Excerpt: Promises and Lies

[info] elisa_rolle kindly posted an excerpt of Promises and Lies at her journal. I have to admit, I got excited when I saw it :)

I'm also posting a different excerpt here....enjoy!

THE following week, Sean worked from home on the day they had arranged for Jeff to come over and build his model. He dressed casually, comfortably, in worn jeans that hugged every curve and an old T-shirt faded from many washings. His house was small, two bedrooms, one bathroom, and a detached garage at the end of a long driveway. The smaller of the two bedrooms was where he slept, and he used the other for a workshop. He set Jeff's model out on the table and pulled up two stools.
Jeff knocked on the door a little after noon with his sketchpad tucked under his arm and Dakotah on a leash. He chewed his lip when Sean opened the door. "I hope you don't mind I brought Kotah."

Sean grinned and said, "He's housebroken?" He stood back to let them inside.

"I don't know," Jeff said. "Jesse won't let me bring him inside the house."

"Tell you what, then. We'll keep him in the kitchen, and I'll leave the back door open so he can go out if he wants to."

"Okay," Jeff said with a smile.

After the dog was settled, Sean led Jeff into his workroom. Jeff sucked in his breath as he looked around the room. The centerpiece was a table covered with a mock battle scene. Everything was scaled down, but it all looked accurate. Along the wall was a desk with a large computer monitor and keyboard.

"It's my layout for this online game I participate in," Sean said with pride. "It's a role-playing game where everyone has a character, and we live the lives of these Civil War soldiers. A lot of the guys built their own models, so I did too. Right now we're re-enacting the Battle of Chancellorsville. It was a short one that only took four days."

Jeff bent down to study the model board. "Wow," he whispered. "And then what happens when that battle is done?"

"We decide on the next battle, take a few days to set up, then work through that one."

"Sounds like fun," Jeff said. He laid his sketchbook aside as he walked around the table and looked at the mock battlefield from all angles.

"It keeps me busy," Sean said. He sat on one of the stools by the side table, where Jeff's model was laid out.

When Jeff was done studying the large model, he came and perched on the stool by Sean's side.

"I'm glad you came today, Jeff," Sean said.

"Me too," Jeff said as he dipped his head.

"You hungry? We could eat before we start," Sean said.

"I ate before I came over," Jeff replied, "but you could eat if you're hungry."

"Nah, I'm fine," Sean said. He spun around on his stool and indicated the medieval knight model he had laid out. "You ready?"

Jeff turned and looked at the pieces of the model. "I didn't know it had so many parts," he said.

"It's not so many," Sean assured him. "Your first step is to catalogue all the parts. I already did that for you, so next you have to trim the edges down so they're smooth." He picked up a knife. "I'll show you."

Jeff moved back and whispered, "I can't use a knife."

Sean frowned. "Sure you can. See? It's not that hard." He skillfully trimmed the edges of the small piece, set it down, and picked up another.

"No," Jeff said, "I mean… the knife is too sharp."

Sean frowned and set the knife and the model piece down. "I don't get it," he said.

Jeff swallowed hard and closed his eyes. He clenched his hands together and said, "I hurt myself really bad with a knife."

"You want to tell me about it?" Sean asked.

Jeff gave one little shake of his head. "I… can't."

Sean took a deep breath. "Okay, then I'll prep the pieces, and you can tell me what you know about these battles the knights fought in."

Slowly, Jeff opened his eyes and watched as Sean worked on the model. He began to talk, telling Sean about the knights and battles. They fell into an easy camaraderie, and talk moved from knights and battles to movies and food until Jeff gasped.

"It's three thirty."

Sean set the last of the model pieces down and glanced up at the wall clock. "Shit, I lost track of time." He wiped his hand on a towel and said, "Let me drive you home."

Jeff slid down from the stool and went to the kitchen to get Dakotah. "Just walk over with me, Sean," he said. He took a deep breath. "I guess it's time Jesse knew."

"I like the sound of that," Sean said with a smile.

Jesse was waiting when they got there, arms crossed over his chest. Sean listened while Jeff explained where he'd been and that he would be spending more time with Sean while they built the model, impressed that Jeff seemed to have finally found a backbone.

Although Jesse kept the sneer firmly affixed on his face, he mumbled that it was okay as long as Jeff was home before dark, but he grabbed Sean's arm as he turned to leave and held him back.

"You try anything with him, Murphy, anything at all, and I'll hand you your ass before you even know it's even missing."

"Harsh words," Sean said with a smirk. "We're just building models, not nuclear bombs."

Jesse released his grip and snarled, "I didn't just fall off the turnip truck. All I'm saying is that it won't take much to figure out where you live." He eyed Sean and said in a soft voice, "Boy's been through a lot."

"He's not a boy. Whatever he's been through, I'm sure he'll tell me in time. Until then, don't get your shorts in a bunch, I don't mean him any harm." Sean kept his steely gaze fixed on Jesse for a moment, then turned and caught up with Jeff by the door. He took his hand to shake it. "See you tomorrow?"

Jeff smiled and nodded.

More bits and pieces of the puzzle fell into place the more Sean spent time with Jeff, and brief encounters with Jesse helped fill in the blanks. Jeff had "been through a lot," Jesse said. That fell in line with Sean's belief that Jeff had been taken advantage of by some man or men. Even though Jeff was old enough to live on his own, Jesse still seemed to have some kind of control over him. Because Jeff seemed so tentative about so many things, it made sense that he allowed it, but Sean still didn't like or understand it.

When he returned home, Sean went to straighten up in the workroom while he pondered over the encounter. Jeff's sketchbook was lying on the table where he'd left it. Sean picked it up and ran his thumb over the cover. He knew he should respect Jeff's privacy and set it aside until he could return it the next day, but once the room was set to rights, he picked it up and carried it out to the living room.

He settled in his favorite chair and turned on the light. After taking a deep breath, he opened the book and began to look at the magic Jeff had spilled out on the pages. Many of the figures had familiar faces; there was even one knight that bore a remarkable resemblance to Gabriel. Sean marveled at Jeff's talent for remembering faces.

At last he came to the picture he had seen Jeff drawing in the park, the fierce knight locked in battle with an evil knight. Along the sidelines of the battle stood a small figure that looked like Jeff, and Sean smiled as he realized the meaning of the picture, remembering that Jeff had called him a "shining knight in armor." He found it endearing the way Jeff sometimes twisted words around so that they weren't in the expected order.

He turned the page and gasped, his fingers gripping the book tighter. This picture showed the knight again, the one with his face. He was sprawled back under a tree, his head tipped back and an enraptured look on his face. The knight was naked this time, his engorged cock snug up against his belly. Crouched between his legs was the small figure from the sidelines of the battle, hands on the knight's knees, as he seemed to settle closer.

Although he knew he should close the book and put it aside, he couldn't help but turn the page. He groaned as he looked at the next picture, feeling himself harden within the confines of his jeans. In this picture, the small figure with Jeff's features held the tip of the knight's cock between his lips, and the knight had reached down to tangle his fingers in the small figure's hair. The eroticism of the image was palpable, and it was all Sean could do to tear his eyes from it and close the book.

Sean set the book aside and reached up to snap off the light. Had Jeff left the book as an invitation, or was Sean invading his inner thoughts by looking at it?

There was only one way to find out.
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Published on November 27, 2010 17:08
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