Polly’s at three-thirty. When Nathan explained the plan to set Jaymes up in Nathan’s spare room, Polly became pensive. If she suspected anything between them, he couldn’t tell. And even though Nathan cited the good sense of the plan, about them keeping very different work hours, about having the spare room available and being able to keep an eye on her cousin, she gave him a quizzical frown as they watched Jaymes load his things into the van. On his way past them, Jaymes deftly changed the subject, asking about her dinner date the night before with her girlfriends. Brilliant ploy, too, because a flustered Polly soon went on the defensive.
“Girlfriends? She told me you had a dinner date with somebody, and it definitely wasn’t the girls. You had a date with Benny Osmond, didn’t you, Polly?” asked Nathan, his arms folded.
“What? No!” said Polly, aghast. “Why would you think that?”
“Because you two were thick as thieves the other night down the pub.”
“He’s a child.”
“Told you,” said Jaymes, tilting his head at Nathan as he carried another box to the van.
“So who, then? We know it wasn’t the girls.”
“None of your beeswax.”
“You know he’s going to keep guessing, Poll,” called Jaymes. “May as well fess up now.”
Polly looked between the two of them, before ramming her hands onto her hips.
“Fine. I had dinner with Katherine Osmond, Benny’s mum.”
“Oh. Oh?” said Nathan, raising his eyebrows.
“For goodness’ sake, nothing like that. I called her to find out what she knew about Arlene and, as she wasn’t busy on Saturday night, suggested we have a drink and a bite to eat. Appeal to her journalistic curiosity, so to speak. Apparently she doesn’t trust her either. So now I’ve got her on the case to find out more.”
“My goodness, you are one tenacious little private detective, aren’t you?” said Nathan. “Hang on. Were you going to keep this a secret?”
“I wanted to surprise you. She may not come up with anything.”
“Polly,” said Nathan, mock frowning. “You know we don’t keep secrets from each other.”
Behind Polly’s left shoulder, Jaymes stopped moving, caught his eye, and pulled a face. Catching on, Nathan felt his cheeks colour. Fortunately Polly didn’t notice.
“If I find anything out, you’ll be the first to know, okay? So are you boys coming in for a drink?”
Jaymes beat Nathan to the reply.
“Would love to, Poll, but I really need to get back and unpack my stuff in the spare room. And if Nathan doesn’t mind me using his ironing board, I should get some clothes ready for tomorrow morning.”
“Knock yourself out.”
“Fine, I’ll come to you then,” said Polly, not letting up. “I’ve been marking homework all morning and my brain is ready to implode. Need a dose of adult company along with my favourite tipple. I also want to hear what your solicitor had to say.”
Nathan and Jaymes exchanged a panicked glance.
“Sure,” said Nathan, shrugging defeat, noticing Jaymes rub a hand over his eyebrows. “How about you give us an hour to get Jaymes settled and then come over. Text me when you’re near. Maybe we can order some take-out—”
“No, I’ll cook,” said Jaymes, a little abruptly, slapping Nathan on the shoulder. “Enough with the bloody take-outs. But can we stop off at the supermarket on the way back?”
“Ooh,” said Polly, clapping her hands together. “Jaymes is going to cook. Bonus. He has a proper oven now. He cooks really well, Nathan. Wait until you’ve been wowed by one of his recipes.”
Nathan knew Polly managed to feed herself with only a microwave, a toaster, and piles of take-out menus. How Jaymes survived so long, heaven only knew.
Fortunately, Polly left early. After Jaymes amazed them both with tenderloin steaks, red wine jus, fried onions, button mushrooms, green beans and sautéed potatoes, together with Polly’s bottle of full bodied red Italian Amarone, they fell onto the sofa—Polly in between Jaymes and Nathan—and discussed the trip to the solicitors. Polly agreed with Jaymes, about the warning being unnecessary, that his first cousin already had a life in Australia, maybe even a family of his own, and probably a huge windfall from his late father. Why would he want to endure the miserable weather of England and be chained to a bakery?
