Series: Silver and Black
Characters: Chris and David
Genre: Yaoi, modern day romance
Rating: PG-13 for language
Summary: Chris has a project he has to finish on a computer. David needs some not-chainstore coffee.
A/N: Chris is owned by stark_black, David is owned by liralen. Copyright 2008 by Jennifer Stark and Liralen Li. All rights reserved.
The Previous Chapter
Friday, November 7, 10:27pm
“Damn you, Jill and your fucking waterproof eyeliner!”
Chris rubbed at his skin with the wet paper towel and glared into the bathroom mirror. He had been able to remove the lipstick, cover up, and blush, but the dark rims around his eyes had only smudged slightly when he had washed his face. He looked like a vampire. Not good. At least his hair still looked cool. Jill had parted it to the side and a few strands fell gracefully over his eyes like an anime character. He tossed his head from side to side, and decided it was time to invest in a flat iron.
Enough, he said to himself as he threw the towel in the trash and grabbed his backpack. Time to escape.
The play had ended a little over fifteen minutes ago. The meet and greet in the front hall was well under way and Chris was going to use it as his means of escape. No doubt people would be looking for ‘Shakespeare’, wanting a picture or an autograph, but Chris was in a hurry. He needed to get his project done, and the internet café was only open for another hour and a half. People would be looking for a handsome man in costume: red tunic and brown leggings; stage makeup heavy and caked on his face. They would not be looking for a biker in ripped jeans with a black leather jacket thrown over his shoulder; piercings decorating his ears and tattoos peeking out from under his black t-shirt. The helmet in his hand was decorated with a skull and crossbones, very friendly. He realized the leftover makeup would probably help his image also and maybe even deter the older folk from taking too long of a look at him. He could just slip out the back, but if any of the actors ran into him on his way out, there would be questions and pleas to get him to attend the opening night cast party. Chris didn’t want that hassle, so he headed towards the front.
He pushed open the bathroom door and hurried down the backstage hallway. He saw several stage crew and nodded a ‘good night’ as he passed. Opening the doors to the front hall, he was assaulted by the bright lights and the traditional reds and golds of the classic theater décor. People swarmed in clusters around the actors and actresses, praising and asking for pictures. Chris wished for a moment to say goodbye to Jill, but he knew he would see her tomorrow, and she would understand his need to get away from the excessive stimulation.
Moving through the throng of people, Chris spotted platinum blond hair and almost dropped to the prone position on the floor. Running into Kali and her friends would be a surefire way of screwing up his evening. Instead, Chris ducked to the side and almost sprinted for the doors.
The cool air felt good against Chris’ bare hands and through his open jacket as he sped down the street. His bike, a black Suzuki GSX-R, purred beneath him, and wove through the Seattle traffic easily. He parked in front of his favorite café, Flying Monkeys, and pulled his helmet off. He set it behind him and took out his cigarettes. Lighting up, he started to feel guilty about his avoidance of his fellow cast members. Kali and her friends were nice, really they were. They were beautiful and probably shitloads of fun to go out with. Nice girls that flattered him with their relentless pursuing, and almost endless compliments of his acting, his clothes, his… whatever. He appreciated it, and did his best to be nice back without giving them too much to hope for, but kept his distance. Nothing would ever come of a relationship with any of those girls. They weren’t what he was looking for, not even close. He didn’t want to be cruel and tell them to shove the fuck off, so his only other option was to be vague.
Maybe Jill was right and he should just tell them he was gay… He sort of was… wasn’t he?
Pulling one last drag into his lungs, Chris ground his butt into the cement and grabbed his helmet.
Shit, he sighed, Time to tackle this fucking assignment…
X x X x X
Friday, November 7, 10:34pm
David walked through the cool night air, wondering why he didn't do it more often. The TT was in a parking lot, and he'd already paid the Evening Event fee. So for a one time charge he could go anywhere his feet took him. It was nice to just stretch his muscles and walk. He could feel the blood-flow work its quiet magic in his upper body, not quite as thoroughly as during a soccer game, but good nonetheless.
