.. | angel eyes | chapter 5
For three days Isaac lounged around the flat, alternating between sitting on the balcony (something that when Alex led him out onto it, made him actually smile as he leaned into the breeze), and lazing in one of the soft chairs, sighing forlornly when he thought he was alone.
Alex went out and busied himself with errands and occasionally visits to the studios to make his agent happy. That Isaac was bored, there was no doubt. But what did he do all day when he still lived with Noah? Besides get beaten?
Alex wandered the town square alone, Isaac having declined to go with him. He was glad for it though; he hadn't meant for Isaac to go with him when he'd asked. So now he was free to carry out his plan. But that meant that tomorrow, he would have to somehow get Isaac out of the house for the day, and that seemed almost impossible, since Isaac had refused to go out since he'd come to stay in the flat.
So, it would have to come to a physical struggle, even if he had to drag Isaac out into the hall to the elevator. Or maybe down the stairs. He smiled as he bounded up the steps into the store.
Isaac lay in the middle of the floor on his back, his shirt drawn up a bit and he rubbed his belly idly. He wasn't stumbling around the place nearly as much, but he'd tripped over his cat and lay where he'd fallen, too lazy to push himself up. The floor was as good a place as any to think.
He heard the thrumming of the deep purr even before he felt it and he reached for his cat. "You like it here?" he asked softly, rubbing Obie's fur and his own belly simultaneously. It soothed him. He sighed, "I do too."
Yet, his muscles were stiff from not walking about. He wanted to go outside, as he would have done when he lived with Noah. Perhaps he would wander down to the bookshop to talk to Jasmine, if he could ever find his way there. He idly wondered how she was, and if he should ask Alex to go with him to see her. No, he couldn't ask that of him. The man didn't need to escort him around like a child. He probably had better things to do.
Then why had he negated to go with Alex when he'd been invited if he wanted to get out so terribly? Perhaps he should have. Besides, Alex wouldn't ask him if he truly didn't want him to go, right? Noah never had.
Stop it. They're different. It's not fair to compare them like that. Isaac shifted onto his side and lay his head on his arm. The carpet was soft and smelled clean. Vaguely he wondered what color it was. He hoped it was dark, for the sake of everything he would eventually spill or break. He shut his eyes tight. And how would Alex react to that? The place was expensive, Isaac could just tell. Surely there were lamps on tables that he would inevitably knock over. Then maybe Alex would yell at him, curse him. Make him clean it up. Noah again. Stop it!
And God, he smelled good. Last night Alex had helped him ready for bed -- something Noah never did. Alex actually treated him like a child almost, and it made Isaac angry that he would dare think him incapable, but part of him welcomed it, this attention. But last night he'd tripped again, still not used to the layout of the room, and fallen right into Alex's arms, his face pressed into the hollow of the man's neck. He couldn't help but breathe in the natural musk scent that Alex carried with him. Isaac fancied he could recognize it, as he could were Noah or Jasmine near him. He'd mumbled his apologies as warm hands nudged him to the soft fresh sheets of the bed. Alex had laughed softly, kindly, and bid him goodnight.
He started at the distant rumble of thunder and Obie leapt off of his chest where he'd settled himself. Oh God, he hated thunder. He sat up slowly to avoid the rush of blood to his head.
There was the distinct sound of the door opening and closing.
"Arrgh! I hate rain." Alexander. Ruffling clothing; maybe a jacket.
"Is it raining hard?" Footsteps towards him, faintly audible on the carpet.
"Drizzling, but we're in for something tonight. You didn't hear that thunder?" Alex's voice was closer to him, perhaps he'd knelt down by him, and Isaac could smell the crisp scent of rain on him. He reached out, felt Alex's shoulder. "Why are you on the floor?" His voice was softer now, and he didn't knock Isaac's hand away, as the blond half-expected him to for some reason.
Isaac shrugged and used Alex's shoulder to push himself up. "Will it rain all night?" he asked, trying to keep the shudder out of his voice. If it rained, that meant no sleep for him. He felt around for some piece of furniture so that he may find his bearings in the room.
A warm hand cupped his searching one and brought it to Alex's chest. "Possibly," he said softly. Isaac swallowed but didn't move. The man's proximity was having an unsolicited effect on him. Not to mention the barely tangible beat of the heart beneath his hand through the fabric of a fuzzy sweater. "Will that bother you?"
