Gris sat in a private booth of a Caribbean restaurant on the waterfront. It was named Broadside's. He wasn't sure if the owner was a person of girth which would account for the apostrophe and the s or if they were only naming it for the obvious sailing reference. He had heard that it was a wonderful restaurant despite the thematic decor and, truth be told, he kind of liked the whimsy of the place.
The autumn weather was approaching something close to perfect. Because of this, he had on a button down shirt in a very light grey over a soft loose weave cable knitted jumper in a foggy grey that was only slightly darker than shirt. To complete the monochromatic theme, his trousers were charcoal.
He had unbound his hair after work and it drifted around his shoulders as he looked down at his tablet and completed some last minute correspondence while he waited for Josh to arrive. It was much better to do it now because he would not give it a second thought later. Once his boyfriend arrived Gris found it difficult to think of anything else.
His work at the law firm had not suffered nearly as much as he would have expected. It actually seemed to be going along more smoothly instead of less after he had met Josh. Gris had marvelled at that but decided that he still spent plenty of time at work. He felt better, slept better, and spent less time partying and drinking to relax than before. Josh was out of town occasionally and that left him time for his hobbies which were varied and occasionally messy.
In fact he had a little something for Josh that he made while his boyfriend had been away on a trip to New York. It was hidden away in his pocket for later. Right now he really needed to finish this email before his beautiful distraction arrived.
They were told their waiter would arrive shortly and left alone. Once the hostess had left Josh slipped his hand behind Gris's lower back and left it there to warm him. He bent his head close to Gris's ear, the privacy of the booth making him more demonstrative than he'd normally have been in public, and let his mouth brush against Gris's skin again as he said, "You look absolutely edible."
Gris did, in a somewhat monochromatic outfit that only accentuated the sharp green eyes and warm golden tones in his hair. Every time Josh saw him he was stunned by Gris's looks, which were only enhanced by the beauty of his personality. Gris, his Gris, was an incredible man.
Josh, by contrast, was wearing a black suit. Meticulously cleaned and pressed, it wasn't faded by age or wear. It was a true midnight black with polished ebony buttons. His shirt was a deep steel grey and his tie a light lavender shade that brought a hint of color to his eyes. He hoped.
Tonight was special for Josh, and he hoped to make it so for Gris. They'd been together for a while now and Josh was aware that he was probably lacking in the boyfriend department. He'd been talking about it to one or two of the people he worked with and one of the women he and Gretta bumped into on occasion was Kadzait herself, Amaroq, with an Illamar lover. She had mentioned trust, and how good it felt to be dating someone who understood her, and it had gotten Josh thinking about whether or not he gave Gris as much trust as he deserved.
Josh was very private, very personal. He knew he opened up to Gris in a way he hadn't opened up to anyone but his family (including Gretta) in years, but was it enough? Ever since Gris had said he loved him and Josh had, of course, returned the sentiment, he'd been thinking hard about this. Gris trusted Josh in a million ways. He had proven it on multiple occasions. Josh wanted to demonstrate the same thing to Gris. He'd come up with a way - a fun way, he hoped. Something he never did with anyone. It required a little bit of seduction.
Oh, life was so hard.
His boyfriend slid into the booth and murmured softly wonderful words in his ear. Gris folded his tablet cover shut with a definitive slap and slid it off to the side, his eyes never leaving Josh's. Giving his boyfriend a sly private smile, he murmured softly back. "That might be on the menu. Later when we are at home."
He ran a slender hand up Josh's side and let his gaze roam over his boyfriend's form. "You look stunning this evening." His companion was stylish as always and handsomely so. The suit was perfectly tailored and, as was often the case with seeing Josh in clothing, the fabric fit over his boyfriend's frame in ways that both hid and revealed Josh's muscular frame.
With a grin, he smiled and leaned his lips close to Josh's ear. "And edible too but I can be patient and look for that dessert at home."
