Conversation: Julian Howard and August Lowell
Jul. 20th, 2006 @ 11:06 am
I'm in my studio, trying to set up for ickle Auggie's portrait setting. I am not in a particulary good mood today. The last few days have been perfectly pleasant, but now I not only have to interact with July, I also have to have him in my only private space, my studio. He's been cropping up everywhere - he's apparently working with Alleyn, too, so I won't even be able to go see the new performance in peace. He'll surely be there, and Penelope wants to go as well now. Shite.
Anyway, Penelope wants a picture of her pretty ickle Auggie and I must oblige. I couldn't have him to my apartment because Ms. Hedgely would kill me if I got even a spot of paint on her precious carpets, so he's to meet me here. I've hidden away the watercolour of him I was working on and cleaned up a bit, but otherwise everything is still out in the open. Cavases of nude or nearly nude men in various allegorical poses are mixed in with sketches of far less lofty themes. I haven't drawn a woman since Penelope last had me paint her. I just can't seem to get the folds of their bodies right, nor do I really desire to do so.
At least the radiator got fixed, so we won't freeze, and at least the light is nice today. Maybe I can have him in and out fast. I just need to paint his face, the rest I can fill in later if need be.
There's a knock on the door. I unlock and open it, and there stands August, of course.
"You're late," I say.
I look down at the box he has thrust into my hands and open it, peeking inside. It really is baklava. I'd not seen it since I went to Greece with Bernardo. I close the box again. "I had no idea you could get this here," I say. I look over at him. "Do take a seat. There." I point at the chair I set up in front of my easel. "And then we'll begin."
I put the baklava down by the radiator; it does feel rather cold.
I shake my head behind my canvas. If I had the right to be jealous of August, I would hardly let him out of the house.
I look at August. "Turn your head to the right. Good." I'd say he's done this before. I start to sketch then look back up.
"Whatever did you do to your lip?" It's a little swollen and looks like it was cut open. If the injury were fresh I'd have a newfound appreciation for Damien and his anger, but it's not. They probably just had a spat, I can't really imagine Damien being violent, or August letting him be.
I laugh. "Don't worry. I'm not sure I could do justice to how silly that is, anyway. Unless I decide to paint you falling down the stairs..." The look on his face is wonderful. He seems to think it would be a possibility. I laugh again, then stop quickly. I must be professional. I'm don't even want him here, and he's making me laugh.
I keep sketching. Why is he saying these things? He has never indicated the slightest desire to open up to me. Aren't I just his fall-back fuck?
I look around the canvas. "Don't crease your brow, August."
I have no idea how to respond to this, obviously. Normally portrait sitters only chatter uncomfortably; this is a studio, not a confessional.
You forgot the "yet" at the end of the last sentence, Augie *g*.
I start. If the crying was surprising, it was nothing compared to what he just said.
"Oh..." I say. "Oh, August. Really?" He nods a little. I shake my head and begin to stroke his hair. "That's truely quite amazing." He looks up at me with his very red-rimmed, miserable looking eyes.
"You're sweet, under all of it, aren't you, August? Otherwise you'd never be all upset like this. You're not terrible. Annoying, but not terrible."
He still looks all teary, and it is actually making me quite sad, too. I lean over and give him a kiss on the forehead. "All right?" I ask.
I put my fingers under his chin and make him look up at me. He looks less upset, but maybe a bit sheepish. I would be too after having such a breakdown in front of someone. I smile, and he returns the gesture; I see a bit of the August I've known creeping back in. "I'm sure you will be," I say, and then I kiss him on the lips.
I'm half on top of him on the chair, eyes closed, lips pressed to his. I've gotten myself into it again, and I can't say I'm displeased. The chair under us is an old thing, though, and I can hear it creaking. No good.
I stand and pull him up with me. My arms are around his neck, and my body is pressed against him; again I can feel his strength, his warmth, and something else. That was a quite a quick change from unhappy to excited.
"To bed?" I whisper in his ear. Taking advantage of my position I also give him a little lick on the earlobe.
I laugh as we hit the floor, then plant my hands on either side of head and rub against him. Just a little, enough to let him feel the friction of our bodies.
I lean in again, smiling, and we kiss. His tongue is in my mouth, exploring; I meet it with my own, running the tip along his lips, feeling the softness and the little rough patch where his lip was split. We're pressed hard together, and I can feel his heart beating fast, and my own blood rushing so fast through my body. I make an incoherent, happy noise.
He flings away my shirt; I glance over and see its arm had landed in a pan of water. Oh, well, it was wet already. His hands run up and down my back, and I feel my muscles contract. I push myself up and take off his jacket and his shirt, my fingers flying over the buttons. I throw them aside and run my fingers lightly over the taut, smooth skin of the chest, then lean in again and lick around his left nipple. I look up; he's smiling. I bite my lip a little and our lips lock together again.
