I love oranges. The orange is one of my favorite foods, and not just because nothing rhymes with it. I’m a happy, happy man when I find a really good one, and this day in particular, I discovered I’d bought one that was damn near perfect. For starters, it was huge, like it wanted to be a grapefruit kind of huge. Bright orange with a thick skin that peeled easily to reveal a beautiful, seedless orb that was firm and dense without being too hard, and, upon oral inspection-ah, yes, sweet, with juice for days. I eagerly broke my treasure into sections and peeled them -I hate pulling those white strings out of my mouth after a good orange, it totally ruins the moment- until I had a saucer of succulent wedges, glistening with their little orange beads and just waiting to be devoured.
I gathered the fruit and a book I was about to crack open and walked over to the sofa, setting both on the coffee table until I got myself situated among the cushions. I pulled up my legs and tucked my feet under me Indian style, then turned a bit until my back was nestled in the corner. When I decided I was comfortable, I picked up my items, balancing the plate on my legs and resting the book on the arm of the couch. Then, I closed my eyes for a second and took a deep breath.
Every so often, I have these, we’ll call them ‘moments’. I get them at odd times, looking at the sky at night and spotting the Big Dipper even with the light pollution, engaging in a stimulating conversation with strangers in a coffeehouse, cooking and sharing a wonderful meal, sitting in the loft on a quiet Saturday afternoon reading a good book and eating a perfect orange. The ‘moments’ come when everything around me seems to shift and align suddenly. I see how I fit into the world. I feel alive and happy and vital, content with my life because I have food, shelter, clothing and people who love me.
And people I love.
I love Jim. As I sat there, I could hear him moving around upstairs, quietly getting dressed, and I smiled and took another deep breath. Many of my ‘moments’ have to do with him - riding in the truck and catching a glimpse of that profile, doing paperwork in the bullpen and noticing how his sweater follows the lines of his body. This was one of those days where I was okay with the unrequited nature of this love. Okay with the fact that I couldn’t blaze a trail down the center of his back with my tongue or toss my legs over his shoulders, because although fantasizing about it is not even remotely the same as doing it, it sure as hell is fun. On that quiet, serene Saturday, my love for Jim Ellison made me feel alive and happy and vital, and with that thought, I popped a juicy orange piece into my mouth, moaned in culinary bliss and began to read.
Jim came down the stairs and poured himself a cup of coffee – his second, judging by the amount in the pot. Without looking up, I called out a greeting to him, munching on a wedge and quickly catching a stream of juice with my tongue as it ran down my finger.
“Morning, Chief. Well, I guess it’s really afternoon, huh?” he said the second part more to himself as he wandered slowly towards the couch.
“Mm,” I answered absently, still not looking up. The book had hooked me already and I wasn’t even ten pages in, so I only half noticed when Jim came around to set his cup on the table. I finally glanced up when he sat down on the cushion next to me, wondering not for the first time why, when there was a whole two-thirds of sofa left, he would sit right next to me. Not that I minded, you understand, but having the object of your unvoiced lust sit practically on top of you at any given opportunity can get a little maddening. Anyway, I was just about to snag another section when he sat down and, as I said, I finally glanced up.
It took every ounce of strength and will I possessed not to throw book and plate to the floor, caution to the wind and myself across Jim’s body. My hand hovered over the fruit as the image flew through my mind faster than I could comprehend it and I just blinked for a second, trying my damndest to form something to come out of my mouth.
“I’ve never seen you in that color,” was the result. It was the truth, but I was hoping for something a little more along the lines of ‘How’s it going?’ or ‘Was that thunder I heard last night?’
The color in question was, ironically, orange. I don’t mean Crayola orange, more like terra cotta, I guess. Deep, rusty, the color some leaves turn in the fall. It was a lightweight turtleneck that made his eyes startlingly blue. Those eyes that could comfort me, frighten me, piss me off and make me laugh were, at this moment, turning me inside out. He wore dark blue jeans, requisite white socks and black shoes. He looked so cute. Cute and hot and beautiful and handsome and how could anyone look like all those things at once? My head cocked to the side as my thoughts began to run wild, then I realized he was speaking.
“...gift I got a couple of years ago and I just never wore it. I’m actually surprised I never threw it out. I came across it this morning and thought I’d give it a shot.” He took a sip of his coffee. “What do you think?”
“It makes your eyes look really blue,” I said immediately. Damn, did he have the magic lasso around me or something? I started feeling a little warm and chuckled good-naturedly to divert attention from my awkward honesty. “Do you want some orange? It’s probably the best I’ve had all year, really sweet.”
“Thanks,” he reached out to the dish, “it does look good.”
He bit into half a wedge and nodded appreciatively, “Wow, you’re right. You get them at the farmer’s market?”
Grateful that my snack had become the topic of conversation, I calmed down some. “Yeah, I stopped by yesterday and got these and some gorgeous pears, a few veggies, you know, the usual. I hope the pears are as good.”
“I’ve always wanted to like pears, but I’m just not a fan. I prefer apples,” he continued as he playfully stole another piece.
I laughed as I watched him try to carefully put it into his mouth without getting the copious juice all over him. “Well, I have a great recipe for a pear tart, maybe you’ll like them better if they’re part of a dish instead of just plain.”
“Maybe. What are you reading?”
“Oh, this?” I’d almost forgotten I was reading anything. “It’s Patricia Highsmith, Ripley Under Ground. I’ve only just started, but I’m getting sucked in. It’s part of that Talented Mr. Ripley series. She’s good.”
