Catching the Sunset (Attn: Gris)
Josh had finally arrived home from New York with Mel after two weeks of working on a case there. It had been a little bit of a tangle, and it had taken them longer than expected to work out all the details and a good solution. In the end it had seemed safer to bring the young man they'd been working with to Nachton, here, and take him away from the environment he'd been in which was unsafe at best.
He had missed Gris more than he'd expected, and had thought about him more than was probably decent for such a short association. They'd texted a couple of times and had called each other once, the conversation lasting a lot longer than Josh ever spent on the phone with anyone. He couldn't help it; he just enjoyed Gris's company.
Upon arriving back in Nachton he'd had to wait a little while, as Gris had also been away. Once Gris came home Josh didn't want to seem desperate so he'd waited a day or so and then called him up to ask him if he wanted to come out with him. He had been thrilled to receive a yes; he'd thought he would but he wasn't entirely certain. By his own admission, Gris had hardly been monogamous in recent months and the idea that he might have been with someone else in the last few weeks caused Josh a good deal of anxiety. There was nothing he could do about it though; he and Gris had no formal understanding. Gris was free to see whoever he liked whenever he liked. Josh just figured he might have some catching up to do, to make sure he was still desirable.
He'd proposed a date at the Waterfront, where the cultural center was. There were a lot of shops and restaurants here, and there was a lot going on. The amphitheater had a performance in the evening and the beach was just down the way. Josh arranged dinner for them both, leaving the evening's activities sort of open-ended. They could wander around and stop when and where they liked.
He waited outside the Marina for Gris, standing calmly, patiently, his outward appearance not betraying the nerves he felt inside. Finally, he could see Gris coming down the walkway, evening sun catching his blond curls and turning them into gold. He was wearing jeans, a light colored shirt, an olive green sweater, and a very light fringed gray scarf. He looked absolutely gorgeous. Josh's heart skipped a beat or two before he firmly told it to settle down. In the back of his head, however, he was remembering with tantalizing detail what was beneath those clothes and the passionate night they'd shared.
Josh was similarly dressed, at least in clothing that was of the same weight. He had on jeans as well, deep blue and slightly worn. A white collared dress shirt was tucked into them and over that he had on a black v-neck cashmere pullover which hugged each muscle without looking like it was about to rip. Everything was, of course, freshly pressed. He didn't have on a scarf or jacket; the weather in Liechtenstein was much cooler than this in the fall, and he hadn't yet felt the need for anything heavier.
As Gris approached Josh felt his lips try to smile. Inside, he was beaming, and the expression really showed in his eyes more than his mouth. He took in the sight of Gris with a warm sparkle of approval and as the blond came closer Josh hesitated. It felt natural to want to kiss him, but they hadn't seen each other in weeks. And that had been - well... an eye-opener. Not only had the morning after not been horribly awkward but they'd had a fantastic day, at least in Josh's opinion.
Now it felt like square one again. Josh didn't want to push his luck.
"It's good to see you," he said warmly. "Did you have a good trip?"
What did you do, when you'd had one date with someone, spent a night having mind-blowing sex and the next day in a kind of heaven, and then you hadn't seen them since? Hug them? Kiss them? Offer them a firm companionable handshake? Josh had no experience with this kind of thing. He sort of hoped Gris would take that first step but if not, he'd improvise.
((ooc: clothing description from Gris))
Then his sister called and asked him to come to London. She was getting married and wanted him there. She said her husband even wanted him to be a groomsman. No doubt their father was having fits. At least he was already resigned to the idea by the time Gris arrived. It was a big important wedding, Grayson and Blackthorn, wealthy, titled and influential.
It had been nerve wracking trying not to embarrass his father in some way or another and that happened every time he spoke and his accent was not, just so. At least he had gotten much better at faking the proper received pronunciation. At formal events that was perfect and if he stayed away from slang all together then people did not look at him like an American trying very hard to fit in.
As soon as he was back he had wanted to find Josh and go out, despite it seeming incredibly late to his five hour ahead body clock. If they managed to see a movie and fall into a bed together he would have considered that to be perfect. But he got home and checked his messages and found none. Perhaps Josh had changed his mind. The diplomat had not seemed to be the type to go from one person to the next but he could have decided that now was not a good time to try and start something serious with anyone. Josh was new to the area after all and maybe he found that he wasn't staying. Anything could have happened.
He had unpacked and fallen asleep on his bed before all of that was done. It did not help that Tavi and some of his flat mates had welcomed him home with a round of drinks and a few games on the playstation. Gris suspected that was Tavi's doing; she knew that he had trouble with his parents and she was sympathetic to that situation. Her nonverbal solution was exactly what he needed for more than one reason. It had helped him not immediately jump on the phone and dial up Josh.
The next day he woke bright and early, finished his unpacking, took a shower, had some tea and some breakfast courtesy of a lovely friend in the common room who was already cooking some for herself. Gris regaled her with funny stories from the wedding in exchange for some bacon and eggs. He had decided that when he got back to his room that he was going to give Josh a call. Only, when he got back to his room Josh had already called.
And here they were.
Josh stood waiting at the end of the walkway, looking spectacular and peaceful. The wind toyed with little tufts of his dark hair and Gris was immediately jealous. He wanted to run his fingers through it himself and find out first hand how soft that snug black sweater was. Of course he would like to get his hands on the body beneath it but that would have to wait for a less public moment.
When he got closer Josh did not look as peaceful as he had originally thought. Gris could see the pleased look in his eyes and the almost smile that tugged at the edges of his lips. "Its okay, you can be happy to see me." He grinned. "Its only natural." Gris shook his hair back off his shoulders and regarded Josh for a long moment, taking in the sight of him.