Isaac shook his head gently after a moment. He was distracted by the pulse beneath his hand. His impediment had made him that much more perceptive with his other senses, and the beat of Alex's heart was fascinating to him. He'd never felt it on Noah, and never bothered to pay attention to his own. Maybe he could play a song with that kind of slow beat. A song, his music... He suddenly felt as if he would weep.
"Isaac?" The hand over his tightened a bit, perhaps sensing Isaac's intention to pull away. Instead, he remained where he was. Isaac shook his head.
"Where is my piano?" he asked softly. He felt Alex's hesitation.
"I'll bring it to you," he said finally. "Soon."
Thunder rumbled again, and Isaac pulled his hand away as if waking up from a dream. "I'm tired," he said finally. Alex sighed, but didnít say anything. He let Isaac back into what had become his room and helped him ready for it.
Isaac sat up in bed when he heard the flick of the switch as Alex turned out the light and made to leave. "Alex?"
"If it does...rain hard, I mean-" He faltered. He didn't want to ask, but... "If it gets loud, and if you're awake...?"
"Sure." Alex's voice sounded odd, but placating. The sound of footsteps away from his room. What had he done? He prayed the thunder wouldn't get loud, but the other half of him wanted it to, despite what a fright he knew he'd get. Would Alex come? Would he care enough to?
The rain became a waterfall on the windows as the wind blew it sideways against the glass. Alex lay on his back, arms behind his head. What kind of joke was this? This boy laying in the next room, so close yet so far? The thunder rumbled to match his mood. He glanced at the door wonderingly.
It rumbled again, louder this time, and lightning flashed through the heavy drapes of his window. Alex shifted position, his heartbeat speeding up and he clutched his pillow, staring at the dark window covers waiting for lightning to escape around them again. Okay, one more time. Then he would go.
The thunder crashed again, and lightning even quicker after it. He lay where he was, frozen. Now? What if Isaac was asleep? No, okay, one more time, then he really would go. He waited for it impatiently, berating himself. He wasn't some child. He would go. The thunder came again and lightning right after, the rain on his window pattering with a vengeance. He heaved himself up and padded down the hall to check on his houseguest.
Isaac was sitting rigidly upright in the bed, hugging his pillow. He look scared to death. When Alex climbed onto his bed, Isaac yelped and thrust himself away.
"Shh, it's me," he said softly.
"Where were you?" His whispered tone was accusing. "You said you would come!" Alex on impulse reached his arms about Isaac and pulled him close. Isaac didn't fight, but continued to clutch the pillow, his head against Alex's arm.
"Sorry," was all he could offer. "Why are you afraid? It's only thunder-"
"It's too loud," Isaac whimpered.
Alex pulled him tighter and wondered vaguely if Noah had ever bothered. The man didn't seem like the compassionate type. What had Isaac done on stormy nights in his old home?
"Noah used to pretend to be asleep," Isaac said softly, his voice muffled against Alex's skin. It was as if he'd heard his thoughts.
"Shh." Alex dared to stroke his hair, not wishing for Isaac to upset himself more by talking about it. "That's over with. I won't ignore you. How could I?" He'd meant for it to be an amusing thought, but that wasn't the way it came out. Isaac leaned against him more. It was clear that the blond didn't intend for him to give comfort and leave. He would have to wait until the storm subsided. Alex prayed that would be long in coming.
He leaned back against the headboard and pillows, taking Isaac's slight frame with him, still wrapped tightly in his arms. "Stay until it passes," he heard Isaac say softly, hesitantly shifting, then stretching his arm over Alex's chest.
The man smelled too wonderful not to try and get closer. Isaac was drunk on the heat rising from Alex's gloriously nude torso. It made him blush and he hid his face, lest Alex see. What was he doing? He felt the brush of Alex's hair against his wrist and it was all he could do to resist turning his hand up to touch it. He wondered what color it was. He wondered what color Alex's eyes were.
There were too many sensations. They were overloading his senses, even to the point that he'd forgotten the thunder until it crashed again, somewhat more distant this time. The sounds began to dim as he dozed slightly, only to be snapped back into consciousness by the weather outside. Alex didn't even flinch when the wind howled and thunder shook the house. Or perhaps he was asleep already?