And he could see things when he walked. The angle of the doorways, the moonlight through glass, the sound and smell of water as he passed a courtyard fountain, and the ever-present rush of traffic and other people. There was a homeless guy curled up with his back to the street in one of the doorways of the closed shops. But there was a man in a wheelchair trying to get into an all-night diner, as a paper-capped busboy struggled with the two self-closing glass doors. David just stepped over to open one of the doors for them. The grey haired man just grunted his thanks, but the busboy grinned a huge grin and said, "Thank you."
David smiled back, "No problem."
A bare block further was the café.
A motorcycle pulled past him, grumbling softly as it slowed to park in one of the narrow motorcycle spots before the café, the halogen light suddenly snapping off. It took a few steps before David's eyes adjusted, and in the street light he saw the skull and crossbones helmet, the ripped jeans over tight muscle, and he frowned as the black leather jacket stretched over those shoulders looked somehow familiar. The helmet came off, there was the gleam of metal against the curve of an ear. A click sounded in the quiet, and in the flicker of flame from the lighter was the face of one Chris Stark, eyes still dark with makeup, face pale in contrast. Now he looked like a fallen angel.
David faltered. What the hell was he doing here? Wasn't he supposed to be at the Opening Night party thing? I... and then cold clear logical thought took over. It's not as if the actor had been able to see him, there was no connection on the other side. Just because David recognized Chris, it didn't mean a thing. He was still invisible to the actor.
Somehow that hurt more than helped, but it gave him enough to realize he still needed that coffee. And it wouldn't hurt to get it where he might get an eyeful of what he'd likely be jacking off to tonight.
X x X x X
Chris slid off the bike and put his keys in his front pocket. He considered having another cigarette, but shook his head and turned towards the door. He was trying to delay the inevitable. Standing outside the café all night wouldn’t help him get this project together, and avoiding the computer wasn’t going to fix his technology problem.
He caught a glimpse of a slim frame slipping into Flying Monkeys ahead of him. A dark green trench coat and scarf over… slacks? Must be a computer technician, there was no other reason for someone dressed like that to be heading into a place like this. Great haircut though, the guy was obviously Asian. He had that straight, sleek black hair that you could never really do anything with. It framed faces so perfectly and slipped through your fingers like silk. This guy had streaks of white mixed in with that beautiful black, which actually accentuated the darkness. He was obviously a little older; mid thirties maybe, but Chris couldn’t tell because he hadn’t gotten a look at the guy’s face. He did notice though, the man was fit; he was slender without looking too fragile. Just about his height, maybe slightly shorter. Probably painfully hot in that ‘I might not look like much, but I can kick your ass ninja style’ kind of way. Of course, it couldn’t help that Chris found Asian men in general incredibly attractive… but whatever.
He followed the guy inside and relaxed as the loud bass started to replace the blood in his veins. Tension drained out of his body as he felt the music wrap around him. The song that was playing, ‘I Like My Sex’, was a little mainstream, but it was good- everything by Benny Banassi was good.
Chloe, the pretty girl behind the counter, saw him as he entered and nodded her dreadlocked head at him. Her sparkling green eyeliner shone underneath the black light, making Chris remember the state of his own face. Gah, fucking eyeliner… Chris pouted.
He had been friends with Chloe since high school. They had dated for almost two years, but then halfway through their first year in college, Chloe had decided that she liked girl parts better than boy parts. She’d been with the same girl for three years now, and Chris was happy for them both.
He waved a greeting and moved to the closest row of computers. As he sat and pulled his backpack off his shoulders and placed his helmet between his feet, he felt his frustration build and he hadn’t even started anything yet.
I fucking hate computers…
X x X x X
David had gone into the café as he'd gotten to it, not wanting Chris to notice him, so he hadn't stopped out on the sidewalk. He'd just gone ahead with his plan, but the plan hadn't included being greeted by the throbbing beat of techno music, in the relative dark amid a collection of goth folks with laptops lighting their faces. Chris' makeup and black leather fit right in. David's pale green button up shirt and tie, business casual slacks, with the long coat and scarf did not.
The music made memories of Luke flood through David. Unlucky Luke, musician Luke, with the blond-gold hair of at least a dozen colors, bronze, gold, white, all mixed through its waist-long length. Luke with the slender hips and strong shoulders, who cried for half an hour, while wrapped around David in a chair in the airport, when they'd first actually touched after a year's Internet conversation and play. Luke who had worked for Compuserv when David was at Microsoft during the cresting years of the mid-80's. When David couldn't leave, couldn't visit, couldn't breathe, as he was tied to the company with golden handcuffs harder than even the steel ones Luke had used on him.