"It went better than expected." He still wasn't sure if his sister had wanted him there for some familial bonding or because not having her brother there would cause a stir that would otherwise mar her perfect wedding or because it would drive their father completely bonkers.
He stepped closer and wrapped his arms around Joshua, pulling him close. Leaning forward just enough to brush his lips against Josh's ear, he murmured. "I missed you." And this felt good, oh so good.
"What do you mean? This is my happy face," he said, his expression changing very little. Ecstatic, really. Just seeing Gris made his day.
When Gris said his trip went better than expected Josh nodded. "I'm glad. I know you weren't exactly looking forward to it."
They hadn't discussed Gris's family a whole lot. Josh just knew that Gris had a very different family then he did. Josh's was close-knit, tightly bound, and even with him in America now he had still spoken with each of his sisters and his mother weekly since arriving. He knew what his nieces and nephews were up to, and he had promised to try to get to see them for the holidays. They were all eager to know about Nachton and what the Alpha was like. He couldn't imagine not having that sort of relationship with them.
Gris closed the distance between them and Josh's heart skipped again as he was embraced. He hugged Gris back, pleased beyond words with that hug, giving a soft hum of satisfaction. Gris's words surprised him and he pulled away just enough to look at the blond with amusement and curiosity.
"You did?" He tightened his arms around Gris, spreading his hands over his back and squeezing a little. "I missed you too. I thought about you a lot."
He kissed Gris softly, daring to do so on the lips rather than his cheek, even though they were out in public. Why not? They were already embracing each other much more closely than mere friends would. If Gris wasn't worried about it then Josh wouldn't. He was comfortable with who he was; his main concern was that Gris had a reputation to maintain as a respected professional.
He did pull away, although he took Gris's hand in his. "Did you want to tell me about it?"
Josh wasn't sure if they knew each other well enough yet for confidences. Clearly they got along well in bed, and he knew already that they enjoyed spending time together. But maybe Gris wasn't looking for the sort of emotional connection Josh was. Josh thought Gris wouldn't have admitted to missing him if that were the case, but you never knew.
"I'd love to hear about it. But if you'd rather walk some, that's fine. The Marina will have dinner ready for us in an hour or so. I hope you don't mind, I made a few selections from the menu already so they could prepare it while we caught up. If there was something particular you wanted, I can run in and let them know."
It wasn't normal for Josh to commandeer their dining experience, but in this case he had a plan for it and some preparation was required. He had wanted to treat Gris to a relaxing, enjoyable evening with very little stress. Traveling was tiring, and he'd only been back a day or so. He might still be battling the jet lag.
There was a bench nearby they could sit on if Gris just wanted to chat, but the boardwalk and cultural center were quite active this evening, too, and there were plenty of stores to see as well as interesting displays and facts about the city itself. Josh was sure they would get to it all in time, but for now he waited to see what Gris preferred.
Gris made a face when Josh asked if he wanted to talk about his trip. "No, not really.â€ He squeezed the hand in his and shrugged. "Its not that I don't want to share. I would just rather enjoy ourselves. My family isn't going to change any time soon so talking about their deficiencies as relatives is just depressing.â€
It was explained that there was dinner planned and already ordered. He could be a picky eater but Gris was sure that Joshua would manage to have something on the menu that he could enjoy, so long as it didn't involve raw meat then he was fine.
"Sounds good.â€ He shook his head when Josh said that he could run order something specific if he wanted it. "No, I will trust you.â€ Gris smiled wickedly. "Don't let me down.â€
He had just had one apartment finally decorated but now he had another one to buy things for. It was a good thing that he had a decent job because at this rate he might run through his savings. The new place was on his mind when Josh had mentioned shopping. His companion had also only recently arrived in Nachton and probably still needed things for his own home.
"Lets take a look at the shops. I have some decorating left to do. The new apartment has a bed and....Well, it has a bed.â€ Gris smiled and shrugged his shoulders. Important things first, right?
"Okay," he said amiably when Gris said he preferred not to discuss his trip. "Sharing later, maybe." He squeezed Gris's hand back. "Relaxation now."
He couldn't express how very much he wanted to be the one Gris poured his troubles out to. To hold him and comfort him through the things that seemed to cause him stress, to share his confidences. Time enough for that later, he supposed. Perhaps there was someone else in Gris's life in whom he confided. Josh hoped so. No one should bear their burdens alone. For now, if all he could do was provide his friend with some fun and some detox time, he would be happy. As long as Gris seemed to be enjoying himself.
He was pleased that Gris trusted his judgment in food. Josh might not be a renowned chef but he was pretty sure he was a damn good eater. He liked a broad range of foods and wasn't afraid to try anything, really. He hoped the selections he'd made for the evening were ones Gris liked. Josh smiled and slid his arm around Gris's waist, hugging him briefly before letting go.
"I'll try not to," he said softly as they began to walk.
They had found apartments in adjoining buildings, conveniently on the same street in Nachton. Josh's was a corner apartment with two bedrooms and two baths. It was about two thousand square feet which meant the floor plan was very open and sprawling. The living area was what had gotten him; it was two stories high with floor to ceiling windows, a perfect performance space he couldn't resist. The trouble was, he'd just bought himself a gorgeous piano for his apartment at the Den. There was no sense in buying a new one. He was torn.
He could move the piano to the new place; he could move out of the Den entirely; he could buy a lesser piano for the new apartment. He'd been thinking about this the whole time he'd been in New York. Finally he had decided that he might as well free up an apartment at the Den and utilize the space he'd just purchased with a hefty chunk of his savings. He wanted to be near Gris. It didn't make sense to try to keep up such an elaborate and costly deception. The times he needed to be at the Den to help care for a Packmate would be fewer than the times he'd want to be at his place.