By eight, knowing Nathan had to rise early, noticing him yawning a couple of times, Polly left. Nathan and Jaymes both waved her off from the front stoop. As soon as Nathan stepped inside and closed the front door behind them, Jaymes pulled him into an embrace, eagerly seeking out his mouth, his hands cupping and squeezing Nathan’s backside. An involuntary moan escaped Nathan, as he moulded himself into Jaymes’ body, his own passion burning with anticipation. Until Jaymes broke the kiss and whispered into Nathan’s ear.
“Come on. Let’s rinse the dirty dishes and load the dishwasher.”
“Mr Fischer, you have a strange sense of foreplay.”
“I’m thinking bed, but maybe we ought to sleep. You have to be up early tomorrow.”
Nathan pulled away and stared incredulous at Jaymes.
“There is absolutely no way I’m going to be able to sleep. Not until I’ve expended a good deal of energy. Any suggestions?”
“Want to go for a run?” said Jaymes, smirking playfully.
“I’m thinking more along the lines of a blow job,” said Nathan, rubbing his erection against Jaymes’.
With a growl, Jaymes lifted Nathan off the floor, threw him over his shoulder, and swiftly clumped up the stairs. In the bedroom, he carefully unloaded him onto the mattress and proceeded to climb on top. Face to face, unhurriedly now, they began to undress each other, helping one another by shifting their body weight to allow an item of clothing to be fully removed. Eventually, when both lay naked alongside each other, Jaymes kissed him deeply, before letting his mouth and hands explore Nathan’s body. Without pausing for breath, Jaymes swallowed Nathan’s cock, his tongue working him hard, while a hand squeezed his balls before sliding around to his backside, a finger stroking around his crack. Nathan already felt his orgasm building, but when Jaymes pulled his mouth away and instead focused his tongue’s attention on his backside, spreading the cheeks wide with his hands, Nathan felt his control slip away. At the first swipe, Nathan surrendered to the sensation, but when Jaymes face buried into him, his tongue working wildly, rabidly, a fierce climax ripped out of him. Jaymes seemed as surprised as Nathan, because, after a brief chuckle, he stopped what he was doing and concentrated on the head of Nathan’s cock, drinking as much as Nathan had left to give him.
“I think somebody needed that,” said Jaymes, giving Nathan a salty kiss.
“You have no idea. But what about you?”
“Hmm. I’m looking forward to being inside you.”
“Then what the hell are you waiting for?”
This time, a usually energetic, enthusiastic, Jaymes took his time preparing and fucking Nathan. When he finally began the erratic to-and-fro thrust for home, Nathan’s erection had returned and he came a second time moments after Jaymes.
“It’s almost ten. We need to sleep.”
Nathan reluctantly agreed, relaxing against Jaymes’ body. Jaymes was right, of course, Nathan would need to rise in just over three hours to get things ready for Arthur and his son. Nevertheless, he breathed out an irritated sigh.
“Your cousin is a total passion killer, you know that?”
“She wasn’t to know. Are you annoyed?”
“Not really. There’ll be plenty of other times. Simply looking forward to having you in my bed.”
“Ditto. Breakfast at five-thirty? I’ve bought blueberries, yogurt, and oatmeal.”
“Are you sure? You can stay in bed, if you want.”
“Nope. We breakfast together. New home, new rule. Now let’s sleep.“
Which is what they did. Nathan rose just before one on Monday morning, sliding carefully out of bed so as not to wake Jaymes. However, this time, once he’d done his usual routines and made sure Arthur and his son had everything they needed, he slipped back upstairs, set his alarm for five, and climbed back into bed. As promised, they shared breakfast together, the first in a line of concessions.
At seven on Monday evening, Nathan heard the door slam downstairs. He’d just emerged from the bathroom after a customary shower, a towel wrapped around his waist.
“Honey, I’m home,” came the now-familiar voice, from below stairs.
Nathan chuckled to himself. Jaymes’ slow, deliberate footsteps clomping on the stairs halted him, a moment of delicious anticipation at seeing the man he shared a bed with, a man he was allowed to touch and kiss and savour, a man he had been thinking about all day. As Jaymes’ entered the room, he slowed, his smile slipping, his eyes widening, taking in Nathan’s state of undress. Nathan’s pulse raced at the instantaneous reaction. Dropping the bag from his shoulder and absently throwing papers onto the table, Jaymes strode over to Nathan and almost knocked him off his feet, crushing him into an embrace.