With a lingering smile, he reached for the menu and slid it across the map covered table toward them. "Let's see what they have, shall we?"
Gris settled in more comfortably next to Josh, placing a hand on his partner's thigh. He leaned over the menu, stray curls falling forward against his cheek.
"Do you want to get some of the pholourie for an appetizer?"
((OOC: Sorry about the other thread. I thought I would get to both but I ran out of time.))
He knew he could have asked about what he wanted tonight. They were both comfortable with intimacy; hell, Josh and Gris were so familiar with each other now that Josh felt like he was inside Gris's skin sometimes. Certainly, his ability to edge his partner was only growing the more they played. He wanted this to be an entire experience for Gris, though. Josh was aware of the irony that he was controlling the situation, given what he wanted, but as the night went on he suspected his lover would get it. This was not Josh's comfort zone but he trusted Gris, and he wanted to experience this - but only with Gris.
He laughed low, silky, and caressed Gris's neck with his lips before leaning away again. "Dessert will definitely be served at home."
The warm hand on his thigh made him sigh with the weight of impatience, but it was a mild impatience. He enjoyed every single fucking second of Gris's company, good, bad, and ugly. He wanted it all. Always.
As they looked down at the menu and Gris asked about an appetizer Josh gently pushed the menu away toward Gris. "Whatever you want," he said.
Taking a deep breath he tilted his head away, just for a moment, flashing his neck in a sign Gris couldn't miss but that was completely insignificant to anyone else there unless they happened to be a werewolf. It would have appeared to be a little shift, a toss of the head. Josh meant it for what it was though, and although it made him tense for just a moment he didn't back away; instead, he repeated the gesture on a smaller scale as the waiter came over to them to ask what they wanted to drink.
Josh smiled at the young man waiting expectantly and then looked back to Gris. He placed his hand over Gris's on his leg and squeezed gently. "I'd like it if you ordered for us both."
The gesture that Josh made when he looked up wasn't lost on him, born werewolf that he was. Gris's eyes widened just a bit. He stared at his boyfriend's exposed neck and then at Josh.
He might have thought that the movement had been casual and unintended but it had not been not a quick easy movement, nor a slow stretch. It had been deliberate and had held a tiny bit of awkward tension from a person who had also spent a lifetime as a part of a pack.
Before he had time to truly respond, the waiter came over and looked at them expectantly. Josh showed him his neck again and asked him to order.
Nodding, he squeezed Josh's leg a little more tightly and looked down at the menu one last time. "An order of curry chicken and the jerk chicken and two bowls of callaloo, please. A bottle of house white as well."
When the waiter had left, Gris turned his attention fully to Josh. He leaned close, moving his free hand up to rest it on Josh's far shoulder. Pressing his lips softly to Josh's neck, he inhaled in lover's scent, his eyes falling closed with the warmth and rightness that he always felt when near Josh. "That was incredibly sexy." He murmured, a soft grit making its way into his voice. It was not quite a growl, but definitely the beginnings of one.
Tilting his head up, he nibbled gently on Josh's ear before leaning back and watching his boyfriend intently. Submission was not normally something his partner ever showed. Gris wondered if a small part of Josh was nervous or afraid. He suspected that his partner had something more that he wanted, something other than simply a surprise for his dinner, otherwise he need not have flashed his throat. He could have merely said he would like Gris to choose; after all Gris had been in charge of their meals more than once. That wasn't odd since he tended to cook for the two of them often.
"Is this what you want then, for tonight?" He continued to hold Josh even though he had leaned back enough to gaze thoughtfully at him.
((OOC: He doesn't have to lay it out in detail or anything. Gris is just trying to get an idea of Josh's frame of mind really. ))
"Yeah? There's more of that," Josh said softly.
Gris asked what he wanted and Josh tilted his head thoughtfully. "Sort of. Yes."
He huffed out a little sigh, and when he spoke again, kept his voice to a low murmur. "I'm not... I'm not good at this." He tilted his head to the side, exposing his neck again, to demonstrate what he meant.