He would miss spending every day at the Den but he could still do that; he'd return to his new apartment in the evenings just like any working man. He had yet to bring this up to Alpha Xephier; his leader might just decide he must stay at the Den although that cause hadn't been stipulated as part of his job.
Josh still had plenty of shopping to do, however. The idea of furnishing such a large space was slightly intimidating. He did have a few things he could move from one to the other including his piano but his apartment at the Den had been furnished already, so he was mostly starting on a blank slate.
He couldn't help laughing when Gris said he had a bed, and that seemed to be pretty much it. He could only hope that he would have a chance to see this bed. Potentially to use it as well. His mind wandered down the road it had been frequenting since the last time they'd seen each other but it took nothing to turn his attention back to his companion, for why daydream about someone when they were standing here right next to you, looking so handsome?
"Well let's go then," he said cheerfully - for him. "We've got an hour or so, that should be enough to poke around and get a start."
He looked at the buildings around them. There were two restaurants and a couple of smaller boutiques. He aimed them at the first storefront and indicated it with his free hand. "How convenient. An art store."
Josh wasn't sure what the waterfront would have in the way of furniture, but they seemed to have plenty of small shops for decorative items and accents.
Gris opened the door and let go of Josh's hand long enough to hold the entry way open for both of them to enter. Once inside he reclaimed the hand that he had been holding.
The building had clean bleached oak floors and very white walls and high ceilings. The over all feel was sleek and modern. Art of all kinds lined the walls and in the middle of the spacious store more partitions held yet more paintings. There were also other pieces of art, clay, glass, metal, mixed media and more on stands so that they could be displayed at eye level. Larger sculptures dominated a few corners and special niches, each with lights to show off their texture and shape.
"Do you have anything particular in mind?â€
He didn't really but artwork was a good place to start when you had a clean slate of a house. It would be fun to pick wonderful paintings and other pieces and then design the rest of the furnishings around them.
Gris pointed to four tree paintings with a wintery sky background in shades of blue, cream and silvery grey. For some reason they really caught his attention. "I like those.â€
Another one caught his eye for a different reason. Subtly nodding his head over to one of the paintings near them, Gris whispered softly into Josh's ear. "That I don't get.â€ The canvas had been coated in a cream base coat and then brown paint had been dropped and dripped on it in some random pattern. "I could spill my coffee and come up with that.â€
There was an older lady with long sleek iron grey hair behind a counter in the far back of the store. She had looked up at them when they came in, peering over a pair of modern/vintage half moon glasses. The saleswoman seemed to understand the fine art of high end retail and was allowing them to look around before approaching them, expecting her merchandise to do a lot of the selling for her. If she had accosted them at the front door then it was unlikely that they would have wanted to stay.
Along the back wall straight ahead of them were several displays with prints. They were good quality and a compromise between a cheap poster and a pricey original. Gris began thumbing through them and then stopped suddenly.
"Oh, I love these! One room has to have these!â€ He held the vintage travel poster up for Josh to see. This particular poster was of Rome. It had temple ruins in the foreground in an earthy brown and more of the city in the background in shades of orange, creamy yellow and pale grey blue. The sky was a mixture of pastel purples. "The office I think. They might encourage day dreaming but I am willing to take the risk." There was also several for Paris and he saw a colourful one for Greece, and more. London was not that interesting, Gris sighed and flipped past it. It had no scenery and was just a picture of a double decker bus on a purple background. "That is all they could come up with for London? So sad.â€ He looked over at Josh and smiled. "What do you think? Good idea or tacky?â€ He would probably put them up, tacky or not but he honestly thought they were fairly nice and in the right room they could look quite sophisticated.
"Nothing whatsoever," he said as they took their initial look around. "Maybe we'll see something inspiring."
When Gris pointed out the first set of paintings Josh nodded, drawn to the colors as well as the subject. "Those are pretty," he said.
The whisper in his ear made him snort with amusement. His eyes darted to the picture in question and he took a look at the price tag on the picture. Then he murmured back to Gris, "I'm in the wrong profession. I should have done that."
He wondered how difficult it would be so splash some base on a canvas and then paint big abstract splotches on it. "No! No! The color is all wrong! The lighting is all wrong! I can't work like this!"
Josh kept his voice soft and close to Gris so as not to annoy the saleswoman who had politely stayed out of the way. He appreciated that she hadn't approached them. It was an art store... obviously, they were looking at art. To him, it was the sort of place where you simply had to browse until something jumped out at you.
He paused at a display of prints that featured fall leaves, admiring the colors and trying to think if he could envision it any of the rooms in his new apartment. Maybe, but how would he decorate that room? His tastes definitely didn't run toward autumn-inspired colors, golds and reds and vibrant greens. As Gris moved ahead toward a larger display of prints Josh followed, stepping up behind Gris and sliding his arm around his waist when he expressed excitement about a series of travel posters.
Josh bent close when Gris dismissed the London poster. "They could have done better. I know what I'd be looking at if I went back to London." The hand that rested on Gris's hip squeezed lightly. He couldn't help it... fifteen minutes with Gris and he was already back in boyfriend mode, in spite of wanting to play it casually. Flirting with Gris was fun, though, and gave him an excuse to keep touching him.
"I don't know much about artwork honestly," he said, lifting his shoulders. "What would be tacky about it? If you like them, you should get them. I'd think a little bit of daydream in a lawyer's home office would be refreshing. You aren't obligated to surround yourself with legal documents ad portraits of the founding fathers are you? Is that breaking some kind of lawyer taboo?"
He reached past Gris and pressed close while riffling through the prints himself. "This is nice," he said, coming across a line of music splashed artistically across a scrolling treble staff.