Jim took the book and, holding my place, read the back. “Hm,” he said noncommittally, then gave it back to me. He, as long as I’ve known him, has never been a big fiction reader.
“So,” he said with a deep breath, “what’s on your table today?”
I stuck half an orange piece in my mouth and shook my head, “Nothin’, man. I’ve got a great book, got my vitamin C goin’, no deadlines, I thought I might just take a little break, you know? Chill out a little.”
Was that disappointment I saw?
“I have some errands to run, need to pick up some things at the mall. Can’t convince you to tag along? There’s a lunch in there,” he finished enticingly.
Oh, boy. An invitation to spend quality roommate time with Jim. To spend time being close to him, smelling him, listening to him laugh in the way he only does on days off. I knew what my answer would be, of course, but I still took a second or two as I chewed on the rest of the wedge. I was so relaxed, and I hadn’t even showered yet. If I hurried though, maybe I wouldn’t keep him waiting too long.
His hand moving towards my face interrupted my thoughts. It startled me, but I didn’t move. “Here, you’ve got a...” He plucked a small citrusy bead from beside my mouth, and, as I looked on astonished, popped it right into his own as if it was the most normal thing to do.
Wait a second. Did he really just do that? Shock registered on his face and I could only imagine that mine was a perfect mirror. He paused for a minute, then gave me a little smile. A little, mischievous smile.
“Help yourself to more, if you want,” I said, unnaturally evenly, realizing that I had just uttered a very clear double entendre. He glance from my obviously flushed face to the dish and back, then removed the plate from my lap and set in on the table. He then picked up a segment, looked at it, pondered a bit, then looked at me and slowly pressed it against my lips.
Wait a second. WAIT! What was happening here? My entire body suddenly went up in an all-consuming flame as I wondered what exactly was happening here. Jim was feeding me orange sections. Wet, juicy, firm orange sections. And, he wasn’t exactly feeding me, he was playing with me. In my confused state, I went to bite the fruit, but he pulled it out of reach, making me lunge forward slightly. After the second time, he gave a tiny shake of his head and I stopped.
He took the wedge and slowly, s l o w l y ran it over my bottom lip, then my top. Over and over, teasing with a rather intent yet still slightly whimsical look on his face. It slipped inside my mouth, running along the inside of my lips and sliding across my teeth. The whole thing was so suggestive, my mind was in gridlock. Why was he doing this? Was he just being weird? Was he trying to make me hard? Because, God knows, it was working. My body was blazing as he pushed the section into my mouth, only to pull it out again. In. And out. Gliding across my tongue, slipping wetly between my lips. I had the sudden urge to laugh. Jim was fucking my mouth with part of an orange! It was insane and overpoweringly erotic. Then, I did laugh a little. I had to, I felt a bit ridiculous. Jim smiled and glanced quickly into my eyes, then back to my mouth. I felt a single trickle of juice run down my chin and gasped when I saw him catch it with his finger and lick it off.
I started biting. Gently, but hungrily. I was getting so turned on, I was about to lose my mind. I bit, chewed, swallowed. Bit, chewed, swallowed, steadily eating and looking straight into terra cotta-enhanced blue eyes. I got to the last of the wedge and chewed while his two fingers remained on my lips. When I’d swallowed it, I opened my mouth and ran my tongue over the tip of his middle finger, then took it between my lips. There was very little thought left in my head as I sucked on it for a bit, then did the same to his index finger. He closed his eyes briefly, then opened them and continued to watch me. I turned my head slowly and took his thumb, licking and sucking so that he knew exactly what that orange was feeling. I could hear his breathing as he removed his thumb from my mouth, and ran it across my lips. His fingers moved under my ear and into my hair.
I had a ‘moment’. Things were shifting and aligning. Jim, who was just doing obscene things to me with fruit was about to kiss me. Breath, pulse, heat, they were all there in a tangible buzz as I started quivering. I was feeling alive and happy and vital, and then I was feeling Jim’s lips on mine and I knew this was a person who loved me.
I’m not sure I can put into words what that first kiss felt like to me. He was hard and soft at the same time, solid bone structure and soft, newly shaved skin. His tongue came into me slowly, carefully, not wanting to rush. I was still in shock. My brain couldn’t figure out what to do at first, so I just relaxed and let him do what he would. He pulled me firmly to him and forced my mouth open wider, licking juice off my chin and filling me with wet, thick heat that put a quick end to my passivity. I clutched at his neck, ran my hand over his cheek and into his hair, while my other hand landed on his thigh. I kissed his lips individually, running my tongue across them and slipping it into his mouth where it drew restless circles on his. I pulled back and tilted my head, changing its position, then went right back into the sweet sexiness that was that kiss. Holding him and breathing him and tasting him as it had been in my mind for what seemed like my whole life.
We stopped eventually, breathing a little heavily, a little shakily, our mouths still close together not wanting to entirely break the bond. He moved his hand and caressed my face, smiled and looked at me. He leaned in again and placed the lightest kiss on my lips before sitting back. I smiled back, having no idea what on earth to say.
He solved that. “So, you wanna go?” he asked quietly.
I laughed and impulsively gave him another quick kiss. “You still buying lunch?”
“Yes, my bribe still stands!” he answered in mock exasperation.
I laughed again as I got up to go shower. When I picked up the plate, I took the last section and shoved it hard into his mouth. I grinned wickedly at his expression and put the plate in the kitchen sink, went into the bathroom, shut the door and turned on the shower. Then, I smiled and took a deep breath.
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