He knew he didn't need to explain this all in words; Gris would understand him without them. He always did. But Josh wanted him to know without having to rely on his own natural empathy. He wanted to give Gris the respect of telling him what he felt instead of relying on a crutch and expecting to be perfectly comprehended.
"I want you to know how much I love you tonight. Just how much I care. And trust."
His hand slipped into his pocket, where he'd stored the first of several surprises for the night. Pleasant ones, he hoped. Palming the item into his hand, he reached for Gris's right hand and carefully slid the ring onto his right ring finger, holding Gris's hand within his so his partner couldn't yet see what he'd put there.
"I don't want to move too fast for you, Gris. But this is for you... if you want to wear it. It's all right if you don't. It's just a promise. To you. To always be here, in whatever way you want."
He moved his top hand, letting Gris see what he'd put there. It was a band of rose gold, inscribed all around the outside with Celtic infinity knots. A promise ring, commitment ring, whatever the term was for it. Not an engagement band, a little too casual for that, but still beautiful and gleaming. Josh looked at Gris with a soft, hopeful smile. He wanted more, so much more, but this would do for now. He had told Gris once that he wanted to be 'home' for him, and this was one step in making sure Gris knew without a trace of doubt that Josh was serious about that.
"For a long time I had to be perfect. Perfectly in control of everything. I'm so used to it. But I don't want you to feel like I always have to do that. I'm trying to let it go, a little bit at a time. Just with you. So for tonight... let's try it?"
(ooc: the band looks like this.))
He nodded slowly when Josh admitted to not being very good at being submissive. Placing a hand on Josh's cheek, Gris turned his boyfriend just enough to give him a tender kiss. "It isn't easy. I understand.â€
Josh explained why he wanted to do it. Gris smiled and hugged him close. "I know you trust me.â€ He laid his head on Josh's shoulder and snuggled against his boyfriend's neck. "You don't have to be uncomfortable to prove it.â€ Hugging Josh, he added. "Only do this if you want to, Love.â€
His partner pulled something out of his pocket and slid a ring onto his finger. Josh covered his hand with his own so he couldn't see what the ring was. Then he explained what it meant. Gris nodded, a smile growing wider on his face, his own secret present felt like it was burning a hole in his pocket.
Gris looked down at the beautiful ring made of the warm looking gold. It was elegant and simple, unique but not over done. It was as stylish as the man who had given it to him. "I love it. Of course I will wear it.â€ He gave Josh an 'are you crazy' look and then gave him a much more demonstrative kiss, aggressive, enthusiastic and passionate. He didn't want to stop but his own surprise kept him from giving Josh another kiss and another. When he pulled back, Gris smiled and then laughed softly.
"I guess we were thinking much the same thing.â€ He reached for the metal that was in his pocket. "I can't hide it exactly because I want you to see the inside.â€ Gris turned Josh's hand over and placed the object, now warmed from his hand, into his partner's. He covered it for a moment and then smiled up at Josh. "I made it last time you were away. I was thinking about you and I wanted to make something for you.â€ He was always thinking about Josh, truth be told.
Gris removed his hand and looked down at the titanium metal bracelet. It was slender but not delicate, about half an inch wide. It looked like two arched cobblestone bridges with blackened antiquing to show the texture of the stones off better. One went over the top of Josh's wrist and the other was on the bottom. It clasped together on the side. In the inside there was a little figure falling from the top bridge and another standing on the inside of the bottom one with arms outstretched. They weren't very detailed but the idea was there. Words were carved on the bottom on either side of the figure. It read "I will always be there to catch you.â€
He looked from the bracelet to Josh and then back again. "What do you think?â€
He did want it, although it terrified him. He didn't know how far he could go with it but Josh wanted to try. He certainly didn't expect it would ever be a regular thing with him, but he wanted, needed to know, that if Gris ever expressed a need for Josh to fill that role, he could do it. Gris was so accepting of this personality quirk of Josh's, often taking the less domineering role in the things they did. But Gris was by no means a submissive person himself. Josh did understand that Gris occasionally craved giving up control completely, but it wasn't a predominating aspect of his personality. Josh wanted to be able to take that role when and if Gris needed it.