I smile at him and incline my head in acknowledgement of his compliment. I know my way around the body. I take a deep breath, savouring all my body's sensations.
"On one condition," I say, somewhat enjoying the need, the desire, the desperation in his eyes.
He tries to pull me back, and I sit back down with his arms wrapped around my waist. I lean in, trailing my fingers along his neck and jawbone as my lips graze his ear. "Do unto others as you would have done unto yourself," I breath as my fingers toy with his lips. I'm taking no chances; this time I will be satisfied.
I am beginning to idly grind against him, enjoying the feeling of the paint on our skin, when he says that. I pause. "Damien?" I ask.
"Well," I say, "That was unceremonious."
He moves against me; I can feel his erection. I reach back and stroke it briefly, a little hello, before relaxing on the paint-covered drop cloth.
"No," I reply. "At least, I wouldn't want it in me. And for that matter, take this," I hand him a towel from the pile of linens I had left drying atop the radiator, "and clean off a little. I don't want paint in places I can't reach."
I close my eyes and relax into the floor. I think there's a paint brush under my, between my spine and my shoulderblade. Oh well. It's not a bother, and I don't really feel like disturbing August yet. When his breathing and heartbeat have slowed some I start to stroke his back. It's still rather cold in my studio, and his damp heat feels nice. He shifts a little; our skin pulls apart, where it had stuck a bit from cum and paint. I sigh, feeling quite contented. How unusual.
I smile. "You're welcome, August." I run my fingers along the edge of his face, from the top of his forehead, along his hairline, to the base of his chin. From there I pull his face up and kiss him on the lips. I open my mouth and briefly run my tongue over his lips. He tastes of salt.
I grin mischievously at him. "I should hope so." My smile softens. "But really, August, I return the sentiment. Maybe not the part about the future; you know, I must keep my options open. But you are by far the most beautiful creature I have ever yet had the happiness of laying my eyes upon. And by eyes, of course, I mean hands, mouth, and tongue."
"Oh yes," I say. "Very much." I feel myself starting to get a bit aroused at the very prospect of it.
I laugh. "You sound like a waiter." I run my fingers down his spine for emphasis. "Well, sir, what are the chef's specials today?"
"Yes," I say. "Now is good."
I get up, stretch, and go about looking for what I'll need. I thank myself for chosing a studio that looks out onto a blank wall; it means I don't have to find my pants yet.
I pick up a small canvas, already stretched, and try to collect what paints we used on each other; I'll need them if I'm going to try to transfer this paint-covered, sticky, beautiful man onto my canvas.
I sit down in a chair, the same one I had him posing in not too long ago, and look at him. He looks back, waiting for instruction. "Just relax," I say. "I want to get you just as you are, in this moment. So no silly posing."
His eyes are at halfmast; he must be tired. I would be, after all that crying and all that... activity.
I don't even try to sketch him; I just reach for the skintone I'd already mixed for his portrait and start in, trying my best to remember what I've learned about spontenatity from looking at the more modern sorts of art.
"About Damien?" I ask, still painting. He nods. I stop and give him a long look. "I don't know," I say. "I'm no expert with realtionships of that sort, August."
Or so-called 'relationships' of any sort, for that matter. I turn back to my painting.
"But," I say, reaching for the green, "If he truly matters so much to you, maybe you should try to please him."
"Good," I say. "It's a quick thing, it'll be done soon. But I'd like to sketch you, later. I really want to paint you as Apollo, but I'd say we don't have time for something that ambitious today."
I pause and chew on the end of my paintbrush; it is clean but it still does not taste very good, and I pull a face. "He'll be angry, I'm sure," I say. "But in the future, you know, be good to him. He deserves it if he's willing to put up with you."
I look up from my canvas again. "I'll miss it, too, August. Quite a bit. But... are you saying we cannot still be friendly, away from the fucking? I mean, if nothing else it is impossible for us to avoid meeting, what with Penelope making plans for us."
I never would have said it before today, but I would like to keep seeing him away from her influence, too. I rather think that we've become friends, despite all my aversion to him.
I am silent for a long time. Finally I sigh, put down the canvas, and lean back in the chair. "Well. Damn it all to hell. Bloody, bloody hell."
I run a hand through my hair, which is hard and stuck together with paint and sweat and very likely some semen, too.
"You should be that good to Damien, if you want to be. I can't say I'll enjoy it. But things do always lead this way with us, don't they?"
I pause. "I desperately want to paint you again, August. I need it to happen. I think I can keep myself under control, but I understand if you cannot risk it. I suppose... I suppose if Damien wanted us to be... overseen, it could happen." I wouldn't like it, but this need to have him on canvas suppercedes my own personal desires.
"Anyway. That is your decision, and Damien's." I pick my canvas back up; might as well get in as much time with him as possible.