David shuddered quietly, remembering one of those few weekends they had had together, the way the music had wrapped around him, taken him as completely as Luke's musician hands had taken him.
David took a deep, slow breath. Part of him longed move to the music, but it was only a small part, a well-squashed part. Instead, he stepped up to the line at the barista/support bar. He listened.
There was a beautiful little goth girl blinking long, purple mascera'ed lashes up at the menu board. "Uhm... ahhhhh..." she said.
"We don't have those. You gotta order something we've got," said the barista brusquely.
"Oh. How about a Venti strawberries and cream Frappuccino?" she said, flustered.
"Sister, we don't serve creamed fruit in network storage systems that are addressed by 160-bit SHA-1 hashes of the data. Nor can we abuse the trademarked Frap by that monster Starbucks. If you don't come up with something sensible the next time you open your mouth, you don't get nothin'." The barista settled back on her heels, folded her arms, and glared at the girl.
The girl flapped her hands. "Oh. Uhm. Christ. How about a Almond Joy mocha?"
Mutely the girl pointed at one of the 16 ounce cups. David revised his opinion of the girl, she was learning. The barista nodded, flipped the cup up with a practiced motion, caught it on the way down.
"How many shots?"
The girl held up three fingers.
And the barista started grinding the coffee with the order. David relaxed, okay, this was going to be good. The signs proclaimed that the bar used the Vivace Roasteria's coffee, looks like they trained their baristas there, too.
"Whipped cream?" the barista asked as if asking for liver.
The girl nodded. The barista sighed, "Can't have everything..." But she did put the whipped cream on it in a beautiful mounded spiral that caused the girl's face to light up.
The girl asked, timidly, "Do you have sprinkles?" The growl the barista gave her made her just drop her money on the counter top and flee with her drink.
Then that gaze pinned David. "Whachoo want?"
David grinned, comfortable that he'd decoded this bar's style. "I'd like a single breve shot with a turbinado sugar cube and a sixteen ounce schizoid skinny latte."
"Hmph. Need it sweetened, huh?" The barista said, looking unimpressed.
"I need something to counter my bitter heart," he said without thinking and got a look.
She ground, tamped and brewed the single shot. The beautiful twenty-second shot appeared before him, before she even started the latte. He took the proffered golden-topped beauty reverently, popped the sugar cube into his mouth, and then drank the gloriously rich heart of coffee down within the few seconds it was still perfect.
She actually smiled at him.
"Chloe!!" A powerful baritone called from where the Windows machines were located. David blinked as the voice reminded him of someone he'd just heard. Then the cursing started, vehement, thorough, and continuous.
"Oh, God, he’s at it again," said the barista under her breath as she finished pouring the micro-foamed milk over David's one caffeinated and one decaf shots. “Just a second!” She called as she glanced at the coffee line that had grown behind David.
"I might be able to help," David offered and earned another smile.
"How do you get between windows on Windows?" she asked, unexpectedly.
"Alt-tab, of course," David blinked at what seemed a completely random question.
She grinned. "Go for it then. Your drinks are free if you get the bastard going. For how smart the guy is, he’s pretty fucking stupid when it comes to getting new interfaces to work for him."
He laughed, "I'll come running if it gets too bad." And, with his drink in hand, David headed into the darkness in search of the source of that constant stream of swearing.
X x X x X
Chris cracked his knuckles against his jaw, an old habit that he’d acquired from his father when he was mad. Sad that the only trait he had taken from his father had been one used when things weren’t going well. PowerPoint sat glaring evilly at him through the harsh glow of the computer screen. Why was this so fucking hard? Eight year olds could work this shit! He was sure he had heard his sister talking about PowerPoint presentations when she was still in middle school.
“Son of a bitch…” He muttered and laced his hands behind his head.
"Yes, it is," said a low, quiet voice that had just a hint of laughter after hearing what Chris just said. "The barista sent me, she's... hm... busy with the coffee customers. Can I help you?"
