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Red carpet reunion [Rowan and Fletcher]

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Offline Beejoux

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Red carpet reunion [Rowan and Fletcher]
« on: January 19, 2020, 01:05:38 PM »
The red carpet had been standard fair : women in extravagant dresses with men as accessories, probably a half dozen people pinning Fletcher with questions about the band, what he was doing now as if it wasn't played out news by this point.

The movie had been beautiful but mediocre. Already critics were whispering that while performances were adequate and the costumes incredible, the story had been nonsensical. Fun but stupid. It would make money, and was Cooper Cole break into blockbusters.

The after party, though, was something else. The house was on the river, the bar on the roof overlooking an elaborate swimming pool on one side and the rest of the city on the other. Famous people in toned down outfits sipped at champagne and picked at fancy hors d'oeuvres on pristine white couches in one room, and snorted coke in the bathroom.

Cooper Cole himself had set up by the pool, his jacket off to leave him in rolled up shirtsleeves and a vintage vest, but he was trying to convince some wide eyed twenty somethings to hop in the water.


Walking the red carpet had been like running a gauntlet.  A series of uncomfortable and too personal questions he didn't want to answer, microphones being shoved in his face, and rather than finding a nice corner to hide in Fletcher had had to endure, make polite and witty small talk with the correspondents.  He'd had to smile, try not to let anything show beside pleasant excitement for the movie.

He'd hated it.

The after party was supposed to make it all worth it.  There was a full service bar, there was music, energy, laughter.  There was even blow in the bathroom, but the bassist had turned down the invitation to join in.  So far.

He stood at the bar instead, elbows resting on the curving countertop with a copper cup cradled in his hands, the toe of his boot tapping restlessly against the ground.


Largely, everyone was leaving him alone - for better or worse. It was a self absorbed crowd, and most of the people here were more interested in hearing themselves talk than prying into Fletcher's personal life. The result was relaxing, but probably boring.

And lonely.

He'd be about halfway through his drink when he'd feel a pickle down his spine. It was more than a sense someone was looking at him - it was a certainty.


It certainly made time drag, left him pining to duck into the bathroom just to feel the charged rush he'd get from the white powder.  The high would have been an escape.  His head turned in that direction as he chewed at the inside of his lip, nails ticking against the cool sides of his cup before he dipped his head to take a long drink.

Which was when he felt it, that prickling rush, like a chill racing down his spine but not, and carrying the weight of eyes watching him.  He straightened, toe tapping ending as both feet rested on the floor, and couldn't help but rake blue eyes through the surrounding crowd.


The feeling passed when he turned - but as his eyes raked through the crowd he'd catch a glimpse of blonde hair braided back, a gold oak leaf clip pinning it in place. The shimmer of a green suit. And a smell of summer breeze - but maybe that was in his head.


Even a month (or was it two at this point?) later and Fletcher recognized the soft scent.  It sent a tingling rush down his arms, as he stepped away from the bar, head moving left, then right, to try to see through the ever shifting crowd.  He'd have sworn, if just for a moment...

Moscow mule in one hand he wandered into the mass of party guests, weaving between stylishly dressed bodies, heading blindly in the direction he thought he'd caught a glimpse of golden hair.


It was like a game. A hunt. He'd catch a glimpse of gold catching the light, or a carefully manicured hand waving someone off in dismissal, and then it'd be gone into the next room. Fletcher would be lead around by the nose for at least twenty minutes before he'd catch up - only to find his Absinthe by the pool, casual as they could be, chatting up Cooper Cole with a dry familiarity and not even looking at him.


The game went on long enough for Fletch to finish his drink and discard the cup on a table in passing.  Long enough to wonder if he might just have been seeing things, but just as he'd be ready to give up the hunt he'd get another whiff of that summer sweet scent and that'd lead him on for a little while longer.  Of course even when he'd actually found him he wasn't entirely certain he wasn't just imagining the other man.  That he'd looked for him for so long at that point that his mind had just provided.  Damaged by all the partying after all.

But no, it was really him, standing near the edge of the pool in greens and florals with that long hair drawn back similar to how it'd been the first time.  Fletcher's approach was almost cautious, hands tucking into the back pockets of the dark jeans he was wearing and head already ducked as he shot a quick glance up at Cooper Cole.


Cooper Cole was - well, weirdly sober, in comparison to a lot of people. Quietly amused, he was saying something that he thought was funny but obviously Absinthe wasn't impressed by, judging by his flat expression. And it was Cooper Cole’s eyes that settled on Fletcher first, one eyebrow raised in question. Fletcher would just make out his murmured question - "Yours or mine?" - before Absinthe's eyes lifted to settle on him. His expression mild and impossible to read.


He forced himself to straighten up, meeting the actor's eyes with, well, not exactly confidence, but at least not outright fear.  "Congratulations on the premier.  You looked good up there."  Which was true.  The story hadn't quite flowed, but Cooper had down a good job with what he'd been given, and that certainly counted for something.

His gaze drifted to Absinthe, trying to read his expression and failing.  Trying to gauge how welcome his presence was in that moment.  Trying to parse out what that murmured comment from Cole could possibly have meant.


"I look better not in blue face paint." but it was amused more than it was honestly self deprecating - and a bit flirtatious, definitely. He raked a look over Fletcher. "I know you."


Ginger brows arched at the tone, arched a little more at the look, genuinely surprised.   "You do?"  People on the street recognizing him was a normal occurrence for him, but he still wasn't used to it from other...celebrities.  It didn't feel like the right label, but it'd serve.

Another quick little flick of his eyes back to Absinthe.  He hadn't said anything yet, and that was making the musician nervous.


"There was a party..." He fished for the memory, rubbing at the line of his jaw. And while Fletcher and Cooper Cole spoke, Absinthe just...watched. Sipped at his drink. And looked just faintly, amused. "I remember Fireball Whiskey going around and then something stronger and then I got out. The wrong kind of publicity for my image."


That got a nod, a press of his lips, and his fingers twitched where they remained buried in his back pockets.  "At a warehouse?"  It was the last big party Fletcher had been in attendance at, so that was more than likely the one.  "I don't think we met officially."  Not that he could remember, which didn't mean it didn't happen...  "Odd question, but when you saw me there was I wearing a shirt?"


"...ah. No. I didn't go to that one." Cooper Cole rolled his shoulder slowly, and maybe there was a disapproving edge behind his expression now. "I knew that one would be bad for my image from the get go."


If not from there, then which party?  Fletcher's head tilted subtly as he thought about it, but he'd been doing everything in his power to not be present up to that point that everything was mostly a jumble.  "Good move on your part.  I didn't stay the whole time, and heard after the fact that a lot of shady shit was going down and the host's landed himself in quite a lot of trouble."

He was very aware of Absinthe standing there, and he wondered if the warmth he felt radiating faintly on that side of his body was real or just in his head.


Cooper Cole caught the direction of his eyes, then, and half turned. "Oh. I've been rude. Have you met Rowan?" And the second the name was on him, green eyes cut to him with a brief wave of fury. Most men would melt at that look. Cooper Cole just grinned. "Oh. Well. Now you have."


Fletcher caught the fury but could see no reason for it other than now he had an actual name to place with that lovely face.  It got the briefest flicker of a questioning look, but he turned back to Cooper, smile disarmingly pleasant.  "We crossed paths at a party a few months ago, discussed music."  Back to Absinthe--Rowan.  "Good to see you again."


Rowan rumbled, smoothing his expression out into something almost painfully bland. And he said nothing yet. Instead Cooper Cole grinned wider, looking back to Fletcher. "Oh, you're that musician."


There was more going on that Fletcher could suss out, and it had him curling his fingers enough to catch his nails against the inside stitching of his pockets.  He didn't know if he could carry on pretending like he didn't notice anything amiss, or if he should address it, and for a moment he just watched Rowan's face until Cooper's question drew him back, smile twitching back into place.  "Depends on which musician you mean."


"A valid point." He patted Rowan on the shoulder,  which seemed like a move that could take his hand off. He didn't seem worried about it. "He put up a lot of capital for the movie."


That got an interested look, gaze sliding from one to the other.  "Did you know each other before that?"


"For a few years." Cooper Cole's eyes were bright, catching Fletcher's - and for a moment he was very attractive, the light catching him just so, his shirt unbuttoned just the right amount - and then Rowan cleared his throat and it shut off. "He helped me get set up in the industry."


There was a moment where Fletcher couldn't seem to look away, gaze lingering longer than he intended or even realized.  Rowan clearing his throat made him blink, brows twitching as he shook his head.  "That was fortunate."  The smile returned a beat later.  "Now we get to watch you having interstellar adventures on the big screen."


He shook his head a bit, waving it off. "I don't think there'll be a sequel." And then his eyes cut to Rowan and his smile quirked up again, like he couldn't help it. Like he enjoyed the prickly annoyance. "Do you want a drink, musician?"


"Maybe not, but more movies for you, nonetheless."  Poor writing or editing didn't take away from good acting.  There might be a lull, but Cooper would be back on screen soon enough.

The offer of a drink had him glancing back at Rowan.  "A Moscow mule, if it's not too much trouble."  One drink into the evening and he was damn near sober still.  Another wouldn't hurt, especially not with avoiding the bathroom and the blow.


