Fandom: Generation Kill
Word Count: 7,594
Summary: Brad and Nate are models. They fall in love.
Notes: This one I can lay at aboutademongirl's door again. That girl is a bad influence. I wrote this in two days instead of finishing a piece for my writing class. Thank god it's shopping period. The title comes from a not terribly flattering Terrence quote in The Eunuch.
Everybody knows the story of how they discovered Nate. He was a street kid in Baltimore who snatched the wallet off an IMG talent scout and got chased down an alley with the guy shouting ‘forget the wallet, I only want your face’ or some creepy bullshit. Nate’s smart, so the scout must have done some serious talking to get him to return the cash and agree to get some headshots taken. Nate has never told anybody what exactly was said. There’s not a whole lot that Nate tells anybody about himself. But Brad works hard for tidbits. He knows that Nate adores pineapple juice, MST3K, and Cheap Monday jeans despite owning hundreds of more expensive pairs. He also knows that Nate has several copies of Plutarch’s lives, Livy’s History of Rome, and that he’s constantly going through Nigel Slater’s Real Fast Food with a highlighter looking for new recipes. He’s seen The Goonies forty-seven times. He hates Aristotle and Craig Schwetje and bell-peppers.
There are times when Brad looks at Nate that he can’t ever believe he was a street kid. Once at Paris Fashion week while they were all bumming around in the dressing rooms and Ray, who was modeling for Helmut Lang, the skinny fucker, was bitching about politics. Nate quoted Bertrand Russell at him as he sat getting the finishing touches to his makeup.
“‘Our great democracies still tend to think that a stupid man is more likely to be honest than a clever man, and our politicians take advantage of that prejudice by pretending to be even more stupid than nature made them,”’ he intoned with his head tilted back as they smeared on bright spots of rouge.
Brad finished high school unlike Nate. He knows the insides of computers better than anybody and sometimes, when the shit is getting especially ridiculous and he’s been roasting under the lights for ten hours with insect-thin girls draped over him, he thinks he’s going to take that job offer at Google. So Brad’s pretty smart, when they go out to bars and get recognized by meatheads who are afraid of losing their girlfriends and call them bubble-headed cocksuckers, Brad’s secure in the knowledge they’re wrong. But he doesn’t have that sheer disposable knowledge on hand and he wonders where Nate fits it all behind that red-lipped long-lashed veneer.
They’re both signed to Wilhelmina, Nate’s been there since he was uncomfortably young and did editorials with supermodels that managed to make everything look mildly pederastic. Brad didn’t meet him until a spread for Dior Homme with Walt that pulled the gloves right off and went for the gay consumer. They were supposed to look like three drunken dandies fallen on poor mummy’s antique couch. When they told him to intimately whisper into Brad’s ear, Nate asked him, “What are your thoughts on truffle fries? Because we can’t be friends if you don’t like ‘em.” Brad laughed and it was the shot that ran in almost every major fashion publication for the Fall 07 season. Ray still acts like a little bitch about it sometimes.
They saw a lot of each other after that—Indian food in LA, Rock Climbing in Adelaide, clubbing in Rio di Janeiro, a 76ers game in Philadelphia, and shopping in Kalverstraat in Amsterdam. Brad didn’t even realize how fucked he was over Nate until they watched Casey Stoner win the championship title at Laguna Seca. Ray had refused to come, but Nate had been in LA for some event and he’d showed up at Brad’s doorway in a black baseball cap and a pair of wayfarers.
“It’s a seven hour drive to Monterrey, we can road trip up 101 and still make it on time tomorrow,” he said and adjusted the sleeve of his shirt.
Nate had grinned. The next day, out on the track with Nate developing a sunburn high up on his cheeks, Brad recognized that he’d fallen for him.
“My dad used to take me out to Dover Speedway when he was around,” Nate said, licking cinnamon sugar from a churro off his bottom lip. “I haven’t been to a race of any kind since then.”
Brad stored that information away. He wasn’t sure he liked the expression on Nate’s face, so when Nate wasn’t looking he took a hefty bite of the churro while it was still in his hand.
“Hey!” Nate said.
“Just fighting against your expanding waistline,” Brad said around a mouthful. “Don’t want you to be a lardass in those nude Paola Kudacki shots they have you up for.”
Brad’s really popular in Japan. Brad doesn’t know how he feels about the fact that all the models in Vogue Japan are pretty much white, but it brought him to Japan with a whole host of other twinks who would never get to see the world any other way. He tries not to think about it too hard.
“This is what centuries of repression gets you,” Ray says when a man in platforms and gold lamé skinny jeans offers Brad a pot of ‘love jelly’ like he’s going to need it ASAP. “Rope bondage and poor naïve school girls gunning for the tall dude’s dick.” He gestures at Brad. Nate and Walt both snort.