The arms tightened when he shifted. No, still awake. The heart beneath his ear beat lazily, soothingly. Yes, he would definitely have to play something to match that beat. Something slow and soft. Something he should like to dance to or perhaps, in his dreams at least, make love to by.
He drifted off to sleep.
Alex hadn't meant to stay the whole night. Honestly, he hadn't, but the warm body draped halfway over him was too inviting, especially to his contact deprived body. How long had it been? Not too terribly long, but since he'd met Isaac, it felt like a lifetime had passed since he'd felt the touch of someone. He shifted slightly, easing the blond's head off his shoulder and onto the pillow as he slid silently out of the bed, his muscles sore from leaning against the headboard for most of the night. He stretched languidly, reaching up to the ceiling and arching his neck a bit to glance at the still-sleeping boy who had squirmed into the warm spot in the sheets Alex had just left.
Hmm. The clock in the hall said 8:02. He had to get Isaac out of the loft by 10 am at least. Alex bathed and shaved quickly, record time for one who was usually very vain when it came to the early morning routine. He wove back down the hall, flipping his wet hair back and forth as he went.
"Isaac, Isaac wake up-" He gently shook the blond's shoulder.
"Yeah. Come on, get up. I'm making you go out with me today." He pulled at Isaac's arms to get him going. The blond smoothed his hair self-consciously and blinked a bit.
"Come on," Alex urged again, smiling at the sleepy ragamuffin.
Finally waking up and getting out of the body-warmed sheets, Isaac blushed furiously, probably remembering how last night had passed. It was the most flattering shade of crimson Alex had ever seen as he gently shoved Isaac into the guest bathroom for a quick shower. He started the water, handed the boy towels, and left him alone. He had to force himself to be virtuous today.
"So where are we going?"
Last night's storm had brought the cool with it and today's brisk wind made Isaac thankful for the jacket Alex had wrapped him in. The ever-present press of Alex's arm kept him feeling warm and secure.
"Just around. You know, like we used to? I just thought that maybe you got bored being inside all day."
Isaac kept his head bowed to the breeze and said nothing. God yes. Boredom wasn't even the word for it. He stretched his legs out as he walked, breathing out and lifting his head. It actually felt good, this wind. Exhilarating. Maybe Alexander would take him back to the music store. Isaac felt almost happy enough to play something for him.
They decided to eat lunch in a small restaurant on the square. Alex said it had a terrace where they could sit outside and listen to people go by. There were only remnants of the breeze hitting them where they sat, and Isaac listened half-heartedly as Alex suggested some entrees he might be interested on ordering. He was more interested in the sounds of birds chirping in a strange discord in some perch above their heads.
"What do you want to eat?"
"Mmm? Whatever you order," he answered, turning his face away from the birds to the sound of Alex's voice. "I'll just have a bite."
"Sure you will, but I have to warn you. If I get dessert, it's every man for himself."
An hour and too much food later, they leaned back from the table, groaning.
"I thought you were going to just have a bite?"
"You offered me too much."
Alex shifted like he was stretching, then the sound of his chair being pushed back. "Come on," he said amiably, "now we need to walk this off." He took Isaac's hand to help him up, and when they made their way out of the restaurant into the street, they still hadn't let go.
It was late before they reached Alexís loft again.
"Wait here, OK?" Alex's hands guided him to the couch. "I'll be right back."
Isaac sank into the cushions, still breathing hard from hanging onto Alex and jogging up the stairs, laughing with him. God, today! He rubbed his face, trying not to let his happiness show too much, lest Alexander think him mad. He made an effort to be a bit less giddy. He was far too unused to the feeling, and couldn't trust himself to have control. What right had he to be smiling to himself like a fool? He berated himself and sighed again, but left a little secret smile to play on his lips. He was exhilarated. Just to spend the day with Alex, free of worry of his curfew, had completely upturned him. As long as he didn't think about it too hard, he felt he might be truly happy here.