His fingers tapped on the paper, reading the myriad of little black notes without really thinking about it. "Oh," he said after a moment of humming softly to the tune, "it's one of the Brandenburg Concertos."
His fingers drifted along the print in its protective wrapping. "It might look nice over the piano shelf."
Josh hummed thoughtfully. It was probably cliche to decorate the music area with pictures of popular pieces or composers but Josh liked the idea anyway. He pulled the print from its resting place. "I guess I'll find out," he said. "I wonder if she'll hold it here for me until after we're finished here."
He didn't want to have to carry it around. It wasn't large, but he would be carrying plenty of things for dinner and didn't want to drop any of them.
"We can both quit our day jobs, buy some trendy little bungalow on the beach, have a studio and make "artâ€ all day.â€ Gris thought about what he just said and it definitely came out different than he had intended. He was pretty sure that if he was left alone in a little place on the beach with Josh that the canvases would remain blank...unless there was some kinky body painting and then sex on the soon to be sold surfaces. The idea that someone would buy paintings that they had amused themselves on made him laugh. He covered his mouth with his hand, determining that now would not be the best time to share that thought.
Joshua's arms were around him again while he looked through the prints; Gris held one up higher to look at it, using that as an excuse to lean back into his companion. He turned his head and smiled at Josh when he claimed that he would be looking at something else while he was in London. "Oh, fancy Big Ben, do you? I can't blame you. Its a nice clock. Excellent workmanship.â€
They discussed him buying the prints and Josh seemed to agree with him that it didn't matter whether other people thought they were tacky so long as he liked them. "Hmm, a bunch of rebels and outlaws breaking away from the motherland. Of course, that is exactly what I should put up on the wall.â€ Gris grinned. "Or did you mean England's founding fathers. I could put up some portraits of kings and queens.â€ He wrinkled his nose and shook his head. "No, I think the travel posters are just fine.â€
Gris was distracted and stopped looking at the pictures when Josh leaned against him to pull another print out of the display. He sighed softly and then turned to look at what Josh was indicating. Josh was tapping the music out while he contemplated the print and then came up with what it was. "You obviously have a wonderful mind for music.â€ Not many people could just read it and hear the notes in their mind enough to recognize a piece by sounding it out mentally. Josh had done that with something quite complex, full of chords and changes, as if it were easy.
"Sounds like a reasonable place to put it.â€ He smiled as he gathered up the prints that he had decided to keep. "What if we have them shipped to my place? I was thinking of getting those canvases.â€ Gris gestured by to the set of four paintings with the wintery trees. "Those would be best shipped and we could just send them all to the same place.â€ And Josh would have to walk over and get his and maybe he would stay a while.
Gris leaned back against him and Josh felt himself relax, his nerves fading; the chemistry was there. The laughter was there. There was no way Gris could not feel the attraction if he responded like that. Josh would admit that there had still been a little lingering doubt even after that hug and even with Gris's hand in his. The fact that Gris was clearly enjoying his embrace was pleasing. Josh tightened his arm around Gris's waist as he turned to regard his date with raised eyebrows. He refused to comment about Big Ben, but his look clearly conveyed the multitude of responses he could have made.
"Oh yes," he agreed with light sarcasm when Gris mentioned Kings and Queens. "Nothing like a bunch of incredibly old historical figures to get you in the mood for law."
Truth be told Josh loved history, but law was a weighty subject, much like diplomacy, and it required something lighter, he thought, to make a long work day (or night) more tolerable. He let his hand slide down Gris's hip, caressing it gently. "They are just fine," he said. "They'll help keep your workspace tolerable, maybe keep you from being bogged down in it."
He shook his head a little absently when Gris commented on his mind for music. "It's just logic," he said, "that and I recognize the piece. It's famous."
Josh didn't know how well versed in classical music Gris was so he hummed the first few bars of Concerto No. 5 very softly, raising his eyebrows to see if Gris knew the tune. He would have been surprised if he didn't; even those with no musical background to speak of would have heard it in movies and commercials.
Gris's shipping suggestion was met with a nod of approval. "That would work. You don't mind? It will make it easier for them to ship."
He turned around to see the saleswoman disappearing into the back. A storage room, maybe. Gris was standing there with his arms full of art work, so Josh impulsively decided to take advantage of the moment of privacy. Leaning his chosen print against the display for a moment he lifted his hand, gently tugged the soft scarf and sweater away from Gris's neck a bit, and tilted his head down.
His lips met the warm skin of Gris's shoulder where it joined his neck and Josh moaned a soft, "Mmm" of pleasure. He flicked his tongue out, tasting, loving the memories that immediately sprang to mind. Pulling Gris even more tightly against him Josh sucked softly at his neck. In his mind he focused on one thing, and that was making Gris forget anyone but him existed. To that end he lovingly replaced the little mark he'd made the last time they were together.
Gris was his. He wanted him, and he was going to fight for him as hard as he had to.
Pulling away he carefully slid Gris's clothing into place and then turned toward him to meet his lips for another brief caress. Surely Gris knew how irresistible he was - but Josh liked that. He didn't want a meek partner who thought little of themselves. He adored Gris's confidence and spirit, his outgoing nature, the sweetness beneath.
"I'm so glad you're home," he said softly, leaning forward and picking his print back up before releasing Gris so they could move to the counter.
Home was where Josh was. That was what Josh wanted. He may as well approach the situation with confidence himself. In business they say dress not for the job you are applying for, but the job you want. Josh chose to apply that methodology to his relationship... or the development thereof. If Gris put on the brakes he would, of course. But he wanted to be 'home' for Gris. To be the open arms waiting for him at the end of every journey.
"Do you want to look around a little more?" he asked as the lady with the long gray hair returned. They hadn't been in here very long; Gris might have some more ideas about what he wanted and Josh could certainly do with more than one print.
