fallen for winter
his eyes iron, his voice stone
I’m gladly frozen



The tie squeezed like a noose around his neck and though Tanim loosened it with a wince, the sensation of constriction didn’t ease. He nodded gratefully as the bartender refilled his tumbler of bourbon and downed the liquid without savoring its taste. He wasn’t drinking tonight for enjoyment; he was drinking to get drunk, to forget, to let go. And the sooner the better.

“Rough day?”

Tanim glanced sidelong as another young man slid onto the stool to his right, a drink already clasped between manicured fingers. Bright blue eyes gleamed from beneath pale lashes, the tightly curled hair above like coils of spun gold. The man might have been a Greek statue brought to life, his lips as perfect as if a sculptor labored over their graceful curves. Tanim swallowed, momentarily struck dumb by the creature smirking sweetly over the rim of his drink. “You could say that,” he finally replied, wishing he hadn’t finished his drink so quickly; he could use something to parch his dry throat, not to mention ease his nerves.

“Want to tell me about it?” Beneath the countertop Tanim felt the stranger’s hand slide slowly up his thigh, coming to rest obscenely close to his groin. Any other night he might have shaken off the touch and retreated with a stammered excuse, but not this time; this was what he had come for, after all, nervous or not. Although he’d never yet partaken in this particular dance he had observed it many times now and knew the steps well. First casual conversation neither party paid any real attention to, followed by a proffered drink, a little surreptitious caressing, and then the nonchalant yet highly orchestrated withdrawal to the privacy of a bathroom stall or motel room. No, he had never played a role in this dance, but he imagined it every night and witnessed it often.

The fingers on his thigh curled and Tanim had to bite back a groan at the pressure. Slender fingers, yes, but their possessive caress promised hidden strength, careless confidence. He wondered how they would feel digging into his skin, or perhaps dragging through his hair. “We can go somewhere more… private,” the man offered with a twitch of his mouth as if sensing Tanim’s struggle to maintain composure. Tanim licked his own dry lips and managed to not stammer, “I’d like that. Yeah.”

“Good,” The hand slid away, though the knowing smile remained. The stranger rose first, wending between tables and patrons on his way to the bathroom. Tanim followed a moment later.


[ Meet Alexander, the beautiful and unapologetic man-whore to whom Tanim surrenders his virginity – and then, you know, fucks a bunch more times. Alex is a paper doll character; he literally exists only to pick up men in bars (and probably 90% of the other places he goes) and toy with poor Tanim. Here he is mocking Tanim about being hung up on Daren, pushing Daren too far to spectacular results, and inadvertently getting in the middle of a lover’s spat. ]


How is it possible to be both apathetic and ravenous? To feel at once hollow and full of hunger? I know I was not always this brute beast yet I cannot recall the man I might have been before. I am a thing of impulse and extremity, willingly suffering prolonged despair to grasp brief moments of furtive, illicit passion. Even then I’m never filled, though, never completed beyond that fleeting shudder of ecstasy. As sweat cools on my skin already that sense of peace and rightness is draining, and in its absence there remains nothing but aching emptiness. My body bends so easily to another’s will yet I have no power of my own to reign in the desire which drives me to such madness. How will I ever find peace when these baser demands supersede every other want and need?


[ I shouldn’t love angsty Tanim, but I do. Oh god I do. ]


For a moment Daren stared at the pink paper taped to his door without quite registering its meaning. Fever fogged his mind, made his thoughts as sluggish and heavy as his limbs. It wasn’t until the doorknob in his hand refused to turn that the severity of his situation jarred him back to reality. Evicted. He had finally been evicted. Still eying the notice, he cursed himself for assuming this time would be like all the others, a bluff from a landlord kind enough to wait a few weeks while he scrambled for rent money. Apparently he’d scrambled one too many times, though, and now he’d lost his only shred of luck to date.

The dingy hallway started to spin and Daren leaned back against the wall, head bowed, eyes shut tight, waiting out the wash of nausea. He almost longed for the blanket of fever induced senselessness again, anything to ease the panic and dread which bombarded him now. Where would he go? He had no money, nowhere to stay, no friends to call upon in this hour of desperate need. Then, unbidden, Tanim’s sweet, patient face came to mind. Daren knew he need only reach out to the man and none of this would matter; Tanim would swoop in like a knight in shining armor if given the opportunity. But he wouldn’t tell Tanim, of course. Couldn’t. Daren had devoted too much effort to convincing Tanim he wasn’t a damaged, unstable shell of a human, and he would rather be out on the street than shatter that illusion. A foolish concern, he knew, when the alternative meant risking his already declining health, but he simply couldn’t bear revealing such weakness. He was damned either way, so there was no point in dragging Tanim into this as well.

