The owner of the business card Evan was currently holding.
A photographer, huh? Did they usually have cards like this?
It wouldn’t be right to leave it lying on the sticky club floor. That was Evan’s only reason for picking it up, of course. It couldn’t be because of the one who usually stood in that spot, right?
The one who always brought him back to reality when he was escaping his job and indulging in what this place had to offer. Maybe ‘brought back to reality’ wasn’t exactly it, but that’s what it felt like.
He stood out significantly among the other clubgoers. He never danced or anything like that. Just stood there. Observing.
Wearing that long jacket over a dark blue shirt, while his dark and longer-than-average hair framed his face.
Speaking of; why was a person matching that exact description walking in his direction?
Below blinding lights, the man’s eyes swept the area. Was he searching for something? Oh right, a certain someone’s card still lingered in Evan’s hand.
The man glanced at it before their eyes slowly met. He was still standing a fair bit away, but the smile that parted his lips was both visible and alluring. There was a hint of recognition on his face. Their eye contact only lasted a few seconds, before the stranger turned his back to him.
Brought out of his temporary daze, Evan clutched the business card. Why was he leaving again? Wasn’t he going to get the item back he lost?
A sudden hand on his shoulder made him freeze up, as he looked to his right for the culprit. Blonde, a bit shorter than him, and clearly up to something.
“That guy is definitely… interesting. Not bad though.”
A soft, but weirdly endearing voice.
Had these two …?
Seeing the blonde’s gaze drift further down, Evan shoved the card into his pocket. Whoever he was; it could wait. Evan’s reason for being here was just to get some cute guy’s attention after all. And that goal had officially been accomplished.
“Not bad, huh? We’ll see if I can compare, then.”
“Ooh, now we’re talking.”
He ran his hand down Evan’s arm, making him shiver.
It was going to be a good night…
It was quiet. Too quiet. Evan’s one-man office, in all its extravagance, never did quite enough to make up for the endless amount of tasks he had to deal with.
Everything was blurry. All he could feel was his boss watching his every move.
On the large mahogany desk in front of him stood a laptop, its screen glaring in his direction. The calendar was packed as usual, but he knew it wouldn’t take long before someone pestered him to add more to it.
That kind of despair was enough to force his mind toward better things—anything that was more tolerable than this. Like good memories of the only place he really felt at home. And no, that wasn’t his top-floor apartment, as hard as he had to work for that one. No… the place he had a chance to get a glimpse of ‘him’.
Digging through his pocket, he pulled the card out. Maybe he should take a small break and look at the website on it…
Artist biography, availability, client information, etc. Oh, and a link to his portfolio. Evan enjoyed the purple and green colors that were used for its smooth layout. A shame those didn’t carry over to the page that opened up in front of him. Jasper's portfolio. The site was filled with images of men. Every single one looked different from the others. Interesting angles and all kinds of compositions. Sometimes there were multiple guys in one photo and other times there were tools involved. Often; both.
Despite the content, it was surprisingly tasteful.
He hadn’t noticed how red his face was becoming before a familiar shape made its way into his office. The slam of the door when it closed made him sit up in an instant. That was the quickest he had ever changed tabs. And just in time too.
“Hmm… I usually don’t look like that when I’m working. Did Erwin send you the wrong thing?” A coworker of Evans decided it was appropriate to sidle up behind his desk. Usually, he never allowed others to do that, but Will was the exception.
“You know he’d never make a mistake like that.” Though there was some embarrassment in Evan’s voice, he was often good at hiding undue emotions.
“I suppose you’re right.” Will scanned the computer screen, looking for anything out of place. Oh no, he was smiling now.
“Nothing. Can’t I have things running in the background that aren’t related to work?”
“Mhm, right. I know someone who wouldn’t be too pleased with that.”
“Woah, hey.” Will laughed, as he continued.
“Anyway, I am here to make you aware of some emails that have been sent by our dear boss.”
“Ah, just what I needed.”
“Of course, of course. And isn’t he generous? Sending me to make sure you got them?”
Evan fixed him with a sharp glare.
He checked it, and sure enough, there they were. Three new ones.
“What a lovely guy.”
The sarcasm didn’t go unnoticed. Will smiled, as he headed for the door, glancing back at Evan. With another slam of the door, he was left in silence once again.
His thoughts returned to the faces of those men on the bright screen. But also, the man who never seemed to be in focus or ever showed his face. His hair was familiar.
The photographer doesn’t always stay behind his camera, does he?”
Despite the many neon lights the downtown area had to offer, they only did so much to help Evan navigate the streets. If anything, most shapes were only grazed by their soft rim light.
In front of the building he was walking towards, two men were leaning against the concrete. Smoke shrouded one of them; emitted by the cigarette between his lips. All Evan could tell was that they were talking. He was unable to identify any of their words. His attention was already taken by a much more mysterious-looking pair.
There they were. They?
Two shadows. Someone was with him and their voices were only mere whispers.
It didn’t take long before they both slipped into a nearby back alley positioned between the club and its neighboring building.
Curiosity was getting the better of him. Could it be related to what he had seen on the website?
That thought was all the motivation he needed. With a quick look around himself, he disappeared into the dark.
“I don’t understand. What do you mean ‘no’? Isn’t the customer always right or something?” An erratic voice. Impatient and pushy.
“Excuse me? You… You think I’m going to prioritize that over my own limits? That’s not going to happen.”
A recognizable stranger and a not-so-familiar one. The former had his back against the wall, eyebrows drawn together.
“I’ll go slow…”
The man’s piercing gaze shifted from the one in front of him to Evan. He had been spotted.
“Ugh. Whatever.” There was something unnerving about his shakiness. But when he stepped away from the other guy and hurried out of the alleyway—past Evan—his heartbeat was able to settle.
“Asshole…” The man who remained pushed himself off the wall. As he made eye contact with Evan, he spoke up again.
“Oh, it’s you. Here to give me my card back?”
Just that hesitation alone made the man’s lips curve up.
“I’m guessing you assumed I had more?”
“That’s… part of it. Jasper, was it?”
Jasper closed the distance between them, as he continued. Evan’s heartbeat spiked in an instant.
“So… I’d love to know what still made you want to talk to me.”
Jasper pressed his fingers gently against the white fabric of Evan’s dress shirt. Right where it stretched a little, as it tried its best to cover his chest. He was having a tough time keeping his eyes solely on Evan’s face.
“There was just… something about your photos.” Evan took a deep breath, as the stranger's hand inched further down.
“Was there also… someone?”
“Well… that someone has an apartment very close by.”
“Does he now?” Reaching up for the hand on his chest, Evan grabbed Jasper’s wrist.
What he had seen on the website represented this man well. Jasper had that kind of presence that made you want to be vulnerable around him.
“Mhm… you’d love it.”
“I doubt I’ll have much time to enjoy the interior.”
What happens when the repressed Evan meets a very interesting kind of artist? One who knows how to enjoy what he does and revels in the world of art, which Evan just doesn't quite understand the appeal of.
He chose to live a tough life to ensure financial security and comfort. But when Jasper breaks into his life and forces him to confront his actual desires, it isn't such an easy decision anymore.
What does he really want?
For Jasper to dominate him any chance they got? Of course.
But why was that man able to make him question the most important choice he ever made?