"Look up," Elijah ordered, hovering with brush. "Up."
"Yeah, yeah," Dom muttered, trying to do as ordered while still watching in the mirror.
For all his worry, Elijah's hand was utterly steady with the liquid eyeliner, tracing along Dom's lower eyelid to join the line along his upper lid. Elijah redipped the brush, and traced the joined line away into a looping curlique around Dom's cheekbone. The light in the bathroom was harsh in its whiteness, showing up every little flaw in Dom's face, which gave him quite a few to choose from. Maybe he should have taken up Elijah's offer of pale foundation. But he hadn't wanted to blend it down his neck, and that was kind of essential when wearing a mesh shirt.
Elijah shifted with a rustle of black satin, sliding along the sink in front of Dom, obscuring his view of himself in the mirror. He squinted at Dom's face with impersonal concentration as he repeated the decoration on the other side. When he slid aside again, Dom was perfectly symmetrical. He tilted his face in the mirror, feeling the eyeliner drying on his skin.
"Don't hurt yourself," Elijah shot back, capping the eyeliner again.
Dom turned around to lean against the sink. "How'd you get so good at this?"
"Misspent youth." Elijah reached for his cigarette, balanced in its ashtray on the side of the bath. The butt was already marked with black lipstick, despite the fact he was smoking as carefully as he could. His eyes were darkly shadowed, even more eerie, magnetically bright. Dom thought he might have glitter over his cheekbones. He'd never seen him like this, not in the time they'd been living together, not before in New Zealand.
He'd never seen him put in this much effort.
Elijah ground the cigarette out. "So, we good to go?"
It occurred to Dom, as he followed Elijah out of the bathroom, that if the boy had ever looked like this before - high and ragged-hemmed satin shirt, black dress trousers slung low - Dom might have been interested in their brief flurry of more-than-friends going on longer than it had.
A bit late to be thinking thoughts like that, of course. They'd left that back in New Zealand. They'd left it well and truly.
"Got keys?" Dom asked, hand on the light switch in the hall.
Elijah paused at the door, slapped his front pocket. "Yeah. But bring yours too."
Dom grinned. "Someone planning on getting lucky?"
But Elijah didn't rise to the banter. "Just bring 'em, Dom."
With a shrug, he grabbed his keys from the hall table, and hit the lights. Elijah was a shadow in the doorway. Dom slipped past him, pocketing his keys. "And Orlando...?"
"Said he'd meet us there."
It wasn't often that Orlando was in town and free these days. Guy had more work than a cheap hooker. So they had to take advantage when they could. Which, in this case, was three days in between one distant shoot and another. "Name the time and the place, guys," the message on the machine had said, shouting over background traffic noise. "I'll be there this time, promise."
The place was called Lithium. Dom had never heard of it. It had been Elijah's idea, Elijah's sort of place, alternative, indie, all the way through to the industrial goth. Which is what he was insisting they all dress up in, though Dom wouldn't have thought that was really his thing. When he'd asked, though, all he'd got was a brief: "Play dress-up. It's fun."
He hadn't pushed. Lij was in a weird mood lately. And besides, it was kinda fun to borrow the mesh shirt off Elijah - "never fit me anyway" - and get weird with the eyeliner. He'd drawn the line at lipstick.
Once they actually got to the place, Dom realised his self-consciousness about further make-up had been entirely out of place. No one would've batted a heavily-decorated eyelid here. Maybe he'd missed an opportunity there.
It was dark inside, decorated with falls of black velvet and studded metal panelling. The air had a miasma of smoke, and the dancefloor writhed under tilting lights as the Cure killed an Arab. The girl on the door was a good foot taller than Dom, thanks to four-inch platform heels and a pile of platinum-blonde curls on her head. The place wasn't all that crowded, and it was relatively easy to spot Orlando. Dom pointed.
"I see him," Elijah said.