“Fuck! I’ve been thinking about you naked all day. And here you are, like an unexpected Christmas present. Do you always shower after your day in the shop?”
“Then I am well and truly fucked. I’m not normally a creature of habit, but this I could get used to.”
“Hmm,” said Nathan, nuzzling Jaymes’ neck but jumping as a hand crept beneath the rim of his towel and softly squeezed his balls. After letting out a gentle sigh, Nathan inhaled Jaymes’ body scent of leaf, and earth, and manual work. Yes, thought Nathan, he could definitely get used to making a habit of this kind of stress relief at the end of a busy day.
Tuesday evening, as Nathan stood under the shower, he thought he heard the front door slam, and reduced the water pressure so he could listen better. Confirming his suspicions, he heard the sound of running footsteps on the stairs, punctuated by a sudden crash, a string of expletives in Jaymes’ distinctive voice, followed by more hastened footsteps. When the door to the bathroom burst open, Jaymes had already removed his boots, shirt, most of his jeans, and hopped on one foot trying to remove a thick woollen sock.
“You started without me!” he said, in a mock petulant voice,
“Only just begun, Jay,” said Nathan, setting the water to full throttle again. “Getting myself washed and ready and prepped to give you a good time. But do you really want to start in here? In my—what was it you called it—phone booth shower? I mean, is it safe, bearing in mind you can barely navigate the stairs?”
Unheeding, Jaymes--completely naked now--wrenched open the cubicle door and squeezed in with Nathan. Instantly, his arms snaked around Nathan, their slick bodies crushing together, Jaymes’ already hard cock rubbing against Nathan’s, their mouths finding each other with new familiarity. After satisfying himself, Jaymes pulled away, then pushed his nose gently into Nathan’s ear.
“Let’s find out, shall we?”
Wednesday afternoon, and both Jaymes and Nathan had taken a few hours off work. Traditionally, Wednesdays tended to be less busy than the rest of the week and old hand Molly could always call him with any problems. Jaymes, having worked nonstop since he had arrived in town, kept his own hours and simply took the time off. Nathan found himself getting calmer on the stroll from the carpark to the studio. Jaymes walked alongside in companionable silence, their shoulders occasionally bumping together. In only a few days, they had settled into a comfortable existence of careful, companionable distance in public, and full throttle, no holds barred action in the bedroom. For the moment, at least, Nathan relished the arrangement.
At the top of a narrow staircase, a smiling Jenny met them at the front door to the studio. After shaking hands with Nathan she peered quizzically at Jaymes.
“This is Jaymes. He’s a friend. Here for moral support,” said Nathan, clocking the appraising looks Jenny cast Jaymes. “He’s not a member of the football team, if that’s what you’re thinking.”
“Shame,” said Jenny, giving Jaymes an appreciative once-over. “Come on in, both of you.”
Inside what was probably once a largish flat of two or three bedrooms, the structure been knocked into a substantial wooden floor-panelled workspace. Two doors led off into what Nathan assumed to be a bathroom and a kitchen. Three couches stood arranged against one of the walls, one of them beneath the shuttered windows and the others either side, somewhere for the subject matter to relax when they weren’t being photographed. Someone had decorated a corner of the studio to look like a miniature baker’s shop. Shelves housing trays of assorted glazed bread loaves, buns and colourful cakes, together with a wooden butcher’s block lit by bright spotlights filled the space. Nathan walked over and squeezed one of the loaves but found them to be solid.
“They’re plastic” said a laughing Jenny. “Well, a couple of the props are real. But a friend works in West End theatre as a set designer, and loaned them to me.”
“Apart from the smell—or lack of—I’d never have known. So where do you want me?”
“Let’s sit down, have a cup of tea and a chat first. Then I can tell you what I have in mind.”
