Since it’s #WIPWednesday I thought I’d give you all a little taste of Everything She Never Wanted. If you’ve read In Her Closet you will recognize Julian, the young Jamaican artist that you all (and Yves) were dying to see more of.
After dinner, the fellas retired to the living room to drink more whiskey and talk about art. Elijah was surprisingly knowledgeable about Philadelphia’s art scene. I couldn’t help but wonder if he learned all of that from reading my articles. It made me feel proud.
“Do you think after such a successful showing at Desirable Objects this summer you will finally get the solo gallery show you deserve?” he asked Julian.
Julian gave a shrug. “Nah sure. I know my artist residency is coming to an end soon so something has ta happen. The sales are keeping me above water for the meantime though.”
“Good. That’s real good.” Elijah leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees. “Do you think that you will do more commissioned work?”
“I’d like to. Just not enough interest yet.”
“I’m sure you’ll find more people interested when Yves’s book is published.”
Our attention drifted toward the painting again.
“It really is a phenomenal work of art,” Elijah murmured. “Tell me a bit more about your process. How did you arrive at this completed piece?”
“I took some digital photos of her in several different poses. Then I downloaded them to my computer and cropped them in ways that made the composition more interesting. After that it’s all painting.”
“Hm.” Elijah stood and moved in closer to the portrait. He pushed one hand into his pocket and sipped his drink. “And where are you in this composition?” he asked. “Standing over her?”
Did Julian feel the shift in temperature? The chill that crystalized the edges of Elijah’s words into sharp lethal things?
Elijah looked down at his feet then pushed them apart a bit. “Straddling her? Like this?”
If he didn’t feel the barometric drop before, he definitely felt it now because a bit of insecurity tinted his brown eyes.
“Tell me.” Elijah turned to both of us where we were sitting on opposite ends of the couch. “Did you have your dick out at this point or were you still dressed?”
Julian stood, holding his hands up as a gesture for peace. “Look. I meant no disrespect—”
“I know you didn’t,” Elijah smiled that too-wide, toothy grin that made my gut clench and cunt flex expectantly. “I just want to get the facts straight. See if the stories match up.”
“It’s time for me to go. The two of ya clearly have some things ya need to sort out.”
“You’re right and I’m thinking you can help with that.”
“Man, listen. Nothing major happened—”
“Because you didn’t want it to happen?” Elijah asked with a raised brow.
Julian looked at me.
“I told you what happened, Elijah.”
“I know but I want to hear it from him.”
“We kissed,” Julian admitted.
“You kissed her or did the two of you kiss? There’s a difference.”
“Nah really mattah, does it?”
“In the grand scheme of things? No. But I’d still like to know.”
“Why?” I asked.
“Because I want to know if you’re as attracted to him as he is to you.”
“And what does that mattah?” Julian asked.
“Because he wants us all to end up in bed together.”
I knew that was off script, but Elijah was drawing out for so long that the tension was making me want to jump out of my skin. It wasn’t the way he planned it and he would’ve proposed it with a little more finesse. He probably didn’t like that I had removed his power base either but cutting to the point seemed to be effective. Because Julian wasn’t leaving.
“I don’t know what this is. Are ya one of those couples who fight in front of company to make ‘em uncomfortable, only to have furious make-up sex lattah? If so, brilliant. I hope ya fuck each other’s brains out—”
“That’s not it at all. What Yves said is true.”
Julian rocked back on his heels. “It’s true, star?”
I looked up at him, softening at hearing the nickname he’d given me.
“You want me and this man in bed with you? Together?” Julian asked for clarity. I searched his face.
“I can’t lie. I have thought about it. I didn’t think it was something that would ever happen though. I mean, you’re not into this, are you?”
Julian folded his arms. Disbelief and desire warring on his face.
“He’s into it,” Elijah said and came up next to him and clapped an arm around his shoulders. “I think he just realized that he’s into this just as much as we are.”