Dom led the way up to the bar, where Orlando was tapping his fingers against the wood, moving slightly with the beat. "Hey -" Dom started, and got distracted by the girl a little further up the bar, cinched tightly into curvaceous patent black leather. By the time he turned back, Orlando was grinning, and Elijah smiling, dark-lipped, dark-eyed. The music segued into something louder, with a thumping bass and industrial distortion.
"You're underdone," Orli said over the top, chucking Dom under the chin.
He twisted away. Orlando, he noted, hadn't drawn the line at lipstick. His mouth was dark red, and he'd laid on the eyeliner thickly. Dressed normally enough, just tight black T-shirt and jeans, red leather ties twisted round his wrists. "Some of us aren't that girly."
"Are you insulting our little Elijah?" Orli demanded, mock-affronted. Elijah didn't seem insulted. He flagged down the bartender, ordered three double scotch and dries.
"No, I'm insulting you, you big girl," Dom replied, and reached over Orlando's shoulder to tug his hair, slicked back into a low ponytail. "What's this?"
Orli jerked his hair out of Dom's hand. "Pirate hair. Manly."
"Girly. Lij, back me up on this."
Elijah barely spared them a glance, off Dom, over Orli's face an instant longer, away. He shrugged. "It's not bad."
"Fuck off, Bloom. Who invited you back into the country?"
Orlando laughed. "Hey, at least Lij still loves me." He slung an arm around Elijah's shoulders.
Elijah was receiving drinks. "Watch it," he said absently, tilting his shoulders. Orlando's hand slithered over black satin. Elijah twisted, handed him a drink. "Here." And one to Dom.
Lij raised his glass, looked from Dom to Orlando. "To reunions. To always having the chance to revisit."
He was still in a weird mood, Dom noted. Whatever. "To reunions."
Orlando's glass joined theirs after a moment. "Yeah."
Dom came back with the fourth round of drinks to find the table empty. Damn. He was sure he'd left a weird-eyed little freak around here somewhere.
He didn't stress it. For upwards of half an hour Elijah had been looking at the dancefloor with the sort of longing Dom associated with little kids and the newest, shiniest toy they didn't have. Orlando had been on and off the floor like a jack-in-the-box. He was always so full of fucking energy that sometimes Dom wanted to nail his feet to the floor. Thinking, Bloom; ring any bells?
Dom collapsed in his chair, lolling backwards and tilting his head to the shadowed ceiling. These chairs were great, he decided. Really comfortable. The whole place, in fact, wasn't too bad. Shame about the music; really not his thing. Dom didn't think he could bring himself to dance to this lot, not even after three and a half drinks.
It was a little surprising, actually, that Elijah hadn't even pestered him once about dancing. He usually seemed to think it was his duty to at least try. Dom knew it was his duty to refuse; someone had to say no to the boy. But he hadn't asked tonight. Hadn't even made a hint.
Leave it, Dom. Shut up and enjoy the respite while it lasts.
If Dom rolled his head to the side on the back of the chair, the world tilted and the dancefloor slid sideways into view. Just a twining knot of limbs from this angle, slithering together to some Siouxsie and the Banshees song. It was only the older stuff that he could even recognise. He blinked, and people started to come into focus. There, that was Orlando's hand, raised in the air and recognisable by the red leather twisted around the wrist. Dom followed the arm back to the rest of Orlando, shifting with his usual jangling energy and complete lack of self-consciousness. And...
Wow. Dom sat up in the chair, tipped the world the right way up again so he could make sure his eyes weren't deceiving him.
Yep, that was Elijah dancing beside Orlando, curling and undulating under the lights, liquid as shadow. He arched, stretched his neck, swayed into the beat. Dom was reminded, suddenly, of just how flexible Elijah was in certain circumstances.
On the dancefloor, Elijah opened his eyes and said something, black lips moving. Dom couldn't make out words. Neither, obviously, could Orli. He stepped closer, leaned, curled a wrist around the back of Elijah's head. Lij stretched up, bracing himself with a hand on Orli's hip to bring his mouth closer to an ear.