Chris’s ears perked up. What a sexy voice. He almost sat forward and turned in his chair, but stayed put. There was no way there was a face to match such an amazing timber, and this way, he could pretend a Colin Farrell look alike was standing behind him. Or perhaps, thinking back to the dark-haired man from before, a Jin Chengwu clone.
“I don’t get why the hell it’s saying ‘create a new presentation’ when I’ve already created one,” Chris muttered.
"It's because it's stupid, and it thinks you're stupid. No... that's unfair. The human being that created that interface thinks you're stupid. You can just ignore that and start filling your slides in." A strong, brown, slender right hand slid over to the mouse and clicked in the title and text areas.
"Are you doing this for a projected presentation or handouts?"
Chris swallowed and lowered his arms. Maybe he should take a peek? Placate his curiosity so he could concentrate on his work? But what if he was hot? Damnit.
“Um…” Chris tried to find words. “I’m doing as much as I can, not on the computer. But one of the requirements is that we present at least half on this shit program. So yeah, handouts.”
He glanced out the corner of his eye, hoping the guy would lean forward so he could get a look at him without openly ogling.
A low chuckle and the guy fulfilled Chris' hopes, leaning in on Chris' right, so that the screen's lights glinted on oval lenses. A ring gleamed gold through his left tragus. His chin was strong, lips quirked in a smile, high cheekbones, Chinese nose, beautiful dark eyes, and that black hair shot through with silver. It was the suit from before, who had entered the café in front of Chris, and damnit if he wasn’t twice as hot as Chris had expected. Jin Chengwu, eat your fucking heart out.
"Hm. If you are going to have to present this using this program, it will likely be a projection. Handouts as well, perhaps, for your... class is it? But if you need to learn to use this to present information, this will make it less glaring and easier on the eyes..."
His hand went to the mouse again, and clicked two swift clicks on screens that flickered by too fast to comprehend, and suddenly the background went from stark white to dark blue with ribbon swirls and white text. "That should be better. And you don't have to mess with it all. Just hit Insert: New Slide for your next slide."
Chris shifted in his chair, trying to refocus on what he was supposed to be doing. The guy was going out of his way to help him, the least he could do was listen.
“You’re a lifesaver,” Chris said with a grin.
"Sure thing." The returned smile was friendly but a little distant. "You want me to stay here for a bit to see if you run into something else? New interfaces can be a bitch."
Chris thought quickly, this guy was way too sexy to let him just help Chris and then leave. “I’m positive I’ll run into something else. It would be great if you could stay, but if you have something you gotta do…”
"A few email boxes to check on, a little... research I wanted to do, but I can do them right over here while you're working on your thing." He nodded quietly, and settled in front of a sleeping computer nearby. "I'm David, just call if you need me."
Chris knew he needed to tear his eyes off this David, but his body was not cooperating. He couldn’t stop looking at his hair, at his long slender neck. It was too bad this guy was probably straight, probably even married with nine kids, cause he could really use a little…
“Thanks,” Chris choked out. “I’m Chris.”
"I know," David said in a mildly distracted voice as his fingers tapped at his keyboard.
Chris had turned back to the screen, but his head snapped back to the side at David’s words.
"What?" David blinked at Chris from behind his glasses, and then his eyes widened a little. "Oh. Uhm." He closed his eyes for just a moment.
David took a slow breath as he opened his eyes again. "I just saw you in Shakespeare in Love. You were really good, and you... uhm... made an impression on me."
Chris’ jaw dropped. “You were at the play? The play tonight? Just now?” Chris couldn’t help the grin from spreading. “Why aren’t you at the party?”
David shrugged. "I'm not... into parties. For that matter, why aren't you at the party, aren't you, like, the main guy or something?"
Ah, Goddamnit! Chris thought to himself. Why can’t you be single and gay!?
"I’m not into parties either," Chris explained. "And on top of that, there’s these three girls there right now that think they can ride the way to superstardom on my back. They piss me off…" Chris turned back to the screen and started to click away. “Besides, I have more important stuff to do.”
"Interesting that you're not into parties and girls, I would have thought..." David trailed off and went back to his computer.
Chris shrugged, he knew the way he looked gave off a certain impression, but he wasn’t going to change who he was to make people around him feel better. “Yeah, most people do.”