They agreed to have the artwork all shipped to his place because Gris did not mind, not in the slightest. He looked around at the walls to see if there was anything else he wanted to add to the growing collection.
Then the saleswoman went into the back for something.
His sweater and scarf were tugged to the side and then Gris felt Josh's lips soft against his shoulder. The little moment alone was nice, intimate and tender. His eyes slid closed. Then Josh pulled him tightly against him and sucked harder on his skin. Gris moaned involuntarily, a vague part of him hoping that it was at least somewhat quietly.
He loved that; loved that Josh so wanted to claim him and that he couldn't seem to wait until they were alone. Gris would be tempted to do the same, his way, but that was something he felt that he should explain first and that talk was much further down the road. For now he would have to reciprocate with his own temporary marks; though, at this moment, there was no time.
Gris was still somewhat dazed from sensation when Josh gave him a quick kiss on the lips. He blinked when Josh leaned down to pick up his print and said that he was glad he was home.
"Me too.â€ He murmured softly and couldn't help but smile. He was even more glad now than he was a few moments ago.
Taking another look around the store, Gris shook his head, no, to Josh's question. "I will want some more artwork but I don't think I need it all from one place.â€ They had a lot of different styles here but it was a big place; perhaps there was a store further along that was a local gallery. He would like something less commercial and well known as well. He loved the meaning behind pieces that someone doing it for the love of art could place into their work. Most of the mass produced pieces these days looked pretty but lacked soul, seeming to be churned out too fast to mean anything to anyone.
Collecting his prints all under one arm, he took back up Josh's hand and they headed to the counter. The woman returned and smiled serenely at both of them. When he stated which other pieces he wanted and asked to have them shipped, she nodded and wrote the information down. He was quickly rung up and giving his new address. All in all, the woman may have spoke three entire sentences. Gris decided that he liked this gallery and would have to remember it.
He hadn't missed the smile on Gris's face, either, and it made him feel warm and buoyant to have put it there. Yes, they hardly knew each other - but they were working on that and with every little thing he learned about Gris Josh found himself more and more attracted.
Outside the art store they looked around. There were a number of places to shop here and Josh spied one that practically begged him to come in. It was a little antiques store, sort of quaint in appearance, neatly organized by the looks of it. Josh liked that; many antiques stores had everything jumbled together in a sort of hodge podge of old and older. It looked terrible; antiques weren't junk to be piled in a storage space.
He turned toward the store without really even thinking about it and then raised his free hand, which was no longer in a cast but a neoprene splint, to point.
"Do you mind if we look in there for a few minutes?"
He looked at Gris, his lips forming themselves into an almost sheepish little smile. "I have a thing for antiques stores."
If Gris didn't want to go in that was fine; Josh knew it was everyone's cup of tea. He could always check it out later or meet Gris someplace else, although he'd prefer to stay with his date.
Gris seemed to approve, so they entered the little store, which was sandwiched between two much larger ones. It was deep but narrow. There wouldn't be a whole lot of room here for big pieces of furniture but that suited Josh just fine. He'd already pretty much broken the bank with the new apartment and his piano. Small purchases were right up his alley.
On second thought, that might be a bad thing. The salesman behind the desk looked up and asked if they needed any help. He was an older gentleman with glasses and a ready smile. Josh said they were just browsing and he told them to ask if they had questions and then left them to wander the small store.
Josh's attention was drawn immediately to a small box-shaped piece, with a slatted top and ornate wooden feet. It was a music canterbury. He had seen them before but never owned one. This one was made out of very red wood that would look beautiful in the living room next to his new piano. He brushed his fingers along the top thoughtfully.
"I didn't think I'd walk in and immediately be tempted," he said to Gris with a soft laugh. "But, surprise."
The inside was much more organized than he expected. He was surprised and could not decide whether he liked the neat orderly placement of things or the eclectic hodgepodge that always suggested an attic adventure with hidden treasure possible around every corner.
Josh immediately found something of interest. Gris looked down at the box and smiled. "It would go nicely in your music room." He wouldn't tempt Josh any more than he was already tempted. Instead he looked around at the other things in their immediate area.
Further down there was an upright piano that had seen better days. It appeared to be from the late 1800's; old but hardly much different from the modern pianos of today. On top of it was an interesting lamp. It was a bit gothic looking, all wrought iron swirls with a gargoyle head near the base. Its mouth was open and its long curling tongue supported the oil lamp base. There was a red shade currently surrounding the lamp and a flickering flame glowing nicely inside. Another frosted white globe sat off to the side for a more sedate appearance. He peered over the rim of the lamp and saw that someone had converted the oil lamp into an electric lamp but had chose a bulb with a realistic flickering mechanism.
"That is kind of neat.â€ He was not sure it fit Josh's style but who knew. He hadn't had a chance to see what Josh's style was yet.
Further on he could see what appeared to be antiques sorted by things having to do with the kitchen and dining room. Gris saw rows of tea and coffee pots of all shapes and sizes lining long shelves. He wrapped his arm around Josh's waist and hugged him close, leaning just a little closer to say where he was headed. "I am going to take a look at the kitchen things if you want to join me.â€ Perhaps Josh would like time to decide on the music box.
Closer inspection of the wall of teapots offered a dizzying array of colours and shapes. He made a small sound of alarm when he came across a teapot at eye level that was shaped like an old woman. Somewhat scary looking really. The tag said it was from J.W. Beswick who was better known for making Beatrix Potter figurines. The teapot tag said that it was Sarah Gamp which explained the shocking appearance and the umbrella handle.
