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Jared’s friends with Dakota, who sleeps with James, and James ran a studio with Little Bear before Little Bear moved to Portland with Brent, Luther’s hairdresser.

“Hold on,” gasps Jared. “I’m mmff. I’m trying to figure out if this is incestuous.”

“Of course. The dating pool in this town is the kind you fill with a hose.” Luther strips off Jared’s tie, kisses his neck.

“It’s just disappointing–if I’m breaking taboos I should feel dirtier, you know?”

“Baby,” drawls Luther, “this ain’t wrong less’n you get knocked up…”

“That didn’t do it,” Jared laughs, but pulls his shirt off anyway.


The rain is very sudden. All down the street, people scramble for doors.

Jared doesn’t have a hat and doesn’t care. He wants to be wet and cold. This is his rain; he called it down with shouts and anger, matched its thunder with his fist against the doorframe. That’s not true, though. The storm is solid, and something inside him is breaking up. He starts to shiver.

Luther catches him at the corner. He’s beautiful. His hands are on Jared’s face.

The scurriers have arrived in safety. All down the street, umbrellas pop out and begin to twirl water away.


Luther’s got his shopping list in his pocket, and it goes

  • butter
  • Jared

and it’s everything he needs to get. He only has unsalted butter because he’s been baking and unsalted butter is better for batter and he hiccups with laughter on that thought. Then he laughs some more, and throws his keys as high as they’ll go, and tries to catch them before they hit the lawn. He misses.

He feels like some ridiculous children’s museum exhibit where everybody gets sogged and soapy, just an explosion of bubbles and a placard that nobody reads. Butter and Jared. Jared and butter.


Jared wants to buy a bed, an enormous one. Emperor-size. God-size. He wants it framed with walnut-dark wood, postered, its sheets all cold satin and deep midnight blue.

There should be only one pillow. This is important, as is the real-candles chandelier. The sheets are important, their chill and their smoothness: they must be neither flat nor rumpled, but lying in a precise, lazy spiral that draws up tight around the center.

And in the center, the most important part of all: he and Luther, curled tight to each other, very small and warm and alone on their vast midnight plain.