A couple years ago, I wrote a story called "Feather." It's about a guy named Wayland who has a thing for a guy named Corbin. I wrote it for a fellow author whom you may know, named A.F. Henley. Henley and I have been friends for a few years, now, so trading fiction on occasion is par for the course.
Well, of course, Henley wasn't to be outdone in the fiction-gift-giving department, (bless him) so he wrote a story called, "Blaze." Which was awesome. It's about a guy named Arik who has a hot redhead named Blaze fall into his lap one otherwise very dull night at a hotel.
We posted all this in our various favorite locales, and that was that...
...until one night, when I was (drunk) slightly intoxicated and (thinking too much) pondering the meaning of the universe, I dug up "Blaze" and read it again. Remembered why I loved it.
Which lead, ultimately, to me writing the first chapter of what we called, eventually, Vision Quest. I wrote the first part on a complete for-the-fun-of-it lark, and it's a continuation of "Blaze" that has absolutely nothing to do with Henley's original intention, whatever that may have been, for his story. I borrowed his characters, kept going with the initial story line, and I showed the first "move" to him in my usual, subtle style...
*gets on Messenger*
Kelly Wyre: I DID A THING!
A.F. Henley: ...oh God. It's so early.
Kelly Wyre: IT'S NOON!
A.F. Henley: Yes. Early.
Kelly Wyre: BUT I'VE ALREADY DONE A THING!
A.F. Henley: What did you--
Kelly Wyre: IT IS A GOOD THING!
A.F. Henley: Uh huh, but what--
Kelly Wyre: YOU HAVE TO HEAR IT!
A.F. Henley: HEAR it? Oh Lord. Okay. But I was going to take out the--
Kelly Wyre: RIGHT NOW!
A.F. Henley: ...trash because the dog did HIS thing, and--
Kelly Wyre: PARTICIPATION IS REQUIRED!
A.F. Henley: ...right. I'll just get comfortable, then. *laces coffee with choice adult beverage*
Saints of patience... they abound. But I read it to him, he liked it, and then we struck a deal. Here are the terms:
RULES OF TAG TEAM FICTION ENGAGEMENT
1. Each of us writes our sections individually. The other person has no direct input on the other player's section. No writing "together," no reading over the writer's shoulder, no nothing.
2. Sections will be a maximum of 5K, minimum of 300 words.
3. After each section is posted, the opposite player will get to ask three things about the posted section. That can be, "What is important?" or "Why did Blaze say 'X?'"
For example, if I post a section, and I'm very sure that a certain bag is important for the continuation of the story line in MY head, and Henley asks, "Yo, Kel, what's important here that you don't want me mucking up?" Then I can say, "Keep that bag handy in your next part, please. It contains the lube."
4. We both understand that the characters Blaze and Arik belong to A.F. Henley, but I, Kelly Wyre, am allowed to borrow them. Liberally. With vigor. And lube. Other characters will be created in the process of the story line. Neither of us has any intention of posting this for pay. It's a free read, through and through.
5. We post the sections in a back-and-forth pattern, as they are written, about once a week until the story is complete.
We are posting ALL the parts here, on my blog. We are posting links everywhere, so if that's how you found us...
WELCOME TO THIS FREE FICTION FRAY!
VISION QUEST: PART I
...in which the grounded, businessman Arik Beltrán meets the gorgeously mysterious Blaze for coffee, and his life is forevermore infused with magic.
Story is rated "M," and intended for mature audiences above the age of 18, only. Includes explicit m/m sexual acts, angst, hurt/comfort, hilarity, and at least one goat. Not involved in the sex in any way whatsoever, the goat. He just likes to watch.
"That'll be six-fifty," said the curvy, dark-skinned woman behind the hotel coffee shop counter. Blaze smiled, dug out the cash, and slid it to her. Their fingers touched, but there was no spark, no moment of clarity, no vision, and Blaze relaxed. So far, the only target he had was the one he'd acquired last night. Most pleasantly acquired, in fact. It was nice when Blaze's fortune ran to the pleasurable instead of other alternatives. Sometimes Blaze's encounters ended in tears or death or mayhem, not sweat-slick-spent bodies, shy smiles, and bewildered grins.
"Thanks," Blaze said, picking up the coffees and carrying them to the condiment counter. He kept glancing toward the elevator doors while he added cream to his drink. He was going to leave the other coffee black, but reconsidered, adding a bit of sugar and stirring until the crystals had dissolved and done their sweetening job.
Blaze recapped the coffees and carried them to a glass pane near the coffee shop's open entrance. He balanced the cups in one hand, dropped his black duffle on the ground, and rested a hip against a metal beam, waiting. He didn't need a watch or a clock to tell him it was around eight-fifty-five. Blaze knew time like summer knew sunshine. He held the coffee under his nose, as it was still too hot to drink, and he watched the golden doors.
