It’s Cut Scene Thursday again! There are more spoilers than last week here under the cut tag.
This scene happens in a thrift store where Matt goes shopping for jeans. In the first draft, the scene happened a lot earlier and Matt and Kevin barely know each other, and things unfold differently with Matt needing to get a blood test done. There’s another draft before the final version that I’ll be posting next week.
He was just about to pull the cloth back when a polite knock came from the frame beside the sheet. “Only one person per change room,” a woman called. When Matt saw it was Jeanette, he relaxed.
“He was just helping me, um, with the rise,” Matt said.
“Oh, Matt,” she said. She took a step back. “Those look great. I didn’t pull them for you because of the price, but they look amazing.” She glanced to Kevin.
“This is my friend, Kevin,” Matt said, putting his hand on Kevin’s shoulder. He was still smiling.
“I didn’t see you come in. I have a bunch of stuff I pulled,” she said, but kept her voice down. It wasn’t allowed, but Jeanette was a bit of a shopaholic and pushing items to her favorite customers helped feed her addiction. “How’s Sam?”
“Good. Going to St. Christopher’s.”
“Wow, really? How did you swing that?”
“It’s about time something good happened to the both of you.”
Kevin slipped his hand into his. Their fingers entwined. “Yeah,” Matt said.
The box was in the back, but she moved it to housewares for him to go through. “You were looking for a left-handed baseball glove?”
“For Sam,” Matt said. He picked it up. It felt broken in but not used up. And for five bucks, he’d take it.
There was a nice pair of jeans, too. They should have been priced higher, but they were ten bucks. “Thanks,” Matt said, picking them out.
“For what?” Jeanette said, and left them.
“She seems nice,” Kevin said, watching her leave.
“I don’t understand how Sam can stay so short and yet never be the same height for more than a couple months. If it wasn’t for her I don’t know what I’d do.” He picked up a long sleeve white shirt. It looked practically new. He held it up, trying to imagine Sam in front of him. It looked a little big, but Sam would grow into it.
Moving the shirt exposed a hideous porcelain clown face. It looked as though its evil eyes were tracking him. Matt jerked back. Jeanette loved hiding the worst of the worst that came across their donations in her boxes. “Last time it was a romance book called Pregnesia. The heroine was pregnant and had amnesia, you see.”
He took a black T-shirt that was good cotton and a blue knit sweater. He sat back on his heels and felt his ass complain from the dildo. Bastards. He shifted so that his weight was on his hip instead.
He hadn’t given Ex-Kevin a thought. If he had, he would have kept his ass on the floor. Kevin touched his face. He hoped the man wouldn’t see the handprint. Ex-Kevin lifted his chin up. “It’s nothing,” Matt said.
“I didn’t say anything.”
Matt broke into a sweat he flushed so hard. “They wanted to humiliate me. They talked around me, like I wasn’t even in the room. But I thought of you, there, standing over me and I was good.”
Matt felt Ex-Kevin’s hand tremble. “Are we done here?”
Matt looked down at the wristwatch on Ex-Kevin’s wrist. It was quarter after six. Time used to crawl by, and now Matt felt like he had to claw at it to get it to hold still for a minute just to let him breathe. “I need to get to you to the clinic.”
“Clinic. Right,” Matt said. He put his hand over Ex-Kevin’s.
Kevin pulled Matt to his feet.
When he paid, he used the wad of cash from the bus. At least he could still look Ex-Kevin in the eye. It was his money.
He got back into the car. “You said you could protect Sam. How?”
“I swear to you I didn’t buy him. I purchased his right to be free. It gives me no claim to him.”
“Was I sold like that?” Matt asked, sitting back in his seat.
“How often do you shoot the messenger?”
“That’s a yes. When am I no longer a thing to be owned? When do I belong to myself again? I don’t want anyone to own me but me.”
“I know that. It’s a holdout from the changeling laws. You have until the age of twenty-five to belong to your new ‘family,’ and then you are your own man.”
“Only twenty-five,” Matt said. “Who thinks they own me?”
“Bart is still technically alive,” Ex-Kevin said, not looking at him.
Matt sometimes forgot. “You can tell him how much a date is, but I know my schedule’s going to be booked up for the next five and a half years.”
A dark look passed over Ex-Kevin’s face like a shadow over the moon. Matt felt slapped for the third time that night. “When you can’t stand to look at me, just tell me, okay? As soon as you know it’s not going to work I need to know. I don’t want to think there’s a chance when your lark is over.”
“You read far too much into that. I want to date you, if you need a name for it. You can call the other things whatever you want, just not what we are doing, please.”
Matt nodded. He put his head down on Ex-Kevin’s shoulder, expecting him to flinch, but he didn’t. The clinic was coming up on their right, but he didn’t want to let go.
The clinic was just up a block from a C-train station that had just about every vice available for sale. The people hanging around the corner of the clinic were hardened, sucking on cigarettes or worse. There were so many illegal particles in the air Matt about sneezed. The men and women appraised the car while it slowed.
“Thanks for the lift,” Matt said. He let the bag of clothes slip from his hand. “Could I ask you to keep these in the car?” He’d have to watch it every second in the clinic, or it would be going home with someone who thought they needed it more.
Ex-Kevin put his arm over Matt’s chest, not letting him up off the chair. He felt protected, not restrained. The group of men and women were huddled together to tightly it was hard to see their faces. There were five of them, and they should have been shivering on the street corner, but breath didn’t fog around their heads. None of them were wearing hats, and all of them had black hair.
“You’re not getting out here,” Ex-Kevin said. He knocked on the dividing glass. “Let’s go.”
The car started moving. Matt still felt protected, even as he knew he should be protesting. The group’s intentions reached him, delayed through whatever protection the car had built-in. “I have to get the blood work.”
It was still a problem they could work on together. There was no need to panic. He felt like he did the one time he ate a pot brownie. He was floating.
“I will it get it done for you, just trust me.”
Matt did. Absolutely. He thought of being forced to perform in front of Cornelius. The humiliation he knew he should be feeling hardly touched him at all. He’d been here, with Ex-Kevin the whole time. He wrapped his arms around Kevin’s arm. Kevin could have brought the vehicle magically under the building, but they drove the whole way.
Kevin was calling a doctor friend as they got out of the car. They were deep underground here. He felt safe underground. Still protected. Matt listened to the water drip down from the melting snow and join the river of other melt-off.
The elevator finally opened up in a long hall, two doors on either side and a black door straight ahead. Ex-Kevin stopped at a small antechamber’s desk. “He will be here in about twenty minutes. I assume you have all the paperwork?”
Matt nodded, taking it from his pocket. He couldn’t help feeling embarrassed as Ex-Kevin scanned them. “Why are you blushing?”
“It has to be the first time he’s going to run a full-spectrum STD test.”
“This man is a private doctor,” Ex-Kevin said. “Half of what he does involves leaking genitalia. I swear to you he will be as jovial to you as if you were getting a B12 shot.”
Matt just wanted to pace.
To celebrate the release of my new book Changeling, I’m going to be posting related links on Tuesdays and cut scenes on Thursdays for the next month. Changeling is a m/m paranormal erotica novel about Matt, who sells sex to keep himself and his little brother together. When Matt discovers Kevin, the john he’s rapidly falling for, is a Prince of the Fae, the questions start piling up. But most importantly, why does Kevin keep acting like it’s Matt who will leave, when it’s Matt who’s the broken one?