Ray reads through five different yaoi series that night in their hotel room at the Four Seasons Tokyo. He can’t read the kanji, so he inserts dialogue for himself that could only be described by the listeners as cruel and unusual punishment. Brad finally abandons him in search of better company. He finds Nate at the pool reading Tacitus and eating strawberry Pocky. There’s an untouched glass of juice at his elbow. He's still wet from a swim.
“Do you ever want to go back to school?” Brad asks, settling next to him on a lawn chair.
Nate shrugs and sets the Tacitus aside. He changes the subject, “I’ve heard they’ve booked you for a gig with Agyness Deyne.”
Brad made a noise in the back of his throat. “Those pseudo-intellectual artiste fuckheads are going for an Aryan look so that leaves me and her.”
“There are actual German models,” Nate points out.
“Yes, but none who look like they’re happily coming to make lampshades out of the Jews, or so the word is.”
Nate stares at him beneath dark lashes, his eyebrows furrowed. “But you’re Jewish?”
Brad laughs. “Yes, it’s all very awkward. Vanina Sorrenti’s shooting it. Don’t ask me to explain these things.”
“God, why do we do this, Brad?” Nate says, sighing. He’s wearing a white Lacoste V-neck and jeans from the Fall/Winter collection of Hugo Boss. He looks amazing. It doesn’t matter what he wears, he always looks amazing. Some models—they’re chosen because they look more strange than anything else. Nate is not one of them. He’s boyish and youthful and the pissed off look fashion frequently makes them wear still looks sweet on him. He still can’t believe Nate used to be a street kid.
Brad cocks his head. “Because we like free swag and sitting around on our asses while people behind the camera jerk us off and tell us we’re the most beautiful things they’ve ever seen?”
“Ugh, that makes it worse,” Nate sticks his tongue out. “I really hope they don’t say that to Craig.”
“Encino man?” Brad replies, incredulous. “Please, he’s underwear. He gets paid not to show his face.”
In Milan for a L’uomo shoot, Brad lies oiled up in tiny swimming briefs for three hours. It’s the most embarrassing photo shoot of his life. Compromising situations are not new to him. What makes this so difficult is the thigh Nate has balanced between his knees, the leather-gloved hands holding his head. They’ve been done up so that Nate looks like he’s assaulting his pool boy. You never know with fashion these days. Nate’s in a beautiful Alexander McQueen suit that costs more than five flatscreen TVs and could probably feed the entire nation of Tokelau for a year.
Jessica Stam and Sasha Pivovarova (who actually scares the fuck out of Brad) flounce in bright colored clothing in the background. The photographer keeps shouting that he likes the sexually charged look, but that Brad and Nate need to stop looking like they’re throwing down to have sex rather than throwing down over the women. It’s more demanding than the crazy Baldovino Barani editorial he did with Walt back in 2007 with all the nuns.
They try and hold at least eighty different positions, but nothing works. Brad feels disgusting and achy and hot and Nate smells so good, some scent he got at Aedes De Venustas in the Village when he went shopping with his personal trainer, Rudy. Rudy is a bad influence. Nate goes out with him and always comes back with all sorts of crazy things like that leather wristband he’s taken to wearing and those flavored juice drinks that give him fruit punch mouth.
“Brad, less irritated, more irate!” the photographer shouts while some PA measures the temperature of the lighting for the thousandth time. Something about it sets Nate off and he drops all of his weight down on Brad and kisses him smack-dab on the mouth. He’s pulled himself away with a mildly pissed off look before Brad’s brain even registers what just happened.
“I figured I’d work off some of that sexual tension,” he says over his shoulder, still straddling Brad’s legs. Everybody laughs. Something about their expressions and the juxtaposition of their bodies makes the photographer decide he likes it and they can finally change outfits.
Brad’s pretty sure he can only work one look for the rest of the shoot: stupor.
“We’re barely in these,” Brad says, holding a print up when they finally get to see them. It’s a landscape shot and the focus is definitely on Sasha and Jessica in the background looking disdained at their squabbling men rolling right out of the foreground and off the page. “You look like you’re trying to bash my brains in, not like you’re sucking my face.”
Nate rolls his eyes, pulls his cardigan tighter around himself. “I was not sucking your face.”
Brad grins, loving how red Nate’s face gets. He’s been dressed up in all kinds of ridiculous outfits, practically violated by David LaChapelle, and endured sexual humiliation from designers who’d love to make a pet out of him, and still the only time he’s ever seen Nate blush is for him.
They’re in Milan for a few days after that. Brad’s agent booked the flight and told him to be seen before coming back. Nate has an interview with a small Milanese publication and then a few days later he’s flying to England to do a cover for Attitude. Brad’s staying at the Hotel Principe Di Savoia, but Nate’s agent worships him and booked him a small bed & breakfast, La Villetta in Fiera. Brad walks in with little trouble, and proprietress, Benedetta Aurelia, tells him to bring Nate his morning cappuccino and pastry.