"And you?" He looked to Rowan -- and smiled at the wash of annoyance, clear as day before Rowan managed to settle it down. He held up his champagne, barely half drunk, meaningfully.

Cooper Cole shook his head, patted Fletcher on the shoulder on his way past, and almost immediately caught someone else's attention, sliding across the room and into a different conversation. It was doubtful he'd be back with any drinks.


Cooper's departure was met with a friendly smile, Fletcher watching him walk off and immediately into another conversation. Which was fine.  The actor seemed nice enough, at least at the surface, but Fletch wasn't blind to the way he'd been poking and prodding, nor to Rowan's responses to it, subtle though they may be.

Fingers pressed harder against the thick seams lining the edges of his pockets, gaze dipping to his boots for a second or two before he was looking up at the shorter man.


For his part, Rowan tapped fingers light against the edge of his glass, the sound ringing quietly, and watched until Cooper Cole was gone. Then his eyes resettled onto Fletcher, nakedly assessing. "You seem almost sober."


It wasn't a chuckle but it was close, lips tugging back in a quick grin.  "Damn close to it."  And apparently staying that way for the moment, since Cooper probably wasn't coming back.  "I had a drink up stairs before something pulled me away from the bar."


One more little beat -- and he shifted the glass, carefully, to beckon Fletcher in closer with two fingers. The gesture was the same. But the smell, a bit different: dryer, hotter, less the start of summer and more the height of it. "Let's see."


Now he pulled his hands from his pockets, fingers flexing, and lowered them to his sides as he turned, stepping in closer.  Not touching, but barely resisting the temptation to.  Certainly within easy reach.


Rowan put those fingers under his jaw to tip his head, to take in his pupils, his own eyes narrowed. "I'm surprised you're here, and not hiding out."


Warm.

Just that small touch made him shiver and he looked back at Rowan with eyes half lidded.  After so long, and considering everything leading up to it, he'd begin to wonder if he'd just imagined the feel of the man's skin.

He licked his lips at the comment, considered something witty to toss back, discarded it.  "I've been looking for you."


"Unsuccessfully, so far." It was easy, his own expression faded back to something relaxed and mild, hard to read -- the tension gone. Fletcher obviously didn't get under his skin the way Cooper Cole did. "If you'd been smart, you could have gotten the license plate."


"Hindsight."  Though even if he hadn't been drunk the idea likely wouldn't have occurred to him.  Who owned their own limo?  Rowan, apparently.

"You're hard to find."


"I'm easy to find, if you know the right people." He took his hand back and downed the rest of the champagne in one go. "You follow a different crowd."


He swayed forward with the departure of warm fingers, like he was trying to savor the feel of them. "So I learned."  But here he was, just as Fletcher had given up hope of actually finding him.


He set the glass down with a clink, appraising look dragged over Fletcher again. "You're nearly last month's news, you know."


Since he didn't know what to say to that he said nothing, just watched instead, as the sweep of green eyes brought a splash of color to his face.


And Rowan smiled just a little, breathing out. It was obviously easier to settle into his role without Cooper Cole there ribbing him. "It's not a good thing?"


The prompting made him fidget, more nervous this time around, either from the almost sobriety or knowing what was at stake if he fucked it up again.  "It is.  I mean I'm glad I'm not..."


Rowan shrugged at that, adjusting his tie and dragging his eyes off of Fletcher to the crowd beyond. "Have you done anything useful?"


"Started writing again."  He'd been touting on about a solo album for months now, his manager hounding him to actually start it if for no other reason than to keep himself occupied.  "Working on my album."


"Are you?" The surprise in his tone was a bit unkind, eyebrows raised.


Fletcher blinked, drawing in a breath like he meant to protest the tone but let it out when he really couldn't argue with the surprise.  "Yes."

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Offline Beejoux

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Re: Red carpet reunion [Rowan and Fletcher]
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2020, 01:06:42 PM »
"In the studio?" He folded arms across his chest, and set his hip against a table.


"Not ready for studio time yet, I'm still working on lyrics and composition."  He tapped the toe of his boot against the ground, hands returning to back pockets.  "I'll need to look into studios though, it'll need to be big enough to accommodate."


Rowan rumbled, tapping fingers against his elbow. "You're thinking about an album, then."


"Working on one, yes."  He'd already run it past his manager, who'd been delighted to hear his client was actually work again.


"Until you're funded, it's just a thought experiment." Which sounded just like an investor. But he considered for another moment before he straightened to start through the crowd toward the main house.


Fletcher stood there awkwardly watching him walk away for a moment before hurrying to catch up.  "My manager tells me there's investors interested, to just concentrating on getting it written."


"Managers always say that." He moved through the place with familiarity, like he'd been there often: past the bar into an empty dining room and through, into the foyer. Here, the sound of the party started to fade into the background.

He didn't know where they were going but it didn't really matter, either.  The music was fading along with the sound of many people in one place having a good time.  "They do, and good managers deliver."



Rowan drew a deep breath and headed up a short flight of stairs into what felt like a more private living space: a bedroom and attached salon, master suite. And, on one wall, a handful of expensive guitars. Rowan pointed up to them, a quick flick of fingers. "Which?"


It was obvious Rowan knew where he was going.  Fletcher had no idea, though considering the setting he had a few ideas.  Well, more like hopes.  Then they'd reached the wall of mounted guitars and it clicked.  "You want me to sing."  Not a question.  the redhead gave a softly amused huff as he stepped forward to get a better look at the guitars.

Sender fingers traced the curved side of one as he moved past it.  "These are incredible."


"We had a deal." He slid hands into his pockets, attention on Fletcher's face again, considering. "I expect a song, at least. Just don't break anything."


He was admiring the collection with genuine interest and appreciation, taking his time as he moved down the line until he stopped at a twelve string, something old enough he knew it'd be costly as fuck, but beyond that he couldn't tell year.  He shrugged out of his jacket to lay it on the nearest empty piece of furniture, popped the buttons on his cuffs and rolled the sleeves back, then finally lifted it carefully from the mount.

There was no strap so he took a seat on the edge of the couch, guitar resting on his leg and hand sliding up the frets and across the strings, testing for tautness before he strummed a few bars to hear if it needed tuning at all.


Desperately. It desperately needed tuning. Not only was it bad enough to make Fletcher wince, it mad Rowan grimace. He didn't sit, just propped his hip against a table again.


He did wince, practically cringed, but with a bit of fiddling he managed to get it back to sounding beautiful again in a matter of a few minutes.  "That's better.  These don't ever get touched, do they?"


"Not in - years. Cooper Cole reinvented himself, and now he doesn't play." He shrugged, just one shoulder, watching Fletcher.


Blue eyes flicked up to the wall of guitars, lips pressing together, but it was pretty clear what he was thinking--what a waste.

He picked out a small tune as he considered which song to sing and finally settled on one.  The idle tune shifted, sobered, Fletchers fingers moving effortlessly along the strings as he strummed out the first few cords of 'Wicked Games'.


Rowan watched him for another moment before turning his own attention up to the guitars: expression gone distant in a more relaxed way. His eyes largely unfocused and posture less stiffly contained.


Fletcher's singing voice was a touch lower than his speaking.  Low and on the soulful side.  "The world was on fire and no one could save me but you.  It's strange what desire can make foolish people do."  He started softly, building as the song progressed. Carrying notes effortlessly.  The whole time he kept his gaze down, maybe watching the frets as his hand moved, maybe just not wanting to see Rowan's expression as he listened.


Wise, if he actually valued this talent : Rowan definitely seemed like the type to critique. But at least he wasn't the type to interrupt. He was very quiet, very still, while Fletcher sang.


He continued on, hitting all the highs and lows and going beyond.  Adding to it, his own little flare here and there so it wasn't just some basic cover.  And eventually he did glance up, but only with the briefest flick of blue eyes before focusing back on his hands, or closing them altogether.

The last note carried, both sung and played, until Fletcher finally lay his palm against the strings to quiet them.


Rowan looked remarkably relaxed, in that glance. His own eyes were closed and his expression softened just a bit. Somehow, it made him prettier - and made the room smell like trees again and that warm pickle up Fletcher's spine. He didn't say anything.


The prickling brought with it a rush of goosebumps that lingered even as Fletcher folded his arms carefully against the curve of the guitar, eyes on Rowan, admiring.  Unwilling to to draw attention back to himself just yet.  He rested his cheek on his arms.


He had a long neck and an elegant tip of his head and the tips of his ears were just delicately pointed, just so, half hidden by the careful braiding of his hair. In one ear sat a single green stud, that at the moment caught the light just right. He stayed like that for a moment, thinking, and then looked back to Fletcher. "I'm not going to invest in your solo album."


Gringer brows arched at that, head lifting.  "I didn't even know you were an investor until half an hour ago, so I didn't assume this was a pitch."  It was follow-through for a promise.


"It wasn't. I was just being clear." He shrugged, his eyes coming back onto focus and his shoulders squaring a bit.


Fletcher dipped his head in a nod, the corners of his lips twitching up just faintly.  Happy to see the other man, more than he really should have been, and trying not to let it show.


"But I would have you come and perform." He chewed it over a little bit, unfolding his arms and rolling out his shoulders.


