Feast of Sparks (#2)
Coming August 1
Your newsletter-exclusive sneak peek!
For the next week, Auden touched St. Sebastian however he liked and as often as he wanted—which turned out to be quite often, as St. Sebastian learned.
Auden would tug on St. Sebastian’s longish hair to get his attention, or hook a finger in St. Sebastian’s belt loop to steer him in a shop, only dropping his hand when someone else came into the aisle and replacing it the moment they left.
He’d insist on sketching St. Sebastian while they rested or lounged—or he’d do it while straddling St. Sebastian’s lap as he had that first Sunday in the graveyard, so he could “get close enough.” One memorable afternoon, he made a game with their supplies from Thornchapel, playing keep away with the food until St. Sebastian, out of curiosity, finally agreed to Auden’s terms of surrender, which involved Auden feeding St. Sebastian the sandwiches by hand and having St. Sebastian drink from his own water bottle, which he’d tip to St. Sebastian’s lips at exactly the moment St. Sebastian found himself thirsty.
He traced the lines of St. Sebastian’s mouth with his finger—repeatedly, religiously. He’d tug off St. Sebastian’s shirt—always slow enough for St. Sebastian to say no, which was slow enough for St. Sebastian to get impatient and tug the damn thing off himself—and then Auden would spend what felt like hours consuming St. Sebastian’s stomach and chest and back with his eyes, often without even the pretext of sketching.
St. Sebastian had never felt so adored, so worshipped—never felt as interesting or as sexy—as he did as the lord of the manor’s obsession. He was delirious with the feeling of it, drunk with it—
And yet he was frustrated as hell.
Why hadn’t Auden kissed him? It wasn’t as if St. Sebastian had been able to hide the jerking breaths he took when Auden touched his mouth, or the way his nipples gathered into tight little points when Auden ran his pencil over them. And there was certainly no hiding what happened to his cock nearly every moment he spent in Auden’s presence.
Surely Auden knew St. Sebastian wanted to be kissed. Surely.
And surely Auden wanted to kiss him, right? You didn’t caress boys you didn’t want to kiss, you didn’t watch their nipples harden and the muscles along their ribs and stomach judder under the skin with each shaking breath if you didn’t.
Then one day Auden coaxed St. Sebastian to Thornchapel with promises of some new Xbox games, and after they’d played for hours, they’d snuck some wine into the walled garden and sat on the edge of a fountain with their feet in, watching the blooming lavender bob in the breeze. And with his linen pants rolled up to his knees and his hair flopping just so, Auden looked like something off the cover of a book, he looked like the dictionary entry for handsome, perfect rich boy.
Just looking at him made St. Sebastian’s heart ache.
And he couldn’t, he just couldn’t, go another moment without knowing what it felt like to kiss Auden Guest.
“Auden,” he said. Just that. Just his name, because he didn’t know what words to say next and he didn’t know that he ever would.
Except then he did. “I want you to do more than look at me and draw me,” he managed, the words pushing out of him like spring shoots out of the soil. As natural as anything and yet the hardest, most vital thing he’d ever done. “I need you to kiss me like you touch me, as if . . . as if I already belong to you.”
Next to him, Auden froze, bottle dangling from his fingertips.
“Please,” St. Sebastian said on a swallow.
Auden let out a broken groan, and then St. Sebastian hit the lavender bed, Auden atop him and staring down with blazing eyes, his sides heaving violently.
“I just—” St. Sebastian started, but Auden shook his head, a single quick jerk.
“Hold completely still,” Auden ordered. “Don’t move until I say.”
Unsure where this was going, St. Sebastian gave a slow, nervous nod.
But St. Sebastian held still. And held his tongue—literally and figuratively.
“I wanted to wait,” Auden breathed over St. Sebastian’s mouth, “until I wouldn’t scare you.”
“Scare me with what?”
“With how much I want to do this.”
And then Auden didn’t kiss St. Sebastian—he bit him. He took that bottom lip he loved to sketch and to touch so much, and he bit it. Right in the middle. Hard enough to leave marks, and hard enough that St. Sebastian grunted against his bite. Hard enough that when he pulled back and blinked down at St. Sebastian, St. Sebastian could feel the hot, shocking roll of blood—just a single, small drop—welling from the very center of his lip and tracing down to the corner of his mouth.