He wakes Nate up by whacking him on the butt with the copy of the New York Times that Benedetta gave him for Nate. “We’re going to Rome,” he says. He’s wearing black Emanuel Ungaro pants with a matching shirt and a John Varvatos vest. Nate is naked beneath the sheets.
Nate blinks at him and wipes the sleep out of his eyes. He gratefully accepts the coffee and then repeats, “We’re going to Rome,” like he’s still in a dream.
Last night, in his sterile hotel room Brad googled the train and found that it was nearly four hours longer from Milano Centrale to Termini station than it was by car. So he decided to rent one. They arrive at the rental place at the Largo Augusto and find a vividly green Smart set up for them. Nate bursts out laughing.
“Oh fuck no,” Brad says, staring at it. Nate keeps chuckling. Brad turns to Nate, knowing how horrified he looks. “We have to get another one.”
Nate starts laughing all over again and he walks to the desk with a bright, “Scusi.” He looks back at Brad with a grin over his Ray-bans and then turns to the clerk. “Una machina…un poco più grande.”
They wind up with a sleek silver Maserati and Brad gets to the driver’s side before Nate can. As Nate adjusts the seat he says cheekily, “Can you even drive stick?”
“Yes, thank you. I learned when I was fourteen,” he says and starts fiddling with the radio. “I don’t think we’ll have to worry about country music in Italy.”
Nate is enchanted by Rome. The minute they get inside the city his face lights up. Brad called in a few favors with his agent and got him to find one of those short term rentals on the Via Della Pace right next to the Piazza Navona. There’s a little café only two doors down and a fat little dog that runs around in the street that seems to belong to everybody.
Nate walks around like a kid in a candy store. He doesn’t care about the monument to Vittorio Emanuele II or the Fontana Di Trevi, but they spend hours in the Roman forum. They climb the Palatine hill and Nate stretches out in the sun on his stomach, chin pillowed on his crossed forearms, taking everything in. It’s the Tarpeian rock, he’d pointed out earlier, practically gleeful, they used to hurl traitors off of it.
“I didn’t think I’d ever get to go,” he says softly. Brad knows he meant before he became a model and there was money and gifts and girls just falling into his lap. He means back when he was a teenager and he was dumpster diving to make ends meet. Nate turns his head slightly and smiles. Brad doesn’t know what to say in response.
A boisterous school trip converges upon them and they decide to get up and walk to the Vatican from there. On the way they’re confronted by a giant Gucci ad of Brad haphazardly covered, glaring down at them. “Jesus,” Brad says as they cross the street. “That never stops being scary.”
“I’m not sure if that would ever inspire me to buy clothing,” Nate says, sticking his tongue in his cheek and raking him with a lascivious look. Brad’s about to respond, but Nate interrupts with, “Oh my god, it’s the Tiber river!”
Brad has a lot of sex. It’s easy for him. He’s 6’4, in tremendous shape, and dresses better than most women. Male models are essentially what women want. They don’t always know it, but working in an industry that caters mostly to women’s whims has trained most male models into a lady’s sensitive dream man. The problem is that they usually can’t get over the fact that Brad gets paid to have Kate Moss grinding provocatively on his dick for a Lanvin shoot and then two hours later he’s shipped out to I-D and told to make out with Caroline Trentini in an avant-garde editorial involving tin foil and suspenders. That’s fine with Brad, he doesn’t want a relationship.
“Okay, so I’m a gorgeous chiseled motherfucker,” Ray says after they come out of the Jamba Juice in SoHo where two customers hit on Brad and the cashier read his name off his credit card in a throaty salacious voice. “I don’t understand why everybody just rolls over and spreads their legs just for you! Especially the ones who usually chain their knees together with iron and pretend they don’t understand what goes in where.”
Brad shrugs and takes a sip of his Peach Perfection. “You don’t need to have more sex. I think you’re single-handedly responsible for the outbreak of Chlamydia at Ford models.” A piece of fruit gets caught in the straw and he has to suck hard to hoover it out.
“That was one time I asked you to come with me to urgent care! One time!” Ray says. They’re going to Evolution to buy Walt one of those expensive fossil table pieces for his birthday because Ray swears he likes that shit. Brad thinks of meeting up with Nate later at his favorite wine bar, Jadis.
Brad levels a look at Ray while they’re waiting to cross the street. “I get tested every six months, Ray,” he says, just as an old lady soundly hits Ray with her shopping bag trying to get by him. The look on his face is comical. Ray rubs his stomach and grumbles as they cross the street.
“You’re a delusional asshole who thinks everybody is actively trying to give him an STI,” Ray says. Brad directs another pointed glance at him and Ray sighs. “And you have a fucktruck-load of sex.”
Brad snickers. “That I do.”
“Which, that begs a question,” Ray says as they step inside the store. It’s filled with hipsters and overawed tourists who can’t figure out how they wandered in here. Ray starts leafing through the necklaces of beetles caught in resin. “How does Nate feel about all that sex?”