He saw Gris's smile widen at the placement of the ring on his finger and Josh was suffused with warmth once again. He never wanted this feeling to end. What he had with Gris, it was a once in a lifetime thing. Josh would fight for this if needed, until he was bloody and bare. Gris was worth it. Every second. Every tear, every drop of blood, was worth it.
He was pulled away from that line of thinking by Gris's return gift. Josh hadn't been expecting that. At all. He watched, slightly wide-eyed, as Gris moved his hand away to reveal a silver-toned metal bracelet. Josh inspected it closely, and upon realizing what it was, with the figures inside, actually let out a soft laugh of delight. He peered closer to the words inscribed and felt his breath catch. He clasped the bracelet around his wrist with the trembling fingers of his left hand, affixing it to the right wrist, which had been broken in that fall. It seemed right.
Then, when Gris asked his opinion, Josh lifted both of his hands. Facing Gris, he slid his fingers into Gris's unrestrained golden locks and cupped the back of his head. Josh leaned forward until their foreheads touched and stayed there for a long moment, breathing in his partner's scent, his eyes closed. Then, very slowly, he tilted his head and captured Gris's mouth with his own. Not caring who saw, Josh took his time with a kiss that was definitely not the sort of thing he normally did in public. He couldn't find it in himself to actually give a shit who might look.
When he finally pulled away, only enough so that their lips weren't touching, Josh said, "I think there could be no man on Earth happier than I am right now. Maybe one who might be just as happy."
He kissed Gris again, just a soft one this time, before dropping his hands, letting them slide down the line of Gris's neck on either side. There was a soft 'ahem' nearby and the blushing young man who was waiting on them carefully set the wine down with two glasses.
"Thank you," Josh said to the waiter. He sat back, allowing Gris to take the lead again. His hand trailed down, rested lightly on Gris's thigh, and a sigh of utter contentment escaped his lips.
Gris smiled at Josh and agreed. "I might know a guy who is just as happy."
The waiter managed to sneak up on them while they were otherwise occupied. Gris gave him a suspicious look, wondering if the man might be one of their own or one of death's children. Or maybe the earth had fallen away completely and he just hadn't heard anything other than Josh.
Two glasses and the bottle of wine were placed on the table. The young man then smiled at them both. "Your appetizer will be here in just a moment." Gris nodded in understanding. The waiter produced a bottle opener and clamped it onto the bottle. Once the cork was removed he set it carefully on the table. "Thank you." He said and the man nodded, turned and left them alone once more.
Turning to Josh before their food could begin to arrive, he reached down and touched the bracelet that he had made. "I wanted you to know, always remember, that you don't always have to be strong for me." Gris smiled and looked up at Josh who was so strong so much of the time. "That sometimes I can be strong for you when you need it...or want it." He smiled again, this time a little more playfully.
He reached out to the bottle of wine and poured it into a glass. Gris set this one down in front of Josh and then reached for the second one and poured himself a glass as well. He looked at the crisp almost colourless liquid. His attention was then captured by the reflection of the warm gold band on his finger. Gris looked at it fascinated for a moment and then smiled up at Josh.
Reaching his hand down to touch the bracelet, his other hand help up the glass of wine. "To fairy tale beginnings and happy endings." Gris turned his attention to the ring on his finger at the last. "Cheers!"
Taking a swallow, he gave Josh a sly smile. "I have a new story of the two princes for the kids." Gris looked up as a member of the kitchen staff interrupted this announcement with a platter of pholourie.