Auden’s eyes darkened as he watched, and then he dipped his head and slowly . . . carefully . . . licked the blood away while St. Sebastian trembled underneath him.
“Did I scare you?” Auden asked, now trailing his kisses everywhere, all over St. Sebastian’s jaw and neck and cheeks and eyelids. He finally brushed his lips against St. Sebastian’s mouth; they were warm and firm and damp with wine and blood. “Did I scare you away?”
Scare? It was like St. Sebastian was learning safety for the very first time. His mother and her family kept him safe in so many separate ways, but this—this—this was his spirit finding its home, this was being seen in his wholeness, in his complicated, contradictory entirety and being worshipped for it.
If there was fear, it was necessary; if there was pain, it was savored. He could no more be scared away from this sketching, drawling, entitled prince than he could change the stars in the sky.
“Never,” St. Sebastian breathed. “You’ll never scare me.”
“I wouldn’t be so sure,” Auden said.
He took St. Sebastian’s wrists in his hand and pinned them above his head, and his hips pinned St. Sebastian’s to the ground, rolling hard, hard enough that St. Sebastian knew he was going to come soon and he didn’t even care. He would have died if Auden stopped, he would have died right there in the lavender.
“Kiss me again,” St. Sebastian pleaded. He searched Auden’s face—flushed, half-lidded—he felt Auden’s thick erection grinding against his own, the seams and zippers and buttons of their pants sending near-heavenly frissons of pain to dance through St. Sebastian’s nerve endings along with the pleasure. “Kiss me again and never stop.”
“God, how many times have I wanted to hear you say just that?” Auden murmured, lowering his mouth again. This kiss came with more—with depth and tongue and stark, cruel possession. Auden would let nothing stop him from searching every part of St. Sebastian’s mouth—he used his free hand to press a thumb against St. Sebastian’s throbbing, bleeding lip and he pulled the lip down and opened St. Sebastian to him even more. And with all of Auden’s weight on him—chests pressed together, and stomachs and cocks—and with lavender in the air and the fountain trilling in the background, St. Sebastian thought maybe it would be good if he died after all, because surely life never got any better than this. Surely this was heaven and anything after being kissed into the fucking ground by Auden Guest would be hell.
“Promise me,” Auden said raggedly as they parted in a wet, breathless gasp. “Promise me you’ll say when I scare you; promise me that you won’t run away. I couldn’t bear it if you ever ran away from me.”
“I promise,” St. Sebastian said, feeling his chest crushing in with something heavier and better than the weight of Auden’s body. It was the weight of what Auden might feel for him, and fuck if it didn’t fire St. Sebastian’s blood hotter than any liquor, drug or thrill he’d ever tried. “I promise I won’t run away.”
Auden’s forehead dropped to his and his hips stilled, even though St. Sebastian could feel the incontrovertible proof that Auden hadn’t come yet. Even though St. Sebastian was only two or three more thrusts away from coming himself.
“Auden?” he whispered, hoping he hadn’t done something wrong.
Somehow, Auden seemed to know his fear, in that way that Auden seemed to know things he had no right to know. “Shh,” he hushed St. Sebastian, tucking St. Sebastian to his chest as he rolled off to the side. “You haven’t done anything wrong. You’re perfect. You’re perfect.”
Together they laid in the crushed flower bed, Auden’s arms tight around him, and his face nestled into his strong, warm chest. Auden’s heartbeat filled one ear, the splashing of the fountain filled the other.
If magic was real, like it was in the books St. Sebastian loved so much, then this was it. This was the very thread and pulse of magic, this moment here in the shimmering, sweet-herbed garden of Thornchapel, burrowed in the arms of its master.
“I have to have this,” Auden said, almost apologetically. “I’ve wanted this for so long . . . I can’t rush through it.”
“No,” Auden said.
“Holding you,” Auden said simply.
Coming fall 2019.
Coming late summer 2019.