Footsteps on the stairwell shook Daren from his morose thoughts and reminded him he couldn’t linger here. Swallowing, he turned away from the mocking eviction notice and retreated back into the dreary night. He comforted himself with the knowledge that this wouldn’t be the first time he spent the night on the street, even this sick. He just had to keep moving to stay ahead of the cold and the weariness and the aching. Simple, right?


The walk from elevator to front door nearly finished him but Tanim finally fumbled his keys into the lock and stepped inside with a heavy sigh, coat slipping from slumped shoulders to pool on the tile. The traffic in which he had spent the last hour only compounded a spectacularly horrible day. After an early morning, spilled coffee, back to back meetings, deadlines that kept him far past closing, and then a river of gridlock traffic the entire way home, he’d long given up on salvaging his remaining hours and only wanted to crawl into bed. He didn’t even bother to stop by the kitchen for a belated dinner but made straight down the hallway. His stomach could wait for sustenance; his legs, however, wouldn’t hold him upright much longer.

Hoping not to wake his sleeping companion, Tanim pushed the bedroom door open slowly and slipped inside, toeing off his shoes and tossing his suit jacket in the general direction of the dresser.  “You’re late,” Daren purred from the darkness as he stretched languidly beneath the sheets. Light from the hallway fell over their bed and cast his face in sharp shadows, curving over the curl of his smirking mouth. Tanim swallowed as he eyed the outline of his lover’s body, felt the heat of those dark eyes on him. The headache which had plagued him most of the day suddenly didn’t seem so terrible and as he knelt on the bed he managed to quip, “Sorry, dear. You’ll just have to punish me.”

“That’s rather hard to do when you enjoy it so much,” Daren reached out to the tie still knotted at Tanim’s neck, but instead of removing the constricting garment he gave it a tug and drew the man down into his arms. “I missed you,” he murmured into Tanim’s skin, helping divest his lover now of both tie and shirt, and then the rest of the cloth that kept them apart. Finally freed of his stifling work clothes, Tanim groaned in relief and replied, “You have no idea. For a while there it felt like I’d never get home. I thought I was trapped in Purgatory.” With a sleepy grin he added, “But if I was, then this must be Heaven, so I suppose it all worked out.”

As Tanim expected, Daren snorted at the comment, though he could sense pleased amusement in the derisive sound. “Stay home tomorrow,” the man urged, stroking slender fingers through Tanim’s hair to untangle the silken strands. “You could use the break, and I could use a little time with you when you’re not exhausted. Just tell them you’re sick or something.”

“Mmm…” Tanim buried his face in the curve of Daren’s neck, sleep tugging at his eyelids and weighing down his tongue as he mused, “I do think I feel a slight tickle in the back of my throat…” He sank then into well-deserved sleep, cradled in his lover’s tight embrace, and wouldn’t have heard the next morning’s alarm clock even if he had set it anyway.


[ I love that there’s a storyline where Tanim has a job or something, I don’t even really bother to say what ‘cause who cares, and Daren I guess just hangs around at home until he gets back so they can be snarky and have lots of sex, and that’s about it. Lol Imma good writer. ]


This is the scene I can never quite bring myself to write. The difficulty itself isn’t daunting; it’s just hard for me to commit words to something so central to the story, so pivotal in the lives of my characters. I don’t know how many thousands of times I’ve imagined this moment yet every time the words, the gestures, the silences differ slightly and it feels wrong to make them so… official. There’s so much here to commit to text: Tanim revealing the past of sin and sex he finds so shameful, the sick desires he’s so sure will drive Daren away forever; and even more than this, the love he bears for Daren but would willingly ignore to keep the man in his life. And while Tanim is revealing all of these awful secrets, fearing that soon he will be alone again, he has no idea Daren has already chosen, and chosen him. But the man waits until Tanim has run out of words and stands braced for inevitable rejection before taking his hands, or maybe touching his cheek, and admitting his own burden. It isn’t easy for Daren to acknowledge something as intrusive as love even to himself, let alone to Tanim, yet he forces the words just the same. Doing so changes everything about their lives, their individual futures now forever intertwined for better and worse. I suppose in a way it is daunting, trying to do right by them, to honor this moment of such intense vulnerability and intimacy. Maybe one day I’ll manage it; until then I will let the fear and revelation and beautiful wonder of this scene remain theirs alone.