Jenny’s ploy, clearly meant to get Nathan relaxed, worked up to a point. Apart from soothing pop songs playing in the background, and a lavender infuser lightly tainting the air of the room, they reclined on one of the comfortable sofas. Jenny ran through her ideas, of having him in a variety of poses and his groin being covered each time by various props. For each idea, she continuously asked his opinion and purposely included Jaymes. To compliment the glaze of the loaves, she suggested Nathan oil his entire body with baby oil, and have him naked except for his football socks, either shoved down the ankles—as though he’d just played a game—or neatly pulled up to the knee. For his part, she wanted some photographs with him looking directly at the camera, and some where he picked a spot off-camera and held the gaze of someone.
“You’re probably thinking this is all about the body, but remember that people always zero in on the face first. A good-looking face like yours with an interesting expression will trump a sexy body any day. And remember I’m a static camera photographer—no Annie Leibovitz—so don’t worry about me hopping about or crouching down in front of you. I’ll be seated on a small stool all the time, but if you get the impulse to move about, don’t worry, just go with your instinct. The camera’s on a swivel and I’ll follow your lead.”
An hour after they’d arrived, she suggested he head to the bathroom to get oiled up and put on his white robe, while she played with her light meter and adjusted her camera with trial snaps at the empty backdrop. Jaymes began to offer to help, but Nathan waved him off, knew if Jaymes started to rub him down with oil, they would never leave the bathroom. Just as Nathan began to stand, Jaymes put a hand on his shoulder and pulled him back down to sitting. Without removing his hand, he began to massage the shoulder.
“Are you okay, Nate?,” whispered Jaymes. “You’re wound tighter than the first lady.”
Jaymes reached another hand out and tidied a lock of hair over Nathan’s ear, before massaging the other shoulder. Nathan closed his eyes and enjoyed the sensation.
“You want me to cook you dinner when we get home?”
Nathan opened his eyes and rolled them, but smiled into Jaymes’ warm gaze.
“You’re always cooking for me. It’s not fair to you.”
“Do you hear me complain? Besides, it’s part of our rental agreement. And I’m hoping that maybe you’ll get naked for me again later tonight.”
Jaymes reached out and smoothed his thumb slowly across Nathan’s lips, a little idiosyncrasy of Jaymes that Nathan had begun to enjoy.
“I’ve been naked for you every night since Saturday.”
“And your point being…?”
Nathan chuckled and felt some of his anxiety fade. But the soft clicking of the camera brought him back to himself, and he began to stand. Before leaving, he leant in, held Jaymes’ chin in one hand, and a pecked a quick kiss on his lips. Freezing suddenly, he realised what he had done, and quickly cast a glance at Jenny, but noticed her already immersed in her work.
“Oops, sorry. Come on. Let me get this over with.”
Unlike the rest of the studio, the small pink bathroom appeared original with its cracked sink, scratched perspex shower cubicle, short but deep bath—all in pink, of course—and pink toilet. Only the floor-to-ceiling mirror with lightbulbs all around appeared new. Nathan undressed, grabbed the giant sized bottle of baby oil and started to smother himself. After ten minutes, Nathan poked his head out of the door and called Jaymes in, to check he had covered himself evenly. Satisfied, Nathan tied his robe and pushed Jaymes back out into the studio.
“Okay, Nathan. For the first couple of minutes, leave your robe on, and just find a spot and a pose that feels natural and where you feel at ease.”
“Local pub?” offered Nathan.
At least Jenny had the decency to laugh at his lame joke.
“I’m not sure the elderly patrons at the Duke’s Head are ready for a semi-naked baker.”
After five minutes of self-conscious posing, Jenny suggested he drop the robe. Jaymes obliged by coming over and collecting the garment from him. Even when he eventually got used to the blinding spotlights, Nathan felt as stiff as a board—and not in a good way. Following Jenny’s choreography, he moved around the set, at one point holding a wholemeal loaf in front of him, or kneeling down sidelong to place bread into a basket, his outside knee raised and hiding anything but a sprinkling of pubic hair. On a couple of occasions, Jaymes told him to relax, but the coaxing seemed to have the reverse effect. An occasionally murmured ‘good’ from Jenny seemed far from adequate, but fifteen minutes into the shoot, and Nathan felt ‘good’ was going to be as much as he had to offer.