From that position, Dom mused, you could lick the sweat off Orlando's neck. It was always there, at this stage of the night, when he'd been dancing like that. He was superheated. Burned under your palms.
He shook his head with a laugh. Yeah, OK, he'd had too much to drink. Or maybe not enough. Maybe he should go back and talk to that smirking bartender with the interesting tongue piercing.
Orlando found him at the bar. It was getting crowded, and he had to slide in hard beside Dom. Warmth flowed off him in waves. His skin stuck to Dom's through the mesh of the shirt. The hair at his temples was dark with sweat and his eyeliner had smeared just a little. "There you are!" he grinned. "I've been looking for you." He was toting a bottle of water, and took a swig.
"I've been right here for ages; you can't have been looking hard."
He offered the bottle of water, and Dom figured it was probably a good idea at this point. He lifted the bottle, and noticed that Orlando's lipstick had left red smears over the neck. He rubbed it off on his palm before drinking.
Orli laughed. "What, don't want to wear my lipstick?"
Dom passed the bottle back. "Didn't we have this conversation at the start of the night?" He looked down the bar, trying to catch the bartender's eye.
"But this is different." Orlando's voice was quiet, close enough to Dom's ear that he could still hear it, even with the thumping music. Close enough to raise every hair on the back of his neck and make Dom's fingers whiten against the bar. Orlando was pressed against him in the crowd, knee to hip to shoulder, and murmuring in his ear fit to melt chocolate. Fit to melt Dom. And he was saying: "This is my lipstick."
Dom forgot about the bartender, and turned back a little, feeling the hot gust of breath against his jaw. "Yours, huh?"
"Yeah." Two hot fingers slipped under the waist of Dom's jeans in the small of his back.
He turned back completely, and Orli didn't lean back to make room. They were nose-to-nose, breathing the same air, and Dom wanted to look him in the eyes but seemed to have got stuck at the mouth. "Ah. Where's Lij?"
"Gone, I think. There was a girl."
Dom smiled. "He was on the prowl tonight."
"I noticed. So am I." The fingers at Dom's belt tugged. "Let's get out of here."
It was a little cold, queueing for a taxi, and Dom shivered a little in the mesh shirt. Then Orli was behind him, giving off heat like a radiator, pressed up against him. A hand brushed over his hip, pushed into his front pocket, and Dom shivered for a different reason.
"What's your address again?" he asked. They shuffled forwards in the line, losing full body contact and getting it back again.
"My place is a mess," Orli said in his ear, and Dom tried not to think about how close dark red lipstick was to his neck. "Let's go to yours."
"I'm sharing with Lij," Dom pointed out.
"Who's probably off with some girl."
"Maybe. Don't want to chance it."
"Fine." The group ahead of them piled into a taxi, and Orlando nudged Dom forward with his hips. "My place, then."
It wasn't that much of a mess, really. Not that Dom really got a good look. Just a quick glance into the shadowed living room from the brightly-lit hall where Orli was dumping keys and loose change in a jingling heap on the table. Dom leaned against the doorjamb, watching him. In the yellowish hall light, the make-up looked almost cheap and tacky, smeared with sweat, grimy in creases of skin.
Dom took two steps across the hall, crowded Orlando back against the table, pressed him bodily up against it. He pushed against Orli's hip, felt them both standing to attention. Orli's hands came up, hit his hips, curled around his denimed arse. His mouth dipped towards Dom's, but Dom ducked, brought his hands up to hold the other's head still. Dragged his thumb down Orli's temple, over the dip beside his eye, through cold, dried sweat and eyeliner. Black smeared in his wake. Their hips twitched together.
"Good idea, this," Dom noted, hovering close to lipsticked lips.
"Mine, of course," Orlando replied, not having much luck sounding casual.
"You're brilliant." And Dom kissed him before he could gloat any further.