Brad raises his brows. “Don’t follow.”
Ray cuts him a disgusted look. “Oh come on, everybody knows you’re functionally together.”
“I thought we were functionally together?” Brad says, gesturing between the two of them.
Ray rolls his eyes heavenward and heaves another beleaguered sigh. “We are functionally married. Nate is the mistress you buy expensive necklaces for when all I get are fuckin’ whiny ass shitsucking Joanie Mitchell CDs.”
“Ray, you need to stop watching Love Actually, an entire generation begs you,” Brad replies. He holds up geode paperweight. “This shit is pretty sweet.”
Ray shakes his head. “No, Walt wants the one of the seashell in the back.”
“The $6000 one in the back? That seashell?” Brad replies, incredulous. “Well fuck you, Ray! At least I don’t make you pay for my mistress’s guilt-bought presents.”
“Please, I pay in all kinds of ways, like having to watch you make goo-goo eyes at each other even with half the fashion press and several psycho designers running around trying to make us look as foolish as possible.”
“Nate’s straight,” Brad says, walking purposefully to the case with the seashell fossil Ray wants to buy Walt.
Ray waits for a moment and then says, “Well, I thought you were too.”
At Mercedes-Benz fashion week for spring/summer 2010 in September, Nate’s walking for Hugo Boss, which means he looks classy and sophisticated and worth about a million bucks. Every damn person in the room is probably dreaming of how to coerce him away from the runways and into a secluded space for a little R&R. Brad on the other hand is doing John Galliano, a job that his agent told him he got on the strength of his sex lines and pectorals. Brad isn’t surprised. Galliano’s men’s collection last fall season had involved forcibly obvious fake tans, medical makeup to look like they’d been slashed by wolverine, and the wardrobe of the biker population of Oklahoma. Torture couture they called it. Whatever. Brad doesn’t have to like the clothes. It’s not as bad as Ray who was contracted for Hedi Slimane this year and wasn’t allowed to eat anything besides water and celery for a week.
“Move in with me,” Nate says as they sew him into his trousers. Brad is always amazed how efficiently PAs and costumers get them in and out of outfits that usually have to be sewn onto their bodies.
“What about Mike?” Brad asks. Mike was one of the faces of Under Armour along with Craig. Brad sometimes suspects he’s the reason that when Nate first broke onto the scene that Michael Kors and half the stable of fashion photographers didn’t attempt to gang rape him. Nate’s been living with him in the West Village for almost as long as Brad’s known him.
“He’s getting married.”
Brad’s got a place in San Diego—a relic of a former life, a former fiancé, a former best friend, all stuff he needs to let go of. He doesn’t hesitate for a moment. “Okay.”
They meet at Café Oro, a bakery bar, in NoLiTa. Nate orders an iced cappuccino and a huge madeleine and chats with the barista. He’s clearly been here before. She keeps making references to ‘the time with the blackberry champagne’ and ‘those tourists taking ridiculous photos.’ When they leave, Brad with a blueberry scone that he knows his agent is going to give him grief over and Nate still chomping on his madeleine, Nate points out a restaurant and says, “That’s a great Vegan place, Chinatown’s just around the corner, the Broadway-Lafayette station is only a short walk away.”
“Vegan?” he says, shoots Nate a nonplussed look. “Are you trying to sell me on the neighborhood? Were there ulterior motives to this bakery bar visit?”
“I am and yes,” Nate replies, not even trying to hide a grin. They turn the corner onto Centre Market Place and Brad feels like he’s somehow teleported to a small street in Europe. “There’s a two bedroom with access to a roof garden at number 5,” Nate says, cajoling.
They schedule an appointment to view it next week, but Brad already knows if Nate wants it, they’ll take it. He doesn’t care where he lives. There’s space to park his bikes, Nate’s face looks like he’s seen the face of god, it’s just within their price range—it seems like a pretty good deal.
Brad has a bartender friend back in San Diego. His name’s Antonio, but everybody calls him Poke. Brad’s known him since he was still picking up speeding tickets for flying through the city at excess of 100 miles an hour. These days Brad’s connections get him access to the track.
“So you’re finally burning your bridges, dog,” Poke says, giving him a whiskey neat. He leans his elbows on the bar and adds, “‘Bout time.”
Brad swishes his whiskey around before replying, “Yeah, just got to ship my stuff out there.”
Poke nods. “Make sure you come visit. You know how my girls love you.”
Brad finishes his whiskey and says a quick goodbye before heading out into the sunshine. He gets on the bike he bought with his first paycheck, a fuel-injected M900 Ducati Monster that he still orgasms about, and drives over the Coronado Bridge for the hell of it. He doesn’t know what he’s doing. Ray threw a shit fit that he was permanently locating to the east coast or the ‘empire’ as Ray calls it. Brad didn’t take it terribly seriously. Ray’s there so often he might as well be living in Chelsea.