The conversation ceased for a few minutes as Chris organized his presentation. He stole quick looks out the corner of his eye from time to time, and fancied that he almost caught David looking at him once or twice. But he knew it was wishful thinking on his part. Close to finishing, Chris tried to insert a photo, another requirement on the project sheet, and fell into another evil computer trap.
“Shit!” Chris hissed, “I think I broke it again.”
"Hmm?" David turned around and moved back, close to Chris again. "No, it's not broken. I think... what were you trying to do?"
Chris leaned back and scrubbed his face with his hands. “Just tried to insert a picture. Christ, I’m so sick of this bullshit. It’s not like I have to know how to use this crap to teach theater. Or music. All the presentations I’ll ever have my kids do are going to be performing pieces or reciting monologues. I wish I could just… sing the presentation… ” Chris folded his arms on the desk and let his head rest on the sleeves of his jacket. “Fuck, whatever happened to good old fashioned essays that you just handwrote and turned in.”
"They got recycled. Here." David moved in. "You want the text over or under the picture?"
David chuckled and added, "And 'don't care' is a valid answer."
“Aw,” Chris said, unable to keep the smile from his face. “We just met and already you know me so well.”
David looked at Chris and took a short, hard breath. He then turned to the machine and Chris was a little surprised to see that his hand shook just a bit as he moved to the mouse. Was he making the guy nervous? But how could he be making him nervous? He was just…
As David paged down on the layouts to hidden layouts and clicked on something that put the picture on top and the text below, Chris got an idea. If he was correct in his assumptions, this David guy would either get disgusted with him and leave-- which would suck, but on the off chance that Chris was wrong…
Chris took a moment to check out the changes on the screen before he turned to David slowly and brought his lips dangerously close to the other man’s ear. “You’re kinda handy,” he breathed as quietly as the music would allow, “Maybe I should keep you…”
X x X x X
David had to take his hand off the mouse and close it tight into a fist in his lap. He wasn't quite sure if it was to hit the beautiful, sexy, fucking arousing guy before him or if it was just to hide his shaking.
He'd been surprised all to hell by the fact that the clueless user had turned out to be Chris Stark. He'd managed to keep his calm, get his support face on and be polite, be efficient, even in the face of breathing Chris' scent in every time he leaned over him to help him out. It was easier with a very straightforward task in front of him. Something he knew inside and out and could just get into. Then he'd done his best to hide his terror at doing something stupid the whole time he'd been helping the younger man out. And now this. He was too old for this, too tired for this in a lot of ways. He had been fighting, hard, the urge to just touch the young man, especially when Chris had his head on his arms.
It didn't help that he had Chris' stats all plastered all over his screen behind him, either, knowing how many classes he was teaching, what plays he was in, what kind of music he specialized in. Another musician. Shit.
Quietly, he said, "Mr. Stark. Just so you know. I have a huge crush on you from seeing you in your play. Please... just... please be careful what you offer?"
To David's alarm, Chris’ green eyes lit up and his white teeth flashed in a smile that was just shy of predatory. David took a deep breath, trying not to feel like he was drowning, trying hard to get his composure back in the face of that look.
Chris leaned in even closer, his breath warm on David’s neck, and David nearly lost it when Chris said, “I’m always careful what I offer… And I always mean it.”
David suddenly felt a flare of anger, enough to pull himself back to say, evenly, "If you mean what you've said, then what do you want to keep me for?"
Chris backed off, leaving David to shiver in his own adrenaline. Chris leaned back in his chair and studied David with a strange expression. Slowly, the young man’s hand found its way to the ends of David's hair and pulled the strands gently through his long fingers.
“Yeah… that doesn’t sound right,” Chris breathed. David saw Chris' eyes move to what his hand was doing to the shaggy ends of David's hair. “Since you’re saving my ass… It would be more like I’d let you keep me…”
David felt like his heart was going to stop at those words. They played hard against his vision of Chris as some fallen angel, untouchable and longing to be touched. He tentatively caught Chris' hand. "It would, hm? I know what I'd want to keep you for, but I think I need to hear what you'd want."