Dom had kissed plenty of girls wearing lipstick. He'd kissed plenty of guys. Somehow combining the two made his head spin, sent all the blood in his body spiralling down to where he ground against denim. Orlando's mouth was hard and insistent, slick and sweet. The kiss crackled, leapt out of Dom's control with lipstick smeared against his lips, tongues curled against teeth, his hands fisted in Orli's stupid girly pirate hair.
They broke. "Bedroom," Orlando gasped.
Another brilliant idea. Dom went with the push, followed down the darkening corridor. He wondered if he'd somehow been infected with Orlando's energy, because he was almost jangling with it. It burst out of him when they came together again, when Orlando pushed him down on the bed. Dom all but ripped the black T-shirt off, because after all this time he just couldn't wait, wouldn't be denied, wanted it all. Wanted it right now. Hands on superheated skin and little hissed whimpers and the lipstick they were both wearing now, that smeared over everything, over skin, over the sheets, and Dom's cock and Orli's and the way they moved together and the way - God yes - the way Orli growled Dom's name like he almost hated him for bringing it to this. The way his world went suddenly, perfectly white-black blind, and when it came back Orlando's hands were lazy curled around his thigh, across his chest, still with their red leather twists.
Dom drifted, jerked back to fully awake when a light flicked on. He stretched, sprawled on Orlando's bed, and pushed himself up to look at the lit bathroom door. Water was running. Dom fell half over the edge of the bed, scrabbled around for his boxers. He was pulling them on when the water stopped, and when he looked back, Orli was standing in the bathroom doorway. The only remnant of the lipstick was a stained memory around his mouth.
"Guess I'd best go," Dom said, sitting on the edge of the bed.
Orlando shrugged. "If you want."
Dom found his jeans in the haphazard jumble of clothes on the floor.
The bed sagged behind him. "What are you going to tell Lij?"
He had to stand to pull on his jeans. "Oh, y'know, everything."
"Long as you tell me everything you and Elijah get up to."
Dom laughed, and bent for the mesh shirt. "Leave it out. You know we haven't been like that in ages."
When he looked back, Orlando was lying on the bed, face blank, eyes shadowed. He yawned, and through it said: "Yeah, I know."
Elijah was already up, of course, when Dom staggered forth the next morning, still shower-damp. Sitting at the kitchen table, reading the paper, he had a mug of black coffee, a torn-open bag of croissants, and the shadow of eyeliner darkening his eyes. He looked fragile, and like he'd break anyone who told him so.
"Morning," Lij said, turning the page without looking up.
Dom managed a grunt in reply, and poured his own mug of coffee from the machine. He opened the fridge, and stared. "Uh. We need milk."
"Put it on the list."
Closing the door, Dom pulled a piece of paper off its white surface. Juice, bread, onions... He found a pen and added milk at the bottom, before putting it back on the fridge door, held in place by brightly-coloured alphabet magnets. There was another note stuck up, that he was sure hadn't been there yesterday. He took a mouthful of black coffee. A girl's name - at least, he assumed "Soraya" was a girl - and a string of numbers. "So is she the girl from last night?" He tapped the paper with one fingernail.
"Huh?" That got Lij to look up.
Dom took the seat opposite him at the table and pointed a questioning finger at the croissants. Elijah nudged the bag towards him. "This Soraya bird. Is she the girl you met last night?"
Lij took one when Dom offered the croissants back to him. "Yeah."
Dom waved a hand. "And? C'mon, details, man!"
Elijah shrugged diffidently, one-shouldered, shredding his croissant. "She's just a girl. I was going to say bye when we left but you two were looking pretty cozy at the bar."
Pausing mid-pastry-rip, Dom said: "You were still there, then? I thought Orli'd said -"
"Did you fuck him?"
"What?" The croissant tore apart in a shower of crumbs.
When Dom looked up from the mess, Elijah was almost glaring at him. "Did you fuck Orli?"