When Gris spoke Josh hung on his every word. He closed his eyes briefly, smiling again. He was full of smiles for Gris. Just for Gris. He let out a little sigh at the idea of not being strong, and nodded. "I'm trying. I don't want you thinking I'm just doing it because I think you need me to be. It's just... who I am."
He snorted at the second part of the statement. "Gris. Love, you're the strongest man I know. What do you mean, sometimes? You're amazing."
His eyes darkened as he thought of the many ways Gris demonstrated his strength, not the least of which was his willingness to entrust himself into Josh's care on the nights they got... extra playful in bed. That level of trust... it took immense strength and Josh knew he wasn't going to be able to come up to the bar on that score. Not tonight. But he was going to try, on all counts.
The wine was poured, a toast offered. Josh raised his glass, said, "Prost," and took a sip of the pale liquid. He nodded, flashing Gris his quick, rare grin when he said he had a new story.
"This is a much more kid-friendly story than what the Dark Prince did to the Light Prince in bed a few nights ago," he said mildly as their appetizer arrived.
He inhaled the fried-food scent of the pholourie, starchy, crispy, delicious. Josh didn't indulge in fattening foods very often... he had very little body fat and was trying hard to keep it that way, since 40 had been and gone. He didn't want Gris waking up in ten years next to a fat old man.
Didn't actually want him waking up to any sort of old man, really, until they were both old. And at their current rate Josh would reach that state long before Gris.
He pushed those thoughts away, took a sip of his wine, and refused to let any sort of depressing thought come between them as they dug into their appetizer.
"So. Anything in particular you'd like to do tonight?" He pinned his bedroom-eyes on Gris. "I'm good for anything, so long as the ending is the two of us naked."
Josh could do blunt. A life of diplomacy had taught him that sometimes beating around the bush was no fun at all.
He smiled when Josh claimed him a strong person. Gris shrugged slightly. "I am." He leaned forward and kissed Josh gently on the cheek. "but you let me be less strong sometimes and I thank you for that."
After the wine was poured and the toast given Josh made a suggestion for what story -not- to tell the children. "The Light Prince enjoyed it very much and thanks the Dark Prince for his stamina and wicked talent...but no that was not the story I had in mind."
The appetizer came as expected and was set down in front of them. It smelled like wonderfully sinful satisfying food. Gris picked one of the little ball shaped pieces and held it up to Josh's mouth. "Come, not everything that is good for you is good for you." Gris smiled.
He was asked what he wanted to do and Josh said that it needed to end with them being naked. "Funny, I was rather hoping that was where it would be begin." Gris gave his partner was a sly smile. He had thought they would go home and enjoy each other in much the same way that they had on many nights in the past but Josh seemed to want something different tonight and he was willing and eager for that as well.
An idea made its way into his thoughts and he smiled. "I think after this we need to do a little shopping."
((OOC: If you want to fast forward the meal at the end of Josh's post or Gris' next one, they can move on to shopping. If Josh would like more conversation then they can stay a while. ))
He offered a little smirk at the classification of his talents as 'wicked.' Ah, poor debauched Light Prince. Josh raised his eyebrows at Gris humorously, wondering if his lover could follow his train of thought there. His Prince hadn't had very far to fall, but what little halo he did have was definitely thoroughly tarnished. Josh was also highly amused at the idea of himself as the 'Dark Prince' of the pair. Evil Josh. "Good," he said, "because I haven't had time to properly perfect my wicked laugh yet."
Accepting food from Gris was no hardship. Josh opened his mouth and closed his eyes at the taste of the fried potato ball. Chewing, swallowing, neatly dabbing his mouth with his napkin, he said, "As long as you promise to help me work it off later."
Gris, every bit as blunt as Josh, made him squirm a little on the bench seat they shared. How was it, after months and months had passed, Gris still fascinated him? He would pay the bill now and haul Gris straight home if his partner said the word, any other plans aside.
He sipped his wine and said, "Shopping? All right. Something in particular you want?"