Brad’s got good instincts. He likes how this feels. Nate’s the only name on the lease, so if it all goes wrong, as his mother points out, he can just pick up and leave. He loves California and maybe one day, when his looks go, he’ll come back and take that job for Google. But it’s easy just to be around Nate.
Brad heard a lot about Nate before he met him. How he was really nice, how Wilhelmina Models snapped him up with the biggest signing bonus ever heard of for a male model, how he went to clubs with Will Chalker and Tyson Beckford and Gabriel Aubry which every self-respecting male model would give his left nut to be. He’d seen him in a ton of different spreads and something about Nate, the way he looked out underneath his brows, the kewpie bow of his lips, it caught him. He didn’t think much of it until he had his big epiphany. Clearly the rest of the world saw it too when he had a pay rate of $30,000 a day.
But even after knowing Nate for three years, he’s never sure where the rumors end and Nate begins. What’s instantly clear to him now that they’re living together is that Nate sucks at cooking, but he never stops trying. He barely spends his money, so Brad can hardly ascertain how much of it there is, although they are living in a two million dollar apartment. He doesn’t watch TV at all and he owns a Mac which makes Brad weep with misery.
“I’m not going to be a programmer or run huge statistical models, Brad,” he says when Brad installs the wireless router. “What do I need a Lenovo for?”
Will Chalker and Tyson Beckford and Gabriel Aubry are all on a first name basis with Nate, but he doesn’t hang out with them. He keeps saying that Brad would really like Will though. Mike’s by often enough and Rudy meets Nate at the house every morning so that they can run all the way up to Tompkins Square Park. He has no family mementos, no friends from his old life, no past girlfriends—Brad already knows he doesn’t hook up.
He has a friend, Robert Perovich, who’s around Mike’s age, but looks like he’s the same age as Brad. Brad knows of him, he was the big thing before Nate. He’s got cheek bones that could grate cheese and a mouth almost as lush as Nate’s. There was some bidding war between D&G and Versace in 2007 and now he’s mostly doing his own thing, between shoots, which Brad knows Nate wants. He’d be jealous as all hell if Robert weren’t married and a crazy Pentecostal, which Brad also knows Nate struggles with.
Nate and Robert go to Rangers games and talk about Polybius. At their housewarming, which is really just booze and Ray DJing on a borrowed turntable, he gives them a knife block and tells Brad not to let Nate use it.
“He’s a terror in the kitchen,” Robert laughs.
Nate leans against Brad’s side, just a little tipsy from Amaretto sours and vodka shots. “I am not.”
“You are good at many things,” Brad says, looking down at him. “One of them is looking like you want to be violated nine times before breakfast, and we’re very proud of you for that, but cooking is not one of your strengths.”
“Fuck you,” Nate says, narrowing his eyes. “Also this song is terrible.” He raises his voice over the roar of the guests, “Ray, change it!”
“How can you not like Edwyn Collins?” Ray calls back and does a little shimmy to the chorus.
“Change it,” Nate repeats firmly and Ray subsides with far less trouble than he ever gives Brad.
Nate’s a complete tease. That’s something else Brad realizes. He does his ab work out in the evenings in the living room and he has absolutely no shame about stripping off right in front of Brad when he wants to change. Brad sees naked people all the time, but that’s with judgmental scary people dissecting every inch of him and shining hot lights on his face and telling him to wipe that expression off his face. The shit they show on America’s Next Top Model is not the half of it. It’s not sexy.
In the comfort of Brad’s home, Nate’s casual nakedness is the exact opposite. Brad’s worried he’s going to go insane. He’s always been an assman, and Nate’s ass is a dream. The damn Cheap Monday jeans Nate loves so much show off every curve.
“Want to come with me to Artists and Fleas?” Nate asks after coming back from a session with Rudy all flushed and sweaty. Brad’s eating peanut butter on toast and watching the Venture Brothers on the huge HDTV he brought to the apartment. He considers for a long moment. Nate leans over the sofa to make eye contact. “It’s all hipsters. They wouldn’t recognize us unless we showed up on The Sartorialist.” Nate smells like sweat and Brad can glance all the way down the long line of his spine to the dimples that disappear into his low-hanging shorts.
“You don’t like vintage stuff,” Brad points out and takes another bite out of his toast.
Nate bows his head, conceding the point. “It’s for my sister.”
“Your sister?” Brad replies, voice jumping. He didn’t even know Nate had one.
Nate’s silent for a long moment. He struggles to speak, “I have two. They—they got adopted, I—”
“Didn’t,” Brad finishes for him. He pulls himself up from the couch, making a split-second decision. “Okay. But if we’re going to Brooklyn, we’re going to Bonnie’s Grill for lunch.”
“I thought you were fighting for my expanding waistline!” Nate says, but he’s smiling again.
“That’s only when I want to eat whatever you have.”