"No!" It wasn't, Dom rationalised, a lie. It was an act of self-preservation. And now a few connections were fusing in his musty morning brain. "Were you and Orli, ah...?"
"No, never." Elijah stood in one abrupt movement, his chair scraping the floor. "Forget it."
Never. Dom didn't think he could remember anything. Not from Lij, not even from Orli. Well, except something maybe way back at the beginning, in New Zealand, but Elijah hadn't been... well, open to that sort of advance at that stage. But... "But," he said.
"I said forget it," Elijah snapped from the sink. He ran water in his empty coffee cup. "Just leave it alone, Dom. Forget I said anything." He snatched the girl's number off the fridge as he went past, disappearing up the corridor to his room.
Dom shrugged, and turned the newspaper to the comics. Leave it. Best idea. Orli'd be gone again in two days, Elijah'd eventually get over his mood once he got laid - or so Dom theorised. Just let it lie.
The doorbell rang when Dom was on the phone. He pulled the door open to reveal Orlando, standing on the front step in the gathering dusk with his hands in his pockets.
"Uh," Dom said into the phone. "I've got a visitor. Call you back tomorrow?" He barely registered the voice at the other end before he ended the call.
Orli kicked at the doorjamb. "Is Lij home?"
Dom shook his head. "He's out with the girl from last night."
Orli's grin was bright and slightly embarassed and smug all in one. It made Dom grin too. "Good." He stepped inside.
"I thought, ah..." What had he thought? Orli's flying out again tomorrow and something about Elijah and wasn't last night just...? But for now what he was thinking was that he had the phone in one hand and the door in the other and that was just stupid when he also had Orlando in touching range.
Closer than that, in fact. Orlando stepped in to slide a hand around Dom's waist, glide their cheeks together, mouth close to Dom's ear again. But no lipstick now, just them dressed like normal. Just them. "I know, I just... I'm greedy, Dom." He turned slightly and breathed in against Dom's cheek, making Dom's knees twich and his abdomen clench. "Tell me to fuck off."
Dom laughed shakily, wrapped his arm around Orlando, held his neck in the crook of his arm. "You've got to be fucking joking. Leave now and I kill you."
Orlando kicked the door shut and Dom dropped the phone on the hall table. When he turned back Orli was on him, hand along his jaw and around his neck and kissing like a storm, like a frontal attack, like assault and battery. Dom tilted but recovered, wasn't going to let himself be pushed back when he could be pushing back, leaning into Orli.
They came up gasping for air. "Front hallways, eh?" Dom said, because otherwise he'd say something stupid.
"Tit for tat," Orlando replied, bending to lick at Dom's ear, his hair - loose today - tickling at Dom's collarbones.
"Ah." He clutched at Orli, and this was just ridiculous; he was hard and Orlando still had his jacket on. "What's my line again?"
Dom was feeling insatiable. Impatient. You'd expect familiarity would breed contempt, or at least complacence, but no. He needed. Now. Orlando, stretched out beneath him, all that skin, collarbones, ribs, stomach, hips; exactly, mind-blowingly the same as last night.
Who'd have thought it? From unimaginable to addiction in less than a day.
He had to take a moment to get his head around it. Orlando limbs splayed across his bed and hair over the pillow. "This hair," he said, sinking his fingers into it. He pressed his palms to the pillow through it, pinning Orli, stopping him from arching up towards Dom where he was poised, hovering, straddling.
"Yeah, I know," Orlando gasped, trying to stretch all the same. Fingers on Dom's ribs. "Girly. You said."
"Girly," Dom agreed. Clamped his hair-knotted fingers over Orli's skull, pressed down on his writhing body. "Fucking sexy too."
He sank down, let Orli rise up. Clumsy, inspired undulations, tongue-to-tongue, cock-to-cock. Orlando got a leg against Dom's waist, Dom got a knee under Orli's thigh, they got an angle, an option, that made them both groan.