At five after nine, Arik Beltrán emerged in a tailored suit and shiny shoes. It didn't have the hot and lazy factors that the hoodie and Adidas pants did, but there were all sorts of kind things to say about a man who knew both how to dress down and dress up. The creamy shirt looked good against Arik's dusky skin, and Arik's dark hair wasn't mussed like it had been last night, from sleep and tugging and grasping. Arik had his briefcase, and Blaze realized the man had to be at the hotel for a reason. A conference, maybe, or a business meeting. Blaze chuckled to himself, wondering what Arik would think about Blaze's version of a conference call, and then Arik spotted Blaze, and Arik's entire countenance changed. Worry dissolved into abject wonder, and Blaze's insides warmed. He loved these moments. The, oh-holy-shit-you-are-real moments. When they were sweet, they made life worth living. When they were fearful, they made Blaze wish he had another path.
Arik approached with a purposeful stride. He was taller than Blaze, but then, most men, at least in this country, were. At five-six, Blaze was on the short side of this age's average. It had advantages, though. Last night when Arik had picked Blaze up and thrown him on the bed, Blaze hadn't minded his height in the least.
Through the doorway, around the counter, and to the table near where Blaze leaned, Arik came, and Blaze slowly turned to follow the progression. He held out the coffee when Arik was within range, and Blaze smiled again, this one less for show. "Morning," Blaze said.
"Hi," Arik blurted. He stared at the coffee. "Is this for me?"
"No, it's for the other man I fucked last night."
Arik jerked a look at Blaze, checking for seriousness, and Blaze had to laugh. "Black, little sugar. It's yours."
"Thank you." Arik took the coffee, but set it on the tall table. "Who are you?" he asked, bluntly and like he couldn't quite help himself.
Blaze didn't answer right away. He noted, instead, the drawn tightness around Arik's dark eyes that spoke of weariness. Blaze could relate. He'd not slept at all, waiting for Arik to pass by his room, and when Arik had left after they'd finished and caught their breaths, Blaze had slept, but it'd been to dream more of Arik. Not restful, the Vision Sleep.
"Sorry," Arik muttered. "That was rude. I don't know what came over me. I'm sorry."
"I'm Blaze Zaituc," he said.
"Nice to meet..." Arik frowned. "Zaituc?"
"It's Romanian," Blaze said.
Arik's lips twitched, and Blaze wanted to kiss them. After the last Vision Quest that had ended so badly, enjoying this one was a gift from the gods. "I can see that," Arik said. He drew closer, and Blaze gazed up at Arik's face, enjoying the scent of aftershave and soap and freshly laundered clothes. "What are you doing here, Blaze?"
Oh, Blaze liked it when they played the part of seducer and not mere victim of fate. A thrill chased a victory down Blaze's spine. "You, mostly," he quipped.
Arik enjoyed that answer. He glanced at Blaze's bag. "Checking out so soon?"
"Only had the room for a night."
"No." Blaze slid a hand over the back of Arik's where it rested on the tabletop. Blaze squeezed Arik's wrist. "Told you. Here for you."
Arik's face was more expressive than Blaze bet the man liked. Blaze watched Arik try to sort out if Blaze was flirting, teasing, didn't know when to stop playing the game and start giving real answers, or, possibly worse and possibly better, if Blaze was telling Arik the absolute truth, which raised all kinds of questions. Blaze watched Arik decide that reality was impossible, but answers were needed, but he didn't want to anger Blaze, scare Blaze off, or lose Blaze's interest. Blaze would have liked to tell Arik that it'd be quite impossible to shake Blaze off the Quest now that he was on it, but he'd done this dance far too often to take such a misstep so early in their tango.
"Well, I'm here for a few days," Arik said carefully.
"Then I'll stay," Blaze said, massaging the bone of Arik's wrist with a soft touch. A spark like a tiny electric shock shot through Blaze's fingers. He saw himself, naked and sprawled facedown in Arik's bed. He saw Arik approaching. He saw a clock on a nightstand, a man with dirty blond hair, a lit cigarette, and Arik's eyes full of tears. The imagery was gone in a blink, and determination steadied Blaze. He tightened his grip, and, as though on autopilot, Arik flipped a palm to grasp Blaze in return.
Despite the physical response, Arik was adorably confused, but still trying not to crack the certain and sure façade. "But how will you stay, without a room?"
Blaze shrugged one shoulder, made a show of reaching for his coffee so he wouldn't stop touching Arik, and took a sip. "If you're busy, I'll find something to do while you're gone. If you want company during the day, you'll have it. And tonight..." Blaze met Arik's eyes, direct and simple. "I'll be where you'd like me to be."
Arik swallowed, and suspicion warred with heat in his lovely brown eyes. "Is that so?"
"I hope it will be," Blaze said, honestly. He caressed Arik one last time and withdrew his touch. "The choice is yours," Blaze said, and that, too, was the truth. Arik could make Blaze's purpose as easy or as difficult as he liked. But Blaze was here for a reason larger than either of them could comprehend, and Blaze had no choice when it came to his life's course.
So he smiled at Arik, letting the man think, and around them, people went about their lives, oblivious to the pivotal moment in their midst.
TO BE CONTINUED NEXT WEEK!
MAIN STORY ENTRY WITH DETAILS AND CHAPTER LIST HERE.
MAIN STORY ENTRY WITH DETAILS AND CHAPTER LIST HERE.
Tune in next time...Much love!
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