Isaac's smile faded. Except for the feeling around Alex himself. Of the silences they would fall into when he just knew Alex was staring at him. They weren't bad silences- they were comfortable but... Something about how close Alex sat when they'd rested on the edge of the fountain as they had done so long ago. Something about the proximity with which he walked. Then their holding hands! He had to be fair about that though- he, himself, hadn't made any move to pull away.
Isaac knew what it was; he wasn't dumb. The question was, could he let it happen? How different could it be? When all his life he'd been told that he would never be worth anything? Never be happy? He snorted to himself, tossing that idea away. It was too late for him. Too late to even try since it'd gone on so long. He thought he'd decided that long ago. So why now was he sitting here going over these things again and feeling sorry for himself?
"Mmm?" He roused himself from wallowing in self-pity. It was probably showing on his face, by the tone in Alexander's voice.
Alex didn't answer right away. Then, "Come on, I want to show you something." He took Isaac's hand from his lap and pulled him up from his nest on the couch. Alex led him in the direction of the balcony, that much he knew. He felt the breeze from the obviously open doors and vaguely wondered what Alex could possibly show him from the balcony.
"Isaac," Alex stopped him right on the threshold of the doors. "Isaac, I just wanted to say that this... is a gift. Nothing else, ok?" He paused before continuing, suddenly sounding very nervous. Hesitant. "I just don't want you to think that I'm trying to, well..."
The anxiety emanating from him hit Isaac like a brick. He couldn't stand it. He patted Alex's hand on his arm.
"Show me," he said softly, trying to smile in a way that wouldn't betray his own nervousness. It was like emotion by osmosis.
He heard Alex sigh softly and the hand on his arm nudged gently for him to walk again onto the balcony. Alex's hand ran down his arm and took his own hand in very slightly trembling fingers.
Alex moved Isaac's hand down until it touched something cool and hard and smooth. Isaac's breath caught, but he remained silent and let Alex guide his hand down lower, down an edge and onto what couldn't be mistaken as anything else.
Alex was standing close to him, very close. Isaac could feel the softest brush of breath on his cheek. The strength of the heat radiating from Alex's proximity was as if Alex was pressed up right against him, which he might as well have been.
"I don't believe you-" he whispered, bringing his other hand up and spreading them flat over the keyboard. "Why did you do this?" Alex's hands on his hips maneuvered him to sit down, and then sat next to him. Alex's shoulder against him went up in a slow shrug.
"I don't know," he said gently, tinkering with a few keys. "Honestly I don't. I figured that I've always wanted to learn to play, and well, you may have fun with it too." There was humor in his voice, surely he was smiling.
Isaac's face remained rigid. He ran the pads of his fingers over the smooth keys, then up over the top and drew circles with his palms. "Alex, I-"
"Will you play? For me?"
He bit his lip and shut his eyes tight, resisting the urge to press his forehead to the cool surface. On the keyboard his fingers traced ghost keys to tunes he'd never forgotten. Not because they were dear to him, but because they were quiet echoes of the time before the accident. Of when he used to lay with his head in his mother's lap as she painted masterpieces before him. They were always the same- landscapes, backgrounds, still-life. So full of his mother's personality, down to the scenes she would paint from pure memory of her native little European town. Flowers in the springtime over meadows stretching on forever so that the green became gray in the distance. And then she would get up from her pallet and canvas on the floor, lifting him with her and sit at the piano to play him a melody her mother had shown her. It was the only song she knew, but it carried so much sentimental value to her, and later to him.
He still knew that melody.
His father had looked on proudly; he had love for his wife's art as well. So much that he was convinced that her artistic line ran through her son. Not through canvas, but through the music; ever since Isaac had crawled up onto the piano bench as a child and found his mother's melody through one and two finger tunes.
It was the raging beast his father would later become because of Isaac's success that made his fingers freeze in their own protest from ever touching the keys again. And the sight of his mother, ivory tresses flowing over her shoulders, pulled from the pins in her hair with her own hands as she ranted at his father, screaming. Begging.
Isaac snapped himself back from his memories of his own volition. Alexander was still at his side. How long had they been sitting there? It seemed like hours for him, and yet Alex had stayed patiently silent. Waiting for him?
Isaac realized he hadn't negated to play for him. He hadn't- whereas he most certainly would have in times before. What was happening to him that Alex should affect him so? His fingers rested lightly on the keys, their smoothness seeping into his hands, pulling at them. He wanted to play. He had to now. It would be desecration not to play such perfection.