"God yes, Dom." Orlando had one hand splayed over Dom's back, the other gripping the headboard. His neck arched; he looked so fucking spectacular with teethmarks on his shoulder. "Please yes. Do you... have something?"
Dom hadn't been getting that lucky; hadn't been bringing them back here when he did. "No," he growled, like a curse.
"Godfuckit." The kiss was desperate. They were speaking with tongues. They were sweat-slicked rhythm. "Maybe we could just... ah-!"
But in the end they made do with hands and friction and the mere thought of it.
Dom slumped over him, buried his face in the hot curve of Orlando's neck. And he thought that he still hadn't lied to Elijah, though only for want of a condom and lubricant.
Fuck. This had been kinda stupid. But...
He traced his fingers up a superheated arm. The body under his shivered. "God, Dom."
There was something - a crack - in Orlando's voice that he'd never heard before. But when he propped himself up on one elbow, Orli had his eyes closed, his face turned away. His fingers were so tight on Dom's shoulder, the other hand dangling slack over the edge of the bed.
What time was it? Where was Elijah? Dom felt so beautifully lethargic. He could fall asleep right now. But stupid, stupid. He let his head fall back to the pillow beside Orlando. Breathed in the sweaty hair before he could say: "You'd better go."
Orlando shifted, rolled back towards him. Dom closed his eyes. "Why?" A breath over his ear.
He shivered, stretched against the arm around him. "Lij'll get weird."
"Let me stay, Dom." How could he resist that faint plea, that arch of muscle? "We'll wake up early, I'll go then."
Yes, yes, yes. No. "Lij always gets up before me."
A groan, hands over his back... aaah. Dom stretched into the touch, coercing him closer to sleep. "Fucking fine." But the tone was amused, and Orli was laughing as he tipped Dom off him.
Dom pried his eyes open to watch Orlando at the edge of the bed, stretching for his jeans. He dressed distressingly quickly, almost perfunctorially. "I'm sorry," Dom muttered. "I wish..." He trailed off.
Orli froze in the act of turning his collar down. Finished with that before turning back to the bed to look down at Dom. He wasn't smiling. "Yeah, me too." He picked up his jacket from the chair. "See you later, Dom."
Dom woke with a grin and his bed reeking of Orlando and sex. So he'd be doing a load of washing today.
Unsurprisingly, Elijah was already in the kitchen, standing at the sink with his back to the room. Staring fixedly out the window.
"Morning," Dom said, grabbing a mug and heading for the coffee machine.
Elijah didn't say anything.
Dom glanced curiously at his back. "How'd everything go with what's-her-face?"
Still nothing. Fucking hell; when was this mood going to lift?
Dom opened the fridge and swore. "I forgot the bloody mi-"
"I thought you said you hadn't slept with him."
Dom froze, coffee cup in one hand, fridge door in the other. Shit. Somehow they'd been careless. What had he been thinking?
Looking up carefully, Dom met icy-blue eyes. "Lij..."
"Don't fucking Lij me." He stepped forward and shoved the fridge door out of Dom's grasp. It slammed shut as Dom leapt backwards, spilling coffee down his front. He swore, but Elijah was on a roll, incensed. "Is this a damn joke or something?"
His palm slapped against the fridge door, and Dom glanced up - then forgot about the coffee.
A new note was on the white surface, held in place with an angry red E magnet. Handwriting that felt vaguely familiar. Thanks for last night. --Orli
"In my own motherfucking house."
"Lij." But Dom had no idea what he was going to say, sucker-punched by the jaunty, whiplash curl of the O, the slash of the T.
"Just fuck off." Footsteps ire-quick out of the kitchen, and a door slammed somewhere.
Dom stayed there, dripping coffee, staring at the note on the fridge where Orlando had left it.
Where Orlando had left it.
Leaving It by dee
This story owes itself to the influence of the beautiful work of Doom's Eyebrow and Demelza.