"You would?"  His head tipped, back straightening and hands sliding along the curves of the guitar.


"My family likes a talent." He straightened, then, looking down at the guitar. "You have instruments?"


Fletcher nodded, giving the strings a last fond slide of his fingers before he shifted it off his lips and stood up so he could put it back.  "Many," he confirmed, glancing back.


"I was going to suggest you steal that one and see if Cooper Cole notices." He gestured down toward the guitar, idly. "I have my doubts. Not soon anyway."


That made him pause, the neck of the guitar not yet touching the mount, blue eyes turning back to the shorter man.  "Steal it?"  He frowned thoughtfully down at the beautiful instrument again.  "I couldn't..."


"He hasn't played it in..." A little pause, assessing, and then he shrugged, swallowing whatever he'd been about to say. "Who knows."


"It's a huge waste, but I can't just take it."  Even if a part of him wanted to, he just didn't have it in him to steal.  His thumb smoothed over one of the Pearl inlays, up along the neck and over the tuning pegs.


"Well, you could ask him for it, but I guarantee that would cost you." He rolled his shoulders, taking a step back through the room.


It was a beautiful, old, neglected guitar and it would have been a lot to say he didn't want it.  But he didn't need it, and with an almost pained sound he put it back and stepped away.

He grabbed his jacket as he turned to follow, long legs letting him catch up easily.  And while he walked he dug a hand into the inner beast pocket of the leather jacket.


Maybe Rowan should have given him some words of approval -- commented on how nice his singing had been, or at least called it satisfactory. Instead he just started back the way they came, toward the noise. "It's good you're working. Obviously you're a disaster when you don't."


"Wait, I've got-"  He finally pulled whatever it was he'd been digging for free.  It was long and green, probably very expensive, and Rowan would recognize it as the tie that'd been tucked into the beast pocket of the shirt he'd given the ginger all those weeks ago.


Rowan paused, blinked down at it a bit mildly, then up at Fletcher's face, like he was trying to figure out what he meant by this, exactly.


It was loosely rolled to keep it from wrinkling, and Fletcher offered it to the other man, color rising up in pale cheeks the longer those green eyes looked up at him.  "I figured out how to give it back."  Sort of.  He'd figured, given he'd exhausted his own search efforts, that his last option was attending whatever parties his managers could get him invited to, and hoping maybe their paths would cross again.  It was easy enough to just keep the tie in a jacket pocket.


"Did I ask for it back?" Rowan made no move to take it -- and, strangely, there was a thunderstorm brewing behind his eyes, a bit angry, a bit dangerous.


The look in those eyes had Fletcher taking an involuntary step back, the hand holding the toe lowering.  "I thought you did, it sounded like..."  But he'd also been drunk, sleep deprived, thinking furiously about how to get just one last kiss.

Why?  He still didn't know, and even now the urge was still there.  Distance and time had faded it, but proximity had brought it roaring back.


"I gave it to you. It was an even exchange." A very dangerous storm; they looked too green, his skin bright, hard to look away from. "Are you trying to take that back?"


Another step back, breath coming quicker.  "No.  I thought it was a challenge.  That I was supposed to find you and give it," he cut himself off there, because it was very clear now that he'd been mistaken.  "I didn't mean--I'm sorry."


He let it drag out another long moment before he kicked back into motion, leaving Fletcher holding onto the tie. "Humans."


For a second it felt like Rowan had sucked the air out of the room with him and Fletcher couldn't breath.  He stood where the short man had left him with trembling fingers closing tightly around the tie, heat prickling at the corners of his eyes.  Completely at a loss for what to do next.  Even his legs felt weak with the sudden lack of tension filling the room, and he side stepped, catching the side of a table to lean heavily against it.


It was only at the doorway that Rowan paused again -- looking back at him with eyes narrowed, a hand on the door. "Are you coming?"


His head snapped up, surprise flashing in blue eyes at seeing that Rowan had not just walked away angry as the ginger had--apparently wrongly--assumed.  He'd thought he'd ruined it, whatever it was.  Already.  Maybe not?

The chance was enough to get him moving again, and he tucked the tie into the pocket of his jeans as I fell into step behind Rowan.


He didn't look back at Fletcher again, just shook his head a tiny bit as he worked his way through the crowd, deftly dodging a couple people who clearly wanted to get his attention. He still prickled with that angry energy as he made his way to the bar and leaned in to say something low to the bartender. Fletcher would have to trot a bit to keep up.


Rowan moved quick for someone so, well, short.  It shouldn't have been hard to keep up, but he still found himself struggling to do so easily.  Weaving through the crowd while Rowan seemed to cut his own path.  He caught up at the bar, a question clear on freckled features.


He'd catch up in time to see the bartender bending, coming up with something out of the special fridge to poor Rowan a tall glass. If he was quick, he could maybe order one of his own, but Rowan didn't offer, not right now.


It didn't look like the same bottle as the last time, but it also wasn’t offered to him and Fletcher wouldn't just ask, not with the prickling, angry energy that was still radiating out from the shorter man.


"What name are you using for your solo work?" It was brisk, attention turned back onto Fletcher as he got his very tall glass of wine.


"I haven't named it yet.  It'll come to me when I'm deeper into it."  Fletcher had always said the titles that came organically were the best, and that applied to albums as well.


"Fine." He didn't wait for Fletcher to get a drink, just started into the crowd again -- and this time, he let people waylay him. A lot of actors, but mostly the people behind the scenes: producers, accountants, gaffers. Some musicians (who regarded Fletcher with an absent kind of pity or disdain), or writers. And each time, Rowan introduced him as Fletcher Lewis, with a little zap of magic behind it designed to put Fletcher off balance and make it all a little surreal. Hard to remember. Work him up, maybe.


It was an odd mix, the feeling that his presence was superfluous at best as he trailed after Rowan, but everytime the man said his name it came with a little spark, or a jolt, or something that kept him there, rather than sinking back into the crowd.  He'd smile as he was introduced, a little dazed but always friendly.  Polite and humble and just this side of self deprecating with every encounter.


His manager was probably going to be thrilled with him tomorrow: this was the point of him coming to the party. By the eighth or tenth introduction, maybe he'd catch onto the fact that Rowan prefaced the introductions with -- "My Fletcher Lewis." And that stormcloud was long gone.


He wouldn't notice it at first, a bit overwhelmed by the combined attention of Rowan himself and everyone he was being introduced to, but he did eventually pick up on it, and the first time he did it managed to startle him into silence for a beat, baby blues flicking back to him and lingering for a second too long before the person talking to them repeated themselves and got the conversation moving again.

After that it'd make him flush, just faintly, color in his cheeks making his freckles blend.  The tension was gone, the air easy to breath again.


There had to be at least twenty people he got introduced to, until all the names blurred together. Only once he was thoroughly flustered and tongue tied did Rowan put a hand at the small of his back to guide him out of the crowd to somewhere he might sit.


The hand guiding him away from the crowd was a blessing in a number of ways and Fletcher let himself be led away easily.  It'd been a long time since he'd had to deal with anything like that, even counting the red carpet before the premiere, and the last time he'd had Mal and Lacey to lean on.

He sank down onto the end of a lounge beside the pool like his strings had been cut, a little breathless, certainly dazed.


"And now you look strung out again." Rowan stood in front of him, with the empty glass in one hand, and tipped Fletcher's chin up with the other to examine his eyes.


His head lifted with the touch, eyes rolling up to rest on Rowan's face.  "I get overwhelmed in crowds."  In numerous situations.  But it was more than just that, he felt strung out and energized at the same time.


He smoothed his thumb across Fletcher's lower lip while he thought that over. "A strange profession you've chosen."


His eyes lidded at the touch to his lip, his head lifting a little higher.  "It sort of chose me."  More than sort of.  He'd been found by Mal playing his bass between classes at the university and that had been that.


"That's not really how these things work." It had a note of consternation behind it, his fingers very warm on Fletcher's cheek.


It was impossible to not lean into that warmth, eyes closing as he soaked in the feel of that electric touch.  It was crazy how much he responded to it.  "Not usually, but true.  The singer found me, talked me into forming a band, and everything snowballed from there."


"You might be called, but you choose where you go." He curled his hand under Fletcher's chin. There were people around, but in the moment, they faded into the background. He leaned in a little, hair tumbling down over his shoulder as he did.


Fletcher had forgotten about the people around them, the party, all of it.  "True, I could have declined if I'd wanted to."  He hadn't wanted to.  Whatever Mal had been selling, Fletcher had been buying.  "It was easy with the others, the attention split."


"You could stop now. You could write songs for other people. Or go work in a McDonald's drive through." He tapped Fletcher on the cheek, then, just hard enough to sting, and took his hand back.


"I've thought about it," he answered honestly, opening his eyes again to look up to that unnaturally beautiful face.  "But I do love performing, if I could do that and skip the rest..."


"You could, I suppose." Rowan raised his eyebrows, a bit challenging. "That's much of Vegas."


"Is it?"  News to him.  He'd never dealt all that intimately with the business side of things, bookings, planning, and the like.


"What else has Britney Spears done recently?" The name sounded so strange in his mouth. Rowan shrugged, lifting his glass -- and sighing to find it empty. "You could do it here, too, but it would be smaller."