There were plenty of pots shaped like dogs, elephants and houses. An enormous collection of Oriental teapots, blue and white porcelain ones and overly decorated flowered teapots. Of them all he approved most of the simple black basalt teapot without all the frills. However, he didn't love it enough to carry it home and replace his modern one.
Moving on to the coffee pots he was immediately drawn to a set that was light green, yellow and white. It was very modern looking amongst the others. The tag stated that it was made circa 1960 to 1970 and from the company Noritake. "This would go well with all the light oak that I have in my kitchen.â€ A couple of pots down there was another interesting coffee pot. This one was tall and slender. He noted that it was also from the 60's and chuckled, apparently old but not antique was appealing to him so far. Pointing to the tall brown container with a red and orange pattern, Gris asked.
"Or this one. Which one do you like?â€
((OOC: Lamp First Coffee Pot Second Coffee Pot ))
"That's a shame," he said softly to Gris so the shopkeeper wouldn't hear. "I guess I'm a purist, but part of the fun of an antique is to get a glimpse of how life was in another era. This takes the fun out of it a little."
If the lamp had been original he might have been tempted. It was very unique. There were several more lamps, and some of those were exactly as they had functioned a hundred, two hundred years ago. He looked at a few that were clearly German in influence if not origin, with nature themes and little male and female figurines decorating the bases. They reminded him of home a bit; the countries in his homeland were so much smaller than America that they tended to share many similar aspects of art and culture.
As they moved along Josh chuckled at the noise Gris made at the teapot. He had to agree; it was a little creepy. He wasn't sure he'd want to make tea in that. The array of other pots, however, was astounding. Perhaps the shopkeep had a liking for them. It certainly wouldn't be unusual. Josh admired the craftmanship on some of them as they perused, pausing at the same black basalt teapot that Gris seemed to like. It was simple, relatively unadorned, and had a nice matte finish on it that appealed to Josh. It was decorated around the sides with what appeared to be grecian-inspired bas-relief.
"That's nice," he murmured to Gris. "Do you like it?"
Gris didn't seem tempted to buy the teapot but Josh liked it. If Gris did as well, Josh might just purchase it to keep at his place, so they could both enjoy it when they were there. He didn't own a teapot and this one seemed sturdy enough and in good enough repair to hold up to occasional use. He didn't see an accompanying tea set but such things could be located. They probably wouldn't match his, but maybe he could find something close enough.
He kept the piece in mind as Gris did find a few things he liked. Josh considered when Gris asked his opinion and then finally answered, "I like them both, but the green one comes with the accompanying bowl and pitcher. It's nice to have a set when all the pieces are available and in good repair."
Josh wasn't lecturing, just stating his preference. In his opinion both pots were nice, and they did both seem to suit Gris. The color of the green one was nice, though, and Josh enjoyed buying entire sets when he could find them, of smaller items like this. On the occasion you did want to be formal, it would be very difficult to find another set close enough to this one; it was quite distinctive.
He gave some thought to the things he'd seen so far that he liked. He wasn't ready to purchase anything yet but he did sort of want something. He wasn't entirely sure how to mesh his love of antiques with the very modern furnishings he'd already chosen but a piece here or there wouldn't matter - it was his apartment, after all. if it turned out a little... eccentric... he was all right with it.
Josh found the same teapot that he had been looking at as well. It had less flash and more functionality than most of the others. He didn't need a teapot in the shape of a dog; he just needed it to hold tea and keep it warm. The basalt pot was good for that.
"I do like it.â€ He smiled and fingered the dark stone. "I already have one or I would consider it.â€ Several actually. People gave him tea related things quite often, figuring that it was a safe gift. He wasn't going to suddenly stop enjoying tea; however, he figured it would stand to reason that a person who enjoyed tea would already have a teapot. But maybe that was just his common sense getting in the way.
The coffee pot was a different story. He supposed he could put it in the same pot as his tea but he would prefer to keep them separate, especially ones made of porcelain and stone. Maybe he was just a purist but he would prefer there not be any chance that his tea tasted even remotely like coffee.
Josh had good advice as far as the set was concerned and Gris nodded. "I was leaning toward that one as well. I have to admit that I am fond of green.â€
They took their purchases to the counter where the clerk carefully wrapped them and agreed to hold them until they returned for them. Gris found Josh's hand again and led his companion, whose eyes were wandering to many other wonders still to be seen in the store, back out onto the sidewalk.
"Ah!â€ He pointed and smiled. "You might have to drag me out of this one.â€ Gris pointed to the kitchen supply store further down the street. "Unless you want to skip this one and head on toward the marina.â€ Not everyone loved to cook and even many of the people who did love to cook didn't necessarily love shopping for their love of cooking.
As they headed back out into the evening sun Gris discovered a store he wanted to go to. Josh looked at what his date indicated and smiled softly, nodding. They walked toward the kitchen store and Josh pulled his cell phone from his pocket to check the time, but then shook his head. He squeezed Gris's hand gently.
"We have a few minutes before they said to be back for dinner," he said. "Let's see what we can find. Who knows, maybe I'll learn something new."
Josh didn't dislike cooking; in fact he was fairly self-sufficient and could cook well enough for himself. He didn't subsist on fast food or take out or anything, and he knew how to follow a recipe. He wasn't very creative though and he didn't make anything fancy. Off the cuff cooking was not his style at all; he couldn't just open his refrigerator up and whip out a three course meal.
He did want to someday make something nice for Gris, though, so it was in his best interest to learn to be a bit more creative in the kitchen. This could be a good start. They had definitely enjoyed cooking together.
As they entered the store he asked Gris, "Is there anything particular on your wish list? Something you've been wanting for a while?"
He knew many kitchen supplies could be pricey and a lot of people had to build up their collection one piece at a time, like his antiques. Of course, Gris clearly made plenty of money if the apartment he'd just purchased was any indication, but that didn't mean he already had everything he wanted for his kitchen.