Nate doesn’t go out very often. Sometimes he goes with Brad to The International in the Village and to Ray’s favorite place, Lederhosen, on Grove Street. This time he opts out and Ray, Brad, and Walt go to Tia Pol, a tapas bar in Chelsea. They always have to wait at least twenty minutes, but Brad feels like he could eat about ten pounds of the Chorizo Con Chocolate they make so he doesn’t mind.
When they’re seated Walt casually asks, “Have you seen Nate’s new spread for And Men?”
“No,” Brad says, taking a long draught of his water. “He never said anything about it, so I assumed it wasn’t anything interesting.”
“Oh, holy mother of god!” Ray shouts, “You haven’t?”
Walt and Ray trade looks and then Walt pulls up the pictures on his iPhone. Camilla Åkrans took them and they’re all soft pastels and slightly blurred edges. The first one is just Nate looking hippie chic in loose white pants and a daisy chain, and Brad has no idea why they’re freaking out over it. His mouth drops when Walt scrolls down. Nate’s slumped on a wicker lawn couch with various other models splayed around him, he’s wearing denim cutoffs that Evan Stafford is peeling away from his crotch so that Cory Bond can stick his hand in. Nate looks like he absolutely doesn’t care what’s going on, and he looks stunning, but something about it turns Brad’s stomach.
“Evan says Nate didn’t even seem to be there,” Walt says, tapping the screen. Evan’s a model Brad’s met a few times and remembers mostly because he wears a do-rag when he’s in his own clothes. He and Cory Bond are both from Major Models. Nate knows them better.
Ray looks down at the heavy Rioja he ordered. Walt finally says, “Do you think something happened to him when he was…”
Brad waits a long moment before answering. He’s not sure if it’s okay to talk about this sort of thing. “Yes, I do.”
“But he’s done stuff like this before, so why this shoot?” Walt persists.
“I don’t know, Walt.” The squid ink with rice that Brad usually devours tastes like ash in his mouth and he doesn’t even bother to order Chorizo Con Chocolate.
It’s only 9:45 when he gets home, but he feels weighted down by food he barely ate. He peels his motorcycle jacket off and hangs it in the coat closet, a dull burning annoyance making his fingers clumsy on the zipper.
Nate sits on the plushy wraparound sofa he ordered from Z Gallery in pink boxer-briefs, a Bay to Breakers t-shirt he picked up in San Francisco, and the nerd glasses he got free from BCBG. He’s reading Memoirs of Hadrian with the lights too dim. He smiles above his book in hello. It seems so perfectly normal, Brad can’t reconcile it with the expression on his face in those photos. Brad switches another lamp on as he goes back to his bedroom.
He’s building his own desktop machine and it’s lying in pieces over his desk because he keeps having to fly out for cocktail parties and runway shows and photo shoots. His agent is in talks for a music video with Shakira for some time in the next month, but Brad isn’t quite sure how he feels about that. He hates her music and he’s hardly hurting for money. He tosses his keys on the nightstand and stares at his bare walls.
Nate’s room looks like it was professionally decorated. His covers match the accents and all his furniture goes together. He hung Dalí’s Galatea of the Spheres on one wall by using a level and perfectly measured pencil marks. He still has another wall he hasn’t decided what to do with. Brad saw Piranesi’s etching of the Arch of Trajan sitting dusty in a thrift store off St. Mark’s place and thought about buying it for him. He doesn’t know if Nate even likes Piranesi. Brad has always been drawn to his Carceri series and Nate’s obsessed with classics. He likes to believe it would be a good choice for him.
Brad shakes his head and stomps back out to the kitchen. He can’t ask Nate about the shoot. He wants to, but he understands how impossible that is. He’s never tried, but Ray says he pushed Nate’s boundaries a little once and thought Nate would fuck him up. Brad realizes how badly he wants to take care of Nate. He yanks open the fridge door but there’s only Nate’s pineapple juice, unsweetened yogurt, and a vegetable crisper filled with lettuce and garlic, none of which he wants to eat.
Brad keeps a stash of junk food, but he ate the last of it a while ago. He’s too lazy to run out to the nearest corner store, better to just be annoyed and impotent in his room.
“What’s wrong, Brad?” Nate says, not even looking up from his book as Brad blows back through the living room, abandoning the kitchen.
Brad stops, surprised. He says, “Nothing.”
“Bullshit.” Nate sets his book aside. When Brad doesn’t answer he gets up from the couch and stretches. His shirt rides up and Brad’s eyes are inescapably drawn to the narrow strip of flat stomach bared. “Did something happen at dinner?”
Brad sighs. “Don’t worry about it. My cross to bear.”
Something about the way he says it puts a funny expression on Nate’s face. He doesn’t know how to read it and the desire to ask that question that he knows he shouldn’t is burning its way up his throat. He’s going to turn away and Nate must sense it because he reaches out and grabs his wrist, thumb skating up over Brad’s pulse. “What’s wrong?” he asks again, looking up at him.