Possibilities Fletcher had never considered before, obvious, by the thoughtful look on his freckled face.  He sat up a little straighter, hands resting on the tops of his thighs, running forward and back in a thoughtless fidget.

He looked up at the sigh, then at the empty glass.  "Do you want a refill?"


"I might just take the bottle." He tapped his nails against it, attention raking over Fletcher's face again. "...what is it you want?"


"I want my band back."  It came out quickly, carried an edge of bitterness, and he sighed after, shoulders rounding.  “But that won't happen.  Barring that, I want to make music and be happy again."


"The only person who can make you happy..." But he paused, chewed on the words, tongue-tied for a moment. "Hm. What kind of happy?"


It wasn't a simple question, not a simple answer, but Fletcher thought about it, gaze sliding to the side.  "The kind that comes from being fulfilled, content, secure."  He paused, brows twitching as something else came to mind but he hesitated in saying it.

With another sigh his hands came up to comb his fingers through styled back hair, then laced behind his neck.  "The kind that doesn't include loneliness..."


"So the chemical kind doesn't actually qualify." He said it immediately, looking away again as he considered. "I couldn't promise you happiness."



*

Offline Beejoux

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Re: Red carpet reunion [Rowan and Fletcher]
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2020, 01:11:24 PM »
"Chemicals are a distraction, albeit a fun one."  It was almost wistful.  Which could have meant a number of different things, but he didn't elaborate.

He looked back up at Rowan, waiting, but unsure as to what.


"And this?" Again he tucked fingers under Fletcher's chin, with that low spark of pleasure behind it.


His breath caught, lips parting as that warmth spread in a tingling rush.  "What is that?"  It was curious, breathy.


"What does it feel like?" He tipped his head a little, with a flicker of amusement coming into his expression: a crinkle at his eyes, a quirk of his mouth.


"It's..."  His hands slipped from his neck, fingers brushing the underside of Rowan's hand.  "Spreading, tingling warmth."  It came with a content sigh.



"Does it make you happy?" He sounded genuinely curious, studying Fletcher's face.


It was tentative, his hands turning to smooth along the back of that warm hand, slow and careful.  He wanted to nuzzle his face into Rowan's palm, breath in that summer air scent and wrap it around himself.  "It feels amazing."


"Not what I asked." He took his hand back, shaking Fletcher off - maybe because he hadn't answered the question.


He tried to hold on, his head jerking up to turn wide eyes up at Rowan.  "It does," he blurted.  "Please."


"I'm not sure that it qualifies as happiness." He considered Fletcher's desperation for a breath before settling fingers against the side of his neck. "Or if it's enough."


It was instantly calming, and Fletcher let out an almost shaking breath.  "It's the best I've felt..."  Brows creased, trying to articulate how he felt.  "I feel alive again.  I want to write, and play again.  I haven't been trying medicate myself into oblivion."


"I can give you this." It was, apparently, easy. He smoothed his thumb over Fletcher's mouth again. "But it'd cost you."


Lips parted under the stroke of his thumb. "Cost what?"  He lay a hand against the one on the side of his neck.


He licked his own lower lip, pressing the finger idly into Fletcher's mouth. It made his eyes heat and his skin take on a delicate flush. "Work for me for six months."


His tongue slid against the pad of Rowan's thumb, eyes closing and head tipping.  Down right lewd for the middle of an after party, but Fletcher didn't care, barely even remembered where he was.

He had to talk carefully.  "What do you want me to do?"


"Write me a song. Show up to events and perform. That's what you said you wanted to do, wasn't it?" As far as Rowan was concerned, apparently, it was just the pair of them. Hopefully no one had a camera turned their way.


He nodded, lips closing around Rowan's finger, and sliding to the tip so he could speak easier.  "I can do that.  I'd be happy to do that."


He leaned in over Fletcher again, curling fingers around the back of the chair. "And what is it exactly you want in return?"


His skin felt hot and flushed, every nerve alive.  "I...you."  His cheeks were burning.  "Take me home.  Touch me more, fu-"  he cut himself off with a small sound, head ducking and hand closing around Rowan's wrist.


"Once?" He raised an eyebrow at that, like it didn't much impress him, but Rowan's fingers tightened around the back of the chair. "For six months?"


It should have sounded crazy, probably did if anyone else happened to be listening.  Fletcher didn't care, or didn't realize, or was simply incapable of it while that warmth was still within reach.  He looked up again, meeting bright green with baby blue.  "Six months."  It was almost a question, like he didn't think he had the right to ask that, but it was honest.  Maybe even helpless.


"It's tempting to take advantage of you, but you're so...." He breathed out, his breath warm and very close to Fletcher's mouth now. "You can do better than that. Think about it."


It was getting harder and harder to think and Rowan's mouth so temptingly close wasn't helping.  A soft keen started and died at the back of his throat, Adam's apple bobbing as he swallowed.  The questions carried a weight he didn't completely understand, and he didn't want to say the wrong thing.  He'd already pissed the other man off once, and some how they'd still made it to this, but he didn't want to chance risking that again.

 "What if I want to be yours?  You called me that already, when you were introducing me."  His gaze flicked to Rowan's mouth then up again.


"That's the deal we're making." He raised his eyebrows, just a little bit mockingly; licked his lower lip when he caught Fletcher looking. "My beck and call, six months. And if that's your side of the deal, I'll have to rethink my own."


His own brows twitched, like he was trying to read through Rowan's expression and failing, but the flick of his tongue was distracting.

He had to close his eyes, breath in slowly, hold it, and let it out.  "I work for you for six months, and in return I get to be with you for that time.  In your life, and in your bed?"  It was a business deal, he knew that, and what he wanted was so far out of bounds, but Rowan had asked what he wanted.


"No. I refuse to be at your beck and call. It won't work like that." He started to straighten, but slowly. To give Fletcher time to reconsider.


"Not at mine," he added hastily.  Hands tightening around Rowan's wrist.  "I'm not, that's not..."  He shook his head, dipping it to rest his brow against the other man's knuckles unless he pulled his hand away.  "I can be at yours.  I just want the chance."


"Hmm." He paused, tipped his head a little like he was thinking that over. "I offer you an hour a week, in exchange, and more if you're interesting."


He lifted his head, lips brushing pale knuckles, and nodded.  "Deal."  He could live with that.  More would have been ideal, but he was still getting what he wanted, and he'd get to write, get to sing and perform.  It was a good deal.


Rowan looked affectionately exasperated, leaning in to tip Fletcher's chin up. "Done, then." And he finally pressed their lips together again -- carefully, delicately, though not quite chaste.


His lips tingled with the contact, the shock of it rushing through his body strong enough to pull an almost startled sound from the bassist as he opened his mouth to the other man.  This is what he'd wanted, this and more.  He wanted to feel everything.  Couldn't seem to get enough of the soft warmth of the other man's skin, or the summery scent of growth and life that flooded his senses when he was around him.  It was positively intoxicating.


It was more than that. The kiss was good, and then it was magic: magic that put a hook low in his stomach, that made him not only eager to please but unable to do anything else. A deal was a deal, and this one was binding. Rowan let it linger for a moment -- too short -- before he lifted his head. "How did you get here?"


Freckled features were slack when Rowan drew back from the kiss, eyes lingering closed a second after before he was looking up at the other man admiringly.  "Hired a driver."  Well, his manager had.  "They're waiting to pick me up."  He'd let his hands slide along Rowen's wrist until he was holding just the shorter man's fingers.  Like a lifeline in a storm.


"You should send them home." He said it easily, his chin tipped up a little. "I suspect my car is nicer."


"Okay."  There was no hesitation.  One hand dropped away to dig his phone from his pocket to send off a quick text, then it was tucked away again, Fletcher looking up.


He pulled away, and when he beckoned Fletcher along after -- two fingers, the same as he ever did -- that hook in his belly would compel him to follow. Probably he could resist it. If he really tried. "I'm going to grab the rest of that bottle and make my goodbyes."


Long fingers fell away reluctantly as Rowan stepped back, but he was quick to get back to his feet so he could follow.  Likely would have without the pull of magic compelling him.  "Is it a similar wine to the last one?"


Rowan thought that over, rolling his shoulders to settle his jacket into place and adjusting his tie. "I suppose. Similar enough."


"Strong like before?"  He'd never had anything that'd gotten him so drunk so quickly.  Which reminded him.  "It doesn't affect you the same."  Rowan hadn't even seemed buzzed.


"No, it's made for me." He still didn't seem buzzed but -- maybe that was just because of that impossibly calm demeanor, like he didn't give two shits about anything happening around him.


"It's very impressive."  Which didn't quite cover it, but it would do.  He was quiet after that as he followed along with the shorter man.


"It's a flower." He didn't look back to make sure that Fletcher was following: just wove his way to the bar. He was small enough to duck through the crowd. Fletcher might get shoulder checked a few times.


Like last time, keeping up was a challenge.  Where Rowan seemed to flow through the crowd with liquid grace, Fletcher was having to constantly murmur apologetic ‘excuse mes’ as he made his way through, shoulders knocked a few times, until he reached the bar.


Bruises, but he'd survive. And Rowan seemed unconcerned, already collecting the bottle from the bartender and half-turning to check on Fletcher's progresses. "Did you bring anything with you?"