So he did. He played the only melody that seemed right. Nothing else could have been appropriate for the moment. His childhood's theme, much more complex than his mother had ever played it now, added to by the talents for certain rhythm that he had picked up along the way somewhere. Why was it that it was so loud in his ears? Overwhelming him like a wave of euphony washing over him as he pounded the keys harder, dropping his chin to his chest so that Alex may not see his face should he start weeping.
It was all he could do not to let his fingers tremble like the rest of him. He was detached from his body, except for the press of the warming keys and the solid body at his side. His hands raced faster, furiously reaching for that connection he could make where he could lose himself in his music, so that he didn't have to feel the pain. If he could just get past that part of it-
Hands caught his furious pounding fingers over the keyboard. Isaac stopped immediately and collapsed against Alexander, ashamed that he'd let his anger and distress seep so into the song, turning it from a sweet aria into an intensified, over-excessive satire of what it had been in his mind.
"Isaac I didn't mean to-"
His sought to cover Alex's mouth with his fingers. "No... no, it's not you," he whispered, noticing for the first time that he was breathing hard. Had he always been so extreme when he played? "It's not your fault. Alex, I-" He raised his head, not bothering to brush back irritating wisps of his hair from his face. "Thank you," he finished softly, bowing his head again. "I don't know what else to say but... thank you. For everything." He breathed out a deep sigh.
Alex raised his chin with his fingers. There was the softest brush of his lips against Isaac's forehead- there was no mistaking that sensation. Then his fingers were gone, and he was off of the bench. "Why thank me?" Alex's voice sounded a bit far away, like he'd stepped away to the balcony railing. The suddenly noticed breeze chilled Isaac as he sat alone on the piano bench. "I did it because I wanted to. Because I thought that maybe if I could show you that there are people who are capable of caring for you... that you could..." His voice maddeningly trailed off.
Isaac reached out towards the sound of Alex's voice. "Alex, please-" he reached further, fingers searching like a child's. "I can't-" Warm fingers caught his and he stopped reaching. "Tell me, please," he begged. "That I could what...?"
Alex was persuaded to reclaim the seat next to Isaac, keeping close hold on his hand. "That you could love me," he whispered. "That I could convince you that I would never hurt you. Could never hurt you."
Isaac sniffed, forcing back the choking lump in his throat. He leaned forward until his forehead touched Alex's, his hands coming up to feel Alex's shoulders and run up to his face. "Why do you say this to me now?" he whispered. "Why at all?"
Alexander had no answer for him. Isaac hadn't expected one, but it needed to be asked at least. The answer was immaterial. "I want to," he choked at last. "Alex, I really want to but...I honestly don't know how-" His voice had turned into liquid agony. Isaac grappled for some sense of understanding. All of what he'd decided for himself was being knocked out from under him. He should hate Alex for disrupting his world so, except for the prospect of what the man was offering him. Happiness, comfort. Contentment.
Alex's hand came up to push him away a bit. "Open your eyes, Isaac. Please."
It was no mistake that he remembered what had happened last time Alex had wished to see his eyes. Alex meant for him to remember. He did, revealing blackness still to him, but he knew it was revelation to Alexander.
Soft lips touched his in a replay of that night in the bathtub. Isaac ached for it. He reached up to capture Alex's head in his hands in a show of his ache for this. Of his unwillingness to let Alex get away.
His arms came around Isaac's back, pressing up against him in their first truly impassioned embrace. His body was so firm, so warm. The clothes covering the smooth chest Isaac had already slept against were maddening him to no end. That in itself made him nervous. He couldn't remember the last time he'd actually wanted someone. Or had he ever?
It didn't matter. He steeled his resolve, no matter how frightening this was. He wanted this. He wanted Alexander. He would not allow himself to be convinced otherwise. But then again, he hadn't the first clue on how to go about it. With Noah, he'd never had to do anything.
Alex's head dipped down for another kiss and Isaac surrendered the last of his will. God, whatever he wanted. Whatever Alex wanted, he could have.
Isaac closed his eyes and leaned his head foreword to rest against Alex's chin. "Show me, Alex... Please show me."
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