Brad can’t ask and yet somehow he does. “Did something happen to you when you were…”
Nate doesn’t reply and his expression doesn’t change, but his thumb is moving in slow circles still, over and over the flesh where his arm runs into his palm. “You don’t ever fuck—” Nate interrupts him with soft fingers on his jaw. Their faces are dangerously close together, noses almost brushing. Brad can smell the sweet tang of pineapple on Nate’s breath. He bends his head and captures Nate’s mouth. Nate’s fingers tighten on his jaw and he pushes his tongue into Brad’s mouth.
Brad is shocked, he can't quite bring himself to move. Nate's tongue strokes against his teeth before sliding over the soft inner flesh of his lower lip. Brad can’t breathe, his chest is tight and he wonders desperately if he’s dreaming. He brushes reaffirming fingers over the cotton bunched at Nate’s hip just as Nate pulls back.
“I don’t ever fuck, because there’s nobody else I want,” he says. Brad realizes it’s not a denial of the first accusation.
Nate’s bright green eyes have turned the color of the sea and there’s a high flush on his cheeks. Brad groans, walks Nate back over the armrest of the couch until they both topple down. Nate belts an arm around his waist, nails digging into his back. He lifts his head for Brad to kiss him a second time and Brad takes his mouth. He sucks hard on the lower lip he’s imagined teasing with his teeth for years, fucking Nate’s mouth with his tongue. He lets all his weight rest on Nate until they’re sealed together and he can feel every ridge and dip of Nate’s body. He’s so warm and pliant. Nate shifts underneath, the spur of his hip brushing right over Brad’s half-hard cock. It forces a groan out of him and a sudden realization that this is heading somewhere very fast. It’s usually the point where he slows down for self-preservation's sake, but instead he moves against Nate’s hip with purpose.
When Brad pulls up again Nate’s flush has descended into his t-shirt. He’s breathing hard and his eyes are closed like he’s using every other sense open to him to experience this. He’s so arresting that for a second Brad hates every magazine that has ever run Nate on its glossy pages, every photographer who’s gone through thousands of photos of him, scrutinizing and turning him into a spectacle for anybody but Brad.
Nate’s eyelids flutter and Brad bends down to the bare slope of his neck. He presses wet open-mouthed kisses just under his jaw, lips skating downward over his adam’s apple and into the hollow between his collarbones. When his teeth skim over the muscle that runs right up into his jaw, Nate moans. The groans that spill from his mouth sound like Brad is tearing them out, like he wants to stop himself but can’t quite help it.
When he bites down on Nate’s shoulder his hips jerk and his fingers tighten on Brad’s back. He’s so easy, so responsive. Nate tastes like expensive soap and the salt of skin. He tastes it on his tongue even after he pulls away. He can’t get enough of it.
It’s unspoken between them. They both seem to know how much time they’ve wasted and now they’re throwing caution to the wind. He catches Nate’s gaze and pushes Nate’s shirt up around his armpits. His nipples are dark and puffy already. Brad sucks and flicks at the areola until the flesh is damp with his spit. Nate’s twists desperately under him.
“Brad, Brad, please,” he whispers, voice thready. He cups Brad’s jaw in his elegant long-fingered hands, drawing his mouth back up again. They kiss for long, slow moments, consuming each other, until finally Nate drops back again and says, “Bed?” He rubs a deliberate thigh over Brad’s trapped erection.
They go to Brad’s room because he has a better mattress. Nate takes his shirt off just inside the door, fabric falling in a heap next to Brad’s laundry bin. As he’s shoving his underwear down his thighs, Brad comes up behind him, drawing him swiftly back against his body. Nate’s bared ass rubs against his fly and he slides a firm hand around to encircle Nate’s dick. Nate is hot all over, like his body has forgotten how to regulate his temperature, but he’s oven hot here. It’s the first time Brad’s had a hand on someone’s dick that wasn’t his own. Nate’s head drops back against his shoulder and he gasps as Brad starts to stroke just this side of rough. The boxer-briefs are trapped just below his balls and Brad eases them further down his thighs to cup his testicles.
Brad mouths at his ear and runs the handlebar callus he has on his palm right over the head of Nate’s dick. The sound Nate makes punches right through Brad’s chest and he feels his own body temperature flare up all along his spine. He keeps doing it; the point of one finger slipping around in Nate’s precome to press into the slit. Nate’s teeth sink into his lip and his hand comes up to grip Brad’s forearm, stopping his motion.
“You’re still wearing all your clothes,” he says. When Brad doesn’t immediately let go, his grip tightens on Brad’s arm until white shows around his fingertips. Brad swirls his tongue just below Nate’s ear, a wicked tease, and then pulls back.
He takes his shirt off and then has to stop to watch Nate shove the boxers the rest of the way down his thighs. His ass cheeks flex and it’s sinful. Yet, even in his nakedness with the beginnings of bruises Brad left coming up on his skin, Nate has that austerity about him.