It'd been a gauntlet of a different sort than the red carpet, but one nonetheless.  He looked over his shoulder at the happy, laughing elite before huffing out a breath.  "No, nothing."  Now eyes flicked to the bottle then back to the man.


He raked a skeptical look over Fletcher again, though, like he wasn't quite sure he believed it -- or maybe like that was just very sad. "Do you want to meet me outside?"


It was an odd look and Fletcher responded with something puzzled, brows arching.  "If that's what you want.  Which door?"  It wasn't strictly what Fletcher wanted, but if it'd make things smoother then it was fine.


"Go through the pool, and out the side." He ordered Fletcher around casually -- and that hook turned again, as he did. Fletcher had promised to be at his beck and call. After a moment, he pressed the bottle into Fletcher's hands, too. "I'll meet you there."


He'd already half expected to have the bottle handed off to him so he took it easily, head turning to glance back towards the pool to find the exit.  "Alright.  I'll be there."  A flicker of a smile and he headed off, like an obedient puppy.

Outside he'd find himself something to sit on, the bottle resting on the ground between his feet.  And he'd wait, attention on his phone to pass the time.  Filling his manager in on all the schmoozing he'd managed to do throughout the evening.


Rowan would be a while; the car would show up before he did, the driver climbing out to consider Fletcher. They were hard to pin down: just androgynous enough that it'd be a struggle to pick a pronoun (or maybe wiser not too) with warm brown skin and an unimpressed expression. "Ah. You again."


He'd look up when he heard a car slowing in front of him, watching curiously until the driver stepped out.  There wasn't immediate recognition, but the voice helped.  "Yeah, hi."  He turned a glance back at the car, then to the driver again.  "Is there anywhere in there to store this so it'll stay cold?"  And he'd reach down for the bottle.


"You can get in." They took one step to the right to get the door for him, expression still disapproving. "Don't drink it."


"Oh."  It'd be more comfortable in the car than the bench he'd found to sit on so he stood, bottle held carefully in his hands.  "Thank you."  He'd climb in one handed, scanning the interior for anything he could put the bottle in to chill.  The warning unneeded, he hadn't been planning on drinking it.  It wasn't his.


"There's a fridge." They offered it only after climbing into the driver's seat -- and, after a moment, punched a button to open the side door. Of course, the fridge was half full of beers and sodas and one bottle of very expensive Scotch.


"Perfect, thank you."  He'd flash the driver a smile, sliding along the seat so he could make enough room to tuck the bottle inside.

Then he sat back, hands on his thighs and gaze turning up to the building beside them before flicking back to the driver.  "I didn't get your name last time, I'm Fletcher."  He doubted he'd made a very good impression, all things considered.


"Ferris." And obviously not. The eyes that met his through the mirror were unimpressed -- and, at the moment, golden brown. Maybe they'd been darker in the alley, though. "How messed up are you?"


The look was enough to make him sink down in the seat a few more inches, and his hands came together on his lap, fingers twisting.  "I'm not.  I only had one drink early in the evening."


"How novel." A little tip of the head -- it was thoughtful, curious. And then they turned to look at him properly through the divider.


He looked back, brows arched in a silent question.  "So how long have you worked for Rowan?"  He'd asked mostly to fill the silence, but there was some genuine curiosity there as well.


Ferris just looked at him for a long moment, assessing. "Oh. What did you promise him?"


That got a blink.  "Um, he wants me to come work for him for six months.  Songwriting and performing at events."  His head tipped thoughtfully as he worked out how the two questions were related.  "Did you make a deal with him too?"


"I work for him. Does that qualify?" One dark arm folded across the divider, eyes still on Fletcher. "I keep my contract shorter than six months, though."


"I think so."  He wasn't sure what the difference was.  Like there was something he was missing in the way that'd been worded.  "So you haven't been driving for him too long yet?"


"It's been a while. I just keep the contract short." Ferris raised both eyebrows. "That way, I can negotiate."


"Oh."  That made sense.  Now, sitting out in the car and no longer touching the shorter man he wondered if maybe he should have negotiated more.  Possibly. But he hadn't wanted to push.  Afraid of pissing Rowan off again, or worse.

"Do you like working for him?" It was a thoughtful question.

"It's fine. But I also negotiate well." And, their look said, they doubted that Fletcher had done nearly so well.


He'd done next to no negotiating, but at the time, and even now, it still seemed like a good deal.  He was getting to work, do the things he loved to do, and he'd get Rowan... Maybe not for long, but still.


Ferris watched him for another moment, lingering, then made a low noise and turned around to put the divider up. Apparently they were done talking. Fletcher could stew for a bit in the backseat.


With the partition up it was like he was sitting in his own little quiet world, and he let his head fall back against the seat, eyes roaming around the inside of the car before rolling back up to the building.   If he had to guess it felt like he'd been waiting a while now.  A glance down at his phone confirmed that.


Better part of an hour, for sure, before the door finally opened and Rowan slid in -- looking shut down and a bit peeved.


Alone in the quiet of the car it would have been easy to doze off and if much more time had passed that's probably what would have happened.  But Fletcher hadn't quite been to that point yet, so the door opening was only mildly startling.

He turned his head, the start of a smile tugging at his lips before he noticed Rowan's expression and frowned instead, sitting up.  "Everything alright?"


"It's fine." He stretched his legs out as he settled into the chair, reaching up to work one of the braids loose from the back of his head.

"Okay."  Not his place to question.

For a moment he watched Rowan's hand working on the braid, then had a thought.  "Do...do you want me to do that for you?"  He knew having someone else playing with your hair felt great.


Rowan flicked him a look, assessing -- and then the closed divider -- and slowly started to relax. He dropped his hand. "Yes."


He waited, half turned on the seat, but slid closer with the permission, the almost smile from before making an appearance.  He reached out, fingers trailing lightly along the braid he'd been working on before continuing what he'd started with careful, gentle motions.


Rowan closed his eyes, then, breathing out slowly -- hands gone still, folded lightly in front of him. He had a lot of hair, and it probably ached from being like that for so long. "What size shirt and pants do you wear?"


He settled his shoulder against the back of the seat, settling into what he was doing.  Working free first one braid and then another, fingertips combing through what he'd already finished and over his scalp to soothe it.  He was meticulous, taking as much enjoyment from it as he was giving.  "Small, and 28 long."


Rowan's hands untangled slowly in his lap, his shoulders starting to relax. It dropped his voice a bit, made it softer, without that whipcord edge. "Do you wear pajamas?"


He had to think about that for a moment.  "Sometimes, usually not a shirt.  Sometimes I sleep just in boxers, but I like to pull on the bottoms in the morning until I get dressed."  This was nice, it was calm and relaxing and Rowan's hair was incredibly soft.


Silky; braiding it had probably been a nightmare, since it was so smooth under Fletcher's fingers. Rowan's hand twitched against his leg, then settled again. "Fine."


There were a number of them finished now and the soft blonde trailed into his lap as he moved into the next one.  "It's so unbelievably soft."


Rowan made a low sound, considering the slow progress of Fletcher's fingers through his hair. "Can you braid, as well?"


"Mmhmm.  I don't know if I can do anything super intricate, but I can french braid and do a few different types."  He'd finished another and moved to the next.


The hair, let loose, was probably midway down his back. Rowan sighed, slowly, tipping his head with the weight of it. "If you can do something simple, you could be taught the rest."


When he finished undoing another he took a moment to just comb his fingers through what was now free, enjoying the way it felt sliding between his fingers.  "True.  Given a chance to learn I'm sure I could pick it up.  It's not very unlike learning cords."  Tricky finger work involved with both.


After just a moment Rowan tipped his head back into the touch -- again, he'd taken that minute to think before responding.  They were moving, now; probably had been for a bit, but the car was very smooth, and the windows were very dark.


Another small, content smile as he trailed his nails lightly along the other man's scalp.  Even his hair was warm, down to the ends, bound and unbound.  He lay his temple against the back of the seat he started in on another braid, there were only a few left now and he made quick work of them.  Only then did he make any move to remove the ornate clip, freeing it carefully.  It was set lightly on Rowan's leg.


That about woke him up -- fingers twitching and coming out to take the clip, blinking his eyes open again. Even after a day in the braids, his hair was near straight, already losing any kink they may have put in it. "If I wasn't clear, you're spending the night."


*

Offline Beejoux

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Re: Red carpet reunion [Rowan and Fletcher]
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2020, 01:13:50 PM »
He was watching the way whatever dim light there was within the car moved and shone as he combed his fingers through the now loose lengths of Rowan's hair, but he glanced at the profile of his face after that.  "Alright."  That was fine with him.  "Will it be a long ride?"


"Ten more minutes, maybe." Those eyes flicked onto Fletcher, instead, coming back into focus slowly. And then he considered the words and smiled, just a tiny bit. That wickedness coming back into it. "Why do you ask?"


That wicked smile was enough to bring color to thin cheeks.  "Just, ah.  Just curious."  But he had no poker face, so Rowan would have seen that flicker of something eager in blue eyes.


"Not long enough for what you have in mind." He turned the clip over in his fingers, slowly, while he considered. "Long enough for a drink, though."