Even when he was trying to not be in control he was already mapping the evening out in his head; based on Gris's answer he could immediately figure out the best route to go, the fastest, the most scenic, whatever they liked, how long it might take for them to get there, whether it would be better to walk or drive. He almost rolled his eyes at himself.
Jesus, Josh, he thought. Just give it up for one damn night. Is that so much to ask? He gently bit the inside of his lip. He wasn't trying to change himself; he was who he was. He was just attempting to do something differently for the next twelve hours or so. That was it.
He defiantly picked up another piece of potato and popped it into his mouth, chewing ruthlessly. "Wherever you want to go," he said. He spread his hands. "I'm all yours."
"Hmm," He took a sip of wine and eyed Josh thoughtfully. "But maybe the Dark Prince could be taken over by an evil sorceress and made to believe that he is evil or something and then you could have a wicked laugh. You can practice it with me sometime if you want. Of course the Dark Prince has to break the spell later because that is how these stories work." Josh had been dubbed dark because he had dark hair and a more serious demeanor. Gris loved his handsome prince and he was having a lot of fun coming up with new stories for the kids. He had even told the original story at a VR gathering. Perhaps they could have a whole collection of stories with some grain of truth about them somewhere.
Josh asked him about the shopping and what they were getting. Gris grinned knowingly and shook his head. "You will find out soon enough. I promise." He reached down and squeezed Josh's leg reassuringly. "I have a plan. Don't worry." It might be a good plan or maybe it wasn't. It was his job to worry about the details tonight and not Josh's. That was the wonderful thing about not being in control, not having to worry or plan.
Gris gave his boyfriend his best delinquent smile. "Yes." Leaning closer, he murmured softly next to Josh's ear. "You being all mine. I like that."
"I have to practice my plot-revealing monologue too. Every villain has that."
He nodded sagely; he wasn't sure if Gris knew just how extensive his comic collection was. Given the opportunity to be a villain, Josh figured he may as well go whole-hog. "I'm happy with my eventual redemption too though. I have to earn my Prince, after all."
He blushed a little, guilty about being caught planning and plotting the details of a shopping trip he didn't know about. "I'm not worried," he lied innocently. Probably too innocently, Gris knew him way better than that. He offered a sheepish look, which probably looked a whole lot like his other expressions, and lifted one shoulder. Josh was still Josh.
"I know you've got it under control," he said. That was true. Gris could handle it, and Josh had asked him to. "Can't wait to see where we end up. Before we end up naked, of course."
Because that was absolutely happening. He shifted on the bench again; it couldn't happen soon enough, honestly. Particularly when Gris smiled like that and spoke right in his ear. Josh huffed out a soft sigh of pleasure.
"They're cooking too slowly," he said in a slightly strained voice. He gripped Gris's leg in return.
Dinner finally arrived, and it was as delicious as all the restaurant's reviews claimed. Josh had never had Caribbean food before. Hadn't really even known it was a cuisine. They shared both the jerk chicken and curried chicken, as they often did when they went out, and between them they drank most of the bottle of wine, which wasn't enough to get either of them drunk but definitely left Josh, at least, with a delicious, mild buzz.
When they finally finished their meal and settled the bill they left the restaurant hand-in-hand. Something Josh wouldn't have been comfortable with before being with Gris. With previous lovers it had been difficult. With Gris, it was natural. Josh was proud of his partner, of the man he was, the person he was, and if Gris wanted to be seen with him this way Josh would never turn him down.
He gave Gris's hand a squeeze. "Okay," he said with a lazy smile. "Now where are we headed to for our mystery shopping trip? And can I just say..."
He turned in toward Gris, heedless of the passers-by, and used his free hand to cup Gris's cheek, brushing his thumb gently along it as he pressed his lips to his boyfriend's. It was a tender, brief kiss, nothing untoward in public. When he broke away he said, "You look especially handsome tonight."
((OOC: Both out. Continued in thread "Some restrictions may apply" on the strip.))