He crawls on the bed and Brad remembers to continue taking his clothes off. “I’ve never fucked a man,” Brad says.
Nate looks over his shoulder at him, that coy perfect look that has been driving Brad to distraction for years. “You’ve done anal, right?”
“Yes, yes,” Brad replies breathlessly.
Nate lies flat on the bed, head pillowed on his bicep, three of Brad’s fingers shoved through the tight ring of scrunched pink muscle. His hands open and flex and he shudders occasionally, but he seems so relaxed. Brad is not relaxed. He’s afraid he’s going to come before he even gets inside, that maybe all it’ll take is the sweet glide into Nate’s body before he’s losing it. Nate had reached back earlier, directed him right at his prostate and now he’s a blissed out shivery mess and he hasn’t even come yet.
Nate’s back muscles bunch and finally he says, “I’m good, I can take you.”
Brad pulls his fingers free and wipes them on the sheets. He rolls a condom on and groans from the pressure of his own hand. Nate rises to a kneeling position and wraps his hands around the top rung of Brad’s headboard. Brad will remember this image forever. He spreads Nate’s cheeks, revealing that shiny pink hole, and slowly pushes inside. Nate makes a strangled noise and his head drops between his shoulders. Brad stops, the head of his dick just inside that incredible heat.
Nate’s fingers are white on the headboard. “Don’t stop,” Nate breathes, shoulder muscles trembling, “it’s perfect.” Brad thrusts all the way in, using a palm low on Nate’s abs to push him onto Brad’s dick. Nate curses, but Brad feels Nate’s erection bobbing just below Brad’s splayed palm. It’s hard to keep his composure. He wants to slam away at Nate, thrust into him until Nate can feel it in his throat, until he’s breathing around Brad’s dick.
Brad drops his forehead to Nate’s shoulder, uses Nate like an anchor to keep his pace steady. Nate talks the entire way through, nonsense and filth that makes Brad marvel at Nate’s imagination. He wonders if he’ll ever be able to exploit this at some later date or if this is it, the first, last, and only time. He doesn’t really think this is it, but a paranoid part of him can’t help but worry.
Nate’s body begins to tremble in his grasp, the same way he gets when he pushes too hard on a run, and Brad skates his palm down, wrapping it once more around Nate’s dick. Nate chokes and the headboard slams hard against the wall. He jacks him quickly, not bothering to keep time with his thrusts into Nate’s ass. He gets harder in Brad’s hand, more precome smoothing the way. He makes a small noise and cranes his neck back to catch Brad’s mouth in a sloppy kiss. Brad wants to smile and to cry, and all sorts of contradictory inappropriate impulses. Nate comes in Brad’s hand, his deep groan muffled in Brad’s mouth. Brad has come slicked all over his hand and probably all over his pillows. It's disgusting. It doesn't matter. He wants to come so bad he feels frantic. Nate slumps back against Brad, weight descending down so that his dick is forced even deeper inside. Nate twitches weakly and his muscles tighten up, locking down.
“Oh fuck,” Brad says against Nate’s throat. He thrusts in hard, relishing the slam of the headboard against the wall. He brings his palm back to Nate’s belly, smearing his come all over the place so that he can pull Nate back onto his dick. Nate’s ab muscles tighten under his hand and Brad’s fingers slide over the defined ridges. He orgasms thinking about Nate’s belly and the curve of his eyelashes.
Brad wakes up the next morning in Nate’s bed because they thoroughly ruined his. A cellophane-wrapped pack of Oreos thuds down on the comforter next to him and then Nate swings himself up onto the bed, fully dressed.
“You were jonesing for junk food last night,” Nate says casually. He’s drinking another glass of pineapple juice and Brad has to wonder if those rumors about jizz are true. He refrains from asking.
Brad groans. The small of his back is killing him and he wasn’t even the one getting fucked. Nate seems far too chipper for post anal sex. But Brad’s never been on that end, so it’s not like he would know. He pushes himself up off the pillow to crack his neck and his eyes catch on the Dalí. He looks back at Nate who’s chomping on an Oreo and reading the Art & Style section of the New York Times.
“Please go back to school,” Brad says, not even quite sure where that came from.
“Huh?” Nate looks up from the paper.
“School, you seem like somebody who should have multiple degrees not Vivienne Westwood’s entire fall line.”
“I would not deign to wear Vivienne Westwood’s fall line. You’re confusing me with Ray,” Nate says, but there’s a studying look on his face.
Brad grabs an Oreo and bites down, getting crumbs all over Nate’s bed. “I’d wait for you,” Brad says, and swallows down more than just the cookie.
Nate’s profile is lit up by the sun streaming in the room. Their hands brush together. Nate bends his head and smiles.
Oh thank god that's over with. I don't think I've ever written so much in such a short period of time.