Chris glanced at his hand, and a flash of uncertainty flashed across his face. But the look was gone in an instant, and he cupped David’s jaw gently. His face was serious, but his eyes were alight with mischief. "Just you. Do the details really matter?"
David found himself trembling at the touch. Chris knew what he was getting into now. David's responsibility to have him know was done. He shook his head. "I guess not, when you put it like that."
Chris chuckled and pointed to the screen. "Just help me with this bullshit and I'll do whatever you want."
David relaxed with the chuckle, let his own hand drop and was half relieved and half disappointed when Chris' hand dropped as well. He found himself able to laugh. "Whatever hm? Well, it's past midnight, and I'm turning into a pumpkin. When did you last eat?"
Chris looked at his feet and his face turned thoughtful, and then confused. David nearly had to turn away again, all from the want that welled up within him at the lost boy charm before him.
Shit, this was one hell of a crush, it was going to be hell trying to find the real person behind this image David had already built from the player on the stage and now all this. If he was going to get the chance to do that at all, but David found that he wanted at least the chance.
“Um…” Chris stammered, “Wednesday? Er… yesterday morning? I think?”
David shook his head and grinned before he said, "Christ, you do need a keeper. Where are you going to take me to eat?"
Chris looked up and the smile returned. “Oh, taking you to eat, huh? I know a bunch of burger joints and places that have tacos all night… What I really want is ramen, but there’s nothing open right now.”
"Oh... ramen..." David said that with a little bit of longing. "I thought there'd be places open all night on this side of the lake. Sorry. If you want to just work on your project, I could offer you a machine and a meal at my place, then. I've got some fresh, frozen ramen and some char sui... or just an omelet or spaghetti or something simple."
Chris’ jaw dropped and he sat forward excitedly. “You would cook for me?!”
"Sure," David said and smiled, amazed to find himself comforted by Chris's open enthusiasm at something so simple. Having never known a stage star, he now wondered if everyone held them so far off when they could be like this. "It's easy enough, and I have four machines at home, so it'd be no problem having you use one of 'em for your project."
Chris blinked. “You… you have four computers at home?”
David thought a bit about the dual-boot machines, the laptops that came home when he just couldn't be bothered with moving data around, and the entertainment system really was powered by two fairly powerful machines. "Sometimes six, but four desk machines..."
David shook his head, and realized the place might seem a complete bloody mess to anyone else but him. "Anyway, if you're comfortable with clutter... I can give you the address and meet you there? It'll make it convenient for me if I need to crash, too, as I'm not used to staying up so late."
Chris nodded and grabbed his backpack and helmet from the floor. "Sounds good. I haven't had a home cooked meal in months."
"Months..." David pulled a fountain pen from his shirt pocket and wrote down his address on one of his index cards, and thought through the twists and turns of how to get to the apartment. "Here... it's on the grid pretty much, nothing that tricky once you get into downtown Redmond. Oh, and give the guard at the gate your name and my apartment number. I'll tell him to let in one Chris Stark."
David got his stuff together, closed down all his screens, cleared out all his browser information, and then put the machine to sleep. "Don't forget your files?"
Chris made a small 'eek' noise and pulled his portable drive from the machine's USB slot. "Thanks. That would suck if I forgot this."
David nodded, drained the last of his latte, tossed the cup in the garbage and headed towards the door. He waved to Chloe, who gave him a nod and surprised him with a wink at seeing Chris following him. As he stepped outside, he heard Chris clear his throat behind him.
David turned around and met those serious eyes again. “Thanks for this, it’s really cool of you… I don’t…” Chris tilted his head slightly and fixed the ground with that intense gaze. “I don’t usually have help when I get into shit like this…”
"And I don't usually offer this much help," David offered, not quite sure what to do with the information. But what Chris said made David feel all the more like helping him was going to be appreciated, perhaps in complicating ways, but that might be a way to, as Lisa put it, get a life. That reminded him of his impromptu promise to Lisa to have a good weekend. "I'm supposed to stay away from work for the weekend, and... well, it's an easy thing for me to do."
Chris nodded and slid the helmet over his head. "I'll see you at your place then?"
"Yes. I'll see you there," David said and it suddenly struck him as to exactly what it was he'd just said, and he started on his small walk to his car with entirely too much to think about.
The Next Chapter