Cheeks darkened, eyes lowering, but he was still toying with Rowan's hair, running it over and over again through his fingers.  "I put your bottle of wine in the fridge."


"Here I was worried you'd lost it." He pointed, meaningfully, in that direction.


That was all it took to get him moving towards the fridge to get the bottle.  "No, I wanted to make sure it stayed chilled." He came back with the bottle in hand, offering it over as he settled into his seat again.


Rowan cracked it open and took a slow swig: still slumped back into the chair, looking more relaxed. Less buttoned up, too. He swallowed. "You should drink a bottle of water."


Blue eyes lingered for just a second on the bottle before he returned to the fridge for the water.  It wasn't the first time that'd been suggested to him, and he'd learned there was usually a good reason for it.  He took a drink as he reclaimed his seat again.


In this case, judging from the flicker of amusement on his face as Rowan took another long swallow from the bottle, maybe it had just been to see if he'd do it. "Did you eat anything?"


He made a sound at the back of his throat as he thought about it, head tipping.  "Ye...no," he corrected.  "Not since lunch."  Forgetting to eat wasn’t unusual for the bassist.


Rowan nodded, slowly tucking the bottle -- suggestively -- between his knees to fish out his phone. Hair fell into his face as he tipped his head down to look at the screen, to punch out a message.


Fletcher wasn't much of a talker unless prompted.  He watched though, the placement of the bottle, the way Rowan's hair slid over his shoulder as he dipped his head to send a text.  It had Fletcher lifting a hand to sweep that soft gold back from that side of his face, lifting it to tuck behind the soft point of his ear.


He tipped his head at the touch, eyes on Fletcher again immediately. "Allergies?"


It might have seemed like he wasn’t even listening with the way he was just gazing, but he shook his head, tipping it after to rest against his own arm where it draped across the back of the seat.


"Focus, Fletcher Lewis." Fletcher's name rolled over his tongue, and the way Rowan said it was like a bucket of cold water. "I won't have people saying I take poor care of my people."


It made him blink, attention snapping more completely on Rowan's face.  "Sorry."  His hand lowered to his lap.  "No food allergies, no."


"Nor restrictions? Vegetarian? Gluten free?" He said this with something mocking behind it, head cocked.


"No restrictions."  When he did remember to eat there wasn't really anything he avoided.  "I'm not picky."


Rowan hummed, watching his face, and then looked back down to the phone to finish his message. When he was done, he tossed it onto the empty seat opposite them. "I am."


It wasn't surprising.  Rowan seemed particular, but then if he was in the business of investing then being particular was a good trait to have.  Probably?  It wasn't like Fletcher knew.  "With food?"


"With everything. It's a fair warning." He curled a hand around the neck of the wine bottle, absently. "I'm difficult."


"I'll remember, if you tell me."  He was good at that, at following directions and bending to fit another person's needs.  "I don't want to step out of bounds."


That got another of those little smiles. He brushed hair back over his shoulder, out of the way. "You'd just give away everything, wouldn't you?"


Ginger brows arched, his head lifting off his own arm.  "What do you mean?"


He smoothed his thumb over the mouth of the bottle, and that was definitely suggestive. "I mean that you're lucky I don't prefer a challenge."


It made him think, gaze lowering, but that meant he happened to notice what Rowan was doing with the bottle and all the color that'd faded from pale cheeks returned.  He bit his lip, looking away.  They had to be almost there. "I don't want to be a challenge," he answered honestly.


"There's a range, of course." He reached out absently with his free hand to catch the front of Fletcher's shirt and draw him in closer -- not quite for a kiss. "I have no patience for recalcitrance. But also, I wonder, if I had a pretty enough cage, if you'd just crawl into it."


He caught himself, one hand on Rowan's knee, as he was drawn in closer, and couldn't quite keep from looking down at full lips when he talked.  "That depends."  Now eyes flicked up again, meeting green.  "In why I'm in there, how long, and what came next."  And there was something there, more than the soft submission.  A spark of excitement, and certainly flirting.


Rowan licked his lips, slow, and then he smiled -- his own attention dragging over Fletcher's face. And, maybe, he looked pleased. "I'll keep an eye out, then."


Fletcher's lips ticked up in a smile as well, letting Rowan see exactly how he felt about that.  And maybe it emboldened him a bit, or maybe just being that close without touching after the relative calm of the car ride.  "Can I kiss you?"


"You can certainly ask." He licked that lower lip again -- pointedly this time -- and then tipped his head a little. "Yes."


The permission was enough.  Fletcher leaned in to close that small distance, head tipping, and the press of his mouth came with a soft brush of his tongue along Rowan's lower lips.  Asking without asking, but also tasting the lingering sweetness of the wine.  And like every time before it was almost a shock, magic, and he sighed into it, fingers tensing reflexively against the short man's leg.


Not quite so sweet as it had been with the promise but -- it felt right now, in a way it hadn't, like this was what he was supposed to be doing. Rowan sat, fingers still bunched in the front of Fletcher's shirt, and for a moment he just let Fletcher do it.

Then it shifted. All at once he was pushing back -- Fletcher shoved into the seat hard so that Rowan could lay claim to his mouth, rough.


It made him gasp, eyes going wide before the rough press of Rowan's mouth turned the surprise into a low moan, opening to the demand in his kiss.   Hands found the other man's waist, hesitant and light, then more sure a second later as they slid between jacket and shirt, around to his lower back.


He caught the bottle with his free hand, settled easily across Fletcher's knees -- and then yanked his head free to take another long, generous drink. Fletcher'd wondered earlier how he'd managed to stay sober on that wine; now, maybe, it was more obvious that he wasn't. Not entirely.


His head moved as Rowan pulled back, trying to hold onto the feel of Rowan's mouth before he'd drawn back entirely to take another swig from the chilled bottle.  He watched the way that pale throat worked as he drank, and Fletcher dipped to press his face in against the crock of his neck, drawing in the intoxicating scent of summer days.


It made Rowan shudder, suddenly, and then push him back flat against the seat -- just out of reach. It hit a button maybe. "I said you could ask."


His hands loosened with the push, sliding free of Rowan's jacket.  Letting go completely after over stepping.  "Sorry."  It was breathy, but sincere.  "Sorry.  God, you smell so good."


He had to draw in a couple deep breaths to settle, and with his hair loose and just a hint of a flush on his cheeks, Rowan didn't look quite so unattainable. Maybe that was part of the problem. He lingered there another moment, pressed in against Fletcher. "We're almost there."


Fletcher nodded, felling Rowan's weight pressed against him with every heavy breath.  He was beautiful.  Even with his hair falling around him and color on his cheeks.  Maybe more so.  "Can I touch you?"


"No." And with that, he sat back into the opposite seat,legs sprawled, and set the bottle on the ground. Pointedly, he set to sweeping his hair up again -- not into one of those fancy braids but a loose, tumbling bun. It looked artful.


He drew his hands back and away, just so he wouldn’t accidently touch as Rowan pushed himself up to claim the seat across from him.  Fletcher didn't immediately sit up though, instead he watched the artful sweep of all that gold hair as the other man tied it back again.  And that too was beautiful, the few wisps that fell around his face catching the dim light.

After he'd pull himself up again, smoothing a hand back through his hair and straightening his shirt.


"Drink your water." At some point they'd gone from the bustling area by the river to something more sprawling, green. Here the houses were separated, drivewayed, gated, surrounded by old trees dripping with moss.


Wordlessly he'd reach for the bottle again, unscrewing the cap slowly as he turned his attention out the window closest.  They were almost there, and he wanted to see what they'd be rolling up to before they arrived.  And while he watched the sprawling yards and houses he lifted the bottle to take a long drink.


It gave Rowan time to cork his own bottle and tuck it away, to put his clothes right, to make sure his hair looked intentional instead of tumbled. By the time they pulled up to a massive plantation house and Ferris got the door he was impossible to read again.


The bottle was empty as Fletcher followed Rowan out of the car, lips moving in a silent 'wow' as he looked up at the house.  Though he did pause to glance back at Ferris, offering a quick smile and a murmur of thanks.  He'd managed to get himself back to a presentable state, unrumpled, but then he hadn't been entirely put together in the first place.


Ferris didn't smile back at him. They stayed by the car, arms crossed, looking supremely unimpressed. But he wouldn't have time to worry about it. Again, Rowan set a crushing pace toward the front door. "You'll need a shower, I think."


If fletcher had been any shorter it would have been a really struggle to keep up with the brisk pace of the shorter man as he lead the way up to the house.  Thankfully there was no crowd to weave through this time, so he managed to stick on Rowan's heels.  "Alright."  He'd taken one before he'd left for the party, but he didn't argue.  Rowan had his own reasons.


The door should have been opened by a butler in a uniform, maybe; instead, it seemed to open on his own, into a carefully decorated foyer. Rowan rolled his shoulders as he examined the place. It was expensive: marble and old wood, pieces that were probably older than anyone in Fletcher's immediate family, flowers in vases on every surface. He made a quiet sound and looked back to Fletcher again, considering. "After food."


The door was given a curious glance as they walked inside but it didn't hold his attention for long.  The house itself was beautiful, which was no surprise considering it's owner.  Huge and old and richly furnished.  Fletcher turned as he walked to take in as much of foyer as he could before Rowan's voice pulled his focus effortlessly back to him.  "Whatever you say," he agreed with a smile, clearly impressed.


