Dedicated to @ElleH602
He didn't come today again.
Maybe kissing a man was too much of a stain on his honor and he doesn't want to see the culprit again. Though I am not the one who started the deal. But I can understand if he decides to put the blame on me. He could tell himself that I was the one doing the seducing and go back to peacefully sleep at night. It wouldn't be the first time.
Hum, this quiche is coming out quite well. The crust is firm and the filling is fluffy and moist. Onions as condiment give off such a nice smell.
The noise up front brings me back to reality. Fine, fine, going.
"Hel..." The words get stuck in my throat and I make a colossal effort to look normal while internally freaking out.
What is HE doing here?!?! And there are even two!!!!
"Good afternoon, Harry. How have you been? This is my young brother, Julian. Do you remember that we talked about his passion for photography and how he would be fascinated by your store?"
Oh, so that is why. NOT! What?! James didn't even give me an opportunity to ask, say, oppose anything. We did discuss it and I did say that his brother would be welcome here, but that was before THAT! What is he thinking?!
I am panicking.
Plastering a smile on my face I say "Of course. Julian, it is a pleasure to meet you. This building may not be up to your standard but feel free to take pictures if there is anything that catches your attention."
The brothers are two peas in a pod. Height, rebellious black coils, nose. Just with some years in between and the eyes: the younger version has brown ones not "apple green" like the older.
Why is Jr. looking at me with a happy surprised face? Did I make some blunder? Or is it his first time seeing a gay man? Did James tell him? Doesn't seem the kind of thing he would do. But, to be truthful, I am not sure of what is the 'kind of thing he would do' anymore.
"Hi, it is my pleasure. My brother talked a lot about you." He is still staring at me with a fascinated smile.
Crap, what exactly did you say, James? But when I dart my eyes to him he just gives me back a bright grin. Slippery bastard. "So, would you two like to eat something or do you prefer to take a look around, Julian?"
Before the younger brother can answer James says "I would like a coffee and whatever it is that smells so appetizing now."
"Ok." I can't stop my own smile. He always shows so much appreciation for my food that it is a pleasure to feed him. "A coffee and a slice of quiche for James, and for Julian?"
"Oh, the same. It sounds good."
"Then, please take a seat and I will soon bring your orders."
"No substitutions this time?" Asks James before I can leave.
"No, not this time." With a last polite smile that actually means 'stop provoking me 'I go to the kitchen.
When I come back James is at his usual spot observing the street and Julian is roaming around the store with his camera.
Should I interrupt him? Artistic people are usually so unpredictable.
Putting the plates down I ask the older one. "Your brother, is it ok to call him or is he lost in some particular world?"
Looking up to Julian he says. "He is lost, but I think he will like to eat this." There goes his flattery again. I am so ashamed to admit that it actually works on me.
Feeling a little hesitant I walk to Julian that is now admiring through the lens of the camera the big stained glass window with a geometrical pattern in the back of the salon. "Hum, Julian, your order is ready." There is absolutely no reaction. How deeply lost is him? With one more step, I get in between him and the window to catch his attention. At this moment there is the sound of the shutter of the camera. Did he just take my picture?
"Julian?" I ask confused. Was it perhaps an accident? Wrong place, wrong time?
Lowering the camera he says. "Can I ask you a favor?"
A favor? I am really afraid of people that first ask for permission to ask something. It is never a request I will be happy to fulfill. With a healthy dose of suspicious, I respond "Well, you can ask but my answer will depend on the nature of what you want."
"Would you agree to be my model?" He shoots expectant.
Surprised I check "For your pictures? But I am a complete amateur. I don't know anything about photography."
"You don't have to worry about it. Artistic photography is different from commercial. You won't have to make any specific poses like in advertisings. I will just ask you to move around the studio."
My reluctance must have been evident because he shows that face of 'pleading dog' that will make you feel like a monster for refusing. "Please, it is for an assignment. My grades depend on it."
"Is there something wrong?" James has come from the table to see what is taking us so long.
"No, I am just asking Harry to pose for a school project."
James's face doesn't seem pleased. "Why him?"
"Because he looks good on the camera."
"Well, he looks good outside of it too but that doesn't justify the impoliteness of coercing him into something troublesome especially since it is the first time you meet."
My poor face is boiling now. What the hell is he saying? And in front of his younger brother? Has James gone nuts? Did he tell Julian about our kiss? Oh, my God. What is going on here?
"Now, James, see what you did. He looks like a strawberry. Don't say things that will make people uncomfortable."
"You are the one with the absurd request."
"But you are the one declaring your affection. My interest is purely academic."
"Why shouldn't I say that he is beautiful if he is?"
"Ok, stop, stop." I bawl flustered, covering my face.
"You are right, he is adorable."
"I am, but you are being rude again."
"You are both being rude!" My limit has been overloaded. Fuck it off. "Now go eat before I get mad."
"You are already mad." I look up to see which brother made the last comment but the two have identical innocent expressions.
A/N: I had a lot of fun writing this. A flustered Harry is so entertaining!
See you again in the next chapter, until then, please comment and vote!
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