Hiya, what began as re-edit has somehow become a rewrite based upon the bare bones of a skeleton. I’m sorry they’re taking a wee while longer, but it seems there’s much I want to amend/add to a story written four years ago. Thank you so much for reading and every kind word wafted my way. ❤️ 🥰 ❤️
The Beast of Bodmin Moor
When Phin sighed into the arms Jake wrapped around him, he felt fragile, breakable, despite being about half a foot taller. The ability to crush every bone in his body made that a no brainer, but his very Phinness counted more than logic suggested it should.
“Are you alright?” Jake asked.
“Yeah, I-I’m not sure if I’m supposed to say thank you.” Phin’s dark brows crumpled in the centre, confusion writ large upon his face…which was adorable.
“Thank you? There’s nothing to thank me for. Quite the contrary…I should apologize.”
“Apologize?” Amended to bold print bewilderment.
“For…well, I didn’t even ask if it was okay—I er, just jumped you.” Jake cringed.
“I would be very okay with being jumped a lot, you needn’t say sorry,” Phin declared. A statement of fact, rather than reassurance. Would he recognize a platitude if it paraded about naked with a name badge?
“You sure?” Jake couldn’t help but chuckle.
“O’course I am. I said it,” The twinkle in those midnight eyes implied that asking if Phin ‘was sure’—ever again—was a sure fire symptom of lunacy. Said>inscribed in stone>sorted. Much to his chagrin, Jake couldn’t help fishing for more…he was human. Sometimes.
“You might want to be more specific in future…” he advised, suppressing a grin. “Your ‘lot’ could differ a helluva lot from his.”
“‘I wouldn’t be okay with his lots at all, whatever it was,” Phin’s eyebrows vanished into his tufty fringe.
Jake’s would have followed suit, had Phin’s inflection not made it clear that ‘his’ very existence was the irrelevance, rather than his wishes. “Will you tell me your lots, so I can do concentrating on not being excessive?”
As fishing expeditions went, Jake had landed a whopper. Phin’s issue with ‘his’ clearly had bugger all to do with the bloke’s gender. He hadn’t even registered the assumption Jake had made, let alone called it into question. It was a neither ‘her’ nor ‘their’ non issue.
A whopper? ‘Jack’ had blown a bloody blue whale. With an excessive appetite.
Well, there’s always steroids? Spinach? I’m game if you are… Mr Smugmutt snickered. Jake couldn’t help himself; a splutter made a bid for freedom before could stop it.
“I like your laugh, it makes you smile inside. I’m glad I got to see it…I know it will soon be gone.” Sorrow clouded his starry gaze, deadening it to darkness. “You haven’t defined your ‘lot’ yet…” Phin reminded him.
“It’s not going anywhere, anytime soon,” Jake acknowledged. Prompted by an impatient prodding. Ow. “As to my lot? I very much doubt I’d mind if you ‘forget to do concentrating’ on less.”
“Less anything. Less excessive, less exactly as you are. Less you, full stop.” Less like a ride on a runaway magic carpet… Jake never wanted to get off.
I reckon he’d have liked the last bit best. I did.
The ‘ride’ part sounded suspect.
It didn’t ‘sound’ anything. Sadly.
Sordid, in particular. I was being a gent.
I’ve heard it all now. Who are you and what have you done with Jake the rake?
Haha, my arse. You’d whipped his kecks off before I got so much as a sniff of sausage.
“I suspect you’ll regret saying that soon.” Phin wrinkled his nose. As if it had come under assault of sausage consequences.
Ooh, that was a low blow. Bitch.
“I somehow suspect I won’t.” Jake admitted.
“I think you’re a bit bonkers,” Phin noted, with a small nod. Serenity itself. “A big bit,” he amended.
“I think you’re the sanest person I’ve met for many a moon,” Jake winked.
“You must hang out with very peculiar peeps.” Phin’s expression was priceless.
“Mostly myself, when I’m not at work, so…”
When Jake tailed off on a wry grin, Phin asked “Do you like your job?” Rather than the ubiquitous ‘what do you do?’
“Yeah…it’s alright. I just do a few shifts in the Albion pub. It keeps me out of trouble…” until it’s dark enough.
“The one with the splendid paint job?” Phin grinned. It was pink. Pink panther pink. As lurid as a lycra leotard. The grin was less lurid but far brighter.
“That’s certainly one word for it…” Jake deadpanned.
“Pink. That would be another,” Phin beamed. A very dull, dreary pink, in retrospect. He was radiance personified.
“Cruel.” Jake offered. “When you’ve got a hangover.”
“Ouch. Is it safe once you’re inside? I didn’t go in, I just drove past in my van.”
“Yeah…I love walking in before opening time on an early shift. There’s a special stillness…a quality of light. What little there is glances off the glass and mirrors, sharper off stainless steel…burnished off brass, but doesn’t really disturb the dimness. Low ceilings, I guess. Anyhow…” Jake shrugged, a bit abashed by his own rambling. “The hours suit me and we have live music, so I’m able to play pretty regularly. Purely for pleasure, I’m not chasing any dreams. It…suits me here.”
Phin’s dark, watchful gaze seemed to absorb—rather than ‘look’—so intent was his focus. What does he see? Not so much in less-or-more terms than…other people. But…in a way that resonates…as different woods do.
Those eyes sure as hell couldn’t see a twenty-five year old rockstar-that-never-was, tending bar at a (pink) pub in the back of beyond.
“You play there, really?” As if on cue, they switched to high beam bright. Spot lit from within. “Can I come and watch?”
How am I supposed to say no to that face? Even to protect him?
I hope that was a rhetorical question. If not, fuck knows. If all else fails…keep my fluids up?
An emergency stash of saliva, that’s your solution? You could at least try to sound less…satisfied. If only for decency’s sake.
Why bother…it’s not as if you’re buying that bridge you’re hell-bent on selling you.
Yes…You. Me. Us. Whatever…
…Was the silent ‘tralala’ necessary?
If it was silent, how did you hear it?
In my head.
Not out loud, then. Like say…now?
Chance would be a fine thing… Just sayin.
The Albion Pub, Liskeard.