It would have been nicer, maybe, if it didn't ring hollow when they walked through the place -- if it felt occupied by more than the flowers. He shrugged out of his jacket as he went, leaving it on a banister and continuing.  "Is there a reason you didn't eat?"


"Not really.  I was writing before I had to get read for the premiere and I sort of forgot.  And then at the party, well, I hadn't been there long before I followed you."  The long and short of it was that he just hadn't been hungry enough to remember to eat.  "I get really focused and sometimes I just forget."  He shrugged, then shrugged out his jacket and laid it over his arm.


"Don't." He made it sound easy -- leading down a hall and around a corner, through a well-decorated and under-used salon, complete with a grand piano that had to be worth more than anything else in the room.


His head cocked, a small frown tugging at his lips.  "O-okay."  And then the piano caught his eye.  He slowed as he admired it, struck with the urge to run his fingers across the keys to see if it sounded as good as it looked.  "Is that piano in tune?"


"Yes." He paused, just a step, so that Fletcher could look. "I'm not a heathen like Cooper Cole. I keep it all in tune."


He flashed the shorter man a grateful smile as he slowed, taking the opportunity to move closer for a better look, but not yet touching.  "Would you permit me to play it sometime?  It's beautiful."  He glanced up as he moved around it.


"You'll play it when people are visiting." He slid hands into his pockets, and his tone was certain: unyielding.


Fletcher gave the piano a last longing stare as he stepped back from it, turning on his heel to return to Rowan's side.


"I host, frequently." He eased into motion again, head tipped to the side. "But my parties aren't like the ones you're used to."


He slung his jacket over one shoulder so he could sink his hands into his back pockets.  "What are they like?"


He started to say something -- a quiet sound, then aborted, his head tipped to the side. "...quieter."


He nodded, like that made sense.  Head on a pivot as he tried to take in as much of the house they were walking through as he could.


It was all like that: artifacts, practically, on the walls and decorating the place. There wasn't, it seemed, anything younger than Fletcher there. Eventually, they'd settle into a massive kitchen, where there was still no staff -- but a giant meal waited for them. Steak and potatoes, salad, fresh rolls. Still hot.


Later, if he had the time and the freedom for it, he wanted to go back through the path they'd walked to give the artifacts the attention they deserved, but he'd already made Rowan wait once and he didn't feel like testing his patience further.  "Your house is lovely."

Entering the kitchen the bassist paused as he took in the spread.  "That smells amazing."


"Eat." Again, that hook would tug, a compulsion to obey. Rowan pointed to plates and silverware, meaningfully.


He didn't really need the compulsion to dig in, just the greenlight.  He grabbed a plate, a napkin, a set of silverware and then turned to the food before pausing to look up.  "Are you eating as well?"  He asked it as he reached back for another plate, like he meant to hand one to the other man.

*

Offline Beejoux

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Re: Red carpet reunion [Rowan and Fletcher]
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2020, 01:25:36 PM »
"I'll eat some fruit." There was a big bowl; he gestured vaguely in that direction, digging into the fridge first.


He looked back at the spread, then up at Rowan again.  "Is this all for me?"  He was hungry, and he was a young man that could, when he actually remembered to do so, eat his own weight in food, but still.

It was daunting, but that didn't stop him from helping himself to a steak with all the fixin's.  Plate in hand, he glanced around the kitchen.  "Where would you like me to sit?"


He pointed to a couple of tall stools off to one side, the gesture loose and careless, and fished out another bottle of wine. This one looked more normal.  "Whatever you don't eat will be put away."


With a nod he moved to set his plate and utensils down, drawing the stool out so he could take a seat.   Now that there was food in front of him, the savory smell of the steak practically smacking him in the face, he felt the hunger he hadn't noticed up to that point.  His stomach growled softly as he started cutting the steak.  "This looks great, thank you."

And it was great.  Hot and savory and just the right amount of doneness.  the first bite had him humming in delight.  Then he tried a bite of potatoes.  The salad, and finally he took a moment to cut his roll in half so he could butter it.  He ate quickly, but neatly, his napkin on his lap and his bites manageable and not boarish,


The thank you dragged his attention up immediately, made him slosh wine across the counter -- and he had to pause, set it down carefully, and then go to fetch a paper towel to clean it up. "...I need to train you before you meet anyone else."


He'd pause when the wine was spilled, fork lowering back to his plate to watch Rowan grab a paper towel to clean it up.  "Train me?"  He'd caused that, somehow, but he wasn't sure how exactly.


"You owe me, now. For the dinner." He gestured at it, loosely. "Don't say thank you."


It made him look down at his plate, then back again, and Ferris' voice talking about negotiating slid through his mind.   "I didn't realize.  Um...What do I do to repay this?"


"A favor, I suppose. I don't give gifts." He stabbed a strawberry out of the fruit bowl, sharply.


With his fork he nudged at his potatoes, a little reluctant to continue eating but after a moment the fork came up and he took a bite.  "What sort of favor?"


He spoke around the strawberry, and maybe he was a bit annoyed. "I'll have to think on it."


He nodded, lips twitching on one side before he returned to his meal, but slower this time.  His heel bouncing.


He worked on his strawberry, and then poked another, straightening to put the bottle of wine away. He was quiet while Fletcher ate, considering.


Fletcher was quiet as well.  The delighted energy from a moment before not gone, but tucked away until he'd either managed to make up for the faux pas, or things otherwise calmed again.   When he was finished he looked up at Rowan again, and there was a second of pause, as if when he looked away for too long he forgot just how lovely the other man was.  Pale features softened as he let out quiet breath.


He'd drunk most of his glass of wine, and a healthy pile of strawberries: picking them out from the melon and the pineapple. It left his lips and tongue slightly pink. When he realized Fletcher was watching him, his own eyes flicked onto the young man. "...you should confirm the food is safe before eating, too."


Brows drew in, head tilting as he looked down at his empty plate again.  "And how does one do that?"  And why would he need to?


"You say 'is this food safe?'" He pointed down to Fletcher's plate, briefly. "This was."


The confusion only deepened.  "I just ask it aloud, 'Is this food safe?'"


"We don't lie." He grabbed his fork and tossed it in the sink, carelessly.


"We being..?"  He'd pushed his plate forward enough that he could fold his arms on the counter in front of him, leaning forward.


One more strawberry, then, so that he could work on it while he considered his answer. "Anyone at these parties."


He wasn't sure what he was expecting so he just nodded, chewing on the inside of his lip.  "What do you want me to do with my plate?"


"Leave it. They'll clean up." He dropped the stem onto the counter, carelessly, and licked juice from his thumb.


That made him look around, but there was no one else there.  There'd been no one else since they'd walked into the house.  "Okay..."  The napkin from his lap was folded and set on his plate as is slid off the stool.  "Can I get some water?"


"Bottles in the fridge." He was shedding his tie as he started toward the way they'd come again, back toward that central staircase.


Fletcher took a bottle, opening it before he grabbed his jacket from the counter and hurried to catch up, drinking as he fell into step behind Rowan again.  It felt very familiar at this point.


"It's a tricky group." He said it carefully, wending his way back through the fine furniture to the staircase. "I can explain better, but it's been a while since I had to. I have to think about it."


"Sounds tricky," he agreed.  "If I have to be worried about my food being safe."  Another drink, then he replaced the cap.


He made a tiny sound, thoughtful, starting up the stairs. The jacket he'd left on the banister was gone; he deposited his tie in its place. "Tricky is an excellent word."


He spared a glance for the absent jacket, and the tie that replaced it, then followed Rowan up.  "Are they dangerous?"


"Yes." He didn't even hesitate over that, hand light on the railing as he went.


The footsteps following paused, Fletcher stopping on the steps to stare up at him.  "If they're dangerous why do you allow them in your home?"  He started climbing again, very little was making sense anymore.


"I can handle them. But you're eminently fragile." He didn't look back down at Fletcher.


There was nothing comforting about that.  Fletcher opened his mouth to say something but couldn't actually come up with anything so just closed it again.


Only once he was at the landing did Rowan half turn to look, frowning at Fletcher. "I just need to give you a rule book. You like rules anyway."


That actually seemed to perk him up a little.  Rules were simple, safe.  "I do."  Had he said as much?  It had probably just been obvious.  Rowan was perceptive, but Fletcher was very much an open book.


Impossibly so. His face like a light bulb at the promise of instruction. It was enough to make Rowan sigh -- but not exactly displeased -- and beckon Fletcher after him with two fingers again.


He followed, taking in whatever there was to see on the second floor as kept close to Rowan's heels.


This was a private living space and -- it was no less expensive, no less elegant, but there was considerably less stuff up here. It was bordering on modern, cool and clean, pale and washed out. Rowan kicked off his shoes at the entrance to the bedroom, and left them where they fell.


Just inside the door Fletcher slowed as he glanced down at Rowan's shoes then up again at his back.  "Should I leave my shoes here, too?"

He was pretty sure his entire apartment could have fit in this one part of Rowan's home.  And it wasn't a tiny apartment.