“Relax, Nathan,” said Jaymes, again.
“I am trying to bloody relax. You constantly telling me is not helping.”
At that point, Nathan noticed Jaymes—standing a good stride behind Jenny—lean forward and whisper something into her ear.Without turning, Jenny stopped shooting and nodded.
“Nathan,” she said, her eyes focused on him. “Let’s have you up on the butcher’s block, facing the camera, lying on your side. Use the football to cover your groin.”
“Seriously?” said Nathan, clambering up onto the surface and laying out flat. The coldness of the countertop raised gooseflesh as first, but the studio lights soon helped to provide warmth.
Comfortable at last, he looked over to see Jaymes standing behind Jenny’s right shoulder, watching and grinning, while Jenny snapped away.
“Try to relax a little more,” said Jenny, which succeeded in making him roll his eyes and tense up even more.
As he lay on his side, matching the pose Jaymes had adopted in the Mosswold lodge—no coincidence there, clearly what Jaymes had suggested to Jenny—Jaymes caught his eye. Grinning mischievously, Jaymes smoothed a hand down from his tight tee-clad chest, passing over his stomach, and stopping at the fly to his jeans. Without hesitating, he popped the top button, unzipped himself and then thrust a hand behind the waistband of his briefs. With Nathan watching mesmerised, he grabbed at his package, slowly squeezing and readjusting. Nathan’s eyes became saucers and instant lust filled him.
“Good. Good!” said Jenny. “Nice. Hold that expression.”
Not difficult for Nathan. Except the good intentions began to have another effect on Nathan, and he felt blood pounding south. With one hand cradling his chin, the other draped on top of the football of black and white regular pentagonal patches, he felt his cock begin to rise to the occasion. Embarrassed, he rolled onto his stomach but in doing so, his hip knocked the ball away from himself and off the bench. All the time he could hear the click, click, click of Jenny’s camera mingled with the rhythmic smack, smack, smack of the football bouncing across the floor. Totally exposed now, stretched out with his backside on full display, he crossed his long legs at the socked ankles, raised his upper torso on his elbows and glared over at Jaymes.
“Brilliant!” said Jenny, snapping her camera furiously. “Keep that look!”
Jaymes, of course, simply grinned back at the glare, and Nathan couldn’t help the wicked grin that joined in with his angry glare.
“No idea what you’re doing behind me, Jaymes, but keep doing it. And as for you, Nathan. Amazing. You’re a natural,” said Jenny, the excitement clear in her voice.
Five minutes later—probably fifteen minutes earlier than expected, Jenny called time.
“Already?” said Jaymes, astonished. He handed a relieved Nathan his robe which he donned instantly.
“Trust me. I’ve got everything I need. Unless you want to get naked, Jaymes.”
“Maybe another time, thanks.”
“Good. Then I think we’re done here.”
“Can we take a look?”
Jenny beckoned them both over and used the small viewer on the back of her camera to show a couple of the better shots. Although Nathan couldn’t see the full details in the miniature screen, he was impressed with the quality.
“I said you’d rock this,” murmured Jaymes, grinning at Nathan. "And, as usual, I was right.”
“They’ll need cropping and editing,” said Jenny. “Not sure if they’d be better in full colour or monochrome. We’ll see. I promised I’d let Arlene see them all before we choose the final shot. My one small concession to her. Hope that’s okay with you?”
“Fine by me,” said Nathan.
“Good then,” said Jenny, smiling. “I think you’ve set the bench quite high today, Nathan. Sometimes I snap hundreds of shots and never get the one. From what I can tell, at least ten of these are beauties. Unless one of the other players pulls something out of the hat, I think we may well have our calendar centrefold.”
Nathan gulped, while Jaymes beamed triumphantly.
“And?” asked Jaymes, a smug look on his face, waiting for Nathan to tell him he was right.
“And, I’m going to take a hot shower to get this oil off me. Andthen, you’re taking me for a drink.”
“Fine, but fully clothed.”
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