Gris grinned as they entered the store. "But I will try.â€
He was asked if there is something that he wanted. Considering the question, he steered them toward the appliances. "I have been wanting a good slow cooker.â€ He hadn't invested in a really good one and had always wanted one. His last one he had given to a friend who liked to cook but was a busy mother, figuring she would get plenty of use out of it and it was one less thing for him to pack. Now that he was staying in one place, even purchasing an apartment, he could get some of the things that seemed impractical.
There were a variety of choices and prices. Of course he gravitated right toward the Cusinart's multicooker which was a couple hundred dollars instead of the forty dollar crock pot. Gris read off the list of things that the multicooker did and that consoled him somewhat.
"It sears, roasts, slow cooks and steams. It also automatically keeps the food warm once it is done cooking.â€ Gris enthused as he glanced at the others. "I could start something in the morning and it could be dinner for us when we get home from work.â€ He glanced at Josh and smiled. "If you are willing to travel the enormously long distance from your place to mine, braving traffic and spending money on gas...â€ Gris grinned a little wider. "I promise to make it worth the trip.â€
Turning around to the rest of the store, he waved an arm and asked. "What about your kitchen? You have been moving around a lot as well so I am sure there are things you could use.â€
There was a small display at the end of the aisle of an electronic egg timer. Picking it up, Gris held it out for Josh. "Like one of these, everyone needs one of these.â€ He looked at it again and read the name as he held it up. "The Egg Perfect Timer. So you know how long to boil your eggs.â€ Reading the description on the box, Gris raised his eyebrows. "This one is kind of nifty actually. It goes down in the pot and chooses when the eggs are done by temperature and not time. That makes a lot of sense. It changes colour and everything.â€ Of course it could be possible that Josh didn't like eggs.
Josh was perfectly serious about this evening being all about Gris. He had had the entire week to rest up from his travels, and he had only been to New York. Gris was recently returned from England, where while it wasn't as bad as he had thought it still didn't seem to have been much fun. Josh wanted to meet Gris's family someday, see what sort of people could make him feel this way. As far as he could tell, Gris was charming, cheerful, sweet, and intelligent. Josh would love to have his say with them.
He followed Gris into the store and listened to Gris as they perused the slow cookers. When it was suggested he have dinner at Gris's place Josh nodded, still smiling. He didn't know how he'd managed to capture Gris's attention (aside from falling on top of him) but his date was certainly not giving the impression tonight that he didn't want a steady relationship. They hadn't really discussed that; maybe Gris was ready to settle down a little. Josh wouldn't complain.
"That sounds like a nice night to me," he said. "I think time spent with you will always be worth a trip. However long and grueling the commute." They could relax together, watch some TV, play a game if they were inclined, and just enjoy some quiet time. Josh was still hoping Mel would decide to either come live with him or get a place nearby. He'd lived near her for so long, it was odd not having her right next door.
Josh agreed when Gris suggested there were things he needed. Gris didn't know the half of it. He chuckled at the egg timer. "Yes, I could use one of those, but unfortunately I think I'm going to have to start even more basic."
Josh didn't own any sort of cookware at all; the last few places they'd bounced around in had been furnished for them. Who wanted to carry an entire kitchen with them when they moved every year or so? Sometimes more? Taking Gris's hand he led him to the wall that displayed basic sets of pots, pans, and other things.
"This basic, actually," he said. "I don't have anything for my kitchen at all, really. Gretta and I moved around so frequently. The apartments or hotels we stayed in already had what we needed."
Josh peered up at the wall of stuff. It ranged in price from around a hundred dollars to well over a thousand. "I think we can safely disregard the extreme ends of the spectrum," Josh said, "but I would like a set that will last a while that's of a decent quality."
He knew it meant shelling out a few hundred dollars more, but then he'd known that when he'd purchased his own place. There would still be thousands of dollars in expenses to furnish it. Fortunately as an odd combination of diplomat, businessman, activist, and counselor, Josh's salary was quite good. On top of that his living expenses were usually paid for. His savings might be winded from the sucker punch to the gut but it would survive. Josh wasn't about to go broke any time soon.
"Do you know anything about these brands?" He asked his companion. He didn't expect Gris to be a font of knowledge; that was what salespeople were for. But Gris obviously cooked a great deal and certainly knew more about it than Josh so he was an excellent resource to begin with.
He smiled when Josh accepted his idea of making dinner for them in the slow cooker and thought he would like that. Having the regular company of someone that he enjoyed and was growing to care for seemed almost too wonderful to believe.
The egg timer was considered a necessity but it sounded like there were other things far more urgent. Josh led them over to the pots and pans. He looked at the different sets and then pointed to several colourful boxes. "I like these here that give you several different pots, a frying pan and a baking dish.â€ Many of the different sets had frying pans and pots but only a few added the very versatile baking dish and for a starter set that was a great thing to have. "That covers a lot of different cooking scenarios in one set. Also, these are quite pretty.â€ Gris pointed to the brightly coloured pots. If they had a bright green to match the coffee set or the yellow accent colour he would be tempted. The two toned flame set was still tempting and he didn't really need any more pots. "If you want something a little more sedate. This set is similar in the stainless steel.â€ He took a step back to keep from picking up a box and walking to the counter with it. Slow cooker, that was plenty. Behave!