It was possible. This place was designed to house a family, and staff, and likely more than that. Rowan undid the top button of his shirt, shooting a look back at Fletcher like he was thinking it over. "Take all your clothes off."


[ Section Redacted ]



He had plenty of time: Rowan didn't take a short shower. He lingered, a good half an hour, enough time for Fletcher to flop out and doze again if he dared. And when he came back out, he was dressed fully in pajamas -- silk, floral -- with wet hair trailing down to his waist.


Sweaty and still a little sticky Fletcher wasn’t going to crawl up in the bed, he didn't want to get the new comforter dirty.  Not after the trouble it was too change it.  Instead he dug his phone out of his abandoned jeans, folded the old comforter into a relatively comfortable shape, and took a seat there, long legs stretched out and ankles crossed.  He looked up as he heard the footsteps returning, phone lowering to his lap.


Rowan was brushing the hair out to bind it back out of the way -- not that it would do that much good, it was still going to soak anything it touched. He looked down at Fletcher, head canted, considering. He even had on fancy slippers. "Small. 28 long."


The mark on his neck was very dark, the one on his back would be darker when he rolled back up to his feet and set his phone on the closest surface.  "Yes.  His gaze flicked to the bathroom, the steam still faintly rolling out the open door, then back at Rowan.  "I wasn't sure where to put this, but I can move it if this isn't acceptable."  A hand had come up to rest at the back of his neck scratching faintly at buzzed, ginger hair.


"You can leave it." He stepped in, delicately, to brush a finger over the bruise. And he looked pleased, maybe. "They'll take care of it."


He looked down as Rowan touched his shoulder, lips twitching up at the corners ever so slightly.  "Could I take that shower now?"


"Go." He moved past; whatever he'd been wearing was already gone, but his cell phone was on the armoire. He grabbed it.


His mouth opened to say 'thank you,' but he stopped himself, nodding instead and headed for the bathroom.  Inside he'd give the shower a look, turning on the water then ducking back out to glance around for towel.  Once he found one he poked his head back into the bedroom.  "I don't suppose there's a toothbrush here I could use..?"


He looked up from his work -- settled comfortably out on the bed with the phone in his hand. "No. There could be, though."


Fletcher leaned against the doorframe.  "If it's not any trouble, please."


He stared up at Fletcher for another long moment, then went back to the phone. "You can use mine. I'll get a new one."


He lingered in the doorway a second or two more, possibly thinking that over, before nodding and disappearing back into the bathroom.

The shower itself felt amazing, hot water cascading over him like he'd stepped under a waterfall.  The only hitch came when the heat hit the bite on his back and made him wince, twitching, before the sting faded and the water was nothing but soothing.  He looked through all the soaps, and used the most generic looking bottles he could find (not that anything in there was really generic),  and finally stepped out again feeling refreshed and pleasantly clean, towel wrapped around his waist.


He'd smell like Rowan by the end, wrapped up in a plush towel, warm from the shower. And when he came out of the shower, there'd be a bundle waiting for him. Soft pajama pants, 28 long. Small t-shirt, dark green, with a very wide neck and a bird in a cage embroidered on the front. Rowan pointed at them without looking up.


He blinked down at the folded clothes, the shirt with its cage sitting right on top, and he reached out to trail his fingers along the stitching as he glanced up at Rowan on the bed.  The silent directive that followed had been expected, and the redhead nodded as he loosened the towel and brought it up to rub over his hair to dry it, which turned it into a half damp, fluffy mess that he didn't seem to pay much mind to.

He got dressed, brushed his teeth, and then stood there for a moment looking at himself in the mirror, his fingers touching the bruise on display at the crook of his neck.  He was still touching it as he walked out, but that hand slid back and long his neck as he approached the bed.


Rowan looked up, then, dropping the phone onto the bed next to him -- and he was thinking it over, trying to decide what to do with Fletcher now. "Make your case."


He stopped short, but he would have anyways.  It was easiest to just not assume anything, especially here, so he'd had no plans to simply crawl into bed.  "Case?"  Case for what?  To sleep in Rowan's bed for the night?  He wasn't sure what else Rowan could have been talking about.

"Um..."  Did he have a case to make?  Brows creased, gaze skimming the bed and up over Rowan.  "I could dry and braid your hair, so you wouldn't have to sleep on it wet."


"Hm." It wasn't what he'd expected, maybe. Rowan tipped his head and then shrugged his shoulders, slowly. "....fine. I'm sure there's a dryer in one of the drawers."


A quick flicker of a smile as he turned to head back into the bathroom to seek out a dryer.  He returned about a minute and a half later with the dryer and cord in one hand and a hairbrush in the other.  Crouching, he found an outlet close the the ground between bed and side table.  After plugging it in he straightened, hesitating for a moment before climbing up on the bed to crawl across it towards the other man, dryer still in one hand, brush in the other.  His hair hanging messily over his brow.


"You're not moving in here." He said it idly, scooting forward so that Fletcher could sit behind him -- his phone on the bed behind him and shoulders loose. "This is far more than an hour."


He moved up behind him, fingertips brushing the back of Rowan's neck as he lifted the wet hair away from his back.  "I didn't think I was," he said with a small shrug, not that Rowan would see it.  "You told me I'd be here tonight, so I'm here, but that's at your whim, not mine."


It got a breathless little sound, like the start of a laugh -- swallowed. "You're almost too well behaved."


Fingers slowed, Fletcher's head tilting as he picked up the dryer beside him and turned it on low.  It was quieter than any dryer he'd ever seen before.  Must have been expensive.  "Is that a bad thing?"


"I don't know yet." He closed his eyes and let himself relax into the touch. "I have to decide."


It was clearly not the first time he'd done this.  Lengths of soft hair were separated and brushed through as he directed gentle heat over them, one at a time, over and over.

He wanted to stay in Rowan’s good graces.  Not just for the chance to touch or be touched, but because he'd seen the fury in green eyes and he didn't want to see it directed at him again.  He just needed to know the rules.  He was good at following the rules.


He breathed out slowly, and the touch did sap that rigid danger away; left him just looking young and pretty, pussycat instead of tiger. He let Fletcher keep brushing it after it was dry, more than half asleep.


The dryer was set aside, but Rowan's hair was soft and warm and he was enjoying the way it slid through his hands, again.  Almost as much as Rowan himself seemed to be enjoying it.  He hated to interrupt the peaceful quiet that'd settled around them, but he did have more he had to do.  But he kept his voice soft, careful.  "I need something to tie the braid off with."


"Hmmm." It was drowsy, distracted. He tipped his head again, then gestured loosely toward a box on top of his dresser. Fletcher'd have to get up to explore the treasure trove of jewelry and accessories inside, in search of something simple enough to sleep in.


*

Offline Beejoux

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Re: Red carpet reunion [Rowan and Fletcher]
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2020, 01:26:51 PM »
He followed the gesture to look up at the box, murmuring a quick 'okay' as he slid easily out from behind Rowan.  And since he was up he made a quick stop to put the brush and the dryer away before moving over to the dresser to look through the box.

There was plenty to choose from, but next to nothing seemed appropriate to sleep in.  He finally settled on a very small gold looking clip, like the ones he'd seen decorating the intricate braids Rowan had worn the first time he'd meet the men.  It was sturdy, seemed like it'd be secure.

He set it on the table beside Rowan and crawled back up behind him, reaching up to use the tips of his pinkies to section off the hair at the top of his head.


He'd moved just enough to turn the phone over, so he could watch it through slitted eyes in case any messages came through. "I'll be gone early. But Ferris can take you home, if you need."


That one section was split into three, and after that it'd be a rhythmic back and forth of picking up new hair from either side, adding and crossing it over, and combing his fingers through the steadily growing tail.  "If that's what you want."  It was neutral, voice soft.  As he reached the hair at the back of either ear he took his time there, nails grazing lightly at his scalp.  "Should I give you my number so you can contact me when the need arises?"


"I'll give you a phone." But it was distracted, unconcerned: Rowan clearly wasn't worried about getting in touch with Fletcher, with or without his number.


Blue eyes flicked up at the phone he'd left across the room, but he didn't argue that he didn't need another.  However Rowan decided to conduct his business, it wasn’t Fletcher's place to question it.  "Alright."


He cracked his eyes, then, turning his head just a little bit to see what he could of Fletcher. "I'll have rules delivered to you tomorrow."


He obliged by leaning a little to the side so he could be seen, brows arching.  "I'll read through them."  He'd reached the point where the braid was just a braid and his fingers worked quicker to finish it off.


"Those rules aren't a game. They're for your own safety." He blew out a sigh, stretching his shoulders as Fletcher finished. "And to keep you from embarrassing me."


At the end he reached over for the little clip and secured the tail off the braid, running his fingers down the length of it.  "I understand.  I'll take them seriously."


He took his braid back, then, swinging it over his shoulder -- fingers lifting to test the weave -- and rolled up to stand. "It's late. Sleep."


It slipped out of his fingers as Rowan took it back and Fletcher moved as the other man got to his feet.  To the long stretch of empty on the other side of where he'd been lounging.  It was late, had to be, and the mention of it was enough to make the redhead yawn.

With an agreeable hum he untucked the blankets and sheets enough to slide in between them, rolling immediately to his side, tired eyes watching Rowan.