To distract himself from purchasing things he didn't really need, Gris walked another aisle over and looked at the spatula and spoon sets. He found that they had matching colourful sets of these should Josh choose one of the colours on the other aisle. Then his eye was drawn to a weird looking bendy doll type thing. Reaching down, he picked it up. Closer inspection proved that it was a pastry brush. It had friends too, strainers, measuring cups, spoons and spatulas, all shaped like people with suction cup feet. They were obviously meant for children but they were adorable. Gris was tempted to get them as decoration if nothing else. "Look at this guy. Isn't he cute?â€
As predicted it was probably going to take Josh deciding to leave before he tore himself away from the fun things he found in the store. Gris was trying not to look with a serious eye, keeping to his one big purchase but other things still drew his attention. It was like candy land. The only thing worse would be an herb shop, or a candle making shop...or both.
((OOC: Le Creuset is basically what he is referring to. I personally don't like the griddle pattern instead of a standard frying pan so for the sake of this post I am assuming it is the normal pan in the set and not the skillet grill. The little pastry brush is by Head Chef by Fiesta ))
Gris disappeared, leaving Josh to mull over the sets alone. Sticking with the same brand he found similar sets in green, blue, and red. The green was tempting as he'd decorated his living room in greens and grays, but the living room was more of a sage and this was definitely an emerald. Besides, he'd already put some nice cobalt blue accents in the kitchen. So it made sense to stick with that. He pulled the box of blue cookware from its space behind one of the others and carried it in his good arm, peering into the next aisle and finding Gris as he was looking at something oddly-shaped.
Gris held it up and Josh raised his eyebrows. "It's definitely colorful," he said, amused by Gris's enthusiasm. Personally, he thought his blue cookware would be color enough and planned to stick to a more sedate look for the rest of his appliances.
He glanced at his cell phone, pulling it from his pocket. They still had a few minutes of wandering and Josh had planned for a little wiggle room, knowing their path would be unpredictable. He did like to be on time but it wasn't terribly important tonight unless, as Gris had pointed out, they wanted a cold dinner.
By the time he brought his set to the front counter, however, it really was time to get moving. He paid for it, found Gris, and gently slid his arm around his date's narrow waist. Pressing close he gently brushed his lips against Gris's ear.
"Think you can manage to pull yourself away? We can come back after dinner if you want to see a few more things."
There was no demand in his voice; honestly, if Gris wanted to stay here and shop a little longer it wouldn't bother Josh. He was enjoying himself immensely. This was a wonderful start to the weekend and he very much hoped to be able to spend a decent amount of it with both Gris and Mel.
He had just decided that his first choice was the best choice when Josh came back and asked if he could manage to break himself away from the toys. Gris leaned into his companion for a long moment under the guise of giving that question some thought. "I think I can manage.â€
After his own purchase had been made and put aside for him to pick up later, Gris went with Josh outside and they headed toward the marina. He was curious about what his date had picked for the evening's meal and all the cooking supplies had made him hunrgy.
"So, what was your trip like?â€ Gris hadn't asked before because Josh had been away on business. It probably hadn't been very fun or eventful. He at least hoped that it had been more stress free than his own. "Unless yours was also something that isn't fun to remember... If it is then we can discuss something else entirely."
Like date three? Or was it four now? He couldn't remember if he had claimed that dinner wasn't a date or was the first one. He had stayed the night and they had gone hiking the next day so it could all technically be considered the same date. However, Gris decided that those were two separate events at least for the purposes of the dating logs.
"You know what we need to do soon? We are going to have to have a house warming party...when the places are at least a little more furnished.â€ They could have them together perhaps, especially if Josh did not have that many people to invite. He had only been in the city for a short time so he might be a little short on local friends. Gris reflected that the good thing about a pack was that there was always someone to welcome you to a new city no matter where you went. It had been a real comfort when he was moving from place to place. His pack had truly been his home. Now that he had bought a home, it seemed only right to invite his pack mates over to celebrate in it. He would also like Josh to meet his friends. Who knew perhaps some day they could be Josh's pack mates also...but that line of wishful thinking was a long way off. He wasn't even ready yet to explain that monsters really did exist and that Josh was dating one. At least he didn't have to sleep under Josh's bed. It was far nicer to be sleeping in it.
((OOC: Poor Josh. It is a shame he doesn't have a pack to help support him in his new city. ))
He hated lying; his trip to New York with Mel had been fascinating and a little stressful. The young man they'd been helping had been Gifted completely by accident. His parents didn't know what to do with the rebellious teen and he was mixed up with a gang that was reluctant to let him go. The boy's natural instinct was to seek out his own Pack and with Josh and Mel's help they had counseled him and shown him to his new family in the city, but Josh suspected there would still be some trouble with his gang. He couldn't hide what he was forever. The revelation of it could be devastating.
Josh wished he could tell Gris about it. Maybe someday in the future, Gris would enjoy meeting his Pack and even potentially being part of it. Josh had always thought he might fall for someone who was already Kadzait but people like him weren't common, and werewolves were an uncommon breed as well. It would be some time before he felt comfortable enough with someone to discuss that aspect of his life, after his last relationship. He'd thought everything was fine until he'd come home that night. Well... it was past.
"A house warming would be nice," Josh said. "You should come over later. I made some decent progress in my apartment over the last week. Wait here just a moment though, okay? I'll be right back."
With a last brush of his hand to Gris's Josh headed into the restaurant. As promised everything was ready and waiting, in an insulated carrier to keep warm. Josh took it and picked up the duffel bag he'd left here earlier as well. Gris seemed not to mind the cool weather, which was a good thing. It wasn't terribly cold out, but it was definitely cooler than most people would think of for a picnic.
He went back out to where Gris was waiting. "Okay. All set. Now we just need to find a good spot."
There were plenty of picnic areas nearby along the beach but Josh had in mind something slightly more secluded, where they would be a little apart from the noise and excitement of the waterfront. Not too far, just enough for some privacy. He aimed them up the beach and started walking.
"Let me know if you see a place you like."